Saturday, December 31, 2016

Look back to 2016 (2)

In the latter half of 2016, we were thrown to the maelstrom of Trump shock. In my sense, this year will be recorded as the beginning of the end of conventional collaborative democracy in the future.

September 4, 2016
Galaxy Note 7 recalled by explosive failure

Samsung is still struggling to sell Galaxy S7 edge in Japan. Its performance looks good, but the reputation of Samsung seems to have been seriously damaged.

September 16, 2016
Modern gamebooks circumstance

Finally, I wrote a tiny gamebook, to be published in Kindle Desktop Publishing. Someday, I will translate it into English.

September 26, 2016
Yahoo hacked to have stolen 500 million personal information

Again, Yahoo commented that approximately one billion accounts had been hacked. This incident was different from that published in September. The hacking occurred in 2013.

Time: Why the Latest Yahoo Hack Is So Much Worse Than You Think

It is not rare that massive hacking emerges. But I cannot trust Yahoo anymore, as I feel its productivity and technology level is below the modern standardm to be honest.

October 6, 2016
Twitter wants to sell itself, but to whom?

Twitter could not find a new owner. On the contrary, it acquired Yes inc., a startup of mobile application. I wonder it will ignite the recovery of Twitter.

TechTimes: Twitter Acquires Startup Yes Inc. To Hire A Former Googler As New Product Chief: How Will The Move Help The Social Media Platform?

October 20, 2016
Tim Cook visited Japan

Apple Pay launched in Japan successfully. As I have no iPhone, I have not used it. But Apple Pay will be spread also in Japan.

November 9, 2016
Gloomy Donald Trump's triumph for presidential vote

And this is the most surprising news in this year, without doubt. I can only pray that Trump will lead the US to the right direction.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Look back to 2016 (1)

Several serious incidences occurred in this year. And personally, I had some tough experiences. On the other hand, I had some achievements as well.

January 7, 2016
North Korea declared successful hydrogen bomb experiment

North Korea is regularly expressing hatred against Western nations. However, different from Islamic regions, it has not taken any decisive actions. Whereas the tension will be continuous, it will be good for everyone unless actual wartime is not realized.

February 19, 2016
Challenging Sci-Hub, a free archive of academic articles

Now, Sci-Hub seems to be available. It is not clear whether it will survive the conflicts with conventional academic publishers. I believe every academic paper should be readable for free. On the other hand, publishers and authors should be adequately rewarded. It is a complicated problem.

January 22, 2016
Alan Rickman as Snape passed away

As well, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia passed away by heart attack recently. It is so sorry to hear the decease of such splendid actors.

February 27, 2016
Solution for a joke of plastic parrots

This is the entry read by the highest number of people in my blog. It is thankful for me that many readers stopped at my blog.

March 28, 2016
Batman v Superman, for fans only

Recently, I bought the ultimate edition of Batman v. Superman. It included some scenes deleted from the original film. I could understand the backbone of the conflict of the two superheros thanks to detailed descriptions of added scenes.

March 26, 2016
Microsoft made a Hitler-lover AI, mistakenly?

This incident suggests more than a dystopia of AI-controlled society. Now we can hardly believe the correctness of collective intelligence. Victory of Brexit and Donald Trump's exclusive policy are also surprising for me, wondering democratic decisions will make us happy in the future.

April 14, 2016
Kindle Oasis will come

After all, I bought a Kindle Oasis. It is very light as the advertisement suggests. Precisely saying, it is lighter while equipped a leather cover than Kindle Paperwhite with a leather cover. As Kindle Oasis has a very thin battery, you will always use it attached to the cover with battery. Thus, it is innovative that the leather cover equips a battery.

May 3, 2016
Craig Wright again about the inventor of Bitcoin

Soon after declaring as the creator of Bitcoin, Craig Wright expressed sorry and decided not to make any explanation about this issue. Thus, it became difficult to prove he is Satoshi Nakamura. Several opinions are conflicting about it. If Craig is Satoshi, he might be disappointed to see many blaming and doubting for his comments. It is so sorry.

May 12, 2016
Sadiq Khan, a Muslim mayor of London

Sadiq Khan seems to take a leadership as the Mayor of London. Especially he is eager to improve the experience of London commuters. However, his policies in transportation face broad resistance of labors.

Telegraph: Sadiq Khan promised zero strikes. But he's letting his union friends create misery for London commuters 

June 12, 2016
Large bottle of perfume is banned not to be drunk as alcohol in Russia

In spite of the effort of Russian government, fatal cases of misusing alcohol-added material frequently occur. Recently, over 70 people were killed by intoxication of bath lotion. Death by hawthorn: The ‘bath lotion’ that has killed over 70 Russians

June 23, 2016
Brexit determined, UK to leave EU

It is the most surprising event in the first half of 2016. The UK is now preparing for Brexit gradually. The future is still in the mist, nonetheless.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sequel in December 2016

December 21, 2016
Pandemic: An excellent solo-oriented board game

Finally, I passed the difficult mode of Pandemic. I think Medic, Dispatcher, and Researcher are strong characters.

December 20, 2016
Russian Ambassador killed in Turkey

Russia and Turkey are collaborative to investigate the background of the shooter. So far, no particular criminal organizations or extremists have been proven on his back.

The Indian Express: Russian ambassador’s killer remembered as lonely boy, not angry jihadist

If he decided to commit the cruel act on his own, it suggests the deep dark behind religious conflicts, I think.

December 13, 2016
Trump provoking China

The relationship between the US and China will become tense in the next year. The both countries share economic interest each other. But it is coincided for them to be competitor.

Bloomberg View: Trump's 180-Degree Turn on China Policy

December 10, 2016
Impeachment vote against Korean President Park

Park remains president in name, but her administration is now crippled. Korean politicians are crawling to grab the seat of next president.

December 6, 2016
Abe's intention to visit Pearl Harbor

Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, visited Pearl Harbor as he promised, to comfort the spirit of the victim of WWII.

BBC: Japan PM Shinzo Abe offers Pearl Harbor condolences

He admired the tolerance and mercy of American people, and emphasized the importance of the alliance between the US and Japan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

London Tube strike again

On January 9 in 2017, London Tube workers are planning a 24 hours strike.

The Guardian: London Underground staff to stage 24-hour strike in new year

It is not rare for Londoners to encounter a Tube strike. Workers claim that a recent policy developed by Borris Johnson, the former Mayor of London, was threatening the security of the underground and the quality of life of workers.

Indeed, Johnson was eager to cut the cost as well as improving the service quality. Some Tubes started 24 hours running on this summer. This policy was also infamous to workers, not surprisingly.

My past entry: London all-night tube launching

My past entry: Tube strike again to delay night tube in London

You may know that Japanese underground is so crazy that there is no train to delay the departure time in a day. It is an astonishing fact that there are crime novels featuring the schedule of Japanese train in which the criminal has a performance to get the place of murder with some extraordinary chains of train-riding. These stories are categorized to "Jikoku-hyo" [time table] trick. Of course, if even a single error occurs on the schedule, the plan of the criminal will corrupt.

And, Japanese workers seldom make a strike, partially because most labors unions are weak. As a result, we are given high qualified service while using Japanese trains.

Compared to Japanese ones, the quality of London tube service is still unsatisfactory for my sense. It is not only because of the difference of punctuality between Japanese and British. London Tube is the oldest model of the underground. Thus, infrastructure around Tube is outdated. It will be needed for optimized movement in London to scrap and build the whole transportation system in London. And it is, of course, unrealistic. The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is struggling to address the puzzle, I guess.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Uploading your child's photos causes complicated issues

In the era of the social network, we have to confront several issues which have not been present so far. Uploading photos including images of others may cause troubles if you have not got a consent. This idea seems to be widely spread.  But how about your child's?

In France, the government warned parents not to post images with an intimate detail of their children on the social media.

The Conversation: Think again before you post online those pics of your kids

There are several risks around uploading your children's photo on the internet. First of all, your child would be targeted of kidnapping by criminals, if you are a celebrity. Even if not, your child's face would attract some people with a pedophilic thought.

Second, as the author of the article above mentioned, digital images once uploaded will be perpetual. If your child blames you on posting your child's embarrassing image, you will be not able to cancel it. And what kind of topics will you feel embarrassing is different from one another.

This issue; the eternity of digital records, is quite a new challenge for human society. We are afraid of forgetting something important. At the same time, we are relieved from fear and regret thanks to the ability to forget the past. Patients with PTSD are suffering from recurring desperate images of traumatic memory.

I have no solution to this issue. Facebook was launched 14 years ago. Will historians in the 22nd century be able to reproduce our view completely? It is far from my imagination.

You should take a consent of your child before uploading your child's photo. It is obvious. But, whether the capacity of giving consent is equipped in your child is an additional issue. In general, Children under 13 or 14 have no perfect competence to give informed consent. Thus, you take the whole responsibility for uploading the photos of your toddler.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Do sex robots threaten our life?

In every kind of technology, there are a couple of sources for its development and spread: war and sex. Especially, sexual contents are one of the most powerful drives to infiltrate new technologies into our daily life. The internet is a good example.

My past entry: Development by the war, spread by the eroticism

Recently, AI and robots are focuses of attention by engineers. Some people, including celebrities such as Elon Musk, are warning the risk of robots with overoptimized AI. The paperclip crisis has not been given an ultimate solution.

My past entry: Will Artificial Intelligence overwhelm human being?

Then, is a robot also dangerous in sexual usages? This issue was seriously discussed in the International Congress of Love and Sex with Robots. Fortunately, the conclusion seems relieving. Actually, there are some people to be dead due to excessive sexual activity. A reliable security system is indispensable to be equipped in a digital sexual partner.

The Guardian: Good news! You probably won’t be killed by a sex robot

There are some other problems to be addressed in this topic. As mentioned in this article above, some providers will create sex robots which fantastically resemble a particular person. Also, they will be able to customize them following your choice. It is possible that a bad guy who is stalking you orders a sex robot which mimics your face and body, instead of  Scarlet Johansson. Indeed, some porn video providers were sued for an infringement of copyright.

Another possibility is crippled libido due to extreme ecstasy provided by sex robots. It is said that guys accustomed with porn are likely to be difficult to be satisfied to sexual activity with partners. It is hardly proven because the sexual drive is various among people. But I understand the worry of people with conservative thought.

The issues to be considered are widespread from technology to ethics. We have to be cautious not to realize a dystopia using newly technology.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Monju is decided to shut down

Japan government finally decided to abandon "Monju," a fast-breeder nuclear reactor.

Independent: Japan scraps nuclear reactor that cost £7 billion after just 250 days' operation

Monju is the first and the only model of fast-breed reactors in Japan. It consumes plutonium to make energy, and through the process of conversion, it creates more nuclear fuel. Thus, Monju is so-called a permanent engine at least regarding producing fuel. As Japan has scarce fossil fuel, Monju had been expected to rescue the problem of the energy.

(This image is not Monju.)

However, it seems too difficult to operate Monju without any troubles. Monju encountered several failures for years. As a result, it was at work only for 250 days in there 22 years. Its operational cost reached 1 trillion JPY. And it will cost additionally 540 billion JPY and eight years' preparation for its restart. The amount of the sacrifice is far from compensatable.

The local officials are opposing the decommission because it will mean a loss of works related to operating Monju. Monju is placed in Fukui prefecture, which is a rural area suffering from decreasing population.

I expected Monju as a "dream reactor" previously. But it is acceptable to decide the scrapping it considering the cost-benefit. Rather, the judgment of the government may be delayed influenced by Concorde fallacy. Of, it simply negotiation among people associated with Monju project took a long time.

My past entry: Airbus' supersonic aircraft and Concorde fallacy

The government is planning another project to improve nuclear fuel cycle. It is crucial for Japan to survive the next era without fossil fuel. And it will be important for other countries, as oil is not unlimited.

The US became passive to the development of atomic power plant after some accidents, as well as the discovery of shale gas utilization. I wonder which nations will take the leadership to address this issue.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Uber's self-driving cars banned from California

The authorities of California prohibited Uber from continuing the test of self-driving cars on the road. The reason was breaches of traffic regulation, according to the media.

The Guardian: Uber cancels self-driving car trial in San Francisco after state forces it off road

Uber had launched a total of 16 vehicles which were automated into the road. But they had not acquired proper permission. Also, they occasionally ran over the red right.

Uber started the operation of self-driving cars in this autumn for the first time. But, its program seems not perfect. As soon as the test began, passengers saw the vehicles ran across the road where a pedestrian was going to walk.

First, I was surprised to know Uber was challenging to the development of self-driving cars. If automated vehicles are spread, Uber's business model will be threatened; hiring a driver will no more necessary. Another point of view suggests us that Uber will focus on the traffic environment itself in the future. Uber may want to become a transportation supplier.

However, it seems Uber's technology is too immature to be examined on the public road. Google car has cause few accidents for years, including only one fatality.

My past entry: First fatal case of auto-driving car

I believe California's decision is appropriate. There are already many people willing to drive a car. Self-driving cars are needless unless they are safer than human, in my sense.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Light and dark in aged society

Aging is rapidly proceeding in developed countries. Recently, it is not surprising that elder people's acts often attract public attention.

Nonetheless, aging is aging. Generally speaking, elder people are considered as having lesser reflex and less sexually aggressive than young people.

But some news betrays such common senses.

Ernie Smith is a holder of Guinness World Record as the oldest active pilot. He is now 99 years old. He got the aircraft license in 1946, and he has been a pilot for 70 years. Even recently, he takes three or four short flights a week.

USA Today: World's oldest pilot takes flight on his 99th birthday

It is amazing that such an old man can fly with safety. It is due to both his excellent ability and the development of technology regarding aircraft and aerodynamics.

On the other hand, traffic accidents caused by elder people are issued in Japan. In general, younger people are more likely to take reckless driving. But the car accident rate is higher in people with over 80 years old than youth, according to current statistics. The government will enhance the regulation of renewing the driving license for elder people.

Another topic among elder people is a little disappointing. A 101-year-old man was jailed for 13 years. His conviction suggests sex offense for children.

International Business Times: 101-year-old paedophile Ralph Clarke jailed for 13 years after becoming UK's oldest convict

Ralphe Clarke was found guilty of indecent assault and gross indecency relating to the two girls. He denied the committing crimes, but the judge admitted that he had abused the girls who were aged between four and thirteen.

He is considered as pedophilia. The sexual drive itself declines following the senescence, but disordered sexual orientation is stable despite the aging.

Pleasant elders will vitalize the society. In contrast, elder people are expected to be mature and behave tolerantly. I hope the society in which all generations are collaborative.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

China air pollution goes to the red zone

Beijing was struck by serious air pollution. The authority declared a “red alert,” suggesting shutting schools and stores down for five days. It was reported that hundreds of people were penalized for igniting outdoor barbecues.

The Guardian: Beijing smog: pollution red alert declared in China capital and 21 other cities

The smog is not rare in Beijing and some other cities in China. A Huge amount of coal is burned there for industrial purposes. It causes PM2.5 which is a kind of tiny particle potentially harmful to human body. China is rapidly developing its ability to create industrial products. However, the importance of the protection of the environment is underestimated.

It is not limited to China: air pollution and other harms for the environment is a common issue in developing nations because their limited financial resource does not allow to watch out the environment. Also in Japan, some issues regarding air and water pollution were focused soon after the WWII.

After all, refraining from pollution should be a world challenge. Banning coal burning in China is unfeasible. Rather, technical and financial aids for China to develop less-risky factories is hopeful for the longitudinal point of view.

Environmental science is an immature and fragile region of academics. It is still unsure how to treat global warming. Extensive experiments are needed. Supporting developing countries, such as China, even if China is no more a developing country, is a model for preventing further pollution.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pandemic: An excellent solo-oriented board game

Recently, I bought Pandemic in iPad App Store. I was interested in this game previously. As it was sold for a lowered price, I made a click.

Pandemic is for one-to-four players, collaborative game. The players shared an ultimate goal: protecting human from the four deadly viruses.

Each player received a unique skill according to the occupation. For example, a scientist can make a vaccine easier than other players. Every player starts from the base in Atlanta. There are some cities already polluted by a virus. Players can take a move to a nearby city, or fly to a distant city using a city card or other solution. They also can erase one (or more) virus. Players in the same city can transfer the city card whose name is the same as the city they stay. A player collected five city cards in the same category can make a vaccine. Finally, when the fourth vaccine is developed, all players win.

In each turn, pollution with viruses proceed. An outbreak occurs if four pieces of the same virus chip are placed in the city. In addition, there are some opportunities for an epidemic event. If an epidemic occurs, pollution speed is accelerated. If the world is occupied by the viruses, all players lose the game.

In Pandemic, every player acts collaboratively. It is possible that one human takes control of all players. Thus, this game is similar to solitaire.

I have not mastered the game. I got some wins the game at normal difficulty mode. But, I frequently ruined the world. It is quite exciting because in every turn viruses are spreading.

I have not played Pandemic with other people. In the UK, my friends often played Pandemic. But I could not have an opportunity to share the table with them.  So, I am enjoying the game now.

On the other hand, I am doubtful that Pandemic is so amusing as a multiplayer game. If there is an excellent strategist in the players, he or she rules the whole process of the game. The other players merely adhere the direction of the leader. It is no good.

In conclusion, I love Pandemic as a solo-player game.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Russian Ambassador killed in Turkey

Russian Ambassador in Turkey was shot to be dead.

The shooter was a 22-year-old off-duty police. He was killed by guardians immediately after finishing the crime.

The New York Times: Russian Ambassador to Turkey Is Assassinated in Ankara

The Guardian: Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara art gallery

Soon after the incident, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, made a conversation via telephone. They agreed with the idea that this incident was threatening the friendship between the two nations. Putin called the shooter a terrorist and requested the background of this shooting.

The background of this shooting is still unknown. It is reported that the shooters shouted something about Aleppo. It seems the shooter was opposing to Russian policy aiding Assad administration in Syria. However, it is also possible the shooter did not belong to a certain political association but a lone wolf.

This incident may suggest the weakness in the security of Turkish government. But, it is difficult to examine every member of officials anytime. Rather, it is relieving that the leaders of Russia and Turkey are connected with the hotline. Otherwise, this incident might be a trigger of a war, considering recent conflict of the both nations.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Rouge One: Episode 3.9 of Star Wars series

I saw Rouge One on cinema. This film describes the story followed by Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope.

The heroine in this film is Jyn Erso. She was a daughter of Galen Erso, a military scientist belonged to the Galactic Empire in the past. At the beginning of the story, Galen was captured by the Empire, to be forced to create a lethal weapon: Death Star. Jyn grew up as a rouge. One day, she is notified by the rebellion group that her father is alive at an imperial base. She is willing to meet her father again. At the same time, however, the aim of the rebellion group is to kill Galen with utilizing Jyn to contact him.

Galen tells Jyn the truth.  He had pretended to surrender to the Empire. And he leaked a crucial information regarding the critical flaw of Death Star. After Galen died, Jyn succeeds his will, to resist the imperial ruling. But few people even in the rebellion group believed her words. Jyn goes to the imperial base for the mission of destroying Death Star.

This story gives an explanation to the beginning of Episode 4. Why Princess Leia possessed the design map of Death Star? And why was Death Star destroyed by the rebellion team so easily? (Oh, this question is just a joke. The true answer is that it is a fiction!)

Unfortunately, the last scene is easily predictable, because heroes of Rouge One does not appear in Episode 4. It is a fate of such sequential movie series. Nonetheless, I felt a little disappointed in the finale.

Also, there is little amazing pictures or SFX scene. The audience is accustomed to Episode 4. It seems the director could not propose some new machines or techniques which did not exist the era of Episode 4. Consistency with Episode 4 is so binding that the audience were gotten rid of excitement.

As a result, I saw Rouge One as a digression, not a new episode. It is sorry as an audience expecting new impressions.

In detail, the poor performance of worker management in the Empire was obvious. It is strange why the imperial data center was in the citadel tower which is so conspicuous that it is likely to be a target for terrorists.

It is suggestive that an extremist was described as an ex-ally of the rebellion group. The relationship among the group members seems to be complicated. But this film failed to explain it.

Personal Rating: 2 (poor)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Autism is partially explained as shortage of protein nSR100

Autism, or autistic disorder, is a mental disorder diagnosed mainly in early childhood. People with autism have difficulties to deal with other people. They often sense external stimuli differently, and many of them are not good at being empathetic to others' emotion. In adulthood, most patients learn how to collaborate with other people although symptoms are continuous. But secondary symptoms such as depression, emotion dysregulation, and aggressive behaviors emerge in some patients.

The prevalence rate of autism is reported to have increased, according to latest studies. But, the cause of autism has yet to be clarified. It is well accepted that autism is not a particular disease. Also, autism is a spectrum between who have normally grown up to those with explicit impairment of social cognitive fuction.

Recently, researchers suggested a possibility that a particular protein is responsible for the onset of autism. It is called nSR100. Researchers observed that reduced level of nSR100 in mice made their behavior autistic. This result shows the causal relationship between lack of nSR100 and autistic symptoms.

Independent: Cause of one third of all autism cases may have been discovered by scientists

Unfortunately, I cannot read the full article now. So, I cannot examine the validity of the conclusion in this article. Regardless of the internal validity of this study, it should be cautious to adapt the result to human. Animal models of mental disorders are so vulnerable that the result of a clinical trial is often inconsistent with the experiment with animals.

Molecular Cell: Misregulation of an Activity-Dependent Splicing Network as a Common Mechanism Underlying Autism Spectrum Disorders

If the result is trustworthy, it will bring two benefits. First, we can say autism, or at least some types of autism, is a brain disease. So far many parents were blamed that they were responsible for autism occurred in their child.

Second, it is possible for autistic patients to improve their social skills with nSR100 protein. Previously, there are no medicines proven to be beneficial to autistic patients. We can try a new protein replenishment therapy to cure some autistic symptoms. It may be innovative.

It is obvious that autism can be explained by a single factor. The combination of the studies is needed for deeper understanding autism.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Akihito will make a living abdication

Recently, I wrote that Akihito, the Emperor of Japan, was considering abdication.

My past entry: Japanese Emperor plans abdication

Following his video message presented in August, the government constructed an expert panel to discuss this issue. While the conclusion has not been fixed yet, the members seem to allow the Emperor to made a living succession.

The Guardian: Japan's Emperor Akihito should be allowed to retire, says expert panel

The current legislation has not addressed the process of abdication. Therefore, the government will revise the Imperial Household Law soon after the panel published the final report.

I think the idea to allow the Emperor to make the abdication is reasonable, as the Emperor himself hopes to do so. But there may be some opposing opinions. If an ex-Emperor had an influence on the ruling of the new Emperor, it would cause a serious confusion for the governance of Japan, as the history explicitly shows.

And there is another concern of imperial succession. Japan legislation does not allow female Emperor. It sounds a little odd, considering the fact that there were some female Emperors historically. When Akihito dropped the throne, Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him. But Naruhito has no sons. His brother Akishino will follow him. The relationship between male-succession law and the general principle of human equality is complicated. Broad discussion may be begun about this issue.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Putin meets Abe in Yamaguchi

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia visited Japan.

Putin had a meeting with Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister of Japan, in Yamaguchi prefecture, Abe's hometown, yesterday. And today, he went to Tokyo for further conversation.

Aljazzera: Putin and Abe seek deal over islands disputed since WW2

Russia and Japan have had a dispute with the governance of Kuril Islands since WWII. The Kuril Islands are now under the ruling of Russia. But Japanese are dreaming the Kuril Islands returned to Japan again. In recent years, Putin suggested the possibility of negotiation regarding this issue in the future. And Abe has been eager to draw positive comments from Putin. Therefore, Abe invited Putin to Japan.

However, the current situation is against Japan. Firstly, Putin welcomed Japan to become close because Russia was suffering from deteriorated relationship with European nations after its conquering of Crimea. But recently, Donald Trump, the President-elect, expresses a hope to improve the relationship with Russia. If the US is collaborating with Russia, Putin no more needs Japan's contribution.

In yesterday's meeting, it seems no conversation with complicated issues was made. Today, the two leaders will continue the negotiation regarding the Kuril Island and economic cooperation of Japan to Russia. Previously, Abe mentioned up to one billion USD of investment to Russia. But, this idea will be opposed by many lawmakers, if the issue of Kuril Island is not expected to be resolved shortly.

In my feeling, Russia will not return the Kuril Islands to Japan. To begin with, it is a little doubtful the claim of Japan to own the Kuril Islands can be justified because Japan had abandoned the right of owning foreign lands in San-Fransisco treaty.

On the other hand, Russia is now a gigantic nation. Friendship with Russia should be maintained for Japan to keep it peaceful and fertile. Considerably a significant amount of investment is acceptable for it. I hope the meeting of Putin and Abe will be fruitful.

By the way, Yamaguchi prefecture is located on the west side of Honshu. There are many Buddhist temples there. I visited there last month for attending an academic conference. It was so beautiful.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wonder Woman retired from ambassador of women’s empowerment

The United Nation reversed the decision to assign Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. The decision was made only two months ago.

CNN: UN drops Wonder Woman as honorary ambassador

Wonder Woman is a superheroine described in DC Comics. She has one of the survivors in the ancient era and has an extraordinary power. Just recently, she appeared in the film of “Batman v. Superman.”

However, as soon as Wonder Woman was seated to the honorary ambassador, some women and relevant associations raised widespread criticism. The core protest of them is that Wonder Woman represents a shape of a woman who is liked by men. Therefore, she does not deserve to the representative of women’s power and independence.

Wonder Woman was created 75 years ago. The intention of the author of Wonder Woman is not clear. Nonetheless, today’s Wonder Woman is problematic as a symbol of empowerment of women because she is a white woman with large breast, according to protesters.

The UN spokesman told that Wonder Woman’s retirement was not due to such protests. But is seems obvious that the UN respected the intensity of criticism. It is not surprising many DC Comics fans became upset to know the news.

In my opinion, it is not the matter whether Wonder Woman is suitable to women empowerment. Some say that it is inappropriate that Wonder Woman wears an erotic costume. So, is it OK for Rogue in X-Men series to succeed her? It’s nonsense.

Not only Wonder Woman but also other comic heroes have their own images. They sometimes inhibit their role which is newly given. It is difficult for an existing comic hero to represent a traditional and complex theme such as empowerment of women. Rather, the UN should invent a new character to address it. Or, a real person as an honorary ambassador can respond to any opinions of protesters.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas gift and memory of "Team-demi"

Christmas is approaching. Do you have already decided what do you send to your sweetheart?

In December in 2014, I stayed in London. The DVD of "Gone Girl" was the most popular present for Christmas there, according to Londoners seemed to send inexpensive but cool gifts to their friends.

And, there are examples of goods each of which can be bought within 10 GBP. They include some items to enrich your daily life a little.

International Business Times: The best technology Christmas gifts under £10

With watching them, I remember an item which would be matched as a Christmas gift. It is named "Team-demi." It is a combination of seven stationaries. In a pretty box, you find a stapler, scissors, a grew, a ruler, a cutter, a tape, and a tape measure. Each of them has some specific merits. For example, some holes are made in the ruler so that you can use it as a compass with two pencils.

Good Design Award: Team-demi

Team-demi was developed in 1985. I was so impressed with it when I got it for the first time. It won the Good Design Award. And it was renewed in 2001 as "Team-demi Musee."

Unfortunately, Team-demi has been sold out, and it is difficult for you to get one. In my memory, it was approximately 10 GBP. If released in London, Team-demi would become popular, I believe.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump provoking China

Donald Trump’s diplomatic battle has begun.

He had a phone call with Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, very recently. It is for the first time for the leader of Taiwan to make an official talk with President or President-elect of the US since 1979 when the two nations stopped the communication.

This event ignited China’s anger without a doubt. China has adhered the One China policy, which never accepts Taiwan as an independent nation. And the US seemed to have respected China’s position so far. For China, Trump’s act is a breach of the relationship between the US and China.

Instead of excusing it, Trump made a comment that One China policy does not deserve to be respected anymore unless China will collaborate with the US regarding some issued such as trade. Thus, Trump is threatening China for the purpose of make China obey the US trade policy.

The Chinese government made a comment about serious concern on the risk that Trump’s policy would split the friendship between the two nations.

The Guardian: China 'seriously concerned' after Trump questions Taiwan policy

Taiwan is a small nation, even if we can call it so, compared with the US and China. Thus, Trump’s friendship toward Taiwan is no other than a provocation to China. Trump has an extraordinary talent of one-by-one negotiation, the media say. Considering it, his aggressiveness seems to a way to extract a compromise from China.

However, Chinese people respect reputation in general. If they feel humiliated by Trump, they would be difficult to continue rational communication with the US. I am afraid that Trump lacks proper respects to other’s emotion, as it has already been clear.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Possibility of PTSD treatment without exposure

Anxiety disorders are one of the mental diseases frequently seen in community patients. Some of them are fearful to a specific theme, while others tend to be afraid of negative results possibly occur in the near future. And acute stress disorder and PTSD are believed to have an etiology shared with other anxiety disorders.

In general, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often adopted to treat the patients with anxiety disorders. The core of CBT is exposing the issues the patient would like to avoid. Patients can learn that it is totally safe to confront the situation which has been recognized as dangerous for them through the therapy. At first, it is tough for patients to attend the therapy because it raises the level of fear. But through repeated exposing session, the physiological reaction to the exposure is gradually lowered. Finally, they become feel free from abnormal fear to the event they had hardly dealt.

However, exposure therapy is so irritating for the patients that many patients refuse to take it. Development of less-invasive treatment has been a challenge for clinicians.

In Japan, a unique attempt to modify the painful memory of participants was conducted. The researchers at the ARW Computational Neuroscience Lab did an experiment in which the participants was given an electric shock during watching at a certain visual pattern. The researchers confirmed that fear conditioning was acquired with observing the stimulation of a particular region of the brain using functional MRI. And then, researchers gave a reward to the participants when the region relevant to their painful memories was stimulated. As a result, the response of the region was lowered. Thus, participants became less vulnerable to the painful memory, as the researchers estimated.

The Guardian: Tests raise hopes for radical new therapy for phobias and PTSD

This study was published in a prominent academic journal. At a glance, there seem no critical flaws in the method of this study.

Nature Human Behaviour: Fear reduction without fear through reinforcement of neural activity that bypasses conscious exposure

This experiment is conducted in a highly artificial surrounding. Therefore, it is not certain that the result applies to the clinical setting. Nonetheless, it seems that the result is rational in terms both of psychopathology and brain neuroscience.

The other days, psychiatrists hypothesized that fearful emotion rose from the subconscious region of the human mind. Freud and his successors were eager to analyze the deep layer of patients to help them overcoming the psychiatric symptoms. Unfortunately, most of their attempts resulted in failure. I think this result shed light to the existence of nonconsciousness in human.

Recently, similar therapeutic strategies are often discussed, as I reported previously. The combination of traditional psychotherapy and latest neuroimaging will be an innovation in clinical psychiatry.

My past entry: Trauma deleting therapy with electric shock

Sunday, December 11, 2016

UK economy preparing for Brexit

Nearly a half year passed after Brexit vote. The UK is still struggling to prepare for the coming gigantic change in the post-Brexit era.

Interestingly, the economy of the UK has not worsened so much after Brexit. The UK's gross domestic product showed an increase by 0.5 percent in this third quarter. It was above the forecast by Reuters.

The Irish Times: UK economy continues to grow despite Brexit fears

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK, was not supporting Brexit before the vote. But she seems to plan rather a strict plan for Brexit. Thus, the UK will lose the trading privileges as a member of the EU while it will be able to refuse accepting refugees.

However, many things are still yet to be clarified around Brexit. Other countries such as Italy, which is suspected to be going to drop out from the EU, are watching the situation in the UK with great caution. If the UK  becomes successfully free from the burden of the EU, there will be some following nations. It is quite fearful for the core member of the EU. On the other hand, the falling of the UK will mean damaged presence of Europa, as well as instability of the whole region. It is a dilemma for European countries.

I visited the UK last month. British People I asked about the Brexit were all wondering what will happen the next year. The future is in the mist.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Impeachment vote against Korean President Park

Park Guen-hye was gotten rid of political power following an impeachment.

International Business Times: Park Guen-hye stripped of political power after overwhelming impeachment vote

Park, the South Korean President, was accused of corruption last month. It has been revealed that Choi Soon-sil, a Korean woman close to Park had been gaining several privileges from Park’s support. She was arrested on information leakage. After the media report, nationwide criticism was ignited, and the Park administration lose citizens’ support. At first, she did not mention early resignation. But recognizing the intensity of condemning, she suggested to drop out from a Presidential seat on the next spring.

My past entry: Park Guen-hye in peril

However, criticism against Park was never weakened. It seems that Park had underestimated the anger of citizens. An impeachment vote against Park was conducted. Some politicians even in opposing parties hesitated to agree with the impeachment for the risk to cause political empty. But, finally, 80% of lawmakers supported the vote. Park will be subjected to the trial in Constitutional Court in Korea.

In my sense, Park’s act is not acceptable to Korean citizens. She may deserve to resignation. However, it is not sure that making an impeachment vote is beneficial to Korea. Park is an excellent politician at least in her former half of the terms. I wonder no one admires her ability to administer the nation.

I feel the hatred of Koreans against people who are different from ordinary individuals, such as politicians, is so strong that they lose temper to fail to make a rational judgment. This tendency is similarly seen also in Japanese. In this term, Korean and Japanese share an alignment of extensive identification. It is different from European people, who are basically indifferent to others’ behavior unless it is harmful to others.

The instability of South Korea leads to the rise of North Korea. Also, Donald Trump, the US President-elect is considering to withdraw the US military protecting South Korea. I am afraid this issue will bring further tragedies.


Friday, December 9, 2016

The relationship between self-control and empathy

Do you know Marshmallow Test? It is a simple experiment to evaluate the level of patience of children. A pick of sweet marshmallow is proposed to an examinee. The examiner tells him that he will get two picks of marshmallow after 30 minutes if he abandons the present one. If the examiner has enough ability of self-control, he will be glad to wait for another reward. In contrast, impulsive children will grab the immediate sweets without examining its disadvantage. This test is often used to assess the developmental stage of children.

According to this article below, self-control coincides with empathy. Thus, the ability to control yourself is deeply connected with the power of imagination. In this regard, the subject to be imagined is your own figure in the future. If you can feel your agony past committing a theft to get arrested, you will never rob valuable goods of the careless man in front of you.

The Atlantic: Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self

The author suggests right temporoparietal junction in the brain as a region responsible to self-control. This region has been believed to regulate human emotion such as empathy. When you try to take other person’s perspective, the right temporoparietal junction is stimulated, brain research suggests.

However, is an estimation of your own emotion in the future the same as being empathetic to others’ feeling? I hardly accept it. Many people with good empathy to others fail to refuse extra fats after dinner.

In my sense, imagining self in the future is different from imagining others at present. Perhaps, the former is far difficult to the latter. It is because cognition bias occurs when we sense in the mind of ourselves. We often underestimate the future value compared to the present value. It is an instinct of animals to survive the current crisis.

Therefore, I disagree with the opinion that self-control is the same as empathy. Indeed, there are many people with high empathy who are difficult to control their own emotion.

On the other hand, these two abilities are corresponding with each other. A mature person is good at both of them. Some confounding factors are suggested such as rationality and experience.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mr. Softbank meets Trump

Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, met the US President-elect Donald Trump. He promised Trump to make an investment of up to 50 billion USD to the US industries.

The Wall Street Journal: When Billionaires Meet: $50 Billion Pledge From SoftBank to Trump

The meeting of the two gigantic businesspersons was realized on Dec 6th, 2016. At the conversation table, Son revealed a plan to invest 50 billion USD in the US. He also suggested the new project of Softbank would create 50,000 new jobs.

It seems fantastic for American people. In reals, the 50 billion USD can be composed of investment to Sprint, an American telecommunication company owned by Son, and some startups which will gain the budget through funding companies. Thus, SoftBank will not need additional expenditure for accomplishing Son’s announcement.

SoftBank gained Sprint in 2013. After that, Son also wanted to buy T-Mobile. But his attempt was interrupted by some US politicians who were worrying that a foreign company would become dominant in the telecommunication industry. The reason Son visited Trump Tower can be a preparation of the retry to gain T-Mobile. As Trump is not friendly to foreign capitals, it is not sure the good relationship between Son and Trump will continue.

My past entry: Softbank’s Challenge

In my sense, Son is a very clever and ambitious man. He canceled resigning the CEO this summer, resulting in the quitting of Nikesh Arora, the promised successor of Son. He is good at reading the latest situation to make a decision. Recently, he bought ARM as the biggest acquisition in Japan.

My past entry: SoftBank gets ARM as the biggest acquisition ever in Japan

I hope SoftBank will also grow in the US. It will be good for American citizens, I believe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Experimental AI solution in Japan parliament

Japan government is planning to realize an AI solution in the parliament.

According to the media, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will do an experiment to make an AI program write the documents read by lawmakers responding to the question in the parliament.

UPI: Japan exploring use of artificial intelligence for nation's parliament

In the parliament, some politicians, mainly belonging to an opposing party, are given an opportunity to make questions to a member of the cabinet or relevant government officials for clarifying the intention of the government which is planning a new legislation. Persons who received questions have to reply them immediately. If they fail to make an appropriate answer, opposing parties will pursue the problems in the government policy or the new bill submitted by the government. Through such discussion, members of the parliament consider whether the new bill is valid and beneficial to the nation. Thus, the discussion in the parliament is crucial to examine the new policies.

For fluent and efficacious discussion, the summary of the questions is notified to the government before the day of the discussion. Government officials arrange the document for the presenter in advance. It includes prompts of each answer and relevant data explaining the current situation and the new policy.

However, in my experience belonged to the government for two years a decade ago, many questions asked by lawmakers are stereotyped. For example, how many numbers of people are subjected to the new scheme of official aid?” Answering these questions is not difficult; simply with referring the statistical data. Also, many politicians make the same questions repeatedly which had been replied in the past. Thus, originality is not required in creating the answer document. Rather, consistency with the evident data is prioritized. And, AI is superior to humans in this topic.

The government is eager to reduce the tasks of officials which could be omitted for the optimal working style. The utilization of AI in the parliament is one of the attempts for relaxing officials. Indeed, I sometimes had to work through midnight for preparing the draft paper of answering questions for the minister. If this task is automated, several officials will be relieved from staying at the government office all-night.

On the other hand, the success of this project will mean that a considerable amount of tasks in the government can be altered to other non-skilled labors or even an AI program. It is consistent with my sense. It is generally recognized that the productivity of Japanese people is relatively low among developed countries. Though it is doubtful Japanese are all less efficacious at work, I believe there are several examples of wasting time and resource in the Japanese workplace. For example, when I purchase some materials for my research, I am often requested by the financial section to send the money on my own to the bank of the seller. After that, I will get refunded from the financial section. But, is it truly my task to make a payment? I could write another academic paper instead of writing the money transfer form.

I think the challenge of the government is very ambitious and sensational. It looks symbolic and even ironic. I admire the decision of the manager of this project. And I hope this attempt will be successful and result in reduced working time of government officials.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Abe's intention to visit Pearl Harbor

Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is planning to visit Pearl Harbor, where Japan army bombed firstly in the WWII. It is said that more than 2,400 people were victimized by the attack.

International Business Times: Japanese PM in historic visit to Pearl Harbor 75 years after 'day of infamy'

Abe intends to visit Pearl Harbor late of this December, to express the regret of the war act and mourn for the victims. If realized, it will be the first time for the Japanese leader to make an official visit there. The US seems to welcome the visit.

(Corrected on Dec 8th, 2016) It is said that Shigeru Yoshida also visited Pearl Harbor on his duty of the Prime Minister in 1951.

Abe's decision looks like a response to Obama's visit to Hiroshima this May. It was also a historic meeting.

My past entry: Obama visit Hiroshima for the first time

However, I believe Abe has another reason to make this visit. He can want to strengthen the friendly relationship with the US, especially for Donald Trump, the President-elect.

Abe himself has a strong desire of reforming Constitution. He wants to redefine the history of Japan to resurrect the honor of Japanese. It includes to defining Self Defence Force as a national army.

For this point of view, making a bow to the US is not acceptable for Abe. Rather, independence from the US' protection is the goal of Abe and ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Indeed, some conservative Japanese criticize Abe that he condescend to the US too much.

However, Donald Trump intends to reconsider the relationship with Japan. It is very risky for the both countries. Abe administration has not gained a close relationship with Trump yet. In addition, their opinions are split around the TPP.

To make a historic reform of Constitution which has not been realized so far, stabilized fiscal status is essential. Otherwise, the government would have no room to discuss the reform at all. For Abe administration, while it is desirable to leave the US' protection, economic alliance with the US is still indispensable.

I believe Abe has a deep thought on the decision to visit Pearl Harbor.

By the way, I agree with the amendment of Constitution itself. But the content of proposed amendment by the Liberal Democratic Party is terrible. I myself will never support the current model of the new Constitution.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Poll results in Austria and Italy and the future of EU

On Dec 4th, 2016, Austrian Presidential vote was conducted. As a result, Alexander van der Bellen, the former Green Party leader, defeated Norbert Hofer, a far-right politician, to be reelected.

It is quite relieving for European countries that Hofer failed to grab the top of Austria. Hofer belongs to Freedom Party which has an exclusive policy and strongly against accepting refugees. If he had won the vote, the EU would have approached to its termination by one step.

However, the difference of the acquisition rate among two candidates is so close; 53 percent v 46 percent. This result had not been certain until the vote box was entirely open.

Independent: Austria: European leaders celebrate defeat for far-right Hofer as 'the liberal majority pushes back'

There are still many supporters of Freedom Party, while Green Party cannot get the majority of the parliament. Whereas Austrian President has only limited administrative powers, it is uncertain which way the nation will proceed to.

In contrast, Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, committed to resigning following the result of the latest poll. Italian voters rejected the amendment of Constitution supposed by Renzi. It is expected that Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment party, will grow in the Italian parliament. It means the risk for Italy to exit from the EU is increased.

The Guardian: Italy heads to the polls: 'We are playing for the next 20 years' – Renzi

Considering these results, it seems to become a little difficult for EU to survive for more years. The next year, a general election will be held in Germany. If Angela Merkel loses the vote, it will be a critical damage for the EU. Even if not, the EU has to reconsider its value in the current era of uncertainty.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Casino gambling bill will be passed in Japan

The Japan lower house committee passed a bill to allow casino gambling on Dec 2nd, 2016. It will enable companies to develop gambling resorts in Japan.

Kyodo News: Casino bill clears Japan Diet panel after rapid deliberation

So far, Japan has banned gambling facilities and relevant acts such as poker, blackjack, and roulette. However, public house race, cycling race, and powerboat race, with betting money, are frequently conducted. National soccer league is also subjected to gambling legally.

In addition, though it is hard to understand for foreign people, pachinko and slot machines are also practically permitted in Japan. There are many pachinko parlors unofficially administered in every city in Japan. They are not deemed as gambling facilities, because parlors do not give money to customers at all. Instead, they offer some goods as prizes. Winners can exchange these goods into money in stores nearby. Thus, pachinko is not defined as a gamble in a legal context, but every player enjoys it as gambling. It is widely recognized that some antisocial organizations are associated with pachinko parlor administration, although most customers are not concerned about the fact.

Furthermore, some Japanese enjoy gambling using several ways other than casino facilities. In recent years, some companies selling digital goods with a virtual slot machine in social games were condemned as they attract customers’ gambling mind. Real money trade, or trading virtual items in a network game with real currency, was also subjected to the argument. The combination with a virtual slot and real money trade would construct explicit gambling.

And some people are eager to make FX trade. Some are engaged in it as a means of earning money. But others play FX with a sense of gambling.

After all, alternative forms of gambling have been well developed in Japan because of longitudinal regulation of gambling by the government. Therefore, if casino facilities are permitted, the influence on Japanese gamblers’ mind will be limited. Practically, only aged people who have been accustomed to house race and foreign travelers familiar with traditional blackjack will visit new facilities, for my prediction. Young people with a risk of pathological gambling will continue to be absorbed to other entertainment, including online games and money trades.

Abe administration is eager to pass the bill with expecting financial benefits, through attracting foreign people in the Olympic planned in Tokyo in 2020. This idea is correct, I think. Foreign travelers seldom have an opportunity to play Pachinko or Japanese horse race. Rather, they tend to visit traditional casinos.

On the other hand, gambling disorder, or pathological gambling, has not been studied in Japan because gambling is officially prohibited. It is ridiculous, for many Japanese are indulged in gambling behaviors with several ways. A recent survey suggested millions of Japanese are diagnosed with gambling disorder. I believe this result is a pretty exaggerated.
Nonetheless, it is sure that a certain amount of people are suffering from gambling disorder. We should treat them with appropriate ways. I expect the legalization of gambling will enable us to clarify the current situation to develop a treatment strategy for problematic gamblers.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hollande will not rise in the second term

Francois Hollande, the French President, announced not to participate in the next presidential vote. It is for the first time in these 50 years of French history of politics for the present president to quit his seat after the first term.

International Business Times: President Hollande announces he is not running for second term in 2017 presidential race

According to the media reports, Hollande said that he would like to give a chance of defeating extremists as well as conservatism to the ruling Socialists Party.

Indeed, National Front, a far-right party has a considerable degree of presence in French society. Recent terrorism occurred in Paris and Nice made citizens exclusive to foreign people. Their ideology is absolutely against socialists. It is expected that the ruling Socialists Party will win the next general election planned in January. However, Hollande himself is rather unpopular in France. Thus, his decision to abandon the Presidential seat in the next term means he prioritizes Socialists Party upon his own position.

I have introduced several events occurred in France so far. Some of them represent characteristics in the mind of French people, such as Anti-Amazon law to protect traditional booksellers and a homemade food symbol. Recently, I remember the burkini issue mainly discussed in France. Finally, the supreme court accepted burkini in the beach.

My past entry: Anti-Amazon Law rise in France

My past entry: France set symbol of home-made food

My past entry: Burkini bans in France beach

French people seem to be struggling to balance the traditional goodness and newly values. The ruling of Hollande and Socialist Party is quite symbolic. I wonder how French people will assess the current situation after that.

Friday, December 2, 2016

OPEC decides to cut oil production

The OPEC, or Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, agreed to reduce the oil production at the last OPEC meeting on Nov. 30th, 2016.

It means that the oil price will be raised by the contract of oil producing nations. The members plan to cut production by about 1.2 million barrels per day, equal to 3.5 percent of current production.

CNBC: The OPEC deal is done. Here’s what to expect from oil markets next

So far, the oil price is rapidly falling since 2014. The current price is a half of that in two years ago. One reason is decreased buying the power of China. In addition, Iran has been willing to increase the production after the relationship with the US was restored.

Saudi Arabia, one of the main oil producers, is eager to control the price. In contrast, Iran and Iraq, which is involved in the conflict against anti-governmental organizations, hesitate to reduce the oil production. Because of the imbalance of each nation’s view, controlling the oil price had been difficult.

However, they agreed to the planned reduction at last. Vladimir Putin seems to have taken a crucial role in committing the deal among OPEC members. He met Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman in this September. He admitted the influence of Putin on this negotiation, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran as well.

Live Mint: How Putin got Saudi Arabia and Iran to agree on an Opec deal

I think stabilized oil price will work beneficially to the world in total. In recent years, Putin often takes the leadership instead of the US. Considering that President-elect Donald Trump has no intention to become the manager of the world, Putin’s presence will grow much more.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Brazilian football team encountered aircraft crash

On 28th Nov, an airplane accident occurred, which blew Brazilians so hard.

The British Aerospace 146, chartered by Chapecoense, a famous Brazilian football team, had an electrical failure, resulting in a crash into a mountain in Columbia. There was a total of 77 passengers in the plane. And only six survived the accident.

Telegraph: Colombia plane crash: 71 dead and six survivors on flight carrying Chapecoense football team

Some team members, journalists, and guests were included in the victims.  Although some were alive, the death of great athletes is a shocking tragedy.  Chapecoense itself will be forced to be restructured for forming the team again.

Traffic accidents are serious problems without exception. But when such a specific vehicle meets a crash, the influence will be expanded. For example, if a bus carrying physicians who are gathered for an academic conference is burned out, local hospital network will be collapsed.

The rate of an aircraft accident is so low that we need not be afraid of encountering the trouble. Nonetheless, we should prepare for the possibility that one accident will destroy the function of an association.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sequels in November 2016

November 21, 2016
Abe meets Trump

After the meeting, Abe was criticized by the opposing Democratic Party as his affirmative TPP is not approved by Trump. Abe is eager to enforce TPP. But it seems almost impossible. I heard one foreign politician saying "if TPP were renamed to Trump Pacific Partnership, Trump would have accepted TPP." I think this joke is so sweet that it expresses Trump's narcissistic character well.

November 14, 2016
Treatment of depression: multi-angle approach

Recently, I read some article about sleep deprivation therapy. It seems quite promising, but evidence about its efficacy and practical examples are still limited.

November 9, 2016
Gloomy Donald Trump's triumph for presidential vote

Now, Donald Trump is making several speeches as the President-elect. He declared to build a great wall on the border between the US and Mexico, using Mexican budget, as he promised before the Presidential vote. Some of his policies seem rational than as expected before. And the market responded his words, resulting in the stronger USD. The future is still in the deep mist.

November 2, 2016
Park Geun-hye in peril

At last, Park presented an intention to resign the President.

BBC: South Korea's President Park 'willing to resign'

Her resignation is perhaps to minimize the degree of damage on herself and the government, avoiding from the impeachment. On the other hand, she will take the risk of being arrested after stepping down from the Presidential seat. Anyway, the political life of Park seems to be terminated.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Meaning of negative emotions: “The Upside of Your Dark Side”

Just now, I have completed reading "The Upside of Your Dark Side," written by  Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener. This book has translated into Japanese, and it is available in Kindle Unlimited service. The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self―Not Just Your "Good" Self―Drives Success and Fulfillment

The central claim of this book is to emphasize the benefits of your negative emotion such as anger, anxiety, and remorse. The author begins to indicate that modern society, especially in the US, is pursuing individual happiness too much. Everyone should be happy, pleasant, and cherish. Optimism and mindfulness are recommended by many leading people. However, these positive emotions are not always beneficial for the better life of ours, according to the authors.

For example, getting angry sometimes brings us a drive for improving the current situation. And remorse is necessary to learn better behaviors in the future.

In addition, the authors presented several results of experiments suggesting the efficacy of negative emotions. Optimists are often vulnerable to tough situations whereas pessimists are well tolerant to unexpected disasters. They emphasize the dangerousness of ignoring your negative emotions.

Mindfulness is also subjected of criticism. The authors agree with the importance of mindful thoughts. But actually, we usually behave mindlessly. Automated behaviors are often optimized to each of daily situation.

After all, the authors believe in the value of “wholeness,” which means balanced mind. You can accept your negative emotions as well as positive ones. Joy and meaning, novelty and stability are both elements of value in your life.

I totally agree the authors’ claim. You need not eliminate negative thoughts and emotions from your heart.

Though many experiments are referred in this book, source of each study are hardly clarified. It is not an exception of the same structure in a similar type of books. To be honest, I am doubtful about most of the results of studies introduced by the authors. But it is difficult to examine them. I think it is a serious flaw of this kind of books.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fidel Castro’s death and the relationship with the US

Fidel Castro, the former Cuban President, was dead at the age of 90.

He was recognized as a revolutionist. He defeated the previous Cuban government which had kept a close relationship with the US. And he reconstructed Cuba as a socialist state. He had been the President for nearly a half century.

The Atlantic: Reactions to Fidel Castro's Death: Live Coverage

Cuba and the US had been in a tense relationship since Fidel seated the leader of Cuba. On the other hand, he was very friendly to Japan. He often admired the accomplishment of Japanese athletes in Major League. Some Japanese are fond of visiting Cuba because Cuban government permits Japanese tourists to enter Cuba without a visa.

In recent years, thanks to Obama administration’s effort, the international relationship between Cuba and the US is becoming closer. In 2015, Obama and Fidel met each other officially, which was 59 years after the previous meeting.

My past entry: US and Cuba is approaching

However, Donald Trump seems to identify Cuba and Fidel as an enemy. He mentioned Fidel as a brutal dictator, as Obama said as a singular figure. Trump said that the death of Fidel would make Cuban people free from suppression.

Hindustan Times: Obama calls Castro ‘singular figure’, Trump says he was a ‘brutal dictator’

It is not sure how Trump will deal with Cuba. Some American people consider that Obama’s foreign policy was too coward and just for making a legacy. Considering that many Republicans still do not like to normalize the tie with Cuba, the relationship between the two nations will be deteriorated, I am afraid. It is consistent with Trump’s policy for the solitude of the US.

The Guardian: Fidel Castro death: Donald Trump hopes for a free Cuba – as it happened

Not only for Americans but also Cuban people, the rise of Trump and the fall of Fidel will have a great impact. I hope it will be beneficial for them.

Jigsaw puzzle

Recently, I bought a jigsaw puzzle for killing time.

I had only a couple of experiences of completing a jigsaw puzzle. I remember I achieved a puzzle composed of 400 pieces. It was a tough work in my memory. However, I am over 40-year-old. So, I decided to challenge a 1000 pieces puzzle. Ceaco Thomas Kinkade - Sunset on Lamplight Lane Puzzle (1000 Piece)

The picture printed on the pieces was drew by Thomas Kinkade. He created several works including Disney characters. I was fascinated in his beautiful drawing. Repairing his picture would be an exciting attempt, I convinced.

First, the frame should be completed.

After then, some specific pieces were fixed with ease.

But it was time-consuming to complete this work. It took over a week.

Finally, I got it!

Now, I am wondering how to treat this complete puzzle. I can stabilize the puzzle with a glue. But I have no space to display it in my room. I have to consider it.