Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sequels in Apr. 2013

April 15, 2013
Aviation accident in Indonesia

Just today, I received an e-mail from JAL reporting that Boeing 787 was allowed to be available, passing the repeated examination.
I truly wish that no more aviation accident will occur.

April 8, 2013
Pray for Ms. Iron Lady

The Funeral ceremony of Ms. Mergaret Thatcher was performed on Apr. 17, 2013. The government of the UK reported that official cost of the ceremony was 3,600,000 pounds (about $5,500,000). I guess not a few people was opposed to performing such a big event. However, no violent activities were occurring during the ceremony, according to Huff Post. English people are so gentle.

April 5, 2013
Gun control law established in Connecticut

A new legislation of a gun control bill was rejected by the senate. Mr. Barack Obama, president of the USA was so angry for the result. It seems that the day of USA free from the threat of the gun is so far away yet.

April 1, 2013
Depression does not exist

Of course, it is an April Fool joke. There are a lot of patients suffering from depression.
The hypothesis presented by Dr. Kreapelin is no more dominant. Most psychiatrists believe that depressive disorders are distinguished from bipolar disorder.
However, it is not a simple matter. In fact, many patients cannot recover from depression with antidepressant drugs. Some need psychotherapy. Others need social support. A few are malingering. We must be careful to diagnose "true depression".

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Visiting Korea (2)

Visiting Korea (1)

After the conference, I went to Dongdemun Market, as I had heard that this area was very active and popular for tourists.

This is Dongdemun, also called Heuginjimun. It is one of national treasure specified by the Korean government. I even looked at this from a distance, it looked very solemn.

On the other hand, Dongdemun Market was inactive. Some stores, even if as famous as being introduced in a travelers’ guide, were closed.

There were some squalid marketplaces. The atmosphere there was not bad. I bought some good items.

I felt that commodity prices in Seoul were almost equal to them in Japan, except transportation cost. Costs for metro or taxi were far cheaper.
Korean is suffering from inflation and depression I heard. It may be one of the reasons of inactivity at streets. Moreover, travelers from Japan are decreasing recently, as the relationship between Korea and Japan got complicated. It is also bad for Korea as I wrote past.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed Korea with pleasure. Korean foods were quite delicious.

I ate Korean grilled meats repeatedly.
Korean beef was well seasoned before grilled. It tasted complex.
Korean grilled pork (Samgyeopsal) is one of my favorite gourmets.

I also went to Tteokbokki Town to eat very delicious one-pot dish including noodles and vegetables.

In a convenience store, I found a kind of ice-creams. This was similar to Yukimi-Daifuku (Vanilla ice-cream wrapped with rice cake, produced by Lotte) in Japan. But this one had vegetable like taste. So called iced Kusa-Mochi! Very wonderful.

At last, I ate Sushi at Gimpo International Airport. As I predicted, it was no good. Sushi is an ultimate Japanese cuisine.

I am thankful to Korean people. Someday I am willing to visit Korea again.

Visiting Korea (1)

The last weekend, I visited Korea to attend an academic conference.
It is for the first time to go to Korea. So I expected I would enjoy Korean foods.

I landed at Gimpo International Airport which is located near to Seoul city.
Many of the international flight departs from here is to Japan.

After passing the immigration gate, I walked on a long corridor to the metro station.

Compared to Taipei, information board was not so kind in Seoul. Japanese language is less frequently shown. Moreover, Hangeul is less familiar to me than Chinese letter. So I was confused to detect my way to the hotel for a while.

Dunkin' Donuts looked very popular in Korea. I saw the stores everywhere.

In a metro station, I saw a case equipped a lot of anti-smoke mask. They are caring about fire accident, or terrorism?

The Grand Seoul Parnas Hotel was very gorgeous.

An academic conference was held in the Coex exhibition hall.

Coex is a huge shopping mall. The trade association center building was nearby Coex.

The academic conference was successful. I guess listeners were satisfied.
However, not a few stores in the mall were closed. I felt the mall inactive.

(To be continued.)


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ginger, an excellent English proofreading tool

Today, I got a great tool aiding my English writing skill.
It is “Ginger”.

It is a simple application to correct English spelling and grammar developed by an Israeli company. It is able to not only check the spellings but also offer an appropriate expression fitting the context. For a Japanese it is difficult to choose a right preposition. Ginger helps me to learn the precise usage of prepositions. The function of Ginger is much stronger than MS word, Google translation, or other spell checkers.

I installed Ginger into my Chrome, to correct the errors in my past entries. To be ashamed of, innumerable errors were detected.

Correction is automatically performed. I do not know why, but Ginger has a bug to misunderstand Capital letters. Besides this, I am fully satisfied with it.

Ginger also equips learning English mode. It costs you $4.9 per month. I wonder if I should try it.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Result of my first TOEFL

Today, I was notified of the result of TOEFL I past took.
Total score was 74. Each subscores of skills are below:

Mmm, well balanced?

Actually, I felt TOEFL very difficult. I was afraid that I would gain the score of 60 or less. So this result relieved me. Of course, I must not satisfy with this.

By the way, in Japan TOEIC is more popular than TOEFL. For English learners, there are conversion tables of TOFEL and TOEIC like this.

However, I am doubtful of validity of this table. Indeed, my score of TOEIC was 825. According to this table, I should get 92-93 points with TOEFL iBT. But today's result is not so high. Speaking or writing, not included in TOEIC, did not reduce the total score of TOEFL, for my score was balanced.

Mr. Shu presented a conversion table of TOEIC and TOEFL based on his own impression. He also referred to IELTS.

I think this table is relatively appropriate.

IELTS is also famous examination to test your skill of English language. I will try it someday. However, perhaps IELTS does not fit for repeated challenges because the range of scores is narrow (1.0 – 9.0).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Censorship and related problems in Russia, China, and Japan

A famous Russian blogger was arrested for embezzlement. The trial of Mr. Navalny Alexei Anatolievich will be started in April 24th 2013. For defendants this charge looks like a political conspiracy.

Spiegel Online: Blogger on Trial: Putin Adversary Faces Long Prison Term

Mr. Bill Keller, a columnist also deems this trial as a historical event in his article. As he mentioned, Mr. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks was arrested for rapes.

The New York Times: A Blogger on Trial

I do not know about the exact backbone of this matter. I imagine that political control upon speech is frequently done in Russia.

In China, wiretapping is quite common, as well as censorship of internet. There are many officials to inspect internet in China.
The other day, I visited a symposium, in which Mr. Daisuke Tsuda, a Japanese Media Journalist, said that he had spoken with a Chinese girl who had been engaged in censoring task. According to him, the girl read a lot of articles and comments about Japanese, and erased them every day. However, reading about Japanese, she was getting interested in Japan. And finally, she decided to come to Japan.
So called; “Many go out for wool and come home shorn.”
In Japan, there is a proverb, “Miira-tori ga miira ni naru.” (A mummy-hunter became a mummy!)

Yahoo News: Obstinate wiretapping in China (in Japanese)

Wikipedia: Censorship in China

In Japan, is there any censorship? I do not think so.
Japan is the freest country about speaking. Some anonymous BBS are filled with aggressive speeches. Killing notice, child porn or other criminal contributions are prohibited. But no political comments are restricted.

However, there is another form of censorship in Japan.

There is a rumor that Japanese police want to arrest Mr. Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder of “2-Channel”, the most famous anonymous BBS in Japan. Indeed 2-Channel is often used for illegal acts. His house was searched by force in 2011. His associated company sued the government for compensation.

Mr. Isamu Kaneko, the Developer of Winny, a P-2-P file sharing software was arrested in 2004. Winny was infamous as a tool to deliver copyrighted files to others illegally, those days. Prosecutor indicted him for the crime of aiding infringement of copyright. Supreme Court finally decided that he was not guilty. But it is true that these events withered Japanese younger programmers, more or less.

Above all, also in Japan penal law is sometimes arbitrarily interpreted. We must be careful about it.

Nowadays, hate speeches against Korean residents in Japan are problematic. Some politicians claim that they are to be restricted. I dislike hate speeches. Minimal regulation may be necessary. However, censorship must be strictly limited.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fatal familial hypersomnia

Last night, I had a strange dream.

In my dream, I woke up at noon. I was surprised at overslept. I hurried up to my office.
However, I was astonished to know that it was the day after one week I had fallen asleep!
Then, one of my colleagues told me, with his compassion, that I caught “fatal familial hypersomnia”.

A patient with fatal familial hypersomnia tends to sleep for a long time. He cannot to wake up until he takes adequate sleep. The interval of awakening is getting shorter gradually. At last he falls asleep forever.

So I was notified that last time of my life was not so long.
I thought about various things. My family, my job, and my other activities; what should I do? Time was limited. I regretted my past life spent meaninglessly.
I went to my study.
A strong desire to write something about myself rose.
I had had a dream to become a writer in my childhood.
I wanted to certify my own life…

Then, I woke up.
It is a strange, terrible, but somewhat suggestive dream.
Today I am very pleased, nevertheless after a nightmare.

In fact, “fatal familial hypersomnia” does not exist.
Fatal familial insomnia” is a real disease. It is a kind of prion disease which is very critical and incurable. Fortunately it is an extremely rare disease.
On the other hand, hypersomnia is a relatively common disease. The cause of it is various.

Yesterday, I was very tired after a trip. So maybe I had a nightmare. However, this dream let me think deeply about my life. I am greatly thankful for my physical health and also getting an opportunity to imagine my real death.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fraud food problem, in EU and Japan

Fraud meat scandal is widely spreading in the EU. According to reports, about 5% of the EU beef products contained horse meat DNA.

BBC: Horsemeat scandal: Dutch uncover large-scale meat fraud

The Sydney Morning Herald: Horse meat fraud common, tests show

Minced meat is good material for its cheapness. Hamburg stake and fried meatball are quite popular. But it is difficult to distinguish pure beef from blended meat in minced meat. Indeed minced meat mixed of beef and pork is on sale with relatively lower price.

I do not know whether this scandal was caused by a certain provider of meat or this kind of fraud was commonly used in the EU. If the latter, it may be also frequently occurred in Japan I guess.

Actually, fraud scandal is often burning in Japan. In 2010, Consumer Affairs Agency of the Government gave a caution to Japanese restaurants which serve Yakiniku (grilled beef).
In general, Japanese prefer “Karubi” (Galbi in Korean, fatty rib) to “Rohsu” (Loin) or “Kata-Rohsu” (Shoulder) when we eat grilled beef. So, Karubi is recognized as s supreme menu in Yakiniku restaurants. Of course Karubi is more expensive than Rohsu.
However, the definition of Karubi and Rohsu were vague. Some restaurant sold fat-rich shoulder beef as Karubi. They called rib Joh-Karubi (super rib). Other restaurants called lump Rohsu. Some consumers claimed that it was unfair.

Traditionally, I think Japanese are tolerated for naming of food. Japanese Buddhist priests drank alcohol named “Hannya-toh” (Demon’s water). They are not allowed to eat beasts. So they ate deep fried Kudzu (Pueraria lobata), mimicking to fatty pork. Nowadays, Kudzu is very rare as a material. Some Japanese traditional restaurants substitute starch made from potato for Kudzu.

Naming is branding. Branding is disguising more or less. Actually I cannot distinguish Kudzu from potato. Though the religious problem is complicated, deliciousness and safety are they all for me as food.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My best computer games (1) OBLIVION

Gaming is one of my favorite hobbies. As I wrote past, I love TRPG the best. But TRPGs with friends cost time for playing and readying. Instead, I have played a lot of computer RPGs.

In PC games, I think “The Elder Scroll IV: OBLIVION” is the best.

This is the 4th title of Elder Scroll series. Now TES V: SKYRIM is also playable.
Oblivion has an extremely beautiful graphic. In the Oblivion world your character can anything freely. You can save the world, stub a citizen for money, to be arrested, or merely wander in a plain. Travelling in the world is also a fan.
Oblivion world is truly realistic. All of non-player characters have their own will. Farmers get up at 8:00 and go out. In the evening they gather in a tavern. Sometimes they even have a quarrel. You can steal money from them, to be arrested.
There is another advantage of OBLIVION. A lot of volunteers have created modification programs (Mods) which can customize OBLIVION. You can apply them to your OBLIVION to change the game completely. Bethesta Softworks, the developer of OBLIVION, lets the Mods spread. So you can enjoy OBLIVION almost eternally!

This is a screenshot of OBLIVION. I have adopted some Mods to customize shapes, races, and voices of player characters.

OBLIVION is also playable with PlayStation3 or X-BOX 360. However, I recommend you to get PC version because of variation of Mods.
By the way, OBLIVION Japanese version (available with PS3 or X-BOX 360 only) is so splendid. I respect for translators.

I played OBLIVION for over 500 hours. I am not satiated. I can play it with my present machine.

OBLIVION is now also available at Steam. You can get some Mods from this forum.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Social network for patients rises

An interesting social networking service has launched.

e27: e-Health portal CompareClinic launches, takes the fight to DocDoc and DoctorPage

CompareClinic is a new online community composed of patients and clinics. Users of medical care can access information about clinics and medical advises in this site. Doctors also can register the name and spec of their clinics. They have to pay for additional information for advertisement. Over 1000 clinics are listed now, according to Ms. Virginia Chan, cofounder of this site. Now half of them are in Singapore.

Medical information is very asymmetric. Patients are not familiar with the disease they are suffering. On the other hand, a doctor is a specialist of a particular disease. A patient has no choice but accept the advice from his doctor in charge. Development of internet has eased patients to access medical information. Nonetheless, it is difficult for patients to choose the best doctor for them without any help of another neutral doctor, so called second opinion.

There were some services similar to CompareClinic. In the old days, some associations composed of patients had a role to protect the right of patients. But they are often inclined to be the side of victims of failed treatment. Some anonymous BBS are also available to gather the reputation of particular clinics, though their quality of information is relatively low.

I think this new service is innovative as connecting the needs of patients to get precise information to advertise of clinics. Doctors have to write useful information to get a good reputation. They get an opportunity to learn how to gather patients. Unkind clinics cannot survive. Patients can find information about other patients who visit the clinic. For patients with similar disease, talking each other about past therapy can help their decision in the future.

However, some disadvantages are inevitable in it. Perhaps some patients could spread bad rumors about a particular clinic. When it was far from the fact, it is unclear who is responsible for fallen reputation of the clinic. Moreover, medical care is not the same as a business. It is not certain that a clinic with high satisfaction of the patients offers appropriate treatment. Good medical advices sometimes sound bitter.

I am afraid that CompareClinic will not work where market mechanism is not functioning. In Japan, the government controls the number of doctors completely. Costs of medical service are strictly defined by national health insurance. Doctors cannot discount the fee for service, either raise up for better performance. There are few choices of clinics in rural area in Japan. I think it takes much more time for CompareClinic to be launched in Japan.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My motivation

The question that why do you work is a difficult problem. Today’s economic and technological development has enabled us to live without earning daily food. If most of us stop working, the world would not change. So what is the motivation for us to work for others?

I wrote about motivation 3.0 written by Mr. Daniel H. Pink in past entry. He said that monetary rewards have limitation for enhancing motivation of human. He defined motivation 3.0 composed of three elements, "autonomy", "mastery", and "purpose".

For myself, my origin of motivation is composed of three, "curiosity", "thought of obligation", and "hope for future".

First, I like novel things. New products fascinate me. I also want to know something new. When there is a unclear matter before me, I hope to clarify it. Research for unknown things often fails. Nonetheless, I want to research it to satisfy my curiosity. I guess every researcher has this kind of sense more or less. To know does not need the reason.

Second, I have so called Nobles oblige. Of course I am not a noble. I am only a citizen. However, when I was born as a citizen, I have somewhat oblige, I think. I owe to my ancestors for my life. A lot of people cannot survive for their congenital diseases. I am only luckier than them, not superior to them at all. Therefore I owe something. I have an obligation.

At last, I believe in the future. Tomorrow must be better than today. This thought let me make an effort. If something I performed today helps others in the future, it is my pleasure.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Aviation accident in Indonesia

In April 13, 2013, a terrible accident occurred on Bali Island. A jet airplane failed to be landed, and crashed into the ocean. Fortunately, no one was sacrificed by this accident.

Yahoo! News: Lion Air jet crashes into sea in Bali; 45 hurt

The airplane belonged to Lion Air, a low cost carrier in Indonesia. This company was involved in 6 accidents since 2002, caused 25 deaths, according to Yahoo! News.

The Aviation Safety Network

There are some databases about aviation accidents, the results shown by which are different one another. Airsafe.com says Lion Air has 8 accidents.

Some websites calculate the rate of aviation accidents like this. But it is not reliable for us to make a choice of operators, because accident rate itself is quite low.

The type of airplane was a Boeing 737. Medieval planes are sometimes used, especially in LCCs. But this Boeing 737 was a new machine. The Indonesian government has started to investigate the cause of the accident.

Bloomberg News: Indonesia Starts Investigation Into Lion Air Crash

In Japan, Boeing 787 is infamous because of repeated malfunctions. In January 2013, some Boeing 787s by Japan Airline caused troubles. Boeing Co. had to examine the battery system of Boeing 878 series again to certify their safety.

The Japan Times: Boeing 787 flight tests new battery system

Nowadays, the airplane is the most secure transportation in the world. Nonetheless, aviation accidents often result in fatality. I went to Bali just 4 months ago. I hope the victims would recover soon.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

TOEFL for the first time

Today, I took an exam of TOEFL.
It is for the first time of mine.
I decided to take TOEFL in March. So I was preparing for TOEFL by 1 month.

I went to the nearest place of examination. It is in a private school for getting some licenses. The exam room equips several PCs for students. All students looked like younger than me.

TOEFL iBT is an internet based test. Almost all process is automated. I heard  some announcements occasionally that guided me not to be confused.

I cannot write about the contents of the exam because of the confidentiality policy. The difficulty of the exam is similar to one in reference books. Questions were well sophisticated.

I am afraid that the result is not satisfactory. It costs about $200 in Japan. It also takes more than 4 hours. Taking one more exam is a little tough for me.

Some politicians in Japan claim that taking TOEFL should become mandatory in high school. I agree with the opinion partially. TOEFL is useful for children not only to assess their ability of English but also to improve their learning style. However, we should not force them to take a particular type of exams in educational stage. Mandatory performing of an exam will be in name only.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Discussion about welfare in UK

It seemed that Mr. David Cameron caused discussion about welfare in the UK.

Cameron: Welfare Reforms 'Put Fairness Back'

Prime Minister said that it was not fair for claimants to be given more benefit than usual workers. He also commented that some people selected social welfare as a lifestyle.

His statement has a backbone. In UK, Mr. Mick Philpott committed arson in 2012, resulted in the death of his children. He was given welfare, not working. Mr. George Osborne said in parliament that this case caused a question as a government and taxpayers.

Mick Philpott's benefits 'lifestyle' should be questioned, says Osborne

His statement was severely criticized by the Labor Party. Mr. Ed Balls, so called shadow chancellor, claimed in his blog that linking the problem of welfare to such a shocking case was a nasty behavior.

As Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron seemed to want to carry out the reform of the welfare system. So he supported the statement of Mr. Osborne.

This situation is so similar to that in Japan. I introduced an episode in a past entry that some people blamed a popular entertainer whose mother was given welfare.

It is also often happened introduced a case of claimant given great care. Some people say that it is ridiculous that those persons gain much money than workers.

Is it rational discussion?

As a libertarian, I think that social welfare should be minimized. Excessive care can get rid of the incentive to work.
However, we also should be careful to analyze the current situation. To compare the amount of welfare simply to our own lifestyle is not appropriate. One of the reasons is that claimants cost more expenditure than workers, for lack of social capitals. Especially in Japan, all properties, including lands and cars, should be disposed of before getting welfare. So it is difficult for claimants to begin a new business if he wants to.

It is also possible that cutting off welfare will increase crimes, as I mentioned, contrary to the discussion about the case of Mr. Mick Philpott.

Maximizing incomes individually results in maximizing total happiness, as Mr. Adam Smith. On the other hand, blaming others who are given more benefit than us without making an effort is not a behavior to maximizing our happiness, but makes us poorer in mind.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Household account

I am continuing to keep household account.

I use this app “Rakuraku Kakeibo” by Kuroneko4. It equips voice input system. So I can record all expenditure just soon after I paid any cost.

I recorded almost all costs of mine for one month. The result is shown below.

The transportation cost is quite high. It is a little surprising to me. Actually, transportation service especially taxi is expensive in Japan. Moreover I had to go to Tokyo frequently on March 2013.

Engel's coefficient of mine is under 20%. It is relatively low in Japanese, and almost equal to in America. I usually eat out. If I cooked my own meal everyday this percentage would be lower.

Engel's law (Wikipedia)

Engel's Coefficient (Wikipedia in Japanese)

Amusement fee includes books bought from Amazon.co.jp, some of which are for business use. I am not a man who spends one-third of all expenditure for my hobby, you should understand.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A case of impeachment court: unreported fact

Today, I had an interesting experience about a case and a news report.

The news is that the Japanese impeachment court decided to fire the assistant judge.
He had been accused for filming upskirt video on the train and fined by the Osaka Distinct Court. But he had been suspended from his position. Finally, impeachment court, composed of some members of parliament, confiscated his judicial license.

Osaka District Court judge fired for filming upskirt video on train

I knew this news via the Japanese news site. According to this, the lawyer of him claimed that dismissal was too severe.

How do you think about this?
I guess many people think the claim of this lawyer is not appropriate. Because sex crimes are so hated.

I tweeted about this news with my comment, in which I said that the lawyer might have a hard time, for there were few examples of trials for a judge.

However, the backbone of this case was far from my assumption.

I was notified this from a Facebook blog by Mr. Keisuke Tsumura (in Japanese), one of the members of concerned impeachment court.

I will introduce this entry briefly.
The censored assistant judge presented his will to quit his job soon after arrest. He also refused to get retirement fee. He had no intention of staying as a judge. Then, this impeachment court was meaningless for him. Mr. Tsumura felt that this assistant judge was sincere at all.
However, it took long time to determine his punishment. He was suspended for more than 6 months. Mr. Tsumura says that process of impeachment court does not work well.

Contents of this blog are not reported at all in mass media. Perhaps I misunderstood the real figure of this case. I should be careful and watch it with critical thinking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pokemon Keyboard by Nintendo

In Japan, an item is rising in popularity among IT lovers.
It is "Pokemon Typing DS".

Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (white keyboard)

This software for typing practice is not so important. This package includes a wireless keyboard with Bluetooth connection.
It has a very good reputation in network users.

In webpage of Amazon.co.jp, there are several positive reviews about this product. To be surprised, most of reviewers use the keyboard not to play the DS game. They connect the keyboard to tablet PC! Some bloggers also reported about it.

Then, I tried getting one.

This costs only $25 in Japan. It is not so much expensive compared to any other wireless portable keyboards.
(Unfortunately import editions are more expensive in Amazon.com.)

This is it. It is compact, and it has a strong body. Nintendo has an excellent reputation as a hardware maker that always makes safe and invulnerable products. Besides of low cost, it has good stability to beat.

I connected it to my Nexus 7.
Pairing is very easy. You have only to boot the keyboard with pushing a Fn key.

Touching impression is good. The isolated type keyboard is easy to type.
Some bloggers reported about dysfunction among typing Japanese language. However I did not encounter any trouble. Perhaps Android OS was updated to improve the drivers.

I think Nintendo did good work. To deliver keyboard for children with low price will aid their parents to be friendly with computer games. And Pokemon is the best companion with educational software.

Personally, I always carry my PC (Let’s Note). So I will seldom use this keyboard. Nonetheless I recommend it for its good availability.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rise of ADHD in USA, is it buzzword?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is overwhelming in the USA. According to New York Times (NYT), it is revealed that nearly one-fifth of high school age boys has ADHD.

New York Times: A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise

I think that the specialists of psychiatry deem this report as ridiculous. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 4th edition text revision (DSM-IV-TR), an authorized textbook edited by the American Psychiatric Association, the prevalence rate of ADHD is described as 3 to 7 % in school aged children.
The cause of ADHD is still unknown. There are hypotheses that some kinds of stress for pregnant women are risks of ADHD of their children. If it is true, it is possible that a certain substance (e.g. electric wave; I am doubtful) increase ADHDs. Nonetheless the result reported by the NYT is far from credible.

In Japan, the prevalence rate of ADHD is reported as 0.37% by Department of Health Promotion and Research, National Institute of Public Health (2005, in Japanese).

From my impression, number of the patients with ADHD is increasing indeed, but the prevalence rate is lower than 10%. To begin with, ADHD cannot be defined specifically with biological markers. If over 10 to 20 % of children were ADHDs, they would be ordinary, only with a few hyperactive characteristic!

There are some reasons of this high rate of statistics surveyed in the USA, I guess.

First, this survey is performed with telephone interviews with parents. As this article suggests, parents tend to overestimate about concern of their children.

Time: Understanding the Rise in ADHD Diagnoses: 11% of U.S. Children Are Affected

Second, over-diagnosis problem is pointed out in many areas in medicine. For example, in Japan the number of patients with mood disorders is doubled in this decade.

Is it true? I don’t think so. Several explanations are possible. For example, in 1990s a lot of mental clinics are established in Japan. It eased for patients suffering from depression to visit a clinic to be diagnosed.
Similarly, the prevalence rate of colon cancer is also increasing. It may result from progress of technology to use a microscope.

The matter about medication for ADHD also should not be forgotten. Methylphenidate is an effective drug to suppress symptoms of ADHD. However, this stimulant may cause severe adverse effects, such as dependency, even psychosis. In Japan, many patients and physicians misused methylphenidate. As a result, the government has restricted prescription of methylphenidate since 2007. In the USA some patients or non-patients might misuse this kind of drugs for their pleasure. Now more safe drugs such as Atomoxetine are available.

Actually, some explosions of a particular diagnosis are happening occasionally in psychiatric practice. Innovation in treatment may change diagnostic strategy. A political campaign also causes a fashion. Psychiatry is a region of science, but it is still premature. We have to continue to learn about it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pray for Ms. Iron Lady

Ms. Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, died today.

The Irish Times: Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher dies following stroke

Ms. Thatcher was a legendary woman, called Iron Lady. I know her only in a film named “The Iron Lady”, which is a very impressive movie.

I think her death is symbolic for some meanings.

First, she is the first Prime Minister, in England, and rarely successful woman in the world of politics. In the United States, there has not been female President. In Japan, there are few female politicians. Ms. Makiko Tanaka, who is one of the most famous female politicians in Japan I mentioned in a past entry, lost her seat in the last general election.
Ms. Thatcher retired in 1992. After 20 years, political battlefield is still tough for women.

Second, Ms. Thatcher survived a stormy era. She brought a victory for Britain in Falklands War. She allied with USA to perish Soviet Union. I guess these triumphs encouraged British people strongly.
She was the top of the conservative party. But her policy is similar to neo-liberalism. After the success of her policy making, neo-liberalism (or neo-conservatism) was spread all over the world.
However, the world has changed. Some people claim the limitation of neo-liberalism. “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the USA occurred. In France Mr. Nicolas Sarközy, who was a neo-liberalist as past President, had lost in the election against Mr. François Hollande. Mr. Sarközy was accused with doubt of illegal political campaign financing.

Ms. Thatcher was suffering from dementia in her old age. The movie “The Iron Lady” describes her solitude in later age scrupulously. Mr. Ronald Wilson Reagan, former President in USA also contracted Alzheimer’s disease. Vital politicians live long lives, so their later years are not always robust. Younger talents are likely to bear more frequently in the modern age. It is difficult to choose the point of retirement correctly. I pray Ms. Thatcher may rest in peace.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

iPad mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire

Recently some kinds of 7-inch tablets were released one after another in Japan. Among them, the best choice may be either iPad mini by Apple, Nexus 7 by Google, or Kindle Fire by Amazon. Which you should choose is a difficult problem. Several articles are posted by IT writers.

IPad mini is a miniature version of iPad. Actually I have no iPad mini with me. But I can imagine its usability because I have an iPad. iPad mini has 7.9-inch display with 1024 * 768 resolutions.

Nexus 7 is an Android Tablet produced by Google. It equips 7-inch display with 1280 * 800 resolutions.

Kindle Fire is also Android-based tablet but it is specially customized for Amazon. The kindle Fire family has some variations including Kindle Fire (economic model), Kindle Fire HD, and Kindle Fire HD 8.9”. The display of Kindle Fire HD is equal to Nexus 7, and its other specs are similar to Nexus 7.

Which should you buy?
Performance as a tablet does not differ one another.
My answer is simple. It depends on the provider you most frequently use.

Kindle Fire series is a little special. We hardly customize this, nor use original application store (Google Play). Only we can do is to enjoy contents by Amazon. Instead, they offer us the best experience of shopping at Amazon. I tried Kindle applications with iPad, Nexus 7, and other Android gears. They are inferior to Kindle Fire on usability.

Not to mention about iPad, it is a supreme gadget for an Apple lover. If you dislike Apple, iPad is no more than a metal board.
However, it is notable that iPad mini is more expensive than other tablets.

Nexus 7 has extreme generality, and few disadvantages. It equips GPS and NFC even in WiFi model.
So, if you do not use Apple or Amazon, the Nexus 7 is the solution.
I decided that I always put Nexus 7 in my business bag. The only disadvantage of it is shortage of battery.

Finally, I introduce a comment by Mr. Toshiya Takahashi, a famous IT writer in Japan. He recommends 10-inch tablet for beginners. I agree with him. Seven-inch tablets are valuable after being familiar with using a tablet.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cool Japan for free, Mr. AKB48 said

Can you work for free?

Second round of Cool Japan promoting conference was held on April 3rd 2013.  Mr. Yasushi Akimoto, producer of AKB48, said that creators in Japan should participate in their project to spread the advantage of Japanese culture to all over the world, even for free.

The Japan Times: Cool Japan campaign needs to sweeten the pot: Taiwanese critic

This statement of Mr. Akimoto raised an argument. Some artists are criticizing him strongly, said that he had humiliated the works of creators. The fact that Mr. Akimoto himself is a billionaire might cause emotional repulsion, I guess.
Some others agreed with him. According to them, for artists it is preferable to get a chance to publish their works on a highlighted stage and it is worthier than money.

I think both sides are rational. The answer is different for what the creator wants to get.
But this issue is more complicated in Japan.

First, in Japan many artists cannot earn enough money by their own profession. In other countries it can be not so different. Especially Japanese are very weak in monetizing. Moreover, the service industry is looked down on in Japan. Japanese workers have the best hospitality in the world I think, but Japanese customers are strongly demanding for service.
Then, I am afraid that the creators will not be respected enough when creators are willing to work for free as Mr. Akimoto claims.

Second, though it is paradoxical, the business model of creators is changing. It is possible that creators will make works for free to get money from some patrons. Freemium model mentioned by Mr. Chris Anderson is now widely spread in web service mainly. Reputation and confidence are more valuable than some money in all fields. However the culture of donation is not so popular in Japan.

If I were a creator, would I participate in this project for free? Will you?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gun control law established in Connecticut

Connecticut State began to strengthen regulation of gun control.

NBC NEWS: Connecticut governor signs comprehensive gun control legislation

According to this report, Mr. Dan Malloy, Connecticut Governor, signed a new gun control law on April 6 2013.

Gun control laws had been established in both New York state and Colorado State, after the mass shooting case occurred in Dec. 14 2012. And now in Connecticut, too. The law in Connecticut is tighter than other ones. Size of gun magazine is to be limited. Many kinds of guns are regulated.

Does regulation upon possessing guns prevent murder cases? Otherwise, it makes outlaw easy to work?

In theoretical thinking, onset of crime requires 3 factors: intention, means, and chance. If gun did not exist, one of the means to kill others would be lost. It is uncertain that all criminals who tried to kill others by a gun would perform murder with other weapons. So number of victims will decrease.
On the other hand, some outlaws may commit more crimes if it is sure the victim does not possess a gun, as people against the bill claims.

It will take a time to clarify the real effect of the new law on social security. Cautious investigation should be done. However, perhaps time will be short. Opposite side will sue the law for unconstitutionality.

Formerly, I wrote that it is difficult for USA to ban guns because of their mindset. It is amazing if this new legislation will end successfully.

Personally, I think gun control is appropriate. Most crimes are impulsive. And the gun is the most dangerous weapon that changes impulsiveness into tragedy. I do not think I can defend myself with a gun in the USA.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Books of treasure

I am a little bookworm.

I read about 50-100 books a year. This is not so many books as real bookworms.

I usually read modern books. They are easy to read. But to be honest I want to read old books slowly.

There are thousands of new books in bookstore, especially self-developing or business introduction. Amazon Kindle and other e-book stores also sell a lot of books. However, most newly books would be forgotten in the near future.

There are some reasons why ancient books survive hundreds of years.

So I make an oath to complete the list of unread books below by the end of this year;

by Adam Smith
This book explains a famous theory named God’s invisible hand. Egoism makes us happy.

by Dale Carnegie
This is also an origin of self-development. Most business introductions refer this.

by Niccolo Machiavelli
Mr. Machiavelli is deemed to be a merciless man. But I hear he is not only cold but also faithful. I will certify his personality through this book.

By Milton Friedman
This is popular with some economists in Japan. This is a newly bible for libertarians I understand. However, most libertarians have not read this, I guess.

By Karl Heinrich Marx
When I learn about capitalism, I should learn communism, too.

by B. F. Skinner
Mr. Skinner is very famous as founder of behavioral therapy. He was also an optimist who believed utopia. Unfortunately this book is nearly out of print. I have one in Japanese translated version scanned to PDF.

Moreover, I want to read some oriental books.
At first, I will challenge these ones.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Roomba murder case (2)

Yesterday I wrote about a terrible mystery about my lovely Roomba.

At last my little gray cells found a hypothesis which offered a rational explanation about the puzzling situation.

Question 1: How did Roomba enter the closed room?

Actually, I usually my room keeps open. Perhaps I did not close the door to my room when I went to work in the morning.
And, doors in my home equip soft-closers. When forced, door automatically closes slowly.
So it is possible that the door of my room was partly opened in the morning. After entering my room, Roomba swept the floor and pushed the door from inside the room. Therefore, the door closed and Roomba could not get out of my room.

Question 2: Why did Roomba move unplanned?

It was Monday. I set the timer to make Roomba work on Wednesday, I tried to. But I examined Roomba to know that the time clock of Roomba was shifted by two days! I noticed the clock showed Wednesday at real Monday. After all Roomba performed his work on time based on his own clock timer.

Mystery is boring when solved.
I relieved myself to know no one enter my room to kill Roomba.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Roomba murder case (1)

One day, I had experienced a mystery.
No, it's not April fools.

In the evening, I came home and tried to enter my own room.

However, I noticed that the door toward to the room hardly opened.
Something was stuck between the door and the wall of the room, I thought.

So I slid my body through the gap between the door and the wall into the room.

Then I saw what was getting caught in the door.
It was Roomba!

This is Roomba of mine I bought the other day.
It is a nice guy who cleans my house all automatically.

Roomba was stopped when it was found. In general, Roomba would return to home base of his own when finishing the sweep. The battery was not empty.

However, the current situation is quite confusing.

Question 1:
My room equips only one door, which I entered the room through. This door was closed when I came home. Then my room was a closed room. Where did Roomba enter the room from?

Question 2:
In the beginning, I did not use Roomba. Actually, I tried to set the timer to run Roomba at 13 o’clock on Wednesday. But the timer did not work precisely when I examined on last Wednesday. Moreover, the day I found the Roomba locked was Monday. I confirmed I had not set the timer on Monday!

It is a mystery! Someone carried Roomba into my room to kill him. I was frightened.

(To be continued)

Roomba murder case (2)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Depression does not exist

Today, I will introduce an astonishing fact.

Depression does not exist.
It is not a mental disorder.

You may think it is ridiculous. But it is the truth.

Exactly, depression is not a particular disease.
Depression is distinguished into 3 categories.

One is a psychosis. Actually, it is well known that some kind of psychosis cause severe depression. On the other hand, some patients with depression have hallucination or delusion. They are not depressive illness, but psychosis.

The second is bipolar disorders. Formerly, all depression had been deemed to have manic phase potentially. Dr. Emil Kraepelin, a world famous psychiatrist also supported this hypothesis.

The third category is a depressive state as natural emotion. Everyone feels depressive when a bad event occurred. It is not an illness, but a rational change in emotion for self-defense. We must cry for help when be cornered. Malingering is included in this category.

Now I will declare that depression does not exist!