Tag Archives | China

American Engineer’s Death Suicide or Cyber-Espionage?

via CBS News Year of the Snake

The death of an American computer engineer, Shane Todd, in Singapore has created quite a stir. His parents contend he was murdered, but authorities say it was suicide. The mystery seems to have links to the dark world of cyber-spying and could possibly involve China.
Rick and Mary Todd traveled from Montana to Singapore to prove that their son was actually the victim of a web of international cyber-espionage.

“We really appreciate the process that is going on; it’s a slow process so we really appreciate the way Singapore conducts its court system,” said Rick Todd.

The Todds are attending an 11-day inquiry into their son’s death. Shane Todd had been an engineer for a Singapore government research agency called the Institute of Microelectronics (IME). Then two days after quitting last June, he was found dead, hanging in his apartment bathroom. Police and the coroner ruled it a suicide.

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China’s Elite Uses Air Purification Systems And Giant Domes To Retreat From Toxic Urban Air

giant domesIs life in some of our planet’s main cities beginning to resemble life on the moon? The New York Times reports:

Levels of deadly pollutants up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing and other cities have struck fear into parents and led them to take steps that are radically altering the nature of urban life for their children.

Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems, and some international schools have built gigantic, futuristic-looking domes over sports fields to ensure healthy breathing.

Face masks are now part of the urban dress code. Parents have scrambled to buy air purifiers. IQAir, a Swiss company, makes purifiers that cost up to $3,000 here and are displayed in shiny showrooms.

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China Releases Its 2012 Report On Human Rights In The United States

human rightsIt may be a bit ludicrous for the Chinese government to criticize other nations over human rights, but that doesn’t mean that their observations are wrong.

Via China Daily, excerpts from the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China’s report titled “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012,” released a week ago:

The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as “the world judge of human rights” again. However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it.

In the U.S., elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributions had, to a great extent, influenced the electoral procedures and policy direction. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.

The U.S. has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gap.

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China’s Government Is Aiming To Eradicate Superstition

eradicate superstition

Perhaps we could use a bit of this policy approach here in the United States? Reuters reports:

China is struggling to get its estimated 100 million religious believers to banish superstitious beliefs about things like sickness and death, the country’s top religious affairs official told a state-run newspaper.

Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, said there had been an explosion of religious belief in China along with the nation’s economic boom, which he attributed to a desire for reassurance in an increasingly complex world.

While religion could be a force for good in officially atheist China, it was important to ensure people were not mislead, he told the Study Times: “We need to help people establish a correct world view and to scientifically deal with birth, ageing, sickness and death, as well as fortune and misfortune, via popularizing scientific knowledge.”

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Men Jailed In China For Stealing Corpses For ‘Ghost Marriages’

Just because you’re dead and rotting doesn’t mean you can’t be a hot ticket as a bride or groom. The Global Post reports:

Four men in northwest China have been sentenced for digging up the corpses of women and selling them for “ghost marriages” to families whose sons died as bachelors. The remains of ten “brides” were sold for a total of $38,000, according to court reports.

Ritual ghost marriages, which is believed to date back to the 17th century BC, is a custom in which parents find “spouses” for their unmarried, deceased children so that they can have a family in the afterlife. The tradition is rare in contemporary China, but still practiced in rural [areas].

Families often employ a matchmaker to help find a suitable spouse for their deceased loved ones. Chinese media have reported cases of brokers murdering women and selling their bodies. In 2006, a man from northern Hebei province murdered six women and sold them as “ghost brides.”

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China’s Massive Eugenics Project To Choose High-IQ Embryos

Via Edge.org, NYU evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller on how the biggest eugenics push in history is just unfolding, which he feels will dramatically shape the future:

China has been running the world’s largest and most successful eugenics program for more than thirty years, driving China’s ever-faster rise as the global superpower. When I learned about Chinese eugenics this summer, I was astonished that its population policies had received so little attention. China makes no secret of its eugenic ambitions, in either its cultural history or its government policies.

The BGI-Shenzhen Cognitive Genomics Project is currently doing whole-genome sequencing of 1,000 very-high-IQ people around the world, hunting for sets of sets of IQ-predicting alleles. I know because I recently contributed my DNA to the project, not fully understanding the implications. These IQ gene-sets will be found eventually—but will probably be used mostly in China, for China.

Potentially, the results would allow all Chinese couples to maximize the intelligence of their offspring by selecting among their own fertilized eggs for the one or two that include the highest likelihood of the highest intelligence.

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The future of Africa looks bleak, here is why

via chycho

Contrary to what some have been hoping for, the future of Africa looks to be bloodier than its past. The reasons for this are as vast and varied as the continent itself, such as resources (oil, water, land, minerals), economic interests of external powers (growth, trade, monetary policy), and ideological differences (structure of governments, corruption, tradition, ethnicity).

One of the main reasons that this scramble for Africa has intensified in the last few years and will most likely continue to escalate for the next few decades is because western nations are losing major battles on multiple other fronts. Just to name a few: the coalition of the willing has lost Iraq as well as Afghanistan; Syria is a stalemate; Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Algeria, Congo, and Mali are a disaster; Bahrain is in lockdown; Latin America is freeing itself from U.S.

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How a Chinese Hacker Tried to Blackmail a Top Executive

Picture: Domsama

Slate provides the first-person account of a CEO who received an e-mail with several business documents attached threatening to distribute them to competitors and business partners unless the CEO paid $150,000. “Experts I consulted told me that the hacking probably came from government monitors who wanted extra cash,” writes the CEO, who successfully ended the extortion with an e-mail from the law firm from the bank of his financial partner, refusing payment and adding that the authorities had been notified.

According to the article, IT providers routinely receive phone calls from their service providers if they detect any downtime on the monitors of network traffic installed by the Chinese government, similar to the alerts provided to telecom providers about VoIP fraud on their IP-PBX switches.

“Hundreds of millions of Chinese operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy, fully aware that a massive eavesdropping apparatus tracks their every communication and move…” writes the CEO.

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Selling Fresh Air In Cans

The smog in China is now so bad that an entrepreneur is successfully selling cans of fresh air. He says he's not doing it to make a profit, but just wait until he's created an insatiable demand. For those of you who thing it's ridiculous, what would your grandparents have thought about your regularly buying small bottles of water for $5? Maureen Chowdhury reports for NPR:
In response to the growing concern over China's air pollution, a theatrical Chinese entrepreneur is selling cans of fresh air. Chen Guangbiao, a multimillionaire, philanthropist and environmentalist, is selling each can for 5 yuan (80 cents) according to...
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The First Robot Restaurant Opens In China

It will be hard to resist robots if they are as adorable as these ones seem to be. CNET Asia writes:
The Robot Restaurant opened in Harbin in June and has taken the food and beverage industry in China further into the mechanized world. Robot Restaurant staffs a total of 20 robots as waiters, cooks and busboys. Upon arrival, Usher Robot welcomes customers to the restaurant and directs them to the seating area. Patrons can then place their order, which is relayed by humans to one of the four the robot chefs who are able to cook various styles of dumplings and noodles. Waitress robots carry the food to customers by following a track that uses sensors placed under the floor for spatial awareness.
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