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Writing: The automated future


© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons @procartoonists.org

The advertising giant Google has received a patent for the ‘‘self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications’’. This following the work of other digital toolmakers such as Bitstrips.

The automation of digital formats for display is inevitable in this time of huge and growing digital processing power and means that everyone can indeed be a cartoonist now.

People like myself must learn to live with the weather makers (see above).

Cartoon: Where’s the beef?

Cartoon: Great Britain and the AAA credit rating © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons for http://tribunecartoons.com

The ‘economic recovery’ in the UK appears not to be benefitting most of its population. The growth in short term and self-employment is keeping employment high but actual wages continue to lag behind price inflation (the so-called cost of living crisis). The adoption of zero-hours contracts is also, arguably, increasing social and economic instability for the newly self-employed. Interestingly, some of the new methods of employment do not even have an official legal status, yet (link to a pdf from the Office of National Statistics).

reposonse to ONS survey 13th 2014

In contrast, asset inflation, mainly of property is in good shape, perhaps fuelled by the printing of money enabled by the Bank of England and endorsed by the Chancellor.

The cartoon references the recent horsemeat scandal in the UK.

Cartoon: Seize the day


© Matthew Buck at Hack cartoons

It is not often I break into the cheerless less round of news related current affairs coverage here but Robin Williams is worth it – even if he has just died.

Respect is due for a life lived as well and generously as it could be.

The quote in the title post is the translation of Carpe Diem - a highlight from one of the many stories he helped tell – and it is as worthy and complicated as the man was himself.


Cartoon: The Jihadi bird


© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons for tribunecartoons.com

The invasion of Iraq was widely held to have been motivated in part by the urge to possess the under utilised oil resources the country possessed (see above). Now of course, much of this is being instead carried off by the jihadis of the rapidly emerging Caliphate state in parts of northern and western Iraq – and also in neighbouring Syria.

Patrick Cockburn has written a fine explanation of the huge change underway for the London Review of Books.

Cartoon: Boris Johnson announces his intent to return to parliament

It is hard to arrange peaceful holidays at the best of times, but all the more so when your nearest and dearest are doing their absolute worst to make your life more difficult.

Cartoon_David_Cameron_on_Holiday_you_sleep_with_the_fishes_©_Matthew_Buck_Hack_cartoonsMy hat tipped to Ian Jones for the original spot  which informed the cartoon above (and a lot of other media coverage in the past 24 hours).

Updated: 7th August 2014. A good election analysis blog from Ian Jones. One to watch.

Cartoon: The centenary of World War One


© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons


Cartoon Event: Beside the Surrealside

Cartoon event: Beside the Surrealside at Herne Bay in Kent

Click the picture of my colleague Chris Burke to watch and listen to the ITV report of Cartoonists beside the Surrealside

A nice report from ITV Meridian on Cartoonists at the Surrealside, held at Herne Bay in Kent this past weekend. My sun hat tipped to the excellent organising group and its associated funders. Looking forward to next year! There will be a full report up on the Procartoonists blog shortly.

Beside the Surrealside – Cartoonists in Herne Bay 2014


Event promotional poster for 2014

It should be good because of them.

Cartoon: Big data, c’est moi!


© Matthew Buck Hack cartoons

The speedy passage of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act last week significantly moved the battle for control of storage of digital information in the United Kingdom.

It is impossible to understand the (disputed) extension of powers the act enabled without reference to the highly controversial information disclosed by the former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden in the past 18 months. This revealed the wide extent of digital surveillance undertaken by the security services withou an obvious accountability to parliament.

Equally significant are the disputes over the jurisdictional control of ‘data’ and the location of the servers (repositories for storage). These involve consumer and advertising companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Dropbox and Cisco, plus the national governments and the supranational organisations such as the EU and the many regulators of trade and industry.

In this contentious area of public and private policy there are many dissenting voices some of which I recorded at a recent meeting at the Law Society. (That event had a specific focus on the activities of the agents of the state).

That said, it is useful to remember than private enterprises play quite as large a role as governments in this and some of Snowden’s more interesting revelations concerned the previously undisclosed collusion between the corporates and the government particularly in the provision of back doors in consumer technologies that allowed the (until this week) unwarranted surveillance activity of the security services.

Underlying the politicking and rock-throwing is the ongoing disruption of the digital communications revolution and its effect on our working lives. If you are curious about this I recommend three pieces of reading – here, here and here. The first two concern themselves with the expansion of surveillance powers in the  new bill in the UK and the last with the big picture of what technology and particularly the vast new repositories of data are doing with our lives.

The drawing above reflects my view of the speed at which the new bill was passed and is a piece of traditional handmade agitprop. It features the PM but it quite as easily have been the leaders of any of our national political parties. The reference (for the truly keen) is to King Louis XIV of France to whom the quote ‘The state, it is me’ is attributed. This has long been taken an an exemplar of absolutist power and data presently, seems to be the preferred method to achieving this for our leaders.

Seeing: Seat 21


Daytime sleeper on a train in a ten minute pencil sketch.

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