Friday, October 31, 2014

Sequels in October 2014

October 21, 2014
McDonald's falling

McDonald's has an intention to make change of its business, according to the media. But I think it is difficult for McDonald's to do it. Drastic change of McDonald's brand will make the customers confused. Rather, it is less risky to introduce a new industry.

Financial Times: McDonald’s in fundamental change to grow

October 18, 2014
Shadow of Abenomics

Japan stockpile is still sluggish, and Yen is gradually being weakened. Abe administrator is facing to a difficult situation. Opposing Democratic Party of Japan is criticizing the fluctuating government.

Reuters: Japan opposition DPJ: Delaying sales tax hike would mean Abenomics failed

I think the government should re-raise consumption tax as planned. Otherwise, Japanese are deemed to be too weak to make change with any pains by foreign investors.

October 16, 2014
A psychiatrist almost dead

Dr. Kyo seems to be fine, as far as reading his blog. I am so glad.

Kyo clinic director's blog (in Japanese)

October 15, 2014
Virgin Media has come

The internet connection is working in my flat. In my bedroom, the signal is so weak that I have difficulty to utilize my digital gadgets there. Moreover, it is occasionally, disconnected. Overall, the circumstance is not perfect, but acceptable.

October 2, 2014
Ontake volcano eruption

One month has passed since the desperate eruption. A total of 57 people were killed, and six still missing. Such a natural disaster remind us the power of nature. On the other hand, we should be aware to reduce the damage caused by disasters with some solution as much as possible.

Mainichi: Prayers held for Mt. Ontake victims on one-month anniversary of disaster

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Virgin Atlantic withdrawal from Tokyo

Recently, I was notified that Virgin Atlantic Airline was going to quit Tokyo-London operation.

Buying Business Travel: Virgin Atlantic to cancel Tokyo and Mumbai services

Japan Today: Virgin Atlantic to end service to Japan

Virgin Atlantic is a British airline company. Its cheerful services attract many people. As I wrote, it was eager to promote its service with humor.

My past entry: Ms. Virgin Atlantic in Air Asia

It possesses several flights between Tokyo and London. Compared to other companies offering direct flight between the two cities, such as JAL and ANA, Virgin Atlantic is less expensive. So, it would be a powerful alternative. Actually, I was near to choose it to get London this time.

However, Virgin Atlantic had to decide to abandon Tokyo. According to the media, there are several factors to exacerbate its profit: increased fuel fee, raising of the consumption tax, and devastatingly weak Yen.

It is so sorry for me to lose an opportunity to try Virgin Atlantic. I have never used it yet.

On the other hand, Virgin Atlantic introduced new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Boston-London route. These airplanes were planned to be administered on Tokyo-London in the next Spring.

USA Today: Virgin Atlantic launches first Dreamliner route

Nowadays, Low Cost Carriers are also struggling in capital management. The other day, they began to infiltrate the posts of traditional airlines with extreme competitive prices. The superiority of their cost-effectiveness is decreasing in accordance with obsolescence of their business model. "Select and Focus" strategies are required for all companies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Swansea and Worm's Head (2)

Swansea and Worm's Head (1)

Rossili beach is located in the west end of Great Britain. It is recognized as the most beautiful seashore in this country.

It was cloudy in the day, unfortunately. Actually, it is rare to encounter a sunny day in this area.

I dropped off the bus at the terminal.

This is a board of Rossili beach. There are few facilities around there.

You can see an odd rock like a neck of a dragon. It is "Worm's Head".

There were lots of sheep eating grass everywhere.

At low tide, you can reach the neck of the worm on foot. However, the road will be sunk at full tide.

When I visited there, it was at low tide. So, I had been able to go the the end of the rock. But it was so distant, and the ground was muddy. I abandoned reaching there.

Seashore was so beautiful.

After leaving Rossili, I dropped at Swansea University and a park nearby there.

The buildings were cute. There were lots of students.

It was a healing trip. It would have been the best if more sunny.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Swansea and Worm's Head (1)

The last weekend, I visited Swansea to meet an ex-colleague works at Swansea University.

Swansea is located in western side in the Great Britain. Its population is 200,000, the second largest city following Cardiff in Wales. It takes 3 hours by train from London. So, I got up very early morning to get there at noon.

I rode on train at Paddington station.

The train is well gorgeous. It never jolted during running.

Swansea station was also large. However, there was almost nothing near the station.

This is the hotel I stayed.

I used a bus to look around Swansea.

Swansea is a rural area. I saw a large amount of sheep everywhere.

This is Joe's ice cream, one of typical food in Swansea. It was so delicious in spite of coldness of the atmosphere.

I approached to Rossili beach.

(To be continued)

Monday, October 27, 2014

The end of summer time

Yesterday, summer time in this year was terminated.

Summer time is a scheme widely introduced in European countries. In the US, it is called Daylight saving time. In a limited term, the clock is proceeded by one hour, for effective use of daylight time.

In the UK, Summer time is adopted from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. The switching is applied at 1:00 am. So, I slept one hour more than usual yesterday.

It is surprising that all digital clocks were automatically adjusted. I would have been unconscious to Summer time if my wrist watch had not been a winding watch. I checked some clocks seen in the town. Most of them had been already adjusted precisely.

Summer time can be interpreted as Winter time. I need not wake up early in cold winter. It will be a little cool.

However, there are some criticism about Summer time. It is said that more traffic accidents occur in the day in which Summer time starts, no doubt because sleep time is shortened. I should be cautious.

In Japan, Summer time has not been introduced. Instead, the high school I attended adopts Winter delaying. In the winter term, lectures begin delayed by 10 minutes. I loved it. As you know, 10 minutes in the cold morning is precious.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The first Tweet of Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II had a tweet at the opening ceremony of the science museum in London on Friday, 24 Oct 2014. It is for the first time of her own tweet via the account @BritishMonarchy, with the sign "Elizabeth R". This tweet has been retweeted more than 30,000 times.

CNN: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II joins social media age with 1st tweet

The Telegraph: Watch: Moment Queen sends her first tweet to launch Science Museum

On the video recording the scene of the ceremony, she seemed to touch the panel of an iPad only once. Perhaps, the description of the tweet had been already prepared. Moreover, it is doubtful that her action actually worked for the tweet. The issued tweet may be tweeted via iPhone, not iPad, according to some media. An official replied that such doubt was merely a processology.

Tech Crunch: The Queen’s First Tweet Is A Royal Mystery

I am not sure whether the Queen tweeted by herself. It is probable that someone tweeted synchronized to her action. It is rational for the administrator to avoid any incidents.

Actually, it is not a matter. Important is the fact that the British monarchy took an attitude to respect for social media. It is similar to Pope Benedict XVI two years ago. I do not expect royals frequently tweet. I am glad if such influential persons do not reject new technologies and styles of communication.

Blog Twitter: The Pope’s first Tweets

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sleep science

As I wrote sometimes, I am a little interested in sleep science. Sleep is an essential activity of human being. However, there are lots of questions uncovered about sleep. First of all, why sleep is required is still uncertain.

My past entry: Five essences for beautiful sleep

My past entry: Stress reducing activities, 2 axis and 3 principles

Nathaniel Kleitman is known as a father of sleep research. He and Eugene Aserinsky, a student belonged to his laboratory, discovered Rapid Eye Movement (REM) in 1953 for the first time.

The New Yorker: Up all night

Several decades after, common sense of sleep has been changed partially.

For example, when I was a medical students, I was told that patients with insomnia should keep in the bed through night, even if he could not fall asleep, because rest awake in the bed helps him to regain his energy. However, this method is now denied as inappropriate. Continuing lying often strengthen the fear of insomnia of the patients, leading to inability of sleep. Instead, practitioners should advise them to get out of the bed when the patients feel not to sleep.

Regarding this topic, I recommend a book in which wide knowledge from the scientific evidence of the sleep to how to gain good sleep are described. I read it in 2003 in Japanese. It may not be out of date now. It is sorry that Kindle version is unavailable. The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night's Sleep

By the way, I have never experienced insomnia, fortunately. The only three exceptions were a night before an examination in college, after debating with my boss, and after long-lasting deep sleep with an illness.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stool is a remedy for colitis?

Recently, a little funny article was published at JAMA, an extremely famous medical journal, saying human stool can cure infectious disease in colon.

JAMA: Oral, Capsulized, Frozen Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Relapsing Clostridium difficile Infection

According to this article, transplantation of fecal microbiota is not a new method as a treatment strategy for Clostridium difficile (Cd) infection. Cd is a kind of bacteria which can grow in colon when normal intestinal flora is destroyed by antibiotic medicines. Cd causes inflammation on the intestinal membrane, leading to diarrhea, potentially fatal. Thus, Cd infection can be a awful foe for the patients taking medical treatment.

Growth of Cd is grounded on imbalance of enteric bacteria. This fact lets us easily imagine that transportation of internal bacteria could be a solution against Cd infection. The matter is the concrete way to do so. I am not familiar to this field, so I cannot estimate the difficulty of replication of the flora. Anyway, the experts have chosen to utilize raw stool of human.

Besides psychological resistance needless to say, there were some obstacles to take it into practice. The stool has to be fresh, not contaminated. In the hygiene point of view, extracted stool should be prescribed to the patients as soon as possible. It means that donors have to be prepared regularly, keeping the complete health status.

The research team resolved these barriers with using frozen stool. An open clinical trial has proven that efficacy and safety with this therapy were met in the patients with Cd induced diarrhea.

This study is quite preliminary. Randomized controlled trials are required to certify the outcome. If applied, this procedure may realize mass production of the remedy. Nonetheless, perhaps psychological resistance will be still a great wall.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Immature Kindle Unlimited has started a new service of book reading in the UK, following the US, named "Kindle Unlimited".

This is a subscription service of which users can access a large amount number of the e-books any time. The monthly fee is 7.99 GBP. For the US citizen, it takes $9.99. Subscribers can also enjoy audiobooks via Audible. A total of 700,000 books are the subject of unlimited reading. Kindle Unlimited Kindle Unlimited

I have kept an eye on this scheme since introduced it. Unfortunately, the reputation seems not so good.

I am a UK citizen so it is available for me now. I checked some books I will buy. Surprisingly, none of them are available with Kindle Unlimited. If academic literature were available in this price, it would be fantastic.

It seems that most publishers have not made a contract with Amazon to offer their books to Unlimited. Therefore, most of the subjects are Kindle original e-books. This tendency is similar to Kindle Owners Library, with which you can borrow an e-book in a month during you are a member of Amazon Prime.

As a result, only the persons who are willing to read more than one e-book in the subjects in a month benefit by Kindle Unlimited. Regarding Audible, there is another subscription service I had used. The subscribers can listen to The new York Times or The Wall Street Journal digest every day, in addition to one audiobook in a month.


Some people predict that Amazon will terminate Kindle Owners Library soon. Amazon may integrate Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited.

In Japan, the lineup of this service is superior compared to the US, because some famous cartoonists offer their products. If begin the Unlimited, I might start subscription in Japan.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Olfactory cell cures neural injury

Today I read news about successful treatment of spinal code injury.

In general damage of some nerves are extremely difficult to treat, because nerve cells are deemed not to regenerate. Spinal code injury is one example causing permanent impairment of movement. However, a man who had been paralyzed since 2010 due to a back injury has recovered, and now can walk using a frame.

BBC News Health: Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant

Amazingly, the team of University College London's Institute of Neurology utilized his own olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) transplanted into his spinal code. The procedure was published in "Cell Transportation", an academic journal.

Pubmed: Transplantation of autologous olfactory ensheathing cells in complete human spinal cord injury.

According to the authors, OECs has proved to have a power to enhance the regeneration of some nerve cells in animal experiments. This study is a nonrandomized controlled trial. They performed the surgery in which cultured OECs were transplanted into spinal code to 3 patients suffering from complete spinal code injury. The effect of the treatment differs by patients, but all of the recipients were somewhat improved in physical function, compared to the patients received usual rehabilitation program. It is noteworthy that this procedure includes minimal invasion to the body.

Regeneration medicine has a dreamy impression. But it is extremely rare to be realized. More than a decade ago, I read a report of successful re-connection surgery of an separated arm in New England Journal of Medicine. I do not know about current status of the patient. Even now, regeneration of nerves looks a kind of fantasy. I truly admire the researchers engaging in this region.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

McDonald's falling

McDonald's seems to be in a peril.

McDonald's Corp reported a 30% fall in this quarterly profit. Its total revenue also fell 4.6% to $6.99 billion, according to the media. Franchisees made complaints strongly about this miserable result.

Reuters: McDonald's quarterly profit falls 30 percent

Business Insider: McDonald's Franchisees Say The Company Is Bankrupting Them

It is highly probable that recent food scandal in China has caused considerable damage to McDonald's. A couple of months ago, poor operation and hygiene environment in processing chicken were revealed with a sneak investigation into some industries by Shanghai Television.

Mail Online: Shanghai shuts factory 'supplying out-of-date meat to American fast food chains including McDonald’s and KFC'

The influence also hit Japan. McDonald's Japan published the expectation of settlement was going to be a net loss for the first time since it was listed into the stock market.

Mainichi Online: McDonald's Japan expects loss on expired meat scandal

In Japan, before the scandal McDonald's had been suffering from stasis of profit. Sarah Casanova, the CEO of McDonald's Japan who gained the seat one year ago, has proposed several solutions such as new menus and empowerment of delivery service. According to the media, Casanova is trusted by franchise owners much more compared to Eiko Harada, the ex-CEO. However, her struggle remains not successful.

Forbes: For McDonald's Japan's CEO Sarah Casanova, Problems Bigger Than Tainted Chinese Chicken

Some writers suggest that McDonald's Japan are reluctant to open the information about the safety of food. Indeed, McDonald's in USA has published some video letters to answer the questions of consumers, which is criticized by some people as being excessive.

McDonald's: What's in your beef

By the way, McDonald's UK is begun weekly special menus. This campaign is composed of 5 limited burgers, The Big Uno, Sweet Chilli Fiesta, The Ultimate Surpreme, McPizza Pepperoni Burger, and The Big Spicy Bacon. It is interesting that all of them are beef burger. Perhaps it was considered that chiken should be avoided for a while, or simply British people love beef?

McDonald's UK

As I mentioned repeatedly, I do not like McDonald's so much. Nonetheless, McDonald's has become an infrastructure in many regions. I hope its recovery and maintaining.


Monday, October 20, 2014

World wealth report

Credit Suisse, a famous financial services holding company, published a report regarding world wealth.

Credit Suisse: Global Wealth Report 2014

The Telegraph: Credit Suisse global wealth report: Are you among the world's richest?

It is a detailed report describing global wealth distribution. According to this report, the top 1% of people possess more than half of the world wealth.

I think that this fact itself is not a matter. There are a few persons with great talent and luck. It is unavoidable that distribution of wealth emerges.

On the other hand, equality in each country is also reviewed in this report. In Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the US are unequal in developed countries. Instead, Belgium and Japan are the least unequal countries, thus top decile shares less than 50% of national wealth. This result may be surprising for some Japanese. Indeed, there are lots of poor people in most countries other than Japan.

Percentage change in household wealth is also interesting. In this region, the UK is the most progressive country. The house price has been raised by 10% in a year. Meanwhile, the inequality has become broaden in the UK, unlikely to other developed countries. In contrast, Ukraine has experienced the extreme shrink in household wealth, perhaps due to the border conflict.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Daily diet in London

Today, I visited Noodle City for dinner after a month interval, because I missed to go to Morrison's.

Every menu are bottomless with 5.99 GPB here. I was fully satisfied.

Although I went out for meal every day during first few weeks, I cook on my own now.

My past entry: Cuisine in London

Today's morning, I enjoyed hashed beef with rice.

In usual day, I eat serial with milk in the morning. I bring a bottle of cold tea and a piece of scone. IoP sometimes serves lunch buffet. In dinner, boiled meat with vegetable is dominant. Of course, I cook curry frequently.

Actually, London cuisine is delicious than expected. However, it is quite costly in general. It is difficult for you to save money even in a casual restaurant.

More or less, cooking is an essential for life. Now I feel I am living in London, not merely staying here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shadow of Abenomics

Though I am not sure about actual atmosphere in Japan, Abe administration seems to be suffering.

Yuko Obuchi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, is going to resign in accordance with a financial scandal. She is accused in a diet about the statement of accounts of a related group, as she is suspected to violate electoral and political funding laws. She looks considering it is difficult to extinguish the burning criticism.

FX Street: Japan’s economy minister intends to resign

Obuchi is a daughter of Keizo Obuchi, an ex-Prime Minister deceased due to cerebral infarction emerged during the term of office. She was deemed as a symbol of successful women in Japan.

I feel sympathy for her. Electoral law and political funding law are extremely complicated to adhere to entirely. Even delivering of folding fans to supporters can be deemed to a violation. Many talented politicians have been exiled by these laws, in spite of tiny errors of them.

Meanwhile, Abenomics, the fiscal policies of Abe administration is facing to a peril. The government is planning to raise the consumption tax from 8% to 10% in October 2015. However, the decline of internal consumption due to raising tax in this April is serious than expected. Not only opposite parties but also some politicians in ruling Liberal Democratic Party is warning about the harsh influence of raising tax on Japan economy.

The Economist: Japan’s economy Consumptive

Stock piles are also fluctuating. Since Abenomics had started, Yen were considerably weakening, led to growth of export. However, it does not have a decisive effect on recovery of Japan, because Japan is no longer an export-driven economy, according to Financial Times. Indeed, many huge companies had invested, moving resources to foreign countries. Weakened Yen has not caused increased wage, in general.

Financial Times: A weak yen is no panacea but Shinzo Abe needs it all the same

After all, manipulating fiscal standards is not able to change the whole figure of Japan at all. Growth strategy, which is necessary to improve the situation, is still in mist. Many factors are concerned to this matter, such as decreasing population, cultural background, peripheral governorship, and so on.

My past entry: Abenomics and consumption tax

In my opinion, Abe administration is too conservative. Nowadays, it is quite hard for the government to take an initiative on public growth. To let entrepreneurs make challenges, relaxation of irrational regulations is necessary. The government should concentrate exclusively on the issues regarding social security and welfare.


Friday, October 17, 2014

iPad, Nexus, MS Office, not attract

This week, several news regarding IT and digital gadgets were released. But I was hardly attracted to them.

Apple released the new models of iPad (iPad air 2) and iPad mini (iPad mini 3). The former has the thinnest body in the iPad families. CPU and camera were strengthened. The latter has no apparent changes from the previous model excepting fingerprint identification. I have no plan to buy ones. I like iPad mini retina which I bought several months ago. And my old iPad 2 is still alive, even iOS8 is not applicable to it.

Apple: iPad air 2

Mac World UK: iPad Air 2 release date, specs and UK price: new, thinnest ever iPad Air launches

Google is introducing 6-inch tablet (Nexus 6). It will be a good competitor of iPhone 6 plus. Instead, Nexus 7 series is likely to be extinguished. I am maintaining my Galaxy S III for a while since its spec is enough to use in daily work.

Google: Nexus 6

Techradar: Nexus 6 release date, news and features

Meanwhile, Microsoft Japan released the new Office packages, "Office premium" and "Office 365 solo". The former is a licence for the use of pre-installation. Some PC providers are willing to equip it in their products. The latter is an annual permission of Office bundled with cloud storage and Skype phone call. To be honest, I am not interested in both of them. Furthermore, Microsoft Office has lots of bugs bothering me. I want to abandon it, if possible.

Internet Watch: A new Office released (in Japanese)

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are suffering from so called victor's curse. They have to make an innovation for more development. However, they are bound by legacies such as old customers and resources in the past. It becomes gradually difficult for them to make change, ironically.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A psychiatrist almost dead

Mr. Kyo is a psychiatrist, the director of Kyo mental clinic. He was so an energetic person that he had been publishing an email magazine every 2 weeks in addition to his daily clinical work. He was fond of athletic exercise. Yet I have not met him personally, he looked pleasant and intrepid.

His email magazine had not been issued for half a year. To be honest, I did not recognize his absence.

Today, I received his email. I was astonished reading it, to be notified about what had happened to him.

He was attacked by an acute myocardiac infarction during enjoying triathlon. He was sent to an emergency hospital, to escape death. It was extremely fortunate for him that some competitors following him were medical practitioners.

He wrote the whole event of the accident in his email and blog. He never saw afterlife or any other supernatural visions during struggling on the hospital bed. Yet still with minimal panic attacks, he has recovered now. I was so relieved.

He writes that he has changed his concept of life. He would have been happy if he had died at the time, as his words, because he had been satisfied in his life. Therefore, this survival is a gift, said he. He has made an oath never regret this miraculous survival.

I was so impressed in his power and positiveness. 

It is often said that an experience to approach a real death changes his life. But I hardly believe it. A simple event does not so much influence on the lifestyle even if it is so critical. Only a person ready to face to a crisis and alter himself to adopt it can make it change into an advantage.

Mr. Kyo must be ready to live and die. I truly respect his attitude.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Virgin Media has come

At last I have constructed the internet setting in my home.

In general wireless internet connection is widely spread in Western countries. You can enjoy internet for free in some hotels, restaurants, and McDonald's, as I wrote in the past. However, it was not easy to introduce a new environment of WiFi at home.

I compared some internet service providers to make decision. In the UK, BT is the biggest company of telecommunication. It administers telephone, broadband, and TV as a package.

It is troublesome that most of broadband providers offer the internet connection service coupled with the phone. I have no intention to have a fixed phone, TV either, so this kind of service is redundant for me. Additionally, these services tend to take long term to be set up. Some Japanese bloggers write it took a couple of months. Furthermore, many providers request us to make a 2-years-contract. I am planning to leave London the next year.

Instead, Virgin Media provides broadband services exclusively, yet it recommends contracts coupled with phone and TV. Fortunately, there is a cable available to connect to Virgin Media in my flat already. One year contract is available. Additionally, one of my colleague also recommended it. So, I made a decision.

There was, however, one problem. A UK bank account was required to begin the contract. I had to wait till opening my bank account. Then, I made an appointment via the internet. It is fortunate that it took only two weeks from application to coming. An amusing engineer came to my flat and immediately set up the connection. He gave me a WiFi rooter so that I did not have to buy one on my own.

I measured the connection speed, as below.

Broadband Network Record Speed Test

USEN speed test

The data seems to depend on the measuring system. Approximately it the speed is same as other services of WiFi such as McDonald's. I can watch some video streaming without stress. So cool.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ginger crash my IME?

Previously, I introduce Ginger as an excellent solution for English writing.

It was a quite convenient tool for me. Just yesterday, however, it was revealed that it had caused a serious trouble on my PC.

Actually, I had been annoyed by a phenomenon frequently occurring. It was that my Input Method Editor (IME) automatically changed the mode. For example, during writing this blog, I set the IME as Alphabet mode. it unintentionally changes into Japanese (Kana-input) mode, all at sudden. At first, I thought I had pushed a key mistaken to alter the input mode. Then, it occurred whenever, changing a page on a browser, opening a memo pad, and so on. I had to adjust the mode every time, causing me extremely irritated.

This erroneous phenomenon occurred on Chrome. Guessing it was due to Chrome, I changed my browser into Firefox. Firefox was free from this bug; instead it was not suitable for Blogger.

I had tried every solutions I could do. Some articles suggested an alteration adopted in Windows 8.1, which is that its apps success the IME mode used in the previous one. Many people was troubled by this method. This setting is changeable via an option of languages. I tried it, but to in vain.

I changed my IME from ATOK powered by Justsystems to Google IME. No changed.

It was strange that this phenomenon was susceptible. One day, it was fixed with no manipulation of mine. I suspected that Google adapted a patch secretly. After a while, the problem recurred. 

More surprisingly, it occurred when I added some comments on my PDF files. It indicated that this problem was not limited to Chrome. I was confused.

Yesterday, I saw the same phenomenon just after Ginger had directed a typographical error. I got it! I negated Ginger on Chrome. Immediately, the trouble vanished.

It was fearful that the phenomenon recurred after I used Ginger on the web site. I am not sure whether I could overcome the matter completely.

I have to say that Ginger is a useful tool for me. Nonetheless, I should be Ginger free for a while.

This problem recurred continually. I guess that Ginger is involved in this matter, although it is not probable being entirely responsible. Now I am investigating whole the system.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Sales of American comics movies

I like movies dealing with American comics, as I wrote repeatedly. I could not stop buying "X-MEN: days of future past" in the pre-release via iTunes. I wondered if i would buy Blue-ray Discs (BD), since I have brought a blue-ray disc player and a full HD monitor from Japan. Unfortunately, the region code of BD in the UK is different from Japan. So, I chose to buy a BD box after I come back to Japan.

American comics movies had become popular since early 21st century.  The first X-MEN movie was released in 2000. Its impression was great, because several alteration was added in this film to attract adult audiences. Costumes of the X-MEN were no more psychedelic, and the story line was profound. Yet there had been several films of American comics such as series of Superman and Batman, X-MEN was so impressive, a realistic movie.

After that, development of SFX and computer graphics enabled to take the movie of Spider-man, flying between buildings with grabbing a spider web. The era of American comic movies had begun.

By the way, do you know how much these films earned money?

This is the top 5 films of world sales in 2014. All graphs are created referring to the

It is suggested that American comic movies are one of the main contents in cinema industry.

By the way, X-Men series have not been so popular. The newest film is successful, yet other ones not.

This is a total ranking of American comic movies. Amazing Spider-Man series cannot overcome the previous series.

It is obvious that several factors affect the sales of the films. So it is hardly to say that sales represent the quality of each film. Anyway, I am expecting that many more fun films will be released.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HP, SONY, Panasonic, and PC industry

Hewlett-Packard (HP), one of the biggest company in the laptop PC industry has decided to separate PC and printer unit from the main company.

Financial Times: HP to separate PC unit from software and hardware businesses

It was 13 years ago that HP acquired Compaq, a PC maker. Since I bought Compaq's a desktop PC two decades ago for the first time, I remember it well. Compaq emerged to lower the prices of PC to $1,000, whereas many machines costed $2,000. The quality was not compromised.

After that, HP had been developing as a PC provider, producing printers and some other supplements as well. In late 2000, HP offered some Netbooks, a series of cheap and minimized laptops. In terms of printers, HP is recognized in Japan as providing not qualified, but inexpensive ones.

However, PC industry itself is gradually shrinking. The main reason seems to prominence of demand for smartphones and tablets. Sony also abandoned VAIO, its exceptional blend of laptop PCs recently. VAIO corporation, the company succeeded VAIO from SONY is ambitious to introduce a new tablet. I expect it will create more progressive products.

Engadget: Life after Sony: Vaio shows off hybrid laptop prototype

On the other hand, Panasonic is persistent to pursue its original way; developing less lighter, tougher, and functional laptops, regardless of the cost. It has published a new product of Let's Note, which has only 745g with 10.1-inch display.

The PC industry is going to change. It is difficult to predict the exact figure of the future. But I think that the era led by a few mega companies will terminate.

Formerly, some people, including me enjoyed assembling a desktop PC. Accompanied with decreasing the price of industrial PCs, do-it-yourself became no more than a niche hobby. However, the situation can be changed. Like Google's proposal of self-customized smartphone, it will be easier for amateur to create a computer. 3D printers will have an important role. Many small companies will rise to deliver their own machines for a few persons who like it very much, I dream.

My past entry: Ara, destructive project of Google

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cheating case in science (2)

Cheating case in science (1)

Indeed, this kind of unfairness has been watched more and more in these days. Fabrication or plagiarism is not limited in Japan, as I wrote in the past.

My past entry: Issue about fabrication of research

Some reporters direct that Obokata and the STAP stem cell scandal is quite similar to the case of Schön. Schön was a promising physicist, who had published several innovative papers. However, many of them was revealed to have been fabricated. Referring the investigation report, the University of Konstanz decided to revoke Schön's doctoral degree. He opposed to this decision for the reason that his dissertation was not related to the issued research. After a long lasting legal conflict, Federal Constitutional Court judged that the decision of the university was justified.

Wikipedia: Schön scandal

To be honest, I disagree with the judgment, at least as a general principle. Can the university get rid of degree if an ex-student become demented?

To consider about this topic, we have to refer to Hwang Woo-suk. He was a veterinarian in the past, and devoted to bioscience. He created successfully some cloning of mammals. Korean government supported him financially very much, expecting him to win the Nobel prize. After a while, he published several papers of the ES cell and human-cloning; however, most of them were proven to be fabricated. He was dismissed from the university. Now he is engaged in animal cloning.

Wikipedia: Hwang Woo-suk

There are several basis of such cases. In addition to personal immoral, the harshly competitive environment and excessive expectation from others can be a cause of unfairness. It is difficult to establish a condition in which fairness and good outcome are both met.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cheating case in science (1)

Science is rapidly progressing today. Many innovative discoveries are reported one after another. However, some of them are far from the truth, unfortunately.

Waseda University has decided to deprive the doctorate of Haruko Obokata, a researcher of biology who is suspected to duplicate a result of experiments recently.

Mainichi: Waseda to strip Obokata of doctorate unless dissertation corrected

Obokata was paid attention for the discovery of the STAP stem cell. If it was true, many innovative solution for the treatment of disease would be realized. But after many investigations of her paper in detail, it has become quite doubtful of her success. At last, she retracted the paper from Nature, an honorable academic journal.

Retraction Watch: Obokata agrees to retract both STAP stem cell papers: Report

Now, Obokata and her colleagues belonging to Riken are engaged in an experiment to replicate Obokata's result. But it seems extremely difficult, for several evidences suggest the absence of STAP stem cells.

Obokata's doctoral dissertation is not concerned with the issue of STAP stem cell directly. However, she was proven to have done some tricks in writing this paper. The investigating committee concluded that her dissertation did not deserve doctorate, but not to be necessary to be stripped. Yet being broadly criticized, Waseda University had no choice but the decision.

It is suggested that Waseda hesitated to deprive her doctorate, because if it have done, many dissertations has to be reinvestigated as well, leading to mass stripping. Too much blame gets rid of motivation from whom concerned. We also must not forget that a promised scientist killed himself suffering from this matter.

My Past Entry: Suicide in Japan, is it a culture?

Actually, Waseda has given Obokata the second chance, accepting her excuse that she had submitted a misidentified draft. I guess that Waseda will admit her doctorate finally.

It is difficult how to deal with this kind of case. I think Obokata is considerably doubtful. But some studies are difficult to assess the worth correctly. As science grows, many discoveries triumphed in the past will be proven as false. It is said that only one-fourth of papers published in famous journals survive a decade. Additionally, we have to be aware that this kind of issue is sometimes abused in a political context.

My Past Entry: Resign of Schavan: suspicious charge of plagiarism

(To be continued)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why is the seashore of Japan vacant in September?

A journalist living in Tokyo is wondering why most of Japanese beach become vacant in September.

BBC: Why Japan's beaches are deserted - despite the sunshine

Although it is uncertain whether all of seashores are abandoned on Sep. 1, it is no doubt that sea bathing in autumn is not popular in Japan.

The author describes two main reasons. The first, Japanese adheres so much to official regulation that they rarely breach the rule not to swim in the sea in autumn. It is persuasive to some extent. Most lifeguards are out of work in September, and to my knowledge many seashore is closed in autumn.

The second reason is, that is also an explanation of closing seashores, the Japanese style of enjoying the four seasons, according to the author. I do not agree with this opinion. Nowadays, not so many Japanese keep traditional lifestyles.

I think the biggest reason is the fact that summer vacation ends on Aug. 31 in most schools, except colleges exactly speaking. Parents with their young children are the most valuable guests for the administrators of seashores. In September, it is not advantageous for them to maintain the seashores, I guess.

In autumn, jellyfishes can increase. Some typhoons come as well. These factors make seashores unavailable. Such circumstances have also a role to keep Japanese traditional lifestyles; autumn is not suitable to sea bathing.

However, recent rising of temperature is changing the situation. In the near future, elementary schools might be forced to reconsider the term of summer vacation.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cameron like Imperial measurements?

Some media reported that David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK had said that British schools should teach imperial measurements instead of metric measurements.

The Guardian: David Cameron: schools should teach mainly in imperial measurements

According to the report, Cameron said that he preferred to continue using pounds and ounces in a school setting, replying to a BBC news. This statement was focused mainly in critically.

The Mirror: Cameron wants Imperial measures back - this is why that's ridiculous

I did not watch the programme (to begin with, I have no TV). So, I wonder how serious he was in the interview. He expressed himself as "modern, compassionate Conservative".

BBC: Newsnight puts 'Conservative test' to David Cameron

For Japanese, imperial measurement are not so familiar. We cannot get the image of 4.7 inch iPhone6 at a glance. The display size is one of the rare examples in which imperial measurements are adopted as an orthography in Japan.

Nowadays, the US is a minority of adopting imperial measurements. I feel strange that the US persists it. In an official statement, the US government does not reject each measurement. It means that it is extremely difficult for the US society to change the measurements rapidly.

Whitehouse: Supporting American Choices on Measurement

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Salisbury and Stonehenge (2)

Salisbury and Stonehenge (1)

After leaving from Salisbury, I visited Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is an English heritage, a ruins of an ancient temple or something. It is guessed to have been created thousands ago. The purpose of this gigantic object is still enigmatic.

It rained a little I reached there. Fortunately, the rain stopped soon. It would have been a nightmare if it had been continuous.

This is the entrance of Stonehenge. It took 10 GBP.

From a distance, I could see the whole scene.

This is the Stonehenge. Although many stones, perhaps placed on the standing stones, are lost, we even can imagine the original form.

There were some more giant stones around the Stonehenge.

By the road to the Stonehenge, I saw lots of cows eating grass.

The cows were quite calm.

Several people rode on a trim or a bus to carry them to the ruins.

I enjoyed old British landscapes.