Friday, June 30, 2017

Sequels in June 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Grenfell Tower fire accident

The UK government is eager to ease the victims of the fire with offering luxury accommodations. As well, entire investigation is planned ordered by the Prime Minister.

The Guardian: 'No stone will be left unturned' in Grenfell Tower inquiry, says PM

I think British people are very keen to examine the event occurred for identification of the total figure once decided. I expect the causes of this tragedy will be completely clarified for the future.

Monday, June 19, 2017
Macron's party won the general election

Macron is willing to amend the legislation regarding labors' rule. His intention is the higher viscosity of employment. In this meaning, Macron's ideology seems rather conservative.

Independent: Emmanuel Macron kicks off controversial attempt to reform France's labour laws

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Bitcoin falling

The price of Bitcoin became stable. At the same time, however, the issue of scalability of Ethereum, an alternative crypt currency, was ignited. The future of Bitcoin is still in the mist.

Saturday, June 10, 2017
UK general election 2017

After the general election in which Tory was struck, consumer confidence fell rapidly.

Independent: UK consumer confidence collapses after general election delivers hung parliament and property market slows

Even expected, Theresa May will face a difficult situation.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mini SNES will come

Nintendo announced to release so-called Super-Famicom Mini.

 Its name is Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or Mini SNES). The original console was released in 1990. It established an era of the consumer game.

Mini SNES equips a total of 21 games each of which except one were very popular in the contemporary age. And the one "Star Fox 2" will be an illusional title which had not been released. Two shapes of Mini SNES will be created: the US version and Japanese version.

The Guardian: Nintendo announces the Mini SNES

The previous Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer (Mini NES) was sold out immediately after its release. Nintendo has committed that the number of products will be larger than that of the predecessor. But it is unsure until when its products will be continued.

Anyway, Mini SNES will be a luxury item as well as Mini NES. You can play almost all titles of the contents of Mini SNES through Nintendo Virtual Console. And its price is not so low. Instead, Mini SNES has a very charming figure.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sony and Microsoft and the future of game console

Besides the launch of Nintendo Switch, Sony and Microsoft are still competing for the throne of the game console.

In the last year, Sony released PlayStation 4 Pro, a new console which is entirely compatible with current PlayStation 4 with up converting to the 4K solution. And Microsoft has announced that it will release Xbox One X in this year.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Xbox, PlayStation bosses on 4K, VR, exclusive games and what makes their brand best

Undoubtedly, the both consoles are most gorgeous gaming tools for a consumer. However, it is unsure their flagship machines will profit soon.

4K Blue-ray discs are not available on PlayStation 4 Pro. It is a quite serious issue. Most Sony lovers are also enthusiasts of movies with high-definition, I believe. Knowing this fact, I abandoned the plan to purchase PlayStation 4 Pro.

Instead, Xbox One can play 4K Blue-ray disc. But there are several reports of unexpected errors in working it as a Blue-ray disc player.

Furthermore, most users are now not fond of playing games on a console. Smartphone and tablets are dominant in a field of gaming. Recently, Nintendo entered this industry a couple of years ago and made splendid outcome.

Virtual reality is expected as a user experience in the next gaming era. Sony recently released PlayStation VR, a head mounted game console. Microsoft is also considering to develop a platform.

However, VR requires vast resource. It is better for players to go to an amusement part for an exciting experience than sitting on a floor of yours. The wearable computer is an innovation. But I think its proper usage is still under development.

I am not sure which will win the battle. Anyway, the box-type game console will perish in the near future, I think.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Google will no more scan your emails

Google stated that it would abandon scanning the contents of your Gmail.

The new policy will be adopted in this year. Google has been utilized the words in your Gmail to optimize the advertisement which will be sent to you. It is unsurprising that this way has been criticized as an invasion of user's privacy.

Google's decision seems to have been partially based on increased number of paid corporate members. They have not got their Gmails scanned.

As well, Google can analyze each user's favor through scanning the history of YouTube and Google Search. They provide enough information about which kind of ads fit each user.

Google's policy change will not only attract users but also reduce the risk of being sued in the future. On the other hand, I wonder how this change will damage the quality of the advertisement, which is still the most primary sources of profit for Google.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Shaved ice

In recent years, it is very hot in summer. It is getting uncomfortable more and more. I often misidentify as if Japan is located in a tropical region.

Then, shaved ice is a good idea to take when you feel hot. Shaved ice is very popular in Japan. Every summer, many new series of shaved ice are sold.

To be honest, I had not liked shaved ice so much because it was too cold for me. But recent recipes are not so cold and easy to eat.

This is a shaved ice decorated with strawberries and whipped cream. I ate it in Osaka.

And I ate this one at Nagoya. Chocolate cream was matched with fine ice.

Unfortunately, most shaved ice is served only in summer. I miss them in autumn. Actually, it is still hot in autumn in Japan.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to respond when you see bad news

Nowadays, the internet brings us much much information. And social media tend to choose extreme cases for the suggestion to us. We often encounter surprising facts most of which are very sad matter.

Seeing bad news makes us upset. You may become depressed after seeing tragic story repeatedly. We can turn it off immediately. And some people recommend doing so.

However, being blind to bad news is not a good idea, according to the author of this article below.

The Conversation; It’s all too easy to switch off from bad news – and it’s dangerous too

We should be aware of the shape of the world. And we have to find the positive aspect of some unfortunate event.

I agree with this opinion to some extent. But it is not a rule always to adhere. If you have been already depressed due to personal troubles, you should not look at bad news outside of you. Close your eyes and protect you until your damaged mood recovers.

Also, you should prioritize the issues around you. Your family, close friends, and business partners may be suffering from serious troubles. Treating them is much more important for you than expressing a compassion to others behind the TV and the internet.

You can feel difficult to find positive aspects of the event you see. Then, simply express your grief. Positive thinking is toxic in some situation. It is the best way to do nothing but cry in the absolute sorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Starbucks accepts refugees

Starbucks, a popular coffee shop franchise, announced to have hired a total of 2,500 refugees across European countries.

Its movement was responding to criticism against Starbucks originated from Donald Trump's executive order to ban Muslim immigrants.

Independent: Starbucks to hire 2,500 refugees across Europe in defiance of social media backlash

Now, about 8% of Starbucks shoppers in Europe are refugees, according to the company. But, it is suggested that far more refugees want a job in several countries. Generally speaking, Labors unions are hesitating, accepting refugees because of a fear domestic worker would be replaced by immigrants.

I think it is quite good big companies such as Starbucks take leadership in a movement which is considered as politically correct. Gigantic companies are responsible to some extent for not only its own profit but also community itself, in my sense.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Overcome your anxiety

Anxiety disorder is one of the mental illnesses we encounter most frequently. It resembles depression because most depressive patients often feel anxious. But its dominant symptom is not a depressive mood but anxiety.

Anxiety is one of the human emotions we have to get along with since the ancient era. As we feel anxious, we can examine a plan to carry out the project. Anxiety makes you distant from potential dangers. Thus, this annoying emotion is essential for survival.

However, excessive anxiety is not only useless for your life but also harmful. Some patients cannot take a train because of the fear they encounter an accident. Hypochondriac patients check their physical status repeatedly, unnecessarily, and it leads them rather more anxious.

Researchers suggest anxiety disorder is also a serious disorder as well as depression. It lowers our productivity and even reduces life expectancy.

Then, how can we overcome anxiety?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as medication, is said to effective to reduce your anxiety level. But there are not so many therapists available in the clinical setting. In Japan, few patients meet a specialist for proper treatment.

One simple but effective option against anxiety is not to address it. “Do it badly” is a strong strategy if you suffer from anxiety. Perfectionism is a common obstacle to keep you from relaxation.

The Conversation: Surprising ways to beat anxiety and become mentally strong – according to science

In this article above, you are recommended to “wait to worry,” as well as doing badly. Indeed, it is said that 90% of your worries are not realized. The rest 10% is to be addressed seriously. But it is not too late to treat it when you notice that they are real challenges.

It is also a good solution to worry about others instead of yourself. When you are in the cloud of anxiety, you cannot see other persons. When you think of others, you may be free from unreal fears of your surroundings.

In Japan, Morita therapy was born to overcome anxiety. Morita said that you have to let your anxiety as it is. His idea is consistent with the concept of mindfulness. I believe Morita therapy is one of the strongest option of treatment strategy of anxiety disorder.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Logan, impressive but destructive as well as intrusive

I saw "Logan" in cinema. It is the last movie of Wolverine acted by Hugh Jackman.

It describes the US in 2025. For a couple of decades, there have been no mutants born. Thus, mutants are in the peril of extinction. And Wolverine is also suffering from aging. For unknown reasons, his healing factor is no more effective.

Furthermore, to be surprised, Professor X has dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. He misconducted the telepathy to damage large people one year ago. Since then, he has been forced to take tranquilizers regularly by Wolverine.

What a dystopia it is! Logan begins with such a miserable opening.

And, he finds Laura, a mysterious girl with mutant power. Her ability is quite similar to Wolverine's. And her guardian begs Wolverine to bring her to Eden, a utopia for mutants.

Professor X has expected that she would be hope for all mutants. But Wolverine is skeptical to the existence of Eden. And they are attacked by Donald Pierce, a cyborg, and his troop.

In the middle of the movie, Wolverine notices that Eden is merely an image in the comic book of X-MEN. He feels desperate. But, after reaching the place of Eden, he is astonished to know the true meaning of it.

Eden itself does not exist. But, there are some guys who believe it. And they can build Eden.

The atmosphere of this movie is quite dark. Most fans of X-MEN do not want to see old Wolverine and fool Professor, I guess. And I believe that the director deliberately wanted to terminate the X-MEN series with launching this work.

Laura is a charming girl. But she does not know most rules of the community because no one told her. Her rude and merciless behaviors are often annoying. In addition, she is frequently involved in gore scenes. I do not like making a young actress play such bloody actions.

The history of X-MEN is ended by Logan. I hope to see a new series some day. And it would have been better if I had been able to see Ian McCarran in this film.

Personal Rating: 3 (fair)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

American student arrested to be dead in North Korea

Very recently, an American student was victimized by North Korean force.

Otto Warmbier was a 21-year-old student at the University of Virginia. He was arrested by the police in North Korea for "hostile acts against the state," according to the North Korean authority. Actually, he was said to have attempted to pilfer a propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years forced labor.

And recently, the North Korea released him to the US because he became unconscious. At the time he was moved to the US hospital, he was in the coma state. North Korea said it was due to contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill. Finally, he died without recovering the consciousness.

The Washington Post: North Korea’s outrageous mistreatment of a U.S. student must not go unpunished

It is not surprising that the US media condemn North Korea. But, there are multiple points of view to be considered.

First of all, the report of North Korea is far from trustworthy. Many people, including me, suspect he was tortured to be dead in North Korea. It is rare botulism toxin and a sleeping pill takes a life of a healthy young man.

Second, even if he committed a crime in North Korea, I never believe his act deserves to 15 years imprisonment. But, there are considerable variations in the penal legislation among nations. We have to respect each country's culture unless it is insulting other people's right. And the human right is a concept more complicated than it looks.

And finally, I wonder why he was released. I do not believe the official report of North Korea that it was decided according to a humanitarian point of view. I would have been not surprised if North Korea had concealed the full facts and had reported that he was missing. Therefore, North Korea considered that it would be advantageous to release him. His fatal damage was not planned for North Korea, perhaps.

Anyway, I pray for Otto. And I hope there will never be next victims.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Grenfell Tower fire accident

In London, there was a fire accident on June 14th, 2017.

Grenfell Tower, an official apartment with 24 levels located in West London was surrounded by the firestorm. At least 79 people were dead in this incident.

The Telegraph: Grenfell Tower: 79 people now presumed dead in London fire, police confirm

Grenfell Tower was built in 1974. It is suspected that this building did not meet the standard of protection from fire. The residents had expressed a worry about fire. But the administrating company might ignore their complaint.

It seems that the fire was immediately spread to the full range of the building. It means that normal precaution was not equipped in this building. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said that it was a preventable accident caused by years of neglect by the local council and successive governments. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, announced the necessity of the entire investigation.

BBC News: Latest updates as fire recovery continues

London City has several old buildings. Aged infrastructure may be a risk for disaster. Two years ago, I saw a fire accident at Holborn. It might be caused by crippled electric hoses.

My past entry: Fire accident at Holborn, London

In Japan, the building standard was amended after some accidents. I expect London will be safer with detailed investigation of this sad event.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Macron's party won the general election

Recently, a general election of Parliament was conducted in France. As expected, Macron's party grabbed the victory.

In France, Parliament vote is carried out twice in each term. As a result, La République en Marche (LREM) which Macron belongs to got a total of 360 seats in the 577. Gaining the majority, Macron will administer the government with ease.

However, it does not mean most French people is on the side of Macron. His political ideology is rather central. Thus, his supporters are widely distributed from right to left. People who love nationalism but do not trust Le Pin also voted to LREM. As well, a part of supporters of Hollande, the ex-President, seems to have joined to LREM for the victory of this poll.

In addition, the turnout of this election was lowest ever before since the Fifth Republic was established. The voting rate was less than a half.

Aljazeera: France's Macron wins strong parliamentary majority Macron completes electoral grand slam amid record-low turnout

Some people suggested it means indifference of the citizens to the election. But, I believe one of the reasons was the high likelihood Macron's winning. People would not vote if noticing that their vote would have no impact on the outcome.

France is often subjected to a terror attack by ISIS and other extremists. The fact Macron won has multiple meanings. French citizens are rational and willing to seek a solution other than excluding immigrants. At the same time, they may have no panacea to fix the current situation. Macron's LREM will be facing a great challenge.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Healthy obesity is an illusion

Metabolic syndrome is one of the most important concepts for promoting your physical health. High blood pressure, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and visceral fat are called as "the death quartet," meaning significant risk factors for sudden death.

However, there are many people who are obese but not having unhealthy symptoms or abnormality. Are they need to lose the body weight?

The answer according to the clinical evidence is "yes." So far, some data have suggested that obesity is an independent factor of premature death.

And now, a result of a longitudinal study with a large sample size was published. The outcome shows that obese people have 50% higher risk of heart failure. Thus, there is no "healthy obesity."

The Guardian: No such thing as 'fat but fit', major study finds

However, only 50% increase of the risk is not so impressive. There are many other risk factors other than obesity. And genetic characteristics are also highly likely to influence the risk. It is unsure you should reduce the weight with accepting serious suffer.

In Japan, there is no word meaning "healthy obesity." Recently, "Pocchari" is used to suggest fat but pretty girls. But it does not include any meaning of health. Japanese are relatively difficult to become obese, perhaps due to genetic issues and diet style. Therefore, obese Japanese are seldom deemed as healthy.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Harm of social media: a study

In every era, a novel thing is subjected to criticism. And social media are not an exception.

A survey conducted by researchers at the University of Sheffield was published recently. According to them, social media such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are harmful to youth's mental health.

The Guardian: Facebook and Twitter 'harm young people's mental health'

They examined several measures in thousands of participants. The result showed that social media users had less sleep and were more anxious. Girls also tended to have negative body image. They created a model formula to estimate the relationship between the time spent at social media and their life satisfaction. As a conclusion, some social media were harmful to the youth.

SSRN: Social Media Use and Children's Wellbeing

This paper is too difficult for me to examine its validity. Some economists were involved in this survey. On the other hand, psychiatric professionals were less engaged in this study. I think it is doubtful they could measure the participants' life satisfaction exactly.

In addition, there is a possibility of reverse causality. People who are indulged in social media tend to suffer from some kind of mental illness or dissatisfaction. Participants who use social media extremely much time can be addictive.

Indeed, some other researchers are doubtful to the validity of this study.

Furthermore, if social media is rather harmful to us, it is almost impossible to ban them from our daily life. Early exposure and education about how to treat them are essential.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Yoga recommended for patients with cancer

Yoga is recently focused as a way of relaxation in many developed countries. Its character is that you need no serious physical activity. Yoga technique is considered to burn your visceral fat in spite with rather a  series of slow movement. It means you can recommend yoga to elder people or patients with physical illnesses.

Here, a couple of studies are introduced in which yoga activity has reduced stress in patients with cancer. Participants felt less fatigued after yoga exercise.

The Guardian: How yoga could ease cancer patients' pain and fatigue

It is unsure this study is a controlled trial. But the in the second study participants were divided into two groups: exercise alone and exercise and yoga. The latter participants showed improved mood compared to the control. If it is a randomized control trial, this result may be reliable.

The mechanism of the effect on the mental activity of yoga is still under-investigated. Some researchers claim yoga activity reduces your cortisol level. But, it is not easy to measure the influence of yoga on internal cortisol.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bitcoin falling

Yesterday, the price of Bitcoin corrupted all at sudden.

Recently, the price reached 3,000 USD. The magnitude was the highest ever before. Some people claimed the price would be 10,000 USD in a year.

However, its price is now under 2,500 USD.

What do you think about the vulnerability of Bitcoin value? I believe Bitcoin and the technology of blockchain are innovation and cryptocurrency will be an alternative figure of money. But, its volatility is still so high that most Bitcoin lovers are speculators. It will take a while before Bitcoin becomes a common way of transaction.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dramatic decreasing of UK nurses from EU

After a historic vote of Brexit in the last summer, several changes has come in the UK. Among them, an issue of immigration is often focused. The UK had accepted a large number of immigrants so far. They have considerably contributed to the British economy and society. But, this situation will not be sustainable.

For example, the number of EU applies to work in the UK as a nurse is rapidly decreasing. In this April, only 46 applied from EU while there were 1,304 last July.

International Business Times: Number of EU nurses applying to work in UK has slumped by 96% since Brexit vote

The UK has been recognized as a resort for health workers. Many health care providers were willing to work in the UK. However, the current unclear situation seems to make potential workers hesitate to enter the UK. It is quite natural, I think.

As some politicians say, the UK government has to guarantee the position of current workers from the EU. In addition, it is necessary to keep the numbers of skilled workers, regardless of their home, for the future. To be honest, I am doubtful Brexit lovers exactly prospected this issue before the poll.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to avoid the damage of a nuclear bomb

Recently, North Korea conducted provocative actions repeatedly. Despite the UN condemned it and requested calm and rational responses, we have become nervous about the possibility of the war.

Representing the public fear, there are some articles describing the method for evacuation. If a ballistic missile with a nuclear bomb, how should we do for minimizing the unfavorable outcome?

A golden rule is that you should lie down immediately after sensing the light or tremor. The first impact of a nuclear bomb is the heat wave. Subsequently, a blast of debris will come. Making your face down may decrease the risk of being hit by them.

As well, you should cover your ears with your hands. Your tympanums are easily broken when encountering an extremely loud noise.

On the other hand, it is the last idea recommended to stay in a car. You will be burned out with the car.

Business Insider: If a nuclear bomb explodes nearby, here's why you should never, ever get in a car

If you are in a building, keep you stay there. A thin wall of lead can block the radioactive wave.

Anyway, the war is the most stupid solution of a conflict. We are responsible for avoiding desperate results from the current situation.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Prospective students of Harvard dismissed due to the posts on Facebook

At least ten students got their permission to enter the class of Harvard in 2021 canceled. The reason was the contents they posted in a group chat on Facebook.

Independent: 10 students have Harvard acceptances withdrawn over Facebook memes

Members of the group created sexually or racially offensive description and graphics on the Facebook group. The Admission Committee of Harvard started to investigate what they had posted. After a deliberate investigation, at least ten prospected students were excluded from the list of 2021 class.

To begin with, I was a little surprised that the Harvard class in 2012 has been fixed now. I am not sure what the students posted exactly. Considering the fact that the dismissed students must be teens, the decision of the authority can be harsh. But, the issue of discrimination is very deep and serious. The seed of prejudice is born in the very early life stage. Harvard seemed not ignore their rude behavior.

Nonetheless, we have to reconsider how to treat the misconducts on the internet. Everyone have bitter memories they made a failure in the youth. However, what you have posted on the internet will last eternally. The right to be forgotten was discussed recently. We should be tolerant to misconducts in young people a little more.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Eating in front of a mirror makes you happy?

Eating alone is often deemed as a behavior of a solitary person. And we are unconsciously aware that we taste bad when eating alone. Indeed, studies have found that eating with others make us satisfied with the meal and eat more.

Recently, an interesting study was conducted to examine the effect of eating together. Participants were requested to eat in front of a mirror. Surprisingly, they ate more food and felt better of the taste as if they had been with other persons.

Hindustan Times: Eating alone in front of mirrors makes meals taste better: Study

The result is hardly trustworthy at a glance. If we are influenced by a mirror image of ourselves, it is so silly to make efforts for comfortable surrounding. But the system of our neural network and feedback is developed with a very simple structure.

But, considering the fact that few restaurants equip mirrors near to the guest's seat, I hardly believe the outcome of this study, nevertheless.

In addition, some people, especially with eating disorders, experience binge eating when alone. They often say their appetite becomes controllable in a dinner with close friends. Thus, eating together does not necessarily have an effect of growing your appetite. Eating is a complex behavior.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

UK general election 2017

UK general election was held on June 8th, 2017. The result was shocking for Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK.

The ruling Conservative Party lost 13 seats of Member of Parliament, whereas opposing Labor Party gained 32 seats, reaching 262. The Tory dropped from the absolute majority. It will continue to make a coalition with Democratic Unionist Party which had ten seats for keeping the majority.

May made an apology for this defeat and asked for support to her colleagues in the party.

The Telegraph: Live  Election results 2017: Theresa May says sorry to defeated Tory candidates as she eyes deal with DUP

It was May's intention to conduct a general election. Thus, the result was far from her expectation. Many people claim she should resign. But she denied the idea of dropping out.

I support her continuation despite admitting that her decision to make a vote was a failure. The UK is shaken before the Brexit and recurrent terrorism now. There are not so many politicians who can address this complicated situation.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Genetic treatment for asthma, a possibility

Asthma is one of the terrible respiratory diseases that can occur in many people. Its symptom is the disturbance in breathing. Patients suffer from the difficulty of absorbing the air, often causing crippled oxidation. The asthma attack can be fatal in infants, elder, or compromised patients.

Asthma is considered not as a respiratory disease, but as occurring due to an allergic reaction. NSAID, an anti-inflammatory drug is well-known as a material to cause an asthma attack. Hyperactivity of immune system can contribute to tightening the lower respiratory tracts in the patients.

Therefore, relaxing the allergic reaction can be a solution to treat asthma. The steroid is frequently used to asthma in a serious case.

And now, Australian researchers published that they have found a possibility of a decisive way to cure asthma.

Independent: Allergy treatment: Scientists claim breakthrough that could lead to cure for all intolerances

According to the researchers in Queensland University, they successfully used the genetic modification in mice to reduce the allergic response to egg white. The egg is one of the substances which frequently bring an allergic reaction in the human.

Unfortunately, I could not find the original article published in JCI Insight. And my specialty is far from genetics. So, I cannot evaluate the validity of their experiment. According to the media, the responses toward the result the researchers had published were various. The researchers admit it will take several years to begin the clinical trial.

If genetic treatment for allergic reaction is utilized, it will be an innovation and will rescue massive patients. But in my sense, there are many barriers before the expecting outcome.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Death is not a so sad event? It is!

All we will die some day. It is the destiny of the human being.

And death has been a subject to be feared since the modern society was established. We believe that death is inevitable, but want to survive as far as possible.

Many people believe that we will be in full of fear at the end of life. But researchers at the University of North Carolina claim it is not true. People near to death feel happy, according to them.

Independent: Dying people are surprisingly happy about it, study finds

In this study above, the researchers found approximately a total of 600 blog posts written by patients near to death by cancer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. They examined the contents of each entry. For comparison, they recruited healthy volunteers, to ask them to write a blog with imagining that they are near to death. As a result, people near to death in real were considered to have made more positive ideas than healthy people.

Therefore, this result suggests that death is not necessarily a horrible or hopeless event, according to the author. If so, it will be relieving for people with diseases hard to treat. However, how is the validity of this study? In my opinion, this result is far from reliable, unfortunately.

First of all, the materials of this study are blog entries written by people with illnesses. There is possible room for selection bias in the methodology of this study. People who are willing to write a blog tend to intend to have a positive impact on the readers. Thus, they can pretend their mood and feel as glad and happy rather than sad and fearful. In addition, depressed people cannot write a blog, in general. Patients in severe medical condition are hardly able to write things, either.

I have seen studies which treated similar themes of this one. And the researchers did a face-to-face interview with the patients. A direct conversation represents the emotion of the subjects more precisely than the blog entries. Nonetheless, patients in a serious state could reject the interview.

Even considering the value of this study, I hesitate to trust the claim of the authors of this study. Death is still an arc enemy of human.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Elon Musk quits Trump's advisory panel

The decision of Donald Trump to withdraw the Paris climate deal made halation around the world.

He intended to protect domestic industry from burdening with several regulations about environmental issues. Business industry in the US, however, did not welcome his idea.

For example, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, and Robert Iger of Disney quitted the high-powered business advisory panel. The panel has been influential to the administration as several persons of importance in business industry are contained as the members.

The Guardian: Elon Musk and Disney boss quit Trump's business panel over Paris pullout

I guess they had been considering to abandon the panel since Trump won the Presidential election. Pulling out of Paris climate accord seems one of the good opportunities for them to declare the resignation.

In the 20th century, the identity of a company is to maximize the profit. During last some decades, leaders begin to consider the total benefit for the whole world prioritized to temporal benefit. Not only Elon Musk, but also Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other famous billionaires are willing to devote their estate to the public good. I believe Trump's idea that domestic benefit should be prioritized is out of date.

On the other hand, many people have no more room to take care of other's benefit. Many ideologies are conflicting with each other. The response to Trump's decision reflects the current complicated situation.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Polypharmacy eases your blood pressure?

Recently, a group of British researchers made an interesting publication about the treatment of high blood pressure.

They combined four kinds of drugs: irbesartan, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, and atenolol, with each of a quarter of usual dosage.

Irbesartan is an angiotensin II recepter blocker. Amlodipine is a traditional calcium channel blocker. Hydrochlorothiazide is a type of diuretic. And, atenolol is a typical beta blocker. Each of them is commonly used against hypertension. The researchers believe the combination of the four drugs is powerful enough to normalize most patients' blood pressure with less adverse effects. The result of a clinical trial was impressive.

Hindustan Times: Now, a ‘miracle pill’ for the treatment of high blood pressure

If this outcome is reliable, treatment for hypertension will proceed to the next stage. However, I am skeptical of this hypothesis. In the region of psychopharmacology, medical practitioners were willing to find an effective recipe of mixed several neuroleptic medications. But it resulted in a serious failure. Blocking several receptors in the brain using polypharmacy made patients dull and suppressed, but not calm. And patients were suffering from several long-lasting side effects.

Of course, usage of cardiovascular drugs is different from psychopharmacology. I expect researchers will optimize the effectiveness of the medication.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dictation software in Japan

Nowadays, voice input is a common way to make a document. Siri, Cortana, and Google search can recognize what you say with accuracy. Some writers are fond of writing an article with their voice rather than the keyboard.

One of the advantages with voice input is the speed. Originally, QWERTY keyboard has been arranged to limit the typing speed because too fast typing could break the typewriter. On the other hand, voice input can translate your message to the manuscript almost at the real time.

In addition, with using voice input, you will never hurt your fingers and shoulders with typing. Touch typing is accustomed by several writers. But typing a series of words with fixed posture for a long time is considerably harmful to your health. Not a few writers are suffering from fingers and back pain. Before the spread of typewriters, writers were also annoyed to take a pen with tired fingers. Voice input releases you from such a troublesome habit.

However, voice input is still not so common in Japan. There are some reasons for it. One of the most decisive problems is the character of the Japanese language. There are many Kanji characters used in Japanese. And some of them shares the calling. For example, we name a fixed star, structure, editing an article, and rehabilitation of a criminal, as "kousei."

We usually distinguish them with seeing the Kanji. On the other hand, we need to identify which "kousei" the speaker mentions through considering the context. This task is quite difficult for a voice input program.

Also, "wa" can mean peace, sum, and traditional Japan, which is described with the Kanji. But, ring is pronounced "wa" too, with a different Kanji character.

Nonetheless, recent applications are so great that I can write a short article with voice input. "Dragon Speech" is an excellent software fully adapted to the voice input in Japanese.

Dragon Speech (in Japanese)

On the other hand, I hardly the voice input in English. My pronunciation is too bad to be promptly identified by machine. Rather, some Japanese English learners utilize the voice input software to correct their pronunciation.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sexuality and diet: not so easy to understand

Gender identity is a novel and sensitive issue. American Psychiatric Association discussed whether homosexuality should be deemed as a disease or not in the process of establishing DSM-IV criteria. Finally, the members of the publishing team made a vote to determine this issue. Thus, there is still limited evidence to identify the scientific character of sexuality.

And, there are also some people claiming homosexual is a disease. Rita Strakosha is one of the researchers who suspect the relationship between sexual preference and daily diet. She claims that continuous taking of junk food makes you homosexual.

It is no doubt that her hypothesis ignited widespread criticism. Recently, she said that her idea was often misunderstood. She expressed that it is not so important whether homosexuality is a disease.

International Business Times: Author of 'study' claiming unhealthy lifestyle causes homosexuality says she's been misunderstood

I dare not to read through her article. It seems not needed to judge her hypothesis. As some researchers say in the article above, it is nonsense.

To begin with, sexuality is a complex idea derived from several factors. hormonergic reaction is only partially decisive to form your sexual identity. It is quite rude to explain the human sexual behaviors with only the biological factor. Moreover, diet and sleep have only limited role in determining the physiological reaction in the human.

In other words, she is apparently overestimating the effect of biological reaction in the human behavior. It is a common pattern observed in psychologists, in my experience. I prospect her hypothesis will not survive in the near future.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Oesophageal cancer, a desperate disease

I am a psychiatrist. I have treated several patients. Some recovered, others did not, unfortunately. In general, psychiatrists are rare to be satisfied with their treatment performance because the success rate of each therapy can be vaguely evaluated. In this meaning, I am often jealous to surgeons.

On the other hand, there several types of cancers, which are the main targets of surgery. Among them, oesophageal cancer is still a large enemy for practitioners.

The Conversation: Oesophageal cancer rates are rocketing - here’s what you need to know about the disease

Oesophageal cancer is hardly detected in the early stage. And many patients suffer from the problem about swallowing foods even if they survived the surgery. In addition to the treatment option of surgery, radiation therapy is also adapted to treat oesophageal cancer. As esophagus is located rather in the exterior area of the body, radiation looks useful at a glance. However, exposure to radiation causes you burning and other adverse effects.

When I was a medical student, the first patient I took charge of was an old man with oesophageal cancer. He was brave and optimistic. I learned many things from him. But the outcome of his treatment was not good, unfortunately.

Nowadays, many types of cancers have been defeated by newly treatments. But oesophageal cancer is still increasing. I hope some researchers will find an innovative way to cure this serious disease soon.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Trump will withdraw from Paris climate deal

Donald Trump is expected to declare the withdrawal from Paris climate agreement, according to the officers.

CNN: Trump expected to withdraw from Paris climate agreement

*Trump has officially declared the withdrawal.

Paris agreement was developed in 2015 for stabilizing the global climate change. More than one hundred of nations have joined in the deal. Its purpose is to fix the global warming, one of the most critical problems in the current world.

However, Trump was opposing the deal. He seems to believe the agreement is stupid and disadvantageous to the US. Withdrawal from the Paris agreement was one of his promise before the Presidential vote. Therefore, it is not surprising at all if Trump signs the Presidential Decree to abandon the deal.

To begin with, Trump believes that climate change is an illusion or hoax by agitators. His idea is out of the question. But, it is not easy to estimate the influence of the human activities on the climate exactly.

Interestingly, China will be cooperative with the EU to stress the importance of the deal to the US.

The Guardian: China and EU strengthen promise to Paris deal with US poised to step away

It is rare that China gets along with the EU, as well claiming the importance of the environmental issue. China is one of the greatest contributors to the air pollution. I guess, however, China itself recognizes that it should be treated as soon as possible.

As I wrote previously, environmental issues are quite difficult to be addressed collaboratively by multiple players because it is public goods.

My past entry: Climate is a public goods

Paris agreement is a historic decision of several countries sharing the deep concern to this issue. I hope it will be adequately adhered by many nations.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

System trouble in British Airways

On May 27th, British Airways (BA), a leading aircraft company in the UK encountered a serious system trouble. It made all of the flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airport crippled. Thousands of passengers were trapped, to be forced to stay a night at the airport.

The trouble continued for some days. Now BA has declared a full recovery from the trouble, but there are still several flight plans badly influenced.

The cause of this trouble is not an external challenge, according to BA. If a person or organization with malicious intention had done this act, it would have been a critical problem not only the airline company but also the nation.

BA will compensate up to tens of millions GBP for damaged customers. Its stock price fell by four percent on the day of the incident.

The Guardian: British Airways owner loses £170m in value after IT meltdown

It is fortunate that nobody was injured in the accident. I can hardly imagine the magnitude of the damage if it were an atomic power plant to have been crippled. I expect BA to prevent the recurrence of this kind of problems.