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Communist Purge Plays Out in Vietnam’s Trial of the Decade

by Michael in Asia

James Hooky reports: The disappearance of a former Vietnamese official in Berlin last summer gave the outside world an early glimpse into an anticorruption drive captivating communist-run Vietnam. Germany said Vietnamese agents kidnapped Trinh Xuan Thanh, who had been seeking asylum there. But Vietnam said the former executive at state-owned oil-and-gas giant PetroVietnam returned home of his own [...]

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Art & Culture

Marseille Museum Show Rescues Photo Comics from Dustbin of History

by Michael in 1960s

What have Sophia Loren, John Cleese and Woody Allen got in common? They all began their careers in the oft-derided world of photo comics or photonovels. The genre, infamous for stilted storylines and sugary romantic melodramas, is finally getting its day in the sun in a major museum retrospective in France. The lingering kisses and frozen horrified looks that were the bread and butter of photo comic stories now seem irredeemably kitsch. But in strait-laced postwar Europe they were lapped up by [...]
Food & Drink

Peach Coca-Cola Coming to Japan in a World-First for the Company

by Michael in Food & Drink

Originally posted on SoraNews24:
People in Japan will be the first in the world to find out what the unique flavour combination tastes like. Customers in Japan are always spoilt for choice when it comes to exclusive limited-edition releases from big international companies. In the past we’ve seen amazing products like Japan-only Frappuccino drinks from Starbucks, [...]

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  • 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 — [...]
  • What if Google ruled North Korea?

    Michael Brendan Dougherty writes: Kevin Kelly of Wired magazine wants us to welcome the future, where the ubiquity and power of surveillance technology make our lives completely transparent to society, government, and even ourselves. It will be fine, he says, if we just use the same technology to watch the watchers: Everything that can be measured is already tracked, and all that was previously [...]
  • Japan’s Noisy iPhone Problem

    Disclosure: I didn’t cancel my iPhone order – I bought my iPhone 8 in Japan in October. And didn’t discover this problem until last weekend, taking photos at an intimate Christmas dinner concert, where my iPhone’s noisy snapshot shutter sound effect was an unwelcome intrusion. When I did some research on the web, I was stunned to learn that it’s impossible to turn [...]
  • [PHOTOS] First Japanese-built F-35A Lands at Misawa Misawa Air Base

      MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs reports: A Defense Contract Management Agency government flight representative landed the first Japanese-made F-35A on Misawa AB’s runway, Nov. 2. Maj. Elijah Supper piloted the brand-new aircraft from the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Komaki South F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out [...]
  • Jailed for a Text: China’s Censors Are Spying on Mobile Chat Groups

    Authorities scour private chats on messaging apps for blacklisted words, sensitive images. PUYANG, China—Eva Dou reports: One night this September, construction supervisor Chen Shouli fired off a joke in a chat group. “Haha,” he typed on his black iPhone 7, followed by an off-color wisecrack about a rumored love triangle involving a celebrity and one of China’s most senior government [...]
  • Voyager 1 Just Fired Up its Backup Thrusters for the 1st Time in 37 Years

    NASA’s far-flung Voyager 1 spacecraft has taken its backup thrusters out of mothballs. Voyager 1 hadn’t used its four “trajectory correction maneuver” (TCM) thrusters since November 1980, during the spacecraft’s last planetary flyby — an epic encounter with Saturn. But mission team members fired them up again Tuesday (Nov. 28), to see whether the TCM thrusters [...]
  • [VIDEO] Tesla Reveals Insanely Fast Next-Gen Roadster

    Paul Ridden reports: Tesla’s Roadster first broke cover in July 2006, and was rolled out two years later. The electric sportscar was rated by the EPA as being good for 244 miles (393 km) per charge, it could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0-97 km/h) in under 4 seconds and had a top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h). During the reveal, Musk said that the new “base model” Roadster will [...]
  • China’s AI Awakening 中国 人工智能 的崛起

    The West shouldn’t fear China’s artificial-intelligence revolution. It should copy it. Will Knight reports: On a tropical island that marks the southern tip of China, a computer program called Lengpudashi is playing one-on-one poker against a dozen people at once, and it’s absolutely crushing them. Lengpudashi, which means “cold poker master” in Mandarin, is using a new [...]
  • Speaking volumes: The interior of Asagaya's Violon, one of a handful of meikyoku kissaten left in Tokyo, harkens back to an era when musical recordings were prohibitively expensive and people paid to listen in special cafes. | JAMES HADFIELD

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