Japan Will Soon Be Ours

Robots seen doing work of 3.5 million people in Japan – Yahoo! News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Robots could fill the jobs of 3.5 million people in grayingJapan by 2025, a thinktank says, helping to avert worker shortages as the country’s population shrinks.

Japan faces a 16 percent slide in the size of its workforce by 2030 while the number of elderly will mushroom, the government estimates, raising worries about who will do the work in a country unused to, and unwilling to contemplate, large-scale immigration.

The thinktank, the Machine Industry Memorial Foundation, says robots could help fill the gaps, ranging from microsized capsules that detect lesions to high-tech vacuum cleaners.

Rather than each robot replacing one person, the foundation said in a report that robots could make time for people to focus on more important things.

Japan could save 2.1 trillion yen ($21 billion) of elderly insurance payments in 2025 by using robots that monitor the health of older people, so they don’t have to rely on human nursing care, the foundation said in its report.

First Japan, then the world.

HOWTO: Make Rube Goldberg Juice


Dekortage writes “How long does it take to make a burger? Students from Purdue University’s Society of Professional Engineers won the 2008 Rube Goldberg contest with a device that requires 156 steps to assemble a burger. According to the team captain, ‘We put 4,000 to 5,000 man-hours into this machine since September, and all the hard work has been well worth it.’ That’s a long time to wait for dinner.”

Here’s a video of the winning entry in operation.

via /. and a whole bunch’a geeks.

The Depth of Cultural Difference of Perception (72%)

When it comes to emotions, Eastern and Western cultures see things very differently

Across two studies, participants viewed images, each of which consisted of one centre model and four background models in each image. The researchers manipulated the facial emotion happy, angry, sad in the centre or background models and asked the participants to determine the dominant emotion of the centre figure.

The majority of Japanese participants 72% reported that their judgments of the centre person’s emotions were influenced by the emotions of the background figures, while most North Americans also 72% reported they were not influenced by the background figures at all.

“What we found is quite interesting,” says Takahiko Masuda, a Psychology professor from the University of Alberta. “Our results demonstrate that when North Americans are trying to figure out how a person is feeling, they selectively focus on that particular person’s facial expression, whereas Japanese consider the emotions of the other people in the situation.”

This may be because Japanese attention is not concentrated on the individual, but includes everyone in the group, says Masuda.

Robots see you all like meatsacks. Pirates see you all as marks. Ninja -> Targets.

It’s a fairly simple calculation.

Supernintendo Chalmers Wins NCAA Title

Rock Shock: Chalmers’ heroics give Kansas title | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

SAN ANTONIO –- Michael Jordan, move over. Lorenzo Charles, Keith Smart, step aside. Kansas’ Mario Chalmers just pulled your favorite trick, but with a twist.

Chalmers hit a jumper to win the national title.

The thing is, the game didn’t end for another five minutes.

Chalmers hit his three-pointer with two seconds left to force overtime and stun Memphis. When he nailed it, Chalmers ran over to the Jayhawks bench to celebrate like he’d won a championship. He must have known something the rest of us did not. It must be nice when your ESP tells you you’re going to star on ESPN.

Chalmers led the Jayhawks in overtime with an alley-oop pass to Darrell Arthur and two crucial free throws. The free throws might not sound so impressive, but they were.

Just ask Memphis.

Heckuva game last night.  Memphis panicked at precisely the wrong moment.  I mean, c’mon, your’re up by 3 with 9 seconds left and the other team has the ball….FOUL THEM!!

All Off the Fail Plane (part deux)

Free Preview – WSJ.com

Skybus Airlines, a low-fare start-up carrier, shut down over the weekend, becoming the third U.S. airline in a week to cease operations in an industry being pummeled by high fuel prices and the weak economy.

Closely held Skybus, based in Columbus, Ohio, has 11 leased Airbus jetliners and operated 74 daily flights to 15 U.S. cities. The company quit flying Saturday with little warning after completing its Friday flights.

Eh, it’s just the abstract, but there ya go.  Things happen in threes….or at least meatsacks think they do because it’s the most common “real” prime number (2 doesn’t count, because it’s even).

All Aboard the Fail Plane

Bankrupt, ATA Cancels All Flights – New York Times

In the latest sign of troubles in the airline business, ATA Airlines shut down on Thursday, canceling all flights after filing for bankruptcy.

The airline said in a statement that it was unable to honor any tickets or reservations and asked other carriers to assist passengers stranded by the abrupt cancellations.

The Indianapolis-based airline operated 29 aircraft, carrying about 10,000 passengers daily on four routes from Chicago’s Midway Airport and several West Coast routes to Hawaii. ATA’s Web site said the company had 2,230 employees and most of them were being notified that their jobs have been eliminated. The Associated Press reported that notices were posted Thursday morning at ticket counters in cities ATA served, telling passengers that the airline had shut down.

Pretty glad this one didn’t strand me on the road.  It looks like a couple others picked up the slack, but it is still a troubling development.  Gas prices are going to continue to rise, BTW, and businesses unprepared will fail.  

All aboard the fail plane.  Err, all off it, I guess.

The Best Way to Become a Target…

Putin scores major diplomatic victory by blocking NATO’s expansion plan – International Herald Tribune

BUCHAREST, Romania: By scuttling the NATO membership bids of two of Russia’s westward-looking neighbors, Vladimir Putin won what is arguably his biggest diplomatic victory even before he arrived at an alliance summit.

NATO’s plan to expand further into former Soviet turf collapsed Thursday when leaders — anxious to avoid angering Moscow — opted not to put the strategically important ex-Soviet nations of Ukraine and Georgia on track for membership.

The Russian president has strongly warned the military alliance against moving to bring Ukraine and Georgia aboard. He even threatened that Russia could point its nuclear missiles at Ukraine if it joins NATO and hosts part of a U.S. missile defense system.

Putin has succeeded in driving a wedge in the alliance. The United States, Canada and Central and Eastern European nations strongly backed the bids of Ukraine and Georgia. But Germany, France and some others resisted it, fearing that the move would damage ties with Russia, a key energy supplier to the continent.

…is to paint one on your chest.  This reality was mentioned a while back in this post.

Why Progress In Iraq is “Uneven”

Iraq, al-Sadr showdown tests loyalties – USATODAY.com

BAGHDAD — On the eve of the Iraqi government’s showdown last week with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia, Ismail Shnawa’s commander ordered him not to fight.

“He told us not to shoot back even if we get shot at by the Mahdi Army,” said Shnawa, a soldier in Iraq’s paramilitary police force that is commanded by the Iraqi army.

The six-day showdown with al-Sadr and other Shiite militias was the toughest test for Iraqi government forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The week of violence exposed troubling signs that the country’s security forces have much work before they can take over for U.S. troops. Militias and their followers remain entrenched within the government forces, and units sympathetic to al-Sadr, such as Shnawa’s, refused to fight.

In the southern town of Basra, more than 400 Iraqi soldiers and officers handed their weapons to the enemy, Ministry of Interior spokesman Abdel Karim Khalaf said.

Curious how people don’t want to shoot their family and friends when ordered to do so by a puppet gov’t.  It’s one thing to hunt terrorists, it’s quite another to fight a pseudo-civil war.

The Chinese Propaganda Machine in Action

Bloomberg.com: North American

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Tibetans sympathetic to pro- independence activists are planning suicide squads to disrupt the Beijing Olympic Games in August, including a plan for the Olympic torch to pass through Lhasa, said a Chinese police spokesman.

“To our knowledge, the next plan of the Tibet independence forces is to organize suicide squads to launch violent attacks” around the time of the Olympics, Wu Heping, the Public Security Ministry spokesman, told reporters today in Beijing. He declined to say what measures police are taking to prevent such assaults.

Tibet’s government-in-exile, based in India, said the accusation is “propaganda,” Agence France-Presse reported.

More on this in a bit.  Basically the Chinese are taking the American position that it is o.k. to do anything you want as long as you say it is to combat potential terrorist activities