Why Japan is Awesome Reason #499: A Sex Doll-Inspired Dental Robot

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Japanese robot that lets you hug and caress yourself and already comes word of another new Japanese robot invention…the Showa Hanako 2—a realistic, life-sized robotic doll to be used by dentists to have some fun on slow patient days train and practice their trade.

The robot was created by eggheads at Japan’s Showa University with help from the good folks at Orient Industry a.k.a. that country’s top sex doll manufacturer. Why this unusual partnership? Well, if you want to invent a doll whose skin, mouth and tongue closely mimics the real thing, who else you gonna call? The doll responds to voice recognition commands and can wince, flinch and close their jaws just like a real person would when confronted by a person in a white lab coat about to stick a drill in their mouths.

This is an updated and more realistic version of a similar robot that was invented ten years ago and will be available later this year. You gotta hand it to the Japanese. Not only are they at the forefront of robot technology, but they always manage to somehow manage to sexualize every robot they invent. Now, that’s talent! Check it out:

Chinese Male Cheerleader Brings It On!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrAn2a2bvko[/youtube] I don’t know what to make of this, but I can say that I can’t take my eyes off this video, even after the 10th time I’ve viewed it. Here’s a video of an unidentified male cheerleader performing a dance routine at China’s Shandong University. Sure, there are female cheerleaders too, but who’s watching them??? All I know is, this has to be investigated more and I have to find out who this dude is, because he should be on the competition cheerleading circuit!

(Via Gawker)

Film Festival Dispatch: LA FILM FEST

The Los Angeles Film Festival just wrapped this Sunday, closing with the Guillermo del Toro produced DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, a solid horror film starring Katie Holmes. Over 10 days, over 200 films unspooled in the LA LIVE Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Overall, the Festival was a major success and their programming was great, with a diverse mix of new indie features, compelling documentaries and Hollywood blockbusters. Here are some highlights from the Festival:

The Perfect Economy Strategy

PIPE DREAMS FOR SALE

If you just do this one thing, you will increase chances of success by 90%. Fight the fights you can win and retreat from the ones you can’t. But how do you know when to fight or retreat? There’s only one way. KNOWING YOUR OWN LIMITS. That sounds easy, doesn’t it? But being honest with yourself is actually the most difficult thing in this world — where pipe dreams are always on sale. Welcome back to “The 33 Strategies of Sports”, a concoction of Robert Greene and sports. This week…

THE PERFECT ECONOMY STRATEGY

In 1988, The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons in 7 grueling games at the Forum to win the title. LA was the first team to repeat as NBA Champs in 17 years. That September, the Dodgers won the World Series. 1988 was a great year for the City of Angels. Lakers coach Pat Riley was so sure his Lakers could win a third consecutive title, he copyrighted the term “three-peat” for the eventual third championship (and still owns it).

And why should Riley be wrong? The “Showtime” Lakers had no weaknesses. MVP Magic Johnson, the greatest player of his generation, was 29 and still in his prime. James Worthy unleashed a triple-double in Game 7 to defeat the Pistons — and was only getting better. Every guy on the team was a fucking warrior. Michael Cooper. A.C. Green. Byron Scott. This was an All-Star team. And of course there was legendary center Kareem Abdul Jabbar (who won 5 titles with Magic). Jabbar was 41 but could not walk away from a dynasty. Besides, his conditioning was excellent and his hook shot remained unstoppable (he is still the highest scoring player in NBA history). And of course, there was Coach Riley, the George Patton of basketball.

Glasses Discrimination: the New Racism?

Some famous guy once did a speech or something where he was, like, “I have a dream that people won’t judge other people on the car they drive or whether they are white or not or whether they eat at Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s.”

That was twenty years ago and while society still – unfortunately – remains prejudiced against Hardee’s patrons, the other stuff that guy talked about in his dream have now come true.

But now a new bias has begun to surface from within the social consciousness and this new bias is against glasses.

You're laughing now - wait till you sit at the back of the bus.

Yes, that’s right – glasses.

A New Direction in Horror

First, I must warn you that if you’re easily offended or squeamish, please don’t read this post. Also, if you don’t want people spoiling a movie for you, please don’t read this post. I’m going to be talking about Srdjan Spasojevic’s A Serbian Film (Srpski Film), which is due out Stateside in a very limited distribution. After screening at last year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, the film was picked up by a boutique distributor called Invincible Pictures that had plans to theatrically open the picture in the U.S.

I first heard about A Serbian Film from chatting with the horror master Stuart Gordon (Re-animator and From Beyond) in his Burbank office and I was immediately intrigued. Set in the titular Serbia, A Serbian Film tells the story of a retired porn star who gets tricked into making a snuff film by an “insane” director who wants to create “newborn” cinema. The second act of the film is a flashback after our protagonist comes home peeing out blood as he groggily retraces his steps and recollects his memory of being drugged and forced into various gruesome acts of sex and violence.

North Korean Soccer Team Lost to the U.S. Because They Were Struck by Lightning

To which I respond, “I hate when that happens.”

The North Korean team lost yesterday’s Women’s World Cup soccer match against the U.S. 2-0. I’ve already written about how boooooooring soccer is so I didn’t watch the game in question, but supposedly the North Korean women played quite well especially considering they have the youngest team in the tournament with an average age of only 20. So all in all, they competed admirably and lost honorably.

But since this is North Korea, the story would not be complete until you served it up with a side order of crazy.

After the match, the NK coach Kwang Min Kim told the press that the real reason his team lost was because…well, they had been struck by lightning. Here’s what he said:

Indecent Exposure

I’ll get my opinion out of the way first: the crux of the matter is not whether the 20 year old black man refused to pull up his pants when asked,

or whether the 65 year old white man has a right to wear women’s underwear on planes.

The crux of the matter is this: a US Airways employee asked the young black man to pull up his pants, whereas they rarely have asked the white man – who flies US Airways several times a month – to cover up.

It is, in my opinion, a question of double standards.

Death By Frisbee

Check out this scene from the terrible ’80s flick, HARD TICKET TO HAWAII. I remember watching this film numerous of times on late night Cinemax, or Skinemax as we used to call it, when my friends would come over on Friday nights and we’d watch horror films or soft core stuff like this from the venerable schlockmeister Andy Sidaris, he of such great art at PICASSO TRIGGER, SAVAGE BEACH, and FIT TO KILL. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxgxa1GJlnI&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Japanese Robot Lets You Hug, Caress and Stroke Yourself

The Japanese have done it again with their wacky robots. This time, the fine eggheads at Japan’s University of Electro Communications have invented the Sense-Roid, a robotic mannequin that allows you to, yes, hug, caress and stroke yourself.

Basically, when you put on a tactile jacket and grope the Sense-Roid, it gropes you right back like a certain ex-California Governator. As it says in the demonstration video I’ve embedded below:

“…the user notice that you are actually hugging and stroking YOURSELF, which is found to be an ultimate partner.”

And here’s a more detailed description of the creation from the inventors themselves:

“What type of emotions could be obtained if you were able to hug yourself? When we hug someone, we feel a sense of ease coming from emotions such as belief, security and love. However, it is not possible to hug oneself, who is the closest person. To experience this situation, we proposed a tactile device called the Sense-Roid. The system is composed of a lay figure with tactile sensors to detect the user’s caressing motion, and a tactile jacket with vibrators and artificial muscles to reflect the caressing motion to the user. As a result, users caress themselves through our Sense-Roid. We believe that this self-caressing experience will enlighten people about the value of caressing.”

A New York State of Mind

CURTIS

Curtis Chin is a Motown-born, New York-bred, Los Angeles-based writer, producer and community activist. He’s proud to have co-founded the Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress and for writing and producing the documentary looking back at the June 19, 1982 murder of Vincent Chin, Vincent Who? He’s less proud of having started the Young Republicans Club in high school. He’s currently working on a new website with a former ABC and HBO exec, widelantern.com, and developing a teen comedy with director Quentin Lee and producer Chris Lee. For the months of June and July, Vincent Who? will be available on-line for free by visiting the official website, Vincentwhomovie.com.

“New York, New York, a helluva town!” – Broadway musical, Our Town

A million songs have been written about New York and its general awesomeness. Usually it’s just about the Big Apple, but in this case, that awesomeness applies to the whole damn state. On Friday, New York joined Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa and New Hampshire to become the sixth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. With more than 18 million residents, the number of Americans living in marriage-equality jurisdictions instantly doubled. (Keep in mind, this equality only applies to state law. Every LGBT couple in the country, even in those states and DC which also allows LGBT couples to marry, are still discriminated against at the federal level due to the Defense of Marriage Act.)

Ever since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in the Spring that he would prioritize the passage of a marriage equality bill, I have been monitoring the news for any development. As the state legislative session was coming to a close this past week, my anticipation, excitement and fear picked up steam. Every morning, I would eagerly log on to see if my former home state would be sending me an overnight love letter. I was literally checking the LGBT news sites on an almost hourly basis, hoping for any updates. The bill needed 32 votes to pass the Republican-held Senate and only 29 Democrats had publicly committed. There were no guarantees that the bill would even come up for a vote.

The ‘Chinglish’ Journal: Week 6 (June 27, 2011)

DHH

Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. BUTTERFLY) is in rehearsals for his latest play CHINGLISH in Chicago where it will have its world premiere at the historic Goodman Theater now-July 24 (opening night is tonight). DHH has graciously agreed to blog regularly throughout the rehearsal process to give our readers a glimpse into how a major theatrical production comes to life.

Overture, Curtains, Lights!
This is it, the night of nights!
No more rehearsing and nursing a part,
We know every part by heart!

As a baby boomer, I can’t help but remember, “This Is It,” the theme song (written by Mack David & Jerry Livingston) from THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW, whenever I get to an opening night. This evening, Monday, June 27, 7 pm Central Standard Time, is indeed “It.”

We had a very productive week of preview performances. The new ending which I wrote and Leigh staged at Tuesday’s rehearsal seems to work very well, giving our show a “button,” and our audiences a little more to think about as they leave the theatre. Leigh continued to polish the acting and production, while I trimmed lines that weren’t buying us anything. If a moment is neither funny nor adds to our understanding of the plot or characters, it’s gotta go. Two weeks ago, Act One ran an hour and fifteen minutes, without scene transitions. Today, including scene changes, it runs an hour and eight. As a writer, I geek out over those kinds of numbers, they make me incredibly happy.

Our final rehearsal was Saturday afternoon. This is always a bittersweet moment. I imagine it’s akin to watching your kid graduate from college (which I also expect to experience in the coming decade). This has been an unusually blissful rehearsal process. The cast gets along incredibly well, and we all believe so much in what we’re doing here. This Is It: when the creative team hands over the show to the actors and running crew. It’s been ours; now, it belongs to them.