Tuesday, May 4, 2010

News Blast

Photo courtesy of Popsci

Japanese group aims to put humanoid robot on moon by 2015

Looking largely to inspire dreams of space among the Japanese, a manufacturing cooperative named Astro-Technology SOHLA announced on April 27th that they are planning to create and send a two-legged humanoid robot to the moon, have it draw the Japanese flag on the surface, and then hopefully get it back to the Earth, all by the year 2015. Making inspirational ideas about space technology a reality is not new to the Osaka-based cooperative of six small and medium sized enterprises. SOHLA had previously built a small-scale satellite, named Maido-1, as a demonstration of the ability of SMEs to research and create short-term, low-cost space technology which could help improve local economic activity.

Number of children in Japan falls to record low for 29th year in row

The number of children in Japan under the age of 15 is estimated to have dropped 190,000 in the last year to 16.94 million, marking a record low for the 29th consecutive year, the government said Tuesday. In a report issued on the eve of Children's Day, a national holiday, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said kids comprised 13.3 percent of the population as of April 1. It was the 36th straight year the percentage has fallen and remained the lowest worldwide.

LDP to submit draft constitutional revisions

The leading opposition Liberal Democratic Party has decided to submit a draft proposal of constitutional revisions to the current Diet session, after the National Referendum Law is enforced May 18, sources said. The LDP is primarily considering easing the requirements for amending the Constitution, which are stipulated in Article 96 of the nation's top law. As the Deliberative Council on the Constitution in each chamber of the Diet has been dormant, there is no prospect the draft will actually be examined. Nevertheless, the LDP is aiming to demonstrate its resolve for constitutional revision ahead of the House of Councillors election in summer.

Portable beauty appliances powering lunch-time pampering

Younger women wanting to pamper themselves in the office are providing a ready market for a new breed of portable electric devices. While older generations of women may have tended to confine their crimping and preening to their own boudoirs, twenty- and thirtysomethings are increasingly demanding electric beauty equipment they can take on the go. "Men cannot even imagine the 'heat' in ladies' rooms at work places during the lunch break or after work," one female employee of an electric goods manufacturer said.

Japan's Green zones itchy to be global geoparks

Local residents and groups across the nation are stepping up efforts to have their areas certified as global geoparks, where rare landscapes useful for learning how the Earth was formed will be preserved and utilized as natural parks. Preparations are under way in eight areas, such as Muroto in Kochi Prefecture, to follow in the footsteps of Itoigawa river in Niigata Prefecture, which became the nation's first global geopark last year. Associations to promote areas as global geoparks have been established in 20 regions, including the Chichibu area in Saitama Prefecture. Geoparks are areas that are internationally certified as geological inheritance parks, where precious geographical landscape or geological layers remain.

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