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Patrick Sharbaugh
483 followers -
Human-centered strategic design consultant and facilitator. Melbourne -
Human-centered strategic design consultant and facilitator. Melbourne -

483 followers
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The week between Christmas and New Year's seemed a perfect time for a quick trip to Yosemite, and +Trang Phan's first time experiencing real snow. Watching that -- I've never seen someone so charmed and enchanted -- was the best Xmas gift I can imagine.

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Just hours after the International Court of Arbitration ruled that China had been stealing islands in the South China Sea, the Chinese Communist Party Youth League shared this (now viral) video of young Chinese patriots saying "South Sea arbitration, who cares?" The video is blowing up in China, but it's clearly intended for more than the domestic audience, given that nearly all the words spoken in it are in English.

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Chinese copies of car-hailing service Uber have exploded in recent years, infuriating traditional taxi companies, which have long enjoyed a near-monopoly. Over the past year Chinese taxi drivers have launched more than 200 protests in cities across the country, complaining that their livelihoods are being threatened. Yet the apps are technically illegal: using a private car to offer paid rides remains a crime in China. This has created a huge headache for the central government.

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A new paper written by professors at Harvard, Stanford, and UCSD finally provides a detailed description of China’s notorious "50-Cent Army" -- paid pro-government trolls who are paid by the CCP to regurgitate anti-Western, pro-Party propaganda and cheerleading into China's social mediasphere. It confirms the existence of a “massive secret operation” in China pumping out an estimated 488 million fabricated social media posts per year, part of an effort to “regularly distract the public and change the subject” from any policy-related issues that threaten to anger citizens enough to turn them out onto the streets.

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A social media war has broken out in Malaysia, between supporters of embattled leader Najib Razak and those demanding his resignation. The hashtag #RespectMyPM began to trend on Twitter on Sunday. It has now shot to the top of Malaysia's Twitter chart.

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Is VR at last becoming more than a novelty trick? As part of its suite of so-called reunification projects, Hyundai Motor Company recently used VR to recreate an 88-year-old North Korean man’s hometown. The virtual car ride took him across the heavily-guarded border into North Korea, through a virtual recreation of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, and ending with a return to his hometown -- a village that no longer exists. 

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Yesterday, the Indonesian government blocked Tumblr and 477 other sites in an effort to clamp down on porn available online. Just a day later, it says it's decided to unblock the microblogging platform for users in the country -- provided Tumblr self-censors its adult-oriented content, and that officials will continually 'monitor' the site to ensure that it meets their standards.

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In conservative India, public displays of affection are the stuff of scandal, and traditionalist vigilantes roam urban streets policing against kissing and even hand-holding. Yet scores of e-commerce sites are trying to horn in on the romantic impulses of India's horny youth -- given that over 65 percent of India’s 930 million people is under the age of 35. Is the Internet driving changes in romance there?

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As part of its Lunar New Year Coverage, Vietnam's VTV outfitted a solider based on the disputed Hoang Sa Islands in the South China Sea with a Samsung Gear virtual reality headset. The poignant short clip (at 1:07:00) shows the soldier experiencing an immersive few minutes in his family home on the mainland during Tet celebrations. We're seeing the dawn of a whole new era -- even for developing nations. http://bit.ly/20Ywycd
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