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Amazon Japan's Manga-Ready Kindle Has 8 Times the Storage ( 82

Amazon Japan has an unusual challenge with the Kindle: it not only has to cater to your typical bookworm, but to a local fondness for image-heavy (and thus storage-intensive) manga books. What it's going to do? Release a special model just for those readers, apparently. Engadget reports: The company has introduced a manga version of the Kindle Paperwhite with 32GB of storage, or eight times as much space as the run-of-the-mill 4GB model. You could cram every single volume of Asari-chan, Kochikame and Naruto into this e-reader, Amazon says. The manga Kindle is available for pre-order now, with pricing commanding a slight premium over the usual Paperwhite. You're spending about $157 or $118.
The Military

Japan Plans To Build Unmanned Fighter Jets ( 117

Slashdot reader It's the tripnaut! quotes an article from Reuters: Japan aims to develop a prototype drone fighter jet in two decades with private sector help in a technology strategy that focuses on weapons communications and lasers, according to a document seen by Reuters... The military technology plan calls for first developing an unmanned surveillance aircraft in the next decade and then an unmanned fighter jet 10 years later, the document showed...

The ministry will also allocate budget funds to acquire an upgraded version of the F-35 stealth fighter, made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin tension rises in the East China Sea and North Korea steps up its missile threat, government officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.


MegaBots Raises $2.4M To Create League Of Human-Piloted, Giant Fighting Robots ( 52

Remember MegaBots? The Kickstarter success story that was raising money last year to pilot fighting robot named Mk II. Labeling it as a contest for world supremacy, the co-founders challenged a Japanese team Suidobashi Industries to a duel with its Kuratas bot. (Which it accepted very gracefully). The idea was to utilize this octane-packed event to sell merchandise products. Here's an update: it worked. TechCrunch reports: Oakland, Calif. startup MegaBots Inc. has raised $2.4 million in seed funding to bring the robot-fighting stuff of manga and anime to a venue near you. According to MegaBots cofounders, Gui Cavalcanti, Matt Oehrlein, and Brinkley Warren, the startup aspires to follow in the footsteps of major sports associations like Formula 1 or UFC. With the seed funding, Warren said, MegaBots will be partnering with a law firm called Latham Watkins to help set up and roll out its league internationally, taking an approach similar to the Olympics. Specifically, MegaBots will be working with Latham Watkins Partner Christopher D. Brearton, who represents the International Olympic Committee, and has helped organized leagues and governing bodies in sports including the NBA, MLB, NFL and others.
Social Networks

4chan Founder Chris Poole Will Try To Fix Social At Google ( 185

An anonymous reader writes: Google never "got" social. For all the resources thrown at it, Google+ just never quite felt human. But luckily Google just hired the guy behind 4chan -- a site that epitomized the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity on the internet. Chris Poole started 4chan in his bedroom at age 15. In the 12 years since, he built it into a 20 million active user image-sharing community around topics ranging from cosplay and cute animals to anime porn and the notoriously uncensored anonymous channel /b/. While Google probably won't force him into a suit and tie, Poole now has a much more corporate job: He'll be working under Google's Bradley Horowitz, VP of streams, photos and sharing. Poole writes: "When meeting with current and former Googlers, I continually find myself drawn to their intelligence, passion, and enthusiasm -- as well as a universal desire to share it with others. I'm also impressed by Google's commitment to enabling these same talented people to tackle some of the world's most interesting and important problems."

Soft Robot Tentacle Can Lasso an Ant Without Harming It 49

jan_jes writes: A soft robot tentacle, developed by a team from Iowa State University, can curl itself into a circle with a radius of just 200 micrometers. It was capable of capturing an ant without harming it, and the tentacle was also able to grasp the egg of a fish. Such miniature soft robots could be useful for microsurgery. The lassoing motion and low force exerted by the tentacle could be an advantage in endovascular operations, for example, where the target for surgery is reached through blood vessels. They describe their findings in Scientific Reports.
United Kingdom

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK 475

An anonymous reader writes with this news from the UK, as reported by Ars Technica: A 39-year-old UK man has been convicted of possessing illegal cartoon drawings of young girls exposing themselves in school uniforms and engaging in sex acts. The case is believed to be the UK's first prosecution of illegal manga and anime images. Local media said that Robul Hoque was sentenced last week to nine months' imprisonment, though the sentence is suspended so long as the defendant does not break the law again. Police seized Hoque's computer in 2012 and said they found nearly 400 such images on it, none of which depicted real people but were illegal nonetheless because of their similarity to child pornography. Hoque was initially charged with 20 counts of illegal possession but eventually pled guilty to just 10 counts.

Amazon's Plan To Storm the Cable Industry's Castle 85

Randy Davis sends analysis of Amazon's acquisition of, a move that indicates higher ambitions than simply another avenue for putting products in front of consumers. The Daily Herald think this is a sign Amazon is bulking up for a fight with cable companies, strengthening is bargaining position for getting (and maintaining) access to subscribers. "There are very few places in the U.S. where these four giant carriers allow independent networks carrying traffic from the data centers run by Amazon (and future successors) to put that data on the carriers' controlled networks."

A related article at the NY Times argues Amazon is "betting on content," not wanting to fall behind the surge of new media productions from companies like Netflix. "There is a huge land grab for nontraditional models of programming. DreamWorks Animation bought AwesomenessTV, a popular YouTube channel, last year, and in March, Disney snatched up Maker Studios, a video supplier for YouTube, while Peter Chernin, formerly president of News Corporation, has invested in Crunchyroll, a streaming hub of anime. All of these deals are about content, but they are also a hedge, a way of exploring other production protocols that don’t involve prominent stars, agents and expensive producers." A different piece at The Motley Fool takes the acquisition as confirmation Amazon is developing its own ad network.

My Neighbor Totoro In Virtual Reality 45

An anonymous reader writes "Nick Pitton, the developer behind the Spirited Away Boiler Room VR experience, has released his second project: the bus stop scene from Studio Ghibli's famous movie My Neighbor Totoro, once again in virtual reality for the Oculus Rift. Pittom 'hand-painted' the textures in Photoshop to recreated the painted-background feel of the movie. For the characters (Totoro and the Catbus) he used a cel-shaded approached to approximate the animated look from the movie. For his next project, he plans to recreate the ship and characters from the acclaimed anime Cowboy Bebop."

The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly 260

An anonymous reader writes "Speaking to The Verge, author and Microsoft Researcher Danah Boyd put words to a feeling I've had about Facebook and other social networking sites for a while, now: 'The era of Facebook is an anomaly.' She continues, 'The idea of everybody going to one site is just weird. Give me one other part of history where everybody shows up to the same social space. Fragmentation is a more natural state of being. Is your social dynamic interest-driven or is it friendship-driven? Are you going there because there's this place where other folks are really into anime, or is this the place you're going because it's where your pals from school are hanging out? That first [question] is a driving function.' Personally, I hope this idea continues to propagate — it's always seemed odd that our social network identities are locked into certain websites. Imagine being a Comcast customer and being unable to email somebody using Time Warner, or a T-Mobile subscriber who can't call somebody who's on Verizon. Why do we allow this with our social networks?"

Interview: Bruce Sterling Answers Your Questions 34

Last week you had a chance to ask "Chairman Bruce" about the state of sci-fi, dystopian futures, and the modern surveillance state. Below you'll find his answers to those questions, including who would win if he fought William Gibson and Neal Stephenson in a no-holds-barred battle.

Illegal Downloading Now a Crime In Japan With Increased Penalties 286

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."

Company Unveils Personalized Anime Robot Girl 240

MrSeb writes "It seems, as a culture, we have a deep-seated interest in robots and automatons, and if we can love an animal or other non-humanoid creature, what's to stop us from falling in love with a robot? Introducing Meka Robotics' S2 Humanoid Head: It has seven degrees of freedom, high-resolution FireWire cameras in each eye, zero-backlash Harmonic Drive gearing in the neck, and a ton of unnervingly-human movements and postures. She weighs 7.6kg (16.7lbs), has a pair of luminous, waggling doggy-like ears, and can be attached to a Meka torso and arm, if you prefer your robots to be slightly more corporeal. The girly, anime face is just a custom skin, incidentally: Meka will customize the shell to look like anything you desire. We're told that they value their client's confidentiality — and more importantly they don't judge. Powered by the open-source and extensible M3 control software, the S2 head (and body and arm) could be quite easily upgraded to use Hooman Samani's artificial endocrine and psychological models — and if you had the choice of falling in love with an amorphous, decidedly odd-looking furball, or a cute, perky anime girl, which would you choose?"

The Quake Through Eyes of Slashdot Japan 265

I suspect most of you are not aware that Slashdot has an editorially independent counterpart in Japan. After the recent Quake and Tsunami, I asked my counterpart over there, Shuji Sado, if he would share with us something from What follows is a collection of translated reader comments from your parallel selves in Japan. I want to wish all the Slashdot JP employees and readers the best of luck. Know that you have friends here. Hit the link below to read what it's like there right now.

Piracy Boosts Anime Sales, Says Japanese Government Study 199

An anonymous reader writes "A new study seems to confirm what a lot of the Slashdot crowd thinks, and the opposite of what the **AAs say: 'A prestigious economics think-tank of the Japanese government has published a study which concludes that online piracy of anime shows actually increases sales of DVDs. The conclusion stands in sharp contrast with the entertainment industry's claims that "illicit" downloading is leading to billions of dollars in losses worldwide. It also puts the increased anti-piracy efforts of the anime industry in doubt.' More specifically, '(1) YouTube viewing does not negatively affect DVD rentals, and it appears to help raise DVD sales; and (2) although Winny [a popular P2P program in Japan] file sharing negatively affects DVD rentals, it does not affect DVD sales.'"

Sisters Stage Combat Tournament To Find Men To Date 1

Straight from the plot of a dozen anime movies and at least 2 video games, Xiao Lin, and little sister Yin will stage a three day fighting festival to find men worth dating. Potential suitors must first show off their archery skills, then carry heavy weights over sharpened bamboo spears, and finally defeat one of the sisters in full contact combat. "They can chose open hand or any weapon they wish but we won't be holding back. If they can't beat us they aren't worthy," explained Lin. "We tried dating agencies but the men we met were all to weak. We could beat them easily," said Yin.

Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church Screenshot-sm 631

sv_libertarian writes "They've faced down humans time and time again, but Fred Phelps and his minions from the Westboro Baptist Church were not ready for the cosplay action that awaited them at Comic-Con. After all, who can win against a counter-protest that includes robots, magical anime girls, Trekkies, Jedi, and... kittens?"

Life-size Eva Unit 01 Being Built In Japan Screenshot-sm 80

JoshuaInNippon writes "Japan has gone life-size anime model crazy. Last year there was the robotic 1:1 Gundam model that guarded Tokyo for a few months in the summer to mark the series' 30th anniversary, and then there was the giant Gigantor moment that opened in Kobe in the fall in honor of the city's rejuvenation from the devastating 1995 earthquake. Now, an amusement park near Mt. Fuji named Fuji-Q Highland is building an Eva Unit 01 from the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion series, or at least a bust of it, in conjunction with the series' recent movies. The bust will sit in a replica hanger, and reportedly stand around 9 meters tall. Visitors will have the chance, for a little extra money, to have their photo taken in the unit's cockpit, where the series' protagonist-of-sorts Shinji Ikari normally sits. The attraction is set to a cost of over US$1.6 million to build, and open on July 23 of this year. It will also undoubtedly be swamped by crazed fans looking the opportunity to bring their anime dreams to life."

CBSA Reveals Some Laptop Search Info, But Not Much 151

gmcmullen writes "The Canada Border Service Agency took its time getting documents on its policy for border searches of laptops to the BC Civil Liberties Association in response to an Access to Information request the BCCLA filed in October 2009. When the reply did come through, there wasn't much there. The documents were heavily redacted and whole sections of the Access to Information request were ignored, including requests for information on the number of laptops searched and policies for copying data from electronic devices. We did learn that the CBSA knows that 500 megabytes is roughly equivalent to 'a pickup truck full of books,' and use Windows-only software called ICWhatUC to scan for images. Documents also revealed that the CBSA understands that most 'Japanese Anime' is not child pornography, and that your family photos (even with kids in the tub) aren't child pornography either. We've made the documents we did receive available online so you can see for yourself."

Porn Virus Blackmails Victims Over "Copyright Violation" 222

FishRep writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "A new type of malware infects PCs using file-share sites and publishes the user's net history on a public website before demanding a fee for its removal. The Japanese trojan virus installs itself on computers using a popular file-share service called Winni, used by up to 200m people. It targets those downloading illegal copies of games in the Hentai genre, an explicit form of anime. Website Yomiuri claims that 5,500 people have so far admitted to being infected. The virus, known as Kenzero, is being monitored by web security firm Trend Micro in Japan. Masquerading as a game installation screen, it requests the PC owner's personal details. It then takes screengrabs of the user's web history and publishes it online in their name, before sending an e-mail or pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1,500 yen (£10) to 'settle your violation of copyright law' and remove the webpage."

"Moot" Working On Reboot of 4chan Platform 205

Hugh Pickens writes "Nick Bilton has an interesting interview with Christopher Poole, known online as 'Moot,' founder 4chan, a jumble of content, hosting anything from pictures of cute kittens to wildly disturbing images and language. Poole, now 22, started 4chan when he was 15 after he discovered a Japanese image-board Web forum called 2chan dedicated to anime. 'The code for 2chan was publicly available and I took it and translated it from Japanese to English using tools online and I threw it up on the Web and sent it out to 20 people,' says Poole. 'I wanted to keep with the 2chan naming and the URL for 3chan was taken at the time so I just jumped to the next number.' Although 4chan gets 8.2 million unique visitors every month, 600 million page loads per month, and 800,000 new posts a day, Poole is working on a new project to reimagine what an image board should be today using the current technologies available."

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