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Posted in: Multiracial Miss Japan hopes to change homeland's thinking on identity See in context

All the more power to Ariana for actually entering the contest in spite of her negative experiences as a child here in Japan, and it would be incredible if she actually was chosen as Miss Universe, in spite of my misgivings about that kind of competition. It could well do more for acceptance of mixed-race people, and especially children, than any number of 'administrative guidelines' or even legislative actions. But even so, it's going to be an uphill struggle as can be seen from what the writers of the article, who presumably are in favor of greater tolerance, have to say about Ariana. After telling us that she was "born and brought up" in Japan, they continue with "'He always felt unaccepted by Japanese ... and that made him unable to accept himself,' she added, in perfect Japanese." Huh? Why mention that her Japanese is perfect? Only one reason I can think of. As I said, it's going to be an uphill battle.

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Posted in: University lecturer found naked on campus in Tokyo See in context

What makes this story even funnier / more surrealistic is the comment by the university administration reported in the Japan Times of Jan 13. The university is taking no action against the student, who is in her final year and is scheduled to graduate in March. “We told the student that she needs proper medical treatment, and that she should try to lead a happy life with the man,” said Masahiro Kashiwagi, head of the university’s administration office. He's 34 years older, and without a job and virtually no chance to find another. She is mentally unstable. Live happily ever after?!

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Posted in: RIKEN says stem cell research was falsified See in context

Just two comments on the article itself, not on the right or wrong of the situation. First, the writer identifies Obokata's place of work as the "RIKEN Center for Development Biology", while anyone who writes about this subject matter for an outfit like Associated Press ought to know that Obokata's research area is developmental biology, thus the correct name is "RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology". Get your facts right, Ms Kurtenbach. Second, she refers to Obokata as a "fashionable young woman". What's that got to do with anything, except that it slavishly repeats the stereotyping by the popular press. Surprised the equally irrelevant "she wears a koppogi in the lab" wasn't added for good measure. Stick to the relevant facts, Ms Kurtenbach.

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Posted in: 'Game-changing' Japan stem-cell study questioned See in context

Just for the record: Articles published in Nature are reviewed. Here is the relevant section of Nature's instructions for authors: Once the decision has been made to peer-review the paper, the choice of referees is made by the editor who has been assigned the manuscript, who will be handling other papers in the same field, in consultation with editors handling submissions in related fields when necessary. Most papers are sent to two or three referees, but some are sent to more or, occasionally, just to one. Referees are chosen for the following reasons: • independence from the authors and their institutions • ability to evaluate the technical aspects of the paper fully and fairly • currently or recently assessing related submissions • availability to assess the manuscript within the requested time.

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Posted in: The deadliest part of Fukushima's nuclear clean-up: Removing fuel rods See in context

Einstein was so right when he said, "The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking ..." And that was in 1945!

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Posted in: Hashimoto, Ishihara discuss national politics at Osaka hotel See in context

The New Sunrise Party? I hope people in China and Korea, to name only the main ones that suffered so much, with actual memories of the sunrise flag (as in kyokujitsu-ki, not hinomaru) and all it stood for will express their feelings and take action against this insult to those memories.

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