Germany follows France in ripping off Conan O'Brien. The German gag's not bad, though.
WARNING: A confessed murderer and cannibal is on the prowl in Japan! Here's an interview with him:
Everyone knows who he is, actually. In fact, he's a minor celebrity. So I really want you to help me catch an article about a cannibal murderer.
The cannibal murderer is Issei Sagawa, a soi-disant Japanese intellectual who killed and ate a woman in Paris in 1981. This is what happened to him afterward, according to you-know-who:
Sagawa's wealthy father provided a lawyer for his defense, and after being held for two years without trial Sagawa was found legally insane and unfit to stand trial by the French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who ordered him held indefinitely in a mental institution. After a visit by the author Inuhiko Yomota, Sagawa's account of the murder was published in Japan under the title In the Fog. Sagawa's subsequent publicity and macabre celebrity likely contributed to the French authorities' decision to deport him to Japan, where he was immediately committed to Matsuzawa hospital. Examining psychologists there all declared him sane and found sexual perversion was his sole motivation for the murder. Because charges in France had been dropped, the French court documents were sealed and were not released to Japanese authorities. Consequently Sagawa could not legally be detained in Japan. He checked himself out of the hospital on August 12, 1986, and has remained free. Sagawa's continued freedom has been widely criticized.
So, on the surface we have not only a miscarriage of justice, but also quite possibly an example of two different legal cultures defining legal sanity in different and interesting ways. Just the sort of thing that really rings my bell.
Which brings me to the next mystery: an online law journal that seems to have published only a few issues, then vanished! Here is a citation to an article about Sagawa:
- Morris, Steven (September 20, 2007)."Issei Sagawa: Celebrity Cannibal". New Criminologist, the On-line Journal of Criminology (New Criminologist). Archived from the original on June 14, 2011.[dead link]
As you can see, the link is very dead indeed. To add to the mystery, the New Criminologist started a Twitter account (under the logo Vitam Impenderi Vero) which then mysteriously died after only 4 tweets. The journal's online presence seems not just to have gone dormant, but been deliberately erased. Shoved down the memory hole, if you will!
Can anyone find this article for me? As a bonus, can anyone explain what happened to New Criminologist?
Watch all 16 minutes, there will be a quiz tomorrow.
You might notice I've been on a Japan kick recently, so here's a pice from Aeon in which Andrea Appleton describes Japanese insect love:
Insects have been celebrated in Japanese culture for centuries. ‘The Lady Who Loved Insects’ is a classic story of a caterpillar-collecting lady of the 12th century court; the Tamamushi, or ‘Jewel Beetle’ Shrine, is a seventh century miniature temple, once shingled with 9,000 iridescent beetle forewings.
Insects continue to rear their antennae in modern Japan. Consider ‘Mothra’, the giant caterpillar-moth monster who is second only to Godzilla in film appearances; the many bug-inspired characters of ‘Pokémon’, and any number of manga (including an insect-themed detective series named after Fabre). Travel agencies advertise firefly-watching tours, there are televised beetle-wrestling competitions and beetle petting zoos. Department stores and even vending machines sell live insects.
Nor do the Japanese merely admire insects: they eat them too. In the Chūbu region, in central Japan, villagers rear wasps at home for food, and forage for giant hornets that are eaten at all life stages, while fried grasshoppers or inago are a luxury foodstuff. Entomophagy once had a place in Western culture too: the ancient Greeks ate cicadas, the Romans ate grubs. But while modern Westerners blithely eat aquatic arthropods – lobster, shrimp, crab, crayfish – we’ve lost our taste for the terrestrial kind.
A translator opines on the difficulty of rendering Aurochs into English:
Walser was prophetic about 100% Germanness. A good decade after his 1917 story, German scientists—Heinz Heck in Munich and his brother, Lutz Heck, in Berlin—started a program to breed back the massive primordial beasts, extinct since 1627. The result was Heck cattle, misleadingly announced to the world by the publicity-savvy brothers as “back-bred aurochs.”
Although the research started in the 1920s, and the first bull said to resemble an aurochs was born in 1932, the whole effort has been remembered, not entirely unjustly, as a project of “Nazi science,” madly breeding a genetically pure super-race. Lutz joined the Party early. Time magazine says “the Nazi government funded an attempt to breed them back as part of its propaganda effort.” But one English journalist, Simon de Bruxelles, seems to have cornered the market on magnificent aurochs headlines, from “A shaggy cow story: how a Nazi experiment brought extinct aurochs to Devon”—
Through the misty early morning sunlight dappling a Devon field a vision from the primeval past lumbers into view. The beast with its shaggy, russet-tinged coat, powerful shoulders and lyre-shaped horns could have stepped straight from a prehistoric cave painting. The vision is … Bos primigenius, the aurochs, fearsome wild ancestor of all today’s domestic cattle, immortalised tens of thousands of years ago in ochre and charcoal in the Great Hall of the Bulls at Lascaux in southwest France…
—to, just last month, the nearly incomparable “Peace in our time after slaughter of Nazi super-cows:”
Britain’s only herd of “Nazi” cattle has been turned into sausages because they were so dangerous that no one could go near them…. The cattle, which have long horns as sharp as stilettos, were an attempt by Nazi scientists to re-create the prehistoric aurochs, a breed of giant wild cattle regarded with awe by Julius Caesar….
Atavistic Northern European grandiosity about aurochs lives on. There’s a new effort to resurrect the ancient breed, the Tauros Project, led by Dutchman Henri Kerkdijk, and an even newer offshoot from 2013: the Uruz Project, complete with a TED event. They want to help “rewild” Holland by “de-extincting” the animals that inhabited earlier ecosystems. It all sounds pretty plausible: as this useful summary explains, scientists sequence aurochs DNA from old bones found in Britain, then go looking for breeds of cattle alive today with segments of aurochs DNA still intact. (“Tauros,” initially called “TaurOs” ≈ Taurus + Os, “Bull + Bone.”) With the sequencing of the complete aurochs genome, celebrated on the Breeding-Back Blog last year, the double-helix dictionary of the aurochs is complete. A few more generations of selective breeding and there we’ll have it.
The aurochs are not being “recreated,” as an online commenter puts it: “They are just being ‘rejoined.’ The genes are still there, spread through the population of cows.” They are being spelled.
Here's a picture I took of an modern quasi-Aurochs recently in the Neandertal Ice-Age Animal Reserve (g), where they are no longer being bred for their chthonic-Aryan qualities. Presumably.
Since an 18-month old unvaccinated child in Berlin just died of measles, this new SciShow clip seems timely. The point is that parents who don't get their kids pricked aren't necessarily 'stupid', they're just letting their thinking be guided by cognitive biases, the eternal insidious enemies of rational thought. Here, the culprits are negativity bias, confirmation bias, and omission bias, all of which are crisply and engagingly defined in the video:
Dr. Scheißwixxer: Well, Mr. Hackler, I suppose you would like me to explain why I created the Cyber Death Ray before I order my nanoslaves to consume you from the inside out, causing agonizing pain.
Jack Hackler: Sure, why not?
Dr. Scheißwixxer: It's simple. I am pure evil, and my only desire is to watch humanity suffer.
Jack Hackler (exasperated): What? Is that all you've got? What is this, 1987? Supervillians today should be able to make at least 2 or 3 superficially-plausible, thought-provoking arguments for what they're doing. You know, psychotic resentment caused by a life of oppression, or corrupt venal humanity had its chance and blew it, or I'm going to actually usher in a golden new age. You've really disappointed me.
[Dr. Scheßwixxer removes pistol from pocket, shoots Hackler in the head.]
There's been a recent increase in odd political messages being posted in the halls the university. I presume these folks are attempting to reach the 'leaders of tomorrow' and may not be aware of the Internets.
In the name of political enlightenment, I hereby present you with the latest example. The guy included his full name and address at the bottom; I've decided to blot it out for obvious reasons. Enjoy!
Probably the finest Canadian song praising the Communist Party of Albania you will hear today (h/t RM):
I wonder if there are any English-language songs praising East Germany?
If you're interested in the internecine squabbles of Canadian Marxist splinter parties in the 1960s -- and who isn't? -- you can find plenty of documentation here. One of the absolute must-read highlights, On the Question of Liu Shao-Chi:
While we might be disposed to be somewhat critical of [Sidney Rittenberg]'s speech for being poorly constructed, not too carefully prepared and containing some careless formulatons, we are in agreement with its basic content in criticizing and repudiating the bourgeois-reactionary line of Liu Shao-chi and upholding the proletarian-revolutionary line of Mao Tse-tung. However, the Belgian trio of Jacques Grippa, Rene Raindorf and Stephen Strulens who are of the opposite opinion, in reply to Rittenburg’s 40 to 50 minute speech inscribed a, reply that would fill a good-sized book.
The extreme length of this literary attack is largely caused by the authors’ ranging far beyond the limits of the Rittenburg speech which did not provide them with sufficient scope for the objective they had in mind. In order to correct this situaton Rittenburg is charged with not saying certain things, and the things which were not said provide the main basis for the attack.