Bicentennial Man

Bicentennial Man

Bicentennial Man

Bicentennial Man Summary: This film follows the ‘life’ and times of the lead character, an android who is purchased as a household robot programmed to perform menial tasks. Within a few days the Martin family realizes that they don’t have an ordinary droid as Andrew begins to experience emotions and creative thought. In a story that spans two centuries, Andrew learns the intricacies of humanity while trying to stop those who created him from destroying him.
Director: Terry Chris Columbus
Writers: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Nicholas Kazan
Starring: Robin Williams, Embeth Davidtz, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt, Kiersten Warren, Wendy Crewson, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Lindze Letherman, Angela Landis, John Michael Higgins, Bradley Whitford, Igor Hiller

The NDR series android “Andrew” (Robin Williams) is introduced in April 2005 into the Martin family home to perform housekeeping and maintenance duties. The family’s reactions range from acceptance and curiosity to outright rejection and deliberate vandalism by the eldest child, Grace (Lindze Letherman), which leads to the discovery that Andrew can both identify emotions and reciprocate in kind. When Andrew accidentally breaks a figurine belonging to Grace’s sister, “Little Miss” Amanda (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), he carves a replacement out of wood. The family is astonished by this creativity and “Sir” Richard Martin (Sam Neill) takes Andrew to his manufacturer, to inquire if all the robots are like him. The company’s CEO (Stephen Root) sees this development as a problem and wishes to scrap Andrew. Angered, Martin takes Andrew home and allows him to pursue his own development, encouraging Andrew to educate himself in the sciences and humanities.Bicentennial ManBicentennial Man

In 2025, Andrew has an accident in which his thumb is accidentally cut off so Sir again takes him to NorthAm Robotics for repairs, ensuring first that Andrew’s personality will remain unharmed. Andrew requests that while he is being repaired his face be upgraded to allow him to convey the emotions he feels but cannot fully express. The CEO bitterly informs them that upgrade modification will be very expensive (larger than the sum he earns in an entire year) but the price is well within the Martin family’s means, comprising a month of Andrew’s income from the sale of his carpentry and other woodworks and crafts. He is upgraded just in time to witness the wedding of Little Miss (Embeth Davidtz).Bicentennial Man

In 2037, Andrew realizes there are no more orders for him to run so he asks for his own freedom much to Sir’s dismay. His elderly owner grants the request but banishes Andrew so he can be “completely” free. As Andrew leaves, Sir comments that he stopped referring to himself as “one”. Andrew eventually builds himself a home at the beach and lives alone. In 2053, Andrew sees Sir one last time. On his deathbed, Sir apologizes for banishing Andrew, knowing that letting him have his freedom was the right thing as he bids farewell to Andrew, stating that it was an honor serving him.Bicentennial Man

After reluctant help from Lloyd Charney (Bradley Whitford), Little Miss’s son, Andrew goes on a quest to locate more NDR series robots to discover if others have also developed sentience. After more than a decade of futility, he finds Galatea (Kiersten Warren), an NDR robot that has been given feminine attributes and personality. These however are simply aspects of her programming and not something which she developed as Andrew did. Galatea is owned by Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt), the son of the original NDR robot designer. Rupert works to create a more human look for robots but is unable to attract funding. Andrew agrees to finance the research and the two join forces to give Andrew a superficial human appearance.Bicentennial ManBicentennial Man

In 2073, Andrew comes back to visit but instead sees Little Miss has aged significantly and meets Portia Charney (Embeth Davidtz), her granddaughter (and Lloyd’s daughter) who looks almost exactly like a younger version of Little Miss due to a genetic likeness. As Andrew gets to know Portia, Little Miss is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Andrew and Portia visit her, noticing that she is clutching the wooden horse he carved for her when she was young. After Little Miss silently passes away in her hospital bed, Andrew feels the pain of not being able to cry and realizes that every human being he cares for will eventually die.Bicentennial Man

As time passes, Andrew and Rupert begin to study medical designs capable of producing mechanical equivalents of human organs, including a central nervous system, which eventually allows Andrew to acquire tactile sensations and taste. Meanwhile, his friendship with Portia evolves into romance. At first, Portia is uncertain about “investing her emotions in a machine” and almost marries someone else, but Andrew confronts her about her emotions and they eventually engage in a relationship that is both romantic and sexual. When Andrew and Portia realize that their relationship would never be socially accepted, Andrew petitions the World Congress to recognize him as a human being, which would allow him and Portia to be legally married. The Congress Speaker rejects the proposal, however, arguing that while society can tolerate an everlasting machine, an immortal human would create too much jealousy and resentment.Bicentennial ManBicentennial Man

Many years later, Portia is only physically middle-aged due to Andrew’s medical breakthroughs but decides that she doesn’t want to have her life prolonged forever. Realizing that he wouldn’t want to live without her, Andrew asks Rupert to introduce blood into his system which will cause his brain to gradually decay and allow him to age to which his elderly friend welcomes him to the human condition.

Three to four decades later, Andrew has become physically elderly with Portia. With Portia watching, Andrew meets with the World Congress a second time to once again petition to be declared human. Interestingly, the Congress President decides to review the case before making a final determination. After Andrew leaves with Portia to await the decision, the two continue to become more physically older than any other human before.Bicentennial Man

In 2205, Andrew and Portia reside in a nursing home with life support machines and Galatea (now human-looking) nursing them. As all three listen to a broadcast, the Congress President finally acknowledges Andrew’s humanity by declaring that the 200 year old is (“with the exception of Methuselah and other biblical figures”) the oldest human being in recorded history and validates his marriage to Portia. Despite his life support machine, Andrew peacefully dies while listening to the broadcast. Afterwards, Portia too dies quietly hand-in-hand with Andrew, saying her last words to him, “See you soon.”

Bicentennial ManBicentennial ManBicentennial Man

Martin Rangelov

Marting Rangelov

Marting RangelovMartin Rangelov is a self-taught sculptor from Bulgaria. His style is mainly dark, with biomechanical & steampunk tendencies. Fore more check out his facebook pageMarting Rangelov
Q&A Interview With Martin Rangelov
TG: What got you into sculpturing?
MR: I was 5 years old when I start, I wasn’t a kid who plays sports so I create my ‘play” in home. My instruments can be found in any scrap box or locker, there is nothing fancy about my work, except the end result of course… I believe in the idealized darkness.That does not mean to be bad or anything, I love the mystery that’s all. All of my creations are abstract in some way – there is no realizm, and also – there is no symetry…Marting Rangelov

TG: What would be your favorite alien?
MR: My Fav. alien is The Predator.Marting RangelovMarting Rangelov

TG: What materials do you use the most?
MR: I’m using two types of clay – chavant and polymer.
I love metal.Armours, gears, helmets and all.i love skulls also.
I love masks.A lot of my characters is like having a mask.Marting Rangelov

TG: What do you listen to while cranking out these insane masks?
MR: I listen metal music most of the time, movie scores – also a lot!

TG: Any movie/tv show favorites that you go back to for inspiration?
MR: I was watched the Predator movies over 100 times when I was a child.I love superhero movies also – Batman, Spider-man, Iron man,Captain America, Superman, and many more of course…
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Feng Zhu

Feng Zhu

Feng ZhuFeng Zhu Design Inc. was established by industry veteran Feng Zhu in 1999.

For more than 12 years, Feng Zhu has contributed to some of the highest profiled projects in the entertainment industry. His broad design skills allowed him to reach across into many fields from hit movies, to triple-A games, memorable TV commercials and toy designs. Founding his own design company, Feng Zhu Design (FZD), his client includes Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, Activision, Industrial Light+Magic, NCSoft, Warner Brothers, Lucasfilm, Bay Films, Epic Games, and many other top studios. In Hollywood, he has worked closely with well established directors including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Michael Bay and Luc Besson.

In the spring of 2009, Feng founded the FZD School of Design in Singapore. This venture was established to train professionals and students who want to break into the entertainment design industry. This type of specialized education is rarely available in Asia.

Today, Feng Zhu Design continues to create original content and provides designs for clients around the world.

Official website. | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Tutorials | FZD School of Design

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Bottled Air

Bottled Air

Bottled AirChina is offering a breath of fresh air to tourists affected by its high pollution levels – with plans to sell bottles of oxygen. In an attempt to address its dangerous smog levels – described as an environmental crisis by the World Health Organization – canned air is due to hit the streets. The bottles of air will to be manufactured as part of a tourism scheme by authorities in the southwestern Guizhou province. Air from the area’s eco-tourism zones such as Fanjing and Leigong mountains will be bottled, and on the shelves to be sold from June 20.Bottled AirHowever, entrepreneurial types are already cashing in on the idea. Costumed characters called Oxygen Babies have been giving away bottles, which are filled with air collected at the Tianmu mountain scenic spot in the county of Linan in Zhejiang province. They are expected to tour the country, promoting the new products, which are currently free of charge, and were pictured in the city of Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang province.Bottled AirProduct manager Long Peng said: ‘The air in Tianmu mountain is so fresh that negative oxygen ion is 3,300 per cubic centimetre, much higher than the normal level. ‘The problem is that there are not enough negative ions in daily life. All the modern things we have generate an overabundance of positive ions that make us feel tired, depressed and irritable.’Bottled Air

The inspiration for the idea reportedly came from tourist shops near Mount Fuji in Japan, where cans of fresh air have been a huge success. During a National Congress meeting, China’s president, Xi Jinping, suggested Guizhou ‘sell cans in the future’, adding: ‘Air quality is now a deciding factor in people’s perception of happiness.’Bottled AirHowever, it’s not the first time bottle air has gone on sale in China. Last year, Chen Guangbiao, who made his fortune in the recycling business and is a high-profile philanthropist, claimed to have sold 10 million cans in just 10 days, as pollution levels reached a record high. ‘I want to tell mayors, county chiefs and heads of big companies: don’t just chase GDP growth, don’t chase the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment’, Chen said.Bottled AirThe move comes after the country’s biggest online travel agency and insurance firms joined forces to offer policies to tourists whose trips are visually impaired by the pollution. China’s air quality is closely watched as it fluctuates dramatically from day to day but in recent weeks has registered far into the unhealthy zone. Air pollution is measured in terms of PM2.5, or particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which are absorbed by the lungs and can cause heart and lung disease. The World Health Organisation recommends a daily PM2.5 level of 20 and says that levels greater than 300 are serious health hazards. Beijing’s air quality frequently surges past a level of 500, and on January 12 soared to 755, the highest in memory.Bottled Air‘I go outside, walk for about 20 minutes, and my throat hurts and I feel dizzy’, Chen told Reuters in an interview on a busy Beijing sidewalk. He handed out green and orange cans of ‘Fresh Air’, with a caricature of himself on them saying, ‘Chen Guangbiao is a good man’. ‘Be a good person, have a good heart, do good things,’ reads a message along the bottom of each can. The 44-year-old entrepreneur, whose wealth is estimated at $740 million according to last year’s Hurun Rich List of China’s super-wealthy, is an ebullient and tireless self-promoter. He is something of a celebrity in China, with more than 4 million followers on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular Twitter-like microblogging platform.Bottled Air

Halt And Catch Fire

Catch Fire And Halt

Halt And Catch Fire

Halt And Catch Fire Summary: Set in the early 1980s, series dramatizes the personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time. Their personal and professional partnership will be challenged by greed and ego while charting the changing culture in Texas’ Silicon Prairie.
Creators: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers
Starring: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé, Toby Huss, Morgan Hinkleman, Alana Cavanaugh, Bianca Malinowski, Scott Michael Foster, Eric Goins, Graham Beckel, Cooper Andrews
Official Website
Wiki Entry

Halt And Catch Fire
Halt and Catch Fire takes a small group of people who are all profoundly driven, obsessed, and passionate about the future potential of computers, and sets them about the task of creating a machine from scratch – a goal, which, at the time, (early 80’s) seemed impossible next to the market control of corporate giants like IBM.
Halt And Catch Fire
Halt And Catch Fire
Halt And Catch Fire

This setting is unusual for a television drama, and is engaging enough in its own terms, but its actually not the unusual setting that make this show so watchable; its the deeply interesting characters and the rich dynamics between them that really makes it great viewing.
Halt And Catch Fire

The core character is ‘visionary’, Joe, a man with absolutely no moral or ethical compass – only an unstoppable drive to succeed at any cost. The people unlucky enough to be caught up with him in his mission to make a new pc are consistently at various stages of dissolution, coping with the ongoing aftermath of his wholly egotistical and single-minded goal.
Halt And Catch Fire

The interplay between the people caught up as staff working under Joe is often subtle, but riveting viewing. Definitely worth a look, not only for its unique setting, but for the rich interplay between its dark, complex, and intriguing characters.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online Summary: The year is 2022, and gamers have lined up on launch day for Sword Art Online, a hotly-anticipated MMORPG that lets players connect to an immersive virtual reality world with special helmets called Nerve Gear. Kirito is one such gamer who’s eager to jump back into action, having spent a great deal of time as a beta tester, and quickly becomes friends with newbie warrior Klein. But soon, Sword Art Online’s 10,000 players discover that not only are they unable to log out, the only way they can return to their physical bodies is by beating the 100-level tower’s final boss – death in the game means death in the real world. Now, with no one else to turn to, Kirito and the other participants must survive the game as best they can.
Creator: Reki Kawahara
Cast: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Ayana Taketatsu, Haruka Tomatsu
Official Website
Crunchy Roll

PLOT – SPOILER WARNING:Sword Art OnlineSword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン Sōdo Āto Onrain?) is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. The series takes place in the near-future and focuses on various virtual reality MMORPG worlds. The light novels began publication on ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko imprint from April 10, 2009, with a spin-off series launching in October 2012, and are licensed in North America by Yen Press. The series has spawned eight manga adaptations published by ASCII Media Works and Kadokawa.Sword Art OnlineSword Art Online

A television anime series produced by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan between July and December 2012. An Extra Edition episode aired on December 31, 2013, and a second anime series, titled Sword Art Online II, began airing in July 2014. A video game based on the series, Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, was released on PlayStation Portable in March 2013, with a second game, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment for PlayStation Vita released in April 2014. The novels and three of the manga adaptations have been licensed for release by Yen Press.Sword Art OnlineSword Art Online

Sword Art Online has received widespread commercial success, with the light novels being the top selling series of 2012. The anime series has received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the exploration of the psychological aspects of virtual reality, while others criticized the series’ pacing and writing.

The light novel series spans several virtual-reality worlds, not exclusively the eponymous world of Sword Art Online.
Sword Art Online (SAO) (ソードアート・オンライン Sōdo Āto Onrain?)Sword Art OnlineThe first virtual game world, and the setting of the first story arc. The world takes the form of a giant floating castle called Aincrad, with 100 floors in it. Each floor has a medieval-themed setting and a dungeon with a boss, which has to be defeated before players can advance to the next higher floor. Like most RPGs, it implements a level-based system. However, the game is altered in a manner in which players are unable to log out, and if players die in-game, their body in reality dies too.
Alfheim Online (ALO) (アルヴヘイム・オンライン Aruvuheimu Onrain?)Sword Art OnlineThe setting for the second story arc. The player characters in the game are fairy-based, capable of flight thanks to their wings. It is a large world, divided into separate “homelands” for each of its fairy races. In Alfheim’s center is a very large tree called the World Tree, and the goal of the game is to reach the top. It implements a skill-based system with players increasing their stats by developing both their combat and non-combat skills. Aincrad, the castle of the first game, is later accessible to ALO players as well.
Gun Gale Online (GGO) (ガンゲイル・オンライン Gan Geiru Onrain?)Sword Art OnlineThe setting for the third story arc. It is a virtual game world with a main focus on guns, although melee weapons like lightsabers and knives also exist. From all the games it is the most competitive one as the money earned there can be exchanged for currency used in the real world, drawing high-tier professional players to make a living from it.
UnderWorld (UW) (アンダーワールド Andāwārudo?)Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineThe setting for the fourth arc of the story, the first Virtual World setting introduced to not be a game world. According to Kirito, it is graphically the most realistic of all Virtual Worlds to date. The flow of time in UnderWorld is variable and can be much faster relative to the real world’s. Kikouka claimed that the current rate of its flow is 1000 times the speed of the real-world, and that the maximum rate was 1500 times the real-world’s rate.

Sword Art Online (SAO) is a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), released in 2022. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineOn November 6, 2022, the players log into SAO for the first time, and later discover that they are unable to log out. They are then informed by Akihiko Kayaba, SAO’s creator, that if they wish to be free, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in-game, their bodies will also die in the real world. One of these players is Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya, who was chosen as one of the 1,000 beta testers in the closed beta. Since he had previous experience and knowledge of the game, he felt that he could beat the game easily. As a result, he set out to beat the game on his own. As the game progresses for two years, Kirito eventually befriends a female player named Asuna with whom he ultimately falls in love. After the duo discover the identity of Kayaba’s avatar in SAO, they confront and destroy him, freeing themselves and the other players from the game.Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineUpon being sent back to the real world, Kirito learns that 300 SAO players, including Asuna, still have not awakened yet. Following a clue about Asuna’s whereabouts in another VRMMORPG called Alfheim Online (ALO), Kirito also enters the ALO’s mainframe. Helped by his sister Suguha Kirigaya, known as Leafa in the game, he learns that the trapped players in ALO are part of a plan conceived by Nobuyuki Sugō to perform illegal experiments on their minds to put them under his control, including Asuna, whom he intends to marry in the real world in order to take over her family’s company. After Kirito foils Nobuyuki’s plans, he finally reunites with Asuna back in the real world.Sword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSword Art OnlineSoon after, Kirito plays another game called Gun Gale Online (GGO) to investigate the mysterious connection between it and deaths occurring in the real world. Assisted by a female player he meets in the game called Sinon, he identifies and exposes the culprits, who include some former members of a murderous guild he had previously encountered in SAO.

Kirito is later recruited to assist in testing a state-of-the-art FullDive machine, Soul Translator (STL), which has an interface that is far more realistic and complex than the previous machine he had played. He tests the STL by entering a Virtual Reality world created with The Seed package, named UnderWorld (UW). In the UW mainframe, the flow of time proceeds a thousand times faster than in the real world, and Kirito’s memories of what happens inside are restricted. However, he ends up falling into a trap set by one of the murderers from GGO and wakes up inside UnderWorld without any recollection of how he ended up there, unable to log out, with his real self left in a comatose state.
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agbogbloshieAgbogbloshie is a former wetland and suburb of Accra, Ghana known as a destination for legal and illegal exportation and environmental dumping of electronic waste (e-waste) from industrialized nations. Often referred to as a “digital dumping ground”, millions of tons of e-waste are processed each year in Agbogbloshie. As of March 2014, it was the world’s largest e-waste dump.

The town covers approximately four acres and is situated on the banks of the Korle Lagoon, northwest of Accra’s Central Business District. Roughly 40,000 Ghanaians inhabit the area, most of whom are migrants from rural areas. Due to its harsh living conditions and rampant crime, the area is nicknamed “Sodom and Gomorrah”.agbogbloshieThe Basel Convention prevents the transfrontier shipment of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. Only three countries, the United States, Afghanistan and Haiti, have never ratified the convention. Each month, cargo containers arrive in Agbogbloshie, often illegally, from countries all over the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. Unprotected workers, many of them young children, spend the day searching for metals to sell, usually by burning the electronics and dismantling them with their bare hands. In the process, they may earn upwards of eight to ten Ghana cedis per day (4 to 6 USD).

The waste processing emits toxic chemicals into the air, land and water. Exposure is especially hazardous to children, as these toxins are known to inhibit the development of the reproductive system, the nervous system, and especially the brain. Concerns about human health and the environment of Agbogbloshie continue to be raised as the area remains heavily polluted. In the 2000s, the Ghanaian government, with new funding and loans, implemented the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP), an environmental remediation and restoration project that will address the pollution problem by dredging the lagoon and Odaw canal to improve drainage and flooding into the ocean.agbogbloshieBackground
Before the arrival of electronic waste, the slum area of Agbogbloshie was once a wetland, referred to as Old Fadama or Ayaalolo. During the 1980s, it was a place of shelter for refugees from the Kokomba and the Nanumba war. It was not until the late 1990s that the landscape began to shift. Functional second-hand computers began arriving from the West to help ‘bridge the digital divide’. Ghanaians welcomed these donations, because these computers cost 1/10th of a new one.agbogbloshieAs the turnover rate of electronics increased, the once benevolent act of donating used computers became corrupted. Unsalvagable electronics started to be exported to Ghana in mass quantities. For Western countries, such as the United States, which have strict laws controlling the disposal of e-waste, it is cheaper to ship outdated and damaged computers to developing countries under the “donation” label than to properly recycle the electronics.

The local economy of Agbogbloshie is based on the electronic waste imports and the processing of these goods. Hundreds of millions of tons of electronic waste are imported to the area each year. The United States is the leading exporter of e-waste to Ghana, although imports arrive from other countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Multinational brands such as Philips, Canon, Dell, Microsoft, Nokia, Siemens and Sony are commonly found throughout the waste.agbogbloshieNon-governmental organizations (NGOs) are even found adding to the waste when excess electronics are donated in with the intention of helping scholarly institutions. Exporters have found numerous loopholes to avoid legislation which prevent e-waste shipping, such as labeling broken electronics as ‘end-of-life’ or ‘second-hand-goods’, falsely identifying them as in working order. Between 50% and 75% of the electronics imported are unable to be salvaged and remain on the land.agbogbloshie

Unprotected workers, mostly boys between 11–18 years old, process the imports in search for metals, such as copper, aluminum and iron, to collect and sell. To gain access to the metals, the workers burn old foam on top of the electronics in order to melt the plastic, or they dismantle the waste with their bare hands and stones. Magnets from other rubbished electronics are then used to gather the smallest of metal scraps left behind in the process. The remaining materials are further burned or dumped nearby.

The workers, children and adults alike, sell the metal scraps to earn a living. A half a sack of copper or aluminium will sell for about 700 Ghana Cedis, amounting to about eight to ten Ghana cedis per day (4 to 6 USD).agbogbloshie

Living conditions
The population of Agbogbloshie consists of economic migrants from northern and rural parts of Ghana. Living standards in the north and rural areas are growing worse, causing people to move to urban settings, such as Agbogbloshie. Conditions may not be significantly better, but making a living is easier. Inhabitants of Agbogbloshie live, eat, work and relieve themselves on the land and amongst the waste. Children who are able to attend school often spend every evening and weekend processing waste searching for metals.
Dwellings are wooden shacks that lack water and sanitation. The area is also home to armed robbers, prostitutes, drug dealers and others involved in underground markets. Crime and disease run rampant throughout Agbogbloshie, creating an almost uninhabitable environment for humans. Outsiders have nicknamed the area “Sodom and Gomorrah,” after two condemned Biblical cities, due to the harsh living conditions in Agbogbloshie.

The processing and dumping of electronic waste in Agbogbloshie is polluting the area and creating serious environmental concern. E-waste contains toxic chemicals that are emitted into the ground, water and atmosphere when the electronics are broken down, burned and processed. Poisons such as lead, mercury, arsenic, dioxins, furans, and brominated flame retardants seep into the surrounding soil and water, thereby seriously polluting the landscape. Greenpeace labs tests have shown the water and soil from areas in Agbogbloshie revealed the area contained concentrations of toxins at levels a hundred times more than the allowable amount.agbogbloshie

The Korle Lagoon, on which Agbogbloshie is situated, has extremely low levels of dissolved oxygen, as a result of the large and uncontrolled quantities of domestic and industrial waste being emitted into the water. Studies indicate that the entrance to the lagoon is severely polluted and not suitable for primary or secondary contact, due to the large amounts of bacteria present.agbogbloshie

Human health risks
Processing electronic waste presents a serious health threat to workers at Agbogbloshie. The fumes released from the burning of the plastics and metals used in electronics are composed of highly toxic chemicals and carcinogens. Workers often inhale lead, cadmium, dioxins, furans, phthalates and brominated flame retardants.agbogbloshie

Exposure to these fumes is especially hazardous to children, as these toxins are known to inhibit the development of the reproductive system, the nervous system, and the brain in particular. In similar e-waste processing areas, with conditions and demographics like those of Agbogbloshie, 80% of the children have dangerous levels of lead in their blood. Inhabitants often suffer from chronic nausea, headaches, chest and respiratory problems.

High levels of toxins have also been discovered in soil and food samples, as these chemicals stay in the food chain.

Information security
E-waste presents a potential security threat to individuals and exporting countries. Hard drives that are not properly erased before the computer is disposed of can be reopened, exposing sensitive information. Credit card numbers, private financial data, account information and records of online transactions can be accessed by most willing individuals. Organized criminals in Ghana commonly search the drives for information to use in local scams.agbogbloshie

Government contracts have been discovered on hard drives found in Agbogbloshie. Multi-million dollar agreements from United States security institutions such as the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security have all resurfaced in Agbogbloshie.


SUMMARY | Q&A Interview | REVIEW

Cypulchre Summary: CYPULCHRE is a dark and twisted cyberpunk thriller, that will take readers on a journey through revolt and redemption, high-tech nightmares and low-life dreams.
Writer: Joseph MacKinnon
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The inventor of the CLOUD technology—that’s swept Los Angeles’ rich and willing into the noosphere—has lived in exile for a decade, north of the mountains, feared, defamed, and despised by his former colleagues and estranged family. When he learns that the same technology that led to his downfall now threatens his family as well as the thousands synchronized to it, he must take action. Nothing is what it seems, especially with his psychoses turning allies to enemies, and enemies into demons. cypulchre


Q&A Interview With Writer Joseph MacKinnon:
TG: What were some of your early influences and current ones?
JM: Early influences so far as writing is concerned (ones that I’d love to emulate): Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Isaac Asimov, G.K. Chesterton, Philip K. Dick, Joseph Conrad, Ray Bradbury, and Hemingway. Confession: I used to take Star Wars audio books out of the library and listen to them on my dad’s cassette player. I was a big Harrison Ford fan and, blurring the lines between actor and character, was desperate to find out what happened to Han Solo after the movies.

Recent influences: There is a lot of overlap, but in the past few years, a lot of science fiction, particularly William Gibson, Orwell, Huxley, and Dick. I’m also in love with Ellis’ Hellblazer, Thomas Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49”, Sheila Watson’s “The Double Hook”, Chris Ware’s “Jimmy Corrigan,” and Joe Sacco’s “Safe Area Gorazde.”

TG: How did you get into writing? Why the Cyberpunk genre in particular? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
JM: When I was really young, my parents had an ingenious ploy where they’d prompt me to invent and tell them stories on the spot while giving them neck rubs. Why neck rubs? Helps the creative process, of course! I’m grateful for this trickery, because I’ve been telling stories and tall-tales ever since.

In terms of getting into writing, I dabbled but was never really serious about it until I went to college. There, I had a number of existential crises (which have all been more or less resolved). I found the best way to deal with whatever question or fear was plighting me was to write through it. I also played music, but that’s another thing altogether. My first long-fiction piece was a work called The Fallen Inconscient—a 40-page theodicy re-contextualizing Satan’s fall from Grace—a read that I wouldn’t force on my worst enemy.

Re: Cyberpunk For about a decade, I had a recurring and emotionally-paralyzing nightmare that used to make the very idea of sleep unnerving. It was of chaos—an overwhelming cloud of numbers and wires that would dwarf my very person and render my individuality moot. In the dream I’d yell and fight, but there was nothing to be done. The datascape would swallow me and that’d be it. I’ve since fetishized that feeling of powerlessness; it has been and can be well represented in cyberpunk, particularly where cyberspace is concerned. In the darkness between low lifes and high tech, I can see that chaos burbling.

Advice? Write about whatever it is that most interests you. If you’re bored, chances are, so are your readers.

Do you write by PC, typewriter or hand?
JM: For any given project, I usually have a few notebooks on the go, two Word docs open, and a stack of printer paper blotted with indecipherable scrawl, not to mention the five-or-so back-up saves I’ve emailed around to my different aliases.

TG: Do you listen to music while writing if so what’s usually on your playlist?
JM: If I’m writing, I can’t listen to music with lyrics. I find that if Brody Dalle’s sweet voice is piping through my speakers, part of my mind gets caught up with the lyrics, thus splitting my attention, especially dangerous when the writing process demands and deserves all 100%. For Faultline 49, I listened to Philip Glass’ discography a few times over. A lot of classics (i.e. Beethoven, Bach, etc.) and some electro mayhem. I do, however, love to idle and daydream (part of my process), which requires music of all kinds. I try to become my characters and let the soundtrack dictate circumstance and context, and then I attempt to determine how they’d behave by acting on their behalf. Granted their interactions in this solipsism of sorts, I then know how they’ll react when they reach a certain event or pressure point in the story I’m working on.

Usually on the playlist: Queens of the Stone Age, Philip Glass, Ashley MacIsaac, NIN, Truckfighters, Death From Above 1979, Glitchmob, Graveyard, Isis, Clutch, and Tool.

TG: How did you come up with the title?
JM: The title… I was reading an article about the history of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. I loved the sound of the word sepulchre. Three syllables. Rolls off your tongue. Means a place of burial or a place for religious relics. I already had a rough map of the story I wanted to tell, and realized that the towers housing Los Angeles’ minds and bodies were ultimately tombs. The cyber- prefix melded well, and it too rolled off the tongue, so Cypulchre stuck.

If you could spend some time in the CLOUD, would you? What would you do?
JM: If I could spend some time in the CLOUD, I’d probably synch to a stuntman’s memex and ghost over risks and gambles I would not have otherwise experienced. Hell, I’d synchronize to Josh Homme’s memex and see him jam Better Living Through Chemistry. To be perfectly honest, I’d move to the embattled south and live a life free from the technological lures of the Blue Zone, and let the desert wind and RIM tick revolutionaries test my mettle. After all, wouldn’t it be better to be the source of the memories, knowledge, and information? Anybody can read history. It’d be far more interesting to make it. What would you do?

TG: What’s your fascination with monocles?
JM: Monocles? Who doesn’t want a Monocle?

REVIEW: Score: Avoid | Skip | Rent | Sale | Buy
Do you harken back to the times of William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash? Canadian’s Joseph MacKinnon second book Cypulchre might quench your thirst. The story follows Dr. Paul Sheffield, his assistant Oni and his coworker Dr. Shouta Katajimaa’s accidental discovery of a brand new technology called the CLOUD. Their falling out and how the megacorporation Outland that they worked for led by Niles Winchester III takes control of said invention. Paul’s gamble to put everything on everything to redeem himself in the eyes of his wife Rachel and his two kids Pythia and Angela.

It’s a roller coaster ride that will have Paul go through different city sectors like the RIM, Blue Zones and the PIT which MacKinnon knows how to describe in minute detail like your actually there. While the ending might not be entirely conceived as original the ride to said destination makes it required reading for any Cyberpunk aficionado. The book comes with it’s own glossary which could be a welcome addition of terminology to any Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020/2077 campaign. It wouldn’t surprise me to see words like CLOUD, Memex, Noosphere, Cypulchre and the famous Monocle be integrated into future stories.

The Zero Theorem

The Zero Theorem

The Zero Theorem

The Zero Theorem Summary: A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges, Matt Damon, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton
Official Website

The Zero Theorem

Qohen Leth is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian corporate world and suffers from existential angst. He waits for a phone call explaining the meaning of life. Under the instruction of a shadowy figure known only as “Management”, Qohen works to solve the “Zero Theorem”, a mathematical formula derived from Big Crunch theory. The fate of the universe as a black hole singularity is purported to show that life has no purpose. Qohen’s work in the burnt-out chapel that serves as his home is interrupted by visits from Bainsley, a seductive woman, and Bob, the teenage son of Management.
The Zero Theorem
The Zero Theorem
The Zero Theorem
The Zero Theorem