Valiant Ghost

Cowboy Bebop Funko Pops coming

18 of October, 2016 | 

The Real Folk Bob

Funko Pops are releasing Cowboy Bebop bobble heads of the main crew in December, and I am so getting them. I just hope there is a Bebop coming that I can put them on.

I guess you could say they’re…

Cowboy Bebobble Heads

Writing about your own mental illness online

17 of October, 2016 | 

Patrick Malborough, Vice Australia:

One of the great horrors of mental illness is seeing it swallow up your identity. I am uneasy writing about it for that very reason: I don’t want to be the guy that writes mental-illness articles. Outside of the cascade of bullshit that is battling the black dog and his scraggly mates: I’m no expert. I cannot reel off harrowing statistics nor can I provide answers to everyone’s how and why. I just know what it’s like to have your hand on a hot stove, and I’m able to put words to it.

I wanted to wrestle—I don’t say defeat because I can’t win—my mental illness by outing it. I started to recognize it as a part of my makeup, but one I could cordon off with safety tape reading: “work in progress.” It’s me, but it’s not all of me. The genius of the phrase “the black dog” is that it allows you to imagine an other, and that allows you to develop a relationship. If you can project it, you can negotiate with it—but the ability to do so can only come from frank and caring talk.

I now approach my mental illness with a casualness. I discuss it at dinner parties, with workmates, with friends, in my stand-up, here. I want to make it a banal conversation. If someone rolls his or her eyes and thinks, Not this dull shit again, then great. I want to repeat it ad nauseam, so that people who feel uncomfortable with themselves and their diagnoses will one day be at a point where they can discuss it like they discuss asthma or arthritis.

This is me, and just like Patrick I’m not afraid to write that I have it here with my own name proudly on this site. It’s not just me, it’s something wrong with my brain, but Jackson’s still here. Please ignore the other guy, focus on me please.

For my own writing on my own mental illness, see the article I wrote for Fighting For Nippon about Tokyo Ghoul and mental disorders.

A cat experiencing a carpet for the first time

16 of October, 2016 | 

The carpet for the first time in life


Laserpope movie trailer

16 of October, 2016 | 

So this is a slightly NSFW trailer for the upcoming indie German movie Laserpope. When is it coming out? I don’t know but I’m totally going to see it.

Two guys doing awesome hammer tricks

15 of October, 2016 | 

And you thought the bottle flip was cool. This’ll be the next big thing, I swear it.

A baby excavator hatching in the wild

15 of October, 2016 | 

Baby excavator hatching in the wild!

The above gif is from the brilliant German film “Titanen des Erdreichs”, or “Titans of the Earth” in English. It’s a short mockumentary detailing the mating habits and birth of excavators in the wild, these titanic and useful giants.

A comic about the origin of Twitter

14 of October, 2016 | 

The Webby Awards have released their first installment in a new comic series, called The Internet Illustrated. They’re written by graphic journalist Andy Warner and in their first installment, tells the origins of the monolithic-maybe-for-sale giant Twitter.

Twitters first Chirp

Giving a voice to mummies

13 of October, 2016 | 

Anna Barney, Heritage Daily:

To know how Ötzi the Iceman sounded we need to know how long and how thick his vocal folds were – that tells us about the natural pitch of his voice. We also need to know how long his airway was and about the cross-sectional area to work out the resonance frequencies. His tongue and lips will have been preserved in one particular position which will only give us information about a single vowel sound. So if we are to work out how he sounded for other vowels we also need to know a bit about the size of his tongue and where it joined to his windpipe. Knowing this allows us to work out the other possible tube-shapes he could make and calculate their related resonances.

But how can you actually work all this out? It’s pretty simple, all you really need is a CT scan, which uses X-rays to create detailed images of the inside of the body. This allows us to measure all these anatomical dimensions. We can then use that information to make a computer model to synthesise what his voice might have sounded like.

It’s a shame that, as the system relies on soft, fleshy tissue of mummies, we’ll never hear Lucy’s (Previously) voice.

'I’m a Doctor. If I Drop Food on the Kitchen Floor, I Still Eat It.'

12 of October, 2016 | 

Aaron E. Carroll, The New York Times:

Perhaps no one in the United States has spent more time investigating the occurrence of bacteria on public surfaces than Charles Gerba. He’s a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona, and he has published many papers on the subject.

In 1998, he and his colleagues investigated how well cleaning products could reduce coliform bacteria counts on household surfaces. As part of that research, they measured various locations in the house before any cleaning.

They found that the kitchen floor was likely to harbor, on average, about three colonies per square inch of coliform bacteria (2.75 to be exact). So there are some. But here’s the thing — that’s cleaner than both the refrigerator handle (5.37 colonies per square inch) and the kitchen counter (5.75 colonies per square inch).

Also known as the article that sent my OCD into back-flipping 11. I don’t even want to read the article on how dirty my keyboard, my main medium for expressing my ideas, is.

A history of dog-headed men

12 of October, 2016 | 

Brent Swancer, Mysterious Universe:

Stories of purported dog-headed men go back well into history. Mostly referred to as the Cynocephali, which derives from the ancient Greek words “cyno,” meaning dog, and “cephaly,” meaning a disease of the head, these were typically described as essentially humans with the head of a dog, and they feature heavily in stories going across cultures throughout the world, from ancient Egypt, to ancient Greek, to medieval Europe and Africa, as well as in Christian mythology.

In around 400 BC, the Greek physician Ctesias wrote an intriguing and detailed account of the Cynocephali of the mountains of India, which was at the time known as Indica. In his account he describes a tribe of people with the heads of dogs, who used a series of barks and snarls to communicate, although they could understand the language of humans, and who subsisted on raw meat. They were said to have teeth that were longer than those of dog’s, as well as nails that were long, curved and rounded. The tribe is reported to have lived by hunting, roasting their kills in the sun, as well as raising flocks of sheep and goats. They are also told of being fond of the fruit of the Siptakhora, and were known to cultivate this fruit for the purposes of trading it for bread, flour, and cotton, as well as swords, spears, bows and arrows.

An impressive street mime in Japan

12 of October, 2016 | 


This is one damn impressive and committed street mime. Alternative title I found and love: human.exe has crashed.

(via BoingBoing)

A cutesy cartoon mod for Starcraft 2 based on Carbot Animations

11 of October, 2016 | 

I’ve been a big fan of CarbotAnimations since I started playing Starcraft 2 four years ago1. It provided a cute whimsy look to a very dark sci-fi game. And all these years later I found the man himself has made a mod for the game, which comes out today. The mod gives the entire game a look very similar to the animation in Carbot, stripping it of all dark and gritty used future.

LowkoTV released a video today showing how the Protoss race looks, but he’d previously done both the Terran and Zerg.

  1. For anyone who cares, I main Protoss, and haven’t yet got the Legacy of the Void expansion.

Fencing visualised

11 of October, 2016 | 

The Fencing Project Visualised brings us this video, called MORE ENJOY FENCING, which visualises the various movements of the swords during the complex art of fencing.

(via The Next Web)

10 of October, 2016

Watching the debate: I’m glad Hillary is treating Trump like the tantrum throwing child he is. People want this egotist with no foresight as the leader of the most powerful country in the world?

9 of October, 2016

I’ve been debating on whether to watch last seasons Re:Zero since everyone I knew started talking about how awesome it was. But due to its premise being similar to Konosuba (An anime I really didn’t like) I avoided it for now, maybe picking it up later.

But with Anime Addicts Anonymous podcast (aaaPodcast) scathing review on their episode 343, I am definitely not going to be watching it. As one of their main complaints is that lack of narrative progression, I am definitely never watching it.

One of the major reasons I consume any medium, whether that be anime, manga or movies is because of the narrative. I love being taken along on a journey and maybe learning a message or a key idea along the way as I do.

But here’s what the aaaPodcast told me: There is literally no narrative progression at all1. Why the protagonist does what he does makes no sense, because there is a respawn mechanic he simply comes back from the dead when he dies and does what he does over again.

Maybe this is just me, but I can’t see the appeal in this at all. For me, narrative is where it’s key. Message is nice and all, but at the end of the day what matters to me is story.

  1. As one of the reviewers said, episode 1 = episde 26 = episode 14 = episode 100. Nothing new happens.

9 of October, 2016

So, the creators of One Piece have said the manga’s only a quarter done with the story. HOW? It’s over 840 chapters!

Drifters episode 1 review

9 of October, 2016 | 

So, apparently a thing anime bloggers do is they link to the episodic review articles they write, so you can remember that I’m writing over at this site and you should go read it. Anyway, here’s the review for episode 1 of Drifters, from the same writer who bought us Hellsing:

When I first heard of Drifters, I was a tad disappointed it was not an anime based on Tokyo Drift. But I forgot that when I learned that it was an anime adapted from a manga by Hellsing creator Kouta Hirano.

The series itself reminds me a little bit of the Fate series, heroes from history fight in a grand battle. In the case of Drifters, Shimazu Toyohisa (A real guy) impales himself on many spears during the Battle of Sekigahara in the year 1600 to kill the enemy general. Instead of dying, he finds himself transported to a long hallway with doors on its sides. A single man sitting at a desk forces him through one of the doors.

Watch Conan O'Brien and Wiz Khalifa smoke weed and play Gears of War 4

9 of October, 2016 | 

Is that a headline you ever thought you’d read?1 For his Clueless Gamer segment, Conan and Wiz Khalifa played Gears of War 4, trash talked and smoked weed. Genuinely funny.

(via the Rolling Stone)

  1. I mostly linked to this because of the headline.

8 of October, 2016

As a web designer, I’m conflicted on whether to use MyAnimeList, which is better for tracking anime and everything about it, and Hummingbird, which has a better and a more visually pleasing design to it.

The genius who made the perfect chair 100 years before Ikea

7 of October, 2016 | 

Matt Reimann, The Timeline:

Chances are, you’ve sat in one of his chairs before. You can tell them by their signature bentwood frame, which produces a sturdy yet lightweight piece of furniture. Fans of Michael Thonet’s work appreciate its ability to be simple and beautiful at the same time. That his chairs, though nearly two hundred years old, have never gone out of style is a testament to his genius as both a designer and an entrepreneur.

Thonet (pronounced “toe-net”) was born in the German city of Boppard in 1796. He scored an early apprenticeship with a cabinetmaker, and never left the trade. Eventually, he opened up his own shop and began to experiment with new carpentry methods to bend wood, namely that of using heat and laminate to manipulate material. The process entailed cutting thin strips of wood, boiling and joining them in adhesive, and setting them in molds where they took their shape.

Know the chair, not the man. Although this article does make me think somewhat of this xkcd, in that these relatively simple things we take for granted actually had a huge amount of innovation in them.

7 of October, 2016

Today is international Trigeminal neuralgia awareness day. Trigeminal neuralgia is a disease described by doctors as the worst pain known to man, and can also be sometimes known as the ‘suicide disease’. 

Trigeminal neuralgia is described by Intl Trigeminal Neuralgia and Me as:

Much like the insulation around an electrical wire, the myelin sheath around the trigeminal nerve enables electrical impulses to be conducted along the nerve fiber accurately. When the myelin sheath is damaged it’s like live wires touching each other and the correct information to the brain is not being sent.

A simple breeze, shaving, brushing your teeth and many other sensations can be received by the brain as excruciating pain in the form of shocks and stabbing pain in one or more areas of the face.
If you’ve ever had a severe toothache, been punched in the nose, poked in the eye, had a migraine or a sinus infection, then you have experienced a small portion of the pain that the trigeminal nerve is capable of sending to the brain.

Just imagine all that at the same time – to the extreme – and add in your face being hooked up to a car battery at the same time. Yes, there is a reason why Trigeminal Neuralgia is often called the world’s worst pain. It hurts like nothing you’ve ever felt in your life.

My own experience with trigeminal neuralgia comes from my stepfather. I’ve known him all my life, one of my earliest memories being of him, and for all that time he’s been a man that is stoic, never shows emotion. A manly man if I ever saw one.

On Christmas day last year he started complaining that his tooth felt sore. Over the course of the day, it got worse, to the point he wouldn’t eat anything, lying on the couch, the pain numbed by panadol. 

Soon, anything was painful, and suddenly this big stoic man was reduced to a lump on the couch, clutching at his face in pain.

My mum did her own research, and the doctor confirmed his findings, it was trigeminal neuralgia, the ‘suicide disease’. There are treatments that can help relieve the pain, and many medications, including medicinal pot.

My stepdad, thanks to medication, can now return to work and doing what he as doing beforehand.  But the medication can cause severe damage to his liver, and every six months he needs liver function tests.

As I’m writing this, there is no known ‘cure’ for the disease, and the World Health Organization doesn’t even recognise it as one of their top diseases, despite the damage it can cause on a person’s life and the people around them.

The average age to get trigeminal neuralgia is 50, but people can develop it as young as 3. My dad was 39. 

Trigeminal neuralgia and WHO needs to recognise this so we can get effective cures, not treatments, cures, for the disease. I encourage, no, I beg you, to please sign Trigenminal Neuralgia and me International’s petition. We to bring the disease to light to WHO and put it on their Health Topic List, so more experts can be trained on how to deal with trigeminal neuralgia.

Is Cause and Effect real?

7 of October, 2016 | 

Another excellent video by Minute Physics in collaboration with Sean Carrell and Google, about Cause and Effect, and the often unspoken “Records.”

How Tarantino uses violence

6 of October, 2016 | 

A brilliant video essay by the Discarded Image, analysing how the greatest director of ll time uses violence in his films. It also analyses one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, the torture scene from Reservoir dogs, and details every reason why I love it. The juxtaposition of the music being played, the sounds, and the camera angles make it a very intense scene, and perfect in Mr. Blonds characterisation.

Microscopic time-lapse video of a snowflake forming

6 of October, 2016 | 

Beautiful, and the original guy who posted this on reddit explained why snowflakes grow in the typical hexagon shape.

Can we really trust the Jedi

6 of October, 2016 | 

From a 2005 article on Marginal Revolution, titled “The public choice economics of Star Wars: A Straussian reading”:

  1. The Jedi and Jedi-in-training sell out like crazy.  Even the evil Count Dooku was once a Jedi knight.

  2. What do the Jedi Council want anyway?  The Anakin critique of the Jedi Council rings somewhat true (this is from the new movie, alas I cannot say more, but the argument could be strengthened by citing the relevant detail).  Aren’t they a kind of out-of-control Supreme Court, not even requiring Senate approval (with or without filibuster), and heavily armed at that?  As I understand it, they vote each other into the office, have license to kill, and seek to control galactic affairs.  Talk about unaccountable power used toward secret and mysterious ends.

Despite what George Lucas said, my personal theory is that ‘Balance to the Force’, involves an equal number of Sith as there are Jedi, which is exactly what Anakin did. The Jedi are just too overpowered to be left uncontended in the galaxy.

As an ammendum, the reasons the article states about the Jedi perfectly reflect why I love Knights of the Old Republic 2 over the original. Through Kreia, Obsidian perfectly critics most of the Star Wars universes problems. In it, there is no ‘right’ choice. Give a beggar money, and he is killed for it. Give him nothing, and he kills someone else.

Kreia seeks to show you, that even the purest of Jedi can never bring true harmony to the galaxy. Even if the Jedi where to become the sole users of the Force in the galaxy, the implications for this are not good for any normal civilian in the galaxy.

The hipster rebels of World War II France

6 of October, 2016 | 

Stephanie Buck, Timeline

Why is it always the long-haired freaks who cause trouble?

Well, for the zazous, a rebellious youth subculture in World War II-era France, long hair was a literal form of protest. A 1942 government decree asked that all barbershops collect and donate hair to the war effort, to be manufactured into slippers and sweaters. The rebellious *zazous* refused, and grew their locks long.

During those years, the country’s conservative Vichy regime and its prime minister Philippe Pétain were collaborating with the occupying Nazis to impress strict morality laws on a youth population it deemed lazy and dissident.

In protest of Vichy ideology and enforced austerity, *zazou* followers challenged the image of an obedient, gender-normative, homogenized French citizenry. When the government imposed fabric rations, *zazou* men wore long, billowy jackets to their knees, gathered trousers, and tiny moustaches. They carried “Chamberlain” umbrellas even on sunny days, a parody of English style. Women wore jackets with wide shoulders, short skirts, bold lipstick, and bleached Hollywood-style hair.

They were the ultra hipsters, hipsters before it was cool.

Life, as seen through 73,732 digital photographs, or: Why phone photography is the way to go

6 of October, 2016 | 

Jason Snell at iMore:

The oldest ones are nearly 15 years old: 1600-by-1200-pixel snaps taken from my first digital camera, a Canon PowerShot. I bought that camera in October 2001 because my wife and I were about to have our first child; we knew we were about to have a life experience that really needed to be documented.

Here’s how much photography has changed in the last 15 years: One of the selling points I had to make back then was the relative cost of having prints made from digital photos versus taking film to the supermarket and getting back prints. (I won the argument, because even in 2001 the economics were shifting away from film — it was cheaper to digitally print only the images that turned out well, rather than paying for an entire roll of film to be printed, regardless of quality.)[…]

By 2003, the digital photography revolution was in full swing. My boss at the time gave me a bonus — but rather than cash, he offered me a Canon Digital Rebel. This was the first $1000 Digital SLR, and it dramatically improved the quality of my digital photos. Not only was it a 6.2-megapixel camera, but it had all the gorgeous optics of an SLR. It also meant that all my photos went from being 400K to 2.5MB per shot, making iPhoto groan under the strain.[…]

In 2007, though, I got a new camera — the original iPhone. Its sole rear-facing camera had a paltry 1.9-megapixel sensor, like the one in the point-and-shoot I’d bought six years earlier. Unlike that camera, however, the iPhone had no optical zoom or flash, and much worse optics.

But now I had a camera with me at all times — not just the times when I anticipated needing a camera.

I don’t know when I first heard the maxim “The best camera is the one you have with you,” but the iPhone proved that to be true. The first revision to the iPhone didn’t come with a camera upgrade, but in 2009, the iPhone 3GS upped the camera to 3.1 megapixels, offering auto-focus and auto white balance. The iPhone was getting better at photography, but there was still a lot of room to grow.

I had a party at a beach earlier this year, and soon we’ll be having it again. It’s what you expect, a bunch of 18-year-olds going for a swim and then getting drunk, most of them blackout1. The trek there is long, combined with the fact we have to carry a lot of stuff with us.

My DSLR will just add to the weight of stuff I have to carry, and considering last time we had the party my mate lost his glasses that were given to him by his granddad before he passed away. I am not risking that. My phone, however, will be with me no matter what. It will be the perfect camera for the event, as the image I took at the last party will demonstrate for me:

My mate at a beach party

There will always be people who stick to their DSLR roots, just like there are some people who stick to their film camera roots2. DSLR’s will always be better, but soon phones will become the everyday, easier photography tool, just like digital photography has become for film.

  1. Except for me, one of the lone non-drinkers.
  2. Read: Hipsters. Seriously, browsing the 4chan photography board, and there are so many people still using film cameras.

5 of October, 2016

Today Google’s new phone was released to the world, the Pixel, which is their new competitor with Samsung and the iPhone1. And already, there’re complaints it’s missing the feature that is apparently becoming commonplace in smartphones: being waterproof. As the article states:

A new leak from Android Police suggests the phones will come with just an IP53 rating, which means they will be protected from ”limited dust ingress” and “water spray less than 60 degrees vertical.”

This will put Google’s new phones at a distinct disadvantage compared to the latest flagship smartphones from Apple and Samsung. Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and Note 7 are all waterproof to a point, and waterproofing seems to be on track to be the new normal for smartphone durability.

But I think this mostly ignores one of the major problems waterproofing a phone: Actually using it when wet2.

My phone, a midrange android phone I bought last year, is waterproof. And because of that, I’ve started taking it into the bath with me.

But if I touch it with wet fingers, the screen utterly freaks out, if I’m writing something there’s change the delete key will become ‘stuck’ and delete everything.

Just don’t take your phone in the bath? For me especially, it’s not as simple at that. As I’ve written multiple times, I have OCD. Combining that with germaphobia, I wash my hands a lot, which often leads to them being in a perpetual state of ‘wetness.’ Again, if I touch my phone with wet fingers, the screen does not know how to deal with this.

If anything, waterproofing phones, but also making them usable when wet, should be a high priority on the list of smartphone makers. It is essentially an accessibility issue, and the minute your phone stops becoming accessible it starts becoming annoying.

  1. Ditching the old Nexus line.
  2. And yes, I get that these improvements are meant to help it survive a dip in the bath, but this is something that needs to be improved.

Google unveils an improved digital assistant

5 of October, 2016 | 

On top of a bunch of other stuff today, including a new phone they’ve released Google Assistant, ‘your own private Google’ and perhaps one of the most uncreatively named virtual assistants of all time.

But it does seem awesome in that you can ‘continue’ a conversation with the AI, and I seriously hope it’s coming to my Android phone, but I’m not holding my breath. Making it Pixel (The new phone) only would make sense.

Some theories on where Donald Trumps 916 million could have gone

5 of October, 2016 | 

In the long held secret of Donald Trump’s tax returns, we now know that he somehow lost 916 million American dollars in 1995 alone. We don’t know how the hell he did this, but Fusion created a list of several highly likely possibilities. Here’s some of my favorites:

Donald Trump spent $35 million on Pogs.

Donald Trump put down a $40 million non-refundable deposit into licensing rights for all future sequels and spinoffs to the movie Waterworld.

Donald Trump spent $5 million on a life-sized Furby likeness of himself.

Donald Trump poured $20 million into the ill-fated Donald J. Trump Waterworld* *Memorabilia Store and Family Seafood Restaurant.

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