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It’s weird to know that we’ll see AI driven machines within the next two decades. Maybe even the humanoid automatons of science fiction.
It’s all being taken very seriously by certain parties. Some scientists have approached the UN and asked for the issue to be addressed in a more formal capacity, with a hope that laws against these machines taking certain roles will be put in place. Specifically “killer robots”. They don’t want to see a machine deciding when it’s right to pull the trigger.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-…

That concern is perfectly understandable, but there’s another that is less touched on: are robots getting too cute?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-…

Robots that look like cute animals, or big-eyed children are designed to evoke a nurturing instinct in people. There are worries that this will have a negative impact on social interaction within society, with the people that rely on them, such as the elderly, preferring them over actual people.

Personally, I’m hoping such machines exist when (or if) I hit old age. I like the thought of having SOMETHING watching over me that has the capacity to call for help if I cannot. We’re not all zombies because of television and texting hasn’t eradicated verbal communication. I doubt a robotic helper will cause the downfall of society. 


My rants when tech fails on me may make me sound like a Luddite from time to time, but I find the relentless advancement of science incredibly exciting. All I think when I read articles about robots is “Cool! Can we choose what they look like? How much will it cost to get my robot housecleaner to look like Morrigun from ABC warriors?” 

Russian politicians really like trying to associate cultural elements that they personally don’t like with things that are universally frowned upon, in the hope that the latter poisons the former in the public's view. 
During the lead up to the Winter Olympics in February, for example, while large gentlemen with flails were beating the sh*t out of small, female protesters, Putin seemed to make a great effort to always mention homosexuals and paedophiles in the same sentence, as though the two were somehow linked.
I’m not suggesting that politicians elsewhere in the world don’t pull the same trick in order to rally a hysterical mob in their favour, but the Russians do it with all the subtlety of a brick.

In what I’m assuming is less an effort to protect the fragile psyche of Russia’s youth and more an attempt to thwart another dastardly Western concept (namely fun) from taking root: members of the Public Chamber want the government to curb Halloween celebrations, stating that horror-themed parties “induce low feelings” and “turn into orgies”. Halloween is “ideologically and culturally alien to the Russian way of life” and “extremists can use such holidays for criminal purposes.
Russian officials should promote national holidays and celebrations instead of imported ones."

What kind of alternative to Halloween is offered by Russia? Well, October 31
st
is the “Day of the detention centres and prisons workers”.

Party on.

The chief thing I take from this latest gem of Russian political totalitarian bat-sh*ttery is how conflicting the ramblings actually are.
I’ve, regrettably, never attended an orgy, but I doubt that it would induce “low feelings”, or that “low feelings” would go on to incite an orgy.

rt.com/politics/198108-hallowe…


A Russian take on the Western "Zombie March"......more horses than I would have expected.

After reading through the comments in my previous journal, I feel the need to clarify a couple of things.

First: Tracing. Does. Not. Help. You. Improve. Your. Art.
Never has, never will and you’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.
Second: Emulation is not tracing. People seem to be having trouble telling the difference.

Tracing does not teach you anything because all you’re doing is copying the line work of an existing image. All the real work has already been done. You’re not learning how the image is constructed or discovering for yourself how to use your drawing tools to create the desired effect. You’d be better off just outright copy/pasting the base image and saving yourself the time.
Emulation on the other hand, be it simply trying to recreate an existing image by eye or (even better) going all out and trying to adopt an existing style, does improve your method. By “reverse engineering” an image, you work out how it was created and gain an understanding of how to create the same effect again, or even improve upon it. Assimilating and adapting this knowledge into a method that feels natural for you is a good foundation/support to your own personal style.

I remember when I was a kid, I'd record Saturday morning cartoons, play them back, pause the image, put a piece of paper over the screen and trace my favourite characters.
Now this was really hard in the VHS era, because a paused image on a VHS is usually either broken up or shakes so much that you’ll have some kind of fit if you look at it too long, it depended on how cheap and sh*tty your machine was.
But I worked really hard at it, man. I spent ages getting the linework just right, I was so careful, and when I peeled the page from the static cling of the bulbous, cathode ray tube screen, the character looked exactly right on the page. And you wanna know what I took away from that endeavour? What all that effort taught me?

Jack f**king sh*t.

You don’t pick up or develop any skills by tracing. You don’t devise and perfect your own methods by tracing. You do not progress as an artist by tracing. All you get is a loss of credibility, especially in this day and age, because even if you rip off the work of a lesser-known, hack-cartoonist like me, someone’s gonna spot it and call you out.


Really?


REALLY?!


F**KING REALLY?!
I’m not gonna lie. The 8th series of the revived Doctor Who has, so far, been a steaming pile of crap. Not through any fault of the actors. Capaldi is brilliant as The Doctor. It’s just the stories have been incredibly poor. It was like Russell T Davis had returned to the writing duties.
Things brightened up a bit last week with “Mummy on the Orient Express”, which would have been great had the titular express been the ACTUAL express rather than an entirely unnecessary futuristic version travelling through deep space.
Tonight’s episode, “Flatline”, by comparison to the eight episodes that preceded it, was a work of goddamn art. Brilliant! Utterly brilliant! It’s unfathomable as to how all the other trashy stories were greenlit when this gem of a tale was also in the mix.
I shan’t say anything more, and I urge people not to post any spoilers, but it is without a doubt this series’ “Blink”. It's worth wading through all the garbage like "Kill the Moon" in order to see.


Something's not right, here
Boobs.
Guys are fascinated by them.
Through single-digit ages, they find the very concept of them hilarious, and when puberty kicks in the mere thought of lady-lumps generally causes some movement in the trouser department. These weak-willed creatures will follow them anywhere and they will do almost anything if it means simply being permitted to gaze upon them for a few moments more.
The entertainment industries, from the big movie makers to the lowly art whores (like me) know this, and have played upon it for years in order to separate males from their money. As a result, mass media is awash with the female form in all manner of provocative poses and dress.
Many women are fed up with this, but is the whole thing “sexist”?
Well, it’s impossible and indeed wrong to say a whole industry is one thing or another. Ultimately it’s all one, big, dumb organism that simply moves with the cultural winds. It perpetuates what sustains it. It’s only when you break it down into smaller elements that you can accurately identify what is and is not sexist.
An industry that is almost entirely staffed by one gender will naturally create products that primarily appeal to that same gender, but something that is created with the intention to titillate isn’t sexist. It only becomes so if it is held up as an expectation of how a gender should behave.

Let’s use a fictitious video game as a basic study.
This game is made by an all male development team, so it’s naturally going to cater to male tastes. This team all love the Frank Frazetta style of swords and sorcery, so this game reflects that: the main character is a scantily clad warrior princess who is animated to be as provocative as possible and who emits orgasmic groans every time she launches an attack.
None of that is sexist, just immature. It’s indulgence of male fantasy, designed by males for males. Electing not to appeal to a female audience doesn’t make you sexist, just dumb for alienating a group of potential consumers.
Moving on, when the game ready for sale, it is promoted with full page ads in the gaming press featuring the main character in a sexy pose. This alone wouldn’t be sexist, but the tag-line reads “Are you man enough to take control of me?”
That is sexist (and horribly out-of-date). It suggests inferiority/superiority based on gender, which is the definition of sexism.
Everything else is simply visuals and how offended someone is by those is dependant on that individual’s personal attitude toward them. Puritanical minds will see every piece of exposed flesh as an affront to their sensibilities, the more hormonal driven will be thankful for a new piece of material to add to the Wank Bank and the level-headed will treat it for what it is and ignore or follow it without fuss.

As you may have noticed, I draw lots and lots of absurdly proportioned females, but I have never been accused of being sexist or that I objectify women. I’m putting this down to the fact that I try to inject personality into my pin-ups. Yes, they are drawn that way to titillate, but the characters ARE characters, designed only to promote a sense of care-free, confidant fun and never used to belittle or demean.


The Sorceress from Dragon’s Crown was obviously drawn to titillate and is constantly being held up as an example of sexist character design, but if you look at how she moves in the game, you see that she’s a comedy character, intended to look absurd.
I really thought China was going to be the big problem for the 21st Century. They’re quietly taking over chunks of Africa and South America in order to leach them for resources, they’re trying to expand their reach in the Pacific by challenging claims over strategic islands (and when that fails, they BUILD new ones!) and their human rights record is smeared with the blood and filth of their own poor.
That one of the “old” superpowers would do something to upset the delicate balance that’s been in place since the end of the Cold War was unthinkable. After everything that happened in the 20th century and the blanket of fear and doubt it cast over the world, what kind of person would risk a return to the dark days?

Well, Putin gave the answer, there. I thought the chap was sinister, but ultimately harmless. A cool headed fellow that had as much pride in his nation as any other Russian. For a while last year I was even thinking; we really don’t need first strike weapons anymore. Who are we going to use them on? We should take them off-line and pour the funds we’d save into energy research. A golden age for all of us could be just around the corner!
Unfortunately, I was wrong.
It turns out that Putin is a total egomaniac and the personality cult that has built up around him is just as dangerous as any that’s existed throughout history, both to the people under him and the world at large.
I was worried when he invaded Ukraine. Seeing stuff like THIS makes me even more concerned. If statues of him start getting erected, I’ll officially be terrified.

There are people comparing Putin to Hitler, which I think (at this point at least) is inaccurate. He’s not there yet. He’s more like President Bush, playing on the fears of the nation and creating enemies where there are none in order to get his own way. For Bush it was convincing Americans that there was a suicidal goat farmer under every school-bus so that he could invade Iraq. For Putin it’s all about convincing his people that the West’s only intention is to undermine all things Russian.
The chief difference between the two is that apparatus was in place to get rid of Bush. Putin, by contrast, is essentially a dictator. Nothing can shift him and he knows it. He can do as he pleases, and IS.

Russia’s problem isn’t the West. All the people want here is a return to the stability that’s existed for the last 20 years. The stability that gave Russians the freedom to dig themselves out of the Soviet muck and turn their country into the glittering superpower they deserved it to be. Russia’s problem is Putin: A man with a romanticised view of how the world should be, with the old ways restored and him sitting on top, lording over it.
Hitler tried that in the 1930s. It didn’t work out well for anybody then, and all it’s doing now is making people think “Churchill was right. We shouldn’t have stopped marching until we reached Moscow”.

Oh, not again.....

www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainme…

To be a Top Gear presenter you need two key skills, beyond that of the ability to drive and talk at the same time: you need to be able to irk the natives, intentionally or otherwise, and have the ability to get the hell out of Dodge before the pitchforks have been handed out and the torches lit.
Both have been demonstrated today by Clarkson and Company, who were filming a Top Gear special in Argentina; a place I imagine to have a fairly chilly view of anything overtly British even at the best of times.
By coincidence or design the numberplate on one of the vehicles being driven was H982 FKL. The producers of the show insist it was the former, but the protesters that surrounded their hotel and pelted the crew with rocks claim it was the latter – a reference to the Falklands War of 1982.
So, the Top Gear lads scarpered, leaving their vehicles at the roadside and questions as to the fate of the show and Jeremy Clarkson’s future with the BBC. The Corporation is no longer defending his juvenile, school-yard humour. They gave him a warning a few months back that he would be sacked if he made “one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time”.

…..well….I guess he technically didn’t say anything….

A short film about the lovely little convention I attend in the South of England:



Also, this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFfjUM…

Because this is awesome.
After the abysmal reception (due to abysmal performance of) Windows 8, M$ are abandoning that entry.
Windows 9 is expected to be announced on September 30th.
This is why I’ve kept my crappy old PC. I was waiting before I got a replacement because I knew something like that was gonna happen. I could read the signs. Like tea-leaves….

….or, in this case: sh*t-stains.

On the 18th of September, Scotland may break from the UK.
As a resident of these isles, I can tell you that the general atmosphere surrounding the vote is a bit…..”meh”.
This is kind of alarming. It’s a big f**king deal for both sides of the border and people should be paying a little more attention, especially up in Scotland, since it’s they who will determine what transpires.

My opinion on the matter is that unity brings strength, but people have a right to decide their own future and if the Scots feel they’re better off going solo then they should vote “Yes”.
However, I feel that those behind the calls for independence (the same people who will hold power with a “yes” vote) are playing on an opportunity presented to them by the economic downturn between 2008 and now. It’s made their sales pitch much more enticing to those whose finances were shaken over the last 6 years by evil forces in London (naturally, they don’t mention that all corners of Britain suffered, just as most of the Western world). They’re telling people that breaking from the UK will lead to greater prosperity for all North of the border.

And if you just give that Nigerian banker your credit card details, he’ll give you $1,000,000.

Never trust a politician, especially one who says the future is paved with gold (but only if you give him power).

Just a quick heads-up that I'll be perched on a table somewhere at Demoncon on the 14th September, should anyone want to stop by and purchase my wares.

www.facebook.com/search/more?q…

Demoncon seems to grow each time a new one is held. When I went to the very first one it was just a handful of tables in a sandwich shop. Now it takes over a little shopping centre!
“Dirty Bird”, a fried chicken vendor in Wales, has been forced to defend its choice in logo:

www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wal…

Some rather prudish individuals have complained that it looks a mite dubious, while the owner of Dirty Bird has insisted that people are seeing what they want to see, and not what was intended.
It is claimed that the logo is simply the lower case initials of the company placed back to back in order to form the neck and wings of a cockerel.



Seeing one of Dirty Bird’s recent promotional images, however; one might be given cause to doubt their professed innocence.



And people ask why I like living on this spiteful little island :D
I don’t know whether it’s because games were faster to produce through the 90s or if it was simply because, as a kid, you CAN’T buy every game you want to play, but there always seemed to be something new on the shelves back in the day. You could never walk into a game store, look at the shelves and find nothing of interest.
That’s what it’s like at the moment, though.
Over the last few years, I have become used to there being a couple of months where there are no new game releases (of any note, at least – there’s always plenty of chaff), but 2014 seems to be the worst it's ever been. You can go into a game store, look at the shelves and actually think “I’ve played everything”.
As a gamer, this is kinda depressing. More so given that there’s nothing on the horizon that I’m looking forward to. Most of the “Next-Gen” games are being released on Current-Gen machines, so there doesn’t seem to be a point in upgrading. You’d think that a good thing, but it has the weird effect of diluting any excitement that might have been generated at the prospect of playing those games. Why pay for a big, new, expensive machine when you can play a new title on one you already own? But, at the same time; if you buy the current-gen version, you know you’ll be playing a visually inferior copy.
Steam is usually a pretty good place to head during such dark times. If I was stranded out in the desert, this would be the scrap of metal that I lick moisture off every morning in order to survive. I check the “new releases” section daily, now, in the hope of finding an indie game that’ll keep me amused until I have a reason to return to my console.
Unfortunately, even that’s started to rust over a bit.
I’m on the verge of playing Facebook games, which, sticking the “dying of thirst” analogy, is like having to resort to drinking your own urine.

WE NEED RAIN!!!

I'm having trouble with a pop-up. This keeps showing up when I open my browser or move between web pages, regardless of how many times I hit "don't allow":



I've tried everything I can think of to get rid of it (running malware/virus removal utilities in case it's something dubious and uninstalling/reinstalling flash) but it just keeps coming back.

I've currently disabled flash, which rids me of the pop-up, but it also means I can't view anything that requires it.

Has anyone encountered this problem?
Are there any tech-savvy people out there with a suggestion of how to get rid of it?
M$ hasn't so much shot themselves in the foot with the XBotch as they have blown their entire f**king leg off; this we all know.
Were they sane they might just keep quiet until they actually have some games to push, but their advertising suggests they're taking aim at the remaining limb.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=369yMq…

"Check this out; Xbox, snap TV....it does two things at once, so I can play games while I watch my favourite show at the same time."

People knew this was impractical/useless when we were first presented with the concept.....in 1989, when we watched Back to the Future 2.

Who the f**k is running this marketing campaign??!!

During Steam’s summer “if these prices don’t tempt you into giving us your money, nothing will” sale, I picked up RPG Maker VX Ace dirt cheap.
I’d played around with the demo a little while back, but didn’t think it worth the price they were asking as it simply wasn’t as versatile as the Clickteam software I’ve been using, in one form or another, since 1993.
However, at 75% off, I thought “what the hell”.

Now, I’ve only been messing around with the system for a few hours, but I can see how it’d be easier for me to make the “great big f**k-off” RPG I’ve always wanted to put together using RPG Maker rather than MultiMedia Fusion. With the latter, I’d have to put together all the internal workings myself. With the former, that’s already in place. All I have to do is focus on the story and pretty graphics, which is useful as I have zero programming know-how. That’s why I use these WYSIWYG builders!

I’m actually thinking about revisiting the Fallout-inspired design I was chipping away at a couple of years ago, continuing its development using this new software. I’ll need to become more familiar with the inner workings of RPG maker, though. Once I work out how to remove unnecessary stats, I’ll be on a roll (Magic points and skills don’t really work in a post-apocalyptic game).


RPG Maker – very rigid. You use it to make retro-style RPGs and retro-style RPGs only (unless you've some coding skill which you can use to alter the underlying scripts).


Multimedia Fusion 2 – Highly versatile, but you build your games from scratch. Nothing is pre-set, as with RPG Maker.
I’ve been using Clickteam products for years, starting with
Klik & Play, followed by two versions of The Games Factory.
I live in a nice, quiet, some might say "dull" part of the world. Certain things will just never, ever happen here..... like a man getting stuck inside 30 tons worth of stone vagina.

www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/2797124…

Now, I will defend the intelligence of Americans until the day I die. Much of my favourite writing, movies, games, comics and music comes from over there. They're not an inately stupid people. Every nation has its morons. It's just American morons are the f**king benchmark.