James M. Scott W. W. Norton & Company
A brand new book, Rampage, details the absolutely barbaric behavior by the Japanese during the World War Two battles for control of the Philippines. Don’t read it unless you have a strong stomach for barbarity against civilians. Which brings us to a couple questions. First of all, how can a culture that is thousands of years old change so quickly? We’ve lived in Japan, and, even a generation ago, even their biggest cities like Tokyo were, and are, super safe. It’s impossible to imagine the white collared salarymen of Japan engaging in violence. Japan is now a country with a diminishing birthrate, in part because the people seem more interested in porn than actual sex. Japanese men now seem most interested in getting drunk with their office workers, reading comic books, and maybe groping a woman on the subway. But just a few generations ago Japanese soldiers were barbaric, engaging in gruesome violence and rape. This occurred not just in the Philippines, but even more notably in the Rape of Nanking. Have the Japanese people changed at some fundamental level as a result of their defeat in World War Two and the complete dismemberment of their society? Or are all the changes a result of changed circumstance? Interesting questions explored in this book, but with more of a commercial angle. Secondly, there is an almost endless stream of American books and movies about the evils and barbarities of Nazism during World War Two, but far fewer about the equally savage activities of the Japanese. Why?(View More...)
Andy Dehnart Reality Blurred
We've told you before why we like this show, but we've always wondered how real it is. This article is about what goes on behind the scenes at Naked and Afraid. A couple of interesting points; no matter how much they research the participants, they're always surprised by how people act. And all the contestants, no matter how hopeless and beat down they appear, are sorry that they quit if they didn't make it to the end(View More...)
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We've read a lot of business books, and this is the best one, in large part because the person writing it has done real analysis over many years of actual results covering thousands of attempts to start new businesses. Thus, he takes an empirical approach based on what has really worked, rather than an anecdotal approach based on personal results at one company or, worse yet, a theory based approach from an academic. As you would expect from the title, his research indicates absolutely no correlation between success and the traditional approach; write a business plan, use an incubator, go after venture capital funding based on a short term exit strategy. The way to learn how to do a business startup is to do a business startup. Picasso had the same idea about art: "I am always doing what I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." Just as each piece of original art is different, each business venture is different, and decisions must be context based. As one of the successful founders he quotes says "Making a successful company requires an intimate tango with customers, not a tight grip on a business plan". Real world business is a messy trial and error process, you learn as you go along, and it’s the kind of learning that has to be internalized and can't really be taught.View all Books
America is, and always has been, about aspiration. Starting with nothing and achieving what seemed impossible. The specific aspirations change, but the idea doesn't. In this case, a young man living in a group house has a dream to become a producer of electronic music. A well done and entertaining flick with some big name young actors.View all Movies
If you listen to rap - and we hope you don't - you'll notice that the overriding theme is basically "How great I am! No one thought I would be anything, but now I'm just so great". Halsey has a different approach; She's telling you you'll be disappointed if you actually meet her, even if you're a big fan. More importantly, the song is captivating.View all Music
Everyone talks about the bible, but we wonder how many people actually read it. The first part of the Bible, the Old Testament, is filled with stories of massacres, where every man, woman, and child is killed. And then there's the Song of Solomon, based on an ancient love poem. This is not being reinterpreted now to add hidden meanings. Centuries ago men and women were chuckling in the church pews when this was read. It takes the form of a poetic dialogue between two lovers, the Bride, and the Groom, who express their feelings for one another in the imagery of a rich and fecund natural world. The Groom compares his beloved to a garden: 'A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,' (4:12–13). For her part, the Bride describes the Groom as 'white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven... His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem' (5:10-16). Finally, the Groom describes the fruition of their desires: 'How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof; now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; and the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak' (7:6-9).View all Web
Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.View all Quotes