This fun song featuring a dancing 8-bit skeleton is actually a remix of what is believed to be the oldest Japanese song in the world. The song is called Kokoriko Bushi, meaning tune of a kokoriko–an ancient string instrument. The artist is Japanese electro-pop collective Omodaka of Far East Recordings; the animation is directed by Teppei Maki. If you like how it sounds, there's another fun video on TokyoMango today. (Thanks, Matt!)
This week on MangoBot–my biweekly column about Asian futurism on io9–I wrote about the yellow peril and the portrayal of Asians in science fiction:
Back in the 1920s and 30s, when Asian immigration to the US and Europe was picking up steam, prominent science fiction writers like Philip Nowlan and H.P. Lovecraft created speculative scenarios starring massive hordes of horrible, slanty-eyed, intelligent Asians who were either taking over or destroying the world.
Mad Magazine's "The Mad War on Bush" gathers a truly superlative collection of parodical and satirical material from eight years' worth of Mad lampoons between a single set of covers. As Jimmy Kimmel notes in his introduction to the book, there are many things to hate about the Bush regime, but it has been very, very kind to political satirists of all description.
Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our John's found this absolutely ugg-lovely homebrew pocket video-game system:
It looks more like a Cold War era device for the remote detonation of nuclear warheads than a game console. but modder Sam Thornley's Portable Pac-Man Mini takes one of those old Namco emulator joysticks you plug and play into any old television and melds it with a tiny 2.5-inch LCD powered by 4 rechargeable AA batteries. That D-Pad isn't very good – perhaps he's trying to duck patent litigation – but the doodad can play Galaxian, Rally-X, Bosconian and Dig Dug. Because it's there!
Here's an idea whose time has come: YouTube Comment Snob is a Firefox plugin that nukes comments with too many spelling mistakes, weird capitalization or punctuation, and too much cussin'. It works pretty damned well, too. As XKCD has pointed out in the past, YouTube has the worst, just the worst comment-areas on the Internet.
YouTube Comment Snob
(via Making Light)
Air Canada continues its race to the top of the list of the world's shittiest airlines by removing life-vests from its regional carrier Jazz, saving money on fuel in the process. In the event of a water crash, passengers can use their seat-cushions to float.
Come to that, they can use their pillows: the last time I flew AC, you had to buy a "pillow" that consisted of a giant ziploc bag that you were supposed to inflate. Passengers in business class got the same "pillows," but they were "free" (except for the extra thousands of dollars for a business-class ticket).
Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stuart said Thursday that Transport Canada regulations allow airlines to use flotation devices instead of life vests, provided the planes remain within 50 miles of shore.
Safety cards in the seat pockets of Jazz aircraft now direct passengers to use the seat cushions as flotation devices.
Stuart says Jazz is a transcontinental carrier that doesn't fly over the ocean.
Jazz planes do fly over the Great Lakes and along the Eastern seaboard from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Boston, Massachusetts, and to New York.
The non-profit Architecture for Humanity and Lulan Artisans are vying for $1.5M worth of funding to build weaving cooperatives in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and India. These centers will be designed through the Open Architecture Network with the Creative Commons Developing Nations License.
These funds will allow 6000 women access to a stable income and create an alternative to the human trafficking going on in many of these rural villages.
Voting for the AmEx Members Prize is on September 1st and the top 25 go through. This project is currently in 27th place out of 1190.
Kurt sez, "FACIL, the Quebecois Free Software advocacy group, is suing the Quebec provincial government, accusing them of abusing a legal loophole to essentially create 'no-bid' government software contracts for Microsoft.
For a province that once considered independence from Canada, never mind independence from indentured servitude to US corporations, this is sublimely ironic."
Government buyers are using an exception in provincial law that allows them to buy directly from a proprietary vendor when there are no options available, but Facil said that loophole is being abused and goes against other legal requirements to buy locally.
"It shouldn't be the rule," Facil president Mathieu Lutfy told CBC News. "It goes against the public markets policy of the government, which requires them to stimulate competition and look for local alternatives. It's really an absurdity."
The Yankees are serious about their bizarre prohibition on going to the bathroom during the playing of "God Bless America" during the Seventh Inning Stretch: a man was dragged out of the stadium for daring to stand up and move around instead of singing a patriotic, religious song. I really like Tommy Smothers's formulation of the principle at work here: "America, where you're free to say anything you want, and you'd better not say what you're not supposed to!"
The NYCLU seems inclined to follow through with last year's promise to sue the Yankees over their policy of confining fans to their seats during the national anthem and "God Bless America," which is played during the seventh inning stretch. Yesterday Red Sox fan Bradford Campeau-Laurion, a Queens resident, told us about his rough ejection from Yankee stadium at the hands of the NYPD after he tried to go to the men's room during the seventh inning's moment of mandatory nationalism Monday night.
If a customer exceeds more than 250 GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use.
The Maker Shed, Make and Craft magazines' online store, sells lots of great books and kits, like this solar powered Theremin (list price $15.99). If you use the code "dogdays" you'll get 20% off everything in the Shed.
It's hot here in Sebastopol. So hot, that the PG&E substation across the street blew a transformer and knocked out our power yesterday afternoon. So.... Under the category of anything is a good excuse for a promotion, we'll do the "dog days" promotion now through midnight Sunday, August 31. Visit MakerShed and enter "dogdays" as the promotional code and get 20% off everything in your shopping cart. Offer expires midnight PST this Sunday (9/1).
The Fish 'n Flush is an aquarium for your toilet. According to the manufacturer's site, "Fish 'n Flush... makes a fun-fashion statement for the homeowner who wants to have something unique in the bathroom. It's $299 and fits most standard tank/bowl configurations. Toilet aquarium(Fish 'n Flush, via Dark Roasted Blend)