Archive for July, 2010

MIT study: politicians win on looks

July 28th, 2010 No comments

MIT has just published an interesting study, “LOOKING LIKE A WINNER Candidate Appearance and Electoral Success in New Democracies.” Here is the paper’s abstract:

A flurry of recent studies indicates that candidates who simply look more capable or attractive are more likely to win elections. In this article, the authors investigate whether voters‘ snap judgments of appearance travel across cultures and whether they influence elections in new democracies. They show unlabeled, black-and-white pictures of Mexican and Brazilian candidates‘ faces to subjects living in America and India, asking them which candidates would be better elected officials. Despite cultural, ethnic, and racial differences, Americans and Indians agree about which candidates are superficially appealing (correlations ranging from .70 to .87). Moreover, these superficial judgments appear to have a profound influence on Mexican and Brazilian voters, as the American and Indian judgments predict actual election returns with surprising accuracy. These effects, the results also suggest, may depend on the rules of the electoral game, with institutions exacerbating or mitigating the effects of appearance.

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Jackie Chan, my hero, and his Dragon Heart Charitable Foundation

July 27th, 2010 3 comments

Few days ago, I was talking to a friend over lunch, and the topic of modern hero came up.  We limited ourselves to identifying three who are alive today.  Jackie Chan (成龙) made my short list.   Of course, he requires no introduction.  In terms of worldwide popularity, I’d put him in the same league as people like Michael Jackson; very few stars can match.

Recently, he co-stared with Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, in “the Karate Kid” (see our post, “The Karate Kid – the biggest modern movie co-production thus far between an American studio and China“, by Allen). It’s an excellent movie having already surpassed $220million worldwide (source Box Office Mojo) in it’s 7th week. As relates to China, the film itself and Chan’s performance gave a nuanced view into Chinese culture and Chinese society that is simply rare in Western films. Chan is a Chinese cultural icon, and he is my hero because he can help bridge with those outside China.
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Convergence of Eastern and Western Collectivism

July 20th, 2010 8 comments

My high school political science teacher said once, that the political spectrum is not linear, but rather circular.  If one go far enough toward one extreme, one circle back from the other extreme.

So it is with the polarity of Western Individualism and Eastern Collectivism.  Where the West has often maintained a tradition of individualistic accomplishments and thoughts, the weight and size of Western society has forced the evolution of Western Individualism toward Western Collectivism, and the ultimate convergence of both the East and the West toward a singular form of collectivism.

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China Reported to be # 1 Energy Consumer – Why the Dread & Gloom?

July 20th, 2010 6 comments

According to a report by the International Energy Agency, China has surpassed the U.S. to become the number 1 consumer of energy.  The Wall Street Journal has this report, a copy of which is included:

China has passed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest energy consumer, according to new data from the International Energy Agency, a milestone that reflects both China’s decades-long burst of economic growth and its rapidly expanding clout as an industrial giant.

China’s ascent marks “a new age in the history of energy,” IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said in an interview. The country’s surging appetite has transformed global energy markets and propped up prices of oil and coal in recent years, and its continued growth stands to have long-term implications for U.S. energy security. Read more…

Harvard University study catches major U.S. media pants down – systematic reporting of U.S. waterboarding as not torture

July 16th, 2010 5 comments

An April 2010 student publication at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, “Torture at Times: Waterboarding in the Media” exposed the major U.S. media (New York Times, L.A. Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal) brainwashing the American public on U.S. waterboarding as not torture.

Abstract below:
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Categories: media, News Tags:

Intel achieved the best quarter in the company’s 42 year history

July 13th, 2010 4 comments

Intel has just announced its Q2 2010 earnings. It is the best quarter in the company’s 42 year history. Some of you might say, “what?!” With the financial crisis in Europe and the U.S., how can this be possible? Here is a direct link to their Q2 2010 report.

You will see in the report Intel’s revenue is derived 57% from “Asia-Pacific” excluding Japan. With Japan’s 11%, the whole of Asia accounts for nearly 70% of Intel’s revenue! China’s roaring economy is likely contributing a significant portion towards this record earnings. It is a little wonder that Intel is building a new fab in China (300mm fab in the northern Dalian using state of the art 90nm technology). Toyota too builds auto plants in the U.S., and for the same reasons: it would be too politically insensitive to not given how much Toyota derives its revenue from the U.S..
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Dagong rates U.S. credit worthiness below China’s and the impeccable timing of the report

July 13th, 2010 1 comment

China unveils first sovereign credit rating report,” and this news is spreading like wild fire in the West. One reason is the report ranking the U.S. lower than China. Here is a brief take on it at Seeking Alpha: “The Unthinkable: U.S. Stripped of AAA Credit Rating by Chinese Agency.” The English version of the report is here. While Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd. (大公国际资信评估有限公司), has been around in China, this is the first time the rating company reporting on sovereign credit worthiness.
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On “Civil Disobedience” and commonality between Mohatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

July 9th, 2010 8 comments

Henry David Thoreau's Cabin Site next to Walden Pond

What’s common between Mohatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr? Henry David Thoreau. That’s because Gandhi’s successful non-violent struggle for Indian independence from the British and King’s successful non-violent civil rights struggle to free African Americans were deeply influenced by Thoreau, especially his essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

(How does this relate to China? Don’t worry. I’ll get to it soon enough.)

“Civil Disobedience,” published in 1849, “argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War.” (
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In the new frontier of terrorism and nation building, US fights, China trades. But some small disconnect of roles.

July 5th, 2010 3 comments

While US fights a war of increasing desperation, mired by lack of local support and increasing corruptions, China is increasingly dominant in the markets of Afghanistan, and giving plenty of aid to government, building roads and hospitals.

Previously, (many hoped), India, being so close to Afghanistan and being a democracy, would be able to extend its influences into Afghanistan, but India has dropped the proverbial ball. Some roads were built, but were damaged by Taliban attacks. In the aftermath, Indian politicians became mired in internal disputes about whether India’s tiny investments in Afghanistan were worth it. (In other words, India became overly cautious, and the Indian projects in Afghanistan became largely symbolic.)
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Categories: Analysis, General, News, Opinion, politics Tags:

Zhang Monan (China Daily): “Towards new financial order”

July 5th, 2010 5 comments

Zhang Monan is economics researcher with China’s State Information Center and frequently appears on China Daily with her “big picture” takes on the global financial system. She is worthwhile following if you wish to understand how China sees the jostling of control between the now currently dominant developed countries and the emerging developing countries for a fairer share of wealth. In her 2010-07-05 article, “Towards new financial order,” she summarizes the inevitable competition (or “cooperatition” if you will) from developing countries in reshaping our worlds financial institutions. Below are snippets from her article:
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