2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas Wins Green Car of the Year

Los Angeles —The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas was named the Green Car of the Year on Thursday at a ceremony at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Civic beat out a diverse field of finalists: the Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i, Toyota Prius V and VW Passat with a diesel engine. The finalists, in conjunction with new models and concept cars shown by other automakers, represent virtually the full spectrum of green technology available on the market today.

Michael Accavitti, vice president of marketing for American Honda Motor Co., said of the honor, “This, to Honda, is everything.”

“Environmental awareness is right in our wheelhouse,” he said.

Last year’s winner was the Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid. This year, General Motors Co. had no finalists, nor did Chrysler Group LLC.

The Civic is the fifth-generation model to run on natural gas.

“There is no other vehicle like the Civic Natural Gas on American highways, and this recognition has been a long time coming for Honda,” said Rob Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal.

The Civic Natural Gas debuted in 1998 but was largely a fleet vehicle. A few years ago, Honda started selling some to retail customers in four states. But with the redesigned 2012 model that went on sale last month, the automaker is expanding distribution to 200 dealers in 36 states.

Honda is targeting 2,000 sales a year initially, but expects that to double, Accavitti said of the $26,155 car that gets 38 miles per gallon in highway driving and can be filled at home. A tank of compressed natural gas provides a range of about 240 miles.

The winner was decided by a panel of judges representing the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Futures Society and Global Green USA, as well as talk show host Jay Leno and car icon Carroll Shelby.

At the auto show, Honda showed the new 2013 Fit EV that will go on sale next year as a leased-only vehicle.

BMW AG had two electric car concepts on display: the i3 Series compact electric vehicle and the i8 Series performance coupe.

Both will go into production, said spokesman Dirk Arnold.

The i3 is a four-seater that will be sold both as a pure electric vehicle with a range of about 100 miles and as an extended-range hybrid with a small gasoline engine.

Both versions will go on sale worldwide at the end of 2013.

While the i3 will get conventional seats and doors, the production model will keep the carbon fiber body, aluminum chassis and floating instrument panel from the concept. The lighter body will save 220 to 330 pounds and compensate for the added weight of batteries, Arnold said.

The i8 is a plug-in hybrid that will go about 20 miles on battery power before the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gas engine kicks in.

It will have the performance of an M3 but get 80 mpg, Arnold said.

It will go on sale in early 2014.

They will all be built in BMW’s Leipzig, Germany, plant.

BMW has an electric version of the 1-Series on sale now, but only 600 to 700 converted coupes will be sold in the U.S. as a field trial to gather data and feedback. The i3 and i8 will be BMW’s long-term electric vehicles.

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News

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HITV Therapy: Cancer Cure Is Now In Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 (Bernama) — There is a new hope for cancer patients in Malaysia.

A vaccine widely known for treating late-stage cancer — almost all types of cancer, except leukemia — is now available in the country.

The Human Initiated Therapeutic Vaccine (HITV), which was only available in Japan previously, is able to completely destroy microscopic and tiny nests of cancer cells, thus preventing any future recurrences.

Discovered in 2005 by Dr Kenichiro Hasumi, a Japanese physician and researcher, HITV is an autologus (patient derived) active cell-based immunotherapy for metastatic or late-stage cancer patients.

It is based on immunology that harnesses human immune system’s innate and adaptive ability to combat diseases.

Dr Hasumi, founder and chairman of Hasumi International Research Foundation in the United States, has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to find a cure to cancer.

Speaking at a media conference Monday, Dr Hasumi said the therapy was highly effective for patients suffering from late-stage cancer, when used in combination with radiotherapy.

“The use of tomotherapy (a type of radiation therapy) is important in this protocol. It can target the tumors precisely in one sweep, while reducing the radiation exposure to the surrounding tissues,” he said.

The treatment includes harvesting immune cells from the patient, culturing them in the laboratory to become immature dentritic cells, and then re-introducing them into the patient’s body, through injection into the tumor.

HITV course takes about three weeks, with 10 days of actual treatment. Patients will have to be examined with PET-CT scan after the treatment periodically, to monitor the tumors for regression.

While the treatment was only available in Japan, nine Malaysians suffering late stage of various types of cancer have decided to give it a try. Five of them have shown complete response.

They include Goh Sai Wah, 58, a non-smoker who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer with extensive spread to the spine and bone in May, last year.

She underwent the HITV therapy in Japan on Oct 30, last year and in her follow-up check, six weeks later, almost all cancer cells had disappeared.

Now, 365 days later, and counting, she is very much alive and well.

Dr Hasumi said, since late stage cancer was a very difficult stage to cure, he hoped that in future, there would be innovations to cure cancer in the early stages.

HITV therapy costs about RM200,000, if patients decide to have it in Japan. In Malaysia, it will cost about RM150,000.

The therapy is now available at the Mahameru International Medical Centre but medical practitioners are trying their very best to introduce HITV to all hospitals in the Klang Valley, in an effort to give late-stage cancer patients a new hope in life.

Source: Click

Japan Standardized Baseballs Are Popular With Pitchers

TOKYO — Unlike Major League Baseball, for whom Rawlings has been the official supplier of baseballs since 1977, Japan’s top league has long used multiple manufacturers.

This season, however, for the first time in the 75-year history of Nippon Professional Baseball, every team is using the same supplier.

In any given season, as many as nine manufacturers had supplied baseballs to Japan’s 12 teams. Many clubs, in fact, contracted with multiple suppliers and freely switched the balls they used in their home games depending on the series, the month or some other variable that had to be revealed in advance to the commissioner’s office.

Citing rising costs and declining domestic production, Commissioner Ryozo Kato began the tedious and touchy process of unifying Japan’s ball last year. Mizuno emerged as the lone supplier.

But old customs are hard to break, and in tradition-bound Japan, the move to a unified ball comes with a twist: it is required only for official games played between major league teams. Individual clubs can continue choosing their own baseballs for minor league games, spring training games and practices. According to the commissioner’s office, at least two teams that contracted with multiple baseball makers last year, the Hanshin Tigers and the Yakult Swallows, continue to use those balls in unsanctioned events.

In Japanese baseball, power has traditionally rested with the teams. Franchises have operated independently on a variety of issues, including deciding which ball manufacturers to contract with, much as players in the United States and Japan decide which manufacturers’ bats, gloves and spikes they use.

In Japan, a culture evolved in which sporting goods makers, especially smaller regional ones, became dependent on their relationships with local clubs to supply thousands of balls each year.

“In order to build relationships that stand the test of time, you have to be willing to endure lots of hardships on your customers’ behalf,” Katsuhisa Matsuzaki, a spokesman for N.P.B, said in Japanese, describing the traditional arrangement. “For a team to then turn around and say to a supplier that persevered, ‘Sorry, we don’t you need anymore,’ is not the Japanese way.”

So instead of trying to undo longstanding relationships, Japan’s commissioner’s office established standards over the years to attain a degree of uniformity among the game balls being produced by multiple manufacturers.

That began as far back as 1950, when the Central and Pacific Leagues came under one governing umbrella. Over the years, standards pertaining to the balls were gradually tightened. This happened, for example, in 1981, after a game was delayed by 20 minutes as one team accused another of using a suspicious ball with extra zip. But until this year, teams could use any ball that adhered to the standards.

The new Mizuno ball for this season has been called the noncarrying ball, a reference to the effect of the lower-elasticity rubber that encases the cork center. Not surprisingly, pitchers like the new ball for that and other subtle changes they can use to their advantage.

“It breaks better, moves more advantageously for the pitcher,” Hisashi Iwakuma of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, speaking in Japanese, said of the new ball. “Whether you throw a fork or a curve or a slider, the break is bigger. Even your fastball doesn’t have to be perfectly straight; you can make it miss the sweet spot of the bat.”

Iwakuma said pitchers could manipulate the slightly lower height of the red stitches and their slightly wider spread.

Japan’s regular season was extended until this week because of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March and unusually heavy rain. But the ball is believed to be responsible for an abundance of curiosities.

Source: Full Story

Reason Steve Jobs Wore Turtlenecks, Sony & Japanese Fashion Icon Issey Miyake

I had thought–and perhaps I was not alone in this–that Steve Jobs wore black turtlenecks because they were lucky.

It is not uncommon for human beings–especially men–to have lucky shirts, lucky pants, even lucky underwear.

Yet the story of Jobs’ black designer turtlenecks involved not merely the turtlenecks’ designer, but Jobs’ enthusiasm for Apple employees to all wear uniforms.

Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ chosen biographer, donated a fascinating snippet to Gawker that explained the story.

It seems that Jobs took a trip to Japan in the 1980s and was rather moved to see everyone at Sony wearing a uniform. He was keen to adopt the same sartorial consistency at Apple. He thought wearing the same corporate garb would help Apple employees come together–something school uniforms never seem to quite manage.

Jobs discovered that the Sony garb was designed by the fine Japanese fashion icon Issey Miyake. So he asked Miyake to create, dare one even imagine it, an Apple vest for all of Cupertino to wear.

Strangely, Apple employees expressed aggressively negative reservations about such a 1984-ish suggestion. “Oh, man, did I get booed off the stage,” Jobs told Isaacson.

The Apple CEO and Miyake, though, stayed in touch. Jobs’ enthusiasm for a personal uniform remained undimmed, so he asked Miyake to make him some of his classic black turtlenecks. He received “hundreds of them.”

Jobs then offered Isaacson a quote that now seems painfully poignant: “I have enough to last for the rest of my life.”

Many will feel that Jobs understood that the more he was seen in public, the more he felt he ought to project a consistent brand image for his own personal identity.

Which still leaves on question that might perplex one or two people–even Miyake, perhaps: Why the Levi’s?

Source: Cnet

Instant Noodles Museum Celebrate 40 Years

To pay homage to the notorious instant noodles industry, Japanese food company Nissin Foods has opened a new museum in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

Celebrating 40 years since the creation of the first snack, the museum displays the history of the noodle, taking visitors on a journey from its invention to its cultural influence within Japan and the rest of the world.

Up to 10,000sq m covers the museum grounds with visitors given the chance to create their own instant recipe from thousands of combinations at the My Cup Noodle Factory. Inside, visitors can get a taste of the restaurants that serve a variety of noodles.
instant noodles, Japan Ramen chicken noodles A young fan of the noodles gets stuck in at the museum’s noodle factory (Picture: Reuters)

During the opening of the museum, 500 people queued up to enter, including the former Japanese premier, Junichiro Koizumi.

The attraction has been aimed at both adults and children, with giant instant noodle play areas built inside the complex.

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