Share – How writing about difficult experiences can help you take back your power — ideas.ted.com

This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from people in the TED community; browse through all the posts here. I have a question for you. Have you ever seen something and you wish you could have said something — but you didn’t?…

via How writing about difficult experiences can help you take back your power — ideas.ted.com

This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from people in the TED community; browse through all the posts here.

I have a question for you. Have you ever seen something and you wish you could have said something — but you didn’t?

And I have a second question. Has something ever happened to you and you never said anything about it — but you should have?

I’m interested in this idea of action — of the difference between seeing, which is the passive act of observing, and the actual act of bearing witness.

Bearing witness means writing down something you have seen, something you have heard, something you have experienced. The most important part of bearing witness is writing it down; it’s recording. Writing it down captures the memory. Writing it down acknowledges its existence.

One of the biggest examples we have in history of someone bearing witness is Anne Frank and her diary. She simply wrote down what was happening to her family and about her confinement and, in doing so, we have a very intimate record of this family during one of the worst periods of our world’s history.

You too can use creative writing to bear witness, and I’m going to walk you through an exercise that I do with a lot of my college students, who are future engineers, technicians, plumbers — basically, they’re not creative writers. We use these exercises to unsilence things we’ve been keeping silent. It’s a way of unburdening ourselves. It’s 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Brainstorm and write it down

What I have my students do is I give them a prompt. The prompt is “The time when …” and I want them to fill in that prompt with times they might have experienced something, heard something, seen something or seen something and they could have said something or intervened but they didn’t. I have them write a list as quickly as possible.

I’ll give you example of some of the things I would write down:

  • the time when a few months after 9/11 and two boys dared themselves to touch me and they did
  • the time when my sister and I were walking in a city and a guy spat at us and called us terrorists
  • the time way back when I went to a very odd middle school and girls a couple of
 years older than me were often married to men nearly double their age
  • the time when a friend pulled a gun on me
  •  the time when I went to a going-away luncheon for a coworker and a big boss
 questioned my lineage for 45 minutes.

There are times when I have seen something and I haven’t intervened. For example:

  • the time when I was on a train and I witnessed a father beating his toddler son and I didn’t do anything.
  • the many times when I’ve walked by someone who was homeless and in need and asking me for money and I walked around them and I did not acknowledge their humanity

The list could go on and on. Think of times when something might have happened sexually, times when you’ve been keeping things repressed, and times with our families. Because our families — we love them, but at the same time we don’t talk about things. So we don’t talk about the family member who has been using drugs or abusing alcohol; we don’t talk about the family member who might have severe mental illness. We’ll say something like, “Oh they’ve always been that way,” and we hope that in not talking about it and not acknowledging it, we can act like it doesn’t exist, that it will somehow fix itself.

Your goal is to write down at least 10 things, and once you have those 10 things, you’ve actually done part one, which is to bear witness. You have unsilenced something that you have been keeping silent.

Step 2: Narrow it down and focus

What I suggest is going back to your list of 10 and picking 3 things that are really tugging at you, three things that you feel strongly about. It doesn’t have to be the most traumatic things but it’s things that are like, “Ah, I have to write about this.” I suggest you sit down at a table with a pen and paper — that’s my preferred method for recording but you can also use a tablet, an iPad, a computer, just something that lets you write.

I suggest taking 30 minutes of uninterrupted time, meaning that you turn your phone off, put it on airplane mode, no email. If you have family or if you have children, give yourself 20 minutes or 5 minutes. The goal is just to give yourself time to write.

You’re going to focus on 3 things — you’re going to focus on the details, you’re going to focus on the order of events, you’re gonna focus on how it made you feel. That last one is the most important part.

I’m going to walk you through how I do it. The first thing I feel very very strongly about is that time when a couple of months after 9/11, these two boys dared themselves to touch me. I remember I was in a rural mall in North Carolina and I was just walking, minding my business.

I felt like people walking behind me were very, very close. I was like, “OK, that’s kind of weird, let me walk a little bit faster.” They walked a little bit faster too and I heard them going back and forth —  “No, you do it” “You do it” “No, you do it.” And then one of them pushes me and I almost fall to the ground.

I popped back up, expecting some type of apology and the weirdest thing was they did not run away. They actually stood right next to me and I remember there was a guy with blond hair and he had a bright red polo shirt and he was saying “Give me my money, I did it, man”, and the guy with the brown hair who had a choppy haircut gave him a $5 bill. I remember it was crumpled, and so I’m like, “Am I still standing here? This thing just happened. What just happened?”

And it was so weird to be someone’s dare and then also not exist at all. I remembered when I was younger and someone dared me to touch something nasty or disgusting. I felt like that nasty and disgusting thing.

A second thing I feel very, very strongly about is the time when a friend pulled a gun on me (I should say former friend). I remember there was a group of us outside, he had run up, and he had the stereotypical brown paper bag in his hand. I knew what it was. I’m a very mouthy person and I started going off. I was like, “What are you doing with that gun? You’re not gonna shoot anyone. You’re a coward. You don’t even know how to use it.”

I kept going on and on and on and he got angrier and angrier and angrier and he pulled the gun out and put it in my face. I remember every one of us got very, very quiet. I remember the tightness of his face. I remember the barrel of the gun and I felt like — and I’m pretty sure everyone around me who got quiet did too — felt like this is the moment I die.

The third thing I feel very, very strongly about is this going away luncheon and this big boss. I remember I was running late and I’m always late; it’s just a thing that happens with me. The whole table was filled except for the seat next to him. I didn’t know him well; I had seen him in the office. I didn’t know why the seat was empty; I found out later on why. So I sat down at the table and before he even asked me my name, the first thing he said was “What’s going on with all of this?” and he gestured at my head. I thought, “Do I have something on my face? What’s happening?”

Then he asked me with two hands this time “What’s going on with all of this?” And I realized he’s talking about my hijab. In my head I said, “Oh, not today.” But he’s a big boss — he’s like my boss’s boss’s boss. So for 45 minutes I put up with him asking me where I was from, where were my parents from, my grandparents. He asked me where I went to school, where I did my internships, he asked me who interviewed me for that job. And for 45 minutes, I tried to be very, very, very, very, very polite, trying to answer his questions.

But I remember I was making eyeball “Help!” signs at the people around the table, like “Someone say something, intervene”. It was a rectangular table, so there were people on both sides of us and no one said anything, even people who might be in the position to do so, bosses. No one said anything. I remember I felt so alone. I remember I felt like I didn’t deserve to be in his space. I remember I wanted to quit.

So these are my three things and you’ll have your list of three things. Once you have these three things, you have the details, you have the order of events, you have how it made you feel, you’re ready to actually use creative writing to bear witness.

Step 3: Pick one and tell your story

You don’t have to write a memoir; you don’t have to be a creative writer. I know sometimes storytelling can be daunting for some people but we are human, we are natural storytellers. If someone asks “How is your day going?”, we have a beginning, a middle and an end. That is a narrative.

Our memory exists and subsists through the act of storytelling. You just have to find the form that works for you. You can write a letter to your younger self, you can write a story to your younger self, you can write a story to your five-year-old child, you can write a parody, a song, a song as parody. You can write a play, you can write a nursery rhyme, you can write it in the form of a Wikipedia article.

If it’s one of those situations where you saw something and you didn’t intervene, perhaps write it from that person’s perspective. So if I go back to the boy on the train who I saw being beaten, What was it like to be in his shoes? What was it like to see all these people who watched it happen and did nothing? Or I could put myself in the position of someone who was homeless and just try to figure out how they got there in the first place. Perhaps it would help me change some of my actions, perhaps it will help me be more proactive about certain things.

By telling your story, you’re keeping it alive so you don’t have to do anything; you don’t have to show anyone any of these steps. But even if you’re telling it to yourself, you’re saying this thing happened, this weird thing did happen. It’s not in my head. It actually happened and by doing that maybe you’ll take a little bit of power back that has been taken away.

The last thing I’m going to do is I’m going to tell you my story. The one I’ve picked is about this big boss and I picked that one because I feel like I’m not the only one who has been in a position where someone has been above me and been talked down to. I feel like all of us might have been in positions where we felt like we could not say anything because this person has our livelihood, our paychecks, our jobs in their hands and times we might have seen someone who has power talking down to someone and we should have or could have intervened.

By telling this story, I’m taking back a little bit of power that was taken away from me. I have changed the names, and it happened a decade ago. It doesn’t have any happy ending, because it’s just me writing down what happened that day.

This is how I use creative writing to bear witness.

At Lisa’s Going Away Luncheon

I want to ask my boss’s boss’s boss if he’s stupid

or just plain dumb after he takes one look at my hijab

and asks me where I’m from in Southeast Asia.

 

I tell him that it’s New Jersey, actually,

and he asks where are my parents from,

and my grandparents and my great-grandparents

 

and their parents and their parents’ parents

as if searching for some Other blood,

as if searching for some reason why some Black

 

Muslim girl from Newark is seated next to him

at this restaurant of tablecloths

and laminated menus.

 

I want to say “Slavery, jerk,”

but I’ve got a car note and rent and insurances

and insurances and insurances and credit

 

cards and credit debt and a loan and a bad tooth

and a penchant for sushi so I drop

the jerk but keep the truth.

 

Tell me, he says,

“Why don’t Sunnis and Shiites get along?”

“Tell me,” he says, “What’s going on in Iraq?”

 

“Tell me,” he says, “What’s up with Saudi and Syria

and Iran?” “Tell me,” he says, “Why do Muslims

like bombs?” I want to shove an M1 up his behind

 

and confetti that pasty flesh and that tailored suit.

Instead I’m sipping my unsweetened iced tea

looking around at the table, at the co-workers

 

around me; none of whom, not one,

looks back at me. Rather they do the most

American things they can do:

 

They praise their Lord. They stuff their faces

And pretend they don’t hear him.

And pretend they don’t see me.

This post was adapted from a TEDxUCincinnati Talk. Watch it here:

Share – [THĐP TRANSLATION™] David Hawkins – Các mức độ tâm thức — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(1306 chữ, 5 phút đọc) Đối với Hawkins, tiến lên các trạng thái tâm thức cao hơn là cách duy nhất để tạo ra tiến triển có ý nghĩa trong cuộc đời một người. 31 more words

via [THĐP TRANSLATION™] David Hawkins – Các mức độ tâm thức — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Giới thiệu về David Hawkins

David Hawkins (hoặc David R. Hawkins) là một bác sĩ tâm thần, ông không chỉ có nhiều năm đối mặt với trải nghiệm lâm sàng, mà còn tiến hành nghiên cứu sâu rộng. Sự nghiệp của ông kéo dài từ năm 1952 khi ông lấy bằng MD (Bác sĩ) từ Đại học Y Wisconsin (được thành lập dưới tên Đại học Y khoa Marquette). Vào năm 1995, ông cũng lấy được bằng Tiến sĩ Triết học tại Đại học Columbia Pacific. Trong cuộc đời mình, ông đã thành lập và lãnh đạo một số phòng thí nghiệm và phòng khám.

Thang đo tâm thức trong [sách] Sức mạnh vs. Sức lực (Power vs. Force)

Ấn phẩm nổi tiếng nhất của Tiến sĩ Hawkins là quyển Power VS. Force – The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior (2002) (TD: Sức mạnh vs. Sức lực – Các yếu tố bí mật quyết định hành vi loài người). Trong cuốn sách, Hawkins đưa ra một mô hình cấp bậc về sự phát triển nhân cách. Hawkins lập luận rằng nhân cách có thể được mô tả trong một hệ thống tính điểm dao động từ 0 đến 1000 (0 là điểm thấp nhất, điểm 1000 là giác ngộ viên mãn hoặc nhận thức thuần khiết) (Hawkins 2002, 75-85). Điều đáng quan tâm là Hawkins cho rằng sự thật khách quan không chỉ tồn tại, mà còn có thể đạt được và thấu hiểu bởi bất kỳ cá nhân nào sử dụng một kỹ thuật được gọi là kinesiology (khoa học về sự vận động của cơ thể). Bằng cách truy cập vào “Dữ liệu của tâm thức,” một cá nhân có thể trả lời các câu hỏi chính xác 100%. Nghiên cứu của ông cho thấy rằng các kết quả có thể được lặp lại và chính xác (Hawkins 2002, 29-30), bất kể người nào thực hiện xét nghiệm kinesiologic.

Mỗi mức năng lượng đều được ông diễn giải ra trong cuốn sách. Những cấp độ tâm thức này thẩm thấu vào toàn bộ thế giới quan của một cá nhân và định hình cho cách họ liên kết với các trải nghiệm cuộc sống. Đối với Hawkins, tiến lên các trạng thái tâm thức cao hơn là cách duy nhất để tạo ra tiến triển có ý nghĩa trong cuộc đời một người. Đáng buồn thay, trung bình một cá nhân chỉ tăng 5 điểm trong cả cuộc đời của họ. Tuy nhiên, một nỗ lực được tập trung để di chuyển đến trạng thái cao hơn có thể dẫn đến những bước nhảy vọt đáng kinh ngạc của ý thức trong khoảng thời gian tương đối ngắn. Các cá nhân sẽ dao động giữa các điểm khác nhau trên thang đo, nhưng một con số trung bình tổng thể có thể được tính toán bằng sử dụng xét nghiệm kinesiologic. Vắn tắt, đây là các cấp độ năng lượng được phác nét bởi David Hawkins:

• 20: Xấu hổ
• 30: Tội lỗi
• 50: Vô cảm
• 75: Đau buồn
• 100: Sợ hãi
• 125: Ham muốn
• 150: Tức giận
• 175: Kiêu ngạo
• 200: Can đảm
• 250: Trung tính
• 310: Sẵn sàng
• 350: Chấp nhận
• 400: Lý trí
• 500: Tình yêu
• 540: Hân hoan
• 600: Bình an
• 700-1000: Giác ngộ

Mặc dù Hawkins đi sâu vào chi tiết về các cấp độ tâm thức khác nhau, ông chỉ ra hai bước ngoặt quan trọng nhất.

“Trên thang đo tâm thức của chúng tôi, có 2 điểm quan trọng cho phép sự thăng tiến lớn. Đầu tiên là ở mức 200, mức khởi đầu của sức mạnh: Ở đây, một người sẵn sàng ngừng đổ lỗi và chịu trách nhiệm cho chính hành động, cảm xúc và niềm tin của chính mình. Chừng nào mà nguyên nhân và trách nhiệm được phóng chiếu ra bên ngoài một người, chừng đó họ sẽ vẫn còn ở trong chế độ [xem mình là] nạn nhân. [Nguyên nhân và trách nhiệm là những thứ nằm trong. Carl Jung có câu: “Ai nhìn ra ngoài thì mơ. Ai nhìn vào trong, thức tỉnh.”] Thứ hai là ở cấp độ 500, đạt được bằng cách chấp nhận tình yêu và sự tha thứ không phán xét như một lối sống, thực hành lòng tốt vô điều kiện với mọi người, mọi thứ và mọi sự kiện không có ngoại lệ.” (Hawkins 2002, 238)

Hai ngưỡng này là hai thách thức chính đối với nhiều người ngày nay. Di chuyển vượt lên chúng bạn sẽ bắt gặp một rào cản lớn, thứ chỉ có thể được vượt qua bằng một sự chuyển hóa đáng kể trong tính cách. Sau khi đã vượt lên khỏi những cảnh giới này, tiến triển lên những trạng thái cao hơn là điều rất tự nhiên và ít thử thách hơn.

Đo lường ý thức tập thể

Thông qua thử nghiệm kinesiologic, David Hawkins và các nhà nghiên cứu của ông ước tính trạng thái năng lượng của tâm thức tập thể nhân loại vào khoảng 207 (Hawkins 2002, 95). Đây chỉ là trên ngưỡng 200, trong đó chúng ta chuyển từ một lực hủy diệt tổng thể sang một lực sáng tạo tổng thể trên hành tinh. Vì thế Hawkins rất lạc quan về tiến độ đã đạt được. Tuy nhiên, Hawkins cảnh báo rằng “Bất kỳ sự thỏa mãn có ý nghĩa nào cũng không thể bắt đầu cho đến khi đạt cấp độ 250, nơi một mức độ tự tin nhất định bắt đầu hiện ra làm cơ sở cho những trải nghiệm đời sống tích cực trong quá trình tiến hóa của tâm thức.” (Hawkins 2002, 96)

Cân bằng những trạng thái tâm thức thấp hơn

Những người ở trạng thái thấp hơn 200 được giải thích là gây cản trở cho xã hội. Những hành động của họ, thông thường, gây thiệt hại nhiều hơn lợi ích. Hơn thế nữa, Hawkins cảnh báo rằng hơn 85% nhân loại đang tồn tại ngày nay vẫn hiệu chỉnh dưới ngưỡng cấp độ quan trọng 200 (Hawkins 2002, 95). Điều này là không có gì ngạc nhiên khi phần lớn nhân loại vẫn sống trong tình trạng cực kỳ nghèo khổ, nơi sự phát triển tâm thức gần như là không thể.

Lý do điểm số tập thể của chúng ta nằm ở mức 207 là bởi vì thang đó có tính chất logarit (logarithmic): Các cá nhân duy trì ở trạng thái ý thức cao hơn thì đối trọng với số lượng lớn các tâm trí ở trạng thái thấp hơn. Mặc dù chỉ có 4% số người đang sống ngày nay đã đạt đến trường năng lượng quan trọng là 500, những người ở trạng thái này có sức ảnh hưởng cực kỳ mạnh mẽ đối với sức khỏe của toàn xã hội. Thực tế, Hawkins chỉ ra rằng chỉ có 0.4% dân số đạt tới điểm 540 và chỉ 1 trong 10 triệu người sẽ đạt tới cấp độ 600 (Hawkins 2002, 95). Ông cũng chỉ ra rằng hiện tại đang có 12 người trên hành tinh hiệu chỉnh ở mức 700 (Hawkins 2002, 282).

Để có cái nhìn trực quan hơn về sức mạnh của những người đạt tới trạng thái cao – và nó nhấn mạnh tầm quan trọng của năng lực cá nhân để đạt đến những trạng thái cao hơn này – Hawkins đưa ra những con số. (Hawkins 2002, 282):

• 1 người có cấp độ 700 cân bằng với 70 triệu người dưới 200
• 1 người có cấp độ 600 cân bằng với 10 triệu người dưới 200
• 1 người có cấp độ 500 cân bằng với 750,000 người dưới 200
• 1 người có cấp độ 400 cân bằng với 400,000 người dưới 200
• 1 người có cấp độ 300 cân bằng với 90,000 người dưới 200
• Mười hai người ở mức 700 tương đương với một Avatar (Hóa Thân) ở cấp độ 1000.

Nhờ sức mạnh gia tăng theo logarit của những người ở trạng thái tâm thức cao hơn, cuối cùng nhân loại đã đạt đến một cấp độ trên ngưỡng 200. Hawkins nhấn mạnh rằng mỗi người đều có khả năng ảnh hưởng đáng kể đối tới sự tốt đẹp của xã hội bằng cách ưu tiên sự phát triển tâm thức cá nhân của họ.

• • •

(Trích đoạn 1427 chữ đầu tiên trong bài viết full 2850 chữ đã xuất bản trong tạp chí Aloha volume 17. Phần sau bài viết nói về: David Hawkins và những Trường Hấp Dẫn, Sức mạnh Vs. Sức lực (Power Vs. Force), synchronicity, chủ nghĩa lý trí (intellectualism).)

Source: personality-development
Biên dịch: Văng Trúc Lâm

Share – [THĐP Translation™] Một cuộc hôn nhân không phải để bạn hạnh phúc, mà là để bạn ý thức — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(349 chữ, 1.5 phút đọc) Khi bạn xem đối tác của mình không phải là vị cứu tinh mà là người bạn sẽ vui chơi cùng cho đến cuối đời, bạn sẽ dễ dàng tha thứ cho những lỗi lầm của họ và chấp nhận rằng họ không, và sẽ không bao giờ hoàn hảo.

via [THĐP Translation™] Một cuộc hôn nhân không phải để bạn hạnh phúc, mà là để bạn ý thức — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

… Ta thường nói các mối quan hệ đổ vỡ dạy ta nhiều hơn bất cứ điều gì khác. Nhưng những mối quan hệ đang diễn ra mới có thể thực sự dạy ta nhiều nhất. Sự tương tác của ta với những người khác cho ta thấy ta là ai, cách ta cư xử và những gì ta đang làm. Chúng có thể là phương tiện khai sáng nhất để gia tăng ý thức. Chắc chắn không có mối quan hệ nào làm điều này tốt hơn một người bạn cam kết xây dựng cuộc sống, nhà cửa và chia sẻ mối quan hệ chăn gối gần gũi cho phần đời còn lại của mình.

Bạn đời là một loại tài sản trong quá trình phát triển bản thân, nhưng sự hợp tác đó không phải là toàn bộ những gì bạn sẽ trở thành. Bạn có thể chọn xem hôn nhân là một món quà, như một đặc ân tuyệt vời. Hôn nhân cho ta những người bạn đồng hành, không phải những con đường. Khi bạn xem đối tác của mình không phải là vị cứu tinh mà là người bạn sẽ vui chơi cùng cho đến cuối đời, bạn sẽ dễ dàng tha thứ cho những lỗi lầm của họ và chấp nhận rằng họ không, và sẽ không bao giờ hoàn hảo. (Top highlight)

Các đối tác không tồn tại để đáp ứng mọi nhu cầu cảm xúc của ta. Họ tồn tại để trở thành bạn đồng hành — tách biệt, nhưng bình đẳng — đồng thời cũng là trách nhiệm, song rất ngoài tầm kiểm soát. Học cách yêu họ tốt hơn là điều cần thiết. Nó cho đi nhiều hơn nhận lại. Khi ta có thể loại bỏ đi giả định họ nên sống khác với bản chất, ta tìm thấy một thứ gì đó đẹp đẽ bên dưới: sự hài hòa. Đó là điều ta đã luôn luôn khao khát.

• • •

Tác giả: Brianna Wiest
Biên dịch: Trần Đình Quân

Ẩm thực – Here’s What Eating Out Might Look Like When Restaurants Reopen

By

Full link: https://www.eater.com/2020/4/21/21229650/what-eating-out-might-look-like-when-restaurants-reopen-coronavirus-impact?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATIONAL%20-%2042220&utm_content=NATIONAL%20-%2042220+Version+A+CID_d18e73e4a7a33e3561d1cea021732af4&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=HERES%20WHAT%20EATING%20OUT%20MIGHT%20LOOK%20LIKE%20WHEN%20RESTAURANTS%20REOPEN

Masks, temperature checks, and awkward bar vibes — one writer’s recent night out in Hong Kong could be a glimpse at America’s future

An overhead shot of a street half-full of club and restaurant goers, many wearing masks at night.

On a recent Friday night in Hong Kong, two police vans idled outside an upscale Italian restaurant on Wyndham Street. Only a few months earlier, their presence might have been an ominous sign that a unit of anti-protest riot cops was in the area, tear gas and pepper spray at the ready. But as is the case for much of daily life here since January, Hong Kong has moved from a state of protest to pandemic, and that night, instead of an armed “raptor” force wearing dark green fatigues and gas masks, the vans discharged a group of what looked like ordinary patrolmen in simple short-sleeve uniforms and surgical masks.

The officers had mustered in one of the city’s busiest nightlife districts to enforce the local government’s ongoing social distancing measures in response to COVID-19, many of which were first announced in late March. They stood outside on the sidewalk like nuns chaperoning a Catholic school dance, armed with rulers, ready to stalk the floor and push guests apart to “make room for the Holy Spirit.” Except in this case the school gymnasium was a bar full of consenting adults, the rulers were rolls of measuring tape, and the Holy Spirit, I assume, was the distance required for gravity to pull down tiny drops of spittle from the air between us.

As cities and states across the U.S. begin to float possible dates for reopening the closed sectors of their economies, many diners and hospitality industry leaders are asking what that next phase might look like for restaurants. Because Hong Kong — along with other Asian cities like Seoul and Taipei — has largely succeeded in controlling outbreaks, and allowed its restaurants to stay open throughout the pandemic, some are asking if the present state of dining here could be a glimpse at the future for America.

david chang

@davidchang

Can diners in Taipei, Hong Kong, Korea, China send me photos of what it looks like in restaurants.

How the seating is set up?

Are all the servers wearing masks and gloves.

What are guests wearing?

If anyone works in kitchens how are you dealing w new protocol?

And so, with the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong staying firmly in single digits over the preceding few days, I traded house socks for chukka boots, slipped on a surgical mask, and did what many in the U.S. have been longing to do for weeks. I went out for dinner.

I chose Frank’s in part because it makes for a useful case study of the current regulatory climate in Hong Kong. Bars have been ordered closed, but not restaurants; Frank’s is a split-level operation, with more of a bar setup downstairs and a sit-down restaurant upstairs. The mandatory bar closure has meant that almost all of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s famous party district, has been shut down; Frank’s sits on the edge of LKF, sandwiched between it and the equally busy but more restaurant-heavy SoHo neighborhood.

Although popular with Cantonese locals for workweek lunch, at night, Frank’s is often filled with expat residents drinking Negronis and ordering the veal. Expats have come under special scrutiny recently, after a wave of travelers rushing home to the city from hot spots abroad brought new cases back with them only a few weeks ago.

Normally, it would cost me less than $1 to take the subway or minibus from my house to Wyndham Street, but to minimize time spent in small, enclosed, crowded spaces, I splurged $6.50 on a cab. At the entrance to Frank’s, I was stopped by a host and was confronted with the first in a series of small obstacles to eating out: the temperature check.

Having an infrared thermometer pointed at your forehead in a non-medical setting might kill the mood in America, but in Hong Kong it blends in relatively naturally with the rest of the ways the city has become visibly anti-contagion since the SARS outbreak more than 16 years ago. Signs in elevators remind riders how often the buttons are sterilized. Hand sanitizer has been a lobby staple for years. And then there are the masks.

Well before COVID-19, it would’ve been hard to go a day in Hong Kong and not see someone wearing a mask. They’re common enough that if you met a friend on the street and someone asked you later if the friend had worn one, you might not remember. In restaurants, I’d seen staff wearing masks from time to time too, though almost never in more upscale situations. But at Frank’s — as with every other restaurant I checked in on — all staff wore the same thin, blue surgical masks Hong Kongers had been wearing on the street for years.

While Hong Kong’s pre-existing mask culture somewhat prepared me, in the U.S., it might have felt a little like a mass text had gone out on Halloween, where the in-joke was that instead of asking everyone to dress in a sexy costume, every costume would be a surgeon: Surgeon servers. Surgeon cooks. A surgeon DJ. Even having lived with regular mask culture for years now — and among their near-ubiquity for weeks — seeing every single person who handled my food and drink wear the tell-tale sign of medical caution was jarring.

Still, not long into the meal, as the unnerving feeling began to subside, it was quickly replaced by communication issues. I’ve heard a lot of people lament the non-verbal communication lost behind masks, the missed smiles or bitten lips, but more difficult for me were the few times I couldn’t understand what my server was trying to ask me. He was enunciating clearly at a volume well above the ambient noise, but without seeing half his face, he may as well have held his hand behind his back and asked me, “How many fingers?” “Sure,” I replied the first time this happened, and the result was a side of squash I didn’t think I’d ordered. (It was great.)

After dinner, I picked my own mask up off my knee, where it had remained throughout the meal, and headed downstairs for a cocktail. I ordered at the bar, got my drink at the bar, and then immediately had to walk away from the bar and stand against the far wall. The bar itself had no stools, and featured printouts explaining that customers could not hang out at the bar. In a total reverse of the usual crush to buy drinks, the few guests in the quarter-full room were clustered in small groups against the far wall with me. Only they weren’t with me at all.

When you sit at the bar you are part of a continuum, long or short, curved or straight, finite or infinitely looped, that counts everyone seated anywhere along it as also at the bar. Downstairs at Frank’s, we were all standing up while observing social distance. Me trying to join any one group would have been the awkward equivalent of pulling up a seat to a table full of unsuspecting strangers upstairs. Not having the stomach for that, I downed my drink, put my money on the bar and left.

A police bus is pulled up in front of Franks, a bar and restaurant, and police officers are visible standing out front.
Police on Wyndham Street prepare to enforce social distancing rules on Friday night
A health form is being filled out on a clip board.
Pens used to fill out health declaration forms at Yardbird HK are individually sterilized after each use
 Andrew Genung

Outside, I walked back past the cops and did a quick loop through an eerily empty Lan Kwai Fong, before wandering back up towards Soho to see how restaurants were doing there. Turning up Peel Street, I was only half-surprised to see several large gaggles of maskless expats drinking out in front of restaurants on the dead-end road. You know that particular genre of sports bloopers where an athlete begins celebrating right on the verge of winning, only to have victory snatched away by someone actually digging for those last few inches? I’ve gotten some good schadenfreude out of those scenes, but with only one new case of COVID reported in Hong Kong the day before my night out, these people felt like the last link on our whole city’s relay team, and their confidence made me nervous.

I moved on, and tried to stop in a wine bar that sells enough charcuterie, cheese, and other no-cook food to maybe pass as a restaurant, but the man at the front desk of its building told me that the entire floor was closed. I stopped into the lobby of a high rise on Wellington Street, hoping to finally try the “martini 3-ways” at VEA Lounge, the cocktail bar one flight down from Vicky Cheng’s French-Chinese tasting menu restaurant, VEA, but the button for the 29th floor didn’t work at all.

Then I remembered that Yardbird Hong Kong had reopened. It closed for 14 days starting March 23, after word of infected diners at another restaurant group got out. But it was back in business now, albeit under a new regime of health and safety measures. There was a wait, as usual, but nowhere to do the waiting. The front room, where I’ve spent several past pre-dinner hours nursing a cocktail or two while my name moved up the host’s list, had been converted from a mostly standing-room bar area into a second sit-down-only dining room. Anyone not yet seated would have to wait outside. I gave my phone number and went for a walk around the block.

When I did finally get in, the host took my temperature and asked me to sign a form declaring that in the last 14 days I had not been outside of Hong Kong, hung out with anyone outside of Hong Kong, and/or had COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19. I also gave my name, phone number, and email address, so that should anyone present that night later test positive, they could contact me. I’d had to give the same personal information at Frank’s as well, so that now, despite paying cash at both venues, there was a point-by-point record of my night just floating out there in the ether, my American right-to-privacy preferences be damned.

A group of four men sit at a table in front of a kitchen line where everyone is wearing masks.
Diners at Yardbird sit four to a table max, in a dining room at 50 percent capacity by law

The host told me she had never had problems from anyone about the health form, but there had been larger groups who got annoyed at having to separate into tables of four or fewer. On my own, I was led to a two-top in the middle of the back dining room, ordered a cocktail, and read on my phone.

At 50 percent capacity, the place was still lively, but even if the kinetic feeling of the restaurant was still there, some of the potential energy for a solo diner had been stripped away. I’m usually fairly confident being out on my own, but something about sitting so far from another table — even an empty one in one of my favorite Hong Kong restaurants — was uncomfortable.

Steam rose in the open kitchen, swirling past a flurry of masked chefs shuffling around their stations. What felt like more servers than I can ever remember seeing on that floor swarmed about the dining room. And everywhere there were people eating. Everywhere, except of course within about six feet on all sides of me. If my distant neighbors and I had shared a brief conversation before I finished my drink, decided there was no point in trying to stay out anymore, and headed home, it most likely would’ve consisted of an exaggerated wave and a pantomimed shout, as if we each occupied either side of an enormous cavern, and could never get much closer than we were already. It would’ve been mildly funny. And mostly true.

Ẩm thực – The ‘Pie Engineer’ Who Designed a Dessert For the Jazz Age

By ROSSI ANASTOPOULO

Full link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/american-pie-history?utm_source=Gastro+Obscura+Weekly+E-mail&utm_campaign=9f51bd3f7c-GASTRO_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_28&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2418498528-9f51bd3f7c-70327933&mc_cid=9f51bd3f7c&mc_eid=df51e46713

With a new filling and a new crust, an American innovator changed pie forever.

Monroe Boston Strause would reinvent the cream pie.

CALIFORNIA IS THE “LAND OF Opportunity.” That term was never meant to apply to pie-making, per se, but no one ever told Monroe Strause.

The future Pie King started from humble origins. Monroe Boston Strause was born to salt-of-the-earth parents who left the Midwest for sunny California, raising him and his siblings among the towering palm trees and sky-high hopes of early 20th-century Los Angeles.

As a teenager, he joined his uncle’s wholesale pie business in 1919, where he was soon confronted with a crisis: rising competition from cakes, which were becoming increasingly accessible for home cooks since standardized ovens made baking easier. His industry was in trouble. And thus, the young, curious, and ambitious Strause entered the Roaring ‘20s with a burning conviction to innovate the humble pie.

Strause considered pie to be the “Great American Dessert,” and deemed it superior to just about every other food. A natural perfectionist, his driving motivation was to create better versions of the dish. But unlike housewives and grandmothers, the patron saints of pie, Strause approached pie-making in a way that reflected the growing emphasis on scientific thought that took root in the 1920s. He treated new pies as individual inventions, and methods of preparation as equations to solve. He even referred to his recipes as “formulas.”

Strause hard at work on pies.

In his 1939 book Pie Marches On, Strause’s publishers summed up his approach: “He has reduced pie baking to an exact science and measures each ingredient with the care of a pharmacist.” This style meant no volume measurements (Strause wrote that “the tea cup and teaspoon are the greatest enemies of a good pie”) and endless experimentation. Once, he made 150 different versions of cherry pie. His pie fixation also meant he had the tendency to get a little high-and-mighty. Strause once sniffed that housewives “tend to be too slipshod for scientific pie-making.”

One problem in particular vexed him. He was supremely unsatisfied with cream pies, which were thick, heavy, and reminded him of cornstarch pudding. This characteristic was a personal insult. Strause once ate so much cornstarch pudding as a child that he became sick, and he couldn’t stomach it at all afterwards. So he began experimenting on a new cream pie.

The result was the Chiffon Pie, the crown jewel of Strause’s illustrious pastry career and a genre of pie that endures to this day. Inspired by recipes for French pastry cream, Strause developed a pie filling that incorporated stiffly beaten egg whites into a cornstarch-thickened cream. The result was a delicate, airy filling that retained its firmness and volume, one that “stood up like a soldier on parade,” as the New York Herald Tribune later described. As for the name, the story goes that when Strause first presented his mother with his new creation, she exclaimed that the smooth, light filling was “like chiffon.”

Here, Strause teaches his pie-making methods to two students.

The silky texture wasn’t the only innovative element of Strause’s new pie. It was piled high in the middle and rounded off in a dome that was a first in pie design. And though the sexy new filling got all of the glory, the pie’s crust proved arguably more influential. Strause found typical pie crusts to be too thick for such a light filling, so to house his edible chiffon, he developed a new crust made from graham cracker crumbs, patted into the pie pan and pre-baked to a buttery crunch. The graham cracker crust he invented went on to become a foundation of American pie-making, holding up everything from cheesecake to key lime pie.

The Chiffon Pie was first sold as a novelty in Los Angeles for $0.35 a slice, or a little over $5.00 today. The exact date of its debut is unclear, though it was most likely in 1926, at the height of the Jazz Age. The new pie caught on quickly, becoming a pastry sensation and bringing both business and fame to its creator. The delicate, refined pie—a stark contrast to heavy, rustic fruit versions—aligned with the glamor and elegance of Hollywood and the film industry. Strause made the connection explicit. In his bookhe included a photograph of silent film star Mary Pickford, along with an Orange Chiffon Pie.

Strause offers an Orange Chiffon Pie to "America's Sweetheart," Mary Pickford.

The pie’s rise to prominence also coincided with an emphasis in American cuisine on feminine food. Beginning as early as 1907 with the cookbook Sea Foam’s Collection of Dainty Receipts, dessert recipes began trending toward the ethereal, with ingredients like cream, gelatin, and whipped egg whites. These dishes were aimed toward women as a reflection of their femininity, and women’s magazines encouraged them to master elegant, dainty desserts that transcended hearty “masculine” fare. Arriving in the 1920s, the Chiffon Pie was perfectly timed to this trend, capitalizing on the fetish for airy concoctions.

Within a few years of the Chiffon Pie’s debut, Strause had one of the biggest pie operations in the West. He made a fortune off his creation by keeping his recipe close to his chest. At one point, he traveled up to 30,000 miles a year to teach hotels and restaurants how to make it. Within a handful of years, the Chiffon Pie’s recipe leaked and became public knowledge. But by that time, it had already done its work. The public crowned Strause as the Pie King.

On the back of his pie’s unprecedented success, Strause skyrocketed to fame. He became arguably the first pastry celebrity in America. In many ways, his widespread fame and relentless drive for innovation made him the Dominique Ansel of his day, almost a century before the famed pastry chef invented the hit Cronut of 2013.

This lime chiffon pie with a graham-cracker crust wouldn't exist without Monroe Boston Strause.

Throughout the 1930s, Strause traveled across the country, delivering lectures, consulting for restaurants, teaching classes, and more. In Chicago, he won a pie contest against over 2,500 other desserts. Media-savvy and with a flair for showmanship (he once baked a novelty pie 24 feet in diameter for newsboys in Los Angeles), Strause sat for interviews with newspapers across the country, bolstering his brand as a “pie engineer” and presenting himself as the country’s foremost expert on the subject. His success didn’t just bring him fame, either. According to one profile in The Globe and Mail, he made “a bank president’s salary out of pie.”

Yet, for all his influence, the latter half of Strause’s life is obscure. By the 1950s, his prominence waned, and the widespread acclaim he enjoyed for his pie inventions dwindled. It’s unclear how he spent the last years of his life, though one hopes he still enjoyed plenty of pie.

Strause used his skill to create confections that captured the spirit of his era. As the Roaring ‘20s exploded with glamour and modernity, the Pie King brought a bit of that ephemeral magic to the pastry world. Today, others have since taken up his innovative mantle. From Lauren Ko and her geometric modern art designs to Nicole Rucker’s bright and breezy California creations, bakers continue to experiment with the Great American Dessert.

Stoic – This Is Your Fight

It’s tempting to tell yourself that we don’t have a problem. That you don’t have to get involved. This doesn’t affect your community. It’s not actually that big of a deal.

Look at these numbers instead, a commenter whispers. But what about this other case or that one, they say. I’m not an activist, you think. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, I don’t want to make things political. Someone else can probably do a better job.

These are lies. All of them. And they are worse than just apathy or rationalization. As Marcus Aurelius reminded himself, we can commit injustices by doing nothing too. When we try to tell ourselves that this is not our fight, that this is not our problem, that someone else is more equipped to get involved than we are—that’s what we are doing. We are not just allowing injustice to continue, we are committing a new injustice by abandoning fellow citizens or fellow humans who are asking for our help. They need our capital, they need our bodies, they need our political pressure. That’s how change happens. That’s how things get done.

“One person’s disengagement is untenable unless bolstered by someone else’s commitment,” Pericles famously said. If you decide not to vote because voting seems so statistically insignificant, or you don’t speak out, if you let things pass because you would rather avoid conflict, that might make your life a little more peaceful, but the result is an incremental increase in the suffering of others. By refusing to demand a solution, you are contributing to the problem. By refusing to fight for that solution, you are asking others to carry your part of the load.

That’s not right. It’s not courageous. It’s not just. It’s not wise either.

We have to do this together. We have to see it as our fight. Because it is.

Collection – To build a business empire, own an opinion (not a marketing budget)

By Ali Mese

Full link: https://medium.com/swlh/to-build-a-business-empire-own-an-opinion-not-a-marketing-budget-5834db08810c

The internet is home to some of his biggest haters.

Others think he is a genius.

While his cynics and fans aimlessly scroll through Twitter on a typical afternoon, he steps on the cyber stage for the 12th time that day to share yet another strong opinion:

Haters gonna hate. But likes and retweets from raving fans start pouring in almost instantly.

That’s @DHH as the web knows him: one of the founders of Basecamp, a remote software company, and one of the online world’s most polarizing figures.

His blog posts and tweets that contain strong opinions may leave you with mixed feelings.

Whether readers find his style depressing and can’t stand the constant shouting or see him as an outspoken champion of brutally honest commentary doesn’t seem to phase him.

He won’t stop calling people out on their wrongdoings. Here are just a few of the companies he recently addressed within a single three-day period.

His recent tweets have expressed some radical ideas about the way the email should work. On his radar are those who violate your privacy or employ unethical tactics to hit your inbox.

Targeting this topic comes as no surprise — DHH and his Basecamp co-founder Jason Fried have just launched their latest product, HEY.

It’s an email service that promises to fix what’s broken with email today.

Whether you call it a smart launch campaign or believe sharing strong opinions is simply in their DNA, Jason and DHH are doing it again, this time with HEY.

They are about to follow the same path that years ago led them to success with Basecamp: They are beginning to sell (I mean, tell) an opinionated narrative that disrupts the thinking around how the “email” should work today.

True disruptors shift how people think not only about their product, but about themselves, the industry, and the world.

So if you manage to drop your judgments, grab some popcorn and watch the show as the Basecamp boys roll their latest product into an overly crowded email market.

This isn’t the first time the boys have moved to grab market share in a cluttered space…

Basecamp, their core project management software, has been battling it out in an increasingly competitive remote software space with dozens of incumbents.

But they managed to escape competition and build a business on their own terms by disrupting the thinking around how the world (in this particular case, how the “business”) should work.

Graph: Basecamp’s growth over the last years

Take any piece of content the founders have published over the last years: each of those micro-opinions has contributed to the overarching narrative that advocates remote work.

And this narrative has complemented their project management software which allows teams to collaborate from anywhere.

  • Their best-selling book, Remote, destroys the Industrial Revolution’s “under one roof” model of conducting work.
  • Their widely popular blog, Signal v. Noise, dispels almost every myth you know about building and operating a business.
  • From podcasts and tweets to books and blogs, no matter what platform they step on to raise their voice, the boys make sure to share strong opinions.
  • Indeed, “strong opinions” even form the first two words of their blog’s tagline:
Basecamp’s blog
Best-selling books by Basecamp founders

Don’t disrupt an industry, disrupt the thinking — that’s a valuable maxim Basecamp founders have proven to the world.

They show that, by owning an opinion, you can still create value in industries most write off as finished — and you don’t have to employ shady tactics to do that, nor do you need hefty marketing budgets.

But before we end up writing a novel about Basecamp, let’s make one thing crystal clear when it comes to using an opinionated style as a marketing strategy.

Opinionated ≠ Angry

That’s John Collins, the editor of what some consider the most opinionated blog today — Intercom is one of today’s most respected startups, and John’s classy writing style has had a huge impact on the company’s unstoppable growth.

In fact, according to the founder Des Trainer, their blog has been their most effective growth channel since the early days.

Among their greatest hits are their most controversial, opinionated essays: The End of Apps as We Know Them, Growth Hacking Is Bullsh*t, and Why Cards Are the Future of the Web are some of their most successful posts, all of which express radical ideas that are well-argued and illustrated.

“There is one simple strategy which, provided you stick to it, will help you rise above the noise: have an opinion,” John adds.

Intercom encourages their entire team to share strong opinions on their blog. And each of those micro-opinions serves their overarching narrative: “make business personal again” (which perfectly complements their messaging products that enable visitors to have human interactions with websites).

When sharing thoughts, John advises his colleagues not to be arrogant or patronize readers, but instead have an opinion — preferably a strong, undiluted one. Keep a classy style that illustrates your point and backs up your arguments. And always keep in mind that a flat tone won’t get you too far:

“Articles that are provably factually correct but flat in tone never perform as well as those that nail their colours to the mast. Some of our best performing articles don’t pull any punches.

Wait a second. Everything you publish should be opinionated?

Instead of trying to build a business silently in your comfortable corner, why on earth should you step out there and publish opinions that make you risk losing some of your potential audience?

If you don’t have something to say, you don’t have something worth paying attention to.

Every time we onboard a new client at our storytelling studio Growth Supply, I have a welcome call with the founders.

Before getting our hands on crafting their narrative strategy, this is where I’ll try to understand what opinions they (and their product) hold about the world.

Those founder calls taught me that opinionated marketing is definitely not for everyone and it’s a decision you have to evaluate, especially if you are too sensitive to grow a thick skin in the game.

You can also probably survive without one if your product is, say, a simple file upload or image compressor tool; the same applies if you are lucky enough to find yourself in an uncrowded market — a market where people already know they need your solution.

But, as I explained in “How We Got 11.3 Million Pageviews without the Growth Hacking BS,” executing a narrative-driven strategy can become your strongest weapon, especially in markets where:

  1. there are too many identical competitors (which is becoming the new normal in a growing number of industries),
  2. or where people don’t even know they need your solution. A healthy dose of opinion can lift any messaging from being just one of the crowd to something that effortlessly stands out.

On one end of today’s spectrum are the customers who see increasingly less difference between you and your competition; on the other is the “peak competition” that keeps slapping most businesses in the face, where companies almost sell a commodity as the copycats take over the market.

Anyone today can copy your features overnight, yes. But they can never copy the YOU in your product. In Naval Ravikant’s beautiful words, you can escape competition through authenticity, when you realize that no one can compete with you on being you.

And there are only a few things in life that empower YOU to express your authentic self. Your opinion is one of them.

As Basecamp’s founders highlight, injecting what’s unique about the way you think into your product is a powerful way to stand out in today’s most cluttered marketplace in history:

“If you’re successful, people will try to copy what you do. But there’s a great way to protect yourself from copycats:

After all, your opinion is what got you in business in the first place. What started as a humble belief about how you thought the world should work led to your solution:

  • The Basecamp boys think email today is broken so they are building a new email service, HEY.
  • Louis Grenier thought in-your-face marketing tactics no longer worked so he launched one of today’s most popular marketing podcasts, Everyone Hates Marketers.
  • Intercom founders thought the trouble with websites was that their owners couldn’t build personal relationships with their online visitors like physical shop owners did, so they built tools that make business personal again in the online world.

Careful, though: Any business can start with an opinion about what’s broken. But what makes the above examples widely successful is that their opinions are ingrained not only in the early idea stage but in everything they do that follows after, from their culture and values to sales, product development, and marketing.

It becomes a 360-degree opinion-led strategy that informs their overarching narrative across whatever they do.

If you don’t have an opinion, you don’t have a conversation.

An opinion, by definition, is a thought or belief about something or someone that others can disagree with.

And it turns out that whatever others disagree with is also what spreads across the internet since people are much more inclined to share opinionated content on social media, with their personal networks via email and messaging apps, or post it on their work Slack.

Opinions start conversations.

And a conversation that is widely shared gives you the invaluable chance to maximize your reach and attract people who think like you, people who can turn into true fans over time.

When you target everyone, you end up targeting no one.

Starting with your opinions about how you think the world should work helps you to attract people who hold the same beliefs — it enables you to build your own tribe instead of shooting in the dark and trying to reach all kinds of people in an overcrowded market.

Next time you decide to write yet another “My top 5 favourite productivity apps” mediocre article, remember what got you in business in the first place.

Consider what opinions you and your product hold about the world.

And before hitting that publish button, apply a quick acid test:

Ask yourself if anyone would disagree with what you are about to share. If the answer is no, it’s not going to start a conversation either.

Because every time you publish something, you have yet another opportunity to disrupt the thinking

The words you put out in the wild have the power to move the masses.

Try treating each piece of content you put out there as a micro-idea, an opportunity to disrupt how your audience thinks not only about their product, but about themselves, the industry, and the world.

And over time, let your micro-ideas bring together the missing pieces of your overarching narrative that sells a whole new way of thinking, not a product.

To build a business empire, you need an opinion, not a hefty marketing budget.

Because the goal in business today is not to sell to everybody who needs what you have.

The goal is to sell to people who share your opinion — the ones who believe what you believe.

Note – Nikkei Asian: The week ahead — China’s new emissions rules, Luckin EGM, Singapore campaign begins

China’s new emissions rules, Luckin EGM, Singapore campaign begins

A semblance of normalcy is settling over Asia, spurred by Singapore’s decision to move forward with this year’s general election after recovering from coronavirus restrictions. The Singapore campaign season starts this week. Tokyo’s turn at the polls on Sunday will largely be a referendum on Governor Yuriko Koike’s handling of the outbreak.

Economic indicators this week will come from Vietnam, where the government will release second-quarter GDP data on Monday, followed by the Bank of Japan on Wednesday with its closely watched business sentiment survey, known as Tankan.

Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NAR.

MONDAY

Nissan and ANA face shareholders
After posting a net profit drop of 75% in the last fiscal year and a 58 billion-yen ($540-million) loss in the January-March quarter, ANA Holdings will have its annual general meeting on Monday. While the airline is seeing signs of recovery for domestic flights, investors will be listening for the company’s strategy to weather the coronavirus storm.

On the same day, Nissan Motor will also try to satisfy shareholders with its midterm plan, which focuses on cutting production capacity as well as a number of car models. The battered automaker posted a net loss of 671 billion yen ($6.2 billion) for the year ended in March, as a result of former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s failed expansion strategy and back-to-back corporate scandals.

TUESDAY

NPC to deliberate Hong Kong security law
The standing committee of the National People’s Congress will wrap up an unusual second meeting in two weeks. It is widely expected that the committee will complete the review and passage of a controversial national security law for Hong Kong that would then come into immediate effect. The text of the law has been a closely guarded secret, but officials have signaled that details about the scope of offenses covered and related penalties will be made public after passage.

‘Lee vs. Lee’ election campaign in Singapore starts
The campaign period for Singapore’s general election on July 10 will officially start Tuesday, when political parties nominate their candidates. While Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s People’s Action Party is widely expected to win, the ruling party faces an unprecedented challenge by Lee’s estranged younger brother Lee Hsien Yang, who recently joined the opposition Progress Singapore Party.

The election comes as the city-state faces multiple external and internal challenges, from the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S.-China trade wars to an aging society. The Singapore parliament is unicameral, and 93 seats will be contested in this election.

Go deeper: Prospect of Lee vs. Lee election has Singapore buzzing

WEDNESDAY

Hong Kong handover anniversary
The annual July 1 protest march to mark the anniversary of Hong Kong‘s handover to China will be banned for the first time this year. Authorities cited public health concerns to halt the march, though local coronavirus transmissions have largely been stamped out in the past three months. Some citizens are expected to defy the ban and take to the streets.

On the same day, Taiwan will open a new office dedicated to offering humanitarian assistance to Hongkongers seeking refuge from Beijing’s tightening grip.

HKEX to enforce stricter rules for ESG disclosures
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on Wednesday will begin more strictly requiring listed companies to submit environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reports.

What’s new? The new guidelines will make it mandatory for boards of directors to disclose oversight of ESG issues, management approach and strategy, and how it reviews progress on ESG issues. Companies will now be required to disclose how climate change will impact their businesses, as well as targets and steps to cut emissions, energy use and waste.

China’s new auto emissions standards
In the latest development in Beijing’s war against smog, China will roll out new auto emission standards, the most stringent in the world, on July 1. Known as Stage-6, the new standards will allow auto dealers to sell gasoline and diesel cars only if they emit major pollutants such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide at 50% lower than the current level.

Tokyo Disneyland reopens
Visitors will have to go without hugs from Mickey Mouse when Tokyo Disney Resort resumes operations this week, following the reopening of parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Only around 15,000 visitors will be able to apply for pre-booked tickets each day, a fraction of the park’s typical daily attendance of 100,000. Upon arrival, visitors will have their temperatures taken and be required to wear medical masks throughout their stay.

THURSDAY

Sri Tang Gloves begins trading on Thai stock exchange
Thailand’s largest medical glove maker will debut on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Thursday, after raising $482m in an initial public offering last week. A rare winner from the coronavirus pandemic, Sri Tang plans to boost annual production to 50 billion gloves by 2025, a challenge to Malaysia’s Top Glove Corp.

WEEKEND

Purge at Luckin Coffee’s board
Reeling from the disclosure of a $310 million accounting fraud in April, Luckin Coffee shareholders will meet on Sunday to purge half of its eight-member board, including embattled chairman Charles Lu Zhengyao. The company, which has received two delisting notices from Nasdaq, will also vote on the appointment of two independent directors.

Changes to the board could effectively stall the work of a special committee that has been investigating the fraud, Caixin reported, citing a person close to the committee. Lu could also face criminal charges in China after authorities are said to have discovered emails in which he instructed colleagues to commit fraud.

Sotheby’s starts delayed HK spring auction
Sotheby’s on Sunday will be the first of the major auction houses — including Christie’s, Bonhams and Phillips — to kick off large live public sales in Hong Kong for the first time in months, after canceling their usual spring events in the Asian art hub due to the coronavirus. Global travel restrictions mean that most buyers at the auctions, which run through July 13, will be Hong Kong residents, but collectors living elsewhere will be able to participate in the sales through streaming and other digital platforms.

Olympics on the line as Tokyo elects new leader
Ahead of the Tokyo gubernatorial election on Sunday, Yuriko Koike, the 67-year-old incumbent, is leading the pack. Seeking a second four-year term, Koike is making the coronavirus response her top policy priority, which she says will clear the path for the postponed Olympic Games to go ahead next summer. Other candidates are calling for postponement or outright cancellation of the event and promise more financial relief for people affected by the outbreak and the ongoing recession.

Info – Visualizing the Rise of Digital Payment Adoption

Full link: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/digital-payment-adoption/

Digital Payments Infographic

Over the last decade, the digital payments landscape has undergone a structural shift.

Consumer behaviors are changing—moving towards contactless and cashless transactions. Meanwhile, as the magnitude of COVID-19 grows, these trends have only accelerated.

Today’s infographic navigates the digital payments ecosystem, exploring its history and innovative technologies, and how it continues to grow as a solution of choice for trillions of dollars of transactions each year.

Digital Payments Timeline

The origins of digital payments began over 25 years ago with then 21 year-old entrepreneur Dan Kohn in Nashua, New Hampshire, who sold a CD over the internet via credit card payment.

  • 1994: First online purchase is made
    A CD of Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales is sold for $12.48 on NetMarket.
  • 1997: First mobile payments and first contactless payments
    Coca-Cola installs two vending machines in Helsinki that accept payment by text message.
  • 1999: Paypal launches electronic money transfer service
    Early on, PayPal’s user base grew nearly 10% daily. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and venture capitalist Peter Thiel were among its co-founders.
  • 2003: Alibaba launches Alipay in China
    Today, the mobile payment platform has witnessed stunning growth — leveraging digital wallets accepted by merchants in over 50 countries and regions.
  • 2007: M-PESA creates the first payments system for mobile phones
    Kenya-based M-PESA launched its mobile banking and microfinancing service. Today, it has over 37 million active users on its platform across Africa.
  • 2009: Bitcoin enables secure, untraceable payments
    Satoshi Nakamoto develops the first decentralized payment network in the world.
  • 2013: WeChat Pay is rolled into the popular messaging platform
    By 2018, it surpasses 800 million monthly active users.
  • 2014: Apple Pay launches
    By 2023, over $2 trillion of mobile payment transactions could be authenticated by biometric technology.

As technological advances continue to unfold, advances in digital payment technologies are creating ripple effects globally.

Geographical Differences in Adoption

Unsurprisingly, the sheer volume of digital payments has continued to grow at a double-digit pace, now surpassing the $4.1 trillion mark.

How do cashless payments break down across different countries?

Source: BIS

Singapore has the highest number of cashless payments per individual, averaging 831 cashless payments annually. The country’s robust e-commerce market is supported by high-speed, reliable internet and a young, tech-savvy population.

With e-commerce spending accounting for about 6% of South Korea’s national GDP, it is another leading purveyor of a cashless society. Meanwhile, Sweden is projected to become a cashless nation as early as 2023.

Pivotal factors—including core infrastructure, consumer behavior and rising revenues—provide a glimpse into the rapidly changing payment horizon.

The Future of Digital Payments

As transactions rise, a number of other technological innovations could be instrumental to shaping the evolution of the digital payments industry:

    1. Messaging-app payments
      Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat can leverage the reach of billions of users.
    2. Voice-activated commands
      Paying for gas, groceries, or retail via voice could soar.
    3. Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments
      Bank of America and Visa are investing heavily into P2P partnerships.
    4. Cryptocurrencies
      Over one million transactions take place daily on average.
    5. Biometric payments
      Smartphone biometric security features could spur traction across digital payments.
    6. Facial recognition
      May soon replace QR codes across retail, transit, and airports in China.
    7. Crypto wallet adoption
      Blockchain wallet users are predicted to soar to 200 million by 2030.
    8. Hardware & in-store interfaces
      Square, Stripe, and Clover are driving new mobile processing integrations.

The $4.1T digital payments ecosystem is facing a notable transition, catalyzed by a wave of global advancements and disruption. As the industry continues to widen its reach, consumers and investors alike can benefit from the shift towards a cashless economy.

Tuần 22 – 27/06/2020…

Trực tuyến…

Các sự kiện chính – Main events:

Hai tháng sau khi dự đoán khủng hoảng về suy thoái mạnh nhất trong gần một thế kỷ, Quỹ Tiền tệ Quốc tế IMF sẽ đưa ra dự báo kinh tế toàn cầu mới trong tuần này, và mọi thứ có thể sẽ còn tồi tệ hơn – Bloomberg.

Dữ liệu do DealStreetAsia tổng hợp cho thấy, hai tập đoàn Alibaba và Tencent, mỗi bên đã tham gia gián tiếp bằng cách đổ vốn vào hơn chục thương hiệu thanh toán số hoặc ví điện tử ở 6 thị trường chính của Đông Nam Á: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thái Lan, Philippines và Việt Nam.

Chốt phiên 26/6, cổ phiếu Facebook giảm 8,3% xuống 216 USD. Cổ phiếu Twitter mất 7,4% xuống 29 USD. Hai mã này mất giá sau khi đại gia hàng tiêu dùng Unilever – một trong những công ty chi tiền quảng cáo lớn nhất thế giới – tuyên bố dừng quảng cáo trên cả hai nền tảng. Việc này làm dấy lên lo ngại nhiều thương hiệu tiêu dùng khác sẽ có hành động tương tự.

Một nguồn thu thuế đã bị bỏ ngỏ lâu nay là thuế thu nhập với các cá nhân tham gia kinh doanh trên mạng xã hội như Facebook, Google, Youtube… Chống thất thu thuế từ kinh doanh qua mạng: Cần một chế tài đủ mạnh…

Tại sao nó ảnh hưởng – Why is it affected:

Một dự báo ảm đạm có thể phản ánh đánh giá mức độ nghiêm trọng của thiệt hại do kinh tế ngừng hoạt động trên diện rộng. Tháng 6 là tháng mở cửa lại ở hầu hết các nước châu Âu, một loạt các chỉ số hoạt động sẽ cung cấp cho các nhà đầu tư và các nhà hoạch định chính sách cái nhìn về cách các nền kinh tế đang đối phó với khủng hoảng. Một con số quan trọng sẽ là chỉ số của các nhà quản lý mua hàng cho ngành dịch vụ, vốn bị ảnh hưởng nặng nề nhất bởi các hạn chế….

Dãn cách xã hội phần nào đã làm thay đổi thói quen… Chớp thời điểm, hai tập đoàn công nghệ Trung Quốc Alibaba Group Holding và Tencent Holdings tham vọng lấn sân vào thị trường thanh toán kỹ thuật số đang bùng nổ ở Đông Nam Á, theo nghiên cứu của DealStreetAsia. Hai tập đoàn này đã tham gia gián tiếp bằng cách đổ vốn vào hơn chục thương hiệu thanh toán số hoặc ví điện tử – nhờ có sự hoạt động gián tiếp của hai “gã khổng lồ” số người dùng đăng ký đã đạt tới 150 triệu và chủ yếu ở các thương hiệu hàng đầu trong thị trường của họ. Trong khi Tencent sở hữu cổ phần của Gojek, ví điện tử GoPay lại không nằm trong số những sản phẩm được Tencent phân loại trong báo cáo tài chính, do ảnh hưởng hạn chế của Tencent đối với chiến lược của họ. Các công ty này cho phép Alibaba và Tencent tiếp cận với thị trường thanh toán số đầy tiềm năng của Đông Nam Á. Google, Temasek và Bain & Co đã dự đoán, thị trường thanh toán số của ASEAN-6 sẽ tăng gấp hơn 5 lần tổng giá trị giao dịch trong giai đoạn từ năm 2019 đến 2025, lên đến 114 tỷ USD. Tiềm năng thanh toán số có thể còn lớn hơn nữa khi đại dịch COVID-19 bùng phát. Các biện pháp cách ly xã hội đã khiến mọi người nhanh chóng chấp nhận ví điện tử…

Cũng liên quan tới xu hướng trực tuyến, nhưng ở một giác độ có phần đối lập, Unilever cho biết sẽ không quảng cáo trên Facebook, Twitter và Instagram (nền tảng thuộc Facebook) trong năm nay, do người dùng vẫn đăng tải nhiều nội dung mang tính thù địch và chính trị cực đoan trên các nền tảng này. Đây là thiệt hại lớn với hai công ty, do ngân sách quảng cáo hàng năm của Unilever lên tới 8 tỷ USD. “Việc tiếp tục quảng cáo trên các nền tảng này, vào thời điểm này, sẽ không tăng được giá trị cho người dân và xã hội“, Unilever cho biết trong thông báo, “Chúng tôi sẽ tiếp tục theo dõi tình hình và điều chỉnh vị thế nếu cần thiết“. Trước Unilever, hàng loạt công ty lớn khác cũng đã tham gia chiến dịch tẩy chay này, như nhà mạng Mỹ Verizon Communications, hãng sản xuất đồ dã ngoại Patagonia, Coca-Cola, Hershey và chi nhánh của Honda Motor tại Mỹ. Chiến dịch này có tên #StopHateForProfit (ngừng kiếm lời trên nội dung thù địch), được lập ra bởi các nhóm hoạt động gồm NAACP, ADL và Color of Change. Họ kêu gọi các doanh nghiệp ngừng quảng cáo trên các nền tảng của Facebook trong tháng 7 để phản đối chính sách của công ty này. Các nhà tổ chức cho biết hơn 100 doanh nghiệp đã tham gia…

Tại Việt Nam, hoạt động mua bán online diễn ra ngày càng sôi động, tuy nhiên, cơ quan thuế rất khó nắm bắt được doanh thu của người kinh doanh do họ không biết và cũng không muốn thực hiện nghĩa vụ đăng ký kinh doanh, kê khai và nộp thuế cho Nhà nước. Trong khi đó, thói quen mua hàng không lấy hóa đơn, trao trả bằng tiền mặt của người tiêu dùng vô tình tiếp tay cho người kinh doanh trốn thuế. Ông Viên Viết Hùng, Phó Cục trưởng Cục Thuế TP Hà Nội cho biết, qua rà soát, riêng hoạt động kinh doanh phần mềm, xây dựng cung cấp các trò chơi trên mạng, Cục Thuế Hà Nội xác định có hơn 1.100 cá nhân trên địa bàn tham gia với tổng doanh thu trong 3 năm (2017-2019) lên tới 4.800 tỷ đồng, trong đó, riêng một người có thu nhập lên tới 140 tỷ đồng từ các nhà mạng. Về chính sách thuế đối với hoạt động thương mại điện tử (TMĐT), ông Hùng cho biết, Thông tư 92 năm 2015 của Bộ Tài chính quy định rõ các cá nhân có thu nhập từ kinh doanh mà doanh thu từ 100 triệu đồng/năm trở lên phải nộp thuế. Cụ thể, các cá nhân có thu nhập từ các trang mạng xã hội như Facebook, Google, YouTube thuộc diện cá nhân kinh doanh và phải khai nộp thuế theo tỉ lệ 5% giá trị gia tăng và 2% thuế thu nhập cá nhân. Trường hợp không kê khai và nộp thuế theo quy định được coi là hành vi trốn thuế, gian lận thuế. Chế tài xử lý là người nộp thuế sẽ bị xử phạt vi phạm hành chính từ 1 đến 3 lần số tiền trốn thuế.

Xu hướng chính – Key trends:

Ngân hàng Trung ương châu Âu cũng sẽ công bố các dữ liệu của cuộc họp vào tháng 6, theo đó các nhà hoạch định chính sách quyết định mở rộng chương trình mua trái phiếu đại dịch; trong khi Hungary và Séc dự kiến ​​sẽ giữ lãi suất, ngân hàng trung ương của Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ dự báo sẽ giảm lãi suất cơ bản thêm 25 điểm xuống 8% vào 25/6, sau khi cắt giảm 1.575 điểm cơ bản. Ở khu vực khác, Bộ trưởng Tài chính Nam Phi Tito Mboweni lập ngân sách điều chỉnh vào 24/6 để chuyển 130 tỷ ZAR (7,5 tỷ USD) sang gói kích cầu, trong khi, ở Kenya, ngân hàng trung ương có thể giảm bớt lãi suất. Ngân hàng trung ương New Zealand đã có một thông báo chính sách sau khi dữ liệu cho thấy nền kinh tế đang trong thời kỳ suy thoái lần đầu tiên kể từ năm 2010. Tại Philippines, việc giảm lãi suất được xem là có thể xảy ra. Các nền kinh tế lớn của Mỹ Latinh cũng đang được chú ý trong tuần này. Tại Brazil, theo biên bản cuộc họp ngân hàng trung ương tuần trước – các nhà hoạch định chính sách đã cắt giảm lãi suất xuống mức thấp kỷ lục 2,25%. Cuối ngày, báo cáo tổng sản phẩm quốc nội quý 1 của Argentina là mở đầu cho một trong những cuộc suy thoái sâu nhất của khu vực vào năm 2020.

Tiềm năng thanh toán số có thể còn lớn hơn nữa khi đại dịch COVID-19 bùng phát. Các biện pháp cách ly xã hội đã khiến mọi người nhanh chóng chấp nhận ví điện tử. Chính sách của chính phủ sẽ vẫn đóng một vai trò quan trọng trong sự phát triển của ví điện tử. Việc “xương sống” của hệ thống thanh toán quốc gia được chuẩn hóa, có thể hỗ trợ những công ty mới, hoặc ngược lại, khiến họ phải đóng cửa. Việc kiểm soát các khoản phí của ví điện tử có thể làm giảm biên lợi nhuận của những công ty thanh toán số nhỏ hơn. Những thay đổi trong môi trường chính trị cũng có thể ảnh hưởng đến các chính sách ngắn hạn. Các nước Đông Nam Á đã mở cửa thị trường cho người chơi nước ngoài trong khi Chính phủ Trung Quốc lại đang thúc đẩy quá trình quốc tế hóa các dịch vụ tài chính của Trung Quốc. Mặt khác, đại dịch coronavirus đã buộc các chính phủ phải kiểm tra lại sự phụ thuộc của họ vào hàng hóa và dịch vụ của Trung Quốc, Deal Street Asia nhận định. Khi các chính phủ của Đông Nam Á tăng cường nỗ lực số hóa các nền kinh tế và thúc đẩy tài chính, thì rõ ràng, họ nên thúc đẩy các công ty trong nước của họ thống trị toàn bộ hệ sinh thái, bởi vì nếu không có dòng tiền lớn để đốt thì khi các công ty nước ngoài được phép trực tiếp vận hành ví điện tử của họ ở một quốc gia cụ thể, họ sẽ khó mà duy trì được tầm ảnh hưởng của mình.

Khi chiến dịch tẩy chay lan rộng, Facebook cũng đã tiếp cận các doanh nghiệp và chia sẻ thông tin về các chính sách hiện tại của công ty. Họ khẳng định các chính sách dựa trên nguyên tắc, chứ không vì lợi nhuận kinh doanh. Twitter không phải là mục tiêu của chiến dịch tẩy chay trên, nhưng nhiều năm nay cũng chịu chỉ trích tương tự Facebook về cách quản lý nội dung được đăng tải. “Mục tiêu của chúng tôi là phục vụ sự giao tiếp của cộng đồng và đảm bảo Twitter là nơi kết nối, tìm kiếm, trao đổi những thông tin xác thực, cũng như là phương tiện giúp mọi người tự do thể hiện quan điểm cá nhân“, Sarah Personette – Phó giám đốc Giải pháp khách hàng toàn cầu tại Twitter cho biết, “Chúng tôi tôn trọng quyết định của các đối tác và sẽ tiếp tục làm việc sát sao với họ trong thời gian này“…

Hiện nay, công tác kiểm soát và thu thuế tương đối khó đối với việc kinh doanh trực tuyến, do cơ quan thuế không thể kiểm tra, giám sát thường xuyên các hoạt động kinh doanh trên các mạng này. Đặc biệt, trong bối cảnh các loại hình kinh doanh qua mạng đang có xu thế bùng nổ nhanh chóng. Theo đại diện Cục Thuế Hà Nội, hoạt động kinh doanh trực tuyến – thương mại điện tử (TMĐT) hiện đang nhận được sự quan tâm rất lớn của các ngành, các cấp trong giai đoạn hiện nay. “Với nền tảng là công nghệ thông tin, hoạt động trên không gian mạng, các giao dịch diễn ra không phụ thuộc vào vị trí, khoảng cách địa lý, vì vậy, hoạt động kinh doanh TMĐT có sự phát triển rất nhanh và mạnh. Do đó, công tác quản lý nhà nước nói chung, công tác quản lý trong lĩnh vực thuế nói riêng cần có những phương pháp tiếp cận mới, cách quản lý mới để thực hiện quản lý có hiệu quả”, ông Viên Viết Hùng nói.

Cái gì tiếp theo – What comes next:

Chính phủ Malaysia đã dành 450 triệu ringgit (105 triệu USD) để cung cấp trợ cấp cho các công dân đủ điều kiện và sử dụng 3 nhà khai thác ví điện tử cho việc giải ngân, giúp họ bắt đầu thâm nhập sâu hơn vào thị trường địa phương trong quá trình này. Câu chuyện tương tự đã xảy ra ở Việt Nam. Theo dữ liệu từ Ngân hàng Nhà nước Việt Nam, thanh toán qua Internet cũng đã được mở rộng. Số lượng giao dịch tăng 3,2% và lượng giao dịch tăng 45,7% so với cùng kỳ năm 2019. Số lượng giao dịch qua thanh toán di động tăng gần 200% và lượng giao dịch tăng 22%. ZaloPay được hỗ trợ bởi Tencent, Warburg Pincus hỗ trợ Momo trong khi Moca được Grab hậu thuẫn có khả năng đã củng cố được vị thế thống lĩnh thị trường của họ trong giai đoạn này. Alibaba dường như có lợi thế ở Malaysia và Myanmar, còn Tencent tiếp tục duy trì ảnh hưởng tốt hơn tại Việt Nam; hai bên tương đối cân sức ở Philippines và Thái Lan. Trong khi đó ở Indonesia, nền kinh tế lớn nhất khu vực, GoPay đã thống trị, được hỗ trợ với các khoản đầu tư mới đây từ Facebook và PayPal.

Luật Quản lý thuế sửa đổi có hiệu lực từ 1/7/2020 được kỳ vọng sẽ hỗ trợ rất lớn trong quản lý thuế đối với cá nhân có thu nhập từ Google, Facebook, YouTube… góp phần ngăn chặn trốn thuế. Theo quy định trong Luật Quản lý thuế sửa đổi, ngân hàng thương mại phải có trách nhiệm cung cấp thông tin về số tài khoản theo mã số thuế của người nộp thuế khi mở tài khoản tại ngân hàng – nếu khách hàng cá nhân không có mã số thuế (???)

Dấu hiệu rủi ro – Risk signals:

Khi đại diện Tổng cục Thuế cho biết, thời gian tới, ngành Thuế sẽ phối hợp chặt chẽ với các ngân hàng thương mại trong việc cung cấp thông tin để xác định nguồn tiền, đảm bảo ngăn chặn được trốn, tránh thuế…

Câu hỏi được đặt về tính bảo mật thông tin cá nhân khách hàng tại các tổ chức tín dụng…

xxx – npl

 

Share – Mì ăn liền — dòng sông cũ

Trần Lý Lê Mì ăn liền là những món mì chỉ cần tháo giấy gói, bao bọc, đổ nước sôi, chờ vài phút là có thể ăn ngay, ăn liền, không phải nấu nướng lỉnh kỉnh, lôi thôi và lâu lắc. Mì Thái, mì Việt, mì tàu… hầu như miền đất nào cũng có loại […]

via Mì ăn liền — dòng sông cũ

Trần Lý Lê

Mì ăn liền là những món mì chỉ cần tháo giấy gói, bao bọc, đổ nước sôi, chờ vài phút là có thể ăn ngay, ăn liền, không phải nấu nướng lỉnh kỉnh, lôi thôi và lâu lắc.

Mì Thái, mì Việt, mì tàu… hầu như miền đất nào cũng có loại mì ăn liền với hương vị từa tựa như nhau.

Với người bận rộn, ít thời giờ nấu nướng lại ăn uống ít kén chọn, dễ dãi thì mì ăn liền trở thành “hảo hảo”, món … “reserve” chính, thay thế cơm gạo, bánh mì khi đói lòng lại gấp gáp. Ấy là mấy thứ mì ăn liền được chế tạo theo tiêu chuẩn sức khỏe như “sạch sẽ”, từ các nguyên liệu “lành mạnh” như lúa gạo, gia vị là những loại quen thuộc, sử dụng nhiều năm (qua thời gian thử nghiệm) không có hại cho sức khỏe. Dù đạt tiêu chuẩn “lành mạnh” nhưng mì ăn liền cũng chỉ là thứ “fill in”, “điền vào chỗ [bụng] trống [rỗng]”, cầm cự cơn đói khát chứ không phải là món được đề cao, xem trọng trên tiêu chuẩn hương vị cũng như dinh dưỡng.

Ở chỗ đứng khiêm nhường như thế nhưng mì ăn liền vẫn tiếp tục phổ thông, người bán vẫn ăn nên làm ra, sản xuất hết món mì ăn liền này sang đến loại, hủ tiếu, phở… tích tắc khác nhờ người mua sẵn sàng chấp nhận và ít đòi hỏi. Khái niệm “tiền nào của ấy” giúp thị trường mì ăn liền sống hùng sống mạnh, nhất là chưa thấy ai… qua đời vì ăn mì gói liền liền (?).

Gần đây, qua đại dịch Vũ Hán, thị trường y tế, từ dụng cụ đến những món thử nghiệm, phòng ngừa chữa trị… trở thành nơi trăm hoa đua nở khắp thế giới. Hoa Lục nơi trận đại dịch khởi đầu lại là nơi buôn bán mạnh mẽ nhất các dụng cụ y tế, đồ tể vừa ra tay chém giết vừa bán dụng cụ cứu thương. Có những món mua gấp mua vét vì con buôn đánh hơi được thị trường (cung / cầu) giờ bưng ra bán lại, một vốn bốn lời như mặt nạ, găng tay, áo choàng y tế. Cũng có những thứ được chế tạo qua quýt, nhanh chóng, bất kể tiêu chuẩn y tế thế giới như các bộ thử nghiệm, thuốc men…

Thế là bá tánh ào ạt theo chân, cũng gấp rút đưa ra thị trường những sản phẩm y tế, tận dụng giai đoạn “khẩn cấp”, vì nhu cầu thúc bách nên nhiều chính phủ đã hạ thấp tiêu chuẩn thử nghiệm và chứng thực các sản phẩm ấy, cho phép buôn bán mà không đòi hỏi các dữ kiện chứng minh tính an toàn và hiệu quả. Tạm hiểu là tiêu chuẩn chế tạo và buôn bán dụng cụ y tế trở nên vô cùng dễ dãi ít ra là tại Huê Kỳ. Kết quả là ta thấy các loại dụng cụ y tế [in hệt] “mì ăn liền” nhan nhản khắp nơi. Kẻ “cắp” nhiều [và nhanh] hơn cảnh sát nên con buôn vẫn kiếm khối tiền. Trên trang nhà của FDA vẫn nhan nhản các bản công bố cảnh cáo con buôn bất lương. Nhưng họ đã kiếm được mớ bạc kha khá trước khi dừng tay hoặc xuất hiện với một thương hiệu khác. Trò cút bắt ấy xảy ra đều đều.

Con buôn nào cũng hăm hở chạy đua, ai xông ra thị trường sớm thì ẵm liền một mớ bạc, ăn cỗ đi trước? trước khi nhà chức trách có thời giờ kiểm nghiệm và bắt ngưng ngay việc làm bất hợp pháp nọ. Như việc “trung tâm y tế” dựng lều chưng bảng thử nghiệm Covid-19 dù chưa bao giờ được cấp giấy phép hành nghề như một phòng thí nghiệm y tế và món hàng rao bán cũng chưa được cơ quan y tế nào kiểm nghiệm. Thầy thuốc đăng đàn liên mạng quảng cáo rao bán thuốc chữa trị nhiễm trùng Vũ Hán với giá cắt cổ chưa kể các loại đã có tên nhưng chưa được chứng minh hiệu quả cũng được mang ra mua bán rầm rộ. 

Tại sao thế nhỉ? Nhiều lý do lắm bạn ạ! Bệnh tật khiến bá tánh hoang mang sợ hãi, nhất là thứ bệnh mà khoa học chưa hiểu biết đầy đủ và rõ ràng như chứng nhiễm trùng Covid-19. Mỗi ngày báo chí khắp nơi lại loan báo các con số tử vong mới, gia tăng theo cấp số cộng, bà con lại được [bị] ép buộc nằm nhà kẻo lây bệnh lẫn cho nhau… Lo lắng như thế người ta muốn được thử nghiệm bất kể có triệu chứng nào hay không. Cứ muốn được chẩn bệnh (?) để yên lòng (?). Giải thích thế nào cũng không xong, vẫn có những người khai dối, nài ép bác sĩ cấp giấy xin thử nghiệm Covid-19 rồi chịu xếp hàng cả ngày để được… moi lỗ mũi, móc cổ họng vì… đóng bảo hiểm sức khỏe bấy lâu nay, đến dịp này tội gì không xài?! Lý luận như thể họ sẽ hài lòng khi mua bảo hiểm tai nạn rồi tự… đốt nhà, cố ý đụng xe hầu lấy tiền bồi thường cho… bõ? Làm thế nào để thay thế lập luận kể trên bằng khái niệm cứ xem như mình đã nhiễm trùng dù không có triệu chứng nào và tiếp tục tự cách ly để bảo vệ sức khỏe mà chẳng tốn kém cho mấy “công” lẫn “của”? Thôi thì ta cứ đầy đủ bổn phận, được đến đâu thì được mà chẳng được gì cũng chẳng sao?!

 Gần đây, món “mì ăn liền” thử nghiệm kháng thể Covid-19 (serology, antibody) vừa chào hàng xong đã được bá tánh rầm rộ sử dụng, dù chỉ ba trong số mấy chục công ty chế tạo được FDA công nhận (vì đã chưng ra các tài liệu về cách chế tạo, kết quả thử nghiệm sơ khởi và dù FDA chưa có thời giờ kiểm nghiệm [independent testing] xem hồ sơ ấy có chính xác hay không). Nhà nhà thử nghiệm, người người thử nghiệm… Khỏi cần toa bác sĩ lôi thôi, dễ như ăn cơm sườn. Nhìn đâu cũng thấy bá tánh xếp hàng chìa tay chịu trích máu, mở hầu bao trả tiền rồi hân hoan ra về chưa kể mấy thứ thử nghiệm tại nhà riêng.

Kẻ nhìn bảng kết quả thì cười toe toét vì… dương tính, người âm tính tiu nghỉu thở ra dù họ chưa bị nhiễm trùng?! Ðại khái là người ta… tin lắm, tin vào sự chính xác của món thử nghiệm ấy và tin vào ý nghĩa của kết quả thử nghiệm dựa trên bài bản … quảng cáo. Gói mì ăn liền giá cả cỡ một Mỹ kim; món trích huyết thử nghiệm kháng thể Covid-19 tốn khoảng 120 Mỹ kim (LabCorp/Lab Quest).

Chỉ vài tuần sau ngày “ra mắt”, chuyên viên phòng thí nghiệm đã bắt đầu la hoảng về độ chính xác của món trích huyết thử nghiệm kháng thể Covid-19! Mức chính xác chỉ đâu đó 30% (?) nghĩa là mười phần thì chỉ được ba khi họ mang các bộ thử nghiệm ấy ra… thử nghiệm, sử dụng những mẫu máu đã được đo đạc chứng minh dương tính [chứa đựng một lượng kháng thể khá khá] và những mẫu máu chứng minh âm tính.
Ấy chỉ là chuyện “có” hay “không” [có] kháng thể trong máu chưa bàn chi đến loại kháng thể ấy có bảo vệ cơ thể như ta nghĩ hay không và nếu có, sự “bảo vệ” ấy kéo dài bao lâu? Có giúp ta miễn nhiễm khi cơn lũ Covid-19 thứ nhì kéo đến chăng? Vũ Hán (lại Vũ Hán!) đang rên rỉ về những con người sống sót sau lần nhiễm trùng đầu tiên đang bị… tái nhiễm! Chẳng biết lời kể lể ấy có chính xác hay không nhưng bá tánh đã ngán Hoa Lục lắm rồi, giấu diếm, nói dối như Cuội, nên ai cũng nghi ngại. Họ loan báo như thế để… chứng minh lòng thành (?), để rao bán đổi chác hàng hóa, các dụng cụ y tế cần thiết?

 

Khoa học… bấp bênh như thế, chuyên gia chưa hiểu rõ ràng về Covid-19 nên chỉ hô hào cách ly để giảm thiểu bệnh tật trong khi bá tánh bó gối nằm nhà, công việc đình trệ, người có thể buôn bán thì làm ăn cầm hơi và kinh tế thì suy sụp, héo hắt. Chết vì bệnh tật hay chết vì… buồn [bực], chịu bó chân, buộc miệng hoặc chết vì lo nghĩ, vì túng thiếu, cơ cực, các món nợ thúc bách? Hay là ta bắt chước Thụy Ðiển? So với mấy quốc gia trong vùng Bắc Âu nơi áp dụng luật cách ly, đóng cửa hàng quán, số người nhiễm trùng Covid-19 và tử vong tại quốc gia này là các con số cao nhất; Thụy Ðiển tiếp tục mở cửa làm ăn buôn bán và thản nhiên chấp nhận các hậu quả như người già, người yếu chết [nhiều] để người khỏe mạnh tiếp tục sống bình thường?

Mì ăn liền chẳng ngon miệng nhưng đỡ lúc đói lòng. “Mì ăn liền” thử nghiệm kháng thể Covid-19 lấp đầy chỗ trống sợ hãi, hoang mang thời đại dịch khi bác sĩ, chuyên viên không thể trấn an bá tánh bằng lời giải thích tường tận? Ta chỉ có thể an tâm khi có câu trả lời chắc nịch “có / không”? Những câu trả lời thuộc loại “chưa biết rõ”, dù chính xác và xác thực, đòi hỏi người nghe chấp nhận sự “thay đổi”, “cập nhật” lại khiến bá tánh hoảng sợ hơn nữa?!

Thế thì người ta đang mua bán những gì khi rao hàng mì ăn liền? Sự thỏa mãn bạn ạ! Mì gói ăn liền thì đỡ đói ngay tuýt suỵt, “Mì ăn liền” thử nghiệm kháng thể Covid-19 giúp ta đỡ lo âu (?) khi đời sống bấp bênh như hiện tại?!

TLL – Orlando, FL

Share – [THĐP Translation™] Thuyết lượng tử đã chứng minh: Sự quan sát (ý thức) tác động đến thực tại — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(847 chữ, 3 phút đọc) Tóm lược: Một trong những tuyên bố quái gở nhất của thuyết lượng tử, từ lâu đã mê hoặc các nhà triết học và vật lý học, tuyên bố rằng bởi chính hành động quan sát, người quan sát tác động đến thực tại được quan sát.

via [THĐP Translation™] Thuyết lượng tử đã chứng minh: Sự quan sát (ý thức) tác động đến thực tại — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Tóm lược: Một trong những tuyên bố quái gở nhất của thuyết lượng tử, từ lâu đã mê hoặc các nhà triết học và vật lý học, tuyên bố rằng bởi chính hành động quan sát, người quan sát tác động đến thực tại được quan sát.

Trong một báo cáo nghiên cứu phát hành vào ngày 26 tháng 2 (1998) trong tạp chí Nature (Vol. 391, tr. 871-874), các nhà nghiên cứu tại Viện khoa học Weizmann (Weizmann Institute Of Science) đã tiến hành một thí nghiệm được kiểm soát cao cho thấy một tia các electron đã bị tác động như thế nào khi được quan sát. Thí nghiệm tiết lộ rằng sự quan sát càng nhiều thì ảnh hưởng của người quan sát lên cái thật sự diễn ra càng lớn.

Nhóm nghiên cứu do giáo sư Mordehai Heiblum lãnh đạo, bao gồm sinh viên cấp tiến sĩ Eyal Buks, Tiến sĩ Ralph Schuster, Tiến sĩ Diana Mahalu và Tiến sĩ Vladimir Umansky. Các nhà khoa học, thành viên của Khoa Vật lý Vật chất Ngưng tụ (Condensed Matter Physics), làm việc tại trung tâm nghiên cứu về Hạ-micron (Submicron) Joseph H. và Belle R. Braun (Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Center for Submicron Research) của Viện.

Khi một “người quan sát” lượng tử đang quan sát các cơ chế lượng tử nói rằng các hạt cũng có thể hành xử như sóng, điều này có thể đúng với các hạt electron ở cấp độ hạ-micron, có nghĩa là, ở khoảng cách đo lường nhỏ hơn một micron, một phần nghìn của đơn vị milimet. Khi có hành vi như sóng, chúng có thể đồng thời đi qua vài khe hở trong một rào chắn và sau đó gặp nhau lần nữa tại phía bên kia rào chắn. “Sự gặp nhau” này thuật ngữ gọi là interference, sự giao thoa.

Nghe có vẻ lạ, sự giao thoa chỉ có thể xảy ra khi không có ai quan sát. Một khi người quan sát bắt đầu quan sát các hạt đi qua các khe hở, hoàn cảnh sẽ thay đổi đáng kể: Nếu một hạt có thể được thấy đi qua một khe hở, thì nó rõ ràng không đi qua một khe hở khác. Nói cách khác, khi được quan sát, các hạt electron đang bị “ép buộc” hoạt động như hạt và không như sóng. Do đó, hành động quan sát đơn thuần tác động đến các kết quả thí nghiệm.

Để thực nghiệm điều này, các nhà nghiên cứu Viện Weizmann đã chế tạo một thiết bị tí hon có kích thước nhỏ hơn một micron, nó có một rào chắn với 2 khe hở. Sau đó họ gửi một dòng electrons thẳng tới rào chắn. “Người quan sát” trong thí nghiệm này không phải là con người. Các nhà nghiên cứu của học viện sử dụng cho mục đích này một máy dò điện tử nhỏ nhưng tinh vi có thể xác định các electron đi qua. Khả năng phát hiện các electron của “người quan sát” lượng tử có thể được thay đổi bằng cách thay đổi độ dẫn điện của nó, hoặc cường độ của dòng điện đi qua nó.

Ngoài việc “quan sát” hay phát hiện các electron, máy dò không ảnh hưởng lên dòng điện. Tuy nhiên, các nhà khoa học phát hiện rằng sự hiện diện của “vật quan sát” gần một trong những khe hở gây ra những thay đổi trong hình thức giao thoa của các đợt sóng electron đi qua các khe hở của rào chắn.

Thực tế, hiệu ứng này phụ thuộc vào “mức độ” của sự quan sát: khi khả năng phát hiện các electron của thiết bị quan sát được tăng lên, nói cách khác là khi mức độ của sự quan sát tăng lên thì sự giao thoa suy yếu đi. Ngược lại, khi khả năng phát hiện các electron của nó giảm, nói cách khác, khi sự quan sát giảm xuống, sự giao thoa tăng lên.

Do đó, bằng cách kiểm soát các tính chất của sự quan sát lượng tử các nhà khoa học đã có thể kiểm soát mức độ ảnh hưởng của nó lên hoạt động của các electron. Cơ sở lý thuyết cho hiện tượng này được phát triển nhiều năm trước bởi một số nhà vật lý, bao gồm Tiến sĩ Adi Stern và Giáo sư Yoseph Imry của Viện khoa học Weizmann, cùng với giáo sư Yakir Aharonov của Đại học Tel Aviv. Công trình thí nghiệm đã được tiến hành sau cuộc thảo luận với Gáo sư Shmuel Gurvitz của Viện Weizmann, và các kết quả của nó vốn đã thu hút sự quan tâm của các nhà vật lý lý thuyết khắp thế giới và đang được nghiên cứu, trong số những thứ khác, bởi Giáo sư Yehoshua Levinson của Viện Weizmann.

(Trích đoạn 847 chữ đầu tiên trong bài viết 1267 chữ đã xuất bản trong tạp chí Aloha volume 15. Đặt mua đọc bản full tại link này >>> bit.ly/THDPmembership)

Kungfu – Cobra Kai Moves to Netflix

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The Karate Kid sequel series will debut its third season on Netflix.

YouTube recruited millions of fans to their streaming service to watch their flagship scripted series Cobra Kai, a sequel series to the timeless classic Karate Kid. The first two seasons of the show did extremely well and received two Emmy nominations for stunt coordination while providing nostalgia for martial artists all over the world. Now, Netflix has landed exclusive rights to season three.

In addition to the production of a third season, Netflix has also announced that seasons 1 and 2 of Cobra Kai will be available later this year on a non-exclusive basis so that fans can catch up on the series. Sony Pictures TV has been interested in making a deal with a major streaming service for some time, with the top suitors being Netflix and Hulu. Ultimately, the major financial investment and incredible audience that Netflix offers ensured that they would be the new home of the series.

Cobra Kai Season 2 I Now Streaming Free for a Limited Time www.youtube.com

Kungfu – Demetrious Johnson – Mixed-Martial Arts Superstar

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At first glance, most people — most martial artists, even — will zero in on the smaller person in any fight and deem him or her to be at a distinct disadvantage. It’s a natural tendency to draw this conclusion based on obvious attributes such as height, weight and reach. However, that tendency does not always lead to accurate conclusions.

This should not come as a complete surprise given the underlying premise of the martial arts, which were created to overcome inherent physical advantages bestowed at birth. Some fighters have capitalized on this aspect of the arts and gone one step beyond — by learning how to use their smaller stature as an advantage. This encompasses not just using the speed advantage that’s enjoyed by fighters with smaller physiques but also altering the techniques themselves to make them more functional against a taller foe.

Demetrious Johnson is a master of these tactics. The 12-time flyweight world champion has built his combat career on being a smaller fighter who isn’t slowed down by size. At 5 feet 3 inches, the 125-pound Johnson — who goes by the nickname “Mighty Mouse” — holds the record for the most UFC title defenses (11 in a row) and is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on Earth. Many regard Johnson as the first lightweight superstar to emerge in the sport of mixed martial arts.

Black Belt recently had the chance to sit down with Mighty Mouse and learn about his views on being a winning fighter who’s never hampered by size.

Fighting Style

Johnson attributes much of his success to his background in pankration and wrestling, a foundation he laid before he embarked on a career in MMA. Both styles emphasize the strategic use of leverage, which makes them ideal for smaller fighters.”

I try to find my opponent’s weakness and exploit that,” Johnson said. “Being well-versed and competing in several types of martial arts in my amateur career allows me to find that weakness, take [my opponents] there and then put them in that realm where they can’t survive — and beat them there!”

This strategy, inspired by the teachings of pankration and wrestling, has proved a viable solution for Johnson time after time. In fact, it’s his proficiency in both systems that’s enabled him to excel in MMA. Consider the following:

Any observer of the fight sport will tell you that plenty of practitioners are proficient in one discipline, which they often augment by cross-training in techniques extracted from other styles that are believed to help them round out their skill set. These fighters tend to lean on their adopted techniques for setups and fakes designed to engage their opponents. Unfortunately, when fatigue sets in, they frequently fall back on their primary skill set in an effort to gain the upper hand — or, in some cases, just to survive.

This isn’t the case for Johnson. He represents a new breed of combat athlete who’s gained extensive experience in a variety of fighting disciplines. Being well-versed at executing a mass of moves, fighters like him need not rely on their primary martial art, which winds up making them more adaptable and unpredictable in a match.

Johnson’s record of 30-3-1 offers tangible proof of his ability to exploit his opponents’ weaknesses. Those 30 wins consist of 12 submissions and five knockouts via punches, head kicks and knee strikes, a testament to his proficiency in all the ranges of combat.

​BODY JAB TO HOOK PUNCH TO HEAD KICK

After squaring off against his opponent, Demetrious Johnson (right) uses his lower stance to launch a jab to the man’s exposed abdomen (1).

TAKEDOWN TO ARMBAR

Again taking advantage of his lower position, Demetrious Johnson shoots in for a double-leg takedown without encountering any resistance from the taller opponent (1-2).

Technique Alteration

Alteration With the right coaching, almost any basic martial arts move can be altered to make it work better for a shorter fighter, Johnson said. He brought his point to life as he walked through setups for his combinations and takedowns designed to fell taller opponents during his Black Belt photo shoot. He started his explanation with the simplest punch of all.

“When a jab is thrown from someone at a lower angle, you can fit it between [the opponent’s] arms and into this wide-open gap to the body,” Johnson said. “[The opening] just isn’t there with guys the same height as you.”

He went on to say that this observation can allow you to elicit reactions from your opponent as he defends himself. That, in turn, can open other areas for you to target.

The same logic, Johnson noted, applies to takedowns. Here’s how: Against a taller opponent, the conventional double- and single-leg takedown normally do the job. A shorter fighter’s size, however, enables him to shoot in at a lower level, which makes the techniques harder to defend against and the shooter harder to grab. Furthermore, the shorter person’s often-superior speed permits him to transition to a follow-up grappling technique before the pair even hits the ground.

“By grabbing the right spot on the wrist during a single-leg or starting to climb up their body as they fall during a double-leg, you can put yourself in the right position,” Johnson said. An expert at such tweaks, he noted that advanced concepts like this have allowed him to dominate in the cage despite disadvantages in height and reach.

New Challenges

New Challenges Johnson’s decision to join ONE Championship in late 2018 means that his previous success as a flyweight in other fight franchises may be in jeopardy.

That’s because the Singapore-based promotion touts a strict “no weight cutting” policy that will force the American to take on heavier opponents in his normal 135-pound weight class.

The new challenge is nothing he can’t handle, Johnson said confidently, because he’s well-versed in using his size to his advantage. On top of that, he has years of experience on the North American MMA circuit to back up his skill set.

Nevertheless, Johnson admitted that a fight is a fight and therefore unpredictable, and that his opponents from the Far East will not be easily conquered. In fact, because ONE is based in a part of the world where fighters tend to be smaller than in the West, he likely will have his work cut out for him.

“I’m fighting guys who are a lot taller,” Johnson said regarding his ONE Championship opponents. “In my last fight, I fought [Tatsumitsu Wada], who is 5 feet 9 inches tall, and when he took my back, he was able to get a triangle on my body so easily.” That feat, he added, is rarely accomplished on a person who is equal in stature.

Johnson’s solution? When preparing to take on a taller opponent, he likes to abandon the “fighting tall” mentality that’s so common in his sport. It revolves around the urge to strike the taller person’s face while squaring off. That tactic is simply not an option in such situations, Johnson said.

Instead, you need to focus on your strengths as a smaller fighter, he said. Get low and use your leverage for offense and defense. Take advantage of the gaps that exist in the taller person’s stance. When you strike, do so with intent. Get in, execute and get out. Don’t get caught in between, taking your time — because sooner or later that mistake will catch up with you

Future Fights

Whenever you’re the first person to gain fame for achieving something, it means you have to pave your own road to success. When Johnson entered the martial arts in 2007, he found no prominent examples of smaller fighters who consistently saw success in the cage. Consequently, there was no one he could turn to for inspiration.

“When I jumped into martial arts, there was no avenue for me to go,” Johnson explained. “[I was] sitting there as a kid, watching these guys who were all heavyweights in boxing and MMA. With me weighing a buck twenty-five, I never thought those were the professional athletes I wanted to be like.”

The fight sport is different now. As Johnson enters his 13th year as a professional mixed martial artist, he serves as an exemplary lightweight role model — precisely the kind of person he failed to find early in his career.

As scores of smaller martial artists scramble to follow in his footsteps, Johnson has inadvertently secured the future of his weight division on the global stage. For an athlete as disciplined as Johnson, the notion carries no added burden.

“I’m at a point in my career where I’m just focused on the grind of putting on great performances,” he said. “That way, when I’m done with this sport, that’s it. I’m good. I can be done with it and with no regrets.”

SIDE CONTROL TO MOUNT TO ARMBAR

Demetrious Johnson begins in the side-control position (1).

2019 MMA Fighter of the Year

When he hit the MMA circuit in 2007, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson was a human tsunami. An immediate force to be reckoned with, he dominated the bantamweight and featherweight divisions of the sport thanks to his lightning-fast fists and his arsenal of grappling techniques. Like a true martial artist, he hasn’t let his success go to his head.

“I am very happy with where I’m at in my career,” Johnson stated. “The martial arts have given me and my family a wonderful life. If I were to stop fighting today, I’d be satisfied with the way everything has turned out.”

That said, Johnson has no plans of bowing out of the ring anytime soon. In fact, he’s gearing up for his next big fight, which will have taken place in Japan before this issue of Black Belt hits newsstands.

“I’m training for the World Grand Prix — ONE: CENTURY in October,2019” Johnson said. “It’s a big event! This is the 100th time [it] has been held, and I’m very excited to be part of it. I grew up watching Japanese MMA, and now I get a chance to win one. It’s awesome!”

From the moment Johnson first came to grips with an opponent in the cage, it was apparent that he was a rising star. Now, with a string of victories under his belt and numerous awards and honors bestowed on him, he’s been dubbed one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world. In a sport abundant with talent, Johnson has achieved rock-star status with legions of fans glued to his every move.

Why are they so devoted? A glimpse into Mighty Mouse’s makeup comes from one of his most-talked-about fights in which he squared off against Miguel Torres. After breaking his fibula when he checked a leg kick in the second round, Johnson continued to wage war. He ignored the pain and concentrated on his grappling skills to survive. In the end, he won a unanimous decision.

“The key to winning, and sometimes the key to surviving in order to win, is having the ability to stay focused and take care of the task at hand,” Johnson said. “That is how I approach my fights and my personal life. I know what I really want out of life, and I stay focused on that task — whether it’s winning a fight or taking care of my family. My wife Destiny and my three children are the most important things in my life.”

Because of his past accomplishments, his bright future and his pervasive martial mindset, Black Belt is pleased to make Demetrious Johnson its 2019 MMA Fighter of the Year.

Kungfu – Ten Basic Knife Strikes in Philippine Martial Arts

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Few styles of martial arts are more involved with weapons training than Filipino Martial Arts, or FMA. For one thing, FMA (kali, arnis, escrima) begin be first teaching techniques with weapons, before moving to empty hand. So if you’re interested in FMA, you need to build your familiarity with handling weapons and weapon striking. These ten strikes are a good place to start!

First, get the correct stance. If you are right-handed, hold the knife in that hand, with a right foot lead. This puts the knife between your body and your opponent. Your left hand is your “live hand” and should he held up at throat-level to protect your head and neck.

For the strikes, use this image of an analog clock for reference:

  • 1.Downwards right-to-left slash. Imagine that you are slicing someone across their face, or from their jaw, across their throat to their collarbone. This is a diagonal strike from 2 to 8.
  • 2.Downward left-to-right slash. This strike, combined with the first strike, should make an X in the air. It is from 10 to 4.
  • 3.Upwards right-to-left slash. Turn your wrist so that the blade is facing upwards. This slash goes from 4 to 10.
  • 4.Upwards left-to-right slash. After the third slash, rotate the point of your knife around so the tip is down.
  • 5.Thrust to the chest. Keep you knife chambered at your right shoulder after the fourth slash. Stab it straight out (into an opponent’s chest).
  • 6.Cross-body slash. Imagine the knife is still in your opponent’s chest. Roll your wrist slightly clockwise so the edge of your blade is angled to the left, and slash down and across, right to left. End up with your knife chambered at your left shoulder, with the tip pointed outwards.
  • 7.Thrust to the chest (other side). Stab straight out from your left side, into the right side of their chest.
  • 8.Cross-body slash. Rotate the tip of the knife slightly counterclockwise, so the edge is angled to the right. Slash left to right across the opponent’s body.
  • 9.Vertical slash downwards. Cut down 12 to 6.
  • 10.Upwards thrust. From your blade chambered at your side, thrust up, driving the point upwards into an opponent’s soar plexus.

Watch the full video by Master Julius Melegrito here:

Ten Basic Knife Strikes in Philippine Martial Arts www.youtube.com

Master Melegrito is the founder of the Philippine Martial Arts Alliance and the Philippine Combatives curriculum. He teaches seminars around the world, including double stick, single stick, knife, sword, and empty hand training.

Ẩm thực – This Passover Is Not Like Other Passovers

By 

Full link: https://www.eater.com/2020/4/6/21207369/virtual-passover-seder-trend-2020-coronavirus-covid19-zoom-dinner?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATIONAL%20-%204620&utm_content=NATIONAL%20-%204620+Version+A+CID_c43fa9b8188d651cc498c4ebf34d9bcd&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=THIS%20PASSOVER%20IS%20NOT%20LIKE%20OTHER%20PASSOVERS

The coronavirus pandemic will drastically reshape the holiday that, by definition, is about families coming together

Food and place settings are laid out on a Passover Seder table

On the afternoon before their Passover Seder last spring, Liz Alpern and Shira Kline’s Brooklyn garden apartment was crowded with furniture that the couple had gathered for the evening ahead. A giant bowl of mole sat out on the counter, while in the fridge, packets of lamb stew meat were Jenga-stacked next to containers of homemade gefilte fish. Kline and Alpern, who co-owns the artisan Jewish food company the Gefilteria, had been planning the event for months. Invitations had been sent out seven weeks in advance, and 27 people would be joining them that evening. It was the first time, says Alpern, that “all of these different sides of these families were in the same place.”

That Seder was a success. And so this year, the plan was to go even bigger, with 28 people. But in late March, two weeks before the holiday, Kline and Alpern were still sorting out their Passover plans. “I think there’s this part of me, maybe unrealistically, that thinks that there will be some solution in which some of us can be together in person,” Alpern said at the time. “Whether that’s being in a giant room together [where] we’re six feet apart or whether that’s doing something outside.”

Alpern and Kline weren’t alone in the uncertainty of their last-minute planning. This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to interrupt every aspect of daily life, Jews across the country are scrambling to remake tradition in time for Passover Seder, an elaborate dinner hosted on the first and — outside of Israel — second nights of the holiday, which this year begins on April 8. The ritual, which is sometimes referred to as Jewish Thanksgiving, is often cited as the most widely observed Jewish custom. During the meal, the story of the Exodus is retold, freedom is celebrated, and a matzo-fueled feast is served to the family and friends, both Jewish and not, who gather around the dinner table.

“By definition, Passover is about family coming together,” Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen co-owner Evan Bloom says. “The thing that makes this crisis and this Passover unique is that despite needing to come together, we can’t.”

That is particularly true for traditionally observant Jews, who abstain from using electricity during part of the holiday and thus won’t have the option to celebrate together virtually. But less traditionally observant Jews are using Zoom and other platforms to connect with loved ones in different cities and neighbors across the hall. Passover kits have been hawked online by the likes of Wise Sons, Oh! Nuts, and Chabad, and made by parents to be shipped to their offspring. Some people are rewriting their Passover menus, swapping traditional large-format dishes like brisket for simpler recipes and even takeout.

For Francine Cohen, the Seder meal will take the form of a socially distant potluck with a handful of neighbors in her Upper West Side Manhattan apartment building. One neighbor is handling the matzo ball soup, and another a green vegetable, while Cohen herself will prepare her grandmother’s brisket with apricots and prunes. The dishes will be portioned, packed up, and left at each neighbor’s doorstep on the morning of the meal. In the evening, everyone will sit down and connect for a Seder on Zoom.

The plans for the building’s Seders, which will likely take place both nights, were hatched in late March when a 60-something neighbor told Cohen she was craving human connection. With this arrangement, Cohen explains, “neighbors will not be without a way to celebrate Passover with other humans.”

Justin Feldstein says that his family’s plan for a Zoom Seder means that he doesn’t have an excuse not to show up. In recent years, Feldstein, who grew up on Long Island and now lives in Boston with his fiancée, hasn’t been able to get back to Long Island to attend his family’s mid-week celebration, which is overseen by his 90-year-old grandmother. But even though Zoom means their attendance is certain, their menu remains a question: While New York-based family members will receive care packages of matzo ball soup, stuffed cabbage rolls, and mandlebread that Feldstein’s grandmother made and froze before the pandemic hit the U.S., Feldstein himself lives out of the delivery range. After asking himself what an “appropriate” meal would be for the occasion, he settled on Chinese food. “At least there’s no leavened bread that I know of,” he says. “And I’ll stay away from moo shoo pancakes.”

In keeping with tradition, the family’s dinner will include a discussion of the 10 plagues, a central part of Seder. This year, it will have a timely spin. During a phone call with his grandmother, Feldstein recalls that she said, “Now we just have two plagues: the first being Trump and the second being the virus.”

In 2020, the script for a modernized, darkly humorous Passover text seems to write itself. Consider the case of Gal Beckerman, a New York Times Book Review editor who flew to Southern California with his wife and kids in order to be closer to his parents and sister. Their 14-day quarantine at a house next door to Beckerman’s parents is scheduled to end on the eve of Passover. “It’s a weird serendipity,” Beckerman says. “We’ve joked that it’s not just the freedom of the Jews from slavery, it’s our freedom from this house that we’ve been stuck in.” When the quarantine ends, they will walk next door for a family Seder.


Back in Brooklyn, Celia Muller, a media lawyer, has found that the Passover holiday tradition and her Jewish heritage have offered a sense of grounding during the pandemic. In recent weeks, she’s been “thinking about the fact that if it weren’t for a whole ton of perseverance from the time of Exodus down till now… I would not be here,” she says. “I’m drawing on that strength of the past. So to me, it became really important to have Seder.”

Muller is planning to host a second-night Zoom Seder where she will use a card deck version of the Haggadah, the book that guides the evening’s festivities. In her emails to attendees (full disclosure: myself included), she attached cards for each guest and wrote, “The Haggadah we’re using explicitly contemplates a soup/salad break, so definitely have some nosh on hand even if you don’t go for matzo ball soup.” She offered snack suggestions including gefilte fish—“(shhh some of us like it)”—and links to a few recipe possibilities for the meal.

Muller also reminded her friends of the elements of the Seder plate, which sits at the center of the Seder ritual. An edible guide to the evening’s retelling of the story of the Exodus, it includes an egg, a roasted lamb shank, bitter herbs, and a sweet paste made from fruit and nuts called charoset, along with other edible symbols. For participants who can’t or don’t want to track down the items, Muller says, “I will make sure that I have everything and everyone can participate symbolically.”

And for those who don’t relish the prospect of trying to source Passover ingredients, there is the Passover kit. In New York, La Newyorkina owner Fany Gerson has been selling Mexican Passover meals whose options include Mexican-style gefilte fish and matzo ball soup, roasted carrots with harissa, brisket tamales, and flourless chocolate chipotle cake. Over in the San Francisco Bay Area, Wise Sons is selling kits with “everything you need on the Passover [Seder] plate but the plate,” Bloom says. They include candlesticks and a full meal including brisket, matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, and chopped liver; the Haggadah that Wise Sons uses at its annual Seder at the Contemporary Jewish Museum will be available for free online.

Passover kits also ensure that Seder hosts won’t miss any of the essentials, particularly matzo, which was rumored to be sold out weeks before the holiday. “Retailers were calling, frantic, three weeks ago — everything got wiped out,” says Aaron Gross, the owner of Streit’s, a 95-year-old matzo manufacturer that produces some 2 million boxes of matzo each Passover from its factory outside of New York City. But now, he adds, some of those retailers are calling and saying they no longer need those orders.

Even without a shortage of matzo, some are planning to make their own. Before California’s shelter-in-place order went into effect, Vicky Zeamer, a design researcher in San Francisco, tried to find yeast but found that stores were already sold out. She recalls thinking, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to make bread without yeast?” And then she realized that bread without leavening is the definition of matzo. “Between [the lack of yeast] and the plague, it’s feeling too much like Passover,” she quips. Although Zeamer isn’t planning on joining a Seder, she may watch the 1995 cartoon episode “A Rugrats Passover,” which is considered a childhood touchpoint for many millennial Jews.

Across the country in Brooklyn, Alpern and Kline are also planning to bake matzo. A week before the start of Passover, the couple had settled on hosting a Seder using the platform Seder2020. They’ve invited a large group of family “and a few of my friends who couldn’t have fit in my house,” Alpern says. This year, there will still be a big Seder and a busy kitchen, but the living room won’t be full of furniture. Instead, it will be crowded with voices, beamed in from Passover tables near and far.

Ẩm thực – The Oregon Creamery Making Vodka From Milk

By LUKE FATER

Full link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/alcohol-made-from-milk?utm_source=Gastro+Obscura+Weekly+E-mail&utm_campaign=ddf48cd004-GASTRO_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2418498528-ddf48cd004-70327933&mc_cid=ddf48cd004&mc_eid=df51e46713

“It’s a tribute to the cows.”

Just when you thought cows could do it all.

AS LONG AS HUMANS HAVE enjoyed the bacterial miracle that is cheese, cheesemakers have struggled to make use of its byproduct: whey. Every pound of cheese produces about nine pounds of whey—the translucent liquid you may recognize from the top of a freshly opened tub of sour cream. Excess whey can fertilize fields or feed pigs, but artisanal creameries are often still hampered by massive amounts of leftover whey. They pay thousands of dollars to have it disposed of in landfills.

Luckily, a niche field of researchers and an eager group of craft creameries are taking an unexpected approach: turning all that whey into “vodka.”

TMK Creamery is one of several creameries around the world pivoting toward whey-based liquors.

Dr. Paul Hughes is an Assistant Professor of Distilled Spirits at Oregon State University, a nascent department and one of the few of its kind in the country. After an aspiring graduate student approached him about fermenting whey into a neutral spirits base, he began running experiments to prove that the solution was both environmentally sustainable and cost-effective for small creameries. His work showed that a cheesemaker selling cheese for $40 a pound could, with a proper fermentation system, make half again as much in retail sales on alcohol. In the last several years, he says, he’s been approached by more than a dozen creameries from across the country looking to ferment their whey into alcohol.

Todd Koch, owner of TMK Creamery in the rolling hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, remembers reading about Hughes’s work in the newspaper early last year. Large, corporate-owned creameries can afford the expensive equipment that converts whey into profitable products such as protein powder. But at his family-owned, 20-cow farmstand creamery, Koch and his wife simply fed their whey into the fields through a nutrient management system. Rather than continue to bury the byproduct, Koch decided to ferment as a means of profitably upcycling the whey while bringing visibility to his animals. He teamed up with Dr. Hughes and a nearby distiller to manufacture the creamery’s newest product: a clear, vodka-like liquor they call “Cowcohol.”

Not only is it an effective means of upcycling, but it also “creates another vehicle to showcase our true heroes, the cows,” says Koch. “We call them cow-lebrities.”

One of TMK Creamery's 20 cow-lebrities poses for a close-up.

Koch says the cow-based spirit has a caramel-like sweetness with a smooth finish. Dr. Hughes, who has officiated the American Craft Spirits competition, says it’s refreshingly neutral. He would have no problem serving it neat to a friend, though he admits his peripheral involvement renders him biased. Judging from public demand, the partnership produced a hit: TMK is overwhelmed by demand for “Cowcohol.”

Outlandish as it may seem, TMK is not alone at the intersection of dairy and liquor. A sixth-generation dairy farmer from Dorset, England, turns his whey into Black Cow Vodka. Tasmania’s Hartshorn Distillery ferments their sheeps’ whey into award-winning vodka, gin, and liqueur. Ontario’s Dairy Distillery turns problems into profit with a product they call “Vodkow.” Indeed, Dr. Hughes imagines a future in which a concentration of creameries are bound by a cooperative distillery fermenting what would otherwise be a cumbersome byproduct.

Whey fermentation offers a brave, new world for small creameries, both in decreasing their environmental footprint and ensuring financial security in an age of mass conglomeration. For Koch, a life-long, self-proclaimed “cow person,” the possibilities of bovine booze are a relief to him and his beloved herd. “Going through college, I was like ‘Man, if I could just figure out how to get cows to make alcohol, we’d be set,’” he says. “So I guess we’re one step closer here.”

Note – PitchBook: Amazon’s $3B embrace of cleantech

On the first day of this summer, temperatures reached 100 degrees in the Arctic Circle. It’s an easy thing to forget about these days, what with a pandemic going on, a presidential election looming, and a new civil rights movement emerging across the nation. But climate change isn’t going anywhere. And every day, our window for mitigating the catastrophic effects prophesied by scientists gets a little bit smaller.

This won’t come as breaking news to venture capitalists. More than a decade ago, the industry embraced a boom in cleantech investing. But the boom promptly went bust. Climate-friendly investing has remained in vogue in some circles, but the promise of a cleantech revolution never quite materialized.

If such a revolution does materialize in the future, it will help to have some of tech’s biggest names leading the charge. And that, dear reader, brings us to the past seven days at Amazon.

Welcome to The Weekend Pitch. I’m Kevin Dowd, and you can reach me at weekend@pitchbook.com. With a new fund, a new arena naming-rights deal and a new acquisition, the world’s most valuable company has made loud and clear its intent to be a leading cleantech investor. That’s one of 11 things you need to know from the past week:

1. Greenbacks for green deals

Amazon this week launched a new Climate Pledge Fund that will devote $2 billion to investing in sustainable and decarbonizing technologies. Two days later, the company revealed it has acquired the naming rights to the new NHL arena in its hometown of Seattle, with plans to dub the building Climate Pledge Arena. And on Friday, Amazon unveiled a deal to acquire Zoox, a VC-backed maker of electric self-driving cars, for a reported $1.2 billion.

All that comes about four months after Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, committed $10 billion of his own fortune to a climate-friendly effort called the Bezos Earth Fund.

Entrepreneurs tend to follow the money. And $12 billion is a lot of money. It seems reasonable to expect the pair of new funds will motivate some founders to pursue new climate-focused ideas that may have otherwise struggled to find funding.

On the flip side, investors tend to be copycats. And Amazon is a popular role model. It also seems reasonable to expect the company’s new initiatives will cause at least a few rivals to think about devoting additional funds to cleantech.

But will it be enough to shift the market in any meaningful way? That’s the multibillion-dollar question.

We last saw such a shift late in the 2000s. From 2006 to 2008, the number of VC investments in the US cleantech sector increased by 137%, according to PitchBook data, and deal value more than tripled, as firms pumped billions into startups developing solar panels, smart grids and other capital-intensive forms of climate-friendly tech. But it didn’t last. The financial crisis arrived. The rise of fracking made natural gas too cheap to pass up. Government-subsidized solar panels from China flooded the market, driving well-funded US upstarts such as Solyndra out of business.

Between 2011 and 2017, cleantech venture deal value declined by 44%. As awareness about the risks posed by climate change continued to grow, investment in startups aiming to solve such problems continued to shrink.

More recent years have hinted at a rebound. In 2018, for instance, cleantech startups in the US raised $7.1 billion in VC, the largest annual sum on record.

Looking at the sorts of companies raising large figures this time around shows how the cleantech market has shifted over the past dozen years. Companies building solar panels and other large-scale infrastructure products are no longer the belles of the ball. Instead, it’s electric vehicle makers such as Zoox. It’s startups such as Rubicon, which is developing a platform to streamline recycling, and Convoy, which is using software to make freight shipping more sustainable and efficient. It’s companies like Indigo Agriculture, which this week raised $300 million in VC—at a $3.5 billion valuation, according to Axios—to fund its crop-sustainability technology.

In short, the “tech” part of cleantech seems more important to investors than ever before.

It’s entirely possible that Amazon will be an anomaly, and that other investors will continue to be cautious about cleantech, still stinging from their last go-around in the category. But it’s also possible that we’re on the brink of another boom for investing in companies trying to do their part to make sure 100-degree days in the Arctic Circle don’t become commonplace. Better late than never?

2. Globetrotting

In Asia, in the Middle East and in Europe, private equity firms were busy this week pondering massive funds and deals. KKR has reportedly raised more than $10 billion toward a $12.5 billion target for its latest Asia fund. A group of six investors struck a deal to pay $10.1 billion for a 49% stake in the new pipeline unit of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. And Allegro, an online-auction site based in Poland that’s backed by Cinven, is said to be planning an IPO that could result in an $11 billion valuation.

3. SPAC-tion

Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square Capital Management registered a massive new special-purpose acquisition company this week with the SEC, a vehicle that could raise as much as $6.45 billion for a future acquisition. Another SPAC found its target this week, when Crescent Acquisition agreed to conduct an $845 million reverse merger with F45 Training, a chain of gyms backed in part by Mark Wahlberg.

4. Rules and regulations

On Thursday, US regulators formalized plans to loosen restrictions around the Volcker Rule, a key change that will make it much easier for banks to invest in venture capital. Earlier in the week, the NYSE filed an amendment to a document seeking regulatory approval to conduct more direct listings, which, along with SPACs, have recently emerged as a buzzy alternative for companies seeking to go public while avoiding the traditional IPO process.

5. Star shopping

LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter have raised $100 million for a new media and entertainment outfit called SpringHill Entertainment, Bloomberg reported. One of the company’s assets? “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a film starring James due out next year. In other celebrity investor news, former soccer star David Beckham was announced as a co-owner of Guild Esports, a new esports team in the UK that’s reportedly seeking funding at a valuation of £100 million (about $123 million).

6. Palantir’s IPO prep

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Palantir Technologies had raised some $500 million from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings, less than two weeks after reports emerged that Palantir was getting ready to file for its long-awaited public debut. In what may be a more intriguing bit of IPO prep, the data giant also made an unusual addition to its board this week, reportedly bringing on Alexandra Wolfe Schiff, the daughter of famed novelist Tom Wolfe, who left her position as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal to join Palantir.

7. Private to public

Seven years after Cerberus Capital Management took control of the grocery chain, Albertsons made its return to Wall Street this week, raising $800 million in a downsized IPO that fell below the company’s initial expectations. In a much quicker turnaround, business intelligence provider Dun & Bradstreet set terms for an IPO that could raise nearly $1.4 billion, barely a year after being taken private by Thomas H. Lee Partners and others.

8. Say cheese

After weeks of rumors, the parent of Chuck E. Cheese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; Apollo Global Management has owned the operator of family-fun centers since 2014. Across the Pacific Ocean, former industry icon Olympus is exiting the camera business, with an agreement to sell its camera division to private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners. Instead, Olympus will now focus on medical imaging and other medical devices.

9. Valuation hikes

Cybersecurity specialist Tanium raised new venture funding this week at a $9 billion valuation, up from a reported $6.7 billion figure logged in 2018. Australian design company Canva brought in $60 million in funding at a $6 billion valuation, nearly double the $3.2 billion valuation it landed just nine months ago, according to PitchBook data. And UK payments startup Checkout.com nearly tripled its valuation this week with a new round, taking its on-paper worth up to $5.5 billion.

10. Hot and cold

Investment in the biotech industry has been red-hot in recent months. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Sana Biotechnology raise $700 million in funding. The travel industry, on the other hand, has struggled amid the pandemic. But that didn’t stop Sonder, a short-term home rental startup, from banking $170 million in VC this week at a $1.3 billion valuation.

11. Pride

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of Pride Month, an Ohio-based venture firm called Loud Capital launched a new $10 million vehicle called Pride Fund 1 that will invest both in companies led by LGBTQ founders and other businesses aiming to serve the LGBTQ community. “Yes, it is about returns,” Pride Fund CEO Densil Porteous told my colleague James Thorne this week, “but it’s also about uplifting and the legacy that we’re leaving.”

Startup name of the week

What would have happened if, in 1991, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro decided to forego their plans to film a psychological thriller about a vengeful convict and focus instead on cybersecurity?

I don’t think that’s the question a startup called Cape Privacy is trying to answer. It is, however, the one I was asking myself this week, after the company raised about $5 million in seed funding to back its software, which is designed to enable secure data sharing and collaboration. It’s probably for the best that Scorsese and De Niro stuck with their guns and made “Cape Fear.” But I’ll probably never be able to watch the movie again without wondering how it could’ve been spiced up with a little more data science.

The Weekend Pitch

Stoic – This Is Your Most Important Job

Some people delight in improving their farms, Epictetus said. Some people find great pleasure in making more money or winning fame. But Epictetus? He delighted in improving himself day to day.

But even here we can miss the point. Epictetus wasn’t talking about getting better abs or mastering obscure literature. He was talking about becoming a better person—at working on the things that really matter.

First and foremost among the things that really mattered to the Stoics was being a parent. Epictetus adopted a boy and raised him. Cato trained his daughter, Porcia, in philosophy and expected as much of her as he did of his sons. Musonius Rufus explained most beautifully what parenting meant to the Stoics:

“What a great spectacle it is when a husband or wife with many children are seen with these children crowded around them! No procession conducted for the gods is as beautiful to look at, and no ritual performed solemnly for a sacred occasion is as worthy of being watched, as is a chorus of many children guiding their parents through the city, leading them by the hand or otherwise caring for them. What is more lovely than this spectacle? What is more worthy of emulation than these parents?”

So that brings up the real question: How do we emulate these great parents of history? How do we work on improving ourselves at this essential job? The one for which we are given next to no training, for which many of us had less than ideal models for in our own childhood?

Being a father isn’t just this thing you get a card for one day a year. It’s an occupation, a profession, a place to practice your philosophy every single minute. So too with motherhood. So too with being a grandparent. Like the rest of life, it’s something you have to “choose a Cato” for, it’s something you have to be intentional about. It’s a place that calls for all four of the Stoic virtues: Courage. Temperance. Justice. Wisdom. It’s a thing we have to “concentrate on like a Roman,” and do like it’s the last thing we may do in our lives, as Marcus Aurelius said…because who knows it may well be.

So today, on Father’s Day, we invite you to check out not just DailyDad.com, our free daily email inspired by ancient wisdom, but also our newest course, The Stoic Parent: 10 Commandments For Becoming A Better ParentThis course uses the wisdom of the Stoics to teach you how to be an amazing parent and spouse. It includes:

  • Over 18,000 words of all brand-new material that will show you how to be the best possible parent
  • Over three hours of inspiring, informative interviews between bestselling author Ryan Holiday and parenting experts like Maya Smart and Jessica Lahey
  • A workbook to engrain the lessons from each day’s commandments
  • Extended reading suggestions for each commandment
  • Much, much, more…

Collection – How Two College Students Made $600,000 in 24 Hours

By Matt Lane

Full link: https://medium.com/better-marketing/how-two-college-students-made-600-000-in-24-hours-44bb6cd83977

A simple pricing trick led to thousands of orders

In 2017, University of Arizona students Alan Alchalel and Brady Silverwood devised a strategy to promote their swimsuit line, Sunny Co Clothing.

They promised everyone who reposted the image above a “free” swimsuit — just pay $12 shipping (retail value $64.99). Offer ends in 24 hours.

Overnight, their Instagram following jumped from 7,000 to 784,000. More than 346,000 people took up their offer, forcing them to cap the promotion at 50,000 units.

Let’s do the math: 50,000 units x $12 = $600,000.

No, that’s not a typo. The campaign grossed over $600,000 in 24 hours.

It was so unexpectedly popular they had to issue almost $73,000 in refunds because they couldn’t meet demand.

This spawned a slew of articles calling the campaign a failure. One writer even thought that it belonged in the same category as the infamous Fyre Festival.

But if these publications had just paused to think, they might’ve realized they were missing the big picture.

Inventory issues aside, the real story was that two college students generated more revenue in one day than many businesses do in a year. And they did it with effectively $0 in ad spend.

Truth is, there’s a lot to learn from their campaign, so let’s mine some nuggets of wisdom.

In this article, I’m going to break down key lessons you can apply to your own marketing strategies. Then, I’ll provide a template you can use to recreate their success.

Nothing Sunny Co did was revolutionary — it was simply well executed. And if you follow the principles they used, you too can become an overnight sensation.


How Much Was Profit?

First, let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Unless you manufacture your own goods, the only way you can promise a swimsuit for $12 is by buying in bulk to keep costs low.

In light of this, it’s likely Sunny Co sourced their product from an overseas supplier.

I did a quick search on Alibaba and found a similar swimsuit that costs $6.10/unit (when ordering over 100).

Let’s assume they were able to negotiate down to $3/unit, given they ordered 50,000 pieces.

In 2017, you could ship a seven-ounce package across the U.S. for about $3 via USPS First Class.

Factor in $0.50 for packaging/branding and $0.70 for payment processing fees and that brings total costs to $7.20.

Estimated profit = $12 – $7.20 = $4.80/unit.

We know they ended up issuing roughly $73,000 in refunds. But assuming they could tell the future and adequately planned their supply chain, they would’ve raked in over $240,000 in profit in 24 hours.

Wow.


Why It Worked

Three key factors:

1.“Free” turns heads

Want to command attention?

Offer something for free.

Caveat: as we saw above, Sunny Co used the word “free” fairly liberally. In any other context, $12 shipping for a single swimsuit is outrageous.

Nevertheless, it’s likely many customers realized this and still wanted in, especially when compared alongside a $64.99 retail price.

The real takeaway here is that people love the idea of “free,” even if it’s merely framed as such.

2. Urgency sells

If “free” grabs the audience’s attention, limited time offers give them no choice but to respond.

Sunny Co took advantage of this by restricting their campaign to 24 hours, which persuaded their audience to jump on board right away.

There’s nothing worse than missing out on a chance to grab something for free because you waited too long to act.

3. Relevant content converts

This campaign went viral for a reason.

Points 1 and 2 are critical, but they would’ve fallen flat if the Instagram image wasn’t appealing to their audience.

That wasn’t an issue for the Sunny Co team, because they chose an image that:

  • Looked like an Instagram post their target audience would typically make (not a spammy ad).
  • Incorporated their target audience’s interests (warm weather and swimming pools).
  • Used colors associated with excitement (ie. red).

These elements ensured their campaign got noticed.


Template: How to Make $600,000 in 24 Hours

Here’s how you can recreate Sunny Co’s success.

Step 1: Source a product on Alibaba.

Find a product you can:

  • White label and rebrand.
  • Charge the unit cost + shipping cost + desired profit as “shipping.”

To figure out the second part, first, determine your total costs.

For example, these blue light blocking glasses cost $1.80 per unit. You can ship them anywhere across the U.S. for roughly $3 via USPS First Class. That puts your total cost at $4.80.

Next, determine the maximum amount a customer would pay for shipping on the item.

If you sell the benefits properly (ie. blue light blocking glasses prevent headaches), I think you could persuade an audience to pay up to $8 for “shipping.”

That leaves you with $8-$4.80=$3.20 in profit.

Step 2: Order samples. Inspect for quality and reliability.

This step is a must and will save you from the terror of issuing mass refunds due to quality complaints down the road.

Pay attention to the supplier’s reviews regarding fulfillment times. Make sure they can handle large order volumes in a timely manner.

Step 3: Set up a Shopify store. Create an eye-catching image for social media.

As we discussed earlier, it’s important that your image doesn’t look like an ad and is relevant to your audience’s interests.

I strongly suggest including a human being in your image. After all, humans relate best to other humans.

Step 4: Set up a time-limited repost campaign. Ask everyone you know to post about it, or buy shout-outs from large themed accounts.

Your campaign should look something like this:

“For the next X hours, everyone who reposts this image on Instagram and tags us in the post will get a free [product]. Must be following us to be eligible.”

Sunny Co ran their campaign for 24 hours. You can run yours for however long you want.

Just keep in mind: shorter campaigns create more urgency, which yields better results.

If you have an existing following or an active social circle you can leverage, you may be able to pull this off with $0 ad spend.

If not, DM themed accounts on Instagram and buy at least $500 worth of ads.

Step 5: Go viral and profit.

There are a lot of variable components here, like how good your branding is, how appealing your product is, and how attractive your images are.

So it goes without saying your results will vary.

But as Sunny Co demonstrated, knowing your audience stacks the odds in your favor. Hit on all the right points with your branding and messaging and there’s no reason you can’t experience a similar level of success.


Understanding the Framework

At the end of the day, the key is understanding the power of the “free for a limited time” model.

In the brick and mortar days, companies used this method to get visitors to their store. Their goal was to get customers to also buy other items while they were there, which is how they made money.

In today’s global economy, however, it’s now possible to make money directly off the product you’re “giving away,” because many products can be sourced from overseas for pennies on the dollar.

So put on your thinking cap and get creative. The next viral money-maker is just around the corner.