early development

Sunsetting the Prototype Social Blogging Network

Funding runs out today for the hosting on the prototype social blogging network I built a couple of years ago. It ran under the name “We The Users” for a while, and then “PluggedOut”. It took the essential features from the popular social blogging platforms, and rolled them into one lump, along with one feature in particular that seemed to be missing from everywhere except LiveJournal - the ability to publish a particular post “friends only” if you wanted.

During it’s early development a few popular Tumblrs shouted about it’s existence, and then one day Tumblr went down - and 15,000 people flooded in over one weekend. As soon as Tumblr re-appeared, they too vanished.

It taught me a lesson about the internet in general - that people will put up with an unbelievable amount of crap before shifting platforms - as evidenced by the various changes Facebook has made over the years. We’ll forget that Google+ has been MUCH better than Facebook since the day it launched, because pretty much everybody else did.

So. My little social network that could will vanish beneath the waves of the internet at some point today. I’ll download the site, and store it away somewhere, and take it out from time to time, to remind myself that one person can change very little on the social internet. A small group of people with a ridiculous marketing budget can distract for a few weeks (remember the Facebook alternative that hit the mass media six months ago? No? Nobody else does either).

Anyway. Kind of a sad day.


At just fifteen years old, Vancouver high school student Nicole Ticea developed an early-stage HIV test that’s as easy to use as an over-the-counter pregnancy test. Unlike current rapid response tests which rely on testing antibodies, Ticea utilized a technique known as isothermic nucleic acid amplification, making it possible to detect the virus as early as one week after infection. The disposable device does not rely on electricity, provides results in under one hour and should cost less than $5.00 to produce.

“Nicole’s work really made me realize what a big difference a fast easy-to-administer test for early stage HIV infection could make in prolonging, if not saving, thousands of lives in developing countries,” said Gursev Anmole, the graduate student mentor who assisted Nicole on her research at Simon Fraser University.

Ticea was recently awarded the 2015 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award for her groundbreaking work. After starting her own company, she received a $100,000 grant to continue developing this technology in the hopes of bringing it to low-income communities in need.


Dragon Documentary is a very cool high flying action game that sees you controlling a huge dragon, burning towns, castles and armies with your fiery breath.

Dragon Documentary is still very early in development, so it does have some rough edges, but once you master the controls, it’s great fun soaring and scorching your way through the kingdom.  Visually it’s breathtaking, especially when you take to the air, swooping through valleys and climbing above mountaintops.

The combat could do with a bit of refinement, as at the moment you’ll most likely get slaughtered by even a small group of soldiers, but it’s still a unique and enjoyable experience being in control of a fire breathing dragon.  High flying fiery fun.

Play The Pre-Alpha, Free

this panel is genuinely upsetting I’m not happy that people keep stepping all over nuts after this (although no translations are out for this that I know of so I guess it’s to be expected)

she says “I want to become pretty” (although there’s no context here so ‘kirei’ could also be read as 'clean’)

the look shirazu gives her is sort of sad; assuming all of the quinx have really big turning points in their development, I think shirazu’s is going to be similar to kaneki’s early development in that they realize that not all ghouls are necessarily flesh-eating 'monsters’ because they want to be

ppl forgot about the best/worst part of the sonic hedgehog pathway

Sonic Hedgehog also has an important role in the formation of the eyes. During early development, the cells that develop into the eyes form a single structure called the eye field. This structure is located in the center of the developing face. Sonic hedgehog signaling causes the eye field to separate into two distinct eyes.


Suspicious Minds is a simple but incredibly tense game that feeds on your paranoia as you stand in the middle of a crowd deciding who’s trying to kill you and who isn’t.

You character stands in the centre of the screen, unable to move, but able to aim his gun with deadly precision.  The problem is trying to find out who want’s to kill you and who doesn’t.

When a civilian stops and starts reaching for something in their pocket, an exclamation mark will appear above their head.  Then they’ll either pull out a cell phone or a gun, and you’d better be pretty quick on the trigger finger if it’s the latter!

Suspicious Minds is still early in development, but already it’s an addictive and very tense affair – maybe everyone isn’t out to get you, but some people definitely are!

Play Suspicious Minds, Free

These are some of the very EARLIEST sketches I ever did for this story.  It’s back before this really was in any way, shape or form, the story it is now.    This was back in oh, about late 2008/early 2009 or so.  

I think it’s fun to see the early origins of projects and see how they might have changed and how the artist may have changed, so now and then on this blog, I’ll slip in some of the early sketches and developmental work for this.  Stuff I was making before i knew what I’d be doing.  

In this early version, the characters were a lot younger and because of that, they didn’t have a lot of room to realistically engage in the things I wanted them to. They weren’t as active as the older side characters.  Ultimately, they had to be aged up for the story to work.  Apparently though,  that “I like to draw these two kissing” thing has been going on for years. XD  Also, there was like zilch historic research at this stage.

I’d love to find a way to slip the older designs into the ultimate web-comic, so keep an eye open.  These two may make a cameo eventually. XD

8 more days left until the debut guys!  A day and a week!  We’re so close! :D

New research suggests neurological asymmetry — particularly in terms of myelin distribution — influences children’s ability to develop lingual skills, further highlighting the existence of critical periods in the neurodevelopment of children.

“Our study shows that regions of the brain that weren’t important to successful language in toddlers became more important in older children, about the time they start school. As language becomes more complex and children become more proficient, it seems as if they use different regions of the brain to support it.” (Read More: goo.gl/v6qLf)

Photo Credit: Baby Imaging Lab/Brown University

Urie Bronfenbrenner: The scientist who remade the field of human development

Testifying before Congress in 1964, Cornell developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner urged lawmakers to fight “poverty where it hits first and most damagingly – in early childhood.”

Intrigued by his work, Lady Bird Johnson invited Bronfenbrenner to tea at the White House, where he shared his findings on early childhood programs. Soon after, as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, Bronfenbrenner and 12 other early childhood experts were charged with developing a federally funded preschool program for the nation’s poorest children.

In May 1965, federal Head Start was born, announced in a Rose Garden speech by Johnson. In its first summer, the six-week program reached 500,000 youngsters; in the intervening decades it has provided 32 million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with health, educational, and family support services. This week, the National Head Start Association is marking the milestone by planting rose bushes at programs nationwide and celebrating with members of Congress.

Read more about the program’s roots at the College of Human Ecology, and Bronfenbrenner’s path-breaking work on his dynamic systems theory of human development, in the new issue of Human Ecology magazine

And don’t miss a newly digitized video from the Cornell Archives, “The American Family: Who Cares?,” featuring Bronfenbrenner’s thoughts on the state of families and youth at the U.S. Bicentennial.