rainyday comments

Posted in: Doctors warn of New Zealand health tragedy after smoking ban scrapped See in context

This is an awful move.

The "black market" argument is a bit of a red herring I think. Its true that prohibitions (like alcohol prohibition in the US in the 1920s) often cause addicts to simply switch to buying from illegal sources, but this legislation was structured differently and had a different purpose.

The first point is that this legislation doesn't prevent anyone already addicted to cigarettes from buying them legally, they still could. It was solely targeted at people who are too young to have yet become addicts for the express purpose of trying to prevent them from becoming one in the first place.

The second point is that even if a black market for cigarettes did spring up, it would by necessity be much smaller than the current legal market, and would be much more difficult for young people to access, making it much less likely that they would become addicted.

The third point is that its not clear that a black market would even spring up given how the legislation operates. The key point is that there would still be a legal cigarette market operating for decades to come (until all smokers born before 2008 pass away), which means that the only potential market for illegal sales would by definition be to people born after 2008. While its certainly probable that some young people would get addicted to cigarettes obtained through ilicit means (much the same way teenagers today acquire cigarettes from older people), this would be a very small market at first and, given that these people would know that they would never be able to access cigarettes legally, I don't think you would see anywhere near the number of post-2008 kids becoming smokers who would purchase from a black market as the number of pre-2008 kids would. These - particularly the continued existence of the legal market - would generally probably make illegal cigarette sales way less profitable to gangs, etc.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

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.

I would push back a bit on this idea.

Social media WAS a phenomenal means of communication for everyone in the late 00s/early 10s when it was still mainly designed with that purpose in mind. Over the past decade or so though the business model has changed from "helping you connect with people" to "using algorithms to keep your eyes glued to the screen".

15 years ago when I signed up for Facebook, and for the first few years thereafter, it was a really great and useful platform. I was able to use it to get back in touch with long lost friends, stay connected with relatives living far away, and also communicate casually with current friends in my day to day life. It was actually a "social" activity back then.

Its pretty much useless for doing most of that stuff now. My feed is full of ads and promoted content that Facebook thinks I want to see, but none of that is what I used Facebook for in the first place so I hardly ever even bother looking at it. The people I used to communicate and share stuff with are mostly the same, almost nobody ever posts anything on it anymore so its just a desolate place now. I would have shut down the account years ago except there are a few people I am only in contact with via it so I keep it up for that, but nothing else.

I think a lot of other social media has evolved similarily over the years - start out being really useful, get loads of people to sign up, then change everything around to make it more monetizable at the expense of the utility it used to have.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Karatsu Castle filled with history, scenic views and anime See in context

The best part of that castle, which isn’t apparent from the photos, is its seaside location. Its located on one of the rare relatively unspoilt stretches of coastline in Japan and the view from the top of sandy beaches stretching for as far as the eye can see, right next to the blue ocean and forested mountains, is extremely impressive. Its an easy day trip from Fukuoka.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Mother arrested for leaving 11-year-old son at home for 3 days while she stayed with boyfriend See in context

Man, its not fair how some kids get stuck with truly awful parents. Gotta feel for that kid.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: White House concerned Iran may provide ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine See in context

Semantics, National Security Advisor.

Not semantics, you are complaining that Kirby is the spokesperson for the NSC, not that he is the spokesperson for the National Security Advisor.

Jake Sullivan is the National Security Advisor, Kirby is not Sullivan's spokesperson.

I hope this explanation helps.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: White House concerned Iran may provide ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine See in context

 In the past the NSC Chair would brief the president in private.

The President is the Chair of the NSC so how exactly does that work?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: White House concerned Iran may provide ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine See in context

Its disgraceful the way Iran is using Russia to wage a proxy war against the West, they are just prolonging the suffering of the Russian people by needlessly prolonging the war. They should stop immediately rather than insisting in fighting til the last Russian.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: New Tezuka 'Black Jack' manga episode created using AI unveiled See in context


6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan’s oldest monorail permanently closing next month See in context

I used to live in Himeji which for decades had the remnants of a monorail that had shut down in the 1970s. The decaying rails, support posts sticking out of old buidings and an old apartment building that had a defunct station built into it were some of the neatest bits of "abandoned Japan" scenery but most of it was removed a few years ago.

Monorails, though they might be efficient, do destroy the urban landscape. 

Have you actually seen the urban landscape in this country? Not much left to destroy, let alone by something as innocuous as a monorail.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Angels' Ohtani wins historic AL MVP; Braves' Acuna wins NL honor See in context

And yeah, Drysdale was a “good hitter for a pitcher”, but still basically hit like a pitcher (.186 lifetime batting average). Ohtani in contrast just led the AL in home runs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Angels' Ohtani wins historic AL MVP; Braves' Acuna wins NL honor See in context

That varies by year. Back in the day a great player on a mediocre team wouldn't sniff the MVP.

True, I hasten to add that the writers do seem to place a lot of weight on whether a player contributed to his team and the vast majority of MVPs have played for strong teams. But there are counter examples out there (Cal Ripken in 1991 for an awful Orioles team comes to mind) where the player’s individual performance by itself was clearly what sold them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Angels' Ohtani wins historic AL MVP; Braves' Acuna wins NL honor See in context

I'm not saying he is not a great player. I'm just saying he is not as "valuable" as most seem to think. 

Angles with Ohtani in 2023 62-73, without Ohtani 11-16. Losing record either way.

Compare that with Aaron Judge of the Yankees, last year's MVP.

With Judge in 2023 57-49, without Judge 25-31.

The Yankees were a better team with him than without. To me, that is "value."

Player of the year? Absolutely. Best player? Sure. Valuable? Not so much.

When I played ball, statistics piled up in a losing effort were often referred to as "fool's gold."

This is true, but is kind of irrelevant. The MVP award is not necessarily given to the player who made the biggest contribution to his team’s performance. The writers almost always base their votes on which player had the most outstanding individual season and there are many precedents for guys on mediocre teams winning.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Car overturns in collision, killing 2-year-old boy in Chiba Prefecture See in context

From the facts stated in the article it sounds like he wasn’t properly restrained and was thrown from the vehicle in the collision.

This is such a frequent sight in this country and it just angers me so much to see little kids climbing around in the front seat of moving cars without a seatbelt on. I don’t know why so many Japanese parents think this is OK, but it inevitably leads to tragedies like this.

I remember visiting my in laws when my eldest was 8 months old and my father in law planning to drive us around for a few days with him just sitting on my wife’s lap. When I insisted on buying a car seat he was quite offended and took it as an insult to his driving skills rather than as something normal. Had to put my foot down on that one though.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: North Korea criticizes G7 as 'remnant of the Cold War' See in context

Ah the communist dictatorship that only exists as a result of Cold War politics is complaining about remnants of the Cold War, is it?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Want a healthier lawn? Instead of bagging fall leaves, get a more environmentally friendly yard See in context

But I think it’s a good idea to sort of flip that paradigm and design areas of the lawn that provide for play and gathering spaces, and then figure out what everything else can be.

I think this is very good advice.

Being a homeowner in Japan, in my neighborhood most of the houses fall into one of two categories:

New houses: don’t have yards at all. All of the available land is concreted over for parking. They look like miserable, depressing places to live.

Old houses: have yards, and they are all given over to highly trimmed, decorative gardens of varying sizes. These look way nicer than the depressing newer houses, but they share one thing in common which is that they are not laid out with humans in mind. They don’t have places for anyone to sit down with a coffee and enjoy the pretty garden, or for kids to play in them, or families to have lunch on a picnic table or anything like that. Despite being so pretty I often find these places a bit depressing too.

I have a small yard and try to make actual use of it. We made space for a picnic table, and a small lawn just big enough to set up a kiddie pool in the summer or to set up additional lawn chairs or to let the kids do whatever they want with it. We have space for a hammock too which is great, and enough tree cover so that we have some nice green shade in the summer. Several of these trees produce fruit (oranges, grapes, olives, etc) so my kids and I have fun harvesting those. This requires some work, especially trimming the trees and clearing up leaves so they don’t bother the neighbors, but its so worth it. My next door neighbor, who also has kids, took the opposite approach and completely concreted over his entire property so he wouldn’t have to deal with weeds, etc. They get no use out of their property as a result while I get a ton of enjoyment from mine.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Do you think Christmas decorations and light displays are put up too early in some countries? See in context

Now is way too early. I was shopping at an AEON yesterday that had all their Christmas decorations out and Christmas music playing. Its just depressing and robs the actual Christmas season in December of a lot of its emotional resonance if, by the time it arrives, you’ve already been listening to it for a whole month.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, Ukraine to hold reconstruction conference next year in Tokyo See in context

History clearly teach us that it is impossible to defeat Russia.

History teaches us that Russia has been defeated multiple times, some easier than others:

Russo-Japanese War

World War 1

Crimean War

Afghan War

War of the Third Coalition

War of the Fourth Coalition

First Chechen War

Livonian War

Smolensk War

Russo-Ottoman War

Khivan War

Latvian War of Independence

Polish-Soviet War

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan hospital denies LGBT woman support for IVF pregnancy See in context

Once again playing word games! There are NO parents in either of these cases, there is ONE parent, specifically the mother.

You are playing word games to cover your mistakes, and doing so very badly!

There are no fathers in either of the cases! Everything you are referring to is when there are BOTH a mother and father!

Read the laws again, they ALL state parents or father! Read and educate yourself!

I've read the law and provided you with specific citations to the articles in the legislation I was relying on. You haven't responded to that or the substance of what I've written and are instead parsing out semantic details in what I've written (oh god yes I should have used "mothers" instead of "parents") when my meaning should have been quite clear from the context. I'm not trying to mislead you or play games here, I'm trying to have a rational discussion.

No without naming the father they child can not be registered!

This is simply not true. I'm not trying to trick you here, this actually is incorrect.

A mother can register her child in her own Family registry without the need for the father. While yes it is true that the identity of the father is supposed to be submitted as part of the registration, its also possible for the mother to leave the "Father" space in the registry blank without it affecting the validity of the registration.

It should come as no surprise, I would think, that this is a factual situation that occurs quite often in society and is unrelated to IVF. Sometimes mothers give birth to children whose father is not known. One night stands have a long history in this country as in any other. Japanese law does not leave such children stateless by that fact.

The legal concern noted in the article you linked to earlier, which does relate to IVF born children, is distinct from that. The concern there is not that the child would not be able to appear on anyone's koseki - that is NOT the issue - but rather that the mother might use the process provided in Article 773 of the Civil Code to have a court designate the sperm donor as the father of the child (which would place certain obligations on the father, but has nothing to do with the nationality of the child or their ability to appear on a koseki).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: This year 'virtually certain' to be warmest in 125,000 years, EU scientists say See in context

Do you really need explicitly spelt out "approximately" when you hear "100,000 years"?

Apparently this is sometimes needed.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan hospital denies LGBT woman support for IVF pregnancy See in context

Wrong! Please stop with spreading false information! Japan does not have birth-right citizenship! The baby MUST be registered with the appropriate authorities, either the local municipal office or Japanese embassy or consulate when registering the birth overseas

I'm not spreading false information, I'm trying to correct your statement that parents who undergo IVF treatment will give birth to "stateless" children, which is pure and utter nonsense.

As I correctly stated Japan does have a just sanguinis system (citizenship through blood). This is NOT the same as birth right citizenship (jus soli, citizenship through birthplace) nor did I say it was- the Nationality Act, Article 2 states that a child born to a mother or father with Japanese nationality is deemed to be a Japanese national.

Yes, there is an exception to that contained in Article 12 of the same Act which further states that a child born abroad who gains citizenship of a foreign country under the law of that country (such as the US) will lose their Japanese nationality if their parents do not notify their intention to retain their citizenship through the Family Register system.

That, however, is massively different from saying that children born through overseas IVF are rendered stateless, which is just plain wrong for the following reasons:

1) Not all mothers who receive IVF treatment overseas will necessarily give birth outside Japan;

2) Even if they do, Article 12 only applies if they give birth in a country which has a jus soli system that gives children born in that country citizenship regardless of their parents citizenship. Most countries do not follow that system so in most countries this issue would not arise.

3) Even if they are born in a Jus Soli country, all the mother has to do is fill out a form to maintain their child's Japanese nationality.

4) Even if such parent is negligent or forgets, Article 17 of the Act provides that a child who has lost nationality as a result may re-acquire it through a simple notification process.

Also there have been a few recent articles even here, regarding mother’s who have NOT registered their children and because of that, are in fact, living here in Japan but are not recognized as Japanese citizens and are ineligible for any social services! 

Pursuant to the Family Registration Law, the full names of the father and mother of a person born in Japan must be stated in the notification of birth, and in case of a Japanese national, the full names of his/her natural parents must be stated in the family register.

Yes, but that is an issue that affects children whose mothers (usually) did not register them in the Family Registry. The most common reason for that failure is that the mother is trying to flee from domestic violence or some other form of trouble. That problem is completely unrelated to mothers conceiving through IVF overseas who (unless they coincidentally are also fleeing violence) don't face that situation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: This year 'virtually certain' to be warmest in 125,000 years, EU scientists say See in context

If Ice proves the age of the ice sheet, what proves the age of the ice?

gotta love these round numbers. If it were scientifically gained it wouldn’t be a nice, round number.


3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: This year 'virtually certain' to be warmest in 125,000 years, EU scientists say See in context

Didn’t most of the ice caps melt?

so where is proven 125,000 year old Ice found?

And how does ice tell temperature, especially warm ones as it would….melt?

The Antarctic ice sheet is millions of years old, and the Greenland ice sheet is more than 100,000 years old. The data relied on comes from the study of those. Bear in mind that for most of the past 125,000 years Earth was in varying stages of ice age glaciation and that human civilization only currently exists thanks to the retreat of those ice sheets in the Northern hemisphere tens of thousands of years ago.

You can read more about the methodology here:


10 ( +11 / -1 )

Posted in: This year 'virtually certain' to be warmest in 125,000 years, EU scientists say See in context

So they claim a global climate crisis based solely on human CO2 emissions

No, they recognize the complexity of the climate and the factors that contribute to it, and the fact that CO2 emissions are the main, but not the sole, contributor to the climate change we are witnessing.

and then jump from there to the "solution" that Western governments can "solve" this by passing new laws.

No, they then jump to the conclusion that since atmospheric CO2 levels are the main problem, reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere is the main solution regardless of what country that CO2 comes from.

Completely ignoring the fact that even if the entire EU and USA would suddenly disappear from the planet, human-produced carbon emissions would STILL rise, as China, India, and Africa have no intention of deleting themselves.

No, they don't ignore that, the entire IPCC system is based on the recognition that all countries, not just the West, have to reduce their emissions rapidly if we are going to deal with this. China is the biggest emitter and will have to reduce its emissions way more than it currently is planning, which is a massive concern, but their irresponsibility isn't going to be helped by the West also shunning any attempt to deal with the problem, which seems to be what you are suggesting.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: This year 'virtually certain' to be warmest in 125,000 years, EU scientists say See in context

The warmest in the last 125,000 years. There've been no records kept and I find this claim to be unproveable. They shouldn't make these kinds of claims w/o proof or records.

From the article:

The longer-term data from U.N. climate science panel IPCC includes readings from sources such as ice cores, tree rings and coral deposits.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan hospital denies LGBT woman support for IVF pregnancy See in context

Money is obviously not a problem, as IVF procedures are not cheap. Not to mention she is in effect going to have a baby that will be, for all intents and purposes, stateless!

Why would the baby be stateless? Under Japanese law (Nationality Act) a baby automatically receives the nationality of their mother at birth, there aren't any special rules on that related to babies conceived by IVF treatment overseas.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan hospital denies LGBT woman support for IVF pregnancy See in context

Koji Takahashi, a senior official at the agency who received the request, echoed that view, saying, "Regardless of how she got pregnant, there should not be a case where an obstetrics department refuses to examine a pregnant woman."

Takahashi added the government would soon send notices to hospitals instructing them to avoid a repeat of the situation.

Kind of encouraging to see a government official in charge of somethng talking sense and taking steps to actually fix a problem when informed of it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you refer to the X social media platform by its current name, or do you still call it Twitter? See in context

One problem with the name "X" is that its too generic and doesn't perform a very good signalling function to listeners or readers. When someone says "Twitter" everyone knows what they are referring to. When someone says "X" people aren't going to immediately connect it with the social media platform unless its obvious from the context.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 5 arrested for shinkansen ticket fraud; damage may total ¥300 mil See in context

You "lost" if you even think that I consider this discussions "arguments" and that I am interested in "winning" or not.

Well, if you weren't arguing it at least seemed like you were trying to make a point of some sort and I'm still unclear on what that point is. That the Kyodo News reporter who wrote this story is a lazy, discriminatory person deliberately hiding the address of the Chinese suspect under the guise of falsely pretending that they did not have one as a means of subtly influencing readers' otherwise positive opinions about people who engage in schemes to defraud JR?

This seems far-fetched to me, and unfair to the Kyodo News reporter, hence my interest in prodding you to explain it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: 5 arrested for shinkansen ticket fraud; damage may total ¥300 mil See in context

The merchant is the victim for chargebacks due to fraud if ant

Is that what actually happened here though? I'm not familiar with the rules in such cases, but I was under the impression that the credit card company reimburses its customers and only goes after the merchant if it has a claim against them (JR didn't do anything wrong so I don't think they would). Either way though you would still run into the problem that the tickets are likely to have already been used so even if JR was able to identify which specific ones were purchased via this fraud and had a system for cancelling them (not sure if they do or not), its probably too late anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 5 arrested for shinkansen ticket fraud; damage may total ¥300 mil See in context

Question! Can JR invalidate these tickets so anyone who has them cannot use and just told "tough luck, you have stolen goods"? I hope so and that would mean the loss would be much lower unless they had already been used before the discovery of the CC number thefts. So when someone tries to go though ticket gate it gets rejected, they go to station master and call told the bad news and/or call the cops if the user is suspect, etc.

I think the problem is that JR isn't the victim that suffered damage here, its the people whose credit cards were illegally used who are out of pocket (or their credit card companies in the event that they reimburse them). Their loss won't be recovered simply by JR cancelling the tickets (which is probably not possible now anyway, the tickets were purchased months ago and likely were already used).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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