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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

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This tool could protect your photos from facial recognition – TODAYonline – this kind of prevention of facial recognition from photographs is interesting. Presumably it can also be done to make sure facial recognition works for a ‘person’, even when their passport photo has subtle differences. This kind of facial recognition manipulation technology is probably something similar to what Mossad may have used in the killing of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Otherwise it would have lost the ‘effectiveness’ of 30-odd operatives. More on biometrics here.

Waiting for Cyberpunk 2077? Here’s Cyberpunk 101 | Phoenix New Times – great list of material here

Neal Stephenson Explains Silicon Valley’s Latest Obsession | Vanity Fair – interesting comments on the absorption of mobile devices, the way uncanny valley might have shifted and AR versus VR

Brand Strategy 101 – Google Slides

Goldie is the latest contributor to the International Stüssy Tribe (IST) radio series. He has done two mixes, a light mix and a dark mix. This is the light mix.

Chinese Hackers Have Pillaged Taiwan’s Semiconductor Industry | WIRED – interesting persistent hacking techniques. More on hacking here.

Pepper robots can now call you out for not wearing a mask in public | Input Magazine – I love this

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free ❧ Current Affairsthe New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Republic, New York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free!

Casual dining chains have ‘no future’, says former PizzaExpress entrepreneur | Financial Times Hugh Osmond, who with fellow entrepreneur Luke Johnson took PizzaExpress public and expanded the chain to more than 200 sites during the 1990s, said private equity firms buying casual dining businesses at risk of bankruptcy because of the Covid-19 crisis “fail to understand the business they are acquiring”. The model for midmarket branded restaurants was “absolutely broken”, he added, because of massive oversupply in the sector, high overhead costs and a decline in visitor numbers even before the pandemic.

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Oprah time: Frank Miller – Ronin

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Frank Miller – Ronin (often called Frank Miller’s Ronin) was a graphic novel written in the early 1990s. In the story Miller looks to combine is love of myth and legend a la 300, with cyberpunk.

The story leaps across time from medieval Japan to the distant future of New York. The Ronin of the title is looking to revenge his master against a demon. The New York that they fall into owes a lot to the dystopian vision of Mega City One in Judge Dredd. All the money has flowed to capital and most people are living at the edges of society.

Frank Miller’s Ronin

Miller explores links between mysticism and technology as it relates to artificial intelligence.

Frank Miller has a grand vision in Ronin; full of interesting ideas, but it feels half-baked. The potential in the story isn’t fulfilled. The worlds that Miller has built in the book feel very one dimensional in nature. That means that the foundation that the story builds on feels insubstantial. Miller tries to paper over the cracks by moving the reader quickly from one ‘cell’ to another.

I think that Ronin isn’t something that fits neatly into a short comic run and a trade paperback, but needs its own franchise to breath and develop further. There is a richness in there waiting to be tapped.

The artwork isn’t as rich as other Frank Miller works such as 300, The Dark Knight Returns or Sin City. Instead it feels like concept sketches rather than a complete work, even the colour panels feel that way. Ronin feels like something it would be worthwhile for the author to revisit and develop further. But at the present time I can only recommend Frank Miller – Ronin for completists, who are fans of Miller’s other works and will overlook this story’s limitations. More book related posts here.

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Things that caught my eye this week

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This was the last place I expected to see anti-China sentiment addressed. I like Steve Guttenberg’s writing in the past for CNet on all things hi-fi and now follow his videos. What he does in in video makes up in enthusiasm, what he lacks in production skills. It was interesting to see him shoot a video that directly addressed a desire in his audience to not buy Chinese hi-fi products. Whilst some of this is about protecting well loved brands, I think some of it reflects a real turn in consumer sentiment towards an anti-China tone. Guttenberg manages to address the topic in an even-handed manner and tries to take some of the vitriol out of the discussion. More China related content here.

The New York Times wrote a great feature on the rise of statist intellectuals in China who are influencing government policy. Providing an intellectual justification for Xi era policies. What’s interesting is that they draw on German intellectual thinking used to support Nazi ideals of authoritarianism: ‘Clean Up This Mess’: The Chinese Thinkers Behind Xi’s Hard Line – The New York Times 

Ambient music to work by. There is an internet community who are re-editing selected pieces of sci-fi soundtrack to provide an epic ambient audio background. Here’s edits that have been done featuring Blade Runner and Ghost In The Shell.

This TV series provided one of the best backgrounds of Irish history. I remember seeing one or two of the episodes that my Dad had managed to capture on video tape. I can also recommend Robert Kee’s book Ireland which accompanied the series. It stops during the Troubles. Given the quality of the series and the mainstream audience that it received at the time, the UK is still astonishingly ignorant of Irish history. This has become especially apparent the Brexit process. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been moved on to Blu-Ray, DVD or legitimate streaming services. More Irish-related topics here.