GBR48 comments

Posted in: The government should once again discuss the power generation system. See in context

Countries need national grids and storage cells for solar and wind generated power. Forget the cost. This is basic infrastructure. No energy generation = no lighting, heating or economy.

Land that cannot be used for farming and residential will get a cash value boost as it can be used for solar/wind generation or planted for carbon capture. Land around Fukushima Daiichi should be cheap - much of it cannot be used for residential or farming. Fill it with solar panels or trees. Japan is an island so make use of that offshore territory and fill it with turbines.

Distributed power generation moving a surplus into the national grid/cells is also important. Stop talking about it and start building it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Visa study: 97% of Asia Pacific travelers opt to go cashless when traveling See in context

Reads like an ad for visa. Isn't the Jgov banning that? Plus I'd consider the title to be misleading. I use cash either directly or via Suica. A debit card is a useful back up, but there are always fees. Cash is the default that everyone accepts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Sports Illustrated latest media company damaged by AI experiment gone wrong See in context

AI is the gift that keeps on giving. Just sit back and watch folk trust it, use it and make prats of themselves. These are harsh times. We deserve a good laugh now and again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: The atmosphere of the neighborhood is bad, so residents do not walk about at night. See in context

Wise solution: Man up and politely decline. Unwise solution: Speak to a journalist, advertising the ready availability of male prostitutes in your area to the entire planet on the internet.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Climate activists fear COP28 clampdown in UAE See in context

So climate change activists are flying around the world to protest about too many emissions? On top of the politicians, entourages and media. For the 28th time. Hmm.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: COP28 kicks off with climate disaster fund victory See in context

I wonder what the total emissions would be when added together, of all those terribly important people and their entourages, and the media, going to 28 climate conferences, the modest consequences of which could have been arranged over e-mail.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Boosting regional cybersecurity critical in connected world See in context

Much of this can be easily fixed. Keep stuff on paper in a locked cupboard rather than digitising it, to stop it being lifted. Keep your intranet separate from the public internet. Airgap your systems so they cannot be hijacked online. Train your staff. Employ all the security options that are readily available. Use major webmail services rather than trying to run your own mail servers. Crimp your bandwidth and watch for abnormal data movements. And don't trust AI to do all that. Better-written software with fewer vulnerabilities would also help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka expo careens toward a looming disaster, for an event that few even want See in context

Yumeshima looks like an attempt to clone Yumenoshima or Odaiba - Osaka's shot at keeping up with the Joneses. It never seems to have found a use the way Tokyo's artificial islands have, and the 'sinking' bit may play a part in that. It's not unusual to host an event like the Olympics as a way of funding infrastructure or reviving an area, and it often works. But the global economy is heading in the wrong direction, conflicts are escalating and the Expo at Yumeshima looks increasingly like a white elephant built on a money pit.

No matter how much you have spent, sometimes it is best to just call it a day. Alternatively they could try and get Google to do their Smart City thing there and implant the Expo into it. But even Google do due diligence, and time may be running short to rejig it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Rakuten's mobile misadventure: From ambitious plan to millstone See in context

Sounds like the Windows Phone saga. A large company going head to head with established players, making no great dent in the market and bleeding cash. Consider what the financial position of Rakuten would have been if it had not decided to do this.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Russia preparing 'loyalty agreement' requirement for foreigners: TASS See in context

Until someone bumps off Putin, Russia is just the new North Korea.

These crackdowns actually help as they damage Russia and the lives of Russians more, so more likelihood that someone will have a go. The West clearly doesn't have the guts to even chip away at his regime, so presumably it will have to be a Russian that pops him off. Keep polishing those Kremlin stairs, folks.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: The amount of cargo we handle is expected to continue to grow, making it difficult to provide stable transportation. See in context

Use Japan's fabulous rail network to move freight. Fewer emissions by rail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: High-fat flight is first jetliner to make fossil-fuel-free transatlantic crossing from London to NY See in context

If you want to 'just stop oil', you'll need to replace it with something at scale, across the board - from jet fuel and electrical power through to the everyday products that use fossil derivatives it as an ingredient, hopefully with lower full-life emissions. If you want to grow stuff to do this and switch from fossil to bio, you'll need lots of land for it. Will this actually deliver a lower environmental impact or just a different impact? Humanity will always generate emissions and impact upon the environment from birth to death (and after with cremation). All species do. The greatest reduction in environmental impact that humanity can achieve may simply be not having kids. Logically, that makes contraception one of our greatest weapons to fight climate change.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: New incentives could boost satisfaction with in-person work, but few employers are making changes See in context

In-office childcare would be a major undertaking given child protection regulations. Not likely to happen for most.

Free food, basically a decent office canteen. That's a fairly low cost fix, to provide restaurant quality food for staff.

Is it cheaper to work at home? Not now energy prices have shot up.

There are limitations. Many people simply cannot do their job at home. Others have grown to hate Zoom or don't have suitable domestic circumstances.

Is childcare or elder care such an issue? It is expensive, but can you do a job of work whilst being an on-site F/T carer? Not in most cases. The kicking out/banning of migrant labour has impacted most on the care sector, but that is a separate problem with separate solutions. Employers shouldn't be expected to fix a problem created by government.

Surprisingly, there is no clear cut total emissions benefit from WFH. Everyone has their own set-up, and may be using more or less energy at home than they would be commuting and in work.

There are also security and insurance issues letting data out of the office environment. But if you can offer flexibility, it is a good idea. It might allow you to grab some quality staff from competitors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Pass the potatoes, or take a pass? Here's expert advice See in context

I eat potatoes most days, usually steamed. Try adding leek, chives and basil (some folk have allergic reactions to onion and garlic, but less so to leek). No salt required. No cream is required for mashed potatoes either. If kids won't eat veggies, mash them with potatoes. Lower fat spreads can replace butter. Roast potatoes are delicious with extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil. It is worth trying baked potatoes in a microwave as they cook much more quickly and use less energy. Baking them in the embers of a bonfire is great fun. Spuds are fabulous.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Locals use big-city thinking to bring Gunma onsen town back from brink See in context

This is why tourism needs to utilise flexible, AirBnB-style rentals rather than hotels in new, declining or borderline areas. Hotels have to have a high occupancy to be viable. You either have lots of people or you have to close. At best that creates a season, and a changing climate mitigates against such things. It adds risk and creates eyesores when trade drops off.

It's great that different groups are working together to do something positive. You can often do a lot with a little money and some ingenuity. In the UK, local councils are happy to spend a £15m government grant on a 'hub', filling the pockets of local companies run by their mates, spending more than they need to on grand schemes that see little use.

Don't be so negative about this project. These folks are trying to help in a sensible way. Good for them.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Forget dystopian scenarios – AI is pervasive today, and the risks are often hidden See in context

Stop being so scared of the future. After the usual teething troubles, we will cope just fine.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: The central government and municipalities, which aim to make Japan a travel destination, need to provide long-term support for accommodation facilities to secure and train workers. See in context

The younger generation of tourists (and me) prefer minpaku like AirBnB. It is more flexible and can open up areas to tourism flexibly without substantial investment, staffing or risk, as and when needed. Hotels are far less flexible.

The government cut the numbers of minpaku. Those who only use them will just go elsewhere. Areas that cannot sustain or staff a hotel, will get far fewer tourists.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Incoming New Zealand gov't to abandon anti-smoking laws See in context

The UK ban (by a conservative government) is not even controversial. Current smokers can continue to smoke themselves into an early grave to their heart's content. Youngsters don't care as they have all switched to vaping. Eventually they will discover 'issues' with vaping and then it will be back to square one.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Line operator says 440,000 personal data items leaked See in context

Don't panic. Just because data is stolen, it doesn't mean it is worthwhile or possible for hackers to exploit it. Most individuals (and many organisations) aren't worth targeting. Much of the data held is available in the public domain anyway. Most personal data held by organisations is encrypted, and as such, its theft isn't a problem.

Companies can protect themselves by keeping intranets offline, airgapping data, using encryption and paying IT staff enough cash to get competent ones who follow the latest security issues.

Individuals can use services like PayPal rather than debit and credit cards, shop from ebay and Amazon rather than individual company websites, use different, long passwords for each service, and never open an e-mail that looks slightly fishy. Anyone who asks you for personal information in a phone call should be considered a con artist - just hang up.

Most hacks just cause short term inconvenience for all concerned. Entities should really have a Plan B allowing them to 'rip and replace' hardware and go old skool using paper and carbon-based life forms on phones while things get fixed, to keep their services running.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: China says surge in respiratory illnesses caused by flu and other known pathogens See in context

The longer and more rigorous lockdowns were, the bigger the spike in miscellaneous infections will be after it. China had Covid Zero and will suffer the most. Kids are always getting minor bugs at school. Locked away at home, they didn't, so they didn't build up their general immune responses. That's much more important for kids than adults, and the kids are now suffering as a result.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese foundation tests mobile meditation truck in Osaka city with promising results See in context

You don't need a truck. Stressed workers could pop their headphones on and sit in the meditation cupboard for a bit. Put an 'occupied' sign on the door, so nobody disturbs you whilst seeking a quire of A4.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Social media sites have become a phenomenal means of communication for hate groups, conspiracy theorists and deranged individuals and groups. Do you agree with this statement? See in context

Social media sites have become a phenomenal means of communication for everyone.

You don't ban something just because crazy people use it. Just use the filters and you won't see this stuff.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Posted in: Yes, France is part of the European Union's heart and soul. Just don't touch its Camembert cheese See in context

quote: Europe must know how to protect the environment, but never to the detriment of the specific characteristics of its member states.

Heavy coal users in Eastern member states will be pleased to hear that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: UK sci-fi hit 'Doctor Who' celebrates 60th anniversary See in context

Unfortunately, all BBC drama is now subservient to the cultural agendas they are pushing. It's not subtle. They lay it on with a trowel. Instead of drama or entertainment it feel like a mix of sermon and cultural propaganda. That's why I watch Kdrama now. BBC drama was amongst the best in the world in the 80s and 90s. Not now. Authors should be aware of that if the BBC comes knocking asking to dramatise their work.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: What we know so far about surging respiratory illnesses in China See in context

This is a consequence of the Zero Covid policy. Kids with less natural immunity than usual getting hit my multiple bugs.

Most governments flagged concerns of a spike in ordinary bugs this winter.

Ironically, I'm typing this with a bad cold.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan detects season's first bird flu case; to cull 40,000 birds: NHK See in context

This is a good article on the politics and science of vaccinating birds against bird flu.

I would add that seabirds off the coast of the UK are now being discovered that have developed an immune response to the virus that means they survive it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Dublin is safe,' says Irish PM Varadkar after 34 arrested in riots See in context

It would be nice to think these were just teenagers letting off steam. All European capitals get that every now and again. Folk bag a new TV and the place gets a facelift. But this violence suggests something more sinister.

In the UK, the anti-immigrant protestors have an unexpected ally in the BBC. Whilst ignoring immigration from Ukraine and Hong Kong, and the benefits of migrant labour (now lost courtesy of Brexit), local BBC news programmes persistently highlight campaigns against hotels and army camps, where the government wish to place asylum seekers arriving in small boats from France. It's a bizarre mix of populist ethnic cleansing and 'Nimbyism' that local MPs and local councils pile in on for votes. The result is a ramping up of hate crime against anyone who isn't white, and particularly against muslims. Asylum seekers are becoming the scapegoats for anyone angry about the consequences of Brexit (in the UK) and similar damaging economic policies across Europe that have increased prices and poverty.

With the mainstream parties divided along party lines, these issues allow populists to unify angry rabble to their cause, as Johnson did to increase the Brexit referendum vote and general election. In Holland, it has just scored them a victory - remarkable in a nation that suffered so much under the Nazis. It will happen elsewhere too.

If the bombed out cities of Ukraine are a rerun of Guernica, the rerun of Kristallnacht will feature attacks on Muslims rather than Jews. War in Europe will follow. Europe really needed more competent politicians. All they seem to want to do is exploit these riots to censor and lockdown social media. That is not going to solve the problem.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: Retailers offer bigger Black Friday discounts to lure hesitant shoppers hunting for the best deals See in context

Black Friday may make consumers think about prices and margins. If they can still make a profit selling stuff with such discounts, are they shafting consumers with high margins the rest of the year?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Nissan to invest $1.4 billion to make EV versions of its best-selling cars in UK See in context

BMW bagged £75m in subsidies and another £2bn will be paid for EV production, the UK paying car manufacturers to build cars domestically, as it is paying Chinese and Indian companies subsidies to make steel in the UK. Make sure you get some legally binding paperwork on that, folks, as the Tories won't be around much longer.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

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