More terrifying news from China:

iFlytek, a voice recognition technology provider in China, has begun censoring politically sensitive terms from its translation app, South China Morning Post reported citing a tweet by Jane Manchun Wong. Wong is a software engineer who tweets frequently about hidden features she uncovers by performing app reverse-engineering.

In the tweet, Wong shows that when she tried to translate certain phrases such as “Taiwan independence,” “Tiananmen square” and “Tiananmen square massacre” from English to Chinese, the system failed to churn out results for sensitive terms or names. The same happened when she tried to translate “Taiwan independence” from Chinese to English — results showed up as an asterisk.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words”:

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.

I think my favourite show this anime season is SSSS.Gridman. It’s an animated version of a tokusatsu show — an early 90s, internet-themed “giant hero” show. Nick Creamer’s review captures what I like best about it:

Between its encroaching powerlines, its vast grey skies, and its shadowed school halls, there is a sense of solemnity and quiet alienation to this place that makes all of its fantastical drama feel strangely real.

The opening scene of the 2015 pilot short encapsulates it well.

A 75% stake in Aardman Studios is being transferred to employee ownership. This will be through an employee ownership trust that holds the shares in perpetuity for the benefit of all employees.

Everyone who works for the company (including freelancers) for at least 3 months in a financial year will be entitled to a dividend payment, and the workers will participate in management decisions through a representative council.

I wondered where the money came from to buy out the current owners’ share, and it seems the company has been building up cash reserves over years to allow this to happen — it’s a wonderful recognition of the company’s workforce, and prevents it being bought and destroyed by huge conglomerates. Excellent!