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Japan

Cuckoo for Ramen: Films Explore Enthusiasts’ Passion for Bowls of The Good Stuff

by Michael in Cinema

Katsuo Kokaji reports: Why are Japanese people hooked on ramen? A new documentary aiming to offer global audiences insight into the passion behind this inexpensive dish was screened at film festivals in seven countries prior to its Japan premiere late last month. “Ramen Heads” was born when producer Arata Oshima watched “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” a documentary made by an American director [...]

Asia

Japan

China

The Propaganda I See on My Morning Commute

by Michael in Asia

BEIJING — JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ writes: People joke that it’s now easier in many Chinese cities to use Communist Party slogans rather than street names to give directions. Looking for a bank in Downtown Beijing? Walk past the screen proclaiming, “The people have faith,” take a right at the poster glorifying President Xi Jinping and cross the footbridge with the banner declaring a new era of prosperity for China. Even as China grows increasingly confident on the global stage, Mr. Xi is [...]

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  • [VIDEO] Japan Gets First Robotised Coffee House

    Japan’s first Robot-Café opened its doors to media on Tuesday, (January 30), with a robot replacing the barista to serve coffee to patrons. Customers at “Henn-na Café,” meaning “Strange Café” in Japanese, have to scan a QR code printed on a ticket bought from a vending machine in order to get a 320 yen ($3) coffee. The robot barista, called “Sawyer”, [...]
  • Thinking About How Us Meatbots actually Work Could Deliver AI That’s More Useful and Fair

    Here are the secrets to useful AI, according to designers. Secrets to good AI: Designers at Google spent three years helping build AI for the firm’s Clips wearable camera, and they published a blog post about what they learned. They say the best AIs solve a real human problem, do things in a way that makes sense to humans, and build trust with users. Easy, right? And how to build ’em: A new [...]
  • Steven Soderbergh Says He Only Wants to Only Shoot Movies on iPhones

    Back at Sundance as an executive producer of Eugene Jarecki’s The King, Soderbergh said he’s ready for a whole new chapter of his filmmaking career. Eric Kohn writes: A year ago, Steven Soderbergh was putting the finishing touches on “Logan Lucky,” but had yet to reemerge publicly from his four-year filmmaking retirement. Now, with two seasons of “The Knick” behind him, [...]
  • Surveillance State: How China Uses Technology to Curtail Freedom

    Xi Jinping’s socialist-capitalist model is little more than an autocracy relying on technology to curtail civil liberty and economic freedom. Therese Shaheen writes: In early January, the Treasury-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) rejected the proposed purchase of U.S.-based MoneyGram by Ant Financial, a subsidiary of China’s Alibaba. The decision is an [...]
  • Net Neutrality Comment Fraud Will Finally Be Investigated By The Government

    Chris Mills reports: During the Federal Communication Commission’s open period of comment on its net neutrality repeal plan, the commission was flooded with over 22 million comments about net neutrality. Reports at the time, and subsequent analysis of the public data, shows that millions of those comments may have been submitted by bots, overseas persons, or even using stolen identities of real [...]
  • [VIDEO] The Case for Breaking Up Big Tech

    When NYU professor Scott Galloway began The Four, his book on Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, he thought it was a love letter. Now he says it’s time to break up the companies. Why it matters: In a year where the biggest tech companies have been widely criticized, regulators may have more inclination than ever to look at their business practices. “I’ve become 100 percent [...]
  • Year of the Dog: Sony Unleashes ‘Intelligent’ Robot Pet

    As Japan celebrates the year of the dog, electronics giant Sony on Thursday unleashed its new robot canine companion, packed with artificial intelligence and internet connectivity. The sleek ivory-white puppy-sized “aibo” robot shook its head and wagged its tail as if waking from a nap when it was taken out of a cocoon-shaped case at a “birthday ceremony” held in Tokyo. [...]
  • Is the ‘Pour-Over’ Over? Baristas Say Coffee Machines Have Their Perks

    Handcrafted coffee, an artisanal icon, is losing ground to automation. Julie Jargon reports: At a Philz Coffee shop in Pasadena, Calif., a barista carefully fits a paper filter into a canister, adds ground coffee to it and then, with one arm raised above his head, slowly lowers his arm while pouring hot water over the grounds. He stirs the brewing coffee with a spoon while maintaining eye [...]
  • Pregnant Subway Riders in Tokyo Can Request a Seat with their Phones

    Cailey Rizzo reports: More than 40 years ago, social psychologist Dr. Stanley Milgram gave his students an assignment: Go on the New York City subway and ask fellow passengers to give up their seats. The majority of students reported high anxiety and even trauma upon asking fellow passengers to give up their seats, even though the majority of those asked complied. Confronting a stranger — [...]
  • The bid to acquire Whole Foods by Amazon, and its CEO Jeff Bezos, is just the most extreme example of a larger phenomenon. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

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