In Hollywood, U.S. and Chinese hackers are friends

Michael Mann -- director of the venerable Al Pacino/Robert De Niro movie Heat and The Last of the Mohicans -- is working on a new film, and its plotline sounds, well, unrealistic.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the still-untitled movie will feature U.S. and Chinese cyber agents -- not duking it out across the Internet, as might be expected, but working together. To stop a hacker. From the Balkans. The film is said to center around a pair of "Chinese hacker siblings"; Mann was reportedly in Hong Kong this week scouting potential lead actors and actresses.

Is this completely implausible? Well, not completely. Sure, there are some hackers in the Balkans. And sure, the United States and China occasionally make gestures toward increasing cooperation on cybercrime. But it is cybercrime from China -- particularly of the state-backed variety -- that is by far the bigger concern for business leaders and policymakers.

Is this another incident of Hollywood kowtowing to China and its enormous potential audience (expected to be the biggest film market in the world by 2020)? Sure seems like it, at least. 



North Korean aggression: the soundtrack

"Leader, Just Give Us Your Order" KCNA

North Korea's threats have dominated international news over the past month. But a quick scan of North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA suggests we've been missing something: Pyongyang's unique literary approach to bellicosity.  

Every few days, it seems, KCNA publishes an article detailing songs and poems performed at official events -- remarkably literal titles that give you a sense of what it might sound like if Kim Jong Un adapted his provocations as a musical. Here are some of the top songs:

  • "Leader, Just Give Us Your Order" -- the hit single, "now heard everywhere in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," crops up most frequently on KCNA (you can listen to the tune above).

When it comes to poetry -- a literary form loathed by high schoolers the world over for its mind-numbing level of abstraction and obfuscation -- the North Koreans might be on to something with titles like:

If these are a little somber for your taste, there's always the poem that kicked off today's event celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's election as the DPRK defense commission chairman -- the idyllically titled, "Great Joy in April."

For those who listened to "Leader, Just Give Us Your Order" and still want more, here are "We Will Defend General Kim Jong Un at the Cost of Our Lives" and "Provokers Are Bound to Meet Death":