Friday, 27 August 2010

Car Bonnet

I have just finished working on my friends bonnet. He asked me to draw loads of different characters and anything that I wanted to.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

New Site/New Blog

I have a new website! and a new blog where you will currently find all issues of ‘Out of the Question’ so far. I will be maintaining 'Adam is Above Average', but it will be taking on a new purpose as a showcase of my more experimental pieces. Hope to see you over at my new place.

Out of the Question #6

This issue's question comes from product designer David Gardener.

Q: What is the estimated total amount of memory use for the entire internet? and by how much is it growing each year?

The answer article will be up on September 6th.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Issue #5 - Ageing Animals

How and why are animal years calculated?
Asked by: Jenny Brewer

Having numerous animal-lovers in my family, I have often heard about and accepted the concept of animal years, but never properly understood why or how it is calculated - so I was keen to investigate how the system works. Animal years, or ‘animal ages,’ are a system used by vets and pet owners to assign an age to an animal in comparison to a human’s life span. The well-known metric used for cats and dogs equates each year lived by an animal to seven years of human life, so for example when your dog or cat has lived for three years, it is said to be 21 years of age in human years.

Many find this system inaccurate, as noted by final year veterinary student at Glasgow University, Anna Beber.

‘Animal ages (e.g. for every year a dog is alive it is the equivalent of 7 human years) … [is] a kind of nice way to show that animals age much faster than humans, but it’s not accurate at all because when dogs and cats (and most other animals) develop, they mature really quickly in their first year.’

The speed at which dogs and cats mature in the first few years of their life is much quicker than that of a human. Most cats and dogs are considered adults by the age of 2, so with the 7-year system this would mean the animal was the equivalent of 14 human years, which is misleading. New systems have been created to solve this problem such as the Cat years scale at and the Dog scale at However different breeds have different life expectancies, making it impossible to create an accurate scale.

Can an animal’s level of maturity ever be related to that of a human’s? I would say no, as a human develops in different ways to other animals. A one year old child my not be able to feed itself or chase a ball around the room, but its cognitive skills far out-weighs that of a young dog or cat. Comparatively, a seven-year-old child possesses abilities that animals can only have in fantasy films such as ‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore’.

The concept of ‘animal years’ is a loose comparatives system, as there ‘is no reliable scientific method for calculating exactly how old [a] cat [or dog] is in human years.’ ( Overall the system can be seen as a folk science and in fact should not be used for literal comparison. Human years are calculated by the passing of an earth rotation around the sun, and maturity accrues in humans at different times, based on environment and genetics. We have markers or milestones that create a system of maturity, from childhood to teens to adulthood, but these are essentially loose concepts, so relating them to another animal is even more tenuous. Vets use the animal year system to gain a better idea of where an animal is in its life cycle, using this to help understand what health problems could arise. Though the system is largely inaccurate, it helps to have this direct comparison so we, as humans, can relate to our furry friends.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Caris Project

A few weeks ago I got the oppuntinity to volunteer at the CARIS summer play scheme. I was invited along by the amazing Gary Powell and spent the day leading a workshop with Roderick Mills and Camille Rousseu. The children were asked to create a creature by cutting up photocoped animals, people and objects that Roderick and Camille had provided. Then they took there creations on a journey to find their bed. It was an action packed day, including some concentrating, felt tip wielding toddlers.

There are some of the results of the day. I have snuck one of mine in there, but which one is it?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Out of the Question #5

This weeks question comes from Design Journelist Jenny Brewer.

Q: How and why are animal years calculated?

The answer article will be up on August 23rd.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Issue #4 - Survival of the Thesis

How is a species defined?
Asked by: Adam Ellison

Being able to tell the difference between a poisonous plant and an edible fruit is an ability that humans have developed over centuries of evolution. Over time this natural observation and experimentation developed into the concept of what a species is. Building on this, biologists have documented and studied many life forms in the hope that they can gain a stronger understanding of each and every organism, how and why it exists, and its place within nature. The increase in detailed research has resulted in questions being asked about the exact definition of ‘species’, fuelled especially by Darwin and Wallace’s theories of evolution, which puts animal and plant life forms in a continuous state of evolutionary change.

Modern biological classification has its roots in the work of Carl Linnaeus, who studied animal and plant life closely, grouping species according to shared physical characteristics. The development of the hierarchy of biological classification, in which species is the smallest unit, has allowed biologists to categorize species in more precise detail. This system consists of: Life, Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Classification has been refined over the years, shaped by Darwin and Wallace’s theories, and the increasing study and understanding of genes and DNA. However the more precisely scientist tried to define what a species is, the more questions and debates arise.

Ernst Mayr tried to solve this problem by creating and promoting the Biological Species Concept (BSC). The BSC system defines species as “groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations, which are reproductively isolated from other such groups". Despite the popularity of the BSC system, it does not go far enough to define all life forms. Some organisms do not fit within the BSC, such as asexual organisms who do not interbreed, hybrid offspring of two distant relatives such as captive tigers and lions, and types of bacteria that are known to evolve horizontally across phylum. These flaws, as well as the system’s inability to define the point where a species splits and becomes a new independent species, has cast doubt over the BSC and its ability to solve the species problem.

Multiple theories continue to exist with the debate raging on, over what the universal definition is and whether it can exist. A clear and consistent definition of species may never be agreed upon, with the concept remaining loose and open for scientists to choose a theory that best fits their research area.

This might be an unsatisfactory answer for many and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you have an all-encompassing concept that will save the day? Do you disagree with any of this article? Please leave a comment below.

Other Species Theories
typological species, morphological species, biological/isolation species, biological/reproductive species, recognition species, mate-recognition species, evolutionary/Darwinian species, phylogentic, ecological species, genetic species, phenetic species, microspecies, cohension species and evolutionarily significant unit.