GR Newsbot May 29, 2011

From Japan, a Poncho Toilet for Disasters (to Prevent Disasters)

“This is basically burnable garbage.” When you gotta to, you gotta go, And in order to go, you need two things: A place to go, and bit of privacy. On the serious side, you have a country like Japan, where crowded living conditions often make attaining privacy difficult. And we have a hard time imagining how the survivors of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami have adapted to having even less privacy than usual in crowded shelters and refugee centers. On the lighter side, we can see a huge advantage to having a toilet in a baggie at one’s, uh, disposal. Check out the video at the link, and just try to convince yourself that this is a crappy idea. (SFGate – Poncho Toilet)

Mumbai Artist Puts Himself in “Jail”—Wait, What?

“My act is a poetic take on the practice of arresting and punishing people for sedition.” Jail is perhaps too strong a word. But the point performance artist Tushar Joag is trying to make by sealing himself in a five-foot by three-foot cell is that India’s sedition laws are too harsh and too freely utilized. But it’s a good thing he has confined himself in a space with a bathroom, because all he’s doing from now until he releases himself on May 30th is writing the words “I will not lose faith in the Indian Judiciary and Democracy” in a stack of blank school notebooks. (Hindustan Times – Tushar Joag, and CNNGo – Indian Artist)

Amazing Flight Path Time Exposures from San Francisco International

“The lights seem almost alien in nature. The shots string ribbons of fiber optics across the skyline, almost fooling the viewer.” With enough time and patience, an artist can take even the most mundane and run-of-the-mill occurrences and show us something normally unseen and extraordinary. The photos you’ll see at the links below make it clear that the nearly two years photographer Terence Chang spent making these images, from July, 2008 to April, 2010, was time very well spent. Until viewing these photos, it never occurred to us that the normally annoying event of a jet airliner flying overhead contained such sublime, concealed beauty. (YPOC –Terence Chang. Full Gallery on Flickr)

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

“As a complete slice of entertainment, “Hara-Kiri” isn’t quite at the elevated level of “Thirteen Assassins”, and plays more like the talky but absorbing first half of that film.” Following our NewsBot piece yesterday about the impending American release of a pornographic 3D film from Hong Kong, today we bring you news of yet another film genre into which 3D technology is making inroads. Frankly, it seems a bit incongruous for a highly-respected director of Samurai genre films like Miike Takashi to get on the 3D bandwagon. But according to this review, the use of 3D in “Hara-Kiri” is restrained and understated, and does not detract from the overall lushness and quality of the film. In fact, the only problem with “Hara-Kiri” is that it is not quite up to the standard Takashi set with “Thirteen Assassins”. (Film Business Asia – Death of a Samurai)

Bonus follow-up: Tracksuits Are NOT the Universal Chinese School Uniform

“Some people seem vehement about keeping their uniforms separate from Japan’s.” One of NewsBot’s stories yesterday reported on how poorly the tracksuit uniform in China’s public schools compared to the cuteness and sexiness of uniforms in Japan and Thailand. Well, it seems that not all of China conforms to the government’s unappealing fashion standards. Ten years ago, students in the Guangdong Province city of Zhuhai voted to ditch the tracksuit standard in favor of a Japanese-style sailor suit, complete with the requisite short and sexy skirt. In the ten years since Zhuhai adopted this standard and set precedent, cities in other provinces have started considering a similar change. Problem is, because of China’s history with Japan, resistance to the idea of adopting anything from Japan’s culture for use in China remains persistent. Oh well, at least the kids in Zhuhai have a bit of style and freedom their peers in other parts of the country do not (RocketNews24 – School Skirts in China)