Mighty Maya, Russia’s Rodney Dangerfield, China’s Data Problem and Japan’s Flying Cars

You may remember well over a year ago our young six-year-old friend, Maya (now 9???!!!), was battling cancer. Due to her resilient spirit and the good people of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Maya is cancer-free. You may also remember that the musician, Amos Lee, visited and became friends with Maya through the Melodic Caring Project, a wonderful nonprofit that “teams up with local and nationally touring artists to bring love and encouragement to children and families by streaming the healing power of music to kids in their hospital room or homes.” Last year at a sold out Benaroya Hall show, Amos debuted a song he had written for Maya called Little Light. We are happy to inform you that Amos’ new album, New Moon, drops tomorrow. On that album is the song, Little Light. It’s a ripping, inspiring, toe-tapping number that, of course, has special meaning here at the INTN worldwide headquarters. Give it a listen, clap your hands and consider buying the album and donating to the magnificent Melodic Caring Project. And as you do, we shine a little light on Russia’s Rodney Dangerfield, the real problem with Chinese data and Japan’s flying cars. It’s this week’s International Need to Know, the uplifting source of all the healthy news of our world.

Amos tells the wonderful story of meeting Maya, song begins at 2:53
Amos Lee, Jefferson Center, Roanoke VA 11-1-17

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Without further ado, here’s what you need to know.

Russia’s Rodney Dangerfield Effect

Our American readers undoubtedly have strong opinions on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. But what do Russians think? As it turns out, an overwhelming majority of Russians—71 percent—“think Russia did not interfere in the American election,” according to a Pew Global survey. Russians 59 years old and older, are even more likely to think Russia is innocent of such interference (77%). Apparently Russians, especially older ones, like the current U.S. President, do not believe U.S. intelligence reports. The Pew survey is chock full of interesting data, including that 80 percent of Russians “see NATO as a military threat, with 45 percent stating it is a major threat.” Russians have also succumbed to the musical charms of Aretha Franklin with nearly two-thirds saying Russia does not get enough respect around the world. Russians are also concerned about inflation with two-thirds worried about it despite inflation rates returning to lower levels almost two years ago. High inflation, more than many economic maladies, appears to have a longer shelf-life for ETSD (Economic Traumatic Stress Syndrome).What Russians think and what is accurate are often not the same thing, but understanding what Russians believe is important, so read the whole survey.

The Real Problem with China Data

We originally joined Twitter to more easily follow our beloved Seattle Mariners (an unrequited love given they are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the 17th straight year). Since then we also follow a number of other Tweeters on other subjects, including China watchers. But we rarely post and even more rarely comment on others’ post. But last weekend we clicked on a link in a post to an article by Nicholas Lardy explaining worries that China’s economy is cooling because investments are down are not true.  As Lardy explains it, the methodology China has used for counting fixed asset investment has changed this year. Previously the Chinese government’s method “involved considerable double counting, which the authorities are paring back.” All well and good and a helpful explanation about investment not decreasing and makes us feel better that current Chinese growth is not slowing dramatically. But, we tweeted back, “If fixed investment was being double counted and no longer is, what does that say about economic growth when such investment was being double counted?” Nobody replied to explain. We agree with Lardy that China bears are overwrought but for China to be a true world leader, they will need more transparency, including and especially in their economy.

Here’s Your Flying Cars

Where are the flying cars? We’ve heard a number of people ask that who believe technological progress has been too slow.. Do not fear, the Japanese government is listening.  According to Bloomberg, Japan is working with a consortium of companies to develop flying cars in the next decade, both to alleviate traffic congestion problems and to help Japan’s industry keep up with technology. Among the companies Japan is partnering with is one just up the road from us, Boeing, as well as Uber, Toyota and others. In fact, the consortium of companies and the Japanese government met yesterday to begin “charting a road map” for the technology. Putting aside the backwards use of a metaphor,  the Japanese government push–they will set safety standards, and take care of other regulatory matters—is much needed if this new technology is to take flight soon (now that’s a more apt metaphor).

 

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