As the Hong Kong uprising hits its sixth week, the island is running out of protective gear to guard the surging protesters against police violence; in response, Hong Kongers in Taiwan and Taiwanese sympathizers have been bulk-shipping helmets, gas masks and other materiel (as well as cash) to the protesters (in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, queues formed as people waited to make donations).
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70 year old Taipei fengshui master Chen San-yuan is known locally as "Pokemon Grandpa," and is a viral sensation thanks to the 15 phones he's mounted on his handlebars to help him play the 2016 augmented reality game Pokemon Go; his rig cost about $4,000 and he spends another $300/month on virtual currency to help him level up in the game. He says that playing the game keeps him socially connected and delays the onset of Alzheimer's. (Image: Reuters) (via Kottke)
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Vtaiwan is a crowdsourcing tool for drafting legislation that kicked off in 2016; it allows citizens from different sides of thorny legislative proposals to gather and debate them in a structured forum with the goal of finding compromises that all sides can live with.
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A now-fixed bug in Ios caused Chinese-localized Iphones to reboot any time the user tried to enter the character combination for a Taiwanese flag or the word "Taiwan"; the bug was caused by Apple's China-only censorship and surveillance software.
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Taiwan will be the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex unions, reports the BBC, after a panel of judges in Taipei ruled(PDF) that equality rights guaranteed it. Legislators have two years to pass a bill that provides "equal protection of the freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex" before the court extends current law to apply to same-sex unions. Two of the fourteen justices filed dissenting opinions, with a third recusing themselves.
BBC analyst Cindy Sui:
But it's still unclear how far parliament will go.
The LGBT community hopes legislators will simply amend the existing marriage laws to include same-sex couples, which would grant them the same rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, including in cases of adoption, parenting and inheritance - and making decisions for each other in medical emergencies.
However, they fear parliament won't do that and will instead pass a new law that recognises same-sex marriages but gives them only some rights, not equal treatment in all matters.
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I tried betel nut in Singapore many years ago from an old guy in a market off Bencoolen street. He gave me a packet with some leaves, some of the nut, and some lime (calcium carbonate). I didn't feel its purported stimulant effects, but I enjoyed preparing the quid and the way my saliva turned red.
Betelnut is popular throughout Asia. Oddity Central has a short item with photos about Taiwan's betel-nut kiosks and the woman work in them:
The main roads are filled with around 60,000 such phone booth-style kiosks; they’re so much a part of the nation’s identity that they’re actually featured on old tourist guides. The women who operate the stalls are usually from poorer families, but according to news reports, the job pays more than housekeeping, waiting tables and other conventional jobs.
Tobie Openshaw took this photo of a "Betelnut girl" in Hsiao Chin, Taoyuan. He wrote:
Betelnut girls (Binlang Xi Shi/檳榔西施) are a unique part of Taiwan culture. They sit in brightly-decorated glass booths wearing skimpy outfits, and sell cigarettes, drinks and betelnut to passing drivers. It’s a controversial trade but not actually illegal. The question of whether the girls are exploited is open to debate – certainly their own perception is mostly that they are doing a job like any other, and the less they choose to wear, the more they sell. For more info, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betel_nut_beauty and follow the links to the video and pictures.
Check out Openshaw's Flickr stream for more photos. Read the rest
Vitaly Petrukhin says: "In Taiwan in the downtown Keelung, from the terrace of his apartment, a man managed to catch a fish with a fishing pole while the animal is several tens of meters down in a small river. When he feels that he has made, man rewinds the wire on the reel and seems very happy with his decision."
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Etsy seller Light Life makes this book-spine masking tape for sealing up your boxes and making them look like they're libraries for tiny flatlanders. The Taiwanese seller has lots of other notable designs, too. It's all $6.78/roll, plus shipping from Taiwan.
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In this video, a young musician called Li-Jin Lee performs the Super Mario theme (complete with eerily accurate SFX on a Sheng, an ancient Chinese reed instrument) at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, as part of a lecture on the Sheng.
Taiwan Philharmonic (NSO) - "The Power of Sheng" w. Super Mario 超級瑪莉
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News of Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford's official cunnilingus policy has reached the Taiwanese news video animation people, and they've risen to the occasion with predictable insanity. The mayor-on-beaver moments are really the best here, I think. Read the rest
Taiwanese design student Kaylene Kau created this motorized prosthetic tentacle for a class project: "For this project we were pushed by our Professor to push the boundaries of current upper-limb prosthetic design. Through extensive research I found that the prosthetic functioned as an assistant to the dominant functioning hand. The prosthetic needed to be both flexible and adjustable in order to accommodate a variety of different grips."
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