eldavojohn writes: Although downloading songs without paying for them in Japan used to be a civil offense starting in 2010, it is now a crime with new penalties of up to two years in prison or fines of up to two million yen ($25,700). The lobbying group behind this push for more extreme penalties is none other than the RIAJ (the Japanese RIAA). The BBC notes this applies to both music and video downloads which may put anime studios in a particularly uncomfortable position.
eldavojohn writes: A new paper presented at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland shows the rapid heating of the atmosphere directly above the fault days before the devastating earthquake hit. This is theorized to be the Lithosphere-Atmosphere-Ionosphere Coupling mechanism that occurs when large amounts of radon are released due to massive stress in the fault right before the quake. This can be detected with satellites analyzing infrared waves, 'The radioactivity from this gas ionises the air on a large scale and this has a number of knock on effects. Since water molecules are attracted to ions in the air, ionisation triggers the large scale condensation of water. But the process of condensation also releases heat and it is this that causes infrared emissions.' This is a shift from the Haiti earthquake where DEMETER was used to monitor ultra low frequencies. The presence of radon could also possibly explain erratic wildlife behavior prior to an earthquake.
eldavojohn writes: A Japanese/Algerian effort called The Sahara Solar Breeder Project employs a simple concept revolving around the pure silica in the sand of the Sahara Desert. The silica can be used to build vast solar arrays which will then provide the power and means to build more solar arrays in a classic breeder model. They would then use DC powerlines utilizing high temperature superconductors. The lead of the project points out that silica is the second most abundant resource in the Earth's crust. The project has lofty goals to harness the Sahara's energy has a few requirements — including 100 million yen annually — but also the worldwide cooperation of many nations and the training of the scientists and engineers to create and man these desert plants. The once deadly wasteland of the Sahara now looks like a land rich in an important resource: sunlight.
eldavojohn writes: As the creator of Megaman, Keiji Inafune reminisces of the days when Japan redefined video games. He believes those days are long gone as he reveals much in his criticisms of Japan's ailing game economy. Inafune says Japan is five years behind — still making games for older consoles with "no diversity, no originality." When queried why he responds, 'A lot of designers, if they find a genre that works for them, they stick with it. A lot of designers just stick to a set formula. That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that. The business side is not keeping up with investment. You need to be prepared to invest 4 billion yen or more on a game, and then spend 2 billion yen more to promote it. But Japanese companies can't do that. So we're losing out to the West in terms of investment in games. It's a vicious cycle, a deflationary spiral. Because you don't invest, you can't sell games, and because you don't sell games, you can't invest.' Inafune goes on to talk about Capcom's problems and Shadow of Rome's failed westernization. He says Level 5 is set to overstep Capcom because they're more forward-looking. He compares making games for Japan and the US to Sushi and basketball — two popular things but each done in distinctly different ways by the two nations. He calls Japanese gaming dead but begs for it to be saved by a rebirth of originality. Inafune travels around the world looking for global ideas to embed in games — not ideas that are solely East or West. He closes by comparing himself to Ryoma Sakamoto, a 19th-century samurai who tried to overthrow Japan's feudal government and open the country up to the West. Inafune reflects on the local popularity of his cautionary words, 'If I lived in medieval Japan, I'd probably be killed too.'
eldavojohn writes: Google's the leading search giant in the US but in Japan, it's a different story. One survey puts Yahoo! at 56.5 percent of all queries in Japan with Google at 33.7 percent. There aren't a lot of big tech countries where Google trails Yahoo! and the New York Times brings an insightful view of Google's missteps in courting Japan (Slashdot may remember fears of discrimination via Google Earth). It might not seem like a problematic situation for Google — after all they trail Baidu in China — but the painful fact is that Japan has the second largest advertising market in the world (a hefty $77 billion). And Google's ad revenue is an obvious cash cow that is probably sorely desired in Japan.