August 2010 Archives

Heard on the BBC's Bottom Line programme on the World Service one night:

I was asking him what slang they used in the townships: what new language the young are developing. And he said, "Well, instead of saying someone is crazy or has a screw loose, they say his sim card is scratched".


Language Gap

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On the 18th of June 2010, I started learning about the human race's preoccupations. Or at least the preoccupations of that portion of it which speaks English and searches for things with Google. I was writing the ALT text for the IMG tag in my latest cartoon, and wanted to put some character into it that I didn't think I could type as a literal. So I Googled "how to embed unicode in alt text". As usual, Google suggested a list of phrases for me to complete my search term with, and I noted down those it offered for "how to". They were:

  • how to
  • kiss
  • train your dragon
  • lose weight fast
  • get pregnant
  • get a six pack
  • write a cv
  • get rid of spots
  • have sex
  • draw cartoons
  • make money

Secrets

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What is the point of consciousness? Windows manages to decide things, even things about its own self-monitoring such as which process to run next, without being conscious. As do all other computer programs. So why does the brain need to be conscious in order to make decisions? Or at least, why does the brain believe that it needs to be conscious in order to make decisions, I ask as I gaze at this text and mull over the merits of extending my finger to hit ENTER and thereby make the lines shorter and easier to read in my editor. Some researchers say consciousness is an epiphenomenon: an accidental by-product, in this case a by-product of neural activity, giving us the illusion of free will when in fact we can only rationalise the decisions that unconscious brain processes have already generated.

The art manuals say that the feeling of not being able to draw is merely the sensation that accompanies the act of drawing.
From the short story Zoology by Simon Ings,
in the collection When it Changed, edited by Geoff Ryman.

Trevor Marshall and Greg Burke at JACK fm Oxfordshire. Greg is picking weather symbols at random from a 'lucky dip' bin and shoving them onto a map of Oxfordshire. Trevor, mobile at ear, shouts: It's the Met. Office, Greg! You've won the GOLDEN RAINCLOUD award for the most imaginative weather forecast.'

I drew this today after they read out my email about their forecasts and suggested I draw a cartoon of Greg forecasting.

Getting Tough

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Travel agency in Rome, with posters for: balmy Basingstoke; scenic Slough (showing Brunel Bus Station); Blackbird Leys, 'twinned with Kosovo' (showing baseball-capped and hoodied yob making V-sign); fly-drive Botley; and Wolvercote, 'better than the Archers' (showing village idiot saying 'Aarr', village idiot saying 'Ooaar', and cow saying 'Moo').

I drew this for my friend Lesley, from Wolvercote.

Recaptioned

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I've collected the cartoons I've blogged, including the series I do for Wednesday, into a Word file which I printed for Oxford's annual Caption comics convention. Unlike the images in this blog, which are low-resolution for the Web, those in the Word file are high-resolution. Elements such as the book titles I've drawn in some cartoons, only a few pixels high in the blog images, appear clearly. (And when are we going to get computers whose screens really are as good as paper?) Print the Word file on A4, and double-sided to make a booklet.

Last year's collection is still up: it has fewer cartoons, though there are some not in this collection, but more of my essays.


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This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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