23 December, 2005

sensual internet lips

Christmas gift idea #5: USB sensual talking lips:


“Talking Lips” is a funny speaker for your computer, TV or phone. The lips open and close according to outgoing sounds or voice. It could be ideal for voice chat sessions and hands-free telephone conversations.

This is a very tacky gift, but AsiaPundit can think of other applications. These probably won’t exist until version 2.0, but AP still endorses this gift idea.

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by @ 10:27 pm. Filed under Japan, Asia, East Asia, Web/Tech

pla memo: don’t mention the nuking the us

The Chinese general who told Honk Kong journalists that China would use nuclear weapons if there were a conflict with the US over Taiwan has been censured.:

StfuReuters reports that Chinese General Zhu "I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons” Chenghu received an “administrative demerit” recently from the National Defense University, barring him from promotion for one year.

An administrative demerit is the second lightest punishment on a scale of one to five, but still potentially damaging to an officer’s career. The lightest is an administrative warning, while the heaviest is expulsion.

“His chances for promotion in the future are extremely slim,” another source said.

I’ll actually want to check this with some folks at the Guofang Daxue.

Stephanie Lieggi has a perfectly reasonable discussion of Zhu in a CNS Issue Brief entitled, Going Beyond the Stir: The Strategic Realities of China’s No-First-Use Policy:

Despite some media reports touting Zhu as a “top general,” Zhu is not considered to be a significant figure in the policy-making apparatus that controls military planning and nuclear doctrine. In making his comments, the general—dean in charge of international fellows at China’s NDU—is therefore commenting from outside of the policy-making system. In this context, Zhu’s remarks could be seen as an illustration of China’s public determination regarding its “break-away province.” It is not, however, an indication of a dramatic shift in policy, nor—as was true in the often misquoted “Los Angeles” statement—a direct offensive threat to the United States.

by @ 10:09 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

mortal kombat viral



Mortal Kombat viral ad glorified violence, says ASA

An online video ad for computer game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority as condoning and glorifying violence. It is the first time that a complaint over a viral ad campaign has been upheld by the watchdog.

The ad, entitled Blood on the Carpet, was created for games developer Midway Games by London-based Maverick Media. It features a boardroom scene in which a Mr Linn, the mysterious trouble-shooter at a sales meeting, instructs two men to fight.

Punches lead to a pen being stabbed into an arm; then a water jug is smashed over an executive’s head – before his heart is ripped from his chest. Mr Linn concludes proceedings by decapitating another executive with his hat.

The ASA received one complaint over the ad, alleging that it was offensive, violent and unsuitable to be viewed by children.

(Via theory.isthereason, even more disturbing is the Passion of Benny Hill)

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by @ 9:46 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, Games

the manga offensive

Japan has decided to launch a public-relations offensive against anti-Japan nationalism in China by promoting manga and j-pop.:

IkkyusanTo polish Japan’s tarnished image in China, the Foreign Ministry plans to start a new program aimed at spreading Japanese animations and J-pop in the giant neighbor.

It is the first time Japan has set aside money to promote Japanese animated programs in China. The overall budget for China-related PR will be 3.11 billion yen in fiscal 2006, up 1.16 billion yen over the fiscal 2005 budget.

The move is meant to forestall further deterioration of Japan’s public image in China following an upswing in anti-Japanese sentiment sparked by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

Under the plan, the Foreign Ministry will financially support distribution of selected animated series and songs to provincial broadcasters in China.

Japan’s animated TV shows already have many Chinese fans. "Ikkyu-san," a story about a novice Buddhist monk, and "One Piece," a comedy adventure series about a group of young pirates, are just two popular examples.

That’s roughly $26.6 million Japan is going to spend on promoting good relations, not an inconsequential sum. AsiaPundit would ordinarily question such spending purely from a fiscal perspective. However, Northeast Asian relations have deteriorated to such a dangerous level that a bit of excess spending is not a bad thing.

Besides, they can just cut something else from the budget to make up for it.:

PM Koizumi has firmed his stance not to include funds to survey the possibility of a national war memorial (to replace the Yasukuni shrine) in the national budget draft, a move seen to be caused by a lack of public interest.

Government sources explained that the “environment has not been prepared to include survey funds in next year’s budget,” which will be formally decided on Dec. 22. The funds were not included in the MOF’s budget recommendations, released the same day.

Another part of the decision, say government officials, was that including the funds would not likely have contributed to repairing relations with China and South Korea.

The govt plans to continue deliberating on the merits of including the funds while “carefully watching public opinion.” There is momentum within the “Group to Consider a National [War] Memorial,” which crosses party lines to include members from the ruling LDP and New Komeito as well as the main opposition DPJ, to demand the inclusion of such funding in next fiscal year’s revised budget or reserve funds. However, it is unlikely to be included in a budget during Koizumi’s tenure.

(Via East Asia Watch, Marmot and Mutant Frog)

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by @ 8:52 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, North Korea

hwang woo-suk deathwatch

Seoul National University is putting the nails into the coffin of Hwang Woo-suk, formerly South Korea’s most renowned scientist and cloning researcher, saying that he personally fabricated results. The Marmot is running with the story here.:

WoosukA panel from South Korea’s top university investigating the veracity of the country’s cloning pioneer’s past study said Friday stem cell expert Hwang Woo-suk fabricated the results of his human stem cell research, calling it "damaging to the foundation of science."

The internal panel of Seoul National University (SNU) issued an interim report saying he produced two stem cell lines and used them to claim the production of 11 stem cell lines.

The report, announced in a press conference, said, "Hwang’s team had reported it had 11 patient-tailored stem cell lines but there were only two such stem cell lines on March 15 when it submitted its paper to the journal Science."

The panel launched its investigation Monday on the authenticity scandal surrounding the country’s landmark stem cell research by Hwang which emerged last month.

It’s damn certain that his career is over, the question remains how much longer he will be with this world. As Kushibo, Jeff, sickboy and others have noted, this sort of scandal typically ends in suicide.

AsiaPundit is now accepting bets on the likely date and time of Hwang’s demise. The person with the closest guess will receive a year’s free subscription to AsiaPundit including all premium content.*

That said, while suicide may be a traditional Korean way to react to a career-crippling scandal, AsiaPundit hopes Hwang can start fresh.

AsiaPundit recommends that Hwang follow in the Anglo-American footsteps of Nick Leeson or Michael Brown and start a consulting business on bio-ethics.

(*Offer may be voided by Internet censorship)

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by @ 1:23 pm. Filed under South Korea, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

oooh, look at asiapundit, he reads the economist!

AsiaPundit is a loyal reader of the Economist, as are Will at Imagethief and Younghusband at Coming Anarchy, and he experiences near withdrawal when the magazine newspaper takes its annual Christmas/New Year’s publication break.

Thankfully, they always produce a brilliant double-sized feature-filled Christmas issue to tide loyal subscribers over. In this year’s edition, the Economist has provided several excellent features of interest on Asia.

First, a study of the sex toy industry in China.:

The Communist Party grudgingly opened its doors to private entrepreneurs only three years ago. But it remains uneasy about the age-old practice of keeping businesses under patriarchal control and handing them down through the male line.

And it is just as uneasy about sex, although the visitor to the Wu showroom in Wenzhou, run by the 36-year-old eldest son, Wu Wei, might not believe it. Mr Wu pauses only briefly in the first section, adorned with reproductions of antique Chinese paintings of copulating couples. He points to one showing women in classical attire buying dildos from a street merchant. “Look, they used them in those days”, he says, as if to justify with historical precedent what comes next.

Mr Wu ushers the visitor into the main exhibition: row upon row of sex toys in a rainbow array of rubber, plastic, leather and—he proudly asks your correspondent to squeeze this one—a sponge-like material designed to simulate the texture of female flesh. Hung on one wall is a macabre line of near life-size inflatable dolls, their rouged mouths agape as if in horror at the implements before them: the Vertical Double Dong, the Occidental Vagina, the Waterproof Warhead Vibe (“Bathtime was never this fun”) and a variety of black leather and metal goods for fans of sadism and masochism (for overseas markets, that is; the Wus see S&M potential in China too, but party cadres do not).

To follow, a feature on the increasing humanization of robots in Japan:

RobotHER name is MARIE, and her impressive set of skills comes in handy in a nursing home. MARIE can walk around under her own power. She can distinguish among similar-looking objects, such as different bottles of medicine, and has a delicate enough touch to work with frail patients. MARIE can interpret a range of facial expressions and gestures, and respond in ways that suggest compassion. Although her language skills are not ideal, she can recognise speech and respond clearly. Above all, she is inexpensive . Unfortunately for MARIE, however, she has one glaring trait that makes it hard for Japanese patients to accept her: she is a flesh-and-blood human being from the Philippines. If only she were a robot instead.

Robots, you see, are wonderful creatures, as many a Japanese will tell you. They are getting more adept all the time, and before too long will be able to do cheaply and easily many tasks that human workers do now. They will care for the sick, collect the rubbish, guard homes and offices, and give directions on the street.

As well as the above, the issue features a fine report on Tibetans in exile and their concerns about the eventual passing of the Dali Lama.:

The fear that the Dalai Lama’s death will be a disaster for the Tibetan cause looks justified. His fame as a Nobel-prize-winning guru and friend of the stars has produced little concrete benefit: no government recognises his. But top politicians as well as private citizens are drawn to him. Because of him, Tibet is sand in the wheels of China’s drive to become a respected international citizen. And, under him, India has given Tibetans a home big enough to encompass the dream of cultural survival.

Do you think AsiaPundit is smarter than everyone else because he reads The Economist, or does AsiaPundit read The Economist because he is smarter than everyone else? Now, there’s a conundrum!

(UPDATE: All of that plus World in 2006 podcasts: Amartya Sen on India’s rising star, editor Bill Emmott on Koizumi’s legacy, China correspondent James Miles on the country’s leadership and more. (via World Bank PSD Blog) 

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by @ 12:33 pm. Filed under Japan, China, India, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Tibet

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