151E comments

Posted in: Obesity drugs don't make WHO's essential list, but Ebola, MS drugs added See in context

Wearing a wide brimmed hat, as well as long, loose fitting clothing, and retiring periodically under the shade is a far healthier strategy to minimize the risk of sunburn rather than slathering yourself with some chemical sunscreen that can cross the blood brain barrier.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan OKs 1st domestically-made COVID vaccine See in context

All these mRNA vaccines suffer from the same critical design flaw, namely that there is no way to control what cells will take up the LNP and start expressing foreign proteins. If it is simply confined to the muscle tissue of the arm, fine; however various studies have demonstrated wide spread migration away from the injection site. This is of particular concern if the LNP is taken up by heart tissue. Until this problem is addressed I'll be staying well clear of all mRNA vaccines and rely instead on older time-tested inactivated virus formulations.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Posted in: Putin says Russia has sufficient stockpile of cluster bombs See in context

According The New York Times, the Ukrainian army was using cluster bombs in Donetsk, as far back in 2014. I don't think anyone can claim the moral high ground when using these indiscriminate weapons.


1 ( +8 / -7 )

Posted in: Japanese researchers develop robot arms to unlock creativity See in context

Japanese companies used to lead the world with innovative automotive assembly line robotic arms, but they've fallen far behind the likes of Boston Dynamics and Tesla. Impractical devices such as this, Asimov, Pepper, and the animatronic creations of Hiroshi Ishiguro are, frankly, just sad.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan may have entered 9th COVID-19 wave: Omi See in context

The government and media seem strangely unconcerned by the excess deaths that have been recorded recently. It's interesting to compare late the early part of the pandemic (late 2019 to mid 2020) against later stages. For more information see https://exdeaths-japan.org/en/graph/weekly/

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: G7 vows to narrow gender economic gaps See in context

Interesting that many of the posters in this comment section seem to think Japan should be embarrassed about the lone male participant in the photo above. How would a panel of all women be in alignment with the ideals of gender equality?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: How AI could take over elections – and undermine democracy See in context

The AI-elected president could… use the mantle of election to pursue Republican or Democratic party policies. But because the party ideas may have had little to do with why people voted the way that they did… the president’s actions would not necessarily reflect the will of the voters. 

In case the authors hadn’t noticed, this has already been the case for decades. Candidates campaign on different policies, but once elected always act in alignment with their corporate donor base.

there is no reason to automatically extend the First Amendment’s protection to the product of these machines

And gere we go! The only thing learned from the Hamilton 68 fiasco, in which hundreds of innocent Americans were falsely identified as Russian bots, is that smears and censorship work! Hello Hamilton 2.0. Anyone who posts opinions or information that run counter to the interests of the military industrial complex will be labeled an AI bot by some nominally independent third-party 3-letter-agency cutout, and have their comments shadow banned or removed from social media.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: After dangerous encounters, U.S. accuses China of military 'aggressiveness' See in context

Some relevant background to this issue: The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC), states that passage is considered innocent as long as “it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State.” The LOSC specifies twelve actions that are classified as non-innocent, such as the use or threat of force, military exercises involving weapons, etc. But disagreements remains regarding the interpretation of "innocent passage" concerning warships. Unsurprisingly, the US and the UK interpret it as allowing warships to engage in innocent passage as long as they adhere to the explicitly listed twelve conditions of non-innocence. However, several nations, including China, argue that warships, due to their military nature and the fact that they carry weapons, inherently pose a threat to the security of coastal states. Therefore, they argue, warships are inherently non-innocent.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to ease airport rules for foreign private jet arrivals See in context

Hmmm... Bit of a mixed message here. On one hand, the government wants to make it easier for the rich jet set to come and go on their private planes while, on the other hand, encouraging the rest of society to adopt personal carbon trackers, stop eating meat, and limit travel within within 15 minute cities.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: WHO recommends new COVID shots should target only XBB variants See in context


Just a recommendation.

The WHO has no legal authority to compel anyone to do anything.

For now, yes. Are you aware of the WHO Pandemic Preparedness Treaty, aka WHO CA+? You can read the Zero Draft of the treaty here https://apps.who.int/gb/inb/pdf_files/inb4/A_INB4_3-en.pdf

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan’s newest vending machine absorbs CO2 from the environment See in context


Unless the article has been edited since your comment, nowhere in the article above does it claim the vending machines takes more CO2 out of the air than is put into the air by its manufacture. However, it clearly says in the second last paragraph that: the annual CO2 absorption per unit is expected to set off "around" 20 percent of the CO2 emissions from the electricity used.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Another ex-member of Johnny's talent agency says he was sexually abused See in context

@La vied douce

That Kitagawa was a predator is not in dispute. And that these men are at last now alerting others to the dangers of the industry is a good thing. My only point is that Okamoto was complicit in his own victimization. After the first instance, he could have told his parents. He could have reported it to the police. He could have quit Johnny & Associates. He should have done all three. Instead, by his own admission, he repeatedly put himself into the same situation — some 20 times! over 4 years between the ages of 15 and 19. Why? I’d suggest the answer is obvious. At the time at least, it was the price he was willing to pay for the promise of money and fame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Another ex-member of Johnny's talent agency says he was sexually abused See in context

 he was abused by Kitagawa about 15 to 20 times 

Sorry, but if you keep going back to be 'abused' more than twice (since maybe you're not so bright and you believe his professions of remorse), you're not a 'victim' of 'abuse', you're 'trading favors' in hopes of being famous.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Posted in: China and Russia increasing military collaboration, Japan foreign minister warns See in context


I'd recommend you read 'Nyet Mean Nyet' 2008 diplomatic cable from CIA director William J. Burns (available to us thanks to WikiLeaks). In said cable the then US ambassador to Moscow writes, "Ukraine and Georgia's NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, the engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia's influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests. Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face."

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: WHO says COVID emergency is over. So what does that mean? See in context

But... but... but... What about all those who remain unvaccinated in the Global South? We were told time and time again that the unvaccinated were "variant factories", that hybrid-immunity from vaccination and recovering from infection was far superior to natural immunity, and that to end the pandemic everyone needed to get the vaccine. How can it be over with billions still unjabbed?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan split over Diet debate on Constitution revision: survey See in context

The Constitution of Japan, regardless of provenance, expresses an ideal that all nations should aspire to. Renouncing war as a means of solving international disputes, while retaining the right to self-defense is the highest expression of bushido.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Posted in: Chinese electric vehicle brands expand to global markets See in context

Those who casually dismiss Chinese manufacturing as cheap and of poor quality should remember the same used to be said of Japanese and Korean manufactures. I wouldn't sleep on Chinese industry or they may well eat your lunch.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Posted in: SpaceX giant rocket explodes minutes after launch from Texas See in context

As the old saying goes, "If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." This is a misleading title. As a safety precaution, the rocket self-destructed when separation from the booster stage failed. Events like this are expected to happening during the development stage. Design mistakes will be corrected and the next iteration will perform better. The main test was still successful.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Progress made in Japan on gender wage gap, but more must be done: gov't See in context

While my wife has her own business; she is the exception amongst our female friends and acquaintances, most of whom openly say they aspire to marrying a guy rich enough that they don't have to work. Given such attitudes, who is WEF to chide Japanese women for not wanting to work an 80 hr+ work week?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan births hit all-time low in 2022; below 800,000 for 1st time See in context

Stephen J. Shaw's research indicates that most childless couples end up so accidentally, having postponed finding a partner and having kids until it was simply too late. For those interested, part one of his three part documentary, Birthgap, is available on YouTube.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's Indigenous peoples fight stigma to reclaim identities See in context


Thanks for the link! I look forward to reading it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's Indigenous peoples fight stigma to reclaim identities See in context

Japanese history is full of stories of quarreling brothers and warring clans but where are the accounts of the curious customs of the Ainu or tales of the heroic deeds of the Seii Taishogun in battle with the Emishi? Spanish conquistadors left accounts of their plunder of the Mayan and Aztec empires. American settlers left accounts of their contact and conflicts with various tribes. Curiously, Japan seems to lack anything more than the briefest mentions of the wars for which the famed title of shogun was originally bestowed.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't says drones included in eased rules for downing flying objects See in context

Tough times ahead for the hobbyist weather balloon community.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested for assaulting man who dropped litter outside train station See in context

Let's keep Japan beautiful! Punch a litterbug!

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Posted in: U.S., Japan launch task force to tackle forced labor in supply chains See in context

Let’s see if the do anything about cobalt mining in the Congo. That’ll show just how serious they are about forced labor.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan reports 245,542 new coronavirus cases See in context

@Yubaru A recent study of 51,011 employees of the Cleveland Clinic found that more doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines positively correlated with increased incident of COVID infection. Perhaps this helps explains Japan’s swelling numbers. Please see: www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.12.17.22283625v1

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Posted in: Japan turns back to nuclear power to tackle energy crisis See in context

If one is concerned about increased CO2 and global warming, small modular reactors (SMRs) like those proposed by Taylor Wilson and others ought to be seriously considered as part of the national power generation mix.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Why Japan is boosting its arms capability, defense budget See in context

This article is just regurgitated government talking points, with no counter balancing view from anti-war groups, no questioning if these ‘fears’ are indeed reasonable, and no attempt to analyze if the increase in spending will actually do anything to allay said concerns. It is a textbook example of manufacturing consent.  

As for why Japan is boosting its arms capability and defense budget, economist Michael Hudson called it months ago when he observed that the war in Ukraine would send energy prices spiraling, and that US control of the IMF would allow the Americans to offer Japan Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to stabilize the Yen in exchange for increased military spending and ultimately a rewriting of the constitution. I suspect, beyond the usual grift to enrich weapons manufactures, the Pentagon and LDP are arming Japan so she can fight against China in defense of Taiwan, down to the last Japanese, just like with proxy war in the Ukraine against Russia.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan faces long, difficult road to promote inclusive education See in context

"It's a question of social justice," he said, "not creating a more effective society or one that guarantees a more effective learning environment."

I suppose it depends on the class, but I fail to see the "justice" in making anyone sit through a class that is too difficult for them to keep up with; that will only lead to frustration and apathy as they fall further and further behind their classmates. If anything, I'd encourage students to be split up for each subject based on individual ability into remedial, intermediate or advanced classes. But that would take precious funds that the government would rather spend on beefing up the military.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Posted in: Emperor opens festivals marking 50th anniversary of Okinawa's return See in context

50th anniversary of Okinawa's return... Journalist Nishiyama Takichi was arrested and his career destroyed for (accurately) reporting on a (then) secret Japan-U.S. agreement

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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