Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Birmingham for the first time

Today, I visited Birmingham for the first time to attend an academic conference. It took around two hours by train from London. A little journey.

Birmingham New Street station looked modern.

On the other hand, there were several places under construction.

It looked dirty, in my impression at a glance.

I lost my way to the building of the conference. Firstly, I misunderstood as if the conference center had been destroyed.

In front of the building, some people protested that psychiatry was harmful to patients. Police officers watched them. Indeed, there may be some psychiatrists who are abusing patients, and not a few people are suffering from adverse effects of medicine, not limited to psychotropic drugs. However, if there were no psychiatry, more people would suffer from mental disorders. I feel their claim is too dichotomous.

The conference hall was so big and solemn. Surprisingly, some halls were full of audience.

I submitted an e-poster presentation. Since there were hundreds of submission there, very few people watched my research, unfortunately.

I ate the lunch at Jimmy's Spices, an oriental buffet restaurant. Several sorts of food were available as much as you can eat. I was satisfied, although Japanese food was not served.

Good experience as an academic activity. The conference will last until Friday.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Greece to default by the silly referendum

The future of Greece in the Eurozone became pessimistic. In this matter, my estimation seemed too optimistic.

My past entry: Issue of Greece and eurozone

Greece has a massive amount of debt to International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. It has to return 1.5 billion Euro at the end of June, and 3.5 billion in July. It is unlikely for Greece to be able to discharge the duty. Therefore, Greece has been negotiating with EU for suspension of the due of return.

Greece had submitted a bailout plan in which some austerity programs were described. There was a considerable discrepancy in the thoughts between Greece and EU. They were continuing to negotiate with each other, nonetheless.

Financial Times: Leaked: Creditors’ bailout plan for Greece sent to eurogroup

However, Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, made a decision to conduct a referendum whether to accept the bailout program international creditors had offered.

BBC: Greece debt crisis: Tsipras announces bailout referendum

Before this referendum, Tsipras will encourage the citizens to oppose the austerity. He won the seat of PM promising the termination of the painful austerity citizens had been encountering for these some years. The Greek parliament approved to the implementation of this referendum. It is likely that it will result in the opposition to accept the bailout.

The Guardian: Greek crisis: Parliament approves referendum, after bailout extension rejected - as it happened

This decision ignited the anger of EU and other creditors. Finally, the other 18 countries sharing the euro decided to reject the extension of the expiring bailout, without the consent of Greek financial minister.

Reuters: Euro zone readies for Greek default after Tsipras referendum call

Greece will face the default before the date of the referendum, as current estimation. One-third of ATMs is now dysfunctional due to massive withdrawal by people fearing the freeze of saving.

HuffPost: Greece Bank Run Empties Over A Third Of ATMs Of Cash

In my opinion, the idea of referendum Tsipras suggested is quite stupid. Even if the citizens decline the austerity, their voice is no use. International creditors will claim the immediate return of debt. The facts are that, Greece does not want austerity, and it does not want default, either.

I think Tsipras was too optimistic to handle this crisis. His concept against austerity attracted fascination of Greek people. However, his idea never applies to international society. It is his responsibility to explain to citizens that the current situation has been much more serious than he estimated.

If he fails, the EU will abandon Greece; it is the result.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tomato Ketchup brought you to an adult website

Heinz, a world famous company as a tomato ketchup provider, made an apology for unintentional guiding customers to a pornography website.

This incident occurred in Germany. When a customer scan the QR code printed on the package of the tomato ketchup to see the information of this item, he was astonished to know that he was led to a hardcore pornographic site.

International Business Times: Heinz apologises for faulty ketchup bottle QR code that sent man to porn site

Actually, Heinz's ownership of the domain name described in the code expired in 2014. And the domain was bought by a German adult side. Heinz had missed to rewrite the QR code.

Some domains previously possessed by a famous company are often dealt with an attention. Such domains are likely to gather many accesses, some of which by customers who visit the site unintentionally. The issued adult website companies seemed to prioritize the superficial web traffics to gaining a cool domain name.

There are more malicious cases. Some fraud companies mislead users to a mock website of famous companies with a similar domain name: e.g. Arnazon.com. I heard that Amazon bought the right of using this confusing domain to prevent such a trick. If a fraud company gains profit from a bogus name of Amazon, its brand would be damaged.

I think Heinz was somewhat careless. Besides the missing to renew the label, it should keep the domain not to let other companies succeed it. I guess that its old domain of a bid company as Heinz was considerably valuable for underground companies.

By the way, I was surprised that some months passed after the domain expired till this incident. Were there any users having noticed about this? The advertising effect of the QR code is questionable.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

American comics and minorities

Recently, multiracial movement has come to the Marvel Universe. Miles Morales, a son of African American father and a Puerto Rican mother, has been a new Spider-man since 2011 in one of the parallel world of Marvel.

The guardian: Marvel launches mixed race Spider-Man

In Marvel Comics, several writers create stories with the same heroes again and again. Each writer has own touch and taste. It lets readers enjoy their favorite heroes repeatedly.

The basic background and appearance of each hero is shared in general. However, there are some attempts to amend their character such as race or gender. Nowadays, there are also female Thor and Black Captain America.

The Guardian: After female Thor, a black Captain America from Marvel

In the US, racism is still a serious problem. It is reported that the victims of racial discrimination was more than those of terrorism, despite successive presidents has been declaring the battle against terrorism.

The Times of India: More people killed in US by racists than terrorists

Conventionally, there have been some famous black heroes such as Storm in the X-Men. In addition, Marvel is eager to introduce various new characters who belong to minority. Muaaz Khan is the first Muslim heroine in Marvel. In the X-Men series, an wedding of a gay couple was described.

The Guardian: Marvel's newest hero is a Muslim girl. Entertainment industry, take note Muaaz Khan

Marvel Comics Hosts First Gay Wedding in 'Astonishing X-Men'

In the US, gay marriage had been a great controversy. Since the Supreme Court admitted the right to marry a same-sex partner, same-sex marriage was finally legalized in whole the US.

International Business Times: Gay marriage declared legal in all 50 US states

Marvel Comics and DC Comics are popular in the US. They are so symbolic as if they are folklore in the US. I believe that their activity for the equality must influence positively to the mind of American people, especially the youth.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Uncertain influence of electromagnetic wave of cell phone to human health

There are several hypotheses that are suspected but yet to be proven. One of the examples is the influence of electric wave to the human body.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that there is no evidence to prove that radiations from a mobile phone or towers have adverse effects on human health.

The Time of India: No conclusive proof of mobile radiations causing cancer: ICMR study

It looks a relieving report. However, the researchers are quite deliberate to declare the safety of electric waves. It is recommended to conduct further studies to gather more evidence.

Repeatedly I said, a prospective cohort study with a well-balanced, ideally randomized, large sample size, is needed to identify the causal relationship in an exact matter. But, it is unfeasible in terms of both financial and ethical aspects. For this reason, researchers of the environmental issues have to rely on alternative ways of study; case-control study, animal experiment, and inter-regional comparison, each of them has some shortcomings.

I think that the influence of electromagnetic waves in daily life is within a negligible level. At least, we cannot detect the harm of them with statistical significance. Most diseases such as cancers, strokes, and mental disorders emerge under the influence of a mixture of several factors. Taking many vegetables may be more beneficial than dropping a cell phone to prevent colon cancer.

Nonetheless, there are a couple of points to be noted. First, general principles are not applicable to extreme cases. There are a few people who are vulnerable to a certain type of electricity. I read some case reports. To be honest, most patients who claim they so are not so. But it is possible that a few people have such a special constitution.

Radiation level is another issue. Even if daily use of cell phone is harmless, it does not mean the safety of living near to the electric tower. It depends on the magnetic power and the distance from the place. The environment close to the tower should be cautiously observed.

Modern science lets us live comfortably. At the same time, the long-term influence of such technology is yet unknown in many areas. I am not pessimistic about this matter, continuous gathering of data is needed, nonetheless.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time lock of buying erotic e-books in Germany

Germany is going to enforce another regulation of porn contents. The new rule prohibits booksellers from selling adult contents between 6am to 10pm.

International Business Times: Germany bans sale of erotic ebooks before 10pm

In Germany, erotic cinemas has been limited in midnight to screen since 2002, for the purpose of protect children from potentially dangerous sexual stimuli. It is decided to apply this regulation also to the internet. Sellers violating the law could be fined.

It looks odd to consider such a rule. Some people present a doubt about it. For example, Nate Hoffelder said that children could easily get adult contents from outside of Germany.

Scottish Legal News: And finally… no pantyhose cravings before 10pm

In my opinion, keeping children at a distance from adult contents is needed to some extent. However, this new rule seems not to be effective at all.

Firstly, going cinema in midnight can be controlled. Most parents prohibit children from going out at midnight. However, monitoring the use of the internet is more difficult than locking the gate. Even if the parental control software is applied, children may try to break the jail.

Secondly, the internet is global. As Hoffelder said, outside of Germany is out of control. In contrast, the bookseller would sue the authority for being violated the right to sell their contents to customers outside of Germany. As a result, this regulation can only damage domestic sellers.

Thirdly, it is more efficacious for protecting children to introduce the certification of the age than the time lock. Sellers need to make a transaction to take the payment. Several means can be utilized at this time to confirm that the buyer is an adult. Rather, enormous free contents on the internet are more annoying in terms of child protection.

After all, I feel this rule is ridiculous. Time limiting is outmoded as a means to restrict the contact. European countries, not limited to Europe, of course, are sometimes so strict to a particular issue that they could develop meaningless rules.

My past entry: Anti-Amazon Law rise in France
My past entry: Amazon takes only EUR 0.01 for delivery

"Fifty Shades of the Grey" is focused in this issue. But there are many more sensational contents on the internet. I guess the authorities in Germany would faint if they see the Japanese erotic comics. Indeed, I know some lawsuit in European court regarding drawing sensitive pictures.

By the way, I seldom buy erotic contents with Amazon. The reason is that Amazon remembers the all my history. Even if I feel so shameful for buying a silly one, Amazon would recommend me to get similar contents again and again. It is a nightmare.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Findings of the relationship between depression and memory in mice model

Recently, a potentially innovative article was published in Nature, a world famous academic journal. The authors claim that activating cells in hippocampus externally could improve the mood in the mouse. This result can contribute greatly to the research of depressive disorders.

Nature: Activating positive memory engrams suppresses depression-like behaviour

The author, Steve Ramirez, belongs to RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics. The team administrator is Susumu Tonegawa, a Japanese Nobel Prize winner biologist.

The researchers used a traditional mouse model of depression. Mice given stressor chronically become reluctant to avoid negative stimuli. This status has been considered to represent a depressive state in human. They focus the relationship between depression-like behavior and activity of memory cells. By an experiment, it was proven that some particular cells in hippocampus, considered to be a storage of memory, which had been identified to be activated in a previous trial of enjoyable behavior, were not activated in immobilized state.

Moreover, they succeeded to reactivate such cells located in the dentate gyrus of hippocampus externally with an optogenetic method. It led the mice to revive the action to avoid negative stimuli again.

They also identified glutamatergic activity in the hippocampus–amygdala–nucleus-accumbens pathway as a candidate circuit supporting the acute rescue. It is consistent with the fact that depression brings dysfunction of the emotion and motivation.

The relationship between depression and the memory has been broadly discussed. Recently, a result of research in which an electronic shock could delete traumatic memory was reported. It is well known that a traumatic experience can cause depression. In contrast, we cannot remember delightful memories as so in the depressive state.

My past entry: Trauma deleting therapy with electric shock

To be honest, I do not believe that this model mouse completely represents depression in human. This method is broadly adopted in the animal research to develop antidepressant drugs. As animal cannot talk, we have to estimate depressive state with an observation of their behavior. However, there are patients suffering from depression caused without any overt stress. Some of them hardly respond to medication. I guess such patients have another etiology than that studied with the mouse model.

In this study, the targeted cells were modified with optogenetics so that they can be activated externally in advance. Therefore, it is unlikely that this solution can be directly utilized to human. Nonetheless, their achievement gave a strong evidence about the functional relationship in the brain during depressive state.

I am not familiar with the optogenetic theory. But if you can cause a revelation of genes likely to respond to a particular stimulus in the brain cell, it will apply to enormous utility, from the elimination of cancer cells in the brain to the enhancement of cognitive function. It looks fantastic.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Methanol intoxication case in India, 84 died

Recently, at least 84 people died due to methanol intoxication outside Mumbai.

Los Angeles Times: 84 dead in India after drinking toxic homemade liquor

In this incident, consuming homemade liquor caused a fatal result. Five people were arrested for selling illicit liquor.

This case seems not a mass murder, but is perhaps rather worse considering the background.

Methanol is well known as harmful to the human nervous system. As frequently causing loss of eyesight, it is strictly prohibited to drink. In general, it is only used for industrial aims.

On the other hand, methanol is cheaper than ethanol, ordinary alcohol for a drink, because it is not subjected to the alcohol tax. For this reason, some people are eager to make use the mixture of methanol and ethanol for a drink. Such silly behavior resulted in many tragedies.

In India, over 100 people were killed by drinking methanol in 2011.

Wikipedia: 2011 Sangrampur methanol tragedy

Also in Japan, there were some similar incidents reported till 1950s. Intentional contamination of methanol is not rare in some developing countries even now. The case occurred in Mozambique is possible to be due to the addition of methanol, not Crocodile bile, though being not sure for the absence of following reports.

My past entry: Crocodile bile kills 56 people in Mozambique

My past entry: Sequels in Jan 2015

I expect the authority to prevent further happening of similar cases. However, I am afraid that some people will continue to deal with such dangerous beverages, in spite of warning, for compensating the poverty.

I do not drink alcohol. You should be cautious in consuming too cheap alcohol beverages.


Monday, June 22, 2015

British people want to stay in EU now

Recently, a poll was held by Evening Standard regarding the UK's membership of EU.

As a result, the number of people supporting to stay in EU was higher than those wanting to leave by three times.

London Evening Standard: We want to stay in EU, voters tell PM

David Cameron has promised to conduct a referendum on this issue by 2017. If it were held now, skepticism against EU would be annihilated.

The Independent: Support for Britain staying in the European Union is now higher than it's ever been

Indeed, Cameron is planning to lean toward the referendum to in the next year.

The Independent: EU referendum: David Cameron 'leaning towards holding poll in October 2016'

However, the reason British people love EU is unclear. In a poll held last year, separatists were dominant.

The Guardian: British people favour leaving the European Union, according to poll

I know that such polls are easily warped with biased questions. Nonetheless, the change of proportion of the voters is dramatic. Despite not feeling directly in London, I think British people is quick to change their opinion. It would be relevant to the current high supportive rate of Cameron's Cabinet. On the other hand, it is surprising if the issue of the Greek crisis has not influenced the trust to the EU.

EU legislation does not prepare for the situation in which some countries is exiting from it. If Brixit and Grexit occur successively, EU itself is possible to be going to collapse.

The high supportive rate of staying in EU seems to restrict Cameron in negotiating with EU about the standard of duty of the UK, ironically. Other countries in EU obviously expect the UK to contribute to the maintenance of EU. However, not a few British is opposing accepting immigrants. Balanced sense of policy is needed in the UK government.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

London West End Live

Today, I visited Trafalgar Square to see the West End Live.

West End Live

It is an open event funded by MasterCard. You can see several songs of concurrent musicals for free. It is held for two days, today and tomorrow.

As I estimated, it was extremely crowded in front of the stage. So, I could hardly see the stage directly.

Fortunately, there was a big digital monitor equipped on the side of the stage. I enjoyed the vision with real sound from the stage.

Several famous works were contained in the program, such as "The Phantom of the Opera," "Charley and the Chocolate Factory," and "Les Miserable." It is guessed that the promoter expected the audience fascinated to buy the tickets for each musical.

Elphaba, the heroine of "Wicked" appeared on the roof of the building next to the stage.

"Music of the Night" and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" were selected from "the Phantom of the Opera." I wonder why "the Phantom of the Opera" was not sung.

In "Les Miserable," many actors attended on the stage. Unfortunately, I did not take the photo on time.

I left there early afternoon, just it began misty rainy. I was so satisfied.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Toilet competition for Tokyo Olympic

In Japan, a strange design competition will be held. It regards the toilet.

International Business Times: Japan toilet design contest ahead of 2022 Tokyo Olympics to make women and foreigners more comfortable

Japan is one of the most blessed countries in using a toilet comfortably. Many toilets equip the hip washer so that you can keep your bottom clean. Additionally, the seat is kept warm in some toilets. It is very helpful for persons with sensitive skin or in the status of diarrhea. I remember some toilets in the station were dirty in my childhood, but the circumstance has been changed.

The development originate from the desire for cleanness of Japanese. Also in the UK, comfortable toilet use is focused recently.

My past entry: Luxury toilet paper
My past entry: Toilet cleaning

However, there are not many public toilets in the city in Japan, except the stations and the airports. In the time of earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, many people were struggling to seek a toilet, being forced to wait a long time to return home. There are many convenience stores in Japan, but some of them hesitated to let you use the toilet. Nowadays, they are willing.

For this reason, some people worry about the shortage of the toilets in the Olympic planned in Tokyo in 2020. This competition also aims at the settlement of more toilets in the urban area.

In the UK, I can use a toilet in many restaurants. But the usability is inferior to a Japanese one. The flushing power is so weak that I sometimes need to try it again.

In my opinion, toilets in Italy is the worst in Europe. They seldom equip the seat. I have heard about some terrible toilets in China and Russia, but have not experienced yet. As far as in the airport, they were normal.

I think it is a cool activity, but I could not find the website of advertisement of this competition in Japanese, unfortunately. I am afraid few people will participate in this competition.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Difference between adults and children

I have been 40-year-old since this May.

Confucius, a philosopher in ancient China, said that he had no more been puzzled since 40. After him, 40-year-old is named as "Fuwaku" [not being puzzled] in Japan.

Wikipedia: Confucius

However, I am always puzzling deciding my way now. Being straight and free from bewilderment is so difficult. Taking responsibility to things around me is stressful, too. I feel even I am yet a child.

What distinguish adults from children?

There are many answers written by many people. In my opinion, there are three conditions to be met as being an adult:

1. Being patient to conflicts

For children, they are kings and queens in the world. The parents always protect them. The society is tolerant of their rude behavior. Youth means recklessness.

One of the challenges in an adolescent is to know there are many opinions different from yours.

The crush of thoughts causes serious conflict. Many youths make an argument about politics, life, and other many silly matters. Compromising the reality is a humiliation for them. As a result, they sometimes lose friends by the conflict. Later, they learn to choose proper colleagues who are on their side.

The matter is, accepting the fact that you often cannot accept others.

Everyone has a different opinion. No one is right or wrong, good or evil. This fact is quite straightforward, but a little hard to recognize.

Actually, I did not agree with it when 20. I hoped everyone to agree with me, otherwise I agree with them. It took some years for me to notice that it was neither possible nor desirable.

Respecting other begin with accepting the difference. The justice you believe in is no more one for others.

2. Providing something to others

Generally speaking, adult people are responsible to earn money to feed themselves. Dependence on others represents immaturity.

However, the recent situation is changing. The job rate is decreasing. Working style is extremely varied. Not working means no more being irresponsible.

Nevertheless, I think that, some kind of creativity is necessary for adults. Consuming everything and producing nothing is not cool as an adult.

For example, some people love computer games. They are indulged in playing. If you are one, I recommend you to make some output about it; e.g. writing a playing diary, or telling other players valuable information about the game. Even if merely in the game, I think such activity is nonetheless productive.

3. Having a secret

The last thing is a little pessimistic. After all, every human is alone. Your thought cannot be understood by everyone. Sometimes you make a confession of your negative emotion, such as solitude, cursing others, and so on. Wait a while, there is nobody to sympathize you.

On the contrary, perhaps you make hidden efforts for someone's happiness. You may wish others to admire your endeavor. But if you tell the thing, your virtue will lose the brightness.

I think adults have their own secret whom you should bring to the grave. Even if no one would admire your covert contribution to the world, you should believe in yourself.  It is the condition of an adult.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Environment of mobile network in the UK

Before coming to the UK, I heard that European countries equip good mobile network so that you need not seek the hot spot. But it was false.

Global Wireless Solutions released a result of a survey about wireless connectivity in homes across the UK. According to this report, average 40 per cent of UK citizens have a mobile blackspot in their home.

ITProPortal: Nearly half the country has a mobile blackspot somewhere in their home

Actually, I often fail to receive the phone call in my flat. This report suggests the worst place to connect is the kitchen. But in my case, everywhere is grayspot. I have a contract with Giffgaff, an MVNO provider using O2. Although O2 is considered to be the most liable carrier, I encounter a trouble occasionally. In the hospital I visited frequently, the weak connection annoyed me.

My past entry: Giffgaff, a nice mobile carrier in the UK

This study is about a mobile network of the cellphone. But, I feel WiFi network has a similar situation. In my flat, I cannot connect to the internet in my bedroom, because the router is set on the other side of the flat. Yet, this kind of distance would cause no trouble in Japan.

My past entry: Virgin Media has come

I think that one of the reasons of weak connection due to the structure of each house. In the UK, there are many old buildings made from stone. The wall is so thick that the electric wave cannot penetrate it. Also, it is difficult to make some arrangement to improve the environment in the house.

Japan and some Asian countries have been modernized after the WWII. In Japan, there are very few traditional houses made from wood partially for their vulnerability. Modern buildings equip good electric connectivity. Therefore, the circumstance is much better in Japan.

Regarding WiFi connection in public spaces, I feel there is more chance to use a free WiFi spot in the UK than in Japan. But their performance is inferior. Even in the college, I experience some troubles in connecting the internet.

Developing countries face more extreme situation. Wireless internet is introduced gradually in there, without the process of the introduction of wired one. Google and Facebook are eager to provide the connectivity. Shortly, they can be able to enjoy more comfortable internet connection than in Japan and the UK.

My past entry: Drones of Facebook, Balloons of Google

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Poor English skills in students and teachers in Japan

Today, I read the report Taro Kono, a politician belonging to Liberal Democratic Party, wrote about the current situation in the education of English in Japan.

Gomame no hagishiri: Taro Kono's Blog [Cry for the moon] (in Japanese)

According to him, many high school students are poor at English. He introduced the 70,000 students' data of the result at Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR).

In this graph, the achievement level of the applicants is classified into for grades: B2, B1, A2, and A1. B2 is the supreme, matching 72-94 in TOEFL-iBT. The original CEFR has additional levels: C1 and C2. I am not sure whether no participants got the C1 or C2 grade in this exam, or they were not examined with an advanced module to detect C grades.

Council of Europe: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR)

This result shows the disappointing ability of English in Japanese school children at a glance. However, the participants of this exam were limited to the students of public schools. In Japan, as similar to other countries, most talented children choose to enter a private school. They might achieve better scores if compared.

On the other hand, Kono suggested the poor standard of English teachers. According to him, many teachers fail to achieve the requirement in English examination. It is rather a serious issue.

The government encourages English teachers to achieve 80 in TOEFL or 730 in TOEIC. In my opinion, this standard is quite poor. Although my mark is above of this standard, I have considerable difficulty to use English correctly.

My past entry: My fourth TOEFL

However, it is noteworthy that Japanese English teacher are generally good at understanding the grammar of English. The importance of good knowledge about grammar has been emphasized in English education in Japan. Recently, this policy is criticized as underestimating listening and speaking. But, I think leaning grammar is essential in order to read articles for experts. Even living in the UK, I have more opportunity to read English articles than to listen to English speech. It is not easy to decide which should be prioritized, conversation or grammar.

Indeed, we have rare chance to use English in Japan. But this situation will be changed. Not a few people will have to use English frequently. Therefore, English education seems crucial for Japanese children.

However, I also expect the development of translator programming. Google translator and other similar services are now available for free. Their quality is not satisfactory now, unfortunately. But a couple of decades later, they will be much improved so that there is no more barrier of communication, I hope.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shift time working brings you cancer

Recently the relationship between shift time working and malignant neoplasms attracts attention. There is growing evidence suggesting that persons engaged in shift time work have much risk of causing cancer.

In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a component agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified shift work with circadian disruption as a probable human carcinogen.

Dtsch Arztebl Int: Shift Work and Cancer The Evidence and the Challenge

Breast cancer has been most deeply investigated in terms of the relationship to the night shift, because the several associations of nurses were concerned with this issue. The majority of nurses are female, and a considerable amount of nurses are involved in night-shift work inevitably.

NHS Choice: Long-term night shifts can 'double' breast cancer risk

Very recently, Stockholm University in Sweden published the result of a large cohort study. According to the authors, women having engaged in night work for more than 20 years were likely to develop a breast cancer with 1.68 of Hazard Ratio. There was no significant risk found in shorter period.

BMJ Open: Night work and breast cancer in women: a Swedish cohort study

In the male, the development of prostate cancer is suspected to be relevant to night time work.

Mail Online: Men who work nights 'three times more likely to develop prostate cancer'

Conventionally, time shift working was considered to raise some health risks like vascular diseases and mental health problems. These finding above will strengthen the necessity of deliberate observation and care to such workers.

Some people are concerned about the possibility of increased lawsuits. In Denmark, female nurses and cabin attendants are subjected to the compensation when causing breast cancer. Will causing tumors be identified as an industrial accident in other countries?

Also, I have had duty work at night in the hospital for a decade. Ten years after now, I should be cautious about the risk of prostate cancer, as well as other health risks.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an infectious disease firstly reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Its cause is considered to be a kind of Corona Virus initially targeting camels. The patients suffer from severe symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Pneumonia and acute renal failure are known as complications. Its mortality rate is up to one-third.

Very recently, an outbreak of this dreadful illness emerged in Korea. The number of patients reached over one hundred, and more than ten patients have been killed for these two weeks.

The government decided to seal off the two hospitals in which infected people were staying to prevent further spread.

Try World: South Korea reports 11th death in MERS outbreak

In this outbreak, health professionals are suspected to be responsible. A half of the patients were infected in hospital. It is doubtful whether adequate precaution had been performed.

Nowadays, many people move across countries. So it is impossible to protect perfectly from the harmful introduction of foreign agents. Yet, prevention of secondary infection depend on the skills of medical staffs and hygiene strategy.

The damage of MERS to South Korea is unimaginable. Besides actual loss of lives, tourism will suffer from rapid decrease of foreign travelers.

I am afraid that we cannot deal with MERS if this virus enters Japan. Japanese physicians are not accustomed in such infectious diseases, except some specialists. Citizens will be panicked, as we hardly imagine that infectious diseases could be fatal even to young people.

Ebola outbreak has also not been terminated. We have to learn more about diseases rarely encountered in domestic.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Self Defense Force and Constitution

Japan Diet is wandering in the argument of the relationship between Constitution and Self Defense Force. Law scholars summoned to Diet said that the new security-related bills, enabling Self Defense Force to be involved in foreign combats cooperating with foreign armies, would be violating the Constitution.

The Mainichi: Lower house panel discusses experts' constitutional views of security bills

The government is willing to establish the bills so soon, following the interpretation that Japan has right of collective self-defense. The defense minister suggested further change in interpretation of Constitution.

The Mainichi: Defense minister suggests possibility of more changes in interpretation of Constitution

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

On the other hand, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan has a strong desire to amend Constitution. It is possible that the discussion of this issue will be accelerated.

My past entry: Constitution Memorial Day

Japanese Constitution has never been changed since it was enacted, as I wrote. People opposing the change of Constitution claims that it has prevented Japan from being involved in the war. There is even a movement to submit Constitution as a candidate for Nobel Prize. As same as the last year, the allegation to recommend it was sent to the committee by a civil association.

My past entry: Article 9 of the constitution as a candidate of Nobel Prize

But I cannot agree with their claim. Indeed, Constitution which is inhibiting Japan from possessing the national army has contributed, to some extent, to the continuous peace. However, there are lots of reasons why Japan has been free from international conflicts other than its legislation. Japan owe much to the US army in keeping the peace. The scarce natural resources is another reason why foreign countries did not aim at Japan as a target of invasion. Also, it is quite fortunate that there are little racial or religious conflict in Japan.

To be honest, I think it is not important whether the security bills are violating Constitution. The Japanese government repeatedly changed the interpretation of Constitution, as the minister admitted. In this time, a similar procedure will be done to pass the bills rapidly.

Nonetheless, considering the change of Constitution itself is a significant issue. I think the broad discussion is needed for the both sides. Japanese are not accustomed to amend the legislation explicitly, nor to adhere to amended rule. It is terribly disadvantageous for Japan. We need the experience of altering the rule based on democratic and concrete methods.

My past entry: The only reason I am afraid that Japan can hardly improve (1)

By the way, it is afraid that the officer of Self Defense Force will be endangered if the new bills are applied. I think it is true. The government should not underestimate this possibility. The mission of the military is the protection of the nation, not themselves. I truly respect the officers. And they should be adequately rewarded and be given the honor in consistency with their responsibility.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Twitter CEO resigns

Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter announced the intention to resign on July 1st, following the broad criticism by investors that it has failed to gain profit for a couple of years.

ITProPortal: Dick Costolo resigns as Twitter CEO, following investor criticism

Twitter said co-founder Jack Dorsey would serve as interim CEO, while seeking the successor of Costolo.

Market Watch: Twitter says CEO Dick Costolo to step down July 1; Jack Dorsey to be interim CEO

Costolo has been the CEO since 2010. He declared to focus on his business to create more revenue. Unfortunately, the stock price of Twitter has not been raised at all.

(This image is quoted from this site.)

What happened, or not happened in Twitter?

Twitter has hundred millions of active users. Its position as an casual communication tool has been established. However, its monetizing strategy does not seem to be successful.

One of the reasons is that the channel of income is limited. Twitter relies on the advertisement fee from companies with partnership. This business model is not a new one. Google, Facebook, and enormous other companies can be a competitor.

The New York Times: For Twitter, Future Means Here and Now

In addition, it is doubtful that users of Twitter will potentially be a new customer of the company which provide advertisement. Considerable amount of the users come from developing countries, in which people tend not to spend much money for goods influenced by advertisement.

Nowadays, several IT companies release online games via Facebook, Line, and other portals. But they are struggling to gain enough profit from users from other than some developed countries. Different from Facebook, Twitter does not equip additional functions working on the original site. It makes difficult to lead the users to new services.

To begin with, advertisement business is approaching to the turning point, I think. Although there is more room to make profits in this kind of business, it will be more challenging to attract people's attention with a simple advertisement. We tend to buy goods whom close friends recommended. Ironically, social network is replacing the field of advertisement itself.

Twitter has been an essential infrastructure. But improving its fiscal status is challenging. I wonder what kind of solution is proposed by the next CEO.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cooking in London (2) Fish

Cooking in London (1) Meats

I feel strange that British people do not eat fish so often. They would say to eat fish frequently, but it is quite unlikely compared to Japanese, although both the two countries are surrounded by ocean.

There are several kinds of fish available at a supermarket. However, most of them taste inferior to those in Japan, unfortunately. They do not eat raw fish in the UK. It may be one of the reasons why fish in the store are not so fresh. Furthermore, fish is rather expensive than meat, as same as in Japan. Therefore, I have scarce opportunity to eat delicious fish in the UK.

There are three kinds of fish common in the UK: Cod, Haddock, and Salmon. Cod and Haddock are quite similar to each other. They are often used to make up Fish and Chips. The taste is fair.

On the other hand, Salmon, especially non-smoked one, is appetizing. They include rich fat. Grilled salmon can be a main dish for dinner.

Tuna is rarely sold in a store. If available, it looked terrible for me to try it. Squid and octopus are sometimes seen. Mussels taste good.

Recently, Omega three fatty acid is considered to be beneficial to health, both in physically and mentally. I often see an advertisement of it on the package of fish portions.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Issue of Greece and eurozone

I had stopped watching world news temporarily. As far as reading newest articles, the financial status of Greece in the eurozone remains unstable.

In Greece, leftest Syriza party won in the last general election. Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, declared the end of austerity and began to negotiate with EU to prolong the rescue program without enhanced budget reduction.

My past entry: Anti-austerity won the election in Greece

However, the conflict between Greece and the troika of creditors, the European commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, got deteriorated.

My past entry: Greek financial crisis

The market responded with a pessimistic forecast. Greek bond is now deemed as junk.

My past entry: Greek bonds into junk, S&P says

Nonetheless, Tsipras remains bullish. He suggested the exit of Greece from eurozone again and again. According to him, withdrawal of Greece can be a trigger for the collapse of the eurozone itself.

The Guardian: Greek exit would trigger eurozone collapse, says Alexis Tsipras

The intimidation of Tsipras looks ridiculous at a glance. However, Greece would be the first example of the secession from the eurozone, if realized. Its influence on the stability of Euro is incalculable. There are some countries in which withdrawal from EU or eurozone was discussed, such as Spain and the UK. They can make a decision referring the course of Greece.

I do not believe that Greece wants to drop out from eurozone seriously. If Greece stops using Euro, its domestic currency will plunge into falling immediately. Tsipras stands in a difficult situation between the demand for austerity from EU and domestic pressure. I prospect that he will finally have to obey the request of international authorities. Debt is debt, not an illusion.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The second chance

I had left London since a couple of weeks ago for a personal reason.
It was a terrible experience for me, I felt desperate, but finally, the issue was resolved.

Late on yesterday, I came back to London, to gain the second chance.
In Japanese words, I desire "Kendo-chourai."

I used Aeroflot, a Russian airline. It was very inexpensive. The service was fair. I visited Moscow Airport for transit.

Thanks to God, I shall survive this challenge.