Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I've been meaning to avoid politics, except it's on my mind 72% of the time. The mere mentioning of it would render half a night gone thinking and sitting in front of the PC, me angry, in despair. I don't want to turn this little private blog into a vehicle for political propaganda, however small it is, and however little time I actually spend here.

I don't want to lean towards either the left or right. But how can so many millions of people, educated or otherwise, be so blinded, willingly suck onto any spoon-feeding? I can see why some manipulate facts for their personal gains, but what about the vast majority who get zero benefit from these inept deceptions?

Maybe there are just too many dummies out there. Maybe as a species we don't deserve this planet. Maybe they have more simply because they've wanted it more. Remember Apocalypse Now? Beat them at their own game. Fuck it all!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sony's last try

Sony to market PS3 for under 50,000 yen
President Ken Kutaragi of Sony Computer Entertainment announced on Friday that PlayStation 3 would go on sale on Nov. 11 for 49,980 yen, rather than the previously-announced 62,790 more

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

strange dream

I woke up sweating from this weird dream, so vivid I thought the waking up was a dream, not the dream itself. I go to a highschool reunion. Everyone is there, but I am awful quiet because my current job is a secret agent for the US of A. In order for me not to expose my identity, I am given a shot directly to the head, followed by a brief blackout. Then I am sworn in to never betray the country along with my fellow soldiers.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Starry night?

Fix your camera to a tripod, lock the shutter open, and you can make an image of star trails - graceful concentric arcs traced by the stars as planet Earth rotates on its axis. Of course, the length of the star trails will depend on the exposure time. While exposures lasting just five minutes produce a significant arc, in about 12 hours a given star would trace out half a circle. But in any long exposure, the background glow from light-polluted skies can build up to wash out the trails. Still, astronomer Josch Hambsch produced this stunning composite of star trails around the South Celestial Pole with an effective "all night" exposure time of almost 11 hours. To do it, he combined 128 consecutive five minute long digital exposures recorded in very dark night skies above Namibia. In his final image, the background glow on the right is due in part to the faint, arcing Milky Way.
NASA's pic of the day

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

green aurora

What if your horizon was green? If you've got a camera, take a picture! That was the experience of Jeff Hapeman last week when visiting the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. On a quiet night toward the northern horizon over Lake Superior was a long lasting diffuse green aurora. The above image was taken in an effort to capture the sense of wonder one gets when watching an auroral display. Auroras are sparked by energetic particles from the Sun impacting the magnetic environment around the Earth. Resultant energetic particles such as electrons and protons rain down near the Earth's poles and impact the air. The impacted air molecules temporarily lose electrons, and when oxygen molecules among them reacquire these electrons, they emit green light. Auroras are known to have many shapes and colors.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Irohazaka, driving ecstasy

Again oweing up to its Initial D fame, Irohazaka (いろは坂) WAS one of the best known drifting hot spots. Two weeks ago I had the chance to drive it. Here are some facts:
  • "i,ro,ha" is an old Japanese counting method;
  • the curves are labeled in that order;
  • it's a section of the national road #120 (AKA "Nikko douro");
  • it connects the city of Nikko (日光市馬返) and Chuzenjiko (中禅寺湖) in Tochigi-ken (栃木県);
  • the climb (known as irohazaka #2) and downhill (#1) are two seperate one-way roads;
  • the climb section has 20 turns; the downhill has 28; nearly all of them hairpin;
  • it used to be a toll road;
  • it's known to kill, last fatal accident on 8/26;

And here are the pics:

An illustrated map showing both roads.

More pics
(not mine)
Japan Wiki page here
(warning: open roads are for driving; racing belongs at the racetrack)

World Bball pics

A friend of mine got these exclusive shots at some 2006 World Basketball Championship games held in Saitama which I missed with regrets. Saitama-ken is the prefecture just north of Tokyo, which technically is right next to me although it takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to get there. Going up to Saitama isn't that bad since driving there takes no more than 3.5 hours with normal traffic conditions.

. . . . .
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) of Germany at the line. The cheerleaders appear to have limitless changes of sexy outfits.

. . .
Team USA lined up for the pre-game introduction. Waving and leaving the court after palying a really decent game. 2006 USA Men's World Championship Team Roster here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

hang your heads

US basketball.

These folks need lessons, but when will they learn them, if ever? Despite the fact that the world's arena is much smaller than the US NBA's, financially speaking, losing is simply that, losing. Where is the drive? The determination? The collaboration? A Detroit Pistons would win. The bling-bling ballers who go into this wanting to put on a show, will always walk out hanging their heads.
"The U.S. has dazzling skill; the Greeks are a dazzling team."
The fact that we already know (repeatedly) the above statement is true only makes matter worse. Teamwork, learn it. And while you're at it, pass the damn ball. And coach, don't tiptoe around the stars. Yes, listen to the soothing words from your groupies and your 12-person care unit after the defeat. It'll make you feel better inside.

First I was mad at myself for missing the Saitama games. For 100 bucks you can watch two games back to back. Now this. I thought our excuse was we didn't care about soccer.