Although the spiny, horrifying outside may scare you off, the insides of a sea urchin are one of the most delicious things to come out of the ocean. In Japan, sea urchin, or uni in Japanese, can be enjoyed with sushi, on top of rice or just own its own. Sea urchins are a treat for any seafood fan, but recently a group of Japanese netizens found out a little bit more about the life of the sea creature and began a deep discussion about the spiny little critters.
- Casey Baseel
5 days ago
Back in college, when it came time to pick an upper-level science class to get my general education credits, I settled on a class in entomology, aka bug science. The fact that it started at 10 a.m., instead of my other options at 8, played a big factor in the decision, but it actually turned out to be a really interesting course with an excellent teacher.
On the first day of class, the professor told us that one of his goals was to help dispel our socially-ingrained yet illogical fear of insects, arachnids, and all other sorts of creepy crawlies that I’ve since forgotten the scientific names of. If you can get past the knee-jerk, “Eew gross!” reaction many people have to, say, a beetle, you’ll find that holding one in your hands isn’t any more likely to give you a rash or a disease than a rabbit or hamster.
And yet, I still find myself terrified to hear that the world’s largest aquatic insect was just discovered in China.
Jul 10, 2014
Everybody, go ahead and cross your arms right now. Done? Alright. Now, try to cross them the other way. If you’re currently crossed with right forearm on top, try to switch position so that your left forearm is on top. Feels incredibly awkward and unnatural, doesn’t it?
It turns out most people have a natural bias for arm-crossing direction, with slightly more than half of most global populations preferring the left-forearm-on-top approach, although the two preferences are basically 50-50. Some people apparently cross their arms either way without even thinking about it, although this population is exceedingly small.
So why do we humans find one way so natural and the other way so incredibly weird-feeling? It may have something to do with your psychological composition, according to the (admittedly somewhat unreliable) Japanese Internet.
Apologies for the headaches the above GIF may induce but it’s an interesting little example of not completely known human biology and currently all over the internet here in Japan. If it’s not spinning now then just click on the image to start. Once the animation gets into full swing you should be able to see some colors flickering around with those black lines.
Now, what if I told you that other people see different colors than those you do? Moreover, what if I told your there aren’t any colors at all, and it’s just your mind playing tricks on you?
Before you go shoving a pencil in your ear to punish your brain for such trickery, let’s take a moment to see what’s going on here.
It’s 1987. You’re looking awesome in your oversized Michael Jackson “Bad” t-shirt as you slot a chunky, grey game cartridge into your NES console. But instead of the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt title screen, all you see is a jumbled-up mess of an image that looks like an 8-bit Picasso. What do you do? The same thing everyone did – you take the game cartridge out, blow into it, and put it back in. Lo, and behold: this time the game loads perfectly and you can squish goombas or shoot ducks to your heart’s content.
But in the pre-internet age, how did we all “know” to blow into cartridges? And like rubbing the magnetic strip on a credit card or shaking a Polaroid photo, why did we keep doing it even when product manufacturers and scientists insisted that it didn’t work and could actually cause damage? Joe Hanson, biologist and author of the popular science blog It’s Okay To Be Smart, offers up some answers in a neat YouTube video asking just that.
- KK Miller
Jun 29, 2014
How many times have you heard the phrase “in a post-apocalyptic world…“? Movies, books, comics and games draw upon that all-too-common setting to dream up stories where man is pushed to the brink in order to survive in a unforgiving environment.
What makes a world post-apocalyptic though? There are plenty of ways to get there – nuclear apocalypse, asteroid strikes, zombies, giant robots, but one thing is pretty common: Food is scarce and people have to scavenge for it because the land is just too polluted to grow anything edible. But what if you could plant something in the ground that would allow other things to grow? What if nature already had its own answer to this problem? What if you could make that “every man for himself” world back into a “let’s work off the land together!” love-fest? Sounds to us like a billion dollar industry! Do they still have dollars in a post-apocalyptic world?!?!
- Casey Baseel
Jun 26, 2014
Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea can both make pretty strong claims for the “Happiest Place on Earth” title. Combining the cast of the animation pioneer’s collected works with Japanese sensibilities results in some of the most unbridled and deep-rooted enthusiasm for cartoon characters you’re likely to find anywhere. Adding to the experience is the attention to detail and hospitality that comes from the world’s preeminent amusement park operator and the country with the highest customer service standards on the planet.
But while all those things go a long way towards helping visitors enjoy their stay, the excitement they bring just might pale in comparison to the joy guests feel when they realize there’s something Japan’s Disney theme parks don’t have: mosquitos.
- Casey Baseel
Jun 26, 2014
I always feel a little sad whenever I stop and think that NASA’s Space Shuttles are no longer in service. For decades, they served as symbols not only for the pioneering spirit of their mission crews, but for NASA itself, an organization that serves as a gathering point for some of the brightest and boldest scientific minds on the planet.
NASA hasn’t completely gotten out of the high-tech transportation field, though, as it’s moving ahead with a project to develop a supersonic passenger jet. As impressive as its specs are, though, it looks like something quite a bit more down to earth: a root vegetable.
Jun 19, 2014
Le sigh… Sorry guys, it’s time for yet another South Korean tale of cosmetic surgery woes. I know I write way too much about South Korea’s penchant for cosmetic surgery and how things can turn towards the uncanny valley a little too quickly. I know you guys wish I’d just get off the topic because it’s depressing.
Wait… What? WAIT WHAT?! There’s a person who got serious cosmetic surgery and it actually worked out really well?!
- Casey Baseel
Jun 18, 2014
For most of us, killing a cockroach is about the closest we’ll come to a real-life video game boss fight. As soon as one appears, you know there’s no point in negotiating, and the only option is to throw everything you have at it.
For one woman in Taiwan, her struggle with a roach followed video game logic to the very end, as after she killed her adversary an explosion occurred. Instead of destroying an evil overlord’s castle, though, it simply ruined her office toilet.
- Casey Baseel
Jun 18, 2014
Japan has sort of a love-hate relationship with bugs. On one hand, there’s a trio of insects that are seen as nostalgic symbols of summer. Dragonflies are a popular motif on yukata summer kimono, the whining of cicadas is an immediate audio cue that brings back memories of the lazy days of summer vacation, and catching stag beetles has been a popular pastime during the warmer months for generations of Japanese kids.
On the other hand, cockroaches are universally hated, because, well, they’re cockroaches.
With such strongly contrasting emotions involved, it’s understandable that rumors persist of a cockroach/stag beetle hybrid, something which caught the nation’s attention again recently after someone in Japan claimed to have caught one.
- KK Miller
Jun 14, 2014
Reusable, renewable energy is the holy grail of the modern age and the world needs the best and the brightest to find effective sources of it. With that in mind, some of the world’s biggest organizations hold events for the up-and-coming to showcase their ideas for a better tomorrow, and at the Google Science Fair this year one young “Tony Stark” from the Philippines has unleashed a brilliant idea on the world that is getting everyone’s attention: footwear that generates electricity.
Jun 9, 2014
Everybody, it’s time to talk about junk.
Even to the discerning eye of the straight woman and the gay male, I’m willing to bet the visual appeal of even the best-kept male genital area ranks somewhere between the ugliest dog in the world and a Lobstrosity from Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga. Plus, despite the meme that there are more germs in your mouth than on your genitals – the swamp-like environment created from all those dangly bits contracted together by boxer briefs for hours at a time can’t be sanitary.
So it goes that enterprising young Chinese college student Kong Yongxiang apparently took one look at a standard condom and thought, “This is way too revealing.” She then went on to invent what is creatively called the “Eros Protector” – literally a condom attached to a thong, with a special pouch that goes over the testicles, ensuring that your male partner’s gross peen and balls stay both safely sheathed in latex and thankfully out of sight.
Jun 3, 2014
In North Korea‘s latest desperate attempt for attention from the rest of the civilized world, the dictatorship – perhaps tired of tossing missiles around for now – bragged through state media that its scientists have discovered a way to extract enzymes from a certain mushroom grown in the region to create a miracle super drink that makes athletes better, faster and stronger.
May 26, 2014
Some Japanese Twitter users posted photos of a spherical double rainbow spotted in Ishikawa Prefecture a few days ago, and thank God they weren’t high, because if outdated Internet meme “Double Rainbow Guy” is any indication, it would have literally destroyed their minds with its brilliance.
While Double Rainbow Guy seemed to think his double rainbow sighting was a sign that we aren’t alone in the universe or something, most Japanese Netizens who posted photos seemed to just take it as a sign of good luck, even though this double rainbow is way more awesome because it forms a circle around the sun as though Helios himself were gifting humanity with two giant cosmic frisbees.
Scientists at Southwest Jiaotong University in China have built a prototype testing platform for a near-vacuum high-speed maglev train that is theoretically capable of reaching speeds up to 2900 km/h or about 1,800 mph. Currently, the fastest commercially operated maglev reaches just 431 km/h and even the world record is just 581 km/hr.
- Scott R Dixon
May 12, 2014
Golden Week in Japan is a great excuse to use those consecutive spring days off to relax, see a new part of the country or just enjoy some cheap ice cream. But vacationers wanting something a little different got an extra special Golden Week treat last week when a museum in Shizuoka dissected an incredibly rare megamouth shark in full view of the holiday crowd.
Fewer than 60 megamouth sharks have been caught around the world and this 4.4 meter-long specimen was caught last month at a nearby port. Click below to see photos and videos of the live dissection.
Apr 19, 2014
In the physical and mental fields, technology is constantly evolving to assist humans, but what about in the emotional realm? Technology is often blamed for deteriorating social skills, but perhaps there is some way that it could be harnessed to improve our personal interactions. Dr. Hirotaka Osawa of the University of Tsukuba has developed a wearable device called AgencyGlass that may be the first step in assisting in “emotional labor.”
Just don’t think you are going to look cool using it.
Rather than wading into the debate as to whether a tree covered in beautiful cherry blossoms or a piece of cutting edge technology is the more representative symbol of Japan, you could split the difference by awarding the title to one of the sakura cherry trees grown from seeds that were taken into space. Not only do they combine the country’s admiration of both nature and innovation, their seeds’ journey to the stars seems to have imparted some of them with the amazing ability to bloom in just half the time of regular cherry trees.
It sounds like the plot of an improbable B-movie. But sometimes the truth is stranger than science fiction. Four women in the US have successfully received implanted vaginas that were grown in a lab from their own cells.
The women, who were all born with a rare condition which means the vagina does not develop properly, underwent the pioneering treatment at Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina. The engineered vaginas, the first to be grown from the patients’ own living tissue and successfully implanted, have made it possible for the women to have sex for the first time.
- Peaches packaged in pairs of panties provoke protests in PRC1
- Some flights are more cramped than others – 29 sumo wrestlers pack into one tiny plane2
- Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance3
- How to properly pronounce “Ghibli” and other fun trivia about the legendary animation studio4
- BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed5
- “I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】6
- McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】7
- Amazing Game Boy smartphone wallpaper brings out the Nintendo fanboy in us all8
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films9
- Japanese deodorant sheets for ladies smell so nice some guys don’t need the actual girl10
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight1
- 16-year-old girl arrested for beheading classmate in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture2
- This watermelon might be the most disappointing thing you see today3
- Gamer discovers his deceased father’s ghost on an old Xbox game, challenges it to a race4
- Internet survey sheds light on how Japanese women deal with the hair ‘down there’5
- Vietnamese man, angry at wife, hatches bizarre revenge scheme: Cut off his own penis6
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】7
- What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?8
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】9
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】6
- Little kid causes a stink after parents tell him to poop in his seat during Delta Airlines flight7
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】9
- This amazing water cake just may be the most delicate sweet ever created!10
- “I know how it’s done!”: Japanese TV guest learns what not to say to a magician on live TV【Video】
- McDonald’s Japan just released Tofu Nuggets, and they taste… 【Taste Test】
- Amazing Game Boy smartphone wallpaper brings out the Nintendo fanboy in us all
- Live-action Attack on Titan confirmed for 2 films
- Japanese deodorant sheets for ladies smell so nice some guys don’t need the actual girl
- Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- Man in China steps into “royal rumble” to save the day, maybe goes a bit too far【Video】
- We go octopus hunting, learn how to turn octopus heads inside-out
- Hairy armpit selfies have invaded China’s biggest social networking platform【Photos】
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- That awkward moment when your phone rings on live TV… and then you make it worse 【Video】
- What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?