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What I Want for Newtonmas This Year November 18, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Japan, Science, Toys, Video.
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A realistic dinosaur costume.

Or a T-Rex.  Either way.

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Better Neutrino Detection Through Beta Decay November 9, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Japan, Science, Toys.
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Once upon a time scientists studying the sun couldn’t have the faintest idea of the internal activity of the Sun. One bright (see what I did there) scientist realized that monitoring neutrinos, the massless, chargeless, non-interacting particles that zip through the universe barely interacting with anything at all, might give a useful clue to the machinations therein.  I mean, they knew neutrinos are part of the solar flux,so it’s just a matter of detecting massless, chargeless, non-interacting particles.

Oh, crap.

Well, luckily neutrinos do not remain neutrinos forever; they decay into detectable particles…eventually.  Not often to be sure, as billions pass through a square centimeter every second without leaving any decay particles. Those decay particles can be detected with rather elaborate photomultipliers in a huge cavern in Japan somewhere: “It consists of a tank filled with 50,000 tons of ultra-pure water, surrounded by about 13,000 photo-multiplier tubes. If a neutrino enters the water and interacts with electrons or nuclei there, it results in a charged particle that moves faster than the speed of light in water. This leads to an optical shock wave, a cone of light called Cherenkov radiation. This light is projected onto the wall of the tank and recorded by the photomultiplier tubes.1“ Despite the heavy hardware only a few thousand are detected every year, which should tell you something about the likelihood of a decay event…not very damn likely.

Thing is, the theoretical number and the actual number didn’t match; the experimental result was one-third of theoretical, indicating something must be wrong with the theoretical understanding, or the experiment is crap. It turned out that neutrinos oscillate among three forms (electron, muon and tau) and detectors were primarily sensitive to only electron neutrinos.

Here’s where science gets really intricate; pour another shot and I’ll tell you why. In a distantly-related field, other scientists observed variations in the rate of beta decay of radioactive elements.  Once again, either the data is crap or the theory, and the theory says the decay rate should be constant.  Looking at the data over time, they found that the beta-decay rate matched the neutrino data, indicating a one-month oscillation attributable to solar radiation. Many now believe that neutrino emissions from the Sun are somehow affecting beta decay.

If that’s not strange enough for you then feature this: the same guys who figured this out are going to use beta-decay experiments here on Earth to monitor massless, chargeless, non-interacting neutrinos, and thereby the Sun.

 

1. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing all that much.  It is 11:30p.m. and I’m tired. Sue me.

Homework:  P. A. Sturrock et al. Comparative Analyses of Brookhaven National Laboratory Nuclear Decay Measurements and Super-Kamiokande Solar Neutrino Measurements: Neutrinos and Neutrino-Induced Beta-Decays as Probes of the Deep Solar Interior, Solar Physics (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s11207-016-1008-9

Carmelized Garlic Doritos September 28, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Mutants.
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Sorry; these are currently only available in Japan.  We must visit the Doritos offices in the USA with pitchforks and torches to demand protection from vampires with delicious garlic Doritos.

Zinc Oxide and You August 26, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Science, Uncategorizable, Video.
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Japanese researchers at Tohoku University have created a special coating which reduces friction on high-speed, high-temperature bearings by 30%.  Made of a zinc oxide material, the coating has been integrated into bearings in a nifty jet engine-powered generator for emergency use capable of producing eight thousand watts, enough for two Japanese homes:

ZnO-coated high-performance bearings developed

Tiny, isn’t it?  Is there anything zinc oxide can’t do?

I Was a Callow Youth of Forty When June 7, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in 3D Printing, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Japan, Mutants, Octopus, Toys, Video.
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I first saw Ghost in the Shell, an anime of now classic status, which features cyborgs questioning their own humanity and a possible AI they may discover, and perhaps combat.  There is competent animation, what I imagine is good writing (the subtitles I saw on this fan-subbed version were perhaps a reflection of the translator, however) and an interesting soundtrack.

It also spawned a legion of anime geeks and fanboys, one of whom has made a copy of the mech of choice from said anime, the Tachikoma.  It is very, um, lifelike:

It’s a beautiful build. I would be so proud if this were my child.

This Oughta Fix Your Childhood Memories February 24, 2015

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Mutants, Video.
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Thank gods I’m too old for this to have been MY childhood.

I May Just Stop Here February 23, 2015

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Japan, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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Look.  I’ve been documenting Hello Kitty artifacts from before the dawn of time, but I’m just about done (no SM gear yet, although I can’t say I’ve looked for it) with this.

My Next Car January 19, 2015

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Hello Kitty, Japan, Mutants, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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It only travels 10 mph, but it DOES have twin BB Gatling guns (6000rpm), which ought to be enough to get me through traffic slower than that.  Traffic faster than that can just bite me.

Then One Day She Ran Out of Food February 24, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Mutants.
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Gif Bunny swarm

A Definite Improvement July 31, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Japan, Star Trek Technology.
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Google Translate has suffered a few blows in its day, with hilarious translations and re-translations.  English-Japanese and Japanese-English were particularly ripe for mischief, however unintentional.  Lately things have been much more robust, specifically these two famous test phrases, now translated with much greater accuracy.

Star Trek’s Universal Translator cannot be far away.

Spider Tank Mark 6 on Kickstarter July 26, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Geek Stuff, Japan, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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Every little boy’s fantasy, for a mere hundred bucks…if he gets enough pledges.  I hope this video comes through WordPress, but if not, here’s the link to his Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1089105581/the-greatest-toy-kit-in-the-universe-spider-tank-m

Also, watch the video to see his toddler help him assemble it.  Far beyond merely cute.

Sushi Fights Back at Last October 22, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Japan, Mutants, Octopus, Video.
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Cute, Isn’t It? September 14, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Hello Kitty, Japan, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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B29DF403

I’m pretty sure words fail at this point.

Kanjidamage.com July 17, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words, Japan, Uncategorizable.
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If I ever had the mistaken idea that Japanese could be learned by an average American middle-aged man (like myself, for wretched example), I can happily dismiss it with a visit to kanjidamage.com.  This site offers terrific insight to the surrealistic nightmare that is the standard approach to learning kanji.  I’m not here to complain about learning kanji (this is a happy blog, dammit), but to raise a (dozen) glass(es) to the author, who has seen through the veil of lies about teaching kanji told by idiots who try.

Kanji education is a mess.  Let’s not kid ourselves; if I had to learn everything else the same way this is taught I would be (more of) an idiot (than I am).  Because there are sooooooooo many exceptions, exclusions, inclusions, synonyms, repetitions, multiple meanings, lookalikes and other monsters under the bed of kanji lessons–and this is over and above the general weirdness that is the Japanese language itself.

Kanjidamage.com does not attempt to comfort you about this recurring nightmare; it merely points out the scarier bits, leaves out the stupider things and makes fun of the rest in rather coarse language and cheap “yo’ mama” jokes.  Somehow, I am oddly comforted by this, although I admit I never, ever intended to learn kanji in the first place, having been forewarned by a dear friend who almost went mad trying.  And a stepdaughter.  In fact, the intellectual landscape is littered with the corpses of fools who tried.

If you or someone you love MUST learn kanji, have them start here.  If no gun is to your head, stay away from kanji.  It’s just not worth it.

Typical Day in Japan July 14, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Photography.
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https://i1.wp.com/img.gawkerassets.com/img/17qq8jv23wl5mjpg/original.jpg

I like how nobody finds this unusual.

Given My Obsession With Japanese Culture and Language May 3, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Toys.
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what did you expect?

Exciting update:

KanaFlash, a WinCE Kana Flashcard Application December 15, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Japan, Toys.
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KanaFlash displays hiragana and katakana characters and shows their English equivalents, and even pronounces them for you unless you toggle the sound off with the English/syllable name button.  An updated version will have pronunciations of yet more syllables…really it will.  I promise.  Honest.

KanaFlash

Korean Hello Kitty Cafe November 10, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Japan.
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In Seoul.

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Ouch.

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Oh, gods.

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Hello Kitty Bus October 24, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Japan.
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Hello Kitty bus - Copy

I have nothing to add to this, obviously.  Some things are good just as they are.

From an article about busses in Japan.

Wasabi KitKat September 20, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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image

God, I love Japan.  I mean, they mix and match things the way Hollywood mixes and matches plots/actor/special effects. 

Think of this as the Avatar of the food industry.

Exciting update:

That’s 80 kilos of KitKat, my children.  Go thou and do likewise.

Gods bless Japan; a whole country dedicated to making me smile.