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In Beijing, Doors Shut on a Bastion of Independent Ideas - The New York Times
An independent think tank that was one of China’s few remaining bastions for liberal-democratic ideas was shut out of its Beijing offices on Wednesday, throwing its survival into doubt.

Some workers at the think tank, the Unirule Institute of Economics, found themselves briefly trapped inside when the company that manages the lease on the institute’s offices locked and welded its door shut.

Unirule was founded 25 years ago to promoteliberalizing China’s economy and democratizing its government. Those ideas have become officially unwelcome under Xi Jinping, the Communist Party leader who has driven China to re-embrace staunchly socialist values, and the group has come under increased government pressure.

The institute’s executive director, Sheng Hong, said the landlord appeared to be acting under pressure from the government authorities. Finding another landlord who would tolerate its presence would be difficult, he said.
china 
5 days ago
Robert Ray, Iowa governor who gave Vietnam War refugees a home in his state, dies at 89 - The Washington Post
Iowa became one of the largest resettlement locations in the United States, and Mr. Ray dismissed any notion that relocating thousands of people fleeing Vietnam to his largely rural Midwestern state would carry political risks.
iowa 
6 days ago
Robert Ray, beloved 5-term Iowa governor, dies at 89
Three times in his governorship, Ray reached out to refugee populations of Southeast Asia displaced by the Vietnam War and other conflicts. Ray opened the Hawkeye State’s borders to Tai Dam refugees in 1974 and Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian refugees in 1977.
iowa 
7 days ago
Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras - The New York Times
China’s new surveillance is based on an old idea: Only strong authority can bring order to a turbulent country. Mao Zedong took that philosophy to devastating ends, as his top-down rule brought famine and then the Cultural Revolution.

His successors also craved order but feared the consequences of totalitarian rule. They formed a new understanding with the Chinese people. In exchange for political impotence, they would be mostly left alone and allowed to get rich.

It worked. Censorship and police powers remained strong, but China’s people still found more freedom. That new attitude helped usher in decades of breakneck economic growth.

Today, that unwritten agreement is breaking down.

China’s economy isn’t growing at the same pace. It suffers from a severe wealth gap. After four decades of fatter paychecks and better living, its people have higher expectations.

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, has moved to solidify his power. Changes to Chinese law mean he could rule longer than any leader since Mao. And he has undertaken a broad corruption crackdown that could make him plenty of enemies.

For support, he has turned to the Mao-era beliefs in the importance of a cult of personality and the role of the Communist Party in everyday life. Technology gives him the power to make it happen.

“Reform and opening has already failed, but no one dares to say it,” said Chinese historian Zhang Lifan, citing China’s four-decade post-Mao policy. “The current system has created severe social and economic segregation. So now the rulers use the taxpayers’ money to monitor the taxpayers.”
china 
7 days ago
HBO Must Get Bigger and Broader, Says Its New Overseer - The New York Times
Mr. Stankey described a future in which HBO would substantially increase its subscriber base and the number of hours that viewers spend watching its shows. To pull it off, the network will have to come up with more content, transforming itself from a boutique operation, with a focus on its signature Sunday night lineup, into something bigger and broader.

“We need hours a day,” Mr. Stankey said, referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.”

Continuing the theme, he added: “I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.”

Known for “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld,” HBO has long favored quality over quantity. Its high-gloss productions often take years to develop and can cost millions per episode. That approach has won the network more Primetime Emmy Awards than any of its competitors over the last 16 years, with Mr. Plepler the master curator.

In recent years, Mr. Plepler has emphasized HBO’s “bespoke culture” and its enduring appeal to A-list producers and stars at a time when Netflix, Amazon and Apple have bottomless budgets. On his watch, “Big Little Lies” has brought the Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep to the network, and shows like “Barry” and “Insecure” have charmed critics. But during the town hall meeting, Mr. Stankey said HBO should consider trying something new.
television  streaming 
7 days ago
Does Vladimir Putin Speak for the Russian People? - The New York Times
Putin is clearly the villain in this story. McFaul concluded that the Russian president was “paranoid,” a man of “fixed and flawed views” who “saw us as the enemy,” and that so long as he ruled Russia, “strategic partnership was impossible.” He makes his case with energy and conviction. Yet his relentless focus on Putin’s individual role tends to obscure the broader evolution of attitudes toward the West within the Russian political establishment. There are, for instance, only passing references to the siloviki — hard-liners with a background in the security services who were all along uneasy about Medvedev’s embrace of the Reset. In fact, Putin is far from alone in his hostility to what he sees as aggressive NATO expansionism and the threat of American missile defense programs. Neither is he alone in his belief that the United States orchestrated the overthrow of the Ukrainian government of Viktor F. Yanukovych in 2014.

And what of wider public opinion? McFaul concedes that Putin’s popularity “suggests a deep societal demand for this kind of autocratic leader, and this kind of antagonistic relationship with the United States and the West.” But instead of developing this insight, McFaul leaves it hanging.

Placing responsibility for the rapid deterioration in United States-Russian relations squarely on the shoulders of the Russian president has its appeal. It holds out the promise that Kremlin policy toward the West might pivot once again when Putin finally retires or is pushed out. Maybe so, but the more pessimistic view is that Putin represents a now-entrenched revanchist nationalism that sees the liberal international order as a mere smokescreen for the advancement of Western political agendas. Deep-rooted antagonism toward the United States might well endure long after Putin has gone. As McFaul himself laments, “the hot peace, tragically but perhaps necessarily, seems here to stay.”
russia 
7 days ago
MacStories Weekly: Issue 135
Federico Viticci’s piece about Keep It file manager and notebook.
macstories 
8 days ago
The End of History Is the Birth of Tragedy – Foreign Policy
In East Asia and Eastern Europe, revisionist authoritarian powers are coercing their neighbors and nibbling away at the international order. Chinese leaders are laying plans for a Sino-centric Asia, and Russian leaders are talking about the transition to a “post-West” world: It is hard to see how either transition can be accomplished without coercion and violence. In the Middle East, Iran is asserting its regional ambitious, Bashar al-Assad is perpetrating a slow-motion genocide, and the Islamic State and other jihadi groups continue to wreak havoc even as their military fortunes decline. North Korea is racing ahead with its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of the international community, posing an ever greater threat not simply to its neighbors but to the United States as well. And across these various regions and issues, the rules that seemed to have gained such global dominance in the wake of the Cold War are increasingly being challenged and transgressed. Nonaggression and the peaceful resolution of disputes, the ability of countries to choose their economic and geopolitical alignments free from intimidation or coercion, freedom of navigation in the world’s key waterways — all of these norms are being tested more severely today than at any time in decades.

The threats today are diverse, but they do share a common theme. They represent the warning lights flashing on the dashboard; they are indications that an international system that has long been so historically exceptional in its effectiveness and stability is now fraying at the edges. The revival of great-power competition is particularly concerning: Geopolitical revisionism on the part of unsatisfied major powers is traditionally the sort of thing that has preceded large-scale war with all of its horrors.
greatpowercompetition 
9 days ago
Mao 101: Inside a Chinese Classroom Training the Communists of Tomorrow - The New York Times
Within the Communist Party, there are deep anxieties about the “ideological purity” of this generation of university students, who have only a faint connection, through parents and grandparents, to the Mao era and the ideals of revolution. The state-run media has described them as too cynical, independent and apathetic about politics.
Under Mr. Xi, officials have prescribed a heavier dose of ideological education across China’s more than 2,500 universities.

Students must now complete up to five courses to graduate — including a class on Marxism, one on morality, a modern Chinese history course, and “situation and policy education,” an exploration of modern-day issues like the territorial dispute in the South China Sea and policies concerning ethnic minorities.
china 
9 days ago
Why Made in China 2025 Will Succeed, Despite Trump - The New York Times
No doubt many Chinese companies will fail in their effort to upgrade. Made in China 2025’s other goals, such as building up world-class microchip industries or self-driving cars, remain out of sight for now.

Yet when it comes to manufacturing, Dongguan suggests Made in China 2025 will succeed partly because the effort is bigger than Beijing. Chinese companies and local government officials are determined to climb the value chain so they will not fall into obsolescence. The best Washington can do is to make sure its policies help American companies stay ahead of the game.
china 
9 days ago
The AI arms race: the tech fear behind Donald Trump’s trade war with China | Financial Times
Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
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Viewed from America, President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 industrial strategy is a state-led effort to establish Chinese leadership in the technologies of the next generation of commerce and military equipment — notably AI, robotics and gene editing.

Many US officials are now questioning one of the basic assumptions about how the American economy operates: its openness to foreign investment. Nathan Sheets, a former Treasury undersecretary for international affairs in the Obama administration, says that when he entered government, he was sceptical of any efforts to restrain foreign investment but left convinced of the need to fight back.

“When I open up my textbook and read about the glories of foreign investment . . . one doesn’t have in mind a government amassing a war chest of several billion dollars and then going into a country to systematically buy up companies and technology,” he says. “As I left the Treasury I was quite concerned about where this was heading.”
china 
9 days ago
Sinology by Andy Rothman - Battlefield Choices
The Chinese economy is no longer export-driven. Net exports (the value of a country's exports minus the value of its imports) account for only 2% of China's GDP, down from a peak of 9% in 2007. In contrast, domestic consumption now accounts for the majority of China's economic growth and more than half of its GDP.
china 
9 days ago
The Art of Drawing ‘The Art of War’ - The New York Times
What do you think people most often get wrong about “The Art of War”?

I think there is a basic misunderstanding that it’s not really about war — it’s about preventing war. From very early times, the Chinese attitude toward warfare was that you need to end it as quickly as possible. The way to do that was to use irregular fighting: special strategies and tactics so that you could minimize the loss of life and the damage to crops and villages and so on. This started very early in Chinese history. Sunzi says the point of warfare is not the fighting but the winning. He says that anger can turn to happiness later, but a dead person can’t be brought back to life. A country that is lost can’t be brought back either. So the main goal of war from a Chinese perspective is to avoid it at all costs, or to figure out how to win while suffering the least amount of damage.

Can you expand on that idea of preventing warfare?

One way to think about it is when the Chinese settled and became an agricultural society, they had some valuable land, and it would often be attacked by outsiders. So they had to figure out how to defend it. War was not about imperialists going to take something from someone else; it was about defending. If you think about the Great Wall, the Great Wall was not built to attack or to take over somebody else’s land. It was to keep out invaders. China actually had very few horses in the oldest days, like in Sunzi’s time, so they had to figure out ways to fight these advancing cavalries. They had to be very clever about it. If you look at “The Art of War,” it’s about preparation. Only very little of it is about how to actually fight, and I think that people tend to neglect that.
books  china 
11 days ago
The furor over the Confucius Institutes is distracting from real Chinese threats - The Washington Post
Indeed, the congressional campaign against Confucius Institutes appears to be more politically inspired than based on any real threat emanating from the institutes themselves. There is no doubt Chinese spies are interested in stealing industrial and military technology from the campuses of American universities. There is also no doubt they are not doing it from Confucius Institutes. I believe FBI Director Christopher A. Wray veered from his talking points in February when he told Congress that the FBI was looking into Confucius Institutes. Subsequent conversations with senior counterintelligence officials have confirmed that Confucius Institutes are not considered a threat to national security.

Focusing on Confucius Institutes and not on, say China’s Thousand Talents program, which seeks to lure leading American scientists and their inventions to China, is the type of sloppy reporting that makes it more difficult to gauge the threat from China. In that way, it’s reminiscent of the McCarthyism period during the 1950s.
china 
11 days ago
On the linguistic challenges of moving from the Canadian East to the West | National Post
Matthew Dorrell: It wasn’t just the accent that gave my identity away to my new friends. Vancouverites, it turned out, had their own local customs pertaining to language
canada 
11 days ago
North Korea working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear program, U.S. officials say - The Washington Post
The new intelligence, described by four officials who have seen it or received briefings, is based on material gathered in the weeks since the summit. The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive assessments about a country that has long been one of the most difficult targets for spy agencies to penetrate. Some aspects of the U.S. intelligence were reported Friday by NBC News.

Specifically, the DIA has concluded that North Korean officials are exploring ways to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles, and the types and numbers of facilities they have, believing that the United States is not aware of the full range of their activities.

Some U.S. intelligence officials have for at least a year believed that the number of warheads is about 65, as reported last year by The Washington Post. But North Korean officials are suggesting that they declare far fewer.

The lone uranium-enrichment facility that has been acknowledged by North Korea is in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang. That site is estimated to have produced fissile material for as many as a couple of dozen warheads.

Meanwhile, the North Koreans also have operated a secret underground uranium enrichment site known as Kangson, which was first reported in May by The Washington Post. That site is believed by most officials to have twice the enrichment capacity of Yongbyon. U.S. intelligence agencies became aware of the nuclear facility in 2010.
northkorea 
14 days ago
Kevin Rudd on Xi Jinping, China and the Global Order | Asia Society
China now has the wind at its back. Of course there are formidable obstacles ahead. But a dialectical analysis of history causes China to conclude that the forces of reaction facing the US and the West are greater. Just as the contradictions operating domestically within the US and the West (in their particular political systems) are greater as well. Which in turn renders China’s overall domestic and international circumstances much better by comparison in the emerging contest between the two. All of which, again in this view, pushes towards a new historical synthesis more in China’s (and Chinese socialism’s) favour…
china 
16 days ago
Joe Beef Group Cuts Ties With Winemaker Norman Hardie After Sexual Misconduct Allegations - Eater Montreal
An investigation into alleged misconduct from prominent Canadian winemaker Norman Hardie has led to Joe Beef owner David McMillan cutting all ties to Hardie’s wine brands.

The Globe and Mail released a major investigation Wednesday morning, detailing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by Hardie, from inappropriate remarks to unwanted sexual contact. The exclusive is worth reading in full — many of the allegations centre around Hardie’s eponymous winery in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, which the Globe describes as “a clubhouse for celebrity chefs and food-industry power players”.

The newspaper interviewed more than 50 people with connections to Hardie, with three women alleging unwanted sexual contact, and another 18 mentioning other sexual misconduct, such as Hardie deliberately showing them pornography. Hardie denied many of the claims but conceded that his behaviour could have been more professional in certain situations, telling the Globe “I have been made aware...that our workplace was not as professional as it should have been”.

Given Hardie’s high profile in the food and wine spheres, the news has set off other events: one of the allegations centres on an event for Hardie’s wines at Joe Beef in 2016, where server Sarah Reid said the winemaker groped her (backed up by additional confirmations from her friends and father). Reid never reported the incident to her bosses at the restaurant.

The Globe took this allegation to David McMillan, and he called it “gutting”, and said he had heard Hardie make lewd comments at his winery, and regretted not saying something. In a tweet after the story was published, McMillan implied that further comments didn’t make it to the Globe’s story, calling it “the tip of the iceberg”.
canada  wine 
21 days ago
Canadian winemaker Norman Hardie accused of sexual misconduct - The Globe and Mail
An investigation by The Globe and Mail, however, including interviews with more than 50 people (most of them in the wine and food industry), reveals a troubling picture of Mr. Hardie’s behaviour. Many of those interviewed allege gross misconduct took place both within his business and outside of it.

Three women described unwanted sexual contact by the winemaker – instances of groping or kissing while they were working at the winery or at restaurant-industry events.

Eighteen additional people described behaviour that could be characterized as sexual harassment. In interviews, they described requests for sex, lewd comments about sex acts or remarks about their bodies and clothing. Several of them described being deliberately exposed to pornography. A few of the women said it was Mr. Hardie’s behaviour that ultimately led them to leave the winery.

In a letter, Mr. Hardie denied many of the allegations.
canada  wine 
21 days ago
A Financier’s Profit-Minded Mission to Open a Channel Between Kushner and North Korea
An American financier approached the Trump administration last summer with an unusual proposition: The North Korean government wanted to talk to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

The financier, Gabriel Schulze, explained that a top North Korean official was seeking a back channel to explore a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, who for months had traded threats of military confrontation. Mr. Schulze, who lives in Singapore, had built a network of contacts in North Korea on trips he had taken to develop business opportunities in the isolated state.

For some in North Korea, which has been ruled since its founding by a family dynasty, Mr. Kushner appeared to be a promising contact. As a member of the president’s family, officials in Pyongyang judged, Mr. Kushner would have the ear of his father-in-law and be immune from the personnel changes that had convulsed the early months of the administration.

Mr. Schulze’s quiet outreach was but one step in a circuitous path that led to last week’s handshake between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim at a colonial-style island hotel in Singapore — a path that involved secret meetings among spies, discussions between profit-minded entrepreneurs, and a previously unreported role for Mr. Kushner, according to interviews with current and former American officials and others familiar with the negotiations.
northkorea 
29 days ago
Peace with Pyongyang: Legal Implications for the United States and South Korea
What a potential peace treaty involving North Korea might look like... what may be covered as well as what wouldn’t necessarily be a part of the treaty.
northkorea 
29 days ago
What Kim Jong-un and Trump each achieved in Singapore
What did the June 12 summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un actually yield for each side?
northkorea 
29 days ago
Here to Share - Ben Chapman presents BBC's Podcasting Projects | Radiodays Europe Podcast Day
BBC has found that one area of need for young people is 'mood management' or filling time for young people. 

80% of digital moments is listening to music but there is room for growth 

The BBC are seeing where they can grow on which platform and with what content  on-demand, live radio and new content. Ben showed some of the podcasts which fulfilled the 4 key areas which are the areas of growth some of the drama podcasts including Tracks, Lore, Wolverine (Marvel). Discovery & explaining (the hear and now news element) including TED talks, This American Live, The Daily. Some examples of pop culture Blue Planet and Peachy Podcast.
podcasting 
4 weeks ago
Young people think the BBC is stuffy – but podcasts are changing this! | Radiodays Europe Podcast Day
"The UK Podcast Audience – How Under 35s Listen" with some figures on podcast listening from the UK. 

10% growth of listeners per year in the UK, 5.9m weekly podcast listeners (RAJAR).
14% of people are listening to podcasts on smartphones in the UK.
50% of listeners to weekly podcasts are 15+
3.5m listen to podcasts each week but no BBC speech radio (Midas 2018)
podcasting 
4 weeks ago
Scripting News: Podcasts are feeds
Podcasts are feeds
If it doesn't have an RSS feed it isn't a podcast #
Please if you make a podcast, remember that. It's actually a lot more important than you probably realize.#
The reason it's important is this. As long as there are RSS feeds for every podcast, no tech company, like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc can own podcasting. It remains an open platform. It and HTML/HTTP are pretty much the last bastions of the open web.#
A reporter told me the other day that he was doing a podcast in the 1990s. Not possible, I said. RSS didn't exist until 1999, and we didn't define the podcasting features until 2001.#
podcasting 
4 weeks ago
Opinion | The Obama-Trump Grand Strategy - The New York Times
In all things Trump is cruder than Obama, more willing to make subtext into text, less (or not even remotely) detail-oriented, more careless of diplomatic norms and dismissive of humanitarian concerns. But if the two men use different rhetoric and often favor different alliances, they have both pursued the same kind of bigger-picture strategy — seeking to extricate the United States from some of its multiplying commitments, to shift our post-Cold War position away from a Pax Americana model of peace-through-hegemony and toward an “offshore balancing” approach that makes deals with erstwhile enemies and makes more demands of longtime friends. “America First” and “leading from behind” may sound very different, but they can reflect similar impulses and produce similar results.

This shared vision tends to be unpopular with the expert class in Washington — what Rhodes famously called the foreign policy “blob,” and what Trump would no doubt describe more pungently — but more popular with domestic constituencies. (Obama’s Iran deal always polled reasonably well, and Trump’s summit with Kim is by far the most popular thing he’s done in his presidency.) And the fact that the pursuit of offshore balancing has been sustained across two quite different administrations suggests that in some form it’s here to stay, and that the expert class should recognize its merits.

That recognition doesn’t mean shrugging off the Pax Americana. But it means acknowledging that neither the “pay any price, bear any burden” Cold War model of American leadership nor the “unipolar moment” model from the late 1990s and 2000s fits current realities very well. It means recognizing that hawkish politicians of the center-left and center-right — a Hillary Clinton, a Jeb Bush, a Marco Rubio — tend to foster an unrealistic view of what the United States can accomplish through idealistic pronouncements and military might. And it means acknowledging that both Obama and Trump triumphed politically in part because they seemed more sensible than Clinton and her Republican counterparts about the need to make strategic choices, to cut losses and to cut deals.
trumpadministration 
4 weeks ago
Shortcuts: A New Vision for Siri and iOS Automation – MacStories
Here's why I believe Apple and the Workflow (now Shortcuts) team have been incredibly smart in reframing the concept of user automation around Siri and voice: when you think about it, custom phrases aren't too dissimilar from keyboard shortcuts. However, spoken phrases are easier to remember – they don't feel like dark magic to regular users who have never bothered with "automation" before, and, most of all, they are natively supported across the entire spectrum of Apple products, from iPhones and AirPods to HomePods and Watches.3

I strongly believe that personalized phrases are the first step towards changing the fundamental Siri experience, which is going to evolve into a personal command log – from one Siri to a million Siris, each uniquely tailored to the user who customized it. Furthermore, custom phrases reveal the third (and, for now, final) layer of Apple's automation and Siri personalization strategy: the brand new Shortcuts app.
ios12 
4 weeks ago
Opinion | Trump and Kim Have Just Walked Us Back From the Brink of War - The New York Times
For Pyongyang, it may not have mattered who won the 2016 United States presidential election; North Korea would still have conducted many ballistic missile tests and a hydrogen bomb test. And a more conventional president might not have broken the mold by addressing the problem with a direct meeting with the Korean dictator. Mr. Trump’s unconventional approach leaves a lot to be desired in the foreign policy of the United States, but there was no other path to this less-than-satisfying but digestible outcome.

For the first time since 1953, the door has been opened to peace on the Korean Peninsula. It could close shut again in the near future — if North Korea’s past behavior is any indication. The Singapore summit meeting was a modest start. It’s just the beginning, but, as Koreans say, to have begun is half-done.
northkorea 
4 weeks ago
The education of Kim Jong-un
But he may be reaching a critical point where he has to make a strategic choice. While Kim has avidly pursued nuclear weapons, he is also, in accord with his announced policy of byungjin, deeply invested in improving the North Korean economy—certainly a tall order given the gravity of internal changes, the weight of sanctions, and Beijing’s willingness to apply stronger pressure than we have seen before. Trends in North Korea’s internal affairs, such as greater information penetration from the outside world, loosening of state control over resources and markets, the rise of consumerism, and the growth of a moneyed class, will also place severe stresses on the Kim regime.

At the same time, international pressure on North Korea has never been greater. A number of recent actions have the potential to squeeze North Korea’s ability to earn hard currency for the regime to fund its economic and military goals, including: recent U.N. Security Council resolutions, such as the latest UNSCR 2397 in response to North Korea’s ICBM test in November; successful U.S. efforts to compel countries—including China—to cut off trade and financial links with North Korea; and President Trump’s September 21, 2017 executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea (and authorizing broad secondary sanctions). These efforts also have the potential to undermine Kim’s ability to reward elites and suppress their ability to make money for themselves or raise money for loyalty payments to the regime.

The combined weight of all these pressures, internal and external, on North Korea, coming precisely at a time of rising expectations within the country, may overwhelm the regime…

… given recent developments and Kim’s likely increased confidence about his ability to call the shots, the U.S. and its partners and allies, including China, must be clear-eyed about the potential for Kim to shift his stated defensive position to a more aspirational one.

I still agree with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that “Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities are intended for deterrence, international prestige, and coercive diplomacy,” as the director of National Intelligence testified in early 2017. But I believe it would be a mistake to extrapolate Kim’s future intentions from his past pronouncements and actions because we do not and will never have enough information about North Korea’s intentions and capabilities that will make us feel certain about our understanding of Kim. He and his country do not exist in an ahistorical space that is unchanging and static. Our analysis and policy responses must also change and evolve and be prepared for all potential scenarios. We, too, must avoid edging toward hubris.
northkorea 
5 weeks ago
The stochastically best book to read on each country - Marginal REVOLUTION
The Search for Modern China, China – Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos

RE: #17 China Chinese History: A New Manual; Fourth (2017 “bluebook”) or Fifth Editions (2015 “greenbook”) by Endymion Wilkinson

Yeah, and for a more contemporary take, the late great Richard Baum’s Great Courses lecture series (2010), Fall and Rise of China, completes the picture (Still noting that Tyler speaking of books, Baum’s lectures are so elegant, that the transcripts serve as a wonderful book.). All and all, Endymion’s work is the best out there in the Chinese scholarship community.

If you collected all of Simon Leys essays on China that would be a very insightful book on the country – mostly touching on culture and politics. Beautifully and memorably written too. Simon Leys seems to me one of the most under-rated essayists of recent decades.

Daniel Tudor’s “Korea: The Impossible Country” is a good read, which has chapters dedicated to antiquity and its influence on modern (South) Korea but mostly does concentrate on how the country is now and recent history. Tudor recommends “The Koreans,” since updated as “The New Koreans,” by Michael Breen, and “The Two Koreas” by Robert Carlin as “two foundational texts.” Barbara Demick’s “Nothing to Envy” is a fascinating book about what life in North Korea is like for ordinary North Koreans.
books 
5 weeks ago
Lets do the Numbers - Podcasts and Smart Speakers — Amplifi Media
QUADRUPLED

Between November 2017 and March 2018, NPR member-station streaming from Amazon Echo more than quadrupled. (Triton Digital)  That's promising for all radio.  

16% FROM SMART SPEAKERS

Amazon and Google smart speakers account for over 16% of weekly total listening hours for NPR member station streams. (NPR)

TWO-THIRDS

Two thirds of smart speaker use is done on Amazon Echo devices, but things are changing rapidly.  This past quarter, Google Home sold 3.1 million speakers beating Amazon's 2.5 million Echo devices worldwide. Game-on. (Canalys)
podcasting 
5 weeks ago
Scout.fm turns podcasts into personalized talk radio | TechCrunch
Here’s how it works on the Alexa platform. You first launch the app by saying “Alexa, open Scout fm.” The app will respond (using a human voice actor’s voice, not Alexa’s) by explaining briefly what Scout.fm does then asks you to choose one of three types of talk radio stations: “Daily news, brain food, or true stories.”

The first is a news station, similar to Alexa’s “Flash Briefing;” the second, “brain food,” focuses on other interesting and informative content, that’s not day-to-day news; and the last is a true crime podcast station.

The voice app will then ask you a few more questions as part of this setup process to find out what other subjects appeal to you by having you respond, on a scale of one to ten, how much of a history buff you are, or how much you’re interested in culture, like art, film and literature, for example.

On subsequent launches, the app will simply ask if you want to return to your “Brain Food” (or other selected) station. If you say no, you can try one of the other options.

However, once the setup process is over, the experience becomes very much like listening to talk radio.

A podcast will begin playing – Scout.fm favors those without ads at the very beginning – allowing you to listen as long as you’d like, or say “next” to move to the next one. Each new podcast episodes has a brief, spoken introduction that Scout.fm handwrites, so you know what’s coming up. Your listening can go on for hours, offering you a hands-free means of switching podcasts and discovering new favorites.

The app will also adjust to your preferences over time, removing those you tend to skip – much like how the thumbs down works on Pandora.
podcasting 
5 weeks ago
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