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Caro’s Flotsam and Jetsam: cock-pit? … advertising truth … screw the rich …

On International Women’s Day, two steps forward and one step back. A passenger takes exception to a woman flying a plane, a man creates a cheaper sanitary pad, and what mining companies are really thinking.

Ladies in the cockpit. This week —  at least at the time of writing — has brought a mystery. What happened to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 from KL to Beijing? I am particularly interested because I will be flying Malaysian Airlines to Europe in June, and having been a passenger on QF460, the Melbourne-to-Sydney flight in November that dropped like a stone as a result of turbulence, I have a small inkling of just how horrible an experience a plane crash could be. Despite reassurances that the lack of any trace of the plane is not necessarily as weird as it seems, relatives want to know what has happened to their loved ones. As a future passenger of the airline, I also want to know what happened, so it can be fixed.

Interestingly, the pilot in charge of QF460, whose skill and experience saved the lives of her passengers and crew (including me), is one of a small number of female Qantas captains. She is also — as I was assured by a crew member on a flight the following week — an aviation legend with a real “aura” about her. Her name is Sharelle Quinn, and I owe her my gratitude. It seems particularly appropriate to thank her now given that this week also brought International Women’s Day.

Despite the auspicious date, not all passengers with female pilots are happy about it, as this rather alarmingly sexist response by a passenger in the US to the news that the person in charge of the (apparently aptly named) cockpit was a “fair lady” indicates. I couldn’t help noticing that the passenger uses a Biblical passage to support his prejudices. Tragically all that did was reinforce mine, which leads me to the first of my finalists for tweet of the week. This list of Ricky Gervais’ best tweets about religion is full of gems, but given he is Ricky Gervais, I have to attach a major handicap — so he can’t win tweet of the week.

The best and worst on IWD. International Women’s Day or not, women copped a bit of a shellacking. There was the comedian Jenny Collier, who was informed she was dropped from a comedy gig because there were “too many women” on the bill. After a social media outcry the promoter apologised, blaming a junior staff member for using “inappropriate wording”. I think the promoter means the junior told the unvarnished truth. And then there was the study that revealed male executives don’t feel any guilt about concentrating on their work and leaving their lives for women to worry about. Many of the male executives I have come across in my working life have struck me as the walking dead, and I guess this must be why.

On a brighter note, here is a wonderful story from the BBC  about a determined man who has invented a way to make cheap sanitary pads, making the lives of some of the most disadvantaged women in the world immeasurably better, and helped them create an industry. It is a longish read, but worth every second.

And here’s another lateral solution to a difficult problem that gives me some hope. It’s a billboard that converts humid air into clean drinking water. I always knew advertising would save the world — just never guessed it would be in this way.

Truth in advertising. But back to the corporate types with the cold, dead hearts, this wonderful parody of an Australian coal mining advertisement cheered me up enormously:

Parody ad

Having seen far too many corporate videos in my time (frankly, one is more than enough), this catches the particular pomposity and self -satisfaction of the genre perfectly — the soothing (?) music is particularly brilliant. Andrew O’Keefe sent me this hilarious commercial for Rainforest Alliance-certified products, which seems to make the perfect companion piece:

But now to my choice of tweet of the week, inspired by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam’s speech to an empty Senate (700,000+ views on YouTube). It blasts Godwin’s Law right out of the water, but due to its perfect parody of Guardian Australia editor Kath Viner’s promotional tweet, it made me laugh. I offer it to you in context.

Holding the rich to account. I also really liked this acute analysis by Kevin Price of the vulgarity of a card-carrying member of the lucky sperm club lecturing the less fortunate about their greed (GASP). As I listen, ever more gobsmacked, as we are asked (seriously) to consider the richest woman in the world a victim of the grasping poor, or that gay men and women are oppressing the religious by asking for equal rights, or that freedom of speech means the right of the powerful to silence and intimidate the least powerful, articles like this remind me pockets of sanity still exist.

But I close the eclectic wash-up of another eventful week with George Monbiot in The Guardian and his dogged refusal to let the wealthy and powerful get away with silently dismantling democracy. If, of course, that is what is actually occurring, which Ken Clarke disputes in his response to Monbiot’s “conspiracy theory”, as he puts it.

I leave it to you to make up your mind which pundit is right. I still haven’t made up mine.

Womens Agenda

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Smart Company

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StartupSmart

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Property Observer

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