Why did Australia choose to limit parenting roles in their survey to mother and father instead of gender neutral options?

Inertia. Census questions are a slow moving beast, and getting them updated is extremely difficult. The question on volunteerism in this year’s census was a request from Peter Costello, three censuses ago. The Australian Bureau of Statistics could not afford to spend the money to get rid of it.

There is plenty of cowboy stuff to blame the ABS for, but if they hadn’t been defunded and rudderless, they wouldn’t have gone cowboy to begin with.

That inertia is in play widely. People noted with dismay the lack of an intersex option on the census. State governments have been more proactive: in the ACT it is in fact mandated to offer intersex as an option in any government survey; and the data standard I help manage in the Australian school sector has been updated to include it.

But the federal bodies in education have not updated their data collection manual yet. And in fact the parenting role question has been a bone of contention between the state and federal bodies in education, for the same reason. Federal bodies are interested in establishing mothers’ role in encouraging education. State bodies have little interest anymore in differentiating fathers from mothers in their data collecting.

So it’s not really that they’ve chosen to exclude, it’s that they haven’t gotten around to updating.

Which will get you further in life, learning Klingon or Elvish?

It’s a tough one.

I know Klingon and not Elvish, like Brian Collins. I think I disagree with him: Tolkien gives slightly more opportunity.

  • Elvish is a more complicated set of languages than the agglutinative Klingon.
  • Elvish is much less well documented by Tolkien than Klingon is. That’s why people are very reluctant to use Elvish conversationally at all (and they put an asterisk next to the grammars done for the films). But that means you have to exercise a lot more linguistic and philological skill to get anything out of Elvish.
  • Paramount only used Klingon for the Trek movies, and when they did, they asked the language inventor to do the job. TV Trek have either ignored Klingon, or used the “idiots with dictionaries” approach to language learning. (wIjjup for “my friend”. Where –wIj is a SUFFIX.) So even less chance of remuneration than for Elvish.

I think Elvish would be endlessly frustrating to work on, which is why I was never tempted. (That, and Tolkien’s mythology didn’t do anything for me.) But for that reason, it would be more of a mental challenge.

Does Quora have an answer sharing system via text that actually links to the answer, rather than just copy and paste the answer title?