Sunday, July 28, 2019

Alternative Intelligence

Standing in a queue at the Louvre museum in Paris, as it snaked towards arguably the most famous painting in the world, I was startled when an irreverent tourist out of my line of sight muttered, It is rather small, isn’t it? Granted that the Mona Lisa, measuring 30in by 21in seemed unimposing, nevertheless a 500-year degree of separation could not mask the lady’s elegance and magnetic sheen. When in early 2019, I saw the ubiquitous image of Mona Lisa babbling animatedly in a WhatsApp clip, the surreal head and facial movements appeared clever but harmless.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Poor Earth

When Chinese President Xi Jinping toured a provincial rare-earth processing plant in May 2019, analysts speculated that his visit signalled overt messaging by China in the middle of tortuous trade negotiations with the US. Suspicions have long trailed China’s near-monopoly over rare-earth supplies, not unlike the past scenario in the petroleum industry.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Visually Speaking

Crisp. Compact. Chic. Composed. Silken. Spartan. Taut. Trim.  

Try 4C.2S.2T. But to what do these adjectives refer?

Before answering the question, first let me admit my ignorance but abiding fascination with an East Asian puzzle. To an untrained ear, hearing Mandarin or Cantonese spoken, say on TV, is always riveting. In print, the script is even more impenetrable.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Building Blocks

Driven by rational self-interest, human beings have always been drawn towards activities that create economic value. And over the last century, pioneers in scientific management techniques, such as time-motion studies, laid the groundwork for improving work methods in a manual, mechanised, and progressively digital world.