The War on Animals may have just gotten a bit bigger. Thanks to a team of human science spies, we now have proof of a legendary creature: el squidante gigante! (This may not actually be its true Latin name.)
Granted, we’ve seen larger versions of the beast before, as the one seen was a mere 10 feet, but it has the additional benefit of also being alive. Never before had we seen it moving upon its own volition.
This will hopefully lead to further knowledge of the beast. After all, if we can figure them out now, then we can theoretically stem the tide when the giant squid is inevitably sent after us in wave after wave after wave.
We’ve talked about Cyberdyne, the Japanese company of the
future present, before here on SG. It’s been quite some time since their name was uttered on our website, but it seems they’re at it again.
What was once used exclusively for old people is now being sent in the direction of disaster response: specifically for first responders of nuclear accidents.
Somehow, using HAL suits manufactured by Cyberdyne for nuclear matters makes the science nerd in cringe and fear for the future.
Late last week, some mysterious crop circles appeared in Japan. And by Japan, I mean underwater crop circles off the coast of Japan. WoooOOOOOooOOOOoooOOOOooo. Does this mean that deep in the dark waters, aliens visited and made elaborate patterns as signals for target strike zones? Were they created by some Lovecraftian monstrosity?
Nope. Turns out it was just a male pufferfish.
A Japanese television film crew discovered that a single, solitary pufferfish created the entire design. All in the hopes of getting laid. Presumably. You see, our scientists tell us that reason, but how do we know that it’s not actually a signal from the pufferfish to their animal brethren to commit a horrible atrocity? We just can’t trust them. The safest and most reasonable course of action is to eliminate those beasts and with haste.
Oh, whoops, we got our T’s and R’s confused. Well, nonetheless, the mountain named
Gregor Clegane Fuji is close to erupting. So, those planning on traveling to Japan, you might want to speed up those plans. But don’t worry, scientists and vulcanologists (the mortal enemy of Tony Kornheiser) are pretty optimistic about everything:
Japanese scientists are warning that the country’s famed Mount Fuji could be on the verge of a catastrophic eruption. Volcanologist have discovered that the pressure in the volcano’s magma chamber is higher than it was the last time Fuji erupted in 1707. The pressure is measured in megapascals, and researchers say recent readings show the chamber hitting a level of 1.6; pressure readings of 0.1 megapascals are enough to trigger an eruption. Scientists say the March 2011 earthquake that caused a massive tsunami has been one factor in putting increased pressure on the chamber. Government estimates say an eruption could result in more than 300,000 deaths as well as cause up to $30 billion in damage.
My parents recently got back from Europe, and when I went to visit them this past weekend, I was given oodles of strange and oddly worded candy-bars. This was a particular bit of joy for me because I find any bit of candy not found in the United States of America to be of high interest. I don’t think I’m the only person on this gigantic planet to have this specific character trait.
However, I don’t think it builds good relations to have Japanese people think that the American Snickers bar is nothing more than a chocolate-covered bar of meth.
Customs agents at LAX apparently feel the same way.
We at SG give more than our fair share of (deserved) flack towards Japan. But it’s okay. They’ve officially made up for it.
A group of Japanese hobbyists have made working mechs that can be piloted by humans. And they can be yours for the low, low price of 1.3 million dollars.
The way we look at it, we only need around 3 of them. That’s a scant 3.9 million dollars, but let’s make it an even 4. We know that you fabulous and sensational people can help us out with the fundraising for this. By doing so, we will make sure that every person who contributes will not be trampled upon in our glorious path for world domination.
Don’t hesitate. Do it. Do it now.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have invented a robot that never loses at Rock, Paper, Scissors. (Or “Roshambo,” if you were raised by wolves.) The Janken robot cannot be bargained or negotiated with or fooled by doing that little trick where you start to make scissors and then flatten your palm out, middle and index fingers last.
You can’t cheat this machine with your human brain, because its computer brain is doing the exact same thing, just faster. It watches your hand and then reacts a millisecond later, appearing to make its selection simulataneously with you. In other words, you were right: your older brother is a cyborg.
The war against the machines may not have been over before it started. Just so immediately after it that it seems like it.
It’s easy to shorthand Japan as “Crazy Japan,” mainly because it’s fairly accurate most of the time. But every so often Glorious Nippon severely tests that “Glorious” part, and prove the characterization spot-on. This is one of those times.
Japan’s government has just passed a law that would outlaw the act of “ripping” copyrighted material of any kind to users’ computers, and the knowing downloading of such material from any internet source. Naturally, this is targeted towards folks who record TV shows and DVDs/Blu-rays for sharing, archiving, and of course piracy. That part of the law is a good thing. Punishment ranges from hefty fines to jail time. The law goes into effect this October.
But wait, there’s more.
The broad, vague wording of the law opens the potential to prosecute users with the temerity to view copyrighted material on such innocuous sites as Youtube, because those sites upload data to users’ computers. And it potentially covers international viewers of Japanese copyrighted material. What’s more, analysts suggest that the law could be used to suppress material that the government finds uncomfortable.
This bears all the hallmarks of a law written by fearful companies and legislators who would rather destroy that which they don’t understand and can’t adapt to. Of course, natural challenges over enforcement, scope and freedom of speech will rise up, but truthfully, it doesn’t seem really feasible that the Japanese public will muster the kind of intense resistance that Americans raised over SOPA and PIPA.
Prove me wrong, Japan. Prove me wrong.
In Japan, tattoos have long been associated with the Yakuza. Partly due to safety reasons, even today public places such as bathhouses and gyms have banned people bearing large tattoos from entering their premises. Now, tattooed city employees are also being subjected to new employment restrictions.
Osaka Major Toru Hashimoto, who has a long history of making controversial decisions, has ordered all public servants to fill out a form on which they must specify where in their bodies they have been tattooed. Employees with any visible marking could potentially be excluded from jobs where they will be in direct contact with the public.
Hashimoto claims that the new policy is part of strategy to safeguard the credibility of government services, but union officials are calling the move discriminatory. Some Japanese are concerned about the form being illegal and in violation of the employees’ human rights. About 38,000 city employees could be affected by the ordinance. We at SG, especially Rick Snee, call it A-OK.
According to figures put together by the 21st Century Public Policy Institute, a think tank linked to Japan’s Keidanren business federation, Japan might no longer fall among the world’s top economies by the year 2050. A shrinking and aging population and a decline in productivity are listed as factors influencing the downgrade.
The institute predicts that in a matter of 40 years Japan’s GDP could dip to about ⅙ that of China and the U.S, and ⅓ that of India. However, if policymakers could boost workforce participation by women to the same level seen in more gender-progressive countries such as Sweden, Japan could be the 4th largest economy by mid-century. The report states that if women did not quit their jobs due to marriage or childbirth, Japan’s workforce could see an increase of up to 4.5 million people in a matter of years.
Of course, achieving this goal would require a massive change in Japan’s corporate culture. That should be eezy-peezy.