Sunday, April 23, 2017

French Presidential election is approaching

Today, the first round of French Presidential election will be held.


The perspective of French presidential election became more unclear. In a recent, poll, National Front's Marine Le Pen, Republican Francois Fillon, and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Mr. Macron are closely competing.

Telegraph: French presidential election: Poll tracker and odds

On the other hand, Euro rose per dollar recently. It is perhaps because of Donald Trump's unstable comments of North Korean perspective with suggesting the need of weakened USD.

Independent: French election: Euro steady as caution dominates ahead of too-close-to-call vote

François Hollande, the current President of France, abandoned to continue taking his seat because he did not believe he would win the next election. His main intention was not to give the administration to a nationalists party. But whether his decision would be fruitful is quite uncertain.

I cannot prospect the result of the election. The important thing is French people's ideology is now splitting. As a foreigner, I had imagined that most Frenches are rather conservative. Therefore, the fact that Hollande succeeded the seat of Sarkozy was surprising. But now, considerable amount of people are more exclusive than ever before, as well not a few people are critically opposing to it.

As seen in the Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump's victory in the US, many nations are wandering for the better exit. Nobody knows the answer. Regardless of the winner of the election, the situation in France will be more chaotic, I am afraid.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Three seconds rule in online shopping

Online shopping is now a very common behavior for citizens in developed countries. Many shopping websites are competing to get customers.


One of the crucial points is the speed of downloading the site. A study suggests there is a threshold of three seconds. If forced to wait over three seconds, viewers are likely to leave this page.

Amazon has understood this rule at the very early stage of the internet era. Indeed, I have no memory of being annoyed by delayed loading of its homepage.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Amazon's 'secret weapon': understanding how website experience can influence shoppers

In general, the more pictures the web page includes, the more time required for the page to appear. But, it is not the only factor to determine the speed of downloading. Some providers, including Amazon, seem to have optimized the structure for quick loading.

Nowadays, the internet speed has been accelerated by hundreds of times. Nonetheless, we are still enslaved by the curse of the speed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Doxycycline may cure PTSD

Doxycycline is a type of antibiotics belonging to tetracycline family. It inhibits bacteria's activity of combining proteins. Tetracyclines are relatively weak as antibiotics. But they are used to wide ranged diseases such as acne and bronchiolitis.


And, recently, a study group in Zurich University discovered a possibility to treat post-traumatic stress disorder with doxycycline.

The Conversation: How we discovered that a common antibiotic may be able to treat post-traumatic stress disorder

It is suggested that doxycycline interferes the brain cells from forming matrix enzyme around them. Matrix enzyme is essential to enhance our memory. On the other hand, symptoms of PTSD are caused by excessively stimulated brain nerves to consolidate painful memories.

Based on this hypothesis, the research team conducted an experiment. In this trial, participants were divided into two groups: taking doxycycline or placebo. Each group took a series of electric shock immediately after seeing a color panel. After completion of this learning session, participants were given the color panel again. The result showed that people having taken doxycycline had less physiological reactions.

This experiment shows limited evidence of the effect of doxycycline. Also, it is necessary for you to take doxycycline before experiencing a traumatic event for preventing the onset of PTSD. But the study team believes that doxycycline has an effect of erasing the negative connection between the bitter memory and painful reaction.

I remember that minocycline, which is also a member of tetracycline family, was expected to prevent neurological damage due to stimulants. The theory of neuroprotective effect of minocycline seems similar to that the researchers above said.

Tetracyclines are very inexpensive. If its effectiveness is proven, its clinical impact on PTSD treatment will be great. But, pharmaceutical companies would not welcome it. They would rather like to sell newly drugs.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Brain stimulation makes you a super soldier?

The brain is still a frontier of human research. There are many unknown activities in each region of the brain.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is one of the therapeutic solutions for some brain diseases. Implanting a needle stimulated with electricity to a particular area of the brain can improve some physical and mental symptoms. DBS has been established as a treatment for Parkinson's disease, and also discussed for depression.

And recently, more aggressive usage of DBS seems to be considered in the US army.

Naval Special Warfare Command officials presented the latest result of an experiment. Its goal was to enhance the ability of concentration in soldiers.

International Business Times: Super Soldier: US Navy Seals having their brains zapped to improve shooting ability

The outcome was expecting, according to the report. Participants whose brain was stimulated made an improved performance in a long-term task.

This result is amazing, if true. But, an extreme cautiousness is required in the implementation. In my experience, DBS has several adverse effects, including severe depression leading to a suicide of the patient. As well, longitudinal effects should be examined. Even if electrical stimulation is not carried out, implanting a needle itself causes a change in the brain function. Some people who took the DBS operation experience a considerable change of mood several months after the surgery.

The man-machine interface was just a fantasy until recently. It is real today. We are encouraged to make further progress in this academic region.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Modern rules with electric devices

More than a decade has passed since the internet technology became familiar with our usual life. Our lifestyle was considerably changed due to the development of latest devices, such as the smartphone, tablet, and other gears.


As the use of gadgets is a newborn culture, there are some conflicts and arguments about the manner of using them. Here, five ways which are rather common in citizens but should be reconsidered are introduced.

International Business Times: Emails in bed? Tablet selfies at a concert? Five tech habits you need to kick

The first one, the use of electric devices before going bed, is absolutely harmful, I believe. Several studies suggest that exposure to strong light hinders you from the good sleep. You should avoid watching a display, at least one hour, or two hours, if possible before you wish to sleep. I always mention it when consulting a patient with sleep disturbance.

As well manipulating a smartphone in bed is also no good. The human brain will learn that the bed is not a place for sleep but watching a device. This mislearning brings you insomnia.

Checking emails at home is worth of discussion. In general, employees should not work during off-time, from the perspective of mental health. Through distinguishing the work from your daily activity, your sympathetic nerves can be relaxed at the end of work. The continuous tension of sympathetic nerves can be a cause of cardiac diseases.

However, some people with self-employment job are difficult to ignore business emails at home. As well, employers often have to address various problems suddenly occurred even during their off-time.

The other issues suggested in this article above are rational. Selfie with a tablet is sometimes dangerous for other commuters. Free Wi-Fi spots are possible to be peeped or compromised. And it is no doubt that loud music in a public space is no other than a criminal act.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ketamine, an expecting antidepressant

There are many options to treat depression, as I mentioned repeatedly.

My past entry: Does aspirin destroy your depression?

My past entry: Treatment of depression: multi-angle approach

My past entry: Behavioral Activation is equally effective to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

My past entry: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a new way to protect you from depression

And one of expecting regimens is ketamine, an anesthetic agent.


The result of latest clinical trials suggests the effectiveness and tolerability of ketamine for reducing depressive symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression. The response rate was up to 40%. It is amazing considering the fact only one-third of patients, even who are treatment-naive, respond to initial treatment with an antidepressant.

Independent: Ketamine helps patients with severe depression 'when nothing else works', doctors say

On the other hand, ketamine has a dependency. Some people misuse ketamine as a recreational drug. The indication of ketamine prescription to depressive patients should cautiously be addressed. In Japan, abuse of methylphenidate was issued the other day, leading to the dismissal of it for depression.

As well, its continuity of the antidepressive effect needs to be examined in a longitudinal view. Depression is a disease easy to recur. Though I am not familiar with its clinical usage, ketamine taking for a long term can be harmful. So far, several resolutions have been developed to treat depression. Most of them, however, lack long-term effectiveness, unfortunately.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Canada legalizes marijuana

Canada will be named as a nation in which we can use recreational marijuana legally.


The federal government has decided to legalize the use and sale of marijuana for the recreational purpose by 2018. So far, legal use of marijuana is limited to only medical end. Under the new legislation, a detailed guideline for sale of marijuana will be published. Each provincial government will be able to set a regulation of the age for buying marijuana.

The Guardian: Canada introduces long-awaited legislation to fully legalise marijuana

This legislation seems to have been established for an urgent need of public health. Currently, as the trade of marijuana is prohibited, people rely on the criminal organization for getting marijuana. It is easily estimated that marijuana is one of the core financial sources for antisocial groups. Decriminalized marijuana will lead to the reduced income of such organizations. This structure is mirroring anti-alcohol law in the US.

However, the risk of marijuana to cause mental illnesses is underestimated, I am afraid. Indeed, marijuana is rather a harmless drug among psychotropic substances. Nonetheless, there are patients who are suffering from marijuana psychosis. In the UK, as cannabis use is spread over the country, medical practitioners are enthusiastic to treat the patients to guide them to the life without psychotropic drugs.

In Japan, even medical marijuana is not legalized. Recently, a person who had been suffering from chronic pain was arrested on cultivating marijuana personally. He claimed that he needed marijuana for life free from the pain, so taking marijuana is the human right. The court decision has not been fixed.

In my opinion, medical use of marijuana should be legalized. On the other hand, decriminalizing recreational marijuana is considered with great caution. Even if you do not become psychotic after taking marijuana, it will get rid of your productivity. In Canada, as well as other countries where marijuana has already become familiar, legalization and moderate governmental control of marijuana is a rational option. But generally speaking, I do not agree with the legalization of sucstance with dependency.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Geneva permits topless

In Swiss, women have been allowed to swim in a lake without a bra.

Independent: Women can now swim topless in Lake Geneva as Swiss authorities

Before the new legislation was established, topless women were subjected to the fine up to 70 Swiss Francs. Some women claimed this rule was sexism, as well as inconsistent with that sunbathes topless was permitted.


The authority amended the rule which had been set since 1929 by Geneva's regional council. However, topless swimming in a pool is still illegal.

It is doubtful many women will enjoy topless swimming thanks to this amendment. Some men will rather oppose to the relaxation of the law, perhaps.

Sex discrimination should be banned. But I am not sure if prohibiting bare-breast of women is discriminating.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Today's smoking issue

It is now no doubt that smoking is a harmful behavior to human. Most nations are eager to ban smoking habits. Thanks to the anti-smoking campaign, the rate of smoking is gradually reducing.


On the other hand, a recent study suggests that one-tenth of the death in the whole world is attributed to smoke.

My past entry: Smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide, finds study

It is a surprising result. In this study, a total of 2818 data were synthesized to lead the conclusion. The validity of this study seems high as far as reading the protocol.

The Lancet: Smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

Now, Russia, China, India, and the US are dominant consumers of tobacco. As well, Italy is extraordinarily tolerant to smokers, in my sense. The other days, many smokers in Japan were proud of their behavior, and youth respected smoking adults. But nowadays, most media have banned smoking scene.

My past entry: Issues about smoking

Smoking companies need the change of their marketing strategy for survival. Some companies are struggling for a new product other than tobacco. Others are eager to sell tobacco in developing countries.

I do not want to perish tobacco. But I cannot stand smoking people in public.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sexting dictionary

In the UK, the police are eager to prevent teens from sex crime.


One of the recent trends is increasing utilization of the internet and social media. Girls get a contact with strangers using e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or other ways which can keep the user's anonymity. Some girls send their portraits unclothed or acting a sexual pose. Such behavior is called "Sexting."

It is hard to regulate the contact which is potentially risky for girls. Most girls recognize that their talk should be secret from their parents. Therefore, they often code words which are encrypted at a glance; such as IWSN [I want sex now].

Recently, the police developed a list of such words to notify them to parents. The list includes 112 words.

The Telegraph: Police forces issue sexting dictionary to parents to decode 112 words children are using on the internet

As well as let them know the code words, the police are struggling for the enlightenment of the risk of the sex crime to the youth. The spokesman advised the Granny rule; "Would you want your Granny to see the image you are sharing?" It is similar to my idea I mentioned the other day.

My past entry: The absolute rule of internet contribution

Actually, I do not believe the sexting dictionary is effective for crime prevention. Slang is easy to change according to the era. Before this dictionary is spread to all parents, it will be outdated. The important thing is to consider how to treat the risk through these activities of the enlightenment.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Taiwan bans dog and cat meat

The Taiwan government has illegalized selling dog and cat meat.

Independent: Taiwan becomes first Asian state to ban dog and cat meat being sold or consumed

Animal protection laws were amended in Taiwan. It will result in banning of consuming dog and cat meat. So far, some local legislation has been prohibiting dog and cat meat for sale. But it is for the first time to set a national rule in Asian countries.


In Taiwan, some cases of animal torture ignited the outrage of citizens. The new legislation also regulates acts which potentially expose animals to danger.

Actually, few Asians eat dog and cat except in some regions. In Japan, I have never seen someone selling dog or cat meat. As well I am not sure if such sale is prohibited in Japan.

On the other hand, some regions in China and South Korea remain a trend of dog meat consuming. This Taiwanese law would be interpreted as a message for criticizing China.

My past entry: Discussion about eating dog meat in China

I will never eat dog or cat meat. In my opinion, however, it need not be regulated by an authority. Japanese eat whale meat. Some I do not understand why some European criticize this trend. Every culture should be respected unless it is apparently harmful to others.

Indeed, dogs and cats are pretty. But it does not suggest ugly animals are worth to be killed.

Protecting animals from abuse is important, as we are human with the humane will. Diet culture should be distinguished from the context of philanthropy. We have to kill animals or plants for survival.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gaming therapy for depression

Depression is one of the common mental disorders. Its prevalence rate is up to 10%. Therefore, many clinicians and researchers are eager to develop new effective and cost-free treatment strategies.


Recently, gaming attracts attention as a way to reduce depressive symptoms of patients.

Hindustan Times: Video games may be a viable treatment for depression, finds study

Gaming has been considered to be utilized for several purposes in business such as the economy, negotiation, and leadership. And, some cognitive therapists are attempting to introduce its method in the game.

In this game application, the player has to defeat some monsters. The monsters represent some patterns of cognitive distortion which are frequently seen in depressive patients. Players can learn how to modify their malfunctioning cognitions into adaptive ones.

Gaming is usually for fun. One of its advantages is accessibility. Also, most games have some systems to make players continue gaming. It is expected to contribute to a reduced dropout rate of the patients from therapy.

However, current research suggests the effect of the gaming therapy is not continuous, although its effect is desirable.

In addition, some games are so addictive that some users become indulgent to the game. Indeed, some depressive people tend to paly games excessively. At present, therapeutic games are not so fun enough to make patients addictive, fortunately, or unfortunately. Beneficial utilization of gaming is a challenging but interesting theme.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Malfunctioning of IME due to Dropbox

Just recently, I experienced a little rare trouble about the IME on my Macbook.

To input Japanese language, we have to use an IME system which can transfer each word in alphabet into Japanese letter (Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji). For example, when I input "k-i-n," IME suggests "金 [gold]." If it is not what I expected, I hit the space bar, to change it into "禁 [forbid]," "近 [near]," or "菌 [bacteria]," and so forth. It is hard for English users to imagine the toughness of the task I guess.

Recently, there are some excellent IME systems developed by Microsoft Japan, Justsystems, and Google. Apple also offers "Kotoeri," as its own IME. We can choose one installed in our PC. I like ATOK by Justsystems.

However, IME sometimes causes trouble. Malfunctioning of IME is critical for our business because creating documents is essential for most PC users. If IME is completely crippled, we cannot fix it, as IME is required for inputting any Japanese letters. Without an IME, we cannot use even Google search.

And just recently, it occurred.

The phenomena was a little strange. When I inputted some letters, they were automatically changed into Kanji, or Hiragana, without my direction. In another typing, the letters were doubled, like a copy and paste. First, I suspected I had touched the trackpad unintentionally. But it was not. I felt as if someone behind the screen manipulated the keyboard.

To be honest, this kind of error occurred in Windows PC. It was due to an erroneous update module of the Windows OS. Discovering it through seeing the Microsoft forum, I made a rollback of the Windows system. Then the malfunction vanished.

I did an update of Mac OS. But the trouble was not fixed.

Interestingly, it occurred on an MS Word file. Writing an email in Japanese, I never suffered from this strange movement.

I searched someone having experienced similar phenomena. I found an interesting description in Japanese The author reported a phenomenon very similar to mine. And the cause of the trouble was identified to the error of Dropbox, according to the author.


Dropbox offers an option called as "Dropbox badge." It looks a small banner appeared to the right of the MS Word document. When you rewrite a document which is shared with your colleagues, the badge provides you some option about reflecting the changes you have done. However, this function is no use to me, as I seldom manage documents at the same time of my colleagues. When the author disabled the Dropbox Badge, the malfunction of the IME was completely fixed. And so did I.

I guess Dropbox Badge attempted to save the file frequently. Whenever checking the file, it found some inconsistency between the saved file and the current one. Inappropriate unionizing of the files might cause serious trouble on the IME. Thus, the person I felt behind the screen was Dropbox itself.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Trump meets Xi in Florida

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping made a face-to-face meeting for the first time in Florida.


They both seem to have enjoyed the conference. Trump commented that their relationship developed in this session was outstanding. Xi, as well, emphasized the outcome of the meeting.

The themes of their negotiation, however, were almost limited to business. They mentioned the four dialogues; the diplomatic and security dialogue, the comprehensive economic dialogue, the law enforcement and cybersecurity dialogue, and the social and cultures issues dialogue.

Taiwan was relieved not to hear aggressive speeches about One-China policy from Trump's mouth. Trump previously fluttered about the idea of the existence of Taiwan. At first, he threatened China as he would not be stuck to One-China policy if China does not adhere the American policy on trades. But after that, his policy might be modified. In this conference, Trump avoided mentioning this issue explicitly.

The News Lens: No Taiwan Mention After Trump-Xi Summit as Focus Turns to Syria

At the same time, Trump expressed proudness about a recent airstrike on Syria. Xi accepted the attack at the conference. But this attitude is inconsistent with China's concurrent stance supporting Assad administration.

In my opinion, Trump has no particular policy in the diplomatic point of view. Rather, other nations are excessively influenced by Trump's difficult words. After all, many countries have to keep an eye to Trump's behaviors. Thus, the current situation is indirectly advantageous to the US.

On the other hand, the issue of the Middle East crisis is no more treatable by the US or other single nation. A cooperative strategy is required to ease the situation. Although losing the territories, ISIS is continuously committing terror attacks. I do not believe a solitary move of the US, as well as the UK and France, would be able to fix the crisis.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

South Korea launches a long-range missile

Just recently, North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. It may suggest an opposition of the North to the meeting of China's leader Xi Jinping and Donald Trump.

Soon after that, South Korea was also reported to have tested an 800km-range missile. This ballistic missile can target Pyongyang from anywhere in the South.

The Guardian: South Korea test fires 800km-range missile

South Korea has been relying on the power of the US to protect itself from the threat of North Korea. Since 2012. But, South Korea and the US have made an agreement about the development of long-range missile weapon.


Donald Trump, President of the US, is reluctant to keep the troop on duty in South Korea. He suggests South Korea should compensate for its cost.

On the other hand, the US was eager to set Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile (THAAD), a high functioning system for countering airstrikes, in South Korea. As deciding to adopt THAAD, South Korea was harshly blamed by China. China seems to be afraid that THAAD would prevent it from attacking the US. Even though it is unlikely to occur, an option to begin a deliberate attack must be a trump for China when negotiating with the US.

Therefore, South Korea is forced to become solitude in the international power balance. As President Park was dismissed, which direction it will proceed to is quite unclear.

Anyway, the situation around North Korea has become more tense. I expect leaders in each nation to be rational with a longitudinal perspective.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Seat-free carriage will come in the UK

In the UK, seat-free carriages are planned to be introduced.


They remind elder people of a third-class carriage having been abolished since 1956. But ministers are merely considering how to deal with crowded trains with low cost. Passengers will be provided a ticket of "buy nine, get one."

iNEWS: Third class standing-only train carriages reintroduced to ease overcrowding

Oh, it is just a joke. The article above was written in this April Fool. You need not afraid seats would be banned from London Tube.

But, this idea is unique and even ironic. Recently, Londoners are suffering from a serious traffic jam. Buses are frequently delayed. We often fail to get the seat on the train. In a peak time, we have to wait for the next Tube to enter because of an excessive amount of commuters.

To be honest, seatless carriages has been already introduced in Japan since several years ago. The seats in a particular carriage can be folded. And in the peak time, passengers are not allowed to take a seat. Some carriages in central Tokyo in the morning are extremely crowded. Thus, the developers are quite serious to ban the seats to help customers.

Actually, I thought the seats in London Tube were so big that it was sometimes difficult to keep the space I stood. Reconstructing the carriages may be a good idea for comfortable commuting.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Super-agers

Aging is our fate. Our physical ability is declining through aging. As well, the cognitive function becomes inferior. It is said a fourth of people in the age of eighty has dementia.


However, you may know some people who are still energetic in spite of their age. What is the difference between elder people in the cognitive function?

A recent study suggests there are some super-agers. They reduce less brain volume than others at the same age, according to the study.

Hindustan Times: Age-related cognitive decline is not inevitable: Study

Unfortunately, this study has some limitations to prove the hypothesis that the brain cells of some people have specific attributes. They might have a larger brain inherently.

Furthermore, how to protect your brain from shrinking is still yet to be discovered. If super-agers are genetically determined, it is disappointing. Physicians recommend you to take an exercise and balanced meal. It is because their positive effect on your health has been proven, even if not guaranteeing to keep your brain young.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Couple having dominated a woman as sex slave jailed

Recently, a couple living in Northern Ireland was sentenced to imprisonment for the crime of keeping a woman in their house and raping her several times.


The victim had a learning disability and was kidnapped from her home in 2004. Her husband reported her missing to the police, but her footprint could not be traced. Indeed, the couple deceived her to invite their house. And they locked her in a tiny room, and encouraged the man's friends to raped her. The victim was fed with sweets only so that her teeth but one were rotten.

The man had several histories of sex crimes. The man was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and the woman took three years.

Mail Online: Husband and wife who kept a disabled woman as a sex slave and filmed dozens of men raping her in a squalid den before paying her with Quality Street chocolates are jailed 

It is a horrible story. Regardless of the victim's disability, slavery is never acceptable.

I have to be cautious with evaluating the perpetrator's mental status based on the media report. But it is certain that the man has psychopathic tendency and paraphilia. Such a person tend to offend several times, partially due to lack of empathy and diminished learning from punishment. Thus, after released from prison, I am afraid he would target another woman again.

In my sense, 15 years of imprisonment is not enough for the penalty of ruining a woman's life and dignity. On the other hand, long sentence is not proven to be effective in preventing reoffending. There is no resolution established for psychopaths to reduce the risk of recidivism.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kyushu trip

Last weekend, I visited Kumamoto, the center of Kyushu.

During the trip, I went to Takachiho, located in Miyazaki prefecture. It is called the place of the god. Indeed, Takachiho shrine was quite solemn.


Amano-Iwado shrine deifies Amaterasu Omikami, a Japanese ancient goddess. One day, she hided herself in the cave because of her brother's rude behavior. As she was the symbol of the sun, Japan encountered a total eclipse. Other gods made a conference for the way to bring her on the ground again. The place where the conference was conducted is Amano-yasugawara.


The next day, I visited a couple of farms. Sheep and goats were kept with free range. Goats were eager to eat.


And young one expected me to feed it, following me for a while.


The water was extremely clean in Kyushu. This is Shirakawa Spring Source.


I also went to Kokonoe-Yume-Otsuribashi. It is the largest suspension bridge in Japan.

Kyushu has several attractive places. Some day I will visit there again.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Suicidal bombing at St Petersburg subway

On Monday, April 3, 2017, an explosion occurred at the subway station of Petersburg in Russia.

CNN: St. Petersburg metro explosion: At least 10 dead in Russia blast

It is suggested that a homemade explosive object with TNT was placed on a carriage. According to the latest report, at least eleven people were killed and more than a dozen was injured.


The authority deemed the incident as a terror attack caused by a suicidal bomber who was close to an international terrorist organization. The station and the airport in the city became closed.

The Telegraph: Everything we know about the explosion in St Petersburg

Russia itself has frequently been targeted to a terror attack. At present, who is responsible for the attack has to be clarified. But an Islamic group is suspected to have been involved in the act, according to the local media. Anyway, we have to wait for a claim of responsibility.

The New York Times: Explosion in St. Petersburg, Russia, Kills 11 as Vladimir Putin Visits

The terrorism is widely spreading over the world. It is a common shape of asymmetric war. The government should protect the present administration and citizens' lives, whereas terrorists only have to damage it. Different from an international conflict, terror organization need not consider what to do after the attack succeeds. Unfortunately, an effective solution to win the asymmetric battle is yet to be established.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Russia might hire 1000 hackers for the victory of Trump, so what?

Some US politicians claim that Russia had been involved in the victory of Donald Trump in the latest Presidential vote.


According to Senator Mark Warner, Vladimir Putin directed to interfere the election with broadcasting fake news about Clinton, the competitor of Trump, in some states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Trump had won. It was suspected Russia hired a total of 1000 hackers.

International Business Times: Russia 'hired army of 1,000 web trolls to make up fake news about Hillary Clinton in swing states'

I have heard this kind of suspicion. And Russia's intervening to the Presidential vote seems somehow true. It is quite natural that Putin would prefer Trump as the next President because Trump made some favorable comments about Russia. Thus, this idea is no more a conspiracy theory.

Nonetheless, I do not believe this fact deemed of value. First, the magnitude of influence of fake news on the Presidential vote is limited. If Russia had not been involved in this issue, it is doubtful that Clinton would have won.

My past entry: The influence of fake news on the Presidential vote is limited: A study suggests

Second, Trump would also suffer from some fake news, even if it was less than Clinton.

And third, political interaction is a quite ordinary event when a decisive vote is conducted. The US itself has repeatedly intervened the elections in other countries. Voters are absolutely responsible for the result of the vote, regardless of the movement o other nations.

Finally, if Russia's jamming is unfavorable to the US, the US government should have treated it. Obama administration was on the side of Clinton undoubtedly. If the government had failed to shut out Russia's influence, it would be the proof of the incompetence of the administration, unfortunately.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

TV talk show regarding AI in Tokyo

Recently, I attended a conference where a TV talk show was recorded. In this session, the usability of AI was discussed by some specialists. Panelists were a professor of applied science, a biologist, and a founder of a start-up company.


The facilitator asked some questions to the audience. Some of the attendees seemed fearful about the rise of AI. They were concerned about the risk AI would get rid of their jobs. One of the audience was a translator. Indeed, an auto-translating machine was introduced. It could speak what it heard in English translated into Japanese instantly even when it was off-line.

However, one of the commentators suggested that we need not worry about AI threatening our job as far as we are proud of it. Actually, after Alpha Go defeated the world champion, professional Go players became enthusiastic considering AI programs would make an innovation in the Go world, according to the commentator. In contrast, if you believe your work is silly and easy to be mastered, AI will overwhelm the performance of human soon.

Approximately 75% of the audience believed AI would enrich the world. But, one commentator was worrying about the possibility of people with malice to utilize AI for improper purposes. After all, the human is more dangerous than AI, according to him.

The conference was very exciting. The facilitator was good at managing the discussion, and all panelists were smart to describe the future with AI. It was fascinating time of two hours for me.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Face cognition program can sense Praecox-gehuehl

Have you hear the words "Praecox-gefuehl?" It is a psychiatric term in German, Praecox feeling in English. "Dementia Praecox" is an old name of schizophrenia.


The other day, many psychiatrists believed they would be able to make a precise diagnosis of schizophrenia at a glance after well trained. An experienced psychiatrist can sense the extraordinary atmosphere in a person with schizophrenia when facing him. Praecox-gefuehl was the most powerful diagnostic criterion of schizophrenia. Ridiculous? It is true that many great textbooks described Praecox-gefuehl even in the 20th century.

Of course, Praecox-gefuehl is a myth. It has been proven not to be trustworthy to identify schizophrenic patients.

On the other hand, some researchers are eager to identify some facial signs in psychotic patients. Dilated pupils, flat cheek, and less locomotive mouth were suspected to have a specific psychiatric symptom. There was a study to evaluate the mental status of a client with the tone of voice. However, these attempts had not shown a positive outcome.

And just recently, Google revealed a surprising result.

Facial recognition is a modern technology to distinguish one person from others. The preciseness of this technique is now so good that many people make use it for unlocking their smartphone. But it is still not perfect. In a recent incident, the program misidentified a black woman's face as a gorilla.

And now, researchers is utilizing deep learning to prove the existence Praecox-gefulhe. Millions of pictures of schizophrenic patients were recorded to be a subject to be learned by a supercomputer. If this trial is successful, a camera will be able to diagnose schizophrenia more precisely than human psychiatrists even without make a conversation with the patients.

Thus, I will lose my job. I hope this major trial will result in a failure.