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November, 2011

World Record Meat Kebab Puts Japanese Island on the Map

Japan isn't really known for its meat kebabs... until now. A Guinness World Records certified, 107.6-meter (353 ft) long grilled beef kebab made & eaten on Ishigaki Island near Okinawa is one skewered meat treat that's going to be very hard to beat!

For-Profit Vs. Non-Profit: A Scary Study Of Nursing Homes

Those of you whose parents are at the age where a nursing home is being considered as an option for their care may just want to pay attention to the results of a recent study led by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  It compares the staffing and quality of care at for-profit nursing homes with that of non-profit facilities.

DIY Theremin Kit from Japan Makes Sounds Only Lenin Could Love

The Gakken Theremin Mini DIY Kit is the ideal holiday gift for your niece or nephew provided you can't stand their parents. They say Lenin loved the theremin's eerie sound the first time he heard it, so full Marx to him.

Magic Spiker Slip-On Soles Give Black Ice a Black Eye

I see your snowshoes and I raise you: Ice Shoes! Actually these Magic Spiker winter soles stretch over almost any shoe, turning the most mundane loafers into ice-gripping, non-slipping, cold-weather warriors. Pretty slick, huh?

X Prize: Geneticists Compete To Duplicate Genomes Of Centenarians

The search is truly on for what makes people live past 100 years ... aside from eating right, exercising regularly, and having lots of social contact.  It's about their genomic makeup, and Archon Genomics is holding a big, as in 10 million dollars, prize for the first genetics team to develop the sequence of genes that can produce medical grade genomes from 100 centenarians.  Personalized medicine, here we come!

iPhone Geiger Counter Calls Out Concealed Radioactivity

The Geiger Fukushima iPhone was designed to be cheap yet effective in exposing radiation hotspots. It accomplishes these goals by working with the owner's iPhone and a dedicated app, thus reducing duplication of components. Bonus: it's made in Japan's hard-hit Fukushima prefecture!

Lenovo Unveils "World's Smallest Desktop PC"

While it's physical size may not live up to all the hype that Lenovo is giving it, the IdeaCenter Q180 is still quite a small PC, with features that would make it practically perfect for use as a home theater PC (HTPC).

China's Buses Include DIY Emergency Exits Disguised as Bricks

In case of emergency, brick glass? Goodbye, yellow brick, road? Have brick, will travel? The puns come fast & furious when attempting to explain a low-tech safety measure found on Chinese passenger buses: yellow-painted, window-breaking bricks.

Pickmaster Plectrum Punch Owes a Debt to Credit Cards

Attention indebted guitarists, don't be so quick to cut up those maxed-out credit cards. The Pickmaster Plectrum Punch quickly recycles VISA, Master Card and other name brand credit cards into cheap “green” plastic guitar picks. Sing with me now, “E I E I Owe!”

Katy Perry's AMA Dress: Wearable Propaganda or Fashion Foible?

Is Katy Perry moonlighting for China's government or merely modeling a dress from designer Vivienne Westwood's Spring/Summer 2012 Gold Label collection? Maybe both: the Chinese calligraphy on her form-fitting AMA frock spells out “Green Economy”, a popular catchphrase oft-spouted by China's official media.

Esthetic Prosthetic Designed for the Disabled

With prosthetic devices, function comes first while form too often places a poor second. Not anymore! Perhaps inspired by the footwear flaunted by footless South African runner Oscar Pistorius, a Japanese industrial designer has unveiled a very esthetic prosthetic.

The Space Raincoat Keeps You Dry, Makes You Look Fat

Marlon Brando may have been The Wild One but who says you can't be The Weird One? Certainly not Taiwan's Feng Yu Development Co., designers and manufacturers of the one and only Space Raincoat.

China Farms Out Human Milk Production

Human milk? At my supermarket? It's more likely than you think, thanks to China's genetically engineered cows.

VW's People's Car Project Ad Campaign Really Gets a Round

Volkswagen gets back to their roots with “The People's Car Project”, an innovative multimedia ad campaign that's turning heads and winning praise in – where else – the People's Republic of China.

Campbell's Noodle Chicken, the Cup Noodle Without the Can

Cross Campbell's classic canned Chicken Noodle Soup with Japan's iconic rehydrate-able Cup Noodle ramen and what do you get? Campbell's Noodle Chicken, of course, and you CAN get it... but only at Japanese Costco stores.

Does The New Occupy T-Shirt Support the 99 Percent Or The 1 Percent?

Capitalizing off of capitalism has had a long and successful run in the U.S. It's an economic system that has served its citizenry for hundreds of years. However under the microscope of the current Occupy Movement, protesters have taken to the streets in dissent against the status quo, arguing that only 1 Percent really have control over a capitalistic society.

Is Amazon Planning a Smartphone?

After its successful Kindle ebook readers and the recent launch of its Kindle Fire tablet computer, the online retailer is also apparently planning to release a smartphone, too.

Washable Toilet Seat Liner Warms Hearts, Saves Power

If your pet peeve is a cold toilet seat and you're dreading the onset of winter weather, Japan's got something that'll warm your heart (and more): fluffy, furry, reusable and washable toilet seat liners. Next time nature calls, don't let American Standard give you the cold shoulder - plop your posterior on a poodle instead!

Portrait Of 60s Protester Adds Perspective To Occupy Movement In Song

Where have all the protest songs gone? Are they still blowing in the wind, or have new ones surfaced to chronicle life's current strife? While it seems like only yesterday, it's actually been over 40 years since Americans felt angry and disenfranchised enough to assemble in solidarity and  protest against injustice and greed.

Chinese Compensation Scheme Saves Wild Predators, Reimburses Herdsmen

Cry wolf, prey tell? China's innovative compensation program has proven to be a roaring success, protecting endangered wildlife as well as the pocketbooks of farmers and herders.

'Video Memo' Digitally Updates 3M's Classic Paper Post-It Notes

Video Memo from Japan's Green House allows you to leave short video messages friends, family and/or co-coworkers can watch. With its 1.77-inch LCD screen and on-board CMOS camera, Video Memo is the 21st century's version of the Post-It Note.

China Celebrates 'Singles Day' on November 11th

If it's true misery loves company, get yourself to China on November 11th for Singles Day! A pop culture holiday of relatively recent origin, Singles Day (Guang Gun Jie in Chinese) celibates, er, celebrates the unmarried and unattached.

Dell Sells Ubuntu Linux-Loaded Computers in China

Following a fairly unsuccessful attempt in the USA back in 2007, Dell is looking to see if those in China will be more interested in a PC without Windows.


Call it Edgy: The Parental Advisory iPhone 4 Case

Got a few choice words to tell those bleepin' telemarketers? Making prank calls to Tipper Gore again? The polycarbonate plastic, custom designed Parental Advisory iPhone 4 Case lets the world know you're the “Bad Apple” of the bunch.

Eco-Friendly Heat Pad Pencil Combo Composts As You Compose

Care to shave a few cents off your monthly heating bill? Looking to be the next hot writer? Say “yes!” to both, provided your purple prose is penned with the Heat Pad Pencil!

Japan's Top Pop Singing Group Invites Fans to Make Babies With Them

AKB48, Japan's wildly popular all-girl idol group, wants to make babies with their fans! Introducing "AKBaby", a curiously creepy app that lets fans - for a low monthly subscription fee to their new ISP service - merge a photo of their face with that of a favorite AKB48 member, thus creating the face of "their" baby.

Faux Apple iShampo for 'Original, Revolutionary, Surprising and Elegant' Hair

Introducing “iShampo”, yet another Apple tribute (copy, knockoff, ripoff) that seeks to parlay the promotional power of the iconic tech colossus. Why change the world again today when you can change your hair care regimen tomorrow?

Free Solar-Powered TV Sets Bring Programs to China's Western Nomads

Thousands of solar-powered TV sets complete with solar panels, batteries and satellite receivers have been donated to ethnic herdsman in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Nomads who've never even seen a TV before can now enjoy 51 channels of programming.

Burger King Japan Goes Wide with the Pizza-Size Burger

What makes a Whopper look wimpy? Burger King Japan's new Pizza-Size Burger, that's what! This 8.8 inch (22cm) wide mega-meal is massive for short but not for long: it's only available from December 8th through 25th... and, sorry to say, only in Japan.