Monday, October 31, 2016

Sequels in October 2016

October 17, 2016
Cloud storage incorporative

Now, I am using Google Drive. It is far better than One Drive or iCloud, for my experience. It sometimes fails to upload files. But the frequency of the errors is less than other cloud storages.

October 16, 2016
North Korea's missile unsuccessfully launched

Kim Jon Un seems to suspect a concern of the US or South Korea on the recent failure of a missile launch.

International Business Times: North Korea Missile Test: Kim Jong Un Suspects Sabotage By US-South Korea, Orders Probe

I am not sure his suspicion is rational or merely a delusion. If there are foreign spies in the division of missile development, they can interfere the activity of the division. But, the task of a spy is not limited to make a sabotage. On the other hand, there are several possibilities around the failure.

October 9, 2016
Trump’s sex scandal again

Now, it seems Clinton's victory is promised, though there are considerable votes whose destination is undetermined. And many Americans do not welcome either Trump or Clinton. It is miserable that even such a great nation as the US has no respectable leaders.

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

So far, Twitter has not found the buyer of itself. It was released that Twitter will reduce almost 10% of the employees for restructuring for the coming year.

Independent: Twitter to cut 9% of staff in bid to become profitable by 2017

I do not believe Twitter as a social network service will perish. But, if the situation does not change, it will be bought by a company which is indifferent to maintain its quality for a low price. I am afraid of it.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Uber planning flying taxi service

Uber released an ambitious plan to introduce flying taxi service.

According to the press release, Uber is constructing electric aircraft with collaborating with several manufacturers, to realize the service, called Uber elevated, within 2026. Different from conventional jets, its aircraft can take off vertically, and work by electricity.

Mail Online: Uber's flying taxi plan revealed: Firm hopes to sign aircraft makers up to 'Elevate' service and launch in 2026

Uber expects this flying machine will make a revolution to commuters’ lifestyle. A flying car can bring passengers in 18 minutes to the destination to which it takes over two hours by car.

It seems fantastic, at the same time whereas it looks like a mere fantasy. There are several issued to be addressed before realizing air taxi service. Cost and safety should be prioritized. Legal matters are also challenging. Even regulations for drones have not been fixed in most countries. I think electricity is good for the energy of flying cars because it is free from air pollution caused by exhaust gas. On the other hand, it is doubtful if an energy battery carried by aircraft can provide enough power to levitate it for adequate time.

Another issue is that Uber proposed this idea. Uber is not a vehicle producer, but a company originally to introduce the car-sharing scheme. I am not sure other corporations dealing with transport services are planning similar services.

Is Uber so a new company that it has the potential to make an innovation such as flying taxi? Or, it is merely an advertisement to make Uber attract public attention? We will see the answer shortly.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

MacBook Pro with touch bar, a natural evolution

Apple released a new series of MacBook Pro.

A unique feature of the new MacBook Pro is the touch bar. It is equipped on the upper end of the keyboard. It works as a series of function keys, while is can be customized according to the application you are using. Traditional function keys are omitted.

I think it is quite logical evolution for Mac, or PC as well. There are several mechanical keys whose necessity is doubtful. Many function keys are also not used by most users.

In addition, young users are accustomed to the virtual keyboard on the touch panel. The virtual keyboard can be rearranged to be optimized for the usage of each application. It is inconvenient that the names printed on each key top cannot be altered. Previously, a few keyboards whose key tops equip a display were sold, but they were not spread because of low cost-performance. Apple is perhaps planning to replace all of the keys to touch bar or something like it.

One of the new models, which is the cheapest, does not equip a touch bar. This MacBook Pro is thinner and lighter than MacBook Air with almost the same footprint size. Thus, MacBook is overwhelming MacBook Air. Apple seems to eliminate MacBook Air.

No current USB ports are attached in the new MacBook Pro series. Instead, they equip multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports. Thunderbolt 3 is compatible to USB type-C. USB type-C is promised to be the standard in the next generation mobile communication device, admitted by the EU. Therefore, Apple’s decision is no more ridiculous. Nonetheless, the lack of USB 3.0 ports will be a serious shortcoming of the new MacBook Pro because most companies will not be able to adapt the new standard so fast.

By the way, Apple reported recently that its annual profit fell for the first time in these 15 years. Diminished sales of iPhone seem to be one of the principal causes. Apple rose the minimum price of MacBook series from 899 USD (MacBook Air 11 inch) to 1,499 USD (MacBook Pro 13 inch without touch bar). It may be the intention of Apple not to let the price of each gadget down anymore.

The sales of PC is also decreasing. However, PC will not perish at least within this decade, I guess.

I bought MacBook 2016 model in this spring. I am satisfied to its usability, except the length of battery life. I will not buy the new MacBook Pro. But it made me excited.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Anti-anti-vaccination campaign in Australia

Vaccination is one of great invention of human to protect ourselves from critical diseases. Therefore, making your children vaccinated is obligated in many countries. The spread of vaccination has reduced the death rate of infants and toddlers by a considerable grade.

However, there are some people claiming that vaccination is no more effective or even harmful for children. They protect that children should be vaccine-free. Such activities were often seen so far. But recently, social media have a crucial role in spreading their claims. Some people even among nurse and midwives easily believe their erroneous thought. If some influential people are infiltrated by their biased opinion, the anti-vaccination campaign will be highly ignited. It will lead to mortality of innocent children, specialists warn.

An Australian authority has carried out a radical solution. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia made a statement on this issue. In the comment, it is mentioned that promoting anti-vaccination can deserve to act to be prosecuted.

The Guardian: Australian nurses who spread anti-vaccination messages face prosecution

I think this statement is a little aggressive. Most subjects of vaccination are children. They should be protected by adults. Letting them without vaccination means a deprivation of the right to live a healthy life, as I guess the intention of this statement. I have to accept the seriousness of the issue around anti-vaccination campaign.

On the other hand, some specialists are concerned about the adverse influence of this statement. Threatening attitude to protesters can make them rather more rigid.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia commented,“The board expects all registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives to use the best available evidence in making practice decisions.” I completely agree with this statement. As a professional of medical science, we have to adhere to the best evidence currently available. Of course, evidence-based medicine is not perfect. Nonetheless, it is usually more trustworthy than superstitious ideas or intuition derived from people without expertise.

I hope rational and calm discussion about everything. It has not been entirely proven that all of the vaccination is cost-effective. Critical thinking, repeated inspection, and amendment following concurrent situation are necessary to improve the quality of hygiene and health care. Both superstitions and indulgence to science should be avoided.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Now, privacy is a myth

Nowadays, information technology has been so spread that we are hardly aware of its influence in some regions. For example, we are almost unconsciously recorded by CCD cameras everywhere in the city.

A study revealed that a half of all citizens in the US are recorded by police. Their faces are stored with the status easily identified when necessary. Real-time facial recognition has been well developed so that a scene in a Sci-Fi movie will be realized soon. Thus, we will be tracked immediately after walking around a city park.

The Guardian: Half of US adults are recorded in police facial recognition databases, study says

In my experience, Japan is sharing a similar situation. Soon after a criminal act, perpetrator’s face is often broadcast. Every convenience stores and supermarkets equip CCD cameras which record the movement of each buyer. Public spaces are also investigated by several cameras.

Also in London, I heard that most criminals are soon arrested thanks to continuous supervision by the CCD cameras.

Social media are as well a hint to identify persons to be tracked. Twitter, Facebook, and other services are connected to the GPS data. And many users are indifferent to how these data are used. Internet anonymity is now no other than a myth.

Some people warn that current situation is risky in terms of violation of privacy. It is true, though, safety and liberty are always conflicting. Abuse of supervision should be avoided. But, I will accept the need that my privacy is exposed to public to some extent if my safety is guaranteed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Weight training may prevent you from dementia

Preventing people from the onset of dementia is one of the issues to be prioritized in geriatrics. Several methods have been proposed so far, but none of them have proven its effect with clinical or statistical significance.

Nonetheless, we believe there are some basic principles to keep our mental health in old age. Taking healthy food, maintaining social activity, and adequate exercise are considered to be essential.

And recently, an academic paper was published mentioning the effect of physical exercise on cognitive function. The researchers claimed progressive resistance training seemed to be beneficial, and its influence was greater than cognitive training.

Independent: Lifting weights could make you more intelligent, study suggests

In spite of the title of the article above, the researchers did not suggest lifting weights makes you more intelligent. Actually, people diagnosed as mild cognitive impairment participated in this study. A half of the participants took regular weight training, and a half took cognitive training as well. Thus, they were divided into four groups randomly.

The protocol of this study was well constructed, I think. Statistical analysis suggested participants in the group with weight training had better scores of ADAS-Cog (a series of cognitive examination) partially with statistical significance compared with participants without training. On the other hand, participants having taken cognitive training showed no superiority after a series of training compared to the control group. Increases in the lower body, but not upper, strength were associated with improvements in cognitive function.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society: Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training

What does this result indicate? It seems physical exercise is somehow beneficial for people with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers hypothesized that strength gains would mediate cognitive improvement. But the mechanism regarding this outcome is still unsure. It is noteworthy that this study is a randomized controlled clinical trial. Thus, confounders interfering the interpretation of this results have been potentially excluded in advance.

A couple of years ago, cognitive training was popular in elder people for preventing dementia. But it was proven that each cognitive training had no preventive effects from dementia. The result of this study is consistent with the previous ones. If you wish to be clever in elderly, you prefer to train your body, rather than brain.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Briton have no notes, Japanese still love them

A cashless society is approaching fast, as I wrote repeatedly.

My past entry: Cashless society is coming

My past entry: Your child will never see cash

In the UK, citizens have only 5 GBP or less cash in their pocket, according to a new study. Instead, a typical Briton possesses two credit/debit cards, some membership cards, and many useless items in their wallet. One-tenth of citizens have given up to equip wallet itself.

A touchless payment system lets them go through the payment counter within a couple of seconds. Previously, you have to enter the PIN number or write a signature to complete payment with a credit card. Nowadays, you only have to touch your card, or iPhone, on the device.

International Business Times: Push for cashless society marches on as average Briton now carries less than a fiver

To be honest, I have never seen the touch and go system in the UK. It seems it has been available recently in urban areas.

In general, Japanese people are willing to possess some notes in their wallet. I think one of the most influential reasons is that credit card payment has not been well spread. In Japan, many people deem credit cards as a risky way of financial management. In Japan, you have some option in card payment. You may delay the payment until the last of the year. You can also choose the revolving payment method in using a credit card. In the revolving scheme, you have to pay only a fix amount of money regardless of how much you have bought. It means that you will owe a large amount of debt for several years. Thus, the revolving scheme is quite a risky solution. But some people are not aware of it. On the other hand, some people say credit card payment itself is very dangerous. As a result, not a few Japanese choose not to make a credit card.

In Japan, credit cards are still not available in many stores. Instead of credit card payment, several types of digital currency have been developed. I wonder if someone can use all of the digital currency.

Apple Pay has been available since today in Japan. I expect it will be a breakthrough against the current complicated situation regarding payment.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Footprints of Zen masters

Last weekend, I visited Tokyo to see an exhibition regarding Zen masters.

It was "Zen: Kokoro wo Katachi ni [The Art of Zen: from mind to form]," an exhibition performed at Tokyo National Museum in Ueno.

Zen was developed by Bodhidharma, who was born in India and later moved to China. Its principle is to be mindful. Thus, being aware of everything occurring around you and continuous training in daily life bring you to ultimate insight. Zen apprentices take a practice of sitting down to concentrate on their breath, without any other thought flowing. It is called "Zazen," a representative form of meditation. "Za" means "sit." You can also take a Zen practice while walking, eating, lying, and any other activities.

Apart from Zazen, Koan is another part of Zen training. Koan was considered to be established by Hakuin. It means questioning and answering between a master and an apprentice. The content of Koan is simple, but hardly to be answered. For example, a master made a question to his apprentices, with showing a bottle, saying "If this bottle cannot be called a bottle, what should you call it?" One apprentice replied, "I cannot call it a rod." Then, the other apprentice suddenly kicked the bottle and disappeared. Finally, the master made the latter apprentice succeed him.

What does it mean? Nonsense, you may think. I am not sure how did the master feel. According to the description at the exhibition, the latter apprentice kicked away not only the bottle but also the absurdness of his master's question. Does it make sense? Naming something is a matter, but not of importance in some occasion, I guess.

In this exhibition, several Zen masters were introduced. When admitted to their master, an apprentice gets a picture describing their master. Usually, the master writes something on the picture. In the exhibition, I saw many pictures in which famous Zen masters were drawn. Each face in the picture looked unique, surprisingly. In general, Buddhists never lose his or her face, as Buddhism is a way of mercy. In contrast, some Zen masters showed an angry face. I cannot understand what does it means. Perhaps, anger is a natural emotion of a human.

Zen was introduced to Japan in Kamakura era. Concurrent governors learned Zen, and some of them became a Zen priest. In Sengoku era, some Samurai and Daimyo hired famous Zen priests, to get their thoughts and to consult them on the strategy to rule citizens. Thus, Zen was connected with politics to some extent. And it is one of the reasons Zen was spread in Japan in the 16 Century.

Nowadays, there are several Zen temples in Japan. Hakuin is known as a restorer of Zen in the 17th Century. Hakuin belonged to Rinzai-shu. But there are some other factions in Zen.

I saw several pictures, books, sculptures, and some tea sets, including some national treasure. It was an extraordinary experience. Learning the history of Zen and touching the mind of Zen masters were very tough, but also refreshing.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Suitcase following you

Travelmate Robotics, a company in San Francisco, developed an item which had been highly dreamed by travelers.

It is a suitcase. Its only and unique function is to follow you automatically. Thus, you no more need to carry it by yourself. This suitcase is connected to your smartphone, and always keep a 15 feet distance from you.

CNN Money: This suitcase will follow you home like a puppy

According to the media, estimated cost for this marvelous suitcase is 400 USD or more, not unrealistically expensive. The spec in detail is yet to be finalized. Whether it can certainly avoid any objects is one of the issues of concern. When it is stolen, it can make an alert to the owner. In the next generation items, cameras will be equipped to detect obstacles.

I think this is a cool, and available item. Within a couple of years, this kind of robot suitcase will be spread in major airports. Because most airports have accomplished barrier-free environment, this suitcase will work without serious troubles.

Nowadays, dreams which were imagined by people in the last century are realized one after another. Wonderful!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chocolate crisis and mango butter

I am a chocolate lover. I hope every sweet in the world will be replaced to chocolate.

But, production of chocolate is in peril now. The price of cocoa is increasing, following the increased demand for chocolate as a sweet ingredient. Cocoa butter has now the highest cost among tropical fats and oils, and its price has been doubled in this decade.

To be honest, I had not known these facts. If chocolate perishes, I would not be able to survive. No, it is a joke. But it will be my great agony not to take any chocolate anyway.

Researchers suggest that mangoes can be a substitute for cocoa butter. Mangoes have a similar chemical structure to cocoa butter, and even have some superiorities. So far, it has yet to be realized to create cocoa butter-like substance made from mangoes. But researchers are enthusiastic to solve this challenge.

The Conversation: Could wild mangoes solve the world’s chocolate crisis?

It sounds fantastic. However, mangoes are also costly, at least in Japan. In the UK, I hardly saw mangoes in a supermarket, as mango is a tropical fruit. If mango butter is established, it is unsure farmers in tropical regions can increase the production of mangoes easily.

Chocolate crisis remains. I will enjoy chocolate as if it is the last opportunity.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ukip is collapsing

UK Independence Party, or Ukip, is facing a serious crisis.

It occurred when Brexit was determined by the historic vote on this June. Ukip’s goal is to make the UK leave the EU. Soon after the absolute purpose is achieved, Nigel Farage, the head of Ukip, quitted his seat. It looks strange and quite irresponsible that he has no intention to lead the UK in the post-Brexit era.

My past entry: Theresa May as the Prime Minister of the UK

It has been apparent that there are scarce persons who can manage Ukip well. Previously, Farage was willing to resign when Ukip lost several seats in the last general election. But, he was asked to remain because nobody could success him.

And, Diane James, the successor of Farage, threw away the work of the leader of Ukip. It was only 18 days after she was elected. The next head has yet to be determined.

Furthermore, Ukip is suffering from a shortage of money. A major donator for Ukip declared that he would no more support it.

Independent: Ukip facing bankruptcy as leading donor 'threatens to walk away'

It is common that a party composed of populists collapse soon after it grasps the administrative position. The reason is that their ultimate goal is to defeat conventional authority, not to address the concurrent issues. Therefore, they often attract the attention of citizens who dislike current situation. But once they stand at the top, they have no idea to fix the problems which have been suggested by them.

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took a similar course. Members of DPJ said they could make great changes to Japan if voters approved them. But, their promises had not been realized at all.

Winning an election is different from managing the political issues well. More generalized, there is a discrepancy between getting something and managing it properly.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tim Cook visited Japan

All at sudden, on October 13th morning, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, tweeted “Ohayo gozaimasu!” in Japan.

It was for the first time for Cook to visit Japan as the CEO of Apple. And this journey had been kept secret. He visited four cities in Japan, Kyoto, Tokyo, Saitama, and Sendai, in the three days of staying.

In Kyoto, Cook went to the main building of Nintendo. He played Super Mario Run iPhone version, which is planned to be released in this December. He made a conference with Miyamoto Shigeru, a creative fellow of Nintendo.

9to5Mac: Apple CEO Tim Cook visits with Nintendo executives during trip to Japan this week

Tech Times: Apple CEO Tim Cook Visits Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto During Japan Trip, Tries Out 'Super Mario Run' For iOS

Then, Cook moved to Shinjuku. He used Apple Pay to ride on the train. And he visited Apple Store at Omote-Sandoh.

The next day, Cook met Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan. He approved the potential of young Japanese, according to the official announcement of the Prime Minister.

And the third day, Cook went to Sendai, to visit an Apple Store.

Cook’s secret visit had a strong impact on Japanese Apple lovers. However, I think there is scarce evidence that he was truly inspired in Japan. Steve Jobs is known as a Zen adept. But I am doubtful that Cook is so impressed in the Japanese mind.

To be honest, I am not interested in Cook’s concern about Japan. It is certain that Apple has become more focusing in Japan among the global market. The fact that iPhone 7 equips some features available in Japan indicates the importance of Japan for Apple marketing strategy. It is welcomed for many Japanese.

My past entry: iPhone 7 in Japan

Some people suggest Apple is planning to improve the performance of Siri and other Artificial Intelligence, and technology in Japan will help the process. I agree on this opinion to some extent. Some Japanese engineers are excellent to develop the newly algorithm. Also, the Japanese language is so complex that mastering Japanese means acquiring sophisticated skills of linguistic thinking.

Macworld: Tim Cook's Japan visit could result in superior Apple AI

I am not sure about the status of Japan regarding IT industry in future. It is true Japan has some unique characters which are hardly mimicked by foreign creators. And fusion of several cultures will make great value, like an iPhone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Clinical trials against Alzheimer's disease ongoing

Nobody hopes to lose their memory, even if some parts of them are bitter. Meomory is our proof of life. It is why Alzheimer's disease is recognized as one of the most miserable diseases.

In the past, I wrote that a newly drug was underinvestigated in a clinical trial for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Conventional drugs have only an effect to slow the progress of the disease superficially. But Solanezumab is considered to reverse the symptoms of dementia, through taking away beta amyloids from the central nerve tissue, theoretically.

My past entry: Solanezumab, challenge to Alzheimer's disease

So far, there is no apparent evidence that Solanezumab has a significant benefit. But, Illy Lilly still believes its value as an innovational drug. The clinical trial is still ongoing.

Business Insider: A big Alzheimer's drug trial is about to offer real hope for treating the disease — or crush it

On the other hand, there are other possibilities to overcome Alzheimer's disease. It was found that CT1812, a newly developed compound, could negate the adverse effects of beta amyloid had been found in mice to negate the effects of the toxic protein amyloid-beta. It is unique that CT1812 does not eliminate amyloid but protects brain neurons from its attack.

The Age: New drug could slow or halt Alzheimer's, says leader of clinical trials

I hardly believe that these new drugs will be successful, as several similar attempts have failed to show the certain effect so far. Nonetheless, I dream the era everyone is relieved from the fear of losing memory. If it is realized, it is certain that the developer of the drug will get great respect and the astronomical amount of money.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why can athlete concentrate in a tough situation?

The study suggests that athletes have better performance by 20% than normal people in remembering things under a stressful situation.

Independent: Elite athletes can think far better than normal people when put under stress, study finds

This study has only six athletes and six controls. Therefore, this result is hardly trustworthy in terms of statistical significance, needless to know the whole study protocol. In basic medical science using rats or mice, a total of twelve subjects can be adequate. However, the human being is much different in several elements with each other. I can say nothing after knowing this result.

Nonetheless, the point the researchers paid attention to makes sense. There has been a hypothesis that athletes have alternative ways of thinking compared to non-trained people. Several episodes in which top athletes achieved a marvelous outcome in an extreme situation imagine us that they have unique solutions to maximize their performance, or change risk into chance.

I think there are three possibilities to explain the extraordinary performance of athletes. First, top athletes are blessed in physical status. And our body is connected to the mind. Thus, it is quite natural that talented people in physical performance are also good at creative works. Unfortunately, it is an issue of the gene.

Second, some psychologists are specialized in athletes training. As I heard from one of them, mental training is one of the most important topics in growing them up. Cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently adopted to them. Repeated exposure to a tough situation and preventing them from avoidant or irrational thoughts can reduce their anxiety and negative images before the game. A good athlete knows how to overcome their fear and anxiety.

Third, some kind of endogenic change can occur in an athlete’s body when posing a particular situation. Epinephrine, cortisol, and several other hormones are secreted in a stressful environment. Catecholamine works as a neurotransmitter, to enhance concentration. Thus, we potentially make better performance under pressure. On the other hand, excessive release of catecholamine brings us to an upset state, which inhibits us from the optimized activity. Athletes are likely to be accustomed to controlling catecholamine level unconsciously.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cloud storage incorporative

As I wrote previously, I actively use cloud storage services. They are so convenient that I can access various files everywhere. And I can go on my paperwork immediately after reaching home because files are synchronized between the desktop PC at the office and that at home.

However, recently, I have trouble about cloud synchronization. One Drive frequently failed to upload new files I created on the desktop.

My past entry: Cloud storage services (1)

My past entry: Cloud storage services (2)

My past entry: Cloud drives on sale

I considered that One Drive on Mac was underqualified. Actually, I had several troubles on One Drive previously. Therefore, I chose iCould Drive instead of One Drive.

My past entry: OneDrive, successor to SkyDrive by Microsoft

Not surprisingly, iCould Drive worked very well. On the other hand, one of my desktop Windows PC failed to get the files from the cloud storage.

I called for help to Apple customer support. The operator kindly suggested some solutions. However, none of them could fix the problem.

And at last, I am planning to induce Google Drive. Google has a strict, or somehow doubtful, policy. But it is more or less applicable to any other companies.
I have to take some trials and errors. If I successfully get along with a superior cloud storage service, I will report it here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

North Korea's missile unsuccessfully launched

North Korea fired a long-raged ballistic missile, but it exploded soon after launched, according to the media.

CBSNews: North Korean missile exploded shortly after liftoff, says U.S. and South Korea

This news was published by the US and South Korea. They estimated that North Korea attempted to launch Musudan missile unsuccessfully. Musudan type missile was developed in 2010. It was a modified form of a submarine missile developed by Russia. This June, North Korea fired the same type of missiles, and it flew across 400km into the Japan Sea.

According to the authorities, the missile newly launched was likely to equip an engine enhanced than the past. Potentially, Musudan could reach Guam islands where some American military camps. It means that the US has to watch out North Korea's attitude not only for its allies but also the security of the US itself.

The Japan government made a comment that this event would not influence Japan's status directly. I agree with this opinion. North Korea is continuously conducting the provocative activity. But it has no actual power on world conquest. Uninterrupted negotiation containing both persuasion and sanction is necessary to manage the current situation.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sex offenses more reported in Australia

Public safety is one of the matters of importance people are concerned very much. Regardless of the real situation, some people feel unsafe in the daily life.

In Australia, a total of 21,380 sexual offenses were reported in 2015. It was increased by 3% compared to that in the previous year. Teenage girls were most likely to be victimized.

The Guardian: Reports of sexual assault rise to highest level in six years as awareness grows

However, this result should be cautiously interpreted. It is uncertain that men have become more violent, as it suggests women became more willing to report their suffering.

In general, sexual offenses tend to be underreported. There are several reasons. Victims are afraid of revenge after the whistleblowing. They can be even unconscious to the crime; some women believe they are unavoidable to be abused by men.

Then, the increased rate of reported sex offenses is rather admirable than sorry. It resembles incident reports in a hospital.

On the other hand, overrepresentation of sex offenses is another issue. The relationship between a man and a woman is often complicated. Some people believe that sexual intercourse enhances the bond between the couple. Others are reluctant to have an intimate relationship with their partner. When the thoughts of each person regarding mutual relationship are contradicted, the conflict can be perceived as a crime.

Nowadays, there are many ideologies contaminated in the society. We should be aware of the values and limitations of each idea. The definition of crimes will be amended according to the social climate.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Insomnia, hypersomnia, and depression

Previously, I wrote some entries about sleep. Sleep is one of my concern which attracts my attention continuously.

My past entry: Sleep science

My past entry: Seven hours sleep is the best?

My past entry: Five essences for beautiful sleep

Lack of sleep can induce several health problems. Alcoholism and hypertension are said to be relevant to poor sleep.

My past entry: Poor sleep is a risk of alcoholism?

In addition, the relationship between depression and insomnia is often discussed. In a simple understanding, depressive patients have difficulty to take a good sleep. On the other hand, it is well known that insomnia or deprived sleep is sometimes observed as a preceding symptom of depression. It is unsure whether reduced sleep can cause depression directly. But at least some people become depressive after continuous insomnia. In this article below, the author hypothesizes that the amygdala of people who do not take adequate sleep is so stimulated that they cannot get along with their negative emotion, and this distress can be a risk for depression.

The conversation: Why a lack of sleep makes us depressed … and what we can do about it

In contrast, a part of evidence suggests that deprived sleep can improve the symptoms of depression. It looks strange. Actually, we sometimes feel excited after completing an all-night activity. Some clinicians attempt to realize sleep deprivation therapy in the clinical setting. In my opinion, however, it is risky to make depressive patients awake at midnight. They might feel desperate in the dark alone.

On the contrary, hypersomnia is another problem regarding sleep. Primary hypersomnia is a rarely identified illness. The patients suffer from excessive sleepiness all days regardless of the quality of night sleep. It is difficult to distinguish this disease from atypical depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and circadian rhythm dysregulation. Adequate, not too short, and not too long, sleep is essential for our healthy life.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Overcoming fear among dating

In recent years, psychology and psychiatry are more common in our daily life than in the past. People frequently hear advice based on psychiatric evidence. While some of them are scientifically incorrect, others deserve to be respected.

Dating is one of the situations we will be very anxious. Some people are so worried about what they will do at the date that they hesitate to meet their sweetheart. Some people are traumatized after a failure in the date. Therefore, many are concerned about successful and joyful dating.

In this article below, how to overcome your anxiety before dating is described. Cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress coping seem to be adopted in the strategy the author recommends.

The Conversation: Feeling anxious about that first date? Here’s how science can help

The contents seem rational as far as my understanding. Many people fearing date have social anxiety, regardless whether they are diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (SAD). People with SAD tend to imagine catastrophic situations without any evidence of possibility. And they check their body signals with excessive frequency. These reactions accelerate their emotion of fear. Persons in the fear become more aware of their physical status. It constructs a vicious circle among anxiety. One of the easiest ways of breaking the circle is to take a deep breath, as the author mentions.

On the other hand, it is certain that the most powerful solution against loss of self-confidence is successful experiences. Thus, a man without episodes with his steady can never be confirmed. Repeated exposure will relieve you from anxiety. It should be noted that repeated practice will never work in some regions. Practice is not a real experience. Being irritable and anxious (and relieved from such emotions) is necessary to reduce the fear in the future.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and mindful-based stress coping are easy to try for everyone. It is good for you to take some these solutions to get along with tough situations.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Amazon will develop convenience store

There is a rumor that Amazon will develop a convenience store supply chain.

Bloomberg: Amazon to Build Convenience Stores, Wall Street Journal Reports

The possibility of Amazon entering the grocery business was reported firstly in Wall Street Journal. The news source is vague, and Amazon has not published a comment about it.

Wall Street Journal: Amazon to Expand Grocery Business With New Convenience 

I believe it is certain that Amazon is willing to build its own convenience stores. Amazon's goal as a company is to establish an "everything (A to Z) store."  It has launched food delivering services. And recently, Amazon provided ultrafast delivery in limited areas. The next move is to own depots in which any commodity are ready to sell.

In Japan, Amazon replaced a partner who offered a domestic delivery service, because of a conflict with the contract. It is too difficult for outside companies to commit the Amazon's requirement for fast delivery. Then, it is natural for Amazon to develop its own delivering web.

On the other hand, convenience store industry is a red ocean, especially in Japan. There are many companies, such as Seven and I Holdings, possessing huge infrastructures. They offer a large variety of goods including fresh vegetable, roasted coffee, and electric devices. You can also pay commodity fees at a convenience store. It seems there is no room for an outsider to create a new value.

In the US and the UK, convenience stores are not frequently seen. Rather, there are many grocery stores, but most of them are closed at midnight. The number of items is fewer than that in a convenience store. Therefore, I think Amazon will develop a franchise chain in the US and the UK easily compared to in Japan.

Another problem of developing convenience stores is the stock. Every store is suffering in managing dead stock, especially fresh foods. One of the advantages of Amazon is the high qualified administration of the stock. It seems difficult for each convenience store to maintain the stock at an appropriate standard.

I believe Amazon will develop its convenience stores in the US and the UK, but it is unsure Amazon will be successful in Japan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

German atomic power plant infected by computer viruses

The Gundremmingen plant, an atomic power plant in Germany, was reported to be infected by computer viruses.

According to the official comment, influence of the malware was minimal because the mainframe of the plant was isolated from the internet. It is relieving that this plant has been administered based on the standard safety control policy.

The viruses found in the computer of this plant are infamous so that millions of Windows PC in the world has been infected previously.

Reuters: German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

In general, atomic power plants are deliberately protected physically and electronically from external threats. Although several incidents occur in the plant as common, they would not be critical.

If terrorists target the plant, the outcome of the conflict between the administrator and cracker depends on the level of technique and resource of each side. However, most crackers cannot overcome the security of the plants. And, if the purpose of the terrorists is to conquer a nation, it is no good to make the plant uncontrollable. Considering these facts, the risk of the meltdown caused by external power is minimal.

By the way, Germany has decided to shut down all of the atomic power plants. But the process is not so smooth. It is a challenging task to provide all of the electricity in the nation without atomic power. Because of the policy change in Germany, specialists of nuclear power will be shortening. It means that the risk of accident in every aspect will be increased  until all of the plants are completely disabled.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Adobe email survey published

Adobe, a computer software provider company, released the result of a survey regarding email use in 2016. Astonishingly, it revealed that British people spent three months in a year for checking emails.

ITProPortal: We spend three months a year checking email

According to Abobe, European people are addicted to emails. Germans are less likely to use emails, while French are more addicted, compared to Britons. But these difference seems not substantial.

Adobe Email Survey 2016: Infographic

To be honest, I think a part of these results is exaggerated. Actually, we spend a certain amount of time for checking emails, but it must not reach one-fourth of the whole life.

Also, this survey did not mention the use of SNS. Some people have replaced email to SNS. I wonder how this tendency will bring the change in our communication customs.

More or less, it is said we are likely to be indulged in seeing emails. It was a great difference in our lifestyle from that in the 20th century.

By the way, emoji is sometimes used in emails for official purposes. However, the majority of users still consider using emoji is inappropriate unless in casual settings.

The situation is similar also in Japan. Japanese people, especially in youth, are very fond of using emoji. But, as far as I know, it is rare to see emoji in a business email. There are some cases in which sending emoji in a serious situation caused trouble in the relationship between business partners. Japanese are good at making a new subculture, but are conservative in spreading it to the public, in my opinion.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Trump’s sex scandal again

Donald Trump, the nominee of the US president from Republican Party, made a trouble again.

Very recently, a tape in which Trump talked to a woman was published. He suggested several sexual things, including that he was so famous and rich that he could easily make a sexual relationship with women. The remarks and attitude he made looked crude and discriminative.

The Washington Post: More Trump tapes surface with crude sex remarks

He finally had to make an apology regarding this comment. However, he also mentioned that Bill Clinton had said more terrible things to him.

The Guardian: Donald Trump forced to apologise as sex boast tape horrifies Republicans

Following this scandal, some politicians in Republican Party change the attitude to Trump. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, as well as Gerry Herbert, the governor of Utah, declared the withdrawal from the support for Trump.

Western Journalism: Republicans Withdraw Support For Trump In Wake Of Vulgar Video

Actually, it has been obvious that Trump has quite an impolite character. It is very likely that similar evidence will appear again and again. Even if he won the seat of the President, the risk would remain.

If you believe Trump has a good chance to make change the US, it is ridiculous to criticize him for such rude behavior. On the other hand, I think that it is a good opportunity for some Republicans who have been hesitating to make the decision to leave from Trump side.

However, many Republicans seem still hesitate to leave from Trump. It is possible that the Republican Party, at least partially, will become against Trump. But it means to guarantee the victory of Hillary Clinton. It is uncertain which is better for the Republican Party, going along with Trump with a great risk of being politically incorrect, or abandoning Trump with a great risk of corruption of the party.

On the other hand, we should be aware that Clinton is also infamous in some aspects. I support Clinton, and she will certainly win the race. But it does not mean the better US, unfortunately. Today’s world is so complicated.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Situation of the meal in prison, the US and Japan

The situation of the meal in US prisons is issued in a recent article.

The Guardian: Prison food politics: the economics of an industry feeding 2.2 million

The US is suffering from a shortage of budget in maintaining prisons. In Minnesota, only less than 1.20 USD per incarcerate are spent for a daily meal, according to the media. Nowadays, many private companies are responsible for offering foods for prisoners. They also contribute to cut the cost of food. But, there is no official data available for comparing the food spending in prison in the US.

In Japan, food in prison is surprisingly good, according to some popular people who were incarcerated previously, such as Takafumi Horie. They are generally satisfied to the meal. Sweets are rarely provided, expected to be regularly offered. In the past, Japanese prison food was infamous as being called “Kusai-meshi,” or stinking rice. But recently, the Japanese government made progress in improving the management of prison setting following the revision of the Act on Penal Detention Facilities and Treatment of Inmates and Detainees.

It is very good I think. In general, Japanese prisons had been inferior to those in Europe. It makes increased rate of recidivism, I guess. Providing adequate welfare to criminals makes them less likely to recommit a crime. In recent years, prison officers in Japan seem to be willing to make progress on this issue.

I have heard a similar story in a psychiatric hospital. One of the hospitals having many chronic patients offered their daily meal for 300 yen (three USD) per day. The department of feeding service was respected for cost cutting. But the quality of food was so terrible that I hardly took a mandatory examination of the meal.

Food is a basis of human life. I hear that extremists give minimal foods to live to hostages. It gets rid of the power of opposing from the prisoner. As well, poor food makes us less respectful for anything. We can be more aware of the importance of quality as well as the quantity of the food.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Master Card's new bio-metrics identification will be outdated

Master Card will introduce a new online payment system. Shortly, you can use the card online with fingerprint or facial recognition, instead of inputting the card number and PIN code.

ITProPortal: MasterCard brings fingerprints and selfie scanners to online shopping

Master Card seems to consider that some people have difficulty in enjoying online shopping because they have to input the credit card number. Different from this conventional identification, the selfie has been spread as an easy solution for identification. Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Risk & Security, Mastercard told that it is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments.

To be honest, however, I hardly believe Master Card's suggestion is evolutional.

First of all, Apple Pay has already realized a simple payment system. You can make a payment with putting your iPhone on the device the store equips. Similar methods are feasible for online payment. Encryption devices are available with the low cost even for a person.

Second, while the fingerprint is rather hopeful, the quality of facial recognition is still doubtful. Misidentification frequently occurs. Recently, an incident in which a black woman was erroneously tagged by a gorilla.  Moreover, the facial impression is various according to the surrounding of the target. In my personal experience, depressed people are hardly identified as they were.

And, credit cards itself are outdated. Telecommunication providers and other companies are enthusiastic to gain the regular payment of the customers. They hold the account of clients so that the customers make payment of other services via the main company they are dealing with.

Unfortunately, I guess Master Card's solution will not become common in the future. Instead, many other families of online payment will be competing the share of this region, for a while.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Twitter wants to sell itself, but to whom?

It is reported that Twitter will decide its acquirer by the end of this month. But, it seems difficult for Twitter to reach an agreement with its counterpart regarding the merger.

Business Insider: Twitter will decide whether or not to sell by the end of October

Alphabet, Salesforce, and Walt Disney were named as a potential acquirer of Twitter. The content and process of negotiation in detail have not been published, for confidential issues. But, Apple was reported to have withdrawn from the competition. And it will cost at least 30 million USD.

Twitter was launched in 2006 as a modern social network service. A 140 letter tweet attracted many customers who were willing to express their opinion and emotion briefly. Later, Twitter gained 300 millions of active users all over the world.

However, Twitter is struggling for making benefit recently. In August 2016, it was reported that Twitter recruited a sublease customer of its main building.

I approve Twitter’s sense and technology. I have been a user of Twitter for several years. And I have learned many things from Twitter users.

On the other hand, it is difficult to monetize Twitter’s scheme. As same as other internet services, Twitter relies on advertisement fee. But, internet advertisement market is now a red ocean. And Google is the absolute champion in this field. Recently, I noticed some advertisement tweets are shown in my timeline of Twitter. It looks a little annoying. Google is superior to Twitter on the data scale and the way of offering advertisement.

I am not sure that a company will finally buy Twitter. Perhaps, they would not reach the agreement regarding the real values of Twitter. Twitter is an excellent service, but it is doubtful it is good for Google to get Twitter for a millions dollar. I am very sorry if Twitter will have to close its service.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A hypnotic film, Now You See Me 2

Recently, I watched "Now You See Me 2," a movie whose topic is magicians' act on the airplane.

This work is a sequel of "Now You See Me." Unfortunately, I have not seen the previous film. But I completely enjoyed this movie.

In this film, a unit of professional magicians, called "Four Horsemen" is forced to conduct a steal for a coercer. He is a genius engineer and has vanished his personal history from the world. But he notices a company developed an IC device which enables the user to intrude any computer network. He feels unsafe as this device can reveal his past crimes. Therefore, he captures Four Horsemen to get the device for him.

Four Horsemen unwillingly steal the device but hesitate to give it to the coercer. On the other hand, he intends to kill all of the Horsemen for securing himself. Then, Horsemen do a great trick.

In this film, several kinds of magic are shown. At the opening, you can see a word "believe" made of wooden plates. But as the camera moves, you notice it is a component of the word "lie," and other letters drew on the ground. So, it is a trick art. A cool direction!

There are other illusions you can enjoy this film. Some of them look hardly to be realized. According to the official announcement, all of them can be presented on stage, without CG or scene arrangement.

However, I hardly agree with this explanation. In this film, several hypnoses are presented. For example, a Horseman commands a man, "forget!" Immediately after that, the man who was asked forgets the fact he was hypnotized. It is obviously impossible!

I have learned hypnosis a little. Hypnosis is not a fantasy. But, nobody can hypnotize a person so easily as seen in this film.

Furthermore, Horsemen make more complicated commands to the receiver of hypnosis, such as "throw me away from the window." It is ridiculous to manipulate a person with a few words and gesture.

These scenes get rid of reality from the story. To begin with, if a person can use such a powerful hypnosis, he will do anything he wants to do. The condition in which hypnosis is successfully working was not clarified in this film.

In conclusion, I do not think this film is excellent. Other elements are very good, but I cannot accept omnipotent hypnosis. It is very sorry that featuring hypnosis has totally ruined the story.

Personal Rating: 2 (poor)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Stunting mentioned by the World Bank

The president of the World Bank recently mentioned the issue of stunting in children.

Jim Yong Kim, the former head of the Bank warned that stunting is the most influential reason for poverty. According to him, malnutrition is both the cause and effect of inequality. Children not grown with sufficient nutrition are likely to develop cognitive impairment. It makes them difficult to understand various things for better life, leading to the reproduction of poor offspring.

The Guardian: World Bank to name and shame countries that fail to prevent stunting in children

It is estimated that there is a total of 162 million children under five y. o. are suffering from malnutrition. The proportion of stunting is desperately high in some countries. For example, more than one-third of Indian and nearly a half of Pakistani children are stunted.

These statistics are surprising. But, also in Japan, economic inequality become spreading recently. Not a few people are starving in Japan, which was hardly imagined in a couple of decades ago.

However, the definition of stunting should be a little cautiously interpreted. Children who are underweighted compared to the average can be diagnosed as stunting. But the standard weight and height are changing according to the concurrent environment. People in Japan a century ago were much smaller than those at present. But it is doubtful we should identify them as stunting.

Nonetheless, poverty and malnutrition are big problems in the world. There are some solutions we have to try. Economic support, optimized food delivery, improved the quality of education, and increased mutual understanding among cultures, are necessary. We should be aware of the current situation.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Prime Minister May mentioned the time of Brexit

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK presented that she would trigger the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty till March in 2017.

Independent: Brexit: Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March 2017, Theresa May says

According to the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, members have to declare its will of leaving the EU to begin the negotiation. And the nation has to leave within two years. The EU does not accept the prolongation of the negotiation term. It suggests that the UK will leave the EU until the end of March in 2019.

After the declaration, a series of tough negotiation will be held between the UK and the EU. As well, the domestic argument in the UK will be ignited, for the idea about the post-Brexit form of the society is split. Some claim that the UK should be completely independent of the EU, whereas others think it is better to maintain the trade partnership with other European countries as much as possible.

On the other hand, immigration policy will be more regulated in the UK. David Cameron, the former Prime Minister, also said the number of immigrants should be limited, considering increasing immigrants are likely to threaten the domestic job market. Some citizens are also afraid of the emergent risk of terror caused by Islamic extremists.

May's statement has been expected since she seated the post of the Prime Minister. Some British people still insist the need for repeated referendum. But it seems not feasible to retry the vote.

And she looks intending to keep more time to negotiate with the EU regarding the post-Brexit relationship. The EU does not want to discuss this issue with nations which are leaving the EU. However, it is obvious that the UK has an influential power in Europe even from outside of the EU. Therefore, it is wise for the EU to maintain a friendly relationship with the UK. It will take much time.

Anyway, the Brexit is certainly approaching. How does the UK change is to be paid attention.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A series of ultimate psychotherapies

There are many types of psychotherapies. But most of them can be described with a few words.

Here are the examples of a series of ultimate psychotherapies.

Ultimate cognitive therapy
- So what?

Ultimate behavior therapy
- Just do it!

Ultimate psychoanalysis
- Hum?

Ultimate interpersonal therapy
- It's just a matter of relationship.

Ultimate brief therapy
- It's rather good!

Ultimate mindfulness-based therapy
- Stay here.

Ultimate Morita therapy
- Stay here.

Ultimate behavior activation therapy
- Just move!

Ultimate acceptance and commitment therapy
- You can suffer.

Ultimate suicide prevention
- You have no right to die.

Oh, I am not just kidding. Many psychotherapies have a particular core concept. If the client accepts the conceptual idea each therapy suggests, the therapy will work efficiently. Of course, simply throwing those words above to the client is nothing than abuse. In other words, a majority of the process of psychotherapy aims at making the client ready to accept them.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Armageddon clock in your body

I have been having a question regarding human life for a long time. Maybe many people share this idea.

I often meet leading individuals in a particular industry, such as researchers in psychiatry. And, I read some people are still enthusiastic and energetic even in their 80s or more. Sometimes they look indifferent to maintain their health, saying, "Just do as you want to do. It is the way of keeping healthy." On the other hand, some of my colleagues have passed away for several reasons. Some are suffering from malignant diseases. Some abandoned the previous lifestyle for a chronic illness, despite their temperate lifestyle.

Why some people die in youth, while others live longer without any illness?

I occasionally feel something like fate. At the same time, there seem to be some mechanisms to determine the mortality in each.

In recent years, some researchers consider this my sense is of importance. And they reached the conclusion that human genome carries compounds which moderate the biological age of the host. Thus, some people have a faster innate aging rate. It is why they look old and die young compared to other people. It does not depend on their lifestyle, ironically.

The Guardian: Internal 'clock' makes some people age faster and die younger – regardless of lifestyle

According to the researchers, the innate aging rate can be modified, even though it was genetically provided. And, of course, having a good aging rate does not offer you to take a risky lifestyle. Nonetheless, it is a shocking result.

They say that their study will attract the attention of health insurance providers. It is possible, and quite sensitive. Previously, health insurance companies demand more money to people who have health risks such as elderly, diabetes, smoking, and so forth. Shortly, the innate aging rate might be introduced to the element to determine the payment of health insurance. People who want to get health insurance will be forced to get an investigation of aging rate. It resembles that your mortality is calculated.

I am not specialized to this issue. But, in my sense, the claim of the researchers is correct. And this concept will make us change the way of life in several aspects.