The week that was 4 February 2021

Welcome to February. This week we make mention of Captain Sir Tom, Tim Cook, Lady Gaga, ketchup and the coup in Myanmar. It's an eclectic mix.

RIP Captain Sir Tom

Along with the rest of the world we were sad to learn that Captain Sir Tom Moore died with coronavirus this week.

The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, was admitted to Bedford Hospital on Sunday.

The Queen led tributes to Capt Sir Tom, "recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world".

His daughters said they "shared laughter and tears" with their father in their final few hours together. Announcing his death, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira said the last year of their father's life had been "nothing short of remarkable".

Tim Cook May Have Just Ended Facebook

In a recent speech in Brussels marking International Data Privacy Day, Apple CEO Tim Cook went on the offensive against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Cook's speech seems to be a direct response to Facebook's recent attack on Apple, in which the world's largest social network took out full-page ads in several newspapers attacking Apple's new privacy changes.

But what's most fascinating is that Cook took direct aim at Facebook without ever mentioning the company by name.

"Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it, and we're here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom.

"If a business is built on misleading users on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.”

No more Mr Nice Guy.

In an age of digital disinformation, dropping level 1 media studies in NZ high schools is a big mistake

This report from The Conversation makes a good point.

Primary and secondary school teachers engage with students who are constantly on devices — consuming, sharing and jointly creating texts, photos, videos and memes.

Across social media, hate speech, conspiracy threads and health disinformation swamp evidence-based material. Fabrications and fragmentations of reality cannot be challenged in real time.

Despite this massive influence on young minds, the government intends to remove one of the few teaching opportunities that might equip students to navigate their online world.

Along with several other subjects, secondary school media studies will be dropped from the level 1 curriculum of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) from 2023.

The Conversation contends, "This is a backward step." They could well be correct.

Twitter updates its approach to misleading information

In related news, Twitter is addressing misinformation. Twitter is set to allow users to flag and annotate misleading or inaccurate tweets in an ongoing efforts to address misinformation on the platform. The company has faced growing calls to combat misinformation particularly after the 2020 presidential election.

Studio Ghibli-style meets Travel Oregon

Last week we reported on the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign, this week it’s Travel Oregon’s “Only Slightly Exaggerated” animated campaign. The two approaches could not be more different.

Imagine Oregon’s hot springs, hiking trails, and sand-dune escapades “only slightly exaggerated.” An advertisement for Travel Oregon entertains that enhanced view of the western state as it paints it in a magical light, Studio Ghibli-style: cloud figures saunter through the sky, a rock pulls a lever to shift the world from night to day, and packs of dogs frolic in the countryside. Evoking the aesthetics and fantastical imagery of the iconic Japanese animation studio.

Heinz Anonymously Asked People to Draw Ketchup...They All Drew Heinz

If someone asked you to draw ketchup, what would you draw? That’s the question behind Heinz Ketchup’s latest campaign which anonymously asked participants across five continents to 'draw ketchup'. The result? Perhaps not surprisingly, people drew Heinz Ketchup. Now, Heinz is using these drawings as new labels for its bottles and featuring them in its ads in a new campaign.

Lady Gaga's "Chromatica" Oreos Are Hotter Than Toilet Paper Ever Was In 2020

As Buzzfeed reports, if you're a fan of Lady Gaga, cookies, or just like shiny pink things, then you already know that Gaga recently released some limited-edition Oreos (#client) that are themed after her latest album, Chromatica. Based on these tweets they are incredibly hard to find.

Military coup features in aerobics class

In this extraordinary footage in the Myanmar capital, Naypyidaw, a woman reported to be Khing Hnin Wai appears to continue her workout as black SUVs drive up to a security checkpoint on the road leading to the Assembly of the Union complex behind her. As the upbeat song she is dancing to builds in tempo, the convoy swells almost in time to the music.

A somewhat light-hearted moment in what is a serious time for the lovely people of Myanmar.