Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sequels in August 2014

August 28, 2014

Independence of Scotland is likely not to be realized this time. But the outcome has not determined yet. The both sides are struggling to gain more allies.

Reuters: Polls say Scotland will spurn independence, but are they right?

August 23, 2014

The fear of hemorrhagic fever of Ebola has been spread into broad regions of Africa. It is a historic outbreak and there is no sign of restoration.

August 18, 2014

Using IFTTT, I can receive weather forecasting via an instant messenger every morning. It works well also in the UK.

August 10, 2014

Finally, Asahi Shimbun published the news of issue translated into English on Aug 22.

Asahi Digital: Testimony about 'forcible taking away of women on Jeju Island': Judged to be fabrication because supporting evidence not found

I wonder why the publication in English was delayed, because it should be read by many foreigners as well as Japanese.

Asahi itself is still on the side as same as previous one.

August 5, 2014

On this trip from Tokyo to London, I enjoyed watching some movies, including "Divergent", as well as watching some films using my Nexus 7. It was also a good journey.


August 3, 2014
Marvel Unlimited, a great online comics service

I finished reading "Infinity Gauntlet" series. These are a kind of crossover works in the Marvel universe. Many heroes such as Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor are challenging Thanos equipping Infinity Gauntlet. It was a great story.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

A tiny challenge

When you read this entry, I will be in the air.

I am going to the UK for a while for study. The UK has history of forensic ental health for more than two century. I am strongly motivated to learn about it.

This is only a tiny challenge, although I will encounter several difficulties on it.

Growing up continuously is my desire. I expect I will have wonderful experiences in the UK.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The 3 definite conditions of the boss

Perhaps you have some complaints to your boss. Your boss may be arrogant, too strict, or inhumane. Nonetheless, you can respect your boss if he or she has one of the characteristics below:

1. Have a dream
The most important thing the leader has to have is a dream. Dreaming, and declaring an ideal to be realized make us fascinated. Having a dream which many people agree with is not easy. If the dream is pretty, the leader hardly wins the worship of followers. In contrast, too fantastic dream is difficult to be possessed for a long time. Good boss has a dream and an ability to realize it.

2. Leave it to subordinates
A boss with talent can do anything. He or she performs many tasks on their own. But it is a trap. Bosses who cannot leave their work to someone else can never grow good subordinates. In such organization, subordinates rely on the boss entirely. On the other hand, the bosses who cannot believe their subordinates are more miserable. They will become alone at last.

3. Take a responsibility
Whoever, having experienced a position of some projects knows that it is quite difficult to take a responsibility. You are sometimes forced to be responsible for the troubles which was not caused by yourself. It is quite annoying. Many persons lose their position without your own fault. Taking a responsibility is to let someone else free from responsibility.

Each of them are quite hard to achieve. If your boss has at least one of these condition, I recommend you to get along with your boss for a while.

Actually, I am so happy because my boss has the all of them. It is a miracle.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Independence of Scotland, referendum is approaching

Scotland is shaken. A public voting to decide whether being independent from the UK or not will be performed in Sep 18, 2014.

Scotland was united into the UK in 1707. Its legal and educational systems are different from the UK. Parliament of Scotland has a right to settle some original laws independent from the legislation of the UK. Nonetheless, not a few citizens think that Scotland should be more free from England. After the development of oil fields in North Sea in 1960s, separatists has been powered much more.

If Scotland becomes independent, it is obvious that many disadvantageous matters will occur in England. Therefore, David Cameron, the Prime Minister in the UK encouraged the Scots to abandon the dream of independence.

The Telegraph: Scotland is better off 'as part of something bigger', David Cameron to say

The opinions of citizens are various. The BBC says that the majority is opposed to the independence, but the difference between each side is low.

There is some discussion regarding the administration after the independence. Among them, currency is the most critical issue. Scotland wants to continue to use GBP, whereas the UK government has no intention to allow it. This topic remains the center of debates.

Salmond v Darling: Scottish independence debate on the BBC - as it happened

 In addition, it is unclear whether Scotland can join the EU. Medical service in the future, now provided by the NHS, is also a focus of the argument.

It is certain that the UK would be weakened in the presence in the diplomatic field if Scotland becomes independent. Scotland will also have a risk of some conflicts. So, I think it is better for the both countries not to be separated, although I have not enough knowledge to consider this matter.

The shape of nations is gradually changing. I will keep an eye on this news for a while.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Paradoxical effects of Buddhist meditation

There is an academic article to prove the effect of Buddhist meditation.

In Plos One, a famous academic journal collecting lots of medical research, Ido Amihai et al. in National University of Singapore reported about the effects of meditation. According to them, the influences of meditation upon your mental state are various, depending on the style of religion.

Plos One: Arousal vs. Relaxation: A Comparison of the Neurophysiological and Cognitive Correlates of Vajrayana and Theravada Meditative Practices

They examined the activity of neural network of the participants with electroencephalogram during the meditation. It revealed that some methods of meditation make you relax, whereas others make you arise.  Theravada tradition was the former, and Vajrayana tradition was the latter.

It is known in general that meditation lets you being calm. So it sounds strange that Vajrayana tradition enhances your sympathetic activation. However, some mediators also insist that good meditation makes you creative. Indeed, participants using Vajrayana tradition marked better performance at a cognitive task.

So, you can choose these two methods to modify your mental state, as some mystics claim. Isn't it fantastic?

To be honest, electroencephalogram is not so precise evaluator of the brain activity. Noise and artifacts are easily inserted in it in usual situations. I hardly agree with the opinion that the pattern of electroencephalogram is strictly reflecting the deep mind of a person. Some more complex techniques such as functional MRI or PET are required to examine the exact influence of meditation upon our brain activity.

Nonetheless, there has been lots of studies to visualize the effect of some spiritual activities with newly technology. It is an interesting tendency.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Current situation in Asian economy

Recently, some Asian countries are focused on as their aggressive policy on the economy.

Japan is no exception. Abenomics was broadly reported as a solution against long lasting depression, which was annoying Japan, as I wrote before.

My past entry: Abenomics and consumption tax

The outcome of Abenomics is still fluctuating. Turning to India, however, an amazing progress is occurring. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is honored as if he is reincarnated Ronald Reagan.

Forbes: Republicans Think India's Narendra Modi Is New Reagan

Since ruling Bhāratīya Janatā Party has won in the last general election, Modi administration is expected to lead India to stable economic growth. India has a large amount of young citizens. Domestic demand will be raised for some decades. Therefore, it is probable that India will take an initiative on Asian economy in the near future.

On the other hand, South Korea is challenging to improve its financial problem.

CNBC: Choinomics - Breakthrough for South Korea?

Counter to India, Korea is annoyed by the shortage of domestic demand. Korean companies had to fight in the global field to survive the era. Understanding the situation, the government made great effort to grow some companies such as Samsung up to world famous ones. Its attempt resulted in success for the first move. However, there are several burdens to interfere Korea now.

Park Geun-hye, Korean President and  Choi Kyung-hwan, finance minister are aiming to reactivate Korean market. A large amount of money was thrown into the market, as Choinomics. Its effect may be strong, though its sustainability is doubtful. Additionally, Park has some political risks. The relationship with North Korea, emotional conflict with Japan, and domestic enemies such as opposing parties are difficult to treat.

By the way, the economic growth rate of Japan was decreased the last month, perhaps due to the raised consumption tax. Japan will also face to tough situation.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sultan, a luxury table for gamers

Geek Chic, a company providing furniture for geeks, has made a gaming table.

It looks wooden table with a calm atmosphere. It equips several drawers on each side as players can spare their dice and tokens. As named I would feel as I were a sultan when using it.

The Sultan

Furniture industries are struggling for restructuring. In Japan, several providers release inexpensive goods. Most of them are made by an automated process. There are only few craftspersons to cut and combine the wood. IKEA and some big companies have overwhelmed the market.

In addition, most people are troubled by the narrowness of the house in Japan. Foldable furniture are preferred by citizens living in urban areas.

Nowadays, we seldom play board games or table-talk role playing game sitting around the table. Instead, online computer games are dominant in Japan. It is somewhat related to the decreased number of children.

I am fascinated to watch this table. I would like to live in a large house in which Sultan is suitable.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monkey has no copyright, authority says

Can a monkey have copyright upon its works?

It seems a ridiculous question at a glance. However, the US Copyright Office made a sincere answer against it in an official report. According to it, animals, as well as God and supernatural power, have no right to declare copyright. Quite ordinary thoughts. Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

The Telegraph: Monkeys, ghosts and gods 'cannot own copyright' says US

This fact can be a reply for a controversy occurred some years ago. In 2011, David Slater, a photographer had his camera robbed by a monkey. It took several photos on its own before returning the camera. One of these photos became famous as a selfie by a monkey.

Slater got annoyed that the photo was published in Wikimedia. He requested for the deleting, but Wikimedia declined his claim, for the reason that the photo belonged to the public domain.

Ars Technica: Monkey’s selfie at center of copyright brouhaha

The report written by the American authority is on Slater's side. Furthermore, he has an opportunity to declare the copyright of these photos because he contributed to create them under the Britain law.

Ars Technica: Monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted, US regulators say

It is no doubt that the modern legal system ignores the existence of being other than human. Nowadays, the right of animals is sometimes discussed as an issue of ethics.

In the near future, a robot will create some splendid works. Whom the copyright of such works belongs to? How about the record of a Chess game performed by two AI programs? We soon encounter the era of SciFi in which there is a legislation about the right of robots.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ebola outbreak and experimental medicine

A devastating Ebola virus is raging in Africa. More than 1,000 people were killed by the outbreak, suffering more.

Time: 1,400 Are Dead From Ebola and We Need Help, Says Doctors Without Borders President

Many medical practitioners are included in the patients. Obviously they are at high risk of infection. There is no adequate instrument to protect them from secondary infection in many hospitals in the region where the virus is spread. As a result, some hospitals reject the suspicious patients.

The Guardian: Ebola: Why Lagos Hospitals Reject Suspected Patients

Recently, two American doctors survived Ebola symptoms with an experimental medicine. Zmapp is a developing solution against Ebola virus, but yet to be examined in clinical trials. It was utilized in serious cases, which became extremely successful in a few cases.

Premium Times: Ebola: American doctor treated with Zmapp recovers, discharged from hospital

However, it contains several issues. Firstly, is it justified to use experimental medicines in this case? Maybe yes, I think, but there are numerous patients waiting for an innovative treatment for other diseases. Why cannot they receive potential drugs?

Secondly, I heard that some patients given ZMapp died. It is uncertain whether Ebola or ZMapp robbed them of their lives. We have no enough evidence of adverse effects of Zmapp.

Thirdly, who should take the treatment the first? The answer was suspended by WHO, though it has approved the use of it for an emergency resolution as ethical.

The Huffington Post: The Ethics of the Ebola Outbreak: Who Should Receive Experimental Treatment?

Ebola itself is not a new virus. However, there has been no decisive treatment against it. One of the reasons for the difficulty of developing treatment is that viruses are hardly treated with antibiotic drugs or similar methods. In addition, Ebola is not so frequently spreading, compared to Malaria, that drug companies cannot gain adequate profit to compensate for the cost of the development.

Infectious diseases are less dangerous now than in the past. Nevertheless, there are several deadly viruses which human has not overcome yet. Rapid and effective treatments are requested.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Questionable result in instant noodle

Recently, I found a tiny but interesting article in The Washington Post. It introduced some opinions of Korean people against a study suggesting the risk for health of instant ramen.

The Washington Post: Reactions in Asia to instant noodle study

It begins from an academic article published in The Journal of Nutrition. The researchers investigated over 10,000 Korean people in their diet patterns and examined their medical records. They found that people who had a traditional dietary pattern were less likely to be obese. In addition, they concluded that there was an association between high consumption of instant noodle and occurring of metabolic syndrome.

Instant noodle intake and dietary patterns are associated with distinct cardiometabolic risk factors in Korea.

In The Washington Post, several comments by Korean people were described. Their claims are various, from guiltiness of eating instant foods to emphasizing the merits of instant noodle.

Unfortunately, I could not read the full text of the original study because I am not a subscriber of the journal. Nonetheless, I am sure that this article is somehow questionable in the reliance. It seems that multidimensional analyses were adopted. It is uncertain based on what kind of concept the authors distinguished traditional diet pattern from meat and fast-food pattern. The reason that instant ramen is focused exclusively is unclear. I feel their conclusion is quite arbitrary.

Furthermore, I cannot understand the intention of The Washington Post to pay attention to this research. Korea is not the only country in which citizens are fond of eating instant noodle. What it the benefit of the readers from knowing this controversial result of this study? Not limited in instant noodle, it is obviously harmful to eat excessive amounts of a kind of food. Does the author of this article dislike a certain culture?

I like instant noodle. But I dare not to eat it everyday. That's all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paper is more powerful for education than digital?

Nowadays, digital devices are becoming common in the field of education. Most developed countries have adopted some classes of IT skills in compulsory education. Students are given an iPad in some schools. It is no doubt that utilizing digital devices is essential to survive the modern age.

However, some educators who are relatively conservative think that learning with such electronic devices is less beneficial for children. They insist the traditional work with paper and pencil is important to acquire new knowledge.

I believe that their opinion is pointless. However, there is an evidence suggesting that paper books are somehow advantageous in education than digital monitors.

The Guardian: Readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper, study finds

In this study, subjects were requested to recall the story they had read on either paperback or Kindle. The result was that the group using paperback achieved a better score at memorizing the story than the Kindle group. This result suggests you can be a better learner with a paper book than an electronic device, though the reason uncleared.

Researchers hypothesized that finger movement for turning over the pages has some roles upon brain activity. Despite it is uncertain in scientific debates, many people believe that you have to move your hands for better learning.

I love Kindle and other digital devices, but it is hard for me to ignore the result of this study. Actually, when I have to look through and memorize the content of an article, I dare to print it out to read it in detail. I am not sure how is the difference between analog and digital materials in learning. Maybe it is simply an issue of practice. If so, children in the future will be more likely to learn well with digital devices. Interesting matter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jobless in youth and suicide risk

It is broadly recognized that financial problems are likely to increase the risk of suicide. It is well adapted not only to adults but also children, according to a new survey.

Psychiatric News Alert: Mass Job Loss in a State Associated With Suicidal-Behavior Increase in Some Teens, Study Finds

In this article, researchers investigated the data in the past to identify the influence of mass job layoff on the rate of suicide in the adolescents. As a result, some clusters of youth were actually affected by the matter. Girls were more likely to commit suicide by 2% if jobless rate had worsened by 1% in a working population. African-American teenagers were also vulnerable to the recession. Researchers concluded that these groups tended not to seek adequate care even if feeling depressed due to lack of money.

Effects of Statewide Job Losses on Adolescent Suicide-Related Behaviors
(Full text is available only to subscribers.)

These results are somehow interesting. However, the situation in Japan seems a little different. In Japan, the suicide rate in men rapidly increased after Japan economy became worse, whereas women did not change. Some Japanese who have conservative thought do not expect women to make money. It leads the atmosphere that men who are not working are more likely to be blamed. I think this fact is relevant to the high suicide rate in men.

In Japan, the suicide rate in adolescent is not comprehensively investigated, as far as I know. Teenagers are more likely to commit suicide than the past. Nonetheless, mid aged persons have far more risk of suicide.

Anyway, suicide is a miserable phenomenon. We should stop them as many as possible. Considering about the economic factor is also, or much more important, than mental health care itself, to prevent suicide.

Monday, August 18, 2014

IFTTT, connecting internet services

Yesterday, I referred to IFTTT, as it was no use to solve my problem.

However, it is an amazing service, indeed.

IFTTT, pronounced as "ift", though I said "ai-ef-triple-T" is an abbreviation of "If this then that". As the name suggests, its concept is quite simple. The only role of this service is to connect two different services together. It actually enables you to enrich the performance of each service.

For example, I connected Blogger to Twitter. Then, whenever I post a new entry IFTTT automatically tweets the URL of my new entry immediately. It saves me from spending time to post a tweet subsequently.

You can get today's weather report via Google messenger every morning, after connecting these two services.

When I enter my office, my smartphone become silent mode, because when the GPS detects I enter the hospital it trigger to turn ringtone off.

There are many other functions. Now, IFTTT is adapting to over 60 services, including Evernote, Dropbox, and Instagram. Your idea and a little effort will make your daily life convenient.

In addition, IFTTT equips sharing function. You can utilize numerous recipes someone has developed without any stress.

Still now, IFTTT cannot control the Wifi setting of the smartphone. Now, I am wondering to wait for improvement or seek another service to realize automatic regulation of Wifi function.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wifi problem using Greenpower battery saver

My smartphone was troubling.

The other day, I wrote that I began to use Greenpower as a battery saving application. It enabled me to use my smartphone for a little long time without charging. I was fond of utilizing it.

One day, however, it brought me an inconvenience.

I had made the WiFi automatically regulated. When I came home, Greenpower turned Wifi on, to lessen the amount of 3G packets. When the smartphone could not detect any available WiFi waves, the Wifi power was turned off automatically. It was so cool.

The problem occurred after I retired an internet service named "Wi2 Premium". It is a Wifi connecting service. Anyone who made a contract can utilize Wifi connection at several places, such as McDonald's, Starbucks, and some airports. The monthly payment cost only $4. I continued this service with satisfaction for a while. But recently, I withdrew the contract for tiny reasons.

Even then, my smartphone was still trying to connect to the internet via Wifi provided by Wi2 premium. Actually, it was no more available because my ID and password were negated. However, Greenpower misunderstood as the internet connection was established. It caused defeasance of 3G connection in the areas covered by Wi2 premium. As a result, I could not use any service requiring the internet connection during W2 premium was detectable, unless I turned off the Wifi manually.

Unfortunately, I could not detect any configuration to ignore the wave of a particular Wifi access point. At last, I had to make Wifi automatic regulation inactive.

I uninstalled Greenpower and tried other similar applications, such as Juice Defender and Deep Sleep again. However, Greenpower was superior. Indeed, the battery became exhausting more quickly after uninstalling Greeenpower.

To solve this situation, I am considering using some applications simultaneously; Green power and a software adjusting the Wifi. A candidate to fill the latter role was IFTTT. Though it is an amazing service, it did not equip the function to control Wifi. Still now I am investigating.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pirahã language

Today, I watched a special program featuring Pirahã via the TV.

Pirahã language is used by only hundreds of the people living in Brazil. It has some amazing characteristics, perhaps because Pirahã has been isolated for several centuries. For example, Pirahã language has no concept of number. The users of Pirahã vaguely distinguish largeness from littleness. In addition, they do not use tense at all. This fact is sometimes introduced as Pirahã people live in the present time, either the past or the future. Moreover, they can communicate with a whistle instead of words, according to the TV report. Intonation may have a critical role in communication with Pirahã language.

Indian Country: The Amazon's Pirahã People's Secret to Happiness: Never Talk of the Past or Future

Daniel Everett is an authority on Pirahã language. There are quite few persons who can speak Pirahã language other than natives. He was a missionary in the past. He visited this region to translate the Bible into the Pirahã language to make use of propagation. However, getting accustomed to Pirahã lifestyle, he felt doubtful of the goodness of his mission. Finally, he abandoned the Christian doctrine, simultaneously, he began to study the Pirahã language in detail.

Freedom from Religion Foundation: The Pirahã: People Who Define Happiness Without God

His research ignited broad discussion among linguists. He could not find any recursion in Pirahã language. This fact obviously contradicts the modern theory of language. On the other hand, the evidence supporting the findings by Everett is limited because he was not permitted to enter Pirahã region again. The argument is still continuing.

Recently, the Brazilian government decided to provide Pirahã people primary education. Thus, Pirahã children will learn the concept of number. It is afraid that external intervention can ruin the traditional way of life of Pirahã. However, Pirahã people will be deceived by foreigners with malice if they never learn it.

Research about minor forks teaches us many things. Where does the common sense that we believe come from?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Serotonin transporter makes your response to psychotherapy?

Nowadays, many studies are published to investigate the relationship between gene and response to a certain treatment. If their statements are reliable, patients can avoid trying ineffective treatment using gene examination in advance. It is decisive, especially in the choice of some medication which are potentially poisonous.

Today, I read an article suggesting that serotonin transporter diversity is relevant to the response to cognitive behavioral therapy. In this study, hundreds children with anxiety disorder were given cognitive behavioral therapy. The subjects who have Short/Short (S/S) genotype of Serotonin transporter achieved good improvement of the mental status after treatment compared to ones with other types.

Molecular Psychiatry: Therapygenetics: The 5HTTLPR and response to psychological therapy

There is a hypothesis that Serotonin transporter subtypes are relevant to vulnerability to stress. Who with S/S are likely to be anxious in unusual situations. I was personally involved in an experiment when I was a college student, so I believe this hypothesis. The majority of Japanese, including myself, has S/S genotype, much different from American.

If this result is true, Japanese are more likely to be sensitive to cognitive therapy than American. It is certain that patients who were vulnerable to the change of environment will recover when their inner cognition is adjusted. A sensitive person may be flexible in preferable circumstance.

However, this study can be interpreted differently. People with other genotype than S/S are less likely to be anxious. Thus, patients with anxiety disorder without S/S genotype have some other factor to cause such disease. Anxiety disorder is not a single concept. Social phobia, Post traumatic stress disorder, or other kind of biological impairment would be included. Such patients are difficult to be healed with standard treatment strategy. The difference in response rate to therapy is possible to due to the cause of the disease, not subtype of the gene.

Mental disorders are hardly to be classified definitely. This fact makes discussion complex.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Type-c will come soon

The USB Promoter Group, which is attempting to determine the next generation standard of the USB connector, published recently that "Type-C" had been finalized. According to the media, some products will be utilized the next year.

Extreme Tech: Reversible USB Type-C connector finalized: Devices, cables, and adapters coming soon

Type-C connector has some advantages upon current micro USB. Firstly, it is reversible. I believe everyone has been annoyed when trying to insert the connector with the wrong direction. Although some USB connectors are reversible even now, micro USB is not. So it will much easier to use. Secondly, Type-C has a potential to charge power up to 100W through it. It may also be useful, because now several devices require multiple USB ports for supplying power. And thirdly, of course the speed of transmission is much faster.

I wrote an entry about USB connector attached to mobile phones. Smartphone providers in the EU should unite the connector of their products until 2017. Type-C is probable to be elected as the standard. It will be painful for Apple, which makes iPhone equip Lightning connector. Lightning is also reversible, however, it has not been so popular.

My past entry: One connecter law for mobile phones in EU

By the way, I am wondering till when such connectors will be used. In the future, non-touching charging will be dominant. Someday, cables will be a legacy. Perhaps Type-C would be the last standard of connecting devices.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Controversy among the relationship between depression and dementia

It is a big problem how is the relationship between depression and dementia over decades. Most of you will suffer from dementia if you get aged enough. Depression also occurs quite frequently in older people. There are several hypotheses to explain why older people tend to be depressed.

The other days, I was taught that old patients with depression looked like suffering from dementia. They have lesser attention, memory, and executive function. Family members sometimes misdiagnose them as dementia. But if properly treated, their cognitive function recovers to intact. These confusing symptoms are called "pseudo-dementia". Therefore, we were told that it is decisive to distinguish depression as treatable dementia from true dementia.

However, a considerable amount of evidence was found, suggesting that depressive symptoms prospect the onset of dementia, recently. There are similar biological basis between depression in older people and dementia. For example, the volume of hippocampus of depressive patients is reduced compared to age-matched healthy people. Hippocampus is a region in the brain, which has an important role in memory. Patients with dementia also have reduced volume of hippocampus.

Accepting such findings, we psychiatrists were forced to change the explanation to the patients and family. Formally, "you are not demented, but simply depressed. You should be cured." In contrast, we have to say, "You will be recovered, or will not. I hate to say that your symptoms can be due to dementia".

It is surprising that another hypothesis was published in an academic journal. The author insists that, although it is true that depressed patients have poorer cognitive function, however which is independent from dementia. How Is Depression Related to Dementia?

The original article is shown below, although the complete content is available only for subscribers.

Neurology: Clinical-pathologic study of depressive symptoms and cognitive decline in old age

If this finding is true, we have to change again the explanation for the patients. In my clinical experience, some patients become demented gradually during treatment of depression. But others can recover completely, even if they showed severe impairment of cognitive function in the maelstrom of depression. It is difficult to distinguish one from the other in advance.

I guess this kind of controversy is originated from the vagueness of definition of depression. Depression includes extremely wide status, from stupor to heartbreak. Biological research is required to make more clear and trustworthy criteria of depression.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When Marnie was there, very Japanese movie in unpreferable meaning

"When Marnie was there" is originally written as a story for children by Joan Gale Robinson. Recently, Studio Ghibli published an animation cinema movie from it. I watched this work a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, I have not read the original story. In this movie, the heroine was Anna, a Japanese girl. As an adopted daughter, she had some troubles in the relationship with her foster mother. The main reason why she became to be annoyed in her foster mother is described in later scenes. For a treatment of her asthma, she was left to her relatives who lived in a rural area.

Adoption is relatively rare in Japan, compared to Western countries. It is possible for adopted children to be bullied by classmates about this matter. It is understandable that she often felt alone. The director well installed Japanese cultural background into the story.

In this village, she met a strange foreign girl. The girl lived in a house which looked abandoned long time ago. She soon got the girl be a friend, and they enjoyed precious time. The scenes describing their communication were fantastic.

However, the girl, named Marnie disappeared all at sudden. Anna guessed that Marnie betrayed her. She was so hurt. Finally, she was told by an old lady about the history of Marnie's house. The content was extremely astonishing. She finally understood the true color of Marnie and her intention.

I dare not reveal the truth. It is a fantastic story. To be honest, this sort of plot is commonly used. Indeed, I watched another movie in which similar story was inserted very recently. So, I do not think this story is so amazing.

The personality of Anna is hardly understandable. Although she is not a bad girl, she sometimes ridicules others. Is it her nature or not? There is a certain reason why she could get along with Marnie. Nonetheless, her attitude against Marnie looked too friendly compared with other patterns of her behaviors.

Actually, she got angered to know that her foster mother was given money for compensation of accepting her as an adopted child. Why was she angry for this? Did she believe that her foster mother had been taking care of her only for money?

At the last scene, her foster mother apologized to her for hiding this fact. She said, "Even if I had not been given money, I would have accepted you." I think that this sentence is problematic, for the internal meaning of this comment is that, foster parents must love the adopted child without money, and they should not take money. It is a quite childish dogma. Taking care of children is a very tough task. But Japanese mothers are considerably underestimated in their work. I feel this scene symbolize a traditional, and now irrational value in Japan.

To sum up, I do not like this movie, although the picture was extremely beautiful.

There is a rumor that Studio Ghibli is going to be closed, according to newly reports. It is regrettable if Marnie would be the last heroine created by Ghibli. UPDATE: Studio Ghibli to Shut Down Operations?

Personal Rating: 2 (poor)

Monday, August 11, 2014

France set symbol of home-made food

The French government established a legislation which sounds somehow traditional. All restaurants in which home-made materials are exclusively used for dishes will be mandated to post a particular mark. It looks like a combination of a boiling pan with a house with a chimney.


A cute mark! This logo suggests that the restaurant with it may adhere a traditional cooking style, not using frozen foods. It will help foreign travelers to select restaurants which are valuable to try, according to officials.

BBC: The new sign on French menus

However, some authorities make a doubt about the effectiveness of this regulation. Breads, pasta, cheese, wine, and some raw foods are exempted from the rule. They insist that these exceptions will nullify the value of this logo. Whether this campaign will be successful depends on the detailed contents of the regulation.

This kind of legislation is intended to support traditional shopkeepers. I remember a law to protect bookstores enforced in France as an example to suggest its conservative trend, as I mentioned before. Recent movement in France may be relevant to the fact that Francois Hollande at Socialist Party won the seat of the President.

I dare not eat frozen food, especially in foreign countries. However, technology of freezing itself is a great invention. It is simply preferable for us to be able to enjoy any food anytime anywhere. The battle between local cuisine and processed food will be continued for a while.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Asahi admit the false about comfort women

Very recently, Asahi Shinbun, one of the most famous newspapers in Japan admitted that its report regarding comfort women was incorrect. It has a great impact on not only Japanese but also Asian people.

Asahi Shinbun: Identified as a false report of taking in Jeju-do because of lack of evidence (in Japanese)

The Japan Times: Asahi Shimbun admits errors in past ‘comfort women’ stories

The Wall Street Journal Blog: Media Abuzz Over Asahi Retraction on ‘Comfort Women’

It has been said for a long time that Japanese army made some local women accompanied to serve them for soldiers' sexual satisfaction in the WWII. They were called as "Comfort Women". After the end of war, the Japanese government made great efforts to reveal the actual condition about the situation in Korea during the war. However, they found no evidence of the existence of sex slaves.

In 1983, Seiji Yoshida, an ex-soldier confessed that he had been involved in kidnapping Korean women. His comments were broadly widened. However, he retracted his words later.

The discussion continued. Some persons claimed that they had been victims of the Japanese army. However, no local people who were forced to become a sex slave were discovered in a local investigation performed by NHK. According to Nobuo Ikeda, ex-director of NHK, some persons voluntarily served the army for a considerable amount of money.

Introduction to Comfort Women for the New York Times (in Japanese)

Asahi Shinbun repeatedly reported the comments of Yoshida. Thus, some people blamed Asahi for losing reputation of Japan.

This retraction of Asahi Shinbun is a historic event. I am not sure how this matter will influence the relationship between Asian countries and Japan.

Unfortunately, I have not enough knowledge to evaluate the matter precisely. The reason why Asahi admitted its falseness now is still unclear. Is it true that there were no comfort women victimized by Japan? I think it is quite usual that rape cases occur in a battlefield. I am not confident that our ancestors were truly innocent. But perhaps it is the same all over the world.

By the way, Asahi Shinbun is criticized by several authorities for the delay of retraction. I feel that it is a little strange. Admitting mistakes is an admirable thing, no matter how late it is. We should not blame Asahi Shinbun any more. Otherwise, the media would never correct its errors any more.

Mainichi: Asahi Shimbun's stance questioned after withdrawal of 'comfort women' articles


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parody is legal in the UK

In the UK, the long range of parody will be legalized coincide to the enforcement of the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014.

In this new legislation, the regulation against changing copyrighted materials for caricature, parody, and pastiche will be loosed to a considerable extent. It enables comedians, cartoonists, and other artists create more variable works.

The Drum: 'Right to parody' campaigners win battle after nine-year effort to modernise copyright law

Gizumodo: Law Change Will Legalise Parodies in the UK

There has been a discussion about outdated law of copyright for a decade in the UK. The US and France have already equipped a certain rule for parody.

On the other hand, Japan has also controversy regarding this matter. However, there are numerous nonprofessional works in which copyrighted characters are used without permission. Fortunately, we seldom see pirated materials in Japan.

I think this kind of regulation is required also in Japan, even if it will merely follow the current situation. It is a responsibility for lawmakers to develop a written rule properly, for avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Barnes & Nobles with Google against Amazon

Barnes & Nobles (B&N), a famous bookstore in the US is to make an alliance with Google. The new service enables fast shipping for internet customers.

The New York Times: Google and Barnes & Noble Unite to Take On Amazon

B&N is not so popular in Japan because it has not been available there. However, Nook, an e-ink book reader powered by B&N is well spread as much as Kindle by Amazon in the US. Additionally, B&N have many retail bookshops different from Amazon. Users can try watching several books and Nook itself before buying them.

It is a little surprising that Google made an aid to B&N with its sales network. Google is not to mention a gigantic internet company. Thus, it looks strange that it equips network for delivery. Actually, Google started Google shopping one year ago, which allowed online shoppers to gain items through Costco or some other supply chains.

In the other days, Amazon was not a rival for Google. But recently, Kindle Fire and Fire Phone were launched, identified as competitors for Android by Google. So, Google may be encouraged to fight with B&N against Amazon.

It is not certain this attempt will be successful. B&N is in a peril for decline of sales in recent years. Anyway, it is preferable that there are several choices to buy a book. I hope B&N will recover.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Suicide in Japan, is it a culture?

It is a sad news. Yoshiki Sasai, a famous scientist who was involved in a suspicious fraud case of a stem cell research, killed himself. He was found dead by hanging in a research institution, reported on Aug 5 2014.

Time: Top Japanese Scientist Who Co-Authored Discredited Stem-Cell Study Commits Suicide

He was one of the core members which were struggling to prove the existence of STAP cell, which was once published to be discovered in Nature, an extremely famous academic journal. However, this article was retracted since several erroneous descriptions had been pointed out. He, as well as Haruko Obokata, the unit leader of this project, was broadly criticized for a suspect of fabrication.

Sasai left a letter to express his own thought. According to the media, he believed to be able to reconstruct the STAP cells. He also made a mourning for the current exhaustive situation, meanwhile apologizing for confusing the society.

Based on the incident, his death was introduced as a method of atonement in Japan in some media. The Wall Street Journal referred to some cases in which a certain person committed suicide to take a responsibility for a scandal.

The Wall Street Journal: Suicide Is Sometimes Means of Atonement in Japan

I disagree with the opinion of this article above. It is true that some Japanese decide to kill oneself after being blamed. However, there are not so many Japanese who think suicide is required to compensate for a vast loss. HARAKIRI is merely a legendary culture in ancient Japan.

Actually, Japan is a suicide-rich country. Some people have an opinion that most Japanese who committed suicide were not mentally ill. However, this idea has been clearly denied by a survey conducted by Yoshinori Choh, a researcher of psychiatry. According to the result of his study, more than 90% of the person who committed suicide had somewhat mental disorders before the fatal period. This percentage is as same as the report by WHO.

My past entry: Suicide in Japan
My past entry: Reduction of suicide in 2012 in Japan
My past entry: The MTS act and suicide (1)
My past entry: A new research of suicide prevention in Japan

Every suicide is a tragedy. I think no life should not be forced to be extinguished by self or others. We must be aware of the risk of suicide in a tough situation.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Comfortable airplanes

I like airplanes. Taking a plane is a fun for me.

This idea looks somewhat childish. However, I did not like to take a plane in my childhood.

Actually, there is a huge difference between seeing a plane and taking one. Airplanes look so cool that they fly in the sky with marvelous speed. You may have experienced an airplane proceeding in clouds elegantly in a movie scene.

In contrast, it is doubtful whether you feel great during taking an airplane. You are forced to sit on a small seat next to strangers for a long time. Even going to the lavatory is not easy. In addition, I was disappointed to the window beside the wall of the airplane for the first time for me to take a plane. The window was so small that I could not enjoy the landscape at all. Enormous clouds over there was the only thing I could see.

By the way, I took a seat in business class several years ago. Unfortunately, it was far from satisfactory. I hardly listened to the movie with the headset because of loud noise. The seat was too hard for me to take a good nap.

Therefore, airplanes are not an attractive vehicle in my opinion.

However, introduction of tablets has changed the situation.

I have a tablet with me whenever taking a plane. And I enjoy movies, comic books, and games with it. PCs are a little large to use at the seat in the airplane. Compared to PCs, tablets are more portable and flexible to use. I always equip several movies which are my favorite and I listen to it with a noise cancelling headset I introduced the other day.

I have to stay on the seat for several hours in the airplane. The time is enough to spend with watching movies I missed before. I often feel the flight time is too short to enjoy.

Incidentally, I do not expect movies the airline offers. Some of them are interesting, but the monitors equipped behind the seat have inadequate resolution.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Issues about smoking

Recently, I referred an article that reported a high amount of penalty against a tobacco company. It is not an exception that this kind of issues often gets burned.

My past entry: Tobacco company punished with $23.6 billion

In Japan, a hospital was forced to be reclaimed payment for medical services recently. The hospital equips special outpatient units to offer therapy to quit smoking. In the regulation of national health insurance, any smoking area is prohibited in the hospital which equips such units. However, some employees were found to enjoy smoking in the hospital. Therefore, the hospital was deemed to violate the regulation, that resulted in the return of payment of the special care.

Nowadays, most hospitals do not equip smoking area in it. It leads that smoking patients have to go out of the hospital whenever they want to smoke, even if it is extremely cold. It is doubtful that the current situation is preferable.

Since smoking is a well spread habit, most people cannot avoid to be biased during discussion about this issue. Smokers often insist the right to smoke, meanwhile nonsmokers say that their thought is polluted by nicotine.

In terms of patients with mental disorders, this topic becomes more complicated. First, nicotine has a potential effect on cognitive function of patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenic patients are more likely to smoke than healthy people. Actually, they smoke as a self medication. In contrast, some psychotropic medicines are attenuated by smoking. Patients sometimes say that they smoke to dilute the medicines in their body. Of course it is rather harmful for their treatment. Furthermore, some patients are secluded in a special room or unit due to his or her mental state. Whether it is necessary to offer them an opportunity to smoke is quite controversial. Indeed, some patients in the forensic unit appeals to the ethics committee to gain the opportunity to smoke.

I myself hate smoking. My respiratory organs are so vulnerable that I feel sick whenever a smoker is approaching. However, we should be neutral to consider how to administrate the smoking habit in our society.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Marvel Unlimited, a great online comics service

Recently, I received an advertisement email about Marvel Unlimited.

Marvel Comics is a world famous series of cartoons describing superheroes such as X-men, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and so on. In recent years, several characters in Marvel were visualized with SFX movies, whom also I often introduce.

My past entries:
American comics movies
Avengers, the weaknesses of heroes
Iron Man 3: a joke movie
Wolverine real but not impressive
Thor the Dark World, dark heart of Loki
A conservative hero, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
X-MEN: Days of Future Past: too much explanation and cancelation

Amazingly, you can read almost all comics published in the past by Marvel as many as you want with your smartphone or tablet. In addition to online reading, you can temporarily download up to 12 sets of comics onto your device so that you can read it offline.

The annual fee is $69. Marvel offers also limited membership for the US citizen for $99. You should be cautious that the membership will automatically continue unless you cancel registration.

I bought a month membership with only $1 using a campaign. And I started to read "Uncanny X-MEN", the oldest series of X-MEN. It is a great advantage for users to read materials out of print. Additionally, it costs quite low if you read some Marvel comics frequently.

The only disadvantage is that the application often freeze. I have encountered disappearing of the comics I had already downloaded for some time.

I will enjoy it, at least for several months.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Wafer King, a local cake

I bought a little odd box of cakes at Hakata.

Its name is "Hakata Haas Oh (The Wafer King at Hakata)". A gallant lady was painted at the top of the box.

It is common that a local souvenir is sold with some cheerful figures painted on the package. In this case, however, I paid attention to a description in front of the showcase.

It explains a background story surrounding this cake. It is obvious that this story is a fiction. The shopkeeper agitated me to read the story sealed in the box.

Actually, I like this kind of cakes. So I tried buying one.

Opened the box, I found a little book describing the King Haas.

In this story, Hakata city was conquered by a foreign country in Sengoku era. King Haas is the successor of the ruler of Hakata. She attempted to create a delicious wafer in which Amaou (a famous species of sweet strawberry) jam was inserted.

This is Hakata Haas Oh!

Unfortunately, it does not taste so good.

To be honest, the story did not attract me so much, either. I hardly understood the sense of the developer.

There is little information found about Haas Oh with Google. Even a website introducing the cake does not exist!

Recently, storytelling is frequently used to advertise an item, since we are well impressed with a context relevant to the item, rather than the item itself. I admire this kind of method just because I sometimes enjoy it. Nonetheless, this Haas Oh is still a mystery.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Self corrective display by MIT

This is an amazing invention based on a reversed way of thinking.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a digital monitor which displays an image automatically adjusted for a viewer who has vision defects.

MIT News: Vision-correcting displays

The principle of the monitor is as same as glasses. These two monitor displays each vision which is simulated to be compounded correctly on the retinas of the viewer. Recent development of the rapid calculation of computing and digital monitors with extremely high resolution have enabled such architecture. Different from glasses, this monitor can be adapted to several persons sequentially.

Glasses are essential for our daily life. However, we also have to gaze at a monitor for a long time in both private life and at work. This invention will release us from continuous equipment of glasses during watching the monitor. I think it is a fantastic perspective.