Japan

You take the Yayoi, you take the Jomon, you take em both and there you have, the Japanese. That's what linguists recently confirmed as they sought to examine dialects in use in modern Japan to find a single common ancestor. The linguists instead found two.

The Latest News on Sand

Science can say with certainty what percentage of a tube must be filled with sand before friction the individual grains create enough friction with one another that they stop flowing like a liquid and act like a solid: 64 percent.

Hey there, folks. A good friend of mine who lives in Tokyo recently sent me an email about Quakebook -- something I hadn't heard of previously. Turns out it's a really awesome project that has broken the publishing mold in many ways and helped raised money for the Red Cross at the same time. If you haven't heard about it, here's the skinny...

It's sad that the 32 year anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island is made more relevant because of the current situation in Japan. If it hadn't been for the earthquake and tsunami-caused events recently then the passing of the Three Mile Island incident would have probably gone unnoticed by many. But because nuclear power is no suddenly again in the limelight, we're getting some coverage of the partial meltdown that occurred on March 28, 1979. Believe it or not I actually remember it, at the age of eight. Of course I didn't know what was going on, but I knew it was something important.

Hey there, folks. On Tuesday's show we got to the matter at hand in terms of Japan's current nuclear reactor scenario that continues to unfold. We're not a news show, we do try and explain things in simple terms when a particular event has gripped the world. We can all thank Jeri in these cases for turning these shows around so quickly for release when the clock is ticking. Our goal with this episode was to do what we always try and do -- explain what in the heck is going on with something without the mainstream media bells and whistles that some might refer to as sensationalism. Especially in a case like this, where fear is very real and not to be manipulated.

In Search of the Ghoulish Work of Japan's Unit 731

There was something about the moment in human history that encapsulated World War II where the idea of vivisecting humans seemed appealing to a lot of people around the world. Either that, or there are a lot of us who really want to dismember alive those people we interact with at any given moment and it was only under the utter attendent loss of humanity that afforded some of those people the opportunity to do it. That Herophilus, the father of anatomy, vivisected about 600 live subjects in the fouth century BC, shows that the curosity of what will happen when a knife opens a live human is an ancient one.

Japan Pays Homage to America's Cities, Guts with Line of Burgers

It seems like all of the best food is found abroad. It is true, we have fried pickles, Fool's Gold sandwiches, Buffalo wings, 1/2-lb. Cheesy Potato Burritos, corned beef hash, doughnuts. So, well, we do have pretty good food here in the States, I guess. But I've found that overseas, they often take our good ideas and make them into something like holy food. In Switzerland, for instance, they make this dish called metzger rosti, which consists of a fried egg atop a slab of fried Spam, over bed of fried hash browns and covered with an amazing onion sauce. Good God, I want some right now. Despite their fair-to-say obsession with maintaining a healthy weight, I've found the Japanese are among the best at besting nations of origin with their own food.

The Jakarta Globe reports that the Twitter account of Andi Arief, the government adviser for disaster management and social affairs, was hacked on Thursday. Someone managed to hijack the adviser's account, @AndiAriefNew, and send a message to his 8,500 followers: "Besok jakarta tsunami" ("Jakarta tsunami tomorrow). Aside from the loss of face, there doesn't appear to have been any fallout or panic created by the tweet. The hacker also sent other messages, mocking other national officials and prompting an indignant response from a staffer.

So this is pretty awesome: A recent rising star in the Japanese pop music scene is actually nonexistent in any way we "normals" would consider an individual to exist. She is, in fact, a hologram named Hatsune Miku. Miku is the product of a software craze sweeping Japan right now called Vocaloid. You type in whatever lyrics you want and pick some notes from the program, and hit play and what you've wrought is sung by the program. There's no need for you to open your mouth.