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Friday, February 27, 2015

Blacksmith New Year Display - Wow!

Amazing Video showing a Chinese New Year Celebration!

Better than fireworks.

China’s Blacksmiths Put On Dazzling Display for New Year   - WSJ

Transcript needs work...  The problem of automatically generating one, when the language is Chinese - well, just click to see it. The sub-titles are OK.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

China drops leading technology brands for state purchases

No surprise that China is limiting US equipment. There are two main reasons for thsi:

1. Security
2. Increase China's technical ability

No longer on the list is:

  • Apple
  • Intel
  • Cisco

I believe a lot of this is because of what Edward Snowden has disclosed, on how the NSA can intercepting US equipment, and put a back door into it. If your an organization outside the US that is worried about US surveillance, you would need to be stupid to use US equipment, unless you absolutely need too.

China drops leading technology brands for state purchases - Reuters

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Levovo Adware

If you bought a consumer grade laptop from Lenovo within the past couple of months, you may have some nasty adware on your laptop called SuperFish. What is really bad  about SuperFish, is it puts a huge hole in your security.

Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware - The Register


NSA Firmware Hard drive Hack - Wow!

I am amazed by what the US Government, through the NSA has done. Amazing technical hack.

Basically, anti virus software can't even see the hack, because the firmware on your hard drive gets rewritten. The firmware is the software code used to control your hard drive. Each hard drive has the ability to be updated, to be "flashed" with a software update. And the software in the hard drive was not designed with security in mind, so there is no way to tell if the hard drive has been hacked.

The knowledge required to do this hack is amazing. It's per hard drive manufacturer, using commands that are not public.

The positive news, for now, is only a few computers in the world have been targeted. None in the US.

The hack was found by Kaspersky, that is a Russian based anti-virus company.

How the NSA’s Firmware Hacking Works and Why It’s So Unsettling - Wired Magazine

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Chinese Money in Hollywood

I don't think the Chinese need to invest directly in a movie studio, to many potential downsides.

Michael Wolff on Hollywood's Disappearing Chinese Money - Hollywood Reporter


Future of Colleges

Good article that is a summary of a Washington Post excerpt from a new book.

The comments add a lot to the discussion.

My take:

  1. A US Supreme Court ruling basically destroyed using testing to figure out if somebody is suitable for a job. The work around for this is using a college degree to show base knowledge. My opinion is the ruling actually made things worse on finding good people. Note that the US military, that uses lots of testing, especially during World War 2, is exempt from this ruling
    Griggs vs. Duke Power Co.
  2. I question the assumption that colleges will go to a liberal arts typology. I don't see the economics that would drive this. The current structure of colleges in the US overall, is doing a poor job of education, with a high drop out rate, at a high cost.
  3. Credentialing is the biggest issue I see for the growth of MOOCS.
  4. If everyone is using the same material, from online classes for example if a video existed of the Feynman Lectures, what will differentiate a school then?
  5. Many businesses are frustrated with the output of colleges for the skills they are looking for.
School’s Out Forever - The American Interest

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Year of the Ewe

Fun article to read. Supposedly, per the Chinese, a child's personality varies depending on what year they are born. So if your born in the year of the sheep, your more like a sheep.

Happy Ewe Year: Astrological Signs Bad for the Sheep Year - NBC News


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hacking Home Schooling

I have a huge amount of respect for those that are home schooling their kids. It's interesting that home schooling crosses from conservatives to progressives. Good article talking about Home Schooling in Silicon Valley.

For one of my very good friends, college came later in his life, and he knew more than his teachers did about computers and programming. A genius. Unfortunately, he never found a job that paid him for his huge ability, so he felt the need to get credentialed.

The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids - Wired


Meek Sheep?

The year of the Sheep is seen as not the best year to have a child. The Year of the Dragon is the best. My favorite is Snake and Dog...

Interesting article in AdAge

Will Marketers Snub the Black Sheep of the Chinese Zodiac? - AdAge


Is it Year of the Sheep, Goat, or Ram?

So is the year of the sheep, goat, or lamb?

Actually, the same word in Chinese can be translated into all of the above. The ancient Character was much ore goat like, where you can see the horns. A neat article that shows how the character has evolved.

The coloring pages for sheep you can print out.

Sheep Coloring Page Chinese New Year Zodiac
Sheep Coloring Page Chinese New Year Zodiac

Chinese New Year Coloring Pages/Pictures Chinese New Year Coloring Pictures - Zodiac, Calendar, Animals, and Horoscope
  • 12 Chinese New Year Coloring Pages/Pictures for the customs
  • From Cleaning the House to Red Envelopes, Dragon Dances, and More!
  • Great way to Learn more about Chinese New Year!
Free for downloading and printing
Chinese New Year Zodiac Coloring Pictures
Chinese New Year Greetings Coloring Pictures Chinese New Year Wall & Door Scroll Coloring Pictures
Chinese New Year Greetings Coloring Pictures.  You can also color and give to loved ones as a Chinese New Year gift.
Chinese New Year Wall & Door Scroll Coloring Pictures
Chinese New Year Zodiac, Calendar, Animals, and Horoscope
  • History of the Chinese Zodiac
  • Chinese New Year Dates
  • Characteristics of People Born that Year

Chinese New Year Worksheets

Free and printable
  • Word search
  • Jumbled letters
  • Missing words
  • Missing letters
Interesting way to teach about Chinese New Year and the Chinese Zodiac.


How the Chinese Character for Goat Evolved


A page showing how the symbol for goat has evolved.

I wish Long as  Dragon was back in print. It's a very neat book that shows how Chinese characters have evolved. Hint, Hint Dear Publisher...  Amazon has some used, I am out of stock.


China denies suggestions it stole designs for new U.S. fighter

China denies suggestions it stole designs for new U.S. fighter - CNN

The article also states that Chinese aircraft, that resembles the F-35, is not capable.

My thoughts, sure on both statements...

Per Edward Snowden, Chinese hackers stole 50 Terabytes of Data on the F-35. The US government has also admitted the F-35 data has been hacked. Per another article, this may have saved the Chinese 25 years of research and development.

For Industrial espionage using the Internet, China has probably the best ability out there. The US does have a hacking ability, but it's not used for industrial espionage. In China, the relations between companies and the government is much closer, than in the US.

On the 2nd accusation, that the Chinese aircraft the resembles the F-35 is not as capable. I am not a huge fan of the F-35, and I marvel at what has been done politically by the manufacturers and the air force to keep it going. The last time a plane was designed for all services to do all things, was the F-111. The idea was one aircraft for all services would save money.  The result was the services, after the failure of the F-111, went with cheaper less functional aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, F-18, Harrier Jump Jet, and A-10. And now, all those aircraft, including the vertical take off aircraft are to be replaced by the F-35.

The requirement for the vertical takeoff, in my opinion, makes the F-35 probably less functional in many ways than the Chinese version.

In the Trenches with the F-35 - The American Interest

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Birth Tourism Media Mention

Some things to note in the article.

Last data is from 2012, so a bit out of date.

The booming business of U.S. birth tourism - CBS News

What I have observed. Rowland Heights seems to a major destination for birth tourism. My guess is many stay in the apartments across from Target.

Enforcement by the IRS of the law that all citizens need to pay US taxes. The problem, is this can open up closely held family owned companies in China, to the IRS.

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ebooks - Will there be a 2nd hand market?

Will there be a 2nd hand market for books?

What happens with inheritance with iTunes and Kindle Books? Are they then gone?

Can books be loaned? On the Kindle, its up to the author.

With physical books, the answers are easy. With eBooks, not so easy. With e-Books, the product does not degrade with use, as a physical book does.

And what happens when a device ends, with all the eBooks that only worked with that device? Will the Nook be around in a couple of years? What of the books on the Kobo, that Borders was pushing?

DRM, Digital Rights Management, a fancy word for copy protection is used on many e-books, and makes managing  moving books around a headache. I have heard, there is third party software to remove DRM, but what a headache.

Secondhand Downloads: Will Used E-Books and Digital Games Be for Sale? - Bloomberg Business

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Chinese Military's Weaknesses?

Interesting read. Basically, the fear is China's military may feel it's stronger than it actually is, which may cause some miscalculation. The article states the F-35 will help keep US superiority.

Chinese Military Weaknesses Revealed | Washington Free Beacon

And for another view...

In the Trenches with the F-35 - The American Interest

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Monday, February 2, 2015

China's Anti Corruption Campaign

The anti-corruption drive of China's President Xi Jinping is getting results.

Ripples of the Purge - The American Interest that references this article:

No One Willing to Take Mother’s $16,000 as Graft Fear Hits China - Bloomberg

My question, is why would anyone in China admit they are willing to take a bribe?

China is currently number 100 for corruption, out of 175 countries per Transparency International. The United States is 17.

My opinion, is bribery happens when you have a society that has made it too hard to take action, and the result is bribery arises as a way to make things happen.

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