Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Speak Fluent Japanese Without Saying A Word"

Via Japan Probe

"KEN TANAKA and REMI FEBRUARY teach you how to speak Japanese fluently without saying anything at all."

Your model is effectively your reality.

Fitness Cure - » An Inspirational History of the 4 minute Mile.:
"In May 1954, on an Oxford track, Bannister shattered this barrier, running the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Two months later, in Finland, Bannister’s “miracle mile” was again broken by Australian rival John Landy, who achieved a time of 3 minutes 56 seconds. Within three years, 16 other runners had also broken this record.

What happened in those three years? Was there a sudden growth spurt in human evolution? Was there a genetic engineering experiment that created a new race of super runners? No, the basic human equipment was the same. What changed was the mental model. The runners of the past had been held back by a mindset that said they could not surpass the four minute mile. When that limit was broken, the others saw that they could do something they had previously thought impossible.

Transforming our world begins with changing the way we think about it. The more we understand the role of mental models in this process, and the better able we are to recognize these models, the better we can examine the strengths of our models and their limitations.
We can sustain the models that allow us to act effectively in the world and get ride of those that constrain us unnecessarily..."

Image via Wikipedia.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Skip Hall is completely amazing.

Okay, you've got Randy Couture winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship at 43. And Dennis Siggins fighting and winning at 47.

And then you have active mixed martial artist Skip Hall.

61 years old.

That's right.


Just awesome.

He may only have a 2-4 record [and the two guys he beat have a combined 1-4 record] but he's 61 years old. And putting it on the line and trying to be his best. That just rocks.

"Nearly every day I meet someone and, even people who have known me for awhile will ask me, "Why are you still fighting?" My wife put it a different way when she asked me, "Skip, do you do what you do because of who you are or who you want to be?" So I'm writing this to try and answer WHY - not only for you but also for me.

Everyone does something for one reason or another. I just happen to have picked fighting, but like everybody that does other things; I do what I do for a reason, too.

...It’s not just fighting for me, its facing a challenge. It’s re-facing the death of my Son, Lonnie, its closing my eyes and sleeping when the faces and contorted bodies I see are people dead from my hand or my friends killed in Vietnam. It’s facing the last time I lost a fight and even facing everyone when I’m lucky enough to win. The challenge in all of this is handling me. I don’t get to pick the challenges just like I don’t get to pick what my opponent tries to do to me. But, I have to be up to whatever that is. That’s life and that’s what I find in fighting. It’s not all academic or philosophical decisions; it is pain and suffering with an occasional unbelievable feeling of elation. I might not be rich, or famous or even smart but I am a sincere honest person who is only what you see. Just like in life, I don’t always win or even make the right decisions, but I always think I’m doing that with whatever I actually do..."

"Incarcerex: It's Time for a New Bottom Line"

"Do you suffer from fear of losing your election?"

Some people are just crying for somebody to tell them what to do.

A daddy figure who'll tell them what to like and how to live. I will never understand these people.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > "A Truffle Hound's Nose for the Trite.":
"'In a world with fewer and fewer professional editors or reviewers, how are we to know what and whom to believe?'

This question doesn't keep me awake nights--we'll muddle through somehow. But Andrew Keen is nigh apoplectic about the current state of affairs in his new book The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture."

Image via Wikipedia.

Stay outta my stuff, you fear mongering leeches.

What's in a Laptop? Court Ponders Legality of Border Searches:
"Is your laptop a fancy piece of luggage or an extension of your mind? That's the central question facing a federal appeals court in a case that could sharply limit the government's ability to snoop into laptop computers carried across the border by American citizens.

The question, before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arose from the prosecution of Michael Timothy Arnold, an American citizen whose laptop was randomly searched in July 2005 at Los Angeles International Airport as he returned from a three-week trip to the Philippines. Agents booted the computer and began opening folders on the desktop, where they found a picture of two naked women, continued searching, then turned up what the government says is child pornography.

In June 2006, a judge from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California threw out the evidence, finding that customs officials must have at least "reasonable suspicion" to begin prying into the contents of an electronic storage device, a decision the government is now appealing.

..."No ordinary traveler would expect their private files to be searched at the border without any reasonable justification," they told the appeals court. "The government's argument that a traveler can simply avoid exposure by leaving the laptop at home is an oversimplification of its function and role in daily life."

..."A suspicionless unrestricted search of a laptop computer is simply electronic eavesdropping after the fact," the groups told the court. "(It) is distinguishable from the forbidden general searches of Colonial times only by the technologies involved.""

Nonviolence and Martial Sports.

Yep, you read that right.

Great quote.

Boise Weekly - Not Your Everyday Newspaper: Rec: Rec Features: Peaceful Warrior:
"...Smith, who has a purification prayer in Chinese characters tattooed down his right shin (the one most used for kicking), doesn't see any contradiction between his practice of nonviolence and his practice of Thai boxing. "In muay Thai, it is not my intention to violently harm an individual. Anger has no place in my practice. Instead, I enter into an agreement with my opponent to compete in a sport we both hold dear. There is a major difference between an opponent and a victim. Violence is an attitude before it becomes an action." "

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Old Japanese ladies are getting wise.

Ah, Japanese marriage... so dysfunctional. They really are becoming westernized!

Divorce rate rises following new split pension rule - MSN-Mainichi Daily News:
"The number of divorces increased over a one-year period up to April this year, possibly due to the implementation of a new system under which pension benefits are split between divorced husbands and wives, it has emerged.

A total of 259,064 couples divorced between May 2006 and April this year, 1,349 more than in the April 2006-March 2007 period, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

"We can hardly think of any cause other than the introduction of the system under which employees' pension benefits are split between divorced husbands and wives," a ministry official said.

...The ministry believes that numerous couples postponed their divorces until the employees' pension benefit split system was implemented in April this year.

"News organizations reported in August last year that the Social Insurance Agency would notify couples of how much they would receive in pension payments if they divorced. Therefore, many couples postponed their planned divorces," a ministry official said."

Image via.

Quizzes! Glorious, useless internet quizzes!

You Are 64% Politically Radical

You're political views are just plain weird. A little far left, a little far right, and a whole lot of radical.


Your Political Profile:

Overall: 45% Conservative, 55% Liberal

Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Score one for the good guys.

I'm safe!

IReason Magazine - Hit & Run > Saved Email Safe From Unwarranted Police Eyes:
"Searching stored emails does require a warrant, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Monday...

"Email users expect that their Hotmail and Gmail inboxes are just as private as their postal mail and their telephone calls," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The government tried to get around this common-sense conclusion, but the Constitution applies online as well as offline, as the court correctly found. That means that the government can't secretly seize your emails without a warrant.""

Boing Boing: Email gets fourth amendment protection again:
"The court agreed with an amicus brief filed by EFF attorney Kevin Bankston that people did have a reasonable expectation of privacy on their emails even when not stored on their home systems. This decision will make life far easier for users, and for operators of hosted email services like Google's Gmail."

Image Via.

Everybody's gotta start somewhere.

Overheard in the Office | And the Stamina to Keep It Running?:
"Old boss: I used to do bad things, you know.
Young employee: Really?! Yeah, right.
Old boss: Yeah, like dealing coke. How do you think we got the money to start this place?

Des Moines, Iowa"

"The iron never lies."

“The iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The iron will always kick you the real deal. The iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But, two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” - Henry Rollins

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

American children are all gonna end up weak and soft headed.

I swear to god, the level of stupidity is mind boggling.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Who's Up for a Game of Point Football?:
"The Washington Post describes a Virginia public school's no-touching policy:

...All touching -- not only fighting or inappropriate touching -- is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: 'NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!'"

Image via.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Japan, you wacky bastard. | News | Robot legs go on sale in Japan this summer:
"Matsushita/Panasonic has decided to commercialise the latest version of its robotic rescue exoskeleton there, starting in August.

For ¥20 million (£82,000), the super-rich and the super-well-prepared alike will be able to pick up their very own Power Pedal robot..."

Katsuura elementary is always pretty fun.

Only 50-some kids in the entire school. Good kids.

[If you look closely, you can see me getting ready to hide some elementary school child's lunch. That's how I roll.]

Kids/Teen Shorinji Kempo Demo.

Last Sunday one of my fellow teachers at Tsuyazaki Jr High invited me out for a karate demo. Hey practices, and we're forever jawing about mixed martial arts and the like. Traditional Shorinji Kempo Karate.

One of my jr high students, Ryota [young man on the left], also did a demo.

The coolest part was near the end when they did adult/kid-parent/child two man kata. This guy and his daughter were pretty cool. Though when the girl missed a technique, and the dad covered for her, it was really nice in that loving-father but still a little funny kinda way.

New Jr High Swimming Pool.

Inaugurated the new Tsuyazaki Jr High swimming pool last week. Built it over the winter time. For the opening ceremony, as everything is required by law to have a ceremony in Japan, a high school swim team [I forget which high school] came and raced the Jr High kids. As some of the swimmers were top ranked in Kyushu and Japan, they handicapped them by making them use the paddle boards we all remember struggling with when we were little. They still whupped up on the Jr High kids though. Despite the drizzling rain, a good time had by all. Cause hey, that was an afternoon of NO classes, right?

Cuddly Dominion [I kid you not, that's the name.]

Couple weekends ago we went to "Cuddly Dominion" animal park. As with all zoos and menageries, it's one part fascinating creatures, one part slightly depressing animal prison.

The bears, when not lounging about, which they were quite good at, had learned how to wave and clap in order to get attention so that you could throw them food. Very creepy-cute, in an anthropomorphized kinda way.

Bachan decides after 81 years on planet earth, it's time to ride a horse! First time ever. That's some spunky grandma, yeah?

No idea who this kid was, but this pic was entirely too cute not to sneak.

Grandma and some grandkids.

It remains my contention that animals wearing human clothes remains an abomination unto God.

[I'm looking at you mama Snider. And your little dog, too.]

Nobody ever takes me seriously :)

Pictures with the muzzled baby bear was slightly surreal. Keeping in mind, the whole time, that were there no muzzle, and he hungry, people = dinner.

One of the major draws of the park was James [the dog] and Pan-kun [the chimp] who performed together and did magic, with people-help, of course. The show was pretty fun. And the animals seemed taken care of, which was nice.

More pics here, if that's your thing: