Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oh the thinks you can't think

This piece for the current edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education illustrates the paradox of teaching critical thinking in a tightly controlled society, like China:

 The story explains the difficulty China is meeting with when venturing to teach people to think creatively and outside of the box, while at the same time limiting just how much they can question. As the article recalls, a recent Time story asked: China makes everything. Why can't it create anything? The government has since begun attempts to rectify the problem, by teaching students to think critically- just not about the Chinese government. You can read it here, with a subscription. Thank you, Ellen!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't mess with Texas...

... because they don't have health insurance if they get hurt. Just kiddin', Tejano friends! Anyway, this edition of the Dallas Observer is out in newsstands today. My illustration on the cover is for a story on the uphill battle the new Affordable Care Act- dubbed "Obamacare"- has in front of it in Texas.

As Tea Partiers and conservative Republicans in Texas work to dismantle and defund the new health care law, people with limited or no access to medical treatment, and don't qualify for Medicaid, are being left to fall through the cracks. As the story states: "Texas' decision not to expand Medicaid has left more than 1 million people in the gap, uninsured." Texas already stands as the country's least insured state. From the article: "... Texas boasts the highest rate of uninsured residents (about 23 percent, or 6.2 million) as well as the highest number of uninsured children (some 852,000)." Pretty sad. You can read the whole story here. Thank you, Tracie!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?

This piece appears in today's Op-Ed section of the Boston Globe. The article discusses the growing phenomenon that views robots as beings worthy of our empathy. There are citizens waiting for the moment that robots are given artificial intelligence, in order to introduce legislation protecting them, as well as a thriving sexbot industry in some countries.

 People aren't even waiting for robots to become sentient through AI, before forming bonds with them. The story mentions soldiers that served with IED-detecting robots in Afghanistan, that become attached to their mechanical comrades, and a study that shows how reticent people are to "harm" toy robots that they've been given. It's a really interesting article, you can read it here with a subscription.

Thank you to Corinne!
Also, I couldn't help thinking about a Simpsons episode when reading this story:

It's the one where Lisa finds an "angel" on her school archeological dig.

Monday, February 3, 2014

In the dark

This month's Milwaukee Magazine is on newsstands now, and includes an illustration I did for an article on the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The story explains how the law requires states to keep track of sexual abuse and rape allegations. And although numbers of reports have increased, investigators are still in the dark about the issue, because many incidents remain difficult to substantiate.

So how do you illustrate "prison rape?" I knew it was going to be an interesting story and was excited to be on board, but I was a little panicked about how to tastefully convey the concept. I didn't want the image to come off as cheesy or funny, by relying on something akin to "don't drop the soap." Two hands holding cell bars is pretty instantly recognizable as relating to prison, and two more hands on the outside of the first pair worked well to suggest something more going on. Showing only the hands and nothing else inside the cell also helped to reinforce the idea of investigators not knowing what's really going on with regard to the allegations.
Thank you, Krista!