Patriotic Alternative + more things

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Patriotic Alternative

Patriotic Alternative wasn’t a name familiar to me when I first heard about them instigating a riot in Liverpool on Saturday night. It doesn’t take that much to create a ruckus in some of the poorer areas of Liverpool.

Liverpool Riots 2011

I wasn’t particularly surprised by the burnt out police van; it sounds like a Merseyside Saturday night that went a bit out of control. That’s as Liverpudlian as a fried breakfast served in a ‘bin lid’ – a large white bun or bap large enough to contain bacon, sausage, a fried egg or two and brown sauce.

But there were aspects that did surprise me and all signs point to Patriotic Alternative. It’s a multi-cultural city, everyone has relatives abroad whether its extended Irish family, West Indians or deep connections within the Chinese diaspora. Which is why I was surprised that Patriotic Alternative managed to stir up so much trouble against an asylum hotel in the Knowsley area of Liverpool.

The city does have a certain degree of prejudice; primarily sectarianism. Its one of the few areas in England that has a marching season rather like Northern Ireland with an Orange Order parade held annual in Southport back when I lived up there. But Knowsley was something else. Patriotic Alternative managed to do something that I never thought was possible in cities like Liverpool or Bristol.

So reading about the event and the role of Patriotic Alternative in Dazed was an eye opener. It portrayed a city that I no longer recognised. Patriotic Alternative apparently organised the protest on a Telegram channel. What Dazed claim happened is that mainstream political statements and mainstream media coverage created an environment ripe for trouble makers like Patriotic Alternative.

According to Hope Not Hate, Patriotic Alternative shared members with prescribed far right organisation National Action. For an organisation that has a couple of hundred core members Patriotic Alternative has an outsized footprint. This footprint seems to be driven by the Patriotic Alternative Telegram channel with some 5,000 followers


Eau de toilette vs eau de parfum: How to tell them apart | Lifestyle Asia 


Chinese Spy Balloon: Chinese Experts React 

How China Tries to Bamboozle the United Nations – The Diplomat 

The Mysterious $300 Billion Flow Out of China | The Overshoot 

In China, Protesters’ Detentions Bring Up Dilemma for Their Loved Ones – WSJ 

Chinese AI Firms Cloudwalk, Haitian Plunge After Saying ChatGPT Brings In No Revenue – irrational exuberance in Chinese investors

China Hasn’t Given Up on the Belt and Road | Foreign Affairs 

Consumer behaviour

Opinion | My Chinese Generation Is Losing the Ability to Express Itself – The New York Times 

Consumers in the 1970s on the changing nature of growing old, unfortunately attitudes and biases haven’t improved in the last 50 years.


US chip packaging firm Amkor closes its Shanghai plant for a week amid global market downturn | South China Morning Post – this is signalling a recession, as was AP shipments to Chinese smartphone brands stay in decline in 1Q23, says DIGITIMES ResearchFourth-quarter 2022 smartphone application processor (AP) shipments to China-based smartphone vendors amounted to 137 million units, plunging 24% from the prior quarter and 20.3% from the prior year, and will continue to experience a double-digit decline in the first quarter of 2023, according to figures from DIGITIMES Research’s latest report covering smartphone AP shipments. Because of shrinking demand and high smartphone inventory at the channel in both China and emerging markets, AP shipments to China-based smartphone vendors had already experienced on-year declines for five consecutive quarters

The Bank of England’s Jonathan Haskel on Inflation, Productivity, Brexit, and More 

China and America are locked in destructive codependence | Financial Times 

Musings on Markets: Data Update 4 for 2023: Country Risk – Measures and Implications 

The Developing Country Industrialization series | Noahpinion 


China Regulators Querying Banks on Mortgage Prepayment Strain – Bloomberg 


How Guinness became Britain’s most popular pint 

How China Fell In Love With Cheap Wine | Sixth Tone – reminds me of my time working on the Bordeaux wine marketing board as an account at the agency I worked for in Hong Kong. The work was focused on mainland China and promoted Bordeaux as a lifestyle brand for wine consumption rather than just gift giving


Weight loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy are changing how patients view their obesity – Vox – disclaimer, I worked on both Saxenda and Wegovy at a global brand marketing campaign level in a previous agency

Massachusetts Democratic organ donation proposal sounds like prisoner organ harvesting. | SlateDemocratic state representatives Carlos González and Judith García introduced legislation that would allow incarcerated people to go home early—if they “donated” their organs. Specifically, the bill would “allow eligible incarcerated individuals to gain not less than 60 and not more than 365-day reduction in the length of their committed sentence” if they “donated bone marrow or organ(s).” Gonzalez argued that the bill was a step towards advancing racial equity in health care and making it easier for people of color to obtain transplants.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government must break its habit of relying on property developers | South China Morning Post – the article itself isn’t that interesting, but the author is. Regina Ip would be what the conservative party in the UK would call a big beast. She is a former minister level politician in the pro-China camp. Add to this the fact that despite mainland Chinese companies now outnumber local and foreign firms in Hong Kong and the economy is in decline. I expect Ip’s op-ed to be the tip of an iceberg of a shift in economic drivers that will occur sometime after John Lee leaves office. The clock is ticking on the big five families to diversify their wealth out of Hong Kong and China, following Jardines example to go into Indonesia might be a prudent start

Hong Kong reopens with post-Covid charm offensive | Financial TimesJohannes Hack, president of Hong Kong’s German Chamber of Commerce, who sits on a new task force to promote the city, said a “long-haul” effort to change business perceptions would have to go beyond plane ticket giveaways. “If you have relocated corporate functions to another place, half a year later you are probably not going to reverse the whole thing,” he said. “People who have moved to Singapore with their teen kids, there is no way they are going to do that again . . . They are not going to come back.” – feeds into the ‘its just another city in China now’ narrative

Hong Kong’s stability and livelihood could have been ‘gravely affected’ by 2020 unofficial primary scheme, court hears | South China Morning Post 


Why the Tech Pessimists Are Wrong – by Rex Woodbury


Importance of Standards to National Security – Lawfare 


AI is imagining a surreal future for Ireland – The Face 

Irish Army mappers find 100 more border crossings ahead of Brexit – 


Finally! Ridable Catbuses are being added to the Ghibli Park theme park | SoraNews24 -Japan News- – great partnership for Toyota

Nissan Unveils New “Japanese Futurism” Design Direction – Core77 


UK universities starting to lose allure for Chinese | News | The Times – well that’s screwed the Ponzi scheme that universities have engaged in via over-priced student accommodation real estate investments for reasons that aren’t exactly clear given their ownership structure and charters


What Happened to Pyer Moss? The Cut 


Advertising in China: Promoting brand awareness and brand value | Daxue Consulting 


Gigapresses – the giant die casts reshaping car manufacturing | Reuters 

Lithium Bonanza: China Battles West for Raw Material of the Future – DER SPIEGEL 


It’s impossible to know what you’re buying online – The Atlantic  – or that the premise behind a lot of Kevin Kelly’s thoughts about The New Economy are no longer valid and Why Does It Feel Like Amazon Is Making Itself Worse? 

Hermès wins case against Metabirkins over digital NFTs, Rothschild to appeal | Vogue Business 

Opinion | TikTok Is Wonderful. I Still Don’t Want It on My Phone. – The New York Times 

Japanese fashion magazine Popteen ends physical version, switches to web installments insteadmove to online only and moving away from monthly updates. Popteen ended its physical publishing as of February 1, 2023, with the February 2023 edition (released on December 28, 2022) being its last. web-based articles will be released on the first and the 15th of every month, known as “Popteen media”, and full editions of the fashion magazine will be updated a few times annually. The main reason for switching to the web edition was to make the magazine more accessible to middle and high-school students, who may not receive an allowance or be able to work part-time to afford physical copies of Popteen


Filipino laundromat startup raising $2m series A with this deck – Tech in Asia – I think that this could roll out in the future to countries like the UK due to the decline in home ownership / and increase in multi-family homes


Mainland shoppers return to Hong Kong, but some border shopkeepers fear boom times have gone for good | South China Morning PostBusiness levels go up in shops near border, but still far off peak of pre-pandemic days, stores say. One pharmacy owner says he logged only a 10 per cent increase in business since full reopening of border last week – this ties in with the slow sales that L’Oreal has been seeing in mainland China. Given the economic uncertainty and real estate crisis, slow consumption isn’t surprising. See also Hong Kong residents living near border with mainland China fear return of parallel traders and shoppers, as police step up patrols | South China Morning Post 


China’s eyes on the West involve a lot more than hot air | Comment | The TimesBeijing may have tempered its aggressive diplomacy as it focuses on trying to revive the Chinese economy, but its appetite for extensive and sophisticated surveillance that goes way beyond espionage balloons is insatiable and dangerous and China’s tech weapons roll in to quell demonstrations, identify protesters – The Record from Recorded Future News 

Great video on microchip counterfeiting and recycling. The Japanese are doing some of the best work authenticating chips. Also if its bad for US defence contractors, just imagine how bad it will be for the sanctioned Russian defence sector.

How Technology Is Disrupting the Intelligence World | Foreign Affairs 

Analysis: China’s military has shown growing interest in high-altitude balloons | Reuters and Chinese balloon program spying on 40 countries, U.S. says – The Washington Post 

China to EU: Drop calls for Ukraine’s ‘complete victory’ – POLITICO and Europe has to stand against Russia – by Noah Smith 

China surpasses US in number of ICBM launchers 

Shares in British engineering company dive as it announces cost of cyberattack – The Record from Recorded Future News – just wow. I temped at Morgan after university before I got an agency role. I was employed to operate their supply chain software because of my touch typing skills. Back then they had dedicated leased lines connecting different sites, all of which ran Digital VAX mini-computers


Will AI take away the coding jobs? – by Noah Smith – no more than Github would

AI-Powered Chip Design Goes Mainstream – EE Times 

Seeing for the SightlessLuo, 26, suffers from congenital cataracts and is pursuing a degree in acupuncture and massage therapy at a college in Beijing. He needs help on the scales as there is no voice assistant function at the training center. On a mobile app called Be My Eyes (BME), he sends out a video call. Pointing his phone camera at the scales, he asks, “Hello, can you read the number for me, please?” A volunteer on the other end tells him, “91 kg.” Luo says thanks and hangs up. Usually, these exchanges only last a few seconds. Being tech savvy, Luo wrote a program back in high school to help the visually impaired memorize English vocabulary, something he himself struggled with. The app would randomly pick a word from a list he composed and he would spell it out after hearing the word. BME, developed by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a visually impaired man from Denmark, drew Luo’s attention as soon as the Android version was available in China in 2017. Currently, there are 445,000 visually impaired users from all over the world and more than six million volunteers on BME.


Adidas Tumbles as Losses From Its Kanye West Venture Pile Up – The New York Times – interesting how badly Ivy Park is doing and this on their business in China: Adidas in China: a brand seeking its redemptionIn the second half of 2022, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted estimated losses of revenue of more than 35% in the Chinese market. He declared that such a violent drop was caused by some mistakes. For instance, the struggle of keeping up with the local brands, the failed recovery after the zero-covid policy, and the scandal of Xinjiang cotton.After the winter Olympics, the trend of Guochao, or the “national trend”, started to develop. More young Chinese consumers prefer buying local brands rather than western sportswear brands. In August 2022, the local firm, Anta, overtook Nike and became the biggest sportswear brand in China with a revenue of more than USD3.79 billion. Li-Ning, another Chinese firm, also registered revenue of USD1.76 billion against Adidas’ USD1.72 billion, pushing the German brand out of the podium. The zero-Covid policy has been a big problem for Adidas. In 2022, the company had to deal with closed shops and rising costs. In particular, the general lockdown which paralyzed China for the last few years resulted in the desegregation of the complex system of supply chains built up by the German brand. The disrupted supply chains cost Adidas a loss of USD427 million in the first quarter of 2022.


How to Deter a War for Taiwan + The Burdens of Occupation if China Wins 

Taiwan may join Foxconn in India to fuel chip skills | Mint 


Daring Fireball: My 2022 Apple Report Card 

onsemi takes full ownership of East Fishkill 300mm wafer fab | EE Times – this was originally IBM’s fab where they made many of their PowerPC processors

SMIC expects 10-12% revenue drop in 1Q23 | DigiTimesChina-based pure-play foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) expects to post a revenue decline of 10-12% sequentially in the first quarter of 2023, with gross margin falling further to 19-21%.

MotherDuck: Big Data is Dead – Jordan Tigani spent ten years working on Google BigQuery, during which time he was surprised to learn that the median data storage size for regular customers was much less than 100GB. In this piece he argues that genuine Big Data solutions are relevant to a tiny fraction of companies, and there’s way more value in solving problems for everyone else. I’ve been talking about Datasette as a tool for solving “small data” problems for a while

i.MX 95 Uses In-House NPU IP – EE Times – interesting move that could provide competition for Nvidia in some verticals

Web of no web

Inside Virtual Reality’s Underground Sex Parties | Buzzfeed News – inevitable


Liberty Global buys 5% stake in Vodafone worth £1.2bn | Financial Times – tail wagging the dog