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Friday, December 12, 2014

China Offers Iraq Air Support


China Offers Iraq Air Support - The American Interest

So why is China doing this?

My guesses:

  1. Keeping positive relationships with oil producing nations is very important for China.
  2. Good publicity for the Chinese government
  3. Good practice for the Chinese air force
  4. They are worried about their own Islamic Fundamentalists
  5. It's good for the Chinese government, internally. It shows China being a part on the world stage.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Green Tide in Taiwan Elections

I have not been keeping up on Taiwan's elections, but I know a few deep blue and green Taiwanese.

My green friends were very happy with the election results.

Why the huge defeat?

My guesses:

1. What's happening in Hong Kong.
2. Backlash about the closer ties with China being pushed by the KMT
3. The Sunflower protest movement
4. China's increased military ability
5. The increased confrontation of other countries by China
6. Green party had better candidates
7. Worries about Taiwan's economy

KMT Party Loses Big in Taiwan - The American Interest

Taiwan premier resigns after Nationalist Party suffers heavy losses - Christian Science Monitor

Xi Seeks to Calm Troubled Waters - The American Interest


Stolen Packages from Front Porch

We have been very lucky that very few of the  packages we ship end up missing.

With more and more houses adding video, it's easier to track down thieves. Video is getting so cheap. It's something I would like to add at my home.

Some videos I just found of thieves who were caught on video:

This is one where it was a neighborhood kid. I have the feeling the same thing happened to me, with my daughter's razor scooter my Father left to the side of my house in the front to give to my nephew, after my daughter out grew it.

Here is one where the suspect is driving a BMW:

And this is a neighbor who stole a package, and then the victim made up wanted posters in Arizona:

One a bit closer to me, in Yorba Linda:

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Most College Students Don't Finish in 4 Years

Some items that surprised me on in the report:

  • 60% of students change college
  • Only 10% of students who start in remediation, graduate
  • Only 19% of students finish in 4 years for a Bachelors
  • 5% of Community College students finish in 2 years
  • 50% of 2 year students need remediation

My Daughter got her Bachelors in 3 years as did one of her friends. I was on the five year plan, but Engineering where I went, usually is.

My 2 cents:

  1. Pick a major, and stick with it. Every time you change majors, you lose units and delay your graduation.
  2. Take a full load every term.
  3. Take online classes during summer, to speed up your graduation. They are often easier since they are from a 2 year college, than classes at your school.
  4. Make sure you do not miss out on classes that are only offered once a year, and are in sequence.
  5. When possible, take classes that meet more than one requirement, if possible.
  6. Go to a four college, and skip a 2 year college. The risk is too high. If you are a student who is super motivated, you can go to a 2 year college, bump up your GPA, and then transfer to a hard to get into 4 year.
  7. Select colleges with high graduation rates. The old saying, birds of a feather flock together. In other words, go to colleges with other students who are likely to graduate.
  8. Manage your workload every term, so you are not overloaded.
  9. While in high school, take classes at a 2 year college. They are often easier than AP classes and give you more credit - an AP course that takes a school year to complete, is often only worth a semester of college credit. Colleges appreciate applicants, who have already shown they can do college level work. Look into online classes.
  10. AP courses are a mixed bag on actual credit once you get to colleges. You will get the unit credit, but they often won't be counted towards required courses, but your electives.
  11. If your district offers it, complete a 2 year degree at the same time as your high school. My cousins kids did this, which was great. I wish my daughter's school had this program.

NY Times summary article:
Most College Students Don’t Earn a Degree in 4 Years, Study Finds - NY Times

The actual report:

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

China's Baby Hatch

China and Russia’s “Sphere of Influence” Fallacy

Should China have a sphere of influence? The US used to have the Monroe Doctrine, where Europeans were not allowed to interfere in North, or South America, or it would be seen as an act of war. The Obama administration has formally said the Monroe Doctrine is dead. Being truthful, since the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions the Monroe Doctrine has been unenforced by the US, Countries ally now with the US out of their self interests, the US does not force them to. The US has a strong isolationist streak, and the days of the CIA interfering with other governments as was done 30+ years ago is long gone.

The article is a good read:

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thinking Big - China: New Panama Canal, Corruption and Asia

It's easy to look at the news with mention of China individually, but when you start looking at a bigger picture I see China as thinking big, and trying lots of things that have risk, but also a high potential of paying off.

Some examples:

Free Trade Agreement with Australia
Panama Canal Competitor in Nicaragua
2nd $400 Billion Russia China Gas Deal
South China Sea
Mapping of US Electric Grid by two countries
Attacks on Corruption
Improving of China's Military

All of the above campaigns are thinking big, and all will have a potentially significant impact on China. It's hard to say which one would have more impact. The Gas Deals with China, at $800 Billion helps China's energy security tremendously. The efforts in the South China sea for securing resources is also big. Helping create a competitor to the Panama Canal in a Chinese politically friendly country would be historic. And the attacks on corruption may have significant impact on the current Chinese society.

I would argue, the one with the most potential is the campaign against corruption, and it's impact on China's military readiness. Historically, there has been a huge corruption issue in the Chinese military that has reduced it's combat ability. If the Chinese government can reform the Chinese military, and my opinion they will, this will be significant. There are two ways to look at a military force, one is by numbers and the other is by effectiveness. The US through training and technology achieved a military force in the Gulf Wars that shocked the Chinese military with their effectiveness. This forced many changes in the Chinese military to improve their effectiveness. China has been moving away from the idea of a peasant army, that would win through a battle of attrition, to one that can project forces outside of China. Chinese ships participating in the anti pirate campaign near Somalia are an example of that.

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