Do you have a startling lack of middle-aged men in your life? Did your dad stop passive aggressively communicating his disappointment to you via email? Did creepy guys on the subway with wedding rings stuffed onto their sausage fingers stop sniffing your hair? Did your boss and your boss’s boss and his boss’s boss all magically get replaced by women? Japan has the solution for you.
There’s a Japanese social group founded on Facebook whose members gather once a week to clean public restrooms with their bare hands as a spiritual cleansing ritual. Good morning!
As the AP reported this week, the group is called Benjyo Soujer, which loosely translates to “Bathroom Soldier” in English. A team of 35 men, women, and children, the group meets every Sunday morning at 6 a.m., gears up with cleaning supplies, and spends around an hour and a half scrubbing some nasty Tokyo toilets.
We here at Betabeat will be the first ones to admit that we’re addicted to the Internet. Nothing induces more fear into our brittle bones than being asked to log off for the day. But since we’re adults we can make the rules, unlike some Internet-addicted children in Japan who might be strong-armed into a low-level form of rehab.
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
People in Japan are so well-connected to their cell phones that they’re either walking into inanimate objects or toppling off of transit platforms. Perhaps, even both at the same time. The Japanese government is so concerned for clumsy technophiles’ safety that it’s launching a public campaign to remind them they should perhaps be aware of their surroundings so they don’t injure themselves.
Hey, you pranksters. Have you ever wanted to use your smartphone to hack a toilet, freaking out whoever is enjoying their after-coffee ritual by causing the seat to open and close and water to spray all over their sensitive areas? We’re about to make your Friday: according to information security company Trustwave Holdings, the fancy Japanese toilet Satis is easily hackable using just your cell phone.
The one thing still lacking in the American iPhone case market? Edibility.
Luckily, Japan’s got you covered. For $64 you can buy the “Survival Senbei Rice Cracker iPhone 5 Case,” which is shaped like an ordinary iPhone case, but handmade of brown rice and salt by someone suspiciously named “‘Mariko'” (quotation marks included).
Astronomers have detected a mysterious intergalactic radio signals, and, “in just a few milliseconds, each of the signals released about as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.” Mindblown.gif. [Discovery]
A new project struck up through a partnership with Facebook and Dartmouth will analyze veterans’ opt-in social media data to determine whether it’s possible to predict suicide risk through Facebook status updates. [Naked Security]
Millions of young people in Japan are holed up in their rooms after becoming withdrawn, or “Hikikomori,” and paralyzed by social anxiety. Why? [The BBC]
Zynga accidentally put the email address of a random stranger on their customer support page. This is what happened. [Kotaku]
People are freaking out about Google Glass’s facial recognition capabilities, because apparently people are super-important government spies who cannot be recognized by Glassholes under any circumstances.
Are there any flesh and blood female human beings in the country of Japan that serve as actual girlfriends? There must be, but they certainly aren’t getting much facetime on the Internet. Everywhere we turn, it seems, something inanimate is being manufactured, uploaded to the Internet with breathless excitement and automatically labeled a “girlfriend.”
Here, take a stroll with us as we meet the girlfriends of Japan.
Facebook Home has already passed 500,000 installations on Google Play a week after launch, which just goes to show people love to throw away their friends. [The Next Web]
A cadre of Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, are quietly trying to kill a privacy bill in California that would give residents the right to know how tech companies are using their personal information. [insideBayArea]
Japan wants to stymie access to TOR by asking ISPs to flat out block it. [Wired]
Comedy Central is planning to host a comedy festival on Twitter because this is what the future is like now. [New York Times]
How technology helped the FBI track down the Boston Marathon bombers. [Washington Post]
It’s baaaaaaaack. [Valleywag]