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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chinese Herbs and Pesticides

Troubling, the article writes about a Greenpeace study, that found pesticides in 48 of 65 tested positive for pesticides in herbs used traditional Chinese medicine purchased in China. And scary that 12 of the 18 tea products tested last year contained at least one banned pesticide.

Study Asks if Tainted Chinese Herbs Are Harming, Not Healing - NY Times

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Champion's Students "Champion" The Chinese Language

If you live in the CT area, I would highly recommend having your kids go to Pei Pei's school. She is so energetic.

Champion's Students "Champion" The Chinese Language - Courant

Champion Chinese Sounding Systems & Pronunciation (Foundation Level), Students Edition, BoPoMo, Hanyu
Our Price: $25.00
(4 reviews)

  • Learn & memorize the most important sounding systems in only two to five hours.
  • Enables students to start sounding out, pronounce Chinese characters and reading Chinese materials in  Bo Po Mo - Zhuyin symbols in about two to six hours.
  • It can take at least 55 classroom hours to teach the student the BoPoMo pronunciation guide using other, more traditional methods.

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Chinese culture camp helps local students learn new language

Nice to have a free Summer Camp for Learning Chinese in the Imperial Valley.

Chinese culture camp helps local students learn new language  - Ivy Press Online

My list of 2013 Chinese Summer School Programs


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How World War 2 shaped Modern China

Book review in the Economist, and definitely a good read.

The start of history. How the struggle against Japan’s brutal occupation shaped modern China - The Economist

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

U.S. has stolen millions of text messages from Chinese phones, claims Snowden

My first thought is wow.

My second thought is why?

My guess is this way the US government can get a better understanding of what the Chinese are thinking. Once you have mass of information, you can do analysis to easily get trends and such.

And yes, the loss of privacy for anything that is in an electronic format worries me.

U.S. has stolen millions of text messages from Chinese phones, claims Snowden - Mail Online


Chinese Spring ‘Climate Bomb’ on Greens

My understanding is some rules were created that were not well thought, some Chinese business people took advantage of them, the rules have changed, and the Chinese business people no longer have an incentive to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way, the coolants that were over produced deliberately so they could get money for disposing of them.

So what is going to be done to safely dispose of what has been made, but not destroyed?

Chinese Spring ‘Climate Bomb’ on Greens  - Via Meadia


Faltering Economy in China Dims Job Prospects for Graduates

For historical reasons, it is not a good idea for social harmony to have a bunch of college educated without job prospects. It leads to social unrest, and the Communist Party has studied how revolutions start. So can Chinese government supply enough of the jobs the college graduates want? Assembly jobs are not acceptable to most Chinese graduates, they expect more.

From the NY Times:

Faltering Economy in China Dims Job Prospects for Graduates - NY Times


Historical Chinatown in Rancho Cucamonga

Amazing the Chinese historical presence in California, I did not know about this one. Rancho Cucamonga was a farming community, which has become another suburb which has a 99 Market! How the times have changed.

Chinatown House: A Legacy in Need of Saving - Huffington Post

And for reference

Chinatowns of the United States and Canada - ChildBook.com


Friday, June 21, 2013

Why India is More Like Europe than China

The best explanation I have seen of the cultural differences between India and China. Being truthful, Indian history is a weak area of mine. I have picked up a bit of Chinese history, but my European and US history are a lot stronger. I did meet somebody with a degree in Colonial History, and then I asked which country, and it was India. The person was a bicycle tour guide in Hollywood, and graduated from Vassar. It was fun talking to her about Indian culture. If you have a chance and really want to see Hollywood, a bicycle tour is great. A quick warning, there is a hill at the end of the ride.

Why India is More Like Europe than China

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How China Lost Burma

How China Lost Burma - Via Media

Good read. I am surprised at the challenges China is having in Burma.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Recess and after School Leagues Help!

Recess is so important for little ones. It gives them a chance to burn off excess energy, that way they can be productive in class. I see it as making the overall day more effective. And play is a very effective teacher, when done right. For Learning Chinese, it should be made fun.

What works at troubled schools — play - SF Gate

Suggested products for making Learning Chinese Fun:

Games for Learning Chinese, Traditional

Practical Chinese Learning Games "10 in 1", Simplified

My First Chinese Games - Playing Cards, Simplified Chinese

My First Chinese Games - Playing Cards, Traditional Chinese

Practical Chinese Learning Games "10 in 1", Traditional


Should Interns Get Paid?

I have very mixed feelings on this. There seems to be a bit of a double standard, where if your a non-profit it's ok not to pay an intern, but if your a for profit you can get in trouble. And there is the challenge is it a true internship where the person is learning, or are they actually doing a job for no pay. Sometimes Interns have hidden costs, since they do require training. But on the other hand, does the ability of some interns to not need to work, give them an unfair advantage?

Internships seem to be part of the college experience. As well as part of having a great application for college.


Warner, Atlantic sued over unpaid internships - CBS News

Should Interns Get Paid? - Richochet

http://www.unpaidinternslawsuit.com/ - a site for lawsuits for unpaid interns.

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Thinking of Home Makes It Harder to Learn a Foreign Language

I wonder if this means it actually makes sense, in Taiwan to learn English from a White Person? I always thought it was more important the person / teacher, rather than where they are from. There is a group in Taiwan, I blogged about it, that is against discrimination for English Teachers who are non White, in Taiwan.

The article is about how the mind, when reminded of home, is harder for learning a foreign language. This is probably why full immersion is such a great teaching method. And if you go to a foreign country, you can usually Learn a Foreign Language such as Chinese, much faster.

Thinking of Home Makes It Harder to Learn a Foreign Language - Wired

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grouping Students is back!

What is old, is new? I have mixed feelings on this. I can see how if done wrong, it can be negative. The headache is often the best students get the best teachers, where often the other students could use the better teachers.

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom - NY Times

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Alternative to Panama Canal by China?

  • 100 Year Concession
  • First ships to go through within 6 years
  • Fully completed in 10 Years
  • Would go through Nicaragua
Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal - The Guardian

Good discussion on the canal on Slashdot


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What If China Hacks the NSA's Massive Data Trove? - Atlantic Mobile

Good question!

What If China Hacks the NSA's Massive Data Trove? - Atlantic Mobile

If your worried about your search history, you may want to try out:

The good and bad thing about Google, is it tracks you. Your personal information is used to sell ads more effectively. That is what pays the bills at Google. If there was no Internet Advertising, Google would not exist.

And a good list of privacy resources - the headache is some of them a bit inconvenient:

How to Keep Your Conversations Private from the NSA – UPDATED - Victory Girls

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Report calls for end to grouping of Asian-American students in one category | Inside Higher Ed

What I found more interesting, was the rates by Nationality / background for Asians going to college. Taiwanese has it's own category.

Taiwanese in the US, 74.1% have a college degree.
Indian at 71.1%.
Japanese is only at 47.7%
Korean at 52.7%.

And the huge percent of intermarriage is going to make a mess of this. A Vietnamese friend of mine is married to a Hispanic / Chinese lady, what do you call their kids beyond American?

Report calls for end to grouping of Asian-American students in one category | Inside Higher Ed

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Au Weiwei - NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China

Excellent read, and troubling. Privacy is a huge concern of mine, and I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. I did not realize that Skype was included in this, I thought it was pretty secure.

NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China - The Guardian

Quote from the article"

Civilization is built on that trust and everyone must fight to defend it, and to protect our vulnerable aspects – our inner feelings, our families. We must not hand over our rights to other people. No state power should be given that kind of trust. Not China. Not the US.

The best comment I read was:
I did enjoy one comment I saw somewhere on the interwebs (sorry can't remember where) - that the public would be much more accepting of this behaviour if the NSA gave away a browser, search engine, provided a free mapping service and hosted email.

From: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/08/what_about_a_us_tech_boycott/

And a great point:

Why the NSA Prism Program Could Kill U.S. Tech Companies - Popular Mechanics
Spying on foreigners could create a terrible blowback to the U.S. economy.

And I am surprised, from what little I know, that the EU Privacy requirements were flouted.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Empress Pavillion - R.I.P.

At the best job I ever had, the VP in charge of the division would take the entire group out for dim sum at he Empress Pavillion, and VP got incredible performance out of his group. Unfortunately, his group then got assimilated by a larger group that had more political mojo, and the culture changed after it was taken away from him.

Chinatown dim sum palace Empress Pavilion evicted, closes doors after almost 25 years - LA Times

Two dim sum books:

Dim Sum For Everyone! by Grace Lin
Dim Sum For Everyone! by Grace Lin
Our Price: $6.99
(3 reviews)

Just right for young children, Dim Sum for Everyone! celebrates a cultural custom and a universal favorite activity--eating!  Great book!
Yum Yum Dim Sum,  English, Board Book
Yum Yum Dim Sum, English, Board Book
Our Price: $6.99

Yum Yum Dim Sum

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Liberal Studies - What should it be

Great article discussing what a true liberal studies education should be. It was a commencement address and it goes through how what a liberal education has changed, and what historically is closest to what is now considered a liberal education in college. It's an important subject, since the question of what is the goal of a college education is a hot topic. Is it to give a person skills so they can get a great job, or to make them a well rounded person?

Ave atque vale by Donald Kagan - The New Criterion

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

LA Chinese Bakery Groupon

I suggest buy it before they are gone. Nice Chinese bakery.

Kee Wah Bakery – Multiple Locations groupon. One is in Monterey Park, the other is Rowland Heights.
$5 for $10 Worth of Half Off Chinese Baked Food. Two Options Available.            

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Bubble Tea toxic fears in Taiwan?

Unfortunately another food scandal in Taiwan. It seems nothing changed from the last time there was a food scandal. 312 tons of starch, used to make the bubbles / tapioca has been confiscated so far. Malaysia and Singapore have imposed bans.

Bubble Tea Under Threat from Toxic Fears in Taiwan - China Real Time Report - WSJ

A letter from the Taiwan US embassy equivalent to the WSJ:

Bubble Tea Will Be Safe Once More - WSJ

More details on what the history of this and what is being done. What is strange is this has been going on for at least 10 years, may be over 40 years. I don't understand how this could have been allowed to go on for so long. And it involves 21 suppliers. And the focus just seems to be on this one chemical, but what else is out there?

Taiwan food vendors must certify they don't use banned chemical | South China Morning Post

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$4.7 Billion by China for a US Pork company?

Why would a Chinese company spend $4.7 Billion for a US food company?

Because food quality in China is a huge issue, and either they are going to make money by using the US name in China for selling pork (safe food), and/or they hope to use the expertise from the company to fix their supply chain for food in China.

The question I have is it possible to import pork into China the volume needed to pay for the purchase, or due to politics will they have to locally source pork from within China, usually from small farmers with a system that has known quality issues? I hope China can improve the quality of their food.

China has a huge food safety issue, and the US has among the best food quality in the world. The US food industry in most areas, is among the cutting edge on value and net exporters. US farmers and the food industry have done an amazing job of making food cheaper, and higher quality of the past 100 years. A 100 years ago, Chicken was more expensive than beef. The promise of chicken in every pot, would have been like promising filet mignon dinners to all. It was after WW2 with the industrialization of chicken farming, that the price of chicken fell.

What China Can Learn From America's Hot Dogs - The Wall Street Journal

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Tarrifs on Chinese Solar Panels - So what effect?

The US put tariffs on cheap Chinese solar panels last year. The allegation was the Chinese manufacturers were selling under cost. I agree with the allegation of selling under cost, unfortunately there is an over supply of solar panels and its better for the local government that usually backs a solar manufacturer to keep the jobs, and take the loss. Another allegation is that the Chinese solar panels quality is suffering, some of them not even lasting two years as costs get cut, resulting in poor quality.

A scary quote from the NY Times story Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels:
Executives at companies that inspect Chinese factories on behalf of developers and financiers said that over the last 18 months they have found that even the most reputable companies are substituting cheaper, untested materials.

What happened to the market for cheap solar panels, is another nations such as Malaysia now supply the US.

Disclaimer: I am a big fan of solar in theory and the technology advances are very exciting. Solar is getting closer in the Los Angeles (super sunny) area to be competitive with the price of retail electricity. And yes, I know about the storage issues (no solar at night). As well as the impact of fracking that has led to cheap natural gas in the US that is changing the economics of electricity generation.


Chinese Sellers on eBay

I have noticed there are a lot of Chinese sellers on eBay. They are located in China, but they are selling to a US market. The question is how does this make economic sense?

Some Guesses:

Their cost is probably 50 to 75% of what you would pay in the US. They are getting it at the Chinese wholesale price, which is much less than the US wholesale price. Not to mention the tariff / customs issue. When your importing products, there is a lot of additional costs. The cost of shipping, going through customs, tariffs, warehousing in the US, etc. are all costs US importers need to buy.

Lower profits required to break even. US salaries are usually more than Chinese salaries, not to mention the other overhead costs - rents, taxes, etc.

Shipping Costs are surprisingly low from China to the US. For a 2 oz product, it costs .97 to ship. For 18 oz, it's $9.67. Amazing. The costs of shipping in the US, are less than shipping the item from China.

USPS Gives eBay China Sellers Competitive Advantage - - ecommerce Bytes

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