Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets
Oh look, a manga called Shuna no Tabi by Hayao Miyazaki from 1983. Read it here http://www.mangago.com/read-manga/shuna_no_tabi/
It’s fascinating looking at representations of Africans in Chinese CCP propaganda from the 60s and early 70s. During this time period, China saw itself standing in solidarity in a class struggle with POC in Africa, Asia and Latin America against white-led American and European imperialism. The CCP also saw itself as having led a revolution which could be modeled by the peoples of these nations. Representations of Africa in the propaganda of this era therefore show tremendous camaraderie and brotherhood, presenting a united front against Western imperialism and colonization.
At the same time, though, these images are also steeped in a deep sense of racialized paternalism, which the last image, “Saviour” speaks tremendously to as well. This was due in part to the fact that the CCP’s revolution came earlier and was therefore the model revolution which they were “teaching” to Africans, but it also played directly upon antiblack stereotypes of African people as explicitly primitive (see the poster in which the “silver needle of friendship” is passed) and requiring the stewardship of the Chinese CCP in their march toward freedom in their own countries. The paternalism evident in the “friendship” is clear and plays into these racist, demeaning tropes, raising up a Chinese (rather than white) savior for African peoples in the face of Mao ZeDong.
These images are therefore interesting in the ways they evoke a sense of global POC solidarity against white-led imperialist forces from America and Europe, portray African leaders in a positive and noble light, generally work to show brotherhood between Chinese and African peoples, but then also plays to racist tropes like the “noble savage” trope and positions Africans and other POC in the developing world in solidarity but ultimately under Chinese CCP stewardship with a Chinese savior (Mao ZeDong) who “gets” their struggle, rather than a white one— but still a demeaning, paternalistic savior nonetheless.
Very interesting images to examine, especially for those interested in the history of relationships between Africans and Chinese people, and all of this come courtesy of chineseposters.net’s amazing article “Foreign Friends: African Friends.”
Anyone on ESO?
I’ve sunk a good 40 hours into Zenimax Online’s take on Tamriel, but MMORPGs require more time than others to fully evaluate. It may be too early to offer a definitive opinion on the latest iteration of the Elder Scrolls universe, but I have learned a lot from my time with the game so far. Here’s a look at how this single-player series translates into a populated online world.
Classes And Skills
Players choose one of four broad class archetypes. This may not seem like many options, but each class has three unique skill trees to invest in, allowing you to create a specialized playstyle. Outside of class skills, players have lots of skill trees that can be used by any class. Feel like making a mage who can use heavy armor and a bow while summoning pets? How about a lightly-armored, two-handed weapon user who casts armor and support spells from the front lines? How about an assassination-oriented werewolf blacksmith? The sky’s the limit, and you have plenty of skill points to go around.
The way things are handled in group combat and interaction, almost any choice is viable and valuable. The skill system is further enhanced by allowing players using skills to “morph” them into higher tier versions as they progress through the game. A damage shield may get the option to explode when it breaks. A stun may be given additional range or an armor buff. There are also a number of “ultimate” abilities – powerful skills that often allow other players nearby to trigger special boosts. The skills system feels like it has a lot of freedom to explore, and respeccing is an option if things don’t end up how you envision them.
Graphics And Sound
This is a stunning MMORPG when it comes to presentation. The world of Tamriel looks brilliant as long as you’ve got the hardware to handle it. Some of the scenery is beyond impressive; Dark Anchors are breathtaking to behold despite the events themselves being rather lackluster. Voice acting from the likes of Malcolm McDowell and John Cleese keeps things immersive during the single-player storyline bits, and generally anyone you meet has something to say. From the beggar in town bemoaning his plight to the enemy in the field alerting his allies to light up the burning oil, the visuals and audio are top-notch.
Story And Quests
Despite some movement outside of a linear quest path and various caves and dungeons to explore, you generally move through each area in a set manner. Within those areas, you choose the order to do things, but your activities are lumped into giant “zone baskets” designed to be completed in a linear fashion. The quests attempt to be something nobler than the “kill 10 rats” paradigm that MMORPGs are infamous for, but in most cases this is nothing more than an illusion; the quests are standard MMORPG fare, and feel stale and boring. Occasional moments of questing feel like they belong, such as a town’s mysterious plague or puzzling through a temple, but the vast majority are variants of the fetch, kill, or courier archetypes. The main storyline quest is a good deal more enjoyable than the traditional quests that players visit regularly along the way, but overall, the questing is lackluster. The zoning baskets do some damage to the presentation of a true open world, as a player may technically be free to go to higher level zones early in the game but there’s not going to be much they can do there. These may have been necessary sacrifices to make the title work as a MMORPG, but they do not get a free pass.
Dungeons And Grouping
Don’t walk into this game expecting the traditional implementation of Holy Trinity (Tank, Healer, DPS). While it does use these concepts, they’re fast and loose compared to the traditional MMORPG. The title uses a four-person group system that’s unlike the five-person setup players may be used to. The tank can’t pick up aggro on everything in dungeons viably – but should be expected to hold it on a boss. The healer can’t sit back and heal non-stop, as resources are limited. DPS has to do all kinds of things in order for packs to go smoothly, but that depends on what abilities are available in any given group. Since character builds are diverse, the way teams approach dungeon situations could be different. Success is often achieved by players doing what they do best, which can lead to some chaotic but enjoyable encounters. At its best, the grouping is frenetic and fun.
The group dungeons feel underwhelming right now. They don’t offer a comparable experience to solo play. Drops are random, so you may end up with nothing useful out of an entire run, and the locked chests that dot the dungeon landscape go only to the looter, which leads to people rushing to chests during pulls. The risk vs. reward ratio is way off, but this is a correctable fix. Chests need to give shared loot, and experience rewards need to be improved. Group dungeons are a lot more fun than the doldrums of outdoor linear questing, but they need some tuning.
The solo and public dungeons are great in concept, but problematic in reality. These dungeons are small, snackable explorations that include a number of packs and a boss unit, and are tuned for a few players. Right now, these dungeons are overcamped to the extreme, with many players opting to camp the boss spawn over and over for an influx of loot.
The crafting system is simple, time-consuming, and deep. Items can be broken down for raw materials and crafted into various pieces. Crafters research the modifiers on found items to add these traits to their handiwork in the future, create and upgrade gear, and harvest materials found around Tamriel. It’s a fun system that can create incredible gear via special crafting stations. I will say that the bag space required for even one craft is extensive, so if you’re moving into several craft disciplines, you’re going to want to save up for bag upgrades as soon as possible.
The player-vs-player alliance war is reminiscent of Dark Age of Camelot, one of the best systems we’ve seen in the MMORPG genre. I haven’t gotten too far into it yet, but the quick dip I’ve taken into the pool shows promise.
My time in Tamriel thus far has been mixed. As always, the cornerstone to any MMO is the endgame and the content available at level cap. There’s a solid game here, but it may not be what Elder Scrolls fans were expecting.
Former Arizona sheriff and gun-wielding, self-proclaimed “patriot,” Richard Mack, on his “strategy” to fight the U.S. government while defending deadbeat, Cliven Bundy: women should be the first ones shot in order to send the most effective message. (via odinsblog)
Yes. Disgusting. Completely. Yet, oddly, not all that surprising.
whenever people say they dont like cats because they dont happily greet you at the door i give them the stinkiest eye
Ancient Roman tile, plus ancient puppy footprints, via Twitter.
Sometimes, a cat wants to go fishing. What does he fish for when he wants to go fishing? He fishes for cats, naturally.
Heart surgery is an extremely difficult procedure. Even more so when the tiny anatomy of a small child is involved. When 14-month old Roland Lian Cung Bawi’s heart was failing him, his surgeon Erle Austin knew that he had to prepare meticulously for an intricate operation. Initially he consulted other surgeons, but this yielded conflicting advice. So Austin turned to 3D printing for help.
Using the facilities at the University of Louisville’s engineering school, Austin and his medical team produced a three dimensional model of little Ronald’s heart. Pediatric operations are difficult because the interior structures of a child’s organs are small and hard to see clearly. This model allowed the surgical team to come up with a precise plan to limit the amount of exploratory incisions, reduce operating time and prevent the need for follow-up operations.
Read more | Follow @policymic
Fuck. This is important.
3D printers are turning out to be the biggest medical breakthrough I’ve heard of in a long fucking time
This, plus the story of the father who engineered a working prosthetic limb for his son with one (which is one of my favorite “developing technology” stories to date) and I’m taking away the idea that the above about 3D printers being the “biggest medical breakthrough” in a long while is right.
Hey, who ordered the fish to go?
Digital painter and concept artist Piotr Jabłoński creates brutally detailed paintings for videogames and comic books which often veer into the realm of horror, but in his spare time dabbles in somewhat tamer sketches and other random ideas that he shares with fans on Facebook. A few months ago he stumbled onto the idea of two small brothers in futuristic space helmets who explore the world with a feline pal, a giant cat mural that follows them everywhere, provided there’s a wall. The response online has been incredible, with fans demanding an art book or even an entire comic book series. While nothing is concrete yet you can see more on Behance, and a few of the panels are available now as prints.
via Russian Sledges
17% of cardiac surgeons are women, 17% of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?
…We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17% women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33% women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”
Source: NPR: Hollywood Needs More Women
Seriously, go listen to this.
Between the Bars - Elliott Smith (live, 9/25/96)
"Here’s a song I made up while I was watching Xena the Warrior Princess with the sound off. It’s a fact. I had a secret crush on Xena. It was a secret to me too. I wouldn’t admit it. She’s pretty fucking tough. She has a good yell… she kills the stupid gladiators with the log-trap. Release the log-trap! She releases the log-trap and they all get… crushed. They’d all wanna be with her if they could, but unfortunately they’re not on her side. It’s a lot better with the sound off. Really, it is. And the song didn’t have anything to do with Xena… but… I was about half a bottle through Jameson’s… if that makes any sense."
- Elliott Smith, 9/25/96 (audio here)
"As" - Stevie Wonder
(live in the studio, 1976)