John Oliver and news in Japan

Yesterday evening I was enjoying several features by John Oliver, mostly about the upcoming election in the US (Scandals), but also one of the best features I have heard from him on Guantánamo. It sadly reminded me of the completely different landscape in Japan.

Not only since the unprecedented warning to close down “biased” broadcasters by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, but ever since Abe is building up his more and more totalitarian control over the country, the freedom of press has been on shaky grounds.

Even worse, newspapers and TV outlets restrict themselves to “save” topics, which means: stupid talk shows, food, and above all praise of Japan and how good, how lovely, how great it is (Make Japan great again!). All this despite the fact that there would be a lot to rumble upon: covering up the truth around Fukushima, mountains of scandals around Olympia 2020, police brutality in Okinawa, the list is long.

Only thinking about having something remotely similar to John Oliver on TV in Japan is as unthinkable as Trump donating all his money to a charity for immigrants. Sure enough, John Oliver is one great example out of tons of rubbish in the US, sure enough, but this one example is missing in Japan.

What remains are Japanese media stations that crawl into the *** of the government, what a sad state.

(Photo credit partially due to Über Arschkriecher)

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Suki Kim – Without You, There Is No Us

A book that goes further behind the walls that surround North Korea than anything else I have seen. Suki Kim managed to squeeze herself, American-Korean, into a English teaching job at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and reports her experiences during two visits there.


Most of us in the connected world are well aware about the incredibly backwardness of North Korea, and the harsh living conditions despite the praise that is bombarded onto us through the official channels. But reading about the incredibly underdeveloped students at PUST, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, the elite of the country, who never heard about the most basic techniques, is still surprising.

Time there seemed to pass differently. When you are shut off from the world, every day is exactly the same as the one before. This sameness has a way of wearing down your soul until you become nothing but a breathing, toiling, consuming thing that awakes to the sun and sleeps at the dawning of the dark.

Another very disturbing part of this book are the short but intensive looks into the country side, when excursions or shopping trips were scheduled. They lay open a barren land, with Gulag like working conditions and permanent shortage of proper food.

I have been aware about the situation in North Korea, but reading about it from a very special perspective gave me the shivers.

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Armenia and Turkey – Erdoğan did it again

It is 101 years to the day that Turkey started the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide. And Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the populistic and seemingly maniac president of Turkey, does not drop any chance to continue the shame of Turkey.


After having sued a German comedian of making fun of him – followed promptly by an as shameful cowtow of Merkel by allowing the jurisdiction to start prosecuting Jan Böhmermann, heis continuing suing other journalists, and above all putting pressure on the European Community to not support a concert tour of the Dresdner Sinfoniker in memoriam of the genocide.

European Values have disappeared, and politicians pay stupid tribute to a dictator-like Erdoğan who is destroying free speech and free media, not only in his country but all around the world. Must be a good friend of Abe, both are installing anti-freedom laws.

Shame on Europe for this. And Turkey, either vote Erdoğan out of office, or you should not (and hopefully will never) be allowed into the EC, because you don’t belong there.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – refugees acceptance

Coming from a country that has taken lots of refugees, especially in the years after the second world war (although not any more), and while living in Japan still feeling connected to Europe and what is going on there, the current situation of refugees from the near east gives lots of material to think about. One of these things recently was passed around on various SNS sites. It is about the number of refugees a “country can accept”.


The situation is difficult, and after an initial wave of empathy it seems that especially governments are retracting and trying to stop the influx of refugees:

We cannot accommodate any more refugees in Europe, that’s not possible.
Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France

I am well aware about the difficult situation in Europe, and consider the dealing with the refugee crisis the biggest challenge of these decade.

In this blog, without many words, I only want to focus on how Japan deals with refugees. Europe might be bad, but Japan – I am bare of words.

Lebanon European Community Japan
Population 4.467.000 (2013) 503.000.000 127.300.000 (2013)
Refugees 2015 ~1.000.000 850.000 27
Ratio 4.4 : 1 590 : 1 4714814 : 1

Sources of the data:

No words are necessary.

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Ian Buruma: Wages of Guilt

Since moving to Japan, I got more and more interested in history, especially the recent history of the 20th century. The book I just finished, Ian Buruma (Wiki, home page) Wages of Guilt – Memories of War in Germany and Japan (Independent, NYRB), has been a revelation for me. As an Austrian living in Japan, I am experiencing the discrepancy between these two countries with respect to their treatment of war legacy practically daily, and many of my blog entries revolve around the topic of Japanese non-reconciliation.

Willy Brandt went down on his knees in the Warsaw ghetto, after a functioning democracy had been established in the Federal Republic of Germany, not before. But Japan, shielded from the evil world, has grown into an Oskar Matzerath: opportunistic, stunted, and haunted by demons, which it tries to ignore by burying them in the sand, like Oskar’s drum.
Ian Buruma, Wages of Guilt, Clearing Up the Ruins


The comparison of Germany and Japan with respect to their recent history as laid out in Buruma’s book throws a spotlight on various aspects of the psychology of German and Japanese population, while at the same time not falling into the easy trap of explaining everything with difference in the guilt culture. A book of great depth and broad insights everyone having even the slightest interest in these topics should read. Continue reading

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SJW attitude in science

Recently, Eric Raymond, famous for is “The Cathedral and the Bazaar“, stepped forward to speak out against mixing social agenda, like equal treatment for everyone outside the white straight group, with meritocracy, the evaluation of one solely based on his/her contribution.

And without fail, the SJW side of the Internet didn’t take much time to munch down on Raymond like hungry wolves in a long winter: Coraline Ada Ehmke (should that recall Ada Lovelace?), Tim Chevalier, Matthew Garrett, just to name a few.


The arguments are quite easy to summarize: The meritocracy party proposes that “One’s contribution should only be evaluated based on the content and the quality”, while the SJW party asserts that in case the submitter as from a minority group, in particular everyone outside the white straight group, the contribution has to be accepted with higher probability (or without discussion) to ensure equality.

(Added here for clarification: A SJW is someone who puts the agenda of anti-genderization and anti-biasization (nice word) above all other objectives, often by quoting scientific results on existing – and not deniable – bias)

Well, I am a scientist, and I can tell you just one thing: I simply don’t give a shit for whether someone is white, black, red, green, red, straight, gay, a Rastafari or Pastafari (well, to be honest, I really give an extra 3 plus points to Pastafari!), really, I check their proofs. And if they are rubbish, they are rubbish. If they are ok, they are ok.

Let us for a moment assume that the world of research would work the same way as the proposed world of Ehmke, Chevalier, Garret, and all the other SJW: A lesbian female black is submitting an article to a scientific journal (first of all, as a referee I wouldn’t even know about her sexual interest, nor her color, nor her background in most of the cases), and the honest referee reports would dare to reject the paper due to technical and methodological insufficiencies. A very common case. Now, the average SJW (including the above named, according to their blog posts) would require us to be open and, well, publish a rubbish paper just because it is written by an non-white-non-male author.

What should I say … well … stupidity seemingly does not have a limit. Hopefully software projects around the world do not fall into this stupid trap, and continue evaluating contributions solely on their actual merit. This is all I am asking for, quite in contrast to the SJW groupies.

And this is also what Raymond is asking for – so I have not the slightest idea why anyone around this planet sees a need to step up and become noisy.

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USB stick update: TAILS 1.4, GParted 0.22, SysResCD 4.5.2, Debian Jessie

I have posted a view times (here and here) about how to get a multi-boot/multi-purpose USB stick working. Now that TAILS has seens a major upgrade, and Debian 8.0 Jessie has been released, I think it is time to update the procedure to reflect the latest releases. That turned out to be a painful experience, in particular since Debian removed support for any reasonable boot method.

(Update: See this post for fixes to get Debian working again)


So going through these explanations one will end up with a usable USB stick that can boot you into TAILS, System Rescue CD, GNU Parted Live CD, but unfortunately not anymore to boot into an installation of Debian 8.0 Jessie installation. But the USB stick will still be usable as normal media. Continue reading

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1. 石川県の自然と新幹線




2. 福島と原発



3. 歴史と責任




追伸:2015年5月5日に、Mauthausenの解放の記念日の時、オーストリアの作家の「Christine Nöstlinger」の講演だ。戦中と戦後の話。日本は、この様な活動はどこ?

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