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This March Ruby thinks about:

03 March 2014

How does your country rate on women’s rights

In February The Guardian introduced the creation of “a global platform for discussion that amplifies the voices of women's rights advocates who are normally left out of decision-making or not heard in mainstream media”.

One of the first interactive research items the organisation loaded up was a Women's rights country by country - interactive

Find out: “Which countries have laws preventing violence? Which legislate for gender equality? And which countries allow abortion? Using World Bank and UN data we [The Guardian] offer a snapshot of women's rights across the globe. Select a region and hover over a country to see how it has legislated for violence, harassment, abortion, property and employment rights, discrimination and equality. Click on a country to tweet a message on the figures. Country data can be viewed in relation to its population size and those of its neighbouring states.”

There are some surprising outcomes around which countries have done what for women.

Walk in Her Shoes

March 17 to 23 is Walk in Her Shoes, Care Australia's challenge to us all to experience what it is like to be a woman or girl in many places in the world living in poverty. Imagine walking for kilomteres to pick up water or fire wood, every day. This is how many women and girls living in poverty and in the developing world spend their time, leaving no room for education, no room to have a job, no room for anything but meagre survival. Care Australia's fund and awareness raising week puts the plight of these women and girls first and will use the money raised to fund projects such as bringing clean drinking water to villages, etc. 

What your nightmares say about you


According to psychologists and dream experts dreams including nightmares are your unconscious trying to get your attention about a situation that you have been avoiding or failed to recognise.

Confronting the issue can often help short circuit your nightmares. Dreams and nightmares are never straight forward and often serve as metaphors for what may be happening in our lives.

There are any number of sites that can give a general idea about what such classic nightmares as drowning or being trapped or facing an apocalypse may really signify, but a recent Canadian study by Professor Antonio Zadra and his co-author Genevieve Robert published in Sleep Journal, has found that men and women’s nightmare scenarios are very different. Having analysed 9796 dream reports written by 572 participants, the researchers found:

Women tend to have nightmares around interpersonal conflict - bullying in the playground, violent arguments, while men face major disasters - usually alone.

It was also reported that women report having more nightmares than men. Professor Zadra has explained that he thought this could be due to stress, and that women have higher dream recall than men - and maybe that “men don’t want to admit to having nightmares”.

Fitness tracking


Counting your steps can become obsessive and if you’re on the 10,000 steps a day mission - complex. The best way is to invest in a pedometer/altimeter and if you go in for apps and want more abilities, for example: to track your sleep, see calories burned, build a food plan, etc., then you might want to invest in something like Fitbit or Jawbone Up (wireless activity and sleep trackers). (Check your mobile phone supports the device you choose to invest in and also note, in the case of Fitbit, there is no Australian food data base to load yet.)

From experience, reaching 10,000 steps a day is not hard but you really need to invest the time in at least one 30 to 40 minute walk plus the incidental movement of doing “stuff” during the day: getting coffee, going to the bathroom or to replenish water, going to buy lunch, doing the shopping, a bit of gardening and housework, etc.

Food substitute from Soylent

Future Foods


There has been a long history of creating food substitutes from pills to freeze dried whatever, Space Food Sticks and energy drinks. So what’s different about the Soylent concept which a young American guy, Rob Rhinehart, began, going on to fund its development through crowd sourcing (Crowdhoster, to be precise) and venture capital?

Well, the name is one. If you remember the ‘Soylent’ that figured in the Charlton Heston movie Soylent Green, you might be worried? Don’t worry. This Soylent does not use humans in its ingredient list. Soylent’s nutrition label is here.

According to the company, if you drink the macronutrient mix instead of eating food it will save you “the time and money spent shopping, cooking and cleaning, puts you in excellent health and vastly reduces your environmental impact by eliminating much of the waste and harm coming from agriculture, livestock, and food-related trash”.


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