22 May 2018

Shiji v03 (complete)

Volume 3 is complete at last. Although Sima Qian deliberately selected his stories in Shiji to provide a moral lesson for future generations and so we should be somewhat skeptical of how certain events really happened, I love the ironic element in volume 3's stories. Especially Shang Yang's end. His rise and fall is sort of a parallel to Qin's own rise and fall, which is quite apt. As an aside, readers of the Book of Lord Shang will recognize many of the conversations in vol.3 chapter 4 are lifted from that text.

In any case, the stories about the reformers in this volume is one of the reasons that make the Eastern Zhou period such a fascinating historical period to read about. There are few examples in world history where there was a multi-state system marked by increasingly intense interstate conflict that led to developments in almost every aspect of society (warfare, philosophy, government, economy, etc) that would provide a civilizational foundation that would endure for more than 2000 years. Actually, if you're interested in this topic, I highly recommend checking out Dingxin Zhao's The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History, which I just finished reading and will probably talk about in a later time.

Shiji v03 c04:   Mega
Shiji v03:   Mega

2 May 2018

Some Thoughts about Adults in the Room

The year is not even half-done, but I'm quite confident that Yanis Varoufakis political memoir, Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe's Deep Establishment, will be one of my top-3 reads for 2018. Now I've been aware of Varoufakis since 2015 when Greece's bailout referendum was all over the news. So I was already aware of common arguments Varoufakis and other economists cited on why austerity was bad economic policy, or why the EU was making a colossal mistake in its handling of the Greek debt crisis. But to vicariously experience that fateful 2015 through the eyes of an insider as Varoufakis is something else entirely. So whether or not you're familiar with the Greek debt-crisis, I highly, highly recommend reading this book. Sure, given that it's a political memoir written by a "loser," it's hard to tell just how objective and truthful of a writer Varoufakis is, but if even only half of the things he tells in this book are true, it still makes for a shocking read. Like my other Some Thoughts posts, I don't mean to do a proper review or a convenient summary. Instead, I'll ruminate on some tangential ideas I had while reading this book.

25 April 2018

Historie 103 and 104

Since I didn't do the Feb issue for Historie, here's a double release of Historie chapters, 103 and 104! With the would-be assassin's short introduction done, looks like the real fun is about to start with Olympias. It's gonna be painful waiting until June after this cliffhanger. Careful readers will note that the Eumenes' knife appears to be that of Eurydice's attendant.

Historie 103:   Mega
Historie 104:   Mega

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.

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