Best Of the Web: Amazon’s 6-Wheel Delivery Robot, Most Expensive City and Drinking A Gallon Of Water A Day!

Over 50 articles this week (with short summaries as usual). I lean a bit more tech with stories on Japan going cashless with blockchain, Huawei’s culture vs Lenovo’s and Apple’s data registry idea. I have a special section on new jobs like renting a sister, dating app ghostwriter and retail arbitrageurs (buy at Walmart, sell on Amazon). On self-help, how to be courageous, get rid of bad breath and free online Ivy League courses. With the Oscars almost upon, I have a section on movies, including worst movies of the year (Gotti!). Finally do you know what the longest continuous walk on earth is? Scroll down to find out.

New Jobs You Never Heard Of (5)

Rent-a-sister: Coaxing Japan’s hikikomori out of their rooms Short video: At least half a million young men in Japan are thought to have withdrawn from society, and refuse to leave their bedrooms. They’re known as hikikomori. Their families often don’t know what to do, but one organisation is offering “sisters for hire” to help coax these young men out of their isolation.

 Inside the Strange Yet Profitable World of Retail Arbitrage Turns out, clearing out a Target or Walmart, then reselling it all on Amazon, can make you enough money to pay off your house

Do You Take This Robot … In real life, pioneers of human-android romance now have a name, “digisexuals,” which some academics and futurists have suggested constitutes an emergent sexual identity.

A family in London is offering $96,000 a year to someone willing to live with them and help turn their 2 sons into professional soccer players The job entails “childcare duties” as well as three two-hour after-school soccer practices and an “intensive” three-week soccer camp in the summer, as the family hopes to turn their sons, 8 and 10, into full-time athletes in the sport.

Those new service sector jobs  Dating app ghostwriter! For $2,000 a month, she swipes, chats and charms, impersonating her clients. 

Tower Of US Tech (5)

WhatsApp limits message forwarding in order to fight “misinformation and rumors” “Starting today, all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once, which will help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts. 

Facebook thinks the New York Times’ coverage of it has gotten more critical. It has. The NYT has become more critical of Facebook (see chart), but perhaps with good reason.

Google is threatening to kill Google News in Europe if the EU goes ahead with its “snippet tax” The European Union is considering a set of changes to digital copyright that are, well, quite controversial. One of those would require Google and other platforms to pay publishers for the right to display anything more than the tiniest snippet of a story in its search results or elsewhere. 

How Tim Cook’s Data Broker Registry Might Actually Work Apple CEO Tim Cook recently called for a new federal privacy bill and a registry for data brokers that buy and sell data from third parties. Over the last two months alone, several proposals have been introduced in the Senate. 

Amazon’s experimental, six-wheel delivery robot is taking to the streets The e-commerce giant is field testing a new machine, called Amazon Scout, for handling some packages.

Asia Tech Corner (6)

The companies that fuel China’s AI ambitions China’s AI industry lives and dies by BAT. That stands for Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, the three Chinese tech giants that are loosely equivalent to Google, Amazon, and Facebook. These three are not just developing and deploying AI themselves. Their deep pockets have also funded a broad range of AI companies, focused on everything from smart cities to finance to education.

Huawei’s Problem Of Being Too ‘Chinese’  “Contrast the vastly different corporate cultures of Huawei and Lenovo… Lenovo is publicly listed, has a wide variety of nationalities represented among both key executives and its board of directors. It defines itself not as a “Chinese” company, but a “global company with Chinese roots,” and emphasizes localization of staff, management, and decision-making in the countries and regions where it does business… Huawei, on the other hand, is known for a military-like “wolf culture,” consisting of long hours, extreme loyalty, and intense internal competition. Highly centralized out of its Shenzhen headquarters, Huawei relies heavily on teams of Chinese expats sent overseas. It is not publicly listed. It is notoriously secretive, and known to keep both the media, and even its own employees, in the dark when it comes to the company’s inner-workings.”

Chinese mobile users forked out 40 percent of the $101 billion spent globally on apps in 2018 That was despite a continued slowdown in China’s smartphone market as well as a temporary freeze in approvals for the sale of certain games.

China’s tests drone delivery in Indonesia in first overseas pilot  JD said today that it completed its first “government approved” drone delivery in the country earlier this month, on January 8.

Samsung reveals the first-ever 15.6-inch 4K OLED display It’s likely the model that HP and Dell will be using. Will make it even better watching movies on laptops

Will people ditch cash for cryptocurrency? Japan is about to find out The world’s largest experiment in using blockchain-based networks to pay for things is about to begin. Japan wants to go cashless ahead of the Olympics.

Department Of New Tech (6)

Tongue Twisters for Tech Startups Funny. Here’s a sample: “Quite a quota for the quarter! Could we make the quarter shorter?..”

What Is 5G? Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Newest Cell Phone Technology Useful guide

France to seek tougher oversight of 5G network gear due to security concerns

Why Uber wants to build scooters and bikes that can drive themselves Recharging is a significant cost for electric scooter and bike companies. The goal would be to allow bikes and scooters to “drive themselves to charging or better locations.” which would reduce costs.

How an ordinary camera can see around corners Digital cameras have been used to reconstruct rough images of hidden objects just by analysing light that bounces off a wall.

Social media can predict what you’ll say, even if you don’t participate On Twitter, your words are predictable using the words of your network.

Design and Fashion Studio (4)

Can Free Soba and Tempura Help Ease Tokyo’s Subway Congestion? The Tokyo Metro Co. is launching a nearly two-week-long trial on Monday urging commuters on the busiest line—the Tozai line, which runs east-west through the city—to head to work either before 8 a.m. or after 9 a.m. Those who sign up for the program and take part in it for at least 10 consecutive days will be rewarded with free soba noodles with tempura.

A New Survey Tells You The Ten Most Expensive Cities On Earth #3 Sydney, #2 Vancouver, #1 Hong Kong. Interestingly, NY and London don’t feature in top 10 (they look at house prices to income ratios, rather than outright house prices)

Rami Malek is leading an air tie revolution The Bohemian Rhapsody star is proving the worth of going tieless

London’s Next Concert Hall Design Looks Crazy, But the Design Has a Purpose Crazy building could humanise Barbican centre

Department Of Self-Development (6)

9 Ways to Become More Courageous Useful tips include: “do reconnaissance to remove aspects of the unknown”, “carry a talisman” and “think of yourself less”

Ecco’s Daniel Halpern Loves a Solo Dinner “Eating alone is one of life’s greatest pleasures, time to consider the life-imitating-life issues.”

How to Run Weekly One-on-One Meetings CEO of the company Unreasonable  sees one-on-one (1:1) meetings as the most important meeting of each week. Regular 1:1 meetings between teammates help build esprit de corps, reduce friction, and make everyone accountable to living the organization’s values day-in and day-out.

I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible. “Having to run to a physical store rather than opening my Amazon app every time the house runs out of paper towels is annoying, but the harder challenge is losing access to almost every form of digital entertainment I consume”

400 free Ivy League university courses you can take online in 2019 Includes Columbia’s “Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics”, Wharton’s “Introduction to Corporate Finance” and Harvard’s “China and Communism”

Meet the Yamabushi Monks, Who Commune with Nature to Find Themselves 10 minute short-film. “Walking barefoot through rivers, meditating under waterfalls and spending the nights on mountaintops — that is the way of the Yamabushi. “

Movie Centre (7)

‘Gotti’ Leads The Nominees For This Year’s Razzies The anti-Oscars, ie worst movies of the year, has John Travolta’s Gotti with most nominations. They also have special awards like  “Johnny Depp & His Fast-Fading Film Career.”

The Dismaying 2019 Oscar Nominations—and Who Should Have Made the List New Yorker disagrees on nominations for Star is BornVice and Bohemian Rhapsody. They would have liked Madeline’s Madeline, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? and Zama to have been nominated

The Villain Adapts, but Does Not Change Consider the “Alien”. It adapts but does not change….They have one goal—to destroy the hero.

Netflix Flexes Good analysis on Netflix’s business model and the need for Bird Box-style hits to maintain its dominance as the top aggregator.

The worst blockbuster movie of every year since 2000, according to critics Compares box office gross vs rotten tomatoes scores. Venom, Suicide Squad and a bunch of Transformers and DC movies feature 

The Best Binge-Watch of 2019 So Far Is a Soccer Documentary Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Til I Die is a seriously moving story about loss and hope.

If The Posters For This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Movies Were Honest Very funny

Department Of Health (6)

Here’s why NASA wants to 3D print human hearts in space Several doctors have tried to 3D print organs in the lab, with mixed results — organs with complex internal structures, like hearts and lungs, tend to collapse under their own weight. Now, instead of supporting them with complex scaffolding systems, some scientists are wondering if it’d be better to send the 3D printer up to the zero-gravity environment 

The Effects of Collagen Supplements Are Way Overhyped There’s no good evidence that collagen pills and powders can improve your hair, skin, and nails.

A gut punch fights cancer and infection “Gut bacterial strains have been discovered that boost immune cells that have cell-killing capacity and that can target cancer and protect against infection.” And how did they test this on mice? “the authors transferred the microbiota in faecal samples from healthy humans into mice raised under germ-free conditions”.

What Happens When You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day Notes from a monthlong hydration quest:..”Day 7: Can we talk about how good I am at yoga right now? My hamstrings are much more flexible, and my back bends with ease. Even better, I have energy afterward, and I’m not horribly sore the next day.”

How to Fix Bad Breath Change your brush quarterly, floss, tongue scraper, mouthwash, and watch gums. Also, stay hydrated, and scale back garlic, onions, caffeine, alcohol.

Is This The World’s Longest Continuous Walk?  Cape Town To Magadan (eastern Russia, near Mongolia)

Ministry Of Distractions (7)

A Brief History of Cheese (aka Immortal Milk) Fun educational video

Reddit kicks off a game of whack-a-mole in shutting down soccer streaming subreddits  Of course, I never use free streaming links for football games like Liverpool vs Crystal Palace last Saturday, which was not shown in the UK but was streamed over a US network. Allegedly.

Diary of a Shutdown: A Furloughed Worker Watches 24 Hours of CNN On the mundane horror of government shutdown news. Scary.

These 13 companies you’ve never heard of control dozens of the most popular chains in the world, from Burger King to Taco Bell Yum Brands?! They own KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. 

Ben & Jerry’s has 3 new flavors that target cookie dough addicts I love cookie dough! The new flavours are: The new flavors are  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (cookie milk ice cream with small fudge chips enveloping a chocolate chip cookie dough core), Sweet Like Sugar Cookie Dough (a super sweet, almost marzipan-like sugar cookie dough ice cream core surrounded by sweet ice cream with a hint of almond milk and shortbread cookies and cherry ice cream) and Wake & No Bake Cookie Dough (traditional vanilla cream with salty peanut butter cookies, fudge chips, and a cookie dough made with oats, peanut butter, and chocolate). Yum.

Holy Crap, the Moon Was Struck by a Meteorite During the ‘Super Wolf Blood Moon’ Eclipse

This Photo Shows the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse Rising in Texas The image features six stages of the moon that night as it rose from the horizon and became totally eclipsed. Amazing