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Alan comments

Posted in: Smoking weakens a gene that protects arteries: study See in context

@Raw Beer

Wow, all this research to extend the lives of those who choose to smoke.

Unfortunately smokers also share their habit with those around them. The article doesn't comment on the level of smoking required to trigger the gene change. I'm guessing that they don't know yet, and that it would depend very heavily on the individual. One person might smoke a pack a day for 50 years and be fine, and another could get the mutation from one inhalation.

Anyway, I hope that this new knowledge will encourage more people to quit. Maybe it will also convince the Japanese government that the tobacco industry makes no sense economically, medically, or morally.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan wrestles over smoking ban as Olympics loom See in context


I assumed you were in Japan, I guess not.

I've lived in Japan off and on since 1971. When I first went there smoking was allowed on all carriages on all long-distance trains, and on all planes. It wasn't allowed on suburban trains, but it was on platforms. There were spherical steel ashtrays all over the streets in Tokyo where smokers would drop lighted butts, creating bonfires that smoldered all day. People smoked on crowded streets and in stations. When they weren't sucking on their cigarettes, they used to hold them away from their bodies as they walked. I got burned several times that way. The pace of improvement in Japan has been very slow compared with other developed countries (except Austria in my experience).

I'm an ex-smoker in the sense that I no longer tolerate smoking around me. But I've never smoked of my own free will. Thanks for asking. Why don't you become an ex-smoker? You know you want to.

I'm intrigued by your selectively disabled sense of smell. Smokers I've known have complained of a generalized dulling of the sense of smell (and taste). Yes, I can really smell you a block away, and I can also smell you an hour after you've smoked from the lingering stink on your clothes. Quit smoking for a while and you will too.

get a squirt gun and douse the person who does that to you.

I think that's against the law, whereas blowing toxic carcinogenic smoke on someone is perfectly legal.

we are the minority suffering discrimination now

LOL! You were complaining that a children's theme park failed to provide sufficient space for you to indulge your addiction. That's a bit entitled, isn't it?

By "antisocial" I meant offensive or menacing to general society, rather than reclusive or withdrawn. But I'm sure you knew that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan wrestles over smoking ban as Olympics loom See in context


because I don't blow my smoke on anyone. I smoke outside. When I smoke, I smoke away from other

How do you know? You just admitted that you've destroyed your sense of smell. I can smell you a block away, and the thing about smoke is, if you can smell it, it's harming you. Some people smoke through their whole life and live to be 90. Others get cancer from their first puff. It's a highly unpredictable risk. Who are you to inflict that risk on others? Do you expect non-smokers to feel sympathy for the loss of your sense of smell? Who did that to you?

What does "away from other people" mean to a smoker? In my experience, it means clustered around entrances to buildings, etc., so everyone has to run a gauntlet of stink to get in or out.

The ban on smoking on planes, trains, etc., is relatively recent. I'm old enough to have spent thousands of hours confined in various vehicles and offices with chain-smoking addicts. I live in fear of the long-term effects of that.

Smokers are not some underprivileged minority suffering discrimination. They are people selfishly and recklessly engaging in dangerous anantisocial behavior due to their addiction.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan wrestles over smoking ban as Olympics loom See in context


Calling us babies is rude. Many smokers just don't understand that it stinks that bad.

Until very recently, tobacco suckers were free to smoke on planes, trains, in restaurants, outdoors, indoors, anywhere they liked. Now they're being subjected to a little discipline and forced to consider the rights of non-smokers, so they either whine and complain or break the rules and smoke anyway. That sounds pretty close to the definition of baby-like behavior to me.

What kind of smoking area do you want? Are you aware that it's virtually impossible to contain tobacco smoke effectively, especially in a crowded Japanese city? In office and apartment buildings, smoke seeps through ventilators, doors and windows. If one person in one room smokes, everybody smokes. The person who goes into that room to clean also smokes by stirring up and inhaling particles left on furniture, carpets and drapes.

I find it hard to believe that in 2017 any smoker can be unaware that their habit causes an offensive stink and actually damages the health of those around them. Every time you smokers exhale you are harming someone. I don't know how you can live with your conscience.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan wrestles over smoking ban as Olympics loom See in context


Bring on the nanny state.

We end up with nanny state solutions because smokers insist on acting like babies.

The American Cancer Society's statement that secondhand smoke has the same harmful chemicals that smokers inhale is not unscientific. It's common sense, unless you believe that smoke is magically cleaned and filtered in smokers' lungs, or that smoke drifting off the end of a cigarette is different from that inhaled by suckers.

Now you could argue that smoke itself is harmless, but that would really be unscientific.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Airlines defend overbooking after United incident See in context

@Strangerland And where do you think that money would come from? (Hint - airline ticket prices)

So you think proper treatment of paying customers might result in a courtesy/ethical behavior surcharge? Competition keeps the prices down, not overbooking.

Perhaps with tougher consequences, airlines might just stop treating people like cattle, and the overbooking/bumping problem would disappear. They might even start training their staff properly, too, instead of entrusting passenger relations to witless thugs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Airlines defend overbooking after United incident See in context

Airlines claim that overbooking helps them to keep fares lower by offsetting losses due to no-shows. If that's the case, the no-shows should be the ones to pay, not those who turn up on time with confirmed tickets. But wait a minute, most airlines also charge exorbitant fees for changing or canceling bookings, so both the shows and no-shows are paying.

Here's an idea for a new law. Airlines should be required to charter executive jets to carry passengers who need to be "re-accommodated" due to overbooking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan needs anti-smoking law ahead of Tokyo Olympics: WHO See in context


People follow here old unwritten laws rather than newly written laws

Until recently the "old unwritten law" was that nicotine addicts could light up anywhere, anytime and to hell with anyone else. When I first came to Japan in the early 70s, they were debating whether or not long-distance trains should have one non-smoking carriage. And when they finally took that step, you couldn't get a non-smoking seat because of overwhelming demand from the vast majority of Japanese nonsmokers.

The "unwritten law" demanded indulgence of the bad behavior of aging adolescents.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan needs anti-smoking law ahead of Tokyo Olympics: WHO See in context

@Steppenwolf323 "I truly believe that Smoking in not as harmful as the liberals say it is. faux science!

Well I have to admire someone who's willing to risk his life for a belief, even something as stupid as smoking. However, you have no right to include others in your nicotine roulette game. Smoke is almost impossible to contain. It spreads through apartment buildings and leaves harmful particle on fabrics that can be stirred up and inhaled later during cleaning.

If you want to smoke without fear of harming others, you'd better go and do it on the moon.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan needs anti-smoking law ahead of Tokyo Olympics: WHO See in context

I thought Japan was a bad place for secondhand smoke and inconsiderate nicotine junkies. Then I visited Vienna, capital of Ashtray, where the streets reek and the ground is covered with butts. Even Paris and Rome are cleaner, and Tokyo is way better.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Can Britain's monarchy survive without the queen? See in context

Who on earth would want the U.K to be solely represented by its politicians, which have been a disaster for years?

Charles is a politician. He's continually meddled in government policy for years. Google "Black Spider Letters". As King he'd be 10 times worse. The mystery to me is why anyone takes any notice of His Royal Halfwit.

The good thing about politicians is that they can be voted out. Monarchs are harder to get rid of.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Can Britain's monarchy survive without the queen? See in context

While I have grudging respect for the present Queen, I don't like having someone born to reign over me by the "grace of god." If Charles succeeds, I think that will be the end of the monarchy. He is too unliked and unlikable to keep the United Kingdom united. I feel sorry for him in way. He could have been perfectly happy in a career more suited to his talents, say fast food or sanitation, but by accident of birth he has been propelled into a situation where he has endless opportunities to embarrass himself by exposing his opinions and ignorance on every topic under the sun. He would be a disastrously interventionist, politicized king.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: Clean Olympians deserve a proper medal ceremony See in context

Starting with the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, the IOC should hold official medal ceremonies for those athletes who were cheated out of their glory

Even better, why not just cancel the whole ridiculously expensive farce? For every testing method discovered, someone else will come up with a new cheating method. It's nothing but a sports arms race.

The real legacy of the Olympics is cheating, ruinous costs to taxpayers, and people with their health permanently ruined by steroids, etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: City tags dementia sufferers with barcodes See in context

Why barcodes? Why not register the fingerprints of dementia sufferers and give police scanning apps on their mobiles?

Also, a barcode is only useful after the missing dementia sufferer has been found. It doesn't help if they're freezing to death in an alley somewhere. What they really need is some kind of wearable GPS/WiFi device that can signal their whereabouts or alert carers if a patient leaves a specified area.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Police offer ramen discounts to elderly as incentive not to drive See in context

I think any article on this subject should be accompanied by statistics that link accident statistics to age groups. such as accidents per 100,000km per age group. Are more accidents caused by age-related cognitive impairment than by youth-related over-confidence or middle-aged stress?

In any case, this entire problem will become irrelevant in a few years with the advent of autonomous vehicles. The technology is already available to brake a vehicle automatically if it's on a collision course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Republicans weigh response with eye toward future See in context

America needs a third major party as a viable alternative to Tweedledum and Tweedledee. And Americans need to start thinking about elections in terms of policies and character rather than tribal affiliations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Elementary school principal in Tokyo fired over sexual harassment See in context

The only redeeming feature in this story is that he went after an adult rather than chidren. It's good that the teacher was able to get support from the vice-principal.

It's interesting that some posters here seem to associate the principal's sexual/power harassement with his age. Men in every age group from teens and 20s up have been guilty of this kind of behavior. He didn't harass the young woman because he's in his 60s. He did it because he's an idiot with the moral development of a tom-cat.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Woman jailed for 4 years for murder, assisted suicide of parents See in context


If you knew a little, you'd be aware that millions of families have the charge of an elderly parent that needs lots of care,

I do know a little, coskuri. I lived in Japan for many years, and I've seen this problem first-hand. In addition to a lack of care facilities for dementia sufferers, there is a social stigma about putting aging parents into care. In this particular case, I believe the woman was emotionally unable to cope with the bureaucratic process involved in seeking official help.

I also know that this problem is not unique to Japan. Another thing I know is that euthanasia happens all the time, and that the authorities tend to make examples of those who get caught.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Woman jailed for 4 years for murder, assisted suicide of parents See in context

What good can possibly come from putting this poor woman in jail for four years?

It's called maintaining the rule of law. She committed premeditated murder. Police and judges can't decide arbitrarily that euthansia and assisted suicide are acceptable. That's something that elected lawmakers have to decide and put into laws after extensive public debate. Judges can only apply the law as it exists.

The real question here is why this family was unable to get help when the parents were still alive.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: In the lab: six innovations scientists hope will end malaria See in context

A pill that would wipe out all parasites in the body could be available by 2019

Let's hope that crackpots and religious despots of various types don't try to discourage people from taking it. That problem has seriously slowed the battles against polio and AIDS in Africa.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Attack on singer sheds light on risks of stalkers-in-waiting See in context

“Aside from keeping a container of pepper spray on hand,

Is that legal in Japan?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: More than 70,000 American Airlines passengers miss flights so far this year due to airport screening delays See in context

I wonder if the TSA understands that tourism is an important industry that employs a lot of people in the U.S., and that foreign tourists are paying guests in their country.

My wife and I will not be taking another U.S. vacation in the foreseeable future after encountering rude and unprofessional people at U.S. airports, especially LAX and Honolulu. Long queues and surly attitudes are bad enough, but frankly I don't trust the morons who staff these security checks to catch terrorists. Some of them I woudn't trust to catch a cold. In Honolulu they took away my wife's size 5 sandals for explosive sniffing and came back with a pair of size 16 fur-lined bigfoot boots. "Are these your shoes ma'am?"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 'I still hate the glow of the sun': Hiroshima survivors' tales See in context

Before they go blaming and hating the US for the dropping of the bombs they should be considering all the atrocities committed by Japan in the fist half last century during Japan's

Morality is absolute, not relative. The fact that other people have done worse things doesn't diminish or justify our own crimes. Nor does victory.

5 ( +18 / -14 )

Posted in: Microsoft denies forcing Windows 10 upgrade See in context

why all the bad rap for Windows 10?

The first thing I noticed was the user personalization options. They've been completely crippled. If you like boney white title bars and a very limited range of color options for anything else, you might like Windows 10. It uses "themes" to set the screen environment. You have a very limited choice of ugly Microsoft themes (muddy, blinding, flat, clashing seem to be the main choices), and no way to edit them. After trying for days to get a color scheme that I could work with, I experimented with installing my own theme from a Windows 7 computer. Fortunately it worked.

On top of that, I've found Windows 10 to be less stable than Windows 7, especially with Microsoft Office software. I get a lot of crashes with PowerPoint in particular. It also seems slower. When opening a folder containing a large number of files, it can take ages for the green bar to slide across the top of Explorer. And then there's all the sneaky stuff. For example, one of the files installed automatically with WIndows 10 is "Get Office." It's only function is to create nag screens to buy Office software.

Some of this would be forgiveable if they'd fixed any of the "traditional" Windows defects, like the hopeless networking system. But Windows 10 seems to have all the old faults plus some brand new ones of its own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Retirement can create multiple tensions at home See in context

Why retire? It's bad for the health and frequently results in mortality with 5 years. If you're ambulatory and still have the power of rational thought, keep on working till the end of the day.

I remember back in the seventies Japanese wives used to call newly retired husbands "gokiburi teishu" (cockroach husbands) because they were always underfoot and scurrying around in the house. In the eighties they called them "sodai gomi" (large garbage, like old appliances). It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: How can the world improve the lives of women and girls by 2030? See in context

Political correctness is a big barrier for gender equality. How can the world achieve gender equality when we're also expected to show respect for religions and indigenous cultures that treat women as chattels?

New Zealand is a good example. It was the first sovereign state in the world to give women the vote (1893). A few years ago, the prime minister, leader of the opposition, several cabinet ministers, the chief justice, and the CEO of the country's biggest corporation were all women. So you could say that New Zealand is pretty far along the path to gender equality. Yet New Zealanders are also expected to show respect for the indigenous Maori culture, which certainly doesn't accord women equal status. So gender discrimination is often tolerated when it should never be.

Respect for religions and indigenous cultures is all very well, but it must be a distant third behind respect for all individuals and respect for women and girls.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Windows 10 spreads to 300 mil devices See in context

Some of the updates are critical safety related.

I'd feel a lot safer and less critical if I knew exactly what information Window 10 was sending back from my computer to its home planet, and how to stop it. I was also less than impressed with the update that made it impossible to log out, reboot or switch off from Windows 10. That took ages to fix.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Windows 10 spreads to 300 mil devices See in context

I hope the July 29 deadline for "free" upgrades means that they'll stop that annoying nag screen virus that Microsoft slipped into every Windows 7 computer. I've got Windows 10 on one desktop. It's definitely the worst Windows I've ever used, though I avoided Vista and 8, so I can't compare it with them. Personalization options have been crippled, making it impossible to get the screen colors exactly right for my eyes and work style. And I get a lot of crashes with Excel and Powerpoint, which never happened with Windows 7. Windows 7 and Office 2003 were the pinnacles of Microsoft's achievements. Everything's been downhill since then.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: 90-year-old man, driving wrong way along expressway, killed in head-on collision See in context

Every time a story like this appears I see the same old predictable calls for anyone aged over 60 to be banned from driving. By all means have fitness tests when older drivers renew their licenses, and gradually reduce the renewal interval so they can be checked more often. But if we're really serious about making the roads safer we should set the minimum license age at 30. And maybe include some form of testing for aggression, poor impulse control and over-confidence in the renewal process for younger drivers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan gives up on failed black hole research satellite See in context

Someone observing the Montgolfier Brothers first hot air baloon flight asked what use it was, to which Benjamin Franklin reputedly replied, "What use is a newborn baby?"

Pure science like this satellite attempt can produce all kinds of benefits that may not be obvious at the time. And sometimes the failures can be just as valuable as the successes.

I'm sure North Korea's futile missile launches cost far more than this satellite.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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