An Animal That Beat Its Purpose

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I was given the freedom to look at how technology plays a role in society. I am always interested in animals so decided to look at how technology impacts the lives of animals. The more research I did the more I saw a pattern about how humans were using technology on animals. The following is an overview of my observations and critique about the ethical and unethical practices on animals.

When we use technology on animals it is to utilize the purpose of that animal to a greater extent that it was. This utilization plays a toll on the animals but it is for the benefit of humans that this happens. The dog for example is a creature designed for many things, hunting, companionship and even aides for the disabled. This ability in a lot of dogs is taught and trained in to dogs for the sake of human interaction. We teach dogs these things in order to better our lives without putting much focus on the natural behaviour of the dog. While there are restrictions on what breed of dogs do certain things, much like how smalls dogs aren’t usually out hunting other animals or Great Danes being used as seeing eye dogs; humans have picked and bred dogs in a manner to suit the needs for these dogs.

Seeing eye dog

Seeing Eye Dogs Australia Source

In a large amount of cases with dogs, when it comes to Dog Shows where trainers display their dog in a manner of a beauty pageant. There has been a lot of breeding for specific traits that people find ideal in a dog and want to keep that trait going through the generations. Over the past 100 years’ dogs have been intentionally altered to satisfy the needs of humans with little consideration for the animals. Pugs and Bulldogs for instance have been bred with a squashed face with little nasal room that causes difficulty breathing. Bulldogs have been bred to be bow legged as it was a desired trait. This breeding of dogs fulfils the purpose of the show dog lifestyle and also the demand for ideal traits in dogs that are desired by the rich and famous.

Dogs and many animals serve a purpose of companionship; to be a pet for an individual or a family. Technology has aided in this purpose by giving people the opportunity to live as long as they are capable of, despite the complications created from selective breeding. By introducing a market where people can get pet insurance on their animals for when injury strikes and they need special treatment from veterinarians. People with loving pets that have an excess amount of money want to make sure their pet gets the best treatment. When a dog gets sick and needs risky surgery there is a hefty price to pay for it. As more people, have gone through this experience there is market for veterinarians to have specialized skills and abilities with performing surgeries on animals that could at one stage could never have been performed.

Our interaction with animals is everywhere. A lot of our food comes from animals but not everyone knows how it gets to our plate from that animal; the process of how that animal gets treated on its journey to being killed. Cows provide us with an abundance of meat and milk based products. This is the cows purpose. Cows have been utilized for centuries as a technology has progressed so to the purpose of the cow. Cows have been bred for a separate purpose of either meat or milk. As each breed, has been treated in a different fashion to utilize its “natural” growth of meat or milk production. Holstein cows are raised to be milk production cows. Technology has impacted on the diet of the breed to boost milk production and consistency. Early research from Douglas and Rowlinson found that a happy and comfortable cow would produce more milk.

Herd of holstein milking cows in field. Cumbria - England

A Holstein Cow. Source

Continuing research found that by analysing each cow individually farmers can track every aspect of the cow and utilize that information to produce more milk. Afimilk tracks the behaviour of the cow to find out when it is in distress or is comfortable, tracks when the cow is in heat to allow the farmer to move the cow to the insemination field so the cow can get pregnant, tracks the weight of the cow to make sure that the cow is growing properly and can analyse the milk produced of the cow to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with the cow and to make sure that the milk is appropriate for human consumption. With every technology that gets develop it can impact of the animals’ life. Artificial Insemination and Sexed Semen has been created to inseminate a cow with specific gendered semen without the need for a bull to get a cow pregnant.

Artificial Insemination has been a situation for both humans as it was a solution for couples or females who could not get pregnant in the natural fashion. Though considered unethical in many cases because it gives people the chance to be pregnant who naturally cannot it takes the power from natural progression to human capability. Though sexed semen is the ability to choose which gender you have your child whether you want a male or female it is still on ethical trial about being used in humans as gender preference can be considered sexual discrimination and warrant a change in natural balance of men and women over time. Luckily for cows however still considered unethical the impact it has increase the rate in which cows produce milk and utilize female calves. Hinde et al found that cows naturally produce more milk when they know they are giving birth to a female over a male. It is deemed that since cows live in a hierarchy society that if the cow cannot adequately produce enough milk to warrant the birth of a strong male then minimal milk will be produced. The best benefit for farmers was to make sure that cow would only breed female calves and so always have the best milk production rates possible.

The culmination of every technology impacted on cows brought down the natural rates in which a cow would naturally live its life. Holstein cows have a natural lifespan of around 20 years but the excessive increase of technology has brought that down to around 6 years. Technology gives people that chance to utilize the animals for as much as they are needed or as much as they are worth but gives no purpose in the animals’ welfare after the animals purpose has been done. Technology is a tool to better humans but to use on animals for the benefit of the human. To get the most out of the purpose of the animal. When we get food from an animal there is technology to grow the animal in the most effective and efficient way to produce as much meat as possible, where an animal is a companion there is technology to make sure the lifespan of that animal is as long as possible so humans can have them for as long as possible.

Technology as mentioned, is more ethically sound to be used on animals than it is on humans; with a large justification on it saying that the purpose of using animals is to benefit mankind. If humans cannot be used, though technology is being tested for humans then the next best thing are animals. While not every animal gets tested on to the same degree there is a significant way in which animals are bred for the purpose that they are needed for. Lab mice are one of the most common test subjects for scientists so they are bred with the natural intention to be used in the laboratory. While people are concerned about the treatment of animals it is the purpose of animals that drive what is being done to benefit society. Where we have organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A) rallying against the treatment of animals for any scientific discovery it is the purpose of those animals to follow through with what they are meant to do. The animals are bred for a purpose if they are suddenly released they could impact natural order.

lab mice

A lab mouse. Source

Technology used on animals serves a purpose for the benefit of people. Technology used in any way succumbs to this notion that why use technology on animals if it serves no purpose to anyone else. Would it be a test of are we capable of creating something or doing something that we otherwise should not or do we just have the means to create something so we should see if we can?

We have animals that show high levels of intelligence much like the octopus that can get itself out screwed bottles; solve problems and even get out of its tank and move around to eat fish in a different tank and get back into theirs. Technology is being developed that aides in helping animals’ live their normal life – like a 3D printed foot for a duck. Thus, creating cyborg animals. It is only a matter of time before animals are having computers placed upon them, for them to be one with technology and develop the progression of how animals think and to challenge the true intellect of an animal. I wanted to follow the idea that technology used on animals goes beyond the purpose of the animal itself and so I created a Digital Artefact that sets out a future where technology has upgraded the intelligence and natural ability of an Octopus to where it has become one with technology; having the natural ability of an octopus, the upgrades of a computer and developing intelligence beyond that of a human and super computer.

Below is a written Let’s Play with a few pictures of the game I created “ATTACK OF THE CYBERPOD” as an expression of the future development of technology on animals. Here is information on the game.

ATTACK OF THE CYBERPOD

QUEEN BOARD

A better No1

Starting Positions

TURN 1

Human: Roll 7
Action Space “Upgrade at Half the Cost”
5 Mechanical Pieces = 5 upgrades
Undercut + Rocker Arm + Fit + Pinion + Planetary Gears = +5 Attack

Bottle: Roll 4
Mechanical Space “Boss”
Upgrades:
Shoulder + Broach = +1 Attack
Standoffs + knurl = +1 Attack
Flange + Boss = +1 Attack
Total upgrades = +3 Attack

Shark: Roll 6
Mechanical Space “Round”
Upgrades:
Lug + Sheave = +1 Attack
Rack + Chamfer = +1 Attack
Collet + Round = +1 Attack
Total Upgrades = +3 Attack

Cow: Roll 10
Attack the QUEEN (64)
0 Attack = 0 damage
QUEEN HP (64)
Upgrades:
Pillow Block + Retaining Ring = +1 Attack
Core + Coupling = +1 Attack
Total upgrades = +2 Attack

TURN 2

Human: Roll 7
Action Space “Draw 1 QUEEN Card”
Queen card “-1 Attack”
6 – 1 = 5 Attack

Bottle: Roll 3
Action Space “Upgrade at half the cost”
Nothing for upgrades 😦

Shark: Roll 7
QUEEN Space “Move back to Start”

Cow: Roll 8
Attack the QUEEN
2 Damage
64 – 2 = (62) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Die”
Upgrade:
Die + Yoke = +1 Attack

TURN 3

Human: Roll 6
Action Space “Deal 1 Damage to the Queen”
1 + 5 = 6 Damage
62 – 5 = (56) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Fixture” “Counterbore” “Spotface”
Upgrades:
Fixture + Counterbore = +1 Attack

Bottle: Roll 3
Attack the QUEEN
56 – 3 = (53) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Pawl”

Shark: Roll 7
Action Space “Deal 2 Damage to the QUEEN”
2 + 4 = 6 Damage
53 – 6 = (47) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Gage Blocks” “Burnish” “Relief”
Upgrade:
Burnish + Relief = +1 Attack

Cow: Roll 7
Mechanical Piece “Gear Hobbing”

TURN 4

Human: Roll 9
Mechanical Piece “Keyway”
Upgrades:
Spotface + Keyway = +1 Attack

Bottle: Roll 5
Mechanical Pieces “Face”
Upgrades:
Face + Pawl = +1 Attack

Shark: Roll 11
Attack the Queen
47 – 3 = (44) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Fillet”
Upgrades:
Fillet + Gage Block = +1 Attack

Cow: Roll 6
Mechanical Piece “Gusset”
Upgrades:
Gear Hobbing + Gusset = +1 Attack

TURN 5

Human: Roll 3
QUEEN Space “Choose 1 damaged tentacle and place 1 piece back”
44 + 1 = (45) HP

Bottle: Roll 3
Attack the QUEEN
45 – 3 = (42) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bearings”

Shark: Roll 2 (Double 1’s)
Action Space “Move ahead 1 Space”
Action Space “Draw 2 Action Cards; Do Both”
Action Card “If the player that drew this card is playing as the Shark have another turn after this one”
Action Card “Upgrade at Half the Cost”
Roll 11
QUEEN Space “Lose all Mechanical Pieces”
Roll 12 (Double 6’s)
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bell Crank”
Attack the QUEEN
42 – 6 = (36) HP
+3 Mechanical Pieces “Pad” “Hasp” “Kerf”
Roll 4
Action Space “Gain +1 Defence”
Upgrade:
Pad + Hop = +1 Attack
Kerf + Bell Crank = +1 Attack
Total Upgrades = +2 Attack

Cow: Roll 5
Landed on START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Gage”
Attack the QUEEN
36 – 4 = (32) Hp
+2 Mechanical Pieces “Ratchet” “Idler”
Upgrades:
Ratchet + Idler = +1 Attack

TURN 6

Human: Roll 3
QUEEN Space “Add 1 Piece back on to every damaged tentacle”
32 + 3 = (33) HP

Bottle: Roll 3
Action Space “Deal 1 Damage to the QUEEN”
33 – 5 = (30) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+2 Mechanical Pieces “Collar” “Clevis”
Upgrades:
Collar + Clevis = +1 Attack

Shark: Roll 4
Action Space “Deal 1 damage to the QUEEN”
30 – 8 = (22) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Key” “Journal” Keyseat” “Bushing”
Upgrades:
Key + Journal = +1 Attack
Keyseat + Bushing = + 1 Def

Cow: Roll 7
Action Space “Go back to START”

TURN 7

Human: Roll 10
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Scotch Yoke”
Attack the QUEEN
22 – 3 = (19) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+1 Mechanical Piece “Cam”
Action Space “Draw 2  Action Cards; Choose 1”
Action Cards: “Move ahead 3 space” or “Deal 1 Damage to the QUEEN”
19 – 8 = (11) HP
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Shim” “Ball and Detent” “Spline” “Tap”
Upgrades:
Cam + Scotch Yoke + Spline + Ball and Detent + Shim + Tap = Double the Stat of your choice
7 x 2 = 14 Attack

Bottle: Roll 9
Action Space “Lose Half of your Mechanical Pieces”
– Discard Bearings

Shark: Roll 9
Mechanical Piece “Geneva Cam”

Cow: Roll 6 (Double 3’s)
Mechanical Piece “Jig”
Roll 5
Mechanical Piece “Casting”
Upgrade:
Jig + Casting = +1 Attack

TURN 8

Human: Roll 8
QUEEN Space “Add 1 tentacle back on to every damaged tentacle”
11 + 1 = (12) HP

Bottle: Roll 5
QUEEN Space “-1 Attack Stat”
4 – 1 = 3 Attack

Shark: Roll 8
Action Space “+1 Defence”
2 + 1 = 3 Defence

Cow: Roll 11
Mechanical Piece “Countersink”
Upgrades:
Countersink + Gage = +1 Attack

TURN 9

Human: Roll 6
Mechanical Piece “Neck”
*Reshuffle used Mechanical Pieces Deck*

Bottle: Roll 9
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Bell Crank”
Attack the QUEEN
12 – 3 = (9) HP
+1 Mechanical Piece “Boss”
QUEEN Space “Lose 1 Mechanical Piece”
– discard Bell Crank

Shark: Roll 6
Passed START
+1 Mechanical Piece “Scotch Yoke”
Attack the QUEEN
9 – 8 = (1) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
+4 Mechanical Pieces “Spline” “Shim” “Tap” “Ball and Detent”
Action Space ” Destroy 1 of the QUEENS tentacles”
1 – 1 = (0) HP
TENTACLE DESTROYED
Upgrades:
Spline + Shim + Tap + Ball and Detent + Scotch Yoke + Geneva Cam = Double Attack
8 x 2 = 16 Attack
QUEEN DESTROYED

Number 2 the death

The QUEEN has seen the door of DEATH!

The stats into the revenge round 3

The Stats going into the second phase

                                                                                   REVENGE BOARD

The Battle Board start No.4

Players are going to face their greatest threat in order to reach salvation!

TURN 10
Character turn

Cow: Roll 7
-1 Attack
7 – 1 = 6 Attack

Human: Roll 10
+2 Attack
14 + 2 = 16 Attack

Bottle: Roll 7
+1 Attack
3 + 1 = 4 Attack

Shark: Roll 9
-1 Attack
16 – 1 = 15 Attack

Octopus Turn

Cow Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 9
[-1 Attack]

Bottle Octopus: Roll 5
FIGHT vs Shark
Shark has higher Move; gets a chance to escape {4} {1} No escape
4 Att – 3 def = 1 Damage
Shark loses 1 Move Stat

Shark Octopus: Roll 10

Turn 11
Character Turn

Cow: Roll 3
+2 Attack
6 + 2 = 8 Attack

Human: Rolled 6
START Space

Bottle: Roll 3

Shark: Roll 8

Octopus Turn

Cow Octopus: Roll 4
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 11
[Lose half your Defence]

Bottle Octopus: Roll 5
[-1 Move]

Shark Octopus: Roll 10
[Lose half your Defence]

TURN 12
Character Turn

Cow: Roll 2 (Double 1’s)
FIGHT vs Shark Octopus
16 Att – 0 def = 16 Damage
Cow loses 8 Attack
Cow has lost all stats
DEAD
Cow Octopus is now  BOMB
Second fight not fought
Doubles not rolled because of death

Human: Roll 9

Bottle: Roll 11
-1 Movement
0 – 0 = 0 Movement

Shark: Roll 5

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 4
[-1 Att]

Human Octopus: Roll 9

Bottle Octopus: Roll 7
FIGHT vs Human
4 Att – 0 Def = 4 Damage
Human loses 4 Attack
16 – 4 = 12 Attack

Shark Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

TURN 13
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll ??
FIGHT Bottle
10 Att – 1 Def = 9 Damage
Bottle loses 4 Attack
Bottle loses 1 Def
Bottle is DEAD
Bottle is now a BOMB

Human: Roll 5

Bottle BOMB: Roll 10 (Double 5’s)
Roll 9
[Lose half your Defence]

Shark: Roll 7

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 7

Human Octopus: Roll 4 (Double 2’s)
Roll 6
[+1 Attack]

Bottle BOMB: Roll 8 (Double 4’s)
[+1 Attack]
Roll 6
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 3 Def = 7 Damage
Shark loses 3 Def = 0
Shark loses 1 Move = 0
Shark loses 3 Att = 12

Shark Octopus: Roll 7
[+2 Attack]

TURN 14
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 10

Human: Roll 8

Bottle BOMB: Roll 9

Shark: Roll 7
START Space

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 8
[+1 Attack]

Human Octopus: Roll 7
[+1 Attack]

Bottle BOMB: Roll 5
[+1 Attack]

Shark Octopus: Roll 4

TURN 15
Character Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 11

Human: Roll 10 (Double 5’s)
START Space
Roll 3
+1 Attack

Bottle BOMB: Roll 8
[+1 Attack]

Shark: Roll 12 (Double 6’s)
START Space
Roll 9

Octopus Turn

Cow BOMB: Roll 11
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 0 Def = 10 Damage
Shark loses 10 Attack = 2 Attack

Human Octopus: Roll 6
[Double Attack for Next Fight Only)

Bottle BOMB: Roll 9
OCTOPUS START Space
JUMP to nearest Character and FIGHT
FIGHT vs Shark
10 Att – 0 Def = 10 Damage
Shark loses 2 Attack = 0
Shark is DEAD

                                                                                       HUMAN WINS!!!

The final battle No.5

The Final Battle!

Notes:
Human was represented by Mine-cart Steve; Octopus by Mine-cart Pig
Bottle was represented by Leather Steve; Octopus by Skeleton
Shark was represented by Diamond Steve; Octopus by Sheep
Cow was represented by Ginger Steve; Octopus by Zombie
Words presented in [square brackets] imply that the space has no affect on the Octopus

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Buff Dudes!

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Looking at the card game Yu-Gi-Oh there is a specific element that peaked my interest. The power and might of drawing all of Exodia The Forbidden One’s cards and playing such a powerful monster to combat your enemy. Exodia is a powerful monster that cannot be contained to just one card unlike the rest in the Yu-Gi-Oh game. You have to go through your entire deck to get the 5 pieces of Exodia – Left Leg, Right Leg, Right Arm, Left Arm and Exodia (the torso/face).

Exodia

Exodia The Forbidden One from Yu-Gi-Oh. Exodia The Buff Dude.

I wanted to create a game that had elements from both Yu-Gi-Oh card game – particularly the collecting of the pieces of Exodia and the dice game Yahtzee where you roll five dice and try to make combinations to score points. The better you roll in making combinations the more points you get. Both elements are quite simple with each game, draw your deck in Yu-Gi-Oh to gather all the pieces of Exodia and, roll the dice in Yahtzee to get the best combination of numbers.

To combine these games I wanted a card game where players would draw from a deck and try to create there own Buff Dude (my take on Exodia) and with that Buff Dude compete in Weightlifting Competitions to see whose Buff Dude is the strongest and takes home the win. So my idea is a combination of Exodia limb drawing, Yahtzee dice rolling, the ‘healthy’ workout of going to the gym and the competitive scene of Weightlifting.

Buff Dudes 1

First look at separating the portions of the body. Had considered adding Shoulders to the equation though that ended up being a bit clunky on the deck.

Buff Dudes 2

Early planning of what the game would include. Certain changes occurred such as the body board, number of cards players would start with and starting at a level 1 body.

Players would start with the same Head Piece and have to join body parts as they go through the turns. First thought was to create a board where players would place their cards when joining onto the head. This idea was scrapped as it made the game feel rigid as it made the game more a fill-in-the-puzzle style of game play instead of just placing body parts togethers.

The design aspect of this game is meant to be quite like a cartoon as the body pieces and general aesthetic are meant to be sensationalized, much like the proportions of Johnny Bravo.

Johnny Bravo

The Cartoon Network character Johnny Bravo.

The Cards Players need to have for their Buff Dude is a Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg and Chest. There are different levels of each of these cards represented by levels as in level 1, level 2 and level 3. Each of these levels corresponds with a more muscular character. Where level 1 is a scrawny muscle, level 2 is a toned muscle and level 3 is a Muscular muscle. Having higher level muscles is beneficial for the competition portion of the game. Ideally having level 3 muscles around the body is wanted. Though that is not always possible.

This game has been designed for 4 players. Each player is given a Head Card to start. Then they are dealt 5 cards each. Of those 5 cards players choose 3 to add to their head and then discard the last 2 in a discard pile. Players are dealt 5 more cards – play up to 3 cards and discard the rest. Deal out the remainder of the deck which is another 5 cards and play up to 3 more cards again and discard the rest. With this mechanic players have to create their own risk as well as be strategic as there are bonuses for getting the same level on limbs that are needed for the competitions, though every limb is not needed for every competition.

The early card design are simply scrap pieces of paper with the limb name and the level number written on. Below is an example of this and a first run through of the game. The game currently has three levels of each limb that every player can make. So there are 3 levels times 5 different body parts times 4 players = 60 cards plus the additional 4 Head Cards.

Buff Dudes play

Four players each able to make their Buff Dude. Though only one player was able to get every muscle to a level 3 musculature.

Buff Dude play 2

A closer look at Player 2 (2nd from our left) from the above picture. Level 3 Right Arm, Right Leg, Left Leg and Chest. Level 1 Left Arm.

Once players have made their Buff Dude, it is time to compete! The competition is in Bench Press, Clean and Jerk, and the Dead lift. Each of these competitions are related to working out and have a work record in some form of competition like the Olympics or Strongman Competition. For this game however the competition is broken down into what parts of the body the player needs to compete and get that edge over the opponents. The more even your body the bigger chance you have of winning.

Buff Dudes 6

A look at the draft for player turn and the muscles needed for the competitions.

For the Bench Press players will be looking at their Chest and Arms.
For the Clean and Jerk players will be looking at their Chest, Arms and Legs.
For the Dead lift players with be looking at their Legs and Arms.

Buff Dudes 8

Players get a benefit when they have Level 3 muscles in the group of muscles that is needed for the competition. This image illustrates my idea of that benefit.

With the competition this is where the Yahtzee mechanic comes into Buff Dudes!. Instead of 5 dice I added one and use 6 dice. The aim is to have the best rolls possible. This is done with 3 attempts at scoring the highest score with 3 re-rolls in each of these attempts. Players can keep the number on some of the dice that they like such as if they rolled three 6’s they only have to re-roll the other three dice. After that last attempt the players look at what they have ended with and correlate that with the scoring chart.

Scoring

Current Buff Dudes! Scoring Chart

Looking at the Bench Press which uses Chest and Arms. Players who have both Level 3 Right arm and Left Arm score an automatic 6 on one of the dice. If they have a Level 3 Chest also this means they get two automatic 6’s on the dice so they would only have to roll four dice. The automatic number is always counted before the first roll. Automatic 6 was made as the game is based on points with 6 being the highest number. I wanted players to aim for the highest score by rolling six 6s.

Buff Dudes 9

This is an example of the Bench Press Competition. Each player is in a different column. With each Attempt a different row of numbers. The sets of numbers are the 3 re-rolled numbers in each attempt with the number in a box the final roll which is then scored on.

Buff Dudes 10

This is the scoring of the Clean and Jerk Competition which uses the Arms, Legs and Chest. The bottom numbers are the total of all three rounds. The overall winner was the player who had made the best Buff Dude! The one with the most equal leveled muscles.

Buff Dudes 11

The Dead Lift competition which uses the Arms and Legs.

Though the competitive aspect of Buff Dudes! comes from the luck of what muscle levels you get and how well you roll the dice. I am looking to add a positive and negative attribute feature that relates to bodybuilding and general gym behaviour. These being items that people would use to build muscle to some degree.

Buff Dudes 3

Items such as Whey protein, Creatine powder, Steroids and Oils to name a few impact on the muscle and the dice rolls.

These items are already on the limbs of the body. Such as a Level 3 Chest with Steroids. Steroids has an effect that would disqualify the user from a competition if he scored 6’s across the board, but if he has managed to get Steroids on every muscle (Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg and Chest) one of these muscles would read “If every muscle you have is affected by steroids the negative affect is nullified”. So if you rolled all 6’s with every muscle infected by steroids you would not be disqualified. You will need that main muscle that nullifies the effect otherwise it still works.

Buff Dudes 12

A look at the placement of information on the card about the illegal items and descriptions of use.

Other items and possible effects are:

Whey protein – Up the level of muscle on this limb at the end of creating your Buff Dude
Creatine powder – Switch one of your Cards with a Random Card from the Draw Pile
Oil – If you end with a 1 or 2 in your final roll attempt half your score
Uneven Pecs – Minus a muscle level to one of your arms at the end of creating your Buff Dude
Bum Bag – Has the effect of both Whey and Creatine

Buff Dudes! is meant to be a quick game where the focus is on creating a Buff Dude and Competing. The idea of Buff Dudes was more of a test to see if I could combine elements of Yahtzee with Exodia.

Prototyping with a Cyborg Octopus

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Playing my game became the best experience in finding out what works and what does not. As more play tests happened there were certain results that I did not plan for or expect a player to do. The following blog will present those changes and how I changed the game to suit what I preferred.

I intended for my game to be quite long, but as I am happy to grind out playing my game this was not the case for a majority of play testers. The first design of the board had empty spaces that did nothing. This was changed as the first play testers found that the interest in the game came from being able to do something other than just roll. The solution became to fill in the empty spaces with actions that meant every player would be able to do something besides just roll every turn.

board changes

The revamped board

Continuing play tests found that the board was quite slow when starting to attack the Queen. I had designed in a way that the damage to the Queen is exponential as the turns go on. Even though you may not have done any damage to the Queen this turn you are building up your stats to do more damage when you do get the chance to attack.

Card upgrades

An aesthetic upgrade for the cards as well as a colour coordination on the map. Blue = Action, Red = Queen, and Grey = Mechanical Piece

The Significance of the Card draw is to be both beneficial and disruptive to the players. The Mechanical Pieces that you get from the “M” spaces boost your upgrades though as there were Action Cards from landing on the “A” spaces that allowed you to get Mechanical Pieces also it presented itself as a redundancy for the players drawing this Action Card.

Redundant cards

26 redundant Action Cards. Players wanted something more beneficial than just a card that equaled landing on a Mechanical Space. So they were scrapped.

Scrapping these cards caused a significant decline in getting Mechanical Pieces in order for upgrades. A short solution was to give players 5 Mechanical Pieces to start with instead of 3, and for every 2 damage done to the Queen a player would receive 1 Mechanical Piece.

Attacking the Queen is the main objective for the first round of the game. Though early play tests made this quite the struggle as you would have to land on or pass Start naturally to be able to attack the Queen or get an Action Card that would allow you to damage the Queen. Feedback suggested making the other three corner spaces ‘Attack the Queen Spaces if landed on (for your attack stat)’. This change was beneficial for the speed of the game in further play tests.

Start Changes

Landing on or going past Start is the biggest benefit as you get to attack the Queen but also a Mechanical Piece to get further in upgrading your stats.

Play tests also made the change for the purpose of the ‘Movement’ stat. While I had thought that this was to increase your dice roll movement many people; even myself found that it was incompatible with the natural flow of rolling a dice and moving that number of spaces. A simple redesign changed the ‘Movement Stat’ to the ‘Speed Stat’ that benefits in the Second Board Battle Phase. Where the player with the higher Speed Stat goes first when it comes to attacking or defending.

A little playthrough

A Short play test of the game showed that by turn 6 the Queen would be Half Health. This was also the play through where I decided to change the Movement Stat to the Speed Stat.

As the game was played there are a number of Cards that cause a player to lose stats and this made their stats go into the negatives. This was something I did not like as it made the Revenge Map quite redundant. As it is your stats that are your life total so having negative stats meant you were handicapped with both your character and your revenge octopus.

Turn and rules changes

‘Your Turn’ and ‘Rule’ pages were created for some guidance

Some of the Queen cards are specific in that they only heal damage tentacles or the most damaged tentacle. In early play tests players were only focusing on one tentacle at a time which made these Queen cards redundant. So introducing the rule “Three tentacles need to be damaged before the first tentacle can be completely (dealing the 8th damage) destroyed” sorted out this issue.

Damage to the Queen also became significant when players were attacking multiple tentacles in one turn – an overflow of damage from one tentacle to another. I set in place the rule that no overflow of damage is allowed as these tentacles are gigantic compared to the player so there is no way that a single blow from a player would be able to go through multiple tentacles. This rule aided in the game being more strategic but also the Queen Cards being more effective if players are careless.

Something as simple as rolling doubles seemed common and I wanted players want to keep rolling doubles so I made the simple rule of “If you roll doubles have another turn” (taken from monopoly but with no threat of jail). I though this was a fine rule as the board layout prevents a player from continually attacking the Queen as the board is 11 spaces on two sides and 10 on the other two. So consecutive attacks are rare but doable.

battle board changes

The Revenge Board saw a couple of changes to guarantee some progress

First changes on battle board

First Round of changes on the Revenge Board

The Jump Forward Space was added so the Mobile Octopus had a guarantee goal for at least getting into a fight with a player. As landing on this space jumps the Octopus forward on the map (following the layout of the map) to the nearest player and getting in some damage.

Changes of software and hardware

A review of the end of a game and some feedback suggested putting specific stats on the Mechanical Pieces and having them be in certain groups so that players had to coordinate certain pieces from those groups together in order to get a bonus. Above is a little look at setting out that design. I did find it interesting though the implementation seemed quite hard.

Next set of changes

Some changes that I planned to play with on the next play test

The paper clips and elastic bands seem to be the best representation for the Queen and her health. Overall I am happy with my game and how it is turning out.

It’s a Cyborg Octopus life after all – Game Pitch

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Octopus aesthetics

Source. The general aesthetic I would like for the Queen Octopus and the board game itself.

A huge cyborg Octopus stands in the way of salvation. Everything that we once knew is now controlled by the Queen Octopus. The world is a dark place where the only way to survive is to rummage and destroy other cyborg beings for their hardware and software. You upgrade yourself in order to become stronger, wiser and faster to defeat the Queen and the secrets that rest within her body. Yourself and three friends goal is to defeat the Queen’s tentacles and her powerful minions, though not everyone gets to reach salvation.

First progress in the following two images shows the first stages of thinking out the game and its mechanics. I had an idea about wanting to do a two board, two phase game. Where a large octopus is placed in the center of the board to provide both a visual representation of the enemy but also an added aesthetic for the narrative of the game. Drawn in the top right of the first image below you can see the general though for the game. A added change was also a battle mechanic where instead of armour and weapons it became about stats and upgrading those stats through gathering Mechanical pieces.

1st plan part 2

First plans about the board game

actual 2nd phase 1st draft

Continued plans

Playing the Game

First choosing a character out of Human, Shark, Cow and Bottle. Players are given the player-card corresponding that hold details about the beginning stats and the special upgrade ability of that individual character. Players are also given 3 random Mechanical Pieces. Then taking turns moving around the board by using two dice and adding your movement stat (e.g. dice rolls 3 and 4, your movement is +1, so you move a total of 8 spaces) your turn begins.

characters

A write up of the characters and their cards. Each character is different and is played with a different strategy in mind.

1st phase board drawn up

The concept for the board. A simple 4 sided 11 spaces on each side form. Trying to work out the appropriate amount of each different kind of space to balance the mechanics.

Octopus elastic.jpg

A prototype that I’ve been using to represent the Queen and her tentacles. 64 Parts = 64 health.

After rolling and making a move players can land on 1 of 4 different spaces. First is a space labelled ‘A’ which corresponds with the Action Cards. 104 in total, Action Cards aide in both helping and hindering the player. They are the source for dealing damage to the Queen (e.g. deal 1 damage to the Queen). In the case of dealing damage to the Queen the player would add their Attack stat to the damage asked to be dealt with by the Action Card (e.g Action card says deal 2 damage to the Queen, Attack stat is 1 attack, so the total damage to the Queen is 3 damage). Action Cards are the main aide to the player and so needing to find the right amount to come up with to create interaction with the players and the board 104 seemed quite a lot but has been working with the play tests.

Action cards

A look at all the action Card and their design. The design though out is a place holder as I am never happy with what I come up with. So just making it simple seemed easiest.

The second space players can land on is the ‘Q’ space. Which represents the Queen Card interaction. The Queen is well aware of the impending danger that the players can create so she must intervene and cause as much distraction as possible to prevent being defeated. The Queen Cards are a way for the Queen to mess with the players by moving them around, getting them to lose stats and by making the fight go on longer by healing her damaged tentacles. The Queens Health is represented by her tentacles. With 8 tentacles separated into 8 pieces the Queen has a total of 64 Health.

queen cards

A look at the first progress of Queen Cards and Design. Currently the game play consists of 27 Queen Cards.

The third space players could land on is the ‘M’ space which is in relation to the Mechanical Pieces Cards. These pieces are what players collect in order to upgrade themselves to be having higher Attack, Defense and Movement. Mechanical Pieces are used in pairs to upgrade any one stat by 1 point. Some Mechanical Pieces can be used with other Pieces to double the benefit but players must use them at the same time in order to get that benefit (e.g. A ‘Key’ used with a ‘Keyseat’ doubles the stat upgrade from 1 to 2, so a player would add 2 stat increases to any skill instead of 1)

 

mechanical cards

Here is a preview of all the Mechanical Pieces in play. A total of 60 are used throughout the game.

cards

The first round of cards. Simple writing on paper. Around 180 all up.

The fourth space is just a blank space that does nothing. Looking at played games these spaces will be filled with the previous cards mention to level out the mechanics of the game.

 

Once the Queen has been defeated players should notice that the Queen never attacked the players back just messed around with them. The Queen was focusing on giving birth to a new spawn of Cyborg Octopuses that become mobile and are a danger to the players. Throughout the game the Queen kept an eye on every stat change that the players made and created babies that reflect those stats.

The Queen has been killed. A huge Explosion erupts all over the battlefield. The land has been changed. Out of the dust of the Queens remains 4 Mobile pissed off Octopuses await the players and are the final battle to determine who reaches salvation. The Octopuses want all of the pieces of their mother back but you have been using them as upgrades. So something needs to be done about that.

Battle Phase

revenge map big version

The first design of the Battle Board. Quite Large.

revenge map smaller version

Resized the Battle Board. A more intimate field that allows multiple paths so players can both attack and defend against the enemy.

phase 2 revenge

The first print of information about the Battle Phase

The board has flipped and a new battle has begun. Players now have to control now just there original character but one of the Octopuses also (Players would be a different colour and so would control the octopus of the corresponding colour). Turns are now a round of two phases. First phase is the players original character, go around the circle. Second phase is the movement of the corresponding colour octopuses. These Octopuses are what players use to capture the opposing players in a fight to weaken them.

Every Octopus has the same stats that the player that controls it has. A red human has the stats of 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. Their Octopus now has those stats also – 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. To move around the board is the same as before, roll two dice, add your movement and then move that allotted spaces. Players want to avoid landing themselves on Octopuses but what their Octopuses to land on opposing players as that is how you win the game.

octopus vs player

This image showcases the battle system that the game follows. Every encounter causes some damage to the player if they are caught by an Octopus

After every fight the damage dealt to players is taken away from their stats. Once a player has run out of stats they are out of the game. However their Octopus remains on the field and is now classified as a ‘Bomb’ which has 50 Attack. This is so people that get knocked out early can avenge themselves and keep them engaged with the game. The last player with stats remaining wins the game.

(Through constant test playing some of these aspects have/will change, but these are how they stand as for now)

Dairy Cows: They are among us

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Previously I wrote a blog post about the purpose of dairy cows and how some technology has impacted the production of milk. The production of milk is the sole purpose for dairy cows; with specific needs to get larger quantities and better quality of milk, research and technology is used to improve these needs. As progress continues to be made through different areas of research there is a consistent and constant improvement on past creations to aide milk production.

Holy Cow

Holy Cow. Source

Artificial Insemination; the ability to impregnate a cow without the needs for a bull to be present became a solution to mass breed a herd of cows to get a consistent and constant rotation of lactating cows. Artificial Insemination is a remarkable story of tireless workers, dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, to the replacement of fiction to facts and and application of thereof. When it comes to thinking of something and creating it much like in science-fiction, Artificial Insemination was a product of what was first thought of then became real. Artificial Insemination first thought about in 1678 by Leeuwenhoek became a reality in 1784 by Spallanzani. While Artificial Insemination was a solution of getting a cow pregnant quicker, along with analysis information about when the cow is in heat, this process was further improved upon with the process of ‘Sexed Semen’.

Sexed Semen is the process in differentiating between female and male semen. First successfully identified in 1981; though killed the sperm used. Continued research with dairy cows showed that female chromosomes in semen are heavier and have a positive charge compared to male semen. Below is an image that shows the process for which sexed semen is found.

Sexed semen is more expensive than regular bull semen and is known to have a lower conception rate. Research done by Hinde and Bradford shows that dairy cows who give birth to female calf naturally produce more milk compared to if they birthed a male calf. For a lactation cycle of 305 days birthing a female produces 223kg of extra milk. These advancements have increased the rate at which cows produce milk but have also altered the natural birthing gender of cows. Mentioned in the previous blog post the natural birthing gender rate is 47% female, Artificial Insemination increased that figure to around 60% and now with Sexed Semen the female birthing rate is around 90%. This drastic increase in female calves being birthed was the solution to get the most milk out of cows while still maintaining some ethical rights over them. Though the next question that technology is going to answer would be is “How can we get cows to lactate without the need for them to go through a pregnancy?”. However this has lead to ethical concerns for the dairy cows.

The future of technology impacts on the animals and its purpose. When there is no purpose for the animal and humans have no ethical concern for the well being of the animals then ethics are challenged. Presented in H.G. Wells’ ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau‘ is a 1896 science-fiction novel that deals with a ship wrecked man saved by a passing boat and placed on the island of Doctor Moreau who creates human like hybrid beings with animals. The ‘organic’ combination of human intelligence with the abilities of animals is a future that capitalizes on things humans can not do but also what animals can not do. To combine human intelligence with the body of any animal creates a new step in human and animal relationship. When creating an animal/human chimera that still possesses all of the abilities of both a human and a animal (though this would be the ideal scenario) brings forth all of the advantages and disadvantages. Technology inspired from animals is nothing new as we look at the abilities of animals and use some of them for ourselves.

The future of animals mixed with human technology is the general premise for my digital artifact; a board game. From a perspective of animals being combined with future technology to create a cyborg octopus that has the intelligence of man, machine and animal. Players must work together to defeat the Queen Octopus who has become giant from engaging with the natural land, artificial beings and human creations. When left in a natural environment without human interruption animals grow larger. Human curiosity impacted on the natural progress on animals and their behaviour. With challenging the natural order of animals and giving them the power of machines, humans selectively breed animals for specific needs. My board game from my perspective is the next step of human and technological involvement with animals. Unlike H.G Wells novel he did not deal with the mechanical aspects for what humans create just the organic material of human and animal. My board game utilizes the constant need for survival by engaging players with the need to better themselves through combining themselves with technology to further themselves, the game and reach salvation.

The Purpose of a Dairy Cow is a Life to be Used

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A group of Dairy Cows. Source

Wherever we have technology there are humans who created it and change it, and wherever we have humans we have animals that are having technology used upon them for better and for worse. With an ongoing relationship between humans and animals, technology provides itself as a catalyst to further aide in the development of that relationship. Looking at the humble dairy cow and the technology that has changed the way we engage with them we can see both the positive and negative aspects that technology has created. The ethics involved around using technology throughout a cows’ life for its purpose in life.

Starting with the birth of baby cows; calves. We are greeted with the way in which the mother is kept and looked after. As the need to create more and more food to look after more and more people research has found that utilizing the proper housing space for your animals is beneficial to the longevity of your animals and for producing more milk. From the time of just having an open field with cows roaming, barns have been built to house cows with soft mattresses, sand beds or water beds for them to sleep on. This change of behaviour from people towards their cows is a simple matter of thinking about the care of the cow. This answered the question about what would make a cow comfortable to produce more milk with barns and mattresses among other things were the solution. This aided in the cows producing more milk but is a small scale of growth in getting results as more has been done.

The building of the barn also benefited in the birthing of calves. As with any creature that gives birth there can be complications – cows are no exception. Technology has aided in finding out signs in knowing how far along a cow is along it its production cycle and being able to identify signs that show birth is close. Those signs being change in body temperature, respiration and heart rates, enlargement of the vulva and udder changes among other things. These signs provide a guideline for when the birth may occur but the time can still change so much and the handlers would not be ready. Research conducted by R. G. Mortimer proves that the difficulty a cow faces when birthing can be detrimental to the purpose of the cow in the long run. A milking cow that faces trauma from giving birth can subsequently end up producing less milk and have difficulties getting pregnant again. Cameras and sensors have been used as a simple solution to dealing with surprise time-of-day births. As human involvement as well as technology is the solution for this crisis.

For cows that live the life of being on a dairy farm they are only useful if they produce large quantities of milk as over the years a greater demand for milk has occurred. Dairy Australia has found that over the past 30 years milk production has nearly doubled – 5,432 million litres in the 1979/80 to 9,539 million litres in 2015/16. Further research showed they produce larger quantities of milk when that have gone through the pregnancy cycle. It is now in the farmer’s best interest to get their cows pregnant as quickly as possible, having one calf after another. Technology plays a part in finding the right times of a cows’ life that “forced” pregnancy would be ideal to occur and to close the window from subsequent births. Software called AfiFarm is the most comprehensive management software that can be tailored to the farmers needs that creates an efficient way to get the most out of dairy cows. Being able to analyse weight, milk conductivity, pedometers, and the milk the cow is producing for fat:protein ratio. Problems such as illnesses and natural defects can be found and solved before they get serious and affect the milk yield from the cow. As the purpose of these dairy cows is to produce milk, if they lose their purpose then they are killed. The average life span of a dairy cow is seen to be around 20 years, however with the forced involvement of humans and technology a lot of dairy cows barely make it past 7 years old.


Looking at how often dairy cows need to be pregnant and how many calves need to be born not for the purpose of being a part of the herd but for the purpose of having the mother gestate for milk. Technology has been used in a darker, less compassionate way. These little calves that are born with no purpose and in a majority of cases are killed, or sold overseas then killed. The main purpose if not killed as soon as being born is to be crated in a small 22 inch by 54 inch for 5 to 14 weeks then killed for veal. Male dairy calves serve no purpose for producing milk or being a beef cow as the breed of cows are different, so every male calf is sent away and killed. Not every female calf escapes this fate either as the only need for a female calf is to replace a member of the herd. The Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin reports that the gender ratio of dairy cow’s calves is Male 53.3% to Female 46.7%. Taken from their mothers within 12 – 24 hours (sometimes immediately), the mothers will never see their calf again. In Australia, it has been estimated that 400,000 calves each year serve no purpose – not wanted for replacement of the herd or wanted for veal. These calves are considered as “waste products” and are destroyed within 5 – 6 days of being born.

In cases where the farmer sees the benefit in getting a pregnant cow that is close to giving birth back into the milking herd. They will call a veterinarian to induce the cow into giving birth sooner than expected, seen to be at least 3 weeks premature. In most cases the premature calf is too weak and killed instantly on the farm by the farmer. While the mother is sent back through the milking station as that is the purpose of her. The purpose that dairy cows have is straight forward, but the technology used on them as people change with technology continues to affect the animals that humans use. When there are animals that no longer serve a purpose then what happens to them is simply death. When animals serve a purpose then they are cared for and looked after as much as possible to maintain that purpose.

Solutions have been talked about in providing a more stable environment for dairy cows and their calves. Looking at having cows that are useful for both milk and beef production like the Holstein breed of cow in the pictures above is useful for multiple purposes. Farmers have also initiated an understanding of limiting the amount of milk a cow will give each day so there is always enough to raise a healthy calf. The dairy cow is quintessential to the cow milk industry so being looked after and cared for is a priority, though as technology develops and demand has been increased then there is the difficult solution of putting which priority over another.

The Future of Animals presented in Anime

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Humans are the leading cause for change with animals and technology. Depending on the relationship between the type of animal and humans, will justify the impact of how technology is used to change the animal. While there can only be so much change in real life about how people use animals, anime takes a hold of the creator’s imaginations and utilizes future technology for better or for worse.

Looking at Pokemon, a mild child friendly Anime there are a number of aspects that challenge the perception of every day animals and the impact of technology on them. Pokemon being abundant throughout the land, living free in their natural habitat but also being the goal to capture for future Pokemon Trainers brings to light the purpose of them. Comparable to real life animals we see in the wild or the ones we have as pets. The connection between making some Pokemon resemble real life animal’s aides in the purpose that we would also impose on them. Magikarp known by players as the weakest Pokemon of Generation One – it is in resemblance to the real life yellow rockfish. Utilizes the simple change of evolution to get it to evolve. The trainer impacts on the rate of evolution in a number of ways to get the perfect evolution – which in a Gyarados.

Items impact the change that occurs, when technology created by companies in the game give the player the capability to change the natural progression of evolution. Based on the intention or purpose of the Magikarp the tools used on it are varied. To give it experience boost to evolve quicker an item called ‘Exp. Share’ (Experience Share) is used that grows Magikarp without having to battle with it. Depending on what type of Gyarados you want, in the means of way of battling other players you would use selective breeding to get the Magikarp of your choice then use items to aide in the creating of a specific design of Gyarados. The items used are artificial but the final outcome after all the items a used is seen as a natural creation. The player just aided in having that natural creation. This selective breeding can be seen in dogs today, when compared to the dogs of decades ago. Shown here are a number of dog breeds that have changed over the last 100 years to aide in the most desirable traits from these dogs. While there are not Pokemon diseases affecting the selective breeding process. The consequences of doing it in real life with dogs have placed burdens on the animals.

bulldog change in breed

The Change in breeding Bulldogs over the years. Source

Playing with the natural processes of animals is not just restricted to the deemed “ethical standard”, when the purpose of an animal is to aide in the advancement of technology, not so by being the solution but by being the tool of what human mind can think of then we get to a point where only so few will tread. In the Anime, Full Metal Alchemist the experimentation of creating a chimera is brought to light to the viewer. Chimera being the combination of both mythological understanding and the medical understanding. What was brought to the attention was the purpose of trying to create a chimera that could understand and talk human speech without the using or endangering a human in anyway. The life work of Shou Tucker was under threat and with little compassion for anything else around him he made a decision that would go against every ethical means in real life. Though this is an anime and with the freedom of creation, that creation can be used in any way to provoke the audience. So, with this to create a chimera Tucker would use his own daughter Nine and her dog Alexander to create a chimera capable of interacting with humans. While nothing today with the use of technology has been used to create the combination of human and animal is such a graphic display of unethical practices, The curiosity of human intervention with technology has still aided in the combination of added linked species to create something new.

Anime gives an insight into the use of animals greater than in real life as the only limitation is what you can create. Though as time has gone on and how technology has changed the purpose of animals will change. When animals lose their purpose what else is there to do with them. To simply leave them be would be an easy answer but to act it out, seems woeful.

Animal Rights are Human Creations

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Animal Rights? A simple understanding about the fair treatment and preservation of animals. Decided by looking at the livelihood of current day animals much like chickens and pigs and justifying that the way they live is no condition for what they deserve. That word, ‘deserve’, defined by Oxford as “Do something or have or show qualities worthy of”. Does every animal deserve the fair treatment of comfort? What are the standards in which animal farms need to be in line with in order for people to feel that animal rights are fulfilled? Are animals that are bred for the sole purpose of food worthy of being taken care or in a human manner.

Everywhere there are people, there are animals to serve a purpose. In our households, we have dogs, cats, birds and reptiles (among a few) as pets. Humans affinity for animals is both a simple and tricky thing. With the animals, we have as pets we see them as a part of the family, a companion, someone who we keep in high regard, this emotional attachment that we have to our pets is the result of a connection we have created with them. The same connection (to some degree) we would make for other people – family, friends and colleagues. This relation is placing human like characteristics and abilities on our animals. Described as Anthropomorphism – the attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to a god, animal, or object. For dogs, they react to our emotions, as do ours to them. We sympathize with what our pets go through because to us they are only a part of our life but we are the entirety of theirs. Our choice is to look after them, so we do.

Unlike the relationship of having a pet there are animals that we use for food. We breed them on farms so that we can keep up to the demand of consumption – chickens for eggs and meat for example. Long has there been videos showing that the condition where chickens have been raised for both laying eggs and for their meat are in horrible/uncomfortable conditions. Which can be seen in the video below.

By what standard should we give chickens the freedom to live a healthy life. While we describe human characteristics for our pets we change the emotional connection to one of well-being and disgust. The connection we have for animals is the driving force behind the fight for animal rights. Though, that is conflicted when it comes to human survival as there is an obvious hierarchy of who needs to be looked after first. People have to eat, people eat chicken, there is a large demand for chicken so farmers need to increase demand. Chicken farms need to increase their supplies to meet those demands. Prices for the meat fluctuates based on that supply. Does that money go back into the farms to care for the chickens or does it go back into the farmers pockets for other purposes? Their livelihood is their farm, which is their chickens so it can be perceived it would be beneficial that it would go back into the farm.

fight for animal rights

Fight for Animal Rights. Source

When we give animals the voice of humanity you turn the intention of what the animal represents. A dog is no longer just a pet; a pig is no longer just bacon and a chicken is no longer just an egg laying machine. Giving the voiceless a voice, determining that there are specifics in the way these animals needs to be treated and cared for needs to be understood. We look at the problems that are around us, such as the overcrowded breeding farms and say “this is wrong”, but our solutions are not a guaranteed fix nor are the implementations of those solutions continually looks after. Much like the standard for free range eggs, there are standards that need to be followed to meet the “free range” label though many farms are not adhering to those rules.

Suffering in the Media; Flint City

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Suffering in the media is about the representation of people who are less fortunate than the rest of us. Those that live in low socioeconomic areas that are run down, have high crime rates and high rates of teen pregnancy among many other problems. These issues are presented through social media to show everyone else how they live and to get a sense of what these people have gone through. How they got where they are and how they are dealing with their day to day life. This portrayal of people who are not ‘like the rest of us’, becomes a commodity and something to view on our television screens. In hope to where we can relate and show empathy for their situation and do something.

The American City of Flint; population around 98,000 has been without clean water for years. Among the issues of lead pipes, corrosive rivers and fecal contamination among the city the unsanitary water issue hit a peak on social media around the world, much like this article from Australia talking about the issue. With only a short resolve of buying water from nearby Detroit the impact of getting clean water back into Flint has been a slow-paced solution. Online campaigns have been created to give people the chance to donate money to help the cause. The suffering is throughout the entire town, where the access to clean drinking water was once a basic need for human life. Kids who were drinking and bathing in the water have run the risk of lead poisoning which could come back with horrible effects later in life.

poisoned kid

A child from Flint holding a sign “I’ve been poisoned by policy” Source

Through the many social media platforms people gave their money, their hope and their opinion on wanting to solve the Flint water crisis. This emerged the trend “Us” and “Them” – the have and the have not. Research done by Lund University, found here, identify that Poverty Porn is a haven for monetary gain as it provides a resource to be consumed, exploited and contained. Where there are groups of people who are in the group of “Poverty”, highlighted as “Having less than an objectively deadline, adsolute minimum”, “Having less than others in society” or “Feeling you do not have enough to get along”. Every poverty-stricken group plays a part in being the objective “outsider” for everyone else, as they are not something people want to be but something people want to not have to deal with. In both behavioural habits and financial struggle.

The people of Flint did not put themselves into the problem that they have, poor decisions made from their government changed the source for Flint’s water and poor investigation was conducted to make sure the water from Flint’s River was sanitary enough for human use. The slow decline into unsanitary water placed the entirety of Flint into Poverty where every local was at the hands of someone else to cater to the need of fresh drinking water.

There are articles written about Poverty Porn, much like in The Conversation’s Steven Threadgold’s article “Struggle Street is poverty porn with an extra dose of class racism” and The Guardian’s Gay Alcorn’s article “Struggle Street is only poverty porn if we enjoy watching, then turn away” that determine there is an issue in how this topic is presented and the ongoing action that takes place afterwards. The way information is presented to us and what we do with that information justifies what we can do and see. When there is a problem that society needs to take care of it benefits to give everyone the information about the topic. While the medium for which that information may be subjected to criticism there are only so many mediums that can have a huge audience or be academically unbiased on the topic. The choice to inform millions of people comes down to the platform chosen and in a manner, that appeals to a mass audience. When wanting to have an unbiased representation such as in an academic journal there is no information to everyone else outside of the academic sector. So, would it be best to give a mass audience some perspective on an issue that is affecting a lot of people that will generate some form of response or leave it for academics to decide what information is to be presented and how. When looking at the websites created to aide in the Flint disaster relief, the people are not academics but people from the general populace. When the goal is awareness then “Poverty Porn” works.

When an animal gets a leg up

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Cyberculture represents the presence of computers and networks in all aspects of contemporary life such as our social life, education and labour. With each area being represented by the combination of human capability, its effect on technology and the return relationship that technology has on humans. However, there is another group that can’t control technology as easily as humans but is affected by it. That group of course being animals.

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A Monkey and his phone. Source

Animals are everywhere and we use them for everything. We have farms where cows and sheep roam for textile and food production, we breed cats and dogs to have them as pets and we even group a bunch of animals together in an area and call it a zoo so we can look and admire the exotic-ness of them all in one place. Society has used animals for many reasons and as humans have evolved and developed new things animals have been alongside to be a part of that change. With this post, I will be going over a variety of areas where animals have been popularized and helped from the development of cybercultures.

First hearing the word ‘cyberculture’ and then the meaning my immediate thought was the internet and its obsession with animals. There is no doubt that animals have been made a staple of browsing the internet and with what the internet can do, animals will be staying on it for quite some time. On YouTube for example from the repeatable ‘catchy’ beat of Nyan Cat from 2011 to the ever so grumpy cat conveniently named ‘Grumpy Cat‘ from 2012. Cats have become a popularized source for entertainment and enjoyment. The popularity of these videos created a viral hit that utilized digital tools to create something so popular. The creation of popularizing real animals for general aesthetic looks to behavioural attributes. While this is the use of cyberculture to create animals as a source of entertainment for people there are multiple layers of technology engagement with animals.

One step further from just filming an animal with a camera or using digital software to create an animal is to use technology as a part of the animal’s life to better it. Current trends of 3D printing has allowed for people to create pieces of the body or prosthetic limbs. Much like an arm or a leg. The evolving of 3D printing has allowed for animals to have their limbs (beaks, legs, hoofs) recreated and attached to give them a longer and more capable way of living. This meaning that the technology used to aide in the creation of these limbs allows animals to not have their injury an issue to live a normal life. Buttercup the duck who was born with a deformed foot was lucky enough to have a 3D printed foot made for him. Below is a video showing glimpses of the process and the result.

There is the understanding that technology has both a positive and negative aspect when it comes to development and implementation. When future technology is being theorized then there needs to be some way in which technology can be tested and confirmed for human use. There is no shortcut on what can be seen as an advancement in technology but the researches who put information into practice need to test what they want to create. This is where animals come into play. There are ethical reasons as to why researches do not test on other people, as much as there are ethical reasons also for animals there is the understanding that the vision of having a success in the lab; testing on animals is justified when it saves millions (even potentially billions) of people’s lives. Animals bare the grunt of what goes into these advancements and are not acknowledged for what they go through to turn research into a success. Where the end justifies the means.

Groups such as P.E.T.A (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) justify that no animal should be used for testing and that there are numerous ways in which testing can be done but without animals. Such as the technology called “Human on a Chip“, where human donor cells are used on a microchip that can simulate real human/animal tissue and in turn natural responses.

As long as there have been humans there have been animals alongside them. When technology evolves to benefit humans, animals are considered in that involvement. The entire life of an animal can be encompassed in the world of technology and the change technology has created. Looking at future posts and interests within this topic. I will be exploring the life cycle of a cow and how they have been impacted by technology from cameras being installed in the birthing barns to make sure they survive, to the change in location technology to monitor the herd, to the change of the milking machine for efficiency in gathering milk.