Sony just announced an interesting development: An advanced form of the classic potato-powered battery. These “bio-battery” cells can essentially convert sugars into useable electricity. It’s still a long way from recharging your iPod by adding some soda, but Sony did demonstrate running a fan from a splash of sports drink, and one of their portable music players from cells filled with grape juice.
TBS News (J) has a short video of the two demos, or there’s a much longer version on YouTube, if you prefer.
The story’s all over the international media; here’s a Reuters link to read a bit more, if you’re interested.
A fashionably-dressed woman who climbed a 150,000 volt electrical tower then proceeded to nearly rescue herself from her predicament is being dubbed by some less-sensitive news outlets as “Japan’s Spiderwoman.”
The 28-year-old woman climbed up the 55m (180 ft) power tower sometime on the evening of the 22nd in what was apparently a suicide attempt—she has since told authorities that she had a fight with her boyfriend. However, just short of the top, she realized what she was doing and began calling for help.
Someone living nearby called the police just before 11pm after hearing her yelling. After assessing the situation, the fire department put a safety mat at the base of the tower and had the power the lines were carrying re-routed to prevent electrocution.
The rescuers told her to wait for them, but about two hours later, in something of a surprise to even the rescuers, the woman began climbing down on her own—with her handbag. After a 10-minute climb, she got to within 10m (30 ft) of the ground before either getting stuck or becoming too weak to continue the descent. Rescuers took over and lowered her the rest of the way to safety.
She was apparently even more lucky than it might seem—according to authorities, had she climbed just a meter farther up, the 150,000 volts of the power lines would have probably electrocuted her.
This entire event was caught on video by news crews, and has been making the rounds since. Some less-sensitive reports are calling her “Japan’s Spiderwoman,” while others are going with “osawagase-onna,” meaning “Commotion-causing woman,” or just “tettou-onna,” “tower-woman.”
An outrageously expensive solid-platinum Gundam model that was in the news a few months back has hit TBS News (J) again. It’s begun a tour of Ginza Tanaka jewelry stores around Japan—not the sort of place you’d usually expect to see such a classic symbol of Geekdom, the scale Gundam model.
For those who missed it, Bandai decided to have what is likely the most expensive Gundam model in the world made—the “Gundam Fix Platinum.” Solid platinum and studded with a 0.15 carat diamond, the model is composed of 189 pieces, stands 12.5 cm (just shy of 5 inches) tall and weighs in at an amazing 1.4 kg (over 3 pounds)—platinum is dense stuff.
The project was dreamed up by Gundam franchise owner Bandai and produced by Tanaka Kikinzoku Jewelry, and took two years to craft. According to TBS News, it is valued at 30 million yen (US$260,000), although it’s not for sale. Probably a good thing, to protect Gundam nuts with too much money from themselves.
It also gets credit for what may be the world’s most expensive bad pun; the Japanese abbreviation for “plastic model” is “pura-moderu,” which could also be shorthand for what it is, a “purachina-moderu.”
It is currently on display in Fukuoka, and will be traveling to five of Ginza Tanaka’s other stores around the country.