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‘Watch out Japan!’ Astronaut captures incredible images of super typhoon Neoguri from space as it batters the coast of Japan with 154mph winds

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Source: MailOnLine

Tokyo’s ‘oldest man’ had been dead for 30 years

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Officials had planned a birthday celebration to honour Mr Kato but they found him dead

He was thought to be the oldest man in Tokyo – but when officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, they uncovered mummified skeletal remains lying in his bed.

Mr Kato may have been dead for 30 years according to Japanese authorities.

They grew suspicious when they went to honour Mr Kato at his address in Adachi ward, but his granddaughter told them he “doesn’t want to see anybody”.

Police are now investigating the family on possible fraud charges.

Source: BBC News Read more

Shop fooled by spoof million yen note

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The sticky note copied the look of a 10,000 yen banknote

Staff in a grocery shop in the north of Japan have apparently been taken in by a sticky Post-It-style note in the shape of a million yen bill, it’s reported.

The fact that the largest Japanese banknote is 10,000 yen (£62) was lost on the cashiers. Nor did they notice that Yukichi Fukuzawa – the influential Japanese writer whose face adorns the country’s currency – sports a “wry smile” on the single-sided fake bill, the Mainichi Daily News reports.

Local police say they are investigating a possible forgery case. But this is not the work of a master forger. The note’s provenance is rather more straightforward – it’s a novelty item produced by a company based near Osaka that stopped making the fake money stickers in October 2012 after several were passed off as real currency.

After the latest incident, the company has decided to stop selling its remaining stocks of the comedy banknotes. It is illegal under the Control of Imitation of Currency and Securities Act to manufacture products that “could be mistaken for genuine bills and coinage”, the paper says.

Genuine 10,000 yen banknotes, on which the spoof note was modelled

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‘Beer goggle’ study wins Ig Nobel award

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Drinking alcoholic drinks makes people believe they are more attractive

A team of researchers who found that people think they are more attractive when drinking alcohol, have scooped an Ig Nobel prize for their work

The researchers from France and the US confirmed the “beer goggle effect” also works on oneself.

Ig Nobel awards are a humorous spoof-like version of their more sober cousins, the Nobel prizes.

Winners have 60 seconds to make a speech to avoid being booed off stage by an eight-year-old girl.

Titled “Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder”, the team were awarded one of the 10 awards (listed below) at a packed gala ceremony at Harvard University, US.

Other winners included a patent for trapping and ejecting airplane highjackers and a UK team scooped an Ig for observing that a cow is more likely to stand up the longer it has been lying down.

Penile amputation

The Peace Prize went to the president and state police of Belarus for making public applause illegal and having arrested a one-armed man for the offence. They did not attend the ceremony.

Penile amputations were the focus of the Public Health Prize. A team from Thailand recommended how to manage an epidemic of such amputations, but said their technique was not advised in cases where the penis had been partially eaten by a duck (after amputation).

Ig Nobel Prize The awards are presented by past Nobel laureates

Representing archaeology was a study that observed which bones dissolved when swallowing whole a dead shrew.

Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, US, and one of the five co-authors of the alcohol attractiveness study, said he was honoured that his team’s work had won an Ig.

In the study, people in a bar were asked how funny, original and attractive they found themselves. The higher their blood alcohol level the more attractive they thought they were.

Attractive drunks

The same effect was also found for those who only thought they had been drinking alcohol when in fact it was a non-alcoholic placebo drink.

“People have long observed that drunk people think others are more attractive but ours is the first study to find that drinking makes people think they are more attractive themselves,” Prof Bushman told the BBC.

“If you become drunk and think you are really attractive it might influence your thoughts and behaviour towards others. It illustrates that in human memory, the link between alcohol and attractiveness is pretty strong.”

Judges were also asked to rate how attractive they thought the participants were. The individuals who thought they were more attractive were not necessarily rated thus by judges.

Snoozing cows

“It was just an illusion in their mind. Although people may think they become more attractive when they become intoxicated, other [sober] people don’t think that,” added Prof Bushman.

Prize winners tend to see the Ig Nobels as a considerable honour and indeed seven of the 10 winners (one winner died in 2006) attended the ceremony in Cambridge, US, to accept the prizes at their own expense.

Cows lying down One study looked at the time between cows standing up and sitting down

Although a light-hearted event, the awards are handed out for work that is for the most part serious research. Prof Bushman said that his study significantly contributed to the existing literature.

And the study about cows standing up or lying down was important to be able to detect health problems early on, say its authors.

“We were surprised by the prize. We thought we did a decent piece of work and did not realise it made other people laugh,” lead author Bert Tolkamp from Scotland’s Rural College, UK, told BBC News. But he added that anything that promoted interest in science was very welcome.

The full list of 2013 Ig Nobel winners:

Medicine Prize: Masateru Uchiyama, Gi Zhang, Toshihito Hirai, Atsushi Amano, Hisashi Hashuda (Japan), Xiangyuan Jin (China/Japan) and Masanori Niimi (Japan/UK) for assessing the effect of listening to opera on mice heart transplant patients.

Psychology Prize: Laurent Bègue, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, and Medhi Ourabah, (France), Brad Bushman (USA/UK/, the Netherlands/Poland) for confirming that people who think they are drunk also think they are more attractive.

Joint Prize in Biology and Astronomy: Marie Dacke (Sweden/Australia), Emily Baird, Eric Warrant (Sweden/Australia/Germany], Marcus Byrne (South Africa/UK) and Clarke Scholtz (South Africa), for discovering that when dung beetles get lost, they can navigate their way home by looking at the milky way.

Safety Engineering Prize: The late Gustano Pizzo (US), for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers. The system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the hijacker through the airplane’s specially-installed bomb bay doors through which he is parachuted to the ground where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival.

Physics Prize: Alberto Minetti (Italy/UK/Denmark/Switzerland), Yuri Ivanenko (Italy/Russia/France), Germana Cappellini, Francesco lacquaniti (Italy) and Nadia Dominici (Italy/Switzerland), for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond – if those people and that pond were on the Moon.

Chemistry Prize: Shinsuke Imai, Nobuaki Tsuge, Muneaki Tomotake, Yoshiaki Nagatome, Hidehiko Kumgai (Japan) and Toshiyuki Nagata (Japan/Germany), for discovering that the biochemical process by which onions make people cry is even more complicated than scientists previously realised.

Archaeology Prize: Brian Crandall (US) and Peter Stahl (Canada/US), for observing how the bones of a swallowed dead shrew dissolves inside the human digestive system

Peace Prize: Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, for making it illegal to applaud in public, and to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding.

Probability Prize: Bert Tolkamp (UK/the Netherlands), Marie Haskell, Fritha Langford. David Roberts, and Colin Morgan (UK), for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.

Public Health Prize: Kasian Bhanganada, Tu Chayavatana, Chumporn Pongnumkul, Anunt Tonmukayakul, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Krit Komaratal, and Henry Wilde (Thailand), for the medical techniques of penile re-attachment after amputations (often by jealous wives). Techniques which they recommend, except in cases where the amputated penis had been partially eaten by a duck.

What the Hell is that Arch Made of?

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Japan quake ‘heard at edge of space’

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Goce flies lower than any other scientific satellite

The great Tohoku earthquake in Japan two years ago was so big its effects were even felt at the edge of space.

Scientists say the Magnitude 9.0 tremor on 11 March 2011 sent a ripple of sound through the atmosphere that was picked up by the Goce satellite.

Its super-sensitive instrumentation was able to detect the disturbance as it passed through the thin wisps of air still present 255km above the Earth.

The observation is reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

It has long been recognised that major quakes will generate very low-frequency acoustic waves, or infrasound – a type of deep rumble at frequencies below those discernible to the human ear. But no spacecraft in orbit has had the capability to record them, until now.

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Puts a whole new meaning to the age old question: “If a tree falls in the forest and no man is there to hear it, does it make a noise?”

Chicken Little “The sky is falling!”

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Asteroid DA14

Asteroid DA14

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After the huge meteorite explosion over Russia reports are coming in from around the globe:

Japan: Huge Fireball on Valentines Day

Cuba: Suspected Meteor Explosion in Cuba

USA: Fireball Lights up Northern California Skies

All this combined with the passing DA14 asteroid…

Another, what is it?

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The cloud cover over Mount Fuji had been likened to a ball of cotton wool

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What is the Truth?

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Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

by Patrick J. Buchanan

“On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt took the rostrum before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Japan. A day earlier, at dawn, carrier-based Japanese aircraft had launched a sneak attack devastating the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor. Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, “We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan.” But to friends, “the Chief” sent another message: “You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit.”

Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover’s explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West. Edited by historian George Nash, “Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath” is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war. Yet the book is no polemic. The 50-page run-up to the war in the Pacific uses memoirs and documents from all sides to prove Hoover’s indictment. And perhaps the best way to show the power of this book is the way Hoover does it – chronologically, painstakingly, week by week.

Consider Japan’s situation in the summer of 1941. Bogged down in a four year war in China she could neither win nor end, having moved into French Indochina, Japan saw herself as near the end of her tether. Inside the government was a powerful faction led by Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye that desperately did not want a war with the United States. The “pro-Anglo-Saxon” camp included the navy, whose officers had fought alongside the U.S. and Royal navies in World War I, while the war party was centered on the army, Gen. Hideki Tojo and Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, a bitter anti-American. On July 18, 1941, Konoye ousted Matsuoka, replacing him with the “pro-Anglo-Saxon” Adm. Teijiro Toyoda.

The U.S. response: On July 25, we froze all Japanese assets in the United States, ending all exports and imports, and denying Japan the oil upon which the nation and empire depended. Stunned, Konoye still pursued his peace policy by winning secret support from the navy and army to meet FDR on the U.S. side of the Pacific to hear and respond to U.S. demands. U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew implored Washington not to ignore Konoye’s offer, that the prince had convinced him an agreement could be reached on Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and South and Central China. Out of fear of Mao’s armies and Stalin’s Russia, Tokyo wanted to hold a buffer in North China.

On Aug. 28, Japan’s ambassador in Washington presented FDR a personal letter from Konoye imploring him to meet. Tokyo begged us to keep Konoye’s offer secret, as the revelation of a Japanese prime minister’s offering to cross the Pacific to talk to an American president could imperil his government. On Sept. 3, the Konoye letter was leaked to the Herald-Tribune. On Sept. 6, Konoye met again at a three-hour dinner with Grew to tell him Japan now agreed with the four principles the Americans were demanding as the basis for peace. No response. On Sept. 29, Grew sent what Hoover describes as a “prayer” to the president not to let this chance for peace pass by. On Sept. 30, Grew wrote Washington, “Konoye’s warship is ready waiting to take him to Honolulu, Alaska or anyplace designated by the president.” No response. On Oct. 16, Konoye’s cabinet fell.

In November, the U.S. intercepted two new offers from Tokyo: a Plan A for an end to the China war and occupation of Indochina and, if that were rejected, a Plan B, a modus vivendi where neither side would make any new move. When presented, these, too, were rejected out of hand. At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDR’s war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s notes speak of the prevailing consensus: “The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into … firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.” “We can wipe the Japanese off the map in three months,” wrote Navy Secretary Frank Knox.

As Grew had predicted, Japan, a “hara-kiri nation,” proved more likely to fling herself into national suicide for honor than to allow herself to be humiliated. Out of the war that arose from the refusal to meet Prince Konoye came scores of thousands of U.S. dead, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the fall of China to Mao Zedong, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the rise of a new arrogant China that shows little respect for the great superpower of yesterday. If you would know the history that made our world, spend a week with Mr. Hoover’s book.”
– http://www.sott.net/articles/show/238635-Did-FDR-Provoke-Pearl-Harbor-

Source: Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly

Japan’s ninjas heading for extinction

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Japan’s era of shoguns and samurai is long over, but the country does have one, or maybe two, surviving ninjas. Experts in the dark arts of espionage and silent assassination, ninjas passed skills from father to son – but today’s say they will be the last.

Japan’s ninjas were all about mystery. Hired by noble samurai warriors to spy, sabotage and kill, their dark outfits usually covered everything but their eyes, leaving them virtually invisible in shadow – until they struck.

Using weapons such as shuriken, a sharpened star-shaped projectile, and the fukiya blowpipe, they were silent but deadly.

Ninjas were also famed swordsmen. They used their weapons not just to kill but to help them climb stone walls, to sneak into a castle or observe their enemies.

Most of their missions were secret so there are very few official documents detailing their activities. Their tools and methods were passed down for generations by word of mouth.

Jinichi Kawakami

This has allowed filmmakers, novelists and comic artists to use their wild imagination.

Hollywood movies such as Enter the Ninja and American Ninja portray them as superhumans who could run on water or disappear in the blink of an eye.

“That is impossible because no matter how much you train, ninjas were people,” laughs Jinichi Kawakami, Japan’s last ninja grandmaster, according to the Iga-ryu ninja museum.

However, ninjas did apparently have floats that enabled them move across water in a standing position.

Kawakami is the 21st head of the Ban family, one of 53 that made up the Koka ninja clan. He started learning ninjutsu (ninja techniques) when he was six, from his master, Masazo Ishida.

“I thought we were just playing and didn’t think I was learning ninjutsu,” he says.

“I even wondered if he was training me to be a thief because he taught me how to walk quietly and how to break into a house.”

Other skills that he mastered include making explosives and mixing medicines.

“I can still mix some herbs to create poison which doesn’t necessarily kill but can make one believe that they have a contagious disease,” he says.

Kawakami inherited the clan’s ancient scrolls when he was 18.

While it was common for these skills to be passed down from father to son, many young men were also adopted into the ninja clans.

There were at least 49 of these but Mr Kawakami’s Koka clan and the neighbouring Iga clan remain two of the most famous thanks to their work for powerful feudal lords such as Ieyasu Tokugawa – who united Japan after centuries of civil wars when he won the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

It is during the Tokugawa era – known as Edo – when official documents make brief references to ninjas’ activities.

“They weren’t just killers like some people believe from the movies,” says Kawakami.

In fact, they had day jobs. “Because you cannot make a living being a ninja,” he laughs.

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