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Saturday, January 30, 2010

China Leading in Green Energy

  • China has a huge demand for more power plants so they are buying 9X more than the US.
  • The Chinese government is also pushing green energy (10x the investment of the US).
  • Lower cost of manufacturing.
  • Plus rare metals used in the generators.

  • Chinese has become the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in the world.
  • Great for China
  • Worrisome for the US.

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Avatar 1, China 0

China's government official story is that Avatar in 2D was not doing that well so they pulled it.

But the movie the Chinese government is pushing, Confucius, got a rating of a 4.4 (very unlucky number) of out 10, where Avatar was rated 9.6 on a popular Chinese movie site (similar to Rotten Tomatoes). And Avatar is still doing double the business of Confucius in it's first three days. The result is many movie theaters are still showing Avatar in China in 2D.

Moral - leave those blue aliens alone. If you saw the movie you would have known that...

China’s Zeal for ‘Avatar’ Crowds Out ‘Confucius’ - NY Times

Related Post:

Avatar's Lucky Chinese Numbers


Friday, January 29, 2010

Was Lead, now Cadmium?

Disney toy jewelry recalled over cadmium - OC Register

Feds Probe Cadmium in Kids' Jewelry From China - Associated Press

Lead was big in the news in December 2007
with lots of product recalls. Lots of testing and legislation for lead, but obviously not for cadmium. Zinc is a what should have been used, but I would guess that cadmium cost less. The major use, 80%, of Cadmium is in batteries.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

How do you fly a Panda?

Use FedEx :-)

National Zoo panda Tai Shan to fly to China on custom FedEx plane - Washington Post

A previous custom FedEx plane used for a Panda at the Memphis Zoo.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

China's Cyber Merchantism

Mercantilism is where a country deliberately pushes the exports of products from their country while keeping imports to a minimum.

With security breaches the great thing about it is there is 100% deniability. There is always a chance that your country is being framed. And with the 100% deniability, there is no downside to Cyber Merchantism for a country. What is the cost of stealing competitive information (oil reserve information) from a US Oil company that can help your own domestic oil industry on bidding? None, since nobody can prove your country did it.

For any software used in China that uses encryption, the Chinese government requires a company to turn over the keys (access) to them. The US has similar requirements for criminal investigations through court orders. What happened with Skype for example in China, was somebody was monitoring conversations and scanning them for keywords, and then copying them. The challenge is what happens when the Chinese government favors domestic competition over your foreign site?

An example of this in China was initially Google's site for a while was being forwarded to a competitors. So if you typed in Google.cop Baidu would come put. Another example was when Google.cn was shut down due to pornography.

From a software prospective China was going to require that all PC's be installed with software to filter the Internet. Unfortunately it seems the software, Green Dam, had large parts of it copied from a US Software Cybersitter. Currently Cybersitter is suing for $2.2 Billion dollars over this. Since Green Dam has no foreign assets I don't see a cost for them copying the code. Cybersitter is also going after PC Manufacturers who installed the software that have foreign assets such as Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, etc.

What is happening in the hacker attacks is an outside entitity is gaining control of a computer. Making it into a zombie, which then gives them access to the network that computer is on. And specific people are being targeted using a combination of human engineering and zero day flaws. Through E-Mails sent directly to a person using their name and having a subject line that appears real, with a link or attached pdf, that when clicked on gives control of the computer.

And the sophistication of the hacking is amazing with different groups being involved in different areas. One group does the initial penetration, and then another group would search out needed information, and a third group would actually move the information out.

Why would a country do Cyber Merchantism? The simple answer is to give their own industry help. And this applies from raw materials, manufacturing, to the information economy. The goal of China's government is move up the economic value food chain, to advance from being just a place for low cost hub for manufacturing, into a producer and developer of high technology products.

I found this quote interesting:

“The China threat is constant,” says Shawn Carpenter, principal forensics analyst for NetWitness, a cybersecurity company. “If there’s valuable intellectual property out there, there are people in China and elsewhere who want to take it. It’s the new battlefield – low risk and low investment with high gain.”


US oil industry hit by cyberattacks: Was China involved? - Christian Science Monitor

In Digital Combat, U.S. Finds No Easy Deterrent - NY Times.

Google Attack Part of Widespread Spying Effort - IDG

China Issues Sharp Rebuke to U.S. Calls for an Investigation on Google Attacks - NY Times.

China retreats on Internet Filtering SoftwareChina Requires Censoring on New PCs

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Google China History

Good history of Google's involvement with China - The Google-China Challenge: How It Came to This by JR Raphael, PC World

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Modern Day Racism against Asians

Disturbing - 26 Asian Students were attacked on December 3rd at the High School.


Asian students describe violence at South Philadelphia High

Racism Against Chinese in the United States a timeline I put together.


Monday, January 25, 2010

2nd Largest Chinatown in California

And all gone now...

The Chinatown was in Maryville, which is next to Sacramento.

Nice article - We always look back' - Bay Chinese explore roots in Marysville

Some related links:

History of Chinese in Sacramento

Chinatowns of the US and Canada.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

China, WTO, and Google

Article from the SF Chronicle suggesting the US Government can file a complaint with the WTO (World Trade Organization) on China's Great Firewall as an unfair trade device.

China's Great Firewall impedes foreign trade - SF Chronicle

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Chinese Adoption Article

A family in China made babies their business - LA Times.

The lucrative trade in newborns was fueled by an adoption frenzy that saw government-run orphanages paying for children who they then made available to Westerners.

My opinion what China should do is set up a DNA database for all those with missing children (30,000 a year). And then require all children to be adopted to donate DNA.


UCLA Tour Guide - Wow

My family went on a tour of UCLA yesterday. Nice tour, but what was most impressive was the tour guide and what she did in high school. Lots of AP classes, involvement in sports and student government, taking college classes, and even starting a business in high school. Wow!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Chopsticks & when to use them

I am discriminated against all the time in Chinese restaurants.

Or are they just being polite to the white guy?

Three examples:

I am sitting there with my Taiwanese wife, and the waiter very politely puts out a fork for me.

The other day I was meeting with a Taiwanese lady for lunch who asked if I wanted a fork. I answered after 12 years of marriage to a Taiwanese, I was OK. And yes, my wife was also there :-)

And many times in a Chinese restaurant I need to ask for chopsticks, where my wife and family get them automatically.

May be if I use some Chinese it would get me less discriminated against in restaurants? Qing gei wo kuaizi for please give me chopsticks. The other important word in Chinese restaurants I use is bing Shui (bing means ice and shui water ). Phrase to ask for water - qing gei wo yi bei shui. And Ice Cream (another great word I learned from my daughter when she was a toddler - bing chi lin.

At home my family uses both chopsticks and forks. It depends on what we are eating. For some dishes it makes more sense to use a knife and fork, for others it makes more sense to use chopsticks. And others fingers (such as chicken drum sticks).

Some related books:


Decrease in Foreign Language Classes, except Chinese

Many schools across the US are cutting budgets and a frequent target of this is Foreign Language courses that are seen as nice to have, as compared to must have classes.

But, Chinese is increasing while other foreign language classes get cut. Why?

The Chinese government through the Confucius Institute is supplying teachers and even some funding for Chinese.

Foreign Languages Fade in Class - Except Chinese - NY Times.

I am still figuring out the Confucius Institute.

What I have figured out so far:
  • They have a publisher associated with them
  • Provide teacher training
  • Develop content
  • Provide Chinese teachers
  • Backed by the government of China.
  • They have over 60 locations in the US so far
  • Started in 2004.


Google, China, and the US

In follow up to the hacking of Google by Chinese hackers, the US government has taken up the issue of Internet Freedom and in a speech, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton specifically named China.

The Chinese complained about the speech.

I found the Chinese arguments interesting, but weak:
  • The Chinese Internet is open
  • The American demand for an unfettered Internet was a form of information imperialism
  • The U.S. campaign for uncensored and free flow of information on an unrestricted Internet is a disguised attempt to impose its values on other cultures in the name of democracy,
  • the United States employs the Internet as a weapon to achieve worldwide hegemony

Note the use of the word "imperialism"

The question is what will happen now:

  • Will US Chinese relations be hurt?
  • Will this start a trade war?
  • Is Google going to leave China?
  • Will Chinese citizens get upset about the censoring of the Internet?



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

EliteDresses Web Site Redesigned!

Finally, a professional web design for EliteDresses!

And of course the day was spent doing a bit of tweaking to the design.

It's a great improvement!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Avatar's Lucky Chinese Numbers

Notice how the number of screens is a lucky number in Chinese. 6, 2, and 8's are all considered lucky numbers.

8 has the same sound as wealthy.
6 in Chinese means smoothly, works great, etc
2 is lucky, since there is a saying that good things come in pairs. Double Happiness is an example of that.

Avatar' pulled from 1,628 Chinese movie screens - LA Times.

Per the article Avatar has been pulled from the screen in China due to the issue of resettlement as well as competition to China's own film industry.

Some other possibilities on why the message of Avatar is disliked by the Chinese government:
  • Environmentalism - Avatar is very pro environmental, where China's government has a higher priority on their economy, than on the environment.
  • Challenge Authority - Avatar promotes not following the dictates of a central authority and the evil of big business (the rebellion by the main characters against the human company.
  • Indigenous People Rights - A touchy subject in China.


Monday, January 18, 2010

How US unfriendly borders help China

In the name of security air travel in the US has become dreadful. Getting into the US as a foreign visitor has also become more unpleasant. Per the Economist, in a survey by a 2 to 1 margin, the US has the worst experience in customs of any country. The same article also notes how many scientific conferences preferring to convene outside of the US due to visa issues.

The NY Times article mentioned how many Chinese PhD students at one university in the US are now going back to China. PhD's leaving the US are a huge loss of educational capital. It costs a university more to educate a PhD than they bring in tuition. The reason is the number of faculty hours a PhD students takes, in small seminars, compared to the larger class sizes for master and undergraduate students.

Thomas Friedman had a proposal a while ago, that for certain major s when a foreign citizen person graduates in the US with an advanced degree, they automatically get a green card. The current H1B system is broken and leads to exportation of many in it. You are forced to stay with the employer who sponsors you until you get a green card, and if you change employers you have to reapply for a green card and start the process over again. I view it as a form of indentured servitude. I hope the US changes this short sited policy. The flow of amazingly talented individuals educated in the US is a huge loss of human capital. There are so many companies founded by immigrants in Silicon Valley with advanced degrees.

Bin Laden's legacy - Lexington in the Economist
Will China Achieve Science Supremacy? - NY Times.


China's Science Headache

Two articles that raise troubling questions on the issue of science in China. The article in the NY Times brought up a lock of the challenges that China has. They are using an industrial model for scientific research. The challenge is there is also a culture of many scientists for papers at any cost. The cost being a bit of faking.

Is science from China in danger of going down the same path of food safety in China? Will there be a contaminated milk type scandal in the sciences that will taint science in China? Lancet and Nature both had editorials after 70 papers with fake data were withdrawn. It's disturbing that in a survey more than half of scientists in China, knew of someone faking data.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Google vs. China - Even More

Methods - Why IE 6
One of the methods used in the hack was an Internet Explorer flaw. For such a high profile hack, flaws like this are basically one time use. Because after they are found the flaw is fixed. Microsoft supposedly will be issuing something on Tuesday for this. By clicking on a link from an E-Mail from a trusted source (fake E-mail), the hacker then could use the computer remotely.

Lesson - don't click on any link and/or attachments unless you expect them.

Companies Affected (known out of 34):
  • Google - Access to activist E-Mail accounts
  • Adobe - Seeking possible hacks into Adobe Reader and Acrobat they could use to enter other systems.
  • Juniper Networks - Probably just IP. Juniper is a the cutting edge of the hardware for the Internet.
  • Legal Firm representing a firm suing China for $2.2 Billion
  • Yahoo (rumor)
  • Symantec (rumor)
  • Northrop Grumman (rumor)
  • Dow Chemical (rumor)
  • Rackspace (hosting company used to transfer information)

  • Hacking into 100 Silicon Valley Companies in July 2009 using a pdf attachment
  • Obama and McCain Campaigns Hacked in 2008
  • May 2008 - Dalai Lama Hacking
  • US Secretary of Commerce Laptop hacked in China. June 2008.
  • November 2007 - US & British Businesses doing business in China were targeted.
  • Going back to 2005 per an article for hacking by China.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google Vs. China Continued

Good article that I agree with - Google Takes a Stand by Nicholas Kristof - NY Times.

Currently there are an estimated 130,000 people in China working for the government censoring the Internet. From chatrooms to search to even instant messaging to a Golden Shield between China and the rest of the world. It's very high tech.

My opinion is China has more to lose from Google leaving, than Google does. It would be a huge hit to China's reputation and it would also remove competition (that are heavily favored by the government) from it's home based competitors to Google. From Google's prospective it helps their reputation in the main markets where they get the majority of their income. Google Chinese revenue is $310 million, which is 2% of their overall revenue.

Another factor that has not been mentioned is many users in China go around the great firewall to use Google's products. Someplace I read that 20% of Internet users in China have a Google E-Mail account, yet Google does not offer this within China. Side note, Google now encrypts all Gmail Accounts automatically, used to be not automatic.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

China and Google

The interesting question is by being publically embarrassed by Google's accusations, what is China's leadership going to do?

Basically hackers from China hacked into Google and stole source code and got into at least one Gmail Account. China's government has seen hacking as very useful. From hacking into US Presidential candidates computers to better understand their position, to the Dalai Lama hacking. There has also been a huge amount of hacking for gaining foreign technology, especially from defence firms in the US. Since hacking can rarely be traced to an actual person, there is a huge amount of plausible denial.


Google’s Threat Echoed Everywhere, Except China

Google Exit Threatens Chinese Internet, Analysts Say

Foreign Companies Resent China’s Rules


Monday, January 11, 2010


Privacy is a huge concern of mine and I try to separate my public life, from my private life. The comments of Facebook's CEO on privacy last week are disturbing, especially since the privacy settings on facebook seem to be getting weaker (unless you adjust them). A feature of FaceBook I don't appreciate is how it forces you to combine your public and personal facebook profiles. You can have a fan page as a business only, which is very limited. I am interested in Facebook, but due to privacy concerns I have not been very active on it.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Taiwan's 2010 Rose Parade Entry

China Airlines' float won the International Award for most beautiful entry from outside the continental U.S. with a theme of Taiwan's Gardian- The Third Prince during the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, on New Year's Day, January 1, 2010. The third Prince in Mandarin is known as Nezha. More info. on how Nezha has become more Taiwanese.

China Airlines is really Taiwan's entry, since it's government owned.

Beautiful float! Pictures..

What's interesting is the floats have had more of a Taiwanese theme the last couple of years, where it used to be a generic Chinese theme.

Click on the labels to see previous years Float Entries.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

China Awakens or a Bubble about to Collapse

Two very different views on China:

Who’s Sleeping Now? NY Times by Thomas Friedman. A positive article about China and how they are doing a great Green Leap Forward.

The other is Contrarian Investor Sees Economic Crash in China also from the NY Times. The position in the article is China is over inflated with dodgy numbers and is Enron, except on a national scale.

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Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, China

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

$2.2 Billion Lawsuit

Wow on the amount! The filtering software had a lot of US code in it.

My guess is the US company won't have much luck going after the Chinese company that wrote the software (no US assets or sales in the US), but going after the hardware vendors that are included in the suit sounds like it has more potential.

US software firm sues China over Green Dam piracy The Guardian

This is about the software the Chinese government wanted to force on all PC's in China.

Related Posts:


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Kindergarten Lesson

Nice article from a new teacher who is figuring out what works to motivate his kindergarten students - The Kindergarten Lesson from the Washington Post.

The author finds when he can build on internal motivation that is the best way, rather than rely on external motivation.

My personal experience as a substitute teacher, was I saw many teachers who were successful with external rewards. It does take a lot of work to manage these correctly, but they are a physical symbol of success that can be very helpful. Just as writing a child's name on the board with check marks for some ages can help. Other ages and schools, a stack of referrals is a good method :-) The best method depends on the culture of the class, which is always a challenge to figure out.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Adult Learning Advice for Chinese

It's very important to exercise your brain as you get older I have noticed. Just like exercise for your physical to combat our food rich environment, exercise for the brain is important.

I like this quote from How to Train the Aging Brain in the NY Times:

“The brain is plastic and continues to change, not in getting bigger but allowing for greater complexity and deeper understanding,” says Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College of California, who has studied ways to teach adults effectively. “As adults we may not always learn quite as fast, but we are set up for this next developmental step.”

A teacher of mine was going very strong in his 80's and 90's, Peter Drucker. Every year he would choose an area to study, as a way to keep his mind fresh. He studied Japanese art and actually taught a class in it, becoming a true Renaissance man.

I suggest that Learning Chinese is a great way to exercise your brain.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Experience of Learning Chinese

Since people are focusing more on having experiences that last a lifetime, verses consumption, how does Learning Chinese fit in this?

Teaching your kids Chinese is a gift that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. It will give them a different prospective on life, expanding their career possibilities as well as expanding and exercising different areas of their brains. It's also beneficial for adults to learn Chinese (Unfortunately, Childbook’s primary focus is on Learning Chinese materials for children). As you learn Chinese, you will also be learning about the Chinese culture. Language has a huge impact upon any given culture, and learning Chinese can give your child first hand experience of the intricacies required to be successful when interacting with the Chinese culture or even other Asian cultures.

The main requirement of learning Chinese is not materials, but rather time and dedication. One doesn't learn a language by spending money, but rather by taking the time to learn the words, sentence structures, and by understanding the culture. Don't get me wrong here, although the right materials can definitely ease your path when learning Chinese, the time, effort and dedication required to truly master the language is what really makes an attempt to learn Chinese successful (or God forbid, unsuccessful).

More on why to Learn Chinese.

The article that got me thinking on this topic,
Americans Doing More, Buying Less, a Poll Finds - NY Times.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

China's fear of Charisma

Some questions to consider...

1. Why did China's leadership have junior government officials handle the negotiations in Copenhagen? Reference - How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room - UK Guardian.

2. Why was President's Obama in China not given the same opportunity to address the Chinese nation that President Clinton had?
Obama charisma? China keeps it in tight check. - Christian Science Monitor

4. What is the background of China current leadership?
Chinese Rising Leader Is Economist, Not Engineer - Forbes.com

5. If you are dealing with a charismatic leader, what is the best way to make sure your decisions are not affected by their charisma?

6. Who was the last Charismatic leader in China?

My thoughts:

China's current leaders are Engineers. Engineers are stoics in philosophy. Engineering that likes to base decisions on facts, and want to avoid group think. Note that Herbert Hoover was the last US President that was a Engineer. Mao was the last charismatic leader of China and the current leadership was alive during the cultural revolution. The Chinese leadership has also studied what led to the fall of the communism in Eastern Europe, including President Reagan's famous speech of "Tear Down this Wall".

The way to avoid being influenced by a charismatic person is use an intermediary. This way you can avoid the direct charismatic effect. The US in Copenhagen was not allowed to deal directly with the Chinese leader after an initial meeting, but with a series of intermediaries. Negotiations were also done around the US with India and Brazil (negating the charisma factor by not allowing it's presence). China also ran the clock out at Copenhagen, minimizing the possibility of an agreement that was forced by charisma. During President Obama's visit, China was also very careful to limit his uncontrolled access to the Chinese media.

A SWAG based on the above:

China's leadership is afraid of the impact of President's Obama's charisma as shown in actions during Copenhagen's negotiations and his visit to China. Their goal is to limit his ability to use his charisma that would be negative to their interest. Be it an environmental structure that may have negative impact on China's growth (part of the Heavenly Mandate, or how the government keep's it's legitimacy is through good economic growth in China) or through direct communication to the Chinese people that promoted areas that the current Chinese leadership does not want promoted (such as democracy, environmental, etc.). The leadership has direct experience on what a charismatic leader can do (Mao was extremely charasimatic and responsible for the Cultural Revolution). For this reason, China's leadership is extremely careful in limiting the ability of President Obama to influence China through his charisma.


Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Countdown Chinese Style

My daughter and I went to a New Years Countdown last night. It was in the plaza on Gale in City of Industry that has a JJ Bakery Restaurant in it. There was also one I believe in the Yes plaza and another plaza. They were sponsored by STC Real Estate Brokers, I guess they own or manage the different plazas. The one I went to had a stage with some Taiwanese Pop Stars. The count down was done in Mandarin and everybody went home. They had chairs and heaters. I guess I would classify this as a New Chinatown New Years countdown. We were going out to drop some stuff off at my warehouse and we spotted to guys with signs about the New Years countdown. After dropping my wife at home (warm in bed with an electric heater), my daughter and I bundled up and went out to the count down.

What surprised me was the restaurants in the plaza did not stay open. The book store did. I would have thought it was a good business opportunity.


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