Ged Carroll

Naked power politics + more things

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Naked power politics is a challenge to the post cold war consensus. Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, like Ethiopia’s invasion of Tigray are two examples of naked power politics in action. Russia’s naked power politics approach isn’t new and was something that the Financial Times and others had been talking about for at least a decade and certainly since the invasion of Crimea.

In the case of Russia, uniting the west and drawing both Finland and Sweden into NATO shows that naked power politics can be counter-productive. Ethiopia seems to have fought itself to a stalemate after invading Tigray and then getting beaten back to Addis Ababa. Only close air support using drone from gulf states helped stave off a military collapse.

But naked power politics is also playing out in the uneven relationship between China and the European Union; despite the EU’s market power.

Even more so we can see naked power politics in China’s approach to Australia through trade.

super putin

China

Alibaba’s vice president of technology says trip to US was just to see doctor – Global Times – apparently some people are comparing his leaving to the US as being like the plot of the film Argo. He is responsible for the machine learning technology Alibaba has provided to support Uighur surveillance in China

Electric car start-up Faraday Future clips wings of founder Jia Yueting following fraud allegation probe | South China Morning PostJia Yueting will, however, continue to serve as Faraday Future’s ‘chief product and user ecosystem officer’, filing shows/ Faraday Future launched an internal probe last year after a short-selling research firm claimed the start-up misrepresented the number of pre-orders for its FF 91 luxury SUV following its merger with a SPAC – I am not terribly surprised it echoes the kind of overreach that happened with businesses like LeEco and Luckin Coffee

Consumer behaviour

Is Marcus Rashford working class? The answer depends on your age – New Statesman“Younger people appear to identify membership of the upper class with power and social impact,” he said. “This reflects the social media which prioritises celebrity coverage by attention capital, rather than accent, schooling or parental occupation.” The findings also suggest that “class hierarchy is perceived by young people in the present tense, ie, the media and social media time that people have now: the more media time, the higher the class position,” Rojek added. “The historical relationship of class to ancestry may be waning. A ‘now perspective’, based in power, social impact and online recognisability, seems to be growing in importance.” This trend has been a long time in the making, he observed. “For many years, it has been evident to me that for most of my students ‘social media’ is ‘society’, ie, a source of belonging, community, identity and aspiration.” – this might be age related rather than cohort related

Design

From the archives: Newspaper ads from the 80s | From the Archives | richmond.com – the collection of two-colour adverts is tremendous. My personal favourite is the original Back To The Future cinema ad

Staybl makes it easier for people with hand tremors to browse the web – fantastic bit of accessible design

Economics

Defense spending, again – by Noah Smith – Noahpinion 

Energy

After Ola, now 20 Jitendra EVs catch fire in India — Quartz India – this is important because India has one of the fastest growing energy markets in the world and likely to overtake China due to its younger population

Panasonic bets on bigger electric vehicle battery to wean itself off Tesla | Financial Times

Ethics

Supply Chains Tainted by Forced Labor in China, Panel Told – The New York Times – or where are Tim Cook’s principles and fine talk about brand purpose…

When Saying Gay Isn’t Good Enough | AdweekThe Walt Disney Company has been singled out by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for its opposition to Florida’s House Bill 1557, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Recently signed into law, the measure prohibits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. The governor has vowed to revisit—and possibly rescind—Disney’s privileges and autonomy in the state. But even LGBTQ allies and activists haven’t been happy with how the entertainment giant has handled anti-LGBTQ legislation in Florida. – which brings the question of what is the role of brands in societal norming?

Umpires, Not Kings | No Mercy / No Malice – Scott Galloway on the need for market regulation

Gadgets

Amazon’s Astro Robot Moved Into My House. It Was Crazy, Creepy and Fun. 

Apple reaches an agreement with a Korean company for a periscope telephoto lens – Gizchina.com

Ideas

When Extreme Necessity is the Mother of Invention | What’s New Under The Sun 

The Return of Conquest? Why the Future of Global Order Hinges on Ukraine interesting when paired with China views Russian invasion as a ‘strategic utility’, says ex-Australia PM | Financial Times

Innovation

Taiwan makes big push on pipeline of electronic experts | Financial Times

Xi Focus: Xi orders building world-leading spacecraft launch site-Xinhua“Xi noted that Wenchang is the launch site of China’s new-generation high thrust carrier rockets and the bridgehead of the country’s deep space exploration. The launch site should continue to eye the frontier of global space development and the major strategic needs of China’s space industry, and comprehensively improve its modern space launch capabilities, said Xi. China is scheduled to complete the construction of its space station this year. Tianzhou-4 and Tianzhou-5 cargo crafts, as well as Wentian and Mengtian lab modules will be launched from Wenchang. Xi said the launch site should make meticulous efforts to ensure the missions’ full success.”

Intel Announces its 18A Node is Ahead of Schedule – ExtremeTech 

TSMC announces launch dates for 3nm and 2nm chips 

Japan

Old Enough: Netflix show sparks global debate on parenting and child safety | Sora News – its interesting because it shows how much of a high trust society Japan is versus the rest of the world and how far we have moved away from the ‘latch key‘ generations in the west that allowed women to go out to work. Although my Mum was a homemaker, I was still expected to look after myself if she had to go out or was visiting a friend. As an only child I was very comfortable in this trust being put in me. It was also the same for many of my school friends. The show is unbelievably cute. Read the explanation of Japanese culture on children before watching the hyper judgemental TV segment below.

Korea

S.Korea to Launch Homegrown Spy Satellites | Chosen Ilbo – I am surprised that this hadn’t happened earlier

Luxury

The Death of Streetwear Culture is a Class Issue | High Sobrietyin its ‘80s and ‘90s heyday, by and large streetwear culture was driven by the kids from low-income neighborhoods in major American cities. The very term “streetwear” bears that notion—it’s a style born in the streets, in schoolyards, on handball and basketball courts, and on brownstone stoops. More often than not, streetwear heroes—athletes and rappers—came from the working class

Breitlingselect – Test your new watch | Breitling GB – leasing comes to watches. While this was on the UK site, the prices were in US dollars. How long before we get into sub-prime luxury

Who Are Korea’s 1%? – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – National/Politics > National – most of the wealth is from property

Media

Warner Bros. censors gay dialogue in Harry Potter movie for China release – CNN – the irony of this is that the Chinese internet is filled with homoerotic and even a lot of graphic homosexual content based around fan fiction from Sherlock to Harry Potter and even adaptions of Chinese literary classics where sword play takes on a vastly different meaning

TikTok and Douyin’s Ad Revenues Will Cross $30 Billion This Year, Reach 5% of Total Digital Ad Market Share / Digital Information World 

Marketing

In honor of Ramadan, meals appear on Tesco billboards after sunset – To mark the month of Ramadan — when Muslims refrain from eating and drinking between dawn and dusk — British supermarket Tesco turned to dynamic billboards. During the day, screens show four hands and a large number of empty plates and platters. Once the sun sets, food appears on the plates, just as Muslims start breaking their fast with an iftar meal. – nice bit of work by BBH that takes advantage of dynamic digital out of home advertising technology

Materials

The great medicines migration: how China controls key drug supplies | Financial Times – huge strategic dependency that needs to be addressed

Its basically a glass vase with a handle – Coperni’s Viral Glass Swipe Bag Will Be Available For Purchase

Online

TikTok under US government investigation on child sexual abuse material | Financial Times

BeReal Isn’t Real and Makes Everyone Look Extremely Boring | Motherboard – BeReal seems to show the ennui of real life. Its also a social app made in Europe that actually has some traction. Axios has some good data on it here: Meet BeReal, Gen Z’s new favorite app 

Retailing

REWE’s unmanned mini-marts bring daily groceries to rural Germany – German retail giant REWE is launching a new concept: nahkauf BOX. Operating under REWE’s nahkauf brand of neighborhood stores, nahkauf BOX is an unmanned, standalone convenience store that’s open 24/7. – this is similar to China’s automated convenience stores, but interesting that its aimed at rural villages lacking stores. I could see this shaking up rural Ireland as well

Security

Pentagon to meet top arms makers to discuss stepping up aid to Ukraine | Financial Times – fascinating detail from this. Ukraine has already had four years production worth of Javelin missiles or about a third of the US stocks. They had sent a quarter of their stock of Stinger missiles or about five years worth of production. The challenge will be scaling component manufacture, supply chain and system assembly

Russia’s Sandworm Hackers Attempted a Third Blackout in Ukraine | WIRED

Russia is jamming GPS satellite signals in Ukraine, US Space Force says | Space

Spy games: expulsion of diplomats shines light on Russian espionage | The Guardian

American company under investigation for transferring tech to Huawei – Synopsys was supporting Huawei’s efforts in chip design through its EDA software

Software

Abridged: Keep product deep-dive – by Lillian Li

With Nintendo closing 3DS and Wii U digital stores, where does that leave video game preservation? | GamesRadar+ – having used Nokia N900 devices after the Ovi store went down I can understand how limiting that this will be

Thailand

Un-pea-dictable: Veggie-based snack ad has multiple plot twists | Advertising | Campaign Asia – the different plot lines remind me a lot of the Tide Super Bowl ads from a number of years ago

Web of no web

Meta to let Horizon Worlds creators sell virtual items – The Verge – Horizon Worlds will take a 25 percent cut of any sale after app store fees – and there is the kicker Apple calls out Meta for hypocrisy over 47.5% cut of digital sales – 9to5Mac

The Electronic Sheep Company was one of the startups that came and went during the last ‘metaverse boom’ or what was then called ‘virtual worlds’ back in the mid-2000s and early 2010s epitomised by Second Life.