How does 1Q84 stack up to Haruki Murakami's classic novels?

For the past few months, everywhere I go in San Francisco, I see young people in cool outfits all reading the same book: Haruki Murakami's long-awaited 1Q84. Not long ago, I was in a café where three out of the dozen patrons all had identical hardcovers, with the same blank stare gazing upwards from their dense pages. » 3/22/12 9:00am 3/22/12 9:00am

What is the Jejune Institute and Why Are They Recording Your Thoughts?

I've been seeing a lot of fliers around San Francisco advertising something called the "Aquatic Thought Foundation," which promises to give you dolphin therapy by hooking your brain up to a dolphin. Really, the fliers weren't all that much kookier than the usual Marin County yoga levitation psionics stuff you see. But… » 12/09/08 11:30am 12/09/08 11:30am

How Alternate Reality Helped Me Survive the Dentist

Welcome back to MangoBot, a biweekly column about Asian futurism by TokyoMango blogger Lisa Katayama. While Dr. Wong was putting dental dam in my mouth, I was watching three hot women singing the penis song in a Chinese restaurant downtown. It happened last Thursday, when I discovered a gadget that can warp my brain… » 6/20/08 9:00am 6/20/08 9:00am

Eight Tons of Cardboard Molded Into an Imaginary Landscape

Though this looks like some kind of insane mushroom growth, it's actually special, die-cut cardboard strips put together by the Ball-Nogues Studio for an installation at Rice University. The artists created a digital mockup of the shapes they wanted, ordered 20,000 strips of cardboard cut to the perfect prefab sizes,… » 3/12/08 7:00am 3/12/08 7:00am

Secret Revelations from the Future in Terminator Alternate Reality Game

We've written before about the Sarah Connor Chronicles alternate reality game (ARG), where players film themselves acting out the roles of workers at a corporation called Einitech Labs. Enitech has discovered a way to photograph pictures of the future using "tachyons." At first they just see newspapers that are… » 3/11/08 9:30am 3/11/08 9:30am

Japanese Smiley-Bots Will Kill You For Your Name

In the movie Onigocco or The Chasing World, a Japanese teenager gets flipped into an parallel world where everyone who has the last name Sato is being ruthlessly hunted down. Of course, that just happens to be his last name. While trying to evade the smiling cyborgs, he encounters alternate versions of his girlfriend… » 2/14/08 2:00pm 2/14/08 2:00pm