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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hana Kimura was a reality TV star appearing in a Netflix Japan show. She got a lot of unfair online abuse which contributed to her taking her life. Kimura was just 22 years old. YouTube user Nibota does a really good download on what happened. It mirrors experiences reality shows around the world seem to provoke in online behaviour. Hana Kimura worked in the entertainment industry as a wrestler and her death is indescribably tragic. More Japan related posts here.

London collective Crowns & Owls shot this advert for Wieden & Kennedy Tokyo client Nike Korea. Entitled ‘You can’t stop us’ it symbolises ‘ the story of Shim Suk-hee; the gold medalist speed skater and national icon whose bravery in confronting her experience with systematic physical, sexual and mental abuse within 2019 South Korean sport’.

They actually built the tunnel inside South Korea’s largest indoor ice rink.

Nescafé Hong Kong has a new animated advert for canned coffee. It was directed by Yojiro Arai, formerly of Studio Ghibli worked with a a Japanese team for the best part of a year to provide the authentic backdrop of Hong Kong and you can see it in the details, from the estate agent windows to the money plant in an office lobby. (H/T via the Mad Man blog (HK)).

Lovely case study of an ad by luxury brand Loewe. This was a Christmas film without the cliches of John Lewis et al. It is an interesting mix of analogue skills which reflect the craftsmanship that luxury good brands like Loewe have in their DNA.

Jeremy Fleming, the current director of GCHQ gave a presentation for the online Cheltenham Science Festival. Unsurprisingly coronavirus offered an opportunity for hackers. It is interesting that he goes to talk about privacy and data protection on contract tracing apps. He doesn’t provide a concrete answer.

Its about 8 hours in
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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cathay Pacific merger hits roadblock from aviation regulator: report | Hong Kong Business – this makes sense as the ‘other shoe dropping’ following last years resignation of Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg due to Chinese government pressure amidst the Hong Kong protest movement. This appears to be all about squeezing Hong Kong business to kowtow further to Beijing’s authoritarian Han ethno-nationalist agenda. It could be also softening up Cathay Pacific for a bargain basement takeover by one of the Chinese state airlines as a fuck you to the Swire taipans and long suffering Hong Kong retail shareholders, instead lining the pockets of some mainland princelings

Samsung Chief Grilled over Succession Fiddle – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition)each Samsung C&T stake was calculated as equal to just 0.35 Cheil Industries stakes in the merger, and prosecutors believe that Samsung intentionally inflated the value of Cheil Industries and understated the value of Samsung C&T, thereby causing damage to other shareholders. The second charge focuses on allegations of a W4.5-trillion accounting fraud involving Samsung Biologics, a key affiliate of Cheil Industries. Prosecutors suspect Samsung hid the debts of subsidiary Samsung Bioepis to inflate the value of Samsung Biologics – if the allegations are true the Lees were bilking retail and institutional investors about of many millions of dollars and the Korean government might stand to lose a substantial amount of inheritance tax. More on Samsung here

YouTube deletes comments critical of China’s Communist Party – apparently due to a software ‘flaw’ – all of this is going to feed into the grist mill for tighter control and regulation of social platforms in the US and other western markets. If it had been a hack, it would have been impressive

動森情報:【ANNA SUI加入《集合啦!動物森友會》!快搶2020年春夏季時裝!】 – 香港人遊香港 – fashion brand Anna Sui joins Animal Crossing including virtual versions of new seasons design. Overall the way that brands are using Animal Crossing reminds me a lot of work that I did back in the day with adidas when I was inhouse at Yahoo!. Branded clothing came to avatars. But with the amount of momentum behind Animal Crossing, I am expecting much more exciting developments. How could Nintendo monetise this better, without ruining gameplay?

E-Commerce Channels Dominant but Physical Stores are Equally Important – Nielsen – interesting how its geographic factors like Singapore where retailing is very convenient. I had seen similar claims made about US food retailing as well

New Research Spells Big Trouble For Movie Theatres | Brandwatch – ok you can query the validity of the data but its interesting

The Rise of ‘Affordable Premium’ in Korea’s Smartphone Market | Counterpoint Research – my hypothesis is that utility has topped out for Korean consumers on smartphones. So long as it runs Instagram and the Kakao suite of messaging and payment apps its fine

Facebook Executives Shut Down Efforts to Make the Site Less Divisive – WSJ – not terribly surprising (paywall)

The Quietus | The Many Faces Of Housekeeping: How Wealth & Privilege Are Distorting Underground Music – depressing but not terribly surprising. Looking back, a lot of the biggest rock artists went to ‘good’ schools, Tony Colston-Hayter and hangers on at Sunrise or the second generation criminal oligarch money that funded well-educated scions ventures up North. 1990s super clubs having the money to buy out venues and keep them shut; or buying up all the ad inventory in scene magazines like Mixmag – access to capital and connections make this inevitable. Unfortunately Housekeeping’s stuff is pretty mediocre as well

Rewatching *Dirty Harry* (no real spoilers) – Marginal REVOLUTIONas usual with San Francisco movies one can see the reach of NIMBY — the city doesn’t look much larger or busier today.  The subtext of the film is that law and order is collapsing, yet San Francisco was far cleaner back then and street harassment never is presented as a risk.  Even the red light district of 1971 seemed better kept than many of the nicer parts circa 2020 – reflecting the 1971 film, shot during the fallout of the summer of love

Fatalism, Beliefs, and Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemicthree main empirical findings. First, individuals dramatically overestimate the infectiousness of COVID-19 relative to expert opinion. Second, providing people with expert information partially corrects their beliefs about the virus. Third, the more infectious people believe that COVID-19 is, the less willing they are to take social distancing measures, a finding we dub the “fatalism effect”. We estimate that small changes in people’s beliefs can generate billions of dollars in mortality benefits

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Adult entertainment transforms during pandemic – Axios – accelerated move towards interactive and custom adult entertainment production. But US legal issues are getting in the way – Is OnlyFans Deleting Sex Workers’ Accounts? – Rolling Stone 

Publishers and journalists on TikTok – Google Sheets – in case your dystopian life needs more dystopia

Decoding Xi Jinping’s Speech at the World Health Assembly – The DiplomatThe main target of Xi Jinping’s speech is the “global South” and, more specifically, the African continent. The terrain lost in Western democracies amid the pandemic will be hard to win back. However, in terms of global influence, the role of the global South and Africa is vital for China. There also, the image of China has been severely damaged. For the first time, African ambassadors to the PRC had to write a joint letter to protest how African residents were being treated in the PRC

Investigating China: COVID-19 and the CCP – The Diplomatcapitalizing on the growing crisis in the United States and Europe, the official media in China has been trumpeting China’s purported success in controlling the disease. China has also sent medical missions to countries such as Italy. Sending medical missions abroad had been a strategy the PRC used during the Cold War to promote a new international order: a “people’s revolutionary movement” against colonialism, imperialism, and hegemonism

The Chinese luxury market after COVID-19 | Daxue Consulting – interesting how the retailing experience is being adversely affected by COVID precautions

Mixed reactions to current brand comms | YouGovWith the large number of brands clearly defaulting to the ‘all in this together’ message, it’s worth asking: ‘How well does this actually align with their brand values and how they are responding to the current crisis?’ Our research shows that 43% of Brits agree that brands/companies’ current messages and advertising are inauthentic. This figure increases to 52% of males (vs 35% of females). Furthermore, half of respondents (50%) disagree that brands/companies are putting their employees and their customers first and before the company and its profits.

The Crypto Price-Innovation Cycle – Andreessen Horowitz – crypto winters tend to indicate that like AI approaches before it, its not ready for adoption as a technology / use case. Success hasn’t really been in banking or logistics, where’s the adult entertainment play (which drove a lot of other technologies from 16mm cinema film to VHS and web video)

Norske offiserer og soldater avslørt av mobilen – Norge – Norwegian military personnel location data found to be for sale

Why Luxury Brands Are Raising Prices in a Pandemic | BoF Professional, This Week in Fashion | BoFTop-tier brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton are hiking prices in what looks like a bid to pad margins, cushion the impact of lower sales volumes and capitalise on the China rebound.

Electric Vehicles Continue The Same Wasteful Mistakes That Limit Longevity | Hackaday – interesting meditation on software, hardware, design, complexity and quality. Or why a Tesla isn’t as great as Elon makes out

Thailand’s travel industry readies for relaunch | Financial Times – really interesting design hacks being deployed by the Thai tourism industry. It would be great if this positively moves the needle on Thailand’s reputation as a destination for miserly backpackers and adult entertainment

Millennials stand out for their technology use | Pew Research Center – Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life

China’s ‘OK Boomer’: Generations Clash Over the Nation’s Future – The New York TimesChina’s boomers, who were born in the 1960s and 1970s, are as lucky as the American baby boomers born after World War II. China was opening up after nearly 30 years of political turmoil and economic mismanagement under Mao Zedong. Jobs were plentiful. Housing was cheap. And while the party kept an iron grip on political power, society began to open up to new ideas. Before they were blocked beginning about a decade ago, we could use Google and Wikipedia and read The New York Times’s website. The future seemed bright. China is a very different country now, especially for Chinese people born after 1990, or China’s Generation Z. Its economy in recent months shrank for the first time since the Mao era as the country grappled with the coronavirus. One estimate put the unemployment rate at 20 percent. At the same time, housing in major cities is as out of reach for members of Generation Z as it is for their contemporaries in New York and San Francisco.

Merkel cites ‘hard evidence’ Russian hackers targeted her | AFP.com“I can honestly say that it pains me. Every day I try to build a better relationship with Russia and on the other hand there is such hard evidence that Russian forces are doing this,” she told parliament. Calling such cyber attacks “more than uncomfortable,” Merkel raised the spectre of sanctions if such rogue activity did not stop. Germany’s intelligence service has repeatedly called out attempts by Russian hackers to spy on lawmakers or leading politicians.

Troy Hunt: The Unattributable “db8151dd” Data Breach – interesting, looking at the headers, it looks like a wider scrape from multiple sources. It connects multiple social platform profile IDs alongside real world address data. Possibly a large CRM breach???

Exclusive: As China Hoarded Medical Supplies, the CIA Believes It Tried to Stop the WHO from Sounding the Alarm on the Pandemic CIA believes China tried to prevent WHO from sounding the alarm on the coronavirus outbreak in January—a time when Beijing was stockpiling medical supplies from around the world. A CIA report, the contents of which were confirmed to Newsweek by two U.S. intelligence officials, said China threatened the WHO that the country would stop cooperating with the agency’s coronavirus investigation if the organization declared a global health emergency. It was the second such report from a Western intelligence service and is likely to further inflame tensions between the United States and China over a pandemic that has killed 280,000 people worldwide—more than a quarter of them American. – even if this isn’t true, its pushing China US relations into a dark place

How to arrange the perfect bookshelf – probably the most cynical depressing thing I’ve read in a while

Wendy Carlos on her production process that pioneered electronic music as we now know it.

Amazon releases Kendra to solve enterprise search with AI and machine learning | TechCrunch – interesting that Amazon is not offering Kendra in a box like Google did its enterprise search appliance. I suspect this about moving file servers on to the cloud rather than Amazon into the enterprise

The VR winter — Benedict Evans – we haven’t worked out what you would do with a great VR device beyond games (or some very niche industrial application), and it’s not clear that we will. We’ve had five years of experimental projects and all sorts of content has been tried, and nothing other than games has really worked. Hell, even adult entertainment has worked as a driver