Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spotify into the stock market

Spotify, a music streaming service company, was posed to the stock market on Apr 3, 2018.

The Guardian: Spotify's stock market debut: everything you need to know

Its initial price was 150 USD per a stock. Its total value is estimated at 20-25 billion USD, according to market experts. So far, its price seems to be stable.

Spotify has been offering music streaming service. You can listen to popular music titles as long as you like for free. A premium account is needed to select specific titles.
The competitors of Spotify are Amazon, Apple, and Google, at a glance. They are all too big to defeat. To be honest, I was doubtful that Spotify would survive for years. In reality, Spotify's revenue is growing in recent years. Paying subscribers will reach 90 million.

Nowadays, the music industry is struggling to make a profit. Many publishers are difficult to collect the expenditure of making a master tape with selling the CD. Therefore, artists tend to encourage fans to come to the live concert. On the other hand, streaming services have partially replaced CD selling since they are less costly.

I am not sure Spotify will be successful. But it will be better for us to have many alternatives to enjoy music.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Owl type people die young?

People staying up late are likely to die younger, a study found.

Straits Times: Night owls risk dying younger, should sleep in: Study

This study was performed in the UK as a large prospective cohort. The participants were categorized into lark or owl according to their identity. As a result, there is ten percent higher risk of fatality in six years. Waking late at night group were also suffering from psychological problems.

Same as other non-interventional studies, there is a possibility of confounder between the exposure and outcome. People who stay at night might have insomnia, depression, or other psychiatric diseases.  Then, going bed early would not prolong their health.

The researchers hypothesize that there are genetic factors to determine your circadian rhythm. Therefore, waking up in the early morning for owl people is no longer beneficial. Instead, avoiding jobs which need early wakeup will be preferable. This concept is rather unique.

I saw another survey that a considerable amount of teenagers are owl styled. If true, the time high school begins should be delayed.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Suicide machine is invented

A suicide machine was presented at a funeral show in Amsterdam.

This machine, looking like a cold-sleep pod, was invented by an Australian euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke and Dutch designer Alexander Bannink. All you have to do is to press the button lying in the pod. Then you will be surrounded by Nitrogen gas which brings you to unconsciousness soon.

The pod called Sarco also equips a virtual reality glasses. You can see a 3D vision for your last sight.

Straits Times: Futuristic suicide pod draws crowds at Amsterdam funeral show

The machine will be easily created with a 3D printer, according to the inventor. They claim that suicide itself is no more crime, thus taking your life is your right. Not surprisingly, this presentation ignited a broad argument.

To be honest, some people will be relieved by this machine, I think. It would be a little less bad to use it compared to throw your body to the train. By the way, the 3D glasses attached to the machine is nonsense.

The issue is, however, how many people can decide to commit suicide on their sane will. Even if they truly want to kill themselves, their family and neighbors never admit it. Most of us are too weak to accept the will of suicide, I believe. After all, this kind of machine will never be a solution for mitigating the suffering of life.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Research for rejuvenation

Aging is a fate of all mortals. We get old, to face the last day of the life.

But, is it a truth of nature? Surprisingly, there are species which do not get old. For example, Heterocephalus glaber, a kind of rat, is free from aging. Actually, they live around 30 years, whereas other rats live only for some years. They are considered to have an ability to repair telomere, a component of the gene. Cells which have lost telomere are no more able to regenerate themselves.

It is uncertain if the research of Heterocephalus glabe will bring us an eternal life. There are several other approaches for longer life. Recently, a research team composed of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published a new finding in which supplementing some ingredients restored the blood vessels in mice. The blood vessel is an important element for measuring the age of mammals. People with fresh vessels will keep vitality for a long time.

Indepentent: Key symptom of old age reversed 'surprisingly easily', study finds

Rejuvenation has been a fairy tale. But it will be no more a dream. And, the human being will face a new challenge: how to use the prolonged life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Kraken shut down Japanese exchange

Kraken, an American cryptocurrency exchange decided to abandon the trading post for Japanese residents.


Kraken is famous for its security as well as the amount of deal. It has been opened for Japanese, but most traders use Euro.

Kraken says that the reason for the retreat from Japan market is to focus on another field. It suggests the possibility of reentry into Japanese operation in the future.

I think, however, that Kraken will be difficult to gain the official permission for cryptocurrency business in Japan. The Japanese government has established the registry of cryptocurrency exchanges. The administrator investigates the quality of the company before permitting the operation. There are only a few registered companies in Japan. Kraken is now a equivalents company, gaining temporary permission. It has to be officially certified as an exchange until the next March, otherwise, permission will be expired.

After the CoinCheck incident, the investigation by the Japan government became strict. Kraken seems to recognize it is difficult to get the certification.

It is very sorry for Japan residents to lose an alternative for cryptocurrency trading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Legal age of sex consent

In France, there is a debate to set the legal age of consent for sexual behaviors at 15.

The Conversation: Why the age of sexual consent continues to be a worldwide challenge

So far, the prosecutor has to prove the fact of coercion or physical force to make sexual intercourse to obtain a rape conviction even if the victim is a child.  Children are often difficult to express the situation at the contact with the culprit exactly. They may misunderstand the damage they were inflicted.

In most developed countries, there is a legal age of sexual consent. Every sexual conduct with children under age should be deemed as rape or sexual assault.

But, the setting of age is controversial. In the UK, the legal age of sex is 16. But in reality, one-third of teenagers experience sexual conducts before 16. If they are caught by the authority, the boy who enjoyed sex with his girlfriend would be arrested as a raper. It looks nonsense.

On the other hand, the legal age of sex is set at 13 in Japan. Do you believe 13 yo girls can select a sexual partner? Some foreign people misunderstand that Japanese adolescents are extremely open to sexual behaviors. As far as I know, few girls are willing to have sex unless the conditions match. Also, sexual conduct for money with girls under 18 is prohibited by every prefectural legislation. Unfortunately, not a few men are arrested for breaching this regulation, every of which claims that they did not know the girl was under 18.

The situation is gradually changing. Recently, adolescents are far more matured physically compared to the previous era, thanks to the improved nutritional status. On the other hand, the age at which a person is deemed as an independent person is delaying. Some centuries ago, 15 yo was the age to be married. But now, many 20s people have no family members. These factors should be consistent with the legal procedure for constructing a fair and comfortable society.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Will smart speakers ease disabled people?

Smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, are said to change our daily life. But are their utility applicable for all people?

In this article below, the author's father was struggling to communicate with Alexa, Amazon's AI interface. Many blind people have acquired a communication pattern which is a little different to those of ordinary people. Alexa's voice recognition program will take some time to be optimized for people with disability.

The Atlantic: Alexa Is a Revelation for the Blind

At a glance, a voice controller is very useful for blind people. But in reality, it is not entirely sure. We unconsciously gain massive information from every sensory organ. Voice is never independent of gesture, intonation, and vision, though I hardly recognize.

In general, development of technology enables disabled people to be reintegrated in the society. On the other hand, the digital divide has been apparent in the last couple of decades. We should be aware which kind of devices and services are the most useful for each people with disability.