Majestic gaffe by anonymous MP

January 8th, 2015

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

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The double bill from Hell

August 16th, 2013

My favourite fact I learned today, from a MetaFilter thread prompted by the release of an English-subtitled trailer for Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises [Previously.]:

[…] Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro were released together as a double feature. Target audience: ?

posted by The Tensor at 5:39 PM on August 15

I can't imagine any way to sit through that pairing without ending up a sobbing wreck. One poster said that Totoro played second, possibly in an attempt to lift the audience's spirits after Fireflies had stomped them into the ground. Me, I doubt that even the appearance of a real-life catbus could make me feel good in the wake of the gut-punch Grave of the Fireflies delivers.

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Fantasy

August 3rd, 2013

Tokyo Traders Gear Up for the 'Curse of Ghibli':

TOKYO – Most people know Studio Ghibli as the Japanese film house behind animated hits such as 'Spirited Away,' about a girl trapped in a supernatural bath house, and 'My Neighbor Totoro,' featuring a giant raccoon-like creature.

But among Japan's stock and currency traders, Ghibli has a darker association.

Once every few weeks [NTK…] airs a Ghibli movie in the prime Friday evening spot. During the trading session after that, market veterans say, bad things happen.

Yen watchers expect the worst when a Ghibli flick airs at the same time that nonfarm payroll data is released in the U.S. […] In eight of the past nine such convergences, the data came in weak. In seven of those cases, the dollar tanked versus the yen and Japanese stocks fell. […]

Someone please remind me why news programmes listen so respectfully to analysts from major financial institutions…

[Via The Morning News]

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The Wind Rises

July 20th, 2013

Hayao Miyazaki's first film in five years, The Wind Rises is something a bit different: a biopic

Miyazaki has pulled out all the stops. The film is of immense length: 126 minutes of hand-drawn animation. It tackles huge, challenging subjects: the 1923 Great Kanto Eartquake, the Great Depression and the march to global war. In addition to securing for the nth time a score by Hisaishi Jo, Japan's greatest living composer, Miyazaki roped in Matsutoya Yumi (a.k.a. Yuming) to provide the theme song. He coaxed his colorist of 50 years to come out of retirement for this one last film.

And the subject of the first Miyazaki film about a real person: the life of Horikoshi Jiro, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M, the Zero fighter.

Not subject matter I'd have expected from Miyazaki, but judging by this (Japanese language) trailer the resulting film is every bit as good-looking as anything we've seen from him lately. We'll see how the story turns out in due course, but for now it's looking promising.

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Not an SFX shot. Just nature, being awesome.

March 24th, 2013

APOD: 2013 March 11 – Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning.

Sakurajima volcano

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25 versus 42

December 29th, 2012

Charlie Brooker, upon attending the Dosojin Fire Festival,1 found himself beholding the strangest of spectacles:

Imagine what would happen if a huge wooden spaceship full of laughing paedophiles landed in the centre of Hyde Park during a snow storm, and a mob turning up clutching flaming torches to dish out some instant justice. It looked like that – but conducted amid an air of good-natured, drink-fuelled insanity.

The story of what's actually happening is almost as strange, and makes for a pretty entertaining read.

  1. As it is held on 15 January each year I assume Brooker was attending last year's event, though he doesn't say so.

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Politically unreliable

July 5th, 2012

After a mini-marathon of Godzilla movies, William Moss puts forward the theory that Godzilla has finally encountered a nigh on invincible foe:

[No city…] has ascended the Olympian heights of popular culture until it has been ravaged by a giant monster. Tokyo is clearly way out in front in this regard. It's taken for granted that monsters are drawn to Tokyo like frat boys to Jaeger shots. Monsters have also afflicted New York, London, San Francisco, Seoul, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles and even Bangkok (look it up). But as far as I can tell, Beijing has been blissfully free of giant monsters. Mothra was reported to be attacking Beijing in "Destroy All Monsters," but it was never shown on screen, so it doesn't count. Neither does "Mighty Peking Man," which was made by the Shaw Brothers while Hong Kong was still British and, despite the name, had no action in Peking (the Chinese name was "Gorilla King").

Why hasn't there been a Chinese giant-monster film with a Chinese giant monster? While armies, police forces and parliaments have crumbled before Godzilla and his brethren, there is one bureaucracy that is apparently entirely impervious to giant monsters: the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television. SARFT has apparently erected a monster-proof shield around Beijing and indeed around all Chinese cities. This is not because giant monsters are particularly scary, obscene or conducive to social unrest. It is because they are politically unacceptable. […]

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Twitterquake visualised

February 16th, 2012

This visualization of how Twitter users reacted to Japan's 2011 earthquake acts as a small-scale companion piece to the visualisation of a year's worth of earthquakes I posted the other week.

[Via currybetdotnet]

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World earthquakes 2011 Visualisation map

February 6th, 2012

It's one thing to be intellectually aware of the fact that there are thousands of medium-to-large magnitude earthquakes around the world each year, quite another to see their frequency, magnitude and location plotted in animated form, in great detail. It brings home just how fortunate I am to be living on a small, geologically stable island nation off the coast of the continent of Europe.

[Via Chocolate and Vodka]

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Stargate Yurikamome?

August 22nd, 2011

If I am interpreting this set of images correctly, it would seem that Tokyo's New Transit Yurikamome train service takes a detour through a Stargate. Neat.

[Via BERG Blog]

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