2012年3月20日 星期二


福島核事故的教訓My findings in the existential fallout from Fukushima日本再建基金會主席船橋洋一為英國《金融時報》撰稿

In retrospect I cannot but marvel at the extent of my naivety and ignorance then. But such was the mindset of almost everyone in my country in those fateful two weeks, after Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was plunged into “station blackout” by the impact of the tsunami of March 11 last year.
回首過去,我無法不對自己當時表現出的幼稚和無知程度感到驚訝。但在受去年3•11海嘯影響,東京電力公司(Tokyo Electric Power Company)下屬福島第一核電站陷入“全廠斷電”狀態之後的兩周中——這兩週對我們的命運產生了重大影響——在我的國家,幾乎每一個人都是這種心態。
What I simply did not recognise ​​was that Japan was on the edge of an existential crisis, as a cascading nuclear accident rapidly unfolded. For 48 hours from March 14, disaster seemed especially imminent. Officials in the prime minister's office were gloomy if not desperate. Late on March 14 Masataka Shimizu, then president of Tepco, began telephoning officials and insinuating the company's intentions to abandon the plant and evacuate workers – compelling the then prime minister, Naoto Kan, to intervene decisively: he stormed into Tepco headquarters and ordered senior managers not to abandon ship. He also implored that a “death squad” be formed to continue the battle and inject water into the reactor vessels.
我當時完全沒有意識到,隨著一場重大核事故一環接一環地迅速展開,日本正處於一場事關生死存亡的危機邊緣。 3月14日之後的48小時內,大難臨頭的感覺似乎尤其明顯。首相辦公室的官員們即便沒有絕望,也已十分悲觀了。 3月14日晚間,時任東電公司總裁的清水正孝(Masataka Shimizu)開始致電政府官員,暗示該公司欲捨棄核電廠並疏散工人——這迫使時任日本首相的菅直人(Naoto Kan)採取果斷干預:他氣沖沖地來到東電總部,命令高管們不得棄廠。他還要求組建“敢死隊”繼續戰鬥,並向反應堆容器注水。
The stakes, we now know, were extraordinarily high. Unbeknown to the public, Mr Kan also instructed Dr Shunsuke Kondo, chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), to draw up a “worst case scenario”. The resulting contingency document submitted on March 25 envisioned a hydrogen explosion in Unit 1 initiating a succession of meltdowns. The resulting plume of radiation could have led to the evacuation of Tokyo's metropolitan area, the report projected.
現在我們知道,當時的風險是何等之高。可我們並不知道,菅直人當時還指示日本原子能委員會(Atomic Energy Commission)委員長、近藤駿介(Shunsuke Kondo)博士設想出“可能出現的最糟糕情況”。這份3月25日提交的意外事故報告設想,1號機組將發生氫氣爆炸,繼而引發一連串的熔毀事故。該報告預計,由此產生的輻射將令東京的中心區域不得不進行疏散。
How could we have come to this? How could such a technologically advanced country be so unprepared? Reflecting on all this, after six months heading an independent commission on the accident, I have a better sense of what transpired – and the lessons Japan badly needs to learn from the disaster.
For one, our nuclear industry became ensnared in its twisted myth of “absolute safety”, propagated by interest groups seeking to gain broad acceptance for nuclear power. To wit, when Niigata Prefecture made plans in 2010 to conduct an accident drill for earthquake preparedness, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) recommended revising the plans to avoid sparking “unnecessary misunderstanding and anxiety” in the public; the prefecture was duly obliged to drop the earthquake premise in favour of a less menacing alternative – heavy snow! Similarly, utility companies' aversion to actions smacking of preparations for a potential nuclear disaster meant that development of ro​​bots to assist in nuclear accidents was never pursued.
At its core, Japan's nuclear safety regulatory regime was phoney. Regulators pretended to regulate; utilities pretended to be regulated. In reality, the latter were far more powerful in expertise and clout.
Beyond this hollow structure, an excessively risk-averse approach and a stovepipe structure within the administration did not serve the country well. Submitted to this critical test, inherent governance problems came to light, exposing two fundamental lessons. First, we need to overcome the myth of “absolute safety” and shatter the taboo that surrounds the very concept of risks in the nuclear energy business. We must also learn how to prepare for the unthinkable and unanticipated. This requires constant vigilance regarding the safety and security of nuclear plants as well as practices of nuclear waste disposal. Second, we need to build a regulatory body independent from the “nuclear village” of industry, bureaucrats, and academics working to promote nuclear energy. This demands a foundation of solid expertise and professionalism. And then, one more lesson – if we can call it a lesson – is that we really should look back upon the crisis with an appropriate sense of vulnerability and humility, recognising the uncontrollably destructive power of the nuclear monster once unleashed. This latter should never be forgotten.
Japanese society has learnt keenly the crucial role of leadership in a time of national crisis. It is precisely this issue that continues to divide and even polarise my country most profoundly. One year on people are still grasping for an answer as to what kind of leadership Japan really needs. In the course of our investigations, a staff member in M​​r Kan's office made a striking statement –​​ one he would never utter publicly out of respect to the evacuees: “How lucky we were that God is still with us in this country .”
The truth is that the imagined “worst-case scenario” was closer than anyone would wish to admit: but for the direction of the wind – towards the Pacific, not inland, in the four days after the earthquake; but for the manner in which the gate separating the reactor-well and the spent-fuel pool in Unit 4 broke – presumably facilitating the transfusion of water into the pool. Luck was undeniably on our side.
Is that it – providence? What of individuals? Some would say we had Mr Kan as the nation's “chief risk officer” at the critical moment, even if many would take offence at that. Masao Yoshida, manager of the plant at the time of the disaster, has also been praised for his courage and his leadership. His legendary kabuki play – making a show of agreeing to the order from Tepco's head office to halt water injections until further notification from the government, while simultaneously instructing his employees to proceed – has entered popular folklore.
這是天意嗎?還是個人的作用?有些人會說,菅直人在這個生死攸關的時刻肩負起了“首席危機處理官”的重任,但也有很多人並不認同這一說法。災​​難發生時擔任福島第一核電站站長的吉田雅夫(Masao Yoshida),他的勇氣和領導力也得到了人們的讚揚。他上演的那出帶有傳奇色彩的“好戲”——他假裝接受東電公司總部要求停止注水以等待政府進一步通知的命令,與此同時卻指示員工繼續注水——已成為人們津津樂道的話題。
Against the backdrop of ineptitude and risk-aversion at Tepco headquarters, admiration for him is understandable. Yet there is something troubling in a manager on the ground disobeying instructions from above so brazenly. It is even more troubling to see his rebellion widely praised in the court of public opinion. In truth, this a story without heroes – only a long sigh of relief and an invoice of vital morals to be parsed.
The writer heads the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, which set up the independent investigation commission on the accident
本文作者是日本再建基金會(Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation)的負責人,該基金會組建了核事故獨立調查委員會。


2012年3月16日 星期五


2012年3月14日 星期三

Study: All Red Meat Linked to Premature Death

Study: All Red Meat Linked to Premature Death

Researchers found that eating even small amounts of unprocessed meat upped study participants' chances of dying by 13 percent.

A Harvard study published online this week says that all red meat is linked to higher risk of premature death

Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

Bad news for red meat lovers: A new long-term study published online this week from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that eating any type of red meat significantly ups one’s risk of premature death.

And contrary to what the researchers had hypothesized at the outset, processed meat isn’t the only culprit—unprocessed meat appears to increase the risk, as well.

The Los Angeles Times reports that eating a 3-ounce steak—roughly the size of a deck of cards—once per day upped the chances of dying during the study by 13 percent. Replace that serving with processed red meat, like a hot dog or two slices of bacon, and the risk shoots up to 20 percent among study participants.

While red meat has long been associated with increased risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, CNN points out that the study, which tracked upward of 110,000 adults for more than 20 years, is the first to investigate how swapping it out altogether might increase a person’s lifespan.

The LAT with more numbers:

"Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.”

The Times reports that at least one researcher, who wasn’t involved in the study, questioned the data since there could be many errors in the way food questionnaires were collected over the years. But the Harvard researchers stood by their conclusion that no amount of red meat is good for human health.

"If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week," the lead author of the study told the paper. "That would have a huge impact on public health."

Meanwhile, vegetarian diet advocate Dean Ornish, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, said that a plant-based diet’s benefits weren’t limited to human health: Going meatless helps cut U.S. annual health care costs, minimize the livestock industry which contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and slow the destruction of forests for pasture, he wrote.

You can read the study, which was published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, here. For more detailed information about the study's findings, read this LAT article.

2012年3月12日 星期一

"伏地挺身""健適"之好指標/How Working Out Can Alter Your DNA


. Breakthrough: How Working Out Can Alter Your DNA

By Alice Park

Scientists discover that physical activity leads to beneficial changes in gene activity, even after a single workout


An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up

Stuart Bradford

Published: March 11, 2008

As a symbol of health and wellness, nothing surpasses the simple push-up.

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Practically everyone remembers the actor Jack Palance performing age-defying push-ups during his Oscar acceptance speech. More recently, Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor whose last lecture became an Internet sensation, did push-ups to prove his fitness despite having pancreatic cancer.

“It takes strength to do them, and it takes endurance to do a lot of them,” said Jack LaLanne, 93, the fitness pioneer who astounded television viewers in the 1950s with his fingertip push-ups. “It’s a good indication of what kind of physical condition you’re in.”

The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.

“You are just using your own body and your body’s weight,” said Steven G. Estes, a physical education professor and dean of the college of professional studies at Missouri Western State University. “If you’re going to demonstrate any kind of physical strength and power, that’s the easiest, simplest, fastest way to do it.”

But many people simply can’t do push-ups. Health and fitness experts, including the American College of Sports Medicine, have urged more focus on upper-body fitness. The aerobics movement has emphasized cardiovascular fitness but has also shifted attention from strength training exercises.

Moreover, as the nation gains weight, arms are buckling under the extra load of our own bodies. And as budgets shrink, public schools often do not offer physical education classes — and the calisthenics that were once a childhood staple.

In a 2001 study, researchers at East Carolina University administered push-up tests to about 70 students ages 10 to 13. Almost half the boys and three-quarters of the girls didn’t pass.

Push-ups are important for older people, too. The ability to do them more than once and with proper form is an important indicator of the capacity to withstand the rigors of aging.

Researchers who study the biomechanics of aging, for instance, note that push-ups can provide the strength and muscle memory to reach out and break a fall. When people fall forward, they typically reach out to catch themselves, ending in a move that mimics the push-up. The hands hit the ground, the wrists and arms absorb much of the impact, and the elbows bend slightly to reduce the force.

In studies of falling, researchers have shown that the wrist alone is subjected to an impact force equal to about one body weight, says James Ashton-Miller, director of the biomechanics research laboratory at the University of Michigan.

“What so many people really need to do is develop enough strength so they can break a fall safely without hitting their head on the ground,” Dr. Ashton-Miller said. “If you can’t do a single push-up, it’s going to be difficult to resist that kind of loading on your wrists in a fall.”

And people who can’t do a push-up may not be able to help themselves up if they do fall.

“To get up, you’ve got to have upper-body strength,” said Peter M. McGinnis, professor of kinesiology at State University of New York College at Cortland who consults on pole-vaulting biomechanics for U.S.A. Track and Field, the national governing body for track.

Natural aging causes nerves to die off and muscles to weaken. People lose as much as 30 percent of their strength between 20 and 70. But regular exercise enlarges muscle fibers and can stave off the decline by increasing the strength of the muscle you have left.

Women are at a particular disadvantage because they start off with about 20 percent less muscle than men. Many women bend their knees to lower the amount of weight they must support. And while anybody can do a push-up, the exercise has typically been part of the male fitness culture. “It’s sort of a gender-specific symbol of vitality,” said R. Scott Kretchmar, a professor of exercise and sports science at Penn State. “I don’t see women saying: ‘I’m in good health. Watch me drop down and do some push-ups.’ ”

Based on national averages, a 40-year-old woman should be able to do 16 push-ups and a man the same age should be able to do 27. By the age of 60, those numbers drop to 17 for men and 6 for women. Those numbers are just slightly less than what is required of Army soldiers who are subjected to regular push-up tests.

If the floor-based push-up is too difficult, start by leaning against a countertop at a 45-degree angle and pressing up and down. Eventually move to stairs and then the floor.

Mr. LaLanne, who once set a world record by doing 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes, still does push-ups as part of his daily workout. Now he balances his feet and each hand on three chairs.

“That way I can go way down, even lower than if I was on the floor,” he said. “That’s really tough.”

2012年3月10日 星期六

Nuclear Disaster in Japan Was Avoidable/US orders safety changes after Japan crisis

Nuclear Disaster in Japan Was Avoidable, Critics Contend
New York Times
TOKYO — A year after a huge earthquake and tsunami caused nearly catastrophic meltdowns at a nuclear plant, Japan is still grappling with a crucial question: was the accident simply the result of an unforeseeable natural disaster or something that ...
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US orders safety changes after Japan crisis
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered major safety changes for US nuclear power plants Friday, two days before the one-year anniversary of the nuclear crisis in Japan. By Susan Walsh, AP Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman ...
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Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant surrounded by desolate no-man's-land year ...
Fox News
Nothing prepares you for entering Japan's 12-mile exclusion zone around the crippled nuclear power plant at Fukushima. Everybody still has to wear radiation suits and face masks when entering, but within the area it is as if time has stood still.
See all stories on this topic »

Fox News
Japan cleans up radiation zone, unsure of success
The work is part of a monumental task: a costly and uncertain effort by Japan to try to make radiation-contaminated communities inhabitable again. Some contractors are experimenting with chemicals; others stick with shovels and high-pressure water.
See all stories on this topic »
Records show Japan gov't knew meltdown risk early
March 09, 2012|Mari Yamaguchi, AP Just four hours after a tsunami swept into the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Japan's leaders knew the damage was so severe that the reactors could melt down, but they kept their knowledge secret for months.
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Records show Japan foresaw possible Fukushima meltdown
Detroit Free Press
A policeman stands guard at one of the entrances surrounding the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. / By Daniel Berehulak, Getty Images TOKYO (AP) — Just four hours after a tsunami swept into the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Japan's leaders knew the ...
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Japan cabinet was warned of Fukushima meltdown
TOKYO — Top Japanese cabinet ministers were warned of possible nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima hours after the tsunami hit last March, government papers have revealed, despite repeatedly denying the risk in public. A summary of a government meeting ...
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AP Enterprise: Japan nuclear evacuation led to deaths of sick and elderly ...
Orlando Sentinel
ERIC TALMADGE, MARI YAMAGUCHI AP MINAMI-SOMA, Japan (AP) — The doctors and nurses at Futaba Hospital pleaded for help as a radioactive plume wafted over their hospital. They had been ordered out but had no vehicles to evacuate the hundreds of patients ...
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NRC orders safety changes after Japan crisis
March 09, 2012|Matthew Daly, AP The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ordered major safety changes for US nuclear power plants Friday, two days before the one-year anniversary of the nuclear crisis in Japan. The orders require US nuclear plants to install ...
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Japanese nuke rules change slowly
The Detroit News
By Yuri Kageyama AP A volunteer group from Tokyo works to clear buried drainage pipes in Rikuzentakata, Japan, one of several that have helped in the massive recovery effort. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images) Fukushima, Japan— Right after three reactors ...
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2012年3月9日 星期五

可口可樂公司宣布,降低可樂的 4-甲基咪唑(4-methylimidazole)



綜 合外電報道,美國加利福尼亞州將4-甲基咪唑列為致癌物質,並規定每份食品或飲料如含有29微克以上就必須有警告。美國可口可樂公司發言人表示,公司降低 可樂中的4-甲基咪唑的含量,並非要改變可口可樂的配方,而是要求焦糖色素供應商改變生產過程,以符合加州的相關法律要求。








2012年3月8日 星期四

Three Mile Island offers lessons

Three Mile Island offers treasure trove of lessons for Fukushima

March 07, 2012

By NAOYA KON / Staff Writer

THREE MILE ISLAND, Pennsylvania--When engineers inserted a camera probe into the stricken Unit 2 reactor of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant here more than three decades ago, the images that appeared were quite unlike anything they had anticipated.

The reactor contained 177 nuclear fuel rods when the meltdown occurred in 1979. But the reactor core had hardly retained its original shape.

The camera captured images of fine, pimply and stone-like objects, according to Jack DeVine, 68, who worked for a technical division at General Public Utilities, the plant operator at the time.

Just as DeVine and other officials who were involved in post-disaster response at Three Mile Island discovered, there is no telling what the crippled reactors at the Fukushima plant will have in store.

The findings at Three Mile Island can provide plentiful lessons for the work that lies ahead at the disabled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, located some 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

In a recent interview, DeVine, who also helped set up an organization responsible for decontamination, said it is essential to start the work only after ascertaining the state of the reactor interiors and drawing up phased work programs leading to final decommissioning.

At Three Mile Island, unmanned robots equipped with cameras and endoscopes prowled around the interior of the reactor building as well as the reactor itself to provide a record of what had happened.

Although similar technologies are being deployed at the Fukushima facility, the conditions there, including radiation levels, are much more serious than those at the Three Mile Island plant. There is a strong possibility that new technology will have to be developed.

The Japanese government, along with Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima plant, jointly released a road map in December for decommissioning the plant. It defined three stages for the process of decommissioning, which is expected to take between 30 and 40 years.

In the case of Three Mile Island, it took 11 years from the time of the accident to finish the fuel removal.

The road map for Japan envisages that it will take more than double that time to achieve the same result. The fuel removal work itself is expected to take between 10 and 15 years.

At Three Mile Island, only one reactor went into a core meltdown, although that affected about 45 percent of the reactor core. The fuel stayed inside the reactor pressure vessel.

By way of contrast, meltdowns affected three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, and fuel leaked from the reactor containment vessels.

At Three Mile Island, the pressure vessel remained intact, making it possible to continue cooling the melted fuel by pumping water into it.

A major hurdle at the Fukushima No. 1 plant concerns how to fill the containment vessels with water.

Water is needed to shield against radiation and to cool down the fuel while the fuel is being removed. Assessing the extent of damage to the containment vessels and determining ways to repair them will prove key to decisions to be made in the months ahead.

During the operation to remove fuel at Three Mile Island that started in 1985, technicians stood on lead plates above the nuclear reactor and lowered a crane through openings between the plates. They were exposed to radiation doses of about 0.1 millisievert per hour, DeVine said.

In the case of Fukushima, more technicians may be required than at Three Mile Island. This is because different sorts of radiation hot spots dot the interiors of the reactor buildings, according to Roger Shaw, who helped oversee clean-up efforts at Three Mile Island in his capacity as a director of radiation protection.

It took more than four years to remove 99.5 percent of the fuel from the reactor building at Three Mile Island. The removal work finished in January 1990, after it was confirmed that the remaining 0.5 percent of the fuel, which had eluded recovery, was not going to reach re-criticality, or a sustained nuclear fission chain reaction.

At Three Mile Island, the basement of the reactor building remains inaccessible even now, with a radiation reading of about 10 millisieverts per hour. That is because radioactive water flooded the reactor building and permeated the structure during the crisis.

It cost $1 billion to remove the fuel. The Unit 2 reactor, together with Unit 1 that continues to operate, will be decommissioned in 2034.

"Given the fact there is so much rubble and other obstacles at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, more than 10 times the tasks undertaken at Three Mile Island may be waiting to be done at the Fukushima No. 1 plant," said Wataru Mizumachi, 69, chairman of the Expert Group on Occupational Radiation Protection in Severe Accident Management and Post-Accident Recovery under the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"But many lessons can still be learned from the experience in the United States, including how to develop equipment for fuel removal and how to store the fuel," added Mizumachi, who also took part in recovery work following the Three Mile Island meltdown.

2012年3月7日 星期三

勤洗手 少握手

英國廣播公司(BBC)報導,英國「奧組委」醫療官員向可望在2012倫敦奧運選手發出警告,說為了防止病菌影響比賽表現,最好不要隨便與他人握手。 報導引述醫官的話指出,在奧運比賽場上,壓力很大,運動員很容易就會感染上有害的病菌。當媒體追問說,運動員是不是與別人握手 ...

2012年3月6日 星期二

Gaming Might be Good for You

When Gaming Is Good for You

Hours of Intense Play Change the Adult Brain; Better Multitasking, Decision-Making and Even Creativity

Videogames can change a person's brain and, as researchers are finding, often that change is for the better.

Love them or hate them, online videogames are a treasure trove for researchers who are studying how all those keyboard taps, mouse clicks and joystick moves may affect behavior, perception and even cognitive skills. WSJ's Robert Lee Hotz reports.

A growing body of university research suggests that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. The specific benefits are wide ranging, from improved hand-eye coordination in surgeons to vision changes that boost night driving ability.

People who played action-based video and computer games made decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy, according to a study. Indeed, the most adept gamers can make choices and act on them up to six times a second—four times faster than most people, other researchers found. Moreover, practiced game players can pay attention to more than six things at once without getting confused, compared with the four that someone can normally keep in mind, said University of Rochester researchers. The studies were conducted independently of the companies that sell video and computer games.

(clockwise from top left) Rockstar Games; Take -Two; Blizzard Entertainment; Activision; Electronic Arts; Blizzard Entertainment; Eli Meir Kaplan for the Wall Street Journal (cyclist)

Scientists also found that women—who make up about 42% of computer and videogame players—were better able to mentally manipulate 3D objects, a skill at which men are generally more adept. Most studies looked at adults rather than children.

Electronic gameplay has its downside. Brain scans show that violent videogames can alter brain function in healthy young men after just a week of play, depressing activity among regions associated with emotional control, researchers at Indiana University recently reported. Other studies have found an association between compulsive gaming and being overweight, introverted and prone to depression. The studies didn't compare the benefits of gaming with such downsides.

The violent action games that often worry parents most had the strongest beneficial effect on the brain. "These are not the games you would think are mind-enhancing," said cognitive neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier, who studies the effect of action games at Switzerland's University of Geneva and the University of Rochester in New York.

Different Games' Effects on Your Brain

Blizzard Entertainment

Learn how different games do different things to your brain

Computer gaming has become a $25 billion-a year entertainment business behemoth since the first coin-operated commercial videogames hit the market 41 years ago. In 2010, gaming companies sold 257 million video and computer games, according to figures compiled by the industry's trade group, the Entertainment Software Association.

For scientists, the industry unintentionally launched a mass experiment in the neurobiology of learning. Millions of people have immersed themselves in the interactive reward conditioning of electronic game play, from Tetris, Angry Birds, and Farmville, to shooter games and multiplayer, role-playing fantasies such as League of Legend, which has been played 1 billion times or so in the two years since it was introduced.

"Videogames change your brain," said University of Wisconsin psychologist C. Shawn Green, who studies how electronic games affect abilities. So does learning to read, playing the piano, or navigating the streets of London, which have all been shown to change the brain's physical structure. The powerful combination of concentration and rewarding surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine strengthen neural circuits in much the same the way that exercise builds muscles. But "games definitely hit the reward system in a way that not all activities do," he said.

"There has been a lot of attention wasted in figuring out whether these things turn us into killing machines," said computational analyst Joshua Lewis at the University of California in San Diego, who studied 2,000 computer game players. "Not enough attention has been paid to the unique and interesting features that videogames have outside of the violence."

Broadly speaking, today's average gamer is 34 years old and has been playing electronic games for 12 years, often up to 18 hours a week. By one analyst's calculation, the 11 million or so registered users of the online role-playing fantasy World of Warcraft collectively have spent as much time playing the game since its introduction in 2004 as humanity spent evolving as a species—about 50 billion hours of game time, which adds up to about 5.9 million years.


Games People Play

Top five video games in 2010 (by units sold)

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops

2. Madden NFL 11

3. Halo: Reach

4. New Super Mario Bros.

5. Red Dead Redemption

Top five computer games in 2010 (by units sold)

1. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

2. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Expansion Pack

3. The Sims 3

4. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack

5. Civilization V

Source: Entertainment Software Association, NPD Group

With people playing so many hundreds, if not thousands, of different games, though, university researchers have been hard-pressed to pinpoint the lasting effects on cognition and behavior.

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. in Irvine, Calif., which sells World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and other popular games, did not respond to queries about whether the company supports gaming research or conducts its own studies. Neither did RiotGames Inc. in Santa Monica, which markets League of Legends.

The vast majority of the research did not directly compare gaming with hours of other intense, mental activities such as solving math equations. Almost any computer game appears to boost a child's creativity, researchers at Michigan State University's Children and Technology Project reported in November.

A three-year study of 491 middle school students found that the more children played computer games the higher their scores on a standardized test of creativity—regardless of race, gender, or the kind of game played. The researchers ranked students on a widely used measure called the Torrance Test of Creativity, which involves such tasks as drawing an "interesting and exciting" picture from a curved shape on a sheet of paper, giving the picture a title, and then writing a story about it. The results were ranked by seven researchers for originality, length, and complexity on a standardized three-point scale for each factor, along with detailed questionnaires.

In contrast, using cellphones, the Internet, or computers for other purposes had no effect on creativity, they said.

Several new studies shed new light on how videogames affect the brain and behavior -- and it's not necessarily for the worse. A new study suggests videogames boost creativity in children and offer other neural benefits. Lee Hotz has details on Lunch Break.

"Much to my surprise, it didn't matter whether you were playing aggressive games or sport games, not a bit," said psychologist Linda Jackson, who led the federally funded study of 491 boys and girls at 20 Michigan schools.

Even so, researchers have yet to create educational software as engaging as most action games. Without such intense involvement, neural circuits won't change, they believe. "It happens that all the games that have the good learning effect happen to be violent. We don't know whether the violence is important or not," said Dr. Bavelier. "We hope not."

Until recently, most researchers studied the effects of gaming on small groups of volunteers, who learned to play under laboratory conditions. Some scientists now are turning the commercial games themselves into laboratories of learning.

In the largest public study of electronic gaming so far, Mark Blair at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, is analyzing the behavior of 150,000 people who play the popular online game called StarCraft II, pulling together more than 1.5 billion data points of perception, attention, movement and second-by-second decision-making.

By analyzing so much game play, he hopes to learn how people become experts in an online world. That may shed light on how new knowledge and experience can become second nature, integrated into the way we react to the world around us.

Write to Robert Lee Hotz at sciencejournal@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared Mar. 6, 2012, on page D1 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: When Gaming Is Good for You.

2012年3月3日 星期六

BP Spill Saga Far From Over 漏油訴訟案遠未解決/台灣爆高病原禽流感 隱瞞兩月

BP Spill Saga Far From Over
The $7.8 billion oil spill settlement between BP and residents and businesses along the Gulf of Mexico clears the way for what may become a far more expensive battle between the oil giant and the U.S. government.

爆高病原禽流感 隱瞞兩月

彰化台南檢出H5N2 疫情擴散

〔記 者鍾麗華、吳為恭、劉曉欣、楊金城、林孟婷、曾韋禎/綜合報導〕農委會防檢局昨公布彰化與台南養雞場檢出H5N2高病原禽流感病毒,前晚緊急在彰化撲殺五 萬四千餘隻蛋雞,但疫情已擴散,彰化、南投另有雞場遭感染。防檢局昨通報OIE(世界動物衛生組織),將暫停我國禽肉產品出口。



紀錄片導演李惠仁 戳出真相


低 病原性毒株通常只含一個鹼性胺基酸,高病原性毒株含多個鹼性胺基酸,這次彰化蛋雞場實驗室檢驗報告,出現四個鹼性胺基酸,且雞隻靜脈內注射致病性指數測定 結果大於一.二,但死亡率低於正常值的○.○五%到○.○七五%,防檢局在一月十日通報OIE時,即以低病原禽流感通報。


防檢局副局長黃國青解釋,二○○四年一月台灣禽流感病毒是候鳥帶入,但現已成為台灣本土病毒株,從基因切割序列來看,台南病毒已與彰化出現變異,未來可能 「越來越往高病原方向走」。

專家批評隱匿疫情 應該究責

彰 化縣動物防疫所秘書董孟治表示,十二月三十一日已下令所有雞隻移動管制,不准進出,同時提供該蛋雞場藥劑及儀器,所有雞蛋都須經過薰蒸消毒。至於陳姓雞農 的蛋雞場全場五萬四千零三十七隻蛋雞,都已全面撲殺,送到雲林縣化製場銷毀。方圓三公里內的二百零五處養雞場抽驗都正常。




BP漏油訴訟 78億美元和解


〔編 譯陳維真/綜合報導〕號稱美國史上最嚴重的漏油事故的二○一○年墨西哥灣漏油事件,英國石油公司(BP)二日與原告達成庭外和解,BP將賠償七十八億美元 給逾十萬名漏油受害者,寫下史上金額最大的集體訴訟賠償金額紀錄,但此和解協議並不包括美國司法部和其他聯邦機構的索賠。


BP 宣布的集體和解條件,將呈送聯邦地方法院批准,而BP未來仍要面對美國政府、墨西哥灣各州與其他合作夥伴的訴訟。美國政府指控BP違反「淨水法」 (Clean Water Act),求償金額上看數十億美元。BP也控告合作的鑽油服務商Transocean,求償四百億美元。BP表示,七十八億美元的賠償費用將由公司設立的 兩百億美元賠償基金支付,二十三億美元將用來賠償墨灣海鮮產業損失。到今年一月為止,BP賠償基金已賠償近六十億美元給五十六.九萬人和商家。