Thursday, May 21, 2015

UK toward deflation

The UK went into deflation, according to the official statistics.

The Independent: UK slips into deflation for the first time since 1960

The Office for National Statistics said that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 0.1% in the year to April 2015. It means that you can get something for lower cost than in the previous year.

Deflation is considered to deteriorate the social activity. People hesitate to spend money if they think the price will fall soon. Struggling for selling items, sellers may decide to reduce the price. It causes further dropping of consumption. This phenomenon is called "Deflation Spiral."

Indeed, Japan had been annoyed by long-lasting deflation. This graph below describes the flow of the CPI, the price ratio compared to the previous year.

Obviously, Japan had experienced deflationary territory for a couple of decades. Actually, I remember that a beef bowl costed 500 JPY in my school age. But I experienced only 250 JPY as a lowest price of it. The change of price is influenced by several factor such as reduction of tariff for beef. Nevertheless, the cheap beef bowl was shocking for me. And I was shocked to see the high price of commodity in the UK.

My past entry: Three cheaper foods in the UK than in Japan

In general, proper economic growth leads to mild inflation, e.g. 2% annually. Both the UK and Japan government aim at this degree as desirable ratio.

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan since 2012, emphasized the importance of financial issue in Japan. He took a strong leadership to inflict an inflation in Japan. It seems successful, as far as seeing the right end of this graph. The price of beef bowl is now 380 JPY.

However, rapid progress of inflation has some adverse effects. Our expenditure in daily life inevitably increases. If the wage is not rising together, we will become poor, practically.

I am not sure the policy of Abe administration is right or wrong. And I am curious how Cameron will deal with this situation as well.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mental Disordered Offenders have become being well recognized in Japan

In my latest recent research, I am trying the international comparison between Japan and the UK in the policy against Mental Disordered Offenders (MDOs). Investigating current situation in Japan, I found something interesting.

This graph shows the proportion of persons who were identified or suspected as Mentally Disordered. The bar chart tells the absolute numbers, and the line graph suggest the change of the proportion. The data were obtained from White Paper on Crime, issued by Ministry of Justice. The data in 1996 was not found.

It is easy to recognize that the proportion has been increasing since 2005. Conventionally, Japan government explained that the proportion of MDOs in criminals was only 0.6%. However, the latest data suggest that the percentage has been doubled. What do you think of the findings?

It is extremely unlikely that people with mental disorders became violent in this decade. I have no idea for the reason. The absolute crime cases are declining recently in Japan. Although some people feel that public safety is threatened, it is not true as far as referring relevant statistics.

In 2005, the Medical Treatment and Supervision (MTS) act came into force. This legislation was established in order to provide appropriate care and treatment for patients who had committed serious crimes.

I hypothesize that, the police officers, who are likely to be the first person to deal with the offends caused by MDOs, has become aware of mental disorders in suspects because of the enactment of MTS act.

It is suggested that the introduction of court diversion scheme will increase the identification rate of mental disorders. Indeed, England experienced fourfold increase of compulsory admission after the court diversion started.

PubMed: Court diversion in perspective.

Previously, there was only one option for the police to deal with MDOs: allegation to Official Involuntary Hospitalization (OIH) administered by the prefectural governor. The situation of OIH was extremely varied in regions. In some areas, the police hesitated to allege because the public health centers were unlikely to accept their allegation. In such cases, they carried the MDOs to a psychiatric hospital nearby, calling for treatment without any official procedure. Such cases were not counted as MDOs in this statistics. In addition, many mental disorders seemed to be overlooked previously.

The enforcement of the MTS act changed the situation, even though the cases subjected to this scheme is limited. All people concerned have to be familiar with this new legislation. Some training courses and conferences regarding forensic mental health are held every year. I think that understanding of mental disorders among nonspecialists is gradually improved.

Nevertheless, there is a great discrepancy in treatment of MDOs between Japan and the UK or other countries. I never say Japan is inferior in all the difference. However, we should be more keen to the concern of mental disorders in relation to offending behaviors.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Successful case of double hands transplantation

I saw the incredible news today. A man regained his lost hands with a successful transplantation surgery.

According to the media, the recipient was a 30-year-old military captain. He lost his hands in a task of defusing mines in Afghanistan three years ago. The hands were transplanted from a brain dead 54 years old Indian.

Hindustan Times: Transplant surgery gives Afghan armyman hands of brain dead Indian

The surgery took 15 hours. It is not a surprising duration in the modern surgical procedure. Recent progress of anesthesia has enabled several challenging operations. It is surprising that he is not the first person who was given two hands by the transplantation surgery in India.

Transplantation surgery was realized several decades ago. But limbs is harder than internal organ to transplant because they require the inosculation of nerves. Nerves, both sensory and movement, are quite delicate. With simply jointing the limb, you could not move it at all. Rehabilitation is another issue. Some nervous damage can cause serious pain or other abnormal sense. The brain of the recipient has to recognize the new limbs as his own. It will take a long time.

Dual transplantation seems much more difficult than connecting single hand. It may place considerable stress on the recipient. It is also difficult to arrange adequate number of staffs at the same time. However, the donor's limbs would have decayed if the two operations had not been performed immediately.

I have read an article of successful transplantation of a hand more than a decade ago. After that, much progress may have been accomplished. I respect the surgeons and others involved in this miraculous operation. I hope the recovery of the recipient. In addition, we have to be concerned to the cause he had to take such a stressful experience.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rapoport gets doctorate after 77-year struggle

A 102-year-old German women was given a doctoral issue by the University. Surprisingly, she was rejected to get it 77 years ago for racial reasons.

Independent.IE: Woman (102) gets doctorate 77 years after Nazis denied her for 'racial reasons'

Ms. Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport, wrote a dissertation about diphtheria at the University of Hamburg. However, the university refused her application for doctorate for the reason her mother was Jewish. It was in 1938, when the Nazi power was dominant upon academic authorities. Her professor, Mr. Degkwitz, was arrested for criticizing euthanasia.

She moved to the US. She was accepted to Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, and she received medical doctor license there.

She worked as a neonatologist in Cincinnati. She got married, and became a covert communist accompanied with her husband. As their activity came to light in 1950, she came back to Europe.

Wikipedia: Ingeborg Rapoport

Finally, she became a professor of neonatology at the Charité hospital. However, getting the doctorate was not a simple issue for her. The University of Hamburg was initially reluctant to permit her degree because her original paper was missing. In addition, she was suffering from visual disturbance recently. After an argument, the university admitted that her contribution deserved to a doctoral issue.

The Wall Street Journal: Ingeborg Rapoport to Become Oldest Recipient of Doctorate After Nazi Injustice is Righted

I respect her endeavor and patience. On the other hand, I am just wondering why she had not got the doctorate elsewhere. I think she could have applied to doctorate with other than the original paper about diphtheria.

In Japan, not a few people, i.e. politicians, are given an academic degree without any exceptional contribution. There are lots of honorary professors who have scarce experience of research. There is a controversy about the standard of the doctoral issue after the incident that Obokata's degree was deprived. Similar cases also occurred in Germany.

My past entry: Cheating case in science (1)

My past entry: Resign of Schavan: suspicious charge of plagiarism

On the other hand, I understand the stance of the University of Hamburg. It seems not comfortable to deal with Nazi's work 70 years ago. The university might be in a quandary between the restoration of her honor and strict procedure of permission for the degree.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Flight meals

You may have experienced terrible cuisine in the airplane. There are several reasons why you cannot be happy to eat in the air.

BBC: Why does food taste different on planes?

This article above introduced some factors influencing your taste buds. Low humidity makes your mouth dry. It causes compromised the sense of taste. I think it is the dominant reason your taste becomes blunt in the airplane.

In addition, low pressure and noisy circumstance can inhibit your sense of taste and smell, according to the article. Indeed, I do not enjoy the meal in a noisy pub even if its menu is famous.

Limitation of cooking methods in the aircraft is another reason. Using an electric oven is prohibited in the airplane, needless to say about direct fire. Most preserved foods are optimized to be heated with an electric oven. Foods in the airplane are warmed by a convection oven. It can also cause a difference of tastes.

Although not mentioned in the article, I think that narrowness of the seat contributes to the bad taste. I always feel uneasy when served the meal because I have to be careful not to spill the meal to the next seat. I hope the meal is put away as soon as possible. In such atmosphere, I cannot enjoy the meal. Actually, I sometimes decline my meal in the airplane.

I had an opportunity to use a business class. The food was superior to that in an economy class, but far from satisfactory.

My past entry: Comfortable airplanes

Some airline companies offer curious meals. JAL and ANA, flagship companies in Japan often collaborate with famous franchises, such as Mos Burger and Hilton Hotels.

Pacific Business News: New partnership between Hilton and Japan airline ANA highlights Hawaii

In contrast, Low-Cost Carriers offer terrible meals in general. It is acceptable as a compensation for a low price. However, I have heard some airlines in Asia offer delicious fried rice in spite of the low cost. Unfortunately, I have not tested it.

By the way, most meals served in the airplane contain abundant salt and pepper for the purpose of improving the taste. You have to be cautious of this fact if you have hypertension or renal diseases.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

GPS tracking and privacy

Nowadays, Information Technology is essential to maintain our daily life. On the other hand, it can threaten our security and privacy if being used inappropriately. There is a lawsuit about such a controversial technology.

A woman was dismissed by the company. The reason was that she uninstalled an iPhone application. Actually, the app is to track her movement 24 hours.

ITProPortal: Woman fired after deleting compulsory app which tracked her 24/7

She was told about the nature of this application in advance. In addition, she was requested to keep the power of her iPhone on so that she always can get the contact with her customers. It means that her boss can know where she is even in off-duty. She appealed to the court that compulsory utilization of such technology is a violation of privacy.

I guess there is a hidden background in this conflict. Beside this, I agree with her opinion. Employees have no obligation to expose their private life to the company. The company should prepare an option to cancel the tracking temporarily. Before such a silly solution, I will never work for people who cannot stand unless censoring the employees' behavior.

The similar argument occurred in Japan, in the more casual situation. "Karerogu [His Log]," an application attracted attention some years ago. Karerogu regularly sends the positioning information of the smartphone in which it is installed, to another phone. If girls secretly install it into her lover's smartphone, she can track his movement. Any activities of him, e.g. going to another girl's home, or visit a sex shop, are revealed immediately.

Wikipedia: Karerogu (in Japanese)

After the release of initial version, Karerogu was broadly criticized although there has been no lawsuit cases about it. The developer amended the program, enabling the smartphone in which Karerogu is installed to know when the GPS is working. I think most people deemed Karerogu as a joke app, not intending to make it use seriously.

Tracking system itself is quite convenient. It prevents children, pets, and people with dementia from being missed. Delivery service providers also benefit from it.

GPS tracking has been also utilized in forensic mental health services. In some facilities, offenders with mental disorders are temporally released with equipping the GPS. This solution looks a little fearful. Indeed, however, the introduction of GPS tracking is expected to shorten the duration of hospitalization of them without increasing security problems.

British Journal of Psychiatry: Can electronic monitoring (GPS ‘tracking’) enhance risk management in psychiatry?

Modern technology has double faces. The choice is ours.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cooperative computer gaming makes you prosocial

Computer gaming has been discussed in the educational point of view for many years.

Some parents and authorities criticize computer games as harmful to children's mind. According to them, games with violent themes make you aggressive. In contrast, some researchers emphasize the beneficial effects of computer gaming.

My past entry: Argument continues about the influence of computer gaming on child development

There is evidence suggesting the possibility that some computer games can help you to acquire cooperative attitude to others. John Velez, an assistant professor of journalism and electronic media in the College of Media & Communication, published some essays in which some experiments were conducted to examine the participants' behavior in gaming with other players. As a result, the participants experienced a cooperative play with others became unlikely to behave aggressively afterward.

Science Daily: Cooperative video game play elicits pro-social behavior, research finds

I could not judge the validity of these studies, as far as having read the abstracts. Unfortunately, I cannot read the full text in my environment now.

Sage Journals: Violent Video Games and Reciprocity The Attenuating Effects of Cooperative Game Play on Subsequent Aggression

Science Direct: Extending the theory of Bounded Generalized Reciprocity: An explanation of the social benefits of cooperative video game play

At a glance, it looks not surprising that the participants who experienced a cooperative play just before mitigated their aggression. It is noteworthy that these studies showed our sense of reciprocity is also ignited in a virtual situation. However, it is not difficult to understand that there are other real persons behind the screen if you have adequate imagination. In this sense, multi-player games are no more virtual attractions.

Furthermore, I think it is the same even in single-player games. Indeed, you have neither competitors nor cooperators in a solo play. However, you can imagine the thoughts of the creator while playing the games, as well as reading a novel. I can say that gaming is a conversation with the creator. This is why I believe you can nourish prosocial attitudes through playing computer games.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Demonstration against Tory in the UK

There was demonstration happened in some places against the victory of Conservative Party.

These activities were performed in London and Cardiff, the capital of Wales. Hundreds of people seemed to join, although the marchers claimed that several thousands of people were involved. In London, some protesters were arrested for throwing green smoke bombs and injuring police officers. The activity in Cardiff seemed calmer.

The Guardian: Anti-austerity protesters take to UK streets after Tory election victory

The ruling Conservative Party, so-called Tory, has kept the policy of strict austerity. It is a usual attitude for politicians with conservative ideology, as same as Republicans in the US and Liberal Democratic Party in Japan. In contrast, Labours are keen to widening social welfare among whole citizens. It inevitably leads to expansion of the expenditure.

Looking at some financial indicators, it seems that the UK has been well dealing with fiscal issues. The policy of ruling Conservatives is right in that sense.

On the other hand, I often feel uncomfortable with the UK systems as a foreign resident. The other day, the Council sent me inappropriate bills. In spite of my frequent appeals, it took a month to accept the error. IT government was no use to explain the matter in detail, and the officials never replied to my telephone calls. If I had not noticed the mistake of the bill, I would have had to pay more than 1,000 GBP.

I have heard similar episodes from my colleagues. They admitted that the government was eager to imposing the tax as much as possible. It is the same also in Japan, but Japanese authorities seldom make an error in such a case.

The IT systems in the NHS hospitals were aged, and frequently stop. More miserably, the number of prisoners committed suicide is increasing in recent years in accordance with the reduction of prison officials due to austerity.

My past entry: Concern about NHS investment in IT service

Social resources are limited in every society. We have to decide how they are distributed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Good bye to my KINDLE Paperwhite

This is sad news personally. My KINDLE was broken.

This is my KINDLE Paperwhite, an e-book reader. I have utilized it for two and a half years. It offered me a good experience of reading e-books. E-ink is easy to read for a long time without exhausting my eyes because it does not flash. The battery is long lasting.

My past entry: Coming of KINDLE

However, the other day, it crashed. A part of the screen failed to respond anymore. I tried restarting the device. But it was no use. The lower side of the screen looked normal. A similar phenomenon is reported. I guess that the e-ink panel was broken.

You Tube: Ray Cama's Amazon Kindle Screen Crash

I have an idea of the cause of this failure. I struck my waist on the ground during equipping the KINDLE in my pocket. The sudden pressure at this time might do a fatal damage to the KINDLE screen.

I have to abandon this lovely gadget. In the near future, I will buy a new KINDLE, perhaps KINDLE Voyage. It is unfortunate to lose my KINDLE by an accident, but 2.5 years is not too short as a mortality of a gadget, I accept.

My past entry: New gadgets from Apple, Samsung, and Amazon

By the way, I broke the glass screen of my smartphone by dropping it recently. I should take care of my move.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sperm can be created in a lab, a research

This is astonishing news. A French company declared having succeeded to create human sperm in a laboratory setting.

The researchers belonging to Kallistem laboratory extracted immature spermatogonia from infertile men, and transformed it into mature sperm in vitro. This procedure had been performed in mice, but this is the first successful report in human.

Mail Online: World first as SPERM is grown in a lab for the first time: Scientists claim breakthrough could give hope to infertile men

The Independent: Sperm created in lab in world first, French company claims

If this technique is realized, many infertile men will receive great benefit. The potential profit is estimated to reach 1,700,000,000 GBP in a year. In addition, the findings can be a key to finding out the secret of reproduction of animals.

However, this result has not been published in peer-reviewed journals yet. For that reason, some researchers are skeptical of this success. I thin it is natural as an attitude of scientists. Companies sometimes exaggerate their outcome, intentionally or unintentionally. Deliberate clinical trials are needed, as Kallistem said. Antecedent to them, double-checks by the researchers all over world will be done in such an innovative finding. They need a published article in which the procedure is described in detail.

In the case of STAP cell reported by Obokata in Japan, her result was proven not to be trustworthy with many deficits in the procedure. In terms of this issue, growing the spermatogonia in vitro itself is not a fantastic phenomenon. So, it is possible to be true, I think.

My past entry: Cheating case in science (1)

My past entry: Issue about fabrication of research

I hope this technology is feasible. And many men suffering from infertility will be saved.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cashless society is coming

Denmark will be the first country without cash in the world. The government is preparing to scrap the obligation for shops to accept cash payment.

The Times of India: Denmark set to turn cash-free

It is an innovative policy. Nowadays, people using the real money is decreasing. But some people use coins and notes, nonetheless. Shops always have to store some amount of money for a charge. It costs safe spaces and time of management. In contrast, shopkeepers will not worry about robbers and thieves if they equip only a credit card reader at the reception.

Cashless society is friendly to travelers. You need not exchange your money to foreign currency at the airport with a disadvantageous rate. When I came to London, I was surprised that 50 GBP notes were seldom used in the UK. Indeed, I have not seen this note yet. In Japan, I felt anxious when I equipped no 10,000 JPN note. Now, I am not concerned to my wallet empty but a credit card.

In the future, will Denmark abandon to issue any cash? I think so, because publishing notes and casting coins are also burdens for the government. Indeed, the amount of cash newly produced is gradually decreasing worldwide. Even in Japan, one of the countries in which people love cash, the annual production of the coins were rapidly reduced recently, except in 2014 when the consumption tax rate was amended.

In this article, worry about fraud was introduced as cons of a cashless society. In Sweden, card fraud cases were doubled in this decade. It is unsure which is safer, cash and cards. In general, credit cards are protected by the issuer. But there is a risk of being victimized by cyber crimes. In such cases, the damage can be enormous.

It is noteworthy that even if the government stops issuing cash it will still be the issuer of the currency. The government and the national bank are responsible to control the price. Otherwise, the domestic economy will be quite vulnerable. The day when Bitcoin will be the common currency is still a dream.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ruling Conservatives won the UK General election

The general election was held on May 7th in the UK. The ruling conservative party won the highest number of the seat. Conservatives gained 331, over the absolute majority.

BBC: Election 2015 results: At-a-glance

David Cameron declared the triumph, considering the reform of the cabinet. In contrast, Ed Miliband resigned the leader of competitive Labour Party.

UKIP, an extremely right wing party, got only one seat, in spite of worrying of some people including me. It is unlikely for the UK to apart from EU for a while.

My past entry: Parliamentary election in the UK, and EU matter

On the other hand, Liberal Democratic Party, a potential partner of the coalition to Conservative Party, suffered heavy losses, kept only eight seats. There is no more necessity for Conservative Party to maintain the coalition with Liberal Democratic Party.

The vote rate was 66.1%, the highest in this decade. The forecast that conservatives and labours would be closely competing contributed to this high turnout, as well as sunny weather.

Telegraph: General election 2015: highest turnout since Tony Blair landslide

As I have no citizenship in the UK, I had no right to vote. My concern has been the change of foreign exchange rate. As I was afraid, the pound became strong following to the victory of the ruling party. It is a nightmare for me.

(This chart is quoted from Yahoo Finance.)

The UK parliament will be free from political risks for some years, unless some scandals occurs. This situation is similar to Japan. I will keep an eye to Cameron's next move.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Princess Charlotte and the monkey

A royal baby was born on May 3rd, 2015, at St Mary's Hospital in London, being celebrated by many people. And their parents, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge named her as Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

BBC News: Royal baby: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge name daughter Charlotte

Charlotte is a quite popular name. According to Skybet, a famous bookmaker based in Britain, Charlotte had been the most expected name by the gamblers.

In Japan, Charlotte Kate Fox, an actress in the US attracted public attention because she played the heroine of "Massan," a TV drama produced by NHK. She also contributed to making the name of Sharlotte familiar to Japanese.

Just after this delightful news, a little scandal occurred in Japan. The Takasakiyama zoo named a baby monkey Charlotte on May 6th. In the zoo, the first monkey born in a year is to be named from latest events. Charlotte had won the vote of visitors, overwhelmed Kei, originated from Kei Nishikori, a Japanese tennis player.

However, the decision by the zoo ignited broad criticism immediate after the publication. Many Japanese seemed to feel that giving a monkey the princess' name is an act of disgrace on the royal. The zoo reconsidered the naming. However, its policy has not fixed, according to the media. It said to be going to consult the embassy of the UK.

BBC News: Japan: Zoo sorry for naming monkey after new princess

Responding to the media, British Royal Communications replied that they did not concerned about the name of a monkey. One British citizens said to the interviewer that there were no hierarchy in species. (sources uncertain)

I believe that the zoo and the voters had no intention to defame the royal family of the UK. Perhaps, some people named their own cat Charlotte in these few days. Nevertheless, I think the decision of the zoo was careless in terms of the lack of imagination. It is true that some people dislike the royal name being given to a monkey. On the other hand, I am doubtful about the act of Japanese blaming the decision of the zoo as a mouthpiece for British nationalists.

It is unfortunate that the zoo seems not accustomed to deal with this kind of incident. It has to extract the decision immediately, and rename the monkey without spending time. Consulting the authority can only deteriorate the trouble. It is a waste of time to consider the best way deliberately.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Presentation skills training workshop

Yesterday, I attended a workshop of presentation skills training.

A global competition of research presentation, named "Three Minute Thesis" is upcoming. This workshop was held to let the competitors in Kings College London prepare for the stage. I will not join in the competition, but I was just interested in this lecture.

This workshop took three hours. I have learned some ideas essential to make an attractive presentation. Here I note some tips about it.

1. Presentation is a physical activity

It is what I was the most impressed. The presentation is like an exercise, rather than examination. You have to keep your body flexible to make an impressive presentation. Eye contact, body language, facial expression, and clear voice should be united during the speech. No matter how completely you remember the content of the speech, you cannot perform it without repetitive challenges.

Indeed, I failed to keep an eye to the audience' faces in a trial session, although the lecturer gave a caution again and again. It is not enough to know how to make a good presentation at all. When I slipped the word to say the next, I was frozen for some seconds.

2. Eye contact to all audience is essential

It is the thing the lecturer emphasized the most. Continuous eye contact makes the audience feel that the speaker is concerned to them. It creates strong bonding between the speaker and the audience. Otherwise, the audience feels they are ignored.

It is more difficult to look around the whole audience than I expected. It requires calmness and confidence. In contrast, if you can remember the faces of the audience, it means that you are relaxed and focusing the stage effectively.

3. Make your friends critical

Exercise makes your presentation more sophisticated. However, you have to choose the mock audience wisely. Most of your friends never criticize your performance. Their admirable messages will delight you, but do not improve your skills. Before the exercise, ask your friends to check the shortcomings of your presentation seriously.

In the workshop, I made my presentation twice, each of the time I was given feedback from the listener. It was quite helpful for me to improve my performance. At first, my presentation did not make sense. But the second time, the listener could understand the content easily.

4. Do not try to express all your knowledge

The most important thing is that the presenter is the most familiar person to his presentation. It is obvious, but important. We tend to explain anything about out research to the audience. However, it may be too much for most audience to understand completely. The audience is willing to learn about what they have not known. At the same time, an excessive amount of new information makes us exhausted. You should control the balance.

It was difficult for me to perform a good presentation in English. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this session, and it gave me many things to consider in enhancing my skills.

My past entry: Presentation secrets in lecture

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Earthquake in Papua New Guinea

An earthquake also occurred in Papua New Guinea. It was on May 5th, 2015 that a 7.5 magnitude tremor and subsequent tsunami struck the harbor of Rabaul. The focus of the earthquake was the east side of New Britain Island.

(This image powered by Google was quoted from EarthquakeTrack. )

The tsunami grew up to less than one-meter height. It caused regional blackout for a while, and several properties were damaged. People experienced the tremor panicked. Fortunately, however, there has been no report of victims.

The Guardian: Papua New Guinea earthquake sparks tsunami warning, but only minor damage reported

Even a minimal tsunami can get rid of your life. You have to leave the seashore immediately if you feel a tremor. In Japan, over 15,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. Actually, 90% of the deaths were attributable to the tsunami, due to delayed evacuation.

By the way, the rescue activity is still struggling in Nepal. I hope people as many as possible will be saved.

My past entry: Earthquake disaster in Nepal

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

British fatty liver

Dr. Quentin Anstee, a consultant hepatologist at Newcastle University and the Freeman Hospital, warned about the harm of overeating. According to him, by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is increasing in the UK, and it will be the most common reason to need liver transplantation by 2020.

The Guardian: Most liver transplants by 2020 will be 'linked to over-eating, not alcohol'

The liver plantation is an ambitious solution for internal diseases, despite it has become secure than in the past. Dr. Anstee seems not to say this surgery. He meant that overeating is a potentially serious problem.

It is said that about one-third of Britons has a similar condition to fatty liver. The fatty liver itself is frequently seen, but a continuous burden on the liver may cause fatal problems. Foie-gras is made from a fatty liver of a goose. Forced tube feeding for geese to create delicious livers is criticized as an animal abuse. We take a similar act on our body, ironically.

My past entry: Journey to Hungary (1)

One-fourth of British people is obese, according to the research, although I feel the proportion is fewer. Overweight is a national problem in the UK, as well as in the US.

My past entry: World obesity map

I think British cuisine is not so dangerous for the health. On the other hand, I have never seen anti-obese campaigns in London. In the supermarket, many foods are discounted if you buy two or more. Each pack contains a large portion.

British people eat sweets frequently. They buy a pack of caramels or chocolates in the morning and eat them up at work, sharing them with their colleagues. Some people are keen to make an exercise, but it seems difficult for obese people to continue the practice.

There are some healthy foods available. I bought a pack of mayonnaise with extra-low fat. However, it tasted terrible. I never tried it again and replaced it with a normal one. In general, obese people are eager to eat delicious food. There is room for improvement of the taste of low-fat foods. In addition, making healthy diet look as cool is necessary.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Special term matter

We belong some cluster in the occupation, sometimes unintentionally. You may in the IT industry, or you may be a cook, or you may work in a hospital. And, every cluster has its own codes. It is often confusing that there are quite similar terms that have different meaning.

For example, all psychiatrists know what CBT means. It is the abbreviation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which I introduced some times previously.

My past entry: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a new way to protect you from depression

My past entry: Treatment of depression is getting cheaper

However, it also means Computer Based Test, adopted in the exams for medical students. I had to be familiar with both the terms as a lecturer of the medical school. It annoyed me a little.

Such special terms are usually unfamiliar to people who are not a specialist in the industry. In other words, understanding some special terms is required to be a specialist. There are many special terms to be used at work, and we have no time to explain each term every day.

This issue is common in most industries, usually harmless. However, a specialist has a responsibility to make a proper explanation to non-specialist people on some occasion. In this case, you should not use any special terms without explanation.

In this article, the author was confused hearing the term "ass baton" when he engaged in the duty of jury.

The Atlantic: Build Your Vocabulary, 'Ass Baton' Edition

At last, he was told that these mysterious words were "ASP baton" he misheard. ASP is the abbreviation of "Armament Systems and Procedures."  It seems quite common for local police and relevant professionals, but few other people know the meaning of ASP, I guess.

CBT can be searched using Google. But "Ass Baton" and similar misheard words are hardly found on the internet even if you utilize fuzzy reference tools. The top of the search result in Goole for "Ass Baton" is below:

Urban Dictionary: Ass Baton

I am not sure whether this description is correct. Anyway, the authorities never said "Ass Baton" in this case.

In the UK, I often heard the word, "SLaM." At first, I could not understand the meaning. Are there any slums in London? Or who made a grand slam in a contract bridge tournament? Actually, it is the abbreviation of "South London and Maudsley," a jurisdiction of National Health Service in the UK.


In Japan, Lay Judge Act went into force some years ago. We had to be ready to explain the procedure of a court trial and the result of the psychiatric testimony of the defendants to lay judges, mostly nonspecialists. We wrote some guidelines about it. It was a tough task, but offered us an opportunity to acquire deep understanding of the nature of our work.

Explaining something is one of the supreme methods to learn it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Potentially critical bug found in Boeing 787

After the tragedy of Germanwings, incidents regarding airplanes have been frequently reported. It is natural that authorities and mass media pay attention to similar issues to the past incident. Especially, since the case of Germanwings made hundreds of victims, it is unavoidable that the inspection against airline companies become strict. And it is admirable to improve the safety of the flight.

My past entry: German Airbus crashed in France

My past entry: Air Canada accident

My past entry: Thailand airlines banned due to security concern

My past entry: Near crash case after lightning strikes an airplane

Very recently, the US air safety authority pointed out an error in the software installed on the Boeing 787 control system. This type of plane equips four generator-control units. If they fell into the fail-safe mode at the same time, the aircraft should lose the control entirely, even if in the sky.

The Guardian: US aviation authority: Boeing 787 bug could cause 'loss of control'

According to a Boeing spokesman, it would be unrealistic that this critical failure is actuated as far as usual maintenance is properly performed. Considering the condition of the occurrence of the bug, I agree with this opinion. Boeing is updating the software to fix the bug.

Our concern is other critical errors potentially not being detected yet. Boeing 787 was also questioned in the past about the battery issue, causing the delay of the launch. I found the trip on this plane very comfortable. Nonetheless, the matter of the safety should not be underestimated.

An airplane equips computers. And you know computers have numerous bugs. The more complex the program is, the more frequently an error occurs. No one can fix all of the bug in Windows OS. Perhaps, the safety of the airplanes has been at risk, nowadays, though I do not want to believe it.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Treatment of depression is getting cheaper

Depression is one of the major mental disorders, and is highly burdening on the daily life of the patients. Overcoming depression is a common ambition of all clinical practitioners of mental health.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and some other psychotherapies have been proven to be effective as much as antidepressant medication in treating depression. However, they are time-consuming. In addition, limited number of skilled therapists makes it difficult to provide proper therapy to all the patients suffering from depression.

Recently, therefore, less intensive psychotherapies such as computer-based CBT and self-guided psychotherapy were considered to be introduced in clinical setting. They are easy for general practitioners to perform, and far less expensive.

For their superficial impression, some specialists are doubtful about the effectiveness of these new-age therapies. Even if they were inferior to classic CBT, however, the spread of their use would help not a few patients, especially in the primary care setting.

The fact was more surprising.

Linde et al. in Germany investigated the research papers describing clinical trials of psychotherapy for depression in the primary care setting comprehensively, to meta-analyze their effect size and compared them each other.

They extracted 100 papers from electrical and paper database. Seventy studies were excluded for some deficits in the methodology. Finally, they evaluated the effect of remained 30 studies. As a result, remote CBT and guided self-help CBT were not inferior to face-to-face CBT. Problem-solving therapies failed to show the significant effectiveness because of limited number of studies.

Medline: Effectiveness of psychological treatments for depressive disorders in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis.

According to this study, skilled psychotherapists are no more useful in the treatment of depression. A textbook or internet-based therapy will substitute them. How a shocking result!

Of course, this study suggested anything only in primary care setting. Specialists frequently meet clients who are much more difficult to cure. In other words, they should concentrate their power in severe and complicated patients. It seems rational. The fact that depressive patients in primary care got able to be treated by less intensive means is attributable to the endeavor of specialists developed such techniques.

In the near future, mild depression will be treatable with a computer program, or an iPhone app. I am not sure such an easy-to-treat disease will be called a mental disorder then.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

False allegation of raping the mother

This is strange news. A teenager was proven to be innocent because the mother confessed that she had a dream of being raped by him.

The Guardian: Teenager found not guilty of raping his mother after she said it was just a dream

The case happened in February 2014. An woman called the police and explained that her son had attempted to rape her. The son was arrested as a suspect, although denying the charge.

However, in the court, the mother said that this case had not really occurred. She explained to the jury that she might have a dream and her son had only cuddled into her at this night. The prosecutor suspected that she made a lie to protect her son. At last, the jury judged the son was not guilty.

This case looks absurd at a glance. However, I think there are several factors to have made this case complicated.

First, the mother was drunk heavily at that night. In addition, she had a history of psychotic disorder, according to the media. She told that she had been so frustrated at the time of incident.

Second, the boy was suffering from Asperger syndrome and ADHD. He might have a difficulty to explain what happened at the night. His mother had also felt difficult to get along with him. On the other hand, they often shared the bed at night. Considering their complex relationship made the court misinterpret as if such an immoral crime was feasible to be committed.

Third, rape is extremely sensitive crime. The victim of rape seldom sue the culprit for some reasons, mercy for the offender, desire for forgetting the accident, or simply shame. Statement of the victim is indispensable to sentence the raper. Therefore, prosecutors tend to encourage the victim not to withdraw the complaint strongly. Indeed, the mother considered to withdraw the complaint several weeks after the charge, but no one listened to her seriously.

This is a case that an innocent person was near to be sentenced because of some unfortunate factors. I feel scared imagining I am involved in similar cases as a lay judge in Japan.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Coinbase landing on the UK

Coinbase, one of the largest organization dealing with Bitcoin launched the service in the UK. It means that the UK citizens can buy Bitcoin for Pounds.

ITProPortal: Coinbase launches in the UK, aims to cleanse Bitcoins dirty rep

As I wrote in the past, the reputation of Bitcoin is no good. It is expected that Coinbase will be able to let Bitcoin trustworthy as a digital currency, according to the media.

My past entry: Bitcoin is recognised, but not accepted in the UK

I think it is a little strange to consider that the launch of Coinbase attracts the attention of the UK citizens. There have been some other services to deal with Bitcoin in the UK. Many Bitcoin lovers utilize LocalBitcoins to exchange their resource. The British government is rather friendly to Bitcoin, I guess more than the US, and of course far different from China and Russia. In addition, there are some alternatives to gain Bitcoins. You can register with Kraken, a market dealing with Bitcoin and Pound as well.

To begin with, you can use any markets as far as you know them well. The highest barrier is bank transfer. Most banks prohibit opening an account of people whose residential status is not clear. You can transact Bitcoin everywhere, but you cannot exchange Bitcoin into local currency, and vice versa, without bank confirmation. In addition, the international transfer is costly using conventional systems. That is why people have difficulty to deal with Bitcoin without reliable bank and market.

The price of Bitcoin is still fluctuating. It will take a while to be stabilized. I believe that Bitcoin will be one of the key currencies. But I have no idea when it is.