Sunday, November 28, 2010


Over the past few months I have been writing a story inspired by Loony Toons and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I plan to make it into a comic, animation, and screen play. I will be posting the comic on deviant art. Visit me at Please read and tell me what you think. Is it a good story, or a horrible idea?

This is the star of the comic in 3-d!

Animation Randomness

This is an assortment of the better filpbook animations I did in my intro animation class. It's over 200 drawings that equal out to less than a minuet in length. *sigh* That's animation for you. It's time consumeing, but the final result is much more appealying, to me, than the type of stiff, limited and minimalitic 2-d animation that is popular today. Enjoy!

experimenting with photoshop and mental ray

This is first ever 3-d animation! It's pretty simple, but it took me a long time to make. I used Autodesk Maya to make the models, rendered it in Mental Ray and made adjustments in Photoshop. I thought it would look really cool to see how some of Photoshop's filters behaved in motion. Here is the result.

industrialized farming

A CAFO is a factory farming technique of raising livestock with the highest output and lowest cost. They are also known as ILOs, or intensive livestock operations. The EPA defines a CAFO as a stable where animals are held in high density for 45 days or more within a 12 month period, and there is not sufficient vegetative matter to absorb waste marital (EPA). Today most meat in America is raised in CAFOs. Contrary to popular belief some CAFOs hold animals outside as well as inside. Allot of people know about the animal cruelty associated with CAFOs, but there are also a plethora of other devastating effects that they cause. CAFOs have a detrimental effect on the environment, the quality of food and the neighboring communities around them.

A CAFO is all part of a system known as industrialized farming. In this system food is produced by large agribusinesses. It is very different from the concept of a family farm that most children grow up learning about. It all started with the agricultural revolution. The discovery of farming is vital to the way a society functions. It was this development that allowed humans to congregate into civilizations during the Neolithic, around 10,00 years ago. Previously people could only band in small hunter-gatherer tribes that where nonstationary. People could never settle in one place for too long, because the lack of food prevented it. This system of urbanization gave rise to the Industrial Revolution. Around the 18th century major changes in agriculture came about because of the industrial revolution. Manual labor could now be done by machines, which increased productivity greatly. Urbanization increased further, because it was now easier to attain a job in the city. The modern capitalist economy was formed as people grew more and more distant from where their food originated. Capitalism encourages the mass production of commodities by the use of technology at the most efficient rate. The invention of synthetic fertilizers, such as nitrogen and phosphorus allowed crops to be farmed more intensively. Vitamin supplements allowed livestock to be raised even when there was no pasture to graze on. Antibiotics where the last key that facilitated CAFOs. With the use of antibiotics animals could now be housed in enormous quantities over a small area without the risk of disease. Additionally genetic modification, hormones and diet are utilized in producing a greater amount of consumable product per animal. The present consumer based economy drove food production to be overseen by large cooperation that endeavor to make products as cheaply and efficiently as possible (Pollan).

CAFOs are the cause of many detrimental environmental effects. Animal agriculture is the leading source of global greenhouse emissions. For those of you doubter who still don't believe in global warming know that the hottest five years over the past 100 years occurred in the last decade of the century(Koneswaran, Gowril. Nierenberg, Danielle 578-582). Manure causes phosphorus and nitrogen as well as antibiotic and veterinary drug runoff that can pollute bodies of water. 2/3 of agricultural land is used to grow feed crops for livestock. Imagine how much land could be saves if the crops went directly for human consumption. Cattle fed on the high protein diet of corn and soybeans can produce twice as much methane as those fed on a grass diet (Koneswaran, Gowril. Nierenberg, Danielle 578-582). Animal waste runs into streams, and ultimately the ocean. This waste creates algae booms that sucks up the oxygen out of the water and kill all other wildlife. Vast areas of the ocean have now been converted to “dead zones” because of this (Now, it’s Not Personal! 12-20). Hormones and drugs used on the farm animals can also leach out into the environment, and cause altercations to the wildlife (Burkholder, JoAnn 308-312).

CAFOs are hazardous to human health, as well as to the environment. Pathogens are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics in part because of their overuse in factory farms. Fatty grain fed beef can contribute to heart attacks, stokes, diabetes and cancer in those who consume it (Now, it’s Not Personal! 12-20). Dust from factory farms can cause respiratory problems and asthma (Heekderik, Dick 298-302). Some scientists link growth hormones to early puberty in females. Unsanitary conditions in which animals are raised contribute to a high pathogen content in the resulting meat. Disease outbreaks, such as swine flu, mad cow disease, E. coli and avian flu can be traced back to the poor sanitary conditions and mass distribution process of factory farms (Mirabelli, Maria 591-596).
Despite all these faults CAFOs are still the standard method of producing meat because of their positive aspects. Intensive agriculture can produce greater quantities of food at a lower cost to the consumer. Many people argue that CAFOs are necessary to feed the worlds growing population. Free range livestock cannot compete with the mass yield that CAFOs can provide to feed everyone. CAFOs also provide jobs for individuals who have little education and can often get jobs nowhere else. However these benefits do not outweigh the ultimate cost of factory farming, it’s not a sustainable method of producing food. It takes 85% more energy to produce factory farm meat then organically raised meat (Koneswaran, Gowril. Nierenberg, Danielle 578-582). Money is only saved in the short term, because humanity as a whole will have to pay for waste treatment, pollution, land usage and medical care in the long run. 

Farming doesn’t have to be so detrimental. People can take steps to change the way our food is produced so that it does not have such a devastating effect on the environment, human health and the lives of animals. Anyone can reduce their consumption of meat, eggs and milk. Historically human kind has gotten by eating meat only on rare occasions. It was only until recently that animal products became available at every meal (Pollan). You don’t have to cut meat completely out of your diet if you don’t want to support factory farms. Animal products can be purchased by local family farmers who used less gas to get the food to you then mass distributed meat would use. Not all food labeled organic, cage free, or free range is necessarily environmental conscious (Pollan). The government also hires inspectors to monitor farms and insure they meet certain environmentally safe standards. These products are marked with a seal labeled USDA certified organic (Farm Aid). Another thing you can do to stop factory farms is to take legal action. Sign petitions and porpoise banning the use of antibiotics and growth hormones to the government. These things are already illegal in the EU. Once these two things are illuminated animals can no longer be overcrowded or drugged to grow beyond their normal limit. It is time for the US leave these barbaric ways behind, too. The EPA and world health organization have working to stop factory farming by means of the law. They have already filed hundreds of law suits on big agribusinesses for failing to properly dispose of animal waste, violating the Clean Air and Water Acts, and putting employees in unsafe work environments (EPA).
CAFOs are a very real problem in our area. They are especially common in Missouri. Meany large corporations, such as Premium Standard Farms have many locations throughout the Midwest. Not supporting these factory farms is just a little thing you can do that will result in a whole lot of good. 

Mitochondria (What Makes the Individual)

My Human body is exceedingly complex. It is composed of countless parts, organs, organs systems, tissue, cells, and chemical reactions that function in a vary delicate harmony. At any time One of these things could get out of sync and then I would cease to function. This death inevitably will happen. At the root of all this metabolic activity one miniscule and most basic part of the human body makes it all possible. A tiny organelle called mitochondria that exists in every cell.

Mitochondria are extremely vital to the existence of human beings, because they are the powerhouse. The use of energy to power our body is made possible by them. Inside the mitochondria an organelle called the matrix transforms ADP into ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. All cells use ATP to carry out the functions of life.

There is one vary strange thing about mitochondria which sets it apart from the rest of the body. It has it's own DNA. It's entirely different from the coiling chromosomes of most human DNA in the nucleus of the cell. Mitochondrian DNA exists in a plasmid, or loop like form that is similar to the way bacteria sequester their DNA. This DNA is passed down only from the mother during reproduction. Mitochondria goes through vary little recombination, or change, because of this. It's DNA can be used to trace the linage of an individual back thousands of years, because it remains virtually the same during that long duration of time. One has to wonder why mitochondria is so different from every other organelle. One scientist believed he had the answer. Paul Portier published his book Les Symbiotes in 1918 with a highly controversial statement it. Portier said “All beings, apart from bacteria, are double being formed by the association of two different kinds of creatures”. He was in fact referring to mitochondria. Portier's theory was that mitochondria where a type of bacteria that live inside the cell, produce energy for the cell and are passed down genetically during conception of a human being. To test his theory Portier devised an experiment to see if mitochondria could be cultivated outside of the cell. He was successful in cultivating mitochondria from certain plants and invertebrates. In 1918, when Portier published his findings his theory came under much scrutiny and was dismissed by the scientific community. In modern times Portier's conclusion is now regarded as a scientific truth.

This conclusion makes quite allot of previously held notions confusing. Mitocondrian are definitely a vital organelle that the human body needs to sustain itself, but it is also it's own species septet form us, and yet the human species encompasses it. The mitocondrian genome is still part of the human genome. With this knowledge I can only wonder; what makes me human? What makes me an individual if I am made up by not just multiple cells, but multiple species all functioning to make one conscience that is self aware? Can each mitocondrian be regarded as an individual? Can each cell be regarded as an individual when they in fact can exist and grow outside the human body. This is not even to mention the wealth of microorganisms that live inside the human body. Some are harmful, some are beneficial, and others are vital. Are they me as well? When I tap someone on the shoulder in the dark with my hand I may say “It's me” to clarify. Chop off my hand and that it is not me. It is only a part of me that has been removed. If any vital part of my body is taken away from me and I cease to exist, because I am dead, then am I still Helen, or am I a part of Helen that only exists as a whole? What if mitochondrian where that vital part taken away that no longer makes me, me? Some may consider this thought belittling, and others may find it depressing, but I find it inspiring. It blows my mind to say the least. All the neurons living inside my head, each capable of living outside me on their own, work in perfect unison to fire a change of electrons that all compose one thought: I am Helen. Take a number of the neurons away and I am no longer able to form the thought. I can't think, therefore I am not. In my mind I am no longer Helen without my cells, I am no longer Helen without my bacteria, and I am no longer Helen without my mitochondria.

Does the media promote sexism?

The media uses one primary technique to sell a product, sex. It simply works. An attractive model on a magazine cover is a good way to grab attention and pull it to an otherwise mundane topic. Sexuality is one interest almost every adult consumer has in common. The most frequent topic of a magazine cover is an attractive model. She appeals to women who are constantly seeking to improve there own appearance. They may see the model and want to look at the magazine to get tips on makeup and fashion. The model also appeals to heterosexual men, who usually never object to looking at an attractive female. These adds purposefully target our emotions to get attention. Marketers have done the research, and know how to invoke as much of an emotional impact as possible. Sex is one common interest people posses and has a lot of emotions associated with it. Sex is considered the apex of a romantic relationship, and can be related to sensual feelings of pleasure, longing and desire more powerful then most others. Sex in advertising is everywhere, but sometimes it can get excessive. When to much of any ideas is trusted in our faces time and time again eventually it will have lasting consequences (Killing Us Softly 3). This kind of advertising can lead to misconceptions about sex, and promote sexism. 

This type of advertising works well for one reason; sex is the dominant value in society. Advertisements reflect the values and ideas of a culture. If sex is what the culture values then that is what will be sold. Obviously our societies values sex more then most everything else. Magazines at the check out counters always flash things like “get the body you want” or “tips in bed”. These are the ones that sell the best, that is why they are in front. If knowledge was the most valued thing in society then National Geographic would probably make it into that spot on supermarket shelves, instead of People, Cosmopolitan, Star or In Touch. 

The pop music industry demonstrates that sex is a dominant value in our culture, as well. In most of the songs lyrics are either about romance or sex. In many cases romance is just a euphemism for sex. Music videos on MTV, BET and VH1 are quite frequently vary sexual, and depict males and females in strict gender rolls. Female back up dancers roll their bodies in the background often when men perform the music. In tease videos women are often shown as nymphomaniacs who desire to pleasure men all the time. Even when a women does make it into the performing spot light they must also perform a sexulized role (Dreamworlds II Desire, Sex and Power in Music Video). Lady Ga Ga's video “Love Game” is the perfect example. The opening scene depict her, nude with two males touching her body as she sings. Males continue to grope her and she is shown nude several more times throughout the performance. The lyrics of the song and footage promote the idea of heterosexual one night stands with multiple partners. An image is flashed on the screen briefly of Lady Ga Ga making out with a female cope (Lady Gaga). This is just a simple reminder that it is ok to be lesbian if you are trying to get attention from males.

Film and Television are no exception to the rule. Reality TV shows about dating and getting a makeover to look sexy are ubiquitous. Sex is the theme of meany comedies, soap operas and dramas as well. Shows like America's Next Top Model and Next demonstrate the obsession with sex. The Secret Diary of a Gall Girl on Showtime is especially sexual due to the simple fact that it is a drama about a prostitute. The author of the series, Lucy Prebelle also wrought the other televisions series such as Sex and the City and The Sugar Syndrome. The titles of the shows speak for themselves what they are about.

Advertisements of Calvin Kline make frequent appearances in magazines. This company is also known for having especially sexual advertisements. One add that was on billboards across America illustrates what appears to be a fore-some between three males and one female. They are all wearing Calvin Klein jeans, and not much else. Two of the men handle the young women roughly,Wile one lays on the ground as if he is tired from already having a sexual excursion (James). This add demonstrates the idea that the role of women is to be sexual tools for men.

All the sex in the media says have an impact on individuals, weather they want it or not. If you where to really stop and analyze the ads around us you would see that the most prevalent technique to sell is sex. As the years progress using sex in mass media is becoming more and more excepted, now it is everywhere. Sexuality in the media is vary unrealistic and fantasized. It is almost always shown between attractive, heterosexual young adults. The act is shown as a whimsical and spontaneous behavior with no risks. Sex in the media is almost always made to appeal to men. They polarize the gender roles in ways that are unfair to both men and women who may not fit perfectly into them (The Guerrilla Girls 89). Some of the most sexist portrayals of women are often when the media uses sex to advertise.

If You are more interested in the topic here is one of my sources