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Japan's 'geisha guys' the latest accessory
Topic: Society 12:01 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2008

It's a dizzying reversal of traditional gender roles in a country long known for geishas pampering male clients with conversation, singing and dancing. Now a new breed of entertainer has cropped up -- think of them as male geishas.

"I give women things that men normally don't do, like complimenting their appearance," says one host, 24-year-old Yunosuke [pictured right], who only goes by his single host name. "I make women happy."

"Women see us as one of their accessories," he says. "They like to wear nice things, so I try to look prettier for them all the time."

In that photo, Yunosuke reminds me of Gackt of Malice Mizer.

Japan's 'geisha guys' the latest accessory

Absolut Ad Redraws Mexico-U.S.A. Border
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:01 pm EDT, Apr  6, 2008

The latest advertising campaign by Absolut Vodka for Mexico, created by Teran|TBWA, is causing controversy online. The creative for the campaign returns the lay of the land in the Americas to what it once was. The map depicts the whole of California as still part of Mexican territory, sporting its former name of Alta California - higher California.

Although the campaign caused no ripples south of the border, many in el Norte have found it offensive. Follow the story as it unfolds at

Thank you to the ad agency for providing the image, which is running as part of a campaign in Mexico currently.

Alta California (Upper California) was formed in 1804 when the province of California, then a part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain, was divided in two along the line separating the Franciscan missions in the north from the Dominican missions in the south. The southern part became the territory of Baja California (Lower California). The two territories were also alternatively called Nueva California (New California; Upper California) and Vieja California (Old California; Lower California).

Mexico lost control of the territory as a result of the Mexican-American War.

I prefer Stoli Elit and Imperia, anyway.

Absolut Ad Redraws Mexico-U.S.A. Border

Film Legend Charlton Heston Dead at 84
Topic: Arts 11:45 am EDT, Apr  6, 2008

The actor died Saturday night at his home in Beverly Hills with his wife Lydia at his side, family spokesman Bill Powers said. He declined to comment on the cause of death or provide further details.

Film Legend Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Ted Turner: Global Warming Will Cause Mass Cannibalism
Topic: Society 11:18 am EDT, Apr  2, 2008

Entertaining excerpts from Charlie Rose's interview with Ted Turner, Tuesday, April 1, 2008 on PBS:

Ted Turner, on what will happen if global warming is not addressed immediately:
Not doing it will be catastrophic. We'll be eight degrees hottest in ten, not ten but 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow. Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. Civilization will have broken down.


Ted Turner, on what he told the U.N. in a speech Tuesday:
Right now the U.S. is spending $500 billion a year on the military which is more than all 190 countries in the world put together. The two countries that the military-industrial complex and some of the politicians would like to demonize and make enemies are Russia and China. China just wants to sell us shoes. They're not building landing craft to attack the United States. And Russia wants to be our friends, too.

China just wants to sell shoes... lots of shoes. Curiously, Turner compared our relationship with Russia to our relationship with China.

Ted Turner:
I think that they're [the Iraqi insurgents] patriots and that they don't like us because we've invaded their country and occupied it. I think if the Iraqis were in Washington, D.C., we'd be doing the same thing: we'd be bombing them too. Nobody wants to be invaded.

Charlie Rose:
Nobody likes an occupying force, or to be occupied.

True, just ask Kuwait.

Ted Turner:
I think a lot. I spend a lot of time thinking. And I hope that's not a sin.

And let me tell you another one, another story: We're not the only superpower that's being beaten by a third world country that doesn't have a single airplane. The Russians got beat, too.

Charlie Rose:
In Afghanistan.

Ted Turner:
That's exactly right.

Charlie Rose:
With whose help?

Ted Turner:
Well, we were helping Osma bin Laden, we were backing him that time.


Ted Turner: Global Warming Will Cause Mass Cannibalism

Google Earth Hour
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:42 pm EDT, Mar 29, 2008

Google users in the United States will notice today that we "turned the lights out" on the homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. As to why we don't do this permanently - it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display. However, you can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

Given our company's commitment to environmental awareness and energy efficiency, we strongly support the Earth Hour campaign, and have darkened our homepage today to help spread awareness of what we hope will be a highly successful global event.

At least the temporarily black Google page matches my Firefox skin.

Google Earth Hour

Nintendo DS Drinking Games
Topic: Games 2:06 pm EDT, Mar 28, 2008

Apparently, this is old news, because they were released in Japan in mid-2007, but I just discovered these Nintendo DS alcohol-related titles.

Sommelier DS
Saketakumi DS (a.k.a. Sakashou DS, a.k.a. Liquor Craftsman/Teacher)
Bartender DS

How well these titles compare to bartending reference books remains to be seen, but there would be a certain amount of cool-factor in looking up drink recipes on a DS. Here's a page from a Japanese website that has several screen shots (no pun intended) from Bartender DS. If any of these "games" come to the U.S.A., I'll buy them on principle alone.

Nintendo DS Drinking Games

Jason Whitlock: "Am I supposed to be mad about LeBron?"
Topic: Society 5:14 pm EDT, Mar 26, 2008

I can barely keep up with when I'm supposed to be disappointed as opposed to offended as opposed to being pissed smooth the fuck off.

Vogue put a mirror in our face, and we're complaining about the reflection.

Once again, Jason Whitlock demonstrates why he's my favorite sports journalist.

Jason Whitlock: "Am I supposed to be mad about LeBron?"

Creating driver converters for various operating systems?
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:17 pm EDT, Mar 25, 2008

John C. Dvorak

Therein Lies the Rub Dept.:
What I constantly hear regarding a new OS is the issue with drivers. People can't get the drivers needed for a new OS. Why not? This is the computer age; can't something be done to automate driver development? How about compatible drivers—the plug-compatible idea that was thrown at the IBM mainframes in the 1970s? Let's say I have a new OS that uses the highly universal W2K drivers to communicate with peripherals. You want to add your weird scanner? You download the W2K drivers, and it works. Is this impossible to comprehend or do?

I cannot see how licensing restrictions would apply to this idea since the peripheral makers usually provide the drivers. In terms of talking to the OS, I'm sure Microsoft has some patented tricks. But who can't circumvent those nowadays?

Complaining about drivers makes no sense. Has anyone seriously tried to do computer analysis of existing drivers to create an original driver? Let's say you have that weird scanner. You can get a Linux driver, a W2K driver, and an XP driver for it. These drivers act as middlemen between the scanner and the OS. They follow rules to do their job. Dissect these rules and create a new set for a new OS. Automate it.

There may be some sketchy DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) strings to this, but at least develop the code. If you are worried sick about getting sued, throw the code into the public domain and see what happens. I'm baffled as to why someone hasn't created a driver converter for Linux. Is it impossible? Or just too much work?

Creating driver converters for various operating systems?

What's Our 75-Year Tech Plan?
Topic: Technology 12:51 pm EDT, Mar 25, 2008

PC Magazine
Sascha Segan
March 17, 2008

What is really going to change the way our society works in the next 75 years? Will it be biotech? Quantum computing? Let's place some long bets.

The French railway system makes our poor Amtrak want to hide out in a freight yard somewhere, crying. Guillaume Pepy, the president of the French railway company SNCF, once explained to me why: To build decent infrastructure, he said, you need to have a 50-, 75-, or 100-year plan. With Amtrak constantly fighting for its life a year at a time, of course it's going to decay.

What does infrastructure have to do with thinking green? It's all about planning for the future. Green means sustainable, which means looking beyond short-term goals to see where we want to be in 75 years and how to get there. Otherwise, our environment and society will end up a lot more like Amtrak than like the French TGV.

Before you start mocking that there's no way we can predict or plan based on a 75-year time frame, think about radios, telephones, and highways. We're still working basically with the radio spectrum regulation system set up in 1927. The system of copper wires that gives our homes last-mile connectivity was set up more than a hundred years ago. Car culture is 100 years old. The national highway system you drive on daily was conceived in 1922.

Long-term plans aren't fixed, of course; they change with the times. But they give us goals and a focus beyond just pillaging resources in search of next-quarter profits. In a 1907 issue of Broadway Magazine, writers proposed a long-term plan for the Port of New York. They figured that much of New York's wealth comes from its port, and that by the year 2000 the city would have a population of about 15 million, with 19 million in the metro area. So they proposed moving the port from crowded New York Harbor to a huge new complex on Jamaica Bay.

That's a perfect example of how a 50-year plan can actually pan out. By 2000, New York had 8 million people in the city, but 21 million in the metro area. And much of the city's position as a world hub came from a huge port on Jamaica Bay: JFK Airport, which grew to its present proportions in the 1960s and 1970s.

Unfortunately, our political and economic systems are not designed for 75-year plans. Increased public ownership of companies, the day-trader stock-market culture, and flip-focused investors who want to pump and dump stock make for a society focused on short-term profits. To execute even one 75-year plan, we need a country of investors in it for the long haul. And in the area of tech, we need not one, but four 75-year plans.

The Plans

INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN. Thank goodness for the telecoms' frenzy of the late 1990s. The fiber they laid then gave us a leg up into the 21st century. But we need a serious plan for replacing copper and shoring up network backbones for massively more bandwidth-hungry services than ... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

What's Our 75-Year Tech Plan?

Outerz0ne 4 - Thanks To Everyone!
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:10 am EDT, Mar 24, 2008

On behalf of the OZ4 staff, thank you to everyone who attended the con! This year, we had enough speakers to extend Outerz0ne to a two-day event, and we had enough attendees to keep the conference room full throughout the schedule. We appreciate all of the time and effort that went into the presentations.

We also thank those of you who offered donations and bought T-shirts, because you prevented SkyDog from taking a bath on the con! This means we'll probably do it again next year. :)


p.s. Rattle beat out dc0de to win the auction this year. Thanks to everyone who placed a bid!

Outerz0ne 4 - Thanks To Everyone!

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