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Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Diagnosed With Cancer

Anime News Network back in July:

62-year-old world-renowned composer Ryuichi Sakamoto is completely suspending his musical performances, so he can devote himself to the treatment of mesopharyngeal carcinoma in New York. His record company Avex made the announcement on Thursday.

The New York resident began feeling something unusual in his throat and underwent an examination in early June. He was diagnosed with mesopharyngeal carcinoma in early July.

I only just heard about this now. It doesn’t look like there have been any updates on his status since this was published.

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Ecuador Heralds Digital Currency Plans

Gonzalo Solano, AP:

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world’s first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country’s existing currency, the U.S. dollar.

The electronic money, which Central Bank officials say they expect will start circulating in December, does not have a name and officials would not disclose technical details, though they said it would not be a crypto-currency like Bitcoin. The amount of the new currency created would depend on demand.

Deputy director Gustavo Solorzano said it is to exist in tandem with the greenback and, by law, be backed by “liquid assets.”

[insert bitcoin joke here]

This is an interesting national experiment though, hopefully it won’t end in disaster.

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The Warp Zone, a gaming comedy YouTube channel I’ve never heard of before, has started covering video game music. Here’s “Chemical Plant Zone” from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, originally composed by Masato Nakamura and arranged by Paul Paramo.

Colin: Damn the part where the sax gets really wild at like 1:20 or so wasn’t nearly as epic as I was hoping

Colin: Pretty great though.

None of their other three covers are anywhere as good as this, unfortunately. :(

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My Week on the All-Emoji Diet

Kelsey Rexroat:

Including the chili pepper, there are 59 food-themed emoji. What are they? How can they be assembled into recipes? And most importantly, could someone live on emoji alone?

I had to know. I undertook a challenge:

  1. For seven days, I would only eat foods represented by emoji.
  2. I would eat every emoji food by the end of the seven days.

This doesn’t end in hospitalization or anything, I just like it because it’s a preposterous idea.

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Hi Score Girl Halts Serialization After SNK's Copyright Charges

Anime News Network:

The editor-in-chief of Square Enix’s Monthly Big Gangan posted a message to its readers announcing that the magazine will temporarily halt serialization of Rensuke Oshikiri’s Hi Score Girl in light of alleged copyright violations. SNK Playmore had filed a complaint, asserting that the manga features over 100 instances of characters from The King of Fighters, Samurai Spirits (Samurai Shodown), and other fighting games owned by SNK. Police searched the publisher’s headquarters last Tuesday.

An SNK Playmore representative told ITmedia News that there were “absolutely no” requests or discussions by Square Enix to obtain consent to use SNK characters. The manga also uses characters from CAPCOM’s Street Fighter II, Sega’s Virtua Fighter, Namco’s Genpei Tōma Den, and other games. ITmedia News contacted CAPCOM, Sega, and Bandai Namco Games, and each one said that it gave formal consent for the manga to use its games’ characters.

That they properly licensed the other characters but not SNK’s is probably the most bizarre part of this story.

(In case you weren’t aware, Square Enix has a manga publishing division inherited from Enix, and they actually publish a lot.)

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Madden ratings guru has the players' attention

Arnie Stapleton, AP:

[Donny] Moore is the “ratings czar” for “Madden NFL,” the man responsible for making sure the popular video game’s virtual avatars accurately reflect their real-life counterparts.

Moore uses all sorts of metrics and measurements to come up with ratings. Then, he tweaks the numbers weekly after watching all the games and pondering feedback from fans and even the players themselves.

Among the guys he underestimated were Washington running back Alfred Morris and Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, both of whom started a season with mid-60s ratings and finished in the high 80s. It works the other way, too. Ray Rice started last season at 95 and finished at 82.

I love how apparently there’s just this one guy who makes up every single number in that game.

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Dominic Nahr took some photos for TIME at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered meltdowns in 2011 after being struck by tsunamis:

Japan, Okuma, 2014. A TEPCO worker stands inside the central control room of reactor 1 and 2. Both reactors overheated, causing meltdowns. The melt down in reactor 1 eventually led to a hydrogen explosion that released large amounts of radioactive material in the air.

There are some pretty neat photos in the set, but it’s all very harrowing. Three and a half years later and they’re still cleaning it up.

Dominic Nahr took some photos for TIME at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered meltdowns in 2011 after being struck by tsunamis:

Japan, Okuma, 2014. A TEPCO worker stands inside the central control room of reactor 1 and 2. Both reactors overheated, causing meltdowns. The melt down in reactor 1 eventually led to a hydrogen explosion that released large amounts of radioactive material in the air.

There are some pretty neat photos in the set, but it’s all very harrowing. Three and a half years later and they’re still cleaning it up.

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Does a Company Own Its Facebook Likes?

Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg Businessweek:

The story (of the legal dispute, not the television show) begins in 2008, when Stacey Mattocks started a fan page for The Game. Soon thereafter, the show went off the air, but the Facebook page lived on. When BET decided to revive The Game in 2010, the network reached out to Mattocks, offering to give her part-time work maintaining her page as the show’s official fan page. BET wasn’t eager to start from scratch: Mattocks had already gathered about 2 million “likes,” according to court documents.

Mattocks and BET signed a deal giving the company administrative access to the page; each agreed not to lock the other out. BET employees and Mattocks worked together, quickly amassing 4 million additional “likes.” But Mattocks wanted a full-time job, and she decided to play hardball to get it. She revoked BET’s administrative access, saying she’d give it back when they agreed to pay her an acceptable salary. The company responded by starting its own page. It also asked Facebook to shut down Mattocks’s page—it contained copyrighted material—and have all the “likes” transferred to its own page. Facebook obliged and Mattocks sued, arguing that she should have the right to capitalize on the business opportunity she had created by getting a lot of people to approve of her page.

Where was the futurist who predicted mundane shit like this? Flying cars my butt.