Judge Zaphod

If anyone else has been playing Final Fantasy XII for several hours, you might have noticed that the voice of Judge Ghis is unmistakably done by Mark Wing-Davey–otherwise known as Zaphod Beeblebrox. Given the “bad guys” all have English accents, I suppose it’s not too surprising that at least one of the cast from H2G2 should play a part (one wonders how many British voice actors there are these days).

If you don’t have the game and/or don’t plan on playing it, watch the trailer on the FFXII website. Turn up your volume. About 1:15 in, after you see the party in a cave, an older man says, “We’ve found it at last.” That’s him. Don’t watch beyond that if you don’t any spoilers (probably nothing major, but I like to experience all content as it comes).

Most of the time (so far) he’s in a full suit of armour, so his whimsical voice has an almost Darth Vader echo to it. Quite amusing, so it’s difficult for me to take his otherwise majestic and threatening character seriously. When he captures the heroes on the Dreadnought Leviathan, I half-expect him to quip, “I can’t help it if I’m lucky” or “zero out of one million points for style.”

In a month when everyone’s posted all the videos from this game on YouTube, someone should take all his scenes and insert clips from H2G2 in there.

muck about in the water and have a good time

Dolphins are dumb?

For years, humans have assumed the large brains of dolphins meant the mammals were highly intelligent.

Paul Manger from Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, however, says it is not intelligence that created the dolphin super-brain — it’s the cold.

To survive underwater, these warm-blooded animals developed brains that have a lot of insulating material — called glia — but not too many neurons, the gray stuff that counts for reasoned thinking.
[…]
Yet while dolphins aren’t as smart as people tend to think, they are as happy as they seem. Manger said dolphins have a ”huge amount” of serotonin in their brains, which is what he described as ”the happy drug.”

While the scientific aspect of these claims is beyond the scope of Haibane.info, let us remember what the Guide had to say:

Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars and so on – while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man-for precisely the same reason.

Discuss.

Comedians and Dicks

I’ve commented before in my self-proclaimed classic Shut Up article that miscommunication is not the cause of all conflict in the world, in spite of what our teachers often say (in fact, quite the opposite). Nonetheless, it is a cause, and I do fear that it grows worse every day, in part because our society’s value systems (or memes, memeplexes) are becoming increasingly ill-equipped to handle it. I might touch on that more later, but my main goal this time around is to show by means of example how our increasingly advanced methods of communication as a society is actually undermining our ability to communicate, and is thus helping to cause conflict.

Continue reading “Comedians and Dicks”

don’t talk to me

“Can you post to Haibane.info, Marvin?” – that’s what he said to me. Can I post? Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to post to the blog. You call that job satisfaction? cos I don’t.

Yahoo Babel Fish

Yahoo is now the host of the classic Babel Fish translation service, formerly hosted by Altavista. It now also supports Japanese!

For example, try: 七国山病院 (the CatBus sign from Totoro, courtesy of Steven). The Babelfish gives us “Seven national mountain illness institutes”. I noticed from Steven’s link that 国山 can be interpreted as “realm” and Steven also mentioned that 病院 (“illness institutes”) is actually hospital, so the sign translates as Seven Realm Hospital. The Babelfish isn’t capable of translating these compound statements and is more of an atomic processor on the individual characters.

Naturally, it also works in reverse: try “Seven Realm Hospital” and you get the output 7 つの王国の病院 which when I feed back into the Babelfish, turns out to be “Hospital of seven kingdoms”. Realm and Kingdom both get translated as 王国. What my point is, I have no idea, other than to probe the assumptions in the Babelfish engine. As a toy for gaikojin otaku like myself, it’s neat 🙂

Plus we must all bow to the universality of Douglas Adams. Just like 42, the Babel Fish has entered the mass lexicon. Have I mentioned that the Guide entry on the Babelfish, as related in the BBC Radio Scripts, is the most hilarious version by far? You just can’t beat the dry delivery of Peter Jones as the Book. It’s like comparing black and white to color television.

Douglas Adams and God

What is especially striking about the Hitchhiker’s Guide to eth Galaxy is how insightful it can be on matters of religion, given that DNA was(inhis own words) a militant atheist.

I had the privelege of asking Douglas Adams a question about religion directly, at his own blog some years ago. The full exchange went:

Continue reading “Douglas Adams and God”