20 minutes estimated reading time
Joy of ownership
Visvim’s Toshiyuki Ueno in this film made in partnership with Porsche Japan, as we learn about the fundamental philosophy of ‘monozukuri’, or craftsmanship, behind the storied Japanese brand, as well as Ueno-san’s joy of ownership with long-lasting products.
Ueno’s joy of ownership comes from products that are potential candidates of what I called on this blog ‘heirloom design‘. Something that might develop a patina, but manages to last a lifetime. EDC or everyday carry is a category of products designed around the joy of ownership. Products over engineered and made of easy to service parts, yet are used everyday.
One can see this joy of ownership ethos in Visvim’s own products such as their iconic daypack. These look superficially like the classic Jansport design, but are over built in order ensure the bag outlasts the owner.
The joy of ownership is at odds with many aspects of our modern world. People no longer have digital or music collections. Instead relying on play lists on streaming services to give them the right muzak for whatever they are doing at the time. Online business Rent The Runway does away with the joy of ownership and curation of your look, you no longer need a wardrobe beyond the basics. Luxury brands are now talking about a circular economy play where consumers are encouraged to only enjoy the joy of ownership for a short while and they might then be resold. At the other end, fast fashion from Shein and H&M.
The much prescribed ethos of fast failure, agile methodologies and Facebook’s ‘move fast and break things’ are a world away from the philosophy behind the joy of ownership. This is the reason why Bang & Olufsen is a shadow of its former self, yet a vintage BeoSystem still provides the joy of ownership. More related content to the joy of ownership can be found here.
China scraps inbound quarantine rules in decisive break with zero-Covid regime | Financial Times and Coronavirus: could US restrictions on travellers from China raise tensions further? | South China Morning Post
Xi Jinping shows his strength by muscling women away from power – Nikkei Asia – China’s path toward becoming a modern socialist country, as officials describe their aim, has historically been framed as incorporating gender egalitarianism. “Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole,” Mao Zedong wrote in 1955. By this measure, one would expect the Chinese Communist Party to at least signal that it cares about women’s representation in 2022. But last month’s 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party broke tradition by elevating 24 men and no women to the party’s Politburo, omitting its usual token female for the first time in 25 years. Women took just 11 of 205 seats on the new party Central Committee. Loyalty and utility to the top leader, above qualifications or affirmative action-style standards, are now the major determinants of officials’ prospects for promotion. Party leader Xi Jinping no longer feels any obligation to gesture toward gender equality – what this misses out on is that Mao Zedong’s public and private conduct were in sharp contrast. Mao was an avowed paedophile.
Semiconductor Outlook 2023: Green Shoots – which has implications for only a short global recession as the semiconductor sector is the canary in the coal mine. This news from Infineon lends credence to the view point: Infineon ready to spend ‘billions’ on acquisitions, says CEO .| EE Times
TikTok ‘ghost mall’ indicator of problems with Malaysia’s failed Silicon Valley | South China Morning Post – “It’s the only Malay-Muslim concept mall in Malaysia,” Abdul said, adding that he feels attached to the mall as “there is a brotherhood here.”While the mall didn’t have many customers, I was struck by the lively camaraderie among the staffers working there. Outside the mall, I found a singer performing for a small crowd. A couple meters away stood a unit where a popular Thai restaurant once operated. While it’s listed as operating on Google Reviews, one of Fadzil’s staff told me it has “closed down for good.” The restaurant appeared to once have good reviews online, with diners describing the food as “affordable” and “delicious.” The lot was padlocked and the tinted glass walls obscured what was inside, but my fat zoom lens captured an eerie image of the restaurant’s interior. Kitchen tools were piled in a corner and dozens of bottles of beverages stood packaged together, unused. It looked like a scene that had been quickly and hastily abandoned. – retail is tough at the best of times, but there is also a constant tale in Malaysia of expensive white elephants and failed economic policies once it had been decolonised
Filmmaker Andrew Callaghan Says Cable News “Ramped People up” for Jan. 6 – I think that January 6th is much more of a riot than it is an insurrection. And I think that the mainstream media is endlessly focusing on it because it’s, it’s very good eye candy. It makes great news. It makes all conservatives look like absolute morons, and it’s good for selling ads. So it was a terrible thing, but there’s reasons they’re dragging it out, and they’ll continue to drag it out until the next major conservative fuck up like that. I don’t feel, necessarily, that the frontline brainwashed Capitol riot soldier is to blame for what happened. I think it’s the people who push them into action, particularly on the fringe as well. I think mainstream media and social media play a role in ramping up division, but I think it’s people like Alex [Jones] and Enrique [Tarrio] who really are primarily just merchandise salesmen. We have a serious problem with media echo chambers and informational literacy in this country. We have to take it upon ourselves to be more educated and think on a different level. So what’s in it for influencers like them? The “MAGA-sphere” allows for a ridiculous array of hustles and grifts. There’s Forgiato Blow, who built a rap career around the MAGA train. Enrique Tarrio runs the largest right-wing t-shirt shop on the Internet. Alex Jones makes millions of dollars selling brain pills, basically. There’s so many ways to make money in the MAGA world. It’s really appealing for someone trying to get their start as an entrepreneur or a politically active person – probably one of the smarter views that I have read on January 6.
DOJ divided over charging Binance for alleged crypto crimes, report says | Ars Technica – Binance has already been censured in Singapore
Siegfried Muller’s interview shows the complexity in modern German history. Muller was plied with alcohol and interviewed by East German interviewers who then put together this film (presumably with editing). For Muller, the threat of communism was real. You can read more on Muller here.
The War in Ukraine Highlights European Rifts – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Despite the destruction Russia is wreaking on Ukraine, both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and sections of his Social Democratic Party and business lobbies hanker after the status quo ante. Herein lies the second rift. It is linked to EU member states’ varied historical experiences and the resulting threat perceptions. The EU as a peace project was finessed over the years without a voice from the Eastern or Central Europeans. They had to endure living under the dictatorship of the Soviet Union. Today, Western Europe, particularly France and Germany, considers a future European security architecture involving Russia in some form. For the East Europeans, security is about defending themselves against Russia. That is why the latter want Ukraine to win and Russia to be defeated. For them, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens Europe’s stability and security—a threat that would be compounded if Russia were to win
Race is on to develop new generation of weight-loss drugs | Financial Times – this looks like a Viagra like gold rush, on the plus side there is a lot of scientific progress being made. The biggest barriers are socio-cultural in nature. Disclosure, I worked on the global launch of Wegovy – the current category leading treatment
China Lets Hong Kong Leader Override Courts Over Jimmy Lai Lawyer – WSJ – what’s interesting is that the Hong Kong government had attempted to kick this over to Beijng after the courts ruled against them. National People’s Congress Standing Committee did not ban foreign lawyers as widely expected. Standing committee clarified two clauses of law after city’s top court upheld earlier ruling that allowed jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai to hire British barrister for his pending trial, National security law: Hong Kong to pass legislative amendment ‘in months’ to ban British lawyer from Jimmy Lai trial, after Beijing ruling | South China Morning Post – Committee for Safeguarding National Security, chaired by city leader, expected to call meeting and lay down framework for amendment. Country’s top legislative body had on Friday clarified two clauses of the Beijing-decreed legislation, stating the matter required chief executive’s input
Hong Kong committee can bar foreign lawyers from national security cases: Beijing — Radio Free Asia – “Now the national security committee gets to decide what is and isn’t a matter of national security in all cases, not just national security cases, but in any other court cases and also in all matters of government policy, without being subject to judicial review,” he said. “They could claim that pandemic prevention was a matter of national security, or education,” Yam said. “It’s not just about the judicial system.” “It affects legislation and anything that takes place throughout the entire government system.” – Australian lawyer Kevin Yam points out the weakness that anyone using Hong Kong as a legal jurisdiction in contracts should be concerned about. Is the counter-party connected to the government, in a strategically important sector, government owned or supported by government loans? Do they employ mainland employees who might be affected by the contract. All of this could fall within the national security law. Another take by Hong Kong based legal scholar and former judge Henry Litton: HKU Legal Scholarship Blog: Henry Litton: Red Alert: Hong Kong Judicial Independence Under Existential Threat (Comment on the Admission of Owen KC). Samuel Bickett’s take on things here: Beijing’s New Year’s surprise: awarding itself broad new powers over Hong Kong and NPC Observer: Explainer: NPCSC’s Interpretation of Hong Kong National Security Law over Jimmy Lai’s Foreign Defense Counsel – Beyond the confines of Lai’s case and the specific issue it raised, the [NatSec] Committee’s seemingly broad and unreviewable power to “make [enforceable] judgments and decisions” on whether an issue of national security is involved, regardless of setting, could be cause for concern. It awaits to be seen whether and to what extent it would invoke this newly declared authority to deal with other situations in the future.
Free Hong Kong’s Fiercest Defender by Chris Patten – Project Syndicate – Chris Patten on Jimmy Lai
The Wolves and Sheep case HKU Legal Scholarship Blog: Johannes Chan: The Village of the Sheep Case (HKSAR v Lai Man-ling) which is just embarrassing for Hong Kong HKU Legal Scholarship Blog: Henry Litton on The Case of the Wolf and the Sheep in Hong Kong (Pearls and Irritations) and The case of the wolf and the sheep in Hong Kong – Pearls and Irritations
Steve Barrett summaries behavioural change hacks.
Three ways Big Tech got it wrong | Financial Times – Most of Big Tech got rich on software, which is easily updatable and basically free to distribute at scale. Such online innovation rightly places a huge premium on “failing fast”: getting a product out quickly, building a following and fixing the bugs later. The same is simply not true for a car, a medicine or even a new flavour of packaged meat. They have to work correctly and meet regulatory standards right off the bat. Production facilities and distribution networks cannot be conjured out of thin air, or easily amended after the fact. In the physical realm, an innovator can see its lead evaporate in the face of competition from rivals with experience in production and distribution. Tesla is discovering this the hard way. Tesla’s share of the US electric vehicle market has dropped below 65 per cent from 79 per cent five years ago. S&P Global Mobility predicts it will fall below 20 per cent by 2025 as other makers bring out electric trucks and cheaper models faster than Tesla can build new factories
India’s start-up dream sours for fired tech workers | Financial Times – a good deal of the blame can be laid at the feet of the team that Nikesh Arora built and led at Softbank, alongside the wider macro-economic factors currently happening
Huawei patents EUV lithography tools used to make <10nm chips | TechSpot – patents are one thing, getting it to work is something else entirely
A few things on this. I believe that hydrogen will play a far bigger role in the energy mix for transport. These cars are Toyota Mirai vehicles. Secondly, look at how easy it is for the workers to get the fit and finish right on the cars, which says a lot about the precision of their component manufacturers to get to Toyota’s legendary reliable, rattle-free vehicles.
KOSPI Ends Year with Lackluster Performance – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – to be fair this has been the same around the world
North Korean hackers once again exploit Internet Explorer’s leftover bits | Ars Technica – again a good deal of this is down to Korea’s historical reliance on Windows
William Davies · The Seductions of Declinism: Stagnation Nation · LRB 4 August 2022 – The claim that everything has been getting worse for decades is a gift to Thatcherites and Brexiters, who promise a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the nation, and would like to banish those who talk down Britain’s prospects. Edgerton went to considerable lengths in The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A 20th-Century History to dispute the claim that the interwar and postwar British economy was a failure, or that it needed ‘reviving’ in the way Thatcher promised. For Edgerton (and the Resolution Foundation appears to agree), Britain’s current economic malaise began under Thatcher, when rent-seeking via the housing market, privatisation and financial ‘innovation’ became the basis of Britain’s economic growth. But even Edgerton would agree that we are now in a very bad way. The poor quality of the Tory leadership candidates and the unseriousness of the debate between them creates the impression of a country that can now only speak to itself in slogans, oaths and insults, and has no capacity to describe or explain its problems. Away from the theatre of the leadership contest, the signs are that Britain’s elites now intend to stake everything on another financial free-for-all. Inexplicably, the Bank of England recently abolished the regulations that impose affordability criteria on the sale of mortgages, meaning that lenders no longer need to check whether borrowers have the capacity to repay if interest rates rise further. A new Financial Services Bill, supported by Sunak and the current chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, will challenge the power of the Bank of England to regulate financial services, with the aim of releasing the City of London to engage in greater risk-taking. The Brexiters’ ideology, according to which Britain remains restricted by its conformity to EU rules, may have one more hurrah, if it can liberate speculators for another few years before the Ponzi schemes finally collapse
USA vs. England: Which one is more deranged? | Slate.com – guess that free trade deal won’t be a high priority….
Extinction Rebellion abandons disruptive climate protests in UK | Financial Times – not terribly surprising, they managed to alienate rather than get allies
Trashed lithium-ion batteries caused three garbage truck fires in California | Ars Technica – recycling these batteries is going to be very dangerous
Turning tables: the UK’s new vinyl manufacturer riding the music revival | The Guardian – the collecting bug underpinning vinyl records is another part of the joy of ownership for many people. A more ethereal version of the joy of ownership comes from the secondary markets in sports and streetwear.
Hollywood talent agencies seek new deals tied to Netflix advertising model | Financial Times – its basically the TV model from the 1970s all over again
Fake ‘Rothschild’ Was Chased by Russian Organized Crime When She Took Pictures With Trump at Mar-a-Lago – OCCRP – the self-confessed grifter was a Ukrainian immigrant tangled up with Russian organized crime, a joint investigation by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and OCCRP has found. OCCRP and the Post-Gazette revealed in August how Yashchyshyn gained access to Mar-a-Lago without any background checks, making at least four trips to the estate in two days. The investigation and an FBI action that same month to retrieve documents from Mar-a-Lago renewed questions about security at the private club that has hosted powerful U.S. and world leaders. Those questions will only grow with the new revelations that the fake Rothschild was being chased by a serious organized crime figure as she mingled with prominent club guests and the ex-president himself.
Keeping your information secure on the road
Never-before-seen malware is nuking data in Russia’s courts and mayors’ offices | Ars Technica – this looks like it might be designed to affect Russia’s ability to draft population and might have been done by Russians inside, or outside the country
Singapore redevelopment of its harbour in the early 1980s is fascinating. The area is now a mix of bars, cafes and restaurants. Among the buildings lost was a cinema built and owned by The Shaw Organisation – who were responsible for the post-war boom in kung fu martial arts films and even helped finance Blade Runner. The Shaws came out of a merchant background and were big in pre-war Shanghai as one of the big three film studios. They diversified into amusement parks over a decade before Disney did; though the Shaws were not as single-minded in their focus on ‘family-friendly’ experiences as their US counterpart.
The limits of growth in Singapore, some of these factors feel very Brexity, partly due to neo-liberalism
Taiwan counts on military conscription reform to deter China invasion | Financial Times – in the 1960s Singapore worked with Israel to come up with a defence strategy. This exercise offers a lot of lessons for Taiwan today, along with the agile national guard forces of Ukraine
After bankruptcy and war, OneWeb turns to a competitor for help | Ars Technica – a batch of 40 satellites is due to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. SpaceX, of course, is a competitor in satellite broadband Internet
Interesting documentary on the AT&T Long Lines project. The closest AT&T has now is its disaster recovery and First Net services.
Bell Labs did an explanatory film on the AT&T Long Lines microwave network
Web of no web
VR Shipments Declined by 12% in 2022, Casting Doubts on the Future of the Metaverse / Digital Information World and When it comes to the Metaverse, Brits don’t care about virtual environments – City Monitor
Gorillaz turn the world into a stage with augmented reality | Google Blog – a classic example of what William Gibson would call locative art