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Necessity, Mother of Invention and Awesome.

March 2nd, 2011 15 comments

I rarely get very excited about new technologies, because most new technologies from large corporations are seemingly a lot of reshuffling and repackaging of old things, and sometimes a bunch of bug fixes long over due.

But Baidu’s 3D game-like pixelated 3D Map (map.baidu.com) of Chinese Cities has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in years.  Much better than the 3D maps on Google, which are really just 2D maps plus some incomplete CAD drawing looking renderings. Gizmodo dubs it:

The result is amazing.

Read more…

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Reflecting on the Wikileaks Incident: What It Teaches About “Freedom”

January 16th, 2011 11 comments

Before this year really gets going (yes I know I have been out of commission from blogging for a while, a state which may continue for just a while longer), I thought I’d post my own little post reflecting on the Wikileaks incidient – which I think illustrate important issues relating to “freedom.”

The controversy over Wikileaks has evoked strong emotions on all sides here in the U.S. On the one hand, you have those like the U.S. government preaching responsibility, claiming that publication would harm the lives and U.S. interests around the world – that being responsible is necessary to preserving our liberty. On the other hand, you have those like Assange clamoring free speech, raising the specter of a government that can never be trusted.

In the midst of these debates, many have understandably come to see freedom as a balance between competing needs. This is however a mistake.

Balance is the domain of politics, not freedom. Read more…

It is real; the much talked about Chinese stealth fighter J-20 makes flight

January 11th, 2011 20 comments

Right before Christmas 2010, amateur photos of China’s J-20 stealth fighter (歼-20) began to appear on the Internet and media around the world speculated about the plane’s authenticity. In this Huanqiu.com report, the J-20 made its first public flight today. Back in 2009, a high ranking Chinese military official announced the progress of this program and its expected roll-out into service around 2020. Compared to the U.S. F-22 “Raptor”, which went into service in 2005, China is 15 years behind. Of course that is assuming the J-20 is on par with the F-22, which many analysts doubt. The Russian T-50, “Sukhoi PAK FA” is expected to go into service in 2012.


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Categories: technology Tags: , , ,

龙信明 BLOG: “China, Skype, and “The End of The World as we Know It””

January 6th, 2011 7 comments

On December 10, 2010, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology made a very brief announcement asking citizens to report illegal use of VOIP in China. This was further elaborated later by Deputy Minister of the MIIT, Xi Guohua, where the efforts were aimed at curbing fraudulent and swindling activities involving criminals using their PC’s to call regular telephones. PC to PC calls are not regulated. However, PC to Phone calls are, and China currently has given licenses to four operators on a pilot basis.

For over a week, the Western media reported a “ban” on the popular VOIP service, Skype. Well, actually, Skype is not even that popular in China. In the grander scheme of things, it is always about whether Western companies comply with Chinese laws or not. It is also about the Chinese government protecting her citizens from foreign governments and foreign corporations in our world of an inter-connected Internet. Following is an interesting and brief take from the 龙信明 BLOG:
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Categories: Analysis, media, News, technology Tags: ,

Chinese scientists made breakthrough in nuclear technology increasing uranium efficiency 60 folds

January 3rd, 2011 6 comments

Chinese scientists made breakthrough at the No.404 Factory of China National Nuclear Corp in the Gobi desert in remote Gansu province, enabling the re-use of spent uranium and increasing the efficiency of nuclear fuel by 60 folds.  China’s existing supply of uranium throughout China was estimated to last for 70 years.  With this technology, China now forecasts the supply lasting 3,000 years.

This breakthrough obviously makes nuclear power a much more practical option, because the waste resulting from use is now dramatically reduced.
Read more…

Categories: economy, Environment, technology, trade Tags:

COMAC C919 gets 100 orders

November 16th, 2010 3 comments

COMAC C919 orders signing ceremony

Six months ago, I wrote about the “COMAC C919, Challenging the Boeing and Airbus Duopoly.” The aircraft was scheduled for production release in 2016. And looks like the plan is proceeding well. The company has reported 100 of the planes having been pre-ordered by various airlines. So, here we are, six years before release, the C919 has already started making dents in this lucrative industry.

You may follow the above link to see who the suppliers are (for various subsystems of this aircraft) as well as other pertinent information about the market the C919 competes in. The C919 leverages COMAC’s experience from the ARJ21 which is expected to enter service this year.

The orders are making news around the world. Additional coverage by USA Today: “China wants to rival Boeing, Airbus with its C919 ‘big plane’.”

Tianhe-1A ranked world’s fastest super computer

November 15th, 2010 5 comments

Engineers working on Tianhe-1A

In the current edition of TOP500, Chinese made super computer Tianhe-1A (at 2.57 petaflops/second) has just overtaken the American Department of Energy’s Jaguar system (at 1.75 petaflops/second) in performance to top the current super computers world rankings list. (Here is the press release: “China Grabs Supercomputing Leadership Spot in Latest Ranking of World’s Top 500 Supercomputers.”)

This news is causing a stir in the U.S. media. Some are questioning the benchmark itself (never-mind the “gracious” acceptance of it when American made super computers topped the list). Various take on this news: China Daily, CNet, and WSJ.
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长沙两天建成15层新方舟旅店 – 15 Story Ark Hotel goes up in Two Days

November 13th, 2010 6 comments


(Youtube.com version if you are outside China)

This is a time-lapse of a 15-story Ark Hotel in 长沙 (Changsa) being built; 48 hours for the basic structure and another 90 hours for the walls and windows. It can withstand a Richter scale 9 earth quake. It was built using 6x less materials than a similar building. More details here.
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Is it Ever Possible for the West to See a “Responsible” China?

October 18th, 2010 7 comments

Many in the West have tried to coax China to act more “responsibly.” But is it possible for China to ever act “responsibly”? I don’t think so – not because China is inherently not “responsible,” but because an “irresponsible” China is born out of the imagination of an insecure West. In this atmosphere, the only way for the West to deem China to be “responsible” is for China to stop being an independent polity and tow the Western line. Here is a case in point.

Today James Fallows wrote an interesting article on whether China is merely Self-Interested (as any power is) or “Actively Maligned” against the International Order. I won’t repeat what he wrote, suffice for me to quote his reasonable conclusion that: Read more…

Eric Schmidt of Google discussing China with Charlie Rose

October 1st, 2010 1 comment

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, was recently on Charlie Rose talking about the China censorship issue. As you recall, Google threatened to pull out of the Mainland China market insinuating Chinese government backed hacking (no evidence to date) and threatening non-compliance with Chinese censorship laws. When China didn’t budge, Google shut down the search service on google.cn. Instead, on google.cn, there is a fake search box, and when a user clicks, it redirects the user to the Hong Kong google.com.hk site. According to this AP article, since then, Google dropped in revenue search share in China from 30.9% to 24.2% with bulk of the loss added to Baidu’s gain. Remember, this is revenue share, and given Google’s reach for the generally more English language capable Chinese population and Google’s over-all better monitization, Google’s user share within China is likely in the low teens or single digit percentage wise (my opinion).

We have written about the PR stunt Google pulled earlier in the year. (See Allen’s debunk: “Google vs. China – Good vs. Evil?“) It has been almost a year, and it is interesting to see Google’s current positioning on the issue. For your reference, below is a snippet of the Charlie Rose program transcript.
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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…

China publishes white paper: “The Internet in China” 《中国互联网状况》白皮书

June 9th, 2010 No comments

On June 8, 2010, a white paper, “The Internet in China,” (full text in English) was released by the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese full text version is also available: “中国互联网状况.”

This is a very important document, because it articulates the Chinese vision for the Internet. For putting this vision in writing, it enables those around the world to hear directly what China has to say rather than relying on others interpretation (with prejudice or otherwise). Those countries sharing China’s priorities could rally behind it. Those oppose can pinpoint areas of contention. (For completeness, the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) (中国互联网络信息中心) is an invaluable site to see the ground-level developments of the Internet within China, if you are interested.)
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BeiDou (COMPASS), China’s GPS, to service Asia by 2012 and the world by 2020

June 3rd, 2010 2 comments

BeiDou (COMPASS) Satellite #4 Launched June 3, 2010 Beijing Time

BeiDou (COMPASS) Satellite #4 Launched June 3, 2010 Beijing Time

China has just successfully placed into orbit her fourth satellite, which over the next ten years would complete a constellation of 35, to offer navigation and communications services to the world. By 2012, the BeiDou (COMPASS), in Chinese, 北斗卫星导航系统, system becomes operational for the Asia region. By 2020, it will service the entire globe. China joins the U.S. (GPS) and Russia (GLONASS) as the third country to have developed such a system. Like the GPS, COMPASS will have dual military and civil use where the military will have access to higher precision signals.

According to this Xinhua article, COMPASS’s “open” service, which is free of charge to global users, will have positioning accuracy of 10 meters.
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COMAC C919, Challenging the Boeing and Airbus Duopoly

May 27th, 2010 13 comments

The passenger aircraft industry is dominated by Boeing and Airbus. That landscape will start to change in 2016 when Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (中国商用飞机有限责任公司) officially enters its C919 jetliner into service. It will compete head on against the Boeing 737’s and Airbus A320’s and is expected to be both cheaper and more fuel efficient. China Daily cited a Bloomberg report where Airbus forecasted Asia region alone to buy 8,000 passenger aircrafts (100+ seats) over the next 20 years valuing at $1.2 trillion. The market is huge. It also cited an Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) report predicting that airlines in China will buy 2,922 large passenger jetliners before the year of 2028. That is in the neighborhood of $400 billion in jetliners. It is obvious that China would have to invest in this industry.

COMAC C919 Passenger Jetliner

COMAC C919 Passenger Jetliner


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Social Media – Not a Fad , and Not Anti-China

April 11th, 2010 17 comments

Recently, in light of the stink Google stirred up leaving China, many pundits in the West have opined how the Internet is inherently anti-government, how the Chinese government is too draconian in its control of the Internet, even how the second law of thermodynamics and “freedom” will eventually triumph.

I find by and most these observations to be absurd. Read more…

What Should Be Done with Google’s IP in China?

March 31st, 2010 15 comments

Google search may have left China, but does Google owe responsibilities to the people of a place it has recently left?

This is not an academic question, especially since many believe that Google’s exit will hurt average people in China. According to this CNN article,

Businesses and universities could be substantially affected by the departure of Google from China.

Most of the country’s nearly 400 million Internet users may not be affected by the closure. But academics, university students and other researchers rely heavily on Google’s search services to access information not available through Chinese search engines, like Baidu.com, China’s most popular search portal. Small businesses that depend on Google applications such as Google Docs and Gmail may also suffer, analysts said.

A recent survey of more than 700 Chinese scientists conducted by the journal Nature found that 80 percent regularly use Google to search for academic papers while 60 percent said they use the site to stay on top of new research. Read more…

What does “Internet Censorship” Mean?

March 16th, 2010 16 comments

As Google prepares potentially for a highly politicized exist of China, we’ll hear a lot more accusations on how closed China’s Internet is.  The presumption of Google’s move would be that China’s Internet is closed while the rest of the world (in which Google still does business) is open.

Of course, anyone who has even remote experience with China’s internet (and Chinese society for that matter) will understand the Internet in China is amongst the most dynamic in the world, as well as amongst the most explosive and important.

China’s Internet is not closed in the sense that has been depicted in the West. Read more…

Google Leaving China?

March 15th, 2010 No comments

According to Google’s CEO Schmidt, Google’s “negotiation” with the Chinese government over Internet censorship regulations will end “soon.” There are speculations in the tech-sphere that it looks like Google will have to leave China. According to ZDNet’s Tom Forenski, for example:

Champagne corks are undoubtedly popping in Redmond on reports that Google is planning to close its Chinese search service.

Google will try to maintain its other operations in China but this is unlikely to succeed. Any foreign business requires the approval of the Chinese government. Google has shown itself to be in opposition to the Chinese government — this is an untenable position.

This also means that Google will unlikely be able to take part in joint ventures with others in China. In early February, Reuters reported that Google is a member of a consortium led by Disney, to buy a large stake in Bus Online, a large Chinese advertising company.

It’s difficult to see how this deal will go through with Google as a member, if it is an opponent to the government.

This means Google is barred from the world’s largest and fastest growing Internet market. Read more…

High-Speed Rails in China

February 4th, 2010 52 comments

High-speed rails (HSR) have been built in China at a fanatic pace. Figure this will be an entry to get the debate started.

The first HSR, the Shanghai Maglev Train, was completed in late 2003. It was a technical trial and showcase. After its completion and initial operation, the Maglev technology was deemed too expensive to build and maintain. China decided to roll out its national HSR system with the wheel-based technology. Here is a map of China’s HSR system in 2020:
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Google vs. China – Good vs. Evil?

January 25th, 2010 86 comments

Google’s recent drama in China has endeared itself to some human rights activists, democracy advocates, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Many have applauded Google for taking a “principled stance” against the evil empire of China.  I find such rhetoric comical. Read more…

Google – A New Approach to China

January 13th, 2010 206 comments

Google issued a press release on their blog just a few hours ago pertaining to their operation in China. It is big news and will take some time to digest. I don’t want to comment, just get the story out.  Read more…

Haier does true wireless HDTV

January 7th, 2010 22 comments

Haiers true wireless HDTV (gizmodo.com)

Haier's true wireless HDTV (gizmodo.com)


The word “wireless” has really become an oxymoron. For example, are cell phones really wireless? Not really, because without a charging cable, cell phones are useless. At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Haier has demonstrated a true wireless HDTV. No wires. No power cable.
Read more…

Categories: economy, technology Tags:

(Letter from TonyP4) Tsien Hsue-Shen, the father of China’s missiles.

October 31st, 2009 20 comments

He passed away at 98.

The description of his life in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qian_Xuesen.

I just finished a book on him by Iris Chang. It is translated from English to Chinese. A very fascinating life.

99.9% chance he was not a communist when he was in US. He was a dedicated scientist.

The joke of the century is the witch hunt of communists in US and drove Tsien back to China to help China to develop missiles. It speeds up China’s missile development by at least 10 years when China did not know how to build good bicycle.

Did Middle East and N.Korea benefit from his initial work?

The book mentioned one or two flaws in his life. I believe he needed to do so to be political stable and be able to secure the funds for his work.

Categories: technology Tags: , ,

Green Dam-Youth Escort

June 16th, 2009 117 comments

China Internet

It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the  mainland from July 1st.

There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.

1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers?
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(Letter from ecodelta) Tai Chi Scooter One-Ups The Segway

March 21st, 2009 No comments

“A mechanical engineer at Purdue University has one-upped the Segway guys with a hands-free scooter that uses the principles of Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese martial art, to keep you from falling on your face.”

Original article can be found here.

http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/03/students-build.html

Categories: technology Tags: , , ,

Hakka Tulou in Fujian Province

January 17th, 2009 52 comments

fujian070small-large

Huaiyuan Lou Tulou; built in 1907

We’ve had discussions about Hakka culture in the past with several of our commenters being of Hakka ancestry, so I wanted to show some photos taken by Ted of tulou (土楼; 土樓) in Fujian province. 60% of Hakka are from the Xingning/Meixian area of Guangdong province and over 95% of overseas Hakka were originally from that region, but tulou exist only in Fujian.

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(Letter from Arctosia, Opposing Viewpoint) Chinese Government publishes list of “vulgar” websites and information

January 7th, 2009 64 comments

For many Chinese website operators, 2009 didn’t start very well. China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre, a semi-government agency, has published a list of websites which contain “vulgar and unhealthy information” deemed to be harmful to the country’s youth. The list (in Chinese) can be found here.

The interesting thing about this list is that it covered majority of the most popular websites in China. Google was ranked number one “vulgar” site (see, e.g., NYTimes article), followed by Baidu and Sina.

I’m very confident that every Chinese netizen have visited at least one of such vulgar websites. I myself must have visited at least 75% of the websites listed and would probably be diagnosed as psychotic under the Chinese guideline. Read more…

As Trade Slows, China Rethinks Its Growth Strategy

January 3rd, 2009 55 comments

A recent article in the NY Times with excerpts below, talks about the continued deepening of China’s economic slowdown. When calculated in China’s own currency for a true local effect, the situation is worse than expected even a few short weeks ago. There is recession in the USA, recession in Japan, cancelled orders and lack of re-orders hitting the Chinese businesses dedicated to export markets.

The Chinese government’s plan is to stimulate the local economy and encourage its people to lower their savings rate. But with the lack of a health care plan or retirement programs, people seem to be saving more, not less. What is the best way for China to head off a recession? Should they establish a rudimentary health care plan for their citizens? Or is the money better spent in other areas? Read more…

Categories: General, News, politics, technology Tags:

Chinese Crew Fights Off Pirates

December 23rd, 2008 17 comments

From the Times Online website with thanks to FOARP: Chinese Crew Used Beer Bottles To Fight Off Pirates

 The crew of a Chinese ship have described how they used beer bottles and water cannon to fend off a pirate attack off the Somali coast before they were rescued.

Zhenua 4 was one of four vessels seized by pirates on Wednesday, shortly after the UN Security Council authorised countries to pursue the renegades by land and air.

Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and machineguns boarded the ship, Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, reported. Read more…

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(Letter from BC) Can China Save American Automakers?

December 18th, 2008 38 comments

No, China will not buy GM, Ford or Chrysler. But there is another way – a scheme of division of labor in which the U.S. will focus on design and innovation while China on manufacturing efficiency. Read more…