Quick review: Waterproof Sony Walkman
Tried out cheap waterproof Walkman in the pool today. It…sort of works. There are flashes of brilliance punctuated by long periods of mediocrity—it’s bastard hard to get the fit airtight, and at the end of an hour I had music quietly in one ear and complete silence in the other despite shaking water out of it (and my ear) repeatedly. Magic when it works, though—surprising how shutting out all the distractions ups your efficiency, and listening to Kanye West say “fuck” a lot helps if you’re sprinting.
The model is the NWD-W273 if anyone’s interested (may have a different model name outside Japan). Some reviewers suggest swapping in Shure triple-flange earbuds to get a better fit but unless your ear canals are a foot wide and twice as deep I suspect no.
These’d be great for the gym or running, though, and I intend to persevere in the pool until the martinet Minato-ku lifeguards catch me—listening to Sigur Rós underwater at high volume would be the ideal way to tune out the flailing old gimmers. (Actually, listening to Sigur Rós underwater sounds like a brilliant idea, full stop.)
Via @wrightak on Twitter, a list of Japanese numerical units, both before and after the decimal point. Goes to 10^64 on the top end and 10^-24 on the bottom (I hope my usage of ^ to mean “to the power of” is correct…).
兆 (ちょう) — 1,000,000,000,000
億 (おく) — 100,000,000
万 (まん) — 10,000
千 (せん) — 1,000
百 (ひゃく) — 100
十 (じゅう) — 10
一 (いち) — 1
Japan’s death penalty: Only minority support?
According to an article in yesterday’s Asahi Shimbun, the UK-based Death Penalty Project has released the results of a 20,000-person survey conducted between 2008-2010 that suggests Japanese who “actively support” the death penalty (積極的な死刑支持派) represent just 44% of the populace. That contrasts with the results of a 2,000-person survey conducted by the Japanese government in 2009, which put acceptance/tolerance (容認) of the death penalty at 85.6% (an all-time high).
The DPP survey doesn’t appear to be online yet, but the interpretation of the results seems to reflect a desired outcome more than the facts.
Possible responses to the DPP survey:
死刑は絶対にあった方がよい (Japan should definitely have the death penalty): 44%
あった方がよい (Japan should have the death penalty): 35%
廃止した方がよい (Japan should abolish the death penalty): 3%
That to me says 79% support (of which strong support represents 44%).
The possible responses to the 2009 government survey were:
場合によっては死刑もやむを得ない (in some cases the death penalty may be necessary): 85.6%
どんな場合でも死刑は廃止すべきである (the death penalty should be abolished whatever the case): 5.7%
わからない・一概に言えない (don’t know/impossible to generalise): 8.6%
Do the 79% group and the 85.6% group not seem like they would map fairly well to each other, given the wording of the responses? If anything, the DPP survey implies *more* unequivocal support given the lack of the “in some cases” get-out clause in the government survey, assuming we take 79% and 85.6% to be roughly equivalent levels.
The Asahi may be putting words in the DPP’s mouth, but without information to the contrary it seems the headline here is “Majority of Japanese support death penalty.”
Asahi article (J): http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0312/TKY201303120338.html
Govt survey results (J): http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000053168.pdf
3D-printed guns: a few random thoughts
If you have a box of .22 ammunition at home and a 3D printer, then decide in a moment of pique to download and render a gun to use that ammunition to shoot someone with, I’m guessing (given the lag involved) that the courts would call that premeditated.
But what if you had a Star Trek-style “replicator” in the lounge and could ask it for a gun and ammunition that were rendered instantly?
Bonus question: What are the implications when you can download and render materials that are durable enough to form a cartridge casing and bullet in a home-use 3D printer? Do you restrict access to chemicals that can be used to make gunpowder? Do you restrict downloads of things that look to be gun parts? What would that do to the design of projectile weapons seeking to evade the ban?
Bonus bonus question: What would happen if (when?) 3D nanoprinters become able to render any substance from commonly available raw materials, and both gun and ammunition are instantly available (cf. “replicator” point above)?
It seems to me that, as with all illegal downloads, the response would likely be draconian, partially effective, and possibly stifling. More control creates a pressure cooker. What would we do to achieve a society with ready access to the tools of its own destruction but no incentive to use them?
Just thinking out loud.