We spent this morning looking at YouTube videos of Kasou Taishou. These are short skits that re-create special effects using charmingly amateur stage effects. Think of it as a mashup between traditional Japanese kabuki stage-craft and a high school play.
Add a twist of self-depreciating humor and you’ve got a winner.
When I worked at Yahoo it was at the height of a cultural trend called Web 2.0. The fashion was to put stickers of various startups all over the front of your laptop so people could see how hip you were. I was running into many interesting people so I took a different approach and asked them to sign my laptop with a sharpie instead.
When the laptop started to give out, before handing it back Yahoo IT and took a snapshot for posterity.
Here are some of the names. Click on the photo above to go to the Flickr page that has them tagged.
Minnesota Viking fans, bitter at their loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia and having to host Philly fans in Minnesota, are apparently plotting to sign up as temporary Uber drivers so they can drop them off “in the boonies.”
A Florida man was arrested for driving under the influence after pulling up to a drive-thru bank window at and trying to order a burrito.
A flying drone dropped a flotation device to two teens caught in a riptide in heavy seas off the Australian coast in what officials describe as a world-first rescue-by-drone.
Japanese engineers have been testing a new device for trains that has reduced the number of “deer-train collisions” by 40%. The contraption makes the trains bark like a dog.
New York City placed a $4 billion order with Japanese company Kawasaki for over 1,000 new subway cars. The deal was a blow to Canadian Bombardier which was hired to build the city’s last fleet of new cars, but delivered them two years behind schedule.
The White House inquired with the Guggenheim about borrowing a Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters. The Guggenheim’s chief curator was apologetic. The painting was “prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions” and suggested Maurizio Cattelan’s Golden Toilet which was available.
Rocket Labs, a spaceflight startup based in Los Angeles, secretly stowed away a “disco ball” satellite that has no other purpose than, “to encourage everyone to look up and consider our place in the universe.”
The satellite is a “geodesic sphere made from carbon fibre with 65 highly reflective panels. It spins rapidly, reflecting the sun’s rays back to Earth, creating a flashing light that can be seen against a backdrop of stars.” The company has put up the Humanity Star website where you can track the satellite’s progress across the sky and plan the best time to see it. The satellite will orbit the earth every 90 minutes for the next nine months until it falls out of orbit and burns up in the atmosphere.
Rocket Lab Founder and CEO Peter Beck shared the following statement.
For millennia, humans have focused on their terrestrial lives and issues. Seldom do we as a species stop, look to the stars and realize our position in the universe as an achingly tiny speck of dust in the grandness of it all.
Humanity is finite, and we won’t be here forever. Yet in the face of this almost inconceivable insignificance, humanity is capable of great and kind things when we recognize we are one species, responsible for the care of each other, and our planet, together. The Humanity Star is to remind us of this.
No matter where you are in the world, rich or in poverty, in conflict or at peace, everyone will be able to see the bright, blinking Humanity Star orbiting Earth in the night sky. My hope is that everyone looking up at the Humanity Star will look past it to the expanse of the universe, feel a connection to our place in it and think a little differently about their lives, actions and what is important.
Wait for when the Humanity Star is overhead and take your loved ones outside to look up and reflect. You may just feel a connection to the more than seven billion other people on this planet we share this ride with.
A large earthquake off the coast of Alaska last night set off tsunami warnings (that were later cancelled) up and down the West Coast of the United States. Residents on Alameda, the island in the San Francisco Bay where I live, were all curious why we never got any warning waking us out of our beds. The answer was that there never was enough of a threat but I was curious enough to do a little research and found that others had asked in the past so I’d thought I’d summarize and post what I found for future reference.
As you can see in the simulation of a 16 foot tsunami in the video above, most of the energy of the of the wave is absorbed by the Pacific coastline and dissipates as it tries to squeeze through the Golden Gate. A more detailed video can be found here.
By the time the wave reaches Alameda, most of the energy is gone but there is still some danger from flooding. California has posted a full set of Tsunami Inundation Maps that are a useful resource. I pulled together the relevant section for Alameda.
Alameda Tsunami Inundation Map (2009)
Luckily, there’s a lengthy study published in 2016 on tsunami evacuations that used Alameda as case study. The study looks at three types of tsunami events with the most severe being one in which the waters would cover the island as in the illustration above. While the advance does cover much of the island, the study concludes,
One mitigating factor is that potential sources associated with a Zone 3 evacuation are likely distant earthquakes only and expected tsunami arrival times of 4 h or more should provide sufficient time to implement a successful evacuation before wave arrival.
This has to do with the geologic faults that are off the coast of California. Back again to the Bay Curious post linked at the top.
Tsunamis are caused when one tectonic plate slides underneath another — a process called subduction. This slow movement is happening all the time, but sometimes a plate will get stuck and pressure starts to build. When it finally lets go, there’s an underwater earthquake that can move the seafloor up and down, sending a wave to the surface of the ocean.
But the San Andreas Fault is different. It’s called a slip-strike fault because the two plates slide past each other horizontally. Of course, whenever plates move, the ground shakes. But here, there is no subduction and little displaced ocean.
Meaning no killer tsunamis. Even San Francisco’s infamous 1906 earthquake generated only a 4-inch wave at the Presidio gauge station.
So there you have it. If you get a tsunami warning that is something to worry about, you’ll have a couple of hours to make your way to Park Street or the Alameda Theatre parking structure where you can get a view and watch the wave come in.
A White House conference call with 60+ reporters devolved into chaos while the operator tried to figure out how to put everyone into listen-only mode. “I think if everyone had half a brain and common sense and muted their phones, this wouldn’t be a problem,” yelled one White House official. h/t to @toddbarnard for a link to a recording.
Auto burglaries are up dramatically in San Francisco. This week, Marissa Castelli, a figure skater headed to next month’s 2018 Winter Olympics, had her car broken into during a visit here for the US Championships and lost two custom made costumes and her skates.
A woman expecting to fly back with her family from Italy to San Jose, California was dismayed to learn from the person sitting next to her that her separately booked flight was instead headed to San Jose, Costa Rica.
As legalized marijuana grows in popularity, instances of pets stoned on edibles left on the ground are on the rise. In other news, dogs that sniff out pot for the police are now out of work.
Remember that elderly California couple busted in Nebraska on their way to Vermont with 60 Lbs of weed in the back of their truck? They got busted again, in Nebraska.
Police looking for a bank theft suspect arrested said suspect when he applied for a job, with the police.
In Key Biscayne, the local iguanas were falling out of trees, groggy from the unusually cold temperatures. One man gathered them up and loaded them in the back of his car (BBQ iguana being a delicacy in his home country). When the iguanas thawed out during the ride they caused a commotion in the back seat and caused an accident.
Two people died in Japan after choking on mochi rice cakes, a traditional snack during the New Year holiday. This is the same death toll as last year but down from nine who expired in 2015.
In other news, Steve Bannon called the president’s son “treasonous.” President Trump said his former top adviser has “lost his mind.” Paul Manafort is suing Bob Mueller and Bill and Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua caught fire.