Ged Carroll

Japan – Soul Train connection

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Japan – Soul Train connection

The Japan – Soul Train connection can consider to have started with The Three Degrees who seemed to do consistently more successfully in Japan than the US. The Three Degrees The Sound of Philadelphia is better known to people over 40 as the theme tune of the Soul Train TV programme. The popularity of The Three Degrees was such that there was some Japan only releases like Midnight Train.

Soul Train dance line

The Afro Rake discotheque opened in 1974 and a visit to the club convinced TBS to broadcast episodes of Soul Train on a Sunday night, forging a true Japan – Soul Train connection.

In 1980, Yellow Magic Orchestra played Soul Train cementing the Japan – Soul Train connection with a cover version of disco song Tighten Up. YMO also told the viewers of the Japan – Soul Train connection and its large regular audience on TBS.

The Japan – Soul Train connection trickled down into 1970s Japanese club culture like the Afro Rake night club. The Japan – Soul Train connection was made through articles and photographs of the show. This and artists like The Three Degrees built the Japan – Soul Train connection. It was ironic that the Afro Rake made the Japan – Soul Train connection for TBS.

Beauty

The year that “celebeauty” dominated the market – The Face 

China

DiDi’s delisting is China’s new normal – Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech

SenseTime postpones Hong Kong IPO after US blacklisting | Financial Times 

New China import rules bring headaches for food and beverage makers | Reuters 

China sportswear: Fujian Tigers earn their stripes in Nike fight | Financial Times – what’s really interesting is the collapse in share of New Balance (down to poor execution over the past five years) and adidas in China. Li Ning have had a boom and a bust and risen again. Anta have acquired brands like Arc’teryx, Suunto, Salomon and Wilson. Salomon and Arc’teryx are particularly interesting because of their use by western special forces units

Consumer behaviour

The ‘Boomer remover’: Intergenerational discounting, the coronavirus and climate change – Rebecca Elliott, 2021the emergence of the ‘Boomer remover’ as coherent with a longer history of fascination with the Baby Boomers, a generation that has ‘been watched, commented upon, and invested with hope and despond in equal measure’ (Bristow, 2019, p. 92). This fascination has taken a more negative turn towards ‘Boomer blaming’ in the last 15 years. The Boomers have themselves become social problems, ‘folklore demons’ who, for their sheer number, are feared for the unprecedented burdens they may place on welfare states: a ‘Boomergeddon’ created by a ‘tidal wave of retirements’, combined with longer lifespans (Bristow, 2019, p. 92; Bristow, 2016; Somers, 2017; Walker, 1990, 1996). Fears about the impacts of an ageing population have then been moralized, turned into a critique of the attitudes and behaviours of this particular generation, namely, their perceived individualism run amok and selfish, hedonistic, reckless actions that have ‘robbed’ their children of a prosperous future (Bristow, 2016; White, 2013). The Boomers are maligned for the kind of people they are believed to be, today serving as the ‘archetypal ‘villain’ in the narrative of generational conflict’ (Bristow, 2021, p. 768). Younger generations are then made out to be the true adults in the room, who have to take responsibility for the messes their elders have made (expressed also by some on Twitter, like the user above who suggested young people might ‘show ’em how it’s done’). In this case, broadly available tropes about the Boomers’ perceived sins and deficiencies get attached to ‘older generations’ generally, in a context in which the cohort most at risk of dying from the virus actually seems to be those over the age of 80 – the so-called ‘silent generation’ rather than the Boomers

Culture

Inside the golden age of Warhammer – The Face 

Economics

Biden’s trade policy is crafted with political rewards in mind | Financial Times“worker centred” is like the “hard-working families” long invoked in both US and UK politics: you cannot oppose a trade policy supporting workers any more than you can be biased towards feckless loners. But helping all workers equally is not what it means in practice. Nearly 10 months in to the administration, this worker-centred policy shows a disturbing focus on old-style manufacturing-centred protectionism — and not even all manufacturing, just the politically rewarding parts. Although it is also proposing to extend trade-distorting support to new sectors like electric vehicles, the Biden administration has continued the historic US obsession with steel

U.S. Housing as a Global Safe Asset: Evidence from China Shocks by William Barcelona, Nathan Converse, Anna Wong :: SSRNThis paper demonstrates that the measured stock of China’s holding of U.S. assets could be much higher than indicated by the U.S. net international investment position data due to unrecorded historical Chinese inflows into an increasingly popular global safe haven asset: U.S. residential real estate. We first use aggregate capital flows data to show that the increase in unrecorded capital inflows in the U.S. balance of payment accounts over the past decade is mainly linked to inflows from China into U.S. housing markets. Then, using a unique web traffic dataset that provides a direct measure of Chinese demand for U.S. housing at the zip code level, we estimate via a difference-in-difference matching framework that house prices in major U.S. cities that are highly exposed to demand from China have on average grown 7 percentage points faster than similar neighborhoods with low exposure over the period 2010-2016. These average excess price growth gaps co-move closely with macro-level measures of U.S. capital inflows from China, and tend to widen following periods of economic stress in China, suggesting that Chinese households view U.S. housing as a safe haven asset. – capital flight

US trade representative admits need for ‘course correction’ in Asia | Financial Times

Lithuania shows China’s coercive trade tactics are hard to counter | Financial Times 

Money manager disappears with $313m from Chinese builder – BBC News – another one for Operation Foxhunt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the allegations were made up to hide criminality elsewhere in the organisation

Evergrande Told to Prioritize Paying Workers and Suppliers, Protect Homebuyers – Bloomberg – rationally makes sense. It also shows how China is willing to blow up the future to deal with the present and concerns about internal security

America’s 1% Has Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90% | Time

Ethics

The movement to hold AI accountable gains more steam | Ars Technica 

Facebook exec blames society for COVID misinformation – Axios 

Even on U.S. Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out — ProPublica

Suit Alleges New Balance’s ‘Made in USA’ Claims Are Deceptive – Footwear Newsin 1996, the FTC notified New Balance about its deceptive claim of its shoes being “Made in USA”

Churches Target New Members, With Help From Big Data – WSJ – this is dark

China Created an AI ‘Prosecutor’ That Can Charge People with Crimes

Companies in Apple and Microsoft Supply Chains have been exposed in Australia’s Anti-Slavery Law – Patently Apple 

Germany

Will Germany Depart from the Merkel Model on China? Beijing Will Have a Say. – The Diplomatthe appointment of Greens co-leader and former chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock as foreign minister has made such a break a real possibility. As an outspoken critic of China’s human rights practices and overseas economic coercion, Baerbock will advocate for a comprehensive China strategy that is more European, normative, and “rigor[ous].” She will be reinforced by FDP leader Christian Lindner, who joins the coalition government as finance minister, seen as the most powerful office next to chancellor. Lindner found himself on Beijing’s bad list in 2019 when he visited democratic opposition representatives in Hong Kong en route to the mainland

Olaf Scholz sparks a China crisis for Volkswagen | Daily Telegraph – the German car companies benefitted too much from Merkel for too long

Hong Kong

Xi fails to signal support for a second term for Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam | Financial Times – interesting earlier in the year the political insiders I knew of thought that Lam was going to run for a second time, when I thought that it might the be the security chap who had recently been moved to be her deputy. After this visit, CY Leung might throw his hat in the ring

Ideas

Maersk is no longer just a shipping company — QuartzMaersk owns more container ships than anyone on earth, but it would be a mistake to think of the company as just a cargo shipping line. It’s also an airline, a trucking company, a port terminal operator, and a freight forwarder. Maersk has gobbled up a piece of virtually every stage of the global supply chain as part of its ambition to become a one-stop shop for logistics

Yesterday (Dec. 16), Maersk struck a deal that offers a glimpse at the future of its business—and the future of global shipping. Starting next year, Maersk will effectively run the logistics operations of Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. Maersk announced in a press release that it “will be providing operational management of international ocean and air transport” for Unilever from 2022 to 2026

Normally, Unilever uses its own in-house software, dubbed the “International Control Tower Solution,” to manage its own supply chains. But as of 2022, Unilever will hand off the run of its supply chain software to Maersk. “It’s a strong indicator that Maersk’s expertise extends well beyond sailing ships,” said Eytan Buchman, CMO at the cargo booking platform Freightos, who has written about Maersks’ acquisitions and expansion. “Combined with their other assets and what they’ve been building towards, it’s not a stretch to assume that this is another rung in the ladder towards full end-to-end global supply chain ownership.

CMA CGM spent its pandemic profits to start a freight airline — Quartz – a boon for many of the world’s largest shipping lines

Why it’s too early to get excited about Web3 – O’Reilly and Jack Dorsey Dismisses Web3 as a Venture Capitalists’ Plaything – Bloomberg 

Innovation

EETimes – Optical Chip Solves Hardest Math Problems Faster than GPUs – optronics based processor chips have been on their way for for the best part of 20 years, if not longer


European processor project shows shift to RISC-V
– ‘anything but ARM’ gathers momentum

Is America Really Running Out of Original Ideas? – The Atlantic – crisis of markets rather than of ideas

Japan

How many people in Japan have actually worn a couple’s outfit? | SoraNews24 -Japan Newsless than 20 percent of married couples have tried going on a date in a couple’s outfit. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t want to try it! The survey, which was conducted between November 18 and November 26 of this year, asked 800 married people–400 women and 400 men—about their experiences with couple’s outfits. When asked whether they’d ever gone on a date with their spouse in matching outfits, only 18.1 percent said yes. – I thought it was more of a drama trope rather than a trend

Korea

South Korea applies to join CPTPP in wake of China’s bid | Financial Times

Most Koreans Now Consider China Biggest Threat – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – guessing this means President Moon won’t see his successor appointed from his party

London

Uncool Britannia: has the UK lost its global appeal?  – yes.

Luxury

Risks to China’s Growth in Luxury Retail | Luxury Daily – China accounts for 35 percent of all luxury sales across the globe. By 2025, those sales could shoot up to 50 percent of all luxury retail revenue, according to Bain Analytics. Luxury sector concerned by China’s GDPR type laws, regulations on biometrics and common propserity

Phillips auction house plans massive expansion in Asia | Financial Times – aiding Chinese capital flight abroad?

Luxury houses bet on virtual bling | Financial Times 

Zegna shares surge in New York after SPAC deal | Vogue BusinessThe company has struggled during the pandemic, with core revenue falling 23 per cent last year. This year, sales are expected to stay behind pre-pandemic levels at €1.2 billion – positioned very much as a COVID issue but also seems to be down to the wider move of luxury and streetwear going closer

Media

Repeats account for almost a third of BBC One output, watchdog finds | Financial Times 

How to Beat Spotify. A Blueprint for Apple, Google YouTube… | by Salim Mitha | Medium

Meme

China’s Big New Idea – The Atlantic“common prosperity,” has been adopted by journalists, scholars, and corporate executives in China with a fervor only a dictator can ignite. State newspapers are routinely plastered with commentary on the topic. On November 11, a shopping holiday known as “Singles Day,” the usual conspicuous excess took a back seat to the common-prosperity spirit. The e-commerce company Alibaba, the holiday’s primary purveyor, focused its marketing on eco-friendly initiatives and charitable programs instead of sales figures. Its management, eager to get into Xi’s good graces, had already pledged billions of dollars in charitable donations to support the leader’s cause, rather than its own shareholders.Until now, common prosperity has mostly been a concept for domestic consumption in China, but it might soon be heading overseas. The idea could become a central node in the ever-expanding lexicon of language Xi is trying to use to increase Beijing’s influence in international affairs and reshape the world order to favor China’s authoritarian interests – I think its more memetic in nature than an ‘idea’ per se, something that could mean whatever people want it to mean in their head

Online

Why Are China’s Paid Internet Trolls So Bad at Twitter? | Foreign Policy – with a read but with these caveats: engagement doesn’t relate to marketing effectiveness and who is to say what it does to Twitter’s algorithm over time. It could be just like a blanket to suffocate other voices. Related to – #StopXinjiang Rumors | Australian Strategic Policy Institute | ASPI

Philippines

Ressa blasts U.S. tech titans for ‘virus of lies’ in Nobel Prize speech – Nikkei Asia

Retailing

Adidas Enters Metaverse With Bored Ape Yacht Club Ethereum NFT – Decrypt

How Shein beat Amazon at its own game — and reinvented fast fashion – Rest of World – fascinating how the whole sustainability / climate change narrative has not touched Shein at all

Security

Volvo Says Data Got Stolen In Cyberattack | Jalopnik 

What’s the Deal with the Log4Shell Security Nightmare? – Lawfare

Guidance for preventing, detecting, and hunting for CVE-2021-44228 Log4j 2 exploitation – Microsoft Security Blogobserved the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability being used by multiple tracked nation-state activity groups originating from China, Iran, North Korea, and Turkey. This activity ranges from experimentation during development, integration of the vulnerability to in-the-wild payload deployment, and exploitation against targets to achieve the actor’s objectives. For example, MSTIC has observed PHOSPHORUS, an Iranian actor that has been deploying ransomware, acquiring and making modifications of the Log4j exploit. We assess that PHOSPHORUS has operationalized these modifications. In addition, HAFNIUM, a threat actor group operating out of China, has been observed utilizing the vulnerability to attack virtualization infrastructure to extend their typical targeting. In these attacks, HAFNIUM-associated systems were observed using a DNS service typically associated with testing activity to fingerprint systems

Zero-day in ubiquitous Log4j tool poses a grave threat to the Internet | Ars Technica

Huawei documents show Chinese tech giant’s involvement in surveillance programs – The Washington PostThese marketing presentations, posted to a public-facing Huawei website before the company removed them late last year, show Huawei pitching how its technologies can help government authorities identify individuals by voice, monitor political individuals of interest, manage ideological reeducation and labor schedules for prisoners, and help retailers track shoppers using facial recognition. “Huawei has no knowledge of the projects mentioned in the Washington Post report,” the company said in a statement, after The Post shared some of the slides with Huawei representatives to seek comment. “Like all other major service providers, Huawei provides cloud platform services that comply with common industry standards.” The divergence between Huawei’s public disavowals that it doesn’t know how its technology is used by customers, and the detailed accounts of surveillance operations on slides carrying the company’s watermark, taps into long-standing concerns about lack of transparency at the world’s largest vendor of telecommunications gear – I can’t say I am surprised

Chinese Spies Accused of Using Huawei in Secret Australian Telecom Hack – Bloomberga key piece of evidence underpinning the U.S. efforts — a previously unreported breach that occurred halfway around the world nearly a decade ago. In 2012, Australian intelligence officials informed their U.S. counterparts that they had detected a sophisticated intrusion into the country’s telecommunications systems. It began, they said, with a software update from Huawei that was loaded with malicious code. The breach and subsequent intelligence sharing was confirmed by nearly two dozen former national security officials who received briefings about the matter from Australian and U.S. agencies from 2012 to 2019. The incident substantiated suspicions in both countries that China used Huawei equipment as a conduit for espionage, and it has remained a core part of a case they’ve built against the Chinese company, even as the breach’s existence has never been made public – so I was working on Huawei when Australia banned them from their national broadband initiative in 2013. My boss who was an ex-government guy had gone back to Australia to lobby for Huawei and three days later the guillotine dropped. This disclosure explains the why. China views Australia as its own personal colony. Am I surprised that the Chinese have a tailored access programme? No, but it shouldn’t be made any easier for them

US accuses China of developing ‘brain control weaponry’ | Financial Times

Project Zero: A deep dive into an NSO zero-click iMessage exploit: Remote Code Execution and

Software

The giant slayers: How Spotify, Tile and Match brought an antitrust fight to Apple – Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech 

Why Apps Suddenly Want to Protect Kids – The New York Times – UK legislation affecting US social app design

Taiwan

Merck to invest NT$17 billion in Taiwan over next 5-7 years | DigiTimes
to set up production capacity for semiconductor and display materials and enhance R&D capability in Taiwan over the next 5-7 years, according to Merck Group Taiwan managing director John Lee. The investment is the largest as compared with the investment projects Merck has historically undertaken in Taiwan, Lee said. The investment is part of Level Up, Merck’s global investment plan with a total budget of over EUR3 billion (US$3.4 billion) and investment projects varying among different countries, Lee noted.

Interview: ‘The Chinese want Apple Daily in Taiwan closed’ — Radio Free Asia

Taiwan opposition clings on for political relevance as voters shun Beijing | Financial Timesan overwhelming majority of Taiwanese reject unification with China, and over the past decade, the KMT’s support has gone into a tailspin. According to the Election Study Center at National Chengchi University, the proportion of voters identifying with the KMT has dropped to 18.7 per cent, compared with 31.4 per cent for the ruling Democratic Progressive party. – Not entirely surprising given the example that Beijing has provided with Hong Kong

A celebrity divorce spotlights declining China-Taiwan relations — QuartzThe controversies around the former couple, whose ups and downs are often compared in China to the US reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, paint a picture of the increasingly confrontational attitude in China towards Taiwan. For decades, citizens from both sides of the straits have sidestepped the tricky political relations of the Communist-ruled People’s Republic of China, and the democratically governed Republic of China (as Taiwan is formally called), to forge personal and professional ties. Taiwanese businesses have been integral to China’s economic advance, and music stars and actors from Taiwan have long found audiences in the mainland. That coexistence often relied on people on both sides dancing around what it means to be Taiwanese. “But as Chinese ultra-nationalism boils over under Xi [Jinping], there is no longer space for ambiguity between nationality and cultural identity,” said Joshua Yang, a doctoral student who tweets about Taiwanese identity and relations with the PRC. As opportunities for Taiwanese and Chinese residents to connect directly through study, work, or jobs shrink, it could harden attitudes in the mainland even further

Taiwan to restrict tech companies’ sales of China assets – Nikkei Asia 

Technology

Do the costs of the cloud outweigh the benefits? | The Economistfew aspects of modern life have made geeks drool more than the cloud, the cumulus of data centres dominated by three American tech giants, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, as well as Alibaba in China. In America some liken their position of impregnability to that of Detroit’s three big carmakers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, a century ago. During the covid-19 pandemic they have helped transform people’s lives, supporting online medical appointments, Zoom meetings and Netflix binges. They attract the brightest engineering talent. Amazon Web Services (aws), the biggest, is now part of business folklore. So it is bordering on heresy to argue, as executives at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm, have done recently, that the cloud threatens to become a weight around the necks of big companies.

Foreign Drones Tip the Balance in Ethiopia’s Civil War – The New York Times – interesting that drones apparently had the impact it did. Guessing it wasn’t the only factor