2011年11月28日

氷河融解 ブータンで高まる「山ツナミ」の危険性


As Glaciers Melt, Bhutan Faces Increased Risk of 'Mountain Tsunamis'
( TIME )

The Kingdom of Bhutan, tucked between India and China in the foothills
of the Himalaya mountain range, is paying the price for global
industrialization. Climate change is causing many Himalayan glaciers to
melt in increasingly unstable ways, and there are concerns about the
long term viability of the ice in a warmer world.

Water flows from these melting glaciers until it breaks the natural ice
dams that hold it in place. That, in turn, can result in devastating
floods like the one that occurred in 1994, when a torrent of mud killed
dozens of people in Bhutan and wiped out entire villages. Western
scientists call this phenomenon a glacial-lake-outburst flood, or GLOF.
With 24 of its 2,674 glacial lakes considered unstable, Bhutan is
preparing in the coming years for even deadlier "mountain tsunamis," as
the phenomenon is sometimes referred to.

Although these "tsunamis from above" may be the most immediate danger,
they are not the only threat facing the people of Bhutan. As the
Himalayan glaciers disappear, so too will the rivers on which the
kingdom depends. Water, after all, is the country's most precious
resource. Bhutan depends on it to irrigate its fields, which support
thousands of farmers, and to feed its hydroelectric plants, which
generate about 40% of the country's wealth each year. Water is to
Bhutan what oil is to Kuwait.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(2) | 国際 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年11月24日

壁に目あり フェイスブックを利用する研究者たち


Walls Have Eyes: How Researchers Are Studying You on Facebook
( TIME )

Before he became the new face of right-wing extremism in Europe, Anders
Behring Breivik was just another guy airing his anti-immigration views
online. On Monday, Breivik, who admitted to a killing spree in Norway
in July, which left 77 people dead, faced his first public-court
hearing. While Breivik may have acted alone, he was far from alone in
cyberspace: he had spent much of the time leading up to his attack at
his computer, chatting with some of the millions of nationalists who
support right-wing groups on social-networking sites. After this
summer's tragedy, researchers wanted to find out more about these
people. But how to find them? Easy -- just log on to Facebook.

"We realized that it wasn't that difficult to get to them at all," says
Jamie Bartlett, the lead author of a recently published report on
European digital populism by British think tank Demos. Facebook's stash
of personal information is so encyclopedic, says Bartlett, that the
researchers could simply use the site's advertising tool to pinpoint
their desired demographic with scientific accuracy -- the way marketers
have been doing for years. Bartlett's team found half a million fans of
right-wing groups across Europe and then targeted them with ads, but
instead of linking to a new band or diet product, the ads invited users
to complete a survey that asked questions about their education level,
attitudes toward violence and optimism about their own future.

Others say the site could offer a way to identify and tackle social-
health problems. A recent study by Dr. Megan Moreno, of the University
of Wisconsin-Madison, and her colleagues found that undergraduates who
discussed their drunken exploits on Facebook were significantly more at
risk for problem drinking than students who were silent on the topic.
Moreno suggests that students' peers, like residential advisers, could
monitor the site and intervene to help a student who posts one too many
boozy Status Updates. "You can't treat a problem if you can't diagnose
it," Dimitri Christakis, Moreno's co-author and director of the Center
for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's
Research Institute, told the Washington Post. "We've found a way to
identify kids at risk who would not otherwise be diagnosed."

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 技術・IT | このブログの読者になる |

2011年11月21日

ペンギンもつらいよ トロント動物園が「同性愛」ペンギンを引き離す

Tough Love: Toronto Zoo to Separate ‘Gay’ Penguin Couple
( TIME )

It’s a romance suited for the pages of a children’s book. (Oh wait,
that sounds familiar.)

Buddy and Pedro are two male African penguins at the Toronto Zoo who
seem to have a connection -- a very special, loving connection -- that
has zookeepers wondering if their relationship is more than just a
bromance.

According to the Toronto Star, zookeepers have noticed that although
Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, swim and play with the other penguins in
their enclosure by day, they pair off and nest together at night as
well as exhibit other telltale mating behaviors, such as touching,
making braying sounds and defending their territory.

Does this mean that Buddy and Pedro are gay? Not exactly, as the term
doesn’t normally apply to animals. But according to research from the
University of California, Berkeley, birds -- and other animals, for
that matter -- are known to form same-sex relationships.

But unlike the Central Park penguins, these Toronto lovers won’t make
it past the courting phase. In accordance with the species’ survival
plan, the zoo staff will separate Buddy and Pedro so they can fulfill
their biological destiny: to create more African penguins.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 科学 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年11月17日

オリンパス疑惑 知りすぎていたCEO


Scandal at Olympus: The CEO Who Knew Too Much
( TIME )

In the days after he was promoted to President at a big Japanese
multinational -- just eight months ago -- Michael Woodford was on a
trajectory to succeed to the highest executive level, becoming the
latest example of how much "Japan Inc." was changing. The rule had been
that foreigners could never dream of occupying C-suite in Japan because
they would never understand the subtle ways Japanese corporations work
and succeed. But Carlos Ghosn had famously remade Nissan; and Sir
Howard Stringer is the big boss at Sony Corp. Woodford's ascendancy at
Olympus Corp., the famous Japanese camera company, seemed to be
continuing proof that foreigners were no longer even exceptions to the
rule.

Woodford in his time in Tokyo had been digging into four separate
acquisitions Olympus had made from 2006 to 2009. Three of the four had
already had their assets written down to just a fraction of the nearly
$1 billion Olympus paid to buy them. Each of the firms involved in
those three cases -- a recycling company, a company that makes anti-
aging cosmetics, and a company that makes microwave oven-safe food
containers -- were registered in the Cayman Islands, a famous tax haven
in the Caribbean. And all three were dissolved shortly after the deals
were done. Extraordinarily, at a press conference on Oct. 27, Olympus
executive vice president Hisashi Mori said that the only information
his company has about the shareholders of the three are the names of
the entities in the Caymans that the payments went to -- for example,
one called Neo Strategic Venture LP -- and bank account numbers. Said
Mori: "We know nothing about who they are."

It is still far from clear whether Woodford's suspicions that
"sinister" elements were involved at Olympus will be borne out. But
it's also a fact that for decades there have been links between
organized crime groups -- the Yakuza -- and Japan Inc. Companies have
long used members of organized crime groups to ensure that annual
meetings are peaceful -- that pesky shareholders don't get too out of
line with annoying questions of management. In 1999, the chairman of
what was then Japan's largest bank, Dai Ichi Kangyo, was convicted of
paying off these so-called sokaiya -- corporate shake down artists --
and given a nine-month sentence. Three years ago, in response to
reports that organized crime had gone upscale and was investing large
sums in publicly held companies, Japan's Securities and Exchange
Surveillance Commission compiled an index of more than 50 listed firms
with alleged ties to organized crime.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 日本 | このブログの読者になる |

2011年11月14日

フクシマ後の日本は安全な観光地なのか?


Is Post-Fukushima Japan Safe for Tourists?
( TIME )

When Lady Gaga went to Japan for a benefit concert for tsunami victims
in June, she found herself taking on an unfamiliar role -- that of
tourism promoter. In characteristic Gaga form, she didn't hold back
anything either, saying at a news conference that she wanted "to run
around Tokyo, enjoy the beautiful city and kiss all the beautiful
little monsters and scream at the top of my lungs that everyone should
come visit this beautiful place."

The country could certainly use a pop-star plug. Japan's international-
tourist numbers have plunged this year, hit by the double whammy of a
record-breaking high yen and the lingering radiation concerns from the
Fukushima nuclear disaster. Eight months have passed since the
devastating earthquake and tsunami, but many tourists are still
hesitant about traveling to Japan.

For the tourism industry, the disaster couldn't have come at a worse
time. The country was just starting to see the results of an aggressive
tourism campaign started in 2003 to boost revenue from foreign tourists
as a way of offsetting the economic problems brought on by an aging and
shrinking population. In 2010, foreign visitors reached 8.6 million, a
26% increase over the previous year. And as hoped, the country was
becoming an increasingly popular destination among Asian travelers,
particularly the luxury-obsessed Chinese. Average spending for Chinese
tourists in 2010 reached $1,600 per visit -- close to the amount spent
by American and British tourists. The Chinese also spent the most on
consumer goods among tourists from major countries -- about $1,000 per
visitor.

The government hasn't helped make the case that Japan is indeed safe to
visit again. In October there was an outcry in the media after
residents in and around Tokyo conducted their own independent radiation
tests and found several areas of contamination. This flew in the face
of repeated assurances from the government that radiation from
Fukushima had not spread 150 miles (240 km) south to the capital and
didn't pose a risk to residents. A comprehensive decontamination
program will finally be implemented in northeastern Japan when a new
cleanup law takes effect on Jan. 1. Still, it could take years to
collect and store the tons of contaminated soil in the region.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 日本 | このブログの読者になる |
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