Our Alliance - A Lasting Partnership
I originally saw this on Sankanku Complex, but I'm not going to link to that because it's got a lot of NSFW stuff, so here's the BBC Article instead. In short, the US Military has produced a chibi manga, presumably to try and win over the Japanese to seeing that the US Army bases stationed in Japan are a good thing. The manga is freely available online and there's a translated version on MangaFox.
Japanese PM resigned recently for going back on his pre-election promise to remove the US Army base from Okinawa. But I don't really see how this will help much. If I was Japanese I'd find it patronising and demeaning more than anything else, as it seems to suggest that apparently Japanese people can't understand concepts unless they're presented to them by cute cartoon characters. I don't really know who this is aimed at, is it to try and win over the Japanese adults who feel strongly about the issue, or is it propaganda aimed at children, who I doubt care anyway?
I've read the English translation, and I still don't quite get the purpose of it. It seems aimed at kids, but then I don't see why the US would care so much to get the children of Japan on their side. It's fairly informative, but I doubt I'd appreciate it if I was an adult resident of Okinawa.
Finalists dies at World Sauna Championships
On the face of it, a tragic news story, in which both finalists of the World Sauna Championships in Finland collapsed, and one of them later died. Except hang on a minute. World Sauna Championships? What?
So, a little Googling leads me to the Wikipedia article for it, and this:
"The championships began with preliminary rounds and ended in the finals, where the best six men and women would see who could sit in the sauna the longest. The starting temperature in the men's competition was 110 ºC (230 °F). Half a litre of water was poured on the stove every 30 seconds. The winner was the last person to stay in the sauna and walk out without outside help."
Now, not that I'm against the concept of extreme sports, but who the fuck thought this was a good idea? Basically sit yourself in an oven, and last one to get out or pass out wins. Except it's not an oven, it's a sauna, which is probably worse than an oven. In an oven it'd at least be dry, and your sweat would be able to evaporate and do something to keep your body temperature below lethal levels. In a sauna you don't really get that, so your body temperature is free to get to stupidly high levels. This is genuinely as retarded as hosting a World Chicken Championships or something. Last one to die is the winrar.
Though if this man's death has meant anything, it is at least that the organisers have announced that there will be no more sauna competitions, so at least this isn't likely to happen again.
Boy Surgically Grows Leg By 31cm
This was something of a cool story, about a boy born with a horrible disability that has now been cured by the wonders of modern medical science. Which I thought was pretty cool. Hey, I'm a little bit on the short side, maybe I could go for some of that. I wonder how they did it?
A brace was fitted to his leg and the bones were broken and then "stretched" into gaining extra length by a screw which is turned to extend the limb.
Holy shit no thank you. He can now walk, and I'm sure this will massively improve his life in the long run, but jesus christ eeewwwww. The picture on the article doesn't help much either.
So something of a victory for medicine, and for doctors and surgeons to be able to fix something that was supposedly unfixible, but definitely not the most appealing ways of doing it.