Prime minister declares goal of a Japanese astronaut becoming the first non-American to walk on the lunar surface.
As the year winds down many of us are mulling over resolutions for ourselves in 2021, such as losing a few pounds, learning a new skill, or finding more time to spend with loved ones. On Tuesday, though, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida laid out a much larger, and more long-term, goal for the nation.
Meeting with Science and Technology Policy Minister Kobayashi Takayuki and members of the Japanese government’s Strategic Headquarters for Space Development, Kishida announced revisions to Japan’s Basic Plan on Space Policy, as it calls its objectives for space-related scientific development. Revisions to the Basic Plan are regularly made, but in the latest round, for the first time, one of the goals is to have a Japanese astronaut walk on the surface of the moon.
“The frontier of space gives hope and dreams to humanity,” waxed Kishida before transitioning to more practical reasons for going to the moon with “and it is also an important foundation for securing the stability of economic society.”
With Japan’s JAXA space agency not in the practice of launching manned spacecraft, the path to Kishida’s ambition of having a Japanese astronaut become the first non-American to walk on the moon appears to be the country’s participation in the Artemis Project, a NASA-led initiative seeking to carry out the first manned lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Among the other topics discussed at the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development meeting were the importance of coordination between the Japanese government and private sector in developing supply vehicles and a new lunar rover for the Artemis Project, as well as efforts to advance techniques and technology for generating solar energy in space.
With a library of over 350 items, you can craft an original model even if you aren’t an artist! So we did.
With the recent boom in virtual YouTubers it seems like everyone and their shonen dog are getting in on the virtual avatar scene, which is why we’ve seen so many “create your own” VTuber apps and voice modulators cropping up all over the Internet.
And now Japanese website Pixiv, which serves as a hub for both original illustrators and fan artists, has chosen to throw their hat in the ring with their own free software.
Plus the best part is that you don’t need a single lick of artistic talent! The software, VRoid Studio, comes with a well-stocked asset library that lets you adjust the character model to your liking and even dress them up in stylish threads.
▼ The software’s official trailer is up on YouTube.
The program is available even outside of Japan and even has an English interface, as I learned when I decided to download it for myself.
Notably, the program is less than one gigabyte in size and isn’t especially demanding — it ran perfectly well on a standard laptop. The interface is also easy enough that you can jump right in like I did.
▼ First, choose to create a new character.
It asks you to choose their style of gender presentation.
As I’m not an especially talented 3-D artist or well-versed in how to rig digital elements, I decided to stick with the provided assets for the most part. My goal was to recreate myself in anime format as best as possible.
Free-walk VR game gives you your choice of Monster Hunter weapons to swing as you track and fight Velkhana.
Though the original concept behnd Universal Studios Japan was to be a place where guests can enjoy movie magic, the Osaka theme park has also become one of the country’s coolest destination for video game fans.
Universal Studios isn’t in any mood to ease up on the gamer-oriented accelerator, either, as they’ve just announced their newest project: a team-up with Capcom’s smash hit Monster Hunter franchise. It’s a VR attraction, but instead of being a headset-supporting roller coaster or theater show, USJ is giving fans what they really want: the ability to grab weapons and hunt some monsters!
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne XR Walk is the first attraction for USJ’s new XR Walk, a free-walking virtual reality system and venue (i.e. you’re actually walking around it, not sitting in a chair and pressing a “walk” button).
Together with up to three other players in your party, you’re cast as recent arrivals as the game’s Seliana base. After another hunter comes back to the guild after suffering heavy injuries, your team heads out to rescue his comrades who are still out there in the Hoarfrost Reach, traversing snowfields and caves as you gather items, search for tracks, and try to find the survivors.
Naturally, you’ll be armed, and you get your choice from among a selection of iconic Monster Hunter weaponry such …continue reading
The number of people exploring the so-called metaverse with VR equipment is growing day by day. This trend has been accelerated by the novel coronavirus pandemic, as it has provided an opportunity for people to discover ways in which they can practice physical distancing while bridging social distance in the form of avatars.
But what does “being in VR” and “living in VR” actually look like? Little is known about people’s virtual lives due to the anonymous nature of the medium.
A groundbreaking report jointly authored by the Swiss cultural anthropologist and Vtuber researcher Ludmila Bredikhina (@BredikhinaLand) and the self-professed “world’s first” independent Vtuber and HTC VIVE brand ambassador Virtual Girl Nem (@nemchan_nel) from Japan provides much-needed insights.
Analyzing 1,197 answers to a large-scale worldwide study conducted between August 23rd and September 9th, 2021, the team created a report that visualizes the lifestyles of VR users, not only presenting trends in the ways people use VR but also shedding light on the different aspects of VR users’ unique lifestyles, such as romantic relationships and phantom sense.
Summary of Findings
The report is divided into three parts, a VR Lifestyle Report examining social VR utilization trends, avatar appearances, and vocal communication methods, a VR Love Report focusing on love and romantic relationships in VR environments, and a Phantom Sense Report on VR avatar communication and phantom senses (experiencing pseudo sensations during a VR experience that should only be audiovisual).
Regardless of country, VRChat is the most popular social VR platform.
Social VR is primarily used to “socialize with friends.” However, usage purpose varies by platform.
There’s an old saying that it’s always darkest before the dawn, and sure enough after Japan’s most infectious wave of COVID-19 infections by far, we’ve been given an unexpected respite. However, why this is and how long it will last remain to be seen.
Around mid-to-late July cases began to skyrocket from about 3,000 a day to roughly 25,000 per day by around late August. However, just as fast as it shot up, the number of new cases took a nosedive to 549 on 10 October, amounting to a 98 percent decrease in about a month.
▼ Number of daily new cases in Japan during 2021
Not only is that a staggering drop, but the current rate of daily new cases is the lowest its been in all of 2021. Upon hearing this news, the cynical parts of us will undoubtedly assume that Japan just stopped testing as much, however, even by the metric of testing rates we’re still seeing record lows.
Despite the 98 percent drop in cases, there has only been a 45 percent decrease in PCR tests taken. Furthermore, among those tests the rate of positive results slid from about 17 percent to 1.2 percent, which is a 93 percent decrease and once again a record low for 2021.
▼ The dark green line represents the Number of PCR Tests in Japan (7-Day Average). The light green line represents the Percentage of Positive Test Results (7-Day Average) multiplied by 10,000 so the different rates of change can be more easily seen.
本日 Google は、国内の活発な報道業界の継続的な支援に向けた新たな取り組みを発表します。これらの取り組みは、の一部です。Google ニュース イニシアティブも国内における様々な取り組みを行っています。
Women Will Leadership Program
報道業界が多様性を受け入れる文化を促進するために、報道業界に向けた Women Will Leadership Program の申し込みを本日より受け付けます。このプログラムは、10月13日を皮切りに2 か月間のリーダーシップ スキル トレーニングと問題解決ワークショップを通じて、女性がキャリアを向上させ、企業における職場環境の変化を推進するためのトレーニングを提供します。編集、ビジネス問わず、本テーマにご関心がある方はどなたでもご参加いただけます。詳しくはサイトをご参照下さい。
GNI Local Lab
Google は、地方紙が地域と人をつなぐ重要な役割を果たしていると認識しています。地方紙を支援するために、42 都道府県 46 の地方紙にトレーニングを提供します。この取り組みは、報道機関がサイトのパフォーマンスを向上させるのに役立つワークショップと、知識共有セッションに焦点を当てたものです。また、地方紙のデジタル収益の拡大に必要な実践的な実装もサポートしており、これまでもサイトスピードの向上やUIの検証を通して媒体収益の向上に取り組んできました。詳細についてはpublishingpartnerprogram@google.comまでお問合せ下さい。
Build New Local
地方紙が主導する Build New Local プロジェクトもサポートしています。これは地方紙が、アフターコロナ時代における地域社会を新しい形に再構築するという目的で、人材開発、新規事業アイデアの創発、新規デジタルビジネス開発、ネットワークづくりに取り組んでいるものです。Google は、Build New Local 参加者に Grow with Google とGoogle News Lab を通じたデジタル マーケティングやオーディエンス開発などのデジタル トランスフォメーション スキルトレーニングを提供しました。また、アイディアソンでは、Google のワークショップである CSI: Labからデザイン思考のヒントなどを紹介しました。年末に開催される Build New Local ビジネス アイデア コンテストも支援する予定です。
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Would you rather get a vaccine in your arm or in your nose?
While vaccinations are definitely something we recommend, not everyone is a fan of getting jabbed. For anyone suffering from trypanophobia (a fear of needles), getting your vaccine shot can be a traumatic experience. In fact, at the site where I was vaccinated, a woman had to be carted off in a wheelchair before she’d even seen the needle, as she was so scared she’d begun to hyperventilate.
But now, thanks to new research by scientists at Mie University, needles may be a thing of the past when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine.
Professor Tetsuya Nozaka from Mie University’s Graduate School of Infectious Disease Control and Medicine announced a new coronavirus vaccine is being developed that can be administered through a nose spray, eliminating the need for needles at all.
“The vaccine can be sprayed through both nostrils, and the appropriate antibodies will be produced,” he said.
▼ Looks like we might not be needing that needle after all.
The spray vaccine, which has been in development since March 2020, can be stored for at least six months, and Professor Nozaka hopes the vaccine will be used as a booster shot. He also added that the initial animal testing stages had produced positive results.
“The vaccine’s effectiveness surprised even us,” the professor said, adding that the chance of any side effects like a fever are “extremely low”.
Seems almost too good to be true, right? Well, the professor is facing a pretty steep challenge when it comes to rolling out the vaccine spray.
“It will cost 10 billion yen (roughly US$9.1 million) to commercialize this vaccine,” the professor admitted in an interview. “But we need to …continue reading