Monthly Archives: February 2008

Jeff Smith’s “RASL”

The creator, self publisher, artist, and author, of the seminal comic Bone has just recently released a fantastic new comic entitled “RASL,” pronounced rassle, like “let’s go on out in the yard and have us a rassle after we chug these beers.” I picked it up the other day and it looks like quite the interesting series. Jeff Smith recently did an interview at Newsarama where he explained the premise of the book in a much better way then I could. He says:

“RASL is this guy who has a special immersion suit that allows him to go into other dimensions. It’s a very sci-fi idea, or at least a far-out idea of physics, where he straps these giant engines on his shoulders and knees, and using thermo-magnetic forces, he can actually warp space around his engines and step into a parallel dimension. And if you give him enough money, he’ll go to those dimensions and steal things for you. He’s found a really lucrative market in doing things like getting someone their own Mona Lisa, or something like that. A world leader who is really rich can pay him go get their own Venus de Milo or whatever.”

If that does not excite you, then I am not going to ask what is wrong. The first issue, puts us right into the action as RASL spray paints his name on a man’s house and steals a painting with the man in the room. He then runs away from cops, straps on his suit, and poof, makes a jump into another dimension. RASL, the character, is drawn in a very gritty, muscular caveman look, and judging by the first issue he is quick as well is resourceful and cagey. However, the real interesting character is what appears to be an Agent Smith sort of character dressed in a black suit who has a horse like monkey face that will adorn the cover of issue #2 that is due out in May.

Another cool thing about RASL is that is entirely self produced by Jeff Smith’s own Cartoon Books and he has been posting some interesting articles on his Blog about self published comics of late that are a really good read. In the age of self produced internet web comics, the rebel spirit of self production seems hardly the immense task that is, but it is still cool to see something like this come out and made available through the traditional comic book store market. Go check it out and see what you think.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault Is Open for Business

by Irma Arkus

This week the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is finally opening its doors to seeds collected across the globe. This incredible and first-of-its-kind public facility will be serving to collect and store seeds. The facility located in deserted northern part of Norway will be a technologically sophisticated complex that will for the most part be unmanned. Think of it as a giant deep freezer for world’s plant life.

One of the biggest criticisms of mainstream media is for its capacity to undermine and ignore some very important events, especially when it comes to now increasingly relevant food-related issues. Monsanto, an agricultural company famous for its use of science to improve on well known foods, is less known as villainous body responsible for copyrighting well, foods you eat, or for that matter, not often depicted as an agricultural magnate that sued and bankrupted many independent farmers because they own copyright on some stuff that flew into their back yards from neighbouring fields.

Even less known is the subject of large agricultural conglomerates, of which Monsanto is a prime example, whose growing influence has contributed to creating worldwide agricultural monocultures.

It is this creation of monocultures that is the crux of the matter. Not only has worldwide spread of agricultural monocultures translated into loss and extinction of certain valuable plant species, but their impact on human diet has been correlated to a slew of health problems brought on by changes in nutrition.

For one, the growing use of monocultures has resulted in continuous decline of vitamins and minerals in particular plants. In other words, broccoli you ate as a child had more vitamins and antioxidants than the broccoli you eat today. Nutritionist estimate that vegetables and fruits found across markets today, have less than 30% of nutrients than same vegetables and fruits served in the early part of 20th century.

Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants…lack thereof is just a tip of the iceberg when considering the health of the population that is becoming increasingly densified. Various cultural groups, with unique genetic profiles now reside in same geographic areas and eat of the same globalized plate of foods. Yet, North American corn is not the same as South American corn, and North American rice is not the same as rice grown in regions of Africa. As it turns out, South American bodies are not equipped to digest North American creamy corn, and Africans lack the enzymes to digest rice found on most shelves in North America. Small, imperceptible genetic variations have developed efficient ways of utilizing local foods. In global economy, however, these have been mostly left on the wayside, to be ignored by food producers. McDonalds, after all, has become internationally ubiquitous.

These subtle differences in genetics determine how our bodies derive required nutrients from available foods. Change in foods is associated with variety of diseases plaguing immigrant populations eating completely foreign foods, which their bodies are not necessarily predetermined for. This makes introduction of widespread agricultural monocultures an insane, costly and dangerous business, one that may affect health of many generations to come.

Furthermore, agricultural multi-nationals have, by expanding their choice brands of monocultures, endangered the very thing they sell, as monocultures have been proven to be more susceptible to diseases. Bananas, cocoa, famed potatoes of Irish famine…all known cases of monocultures who were severely endangered by a single occurence of disease or a parasite. One case of a foreign insect, parasite, or fungus can bring the entire food supply to a halt.

And that is just the start…Let’s not forget the doomy signs of disappearing bees and other pollinating insects create. World’s food supply is evidently in danger. And we can’t all live on McDonalds, even if we wanted to. And we don’t want to.

That is why the start of Svalbard Global Seed Vault is one significant, yet under-reported event. Because it represents the recognition that our global village needs a little help with its plate.

Hydrogen Fuel Cheaper than Gas

EETimes reports, QuantumSphere, a California company has announced the development of a nano-particle coating that would make use not only of existing gas station infrastructure to distribute hydrogen, but also boosts the efficiency of electrolysis, the process that generates hydrogen from water. People who use the coating could also generate their own hydrogen fuel in their garage or while driving. A definite plus for the hydrogen fuel pushers. Slashdot also discusses it HERE.

Gurren Lagann still in Doubt

ADV announced an appended list of the anime titles that mysteriously disappeared from its website. Many of the titles are still MIA from their website, but ADV has been reassuring fans that these dates are now what to expect from these titles. Sadly there is no Gurren Lagann in the appended dates and ADV is not talking about why!?! In other words one of the greatest titles of the year is not coming to North America as of right now and that is truly disappointing.

Spectacular Spiderman debuts at Wondercon ’08

The next animated adaption of Spiderman set to come to the small screens next month was unveiled for participants and attendees at Wondercon ’08. A number of the shows execs, staff, and hangers on were at the convention fielding questions, which you can check out HERE. The show apparently still needs some clean up, but the action scenes are supposedly pretty good for tv animated fair. As far as plot, it is a teenage Spiderman, and takes the story back to its origins. It also is making abig deal of how they are going to develop its villians on screen, showing them progress from regular people into costumed psychos. Should be interesting to see how it looks once it is on tv in March.

Saigar is closed

“SaiGAR 08 Abandoned

Hi guys. I’m tired of this, and so are many others. Tournament’s suspended until further notice. Lol proxies.

SaiGAR Guy <3" was the message being displayed today on that Saigar Page which was an online contest to find out who was the most manly of men among anime for 2008. The competition was started last year as a sort of answer to the Japanese online contest “saimoe” which was to find out the most popular girly girl in anime, which usually led to men slobbering and backing their hollow wish fullfillment underage vacant down syndrome staring princesses to victory. Saigar however, was about to go into this year’s quaterfinals, but the site suddenly closed today apparently ending the contest. It really is too bad because these tournaments were a real source of enjoyment for everyone who participated. Hopefully it comes back soon.

Canned in Banada

Hentai, one of the wonderful sexual genres of anime featuring hardcore scenes of drawings getting it on, has once again been seized by border officials. In yet another incident of Officials citing 163(8) of the criminal code, material was seized denying Canadians from watching cartoon characters get it on. Ridiculous considering the post human modified starlets we usually get to see grace porn, and this is not allowed into the country? Read more about it HERE.

Feb 22-08 – HiSciFi

Just Irma this week folks (and she’s scratching those windows hard) – Jevon was MIA due to illness. More news, views, and wackiness from the HiSciFi world though. Get well soon Jevon! (Don’t you love when I use the third person?)

Irma talks about UFOs, Red Hulk, new Wolverine industry (yes…a whole industry) and Jumper!
Feb 22-08 – HiSciFi

Alien Hunting on Vacation? Why not?

by Irma Arkus

Pravda reported on a new tourist attraction aimed at UFO enthusiasts. The accommodations will be opening in Molebka, situated in Ural taiga in Russia.

Molebka is considered a central of the “M-Spot” area, making it one of better known UFO hotspots in the world. Equivalent to popular American Area 51, increasing interest in Molebka has been expressed by many tourists over the years. Now the idea of tourism has sparked action by Molebka’s government, as new hotels are built and beautification of the area will take place in order to attract tourists. Artist creations such as sculptures of popular alien imagery will be part of Molebka’s new image.

The prices of accommodations are estimated $20-40/night. Even if aliens are as real as Mickey Mouse, the prices are attractive enough to make Molebka a definite tourist attraction.

Welcome to New Manhatten

Leonardo DiCaprio’s studio along with Warner Bros. are planning to put a live action version of the dystopic anime and manga epic Akira into production. They are planning a two parter, which I am sure is all well and good, but apart from the power rangers meets Judge Dredd image accompanying the press pack, which is sad enough, the change of place is just as insulting. Instead of Neo-Tokyo and the nod to the Asian themed Gibsonesque cyberpunk genre that Akira was much in the vein of, we get New Manhatten. Yes, because everything has to happen in New York. This is simply ridiculous. Just as Godzilla was unleashed upon New York and everything else that is foreign and different the movie industry just up and changes it. Not only is this a slap in the face to the original anime/manga based fandom who are going to be the core of any audience this “two-parter” could generate, but it is also ignores the fact of the multi-racial multi-ethnic world that has also long since dropped a sense of centralized space that New York and everything that happens there has become. Sure there is some sense of creative freedom that goes into the adaption of comic and anime into a live action cgi fest that this is going to be, but this narrow sense of place is simply a disaster waiting to happen. Check out the article Here as well as more comment on this issue at Japanator.