Newslinks 2015-5-20

The US has charged six Chinese nationals, including three Tianjin University professors, with espionage. Two are accused of stealing sensitive technology from their American employer, including source code, specs, recipes, presentations, and design layouts, among other documents. At least some of their research, also interestingly, was funded by DARPA.

WaPo looks at allegations of a Green Beret who might have committed war crimes by shooting prisoners and hiding the evidence with throwing them into burn pits used to dispose of garbage. Army officials maintain there is not enough evidence to bring up charges, although the man in question was denied commendations and demoted out of Special Forces and out of any substantive work.

TPP continues to be a headache in Washington as the Obama administration threatens to veto amendments that add currency enforcement. This was something Republicans wanted and they seem to have swayed Democrats that this allows the US to protect certain interests, including workers. The administration warns the Fed’s policies, primarily quantitative easing, would almost certainly be challenged with this amendment and it would make US monetary policy far less flexible, not more.

The Takata airbag recall has now become the largest consumer recall in US history, doubling with another 34 million vehicles. It beats the 1982 Tylenol recall of 31 million bottles over scares that psychos were randomly poisoning bottles and in the car industry, the 2014 GM recall of 30 million vehicles for faulty ignition switches. The problem has been pinpointed to humid weather and moisture gradually causing the propellant to burn hotter than intended when the air bag blows, rupturing the wire framing and causing the shards to explode outward. Takata says it does not have the capacity to replace tens of millions of airbags this year.

The government is also charging four cancer charities as shams that stole $187 million.

McKinsey looks at mobile retail in Korea, where smartphone penetration and consumption is much higher than in the US. Nearly 1/3 of all web-based sales in Korea are now by smartphone and 2/3 of people surveyed say they’ve done so at least once. By comparison, only 1/4 of Americans surveyed say they’ve ever bought anything by smartphone (other sites say about 1/4 of all web-based sales in the US are by smartphone). Perhaps not surprisingly, as a result of m-commerce, shoppers in Korea are turning away from stores and even abandoning online. Koreans, particularly women, seem to be starting to associate computers with work. Biggest lessons are that the most likely smartphone consumer is a young mother who cares much more about convenience and quickness than price or range, although discounts and goodies ensure loyalty and repeat shopping. You can probably anticipate American trends to turn in the same way and clever m-commerce retailers will push people in that direction.

The Guardian says the video game industry is dominated by white men wearing plaid and denim, making it both an argument against homogeneity and sort of a soft, tartan-patterned oppression.

Japanese menswear is going anti-bling, turning more simple and more understated. It perhaps contrasts with current trends in the UK and US of wearing sharper suits and more lavish accessories, but the Japanese style is steadily growing and you can never go wrong with simple and plain but good looking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *