Monthly archives: September 2009

Some inspiration for French customs

I linked to the full size bike designs of Olli Erkilla on Two Wheels Good. But if you look at his website you’ll find lots of other cool stuff. The Digital Art section has lots of cool customs, mostly based on the good old 2CV.  I’m a fan of the Traction Avant coupe shown above, and I have an old Matchbox kit I can make up like it.

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Gimme Shelter. New 3d printable products

Mondays are my designated 3d designing days, though for the last couple of weeks I’ve been struggling up the steep initial learning curve of Blender. I’ve reached a level where I can create what I want using boolean operations such as union, though that doesn’t always produce printable objects. I have an extra day to dedicate to 3d this week, so I’ll see if I can move on to sculpting rather than gluing.

This Monday I made three bus shelters, which are available from my Shapeways shop

The small shelter without an advertising box comes in a four pack. It needs painting and glazing- acetate should glue easily to the backs of the supports. I may design a map/timetable transfer to go on the incorporated board.

The small shelter with an advertising box comes in a two pack. I may design advert transfers for it, in the meantime you can always print out your own to fit. Again, it will need painting and glazing.

The large shelter is available singly or in a two pack. It’s cheaper per unit in the two pack, but you may need just the one for the stop right outside your station. Painting and glazing required, of course.

I’m going to take a break from model railway stuff for a week or so to build wargaming bits to be sold at the upcoming Gamecon in Manchester.

Sweet baby Allah! It’s Blasphemy Day

International Blasphemy Day is not just a day. It is a movement to dismantle the wall which exists between religion and criticism.

The primary focus of the Blasphemy Day movement and indeed this website is not to debate the existence of any gods or deities (there is an abundance of fantastic websites which deal explicitly with that argument all over the internet, check the Web Links section).

The objective of International Blasphemy Day is to open up all religious beliefs to the same level of free inquiry, discussion and criticism to which all other areas of academic interest are subjected.

Why September 30? The last day in September is the anniversary of the original publication of Danish cartoons in 2005 depicting the prophet Muhammad’s face. Any visual depiction of Muhammad is considered a grave offence under Islamic law.

The fury which arose within the Islamic community following this publication led to massive riots, attacks on foreign embassies and deaths.

The newspapers which chose to publish these cartoons were in many cases blamed for the outpouring of violence which followed. This unfortunate yet inevitable sequence of events clearly demonstrated a dangerous misconception that had piggy-backed into the 21st century on the shoulders of ignorance, fear and apathy, that all religious beliefs and ideas deserve respect and are beyond criticism or satire.

International Blasphemy Day is a movement, not just a day, to remind the world that religion should never again be beyond open and honest discussion or reproach. Our future depends on it.

New and changed entries on the webcomic list

If you look at the webcomic list in the left hand column you shall see that there have been a few changes. Specifically-

Scarygoround is now Bad Machinery, as John Allison has ended one long running strip and started another. John’s a regular at the Manchester Comix Collective drink and draw meetings I’ve started attending, but I never know what to say to him because I’m worried I might come across as a dribbling fanboy (and a crap one at that, I’ve yet to buy any of his books or t-shirts).

Gunnerkrig Court is a rather lovely strip, which seems to have a long term plan to it. Antimony Carver has started attending Gunnerkrig Court, the sprawling techno-fantastic school where her parents studied and met. There’s an equally sprawling wood across an impassable ravine with a single bridge over it and a long history of antagonism and interaction between the magical creatures who live there and the more scientifically oriented school. The obvious comparison will be with Harry Potter, but I’ve only seen the films so can’t really comment. If, as I did, you dive in and start following the story from the beginning you’re going to lose most of a day. But it’s worth it.

Curvy is a different, naughtier tale. Anais encounters a girl from another dimension- Candy World- and falls in love with her. But Despoina is on the run from an arranged marriage to the ruler of Stupid World and there’s an NSA agent who thinks she’s a terrorist. There are some sex scenes in Curvy, but the lush cartoony linework can make you forget just how dirty the actions getting.

So Much To Answer For is now available from Drive Thru Comics

The novella can be downloaded for $2 from Drive Thru Comics.

Tommy Hill walked back into Manchester on the tail of a thunderstorm, promising easy money and atonement for his former sins. Joe Wilkinson doesn’t want anything to do with his former friend, but it’s not going to work out that way. Once again the Police think he’s involved, and some want revenge for Hill’s escape last time, and there are some dangerous characters who already think he’s Hill’s bag man. Can Joe stay out of jail and alive long enough to keep his name clean? And who is the mystery blonde who wants to buy his art? Originally published as a serial at the Spinneyhead weblog.

Which style shall I try next?

The "Perfect Hair" magazine is because I need reference for character design. The skinhead is because I foolishly allowed Damian to cut my hair and if only knows how to do one style.

The coming energy gap 2

The government’s new energy adviser has warned of a potential energy shortage by 2016, as old coal and oil power stations are taken out of use. He blames public opposition to new wind farms, nuclear plants etc. for slowing the building of renewable energy sources.

I’ve got a solution for this, which I have put forward before. It’s partly a bribe, but it’s also a way of cutting the national energy bill and promoting renewables. The government should extend its schemes for subsidising houseowners’ efforts to cut consumption and begin microgeneration. As more people become eligible for insulation or solar grants they will see the benefits of lower consumption in their bank accounts. Not only will this go viral and convince ever more people that they need to work toward energy independence, it will make them more open to larger renewable energy schemes.

Paying out more, and larger, grants to homeowners will be more expensive in the long term than just trying to force through wind farms or nuclear against current levels of opposition, but it will also have more immediate positive effects. Those who take advantage of the schemes will see a benefit in their fuel bills within a quarter and a large proportion of the money paid out will go to small companies, keeping them afloat in the recession and finding its way back into the economy faster than a huge sum to a big construction conglomerate would.

The placebo effect is destroying the pharmaceutical industry

As drug companies strive to treat ever less well defined problems they’re finding that sugar pills are often as effective as their wonder drugs. Scientists are investigating the placebo effectand learning more about how state of mind affects health. Obviously you can’t just give someone an inert tablet and hope you can convince them to get better- that’s called homeopathy- but it seems that improved communication and a good bedside manner can make a pescription more effective.