Social media abuzz over Kagawa's move to limit kids' daily smartphone fix | The Japan Times


A draft ordinance designed to curb internet and video game addiction among children and teenagers in Kagawa Prefecture has sparked controversy […] The proposal, which was disclosed last week during a panel meeting, sets a 60-minute limit on daily smartphone use on weekdays and 90 minutes on weekends and holidays. It also introduces smartphone curfews after 9 p.m. for junior high school students and those who are younger, and after 10 p.m. for high school students. No penalties are set for offenders.

“No penalties are set for offenders”, huh? So what is the purpose of this ordinance and why is there a controversy for something that lacks authority?

Nintendo plans life-size video game at Universal Studios Japan


Nintendo Co. fans will soon be able to enjoy a life-size video game experience in a new attraction at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. […] Super Nintendo World is slated to open this summer, featuring a wearable Power Up Band that lets visitors collect coins and battle bosses while exploring a physical environment.

Sounds like something will enjoy the next time he wants to escape from family 😆

Keeping one eye open on Japan's attempts to sleep | The Japan Times


Every plant and animal sleeps. Why can’t humans, so much more intelligent than even the wisest of beasts, manage to do what every house fly and dung beetle does without a thought? Because nature takes care of them as it long ago ceased to take care of us.

Japanese government to urge companies to employ workers until age 70 from next year | The Japan Times


The labor ministry plans to urge companies from April 2021 to ensure jobs are available for workers until the age of 70, it was learned Wednesday. […] The plan offers several options for ensuring jobs for workers up to age 70, such as assisting community service activities by elderly employees and subcontracting operations to businesses launched by older workers. Other options include delaying the retirement age and offering continued employment after retirement, currently mandated for those up to the age of 65.

Unless it is absolutely necessary, I do not want to be working full time until 70 😑

Rex Murphy: And the award for free speech goes to Ricky Gervais


The Golden Globes goes vegan, and the host of the suffocating shindig shows up with the only steak knife in the room. Everyone else is gnawing on spinach and he’s carving the turkeys. […] There are a couple of things to note about Sunday’s barbecue. With Ricky Gervais handling the host’s job, I’d say the awards broadcast was far more interesting than the movies being (on this particular night) dubiously celebrated.

The little clip of the hosting was rather good. I don't watch awards shows, but I would have enjoyed seeing people's reactions to the things Ricky Gervais was saying here 🤐

Vancouver woman ordered to pay $200k for defaming ex-boyfriend in online posts


Noelle Halcrow posted that Rook had a sexually transmitted disease that he had not disclosed to partners, was unfaithful, a failed businessman and alcoholic.

This almost never happens in Canada. It’s good to see that the courts can actually be a fair judge.

Why it's not OK to call someone a nutcase | Julie Anne Pattee


Words make worlds, as the saying goes. Using inclusive language isn't some kind of pointless, politically correct obsession. It's actually the necessary first step toward creating a fairer, more equal society for all of us.

The opinion piece starts out describing a Lego antagonist called “Crazy” as a viscous character that should be watched and, ideally, avoided. The author then goes on to say that we shouldn’t use any words that describe various types of mental illness anywhere else. She goes on to say:

[…] It's still normal for the weather and the stock markets to be described as schizophrenic. Every time something bad or unfair happens to one of my friends, they'll tell me it was "just insane."

As insensitive as this may seem, words mean different things to different people in different contexts across different cultures. The only way one is going to bring about “inclusive language” that also enables people to effectively communicate their emotions and perspectives is to forbid communication altogether. As over-reactionary as it sounds, this is the only way to get around the problem of words meaning different things to different people in different contexts across different cultures.

Some words will hurt people based on past experiences. There is no denying this. The way forward is not to protect people from words, but to foster resiliency. This is how people overcome phobias. A claustrophobic person doesn’t overcome their fear of elevators by taking the escalator.

The Guardian view on internet censorship: when access is denied | Editorial


For a long time, the seductive promise of the internet was of expanding horizons. Individual users would reach out, discovering new friends and new prospects. Nation would speak unto nation. That dream was not unfounded, but it was always an incomplete account, and the sceptics are increasingly being proved right. We are entering an age when what defines the internet may be not expansion but contraction; while the number of its users continues to grow, the imaginative and discursive space it offers is under threat. That space is constrained not only by tech firms’ decisions and customers’ choices, but by the diktat of governments.

Another preachy article decrying non-English-speaking nations for “draconian practices” from a newspaper known to delete comments and quietly remove past articles that run counter to the narrative they’re trying to impose on readers.

Censorship online is not a problem limited to nations, but to humanity. Power-hungry and insecure groups will seek to silence the voices of those who oppose them. The asininity witnessed on Twitter is a perfect example of this.

In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever


Nicholas Kristof: I fear that the news media focuses so relentlessly on bad news that we leave the public believing that every trend is going in the wrong direction

The bad things that you fret about are true. But it’s also true that since modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago, 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating and disfiguring diseases.

Every single day in recent years, another 325,000 people got their first access to electricity. Each day, more than 200,000 got piped water for the first time. And some 650,000 went online for the first time, every single day.

Perhaps the greatest calamity for anyone is to lose a child. That used to be common: Historically, almost half of all humans died in childhood. As recently as 1950, 27% of all children still died by age 15. Now that figure has dropped to about 4%.

This is something that I generally try to communicate to people when they complain about how messed up the world is. Sure, there's a lot of work to do, but this doesn't diminish the amazing work that's been done and is still being done. Far too much of the daily news focuses on the negative, as that's what people pay attention to. If the news were peppered with more stories about the things people around the world are accomplishing, then maybe we'd feel better about our civilisation and all that it's capable of.

Outbreak of SARS-like pneumonia being investigated in China | The Japan Times


China is investigating an outbreak of atypical pneumonia that is suspected of being linked to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the flu-like virus that killed hundreds of people in the early 2000s, state media reported Tuesday.

Well this isn’t cool.