Another day in Paradise; that is, Tatsuno.

Yesterday I discovered that the rice paddies are populated with a kind of mollusc, not unlike a hermit crab. Quite interesting to see these little fellas scurrying about. Of course there were lots of tadpoles as well, and presumably some frogs hiding from the birdlife that also visits from time to time. They make their presence felt once the sun goes down. Yep, rice paddies are a veritable little ecosystem in themselves. I read somewhere that in some countries they farm fish in the rice paddies too. Wouldn’t mind seeing that sometime.

In the weird, wide world out there, more stuff is going down.

The Beijing Olympics are shaping up to be quite the disaster. First smog, and now rampant algae threaten to disrupt events. At least the pigs will feed well tonight…

A computer has been used to find the ideal running mates for Obama and McCain and (not) surprisingly it came up with the same person, Colin Powell. Given Obama’s recent hirings and well-documented move to the right (the article says ‘centre’, but makes good use of quotation marks) (more here) it should hardly come as a shock. McCain would need Powell as a nod to the centrist Republicans as he is swinging off to the far right with some of his ideas.

The Australian stock market continues its dive, posting the worst June since 1940. (The rest of the world isn’t doing much better) The article summarizes the current situation quite well and has a good punchline in the final sentence which accurately sums up what we really know about what’s happening at the moment. The Australian tourist industry is going through some tough times as well. The article blames everything except the rising currency, which should accept some of the blame.

At least they haven’t been reduced to grave robbing and manhole cover stealing for the scrap metal, right? Right??

Australia has completed its (symbolic) withdrawal from Iraq.

What do you do if there are a lot of homeless people living in the parks at night because they have nowhere else to go? If you’re in Japan, you sell the park to Nike and they build a wall around it and turn it into a private space. Yay Capitalism!

Another article about the end of the Petroleum Age for your headspace. At least Prince Charles will still be able to drive to the shops. It’s interesting to see that more media are picking up on the possibility of the end of civilization as we know it.

The rest of the media are continuing to drive us to distraction – and what better way to do that than to bring back the extreme Japanese game show.

Another book about Japanese mythological monsters, because there aren’t enough monsters in the world as it is…

This is an interesting story about a group of islands administered by Japan and the remnants of Japanese colonialism still at work.

Seth MacFarlane, who created The Family Guy, has embarked on an interesting collaboration with Google. They’re working to make short episodes for the internet but preceded by advertising. It’s worth reading about since this could be a new model for delivering advertising as well as content – and if the money moves to this, then more traditional media will lose out. (Witness the decline of investment in newspaper advertising, for example) It’s also interesting because if content becomes shorter and shorter, then people won’t make things that require any focussed concentration for any length of time. The news as a comic strip? Documentaries that barely skim the surface? Sit-coms that are a fraction of the pitifully short length they are now? See ‘short attention span’, ‘dumbing down of society’, etc. for more info.

The legend of King Arthur is a British propaganda tool. No, really!?!?

The architect behind the rotating skyscraper is a fraud. No, really!?!?

Once a rumour goes online, it’s hard to stop. No, really!?!?

Coffee is good for you again.