Mlodinow comments

Posted in: KDDI to offer cheapest large data mobile plan amid gov't pressure See in context

5G service areas are still quite abysmal. Maybe by the end of 2021 it will be worth it but hopefully by then more companies will have followed Rakuten's lead of charging the same for 4G and 5G services.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Man with axe smashes New Zealand Parliament doors See in context

Parliament building is just an office for politicians, so we didn't see any need to make it all pretty etc.

It's nickname is the Beehive due to the design and was designed to withstand a direct hit from a mag 7.5 earthquake.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Posted in: Police still hoping killer's DNA will break 20-year-old Setagaya multiple murder case See in context

Agree with Expat. Given that the suspect is of mixed ancestry they may well have access to a non-Japanese passport and able to live the rest of their life outside of Japan. If that's the case then I can't imagine the J-police ever catching him - he would be stupid to come back given the risk.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Lawyer for 89-year-old driver of car that killed woman, 3-year-old daughter blames faulty brake See in context

Even if the brake didn't work (Narrator: "it did"), he would still be guilty of driving at least 90kph in a zone which undoubtedly (because of the traffic lights) doesn't allow such speed, causing the death of 2 people.

You could also argue that going far in excess of the speed limit, failing to maintain your car in a safe manner and killing 2 people is possibly even worse. A "shaken" car check only gives you a snapshot of your vehicle's condition. It is up to the owner to ensure it is maintained properly and is safe to drive on the road - which he didn't. Of course this is all moot - he clearly hit the accelerator.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's new ambassador to China to be quarantined for 2 weeks See in context

As he should. My own country also required foreign diplomats to quarantine upon arrival, although unlike regular people they were allowed to quarantine in their own residence. It seems some people commenting here think diplomats are immune to the virus due to protection under the Geneva convention?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to give tax breaks for long-term foreign residents to attract financial experts See in context

And here was me thinking it was a serious tax break, and not something only people with rich relatives would ever worry about. Of course, if the inheritance tax were ever a genuine worry, there is no doubt rich people would find a way out of it or simply wouldn't declare it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Man arrested after kicking woman in stomach See in context

The man who witnessed the fight called police who rushed to the scene.

Doesn't sound like a fight...more like a viscous assault.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: President of Fujitsu subsidiary arrested over fatal car accident See in context

Hitting and killing him is bad enough, but to not stop at all? If you hit someone in your car hard enough to kill them, no way you didn't notice. If he gets off this is a massive travesty of justice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 6,000 premium apples stolen from Iwate orchard See in context

oops...misread the article, the apples could have been stolen during the day it seems

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 6,000 premium apples stolen from Iwate orchard See in context


I did summer work at an orchard in university. As these are "premium" apples I'm guessing the trees are well maintained, so I would guess you could probably strip a tree in a few minutes if you didn't take much care of the tree & took every apple you could (instead of waiting until it's the correct ripeness. Not sure how many apples these trees hold but possibly around 20-30 per tree, so the operation wouldn't have taken long. You'd need night vision though, or at least minimal lighting to see what you're doing. It would be pretty dark in a well-sheltered orchard at night.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. judge delays extradition of 2 men accused of helping Ghosn escape from Japan See in context

They've been charged with only assisting Ghosn to jump bail so that as soon as they land in Japan prosecutors can detain them and add one new charge per 23 day period in order to keep them "for questioning" (lawyer-less interrogation) for as long as it takes to get them to confess to anything the prosecutors want them to.

It seems to me that there must be some way to challenge extradition based on that human rights aspect, but seeing as their lawyers didn't argue that perhaps there simply isn't.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Posted in: Yakuza have their fingers in Go To Eat campaign See in context

You don't need a criminal lawyer, you need a criminal lawyer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 2-hour virus test to be available at Narita airport See in context

My cousins family of four were charged NZ$13000 for their two weeks quarantine.

If they were residents or if they applied for a humanitarian exemption it would have been free. NZ only charges non-residents and for residents/citizens staying for less than 90 days.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Munakata Taisha and the forbidden island of Okinoshima See in context

In this day and age, that women can still be banned from visiting an island in an OECD country is bizarre. Especially given that it is for religious reasons in a country with one of the highest "convinced atheists" ratios in the world.

For reference:

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK apologizes over tweets said to fan discrimination against Koreans See in context

I wonder if "Shun" was aware that those Koreans were likely used as slave labour and that is why they were celebrating the end of the war in that manner? (if that story is even true at all). The problem with children's viewpoints is that they can be somewhat simplistic and they don't always see the reasoning behind certain actions.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan extends 5,000-spectator cap at events until end of Sept See in context

I seriously doubt there is any real difference in allowing 500 people or 5,000 people into an event. If there is even one infected person there they are going to spread it to others. Whether they spread it to 10 or 100 people, either way it's going to create several new clusters. Of course, with trains the way they are in the big cities, commuting is also risky if you touch anything, and train station/public toilets too. We could really use some leadership at the top, but no hope for that anytime soon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo's Shibuya Station now equipped with anti-flooding facility See in context

Yeah it's at the bottom of the hill but I've never seen or heard Shibuya station getting flooded, sounds like another construction contract to milk money

I can't remember if it was bad enough to stop the subways or not but a number of years ago I can remember exiting the subway up the stairs and a veritable torrent of water flowing down into the small mall under scramble crossing. Since then you'll notice that the top of some exit stairs have a raised slope from the street to the top of the stairs or a step up to the top of the stairs. One particularly bad one is the exit to the side of Shibuya 109, and I'm surprised it hasn't caused someone to fall and crack their head open yet (or maybe it has, I don't know).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan eyes 'energy forests' for woody biomass power generation See in context


Use city garbage and food waste to fuel biomass plants.

Actually, this is not suitable for biomass fired plants. Japan has a good number of waste to energy (WtE) plants which convert city waste to electricity. For biomass you need pellets which are generally made from waste wood / wood by-products, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's two largest opposition parties to merge See in context

What hasn't worked many times in the past is sure to work this time! /s

Rather than relying on popularity, which clearly none of the opposition parties have, why not trying to differentiate yourselves by policy? And by policy, I mean sensible policy which offers a clear, reasonable alternative to the LDP. Most parties seem to be either policy clones of the LDP or complete nutjobs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 188 new coronavirus cases See in context


While I agree with your sentiment, it's been explained previously that there is no direct relationship between the number of tests published each day vs the total positives for that day due to some test results taking longer to back than others. On the face of it though, if the actual positive rate is over 10% that would be a clear indication that there isn't enough testing.

I also agree that any slightly positive news will be misappropriated by the govt and lead to yet another wave of infections.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Gargling solution flies off shelves after Osaka governor touts anti-virus effect See in context

Strangerland, no way I am qualified to answer your perfectly valid question, but from my understanding we usually get the virions landing and sticking to the membranes of our upper respiratory tract first, where they take a while to gain a foothold and make intrusive attacks into the body cells. The body's defences go into some kind of action there, and I have heard suggestions that some dead'uns can be washed/swallowed into the stomach acid and passed out of the system.

Gargling, if it works, would be aiming at this middle camp ground.

Seeing as gargling is done with an open mouth you would almost surely be expelling a certain amount of a combined mouthwash/mucus mix out into the air, probably in a bathroom, probably where people other than you will use the basin, taps etc.

So on top of the issue that the virus is respiratory, even if there is a reduced viral load in your mouth, the very act of gargling seems counterproductive to reducing the spread of infection.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Former 'Terrace House' cast member arrested for marijuana possession See in context

I am against police using their substantial power to stop anyone for no reason. In the US if Shion Okamoto was stopped without probable cause the evidence would be impermissible. However, in this country...

The thing is, J police ask if they can search you. If you say yes (coerced or otherwise) there is no way you're dismissing that evidence. No telling what they'll do if you say no though, so either way you're in trouble if you're carrying anything you shouldn't be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't considers stockpiling 'Abenomasks' after delivery plan draws criticism See in context

How about receiving even the first ¥100,000? Admittedly I applied a week or two after the form arrived but it's been over 2 months and still nothing in my bank account.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan hasn't decided to ease entry ban, foreign minister says See in context

By continuing to ban countries such as NZ which have eliminated the virus its clear that Japan is trying to wait and leverage a deal on terms extremely favourable to Japan. There is literally no reason to continue to ban visitors from such countries as it keeps nationals of those countries hostage here and also prevents what could be valuable tourism/business income.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan may re-open borders to travelers from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, NZ See in context

Guess no trips home to Australia, NZ etc for the time being...

This might actually be okay? Japan seems to want to limit travel to Japan to business travelers, so as long as you were returning to NZ/Aust for family reasons, you would be returning to Japan for work.

Of course, I have no idea how this would reconcile with the restricted travel (presumably only for 2 weeks?) upon returning to Japan though. The plan seems quite poorly thought out and unappealing to those countries Japan wants to allow travel with.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan may re-open borders to travelers from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, NZ See in context

Going by NZ news, NZ currently has no intention to re-open travel with Japan, only with other countries who are near to eliminating the virus themselves, such as Australia.

I can understand that Japan wants to err on the side of caution but it seems over the top to restrict this to business travelers and also to restrict where people can visit within Japan. These travelers will be only from countries where COVID-19 has been eliminated (or at least will be by the time this starts). Either travel is safe or it isn't, and if it isn't why restart it early and risk a second wave between the early-mover countries?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Tech companies target temperature-monitoring patches for COVID-19 See in context

Given that COVID19 seems to have a very high number of asymptomatic cases, you really have to wonder if all the tech which companies are developing to fight the virus have commercial value. I hope for their sake that the patches and other things which are being developed are robust enough to be repurposed for other viruses as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo to reopen gyms in next phase of post-emergency road map See in context

No doubt gyms will require all users to wear a mask, which is kind of impractical for cardio workouts such as running. I have no problem to wear a mask if a store requires it etc, but if the situation is such that a mask is essential I'd rather the gym just stayed closed. They are always free to only allow use of every second treadmill etc but I imagine that mine won't.

(and yes, I can always run outside, but I much prefer treadmills due to the softer running surface and less intersections etc)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Ardern stays cool as earthquake rattles New Zealand capital See in context

The Beehive (NZ Parliament building) was built with a base isolation unit as it is home to NZ Civil Defense, which organizes the response to natural disasters and so the likes of this quake would be almost nothing there. It is designed to withstand the direct hit of even a magnitude 7.5 on the Wellington fault. The story seems a bit of a storm in a teacup given everything else which is going on right now.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Taking aim See in context

Surprisingly expensive for a personal rifle, at 275,000 yen.

I thought you must be wrong so I checked but you're totally right. After the initial shock that such guns are surprisingly (to me) cheap, I felt it's probably par for the course than Japan would select a gun which is twice as expensive as other comparable options.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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