A Happy New Year!
To avoid being left behind in the fast-paced world, we have created a web screen that can be viewed reasonably well on both PCs and smartphones. AI has begun to surpass researchers in the field of science, from the world of go and shogi to predicting the three-dimensional structure of proteins. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the future with the ever-accelerating pace of AI. It is exciting to think that many discoveries will be made this year as well.
I had business in Aomori, so I embraced the chance to visited the Ouchi-Sannai "Jomon" ruins which date back 4,000 years, making them several hundred years older than Egypt's Tutankhamun. Since Japan is a culture of wood, buildings like the one in the photo had to be reconstructed from imagination using only the remains of holes in the pillars which archaeologists found.
It was interesting to know that archaeology is also benefiting from advances in DNA research. This year's Nobel Prize highlighted the finding that modern humans contain 1 to 4% of Neanderthal genes. It is also astonishing to know that now DNA can be extracted from soil and tell us what kind of animals and humans lived above it!
For a while, trying to visit the USA was quite stressful, as the requisite negative Covid test result was logistically difficult to obtain at both ends. Japanese Immigration, for example, required a doctor's signature on the form, but most Covid tests are simply done in drugstores in the US, with no physician nearby. We are immensely relieved that travel regulations are loosening, although red tape remains at this end.
This year, we are planning to venture out in our daily lives as well. As a "rehearsal," we recently enjoyed afternoon tea for two in the spacious lobby lounge of a downtown Osaka hotel.
It is difficult to guess what kind of work Kye does. It is like a top secret and he lives in mystery. We know he visits Japan from time to time, and he comes back home around once a year. He is usually this laid back at home, but I have to give him credit for his effort to prevent infection by wearing a mask because he is travelling from the U.S.
I am interested in knowing what chance spermatozoa have to meet with eggs. So I am trying to simulate the movement of sperm on the computer to estimate such encounters. When I talked with Dr. Yana, he requested to see the simulation in a movie, which I had not planned to produce. (My plans quickly changed.) So far my trials seem to be going OK!