Little help?


Reader mail on our ever-popular “Fuck Zapan” Post:

Mr. Berman (of Mutant frog)

I stumbled across your posting on the song F_UCK ZAPAN, and was so offended that I looked up information in the Internet to find out more information about this racist hate.

However, I checked DJ DOC’s Japanese website, and they emphatically deny that they were the group responsible for this single. It’s a song by the indies band Kudara. http://ampoko.daa.jp/djdoc/

Since I don’t read Korean, would it be possible to find the source that lists the artist for this single? Maybe we could check the Korean indies chart to see if this song even made it to #2 on the indies chart.

Your help would be appreciated. Right now, a Japanese band (DJ Ozma) has made a cover of DJ Doc’s Run to You, and so interest in DJ Doc has run high in Japan. If you read
Japanese, you can read about the rumors of DJ Doc and F_ck Zapan at:
http://music4.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/dj/1143802542/

Indeed, it would be um, irresponsible of us to…you know.. report facts without checking them out, right? So, my Korean brethren: who feels like taking a trip to the library and looking up chart information? Little help here? Does this so-called “Kudara” group exist? If so, did it include any members of this DJ DOC group?

Before we go that far, thanks to the rise of easy video sites like youtube.com, we can compare the original anti-Japan rap and songs that are verified to be by DJ DOC.

Here’s the original song. Give it another listen, why don’t you?

Now let’s listen to that “Run to You” song – it’s a very professionally produced remix of Nirvana’s “Come as you Are”! What about “Street Life“? Different! Watch as these thugs rock out in their rollerblades! None of the amateurish qualities of the anti-Japan song. These DJ DOC people seem like actual professionals who might even be above using Starcraft samples. If it’s really not DJ DOC, then we at MF certainly owe them an apology.

Now here are some more clips available at the website of major Korean broadcaster KBS (clips require Windows Media Player). Here we learn that the DOC stands for “Dream of Children”... makes me think more of the Neverland Ranch than “street life” but whatever.

But I have to admit… the chubby guy with the blond hair does sound like one of the guys in the “Fuck Zapan” song… could it be that the Fuck Zapan group was some kind of precursor to DJ DOC? According to the KBS biography,

However, from their 4th album, the hip-hop group started to experience some difficulties in performing in public. As the lyrics of some songs contained vulgar and too direct expressions of criticizing the society and sexual depictions, some words had to be changed in order to be performed in public. Although there were some obstacles in pursuing their music, DJ DOC still managed to record a hit, probably their biggest, with the song “Dance With DJ DOC” included in their 4th album.

This is too confusing! We need our Korean friends to look this up for us please!

Brazil sees profit in frog slime

From IHT:

Katukina says he possesses a treasure that could be at the cutting edge of biotechnology. If a plan initiated by the chief is successful, his tribe’s fortunes will be transformed by an asset that he and the Brazilian government say holds great promise for the global pharmaceutical industry: the slime from a poisonous tree frog.

Tribal shamans have used the slime as an ancestral remedy to treat illness, pain, even laziness. The crucial ingredients are compounds with anesthetic, tranquilizing and other medicinal properties.

Scientists say the promise lies in isolating peptides from the frog’s slime and then reproducing them for medicines to treat hypertension, stroke, and other illnesses

More Wrestlers in Politics: Nikolai Volkoff for MD State Assembly!


Remember Nikolai Volkoff, the “Soviet” wrestler everyone loved to hate? Well turns out he was actually from the former Yugoslavia. And he’s most recently been spotted following in the footsteps of greats such as Jesse “the Body” Ventura, Antonio Inoki, the Great Sasuke, and Hulk Hogan (ran for president of course) and run for office. But this time, his opponents seem to be playing the role of the heel. The Washington City Paper has a great story on it. Highlights:

(Reacting to leaflets distributed claiming he used to spit on the American flag in his wrestling persona) “Spitting on a flag, that’s cheap heat,” he says. “I was a professional. I didn’t work for cheap heat.”

Volkoff truly believes that the anti-Commie mood he helped foment in the West through his un-American activities in the ring hastened the fall of the Wall.

...

(Opponents) Impallaria and McDonough both deny any connection to the fliers. But they don’t mind echoing the message.

“He was the Tokyo Rose of the 1980s,” says Impallaria. “He made his living spitting on the American flag and singing the Russian national anthem. Now he can say he was just doing a job. Tokyo Rose was just doing a job, too.”

Adds McDonough: “He did spit on the flag. I consider that reprehensible. Anybody can run for office. You can’t go around saying your wrestling career doesn’t matter. Volkoff isn’t even the name on his birth certificate. People need to know everything.”

As any good wrestler would when given a platform, Volkoff leveled some smack of his own at his antagonists. “Impallaria—that guy has 27 arrests,” he says. “How do you get arrested that much?”

Asked to respond to Volkoff’s blast, Impallaria says, “A lot of people are charged with a lot of things, but the real question is: Have you ever been convicted of anything?”

OK, OK, OK. Have you ever been convicted of anything?

“Anybody can look that up,” Impallaria says, declining to answer “the real question” any further. “I’m going to stick to the issues. I’m not going to lower myself to dirty politics.”

The Republican primary will be held in September. Vineberg says that despite his adversaries’ tactics, Volkoff has no intention of hiding his wrestling past as the campaign progresses. In fact, the press secretary has been contacting former ring colleagues to ask them to come to Maryland.

“We’ve been talking to the Iron Sheik,” says Vineberg. “Nikolai and the Sheik made a great tag team. America really hated them. I’m sure he’ll be up here to help.”

What is it about wrestlers that makes them such appealing political candidates in Japan and the US? Is it their masculinity? Giant authoritative boots (If so, Condee Rice might be considering running for office!)?

Perhaps it’s easy for the wrestlers to adapt to the campaigning process’s similarities to the carnival sideshow aspects of pro wrestling. I mean, pro wrestling and politics have a lot in common – head to head confrontation, tag teams, battle royales (battles royale?), playing to the crowd, constant touring, factionism. One difference – the winners aren’t decided beforehand in politics (we hope).

I wonder – do pro wrestlers enter politics in Mexico? The most famous luchador of all, El Santo, seems not to have made that career decision. Have there been any politicians from the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling?

Kayan Girl with Squirt Gun

17441767709_0_BG.jpg
Thanks again to the lovely Mrs. Adamu for the photo.

The Kayan (or Padaung) people live an uncertain existence in refugee camps on the Thailand/Burma border, where a chief activity is venturing outside the camps daily to wow foreign tourists with their freakishly long necks.

Mrs. Adamu reports that the girl pictured was especially skilled at attracting attention. You have to admit she has a sense of style.

Creative Solutions from the Cambodian Hospitality Industry

Mrs. Adamu brings us a highlight from her trip to Cambodia:

cambodian solutions.jpg

More from Mrs. Adamu and my own trip to Thailand in days to come.

UPDATE: For those of you who thought this might NOT be the hotel being cheap about stolen towels, here are the $7 towels in question:

towels71964576809_0_BG.jpg

Added facility? Sure… for me to poop on!

Surprise! The Lower House is corrupt

Exercise of the FOIA process by the Asahi Shimbun reveals a “customary” practice in the Diet’s Lower House of using funds meant for the investigation of corruption for lavish meals at fancy restaurants:


Lower House spent 100 million yen in tax money for food and booze in fiscal 2002 and 2003

05/25/2006
The Asahi Shimbun

Lower House members and secretariat employees spent about 100 million yen ($886,839) in taxpayers’ money for food, drinks and parties often at posh establishments in fiscal 2002 and 2003, according to government documents.

Ironically, the money came from a secretive budget that is supposed to be used to investigate wrongdoings of government officials.

The expenses were listed under such categories as “consultation meetings,” according to the documents disclosed to The Asahi Shimbun.

Many of those so-called meetings took place at exorbitant restaurants, nightclubs, bars and hotels in some of the most expensive areas of Tokyo.

The misappropriated funds are used not just for the wrongdoing of government but also to investigate major scandals such as the recent scare over falsified earthquake safety data.

More lurid details of some of the misused funds (massive amounts of liquor consumed, time spent at Chinese hostess bars, etc) can (as usual) be found at ZAKZAK, the most entertaining news resource on Japan available outside the country. I may update this post with translations of some of them but not right now.

Those are some big dancers


Another bad kabuki metaphor spotted by Jon.

“It’s all a Kabuki dance,” said Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the military reform project at the Center for Defense Information and a former adviser to Senate Republicans.

If anyone knows about dancing, it’s the director of the military reform project at the Center for Defense Information.

Reason fails again in US government

No sooner do I write about the misinformed campaign against Chinese PCs being carried out by certain members of the US Congress then the State Department announces that none of the 16,000 machines being purchased from Lenovo will be connected to any high security networks or used to process any classified data.

As the NYT article says:

Long story short, an influential member of Congress played the China card, and the State Department folded.

It was a drama that reached a conclusion late last week, when the State Department, responding to fears that its security might be breached by a secretly placed device or hidden software, agreed to keep personal computers made by Lenovo of China off its networks that handle classified government messages and documents.

The damage to Lenovo is more to its reputation than to its pocketbook. The State Department will use the 16,000 desktop computers it purchased from Lenovo, just not on the computer networks that carry sensitive government intelligence.


I previously mentioned the absurdity of even trying to find computer constructed outside of China, as well as the somewhat unlikely prospect that Chinese trojans could be hidden in the systems without being located. Well, naturally Lenovo agrees with me about that, but there’s more. Jeffrey Carlisle, vice president of government relations for Lenovo, describes
the worry that the Chinese government might secretly slip spying hardware or software on Lenovo computers shipped to the State Department as “a fantasy.” The desktop machines, he said, will be made in Monterrey, Mexico, and Raleigh, N.C., at plants purchased from I.B.M.

“It’s the same places, using the same processes as I.B.M. had,” Mr. Carlisle said. “Nothing’s changed.”


So despite everything, by going to a company partially owned by the Chinese government (and not incidentally, also partly owned by IBM, and by other American and non-governmental foreign investors) they are actually getting one of the few sources of computers NOT made in China! Do they now think that the former IBM executives and engineers that run the Mexican and Raleigh plants are now agents of the Chinese government just because of who owns some of the stock? This notion of Communist Party control over Lenovo just seems so overblown. According to Wikipedia the actual breakdown is “as of May 1, 2005 35.2% of Lenovo was owned by public shareholders, 45.9% by Legend Holdings Limited, and 18.9% by IBM.”

Furthermore, the headquarters of the company is located in New York State and is planning to relocate to Raleigh, where the Thinkpad group is based. Yes, the Chinese government owns a large chunk of Lenovo through Legend Holdings Limited. While the corporate entity known as Lenovo may have originated in China with government backing, it has transmuted into a very 21st century transnational company, in which the Chinese government is merely a stockholder. Certainly with the force of authoritarian Chinese law behind them the CCP could do much to control operations within China, but I find very little credible reason to believe that a minority stockholder would be able to exert the level of influence necessary to illegally alter the designs of systems in a way that would be economically suicidal if uncovered at a factory in Raleigh N.C. formerly owned by IBM and managed from the Purchase, NY headquarters.

I have a Mac Classic in my attic that you could use

It has been just about two months since I last discussed the Congressional revolt against Chinese manufactured computers and for a while I thought that perhaps the story was dead, but leave it to a Congress member to not merely flog, but actually hitch his wagon to a dead horse. Washingtonpost.com is running an AP story saying that the State Department has declared that the 16,000 computers they purchased from Lenovo will not be used for classified work. This followed a complaint by Virgina Representative Frank Wolf, who while he may have been elected to represent the good people of Virgina, seems unlikely to qualify for a job setting up internet connections at people’s homes.
Red IBM

The government, Griffin wrote, is committed to making sure the purchase from Lenovo, the world’s No. 3 PC maker, will not “compromise our information and communication channels.”

Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the House subcommittee that finances State Department operations, said he raised alarms after he discovered that officials planned to use at least 900 of the computers in classified work and at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. That, he said, possibly could give China access to sensitive U.S. information.


While there may in fact be a miniscule theoretical possiblity of a security breach resulting from some sort of clever trojan hidden deep in the firmware of a China manufactured computer (such as if State were stupid enough to use the Lenovo security chip), there is something unaccounted for by Mr. Wolf that would prevent them from buying computers entirely manufactured inside the United States. Namely, there aren’t any.

As a chart in this piece at DailyTech.com illustrates, over the past several years every single PC manufacturer, whether Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese or even American, has come to do at least some of their manufacturing and basically all of their final assembly in China.

Unfortunately for Representative Wolf, banning the purchase of computers manufactured in China essentially means banning the purchase of computers. At least, unless he wants the government to trove attics and garage sales to collect 1980s models like my old Mac Classic.

But as for the real issue of whether or not manufacturing in China is a security risk. I would have to say, not particularly. While the computers may be “made” in China, they aren’t designed there. Just because a piece of electronics has “Made in China” stamped on its outer shell does not mean that the entire contents was made in China, only that the case was. But while the system may have been assembled and some of the components manufactured there, virtually none of the highest tech components responsible for the actual processing of the computer are made there.

Does it seem likely that it is possible to add a trojan to imported AMD chips made in Germany, or modify the design of an Nvidia chipset, designed in California and manufactured in Shenzhen, China by a Taiwanese company, so that it stealthily transmits keystrokes over the internet to Chinese servers?

Regardless of where the hardware is from, while the systems are preconfigured by the maker, we can assume the State’s IT department will wipe the hard drive and reinstall their own carefully tweaked (hopefully) secure disk image, and then replace the BIOS and firmware with vetted software written by the American or Taiwanese companies that actually designed the components.

Dietman Taizo Sugimura an Idiot After All? (At least he is an admitted plagiarizer)

Speaking of book news:

Young LDP Diet member Taizo Sugimura (PR, South Kanto) has admitted that a post on his personal blog was plagiarized from the autobiography You Aren’t an Idiot After All. ZAKZAK has the story:

This Time Taizo is Suspected of Plagiarism…Just before his marriage
Blog Post Closely Resembles Popular Yoyogi Seminar Teacher’s Autobiography

A post on Lower House member Taizo Sugimura (age 26)’s blog was found to closely resemble the autobiography of popular teacher at the famous exam preparation school Yoyogi Seminar (Keisuke Yoshino, age 39). (Sugimura has since admitted to the plagiarism).

The blog post, uploaded at 11:32pm on May 10, starts out “It was my last night as a single man.” Sugimura describes that when he was 19, he “seriously hated myself,” went to a snowy mountain to kill himself, and “lay down on the snow, quietly waiting for death.” However, he returned to his car after being unable to withstand the cold. He tried going outside again, but ended up going home after thinking “At this rate I’ll catch a cold!”

Yoshino’s memoirs, You Aren’t an Idiot After All, were published in 1991 and were reprinted in paperback. A passage in the book, in which the 19-year-old author attempts suicide by going to the Shigakogen plateau, and after going in and out of his car a few times returns home after realizing he’d catch a cold – the resemblance is consistent even in the story’s punchline.

Yoshino, a former biker gang member, participated in a discussion group for NEETs (people Not in Employment, Education, or Training) held by Sugimura. During the discussion, Yoshino reportedly told that story.

The eery resemblance became a topic of discussion on the Internet, and by May 23 the offending passages were deleted.

(liberally abstracted from ZAKZAK 2006/05/23)

Thank god for the Internet. If you watch the video in which he admits to the plagiarism, you’ll notice just how little he seems to care that he’s a freaking dumbass for ripping off a popular book.

It sounds like he thinks it’s all over since he just deleted the passages in question. Doesn’t he realize it’s too late?