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Tag Archives: japan

180. Space Invaders Versus The Japanese Mint

Image courtesy of Gil De Los Santos

From a slow start in 1978 Space Invaders experienced a meteoric ascension to become a true icon as it is today. The mere image of one of the ‘aliens’ instantly brings to mind video games as a whole. Its sudden rise in popularity after its initial 2 months was on a scale never seen before. In Japan, the home of video games, it became so popular that it managed to cause a thankfully temporary 100 yen shortage, a feat so notable that it was recorded in the 2008 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. It also forced the Japanese to further increase the amount of 100 yen coins they were producing each year.

Within 2 years of release the game was making some serious ground. Arcades with nothing but Space Invaders machines opened up, and it was seen by many as the first case where games came even close to competing with major forms of entertainment such as Film. Video games were much more marginalised in the 1980’s, but Space Invaders came to the fore, its success was a precursor to the position video games now occupy in the 21st Century, the largest of all the entertainment forms.

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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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178. Bat Bombs

–This Article comes courtesy of my good friend Jack Evans.–

In 1942,  American dental surgeon Lytle S. Adams was contemplating bats. As World War II raged on around him he looked into bats as a possible weapon, some kind of animal attack that could no doubt be harnessed in the fight, specifically the Empire of Japan. Four potentially useful biological features of bats were noted, each of which was essential to producing one of the least known, yet most deadly products of the war.

Firstly, they could be found in huge numbers in Texas. This would mean they could easily be ‘mass produced’ as a weapon. Secondly, they could carry more than their own weight in-flight – females can even fly whilst carrying twins. Thirdly, bats can hibernate and during this do not need food or indeed any kind of sustenance or maintenance. If this could be harnessed, they could be made dormant and stored for large lengths of time, then awakened and unleashed on an unsuspecting enemy. Lastly, they fly in darkness and seek out buildings in the day time, meaning that they are both a stealth weapon and would home in on vulnerable buildings. Along with this, bats held other natural advantages. They could defy conventional detection systems. They were difficult to destroy using existing air defences and could easily navigate the confines of cities. With these advantages, he came up with the perfect way to weaponise bats; and so he created the bat-bomb.

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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Articles

 

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172. The Dead Art of Self-Mummification

Sokushinbutsu is the name, a practice no longer observed or condoned by any Buddhist sect, self-mummification requires patience, dedication and a steely determination. Preparing for and living through your own death is an unpleasant process, truly a suicide slow.

It begins with 1000 days of withering. For just under three years only nuts and seeds are eaten, stripping any person of their body fat. Combined with this was a punishing exercise regime. After the initial thousand days the next stage was employed.

The next thousand days saw a shift, the only permitted solid consumption was a mixture of bark and roots. Then came a new tincture, the sap of the Urushi tree. A substance used to lacquer bowls. When ingested it is poisonous, causing rapid evacuation of their bellies and bowels. This was not the main purpose though, whilst it did test fortitude there was a practical use. Three years of imbibing that deathly sap would spread poison through the whole body, tainting all reaches. The aim was to make the body so poisonous that no maggot or other animal would consume it after death. In turn, preventing any rot or deterioration after death.

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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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118. The Body’s Light

Extremely sensitive cameras pick up the faint glow of the Human body

Life is light – whilst that may sound like an excerpt from some religious text, it is actual fact. It has been shown that glowing is no longer the reserve of glow worms, firefly’s and deep sea fish. Biochemical reactions in, and on the body of nearly every creature on earth produce thousands upon thousands of compounds, and also light. Practically all life on earth produces visible light, whether it wants to or not. That includes humans – we quite literally glow. Constantly in fact. You are doing it right now. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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115. The X-Seed 4000

6km wide and 800 floors reaching a total height of 4000m, those numbers describe the X-Seed 4000, the tallest building ever fully envisioned. By fully envisioned I mean that the schematics were drawn out and the building structure fully designed. The only thing the project would have required was money.

Between $330 billion and $1 trillion approximately. It would have been expensive were it not for the fact that it was never designed to be built. It was designed for Tokyo as a publicity stunt for the Taisei Corporation. By all means it was a success. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in Articles

 

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103. The Nightingale Floor

An attempt at silently crossing the Nightingale Floor

A Song in Silent Steps

Edo period of Japan, after the unification Japan was run by a semi-feudalistic system with many regional Lords or Daimyo commanding their own land and private armies. At this time of intrigue each Daimyo did tread most carefully along the delicate political threads. All were careful but tenacious, hoping to rise up the ranks and become stronger Daimyo. They did occasionally get it wrong though. With dire consequence.

Specifically assassination, by ninja. At this point in time the Ninja were unstoppable. Notoriously effective and using unknown techniques combined with pure trickery the had the power to seemingly strike any target at any time then disappear undetected like a deathly gasp of the wind. This understandably caused some upset to their targets, so a means was devised to detect their presence, even in the depths of night.

The Nightingale Floor, in Japanese Uguisu-bari (鴬張り). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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59. How Long is a CD?

FACT: The average CD can hold 74 minutes worth of music. This rather unusual length was chosen by Sony’s president at the time.

His reasoning behind the 74 minute limit was that a single CD should be able to contain the longest recorded version of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; and that it did indeed.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Trivia

 

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