Wash your hands (and other stuff).

From Boing Boing:

How to wash your hands:

1) Turn on the water and get it to a temperature you like.
2) Lather up using soap. (Soap does not kill germs. A bar of soap is a great medium for growing germs. The surfactant action of soap helps the running water flush the germs away. That's how it works. It's purely mechanical. Antibacterial soap is a waste of time and money, and just helps breed antibiotic-resistant bugs.)
3) Rub your hands vigorously together, paying special attention to the fingernails, getting up onto the wrists, for as long as it takes you to sing one stanza of The Star Spangled Banner or two verses of Little Mattie Groves.
4) Rinse off the soap with the running water.
5) Dry your hands with a paper towel.
6) Use the expended paper towel to turn off the water.


Read a good quote recently..

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
- GK Chesterton

Reminds me of a lot of the Ender's Game series. I can really only recommend Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow to people. Also the De Vinci Code, although I haven't finished it. I always felt this way about sci-fi and fantasy. This is why it is hard for me to read one author for very long: The author bleeds through the text and I feel like I'm reading someone else's fantasy.

I need another good book to read. Thanks Jen and Kai for the Mark Twain book! I recommend A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to everyone.


I'm really looking forward to Leapord. I may not be able to afford a new Mac for a while, but that's ok. Here is a list of the 300 some features in the new OS. Of course things like Spaces and Time Machine are awesome, but I already knew about those. One of the notable small features I just discovered:
  1. Japanese-English Dictionary

    Translate English to Japanese and vice versa. This capability is now built into the Leopard Dictionary.

  2. Japanese Language Support

    In Leopard, the Dictionary application supports the Japanese language right out of the box, with an industry-leading Japanese dictionary and thesaurus provided by Shogakukan. The dictionary contains over 200,000 words with rich descriptions and examples, and the thesaurus contains 25,000 words covering 6,000 categories.


I've started using Google Reader for my RSS feeds. Until now I've actually been checking all my individual blogs and sites for updates, but the list just keeps getting longer and longer. If you're like me and you check a ton of sites each time you log in, you should just get an RSS reader to show you all the updates in one place. To add a subscription just put the URL of the site and it will find the RSS feed for you (if there is one). If you don't check a whole lot of sites, well, let me give you a few things from my list:

XKCD - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Amazing.

Penny Arcade - A webcomic for gamers. Usually too inside-jokey for me but sometimes great.

John Hawks weblog - A blog of paleoanthropology, genetics, and evolution. Always interesting and updates regularly.

Things of Interest - Some good short stories. I discovered this recently. Good stuff.


The Difference

Check this out for a nice short sci-fi read. Found it through XKCD.


No means no!

Translators take a lot of liberties. Not everything translates directly from one language to another. Let's take one of the first words we English speakers learn as children: "No"

All of these Japanese words can, at times, be translated as "no."

いいえiieNo [opposite of yes]. Sometimes "you're welcome" as in "it's nothing"
ううんuunThe casual form of いいえ.
Example: "Do you have a pen?" "No"
だめdameNo [it is forbidden]. Also can mean "it's no good" to express failure.
Example: A mother to a child who tries to do something bad: "No!"
いやiyaNo! Expressing disgust or strong prejudice.
Example: A guy tries to kiss a girl who doesn't like him: "No!"
違いますchigaimasuNo [it's different]. Often used with いいえ.
違うchigauThe casual form of 違います.
Example: Guessing the card "is it this one?" "No"
そんな事ありませんsonna koto arimasenNo [that is not so]. Expresses firm belief that it is not so. "That" is a verbal concept.
そんな事ないsonna koto naiThe casual form of そんな事ありません.
Example: "Japanese has more words than English" "No [it doesn't]"

Other examples of words with many translations are "me" and "you." This gives many Japanese people the impression that Japanese has more words than English, but in reality, English probably has more words than any other language (not counting languages where you can put words together to make new words).


Why I wear old clothes

I haven't bought any clothes since I moved to Japan. That means everything I wear I either got for Christmas, or I brought from the US over a year ago. Why? Is it because I'm too poor/cheap to buy new clothes? No! I go shopping for clothes quite often. But I always come back empty handed. I drew a diagram to explain part of the problem: selection!

A typical Japanese mall has a horrible ratio of men to womens clothing. Half the men's clothing is brand name suits and other ridiculously expensive things I can't afford, and the other half is thickly coated with Japanese 'hip' style (my favorite new addition: fake double shirts. It looks like layered shirts but its really just one! why God why?). There is usually more space devoted to furniture in a MALL than men's clothing. And to make things even better, on the rare occasions I actually do find something decent, it rarely fits. But I suppose that's my problem.