Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Psychopath and a question of Micheal Sandel

So, I must write about the conference I attended in Belgium.

It was the European Congress on Violence in Clinical Psychiatry. It focused on the violence of the patients with mental disorders. In addition, I noticed that several speakers mentioned the issue about seclusion and restraint in clinical settings. They are also quite important topics.

I was impressed with a certain presentation. The speaker explained about psychopathy.
Psychopathy is a trait with which a person tends to commit a crime. A psychopath feels no mercy or guilt when he acts violently toward others. It is difficult for them to exist within the confines of the law. In some countries, long term imprisonment has been adopted for psychopaths.

Understanding the mind of psychopaths is a big challenge. In ancient times, research focused on the skull of the psychopaths was performed, but results were inconclusive. Recent research through brain imaging revealed that psychopathic patients displayed some functional abnormalities. However, these topics are still taboo in Japan. It is considered that research regarding criminal behavior can cause stigma for such persons. However, globally scientists are eager to determine the essence of human behaviors.

The speaker made a reference to "question of railcar accident". This dialogue, introduced by Michael Sandel, a professor of Harvard University, has become quite popular.

The story goes something like this: There is a railway. A gigantic train is approaching fast. There are five persons on the rail. If you do nothing, the five persons would be killed by the train. You can switch the course of the train. If you do so, the train will kill another person, instead of the five. What should you do?

Prof. Sandel presents this question as an ethical issue.
Actually, my first encounter with this allegory was in a book titled  is "Logic paradox", written by Toshihiko Miura, a Japanese logician. In his book, he presents this question to teach the readers about logical thinking.

The speaker used this allegory to his research. He gave them psychopaths this question and evaluate the brain activity when they contemplated this question.

His findings were that, the amygdala of psychopaths is not so activated in comparison to control.

The amygdala is known as a region of the brain that regulates the human emotion. From these results, the speaker suggested that psychopaths had a tendency not to be stimulated by this kind of unhappy thought.

I was so impressed that the speaker used this allegory in presenting his material.

This story is useful for research about ethics, logic, and physiology. It is a good example of the integration of science.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Journey to Belgium (4)

Journey to Belgium (1)
Journey to Belgium (2)
Journey to Belgium (3)

I have heard that citizens in Ghent do not eat meat on Thursday. However, I ate Kebab on the night.

And then, Chocolate-Waffle! Belgium is a country of Chocolate and Waffle, in my image. So delicious.

I seldom saw franchise shop of food in Belgium. Pizza Hut and Starbucks are exceptions. Unfortunately, I had no opportunity to use one.

Instead, "Quick" hamburger was popular in Belgium. It tasted fair, but German one was superior.

After all, Belgium is chocolate country.

I left Belgium with full satisfaction.

Thanks to Belgians!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Journey to Belgium (3)

Journey to Belgium (1)
Journey to Belgium (2)

Although there were several places worth to visit in Ghent, I could not make the time anymore due to my own business. So I abandoned sightseeing in Ghent. The only thing I can do was taking photos.

Ghent had an atmosphere of ancient town in Western Europe. It looked like Germany, rather than Italy.

Instead, I walked to a city area in the last night to have a dinner.

It took 30 minutes from the hotel to a restaurant. Unfortunately, "The House of Eliottthe" as I aimed at was occupied by the reserving guests. I was disappointed.

As an alternative way, I came into "De Grill", nearby there.
I ordered "Wild course".
As an appetizer, several giblets were delivered. They tasted unfamiliar, but yummy.

The main dish war beef steaks. Massive fried Vegetables were accompanied. They were also good.

I chose chocolate pie as a dessert. Nice!

I was so satisfied.
However, it was strange that the breads were gotten rid of when main dish came. I could not understand why not to eat beef and bread together.

(To be continued.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Journey to Belgium (2)

Journey to Belgium (1)

Ghent is the third largest town in Belgium that is a hometown of "The blue Bird".

I heard that there were some places worth to visit in Ghent. However, my purpose was not sightseeing. I went to the International Conference Center (ICC) directly.

The ICC Ghent is located nearby Citadel Park. The park was so beautiful.

Thousands of leaves turned red or yellow. Inside the park was quite calm. Some birds were swimming on a pond.

The ICC was a solid building which equips several meetingrooms.

I noticed there were lots of cars in Ghent. Parking space seemed not to be enough. This historical town may have a difficulty to deal with the rapid change of lifestyle.

In Belgium sunrise is delayed. The picture was taken at 8 am.

Instead, it was very light even at twilight. I was confused. In Japan, it is nonsense that it is lighter at 8 pm than at 8 am. But it is a common sense only in Japan. I remembered that Mr. Inose, Governor of Tokyo proposed to shift the time table in Japan.

(To be continued)

Journey to Belgium (1)

I visited Belgium to attend an academic conference.

Belgium is a country located in western Europe. It is a small country but has an important role in the EU, especially at the geographic location. It is for the first time for me to visit Belgium.

There is no flightplan from Japan to Belgium directly. So I had to go to Belgium via Frankfurt Airport.

I have used Frankfurt Airport once. It is a large and clean airport.
I ate a hamburger, which is ranked in World best 50 foods. It was quite delicious. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.

After all, I landed at Brussels National Airport. I took 13 hours from Japan to Brussels.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium. Its population is 1 million.

I rode on  bus to go to Ghent, my destination.
From the a window I could see a building like a palace. I do not know whether it was the Palais Royale or not.

Finally I reached Ghent. The day was rainy. It was a little colder than Tokyo.

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monk the detective

Recently, I have been watching Monk via Hulu.

Monk is a TV series in the USA broadcasted from 2002 to 2009. Mr. Adrian Monk was a legendary police detective in the past. However, after his wife was killed by a bombing crime, he began to be suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He retired from the police, and then he is engaged in criminal investigations as a private detective.

His disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is one of common neuroses. The patients are so nervous that they have to check, wash, or do other kind of behaviors which relieve them from anxiety repeatedly. Mr. Monk cannot take anything which is possible to be polluted without gloves. He always counts the number of fence he watches. He is sometimes attacked by an impulse to arrange a wrinkle of the clothes someone else wears. These behaviors often cause trouble.

In an episode, Mr. Monk tried to open a conversation with a witness. Just after shaking hands with the black man, Mr. Monk immediately wiped his hands with wet tissues. Watching his act, the witness was so irritated. It is not surprising that Mr. Monk was misidentified as a racist.
This scene is quite impressive as including some deep problems. Racism is of course wicked thought. However, if the witness had recognized the mental disorder of Mr. Monk, he would not have gotten angered. Misunderstanding is always the enemy of mutual relationship, especially they are stigmatized.

Monk has lots of episodes. I have seen just several ones. I will continue to watch them.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Drone delivery comes true

This is a surprising news. A flying object delivers a package to a consumer.
In Sydney, drone delivery service is nearly realized, according to this article.

Pandodaily: Zookal starts “world first” delivery-by-drone service in Sydney.

I was surprised to know that the drones equip no camera. They use GPS to find the destination. I wonder how the drones avoid crashing into an obstacle.
This article suggests that drone delivery shorten the waiting time by 2 or 3 days. I do not think that the drones fly over 72 hours. Reduction of the delivery time may be due to cutting the loading time. The more complicated the logistics are, the more effective the straight way of the delivery course by drones is.

It is more surprising that flying delivery is partially available in China. According to this article, this drone can deliver a birthday cake. I think a cake is so vulnerable that I will receive a crushed cake.

CNET: Drones in China deliver packages, even a birthday cake

It will be problematic that there will be full of drones in the sky, even I cannot imagine.

And I can hardly believe this news even now. I have seen this news as a joke of April fool just a half year ago.

The Atrantic: Newspapers, Delivered by Drone?
The drone is also described as a merciless weapon. In the movie "Oblivion" drones are quite awful killing machines. Also in the real world, not a few people were killed by drones.

How can we deal with the automatic flyer? I wish it will help our daily lives.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Failure of washing machine

Today, my washing machine does not work well again. It was about a month ago, that I asked for repair of this machine. The engineer who came to my home was very polite, but against his work, it was disabled again.

I am afraid that this machine will never be repaired. If so, I have to buy a new one. Consumer electronics hardly break in Japan. Most Japanese continue to use their home appliances for a decade. I heard some machines made in a foreign country are more vulnerable. I feel unlucky when my machine breaks.

A few years ago, I had an experience that the bath in my home stopped working all of sudden. Hot water could not be supplied. It was winter, so I had to visit a public bath everyday. It was a bitter memory, because I was busy for some reason.
There are lots of household tools; washing machine, hot water supply, cooking machine, and so on. We are not conscious to be helped by them a lot. When one of them disabled, we would be strongly annoyed. It is a mini disaster.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Forensic Psychiatry Conference

Today, we held an academic conference about forensic psychiatry.

Seminar Information Website (in Japanese)

The theme of this conference is "Multiangle Approaches in Clinical Situation". We invited 3 key speakers who are engaged in clinical psychiatry. The specialties of each speaker are Psychopharmacology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Emergency Psychiatry. After the teaching seminar, we held a case conference with panel discussions. The case presented is a woman who is suffering from self injury. The three speakers made comments related to their specialties.

The conference was completed with great pleasure of the audience. I was very glad to fulfill my responsibility. I appreciate all the participants.

On the other hand, this conference has a hidden purpose.
I am continuing to pursue the method to motivate mental health practitioners to learn about forensic mental health. In Japan, it has not been long since the concept of forensic psychiatry was developed. There are few specialists dealing with forensic mental health. Most of Japanese psychiatrist deems forensic psychiatrists as strange people. They do not think they are possible to be involved in the forensic situation in their activities. However, this thought has been proven to be incorrect with our recent study. The fact is that most psychiatrists have to know about forensic mental health more or less.

I conducted a questionnaire survey to the participants of the conference. I hope that the result will indicate that this kind of experience can change their recognition about forensic mental health.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lucky Star

Recently I got a series of DVDs. It is "Lucky Star" English version.

Lucky Star is an original manga written by Mr. Kagami Yoshimizu. After Kyoto Animation visualized the story, it became much popular in Japan.
I could buy the complete series with low cost.

Lucky Star describes usual activities of schoolgirls. The main characters, Konata, Kagami, Tsukasa, and Miyuki are mutual friends in a high school. They make a conversation everyday. They sometimes laugh, cry or get angered. The story is not exciting at all. Extraordinary accidents never happen. You can imagine the daily pleasure in adolescents with Lucky Star.

Oh, Konata is a little strange girl. She has fun with animes, games, and other kinds of Otaku goods. There are few girls like her in the real world. She resembles rather a boy of geek.

I enjoyed the series in Japanese some years ago. I wonder if foreign people can understand the taste of its atmosphere. Many Japanese subcultures are described in these films.

English in the DVDs is a little difficult to hear. The girls talk with rapid speed. Maybe real schoolgirls talk so rapidly like this.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Long way to renewable energy

In Europe, utilization of renewable-energy seems to be reaching a deadlock.

The Wall Street Journal: The New Dark Continent, Wind and solar mandates are breaking Europe's electric utilities

This article deems renewable-energy such as wind and solar power as an obstacle against economic growth in Europe. A fixed rule of buying energy produced by wind or solar can restrict the management of electric companies, for its instable of availability.

The fact has been proven since many years ago. We cannot make energy with solar power in a cloudy day. It is a simple matter. Therefore, some alternative ways always have to be ready. Renewable-energy cannot replace carbon or atomic energy completely, at least now.

In Japan, after the earthquake and Tsunami disaster, Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant was crippled in 2011. Even now the status is not controllable.
Many Japanese blamed Tokyo Electronic Power Company. A great movement of the shift from atomic power to renewable-energy has risen. All parties except ruling Liberal Democratic Party promise the future without atomic power plants. In a result, electric fee has increased due to the stasis of atomic power plants almost all over Japan.

I guess the situation in Japan is similar to Germany in 20 years ago. European countries have made great effort to get rid of atomic power. Nonetheless, business of renewable-energy has not been monetized yet. We have to watch the real situation.

I think that atomic power is essential for some decades, especially in Japan, without natural resources. Improvement of the technology around atomic power is a theme which Japan has to commit.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Accidental airplanes

There is a couple of bad news about airlines.
Alitalia is nearly dead.

Alitalia needs 300m euro capital increase

Alitalia, a national airline of Italy was facing to the risk of default only a few days ago. This troublesome company was proven to have hired a lot of thieves several months before.

My past entry: Baggage theft cases in Alitalia

I used Alitalia just the last month to visit Italy. If Alitalia had bankrupted, Italy and adjoin countries would be thrown into a peril. Fortunately, Air France, a stakeholder of Alitalia has risen to rescue her. However, Air France is also willing to have a big deal.

Air France decision on Alitalia rescue evenly balanced: source

It seems quite difficult to manage an airline. I was astonished to hear that Japan airlines bankrupted in 2010.

Now I heard more miserable news. An airplane belongs to Laos airlines crashed into Mekong river, to cause a fatal result of all 44 passengers and 5 crews.

Canadian among 49 people killed in Laos air crash

I sometimes hear news of an accident of an airplane. In total, the airplane is the most safe vehicle. Nonetheless, I have to be concerned about this kind of news.

My past entry: Aviation accident in Indonesia

I pray for the victims. R.I.P.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


A large and strong typhoon is approaching fast.

Typhoon no. 26, called "Wipha" is proceeding on the pacific ocean with maintaining its power. It is possible that it will land in Kanto region.

Now it rains outside of my apartment silently. The sound of gust has not been heard yet.
It will be stormy tomorrow morning, according to weather reports. The government called to the citizens to be extremely careful about this.

In Japan, most business persons go to the office regardless to the bad weather. Some people suffer a serious damage on their commuting way. It is a custom in Japan which I cannot admire.

However, I have to go to my office tomorrow, as I am a clinical psychiatrist. My responsibility is equal to firefighters. It is unavoidable. Fortunately my home is near to the hospital.
I hope no patients will be injured on the way to the hospital.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Paradox of anti-meeting

A strange event will come.
Ms. Ushijima-Iniku decided to hold a meeting with her anti-supporters.

Ushijima-Iniku official website (in Japanese)

Ms. Ushijima is a costume player known as a sexy and a little strange lady. Her handle name is also strange. It means "Ushijima, the nice meat".
She tweeted the other day to be planning to make a conversation with persons who dislike her.

Meeting with anti-Ushijima (in Japanese)

It is usual for a famous person to be criticized by a certain amount of people. They are called "anti", abbreviation of anti-supporter. Ms. Ushijima seems to be annoyed by anonymous agitators. Finally she committed to make an opportunity to listen to their voices.

She mentioned that only persons anti-supporters are allowed to attend this meeting. She says that she is willing to check some tweets or other comments to certify that the attendants dislike her. This investigation will help to avoid her real supporters from participation to the meeting.

How odd the meeting is! I wonder the meeting would be realized. I guess that most of the anti-supporters dare not talk to her face to face.

Furthermore, this scheme includes a logical controversy.

When an anti-supporter is planning to attend the meeting, he has to show his twitter account to Ms. Ushijima. This means that he has an intention to obey the order of Ms. Ushijima. It is a gentle behavior, isn't it? Then, is he a real anti-supporter?

In contrast, imagine an enthusiast of Ms. Ushijima, who wish to meet her closely. He would disguise as if he is an anti-supporter of Ms. Ushijima, or he may break into the meeting. So, his behavior is inappropriate as a supporter. He must be an anti-supporter!

What happened? The result is that, anti-supporters are not allowed to attend to the meeting for anti-supporters, and any supporters who want to attend are allowed as anti-supporters. How paradoxical!

As far as I know, this is a stereotype of circulation paradox.

Ms. Ushijima says that she will eat a dinner alone if no one attend the meeting. Ms. Ushijima is so funny lady.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My first IELTS

I took an examination of International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

This is one of the international examinations which assess the skill of the English language, similar to TOEFL. IELTS is well known in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, but not so famous as TOEFL.

The examination includes four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
Each section resembles one of TOEFL. However, it is a big difference that an expert examiner is an opponent to the examinee in a speaking section in IELTS. In contrast, in TOEFL iBT, you have to record your speaking voice via a microphone replying to each question. In IELTS, the examiner encourages you to make an answer for each question. So I could enjoy the conversation.

I was annoyed by the environment of IELTS. Application was complicated compared to TOEFL. The regulation of this exam was so strict that I was not allowed to possess my purse in the test room.

Actually, I could not sleep well in the day before. It might influence on my performance. My score was so bad. I heard that most examinees feel that a reading section is the most difficult. However, the result was that only the reading score was satisfactory.

Every examination has its own characteristic. It often occurs that an examination fails to assess the exact ability of an examinee. But at least in language examinations, I am assessed precisely in every time. I have to make more efforts to improve my English skill.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pigeon defeat internet?

It is a strange news about the internet.

Pigeon transfers data faster than South Africa's Telkom

First I was astonished to see this title. It must not be possible that a pigeon flies faster than the light or electricity. I guessed that the cables or servers were dysfunctional in South Africa. They might need to be repaired repeatedly.

The fact was that, the file size of the subject to be transferred was 4 gigabytes. So it needed a long time to transfer it via internet. The 4 GB is not easy to download even in Japan. We often rather choose to send a package including a memory stick if we are asked to send it.

Internet speed has been improved dramatically. It was fantastic to stream a movie in a decade ago. Now we can watch a new Hollywood movie at home always just we want to do. In contrast, the amount of electronic data we deal with is rapidly increasing. There is always unbalanced between storage and transfer.

Some researchers say that local data storages will perish. But I think it will be the future far from now.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A new research of suicide prevention in Japan

Today I introduce a preferable news of a research to prevent suicide.
Mr. Yutaka Ohno has published that community-based intervention was proved to be beneficial  to reduce the rate of suicide and related accidents.

This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of a comprehensive attempt to prevent suicide. They succeeded to certify that community-based care could decrease the rate of suicide or attempted suicide by 7%.

This kind of intervention was effective especially for male or elderly people. It may be related to the fact that the suicide rate of those categories of the people has much increased in Japan recently.

I know that there are some reports suggesting the efficacy of suicide prevention. Nonetheless, it is delightful that it has been proven that there is a solution for suicide prevention in Japan.

I watched that some mass media reported the result. I am concerned about that some of them overestimated the effectiveness. For example, a report referred to 23% reduction of male only. The fact is that the result was not satisfactory in female, younger people, or in urban areas. The author emphasizes that we should consider the character of the targets. We have to be humble to interpret the result of a research.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OECD examination for adults

A result of large examination in adults performed by the OECD. Japan won the top rank of the both literacy and numeracy skill.

Daily Mainichi: Japan ranks top in the OECD survey of adult literacy, numeracy skills

The Japan Times: Japan adults tops in reading, math but slip in tech-related tasks: OECD

A total of 157,000 people aged between 16 and 65 participated in this survey. Although a result of examinations of children is sometimes argued, I seldom heard about a test for adults.

The Japanese seem to be extremely good at literacy and mathematics. It is not surprising. Almost all Japanese can read the letters and most of the Japanese take compulsory education. This kind of the exam reflects the average level of the population, rather than a few geniuses.

However, it is disappointing that the Japanese are relatively bad at the problem-solving skill using information technology. Japan marks the 10th in this category.

Actually, a part of middle aged people have not used the internet. They abandoned to challenge the exam. Japan is also behind to introduce IT to the education. It will be a disadvantage for Japanese to succeed in the business world.

A lot of countries pay attention to this result. There are many reports in each region.

MACLEAN'S: Canadian adults match global peers in reading, fall short in math: OECD test

BBC: England's young adults trail world in literacy and maths

Finland scores well in "adult PISA" rankings

US Adults Below Average On Worldwide Test

CTV NEWS: Spain, Italy lack adult skills needed for economic recovery: study

Education is a basis of national production. At least in compulsory education, I am happy as a Japanese.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vacation in Italy: extra

After all, I felt Italy a fascinating country.
It is unfortunate that, however, there are some issues in Italy for travelers.

First, Italy is not so friendly to travelers.
Buses going around some place for sightseeing are all crowded. It perhaps results from mismatch of time schedule. If they reformed a timetable more efficient, we would be much more comfortable.

Of course, most of Italian people were quite pleasant. But at least they did not take account on efficiency. They prefer to enjoy spending time, rather than pursue cost-effectiveness. In is sorry that travelers usually have not enough time.

Second, electronic devices were not trustworthy in Italy. I found some ATM machine out of service. I reserved some Train tickets via the internet but the system was often troubled. Compared to Japan, these kinds of inconvenience are intolerable.

Although above disadvantages were not so critical, the final problem would be crucial.
Italy is  smoky!

We smell tobacco everywhere in Italy, especially in southern areas. When getting out of a hotel, I always have to absorb grains of tobacco. It is desperate for me as I am extremely hatred of tobacco.
It is a little odd that Italian people like to smoke so much. Antismoking movement is a global trend. People for sightseeing must be annoyed to smell tobacco. I wonder Italian government would dare to restrict tobacco in the future.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Basic income in Swiss: A challenge?

I heard that Switzerland will consider about the introduction of a basic income (BI).
According to this article, a grassroots committee submitted more than 100,000 signatures to call for discussion.

Will the Swiss vote in a guaranteed annual income?

BI is a unique solution for an insurance of national welfare. If introduced, ever person belongs to the nation can receive a certain amount of money from the nation regardless of his condition. It will make the citizens happy and safe to live.

BI has some advantages compared to other traditional welfare policies. I think that simplicity is one of the most beneficial factors of BI. People need not be afraid to fail receiving BI. The government cannot examine the estate of citizens to certify their financial state. It will reduce cost of administration.

Of course I cannot believe that BI solves the problem of poverty completely. Some people such as disabled need more intensive help. Some people are likely to be tricked to lose their money.

On the other hand, I am not afraid that people would not be willing to work. Human feel bored when there is nothing to do. Most of them dare to work for earning more money and contributing to the society. I believe the curiosity of human beings.

Anyway, this proposal in Swiss is hardly to be realized. The activists insist that they should receive $2,800 in a month. It is obviously too high, even if Swiss has the highest commodity price in the world. The very worst barrier to BI is a source of revenue. No matter how effective we establish a new scheme, BI costs a large amount of money compared to other welfare systems. Actually, there are many comments on this website, of which some refer to the setting of price.

Although I think BI is a nice scheme, it seems to be quite difficult to start.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Toilet cleaning

It was my fault. When I noticed, the toilet in my home had gotten dirty.

When I reformed my house, a merchant explained that this type of toilet was maintenance-free. Everytime after using the toilet, still water flushed over the space to clean it up. However, it did not mean that I did not need to wash the toilet with a brush at all.

The pollution on a toilet composed of urinary stone. It is a crystal made from urine. It looks yellow. And it is hardly come off if you try to rub it off.

Therefore, I sought a detergent.

The detergent for a toilet derives to three categories; Neutral detergent, Chlorine detergent, and Acid detergent.

Neutral detergent is the most common for usual cleaning. It is safe and easy to manipulate. First, I tried one. But it was no use.

Second, I used a chlorine detergent. This kind of materials makes toxic gas. So I had to be careful. After dripping the liquid on the toilet, I kept it for a while. The pollution got better a little, although it still needed more improvement.

At last I decided to introduce an acid type detergent. This liquid is similar to hydrochloric acid. Thus I was extremely nervous to deal with it.
The result was satisfactory.

Acid detergent neutralizes the urinary stone with acid-base reaction. After repeated cleaning, my toilet got clean again.

By the way, you never mix acid detergent and chlorine one. It is terribly dangerous.

House cleaning is usual matter, and so quite important.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The real lady inside Siri

The voice actor of Siri, a virtual secretary within the iPhone, was identified, CNN said.

CNN: 'I'm the original voice of Siri'

She is Ms. Susan Bennett. She was engaged in this kind of work many times as a voice actress. She revealed that she recorded her voice every four hours in a day for a month. The pieces of the words have composed to Siri.

Apple did not admit that she was Siri. It is usual that a voice of guidance was not identified for a long time. A company tends not to publish the name of the actress. It is different from an animation movie. Nonetheless, I was surprised that she had not been notified that her voice was to be used as Siri. She did not make any confidential contract with Apple, even she did not know she was working for Apple.

Indeed, Siri is an extraordinary being as a guiding voice. Usually we are not concerned much about this kind of voices.
In the future, synthetic voices will be more common. This Siri identification case is quite specific in a sense.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Average video gamer

What do you imagine about video gamers?
As a gamer, I imagine a young guy who is indulged in an online RPG for a whole day. However, it is not true.
This is an interesting result of a survey. According to Pixwoo, the average English gamer is 35 years old and spend only 2.5 hours in a day for gaming. They earn 23,000 pounds in a year with usual work.

The Telegraph: Average video game fan is 35 years old

Wired.co.uk: Study: average gamer not a 12-year-old shut-in

This survey informs us that our image about the stereotype is extremely different from the real one.
It sometimes occurs that assumed stereotype could not represent the most people in the cluster. For example, the government creates a plan for a new scheme of financial aid. However most of poor people are not adopted in the plan. Unfortunately, this kind of errors is frequent.

One of the reasons is a cognitive bias. We are impressed in an example which is unusual. We also tend to believe the first example which we met. These biases can warp our views.
In the other days, video game players were heavy users of computers. They spent much time to conquer the boss of a dungeon. There were many video games which need hundreds of time to complete. In addition, gamers were not good at communication with others. But these images were in the past.

Nowadays, rise of easy playing games, such as social games or click games with a tablet, have changed the characteristics and behaviors of gamers. More women are likely to play a game. Light gamers who play games only in a waiting time is increasing. We have to notice these changes to understand the result of the survey.

Actually, I am a gamer. And I should be careful not to cause any trouble with my family about games, as this survey shows that 15% of gamers have broken up with someone over their pastime.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Consumption tax will be raised

When the US is screaming in front of financial crisis, a similar issue is argued in Japan.
Abe Administration has declared to raise consumption tax as the government had planned.

BBC News: Japanese government to go ahead with sales tax rise

The last year, Noda administration and the ruling Democratic Party established the new legislation about taxes, to decide to raise the rate of consumption tax step by step to 10%. At last Liberal Democratic Party accepted the proposal, as LDP had planned to do for several years before. Then, the main two parties have been willing to raise the consumption tax in Japan.

The reason why they are concerned about it is the financial scheme in Japan. The income of Japanese government depends on the three kinds of taxes; income tax, corporation tax, and consumption tax. Income tax is strongly influenced by the economy. Corporation tax is criticized as double taxation. In addition, many companies in Japan do not pay the corporation tax, for the reason of deficit operation. After all, a consumption tax is the most stable income for the government.
However, Japan had failed to raise the rate of consumption tax repeatedly. Every administration who had decided to raise the tax rate was beaten at the next general election. Therefore, raising tax has been a taboo for most politicians. Even Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, a legendary famous past Prime Minister declared not to raise the tax rate during his term.

There are some reasons why Japan has succeeded to decide.
First, Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, the previous Prime Minister was so brave that he determined to propose a new bill about the tax rate. I think he did not dare to keep his seat any more. His heroic decision realized the bill, meanwhile sacrificed the Democratic Party.
Second, Abenomics is now successful. Mr. Abe seemed to hesitate to make a decision. However, the Abe administration is extremely popular in Japan now. If he failed to decide to raise the tax, there would be no chance forever.
Third, a financial crisis of Japan is so critical that we have no choice than raising the tax. The national debt has reached twice of GDP in Japan. If the investors lose trust for Japan, government bond would fall into the default. We have to show that Japan can do exactly as planned.

The opinions of economists are various. I believe the decision of Mr. Abe is right. And it is the next problem that how to recover the economy of Japan in the future.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The US budget crisis

The US is extremely shaken. A part of the US government has shut down due to the short of money.

BBC News: US begins government shutdown as budget deadline passes

This accident was caused by the Republican Party. A part of representatives refused to pass the bill of the annual budget, to state the opposition against the Affordable Care Act. They insisted to postpone the enforcement of the Act. But the Obama administration did not obey. Therefore, the budget of the government could not be delivered. Now, many official services are closed in the US.

It is a frequent event that opposite parties threaten the government with suggesting a failure of an important bill. The minorities have their own thoughts, and they should claim. However, it is rare that a battle of politician results in a  severe dysfunction of the government. In Japan, though opposite parties are often absent from the diet, there is always some negotiation between the parties to maintain the daily activity of official work. So I am astonished to know this news.

The Republican Party keeps liberal policy. As a principle, they deny most of official regulation. Therefore, it must be avoided to accept the Affordable Care Act, that demand citizens to join some health insurance. I can understand their ideology. Nonetheless, their opposition seems reckless.

The Financial Times blames the Republican Party, especially, Tea Party. The author said that there was no hope to make Obama withdraw the Affordable Care Act. Then, their rejection has caused a chaotic situation in the US society.

Financial Times: Decline and fall of republican politics

If they could not surrender even knowing that there was no opportunity to gain the compromise  from Obama, it is ridiculous to continue to oppose in vain. The confusion caused by them has done damage to the US economy, obviously. Of course we must be democratic. However, to be rational is essential to be democratic.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sequels in September 2013

I forgot to write the sequels in September, since I concentrated on writing a diary of my journey.

September 12, 2013
Apple suffering from trade off between 5S and 5C

My worry about Apple's new iPhone was wiped away. The sales of iPhone5S and 5C are quite well.

Apple iPhone Sales Are Golden

Some researches say that the need for iPhone in China market contributed to the sales of the iPhone. On the other hand, the influence of iPhone5C upon the brand image of Apple is still unclear.

September 4, 2013
Syria war is coming?

The United Nations Security Council adopted a binding resolution demanding Syria to get rid of chemical weapons.

Syria chemical weapons: UN adopts binding resolution

It is more peaceful solution than the attack by the air force of the US. If the US began a war against Syria, the government would have very tough time. The Obama administration has chosen the safer way avoiding to lose the faces of related politicians.
However, the proposal is originally made by Russia. Now Russia has a chance to take a leadership to deal with this problem.