Electropop remix of the oldest Japanese song ever


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!)

( Lisa Katayama is a guest blogger.)

The history of yellow peril science fiction

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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.

Continue reading...

( Lisa Katayama is a guest blogger.)

Mad Magazine's War on Bush collection

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.

Mad Magazine has had a glorious eight years with this presidency -- see, for example, the Gulf Wars Episode II poster (included as a full-size pullout, suitable for framing -- apparently the White House completely missed the joke here and used the poster internally as a morale booster; Sean Hannity showed it on his Fox "News" show!); the absolutely brilliant Dick Cheney shotgun accident cover, the NSA warrantless wiretapping poster (also included as a pull-out full-size item) and the bang-on "Bush campaign commercial if he was running against Jesus.

Mad's already warming up to have some fun with Obama, but at the end of the day, he's just not mush-mouthed, uncoordinated, and goofy to adequately serve the nation's satirists. Poor bastards. The Mad War on Bush

Chunky steel home-built pocket game system

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!
Meet the Pac-Man Mini, Discuss this on Boing Boing Gadgets

YouTube Comment Snob hides badly spelled, profane, poorly capitalized YouTube comments


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 shaves fuel costs by eliminating life-jackets

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.

Emphasis mine. Airline removes life vests to lighten planes (via Neatorama)

CC licensed off-the-grid weaving cooperatives up for $1.5M prize

Cameron sez,

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.

Vote for Architecture for Humanity and Lulan at Amex Members Project (Thanks, Cameron!)

Quebec free software group suing over government's no-bid Microsoft contracts

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."

Quebec government sued for buying Microsoft software, FACIL contests government practices in the Superior Court

Yankees will drag you out of the stadium if you try to go to the bathroom during "God Bless America"

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.
NYPD Defends Ejecting Sox Fan from Yankee Stadium During "God Bless America" (Thanks, Bill!)

Comcast limits customers to 250 gigs a month

Starting October 1, roundly hated broadband provider Comcast will begin officially capping consumer use at 250 gigs a month, according to the company's recently-updated Frequently Asked Questions about Excessive Use.
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.
Comcast to limit customers' broadband usage (Reuters)

Bigfoot/atheist t-shirt)

BigfoooootMark F. got me this terrific t-shirt for my birthday. Great tastes that go great together! It's $19 from TopatoCo.
Pfft (There Is No God) t-shirt (TopatoCo)

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

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Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we saw new Walkmen from Sony, hoped that Kindle 2 will be less ugly, and praised Fujitsu Siemens' Amilo Mini netbook for its Stormtrooping style. John found notes on how to port Pitfall 2 to the Apple IIe, gazed upon the beautifully thin Philips Essence, and laughed out virtual at NASA's space virus woes. There was an touchscreen PC with Netbook-like specs; a Pac-Man Mini which saw Namco in a new box, and a beautiful Haight St. apartment filled with old typewriters and cameras. We mused at Bloomberg's iMacabre Steve Jobs obit snafu, but nothing reminds us of our mortality quite like a Lego shoggoth-thingie based on the Ohmu from Nausicaä. Finally, Rob saw some silly cellphone accessories and launched a perhaps ill-advised defense of those terrible Tiger Electronics handheld games from the 1980s.

Today on TokyoMango

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Today on TokyoMango, I blogged about a guy who turns into a robot from a Hayao Miyazaki anime; a new technology that fights bird flu; and a silly man who kept 51 poisonous snakes in his house (and got bitten by one); and Tokyo's (slightly controversial) total dominance in the world restaurant scene. Oh, and this was yesterday, but there's a new Wii game that turns you into a competitive eater. Good night!

( Lisa Katayama is a guest blogger.)

Use code "dogdays" at the MakerShed for 20% off

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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).
Use code "dogdays" at the MakerShed for 20% off

Aquarium for your toilet

 Art Shop-Fishnflush-Big 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)

Previously on BB Gadgets:
Tacky Glass Toilet Dioramas