Elon Musk’s New Cryptic Tweet

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1455327010302087173?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1455327010302087173%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnbc.com%2F2021%2F11%2F02%2Felon-musk-goes-viral-on-chinese-social-media-with-ancient-poem-post.html, Elon Musk

Last Tuesday Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted an ancient Chinese poem to Twitter and Weibo. Chinese netizens began simultaneously debating what the posts might mean as well as praising Musk for his knowing of and understanding of the text. Musk has become known for posting similarly cryptic messages to Twitter in the past. In This specific post Musk wrote “Humankind” followed by an abridged version of “The Seven Steps Verse” in its traditional Chinese. The poem in question is highly allegorical and describes the relationship of two brothers from a royal family during China’s warring Three Kingdoms period. This poem is notable for its being taught as part of the standard curriculum in China’s primary schools. The poem is meant to convey the importance of getting along. Discussions centering around the deeper meaning of this post trended on Weibo last Tuesday the initial post receiving 100 million views.

A popular interpretation states that the post was alluding to the rival dog-themed cryptocurrencies, doge coin and Shiba Inu. This because Musk is known for sending waves through the cryptocurrency sphere and he’d been posting about those two coins recently. This all despite the fact that cryptocurrency trading is band in China.

The state-run publication news agency Reference News put forward a different interpretation. They posited that the post might be alluding to a heated exchange Musk recently had with the United Nations Food Program’s executive director this past monday regarding donations.

Musk’s posting the Chinese poem represents a departure from what he typically posts about on Weibo. Musk’s 1.9 million followers on Weibo are instead accustomed to his praising the Chinese space program and China’s economic growth over the past three decades.

Musk has remained a popular figure in China despite worsening U.S-Chinese relations. This as well as regulatory criticisms of Musk’s company Tesla which operates a factory in Shanghai. Tesla did not jump to address the Chinese poem controversy when asked to comment.

This article interested me for two main reasons. For one, I think it’s interesting that figures like Elon Musk are so regularly posting cryptic tweets to be decoded by those who follow them. This trend is made more significant when it’s taken into account that most of the time these cryptic messages pertain to major economic movements in cryptocurrency and the stock market. Secondly, this article interest me because of its casually stating that Elon Musk got the attention of 1/14th of the entire Chinese population. This shows not just how powerful today’s elite class is but also how quickly cryptocurrency has come into the mainstream.

CNBC. “Elon Musk Goes Viral on Chinese Social Media with Ancient Poem Post.” CNBC, CNBC, 2 Nov. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/02/elon-musk-goes-viral-on-chinese-social-media-with-ancient-poem-post.html.


Garfield Is Getting A New Movie For Theaters

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/chris-pratt-garfield-animated-feature-1235039314/, Mia Galuppo

Garfield is coming back to the silver screen courtesy of Alcon Entertainment which is helmed by Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. This film is set to be released worldwide with the notable exception of China by Sony pictures. The script was penned by David Reynolds the Oscar-nominated writer behind the Pixar classic Finding Nemo. The film is being directed by Mark Dindal who has previously directed the Disney film Chicken Little. These two creatives have also notably worked alongside each other in the past on the Disney film The Emperor’s New Groove.

Garfield is an orange tabby cat owned by John Arbuckle and who shares his home with a dog named Odie. Garfield is characterized as being lazy and mischievous. Garfield was created by Jim Davis and made his debut as a comic character in 41 newspapers in 1978. Since then the comic that bears his name has become the most widely syndicated comic in the world.

Alcon acquired the rights to the Garfield intellectual property from Jim Davis to make this project possible. Davis will serve as an executive producer alongside Bridget McMeel and Craig Sost. The film will be produced by John Cohen, Steven P. Wegner, Kosove, and Johnson. The Animation studio DNEG Animation who recently worked on the film Ron’s Gone Wrong will produce and animate this film.

The producers of this film will be DNEG CEO Namit Malhotra and president Tom Jacomb. Garfield has made his way onto the big screen twice before. The features in question are 2004’s “Garfield” and 2006’s “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties” both of which are live-action animated hybrid films. These films were both, one, produced by 20th Century Fox and two, included Bill Murray as the voice of the titular cat.

Voicing Garfield this time around is Chris Pratt. Chris Pratt has become well known for his voice acting in recent years being prominently featured in the Lego Movie franchise, Pixar’s Onward, and the yet to be released Super Mario Bros. animated film from Nintendo and Universal.

This article interests me for four main reasons. For one, I’m very interested in the Animation studio DNGE. This because this will only be their second major project. As of now DNGE is most notable for having risen into the spotlight after the closure of the prolific American animation house Blue Sky Studios. Secondly, I’m interested to see how the film in question will go about expanding the Garfield brand. Garfield has had something of a renaissance in recently spawning an online horror based fan community and even being set to appear in the recently released fighting game Nickelodeon Allstars. Thirdly , this article interests me because I’m interested in the cultural ramifications of having Chris Pratt play 2 of the most well known characters of all time in Mario and Garfield. Lastly, It’s just mentioned in passing, but i’m very curious what aspect of this presumably family friendly film has made the creators decide not to release it in China.

Galuppo, Mia. “Chris Pratt to Voice Garfield in New Animated Feature (Exclusive).” The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Nov. 2021, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/chris-pratt-garfield-animated-feature-1235039314/.

Did A Chinese Streaming Company Make A Knock Off Squid Game?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-58991127, BCC NEWS

The Chinese streaming company Youku Has recently begun pushing promotional material for its new series “Squid Victory”. The promotional material in question is a poster that looks remarkably similar to the poster for Squid Game. Squid Victory is a variety show In which contestants compete in large-scale childrens’ games. Netizens were quick to chastise the “shameless” Youku for the obvious thievery of intellectual property at play. In response, Youku has issued an apology and alluded to the idea they will change the poster at the heart of this issue stating it is, in their words, just a “draft” poster. Regarding this issue The company also stated:

“Due to a work error, the first draft of the new Game’s Victory show – which was shot down before – was mistakenly used in promotional activities at a trade fair,”

This statement which was written on the Chinese Twitter equivalent “Weibo” was posted alongside a notably distinct poster design for their newly re-titled program “Game’s Victory”. These steps however have done little to quell online outrage.

“It sounds like such a lame cover-up. Obviously, they had tried to rip off Squid Game because of how popular it is,” another Weibo user posted.

 This debacle has brought up the fact that many Asian citizens are “fed up” with how often Chinese producers plagiarize Korean content. Netizens cite the similarities between the South Korean program “Show me the money” and the similar Chinese program “The Rap Of China” as being a particularly egregious example of this trend as well.

“Why can’t our producers come up with our own ideas? This is so embarrassing,” another poster on Weibo commented.

 This all comes as a result of Squid Game’s becoming a nationwide phenomenon in China despite its not officially being released there. As Netflix is not available in China the show has gained a following exclusively through illegal means such as torrenting sites. Youku being one of China’s most popular streaming platforms with between 90 and 100 million active users decided capitalizing on Squid Game’s situation was potentially very profitable. This controversy comes on the heels of a multitude of similar culturally-based arguments that China and Korea have taken part in in recent years. Last year for instance Korea accused China of “stealing culture” when the country stated it “led the kimchi industry”. This controversy was born of The language barrier between the two countries. In China, kimchi is called “pao cai” – this being the same name as a Chinese pickled dish. China was also criticised for stating that the Korean national dress handbook originated there.

To answer the question posed by the title of this article “no”. I’m writing this article because I firmly hold that opinion. I don’t think taking surface-level elements from a popular television program and incorporating them into a show of a completely different genre is as bad as it’s being made out to be. To be clear, I’m glad that the name “Squid Victory” and the poster that represents the centre of the controversy were changed because they were deliberately misleading. I would however like to call into question why the Chinese and Korean governments are bickering like children about cultural stuff?  Lastly, I beg the question, who cares if some Chinese body makes a rip off of a game show or of a drama that can’t legally be accessed in China? If said shows aren’t good enough to stand on their own merits won’t they just be cancelled anyway? Is mimicry not the greatest form of flattery?

NEWS, BBC. “Squid’s Victory? China Streaming Site Accused of Copying Squid Game.” BBC News, BBC, 21 Oct. 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-58991127.

China’s Weird War on Kid’s Playing Video Games

(https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/coronavirus-spike-china-video-game, Frank Connor)

China’s national video game regulator The National Press and Publication Administration announced this past Monday that they’ll be banning children from playing video games Monday through Thursday and further limiting them to four hours of playtime on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. This policy went into effect last Wednesday. This regulation comes as a result of the Chinese government’s blaming video games for causing nearsightedness and addiction in youths. This is also not the first time China has restricted children’s ability to play video games as, in 2019, they banned the playing of video games by minors between the hours of 10 p.m and 8 a.m and restricted the amount of time children could play video games during weekdays to 90 minutes. The Chinese government intends to enforce the new playtime restrictions by way of requiring minors to register games under their real names and requiring video game companies to implement software that asks for said real names. China’s government has also expressed animosity towards video game publishers in the past. One such example being their 2018 nearly nine-month-long prohibition on the approval of video games. This being incentive for video game creators to implemented the aforementioned software. Some game companies like Tencent have already begun asking for user’s real names. Children can notably circumvent the software that’d restrict their playing games by simply using the gaming accounts of adults. It is for this reason that the Chinese government asks for family cooperation. The Chinese government has been implementing ways to prevent video game addiction in youth since 2018. Despite this, the government has also promoted e-sports and cloud gaming the former of the two incentivizing a video game training regimen that begins at a young age. China’s youths are also banned from spending more than 400 yuan (about $62) a month on games. Last week South Korea announced it would get rid of similar regulations that saw people under 16 banned from playing video games between midnight and 6 a.m. Console gaming in China was banned for more than a decade leading up to 2015. This led the Chinese populous to gravitate towards PC and mobile gaming. Companies like Nintendo and Sony are attempting to introduce their consoles into the market but are still experiencing “minuscule” sales because of this.

This article interests me because, while I was aware that the Chinese government was oppressive I didn’t know that they had and were reinforcing a stance on the hours during which children could play video games. Beyond that I think it’s interesting that a government as oppressive as China’s still can’t get around the fact that people can just use other people’s accounts to get around the playtime hours they’re trying to enforce. I also find it odd that the government is pro-e-sports; almost as if they expect and are promoting this illegal practice.

Liao, Shannon. “China Restricts Young People to Playing Video Games Three Hours a Week.” Spokesman.com, The Spokesman-Review, 3 Sept. 2021, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/sep/05/china-restricts-young-people-to-playing-video-game/.

China bans ‘Animal Crossing’ After Players Use It To Protest

Player of Animal Crossing: New Horizons protesting against Chinese government policies.

The government protests against China to free Hong Kong continue as some of the activists get creative by moving their demonstrations onto the popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

As people move over to a quarantined lifestyle, many around the globe were expecting the release of the highly-anticipated Switch game Animal Crossing. The simulation game allows you to customize your own island and hang out with the villagers, as well as visit your friends’ islands and have fun together. You can also create your own art pieces and communicate with other players.

Hong Kong activists have used these feature to their advantage in order to gather and showcase their protests against the Chinese government. They used the art customization feature and decorated their islands with protest slogans and pictures of Chinese government officials.

China took notice of this and started banning the game across the nation. The game wasn’t yet available in China, but Nintendo Switch users can buy imported versions of the game simply by changing their region on their account. This is why the Chinese government banned the main hub of imported games, Taobao, from selling the game.

It is increasingly interesting how people are thinking outside the box to use platforms as wholesome as the Animal Crossing franchise and making it into their tools to protest.

Even though this is not an American issue, it is incredibly important, not only because history is being made (I highly suggest you read about the Hong Kong issue), but also because of the opportunities new digital technologies like these make possible.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/animal-crossing-new-horizons-nintendo-switch-banned-in-china-protests-2020-4

The Department of Defense is Warning People Not To Use Tiktok And Here’s Why:

The App Tiktok has taken over social media it seems, with tens of millions of Americans downloading the app just this year, but with these increased downloads came a great deal of controversy surrounding the app.

For those who are unfamiliar with the app, TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to express themselves by uploading and share short-form videos. However, because the app is developed by a Chinese company, there has been a lingering concern that information of U.S. citizens could be compromised or revealed. For this reason, the Defense Department is particularly worried–especially as it relates to military personnel.

Specifically, The Department of Defense created an advisory memo in regards to the app which stated that:

TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) application 12.2.0 for Android and iOS performs unencrypted transmission of images, videos, and likes. This allows an attacker to extract private sensitive information by sniffing network traffic.

Now, although changes have been made to the app since then that claim that user information is safe, there have still been national concerns surrounding the app and security.

If you are an avid Tiktok user, how does this make you feel?

‘No Time to Die’ Delayed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak.

‘No Time to Die’’, the latest installment in the highly lucrative James Bond film franchise, has been delayed until November of 2020 due to the global coronavirus outbreak.  Originally set to be released in April of this year, MGM reportedly further delayed the film due to the potential risk of box office failure in conjunction with keeping moviegoers safe from increased exposure to the novel virus.  In his article for CNN, Frank Pallotta argues that while this is the first major film studio to delay one of their features due to the outbreak, it will most likely not be the last.  While most major studios currently are maintaining their films slated release dates, this could obviously be subject to change if the pandemic is not contained on a much broader scale in the coming weeks and months.  While movie chains remain open across the United States, theaters in much of Asia, specifically in China, which is the second largest market for movies in the world, have closed down in order to contain the outbreak.  Upcoming films such as the latest installment in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ are highly reliant on international box office success and their release dates will likely be altered as well if sweeping containment of the virus is not successful on a global scale.  

The global containment efforts to contain this outbreak, the likes of which have not been seen in modern times, obviously have huge implications for the entertainment industry.  It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks if the disease is managed enough to where restrictions can be lifted or if other major film releases will be forced to be delayed as well.  Another aspect of these delays that remains to be seen is if these movies projected box office numbers will remain consistent with their altered release dates or if they will suffer financial loses ultimately.


We’re Putting Your Many Misconceptions About The Coronavirus To Rest, And Here’s Why:

With the Coronavirus being heavily discussed in the media and amongst individuals in our present society, it’s natural for many to be fearful of the virus and its potential threats. In saying that, however, it is evident that much of the world’s fear of the virus stems from misconceptions and misinformation that the media has put out into the world.

For this reason, I find it important to debunk the biggest misconceptions about the virus to lessen the amount of fear one may have when thinking about its said severity and its spread throughout different countries.

To start, many believe that contracting the Coronavirus means you will automatically find yourself on your death bed–which in fact, isn’t the case at all. In an article with Business Insider, two pathologists sat down to discuss popular misconceptions about the virus and said:

“Based on the data that is coming out, it seems to be a mild type of viral infection. There’s a 2% fatality rate and about 18% to 20% that may be in, kind of in the critical condition range…And those 2% who die are the sickest. They’re in the hospital already. So even those in the hospital have probably a 98% chance of surviving.”

Another misconception that many people seem to believe as fact is that wearing a mask will protect you from contracting the virus. The thing about these masks that many do not know is that the typical doctors mask that you see the majority of the population wearing is oftentimes not worn properly which decreases its effectiveness entirely. In addition to that, there are more effective masks that healthcare workers wear which are called the N95 masks, and although these masks are meant to filter particles that are airborne with 95% efficacy, they are meant for people who are actually sick, rather than people who are fearful of becoming sick. So, instead of going out and purchasing a mask, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching areas of your face and mouth are much more effective practices when it comes to decreasing your chances of contracting the virus.

Lastly,  one of the biggest misconceptions about the Coronavirus is that it is the most dangerous virus–which is not the case. Although the media has made it out to be a very frightening/deadly virus, it is much like the flu and as I mentioned before, only kills about 2% of people infected, which is much less than that of the flu. In fact, pathologists Stephen Morse and Syra Madad expressed that there are many more recoveries than there are fatalities.

“I think the official count is now 6,000 recoveries. But, you know, one of the funny things is that we don’t usually report recoveries when someone is discharged from the hospital. So all those recoveries, probably there are many more on the way as well.”

So, next time you hear something about the Coronavirus, ask yourself, “Is this fact, or is this merely a misconception that is making me more fearful than I should be?”


Sources: https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-myths-debunked-wuhan-china-2020-2






The U.S. Wants the World to be Wary of Huawei

The race to 5g is already being won by Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company. The capabilities of 5g range from instant downloads of movies, to automating surgery and highway transportation, but the risk is that with more devices using the internet, the more room there is for security breaches. 

Image result for is huawei safe

In 2019 the National Security Council discussed building the new internet/5g framework from scratch with cyber-security as a primary objective, but the Trump administration repealed those requirements for 5g.

The accusations of Huawei being a means through which the Chinese government can keep tabs on the world, and the efforts of the Trump admin to slow the implementation of Huawei’s tech have basically failed as countries in Europe and Asia are showing interest in Huawei’s 5g.

The article ends with a quote by former Senior Director of the N.S.C. Richard Spalding; “What is existential to democracy is allowing totalitarian regimes—or any government—full knowledge of everything you do at all times because the tendency is always going to be to want to regulate how you think, how you act, what you do. The problem is that most people don’t think very hard about what that world would look like.”

I found that quote very interesting because sometimes I think that’s how I think about media in the US. With the patriot act and our phones seemingly always listening and maybe even seeing what we’re doing, does the idea of 5g still scare people? Maybe the US in some sense regulates how we think/act and what we do- do people feel differently if it’s the Chinese gov’t controlling our media messages?


Chinese Social Media Erupts as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

When footage of a video posted on social media by official Chinese News Media that showed 137 health workers, bound for Wuhan and other areas affected by the Coronavirus, being praised for their sacrifice and heroism- it was met with sarcasm and criticism of how the outbreak was being handled.

In an article from the New York Times by Raymond Zhong, he writes about how the government released the video in an attempt to shape the public’s opinion surrounding the Coronavirus crisis, but the state-developed media only provoked angered comments and memes mocking government officials. As well as responses describing and posting images/videos of the reality of the situation in overcrowded and understaffed hospitals, untreated or neglected friends/family members, and even piles of seemingly lifeless bodies in hospital hallways, some presumed to be dead.

The Chinese government has a history of keeping a tight grip on censorship, but with the amount of content flooding social media because of the Coronavirus, and avoiding internet censors by speaking in ‘code’ because of the Coronavirus, Beijing is having trouble controlling the narrative. Articles and comments continue to be deleted and the Chinese government continues to warn citizens about the harm of ‘rumors’ and penalties that spreading them might bring. 

China’s government was able to cover up the SARS virus of 2000 because social media was at its early age which meant that only some reporters and journalists were focusing on it, and the scale of the issue was never realized by Chinese citizens. The age of smartphones and social media makes everyone with a camera and data plan a reporter which makes it much harder to bury a health crisis like the one posed by the Coronavirus. While the Chinese government argues that misinformation on internet platforms creates panic and reactions that cause damage when dealing with a public health crisis, but citizens still feel as if the government is withholding information and keeping economic and social stability above stopping the virus.