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.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Is Santa lie acceptable?

Do you believe Santa Clause is delivering toys to children on the Christmas Eve? Of course not. So, why do you tell a lie to your kids?

It is a question which is old, but still hard to reply. Indeed, many parents seem to trick their kids to make them believe the existence of Santa Clause, although it is obvious one day the children will know that they had been deceived by the parents for a long time.

Christopher Boyle and Kathy McKay suggest that it is because parents would like to become children accepted to believe the fantasy. According to them, Santa lie is not a white lie, but merely a selfish trick.

International Business Times: A wonderful lie - Here's why telling kids Santa is real is not such a good idea

In the article published in Lancet Psychiatry, they take a warning that such a lie can do damage on their children’s mind later in their life. Unfortunately, I cannot read the whole article now. Therefore, I do not know how they justified their hypothesis.

Lancet Psychiatry: A wonderful lie

But I am doubtful that their opinion was properly constructed through a scientific process. The influence of an experience in later life is quite difficult to be proven. In this case, I should conduct a longitudinal cohort study whose subjects are at least hundreds of children in each group, of which guys having told, or untold, about Santa by their parents, are participated. It is an absurdly large study protocol.

In Japan, Santa fantasy is also popular albeit not so many Japanese are Christians. I think some parents are eager to trick their children because other families do the same. They tend to think their child will be bullied if their he or she is the only one in the class who does not believe Santa. Such an idea is particular in Japan, in my sense. I am curious how European people feel about it.

And in my opinion, telling about Santa is neither beneficial nor harmful to children. Sooner or later, children learn the fact that, every people make a lie, and their parents are no exception.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Trump dismisses NASA's research of climate change

Donald Trump, the President-elect, seems to abolish the division of NASA  which is investigating the climate change. According to Trump, NASA should focus on investigating outer planets, and climate change is a subject to be addressed by other organizations.

The Guardian: Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’

His comment sounds rational at a glance. However, he also said that climate change was a hoax created by Chinese. It is absolute nonsense. Indeed, the cause of recent climate change is hard to be proven. Nonetheless, there is rich evidence suggesting the influence of the modern human activities on global warming during decades.

As I wrote before, climate change is a very complicated issue. It will take more than a century to prove the effect of current attempts for reducing greenhouse gasses. Nobody who is responsible for it will survive when the outcome becomes apparent. In addition, the climate is typical public goods. Thus, if only the US is eager to address the sustainability of the current environment, the benefit of the US' endeavor will be spread all over the world. Therefore, there is no incentive for the US alone to invest the maintenance of the environment.

My past entry: Climate is a public goods

For these reasons, a populist politician like Trump has no motivation at all to contribute to preventing the climate change. It is obvious that Trump is attracted by an exciting project such as deep space investigation than climate change.

In my opinion, regardless of the level of his business skills, Trump is unfamiliar to scientific sense. The US Scientists will suffer from opposition by politicians for some years, I am afraid.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Historic cold wave strikes Japan

Today, it snowed in Tokyo.

It is for the first time in this year. Moreover, we seldom encounter snow in November in Japan. Today's weather is a very rare phenomenon, according to the authority. The reason of the snow and cold weather is considered to be a gigantic cold wave.

In 2014, we experienced some heavy snowy days, referring my past entries. In 2015 winter, I was in London, and never saw snow.

My past entry: Heavy snow

My past entry: Cold day

My past entry: Great snow strikes Chiba

Recently, we frequently see the report mentioning the abnormal weather. It may suggest global climate change is progressing. In this year, we encountered some big earthquakes as well. We should prepare for adverse occasions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pregnancy at an old age protect you from dementia?

Pregnancy is an issue of great importance for most women. Despite older women become likely to be pregnant in many developed countries, the risks around pregnancy becomes higher in older women in general.

In addition to the risk for babies, it was said that expecting mothers in older ages were likely to have troubles with pregnancy. It is empirically true. However, recently, an interesting study was published suggesting a paradoxical result.

According to this study, women who had had a child after their 35-year-old were likely to maintain better cognitive function. This study is the first one to investigated the correlation between age at last pregnancy and the mother’s cognitive function after menopause.

Independent: Women who have children later in life age better, study finds

Unfortunately, this study is a cross-sectional one. Thus, causal relationship between pregnancy in older age and good cognitive function in later life remain unknown despite the positive correlation among them. It is possible that this study suggests that only healthy and energetic women can get pregnant after 35-year-old.

On the other hand, it is interesting that use of the contraceptive pill brought better cognitive function according to this study. There seem some beneficial effects on cognition in hormonergic change during pregnancy.

Some other factors have been proven regarding the relationship between women’s health risks and the history of pregnancy. Though these facts hardly influence our decision to become pregnant, we would like to be aware of them to some extent.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Japanese Self-Defense Force rises at battlefield

Japanese troop of Self-Defense Force (SDF) went to South Sudan to join the UN peacekeepers.

It is for the first time for Japanese army to go abroad for the military purpose since the World War II.

The Straits Times: Japanese troops land in South Sudan for first overseas combat mission since World War II

First of all, there is broad discussion regarding calling SDF as "army," because the Constitution of Japan says Japan has abolished the possession of any kind of armies for combat use. But internationally SDF is recognized as an army, and its equipment is superior to many other official troops.

So far, SDF has participated in peacekeeping operations. But its role was limited to aiding the official force of foreign countries, without proceeding into a battlefield. Nowadays, however, it is difficult to distinguish battlefields from other areas. And it was irrational SDF cannot take a counter against the enemy when members see that allies are attacked in front of them.

Therefore, Japanese government intended to give the right of collective self-defence. If collective self-defence is approved, SDF can interfere the enemy when allies are threatened. Through latest some years, the government achieved the amendment of relevant legislation to authorize the use of the military power of SDF.

My past entry: Japan has right of collective self-defense

My past entry: Japanese military policy amended

I believe this idea is correct. Some people are afraid that Japan would begin an intrusive war again. At present, it is nonsense, I think. Most Japanese still have strongly negative emotion to the war. Also, Japan has no power, resource, or money to threaten foreign nations. In addition, SDF is a highly sophisticated organization that it is extremely difficult for any persons to compromise it.

Of course, supervising the activity of SDF and any other military action for maintaining civilian control is indispensable. It should be deliberately examined whether peacekeeping operations by the UN, the US, and other big nations are really beneficial for local citizens. Nowadays, no one knows how to make a peaceful world, unfortunately.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Abe meets Trump

Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, met Donald Trump, the President selected of the US. They had a conversation for more than one hour.

The content of the meeting was not published in detail. Abe said to the reporters that he convinced that Trump deserved to be trusted. Also, Trump presented a photograph in which he smiled beside Abe on his Facebook.

It seems that they were satisfied to speak with each other. This is for the first time for Abe to meet Trump directly. Before the Presidential election, Abe visited the US, to talk with Hillary Clinton, but failed to meet Trump. According to some rumors, Abe was willing to see Trump, but the Japanese government officials hardly arranged the setting then. I guess that the fact that few Japanese had expected Trump to win the Presidential vote was influential.

According to Japanese media, Abe sent a golden golf club to Trump as a present. It is obvious that Abe is eager to attract Trump’s favor for political purpose. Now, Japan relies on the US, more or less, for protecting its land and sea from neighbor nations. But Trump has an idea to withdraw the US troop from Asia because of financial reasons. He declared he would demand the allies of the US to defray all cost for maintaining the troop staying there. Indeed, Japan is now paying approximately 70% of the cost for the US troop in Japan. If the percentage is raised to 100%, it will be burdening for Japan.

Besides the security assurance, there are some other causes of a headache between Japan and the US.  Trump intends to abandon TPP membership. It means that it will become harder for Japan to make profits from exporting product to the US. The effective working of TPP is necessary to realize Abe’s plan of restoring Japan economy.

In this meeting, such confronting issues were not subjected to the conversation, perhaps.

Reuters: Japan PM Abe seeks to build trust with Trump, stresses alliance vital

Reuters says that Abe and Trump are juxtaposed with each other, but are sharing some political goals such as promoting the international status of each nation and improving the relationship with Russia. They are true as I think.

Regardless of his mind, Abe has no choice to respect Trump as the President of the US. Thus, I am not sure how did Abe feel about Trump. Nonetheless, if they are in a good relationship, even superficially, it will be great for the both nations.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Financial scandal regarding 1MDB in Malaysia

Politicians are always subjected to objections. Apart from South Korea as I wrote recently, Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, is in front of ignited rage of citizens.

Najib is suspected to have been involved in a scandal regarding 1MDB, and government-funded investment company. It happened two years ago. 1MDB was developed with a strong opinion of Najib aiming to make Kuala Lumpur a core city of the financial industry. But later, 1MDB met several uncertainties regarding the management of its money. Especially, Najib was suspected to have received up to 700 million USD. Finally, the bond of 1MDB resulted in default. A certain cause of the default is that an official fund in Abu Dhabi withdrew the investment. Abu Dhabi claimed 1MDB failed to make the payment of one billion USD debt. It is no doubt that the suspicious connection between 1MDB and Najib contributed to the distrust to 1MDB.

Najib was so good at controlling the environment around him that the attorney general concluded that there was no evidence that he committed an illegal act about this scandal in January 2016. On the other hand, there are some other lawsuits remained in foreign countries. Especially in the US, the Department of Justice restarted the investigation according to a suspect of illegal movement of money from 1MDB to Najib at least 3.5 billion USD.

In Malaysia, thousands of citizens gathered to protest the resignation of Najib. They believe several more politicians have been involved in this scandal.

Aljazeera: Thousands demonstrate against scandal-hit Malaysia PM

In my opinion, it is no good to punish a politician for a financial crime. Politicians are likely to be involved in financial lawsuits. Many of them are merely naïve to the process of managing money. If a single breach kills a talented politician’s activity and dispels his or her contribution in the past, there will be no capable politicians appeared. They should be let out on bail, without no more allegation, as far as the loss can be compensated by himself. In some case, of course, the amount of payment should be doubled or tripled, as a deterrent of further tricks.

However, in the case of Najib, the amount of money subjected to the investigation is extraordinary big. He will not able to compensate the loss if he is guilty.

It remains not sure he is innocent. Unless he is proven to be responsible, at least based on the current legislation, Najib needs not to drop his seat. And indeed he would not. However, it is a different issue Malaysian government will be working with such disbelief. Rational and feasible management is required to fix the situation.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

McDonald’s table service and the future

Fast-food services have been common in the modern society all over the world. Among them, hamburger and fried chicken are the widest subjects of casual and inexpensive service. We order a dish to the staff behind the bar, and take it to the seat we choose by ourselves. Such a routine behavior is going to be altered.

McDonald’s, the biggest fast-food franchise company in the US, is planning a table service in limited stores.

Independent: McDonald’s introduces table service across US

McDonald’s is also considering the introduction of electronic kiosk systems and mobile ordering. They will take a role to widen the opportunity for customers to select McDonald’s service according to each occasion.

Nowadays, there are many similar restaurants than McDonald’s in urban areas. Some fast-food restaurants offer a gorgeous food; others provide cheaper services. As McDonald’s has several competitors, it has to do an innovative service to attract customers again.

Table service can improve the personal satisfaction of some customers. At the same time, others may feel interrupted. As a result, limited consumers will accept the table service. It is clever that McDonald’s seem not to intent to introduce the table service to all stores.

However, I think McDonald’s will gain no more profit as a food providing service. We can eat limited food in a day. And there are enough restaurants at least at an urban area. McDonald’s would like to enhance its value other than offering a meal. Indeed, this table service is not considered to make profits.

In Japan, McDonald’s was recognized as a good Pokemon spot. After Pokemon Go had been released, some McDonald’s stores became crowded temporally. If McDonald’s has a role of the place people sharing some hobbies are willing to meet each other, it will be good both for the company and customers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Human emotion and psychiatric illness

One of the questions most frequently asked both by psychiatrists and patients is, how we can distinguish mental illnesses from normal movement of the mind. For example, you may experience deep grief after your loved one deceased. Is it true you are in the depressive state then? Do you need antidepressants? Another question is often suggested around antisocial activities. Some people frequently trick others for their egoistic benefits. They are sometimes called psychopaths. But are they mentally ill, or just evil persons?

Some patients are afraid before consulting a psychiatrist about they would be forced to change their mind. Some believe psychiatrists are good at modifying other persons’ personality. They can feel their natural emotion is disrespected if they are asked to take a mood stabilizer when they are angry.

Actually, we are not completely sure what is the absolute difference between normal emotions and psychiatric illnesses. We usually look at the two axes. The first is the intensity of the emotion, and the other is driven by our practical sense.

Thus, extreme emotions such as agony, rage, startle, and despair, are likely to be abnormal compared to usual feeling. The abnormality is a character of importance to suggest a disease, not limited to mental disorders but also to physical illnesses. But it is not true that every extreme emotion is harmful, nor should be treated. If you are asked to smile with taking pills immediately after experiencing a death of your lover, you will never accept the advice. Everyone will die, and death causes a grief necessarily. The goal of psychiatry is not to get rid of all griefs from our whole life.

The Atlantic: Is Grief a disease?

On the other hand, there are some types of grief to be properly treated. Most cases of clinical depression are suffering from excessive sadness, hopelessness, and guilt. They can avoid such a serious state using antidepressants. Some of the depressed patients have even delusions. Delusion regarding negativism is typical in depressive disorders, but some patients irrationally believe they are attacked by psychiatrists, families, or other people. Such psychotic depression is a state which needs an acute intervention.

If you are in the pool of grief two weeks after the death of your partner, how do you feel? And should you consult a psychiatrist? Generally speaking, the answer is partially yes, if you have an idea of suicide, self-guiltiness, or you cannot eat well.

American Psychiatric Association decided to alter the standard of diagnosis of depressive disorders. According to them, serious grief only two weeks after a critical event can be a component to be diagnosed as depression. I do not support this idea. But, if the person seeks help, he or she should be satisfied appropriately.

Grief is not a disease, as far as you can be tolerated.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Supersonic jet planned again

“Faster and more distant” is one of the themes in the 20th century. Several innovations occurred in transportation such as vehicles, subways, and aircraft.

But “Concorde,” the first supersonic jet was terminated after struggling for a few of decades. It enabled us to go from London to New York for only a few hours. But its cost and low effectiveness inhibited it from becoming popular.

Recently, Airbus is considering to introduce supersonic jets again. The US Air Force seems to realize them for military use. The expected aircraft can carry 20 passengers with speed of Mach 5.

My past entry: Airbus’ supersonic aircraft and Concorde fallacy

Airbus’ plane is no more feasible for civil usage because of its low capacity. The passengers will be limited to celebrities. On the other hand, Virgin Galactic is willing to develop another type of jets which can fly across the Pacific Ocean for three hours.

Sir Richard Branson called his new supersonic airplane “Baby Boom.” If realized, it can bring 40 passengers. An experimental flight will be planned in 2023 or later. And the price is currently set at 2,500 GBP.

Independent: New supersonic jet faster than Concorde unveiled

The founder of Boom emphasizes that this attempt is affordable. Indeed, Concorde could carry 100 people with Mach 2. The spec of Concorde looks superior to this Baby Boom. However, whether the new transportation will be successful and sustainable is a different problem from the catalog spec.

I am interested in this new supersonic jet. At the same time, I like to spend time on an airplane. It is exclusively vacant, and I feel relaxed. Therefore, I can be patient to long time flight. I dare not to use the supersonic jet unless the cost is lowered by a half.

TPP is almost dead

There may be several policies expected to be altered after Donald Trump seats the President of the US. One of the issues with certainty and cruciality is Transpacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is an international coalition regarding trading with reduced taxation and non-taxative barriers. It is expected to promote domestic industries in each member for enhanced demand of exporting.

However, TPP is criticized in several aspects. For example, many Japanese farmers are opposing it because cheaper food imported from foreign countries will threaten domestic products. Also, lawsuit cases of intellectual rights will be increases following the enforcement of TPP, according to some lawyers.

The greatest member of TPP is the US, needless to say. The US seemed to open the gate to export their massive products not limited to agricultural commodities but also intellectual properties.

It is suspected, however, that the US itself is planning to withdraw TPP. So far, Democratic Party was opposing TPP because of its policy to protect domestic labors. Hilary Clinton was also reluctant to support TPP.

On the other hand, Republic Party is welcoming to free trade as a principle. According to their belief, TPP is to be respected, I think. However, Donald Trump, and some other Republicans are against TPP, claiming it will destroy domestic industries.

Sydney Morning Herald: TPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership dead, before Trump even takes office

Then, the US is unlikely to ratify TPP finally. Meanwhile, the Japanese government passed the bills related TPP through widespread criticism of opposing parties. It looks like a black joke.

I am supporting TPP, not only for tree trading policy, but also for it will be a counter to China. China has great potential in the world trade. But it tends not to accept Western ruling such as copyright. If the US takes a tough negotiation with China, TPP will be a powerful weapon, I think. Unfortunately, Trump seems not think so.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Doubtful relationship between Trump and Putin

After sitting the next Presidential seat, Donald Trump has been announcing several perspectives. In the triumphal speech, he hesitated to mention discriminative policy against Mexicans and Islamic people, instead emphasizing the importance of economic issues. It attracted investors' mind, leading to the rapid recovery of the stock prices. More recently, however, Trump stated again that he would build a wall on the border between the US and Mexico.

It is quite unsure that how much Trump will realize his ambitions during his Presidential term. Some of them seem unfeasible, or even ridiculous. But they are supported by the hatred of many US citizens. If he withdraws current aggressive attitudes, he will lose the support of voters, though it will be correct for stabilized management of White House.

One of the concerned matter is the relationship with Russia. Trump says he like Vladimir Putin repeatedly.  But in fact, he has not set Putin directly, as he admitted.

There is a rumor that Trump asked Putin to leak the contents of Hillary's secret email before the Presidential vote. If it was true, Trump's request was quite problematic, as he relied on illegal activity in a foreign nation. If not, it is likely that Russia's hackers have considerable influence on the US politics. The former NATO chief warned Trump that, if he does not show the force to Russia, the US-led justice will be lost.

Independent: Donald Trump must show 'strength' against Russia before 'beginning of the end', warns former Nato head

Regarding the domestic policy, management of a nation resembles governance of a company. Accepting that Trump is an excellent businessperson, he will be good at improving the economic status of the US. On the other hand, diplomacy is more complicated than national politics. Putin has been taking a superior post to the US in terms of the world balance of power. If Trump underestimates Putin's talent,  he will receive a critical defeat.

Meanwhile, there seems no more calm around Kremlin.  Putin is planning to retire from the President of Russia in the next year, leading to conducting a snap election, according to a Russian newspaper. However, the article vanished soon after online publication.

International Business Times: Mystery over Kremlin insider interview claiming Vladimir Putin may quit in 2017

It is also uncertain until when Putin can maintain current dictating position. It will be very dramatic in 2017.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Treatment of depression: multi-angle approach

Nowadays, depression is one of the most crucial diseases in the world. The WHO suggested that depression will be the second harmful disease to the human society within a decade.

There are lots of treatment strategies developed to eliminate depressive symptoms. Pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are the most dominant, and with rich evidence of the outcome. However, two-thirds of patients do not respond to an antidepressant drug. Although cognitive behavioral therapy is proven to reduce depressive symptoms, it cannot be conducted by every therapist effectively. In addition, not a few patients cannot be relieved from depression with all of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.

Physical therapies for treating depression are also challenging. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) alleviates rapid and effectively depressive symptoms. But it is costly to perform ECT with safety. Transcutaneous magnetic stimulation also seems to be beneficial, but its effect size is not satisfactory.

In Europe, attempts to arrange circadian rhythm of the patient have been conducted. In light therapy, patients look at the relatively strong light for several minutes in the morning. The eyes of the patients are protected with goggles. The effectiveness of light therapy is explained by a hypothesis derived from the fact people living in an area where daytime is limited are likely to suffer from depression. Its effect is limited so far but certainly observed.

On the other hand, sleep deprivation is likely to seize depression. We often experience elevated mood after an all-night activity. In sleep deprivation therapy, patients are asked to be awake early in the morning, or not to fall asleep late at night. Approximately a half of sleep time are omitted in the therapeutic term. All-night awakening is an alternative, but a more aggressive method. Sleep deprivation has an immediate effect but unfortunately is not long-lasting. The combination with medication or other therapies is recommended.

In Japan, there are millions of patients with depression. But most of them are not consulting with a psychiatrist. Many of them are medicated by a doctor in charge. It is good for Japanese patients to take medication for relatively low-cost thanks to national health insurance. Structured psychotherapy is hardly available in Japan because of a lack of specialists. Identification of early symptoms of depression is crucial to prevent deterioration of depression.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Job training for patients with developmental disorders

Last weekend, I attended an academic conference regarding child psychiatry. In this meeting, I expected to listen to some leading specialists about developmental disorders. Because I am conducting a clinical research of developmental disorders, I have to improve my knowledge and skills in treating developmental disorders.

In this conference, several presentations about developmental disorders were held. Among them, I was attracted to a speaker who explained the importance of acquiring life skills for patients with developmental disorders to get a job and continue working.

The speaker claimed that the effect of social skills training was overestimated in Japan. It is useful for patients with schizophrenia. But people with developmental disorders are not good at acquiring proper social skills following each situation. Failures in social contacts are one of the criteria for the developmental disorder. Forcing patients with developmental disorders to improve their social skills is sometimes an excessive burden for them.

Instead, life skills are necessary for daily life both at home and in the community. Punctuality should be prioritized. Using some transportation and asking for help when you get lost are indispensable. These skills have to be acquired as soon as possible for everyone. Relying on others when troubled should not be hesitated.

These advice the presenter talked about were very rational and easy to understand. The speaker had lots of experience to deal with patients and guide businesspersons taking a role of training employees well. I have much learned about the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with developmental disorders.

After the conference, I visited a Buddhist temple near to the hotel. It was calm and solemn. I was satisfied to the journey.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Russia blocks LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a popular social networking service for business use, will be no more available in Russia because of a legal conflict with the government.

The government decided to block the access to LinkedIn in Russia according to the court decision that LinkedIn is against Russian data protection legislation.

International Business Times: Russia to block access to LinkedIn following court ruling on user data

Russia has a unique legislation regarding data protection. Any Russians' personal digital data possessed by a company have to be stored with Russia. If companies violate this rule, they are subjected to the block list of Russian telecommunication watchdog.

LinkedIn seems not to accept the judgment. Anoek Eckhardt, a spokesperson of LinkedIn, said that the court decision would prevent Russian users of LinkedIn from the benefit of its global network.

I think the appeal of LinkedIn will not be successful. Russia's intent is not to protect citizens' personal information, but to take the internet under the government's control. It seems indifferent to the users' business benefit.

On the other hand, it is nonsense to be concerned where the data of each person is stored. Once the data are uploaded onto the internet, they are spread to all over the world. It is unfeasible to control the flow of data.

This incident suggests that Russia is not a good place for internet business. As a result, Russian citizens will suffer from lack of availability of effective internet services, I am afraid.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New York Modern Art Museum exhibits Japanese Emoji

Recently, it was reported that The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) decided to store Emoji for its permanent collection.

“Emoji” is a Japanese word. “E” means picture, and “moji” means letter. Emoji was invented in 1999 by NTT DoCoMo, a leading telephone company in Japan. And it has been broadened to all over the world. In the last decade, Google and Apple also enabled emoji to be used in mobile email service.

MoMA is enthusiastic to exhibit products created in the modern society. Apple Macintosh computer is also named in the list of MoMA storage. A few years ago, I visited MoMA, to enjoy several unique exhibitions.

Now. In Japan, Ascii Art is also common in Japanese email. Ascii Art suggests a group of letters which looks like composing a picture. In English culture, you may see some emoji such as “:)” expressing a smile. Some Japanese are fond of using emoji in their personal message. In Japan, “orz” is frequently seen in expressing regret. Can you see “orz” as a man who is kneeling on the ground to the left? In Japan, this posture is called “dogeza,” used for expressing an extreme apology the other days.

There are many Japanese kanji characters. Also, Japanese use alphabets and Arabic numbers. Thus, Japanese are advantageous to invent new Ascii Arts. And, the vast variety of characters in Japan is likely to be a background of inventing emoji, I think.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some Indian rupee notes are no more available

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, announced to quit 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, all at sudden.

According to the official comment, these notes have been no more available since Nov. 9th. It was just four hours after the statement. Instead, the government will launch new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes within a few weeks. Citizens have to exchange the issued notes they possess.

Unsurprisingly, this policy brought a chaotic situation to Indian society. Banks, post offices, and petrol stations encountered deadly crowd composed of people asking the exchange.

Aljazeera: India demonetization: Chaos as AMTs run dry

It is obvious that Modi took a ridiculous way to replace notes in the country. In general, when the government replaces notes of coins, at least some months of the moratorium in which both old and new items are available.

Why Modi adopted such an extreme policy is still unclear. It is said that Indian people are fond of stocking notes for the future. It makes difficult for the government to grab each citizen’s financial situation. Considering the fact that only a few percent of citizens pay the income tax, there seem considerable cases of concealed income and tax evasion. Modi is likely to force citizens to deposit their estate.

Another possibility is counterfeit money. If criminal groups are engaging in creating a large amount of fake money, radical replacement of valid notes and coins is useful to prevent the act of such criminals. But, I have no idea of this hypothesis.

Anyway, Indian rupee lost public trust.. Immediately after the government declares so, notes became to waists. And this incident has reminded us the Indian government has a considerable risk of damaging domestic currency.

Bitcoin, a representative crypt-currency is free of such political risk. Bitcoin is administered by a decentralized system. There is no responsible person for issuing Bitcoin. It means nobody can eliminate Bitcoin itself.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gloomy Donald Trump's triumph for presidential vote

Just now, Donald Trump's victory against Hillary Clinton in the presidential vote became decisive.

This result is very surprising, and of course disappointing, for me. I do not believe at all that Trump will make a good change to the US and the world.

However, American citizens chose him. It is a serious fact.

In the background of Trump's victory, there is a fury of many Americans'. They seem to distrust popular politicians most of whom are of the upper class and have a high level of education. Historically, not only the US but also any other countries have been led by a few elites. In recent years, however, it became difficult for limited persons who have extraordinary talents and wealth to show the way to better future. Many people at the middle-class are doubtful that traditional political structure will work anymore. Furthermore, some of them hope a complete scrapping of the current situation.

Trump was successful to attract their dark desire. They voted not for Trump but for denying the current history of the US.

Although I can understand their agony and suffering to some extent, it seems no good to expect Trump. He has almost no ideas to manage the current complicated situation. Every time he conducts a new policy, more confusion will occur in the society. Its harm will be bigger than the merit of policy changing. As a result, I am afraid that Trump will accomplish nothing other than destruction.

There is another scenario of the new President. It is true that Trump is an excellent businessperson. If he trusts some specialists around him, he is able to consider some solutions to manage the US through discussing with his allies. He has no experience of politics, but every good business persons have the talent to manage other people for the best profit.

Anyway, Trump's victory has caused a great risk for the world, especially in financial issues. 2016 will be recorded as unexpected events occurred repeatedly. And it means that the complexity of the world is more and more growing.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A dramatic prison break in London

Recently, a dramatic incident occurred in an English prison. Two prisoners in HMP Pentonville, a gigantic prison in London, deliberately escaped.

International Business Times: Two men escape from Pentonville prison after 'leaving mannequins on beds'

The prison has approximately a total of 12,000 prisoners. The escaped prisoners seemed to use a diamond cutter to get rid of the fence. More surprisingly, mannequins were left to mimic the prisoners in their beds.

There are some incidents of absconding in this prison. In general, the risk of absconding is highest during bringing prisoners to another facility, such as a hospital. But, this case occurred in the prison cell itself. Considering the fact they prepared mannequins, the escape was probable to have been seriously planned.

Similar incidents are extremely rare in Japan. It is not due to the excellence of Japanese officer. In Japan, prisoners are seldom allowed to get out of the prison in term of their incarceration. The liberty of prisoners is accepted with far more degree in the UK than in Japan.

On the other hand, in recent years, the UK government reduced the number of officials working in prisons for the financial reason. It led to an increasing suicidal case of prisoners, according to some researchers.  The present incident may be relevant to the lowered care and supervision quality in prison, I suspect.

I hope the prisoners will be caught soon before they commit more crimes.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Emotional thinking in people with autism

We have to make a lot of decision in daily life. Some of them are easy to carry out, but others need deliberate thinking. Logical thinking leading to a rational conclusion is an essential skill for us both in personal and on business.

A piece of evidence suggests our emotions often have an inappropriate effect on our thought. Everyone has an experience of regretting an emotional choice done while angry or irritated. In upset condition, we tend to overestimate the potential loss. It causes us too coward to gain optimized profit.

Therefore, an emotionless person potentially can make wiser choices in an emergent situation. For example, people with autism are known to be blunt to their or other people’s emotion compared to ordinary people. They are indifferent to their heart beat even if their body sends a signal of emergency. They can monitor their physiological condition without being influenced by its flaming effect.

The Conversation: People with autism make more logical decisions

This finding suggests people with autism are invulnerable to frustrations. However, in real, they easily lose their temper when an unexpected thing occurs, on the contrary. People with autism are actually blunt to some kinds of stimulation. But at the same time, they are not accustomed to being disrupting by external situations. As a result, they sometimes act impulsively, in spite of their unemotional attitude in usual.

Emotion is one of the functions genetically installed in our body. Its origin is so old that we sometimes encounter a situation in which an emotional reaction is inappropriate in the modern society. Nonetheless, emotion is still a crucial part of the human mind. I am not sure why some people with autism are not perceptive to their and their neighbor’s emotion. Perhaps, it is a protection for their brain from a disastrous wave of emotion. The most important thing is to know yourself well, and controlling the balance in your mind.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Samsung's washing machines recalled due to explosion

Samsung is far more suffering from its poor quality of products.

A series of washing machines had a failure, including excessive vibration and even an explosion leading to an injury of users, according to the media.

The types of washing machines which were crippled were sold mainly in the US. Samsung decided to recall a total of 2.8 millions of products. Customers can choose either repair or refund.

Just recently, Samsung had to abandon producing its flagship smartphone, Galaxy Note 7, due to exploding failure. It hurt Samsung so much that its stock price rapidly fell.

Repeated scandals may get rid of the public trust to Samsung. And I am concerned about the difference between smartphone and washing machine. It is sometimes seen that a smartphone bursts. A smartphone is so delicate that it tends to store heat in it. On the other hand, a washing machine has a considerable volume. I wonder it is so hard to leak heat from a washing machine not to cause an explosion.

Anyway, safety should be prioritized in developing any products. I expect Samsung to create more qualified gadgets.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Donald Trump as a populist

The American Presidential vote is planned on November 8, 2016. Both candidates, Trump and Clinton, are eager to continue the campaign for enclosing voters as many as possible.

Trump lost a considerable amount of supporters because of his several comments which were deemed as politically incorrect. On the other hand, Clinton is threatened by the possibility that FBI will resume the investigation of an issue that she had been using official e-mail service for personal use. Currently, the media forecast the victory of Clinton, but her advantage is very vulnerable.

Very few people forecasted this situation. Donald Trump was considered to be just joking at the beginning of the Presidential vote. He had no experience of being involved in politics. And his statements sounded exciting, but far from realistic. It was a miracle that he was chosen to the nominee of Republican Party.

Who allowed Trump to stand the current post?

Dominant supporters of Trump are middle-classed white men. They dislike the elite, and tend to consider that they are suppressed by the conventional authority. Trump’s aggressive and honest sayings attracted them.

Trump attacks foreign people, members in Whitehouse, and other persons against him. He divides people into allies and foes. In addition, he attributes current suffering of the US to something other outside of the US. He and his supporters attack the opponents, which is not certain. I think it is nothing than populism.

The Conversation: Here’s what science says about populism, the rise of Donald Trump, and how to heal a fractured country

In an opportunity of choosing one from two such as the US presidency, it is a good way to get many votes to present an extreme ideology. It will attract public attention. And people can consider if they are for it or against it clearly. Sophisticated ideas and policy look better, but they hardly give us dreams. Enthusiastic and aggressive behaviors make us excited, to warp our sense to be biased.

Of course, some ideas of Trump sound valid. And also Clinton has many problems. I believe there are some more candidates in the US deserve to be the President other than the two giants. I am sympathetic to the US citizens to be forced to choose either Trump or Clinton.

The result of the vote is still unclear. Regardless of the winner, the US will become exclusive, as Clinton is against the TPP, needless to say about Trump. The status of the US in the international relationship will be changed soon after the election.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Utsunomiya explosion case: Mentally ill, domestic violence, and more

On Oct 23, 2016, a series of explosion occurred all at sudden in Utsunomiya, a local city in Japan. On the day, a local folk festival was ongoing nearby the place of explosion. It is very rare in Japan to encounter such an incident. People felt fearful to be involved in a terror attack. But it was not.

These acts were proven to be caused by an old pensioner. He was an ex-soldier of Japan Self Defense Force. After an investigation, his body was found in the core of an explosion. His house and car were also destroyed by fire. A total of three passengers were injured by the blast. Fortunately, nobody except the pensioner was killed by the incident. The police are still investigating the case as considering the man might have committed a suicide coinciding to kill other people together.

Independent: Japan explosions: Pensioner suicide bomber behind deadly park blast

Regarding the motivation of the pensioner to kill himself, foreign media have not reported precisely. According to Japanese media, there is complicated situation around the man other than financial issues.

He had a daughter, but she got mentally ill. She was often hospitalized involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital. It seems she was suffering from a severe mental illness.

And the pensioner was conflicting with his wife for a long time. According to the mention of the pensioner himself, his wife did not admit her daughter’s illness and relied on occult solutions. The daughter became violent, and after the family had made a quarrel, the wife sued him on domestic violence. After all, the pensioner was demanded not to get touch with his family by the court. Furthermore, he had to pay a considerable amount of compensation fee to his wife. It hurt him so much both financially and psychologically.

The relationship between him and his wife remains uncertain. Domestic violence is often seen also in Japan. The offender seldom recognizes his act as problematic. On the other hand, some people claim that they are victimized in a grandiose manner, or simply mimic as if their partner is violent. I am not sure that the court made a right decision in this case. It is possible that the pensioner was aggressive. But at the same time, the court had to consider how to treat their daughter for improving her mental status. If she had schizophrenia, proper medical treatment was necessary even in an involuntary way.

The pensioner became depressive and perhaps passive aggressive. He frequently made a complaint about the family, the court, and the society. Several comments written by him remain on the internet. He seems to have had thought that the only way to make others admit his agony was to commit a serious offense.

This miserable case is not a simple suicide, neither a selfish crime. Psychiatric treatment to his daughter, the relationship among his family, the court decision, and the environment around elder people, are all responsible for the onset of this case. In similar settings, it is often seen that a senior citizen kills their disabled partner or child, in Japan. We have to be all aware of this kind of risk. Avoiding from solitude and ignorance is prioritized, I believe.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


In recent, launched Kindle Unlimited in Japan. It enables paid subscribers to read any of registered e-books. prepared millions of titles available in Kindle Unlimited. They included newest issues of several magazines. I was surprised to the fertile lineups. In the US, there is a paid subscription service named Next Issue, in which members can read hundreds of magazines unlimitedly. But, the monthly fee of it is almost equal to Kindle Unlimited. Thus, Kindle Unlimited is compatible, or superior to Next Issue in Japan.

However,'s challenge seemed to a little too aggressive.

A few days after the launch, retrieved several titles of books and magazines from the subject of Kindle Unlimited. The reason is considered that Amazon was expected not to pay the reward to each publisher for their contents read by subscribers. Subscribers need not pay the cost for each reading, while Amazon had to pay for it according to the contract. Of course, Amazon had stored a large amount of money to be paid. But Kindle Unlimited service became popular with much higher speed than Amazon had expected.

Therefore, Amazon had to inhibit it's own service, ironically. Amazon's treatment was deemed to be a betrayal both to the subscribers and publishers. Some publishers are considering to sue

Now, I am still a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited. But, there are limited materials I a m interested in. I will remain my account active for a while. But if Amazon does not take the next move, perhaps I cancel my subscription.

By the way, Kindle Unlimited is very friendly to authors of books whose theme is niche, as I wrote previously. My opinion has not changed regarding this issue. Recently, I published. Tiny e-book via Kindle Desk Top Publishing. Some people read my work with Kindle Unlimited. It is a cool service for us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Park Geun-hye in peril

Park Geun-hye, the President of South Korea, is in the maelstrom of criticism because of her suspicious act on national secrets.

Choi Soon-sil, a Korean woman who is said to be a close friend of Park, is going to be arrested on information leakage. According to the media, she was suspected to have received several documents from Park or others concerned. They included statement papers of the President and other important contents of the government. She was also said to have got reward about an NPO she was concerned.

BBC: South Korea scandal: President Park's friend Choi detained

Park admitted that Choi had edited some of her speeches. She seems to have got many pieces of advice from Choi, from the color of dress her would wear to more crucial issues.

Choi is a daughter of Choi Tae-min, who was a cult leader and Park's ex-mentor. It suggests the strong bond between Park and Choi. Some people is mocking the relationship as if Korean leader relies on shaman's power.

International Business Times: Is South Korea being ruled by a 'shaman and eight fairies'?

Park is eager to restore the political leadership, declaring a reshuffle of the cabinet. She appointed Kim Byong-joon as the next Prime Minister. Kim took a role as a senior presidential secretary previously. Opposite parties are against Park's decision.

BBC: President Park reshuffles S Korean cabinet amid scandal

It seems Park administration is going to be terminated. In the past, ex-Presidents in South Korea were arrested, or even assassinated. Korean people perhaps have a harsh attitude to persons who dropped out from an administrative position. It is a little similar to Japanese. I hope Park will not be listed to such an unfortunate outcome.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Merkel requests Google to disclose its algorithm

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, vowed against Google and other internet companies regarding their secret algorithm of search engines.

Independent: Angela Merkel says internet search engines are 'distorting perception' and algorithms should be revealed

She said that internet users should be notified how they are exposed to numerous information. Unless algorithms of search engines are disclosed, displayed list of the results can cause distortion of our perception, according to her.

At a glance, her concern is hardly understandable. How each search engine is working is a top secret of the internet companies. Many companies are eager to study this algorithm to make their websites optimized for the search engine. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the hot topics for engineers. Thus, Merkel’s request is overwhelming the current situation of the internet industry.

Furthermore, if the algorithm is published, who can understand the whole figure of it? Every non-specialists and even most professionals will not able to interpret the meaning and process of search engine properly. It is mere a fantasy that revealing the algorithm will let us clearly understand the shape of the internet.

As not surprisingly, CEOs of Google, Facebook, and other companies ignored Merkel’s request.

On the other hand, we should be aware of some factors of Merkel’s ridiculous statement.

In general, members of the EU tends to take a conservative attitude compared to the US people. Especially regarding the information technology, European courts often make a decision which looks outdated. In contrast, traditional human customs are respected in the European countries. Recently, the EU court admitted the right to be forgotten on the internet of a man, to demand Google to eliminate the mentions about the man from the results of the internet search.

My past entry: Right to be forgotten

In addition, there is a conflict between the US and Europe. Modern information technology and the era of the internet are mostly originated from American culture. Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are all American companies. While partially accepting their innovation, European people are concerned about their influence as a threat to their traditional culture. There are some examples that European court made a judge against US companies.

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

My past entry: Anti-Amazon law rise in France

I think Merkel made the request just as a joke. At least, she did not believe Google and Facebook would adhere to her request. Nonetheless, I feel a deep chasm between the US and Europa behind her statement.