Alan comments

Posted in: JR East to introduce numbering system at all stations in Tokyo See in context

I'm not sure of the value of numbers over place names.

What would help greatly is improved signage in stations, especially those relating to changes between lines. I've seen many cases where the direction signs take you to a crossroads with no indication of which way to go next. Take a guess, and if you're lucky you'll see the color-coded line line sign somewhere off the distance. Unlucky and you take a long walk to nowhere. In Shinjuku I saw two signs for the Marunouchi Line pointing in opposite directions.

Another much-needed improvement is to make the ticket machines more comprehensible. I've watched many trains come and go while waiting in lines behind confused people trying to fathom all the different options. It's not a language problem. The interface is poorly designed.

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Posted in: Microsoft wants you using Windows 10, like it or not See in context

I just bought a new desktop with Windows 10. The OS seems to work fine, but UI personalisation is very limited, and it's almost impossible to tell which window is selected. The only way I could get the UI close to my preferences was to import a theme from Windows 7.

Even worse is the adware that Microst has dumped on all of our Windows 7 computers nagging us to join the lemming rush to Windows 10. They slipped that virus-like pop-up thing in as an unnamed Windows update. That's a sign of things to come. Microst is trying to take more and more control of everyone's computers.

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Posted in: Microsoft's big Windows 10 push is part of broader strategy See in context

One thing I always liked about Windows was the way you could set up the interface to suit your work style, vision and other preferences. In Windows 10 (and in Office since 2007), Microsoft has progressively crippled user configurability. Windows 10 lets you choose from preset "themes" but there are limited options for editing themes. After days of trying, the only way I could get my close to my preferences was by importing a custom theme from Windows 7. When you contact MS to ask why you can't change the color of title bars, etc., they first pretend there's something wrong with your computer or your head. And then they tell you it's a "feature" that you can only have a black taskbar or white title bars.

I have a brand new desktop with W10 as the native operating system. I had it a week and a huge MS update came through. After that I could only switch off my computer by unplugging it. Great start, even for Micros**t.

They say W10 is more secure, but with Micros**t on your computer you don't need viruses to screw things up or compromise your privacy. I'm looking seriously at Apple.

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Posted in: Canada's Trudeau to DiCaprio: Your climate remarks don't help See in context

I might be interested in di Caprio's opinions about acting and ocean liner safety. But celebrities talking about economics, politics, the environment, etc., sound boring and pretentious. Most of them are rich hypocrites focused solely on building their own images and inflating their egos. In fact, they're nearly as bad as politicians.

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Posted in: Demand for reprint of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' overwhelms publisher See in context

this should stay buried and banned

No. Censorship gives this worthless rubbish a kind of credibility. Mad bad thinking like Nazism should be out in the open where we can give it the ridicule it deserves. We all need to read Mein Kampf and try to understand how this diseased mind managed to take over one of the great civilizations of Europe and plunge the world into industrial-scale death.

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Posted in: Sunnis and Shiites: Islam's ancient divide See in context

Yeah, but they should live in their own islamic country. USA is Major League Infidel. Other than that, well said Alan-

Thanks for that Wc626. Unfortunately my message got taken down as "vulgar/offensive." I must have fallen asleep and woken up in Iran.

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Posted in: More patients may be able to safely shower after surgery See in context

That's great as long as hospitals check their hot water systems regularly. A hospital where I was treated gave several patients Legionnaire's disease via the showers, resulting in one fatality.

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Posted in: Allergies may boost chances of anxiety or depression symptoms See in context

This seems like an obvious connection to me. It's hard to be bright and bon vivant when you can't breathe properly, your eyes water and skin itches. Worse than the discomfort though is the thought that the other kids find you funny or disgusting because your nose is always running or you sneeze a lot. People in that state just want to hide themselves away.

If the incidence in of allergy-related depression Tokyo is increasing, blame the numbskull politicians who ordered the planting of vast cedar forests around the city in the postwar period. Pollen from those trees makes Tokyo a hell for hay fever sufferers. .

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Posted in: What are some Japanese words or expressions that you find very difficult to translate into English? See in context

The hardest words to translate are the ones that aren't there. Japanese has no singular/plural and no genders. Personal pronouns are almost always left out, and often verbs have no tense. These things are not a problem for the Japanese. Their trains run on time and their building stay up without them. But they become a real headache when you are translating into a language that requires this information.

The second hardest words to translate are foreign words and names in katakana. Many Japanese writers like to show off by slipping foreign words into their writing. Nobody really understands what they mean, and they certainly aren't in any dictionary.

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Posted in: Smoking bad for pets, study shows See in context

These fools even smoke around their own children, so I doubt whether they'd be concerned about the health of their pets.

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Posted in: China to 'wait and see' if Japan sincere on sex slave issue See in context

Japan’s history of militarism and aggression had brought deep suffering to China and other Asian countries.

And China's history of human rights abuses has brought deep suffering to its own people. Without diminishing Japan's war crimes, I am amazed that China considers itself qualified to sit in judgment on another country's record of human rights violations.

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Posted in: Australia passes law to strip militants of citizenship See in context

If people have lived in Australia for many years and become radicalized and criminalized as a result of their experiences there, Australia needs to take some responsibility. Taking away a person's nationality and putting him/her on a plane just transfers the problem to another country. There is a strong and vocal undercurrent of intolerance and racism in some elements of Australian society, including some of the political elite. People who harass Muslims in the street and demonstrate outside mosques, and people who pass laws like this, are doing Daesh's work by fostering fear and anger.

There is a similar but less-known issue. Australia has a population of several hundred thousand New Zealanders, who are allowed to live and work there indefinitely under a special visa. Those people work and pay taxes but have recently been stripped of their entitlement to social welfare protection. And if New Zealanders are sentenced to jail for one year or more, even if they have lived there since infancy, at the end of their sentence they will be shipped out to a concentration camp on Christmas Island and then deported.

Australia's habit of tossing people out like garbage is ironic considering its history as a British penal colony.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: A tax raise of 1 yen per cigarette could generate more than 100 billion yen. See in context

educating people that a little bit of secondhand smoke is no more harmful than cars and factories

Or perhaps we could teach them that the Earth is flat. That makes about as much sense.

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Posted in: A tax raise of 1 yen per cigarette could generate more than 100 billion yen. See in context


So I guess answer is to ban smoking completely.

I would hate to think that you're stooping to sarcasm so I'll answer your question as if you're serious.

No. The answer is for smokers to grow up and get educated about the harm they're doing to others, especially in their own families, and to reject this stupid habit. Another answer would be for the Japanese government to get right out of the tobacco business and wean the tax man off tobacco money.

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Posted in: A tax raise of 1 yen per cigarette could generate more than 100 billion yen. See in context


risk from secondhand smoke out in the open air is negligible

That all depends on how open the air is and whether there is a breeze. A street corner or doorway in Tokyo hardly qualifies. The fug in those places hangs around a long time and spreads a long way.

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Posted in: A tax raise of 1 yen per cigarette could generate more than 100 billion yen. See in context


Wear a mask. Why should smokers give up their [perfectly legal) pleasure because you are so hyper sensitive about the air that you breathe?

The hazards of second-hand smoke are well-documented and very real. You don't need to be "hyper-sensitive" to be harmed or killed by someone else's "perfectly legal" and perfectly selfish pleasure. Or perhaps you think that only smoke sucked into an idiot is harmful, and that smoke coming off the other end of the cigarette is magically made safe for everyone around the addict.

The comparison with smokestacks and cars is invalid. Car exhaust gas (even from VWs) is far cleaner than it was a few decades ago. Cigarette smoke is just as dangerous as it was Walter Raleigh started puffing.

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Posted in: A tax raise of 1 yen per cigarette could generate more than 100 billion yen. See in context


so many worse things are done and consumed in the world.

I challenge you to name one thing that is eaten or drunk that exposes those around the consumer to harmful effects. Or perhaps you think you can catch second-hand obesity from Big Mac eaters or alcoholism from being near vodka swiggers?


rabid anti smokers I admit I get a little emotional when rabid nicotine suckers mess with the air that I breathe.

That said, I think a tax increase would be a bad idea. For politicians, tobacco money is as addictive as nicotine. They aren't likely to feel any great enthusiasm for effective anti-smoking measures that would choke their cash cow.

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Posted in: FDA's new anti-smoking campaign uses hip-hop to target youth See in context

To be sure, hip-hop’s origins as an anti-establishment, urban movement seem to clash with the federal government’s buttoned-down image.

I expect tobacco company executives are also fairly buttoned-down. The FDA should make a video showing a bunch of greedy old white dudes in suits conspiring with politicians and the taxman to murder a new hip-hop generation with lethally poisonous products. Because that's precisely what's happening.

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Posted in: Puffing away See in context

Einstein was a smoker

He died before there was any real evidence of a linkage between smoking and cancer, etc. In any case, he was a physicist not a physician, so I wouldn't regard him as an expert on the health effects of smoking. I think he would have been horrified if he'd known that fumes from his pipes and cigars were potentially harming those around him.

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Posted in: Puffing away See in context

@Peace Out

And last of all, this killer second hand smoke business. Yeah, in a crowded club its awful. But outside? Give me a freaking break!

Are you old enough to remember what the world was like before people complained about second-hand smoke? Unlike you I'm not an expert on fluid mechanics, but my nose tells me that smoke can stay quite concentrated in outdoor locations, especially on crowded streets and between high buildings. Nor am I an expert on medicine, but I take the warnings about cancer and heart disease very seriously. The thing is, the experts can't tell whether it's your first puff of tobacco smoke or your last that gives you the disease, so I'd like to avoid all smoke. I want to die of my own vices, not some other idiot's.

cars going by and those smokestacks pumping

Both car exhausts and smokestacks have become far cleaner over the past few decades (apart from VWs!), but cigarettes have stayed the same, apart from the harmful additives they put in to increase addictiveness. Yes, there are other hazards in the air. So it makes sense to add yet another, right?

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Posted in: Puffing away See in context

the idea of smoking improving brain function

I've heard that beginning smokers experience heightened alertness, improved clarity of thought and a sense of well-being. But after a couple of packs, the addiction takes hold and they need their next fix just to get back to where they were before they let the nicotine monkey climb on their backs. At that stage, the only way smoking improves brain function is by shutting up the little nicotine voice in your head for a short while so you can concentrate on what you're doing instead of thinking about your next hit.

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Posted in: Puffing away See in context

Smoke if you wish, but first make absolutely sure that your smoke is not entering other people's air space, including those in the apartment upstairs or at the next table in a restaurant. I'm not sure how you can do that in a crowded city, but you're the one lighting a bonfire in your mouth, so it's absolutely your responsibility.

I don't care what nicotine addicts do their own bodies, or whether they die young or old. I just don't give a damn. I do care about second-hand smoke, especially where children are present. I care about fires caused by careless idiots smoking in bed or tossing lighted butts out of cars. I care about the filthy litter scattered by fools who think the world is their ashtray.

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Posted in: 4-year-girl drowns after falling out of boat into river in Ibaraki See in context

Little kids are top heavy because their heads are big and heavy in proportion to their bodies. So these toddlers could easily have toppled while leaning over to look into the water. If one started to fall and grabbed the other, they would both have gone over. This family shouldn't have been out in deep water in an unstable boat like the one described. Small children need to watched every moment near water.

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Posted in: Greece's Tsipras to form gov't with small right-wing party See in context

continue our struggle, inside and outside the country to lift our country’s pride.

Pride comes from paying your own way. Greece is a long way from that. In fact its people and government don't even seem to be aware of the concept.

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Posted in: Pope meets Fidel Castro after warning against ideology See in context

An historic meeting between senior representatives of two of the most life-blighting and impoverishing ideologies in the history of civilization.

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Posted in: Knights and dames honors dumped under new Australian PM: report See in context

I'm sure the knighthood system is the only thing that keeps Australia and New Zealand tied to the outmoded British monarchy. The system is simply too valuable to most politicians. Knighthoods can be used to reward big donors to political parties (parties on both left and right do that), or as inducements to persuade senior politicians who've passed their use-by date to retire. For those who receive them, they represent a lifetime of free upgrades to first class and numerous offers to sit on corporate boards to add a touch of respectability with their magic "Sir" or "Dame" names.

I 'm also concerned by the number of judges and senior civil servants who receive knighthoods. These honors are nominally given by Elizabeth Windsor, but they are actually decided by the cabinet of the day, so there's potential for politicians to exercise undue influence.

Abbott's decision to give a knighthood to Philip Windsor will always be a mystery. It's hard to find anything to admire in a man who's never achieved anything apart from marrying very well.

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Posted in: Japan's centenarian population hits record 60,000 See in context

Based on a few recent news stories, I would guess that a significant number of these centenarians have been dead for many years and their bodies quietly disposed of so that family members can continue to claim their pensions. Ward and city offices should have a system of regular visits to anyone over 90.

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Posted in: Furious man attacks SoftBank's robot Pepper See in context

Telecommunications companies are the absolute worst at customer communication.Their customer service is so frustrating that it's no wonder this poor guy was driven to drink and anti-robot violence.

capable of understanding language and emotion

That's a joke. Telecoms companies don't even have human staff who can do that.

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Posted in: China to hold big military parade, but ordinary folks can't go see it See in context

I read somewhere that the government had banned pigeons from the area in case they interfered with aircraft fly-bys. That brings back memories of Mao's war on sparrows.

So why have it if ordinary people can't watch it?

The parade isn't for ordinary people. It's partly for heads of state, whom China thinks need to be reminded yet again about Japanese actions during WW2. But mostly its a big bazaar for foreign arms buyers. China is now the world's third biggest exporter of weapons.

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Posted in: China sells Tojo ice cream on war end anniversary See in context

I'd like to see Mao's head on a stick. He was on a par with Hitler, Stalin and Genghis in the monster rankings. I wouldn't want to eat one though. Just plant it in a rubbish heap and watch it melt.

Facial hair is probably a bad look for a frozen treat. Perhaps if they get rid of Tojo's mustache they might sell a few more.

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