Car Sharing in Japan

Sorry this is all in Japanese. I think even in Japanese one can follow the logic of the system. This is the way young people use cars now. The video has the car rental from about $2 an hour per 15 minutes. (Oops! I should have double check this.) There are 30 types of cars to choose from.

  1. Make a Reservation
  2. Pick up a car.
    1. Use a card to open the car door
    2. Get the car key from the glove box
  3. Go to a gas station or a car wash if needed. The gas or car wash is charged to the rental company.
  4. If you need to, you can extend your rental time by selecting extension on the car’s GPS system.
  5. Return the car.
  6. If you forget something in the car you can open the car’s door just one more time to get it out. (I guess they only allow for one forget.)
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Farmlands

Lauren Southern,* a Canadian independent journalist and activist, made the documentary film Farmlands about the attacks on white farmers in South Africa and the movement to expropriate their land. The film was released on YouTube and is free to watch. It has over 2 million views.

Southern traveled to South Africa to investigate. Even though she has strong political views, she made an effort to be as objective as possible.

The film begins with a review of South African history beginning with the arrival of Europeans in 1652 to the present. Unsurprisingly, it is a history of violence. It provides a useful context to understand the current political situation and the land claims.

Upon arriving in South Africa, she summarizes the current state of affairs, including a significant amount of political violence and destruction of property. She interviews a group that specializes in crime scene cleanup, some of the victims’ families, an official of the ruling party (ANC), and an official of the more radical Black First Land First party, unapologetic communists.

It’s a well-produced, professional documentary. That’s a testament to her crew’s skill and to the capabilities that current technology brings to independent creators given that the project’s budget was probably small. The leftist press characterizes Southern as “far right” and her film as “white nationalist agitprop.” When it comes to agitprop, the Left are certainly the experts.


*Southern also appears in the film Hoaxed, reviewed here. She was interviewed by Dave Rubin two years ago. For a 23-year-old, she’s accomplished a lot.

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Attention 10 Cents (and others in Japan)

Rare fish sighting in Japan sparks ‘precursor to earthquake’ fears

According to Japanese legend, the fish will purposely rise to the surface and beach themselves whenever they believe trouble’s on the way. Residents have reported their presence before the arrivals of tsunamis and earthquakes in the past — including the 2011 Fukushima quake.

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And now for something completely different . . .

Except maybe to the sock.

Japanese commercials from 2018.

I guess synchronized dancing is a thing in Japan. Does this really sell soap (or whatever) there?

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Rose by any other name

Why do it simply when you can do it hard? Here is the way to write “rose” in Japanese.

薔薇

 

 

This is a lot of work so most Japanese just write the pronunciation:

バラ (bara)

Bonus question:

How many strokes does it take to write “rose” in Japanese?

What do you think of a language with such a complicated writing system? Japanese themselves are struggling because they are using computers so they have trouble remembering how to write. They can read fine but they get blank faces when they have to write the “big words”.

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Refugiadas Venezolanas

We are about to face a new flood of economic refugees. We need border security as soon as we can get it. President Trump needs to mobilize Army and National Guard resources to aid Border Patrol and ICE to stem the anticipated flow.

Remember what a disaster it was for Europe when four million Syrians fled their homes? Perhaps our situation is not nearly so dire, but the United Nations is predicting two million people will flee Venezuela this year. That is a lot of refugees. Many will go to Brazil or other parts of South America. Columbia is the obvious first choice for many Venezuelans, but Columbia is already flooded with one and a quarter million Venezuelan refugees. Three million people have left Venezuela in the past two years. Venezuelans are going to be headed for America.

We have observed before about the disaster unfolding in Venezuela. An oil-rich country that is strapped for cash, and, in the face of declining world oil prices, their production is down by nearly a third from levels of production of just a few years ago. That is because Nicolas Maduro has put the military in charge of Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, the state-run oil company that stole oil patch assets from oil companies two decades ago under Hugo Chavez. By not paying adequate salaries to oil industry technicians, they lost trained people, who were some of the first to flee. Now they are trying to run a vertically-integrated monopoly without enough trained workers to keep the equipment operating.

And, despite this marvelous lesson playing out in our own hemisphere, half of America now prefers socialism to capitalism.

What does it take to get video of food riots in Venezuela onto American news shows? Media silence is keeping this story from providing the object lesson we desperately need.

The rising numbers of Venezuelan refugees is the talk of all of Latin America. It is time to push it into the national conversation in the U.S.A.

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Lunar Lander


How many of you remember the old Lunar Lander video game? For those who don’t it is a simple game that challenges you to land a LEM on the lunar surface. You have to slow down the horizontal speed; slow down the vertical speed; and find a flat place to land. Well, it is simple til you crash a bunch of times because you are going too fast or at the wrong angle. Oh, you also have to watch your fuel. No fuel and you “die’>

You are probably wondering why I am bringing this up. Well, I am on an exercise bike every day and find a game helps me to enjoy the ride. It distracts my mind and gets the kilometers in. Also I met with my Japanese side of my family and played the game with my nephew. He grew up on Play Station 2 so I was wondering how he would like old school video. He liked it and wanted to keep trying till he got the landings right. He is a quiet person so sharing a game worked out better than trying to get him to talk.

I figure some of you are Lunar Lander Pros so you can give me some good advice to not crash so much. So far the moon surface is so full of holes from my failed attempts the “cheese” is not green but Swiss.

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Good fences make good neighbors

Came across this paper from years ago in Nassim Taleb’s Twitter feed that is fortuitously relevant today: Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence. As he summarized it, “…you don’t get peace forcing pple to hold hands & sing Kumbaya by the campfire.” Key quote from the abstract:

Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas.

Switzerland is mentioned.

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Amazon.com to Customers in Switzerland: Merry Christmas and Farewell!

What should I find in my E-mail today but this, from Amazon.com.

Amazon to Swiss Customers: Farewell

After more than two decades as the preeminent source for books for Anglophone readers in Switzerland, Amazon.com have decided to celebrate Boxing Day 2018 by punching their loyal customers in the gut.  They will no longer be able to order physical books or any other non-digital product from Amazon.com, but will rather be restricted to the much more limited selection available from Amazon subsidiaries in European Union (EU) countries.

People living in Switzerland who wish to order books in languages not available from subsidiaries in the European Union, for example Japanese and Chinese, are completely out of luck.  They will no longer have access to books from any Amazon site outside the EU.

Why is this happening?  Well, as usual, when you encounter something foul, coercive, and totally irrational, it’s a good bet the wicked European Union and its crooked Customs Union is involved.  The European Union has used its economic power to coerce Switzerland into conforming its trade policies with its deeply corrupt Customs Union.  The EU styles itself as a “free trade” zone, but in fact, it is a cartel with tariff barriers surrounding it which are erected to protect constituencies with political power in Brussels.

It deeply offends the slavers in Brussels that anybody should book a profit, anywhere in the world, which is not subject to their taxation (even though imports from outside the EU are subject to tariffs, duties, and Value Added Tax).  So, by putting up barriers, they prevent Amazon.com, a U.S. company, from shipping physical products even into non-EU countries over which they can exercise their power.

If you wonder why the issue of remaining in the EU Customs Union is such a big thing in the Brexit deal, this is why.

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Islamist Egypt

At a Christmas party last night,* I met an Egyptian woman. That is, she was born in Egypt but had emigrated to the US forty years ago as a youth. She returns to Cairo frequently to visit family. Over the years she has been struck by the cultural changes: the increasing Islamification of Egypt. More women are wearing traditional Islamic dress and observing strict religious behavior. Cairo is no longer a safe city for a woman alone. She attributed these changes to the 1979 Iranian revolution, spreading Islamism throughout the region.

The pictures of graduating class at Cairo University from 1959 through 2004 tell a similar tale:

As you can see, the female graduates in 1959 and 1978 had bare arms, wore short sleeved blouses, dresses, or pants, and were both bare-faced and bare-headed. By 1995, we see a smattering of headscarves—and by 2004 we see a plurality of female university graduates in serious hijab: Tight, and draping the shoulders.

While this fits in with my image of Iran or Saudi Arabia, it’s not what comes to mind for Egypt. Presumably, it applies to all of north Africa, from Egypt to Morocco.  It’s worse than I thought.


*Yes, I know it’s weeks from Christmas.

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Direct Democracy vs. Global Governance

Suisse: Initiative auto-déterminationAs noted in an earlier post, on Sunday, 2018-11-25 Swiss citizens will vote on the contentious issue of whether to amend the federal constitution to prohibit the removal of horns from cows and goats.  Also on the ballot will be the (French title) “Initiative pour l’autodétermination” (Self-determination Initiative).

This is also an initiative to amend the federal constitution, whose full text you can read [PDF] in French.  The relevant language, with my translation interleaved, is as follows.

Le droit est la base et la limite de l’activité de l’Etat. La Constitution fédérale est la source suprême du droit de la Confédération suisse.

The law is the basis and limit of the activity of the State.  The federal Constitution is the supreme source of the law of the Swiss Confederation.

La Confédération et les cantons respectent le droit international. La Constitution fédérale est placée au dessus du droit international et prime sur celui-ci, sous réserve des règles impératives du droit international.

The Confederation and the cantons respect international law. The federal Constitution is placed above international law and overrides it, subject to the mandatory rules of international law.

La Confédération et les cantons ne contractent aucune obligation de droit international qui soit en conflit avec la Constitution fédérale.

The Confederation and the cantons shall not contract any obligation of international law that would be in conflict with the Federal Constitution.

En cas de conflit d’obligations, ils veillent à ce que les obligations de droit international soient adaptées aux dispositions constitutionnelles, au besoin en dénonçant les traités internationaux concernés.

In the case of a conflict of obligations, they shall ensure that the obligations of international law are adapted to the constitutional provisions, if necessary by denouncing the international treaties concerned.

Le Tribunal fédéral et les autres autorités sont tenus d’appliquer les lois fédérales et les traités internationaux dont l’arrêté d’approbation a été sujet ou soumis au référendum.

The federal Tribunal and other authorities are obliged to apply federal laws and international treaties whose approval decree has been subject to or submitted to referendum.

A compter de leur acceptation par le peuple et les cantons, les art. 5, al. 1 et 4, 56et 190 s’appliquent à toutes les dispositions actuelles et futures de la Constitution fédérale et à toutes les obligations de droit international actuelles et futures de la Confédération et des cantons.

From the time of their acceptance by the people and the cantons, art., al. 1 and 4, 56a and 190 will apply to all present and future provisions of the federal Constitution and all present and future international law obligations of the Confederation and the cantons.

Here is the official federal government page about the initiative (select language at top right).  The federal parliament recommends a No vote, with 129 no and 68 aye in the lower house (Conseil national) and 38 no and 6 aye in the upper house (Conseil des États).

The argument for the initiative is presented on its supporters’ Web site.

As this is a federal matter, I shall not have a vote in this (permanent residents can vote in elections at the commune and canton level [depending on the commune and canton’s rules] but only citizens can vote in federal elections), but you can probably guess where I come down on the matter. Essentially all of the political, media, and big business establishment is opposing the referendum and the way to bet is a broad-based defeat, but the Swiss electorate is unpredictable and doesn’t like to be pushed around, so you never know.

I will post the results in a comment when they become known on Sunday.

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An obituary to share –Mario

NPR has a feature worth reading.   It is an obituary of a plumber.   He started his own company.   He worked hard and his business grew.   He ended up owning some property, which is how he became the landlord for the Nintendo office in Tukwila, Washington.

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/02/663372770/mario-segale-inspiration-for-nintendos-hero-plumber-has-died

Another friend of Segale’s commented on that story: “My direct understanding and perception is that Mario Segale doesn’t mind at all the fact that his name inspired such an iconic character, and that he shows humble pride in that fact in front of his grandchildren and close-knit adult circles.”

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