Panasonic is involved in a project on the island of Ishigaki, southwest of Okinawa, to seek ways to grow vegetables in subtropical monsoon conditions. Part of the Japanese government’s Asian Monsoon Plant Factory System (PFS) Consortium, the goal is to create a stable local supply of produce despite the climate.
by: the Common Constitutionalist
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Are we prepared for yet another war? We might just get one – and I’m not just being hyperbolic.
To some, the stand-off between North Korea, the United States and our allies in the Pacific feels like déjà-vu all over again.
It is said there is nothing new in the world – at least regarding world events. It is just history that keeps repeating. And to some experts, the tensions between North Korea and America are eerily similar to that of Japan and the U.S. prior to World War II.
There are definitely some similarities and certainly one major difference.
Prior to the run-up to World War II, Japan had been an ally and trading partner of the West – particularly of the U.S. and Great Britain. Japan purchased much of its oil, steel and scrap metal from America.
But after Woodrow Wilson (hate that guy) first denied Japan its share of German reparations from the post World War I Treaty of Versailles, there was a falling out.
A female woolly mammoth, which was found frozen in Russia in May, has gone on display in an exhibition hall in Tokyo.
The 39,000-year-old mammoth will be on display at the hall in Yokohama in the south of the Japanese city from 13 July until September 16.
Visitors and tourists will be able to come and view the extinct creature that was discovered in an ice tomb in the New Siberian Islands, or Novosibirsk Islands, earlier this year.
REAL LIFE JURASSIC PARK ‘NOT AN OPTION’, SCIENTISTS SAY
Last year a controversial Australian billionaire was believed to be drawing up secret plans for a real-life Jurassic Park.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer, who has already embarked on a project to rebuild the Titanic, was rumoured to be working with the team who created Dolly the sheep.
But the research has shown the dinosaurs may have to stay on the big screen – as their DNA is just too old to be able to use for de-extinction.
However, Korean scientists are hoping that the samples found on the Siberian woolly mammoth aren’t too old.
They plan to take the DNA samples and reassemble them into a full genome.
This could then be injected into embryonic cells which have had their own DNA taken out, and a suitable living surrogate would be found.
Parts of the carcass are especially well preserved because they remained entirely frozen for thousands of years.
This means that the shape of the mammoth is intact, including its hair – which gave the mammoth its woolly name.
However, the upper torso and two legs, which were found in the soil rather than the ice, were gnawed by prehistoric and modern predators and almost did not survive.
Visitors to the hall will also be able to clearly see the mammoth’s snout, legs and torso.
The scientists who found the mammoth in May were also able to extract a blood sample from the beast.
It was the first ever well-preserved sample of blood from a woolly mammoth and could be used to recreate the extinct species.
The blood was sealed inside ice beneath the carcass of a female mammoth.
Preserved muscle tissue was also found from the creature, aged between 50 and 60 when she died, according to the Russian team who made the discovery on islands off the northern coast of Siberia.
‘It is the first time we managed to obtain mammoth blood. No-one has ever seen before how the mammoth’s blood flows.’
Dr Grigoriev put the approximate age of the animal at around 10,000 years old but more recent dating tests suggest the creature is much older – daring back around 39,000 years.
‘It has been preserved thanks to the special conditions, due to the fact that it did not defrost and then freeze again.
‘We suppose that the mammoth fell into water or got bogged down in a swamp, could not free herself and died.
‘For now our suspicion is that mammoth blood contains a kind of natural anti-freeze.’
Samples taken from the mammoth include ‘blood, blood vessels, glands, soft tissue, in a word – everything that we could.
‘Luckily we had taken with us on our expedition a special preservative agent for blood.’
The samples were taken for study to Yakutsk, capital of the Republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia, the largest region in the Russian Federation.
The carcass weighing around one tonne was then moved to the Siberian mainland and was kept in ice storage before being taken to Tokyo.
The blood and other samples were made available to South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk’s private bioengineering laboratory, which has confirmed it is working with other mammoth DNA samples in a bid to return the extinct Siberian mammoth to the planet.
The eventual plan is to plant an implanted egg into a live elephant for a 22-month pregnancy.
Earlier this year a group of scientists from around the world met for TEDx conference in Washington, sponsored by National Geographic.
The group were discussing the possibility of bringing 24 animals back from extinction, also known as ‘de-extinction’.
The animals included the dodo bird, the Carolina Parakeet, last seen in 1904 in Florida, and the Quagga, a plains zebra which once lived in South Africa but died out in 1883.
However, a real life Jurassic Park is not an option, it is said, because dinosaur DNA is just too old.
In May, scientists from University of Cincinnati claimed that a giant meteor was probably responsible for wiping out the woolly mammoth, and not hunting, which researchers previously thought was the reason.
They believe a huge meteor smashing through the Earth’s atmosphere broke up into ten million tonnes of fiery fragments, scattering over four continents.
These fragments are thought to have released toxic gas which poisoned the air and blacked out the sun, causing temperatures to plummet, plants to die and landscapes to alter forever.
Attribution: Mail Online
by: the Common Constitutionalist
For most of our lives we’ve been taught that communism and fascism were the enemies of a free people, the enemies of America. That’s true, but only partially.
There is another. It’s called imperialism and for America directly, it has been historically far worse than communism or fascism.
Think about it. We have been involved in but two major wars where our homeland has been directly attacked. These attackers had two very important things in common. Actually, they were virtually identical.
They both were ruled by a monarch and both, for want of a better phrase, had a single state religion.
In Japan it was Shintoism and in England, Anglicanism. The religions mattered not for alternately one was forced to pay homage to a man; Japan’s Emperor and England’s King. If you didn’t like it, too bad for you.
In the case of Japan, we were just minding our business. Yeah, I know; Japan was allied with Nazi Germany. And I know; the oil blockade thing that starved Japan’s war machine. Okay, fine.
However, in the case of our founding, we originally were seeking religious freedom from England; the right to worship with whatever church we wished.
Well, England and particularly the crown would have none of that. How dare an English colony put anything before the King or be a member of any religion other than Anglican, the British state religion.
This is why pastors and preachers in America were targeted and why so many men of religion rose to prominence during our struggle for independence.
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 29 held seminary degrees or Bible school certification.
This will boil the blood of the separation of church and state crowd: Many state constitution ratifications took place in churches or church buildings. So much for separation.
Anyway, the crown despised the religious independents for they undermined the Kings ultimate authority.
Preachers and pastors would preach revolution from the pulpit. These ministers became leaders of their communities. They advocated for the right to private property.
The British Parliament even referred to our revolution as the “Presbyterian Revolt”.
Ministers would preach to the troops prior to battle. “… American victory had been ordained by God since the beginning of time”, Rev. William Emerson prior to the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
They were the moral motivators of the troops. Preachers actually led male members of their congregation in military drills after Sunday services. This gave rise to the term “Minutemen” for the congregation could be ready to take up arms in a “minute”.
Many of the church leaders were also leaders in government. Oh the horror! The British troops called these pastors “The Black Robe Regiment” for the black robes they wore preaching from the pulpit.
The British were well aware of the Ministers’ power. So much so that when the British road into a town one of the first things they did was to round up and capture the local pastor.
They were the conscience of the community and thus the young nation.
I liken them to today’s outspoken Tea Party members and local Tea Party organizers.
One can always tell whom a despotic regime fears most by the actions taken and rhetoric spoken against them, such as what happened to hundreds of Tea Party organizations prior to this past election.
The Imperial left of this administration fears the Tea Party as the British feared the “Black Robe Regiment” during the revolution.
So although it is prudent to be aware of the dangers of communism, fascism and Islamism, we must also be mindful to guard against imperialism. Not being attacked by another imperial nation, but the danger of allowing our own government to morph into a monarchy of sorts.
Inside Japan’s mesmerising 3D gallery that leaves visitors completely baffled
At first glance you would be mistaken for thinking these people are of different size.
But look closely and you will see that all is not quite as it seems.
The optical illusion has been created in an Ames room – a distorted room which was invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames Jr in 1934.
The special room is constructed so that from the front it appears to be an ordinary cubic-shaped room, with a back wall and two side walls parallel to each other.
However, this is a trick and the true shape of the room is trapezoid.
The woman on the left hand side is actually standing in a corner that is much further away than the woman on the right.
The illusion leads the viewer to believe that the two individuals are standing in the same depth of field, when in reality the subject is standing much closer.
The trick is so convincing that someone walking across the back of the room appears to
increase of decrease in scale as they move from one side to the other.
This is just one example of ‘trick art’ on display at the Takao Trick Art Museum in Hachioji city, Western Tokyo, Japan.
The Egyptian themed trick art museum displays works which when viewed by the human eye, creates an optical illusion.
In another example, a woman appears to walk across a precariously placed plank spanning a dark abyss.
While another brave young female poses for a photo while a crocodile circles her feet.
The incredibly lifelike scenes are huge works of art painted onto walls and floors in the museum.
The museum said: ‘Trick art creates the illusion that depicted objects really exist and are not just two-dimensional paintings. It is a kind of tug-of war between the artist and the observer.
‘The desire to judge things and to observe them correctly is an innate human instinct.
‘But the fact that humans also tend to harbor certain assumptions and preconceptions without even thinking about them, can also lead to the brain to make mistaken judgments about what the eye observes.
‘This gives rise to sensory illusions. Trick artists make clever use of sensory llusions, while the observer subconsciously tries to ‘expose’ them. Enjoying the excitement of trying to overcome this disparity is the real thrill that the Takao Trick Art Museum offers.
‘It’s a fun and highly enjoyable experience for everybody.’
Attribution: Tara Brady, Daily Mail
Is this Japan’s most ridiculous craze yet?
A Japanese hair salon is rewriting the meaning of cutting edge after taking fashion inspiration from the humble tomato.
The innovative design has emerged from Osaka’s trendy Amemura district and is already spreading across the internet.
Stylist Hiro says the hairdo, called ‘Ripe Tomatoes’ or kanjuku tomato in Japanese, is his masterpiece.
The look involves cutting the hair into a rounded crop before dying it bright tomato red.
Sections from the crown are then shaped and colored green to resemble a tomato’s stalk.
Sadly, like the fruit, the style has a shelf life.
The red and the green fades quickly and the ‘leaves’ are difficult to shape after being washed.
Ripe Tomatoes is one of a number of bold designs to emerge from the salon Trick Store.
As well as fruit, Hiro has also looked to the world of nature to inspire him.
One model sported a half red and black spotted ladybird hairstyle, which was teamed with pink girls on the other side.
A male model had part of head dyed yellow with black spots that resembled a cheetah.
Other edgy hair-dos included multi-colored cartoonish rainbow effects.
One model’s tresses were given a monochrome look with black and white stripes.
As well as color, Trick Store staff are also not afraid to experiment with texture.
A model had numbers shaved into the back of her head and then dyed pink.
Attribution: Mail Online
For years it had remained shut off from the rest of world and shrouded in mystery.
But this unique collection of images taken 100 years ago are some of the first ever insights in to rural Japan before it was opened up to the rest of the globe.
The collection of pictures – the first ever used to promote tourism in the country – show geishas relaxing in pleasure gardens while workers pick tea leaves from the fields.
Geishas enjoy a summer’s day in a landscaped garden in this 100-year-old photo by Tamamura Kozaburo
The rare collection of images show Japan before its industrial revolution
The collection of 100-year-old photos were taken to try to attract tourists to the country at the beginning of the 20th century after the lifting of the bamboo curtain
Japan remained cut off from much of the world until the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854
Iconic landmarks such as the Kintai-kyo bridge, built in 1673, and the Great Buddha of Kamakura, first constructed in 1252, appear much the same at the beginning of the 20th Century as they do today.
But while the monuments themselves may look unchanged, the surroundings are now packed with tourists and often surrounded by skyscrapers to house the ever-growing population which has more than doubled from 49,852,000 in 1910 to 128,056,026 in 2010.
The photos were taken by Tamamura Kozaburo to try to attract tourists to Japan after the country opened up to the rest of the world following the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.
The convention opened the Japanese ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to U.S. trade for the first time in 200 years and ensured the safety of shipwrecked American sailors.
But before the convention, Japan had cut itself off from the rest of the world for more than two centuries and was lagging behind in new technologies.
The Imperial Palace, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan, was completely isolated 100 years ago
The Imperial Palace is now surrounded by modern skyscrapers in Tokyo
A lone fisherman is captured coming in to shore
The Kintai-kyo bridge, built in 1673, still stands today
Spot the difference: Today the Kintai-kyo bridge is lit up at night and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan
It was only when Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy steamed into the bay in Yokohama with four warships – the Mississippi, Plymouth, Saratoga, and Susquehanna – in 1853 that the channels of communication were forced open. This eventually lead to the Convention agreement the following year.
Japan soon undertook drastic political, economic, and cultural transformations to emerge as a unified and centralized state to try to put itself on an even keel with the West.
It’s industrial revolution began around 1870 as national leaders hoped to catch up with the West by building railway lines, better roads, and invested heavily in modern industry such as textiles, including cotton and silk.
By 1910, Japan had come out triumphant in a war with Russia and become the first Eastern modern imperial power. It was around this time that this collection of photos were taken to show off Japan to the outside world, which had previously been rigidly introverted and anti any foreign or outside influence.
Photographer Kozaburo was the first to produce tourist shots for Japan with an album of 51 collotype black and white photographic prints, which were painstakingly inked in by a team of 100 colorists, and gave Europe one of its first glimpses of life inside the previously secretive state.
A few fishing smacks are seen off the Japanese coast which later became an international port
The black and white images taken by Kozaburo were painstakingly inked in by a team of 100 colorists
The Japanese are still renowned for their beautiful gardens
These photos show Japan at a prosperous time, when it was starting to build itself into a dominating world power during a period of rapid economic growth and on the cusp of significant technological advancement.
But as Japan began to catch up with the rest of the world powers, it began to exert its brutal power by declaring war on surrounding countries such as China.
This provoked condemnation from the West and tensions with America began to further escalate over its control of Japan’s oil resources, eventually leading to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and entry in to World War II.
But these hand-colored prints show untouched Japan before its disastrous losses in World War II forced the country to surrender. They are mounted in an oblong folio within its original box and are expected to fetch £800 ($1300) at auction through Woolley and Wallis auctioneers of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
Clare Durham, Asian art expert at Woolley and Wallis, said: ‘Japan had been closed off until the 1860s so it was still relatively new to Europeans.
‘The photos were taken at a time when everything Japanese was of great interest to people in Europe and at a time when photography was in its infancy.
‘They offer a fascinating look at the geisha culture at this time. It is a really interesting historical snapshot of Japan and its cities 100 years ago.’
‘It has come to us from a person in the south west who has had the album for a while now.’
A Buddhist shrine set alone in the mountains
Mount Fuji looks much the same 100 years ago as it does today
Ladies travelling along a dangerous mountain river in a wooden boat
Locals appear to be climbing over the Great Buddha of Kamakura, first built in 1252
Great Buddha Kamakura is approximately 13.35 meters tall, weighs 93 tons, and is today one of the most visited landmarks in Japan
‘This would appeal to anybody who has an interest in Japanese culture but it is also a really nice album to dip in and out of for anybody interested in photography or art.’
‘The geisha is emblematic of what Japanese culture was at that time and the photographer was a specialist at capturing it.
‘Japan had been closed off and there was a huge interest in the country at that time and it was almost like the country was being discovered all over again.’
The photo album went to auction at Salisbury on November 15.
Japanese theatre was promoted to try to attract tourists
A rural village street is completely untouched by machinery
A peasant woman entertains a child with a handmade toy, above, and Geishas look at their reflections in a landscaped garden pond, below
Women picking tea leaves in long dresses with garments protecting their faces from the sun
Japanese woman wear traditional outfits – similar to those worn 100 years ago – to pick tea leaves today
Attribution: Mail Online
To a lot of men, Japanese artist Macaon has the perfect job and it’s not difficult to see why.
He gets to drink beer and soda and then recycles the cans by twisting them into much-loved superstars from comic books, film and video games.
Macaon transforms the old aluminium into iconic figures like Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story, a Decepticon from Transformers, a mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader and video play station hero Super Mario.
An armed Decepticon created from the cans by the Japanese artist Macaon
The model figures are made from beer cans twisted into their cartoon shapes
– Wall-E was created by the artist Macaon with the help of beer cans
Cola cans and energy drinks made up the materials for Super Mario and the Smurf
Disney’s robot WALL-E, the trash compacting robot, is the perfect subject for a recycled can sculpture.
While childhood favorite Pikachu from the Pokémon TV series is created using Japanese drinks in a bright golden yellow.
Each can is selected for color, and painstakingly cut up and bent into position with the skill of an origami master.
Other examples of the artist’s amazing work can be seen on his Japanese website.
The mask of Darth Vader, the Star Wars villain
Pikachu from the Pokémon TV series and a majestic kingfisher bird
A fish created from the old aluminium
Every picture, letter, and label printed on the surface of each can is always partly visible on the finished figures which also include a dragon fly, scorpion, a fish and a kingfisher bird.
There is one riddle: How did Macaon get through so many beer cans and still have such a steady hand?
A figure is made from this Japanese can making sure the lettering is visible
A dragon fly made from a can of Coca-cola
Attribution: Daily Mail
However, this is Gunkanjima – Japan’s rotting metropolis. And it has been described as the most desolate place on Earth.
Meaning ‘Battleship Island’ in English, Gunkanjima’s real name is Hashima and it is one of 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture (territory), about 15 kilometers (9.5 miles) from Nagasaki itself. It earned its nickname due to its resemblance to the military warship.
Despite being off-limits to travellers, the island has become an irresistible magnet for urban explorers who go to extraordinary lengths to investigate and photograph the island’s abandoned buildings.
Gunkanjima was once just a small reef but, following the discovery of coal in 1810, was turned into mining facility during the industrialisation of Japan. It gave rise to its own population of workers and inhabitants who were all densely-packed into a self-contained metropolis.
The 15-acre island was populated between 1887 and 1974, reaching its peak in 1959 with 5,259 inhabitants. However, as petroleum replaced coal during the 1960s, Japan’s mines were hit by closures which eventually reached Gunkanjima.
After 35 years of closure, the landing ban was lifted on Gunkanjima in 2009, meaning it was no longer illegal for boats to dock at the island. However, it still remains illegal to venture inside the city’s walls, meaning urban explorers must go to great lengths to covertly trespass the island.
Attribution: Japan Guide, Daily Mail
I have to stop saving this stuff. Anyway, here ya go.
A Japanese boat swept away a year ago by deadly tsunami spotted 4,703 miles away floating near Canada
A large fishing vessel swept away by the tsunami that devastated Japan last year has been spotted bobbing in the seas near British Columbia in western Canada.
The trawler is part of the 5 million tons of debris that were swept into the ocean in March 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.
More than a year later a Canadian military air patrol spotted the vessel – 4,703 miles away from where it was originally moored – floating towards the shore.
It has been determined that the boat has been adrift without anybody at the helm since March 11 last year.
The 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) vessel was recently about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of Haida Gwaii, islands off the north-coast of British Columbia, slowly drifting toward shore.
A maritime warning has been issued because the vessel could pose a navigational hazard.
The vessel, which was used for squid fishing, was moored at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, said Toshiro Yoshinaga, a Coast Guard official.
Canadian agencies are monitoring the ship for possible marine pollution, though there are no reports of leaks from the vessel, the defense department said.
The earthquake, which struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo, was the largest in the country’s history.
Thousands of people were killed when the earthquake triggered the tsunami and other giant waves that devastated cities and rural areas.
According to the official toll, the disasters left 15,839 dead, 5,950 injured, and 3,642 missing
Attribution: Daily Mail