Giant Robot Newsbot May 31, 2011

Beer Can Pouring Mastery

“By attaching the device to a can of beer, one can achieve the perfect balance of beer and head when pouring into a glass.” Okay, no big, life-changing news in this story really. But there is a “cool” factor here which we thought you’d enjoy. The Japanese are renowned for their desire to achieve perfection in even the smallest things, and the simple act of pouring some cold brew from a can appears to be no exception. The Takara Tomy company is responsible for this one. After watching the video at the link you’ll probably agree with us that this is a perfect idea. (Japan Probe – Good Beer Head)

It’s a “Hangover” For Ang Lee’s Son

“A large portion of the business has less to do with your talents and more about your resourcefulness and willingness to adapt.” His father has directed some of the finest films of the past twenty years, including “The Wedding Banquet”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain”. So you might think Mason Lee would naturally try to leverage the respect and success his dad Ang has earned in Hollywood. Not so. In fact, Mr. Lee is a humble NYU acting student who had to audition for his key role in “The Hangover, Part II” just like anyone else. (Wall Street Journal New York Culture– Mason Lee) There is also a brief video interview with Lee and other Asian-American “Hangover 2” cast members on Channel APA. (Channel APA – “Hangover 2” Asian-American Cast)

The Miraculous Lone Pine Tree Brings Hope

“Only one tree, estimated to be 270 to 280 years old, survived the tsunami. It has been a great emotional support to residents.” If you’ve seen any of the videos of the black, all-consuming waters of the tsunami that struck the Japanese coast after the March 11th earthquake, you will agree it is amazing anything survived. But one pine tree out of a beach-front forest of 70,000? To guess that the odds of this are extraordinarily high would probably be an understatement. Yet it happened in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, where botanical scientists have carefully taken branches from the survivor tree and grafted them onto other pines with the hope of recreating the forest that once stood. If all goes well, and there is no guarantee of that, the seedlings resulting from the grafted material should be ready for planting in three years. (Detroit Free Press – Lone Pine Tree)

Kim Jong Il Repeats Himself in China. A LOT.

“The sameness of Kim Jong Il’s toasts when he visits China is striking.” There really is no humor in what Kim Jong Il’s dictatorship has done to the people and resources of North Korea. It’s just wrong. However, there is a lot of humor to be found in the ways the strange man with the huge glasses presents himself to the world outside North Korea. In China, for example, he has a habit of basically saying the same thing every time he makes a toast at a Chinese state dinner or event. You’ll see what we mean when you read through the article at the link. Our conclusion is that Kim must be really happy with the sincerity of the toasts he makes to his Chinese hosts. Otherwise he wouldn’t repeat them so much (Wall Street Journal Korea Realtime – Kim Jong Il Toasts China)

Viral Japanese Nuclear Protest Songs

“While the mainstream media is ‘voluntarily restraining’ from airing the songs, video clips of the songs have gone viral on the Internet.” The reality is the anti-nuclear power movement in Japan has never been as loud and vociferous as it is in the U.S. and Europe. But it has been there. And in all likelihood it will get more vocal and visible because of the nasty nuclear disaster the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami created in Fukushima. Already, some Japanese singers and songwriters have released videos for songs questioning the wisdom of Japan’s nuclear power industry. But the majority of the Japanese mainstream media is refusing to broadcast the recordings on radio or TV. As a result, the videos and their messages have gone viral. We figure that’s a good thing. The voices of truth and protest, like the waters of a reservoir, will always find a crack through which to pass into freedom. (Asahi Shimbun – Nuclear Protest Songs) Videos for two of these songs can be seen on Asian tech news site Penn Olson (Anti-nuke songs)


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