Number of influenza patients in Japan remains low


According to the ministry, only seven influenza cases were reported in the two weeks to Sept. 13. The figure is less than a thousandth of the year-before total and about a hundredth of the average-year level.

This year, the number came to three in the week to Sept. 6 and four in the following week. There were two patients in Chiba Prefecture, and one each in Gifu, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Okinawa prefectures.

By contrast, the number stood at 3,813 in the first week of September last year and 5,738 in the second week for a total of 9,551, reflecting an outbreak in Okinawa Prefecture. In usual years, the total in the period stands at several hundred to 2,000.

Mhmm. I figured this would happen, too, given the reduced number of interactions with people. It’ll be interesting to see what the full result is when spring returns next year. I figure this will give people a lot of data on how to drastically reduce cases of seasonal influenza nationwide 😷

Trudeau government promises Greta Thunberg two billion trees, plants zero


Last year — less than a month away from the federal election — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that, if elected, his government would plant two billion trees by 2030. The announcement came on the same day that Trudeau met with Thunberg.

But, on Sept. 16, La Presse reported that none of the anticipated new trees had been planted. According to the Quebecois publication, just under 600,000 trees should have been planted every day since September 2019, if the government was to reach its stated goal.

Trudeau will say anything as long as it’s seen as “progressive”. Unless his friends are winning no-bid contracts for the work, though, nothing will happen. Also, water is wet.

None of this surprises anybody.

Kagawa mom whose daughters died of heatstroke left kids in car to go bar-hopping


Maria Takeuchi, 26, was arrested Friday for allegedly leaving her daughters — Mayuri, 6, and Yurie, 3 — in a car for over 15 hours through early Thursday afternoon, when the children were found unresponsive. […] An autopsy found that the girls died of dehydration caused by heatstroke, the police said. The temperature rose to as high as 37.6 degrees Thursday in Takamatsu, a record for September. […] Takeuchi allegedly left them in a passenger car at a parking lot in Takamatsu from around 9 p.m. Wednesday, resulting in their deaths, the police said, adding she is declining to speak about the allegations.

So she drove her car to a location with the intention of drinking for an extended period of time. She brought her kids with her thinking “they can sleep in the car”. And she didn’t get back to the car until noonish the following day?

We can’t go a week without hearing about a parent somewhere in the country arrested for leaving a kid in the car, but this one takes the cake …

Terence Corcoran: You are not you, and other truths of the new world


[…] After half a century of torch-passing from one anti-liberal theorist to another, North America and other Western nations have settled on a final truth: You are not an individual.

In the new world, people are slotted into assorted collective categories: white or Black, oppressed or oppressor, straight or LGBQ, steeped in inequality, male or female or other, green or a denier, young sidelined millennial or aging privileged colonialist, a Muslim or a Jew or a Christian. From now on, these are the primary labels that define and describe your role in life and shape the content of your mind and character. Forget and submerge your individual capacities and abilities, your intellectual independence, your personal perspectives, ambitions and failures.

This is a relatively long piece, but it's well worth the read.

Yoshihide Suga to run in LDP leadership race to replace Abe


Suga conveyed his intention to run to LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, a key figure in deciding how the party election will be held, sources said.

If these are the three running, here’s how I hope the party election results will work out:

PM Contenders

  1. Shigeru Ishiba (Left) ⇠ making him the next PM
  2. Yoshihide Suga (Right)
  3. Fumio Kishida (Centre)

Regardless of who the next PM is, though, they’re going to need to give people a reason to have confidence in them. Ishiba would be my pick if I were a party member, but he doesn’t come across as a strong leader. He would need to speak with a bit more assertiveness and conviction if he’s elected.

Protesters in Montreal topple John A. Macdonald statue, demand police defunding


A spokesman for the Montreal police confirmed the statue of Canada's first prime minister was unbolted, pulled down and sprayed with graffiti

And it was beheaded. The 200 law-abiding people participating in the demonstration allowed it to end with this sort of action. “Defund the police” they demand but, looking at the bullshit that bad actors do today, why in the world would any Canadian city want to reduce spending? This isn’t about some form of oppression that anarchists are marketing as “equality”. This isn’t about “brutality” as Canada’s police officers — while hardly the perfect role models of enlightenment and restraint — are generally some of the most respectable law enforcers in the world.

The people who topple statues, the people who deface buildings, the people who taunt others to provoke a response that can be framed to show the antagonist as a victim … it’s these people who are without perspective and without identity. They are pawns playing a game that is taking place at a level way, way over their head.

If we are to judge everyone in the past by the standards of the moment, then we are all damned. All of us. The most righteous today will be considered a savage in 25 years. Even the champions.

Is there a need for change in our institutions? Of course there is. There always is. Civilization is not a static enterprise. However, to demand change while exhibiting the worst parts of human nature is like giving in to a toddler throwing a temper tantrum in the grocery store because you won’t buy them the sugar cereal.

People have every right to protest. People have every right to demand our social institutions live up to the ideals of the community. But it comes at a cost; the people must show by example how these demands will make for a better tomorrow.

Temper tantrums are fine for children, but adults need to step up their game.

ASUS Announces ZenFone 7 Series: The Triple-Flip Camera - Hands-On


Today ASUS is announcing its follow-up to its innovative flip-camera design that was first introduced last year with the ZenFone 6. This year's ZenFone 7 series, consisting of the regular ZenFone 7 and the ZenFone 7 Pro are sticking to the quite well received and innovative flip-camera design, improving upon its specification by adding in an extra camera module. We've also seen key specification improvements on the part of the phone itself, with an important shift from an LCD screen to a new 90Hz AMOLED display, as well as adoption of Qualcomm's newest Snapdragon 865 and 865+ chipsets.

This is quite the unique device 🤔

A Chrome feature is creating enormous load on global root DNS servers


The Chromium browser—open source, upstream parent to both Google Chrome and the new Microsoft Edge—is getting some serious negative attention for a well-intentioned feature that checks to see if a user's ISP is "hijacking" non-existent domain results


Windows 95 turned 25 today


25 years ago Microsoft officially released Windows 95, an operating system that was far more consumer-focused and internet ready than its predecessors.

Quite a bit has changed in the quarter century since …

Japan's creaking computer systems are hampering economic recovery, experts say


Economists say the shoddy state of Japan's digital services is dampening the benefits of fiscal stimulus and holding back technological progress in the private sector.

[…] “Japan is behind the world by at least 20 years” when it comes to administrative technology, said economist Yukio Noguchi, author of several books about tech and Japan’s economy. “The country needs to escape its system of using paper and physical stamps as soon as it can.”

Given the state of “modern” Japanese websites like Rakuten, I can only imagine what a whole bunch of committee-driven government sites might look like …