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Ana Kova

Good afternoon.

Google's guessing game

Chinese tech under review

Dating on social

Musk eats the world

Hong Kong elections

Sequencing solutions

The way we work

The impact of conflict

Yemen is suffering the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. A civil war raging since 2015 has placed most of its 30 million citizens in dire need. But workers trying to alleviate its humanitarian disaster have to somehow use optimism as a tool.

A humanitarian worker in Yemen provides a lesson on perspective

One of the things I love more about reporting internationally is that I think I am more open to learning lessons from the people I meet who aren't in positions of leadership, or renowned expertise. They are just humans going through life, sometimes the hardest aspects of it, with incredible wisdom and kindness.

Gurus gone bad

The future is female

PayPal gains millions of female users with its latest acquisition. The payments company has acquired Honey, an online platform for coupons rewards, and price tracking. PayPal reports that almost 80% of its active users are female and that some 70% are millennials.

Quartz Future of Finance: PayPal bought 13 million female users — Future of Finance

PayPal spent four times as much money on Honey as Facebook did on Instagram in 2012. The app is apparently a sensation with kids, and with girls in particular. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman says it will be “transformational” for his company. The idea seems to be to make Venmo and PayPal much more popular apps

PayPal spent four times as much money on Honey as Facebook did on Instagram in 2012. The app is apparently a sensation with kids, and with girls in particular. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman says it will be “transformational” for his company. The idea seems to be to make Venmo and PayPal much more popular apps, rather than just a checkout.

Preparing for climate change

NYC subway entrances get flooded on purpose. “We’re doing this because climate change is real,” the MTA explained. As part of a preparedness program, they were testing a barrier that could seal off subway entrances in the event of a major flood.

New York City is flooding subway entrances to prepare for climate change

It’s great to see the creative approaches New York is taking to address storm surge and other risks from climate change.

Another very different example is the “oyster-tecture” project that’s been funded by the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. This involves the creation of artificial offshore

It’s great to see the creative approaches New York is taking to address storm surge and other risks from climate change.

Another very different example is the “oyster-tecture” project that’s been funded by the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. This involves the creation of artificial offshore breakwaters seeded with oysters, which will then grow into reefs. The reefs will act to break up dangerous storm waves, helping to protect the city. People forget that New York in a previous life was the epicentre of a massive oyster trade – killed by overfishing and pollution – with years of dredging destroying the natural barrier of the native oyster habitat which was once there.

I can recommend an excellent podcast episode on this topic from 99 Percent Invisible here: https://bit.ly/2qBis9x.

Ironing out fashion’s wrinkles

China’s fashion companies are finally globally competitive. Shoppers are warming to home-grown brands as the country's spending power rises, boosting Chinese labels into the ranks of the world's top fashion companies.

Two Chinese companies have joined the ranks of the fashion industry’s giants

I was asking for advice on shoes from a colleague the other day, who is also a marathon runner. "Buy from them" he dropped me a link, and the shoemaker was a name I had never heard of. "Who are them?" I asked. "One of Nike's OEM factories and now they are selling their own brand." My colleague said

I was asking for advice on shoes from a colleague the other day, who is also a marathon runner. "Buy from them" he dropped me a link, and the shoemaker was a name I had never heard of. "Who are them?" I asked. "One of Nike's OEM factories and now they are selling their own brand." My colleague said.

"Are they any good?" - Me

"Better than Nike." - My colleague

"Because it's much cheaper?" - Me

"Yes, but not only that. It's also much better quality and lasts longer. Ever since Nike manufactures its shoes in Vietnam, the product quality is dropping low." - My colleague

I eventually took the advice and brought a pair of running shoes from this unheard shoemaker, which cost me slightly over $100. Now 11 months and 2500 kilometers past, it is still satisfying. My last pair from Nike at $120 endured 9 months before a toe hole cracked.

The new "shifting attitudes in favor of local brands by Chinese consumers" is not only happening in sportswear and fashion wear but also home appliances, mobile devices, and cultural products such as movies and games.

Indeed, a more rational evaluation of "value for money, innovation in design and quality, and customer service" result in a preference for local brands, especially among China's millennium customers. Another factor in play here is that the new generation's needs for self-expression are no longer linear. In the past, a high social and wealthy status was tightly attached to one's usage of foreign brands. However, now their identity-expression needs are multi-dimensional, such as a need to appear "trendy," "green," "different," "cool," "original," or even "patriotic."

One brand not mentioned in this report that I’ve had my eye on lately is Li-Ning. They sponsor a few NBA players shoes - most notably Dwayne Wade - but their other sneakers are really wild and out there not for the faint of heart. The best part is they’re mostly under the $200 mark, which is a steal

One brand not mentioned in this report that I’ve had my eye on lately is Li-Ning. They sponsor a few NBA players shoes - most notably Dwayne Wade - but their other sneakers are really wild and out there not for the faint of heart. The best part is they’re mostly under the $200 mark, which is a steal in the world of fashion shoes where trendy Balenciagas can set you back 7 or 8 hundred bucks.

Go, do your thing on the runway

Close

The US isn’t ready for the future of war. In this Quartz member exclusive, you’ll find a few new reasons to panic. Among them: American military leaders say the US is at greater risk of losing a war today than it has been at any time in decades.

Read more on Quartz

From Our Members

  • If you want to understand why people across the political spectrum are upset that Trump pulled out of Syria, this story has lots of valuable context.

  • The question is not as simple as spending money and making aircraft. The day of Kelly Johnson and the slide rule cranking out a new fighter in less than a year is over. The problem is that expensive technology is no longer an American advantage. Currently other countries seem to have an edge on developing

    The question is not as simple as spending money and making aircraft. The day of Kelly Johnson and the slide rule cranking out a new fighter in less than a year is over. The problem is that expensive technology is no longer an American advantage. Currently other countries seem to have an edge on developing newer weapons at great expense. While the Generals are right to be worried eventually US technology will eventually leap frog other militaries.

    Arms races are not new but the expense can ruin economies.

    In a conventional war of attrition the number and quantity of weapons will be limited to what's immediately available. It might take too long to restructure industry to produce more.

    The armed forces with the most fire power will win but the winner will probably be bankrupt.

    The future of war may be limited not by human suffering by the monetary cost.

  • Interesting article; a good overview of the broad topics defining 21st-century conflict. The simple truth is that, in all likelihood, the period of (relative) peace from 1990-2020 will go down in history as an outlier between two multi-decade Cold Wars: between the US and Russia during the 20th century

    Interesting article; a good overview of the broad topics defining 21st-century conflict. The simple truth is that, in all likelihood, the period of (relative) peace from 1990-2020 will go down in history as an outlier between two multi-decade Cold Wars: between the US and Russia during the 20th century, and between the US and China in the 21st.

    The “Pax Americana” has been underpinned by spectacular US military supremacy, as its only competitor, the USSR, disintegrated after nearly 50 years of proxy wars, espionage, technological rivalry, and nuclear standoffs. Now, however, China and to a lesser extent a resurgent Russia are beginning to catch up to the US again, as our position slides from undisputed superpower to the strongest of three comparable powers.

  • The nature of war is changing in ways that are different, but not positive or peaceful. The weapons themselves have become deadlier, making some of the people who are trained to employ them hesitate to use them except out of express necessity. This, however, has led to more “gray zone conflicts”, proxy

    The nature of war is changing in ways that are different, but not positive or peaceful. The weapons themselves have become deadlier, making some of the people who are trained to employ them hesitate to use them except out of express necessity. This, however, has led to more “gray zone conflicts”, proxy wars in the shadows between various groups, spies, hackers, and militias. Don’t doubt for a minute that a direct shooting war between world powers is off the table, however. With Russia and China attempting to assert themselves, and even the European Union discussing the possibility of creating an Army, the world shifts closer to the Thucydides Trap: a rising power (or powers) must inevitably confront an established one.

  • Deeply insightful, yet highly creative story here! If you’re into the concepts of futurism, mechanics and world robotics, I absolutely recommend checking out this article!