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Ask Baninja! Archive:
July-October 2010

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"Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we've reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz [LINK], a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users' concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at [LINK]."

    ~ Google Buzz, November 2, 2010

Dear Google Buzz,

If there is no reward to be earned by aiding you in your mission, then the Yasai-Shinobi clan has no interest in taking this assignment.

Remember, if you wish to have ninjas assist you in your legal battles, you must be willing to pay them handsomely.

Thank you for your interest.
    ~ Baninja

"Greetings, Baninja.

I would like to know if any person, vegetable, or fruit would be able to become a great ninja, like yourself? My friend, Pickle, has been asking me this for ages. I can't teach him, yet he seems able enough. I don't know what to say! What do you think, Baninja?


    ~ Tori the Celery Stick, November 20, 2010

Hajimemashite, Tori-kun.

The easy answer is yes, anyone with the desire to become a ninja can indeed become a ninja. One does not necessarily need strength, speed, or agility to practice the art of stealth. One only truly needs courage, cunning, and discipline to succeed. Remember, the original ninjas of history were not often warriors. They were spies.

That being said, the ninja lifestyle is not for everyone. For one, ninjas usually have to work in secret to be effective. This means that you cannot flaunt your ninja status, or show off your skills in front of the opposite sex, without potentially compromising your mission -- or in some cases, your life. Other important things to consider are whether or not you are comfortable with killing, how well you can take a beating or withstand torture, and to what extent you are willing to sacrifice your social life (friends and romantic interests are top targets of enemies seeking vengeance).

My advice to your friend would be to start out small, taking on low-risk missions for close friends and family. (Do not trust coworkers with your secrets! Coworkers have a tendency to gossip.) Or perhaps he or she could carry out a personal vendetta, using an existing enemy to practice their skills on before going freelance.

If after spilling your first juice (or blood, or whatever) you still think that the ninja life is right for you, then the next step is to decide whether to go solo or join a clan. Each path has its pros and cons. A lone ninja never has to split profits, but he must also handle all his own intelligence-gathering, weapon-sharpening, paperwork, and laundry. A ninja clan can provide life-saving backup in extreme situations and assist in missions that cannot logistically be done alone -- but beware of backstabbing saboteurs and less-than-optimal health and retirement plans.

Also note that it is difficult to buy life insurance when you list "Ninja" as an occupation. A "cover" identity and a phony day job are essential for the beginner, unless you are well-connected.

I wish your friend the best of luck. Let us hope that we do not find ourselves on opposing sides on the field of battle. That would be kind of awkward.

Ki o tsukete,
    ~ Baninja

"How do you kill a cyberzombieninjapirate?"

    ~ Fang, November 22, 2010

Konban wa, Fang-san.

The tricky thing about these ridiculous hybrid abominations is that they combine all the strengths of their components. The cyberzombieninjapirate has the intelligence and high-tech weaponry of a machine, the infectious bite and near-invincibility of a zombie, the combat mastery and resourcefulness of a ninja, and the alcohol tolerance and talking parrot of a pirate.

At first glance this may look like an unstoppable god-mod of an adversary. But the very things that make the cyberzombieninjapirate awesome are also the keys to its destruction. By examining the weaknesses of a robot, zombie, and pirate, you can concoct a poison which, when applied to the edge of your blade, will nullify most of the cyberzombieninjapirate's incredible powers. This poison is called: Holy Scurvy Virus.

Holy Scurvy Virus will take away the creature's zombie, pirate, and robot abilities, leaving only its ninja status for you to overcome. Unfortunately, the only answer to its ninja powers is greater ninja powers, so I hope you have trained well.

Good luck!
    ~ Baninja