Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it’s Mt. Gox biting the bankruptcy bullet (plus bonus geeky news on that), Hulu Japan is selling itself to Japan, and Panasonic and Tesla Motors might build a battery mega-factory (whilst everyone still avoids mentioning that most electricity for electric cars still comes from fossil fuels).
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – February 28, 2014 ::
• Mt. Gox is Bankrupt and that Surprises No One
Well, the only real news here is that it’s actually official. Mt. Gox, based here in Tokyo, the once premiere exchange of internet play money that actually became real, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Basically, the flailing Bitcoin exchange owes like $63 million, but they’ve only got like $37 million, and they lack a clear path out of that hole - so, there you go. The JTFF has no desire to add our own blah blah blah to the seething mass of convoluted coverage and analysis already underway, but we can offer this: did you know that “Mt. Gox” is an acronym of sublime, executive-level dorkiness? MAGIC THE GATHERING ONLINE EXCHANGE. You know, geeks were long considered the meek, and the meek have long been predicted to inherit the world, which always prompted the wonder: “How meek will the Dungeon Masters be after they get the world?” Well, for a time anyway, it was good.
[MT. GOX ENTERS BANKRUPTCY - THE VERGE VIA THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
• Hulu Selling its Japanese Branch to Nippon TV
After going strong for 3 solid and pioneering years in the Japanese market (yes, only 3 - widespread adoption of home internet connections sufficient for streaming much of anything are a relatively new animal in Japan), Hulu is selling its J-division to Nippon TV. It will continue the licensing arrangement structure thingy in order to deliver foreign content to the Japanese market, but domestic management will be taken over. Actually, it was easy to see this one coming, because in order to continue growing, eventually a streaming service would need to offer Japanese programming as well, which Nippon TV has, and Hulu don't. So there you go. Oh, and “Nippon,” pronounced “knee-pone,” means “Japan,” JSYK.
[HULU’S UNLOADING IT’S JAPAN DIVISION - WOLRDSCREEN.COM]
• Japan’s Panasonic and California’s Tesla Might Build a Giant Battery Factory
Elon Musk is one of the coolest human beings alive. Okay, that’s outta the way. Now then, Japanese tech giant Panasonic has actually been working with Tesla Motors for quite some time. The coziness has moved to a new level, and Tesla cars are getting awesome reviews and ratings, and feasible plans for networks of charging stations are coming into being, so they are now considering taking their relationship to the next level by teaming up to build a $1 billion dollar battery factory in the U.S. That's cool. Good - do it. But, while electric cars are all fine and good, when the topic comes up, even among we pseudo-journalists, integrity should demand the following statement: MOST ELECTRICITY STILL COMES FROM FOSSIL FUELS SO ELECTRIC VEHICLES CURRENTLY DO A NET NOTHING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT PLUS MAKING THOSE BATTERIES ISN'T EXACTLY A CLEAN INDUSTRY SO LET'S PUT SOME EFFORT INTO THOSE TOO, HUH? Seriously, why don’t people ever mention that? Like right now, Japan, for example, has no nuclear power generation going on (pre-Tohoku Disaster it was about 33%). As a result, it's buying actual boatloads more natural gas for electricity production. So, why is it a surprise that Japan's backed off commitments to the Kyoto Protocol? And could it be that hippies are to blame for all of industrial society's ills? Those are the dots. Use brains. Kisses!
[PANASONIC & TESLA MAYBE BUILDING GIAN BATTERY FACTORY - THE AUSTRALIAN]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.