Hashima, the Japanese Ghost Island

Hashima is a small island near Nagasaki. It was first populated in 1887, when a coal mining facility started its business there. Mitsubishi, which bought the island in 1890 tried to retrieve coal from the bottom of the sea. In 1916 Japan’s first large concrete building was built for those coal-miners. During World War II Koreans had to mine coal here and many died. In 1959 Hashima was the most densely populated place on earth. The mine was closed in 1974 and Hashima is a Ghost Island now. Its Japanese name Gunkan-jima means “Battleship Island”, because that’s just how the island looks like. Visiting Gunkanjima is prohibited right now, but this may change in April.

What Will Happen In the Next 100 Years?

Predictions from an issue of Ladies Home Journal from 1900.

No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)

America’s Next Top Pundit

An article from the Wall Street Journal on B-List pundits (aka Ann Coulter Wannabees)

They are the minor-league pundits — political consultants, professors, activists, actors, journalists, bloggers and opinionated civilians — and they’re using 21st-century stunts to troll for airtime. Some try to break out of the blogs by repeating particular phrases in their written rants, designed to pop their sites up when TV bookers search for keywords online. Others are buying air time on AM and Internet radio stations to practice their punditry. And many are turning to media advisers or partisan training programs, where they learn new rules of engagement, such as how to use food to bribe producers. The ploys can work, as networks like CNN regularly survey the field, looking for new contributors.

Debbie Schlussel, 37 years old, supports her pundit habit by practicing commercial law in suburban Detroit. She is among the most proactive B-list pundits. Almost daily, she emails her appearance schedule, availability or sharp-elbowed conservative commentaries to 5,000 people in media and politics.

In the wake of North Korea’s recent nuclear test, a hawkish Ms. Schlussel hit the radio circuit, saying U.S. officials responded too mildly in calling the test “a provocative act.” “A Paris Hilton video is a provocative act,” she said. “What North Korea did was an act of war.” To get noticed, Ms. Schlussel says, “I’ve become the master of the confrontational sound bite.”

(via Atrios)