Sushi Myth?

“Sushi means raw fish.”

False. Erroneous translation.

Though sometimes also translated as ‘vinegared rice’, sushi means ‘sour rice’ and does not always feature fish. Nowadays, sushi is first and foremost a rice dish, which can include vegetables, cooked fish, raw fish, poultry, or other proteins.

See other: Mythconceptions?

Conversations: Moderates and Morality

Even if a belief in God had a reliable, positive effect upon human behaviour, this would not offer a reason to believe in God. One can believe in God only if one thinks that God actually exists.

Good point. Even if atheism led straight to moral chaos, this would not suggest that the doctrine of Christianity is true. Islam might be true, in that case. Or all religions might function like placebos. As descriptions of the universe, they could be utterly false but, nevertheless, useful. The evidence suggests, however, that they are not only false but dangerous.

Slow down! Most Christians, Jews, Muslims, et cetera, cannot be categorized as fundamentalists. In fact, when talking about the good consequences that religious beliefs have on human morality, most people of faith follow the example of religious liberals and religious moderates. Consider Christians the world over, rather than say that they believe in God because certain biblical prophecies have come true, or because the miracles recounted in the Gospels are convincing, liberals and moderates tend to talk in terms of the good consequences of believing as they do. Such believers often say that they believe in God because this “gives their lives meaning.” Continue reading

Unless you are the Mongols

The Mongols are a civilization that are known for being the exception to many historical phenomena.[1] Listed below are some of the most important of those exceptions in a generalised form:

  • Nomads: The downside is that you have to move around a lot because your herd always needs new grass, which makes it hard to build cities, unless you are the Mongols.
  • Civilization: Certain conglomerations of humans are seen as civilizations, where as, say nomadic cultures generally aren’t. Unless you are, say it with me, the Mongols.
  • Early Cities: The city-state period in Mesopotamia ended around 2000 BCE, probably because drought and a shift in the course of rivers led to pastoral nomads coming in and conquering the environmentally weakened cities, and then the nomads settled into cities of their own as nomads almost always will, unless, wait for it, you are the Mongols.
  • Persian Empire: Let’s start with the Persian empire, which became the model for pretty much all land-based empires throughout the world. Except for, wait for it, the Mongols.
  • Silk Road: […] with the growth of the Silk Road, the nomadic people of Central Asia suddenly become much more important to world history. Much of Central Asia isn’t great for agriculture, but it’s difficult to conquer, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols.

“A tiger wearing a bell will starve.” – Mongolian proverb

  • Early Christianity: Both Herods ultimately took their orders from the Romans, and they both show up on the list of rulers who are oppressive to the Jews, partly because there’s never that much religious freedom in an empire, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols… or the Persians.
  • Early Islam: It’s common to hear that in these early years Islam quote “spread by the sword”, and that’s partly true, unless you are — wait for it — the Mongols.[2]
  • Dark Ages: [The Abbasids] hailed from the Eastern, and therefore more Persian, provinces of the Islamic Empire. The Abbasids took over in 750 and no one could fully defeat them; until 1258, when they were conquered by, wait for it, the Mongols.
  • Islam in Africa: Until then, most of the people living in the East had been hunter-gatherers or herders, but once introduced, agriculture took hold, as it almost always does. Unless, wait for it, you’re the Mongols.
  • Imperialism: So by the end of the 19th century, most of Africa and much of Asia had been colonized by European powers. […] Notable exceptions include Japan, which was happily pursuing its own imperialism, Thailand, Iran, and of course Afghanistan. Because no one can conquer Afghanistan, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols.
  • World War II: So, not to sound jingoistic, but the entry of the U.S. into the war really did change everything, although I doubt the Nazis could’ve taken Russia regardless. No one conquers Russia in the wintertime, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols.

“A donkey that carries me is worth more than a horse that kicks me.” – Mongolian proverb

[1] Green. J. (2012) Crash Course World History

[2] Actually, as usual, the truth is more complicated. Many people, including the Mongols, but also including lots of people in Central and East Asia, embraced Islam without any military campaigns.

The Microskirt in Kogal

A microskirt is a very short skirt indeed. It is shorter than a miniskirt, being less than 20 cm (8 inches) in length. They are predominantly worn by teenage girls or young women to evoke an impression of cheekiness and playfulness, especially in an appropriate social context.

English: A stereotypical fashion of high schoo...

Japanese student with ‘kogal’ loose socks and skirt

Microskirts are rarely worn as streetwear in Europe.

They are, however, quite popular among girls in Japan, where they are made part of school uniforms.

The uniforms grils wear to school in Japan always include a skirt which is made shorter by the ‘popular girls’ within the kogal subculture – the culture of popular youths.

Microskirts are important within kogal and the fashion item is popular among teenage girls, especially among those who want to practise panchira, a form of softcore exhibitionism where women try to show just a hint of their panties.

Nowadays the term panchira is also used by Japanese women to warn each other that their underwear is visible.

See other: Hall of Fame Posts

Autarky and Autarchy

When an economy is closed and does not permit economic transactions with the outside world, the country in question is in a state of autarky. In other words, autarky is the quality of being completely self-sufficient – North Korea is a good example of such a nation.

English: The Tower of Juche Idea was completed...

The Tower of Juche Idea was completed in 1982 to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday. The Juche Idea, the official state ideology, developed by Kim Il Sung, is a blend of Marxism-Leninism and Autarky.

The word autarky comes from the Greek; it means self-sufficiency. The term is sometimes confused with the term autocracy meaning government by single absolute ruler or autarchy. It is not the same as autarky.

Libertarian theorists have used the terms autarchy and autarchism in the sense of self-government to describe his own political philosophy and to distinguish it from anarchism.

Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic systems. Autarky exists (instead of autarchy) whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. Autarky is not necessarily an economic phenomenon.

For example, a military autarky would be a state that could defend itself without help from another country. Autarky can be said to be the policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole.

Frotteurism and Chikan

Frotteurism refers to a paraphilic interest in rubbing, usually one’s pelvis or erect penis, against a non-consenting person for sexual gratification. It may involve touching any part of the body including the genital area. A person who practices frotteurism is known as a frotteur.

A sign on a station platform in Osaka, Japan, ...

A public transport ‘Ladies Only’ sign used in Japan

In Japan, street groping is called chikan and a man who commits such acts is also called chikan, while a woman is called chijo.

Crowded trains are a favourite location for groping and a 2001 survey conducted in two Tokyo high schools revealed that more than 70% of students had been groped while travelling on them. As part of the effort to combat the problem, some railway companies designate women-only passenger cars during rush hours.

A lot of Japanese women who are harassed in this way are often too embarrassed to tell anyone, let alone report it.

While the term is not defined in the Japanese legal system, vernacular usage of the word describes acts that violate several laws. Although crowded trains are the most frequent targets, another common setting is bicycle parking areas, where people who bend over while unlocking their locks are targets. Also, Chikan is often featured in Japanese pornography.

On a related note, at the time of writing Japanese Smartphones are programmed in such a way that the shutter-sound made by the camera is not mutable, even when the phone is on mute mode. In other words, the sound the phone makes when it takes a photograph cannot be muted. This is because a lot of Japanese women who wear skirts are likely to fall victim to upskirt photography by men in a crowded public location. This line of photography is a paraphilia in voyeurism where the harasser will try to photograph a women’s panties while holding the camera under her skirt – ideally without her noticing.

See other: Hall of Fame Posts

See other: Admin’s Choice Posts

The Aggressive Eurasian Coot

The Eurasian Coot or Fulica atra is recognised by its snowy white bill and forehead shield, which probably gave rise to the expression: ‘as bald as a coot’. The remainder of the bird is dark sooty grey, except for its bright red eye. Immature birds are generally paler than adults with a white wash on the throat. Nestlings are downy, black with fine yellow tips.

English: An Eurasian Coot (Fulica Atra) on ice...

An adult Fulica Atra or Eurasian Coot

The Eurasian Coot ranges from Eurasia (Europe and Asia in almost its entity) to Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.

The Coot is a much less secretive animal than most of the rail family, and can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species, and strongly territorial during the breeding season. Both parents are involved in territorial defence.

It is reluctant to fly and when taking off runs across the water surface with much splashing. They take off, but without actually flying, travelling a short distance at speed usually in territorial disputes. It bobs its head as it swims, and can make short dives from a little jump.

The Coot is an omnivore, and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds, as well as algae, vegetation, seeds and fruit. It shows considerable variation in its feeding techniques, grazing on land or in the water. In the water it may upend or dive in search of food.

English: Fighting Eurasian Coots

Eurasian Coots can often be observed chasing and fighting each other as well as other birds for no apparent reason

Eurasian Coots may breed at any time that conditions are favourable, and may produce successive broods. During the breeding season pairs establish and maintain territories with vigour. Their aggression is also extended towards other species. Nests of ducks are often seized and used as roosting sites, the unfortunate owner’s eggs being pushed off into the water. Young ducks and grebes are sometimes killed. The nest is often a floating raft of vegetation or is built on logs or tree stumps that are surrounded by water. Both sexes share incubation and care of the young.

However, Coots can be very brutal to their own young as well, especially when under pressure from lack of food. When the parents are pressed, they will bite young that are begging for food and repeatedly do so until it stops begging. This usually means the young will starve to death. If the begging continues, they may bite so hard that the chick is killed.