Nightshade 2014 comments

Posted in: Japan to resume Fukushima rice exports See in context

Educator60: I really hope you are right about Singapore conducting its own tests. Radiation standards, as shown by many commenters above, are fluid and change to accommodate convenience. I really hope Singapore does its own independent tests, and by "independent" I mean independent of political deals and lobbies and pressures to trade. That would be encouraging.

Arimura: you get what you pay for. That's sometimes a crappy deal, but it's true. So buying Fukushima produce because it is cheap gives you an immediate benefit. But long-term, who knows? Me, I won't gamble the health of future generations on it. Not until unbiased independent and independently funded research makes the actual situation clear. BTW, be careful when you use the word "ignorant". Who is ignoring the facts of radionuclide content in food? Certainly not the people who are wary about it.

Onniyama: good point. I wonder who in Japan would buy produce labelled from Chernobyl/Pripyet. Not many, I suspect. Wouldn't it be funny if cucumbers from Chernobyl and cucumbers from Fukushima were sold side by side in a supermarket here? It would be 'interesting' to watch shoppers choose

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan to resume Fukushima rice exports See in context

borscht: you're absolutely right. The "safe" level suddenly jumped upward after the accident. Many people seem to lose sight of this point. When there is no nuclear reactor meltdown spewing radiation, the acceptable safe levels are low; but when a bunch of reactors meltdown, suddenly there is a whole new "safe". How convenient for those making those the rules. Lets not forget, either, the wisdom (sarcasm) of building several nuclear plants right in the heart of Japan's key agricultural heartland. Not much foresight involved there. I feel very sad for the farmers who cannot sell their wares. But they should not sell them and spread the problem until a real solution has been reached: for example, when radiation levels go down to pre-accident standards.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: 100,000 elephants killed in Africa, study finds See in context

fxgai: your comment unfortunately indicates that you are part of the problem and not part of the solution, and that you didn't understand my comment. It's true that people have their life to live, but how can you use that as an excuse for mass-killing of another species for nothing more than money? Human beings do not NEED ivory. Ivory does not serve an essential purpose. It is an unnecessary luxury -- or at least a luxury that is not needed to maintain life or improve standard of living.

You mention "utilising those creatures in a sustainable manner" and I can agree with that. IF it is actually sustainable. Killing an animal for one part if its body and leaving its almost intact carcass to rot is NOT sustainable, and is not being a good steward of the planet. If the killer uses much or all of the animal, that's a different story. Eating the meat, or using the bones for something.

Contrary to your statement, this is NOT a good outcome for elephant populations as a whole, so your comment makes no sense. It is also important to remember that ivory is a restricted substance under international law, so the "steady source of income" you mention is actually a criminal offense. And besides, I've not seen many societies in which getting richer resulted in better management of resources. Quite the opposite actually.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: 100,000 elephants killed in Africa, study finds See in context

There was a phrase in the article that made me very angry: "China is aware of its image problem regarding the ivory trade." Well, if that statement is accurate, I suggest China is focused on the wrong problem. Don't try to sugarcoat one's serious environmental and biological crime. Stop worrying about image and start focusing on fixing the essence of the problem: the demand within China to kill elephants for no reason other than some silly antiquated demand for exotic luxury. Here's a controversial statement, but I think it's accurate: any FUNCTIONAL atttribute served by ivory can be easily replaced by such substances as plastic. So since there is NO functional requirement for ivory, the only reason for demand for it must be related to pathetic human desire for luxury, riches, exotica, rare substances, etc. Avarice, materialism, and luxurism is not going to serve the planet or any living creatures on it. (And yes, I understand that it is locals who are killing the elephants; but I think this complements my point rather than weaken it).

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Posted in: Evacuation advisory lifted for part of town near Fukushima nuclear plant See in context

Funny how radionuclides have a half life of decades, or thousands of years in some cases, but this town is suddenly safe after just over 3 years. Decontamination has taken place, but 20 km away the plant continues to spew out radiation. Lets not forget that "safe" radiation levels were re-defined (pulled significantly upward) after the accident. It's a numbers game. Most of me feels sorry for the people who lived in these towns and cannot return, or may choose not to now the bans are lifting. But part of me also wonders if none of them ever suspected this could happen.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Malaysia Airlines steward detained in France for sexually assaulting passenger See in context

This article raises more questions than it could possibly answer. The accusation of "sexual assault" or "inappropriate sexual conduct" is a serious criminal allegation, and if an article is going to be written about it, there needs to be more concrete info than just the allegations repeated in quotes within the article. No one is asking for grim details that invade anyone's privacy, and if there was an assault then I hope due legal recourse serves, but if the entire world is going be told about this incident, bringing further negative attention to MH, then it needs to be backed up with some kind of facts or details. The article says he "...sat beside her and sexually assaulted her...". (I wonder what the other passengers were thinking as this went on).

If that's all the information they've got, or all they're willing to give, then there is no article here, no reason to write it, and no reason to draw attention to or discredit MH any further...........

Unless that is the objective. Otherwise what is the purpose of the last four paragraphs? The article effectively ends before those last twists of the knife are added in. Makes me go hmmmm.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan sends Hello Kitty into space See in context

I was excited by the headline. Hopefully, once being launched into space, we will never have to be inflicted with Kitty again here on Earth. I wonder how much the corporation spent to fund this stellar advertising project.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: There may be a vague feeling of anxiety that is not based on scientific grounds. See in context

Is anyone else getting tired of this balderdash (for lack of a better word)? If there were "scientific data" (not funded by or excerpted or extracted by the same old tired names) that actually PROVES there's nothing to worry about, then other countries wouldn't have an issue with food safety. Problem solved. Be careful about the words "scientific grounds".

So......There can only be three possibilities:

1) Japanese food is unsafe due to radionuclides (in which case other countries wouldn't/shouldn't buy them; and Japan has the serious and adult job of finding a way to either invent technology to remove radionuclides from food, or else stop trying to flog toxic waste on other countries.)

2) Japanese food is safe in terms of radionuclides (in which case Japan needs to be open in providing the data, based on scientific method--ideally researched by neutral third parties with no vested interest in any part of politics here--and using "non-nuclear-emergency" standards, rather than the several times elevated "acceptable limits" adopted by a nation facing [double and possibly triple] nuclear meltdown). For a country without three destroyed reactors, the adjusted limits are simply not acceptable, and not only do those countries not have any obligation to buy the stuff, they actually have an obligation to keep their population safe by not buying the stuff. So if the food is safe, make the case and get on with it.

3) Japanese food might be safe, or might not be safe in terms of radionuclides. No one knows and few people care because to look into this would possibly isolate the food producers in contaminated prefecture(s) and create a region-based area of 'disharmony' and perceived 'unfairness', which would obviously affect favorability and voting tendencies in similar regions across the nation. In this case, IMHO, it would be completely unrelated to overseas countries, and not very moral to inflict on others, in which case official comments would ring all the more hollow.

I'm hoping option 2 is the reality, but I suspect/fear that option 3 might actually be the case. But whatever the case, Japan faces the daunting task of dealing with this. "Dealing with" suggests proactive planning and action. My heart goes out to all the people in the affected regions who cannot make a living like before due to this very very tragic accident. Let's find the right way.

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Posted in: Are Japanese growing less heat-resistant? See in context

As is often the case, turbotsat, you provide a great point of view and good points for consideration. Thanks. Acclimation must also be considered here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Are Japanese growing less heat-resistant? See in context

I understand what this article is trying to do, and thanks for bringing up an issue that is pertinent to everyone. I feel that, in order to add some more nuance and balance to the premise posited in the headline ("growing less heat-resistant"), it is necessary to also represent the other half of the argument. This article briefly but mostly accurately touches upon the physiological and biological factors that appear to be contributing to this heat-weakness phenomenon. But if physiological and biological predisposition were the only factor, then this heat-weakness would not be a new phenomenon, and not worthy of an article. Humans have been humans for millennia.

What the article fails to discuss are the "environmental" factors that contribute to heat-weakness -- one of which is the staggering amount of body-water-depleting synthetic substances in today's processed foods, which was less of a factor in past generations. The liver and intestines require a surprising amount of water (seriously, you'll be shocked by how much) to help them process various chemicals, especially complex sugars (used in pretty much everything now) and synthetic chemicals such as preservatives, texture enhancers and flavoring agents. Note that things like coffee, tea, alcohol and sweet drinks also require significant additional water in order to be processed. This biochemical requirement has been explored in scores of scientific papers. Putting it another way, the average modern human body is struggling with a bit of a water shortage.

Hot weather, for obvious reasons, also requires a lot of body-water in order for the body to cope. So you can see the problem.....

I wish this article had at least touched on possible causes for increasing occurence of heat-weakness, rather than tried to make it just age-based.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Posted in: Williams' death serves notice of dangers that come with fame See in context

I think Robin Williams was amazing. He was troubled, to be sure, and had addiction issues and a sadness that obviously haunted him. Poor guy.

With the disclaimer that I am not a doctor, geneticist or psychologist, but just an average person observing life around me, some days I wonder if simply dismissing depression as a physio-chemically based deficiency might not be a little too convenient and reductive. Not to deny that there is a brain chemistry part of it, that's been proven, but I'm not seeing much scientific inquiry into the environmental/societal factors that could trigger the chemistry. The nature-nurture argument, I guess.

"He can't help it, he is sick" sometimes seems like a cop-out because it dis-assumes or rejects any exploration of surrounding factors, and conveniently discounts any societal influence. Some things are not simplistic enough to be solved through a pill, and I sometimes wonder if this is one of them. I suspect sadness is a response to circumstances, not exclusively a pre-existing condition.

In any case, RIP Mr. Williams.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Kamikaze pilots say war horrors lost on young See in context

This article is too full of items to comment on, to a degree that I can't comment without writing something five times longer than the original. So I'll just say one thing: I hope peace is ruthlessly wielded by more and more countries. Conflict has proven itself unable to arrive at lasting solutions.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Haruki Murakami's new novel goes on sale in U.S. See in context

I sometimes wonder if the reason why Murakami is considered such a "great Japanese author" by lots of people in the English-speaking world is because he arranges translations of his books to be released in English more than other Japanese authors do. In other words, perhaps he is referenced because he's one of the very few Japanese authors that the West knows. There are plenty of great authors here in Japan, but until they're translated, the world would never know it. Some of Murakami's novels are pretty interesting. But some are certainly not.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: What are your favorite film memories of Robin Williams? See in context

This very excellent question is SO hard to answer.....Because RW was so amazingly talented. I agree with philly1 about the powerful scene in Dead Poets Society. O Captain my Captain.

But I'm also pulled back to the scene in Patch Adams when the main character is poised on the ledge of a cliff and looking down, considering jumping, and says (paraphrasing), "I could do it, I could jump. But you know what? You're not worth it." (How ironic this seems to me now).

RIP dear sir

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Posted in: Actor-comedian Robin Williams found dead in apparent suicide See in context

I agree with pretty much every comment on this thread. Robin Williams went beyond merely talented and gifted: he was a legend. A king of comedy, impersonation, drama and entertainment. He brought laughter to all of us, made the world brighter, and made things happier. Through his acting he showed us passion and beauty and human frailty.

It is so sad that for all the laughter, happiness, brightness and beauty he provided for all of us, that he wasn't able to find it or internalize it for himself.

Mr. Williams, in your rest I hope you find a peace and all the heartfelt smiles that seemed to escape you while you were here among us. We will miss you terribly. This is a truly sad day. This weekend I'm going to rent as many of your movies as I can and watch them. RIP, sir.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: LDP lawmaker criticizes Nagasaki mayor's remarks on Abe's defense policy See in context

Very true turbotsat. Criticism is the foundation of checks and balances. So Tsuchiya can and should criticize Taue. I should have made that point in my comment above. My bad.

But the opinion "...he should resign as mayor and contest a seat in the Diet" is an opinion that is unbecoming of a senior member of the ruling party because it suggests a vertical relationship that does exist in reality and is not in line with established policy. That's all I meant.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: LDP lawmaker criticizes Nagasaki mayor's remarks on Abe's defense policy See in context

So why on earth would any mayor be criticized for voicing the idea of "listen to growing public concerns over Japan's commitment to its pacifist pledge"?! There is either freedom of speech or there is not. Either public opinion is considered or it is not.

And I don't buy the usually-unvoiced but sometimes invoked artificial walls between National, Prefectural and Municipal governments. By Japanese law, unless it has changed in the last few years, although there are very clearly delineated distinctions of roles of the three different types, there is no vertical relationship between these three categories of government. Municipal governments are "equal" to Prefectural and National, in the context of their defined roles. But I'm not familiar with any bylaw that says these people are not allowed to have an opinion on the policies of the other types.

And just to deflect any off-the-point comments, I'm not positing an opinion about any national policy, the defense policy or anything else. Whatever policy has been commented on doesn't matter. What I'm saying is that expressing a political opinion should not prompt "...he should resign as mayor and contest a seat in the Diet". That doesn't sound right. Any policy that affects the city over which a mayor presides gives that mayor a right to have and express an opinion about it. Am I wrong here?

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Posted in: 2 men jump to deaths from train platform in Tokyo See in context

How sad. Whether or not these men knew each other, it's tragic that they felt they could no longer face another day. Life/living can be so difficult sometimes, but it's sad that these two guys couldn't find something to compensate for the hard bits. RIP.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Ex-plant worker jailed for 42 months for tainting frozen food See in context

Isn't that an attempted murder charge, which would earn him a lot longer than 42 months (3 and 1/2 months)? If not, why not? Puzzling.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Scientific review finds aspirin significantly cuts cancer rates See in context

Hey cool. Aspirin, which has been around for a long time, is proving itself to have been quite an amazing invention. I also like that this article touches on the anti-cancer properties as well as the gastric bleeding properties. Thank you for a balanced review of the findings. (Although the article doesn't quote which "large review of scientific studies" it refers to...)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Israel pounds Gaza as Palestinians urge resumption of truce talks See in context

Looking at the article, and the comments given here, I get a better picture of why there has not to date been a peaceful resolution to this old old old conflict. How sad.

Soundbytes heard from TV or one's favorite magazine (unless one intakes news from both "sides") are not going to give one the factual basis upon which to condemn either side to attack, destruction and death. The idea of who fired first has a longer memory than the current round of debates. This is not a weeks-old issue, or even a months-old issue. It goes back a lot longer than that. It's a cycle of attack, defend, and then retaliate, on both sides. It's reductive to draw a line so recent.

So I believe all of us commenters should avoid the over-simplistic summaries of who did what during the past week or few weeks. It's a conflict, people are attacking each other, and people are dying. Should it matter WHICH people are dying? I doubt it. That is a difficult and dangerous point to debate anyways. Can we stop the killing, or do we want it to go on?

And before anyone tries to twist what I just wrote, I believe that ALL attacks on a neighbor (no sides taken here) are illegal and unacceptable, which is in accordance with the UN Charter (Article 2) and various ICJ rulings.

Am I a silly romanticist to believe that humans are big enough to find a way to find common ground? If so, I apologize, and in that case, please just disregard my comments.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: FTC commissioner warns on mobile health-data gathering See in context

It's essential now to read the fine print on any app's user/privacy policy. Although they are a skillion pages long written in sentences that are made to be confusing and open to interpretation, in the words of some wise person, there is nothing more pricey than something that is free.

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Posted in: Russia scraps Japan meeting in response to sanctions See in context

OssanAmerica said it perfectly and succinctly, so I shall repeat: this was so expected that it hardly qualifies as news.

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Posted in: Japan defence paper warns over China's 'dangerous acts' in sea, air See in context

You raise some good points, sfjp330

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Posted in: Japan defence paper warns over China's 'dangerous acts' in sea, air See in context

Nigelboy & OssanAmerica: thanks for the perspective. I never thought of it in those terms. This is a dilemma for Japan, but one that I still hope won't go hot. How can China be (or be allowed to be) a member of the UN, and the Security Council, if it is not signatory to ICJ and other organizations of international collaboration? How could that happen? I realize it's not all or nothing, but it should be something or nothing, right? Is this just historical legacy? If so, time for a revamp, no?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan defence paper warns over China's 'dangerous acts' in sea, air See in context

OssanAmerica: You are right, regarding the Senkakus, international law appears to have given Japan control of them. Although the law doesn't specifically say they are Japan's, it doesn't include them on the list of returned territories. Still, that makes them Japan's. But the vague gesturing I refer to is the fact that despite international law being on its side, Japan doesn't make conspicuous efforts to bring this to ICJ. I think this should come first. Japan seems unsure about what to do. You're also right that China won't want to bring this to ICJ -- big can of worms there. I just hope all this talk doesn't become "hot". I don't want anyone injured over some unused rocks.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan formally OKs additional Russia sanctions See in context

All this negativity against Russia... I'm not very informed about this issue, but one-sided arguments usually suggest there's more to actually study and decide for oneself.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan defence paper warns over China's 'dangerous acts' in sea, air See in context

Some issues are fueled by emotion rather than proactive and constructive thinking. I often find this issue to be one of those cases. Although I am aware that each of Japan's territorial disputes with its neighbors over proximal islands (many of which are unused and some even unusable) is somewhat different, each with its own unique set of nuances, those nuances are overshadowed by a larger issue of post-WW2 international law, which is the recourse Japan should appeal to in order to make its case, rather than vague gesturing. If Japan doesn't make their case for territory to the UN, I can only think of three reasons why not. How many can you think of?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Fist bumps more hygienic than handshakes, say scientists See in context

Leaving aside the semi-paranoia and OCD implications of the premise, a very noble solution is to do away with shakes and bumps, and adopt the custom of bowing, like in Japan. I'm being a bit silly, but so is this article, whose purpose escapes me...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S. lawmakers warn Japan, Canada on Pacific trade deal talks See in context

Has anyone here actually SEEN the text and specific terms of the TPP agreement to be able to determine which part is in the best interest of whom? No? No one? Hmmm. Me neither. Not even the press have seen it. No one but the people at the negotiating table have seen it, because it is secret. How can an alleged trade deal that suggests open markets, unfettered barter and inclusive trade be so closed, secretive and exclusive? There must be some reason that the original proponents decided it should be a secret deal...even though it affects every man, woman and child in all signing countries. If I'm the only one who finds that fact disturbing, then I must be out of touch.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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