Monthly Archives: January 2012

What do Japanese People REALLY Think of America?

After the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in March, no country offered as much help as the USA. I don’t think any nation gave as much in terms of money, resources, or expertise. I don’t mean to belittle the 100+ other countries whose help was of course very much appreciated, but America deserves all the credit they get, and more. That’s because it wasn’t only how much they gave, it was also the fact that they gave so quickly and so readily. So let’s now look at what effect this has had on their relationship, and the Japanese public’s opinion on the USA.

Posted in Culture, Japan, Media | Tagged | 1 Comment

Hypnosis, the Power of Suggestion, and the Science of Hypnotherapy

You are getting very sleepy… As I count to three, you will fall into a deep trance. 1… Your eyes are scanning the words across the page, getting ready to read the rest of this post. You’re preparing for the amazing two BBC documentaries below that will together answer virtually every question about hypnosis of which you have ever conceived. 2… You’re going to understand what hypnosis really entails; including how it works, and its strengths and limitations. You will finish this article, say “Wow, that was amazing,” and write a fabulous comment below. …3!

Posted in Abnormal & Clinical Psych, Medicine & Health, Neuroscience, Psychology, Science, Social Psych | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Earthquake Research Says Tokyo May Get “The Big One” Within the Next Few Years

I have been covering earthquake predictions in Japan for a few months, and unfortunately the news has been getting progressively worse. I wrote a detailed article about this before, explaining the risks and implications of a powerful earthquake in Tokyo, but researchers from the University of Tokyo are challenging those earlier predictions. The situation, they say, is much more worrisome than we thought, and the danger may come much earlier than expected.

Posted in Japan, Legal Issues, Media, Science | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Blogging is Good for Your Memory

In a very real sense, blogging is good for your memory. It’s a shame that not more people know this, but I intend to make that point clear here. There’s an old adage that if you want to master something, you should teach it. Obviously teaching something doesn’t automatically make you an expert, but the fact of the matter is that in order to competently teach something, you must know it well. This is why many students study better when they know they have an upcoming test, and why science bloggers (if they’re competent) know plenty about what they discuss. The medium of blogging forces us to research, or else face the well-deserved scrutiny that comes along with public discourse. For this reason, blogging takes a lot of effort, but as you’ll see, it’s certainly worth it.

Posted in Activism, Blogging, Psychology | Tagged | 1 Comment

Left-brain vs. Right-brain Learning Styles

Are you a creative person? Then you might be a right-brain thinker. What about your analytical skills? If you’re a highly organized and logical person, then you may be a left-brain thinker. These distinctions have been said to guide students and workers alike to function more efficiently in their everyday lives. That is, knowing what type of “thinker” you are can help you determine what your learning style is. For example, it may be useful to know whether or not you are a visual learner. So check the infographic below to find out what you are!

Posted in Activism, Neuroscience, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Japan, the “Twitter Nation,” Shatters Twitter Record Yet Again

As I have mentioned before, Japan is the “Twitter Nation.” In 5 short years, a fifth of the Japanese population were on Twitter, and as of October 2011, 14% of all tweets were in Japanese. That explains why the image above is so brightly lit within Japan – it’s a map of Twitter activity (i.e., the blue white dots denote locations of tweets). Twitter is such a popular part of the Japanese culture now that practically everyone in the young generations are using it. This explains why something as mundane as a movie on TV broke the previous record for tweets-per-second (TPS). You can also thank Japan for re-breaking that record 3 weeks later.

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged | Leave a comment

Skeptikai Turns One Year Old! And My Top 10 Picks

One year ago today, Skeptikai became a reality. Since then, a hell of a lot has happened. Obviously I never expected the March 11 earthquake here in Japan, so I didn’t realize just how much time would be dedicated to that; and yet I still have so much more to say about it. But I wanted to use this article to look back at 2011 in terms of the research I’ve done and the articles I have written. You’ll be able to get an idea of what this blog is about, for those of you that haven’t been here before; or a recap of what articles have become popular.

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Blogging | Leave a comment

Can You Hear the Music? – MP3 Players Yield Hearing-Impaired Youth

They always said that listening to music too loudly would cause permanent damage. As it turns out, they were right. Researchers at Tel Aviv University (Israel) published a recent study that investigated the music-listening habits of young people (pictured above: a young person). A quarter of teens (aged 13-17) were said to be at risk of early hearing loss because of personal listening devices. “In 10 or 20 years, it will be too late for a generation of young people suffering from hearing problems much earlier than expected from natural aging,” says lead author Chava Muchnik, giving new urgency to the phrase “can you hear the music?”

Posted in Activism, Culture, Japan, Medicine & Health, Science, Technology | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Truth and Fantasy, and the SOPA bill

I have good news and potentially very bad news. First, the good news.

I am happy to announce the opening of Truth and Fantasy, a blog that I have just started with several others who wish to start blogging. The style will likely be similar to Skeptikai, in that we (or I?) will continue on the pursuit of educating people on matters of public interest. But of course, it will not be so focused on Japan. There seems to be a lot of interest in law and politics, which is not something I have focused on too extensively, though it has informed some of my articles. I presume that the beginning will be relatively slow, as the new bloggers on the site get used to their role (I am already accustomed to blogging) but I’m sure it will pick up rapidly. As for the bad news…

Posted in Activism, Blogging, Legal Issues, Media | Tagged | Leave a comment

Love Plus Imagination – Part 2: Visual Novels

In Part 1, we looked at how simulation games appeal to players. Being the social creatures that we are, gamers often like to engage with others, even in the virtual world. We saw how dating sims are often – but not always – intertwined with “eroge,” (“erotic games”) and how there have been many successes and failures with the genre. Now we’ll turn our sights on the “visual novel” format, which are prevalent in practically every modern dating sim. We’ll look at how the reputation of this gaming genre has been tarnished, and why they continue to be made despite that.

Posted in Culture, Japan, Sex and Sexuality, Video Games | 2 Comments