Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G. Ballard dies

Of all the writers I've read, this guy was the biggest influence on my own artwork. His science fiction stories always take place in the present and bring into focus a creepy side of life caused by industry, tv, psychosis, neurosis, & the machines we build.

The UK Guardian does a nice job eulogizing Ballard, his contributions, & his unique genius in these two articles:

How JG Ballard cast his shadow right across the arts : JG Ballard's influence on culture went far beyond literature. We look at his lasting impact on film, pop, architecture, TV and visual art

Crash author JG Ballard, 'a giant on the world literary scene', dies aged 78

Quoting from the second article:
The young science fiction author "wasn't interested in the far future, spaceships and all that", he explained; rather he was interested in "the evolving world, the world of hidden persuaders, of the communications landscape developing, of mass tourism, of the vast conformist suburbs dominated by television – that was a form of science fiction, and it was already here".
After reading Ballard more than 20 years ago when I was in college, I never saw things the same way again. Abandoned buildings, empty swimming pools, highway overpasses, machinery, and tv always make me think of Ballard and the creepy side of modern life.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

AZ Daily Star continues coverage of Jaguar's death

As the Arizona Daily Star continues to cover the death of Arizona Jaguar Macho B, evidence has emerged that researchers from the state Fish and Game Department intended to trap a Jaguar but told the public that Macho B's capture was unintentional.

In a tragic and cruel case of messing with Mother Nature the 12 year old cat was lured with female jaguar poop, captured and apparently injured, then captured again and euthanized by vets at the Phoenix zoo.

The Star has covered the story almost daily. Today's story has video that shows how cruel this capture was. The Star pretty much summed up my feelings about this incident:
Some environmental groups such as the Sky Island Alliance and Center for Biological Diversity have questioned or opposed capture on the grounds that its risks to the rare animal outweighed the benefits.
IMO, scientific study is important in preserving rare species and in measuring the effects of such asinine and destructive things as the giant iron wall BushCo was trying build along the Mexico border. But it's completely stupid to lie about your research and then to bungle it and kill the jaguar you're trying to study.