Human Rights: Sweat-shop labour, no laughing matter?

The perpetuation of labor abuse in the developing world has played on my consciousness since I first learned about the phenomenon as a teenager. I avoid brands which are known offenders like the plague, and do what I can to compensate by making FairTrade purchases, mostly coffee and textiles. I attempted a creative response some years later by starting to make an animated film addressing the disconnection between creator, consumer and profiteer, but to date it remains incomplete. I never once considered the topic prime ribs for a comical treatment… until now!

With social and environmental issues falling in and out of the pop-cultural spotlight regularly, I was pleased to discover this hilarious and equally disturbing piece courtesy of The Onion News Network (NY)’s online video department. My only beef with the piece is its omission of the most despicable link in the chain… the CEO’s upstream, in affluent developed countries who make decisions on where to set up shop based on the level of desperation and deflation of any prospective nation’s economy.

With this oversight, the piece seems somewhat incomplete (dare I say, sanitised) but nevertheless, it hits some runs. The production team gets us laughing about a taboo subject and leave us feeling queasy at the end of the ride. Ah, bless The Onion and its many layers.

New Portable Sewing Machine Lets Sweatshop Employees Work On The Go


Animation: Classic techniques are alive and well

My recent absorption into the world of Twitter has led me to some interesting places, and among other things, rekindled my passion for the animation artform. Emily Dodge, animator and blogger at ReelAlive has posted a few beautiful discoveries on her site, two of which I will repost here. Coming from the font of creativity that lies in Europe’s outer reaches, these two films are wonderful examples of storytelling without the need for dialogue or verbal comprehension of any kind. They are beautiful, illustrative, poetic and captivating… as you will see below.

It is rare to see an animated film told in a single character’s POV. The above work uses this technique to great effect.

The element that makes the above animation so lyrical in my opinion is the artist’s observational skill. Subtle details turn the loosely sketched children into flesh and blood, perhaps even more palpably emotive than their ‘real life’ counterparts. We are blessed to see contemporary animation that harks back to the analog age and delivers so deftly!


PC Problems: AntiVirus 360 & how to beat a nasty little malware!

How I was feeling this time yesterday...
How I was feeling this time yesterday...

It had been years since I had a problem with a virus or malware of any kind… until yesterday. A talented musical friend of mine Vitreous sent me a link to download a current mix of his, and suddenly things turned wierd. Evidently a trojan-horse had made it past my internet security suite from Comodo, and I received an alert telling me my antivirus needed updating. The pop-up window at a glance looked like an official Microsoft notice, and without thinking I downloaded the ‘update’ and with it, unleashed a can of worms.

When the alert windows started coming, (in a range of styles, each professing doom for my computer) I became immediately suspicious. I hit ‘Ignore’ every time an alert encouraged me to buy, register, purchase or clean my computer of the 7000 odd ills I was being told it had… and turned to Google in search of an answer.

Sure enough, I had welcomed into my Windows XP machine a dose of AntiVirus 360, a fake a/v program that hustles you for your details, money, and slows your PC performance down like a ball and chain. Fortunately, with a little help from this great free application Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, I was able to rid myself of the problem, and restore my PC’s performance to its former glory.

The one thing the remedy I found via Google didn’t mention is that AntiVirus 360 has a neat way of intercepting your attempts to clean your computer, by forcing the Malwarebytes app to close. After much frustration, I found that by downloading the app to my desktop, then restarting Windows XP in Safe Mode, I was able to install the application, run it immediately after and clean my PC with little complication.

The long and the short of this is: don’t take your PC security for granted, and carefully scrutinize any pop-up that throws itself your way, no matter how familiar and legitimate it may appear at first glance. Thanks again to Malwarebytes for getting me out of this pickle… and with any luck, this article will spare more of you from this particular nasty!