It’s not just for Catholics anymore

Zakzak reports:

At Nagata Jinja in Nagatu-ku in Kobe city it was learned on the 4th of this month that a male priest(30) at the Shinto shrine (shrine head: Masakatsu Fujiwara) had installed a hidden video camera in the dressing room used by the shrine’s Miko and recorded them changing clothes. The shrine then fired him. The Nagata office of the Hyogo Prefectural police then filed charges with the Kobe District Prosecutor on suspicion of the minor offense of peeping.

According to the investigation, when on February 14th a worker was cleaning the shrine, they discovered that a video camera had been installed in an unused locker inside the girl’s changing room. Fujiwara shrine manager, along with reporting this to the Nagata police, also asked the 11 male staff about the situation, and one of the lower ranking male shrine priests known as “Gonnegi”
confessed to the crime.
The man made a statement that he had “made recordings on several occasionas.” The girl’s changing room was normally used by two Miko.

The Nagata shrine is said to have been built in the year 201 A.D. by Goshintaku(御神託). It is counted as one of the representative Shinto shrines of Kobe, along with Ikuta(生田) Jinja and Minatogawa(湊川) Jinja.

Note: Miko are so-called “shrine maidens” who assist in rituals, somewhat like an altar boy in Catholicism, but often with more responsibility and a wider range of dutied. They can be aged anywhere from early teens to mid-twenties, and despite the name virginity, or even marital status, is not a consideration in modern times.

Watch who you talk to

From today’s NYT article on the contents of newly released documents on the Guantanama Bay prisoners.

Another Saudi, Mazin Salih Musaid al-Awfi, was one of at least half a dozen men against whom the “relevant data” considered by the annual review boards included the possession at the time of his capture of a Casio model F-91W watch. According to evidentiary summaries in those cases, such watches have “been used in bombings linked to Al Qaeda.”

“I am a bit surprised at this piece of evidence,” Mr. Awfi said. “If that is a crime, why doesn’t the United States arrest and sentence all the shops and people who own them?”

Another detainee whose evidence sheet also included a Casio F-91W, Abdullah Kamal, was an electrical engineer from Kuwait who once played on his country’s national volleyball team. He was also accused of being a leader of a Kuwaiti militant group that collected money for Mr. bin Laden.

As for the Casio allegation, Mr. Kamal said the watch was a common one in Kuwait and had a compass that could be used to find the direction of Mecca for his prayers. “We have four chaplains” at Guantánamo, he said. “All of them wear this watch.”

Obviously the real issue is not are any of these men innocent, but how long as Casio been in league with the terrorists.

Real-life “super troopers” in Southwest Airlines prank

Fuerschbach v. Southwest Airlines has to be one of the most fun cases I’ve read in a while…

Several supervisors at Southwest Airlines convinced two Albuquerque police officers to stage an arrest of Marcie Fuerschbach, a Southwest Airlines employee, as part of an elaborate prank that included actual handcuffing and apparent arrest. This was a “joke gone bad,” and turned out to be anything but funny, as Fuerschbach allegedly suffered serious psychological injuries as a result of the prank. She sued the officers and the City of Albuquerque under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Fuerschbach also asserted claims for various state torts against the officers, the city, her supervisors, and Southwest Airlines.

The full story after the jump…
Continue reading Real-life “super troopers” in Southwest Airlines prank

Now You Can Listen to anti-Japanese Rap Song “Fuck Zapan” Courtesy Mutant Frog Travelogue

DJ Doc
One of my first posts for Mutant Frog Travelogue concerned the strange case of an anti-Japanese rap song from Korean rap group DJ Doc (pictured above). In my infinite magnanimity, I translated the unintentionally hilarious lyrics:

Are you going to lie about your own history?! (Hai!) Go ahead and lie, you deceitful pigfeet!
Pussies! How much will you lie, pigfeet?! Keep on lying, Japs!
Lie to your mom and dad! Lie to your mom and dad!
Will you eat your mom? (Hai!) Is that OK? Yeah, that’s fine! That’s just fine!
Retard bitches! Go and have a seizure!
You barbarian, epileptic Japanese!
Mouse-dicked Jeps “Japan is our toilet!”… FUCK!
Pucking nation.. Chapan is a Pucking nation*4 (repeat 2x)

The post proved to be one of our most popular and generated comments that ranged from the merely curious (“Can’t we ALL just get ALONG?!”) to the downright deranged (“You’ll never look as good as the white man. so go eat some kemchi or sushi or shrimp fried rice you slit/slant eyed freaks.”).

Unfortunately, the site I originally linked to took down the audio clip, and I accidentally deleted the MP3 I had. But now I’m feeling generous again, so here it is again in all its amateurish glory! I’ve saved the file here, so this song will never again be lost to history. Try singing along using my English version of the lyrics!

(Thanks to ZMPK for making the song available again and Saru for taking the time to search for it)

Some weekend humor

This is probably my favorite Monty Python skit:

Good evening!

The last scene was interesting from the point of view of a professional logician because it contained a number of logical fallacies — that is, invalid propositional constructions and syllogistic forms — of the type so often committed by my wife.

“All wood burns,” states Sir Bedevere. “Therefore,” he concludes, “all that burns is wood.”

This is, of course, pure bullshit! Universal affirmatives can only be partially converted. All of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan. Obvious one would think.

However, my wife does not understand this necessary limitation of the conversion of a proposition. Consequently, she does not understand me. For how can a woman expect to appreciate a professor of logic if the simplest cloth-eared syllogism causes her to flounder.

For example: given the premise, “All fish live underwater” and “All mackerel are fish”, my wife will conclude, not that “All mackerel live underwater”, but that “If she buys kippers it will not rain” or that “Trout live in trees” or even that “I do not love her any more.”

This she calls “using her intuition”. I call it “crap” and it gets me very IRRITATED because it is not logical!

“There will be no supper tonight,” she will sometimes cry upon my return home.

“Why not?” I will ask.

“Because I have been screwing the milkman all day,” she will say, quite oblivious of the howling error she has made.

“But,” I will wearily point out, “even given that the activities of screwing the milkman and getting supper are mutually exclusive, now that the screwing is over, surely then, supper may, logically, be got.”

“You don’t love me any more!” she will now often postulate. “If you did, you would give me one now and again so that I would not have to rely on that rancid Pakistani for my orgasms!”

“I will give you one after you have got me my supper!” I now usually scream, “but not before” — as you understand, making her bang contingent on the arrival of my supper.

“God, you turn me on when you’re angry, you ancient brute!” she now mysteriously deduces, forcing her sweetly throbbing tongue down my throat.

“Fuck supper!” I now invariably conclude, throwing logic somewhat joyously to the four winds, and so we thrash about on our milk-stained floor, transported by animal passion, until we sink back, exhausted, onto the cartons of yoghurt….

I’m afraid I seem to have strayed somewhat from my original brief. But in a nutshell, sex is more fun than logic. One cannot prove this, but it IS in the same sense that Mount Everest IS, or that Alma Cogan ISN’T.


The most Japaneezy states in the Union

The U.S. states/wannabe states where you’re most likely to find Japanese people:

# Hawaii: 1.70% (20,590 / 1,211,537)
# California: 0.33% (112,212 / 33,871,648)
# Washington: 0.29% (16,396 / 5,894,121)
# Nevada: 0.20% (3,935 / 1,998,257)
# Oregon: 0.19% (6,351 / 3,421,399)
# New York: 0.17% (32,034 / 18,976,457)
# Massachusetts: 0.14% (8,682 / 6,349,097)
# New Jersey: 0.13% (11,245 / 8,414,350)
# District of Columbia: 0.13% (749 / 572,059)
# Maryland: 0.12% (5,354 / 4,296,486)

And the lowest? Puerto Rico, with only 183 Japanese people—0.004%. Pitiful.

Source: 2000 U.S. census data, translated by this dude, and brought to my attention by someone on the Philadelphia mixi board who was complaining about Pennsylvania being ranked 39. (Cross the river to Jersey and enjoy your shrimp chips, dang it.)

Is transparency the best policy?

It isn’t illegal to keep secrets. Sometimes, you really have to. Other times, it will get you in trouble. Case in point: the class action against NetFlix.

In late 2003, a Netflix customer named Manuel Villanueva started a website where he documented problems he had experienced with Netflix, a company that provides DVD rentals by mail. He noted that Netflix had violated its agreement to provide him with “unlimited rentals,” by engaging in a practice known as “throttling.”

As a result of this practice, Villanueva says, he was treated worse than other renters who paid the very same price he did — $17.99 – for what was supposed to be, in theory, the same service. In addition, he says, Netflix’s advertising was misleading: Rentals weren’t really unlimited given that Netflix selectively doled out its DVDs.

Now, to be clear, discriminating among customers is usually legal… as long as it isn’t based on race or some other protected status, or in a sensitive type of business like lodging. That’s how airlines get away with charging a walk-up businessman $1,000 for the same seat that would cost an advance purchaser $200. The thing is, just about everyone who buys airplane tickets knows this is the case. From the same article:

The problem [was] that Netflix did not disclose the throttling to consumers up front – and thus arguably misled them as to the service they were purchasing, breaching its agreement with them, as stated in its Terms and Conditions. For this reason, the plaintiff class had a valid claim.

…The plaintiffs in the lawsuit saw equal treatment as a right, implicit in the company’s promise of “unlimited rentals.” And they are correct about this – if a company does not disclose that there are certain limits to the “unlimited” feature, this seems clearly misleading.

Once a company has disclosed its business practices, customers can choose to say or to shop elsewhere. Many Netflix customers retain their accounts – even after throttling has been publicized. Why? They think the service is still a good deal.

One of the few good experiences I had in my law school Contracts class was a simple negotiation simulation. Client A wanted $10,000; Client B didn’t want to pay more than $5,000. We had to pair up and reach a compromise. Once we had all done our separate negotiations, we compared results… and the people who got the most for their clients turned out to be the ones who were most open about what their clients wanted. (As opposed to my partner, who wanted to offer the other side nothing to start out with.)

So the bottom line is, don’t keep customer policies secret. The policies that you “have to” keep secret are often going to get you in trouble once they become public. And at any rate, a major part of keeping people happy is making sure that they don’t feel like they’re getting screwed behind closed doors. Lesson to NetFlix.

Energy Crisis SOLVED

Check this out!

Friday, March 3, 2006

Japanese Scientists Extract Gasoline From Cow Waste

TOKYO (Nikkei)–Once considered useful only for fertilizer, scientists are finding new uses for cow excrement as a result of technological developments.

Researchers at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have found a way to produce gasoline out of cow waste in a tie-up with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Using metal catalysts, the partners have successfully produced 1.4 milliliters of gasoline out of 100 grams of such waste after applying 30 atmospheres of pressure on it and heating it to 300 C.

The research partners believe a large facility capable of converting cow excrement into a significant volume of gasoline will be in demand from livestock farmers, who have a hard time disposing of the waste. They hope to commercialize such a facility within five years.
Continue reading Energy Crisis SOLVED

Airlifting anime to starving Iraqis

Anyone out there remember Dave Chappelle’s “Black Bush” skit? With the scene that went like this:

BLACK BUSH: I got a coalition of the willing! I got 40 nations ready to roll, son!
REPORTER: Like who?
BLACK BUSH: Who the f— said that? Like who? Uh… England. Japan’s… sending Playstations…

Well, although I haven’t seen any Playstation stories yet, here’s the next best thing, which I swear I am not making up:

The Japan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Animation International Middle East, has decided to provide an Arabic-dubbed version of the soccer animation TV program “Captain Majed” (originally “Captain Tsubasa”) to the Iraq Media Network (IMN) as grant aid.

As soccer is a popular sport in Iraq, it is expected that the TV program will strengthen goodwill toward Japan on the Iraqi side. In particular, it may provide dreams and hopes for the children of Iraq, who will shoulder the future of the country.

The conclusion of the agreement for this grant aid took place on March 2 between the IMN and the Japan Foundation, and the program will be provided to the IMN within coming days.

Holy crap, can diplomats be any more irrelevant? Although I have to admit, if you dub this show in Arabic, it might seriously look like a show about Iraqi soccer players.

ア・ミリオン・リトル・ピーシーズ Japan Version?

I remember reading about this book when it first came out and I actually considered picking up a used copy.

From Chris Kohler’s GameLife column at Wired:

I just finished up reading Wrong About Japan, a travel memoir by novelist Peter Carey about a trip he took to Japan with his anime- and manga-obsessed son. It’s a short book, mixing the dubious results of Carey’s interviews with anime directors with the story of his ever-changing relationship with his oh-so-typically withdrawn and moody tween.

As it turns out, most of the story was fiction.

Carey told Seattle Weekly that the character Takashi, Charley’s similarly anime-obsessed Japanese friend, was invented. As the author put it, he “had to” make up a character to “get to” the conflict, which is what a phenomenally self-assured person says when they mean they “felt like” making up a character so they could “pretend there was” conflict.