Microsoft co-founder’s research team has found sunken Japanese WWII battleship Musashi

An image taken by Paul Allen of the WW2 Battleship Musashi, which sank in 1944

USA Today:

A research team led by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen has located a Japanese battleship that was considered one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced warships when it was sunk off the Philippines during World War II, according to the expedition’s website

Using an underwater vehicle, the team aboard Allen’s superyacht M/Y Octopus found the Musashi on Sunday in the Sibuyan Sea.

The search vehicle, using high-resolution cameras, spotted the 73,000-ton battleship on its third dive, the statement said.

The Musashi, built under strict secrecy and commissioned in 1942, was sunk by U.S. forces during the lead up to the Battle of Leyte Gulf on Oct. 24, 1944.

Nearly half of its crew of 2,399, including Commander Vice Admiral Toshihira Inoguchi, lost their lives when the ship went down under a barrage by 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs.

Allen said he respects the area as a war grave and plans to work with the Japanese governmentto ensure the site is treated respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions.”

An organization that supports Japanese navy veterans and conducts research on maritime defense said that if the discovery is confirmed, a memorial service could be held at the site, according to the Associated Press.

The Musashi, and her sister ship Yamato, were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever built, Allen said. The Musashi featured 18-inch armor plating and was armed with nine 18-inch guns, the largest ever mounted on a warship.

The research team began looking for the ship more than eight years ago, drawing upon historical records from four countries, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology aboard the yacht.

Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army,” Allen said. “The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction. I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honoring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her.”

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Staggering servings of salmon roe are waiting for you at these four Tokyo restaurants

ID 0

RocketNews 24:

There are a couple of distinct price tiers to seafood in Japan. Squid and octopus tend to be very budget-friendly, with a step up in price for sashimi-grade tuna and salmon. Among the most premium offerings of all is where you’ll find salmon roe, or ikura as it’s known in Japanese.

Due to its high cost, ikura is usually served in modest quantities, sometimes seeming more like a garnish than a legitimate component of the meal. However, that’s not the case at these four Tokyo restaurants, which dish up such generous portions that their ikura literally overflows the bowl.

As one of Japan’s most popular dining websites, Guru Navi (short for “Gourmet Navigation”) will let you filter restaurant search results by a wide variety of parameters. Recently, though, the site made a special point of highlighting a group of four restaurants that are known for their overflowing ikura bowls.

Referred to as ikura koboredon, the decadent dish is most commonly seen on the northern island of Hokkaido, the surroundings waters of which serve as the source for the lion’s share of Japan’s salmon roe. All four of these restaurants are located inside Tokyo, though, which means they’re within easy striking distance if you’re craving some ikura after a day of sightseeing, work, or school in Japan’s capital.

Let’s dive face-first into this collection of ikura goodness.

1. Hokkaido Shiretoko Gyojo /北海道知床漁場

ID 9

Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Minami Ikebukuro 1-13-21, Izumiya Building basement level 1 / 東京都豊島区南池袋1-13-21 和泉屋ビルB1
Open 5 p.m.-midnight

ID 1

Just opened in late February, this Ikebukuro restaurant takes its name from Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula, considered to have some of the tastiest ikura in the country. Ordinarily, the restaurant’s full-size ikura rice bowl, called the Nore Sore!! Nannmmara Kobore Ikuradon will cost 1,980 yen (US $16.80), with half-sizes available for 1,280 yen. As part of its opening campaign, though, customers can print out or display the couponhere and get a half-size bowl absolutely free!


2. Totoshigure / ととしぐれ

ID 10

Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya, 3-13-7, Godo Building basement level 1 / 東京都渋谷区渋谷3-13-7 五常ビルB1
Open Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-5 a.

ID 2

Totoshigure has the cheapest menu-priced overflowing salmon roe bowl of any restaurant on the list, as the otsubo ikura no kobore meshi will only set you back 890 yen. If ikura’s not your thing the restaurant’s uni (sea urchin) bowl is similarly staggering in size.

ID 3

3. Iroriya / いろり家

ID 11

Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-11-11, Ginza Sambankan 2 basement level 2 / 東京都中央区銀座3-11-11 銀座参番館2 B1
Open Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-4 a.m.; Weekends 5 p.m.-11 p.m.

ID 5

Moving from youthful Shibuya to blueblood Ginza, Iroriya’s profile was raised when it was mentioned on the cover of a popular adult magazine last year. You won’t find anything scandalous inside, although the massive funajo meshi ikura bowls, in prices ranging from 2,480 to 3,980 yen depending on size, will stimulate your appetite.

4. En / 炎

ID 12

Address: Tokyo-to, Edogawa-ku, Funabori 1-7-17, Crystal Funabori 1st floor /東京都江戸川区船堀1-7-17 クリスタル船堀1F
Open Monday-Thursday, Sunday, holidays 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Friday-Saturday and days preceding holidays 5 p.m.-3 a.m.

ID 7

Finally, we come to En, where the recommended way to eat a mountain of ikura is with a dollop of fiery wasabi added. Like many of the other examples on this list, the 1,280-yen kobore ikuradon seems like a deal that’s too good to be true. With portions this big, can the restaurant actually be making money off the dish?

Possibly not. En’s owner, who was born in the city of Hakodate on Hokkaido, says he’s prepared to lose money on his giant salmon roe servings, and that his real goal is for the people of Tokyo to come away with a renewed appreciation of the regional cuisine of his home prefecture. As a matter of fact, so seriously does he take the task that he personally scoops the ikura into the bowls that are delivered to eagerly waiting customers.

ID 8

Of course, the better time customers are having, the more likely they are to order a glass of beer or bottle of sake to go along with the loss-leading ikura bowl. But hey, ikura and sake go great together, so in the end it’s a win-win for all involved.

The Xiaomi Mi Note is the best phone you can’t have

Mi Note lead

The Verge (by Chris Ziegler):

The smartphone business is notorious for eating companies alive. Even giants of industry have fallen: Sony is on the cusp of throwing in the towel on its phone division, Nokia is now out of the game entirely after having been the largest manufacturer of phones in the world as recently as 2011, and even smartphone-centric companies like HTC are struggling. Yet somehow, there are a few upstarts that are navigating these treacherous, Samsung- and Apple-infested waters — sometimes with enormous success.

Somewhere in this technological New Wave lies Xiaomi, a Chinese firm founded in 2010 that has become impossible to ignore. That’s driven partly by its unapologetic Apple mimicry: its marketing, product strategy, and design aesthetic all borrow elements from Cupertino’s playbook. It’s also driven partly by the high-profile hiring of former Android boss Hugo Barra from Google. But increasingly, it’s driven simply by the fact that Xiaomi is making genuinely interesting products. And at a valuation north of $40 billion, it’s apparently doing something right.

Xiaomi must think so too, because it has just embarked on a US media tour handing out the Mi Note, the company’s 2015 flagship, a phone that isn’t even intended for US sale. Specifically seeking out grizzled US tech journalists to check out your phone — journalists who grind through pitch-perfect iPhones, Galaxy Notes, and HTC Ones all year — shows a certain level of bravado.

The company will open an online store in the US later in 2015, but it’ll only sell accessories like headphones and fitness bands; in the lead-up to that, the Mi Note is intended to be a showcase of what this five-year-old company is capable of. And, yes, if the Mi Note is well received, perhaps it foretells an American phone release down the road. For now, we’re just getting a taste. (In fact, the model being distributed doesn’t support US LTE bands, so I wasn’t able to do a full-on review; there’s no battery test here, but I’ve been able to compile some thoughts on the hardware and software.)

I’d describe the design of the Mi Note as an amalgam of the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy Note 4, with a little bit of Xiaomi originality mixed in. That’s not a knock — it really works quite well, marrying large glossy surfaces on the front and rear with a thin metal rim along the edges. On the back, the left and right sides slope abruptly, which gives the phone something different from the bog-standard “thin, large rectangle” profile. The volume rocker on my unit is a little fidgety, and the metal edges are too sharp, but otherwise, there’s absolutely nothing about the Mi Note that screams “low-end,” “knockoff,” or any other derogatory term that you might hurl at a brand you’ve never heard of. It’s solidly built; there’s no creaking. Seams where glass meets metal are tight and even. I’m surprising myself by saying this, but if Samsung or LG had released this phone, I wouldn’t bat an eye — it’s that good. It looks and feels like a device from a company that’s been doing this for a long time.

That’s not to say it’s perfect: the Mi Note’s design lacks the je ne sais quoi that bumps a design from good to great. When I think back to the phone designs that have truly dropped my jaw — the original RAZR, the original iPhone, perhaps the iPhone 4 — the Mi Note lacks that kind of unmistakable originality that moves the needle. Xiaomi borrowed the best of everything, rather than creating it: the laser-drilled speaker grille, the glass / metal sandwich, the corner-mounted rear camera with dual-tone flash. Certainly, two or three years ago the Mi Note would’ve dropped jaws, but today, it’s generic and sterile. It’s impressively sterile, granted, but it’s sterile nonetheless.

The same argument applies to the display, a 5.7-inch LCD with 1080p resolution that works out to 386 ppi. My middle-aged eyes are far from perfect, but the time has long since passed where I can tell the difference between the best and the fifth-best phone screen on the planet. To me, the Mi Note’s display looks just about as perfect as a display can: it’s laminated so that the screen looks flush with the glass, viewing angles are basically 180 degrees, and the colors are so vibrant that they have an almost OLED quality to them. And unless you have superhuman vision, there’s no way you’re going to be making out individual pixels. One area where the Mi Note falls short is brightness: with the slider maxed out, it’s still a little dim in bright daylight.

There are a couple tricks on the screen worth talking about, though: for one, the Mi Note has a glove mode that lets you fumble through the UI when you’re wearing gloves. (A number of modern phones have started incorporating this ultra-valuable feature, but not the iPhone.) There’s also a mode that will automatically lock the phone when you drop it in a pocket, saving yourself from the specter of a butt-dial, or worse yet, a butt-text. With my thick leather gloves, I found that I could get by — it probably only registered 60 or 70 percent of my taps, but when it’s 10 degrees out and you just need to check your email or dial someone, it’ll get the job done.

I wasn’t as impressed with the camera. It’s not bad by Android standards, but pictures looked a bit blurrier (perhaps thanks in part to noise reduction) and more washed-out than those taken with an iPhone 6 Plus. The Mi Note features a Sony-sourced 13-megapixel sensor — I suspect it’s the same component used on many Android phones over the past couple product cycles — along with optical image stabilization, HDR, and a burst mode that absolutely rips when you hold down the shutter button.

The 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM seem to keep things moving along at a nice clip, though I was underwhelmed with MIUI’s built-in web browser — it stuttered and lagged through a variety of sites that I visit on a regular basis. Needless to say, you’re going to want to use Chrome.


Mi Note

Speaking of Chrome, an important point: “Chinese Android phone” conjures visions of vast gray-market app stores, but Xiaomi is very much on the up-and-up, at least on exported models. Google services and apps are fully supported on Mi Notes sold outside of China, as is Google Play. That’s critical for a device maker that wants to be relevant on the global stage. Even Amazon has trouble getting around Google Play — just look at the monumental failure of the Fire Phone. (Admittedly, the lack of Google Play support is far from the Fire Phone’s only shortcoming.)

But this isn’t a pain-jane Android phone. It’s heavily altered with something called MIUI, and it’s kind of a form-fitting analog of the hardware: it’s clean, simple, befitting a flagship device, and it borrows many elements from other devices you’re probably familiar with. It’s heavily skinned, but at least in this case, that’s not a slam. (It’s running KitKat, but Xiaomi says that Lollipop is on the way.) The solid colors and primarily two-dimensional interface elements keep pace with the mobile UI vogue, and the animations and transitions are smooth and tastefully short.


Mi Note

MIUI was immensely popular even before Xiaomi’s phones were, and I can see why — out of the box, it feels quite a bit simpler than stock Android, but it still offers tons of customizability. A theme store lets you skin everything from the lock screen to individual UI elements, and it seems to be populated with hundreds of choices. (Admittedly, I like the stock setup enough so that I wouldn’t change it, but choice is good.) Xiaomi has warmed over the notification curtain, typefaces, and menus as well, giving everything a softer, gentler look. Strangely, the default keyboard is Google’s, which looks weirdly out of place on a phone where virtually every other corner of the UI has been given a fresh coat of paint.

And, yes, let’s not overlook the fact that there are some very blatant homages to Apple here: the folder icon is basically identical to the one found in iOS. Numbered red badges get attached to apps with notifications. Dots at the bottom of the home screen indicate your current page number. But if the world needs “an Apple of Android” — and this phone is convincing me that maybe it does — then Xiaomi is certainly in a good place to fill the role.

I like the Mi Note; I like it a lot, actually, a lot more than I thought I would. Still, I think Xiaomi’s taking a smart, measured approach by showing it in the US without selling it here, because let’s be honest — it’d be murdered in the marketplace today. Carriers would be reticent to carry a brand that’s unknown to Americans as anything other than an also-ran, but the Mi Note isn’t priced that way: a 16GB version goes for 2,299 RMB in China, which works out to something like $367. As good as this phone is, I’d be hard pressed to recommend it over an unlocked Moto X at a similar price.

But now that we’ve seen it, we know what Xiaomi is capable of. We’ve heard of the company, we’re following its progress. That sets the stage for the future — sometime when the market is perhaps more favorable to launch an upstart smartphone that people will actually want to buy.

In the meantime, China has access to one of the most interesting tech companies on the planet right now. I’m a little jealous.

ASICS GEL Saga “Burgundy”

Following up the “Soft Grey” release a couple days back, ASICS unveils yet another of rendition of its classic Gel Saga silhouette. This time around the retro runner receives a “Burgundy” colorway along the perforated leather and suede upper, in addition to black and yellow accents at the tongue, lacelet and side panel. The medial logo stripes are accented in white, while the striped rope laces round out the latest design.

Priced at €120 EUR (approximately $134 USD), the ASICS Gel Saga “Burgundy” is now available for purchase at select retailers like Afew.