kutsuwamushi: (it's time for a holiday)
"Eigo Noto" is an audio program used in Japanese elementary schools for learning English. Now, thanks to youtube user francol86, it's also a guide to women! Like most such guides, it's of course quite sexist (LOLWTF pour your own damn juice), but I chose to take that as ironic.


Aug. 22nd, 2010 12:42 pm
kutsuwamushi: (korra)
Cleaning out my bookmarks.

Photographs of Kaiping. Most photos in this flickr set are of diaolou, residential towers built by wealthy Chinese who needed protection against bandits--and to show of their status. They're fascinating; many were built in the early part of the 20th century by merchants who had business abroad, and have a lot of Western influences. It's also interesting how the builders took the largely horizontal layout of traditional Chinese dwellings and made it vertical.

Neda Lives An article about another Neda, whose life was thrown into chaos because she had a similar name. Neda Agha-Soltan died, and Neda Soltani was eventually forced to leave the country.

Monkeys hate flying squirrels, report monkey-annoyance experts

Mila's Daydreams. Photographer has baby and lots of time.

Professor Newt's Distorted History Lesson. The medieval history blog, Got Medieval, takes on some of the misrepresentations of history being used to argue against the "ground zero mosque."

Colonialism, Soap, and the Cleansing Metaphor. Sociological images has some old advertisements for soap.

The most isolated man on the planet. His tribe was murdered for their land. Now he lives alone in the jungle, rebuffing all attempts at contact--sometimes violently--by outsiders. He's still a target for land developers, because according to the Brazilian government, the land he lives on is his own. The story is tragic in so many ways.

A Lifetime, Washed Away. A New York Times op ed by a Pakistani reflecting on the incomprehensible destruction there.

Linguistics Challenge Puzzles. Ranging from really easy and suitable for children to pretty difficult. Some of the pages seem to be broken, but most work for me.

Russia in color, a century ago. An amazing Big Picture post of pictures taken in Russia at the turn of the century. The colors are as vibrant as if they were taken yesterday... or maybe in 1980.

A Secret History. A New York Times article on the history of female Islamic scholars.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I hate to be the bearer of late and redundant news, but this is too smile-making to assume you've all seen it already:


We haven't won the war, but winning a battle feels nice, doesn't it? Here is the Metafilter thread on this, which has the most informative discussion about the decision that I've seen yet. It was posted earlier today, before the decision was announced.

New York Times article with a briefer summary of what this probably means.

The Big Picture takes on same-sex marriage. Some beautiful pictures. Ignore the comments.

More links that I've been collecting over the past few weeks days:

Cordoba House, a Muslim community center whose founders' values include rejection of religious extremism, has come under attack; right-wing pundits and politicians are using it in a cynical attempt to capitalize on anti-Muslim sentiment, turning it into the "ground zero mosque." There are so many ways to respond to this: It's not a mosque and not even visible from the site; Muslims are not our enemies and in fact suffered and died on 9/11 as well; there is already a mosque as close to ground zero. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has responded to the outrage in a speech defending freedom of religion.

Those scanners that the TSA promised can't store the "nude" pictures they take of you? Actually, the U.S. Marshals now admit to saving tens of thousands of those pictures.

In 2004 then 19 year old Sara Reedy was raped at gunpoint. Six months later, she was jailed for false complaint. Today, a federal appeals court reinstated her lawsuit against the police detective who orchestrated her arrest. (Another MeFi link)

Probably everyone has already seen this, but here is Rachel Maddow's wonderful take on the difference between a democracy and a constitutional democracy: we don't get to vote on rights.

Iroquois Lacrosse Team was not able to compete in world championship because the British government did not accept their passports.

North Korean football team shamed in six-hour public inquiry over World Cup. The team's coach has apparently been forced to go into construction work.

A motorcyclist has been charged with wiretapping and faces up to sixteen years in jail for videotaping a police stop in which a plainclothes police officer approached him with his gun drawn and yelling.

Big cats on catnip


Jul. 17th, 2010 03:55 pm
kutsuwamushi: photo of Fever Ray being all goth (serious face)
Via [personal profile] telophase: That "I write like?" meme? It turns out it's an advertising campaign for a scammy Vanity Press. I didn't do the meme so I didn't read all of the comments or anything, but I've seen it pop up on my friends list.

The internet's favorite cat finally speaks.

Mystery Group Claims to Spread Immigrants' Info: A mysterious hate group has released a list of 1,300 people with Hispanic names that they claim to be illegal immigrants, demanding that they be deported. The list includes their personal information, including SSN, workplace, address--and even more chillingly, the due dates of pregnant women. I sincerely hope that they don't succeed in provoking violence against these people. I can't believe that isn't one of their motivations, since it's such a predictable consequence.

South Korea targets Japanese collaborators' descendants. Colonialism: leaves a mess everywhere.
kutsuwamushi: (adorabuhls)
Is it just me, or are Pallas cat kittens the most serious of kittens?

And via telophase, an interesting blog post about that methane gas bubble that's not going to kill us all, and science reporting in general. Now that we're not going to die: Where do I put the fart joke?
kutsuwamushi: (feminism)
Via Sociological Images, New Beetle Gets a Sex Change:
New Beetle is about to get a testosterone injection. A mean-looking chopped top, 200 H.P. motor, widened stance, and a larger interior will transform the quintessential chick car into a rock-hard rock star.

Okay, I'm not a particular fan of the New Beetle, but this irks me, because it's a prime example of how companies panic when they find out that their product has become "girly." It happens to television shows and now, to cars.

And I suspect it will backfire.

The thing is, people really are truly gosh-darn sexist, and it's not easy to get rid of the stigma of being "girly." If you're a guy who cares about such things, you don't want to be the one at the party who says, "Mine's the blue Beetle--but it's the new one, not the old girly one, stop looking at me like that oh god I can see my penis shriveling before your eyes."

The people who might have bought the Beetle because it's cute, nostalgic, and different, no longer have the same reason to, because they've gone and made it look like a not particularly handsome hatchback. They've brought it straight into "Why don't I just buy a Mini Cooper?" territory. Or, even worse, "Why don't I buy a Golf?"

Upgrading the engine is a good idea, though. Buy a Mini Cooper is precisely what my mom did. She loves the looks of the "girly" New Beetle, but she likes fast things. Shove that up your stereotypes.

Via [personal profile] telophase, The Great Escape From Slavery: an article about a married couple who escaped from slavery by the wife posing as a white man, and her husband posing as her slave.


Apr. 9th, 2010 02:34 pm
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
Things that have been collecting since before spring break.

Scott and Scurvy: How we learned to prevent scurvy, and then forgot.

Defectors Say Church of Scientology Hides Abuse: Not news to most people, but it's not a bad article.

A History of the World in 100 Objects: A podcast from BBC Radio 4.

Another Dumbass School Official Story: A girl is handed a prescription drug by a classmate, doesn't want it and give it back--and is suspended for drug possession anyway. My favorite part is that she would have been suspended even if she had immediately ratted her classmate out. Moral of the story: Keep the drugs, and keep them secret.

Trailer For Every Oscar Winning Movie Ever

How the DEA scrubbed Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Poppy Garden from Public Memory: Did you know Jefferson grew opium poppies? I didn't.

Trial by Fire: Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man? There are no words. This is one of the must-reads.

Tiny Art Director: First seen years ago, but now it's a book. "It's dumb Daddy. You should erase it. Grow up Daddy."

The Daily Show's take on the Texas State Board of Education removing Oscar Romero from textbooks. "And that's how Oscar Romero got disappeared by right-wingers for the second time."

North Korean technocrat executed for bungled currency reform Remember the revaluation that destroyed North Korea's tiny market economy and wiped out everyone's savings?

Russia's Wooden Churches: beautiful photographs.

March 21st was the 50th anniversary of the massacre at Sharpeville

Fed Up With School Lunch: A teacher eats what the kids eat.
kutsuwamushi: photo of Fever Ray being all goth (serious face)
A few months ago, some researchers found that women who ate a lot of breakfast cereal were more likely to give birth to boys. It got brief mention in the media and the blogosphere, and a lot of people questioned how that could be possible.

It turns out that it was a basic methodological error.

The authors had performed 132 tests on the same data set, and by doing so, had increased the odds that they would get at least one strange result. You can read more about it here.

Statistics is a funny thing. And it matters.

DNA's Dirty Little Secret

A man named John Puckett is arrested for a murder committed decades earlier. He has no known connection to the victim apart from the DNA in her mouth, which was discovered to match his after law enforcement did a database search. The jury is told that the chance of a false match is less than one in a million.
Typically, law enforcement and prosecutors rely on FBI estimates for the rarity of a given DNA profile—a figure can be as remote as one in many trillions when investigators have all thirteen markers to work with. In Puckett’s case, where there were only five and a half markers available, the San Francisco crime lab put the figure at one in 1.1 million—still remote enough to erase any reasonable doubt of his guilt. The problem is that, according to most scientists, this statistic is only relevant when DNA material is used to link a crime directly to a suspect identified through eyewitness testimony or other evidence. In cases where a suspect is found by searching through large databases, the chances of accidentally hitting on the wrong person are orders of magnitude higher.
In fact, due to the age of the DNA evidence, and the method used to identify Puckett--searching a database for matches, rather than testing people already connected to the crime--the actual odds of a false match were closer to one in three.

Puckett's lawyers, one of whom has a master's degree in biology and molecular genetics, are barred from arguing this in court; the judge calls it "essentially irrelevant." The jury never hears their corrected statistic, about the high rate of coincidental matches in database searches, or even the fact that Puckett is identified through a cold hit. This is not unusual. Similar things happen in courts across the country.

Puckett is convicted for the murder.

Meanwhile, the agencies in charge of these databases, including the FBI, actively block academics and defense counsel from access to them, making it difficult to research the true odds of matches. The FBI cites privacy concerns, but many researchers believe that their real reason is that investigation might undermine faith in database matches using the FBI's figures.

The article has much more and is worth reading.


Mar. 5th, 2010 07:28 pm
kutsuwamushi: (they see me rollin')
Wait. You're telling me I don't have anything due immediately, now that I've finally made it through that stack of things to do? I has free time? ... ohmygod what do I doooo.

Holi 2010 at The Big Picture

The music video for OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass. Contains one amazing Rube Goldberg machine. This made me want to watch Pythagoras Switch.

A History of Obama Feigning Interest in Mundane Things. Never get Botox, Obama.

Daily-updated photostream of pictures of North Korea

Human Cat Perch

Craig Ferguson interviews Stephen Fry Linked to Metafilter because it's broken into four parts.

Public Lectures at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Neutra Face: An Ode on a Typface. Nerdy typography remake of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face"? I'll take one!

And some more serious stuff:

Selling Food Stamps for Kid's Shoes: Due to short time limits on welfare, some people only have their food stamps as a source of income and are forced to sell them to pay for other needs.

Cities Shortening Yellow Traffic Lights for Deadly Profit. I really am not surprised. My hometown recently added stoplight cameras to a couple of major intersections, and my first thought was that it's such a temptation for abuse.

The Best of Journalism (2009): One dude's opinion on what were the best stories of last year. Agree or disagree, it's an amazing collection of things to read.


Feb. 23rd, 2010 01:57 pm
kutsuwamushi: (it's time for a holiday)
You Should Have Seen This & You Should Have Also Seen This: Greg Rutter's Definitive List of The 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced On The Internet Unless You're a Loser or Old or Something & Greg Rutter's Second Definitive List of The 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced On The Internet Unless You're A Loser or Old or Something

I'm tempted to start on a "You Should have Also Seen This Too" list, because I can think of some things that he clearly forgot!

Verizon Math Lesson
G: [big sigh] Okay, I think I have to do this again. Do you recognize that there's a difference between one dollar and one cent?
A: Definitely.
G: Do you recognize there's a difference between half a dollar and half a cent?
A: Definitely
G: Then, do you therefore recognize there's a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents?
A: No.
A man tries to convince multiple Verizon service monkeys that there's a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents after being overcharged for data coverage. Both hilarious and sad. This happened a long time ago, but I guess Consumerist decided to repost it because it's just that good.

Shanghai Photo Gallery

Boingoing has more updates on the laptop-webcam-candy pills story:
School spying: infected laptops mandatory
FBI investigating Lower Merion School District over laptop spying
ACLU and EFF on school where spy-laptops were mandatory

I would pay at least .002 dollars to know what actually happened, but it's certainly looking more and more like some people need to be kicked in the head until they realize students are people who deserve privacy and respect.


Feb. 14th, 2010 01:10 pm
kutsuwamushi: (it's time for a holiday)
Various things that caught my interest over the last few days.

Babymommababy: an incredible personal post written by a woman who works in a NICU about giving teenaged mothers the attention and support that they need, rather than the judgment they usually get.

Probably of interest to [personal profile] sudaki: Al-Jazeera English reports on modern Ainu activists. Is a video.

The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute: in which researchers discover that teaspoons do, in fact, disappear at an appalling rate, but not why. My favorite line is this:
If we assume that the annual rate of teaspoon loss per employee can be applied to the entire workforce of the city of Melbourne (about 2.5 million), an estimated 18 million teaspoons are going missing in Melbourne each year. Laid end to end, these lost teaspoons would cover over 2700 km—the length of the entire coastline of Mozambique—and weigh over 360 metric tons—the approximate weight of four adult blue whales.
Them There I's: Mark Liberman of Language Log comments on Fox News's annoying (and disingenuous) new habit of counting all of the times Obama uses the first person singular.

New Victorian Child: Do you have a dirty chimney? Then new Victorian Child is just what you need! ... this is just one of the clips from the "Horrible Histories" series of shorts, and yes, most are horrible.

Lolwut: A blog called "ReadWriteWeb" publishes an article about Facebook. Somehow, that article becomes the first Google search result for "Facebook Login" and hordes of angry, confused Facebook users descend on the comments section, demanding that they bring the old Facebook back and let them log in. OTF_wank has a pretty good summary here. Hilarious and sad.

Music Time!

Husband Drunk Wife Drunk - Unknown Artist
molam duet

I don't know anything about this song, except that it's from the first Molam compilation by Sublime Frequencies. The ID tags don't contain the artists names, and I haven't been able to find a track listing that includes them.

What makes this so fun, aside from the definite retro sound, is the fact that they sound drunk. Happy drunk or sad drunk, I don't know, but they're certainly goofy drunk.
kutsuwamushi: (they see me rollin')
Song of the Sea, a Cappella and Unanswered:
Imagine roaming the world's largest ocean year after year alone, calling out with the regularity of a metronome, and hearing no response.
For at least twelve years, the "52 hertz whale" has been calling out at a frequency much lower than that of any other known whale, and it has received no response. It travels alone. No one knows why the 52 hertz whale sounds so different than any known whale species, but theories run from it being deaf to being a hybrid to being malformed. Here's slightly more information on Kuro5hin.

... I think I need some cute after that.

How many baby pandas can the human brain handle at once? The answer is at least sixteen, since here are sixteen baby pandas all in a row, but I'm not sure what would happen to a human being if they raised the number to, like, twenty.

Here is a music video from Japan that combines those two hipster loves: crochet and ukuleles. If you like it, check out the related videos for more crochet stuffed animal ukulele stop motion action.

Music Time!

Thanks to Last.fm deciding that Malian music is apparently my favorite in the whole world, I've been on a huge Malian kick.

Sara - Rokia Traoré

I love the changes in tempo in this song. Rokia Traoré also has a unique and compelling voice. I'm not sure I've heard anyone else who sounds quite like it.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
The last speaker of the Bo language has died. Bo was an Andamanese language. The Andamanese languages have evolved independently for as far back as we can know; most are extinct. Wikipedia has this interesting tidbit on their Andamanese languages article:
Possibly their most distinctive characteristic is a noun class system based largely on body parts, in which every noun and adjective may take a prefix according to which body part it is associated with (on the basis of shape, or functional association).
(They cite "Deep Linguistic Prehistory: with particular reference to Andamanese" by Niclas Burenhult, which I haven't had a chance to read yet. It's not that long and I plan to.)

The Metafilter post I linked to has links to pages with more information about Bo, including one that has sound files of Bo being spoken. You can probably ignore most of what's said about Bo in mainstream news sources, though.

Here are some colorful pictures from India during the last month. Everything from traditional Kathakali dancers to motorcycle stunts. And an escaped tiger. But my favorite is this one:

Queens girl Alexa Gonzalez hauled out of school in handcuffs after getting caught doodling on desk -- in erasable marker, no less. What the hell is wrong with people? This was the part of the article that really stood out for me: :
She and her mom went to family court on Tuesday, where Alexa was assigned eight hours of community service, a book report and an essay on what she learned from the experience.
I imagine myself as the twelve-year-old arrested for scribbling on a desk with erasable marker and asked to write an essay about what I learned:

"I learned that when people are given control over other people, it encourages their worst authoritarian impulses. Any infraction, no matter how minor in reality, becomes serious in their minds because they see it as a threat to their authority. This is why kids get arrested for drawing on desks or their wrists broken for dropping some cake."

"My experience has taught me if I actually turn in an essay that describes what I learned truthfully, it will also be seen as a threat to authority, and I'll probably be punished. It has taught me to toe the line. Fuck you all."

(Of course, when I was twelve, I wasn't that well-spoken, but it would have had a similar sentiment.)
kutsuwamushi: photo of Fever Ray being all goth (serious face)
I'm sure most of the Americans on my friends list have seen at least some of the stories about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that have been linked around in the last few days. More military officials are criticizing the policy and are asking for it to be repealed.

Here are some photos from a book of photographs of gay service members--all with their faces hidden.

Hiding their faces (hopefully) protects them from consequences, but it also makes a powerful point, doesn't it?


Feb. 4th, 2010 01:17 pm
kutsuwamushi: photo of Fever Ray being all goth (serious face)
North Korea's economic moves bring new misery:
At the heart of the turmoil is a series of dictates imposed late last year by Kim Jong Il's regime: revaluing the currency, closing down privately run markets in favor of state-owned shops and banning the use of foreign currency and the sale of many imports from China.
Someday, this regime will fail, but it seems as though the suffering of the people has no bearing on when. The government is simply not accountable to them; they only see themselves as accountable to their ideology.

Here's mostly the same information on the revaluation in another article.

Victim of child porn seeks damages: Now an adult, she has sued some of those convicted of possessing a copy for restitution, with mixed results.

Via just about everyone: One of the most trippy political ads I've ever seen. Demon sheep in loafers!


Jan. 9th, 2010 02:25 pm
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
Korea: Photographs of the country by a US Army Photographer from 1945-46.

You'll probably enjoy it if you just enjoy the pictures and captions and ignore the comments where racist nationalists take them as proof that Korea was uncivilized before being colonized by "greater" powers. (Because, of course, bare breasts = uncivilized.)

Lady Gaga Barbie Dolls: Also a Flickr set. What a specific hobby.

No, a nearby supernova won't wipe us out: the Bad Astronomer posts about the recent misinformed fears about being fried.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
Americans' Role Seen In Uganda Anti-Gay Push (NYT)
The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”
Of course, after portraying homosexuals as malicious predators who want to rape children and destroy society, the evangelicals played dumb: "We didn't mean to foment hate!" I'm sorry, assholes, but you're lying when you say you love homosexuals; your reprehensible slander betrays your real feelings. Whatever psychosexual issues are at the root of your obsession with homosexuals, it's a hateful obsession.

You are hateful.

Own up to it. Say "I hate homosexuals" and at least be honest men.


kutsuwamushi: (Default)

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