Platinum is badass enough, she doesn't need bodyguards; She has Giratina.

Hey guys, it’s Monday November 28th which means we’re winding down toward Christmas which won’t be long and then after Christmas we’ll be running thru Jan and Feb with cold winter days. Yup, the winter is only good for 2 things, Thanksgiving and Christmas, after that it’s just cold winter days. But let’s open today’s post with something worth reading, mainly my break. I had a great break, despite the time indoors was way too much and we still have a ton of turkey leftover from Thanksgiving so we’ll be consuming that with the days ahead; at least we won’t go hungry. In any case, for Black Friday I picked up 2 things that i really wanted; well one thing anyway.

I got a Princess Peach figurine from this toy store called Toyzaam — ya I don’t get it — and I got Kirby Return to Dreamland so I’m really happy because this game was going to be on the gamecube and they never released it on GCN which I was really saddened because when I first saw the trailer, I was super hyped for the game. Unfortunately, Nintendo never released it, but hey we got it now. My brother went and picked up MW3 and we’ll be buying Skyward Sword sometime around Christmas and I may pick up Mass Attack too, MAYBE.

Overall, Black Friday wasn’t bad, it’s just we kinda blew over 100 bucks in shit we won’t be touching till December which kinda sucks, but my brother needs to finish up his winter classes so I’m just gonna look for work till his stuff is done and we’ll probably just play Wii games till January or whenever he starts his spring classes. Then we’ll all just go back to doing our ordinary things in our ordinary life. That being said, we’ll start the news here…

We’ll start off with ‘I want my hat back’.

I Want My Hat Back

Author: Artefact

Madoka fans have been marvelling at the creativity of some of their barbarian brethren, in the form of “I Want My Hat Back,” featuring none other than Akemi Homura.

The manga in full (source unclear):

I’m not exactly sure what this is about, but okay….

Tomodachi ga Sukunai seems to be making a big splash with it’s ero again. =/ Japan, make up your mind, do you want to be straight or gay, Jesus Christ!!

Tomodachi ga Sukunai Keeps Getting Sexier

Author: Leon

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai‘s 8th episode has proven sexier still, providing appreciative fans with service of all kinds.

Now here’s ten things your girlfriend doesn’t want you asking.

Top 10 Things Your Girlfriend Doesn’t Want You Asking About

Author: Artefact

Japanese women quizzed about the which aspects of their relationship history they would much rather avoid being asked about are none too subtle in decrying questions about their ex’s sexual proclivities as “bad manners” and “overly embarassing.”

The ranking, based on a sample of Japanese ladies in their twenties:

1. About sex with your ex (42.8%)

2. How many men you’ve dated so far (25.6%)

3. About your memories of your ex (17.8%)

4. Regarding why you broke up with him (17.5%)

5. Questions about his history (15%)

6. How you feel about him now (13.4%)

7. As to whether you are still in touch with him (13.1%)

8. Where you went on a date with him (9.1%)

9. How you met him (6.6%)

10. What his occupation was (5.6%)

All questions about Ex-es? wth? Japan doesn’t like ex-es apparently.

Next up, Meiko and Miku figures..

Evil Hatsune Miku Nendoroid

Author: Leon

Cute Honma Meiko Figure

Author: Leon

So many gallery posts, so little time. Also there’s this (nsfw).

Moving toward, today’s news, the Christian Science monitor which I will still call a fucking contradiction has news for us about Egypt’s election ordeals.

For many Egyptian voters, finally an election that matters

Today’s parliamentary elections in Egypt saw a high turnout. Some voters confessed they didn’t really know the candidates, but were excited to participate nonetheless.

By Kristen Chick

Cairo

Defying skeptics and a week of revolutionary tumult, Egyptian voters came out in such high numbers today that polling station hours have been extended to 9 p.m. local time.

While subsequent rounds of the parliamentary election remain to be contested over coming months, the high turnout in this first round is seen by many as a vote of confidence in the electoral process despite violent clashes last week in Tahrir Square and elsewhere that left dozens dead. Still, election observers reported significant violations.

Today’s vote comes at a critical time for Egypt, whose transition from autocratic rule to a hoped-for democracy has been less than smooth. Jubilation at the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak gave way to a realization that the military council that assumed power was replicating many of his repressive policies, and delaying the timeline for transition to civilian rule.

After the military recently made moves to secure broad powers and ensure it was not accountable to civilian authorities, a reenergized protest movement came back to Tahrir Square to demand a quicker transition to civilian rule. When security forces killed more than 40 people in clashes with protesters, more Egyptians flooded the square and demanded that the military transfer power to a civilian government immediately.

Protesters have continued to occupy Tahrir Square since last week, but their numbers were low at midday Monday. Tents were sprawled across the square, where hundreds gathered to demand that the military council step down. Many in the square were boycotting the elections.

“They’re only going to forge the elections,” said Hesham Adl. “The only people who will be elected to the government are members of [Mubarak’s disbanded party, the National Democratic Party] or the Brotherhood, and I fear there will be clashes.”

Like others, he has been in Tahrir since clashes broke out Nov. 19. “I’m staying here until there are changes made in the country,” said Mr. Adl.

Some problems, but little violence

Inside several Cairo polling stations, the process was slow but orderly. Voters were given two ballots, one for the individual candidates that will make up one-third of the lower house of parliament, and another for the proportional list-based system that will fill the rest of the seats. Poll workers explained the process to voters as they handed them massive ballots that accommodated more than 100 candidates in many districts. A symbol was printed next to each candidate’s name for illiterate voters.

Election monitors reported significant violations, though it is not yet clear how systematic they may have been. Sherif Azer, deputy head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, says a coalition of observers had reported violations that included vote buying, group voting, preventing monitors from entering polling stations, campaigning inside polling stations, and a small number of violent clashes.

He also says that 90 percent of polling stations opened late; some did not have enough ballots, and others lacked ink to mark voters’ fingers and prevent repeat voting.

The head of the High Election Commission (also referred to as the Supreme Election Commission), which is overseeing the vote, said that some judges were late because of heavy traffic and that some ballots were sent to the wrong districts.

Mr. Azer says the violations are worrying, but fewer than in previous years. He also says the monitors reported high voter turnout in all but two of the nine governorates voting in the first round.

Les Campbell, Middle East and North Africa director for the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, says the high turnout and enthusiasm are encouraging, but that it is too early to draw conclusions.

“Night has just fallen, there’s still lots of potential for problems for things to go wrong, and there’s still potential for confusion,” he says amid touring Cairo polling stations. “I still wonder how in the world they’re going to secure all of these polling places with the ballot boxes overnight. That’s a big question mark.”

Islamists set to perform well

Monday’s vote, which will extend through Tuesday, is the first in a three-round process to elect a new People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament. The parliament’s main responsibility will be to choose a committee to rewrite Egypt’s Constitution.

But many voters seem more interested in fixing the problems that plague Egypt after decades of corrupt and authoritarian government, including poor education, high prices, and unemployment. The parliament will have limited scope to address such problems, however, so long as the military council retains its near-total hold on power.

One group that looked set to gain from the vote was the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s best-organized Islamist movement. Volunteers from the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, vastly outnumbered those from other parties on the ground today.

They set up computers outside many polls to help voters look up their assigned voting locations and, along with many other parties, passed out flyers, despite election rules that forbade such campaigning.

While the FJP is likely to perform well, a larger question is how even more conservative Islamist groups might fare. In the Sayyeda Zainab neighborhood, posters could be seen everywhere for the Nour Party, set up by Salafis, who were repressed under Mubarak.

At the neighborhood mosque, located next to a police station that was burned during the revolution, two elderly men said they had voted for the Nour Party because they wanted to see Islamic law, or sharia, govern Egypt.

“We ask that God would help us administer this state according to sharia,” said Mahmoud Farouk. “Thank God that he rescued us from the corruption we were under. It is the first time for us to feel we are really free people.”

Azer said that elsewhere in Cairo representatives of the FJP as well as the Party were buying votes for 50 Egyptian pounds (about $8).

Why is the middle east so fucked up all the time? Next up, Tracy gave me this article from eatocracy about a fruit letting you eat bitter things by changing how your taste buds respond to the chemicals in the food.

‘Miracle’ pill takes the bitter with the sweet

Life just got a little sweeter thanks to a native West African fruit about the size of a cranberry.

The miracle fruit, “miracle berry,” or more formally Synsepalum dulcificum contains a glycoprotein – conveniently named miraculin – that temporarily fools taste buds into believing that sour and bitter things taste sweet.

Chef Homaro Cantu of Chicago’s Moto and iNG restaurants is on a mission to work miracles of his own by using the berry in his restaurants – and beyond.

For the past several years, the forward-thinking chef and co-host of “Future Food” has teamed up with Charles Lee, the CEO of mBerry, to fight diabetes and global famine with the crop.

mBerry has been distributing a freeze-dried form of the fruit in tablets since the company’s creation in 2008.

“It’s no different from a dried drink mix made from berries,” says Cantu.

Cantu believes the pill could do away with the need for refined sugar, helping at-risk and current diabetics curb their sugar cravings. Miracle berry supporters also assert that it could create a whole new encyclopedia of gastronomy – including leaves, barks and grasses – that could expand the globe’s edible yield.

“All of the plants that we do not consider food that are safe for the human body to digest, we don’t eat because they’re sour and bitter. The reason why you don’t eat Kentucky bluegrass or crabgrass is because it tastes sour and bitter,” says Cantu.

“But here you can do that, because it blocks your ability to taste sour and bitter things and it takes on a very complex, herbaceous quality.”

Yet despite his focus on diabetes and famine, Cantu was first introduced to the ingredient because of another global health issue – cancer.

Knowing Cantu’s interest in the convergence of food and science, friend Paula Perlis called the chef in 2005 with a favor to ask: Her close friend was undergoing chemo and radiation therapy and had not eaten, or enjoyed, a solid meal in six years. (A common side effect of chemotherapy is a strong metallic taste in your mouth.)

Cantu called on Ben Roche, pastry chef at Moto and future co-host of “Future Food,” to assist him on the endeavor.

“We chewed on car tire rubber and foil for months trying to mimic the flavor you get from radiation and chemotherapy,” says Cantu.

After trial-and-error with random ingredients, the chefs finally created a cocktail that counteracted the metallic taste. The cocktail included the miracle berry.

The chefs then isolated the fruit in powder form, passed it along to Perlis’s friend and received a successful – and grateful – call shortly after.

Since then, Cantu has given away the miracle berry away to thousands of chemo patients on his own dime – with no reports of adverse reactions.

“The interesting thing about the miracle berry in chemo patients is that it actually straightens out their taste buds, whereas for you and I, it blocks our bitter and sour receptors,” says Cantu. “For them, it straightens them out to taste food as it normally tastes.”

But as the idiom goes, everything old is new again: the miracle fruit has been known for nearly three centuries. It was first documented in 1725 by French explorer Chevalier des Marchais.

However, it wasn’t until 1919 that the fruit was shipped to the United States. It steadily gained popularity throughout the years – that is until 1974, when the Food and Drug Administration ruled that miraculin was not GRAS (an acronym for “generally recognized as safe”) and labeled it a “food additive” instead of a natural sugar substitute.

“…[It’s] claimed that competitors, either from the sugar or artificial sweetener industries, or perhaps a scientist who was working on an alternate berry extract, had pressured the FDA to rule against the miracle berry being granted GRAS status,” wrote Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, in Dr. Joe’s Health Lab.

Cantu and other miracle berry advocates, like the producers of mBerry, have been trying to reverse its reputation since.

Back at iNG, guests are given a tablet at the end of the meal. Once the tablet dissolves, diners “flavor trip” for about a half hour. During that time, a lemon wedge will taste like a sweet glass of lemonade, while a lime will taste like an orange.

Combine the lemon juice with sour cream and gelatin, and you’ve got lemon cheesecake. A glass of red wine suddenly tastes like port, and white wine like Sauternes.

“I don’t know if it will become a regular part of my repertoire because it’s something new, it’s different,” said recent “flavor tripper” Andrew Kaplan, the Director of Special Projects for Rachael Ray. “I think it’s a great conversation piece. If nothing else, a great party trick too.”

Yeah, this is pretty insane…I’m gonna let Tracy take over for this part.

150 domain names shut down in probe of counterfeit goods

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer

Washington (CNN) — U.S. officials used Cyber Monday to announce court orders shutting down 150 domain names of commercial websites they say were selling “many millions” of dollars worth of counterfeit goods.

Sports jerseys and uniforms, DVDs, shoes and handbags, golf sets and exercise equipment were among the more popular purchases of “knock off” versions of name brand products, officials said.

Investigations show the majority of those engaged in defrauding rights-holding companies and consumers are from China, but the phony goods are also produced in other countries, according to top law enforcement officials. The officials say they conduct undercover purchases with the help of legitimate rights holders to confirm the goods are bogus.

They acknowledge the operators of the websites are beyond the reach of U.S. agents, and when the sites selling counterfeit goods are shut down, the same criminal enterprises sometimes simply change domain names and continue to prey on customers.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the FBI and U.S. attorney offices cooperated in the investigation, dubbed Operation In Our Sites. This marked the second annual Cyber Monday crackdown. Last year, the government shut down 80 websites.

“We will not tolerate those who seek to profit by abusing the Internet and stealing intellectual property at the expense of authors, artists, and inventors,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

Breuer and ICE Director John Morton said that despite the challenges, increased international cooperation is helping to wage war on the theft of intellectual property.

The operation they announced Monday is designed in part to educate consumers to be wary of websites that appear to be offering name brand products at substantially reduced prices.

Authorities say they are unable to provide estimates of losses from cyber criminals, but are concerned that some of the millions of dollars in proceeds may end up in the hands of organized crime.

The government places banners on the seized websites explaining why they were shut down. Last year, the banners registered 77 million hits, so authorities are hopeful public awareness of the criminal nature of the problem is increasing.

“This is simply downright theft,” Morton said.

Beyond clothing and electronic knock-offs, he said, officials are especially worried about the threat to safety and health when counterfeit goods involve such things as air bags, drugs, car batteries and engine parts.

“If the price is too good to be true, it probably is,” said Morton, who added consumers can help themselves by being on the lookout for misleading labels and spelling errors to avoid getting ripped off.

That’s just crazy. 150 websites dedicated to screwing consumers. I wonder if these people have anything better to do with their time. I couldn’t even imagine trying to pull off that kind of stupid stunt. Then again, a lot of the human population continues to baffle me with how stupid it can actually be. I’m sure these aren’t the only people “profiting from abusing the internet”. There’s got to be a ton more scams that are being overlooked. I mean, they said it themselves, “If the price is too good to be true, it probably is,”. So… what if people don’t make the prices look too good? That would, sadly, outsmart a lot of people.

Next up, yay~ Russian politics!

Putin formally accepts presidential nomination

Vladimir Putin accepts his ruling United Russia party’s nomination to run for president after four years in the role of prime minister. While cheering supporters at the United Russia congress greeted the nomination with glee and chants of ‘Russia, Russia’, the opposition warned Putin is aiming at a job for life.

Link to the video

You’ll have to click that link because I fail at HTML and whatnot. I’m actually having my bf fix my page. Anyway, that’s kind of over my head. Partially, I’m fascinated because I know my family came from Russia at one point or another and the other part… I’d need a lot more information than the video provides. It looks like this guy is getting some serious support though. I only wonder if people would really want him as president for life.

And that’s the news for today, thanks Tracy. I will see you all next time for more coverage of fail in the USA.