21 April 2018

Some Thoughts About Empires and Emperors

Empire (noun): Government-rank requiring at least 1000 development
What does an empire and pornography have in common? They're both hard to define, yet we all think we know one when we see one. Games such as EU4 and CK2 offer extremely simplified definitions that an empire must be ruled by an emperor, and it must be at least thiiiis big, which draw from a conventional idea that an empire should mean "a sovereign government ruling over multiple political societies." But then you have the academics come and scoff at the imprecision of such a definition. For instance, where do we draw the line at distinguishing significant "political societies?" Does a single city that has its own political identity and community count? And what does "ruling over" mean? Does it refer to only 100% control or is it compatible with large local autonomy? If state A exercises economic but not political control over state B, is B a part of A's empire? If state A gives freedom to state B on running domestic affairs, but partially limits its decision-making in foreign affairs, is B a part of A's empire?

Meanwhile, in more sophisticated academic definitions of empire, the empire is defined simply to aid in categorization for modern-day scholars rather than taking into account how peoples in the past have historically understood the term. So I thought it would be fun to point out ways in which both "empires" and "emperors" have been understood historically in Europe and East Asia that might run counter to common definitions today. It's not a topic that gets a lot of attention in popular history, so hopefully I'll cover stuff you hadn't considered before.

12 April 2018

Shiji v03 (last updated Apr. 12)

Sorry about the 2 month-long break but I'm ready to resume my scanlation activity (please don't ask me about FnT, Gray Stanback. There'll be new chapters, I promise). I was actually supposed to get Shiji v03 done last year, so I couldn't put it off any longer. This volume focuses on four famous visionary reformers in ancient China, starting with Ximen Bao. The atheist in me smiles in joy at the first chapter, but the liberalist in me is conflicted by the need for authoritarian approaches to engineer and finance large projects that only pay off in the long-term...

Shiji v03 c01:   Mega

26 February 2018

Some Thoughts on a Decade as a Scanlator

Let's see if I can go another 10 years before YHWH give me arthritis or some shit.
I wasn't planning on this post, but a 10 year-anniversary literally doesn't come every year, so allow me to ramble a bit today about my thoughts on the past 10 years as a scanlator.

11 February 2018

Some Thoughts About Wombs

Chapter 42 and the epilogue are now out, meaning that Wombs is fully scanlated into English after about 1.5 years! *pats Happyscans and myself on the back* Really though, I should thank that one anon on /a/ who told me I seriously needed to check Wombs out back in early 2016, because without him, I would have overlooked this last gem serialized in Monthly Ikki before its unfortunate passing in 2014 (RIP).
Shirai Yumiko pictured upon receiving the Nihon SF Taishou Award
And that's just not my hot opinions talking, because Shirai Yumiko received the 37th Nihon SF Taishou Award for Wombs in 2017. That award means a fair bit, because it's the general category that is competing with not just sci-fi manga, but sci-fi fiction in general. So in honour of that, here's my little commentary on Wombs.

Wombs c42+Epilogue:   Mega
Wombs v5:   Mega
All previous volumes:   Mega

1 February 2018

Historie 102

Ugh, if only these chapters could come out monthly instead of every other month...

Historie c102:   Mega

31 January 2018

Past and Present - 02/2018 (last updated Feb. 1)

You may not like it but this is what peak best-girl looks like.
Like with my scanlation activity, Past and Present was shoved way back into my list of priorities, but here I go again. To be honest, at the moment, I'm reading more academic papers than I am following current events so don't expect me to comment on a lot of the big news stories.

Once again, just a warning about possible uneducated/unqualified opinions. Don't take me as some super trustworthy commentator, because I'm not.

21 January 2018

Some Thoughts on Creating Modernity from Antiquity

"Ancient Wisdom." It's a term that really only gets taken seriously in areas related to new age medicine, spiritual health, diets, or other hippie-ish shit that I disdain. But from a wider historical perspective, it is a bit sad to see how little we care for ancient wisdom or antiquity in general. That's not to say I'm some luddite or nostalgiafag, but I am fascinated by how much "Antiquity" occupied the minds of past peoples. There was once a time — a time long before it was considered normal to buy a new smartphone after just paying off your last phone's payment plans — when "Antiquity" meant legitimacy, truth, and wisdom. I write antiquity here as "Antiquity" because in an age before sophisticated archaeological and historiographical analyses, popular conceptions of antiquity were more imagined than real. Such imagined constructions of "Antiquity" allowed for new interpretations and ideas, while called a revival at the time, would actually inch society closer to modernity. And it's on this point I just wanted to share some fun examples today.