Monday, October 24, 2011

Crushed Girl Dies – “Farewell, There Are No Cars In Heaven”

The 2-year-old girl who was repeatedly run over by Chinese motorists and ignored by no less than 18 people as she lay bleeding in the road has died.
So severe were her injuries that she fell into a coma and was later pronounced braindead, with doctors holding out little hope for her survival.
She finally passed away after lingering several days, with the hospital claiming the cause of death to be “systemic organ failure.”
Meanwhile, the humble rag-picker who dragged her off the road has been feted as a national hero and given $15,000 by corporate benefactors as a reward for her heroic conduct in the face of conceivable risk:

The circumstances surrounding the girl’s death have provoked outrage and revulsion in China, with millions angrily decrying the undeniably wretched moral character of modern China.
Many Chinese have expressed the opinion that Chinese law is so backwards and corrupt and the Chinese people themselves so immoral and treacherous that they would fear to help anyone in need lest they be turned on and held financially responsible for the incident by the person they helped – as has in fact happened in several widely reported cases.
Others have pointed to the flagrant disregard for the most basic standards of ethical behavior routinely displayed by China’s government and businesses as evidence of a society which simply does not care about individuals or tolerate them acting morally.
However, with all this universal outrage some will doubtless be left wondering where all these kind-hearted Chinese were as the little girl lay dying in the middle of the road after being run over twice.
Aside from the arrest of the two drivers who ran her over, the only official response has been the provincial government mooting a law to force people to help accident victims (seemingly highly unpopular) and calling for suggestions on how to better promote “socialist morals” amongst the people – although an increasingly large body of Chinese appear to be of the opinion these are what got them into this situation in the first place.

via: sankaku

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bathroom Cabinet Project

This project came about from mostly necessity. My condo bathroom is small and the only storage was under the sink. Unfortunately I've filled that area with all sorts of random things and I had nowhere to hide all the extra soap and TP and such. So I decided to hang a cabinet in the big empty space above the toilet.

As you can see, there's a ginormous empty wall space there. It made the whole bathroom look weird because it looked like something was missing.

So I went and checked out what scrap wood I had laying around and miraculously, I had enough wood to make myself a 2ft wide by 3ft tall cabinet + doors and shelf.

Let's do this, quick and dirty style. First you need to cut some wood. 3 pieces for the top, bottom and shelf, and 2 for the sides. Like I said earlier the dimensions were about 2ft and 3ft long with a depth of about 9 inches.

 Now start gluing and screwing things together to make...

A box! In this project I didn't worry about making a back for the cabinet. I may add one later with a thin sheet of MDF.

I jumped ahead of myself and mounted the permanent shelf before taking a picture, but it's self explanatory anyway. I screwed the shelf in about 1ft from the bottom and proceeded to cut the doors to cover the top portion.

Dry fitting the doors. They fit! After determining the fit I installed 2 standard flat hinges on each door. Not the best choice for a hinge but I had them laying around.

Take it all apart and paint it. I chose a satin brown called Funky Monkey which I also used to paint the bathroom walls when I moved in.


You can see the type of brass hinge I used here.

<-- Frame

Screw a block to the wall for the cabinet to hang from and make sure it is level. Again, aesthetics was not a biggie for me and the doors will be closed most of the time anyway.

Set the frame on top of your mounting block and screw if from the top. Drill pilot holes so you don't end up breaking off the mounting position. Put the doors back on and tada!

It's wall mounted bathroom cabinet that you can do over a weekend or less! 

Note: Later I came back and covered the visible end grain on the front of the frame with stick-on wood veneer and painted to match.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mommy, Where Does WoW Gold Come From?

Chinese labour camps are said to be forcing prisoners to farm gold for westerners too lazy to do it themselves, torturing prisoners who do not earn enough, the time spent playing apparently not punishment enough.

The allegations were made by a former prison guard who was jailed and sent to a re-education camp for 3 years as punishment for complaining to the central government about local corruption.
In addition to the usual regime of punishing physical slave labour and communist brainwashing, he reports being forced to farm gold for sale to lazy westerners who cannot stomach the soul-destroying tedium of MMORPG gaming themselves:
“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour.
There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb ($800-$900) a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”
He was tortured for not farming enough gold, he says:
“If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things.”
China, the world’s gold farm, has enacted legislation intended to regulate the trade in virtual currencies, but inexplicably nobody seems to take any notice of them.
As the pay and conditions (for the voluntarily employed at least) are said to be significantly better than slaving away in a mine, farm or factory, and western demand for help in bypassing meaningless timesinks is as strong as ever, it is hard to see the practice ending any time soon – save perhaps by the simple expedient of Blizzard selling gold and items straight to users.


Friday, February 18, 2011

WP7: Tools for the Amateur Wino

Image Recognition. Wine. What else could a user want? Vivino is an application that has just hit the Marketplace today that puts a new spin on the old wine application. Vivino is designed so that you never forget the wine you have tried, and does this with advanced image recognition that can currently recognize up to 40% of all wines. And if the wine is not recognized, the image is sent off to the research team and added to your list regardless. What's more, you can integrate it with Facebook and "like" the different wines, which makes this a fairly unique app in its field. From the developer:
Never forget another wine!
Use the Vivino app to take photos of the wines you drink. Using image recognition technology, the app will try to auto-match the wine with our database of 400.000 wines. Share your experience with friends through social features.
The app is free to download on the Windows Phone Marketplace and you can get it here, or watch the video above for a in-depth demonstration.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

James Franco = Kaneda?

Leonardo di Caprio’s Hollywood adaptation of classic psychic blob anime Akira will apparently star James Edward Franco as Kaneda, with the previously reported Zac Efron having proven unavailable.
There will also apparently be not one but two movies, as the work has been split into two parts based on volumes 1-3 and 4-6 of the manga.
There is no suggestion his character will be called Kaneda, and as the story has been shifted to the streets of post-apocalyptic “New Manhattan” the only remaining connection to the original appears to the outline of the story (if left intact) and the title of the movie, which may no longer refer to any character left in the film.
Well, this is at least a step in the right direction, ignoring that Leonardo di Caprio is directing and the target audience is pg-13, amongst other blasphemous details. James Franco is a pretty good actor if you ask me, but I don't know if that can save the franchise from a live-action, Gundam-esque failure. Let's throw in the live-action Dragon Ball fail just for giggles.

via: sankaku

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gate Leg Table Project

This project came about while I was building my bar(another project). I realized, what good is a nook to make drinks if there wasn't a place to sit down with people to drink them? Of course it may also be used as a dining table... but like I said, the bar brought up the question.

A gate leg table, is basically a morphed drop-leaf table. Rather than having a small permanent table with small "leaves" on either end to crate length, a gate leg table has a small center island with one or two really big leaves to create a large surface area. The term "gate leg" refers to the skinnier legs that support each leaf, because they swing out under the leaf like a gate to prop it up. With both leaves dropped down the center island's footprint is very compact and can be put away when there's no need for any table at all.

There are many variations on how to configure this type of table but for my purposes I chose a very small island with large leaves. It's just easier to store.

So lets begin with the materials. What? In case you haven't noticed this entry is a how to, or rather, how I built a gate leg table. You can make this however big or small you like so this time around I'll not focus on exact measurements.

- 1 sheet 3/4" single side finished birch plywood(standard 4X8, cut into 4 equal pieces)
- box of 2" screws
- box of 1 1/4" screws
- 4 surface hinges for leaves
- 4 brass plain cabinet hinges for gate legs
- 1 qt black latex paint
- 1 qt polycrylic clear finish(whatever sheen you like but I used satin)
- small paint roller and pan and small sponge brushes

- drill w/ 1/8" and 1/4" drill bits and a phillips head bit of course.
- saws. I used a power jigsaw and a manual Japanese pull saw. (wish I had a table saw...)
- some kind of powered sander with 100 and 300 grit papers. 300 grit sanding sponge for hand work.
- carpenter's square

If you were paying attention you'd remember that we have 4 equally cut pieces of ply from the single sheet. Take one piece and cut 4 equal planks for the center island. I want somewhere in the 8 1/2"in range if I remember correctly(probably not).

Now just screw those suckers together with the side sections sandwiched between the top and bottom. You want it that way so the sides can bear the load of peoples' drinks and elbows when the table is finished. And for the love of Bob remember to predrill your holes with the 1/8" bit so you don't go splitting ends. Make sure you get the finished sides on the outside. Now you roughly have a 4X4 cube for your island. Oh, did I mention this was meant to be pub height? Well I just did so there you go.

Now take one of the other pieces of ply and dry fit it over your square island thing. Make sure the siland is square as you do this. Trim it so the sides are flush to the sides of the island. Your going to need 2 of these so stack 2 pieces and cut them at the same time. This view is basically what you'll have with a leaf in the down position - except not laying down on the floor like that.

With your 2 leaves trimmed flip your island upside down and butt your leaves flush to the top of the island(remember we're upside down). Finished side down this time. Grab your 4 surface hinges and screw them in over where the leaf meets the island. Get the pin centered over the seam. Now you have your basic gate leg table without legs. YAY!

So now we need legs to hold up those leaves. measure the inside height of the island and translate that to you last piece of quarter sheet plywood. Mark out about 3" wide and cut 4 pieces. 2 will be for the outside legs and 2 will attached inside the island for the legs and hinges to attach to.

In hindsight, I should've made the gate legs like a 2 rung ladder but I skewed somewhere and... well I was forced to make it work. Really you should cut 6 of those out instead of 4^. You'll also cut the rungs as described in the next step.

You'll put together something like this(with 4 complete sides of course). Yeah... this just before I brain farted and rather than make things simple I sandwiched in 2 short legs between the 2 shorter pieces instead of just making a simple 2-rung ladder thing going. Guess I was thinking too hard there. But anyway, you do that and sort of ignore how my legs look.

That said, you'll have 2 complete legs that, when closed, will be half of the inside width of the island. Measure the 2 shorter "rungs" to acheive that length. The 2 remaining long pieces will be mounted in the island.

Like so-ish. I got excited and forgot to take pictures of the in-between steps. Pop those 2 long pieces in on either side, and using the completed gate legs, mount them in with screws so that the legs will fold completely flush with the front of the island and be  out of the way when the leaves are down. I can see you face but I know you'll get it! Take a look at this other angle with the leg in open position and hinges installed:

You may notice I had to notch out for the legs, but again, that was my brain farting. You don't have to do that if you followed my corrected advice.

EDIT: Well, fighting my urge to skip ahead some steps here is a view of a center support... painted.

...*cough*...So now it's time for us to paint! Pretty self explanatory here so just do it. It may be easier for you to take apart the leaves and paint them separate from the island. Slap on 2 coats of whatever color you choose and let dry overnight.


Make sure your paint coverage was even and coat again if not. If everything's ok you can start your clear coat. I used satin polycrilic and rolled on 4 or 5 coats. I had a sponge roller and that gave it a nice texture.

Last note: in the finished pictures you can see that I've added support beams inside the bottom of the island. They are the unpainted portions. This cleared up a bad wobble problem when the table was fully set up.

 Only 8 1/2" thick when collapsed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Obama: The New Face of Racism in Japan

A black man reports having  had to endure the heart-rending experience of being called an Obama by a class of Japanese schoolchildren.
The account comes by way of a Japanese journalist:
I met a young American Japanophile on a plane recently. His Japanese was surprisingly good [i.e. he could say his name].
He was dispatched to a Japanese elementary school to teach English this last year. He said he loved Japanese children and was clearly enthusiastic about them, but he had a bitter experience at that school. It was from when Obama was still popular and the subject of something of a boom.
The first day he called at an elementary school in the country, the kids he met pointed at him and said “it’s Obama!” The entire classroom soon broke into an Obama call – “Obama, Obama!”
The entire class was chanting “Obama!” over and over, and even the teacher started grinning and joined in the chant.
He reflected on the experience: “Calling me Obama just because I’m black, isn’t it a racial stereotype? Even the teacher joined in!”
I thought about it.  Certainly, calling a black man an “Obama” is not something you could get away with in America, whether or not you meant anything by it. I can appreciate his discomfort.
But considering it from the perspective of those Japanese kids, maybe they just wanted to greet their new teacher as enthusiastically as possible and so started calling out “Obama, Obama!” Perhaps they had no idea that might be hurtful to some people. The same goes for the teacher as well.
The moral of the story is probably that Japan is so insular that outside of major cities the arrival of a barbarian interloper is still considered worth making a song and dance of (literally in this case), and most will never know any better – although in retrospect being compared to a latter-day Jimmy Carter will probably seem rather more cruel than it does at present.
2ch weighs in:
“Sorry about those yokels…”
“These kind of black jokes are the worst!”
“If I went to the US and got called a ‘samurai’ I’d probably feel the same way.”
“The teacher was an idiot…”
“Why the hell did he join in?”
“He probably wasn’t as black as Obama…”
“How is being called the name of the President discriminatory?”
“How about we call you Hatoyama from now on?”
“I see what bothered that darkie now.”
“If that happened to me I’d be livid.”
“Japanese just get called Bruce Lee when they go to the states though…”
“What’s the big deal? This is just like calling the name of some famous white person when you see another white.”
“Well, it was the country. Those bumpkins can’t be helped.”
“I can forgive them as we’d just be called Chinese in a foreign country anyway.”
“Children can’t be helped, but that scummy teacher needs to resign.”
“This is certainly a very Japanese incident. They can’t understand about the discomfort they cause the person either.”
“Obama doesn’t even look that black – you can find Japanese who look like that.”
“If you look at that McDonald’s ad you’ll see just what kind of little idiots you’re dealing with here.”
“The people who say he is being overly sensitive are themselves being overly dismissive of racial discrimination.”
“If this guy was a Republican it must have been pretty harsh…”
“Blacks are so tedious.”
“It’s just because it was the first real black person they’d ever seen. You never see black or white people out there.”
“This is more like gaijin-sama arriving at a village of the natives and being given presidential treatment.”
“I’m from Kagoshima [almost foreign parts as far as most Tokyo inhabitants are concerned] and when I came to Tokyo they wouldn’t shut up with the funny names based on my origins. It was damn annoying. In fact, as I recall the teacher joined in too…”
“Well, teachers are basically on the same intellectual level as elementary schoolers.”
“If it were me I’d have responded ‘Yes we can!’”
“Where was the change…”

via: sankaku 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Microsoft... What the hell are you doing to WP7?

Bad news, folks. It looks like the upcoming Windows Phone 7 update, dubbed "NoDo", may be coming a bit later than originally thought. Two months, in fact. According to Mary Jo Foley ofZDNet, a source has revealed the date to be in March. March 8th has been pinned as a possibility, but the hold up is what gets us. With the update already running on developer devices, we suspect that the carriers and device manufacturers may be to blame. Either way, it looks like that precious copy and paste will have to what just a bit longer. On the bright side, itcould mean some new features are being added, but looking at the last announcement, we'll be holding out for Mango
To be fair, the update was promised to be early in 2011, which, by definition, fits March. Whether its an unexpected delay or was planned all along, we're not sure. Patience, however, will aid us.

[Via: Engadget]

Monday, February 7, 2011

GSM HTC 7 Pro Hits the UK

Over at Clove Technologies, the long-awaited HTC 7 Pro is available for purchase. The device is rated for GSM frequencies and will run the buyer £360.00 (£432.00 with VAT). Above is an overview video of the device, which comes with a free bluetooth headset and, of course, all accessories. You can read more at Clove here, or read about the HTC 7 Pro.

[Via: WMPU]

Monday, January 17, 2011


Just noticed that Obama's OASDI(social security) reduction took effect on my last pay stub. It's netting me about $160 bucks more a month which is sweet... but if the premise was to let us have now what we might be losing if social security goes bankrupt... I dunno, it's an uneasy feeling thinking that I now have to save for retirement with my own devices. Sure, there's the 401k but a couple years ago the market took a major hit ppl i knew lost as much as 50%, because it relies on market conditions. It could happen again. Money market funds all around? I'm thinking buying a fat bar of gold is getting more attractive nowadays myself... Or maybe we should start farming a human work force that we'll be able to ride on in 18-20 years. Yall start havin' babies and lots of em! 529 plans may still be viable for the kiddies because that'll get cashed out in about 18 years. Us young and aging adults tho.... Do you know what disaster might happen if you leave people to manage their own money?!?! Holy crap!

Whatever the case, i'm shit nervous and you guys probably should be too...