Phantom Sway

Japanese cooks deceive while scientists are aroused by robot rears

You won’t believe what the Japanese are trying to pull or what is “physiologically arousing” scientists these days.


Finding legitimate weird stuff was difficult this week thanks to April Fool’s day but you won’t believe what the Japanese are trying to pull or what is “physiologically arousing” scientists these days.

I got your April Fool right here.

Doing a weird news column the week of April 1 is a ginormous pain because everyone thinks it is just hilarious to make up fake news articles that trigger all the “weird” search criteria one sets up to support this sort of writing endeavor. A guy in Alabama got caught sneaking into pastures and putting tube socks on the cows? Ooh that’s perfect for this week’s….oh wait. April fool! Screw you.

Then there’s the nagging feeling that despite all appearances to the contrary, whatever you do choose to write about is going to turn out to be something completely bogus.

Speaking of completely bogus…

The cake is a lie

The Japanese eat a lot of weird crap—raw fish, poisonous fish, fish that’s still alive, fish in general. Now they have come up with something even weirder: salad cake.

Those two words should never be adjacent to each other. In fact, that whoever invented such an abomination has not yet been forced to commit seppuku is a sad commentary on the state of the Bushidō code.

The cake is a lieSalad cakes are the latest weird food craze in Japan

These beautiful cakes are the work of Japanese  food stylist and designer, Misuki Moriyasu,  who sells them from her new cafe Vegedeco, in Nagoya.

Moriyasu invented the  cakes while working at another restaurant, as a way to make vegetables more palatable.

She failed. She has only succeeded in casting suspicion and doubt upon an innocent and beautiful dessert tradition. She has turned something delicious and wholesome into a dirty lie. Also, “food stylist?

Pushing the boundaries of science and personal space

You never see any normal news about robots. I’m sure there are robots out there doing great things—exploring the universe, efficiently assembling precision machinery without going on strike, rescuing robot kittens from robot trees—but it’s only news when things get weird.

People feel weird about touching robot butts, researchers find

I’m guessing people probably feel pretty weird about touching these researchers as well.

The study which was performed at an actual real life university and is going to be published and presented to other real life scientists—probably even with a straight face—is titled Touching a Mechanical Body: Tactile Contact With Intimate Parts of a Human-Shaped Robot is Physiologically Arousing.

Let that sink in.

When asked to touch “high accessibility” areas — places we normally touch on other people, like shoulders and elbows — volunteers did so without hesitation or agitation. But “low accessibility” areas — this would be the robot’s butt and where its junk would be — produced delay and that arousal we talked about.

There’s even video.

Oh wait. That’s not the video. The real video is here.

"Please touch my buttocks"

And then it got weird.


I’ll tell you one thing, not even Hedonism-bot would get aroused by salad cake.

James Lanka

Science fiction nerd, writer, blogger, music lover, artist, native of the east coast.

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Harriet Tubman is one of America’s most beloved historical figures but has sadly been largely relegated to just a few facts during Black History Month. This incredible ex-slave, spy, cook, nurse, public speaker and rescuer deserves a story worthy of her stature.

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