That little waving cat sculpture in Chinese restaurants is called a “Maneki Neko.”

The “beckoning cat” turns out to be Japanese, not Chinese, and is properly rendered as a ceramic sculpture, rather than shiny, gold plastic. It’s beckoning passersby to enter the establishment, although the gesture doesn’t really translate, since in the West, that’s how we wave hello and goodbye. They appear to date to the 1870s. →

Links for May 16th

Discovery Channel: Mike Rowe Senate TestimonyThe host of "Dirty Jobs" provided an important argument to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about why our education system needs to emphasize skilled trades. College is not for everybody. Way too many kids are going to college—it doesn't make economic sense, for them or for […]

Links for May 11th

Slate: More than half of Republican voters still doubt President Obama was born in the U.S.34% of Republicans are convinced that the president was not born in the United States. I think this gives us a good baseline of the percentage of the Republican Party that is racist and/or mentally ill. Another 18% just aren't […]