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Japan

Ex-Toyota Engineer Who (Barely) Survived Tsunami To Build Floating Car

KYODO (Japan)

SENDAI – Kenichi Yamamoto, 63, was driving through Tagajo prefecture, in northeastern Japan, when the March 11, 2011 tsunami struck. The former Toyota employee, a science and engineering professor at Ishinomaki University, narrowly escaped death. "His car immediately started filling with water, tipping it 45 degrees. He barely managed to escape by breaking one of the vehicle's windows by hand," reports Kyodo news agency.

After speaking with 16 other drivers who had also survived the tsunami by breaking their cars' windows, he began to think about designing a car that would be able to float "for long periods." Many of the survivors reported their cars flooding and sinking almost immediately after being struck by the giant wave.

Yamamoto's research team will conduct experiments by sinking cars in a pond, to see which components remain functional underwater and how to improve airtightness.

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Society

Not Your Grandma's Nonna: How Older Women In Italy Are Reclaiming Their Age

Women in Italy are living longer than ever. But severe economic and social inequality and loneliness mean that they urgently need a new model for community living – one that replaces the "one person, one house, one caregiver" narrative we have grown accustomed to.

Not Your Grandma's Nonna: How Older Women In Italy Are Reclaiming Their Age

Italy is home to many elderly people and few young ones.

Barbara Leda Kenny

ROME — Nina Ercolani is the oldest person in Italy. She is 112 years old. According to newspaper interviews, she enjoys eating sweets and yogurt. Mrs. Nina is not alone: over the past three years, there has been an exponential growth in the number of centenarians in Italy. With over 20,000 people who've surpassed the age of 100, Italy is in fact the country with the highest number of centenarians in Europe.

Life expectancy at the national level is already high. Experts say it can be even higher for those who cultivate their own gardens, live away from major sources of pollution, and preferably in small towns near the sea. Years of sunsets and tomatoes with a view of the sea – it used to be a romantic fantasy but is now becoming increasingly plausible.

Centenarians occupy the forefront of a transformation taking place in a country where living a long life means being among the oldest of the old. Italy is the second oldest country in the world, and it ranks first in the number of people over eighty. In simple terms, this means that Italy is home to many elderly people and few young ones: those over 65 make up almost one in four, while children (under 14) account for just over one in 10. The elderly population will continue to grow in the coming years, as the baby boomer generation, born between 1961 and 1976, is the country's largest age group.

But there is one important data set to consider when discussing our demographics: in general, women make up a slight majority of the population, but from the age of sixty onwards, the gap progressively widens. Every single Italian over 110 years old is a woman.

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