Japan Today

bobobolinski comments

Posted in: Is Phelps the greatest Olympian? See in context

Steve Redgrave?

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Posted in: 'God particle' a gateway to new vision of universe See in context

Amazing. Well done all the scientists and engineers at CERN!

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Posted in: Two American men arrested over death of Irish woman in Shinjuku hotel See in context

From reading the reports in the Irish press, it seems like the investigation is continuing; the pm has not been done yet, and toxicology analysis is being undertaken. What actually happened is pure, unfounded speculation until further details of cause of death etc. emerge. It could be a horrible, tragic accident, or it could be something much worse. The holding for questioning of the two men involved seems quite sensible, particularly in view of the possibility of flight.

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Posted in: Selecting the right university See in context

I think the writer is a bit optimistic about the fees at British universities. For classroom courses (eg. English Lit), you might get somewhere like Kings College London for 14-15000 pounds (no euros!) per year; but for lab-based courses at places like Imperial College you would be looking at 25,000. Also, accommodation, even student hall accommodation in London is very expensive. I believe that recently it was estimated that with fees, accommodation and living expenses, a student would need about 50,000 pounds per year. Not as expensive as Stanford or Harvard, but still a considerable expense to be budgeted for.

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Posted in: Iraq says nearly 70,000 killed in violence from 2004 to 2011 See in context

The two sets of figures - those in the Lancet and these - are looking at two different things. These figures are estimates of people directly killed in violence; shot, blown up, etc. The Lancet studies, which so far as I know have never been refuted by a recognized statistician, is of excess deaths: ie, people who died earlier than they might have because they couldn't get medical treatment, or food, or other supplies, due to an ongoing war around them. Crudely, the figure is arrived at by estimating how many people should have died and estimating how many people did die in a given period. It's not exact, but it is the method used in other natural disasters where exact figures and causes of death are going to be difficult to ascertain, such as the Haiti earthquake and its aftermath. If one accepts that these figures are valid, of many tens of thousands killed directly in violence, then it seems likely that a lot more people died through the general chaos, especially of the 2003-6 period.

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Posted in: Docking scanner See in context

Isn't there a camera on the iPad anyway?

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Posted in: Madonna's guarantee: no half-time wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl See in context

"25 years of performing ..." er, more like 35, I think. Quote from A League of Their Own: Mae Mordabito: [During the league's publicity drive] What if at a key moment in the game my, my uniform bursts open and, uh, oops., my bosoms come flying out? That, that might draw a crowd, right? Doris Murphy: You think there are men in this country who ain't seen your bosoms?

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Posted in: Global crisis just a blip, says 'Freakonomics' author See in context

I enjoyed the Freakonomics book and have listened to quite a few of the podcasts he and his colleagues make. One of my favorites was the research that showed how "experts" outside of the very narrow fields in which they are really expert do not have any better insight than an averagely informed person. Unfortunately, this means that Levitt, whose research area is not macroeconomics, has no more idea about the prospects for the global economy than you or I.

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Posted in: BBC denies misleading 'Frozen Planet' viewers See in context

It really is extraordinary how denialists leap on the smallest and most tangential issues to promote their cause. This episode of the program had nothing to do with climate change, didn't make any false claims, and had full and open details on its website (which is how the anti-BBC media picked up on it in the first case).

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Posted in: Hermit of Fukushima says he's staying put despite risks See in context

If he's not eating anything growing in the area, it is at least as likely that his smoking will do for him. As Carcharodon says, there are quite a few people living inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Personally, I wouldn't want to take the risk, but then I don't smoke cigarettes either.

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Posted in: Korean drama backlash See in context

I saw them down in Daiba outside Fuji TV a few months back. They aren't protesting about the quality of television programs; these blokes are looking for trouble.

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Posted in: Samsung targets 2 mil sales of new Galaxy device See in context

Was it Alexander Graham Bell who said that if someone invented a bigger phone then the world would beat a path to their door?

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Posted in: What do you think cities of the future will look like, say, in the year 2050? See in context

Soylent Green

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Posted in: Who gets your vote for the greatest rock band of all time? See in context

Best live band: The Clash Best band over a period of time: Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band Best contemporary band: dunno; ask the kids; Radiohead?

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Posted in: Manhattan man arrested in bomb plot See in context

Interesting that the FBI seems to have wanted to have nothing to do with this case. Still, I suppose the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg need a bit of good publicity these days.

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Posted in: Calif college suspends police chief in pepper spray row See in context

The police sprayed the students with pepper spray, then they arrested them. They could have just arrested them, neh?

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Posted in: Calif college suspends police chief in pepper spray row See in context

In the third paragraph of this report there is reference to "the chemical usually used for dispersing crowds". Really? How long has that been going on? I thought pepper spray was only used on violent individuals who were presenting a clear threat.

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Posted in: Sex assault twist in cricket writer Roebuck's suicide See in context

I remember the days when people being questioned by the South African police had a habit of jumping out of high windows. I'm sure that isn't the case here, but the story brought the memory up.

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Posted in: Commercial space travel only a matter of time See in context

But where would you go? The only possible point to sitting in a metal tube for ten to fourteen hours is to get to somewhere nice at the other end. You would have to be certifiable to spend that kind of money just to go up in a rocket and then come down again. It's a dft of course if like Gagarin, Glenn, Armstrong you can get your name in the history books.

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Posted in: Who is your favorite comic book, movie or TV superhero? See in context

Noggin the Nog.

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Posted in: NASA, Japan release improved topographic map of Earth See in context

Sounds interesting. The links don't work.

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Posted in: Drowning in debt, EU hits moment of truth See in context

@DS you are absolutely right there. Every dollar/euro that goes to supporting investment banks and financial institutions that completely ignored common sense comes out of the pockets of the rest of us. And every dollar/euro that goes into misguided and pointless military adventures comes from us. Time to put a stop to all of that, I would agree.

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Posted in: UK taxi driver becomes first mummy for 3,000 years See in context

Tuten-Alan sounds like a good bloke; it would be nice if they could make him a little pyramid to complete the job.

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Posted in: Can the achievements of Steve Jobs be compared to those of Thomas Edison? See in context

As with many yes/no votes, the answer is a bit of both. Steve Jobs wasn't a technical innovator himself, but he definitely knew how to bring innovators together, develop products, and create a market for new technologies that did, to an extent, change the world. He had vision, and so did Edison. A lot of Edison's work similarly took ideas that several other people were working on, and put them out into the world. While Edison could lay claim to some innovations, a lot of his work was either slightly off track (DC, phonograph), or taken from others, eg. the lightbulb. What really marked both men out was their ability to take on major competitors in new fields and achieve near-total dominance, for a while at least.

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Posted in: Japan to offer 10,000 free trips to foreigners to boost tourism industry See in context

@kurisupisu 7.40 pm Which site? The JTA? I'm looking at this right now and I cannot see it at all.

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Posted in: Two jailed for inciting British riots on Facebook See in context


I don't think there has been any new legislation enacted. Indeed, it isn't necessary as all appropriate laws are already on the statute book. Rather, Cameron (no stranger to youthful idiocy himself) has been telling magistrates and judges to use particularly harsh sentencing. As LucaBrasi said, all these excessive sentences will be reduced on appeal in a few months time; for example, I would think the two facebook morons will have an appeal, have their sentence reduced to 9 months, and be released as they have already served the tariff. Of course, it won't be front page news, and that is what this is about; it's theatrics. Rather than addressing the concerns of the police for more resources and manpower, or of community organizations who want more attention to alienated youth, the government, or the Tory wing of it, is just shouting about punishment and "zero tolerance" - whatever that means.

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Posted in: Two jailed for inciting British riots on Facebook See in context

Neither of these young men has been in trouble before, and neither took part in any rioting, stole anything or caused any actual damage. One of them got drunk one night, put a stupid message on his facebook page, woke up next morning and immediately removed it. No rioting or other criminal acts took place as a result of their messages. And for this they are getting four years. As luca says, these sentences will be appealed, further clogging up the legal system; surely a criminal conviction in itself would have been enough for what is after all just youthful stupidity.

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Posted in: Riots force rethink on Britain's juvenile justice See in context

Cameron has two big problems here, and he is trying to avoid them by playing the "lock-em-up and throw away the key" card. First, he was having a nice holiday in Tuscany and failed to appreciate the seriousness of the situation until he was forced to return to Britain. This has made him look weak and detached, and he has lost a lot of support; note the way the staunchly Tory paper the Daily Telegraph has turned on him. Secondly, funding and manpower for the police have been subject to massive cuts, along with other public services. The police don't need any new powers, and they don't need instructions from toffs like Cameron; they need more police officers and more support services. Banging up first-time offenders and making families homeless isn't going to solve anything, and will only create more trouble down the line.

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Posted in: Chiba parents arrested for allowing child to starve to death See in context

These kinds of terrible acts unfortunately happen everywhere, in all societies. But it is really depressing that there seems to be no demand for a public inquiry or investigation into what went wrong with the social services who should have been able to intervene well before the tragic death of this kid. In Britain, for example, when similar cases have occurred, there have been public inquiries set up by the government, and these inquiries have investigated, made recommendations and in some cases radically changed things. Of course, bad things still happen, but at least there is a sense of something be done about it.

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Posted in: Prosecutors seek 12 years for Pink Panther thief over Ginza heist See in context

He's 43. Even if he gets the 12 years being asked by the prosecution, he'll be out in 6 or 8 years. It seems from the article that he has had a share in numerous big robberies, from which the goods have not been recovered. So, he will have a reasonable retirement plan set up, presumably. And I wouldn't think he would have too much trouble in prison, gaijin or not, since he is no doubt well connected.

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