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Leftover at 27?

BBC/NRI reports that women in China are being labeled "sheng nu" or "leftover women" after the age of 27. Beyond the traditional family pressure to get married, the Chinese government is applying pressure on single women to get married, fearful that a growing population of single men could cause civil unrest. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Feb 21, 2013 - 57 comments

A "suicide," GaN semiconductors, a found hard drive, China, intrigue

Death in Singapore The body of a young US electronics engineer, Shane Todd, was found hanging in his Singapore apartment. Police said it was suicide, but the Todd family believe he was murdered. Shane had feared that a project he was working on was compromising US national security. His parents want to know if that project sent him to his grave.
posted by donovan on Feb 19, 2013 - 17 comments

All Your Nets Are Belong to the PLA

The Mandiant security firm has released a report attributing a number of hacking events to Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) activity perpetrated by China's 2nd Bureau of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Deparment's 3rd Department. They have also released an appendix containing multiple artifacts that can be used to detect intrusions on networks.
posted by bfranklin on Feb 19, 2013 - 64 comments

Roy Chapman Andrews, adventurer.

[Roy Chapman] Andrews is best remembered for the series of dramatic expeditions he led to the Gobi of Mongolia (shorter films: 1, 2) from 1922 to 1930. Andrews took a team of scientists into previously unexplored parts of the desert using some of the region’s first automobiles with extra supplies transported by camel caravan. Andrews – for whom adventure and narrow escapes from death were a staple of exploring – is said to have served as inspiration for the Hollywood character “Indiana Jones.” Andrews’s expeditions to the Gobi remain significant for, among other discoveries, their finds of the first nests of dinosaur eggs, new species of dinosaurs, and the fossils of early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 17, 2013 - 8 comments

Playing the ancient Chinese meritocracy game

Shengguan Tu (升官圖) "Promoting the Officials" is a Chinese board game " where players assume the of an aspiring mandarin, moving through the imperial examinations and through the bureaucracy, eventually rising to the “Da Nei” or inner sanctum Grand Secretariat in the imperial household. Along the way, players pay “donations” to higher ranked players in each department." It has existed in some form since the Tang dynasty (618 - 906 CE) at least and now it's a Flash game. Programmed by Dave Lyons who also wrote a quick introduction to the game, from which the above is taken.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 14, 2013 - 7 comments

The Kangjiashimenji Petroglyphs

The World’s Oldest Pornography. The Kangjiashimenji Petroglyphs in the Tien Shan Mountains: A Fertility Ritual Tableau.
posted by homunculus on Feb 14, 2013 - 21 comments

the mundane face of evil: Chinese state-sponsored hackers

A new report, the National Intelligence Estimate, released by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence "represents the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community, describes a wide range of sectors that have been the focus of [China-based] hacking over the past five years, including energy, finance, information technology, aerospace and automotive." One face of Chinese state-sponsored hackers profiled by Bloomberg Business Week is Zhang Changhe, an instructor at the People's Liberation Army Information Engineering University in Zhengzhou. [more inside]
posted by gen on Feb 14, 2013 - 11 comments

How you like me now

Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather has created a new animated campaign for PETA [more inside]
posted by Megami on Feb 8, 2013 - 60 comments

On a path to liberation....

Over a thousand monks and laymen are revered in Tibetan Buddhism as the incarnations of past teachers who convey enlightenment to their followers from one lifetime to the next. Some of the most respected are known by the honorific "rinpoche." For eight centuries, rinpoches were traditionally identified by other monks and then locked inside monasteries ringed by mountains, far from worldly distractions. Their reincarnation lineages were easily tracked across successive lives. Then the Chinese Red Army invaded Tibet in 1950 and drove the religion's adherents into exile. Now, the younger rinpoches of the Tibetan diaspora are being exposed to all of the twenty-first century’s dazzling temptations. So, even as Tibetan Buddhism is gaining more followers around the world, an increasing number of rinpoches are abandoning their monastic vows. Reincarnation in Exile. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 5, 2013 - 16 comments

Significant hacking activity targeting journalists at large newspapers

The New York Times has detailed a successful 4-month hacking campaign by China, infiltrating its computer systems and acquiring passwords for reporters/employees. The campaign was likely in retaliation for the NYT investigation of the wealth amassed by relatives of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Following the NYT announcement, the Wall Street Journal announced that it too was hacked last year. The Washington Post may also have been infiltrated. Slate asks if this could have a chilling effect on journalists writing about China. [more inside]
posted by gemmy on Feb 1, 2013 - 102 comments

Freedom From Famine - The Norman Borlaug Story

A documentary film about Norman Borlaug, the Iowa farm boy who saved over a billion people from starvation. (1:06:47) Americans have little knowledge of one of their greatest sons. Why do schoolchildren in China, India, Mexico, and Pakistan know the name and work of Nobel Peace Prize winner [His speech] Norman Borlaug while so few of his countrymen have never heard of him? How did a dirt-poor farm boy from rural Iowa grow up to save a billion people worldwide from starvation and malnutrition and become the father of the Green Revolution? What were the inherited traits and environmental factors that shaped his astonishing journey and led to successes that surprised even him? What can we learn from his life and views that might help the human race survive the next critical century? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 28, 2013 - 84 comments

Apple Takes Bite out of Child Labor

After their annual audit showed a large spike in underage workers, Apple made good on its promise to take more responsibility for its suppliers.
posted by gilrain on Jan 26, 2013 - 65 comments

Everybody was dressed in his or her best clothes.

in February, 1996, a rocket launch at Xichang failed. Smithsonian Air & Space publishes first-hand account. Xichang Satellite Launch Center at Wikipedia. Previously (comprehensive, highly reccommended).
posted by mwhybark on Jan 24, 2013 - 8 comments

Now all they need is a replica of "The Wire"

"Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide."
posted by vidur on Jan 23, 2013 - 37 comments

Instrumental lying by parents in the US and China

The practice of lying to one's children to encourage behavioral compliance was investigated among parents in the US (N = 114) and China (N = 85). The vast majority of parents (84% in the US and 98% in China) reported having lied to their children for this purpose. Within each country, the practice most frequently took the form of falsely threatening to leave a child alone in public if he or she refused to follow the parent. Crosscultural differences were seen: A larger proportion of the parents in China reported that they employed instrumental lie-telling to promote behavioral compliance, and a larger proportion approved of this practice, as compared to the parents in the US. This difference was not seen on measures relating to the practice of lying to promote positive feelings, or on measures relating to statements about fantasy characters such as the tooth fairy. Findings are discussed with reference to sociocultural values and certain parenting-related challenges that extend across cultures. [HTML] -- [PDF] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 23, 2013 - 82 comments

But not browsing MetaFilter

(BBC) A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jan 16, 2013 - 86 comments

Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354

"To the world of today the men of medieval Christendom already seem remote and unfamiliar. Their names and deeds are recorded in our history-books, their monuments still adorn our cities, but our kinship with them is a thing unreal, which costs an effort of imagination. How much more must this apply to the great Islamic civilization, that stood over against medieval Europe, menacing its existence and yet linked to it by a hundred ties that even war and fear could not sever. Its monuments too abide, for those who may have the fortunate to visit them, but its men and manners are to most of us utterly unknown, or dimly conceived in the romantic image of the Arabian Nights. Even for the specialist it is difficult to reconstruct their lives and see them as they were. Histories and biographies there are in quantity, but the historians for all their picturesque details, seldom show the ability to select the essential and to give their figures that touch of the intimate which makes them live again for the reader. It is in this faculty that Ibn Battuta excels." Thus begins the book, "Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354" published by Routledge and Kegan Paul. Step into the world of "the first tourist" who made his mark as the world's greatest traveler before the age of steam. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jan 12, 2013 - 21 comments

Seeing yellow

THE PROBLEM OF THE AMBER SIGNAL LIGHT IN TRAFFIC FLOW (PDF), published in 1959, is the origin of the yellow interval duration equation for traffic lights. But in China, as of Tuesday, yellow lights are now considered functionally the same as red lights, prompting outcries in the local media that it is not only unfair, but actually violates Newton's First Law of Motion. It also violates the history of traffic lights... [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Jan 5, 2013 - 47 comments

Finest Food TV Ever

A Bite of China is a beautiful and delicious 7-part documentary from CCTV about food production and preparation in China (in English). “Thirty of the country's most respected filmmakers worked for more than a year filming the seven 50-minute episodes. They shot throughout the country, from the frozen lakes of the north-east and the bamboo forests of Liuzhou to the frenetic chaoses of Beijing and Hong Kong.”
posted by Jode on Dec 30, 2012 - 16 comments

A Chinese Princess and a magic well

Historically, the city states of the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China and Siam. Closer relations with China were established in the early 15th century during the reign of Parameswara, founder of Melaka, when Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca. Impressed by the tribute, the Yongle Emperor of China is said to have presented Princess Hang Li Po* as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan of Malacca (+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims the courtiers and servants who accompanied the princess settled in Bukit Cina, intermarried with the locals and grew into a community known as the Peranakan. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they retained many of their ethnic and religious customs, but assimilated the language and clothing of the Malays. They developed a unique culture and distinct foods. Nyonya cuisine is one of the most highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered some of the most difficult to master but very easy to love and enjoy.
posted by infini on Dec 24, 2012 - 25 comments

"Governments should be afraid of their people."

Television viewers in China were shocked last Friday when state broadcaster CCTV aired V for Vendetta unedited in prime time. Previously, Chinese search engines would not even return results for the anti-totalitarian 2006 film; CCTV-6 did at least harmonize the title by translating it as "V Special Forces", rather than the more common translation given in pirated DVD editions, "V the Revenge Killing Squad". [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Dec 22, 2012 - 53 comments

The path not taken

On March 20th 1913, Song Jiaoren, China’s first democratically elected prime minister, was assassinated as he waited for a train in Shanghai. With him died China's best shot at democratic government.
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 21, 2012 - 6 comments

The voyage of the Matson Maunalei

Gorgeous time lapse footage of the journey of the M/V Matson Maunalei loading up in Honolulu and taking the 35 day trip to Long Beach. As you probably know, those containers on the merchant ship are filled with pallets, the single most important object in the global economy , previously. Shipping containers on Metafilter.
posted by cushie on Dec 13, 2012 - 19 comments

"China sends people back to this place"

"Q: What kind of comparisons can be drawn between Asia’s underground railroad and the one in pre-Civil War America? A: The way it’s set up is similar. The safe houses and transit routes are kept secret and vary a lot. There is another similarity in that many of the people who operate on the underground railroad are ethnically Korean, just as many of the operators on the original underground railroad were free blacks." -- an interview with Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad
posted by bardic on Dec 13, 2012 - 10 comments

Honey, I Shrunk the Tariff

"Honey laundering is a complex exercise that involves several players in the honey chain from apiary to wholesaler to retailer. In the case against ALW, evidence was presented to show the use of fake country-of-origin documents for shipments, replacement of labels on Chinese containers with fraudulent ones, switching of honey containers in a third country, and even the blending of Chinese honey with glucose syrup or honey from another country."
posted by vidur on Dec 6, 2012 - 37 comments

Rumble in Bazhou City

In China, people are being evicted from their homes at an alarming rate, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. Eager to spur economic development, local Communist Party officials have used violence and intimidation to force people out of their homes and farmland, including employing private gangs to attack residents who won't comply with eviction orders. In Hebei Province, however, one father-and-son duo, both devotees of Bruce Lee and facing a gang of over 30 men outside their house, decided to fight back--and won. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Dec 3, 2012 - 31 comments

Green Dam Youth Escort

"During his civil lawsuit against the People's Republic of China, Brian Milburn says he never once saw one of the country's lawyers. He read no court documents from China's attorneys because they filed none. The voluminous case record at the U.S. District courthouse in Santa Ana contains a single communication from China: a curt letter to the U.S. State Department, urging that the suit be dismissed. That doesn't mean Milburn's adversary had no contact with him." [China Mafia-Style Hack Attack Drives California Firm to Brink]
posted by vidur on Nov 28, 2012 - 12 comments

I think I mentioned we also saw an actual knife fight in this same alley! With big giant meat cleavers!

Davesecretary of TIME FOR SOME STORIES fame (previously) decided to spend a year in a smallish Chinese city to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He slowly realizes that he's not having a very good time.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 21, 2012 - 87 comments

Sashay! Shantay!

72 year-old Liu Xianping becomes an internet sensation after modeling his granddaughter's teen clothing line on her Tmall website.
posted by MaryDellamorte on Nov 17, 2012 - 60 comments

"Cock wire Mike Sui!" yelled one of the young men in the crowd. "Cock wire Sui is awesome!"

Mike Sui and the new laowai: "...speak­ing Chi­nese is still just rare enough that Sui's instant fame has scratched a blis­ter of resent­ment than never real­ly heals in China's Chi­nese language-learner com­mu­ni­ty, and his suc­cess has high­light­ed how Chi­nese demands on laowai [foreign] enter­tain­ers have dras­ti­cal­ly changed in just a decade."
posted by ocherdraco on Nov 16, 2012 - 14 comments

“Our history is all fabricated.”

Mubei, or Tombstone, by Yang Jisheng, was published in 2008 and is considered to be the definitive account of the Chinese Great Famine. The book is banned in China, but has been available in Hong Kong. Counterfeit and electronic copies have allowed many Chinese to access the book. Before this November, Tombstone was available only in Chinese; however, the English translation has now been released. [more inside]
posted by Bokmakierie on Nov 11, 2012 - 27 comments

In the mood for shove

The Grandmaster (Chinese language trailer) - Wong Kar Wai returns with a martial arts film based on the life of Ip Man.
posted by Artw on Nov 6, 2012 - 34 comments

twee, nostalgia-driven, and...dumbass?

In China, hipsters are called “cultured youth” when they're not being called "dumbassess", that is. [more inside]
posted by telstar on Nov 3, 2012 - 71 comments

Documentary

When China met Africa
posted by infini on Oct 29, 2012 - 37 comments

Corpora delicti

CSI: Parthenon: A questioner asks historians how a murder case would be solved and prosecuted in the era of their expertise. Answers for : Colonial Boston, Norman Ireland, 19th Century Imperial China, Ancient Athens, 14th-Century England, 13th century England, Victorian England, Rome. (Via Reddit's AskHistorians; whole thread.)
posted by Diablevert on Oct 27, 2012 - 18 comments

Gillard - Getting Things Done

A great week for Australian Diplomacy
It has been an excellent week for Australian diplomacy. Prime Minister Julia Gillard established a strong new beginning for Australia's sometimes-troubled ties with a rising India. And the crowning moment was of course the country's victory in its bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council ...
[more inside]
posted by de on Oct 19, 2012 - 20 comments

Boss Rail

"The Wenzhou crash killed forty people and injured a hundred and ninety-two. For reasons both practical and symbolic, the [Chinese] government was desperate to get trains running again, and within twenty-four hours it declared the line back in business. The Department of Propaganda ordered editors to give the crash as little attention as possible. “Do not question, do not elaborate,” it warned, on an internal notice. When newspapers came out the next morning, China’s first high-speed train wreck was not on the front page." [How a high-speed rail disaster exposed China's corruption]
posted by vidur on Oct 15, 2012 - 22 comments

The 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature Is Chinese Novelist Mo Yan

Mo Yan has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. A Chinese novelist, born as Guan Moye, his pen name means "don't speak." His most famous novel, Red Sorghum: A Novel of China, was turned into an acclaimed film in 1987. Here are some interviews with Mo Yan: Granta, National Endowment for the Humanities and Paper Republic. Speculation was rife in China before the announcement whether Mo Yan would receive it, and the matter was controversial. For people who haven't read any books by Mo Yan, the Swedish Academy recommends Garlic Ballads [NYT]. For more news over the day, keep an eye on The Literary Saloon and The Guardian's liveblog.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 11, 2012 - 24 comments

The Devil Soldier

In 1859 an American named Frederick Townsend Ward arrived in Shanghai. A sailor, mercenary, smuggler and filibuster, he created a force of Europeans to protect the city from, and engage directly in, the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty, to avoid the complications of Western powers getting directly involved. After a severe defeat at Sungkiang/Songjiang, he decided to recruit from the local Chinese population instead, arming and training them in the Western fashion. This force was dubbed the 'Ever-Victorious Army.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 10, 2012 - 10 comments

The iEconomy

The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 8, 2012 - 16 comments

on Huawei from non-Chinese in China

In light of the US House Intelligence Committee recommendation that American companies should be blocked from carrying out mergers and acquisitions involving two Chinese telecommunications firms, ZTE and Huawei, how do people in the telecommunications industry think about Huawei? And what is really going on with the Shenzhen-based ICT conglomerate? Hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn of the Sinica Podcast (recorded in Beijing) cover Huawei in depth in August at The Huawei Enigma with guests David Wolf and Will Moss.
posted by gen on Oct 8, 2012 - 39 comments

"they were never meant to be smoked in the first place."

Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 2, 2012 - 34 comments

The Instant Skyscraper

"Zhang Yue, founder and chairman of Broad Sustainable Building, is not a particularly humble man. A humble man would not have erected, on his firm’s corporate campus in the Chinese province of Hunan, a classical palace and a 130-foot replica of an Egyptian pyramid. A humble man, for that matter, would not have redirected Broad from its core business—manufacturing industrial air-conditioning units—to invent a new method of building skyscrapers. And a humble man certainly wouldn’t be putting up those skyscrapers at a pace never achieved in history." [Meet the Man Who Built a 30-Story Building in 15 Days]
posted by vidur on Sep 26, 2012 - 13 comments

Let me Take a Photo of Everything You Own

Photographer Travels China, Taking Pictures of Families and All Their Possessions Huang Qingjun has spent nearly a decade travelling to remote parts of China to persuade people who have sometimes never been photographed to carry outside all their household possessions and pose for him. The results offer glimpses of the utilitarian lives of millions of ordinary Chinese who, at first glance, appear not to have been swept up by the same modernisation that has seen hundreds of millions of others leave for the cities. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 24, 2012 - 16 comments

Mes Aynak

Golden Buddha, Hidden Copper. "Twelve years after the Taliban blew up the world-famous Bamiyan Buddhas, a Chinese mining firm -- developing one of the world's largest copper deposits -- threatens to destroy another of Afghanistan's archeological treasures." Campaign to Save Mes Aynak.
posted by homunculus on Sep 22, 2012 - 14 comments

Playing ping pong in China

"Finding my way in Beijing was tougher than I'd ever imagined. But sharpening my skills at a local youth academy for ping-pong—a game at which I'd dominated friends back home for years—seemed like an opportunity not to suck. So what if it meant beating up on little kids at the school and old men in the park? This would be my key to assimilation. Nice plan—but then I stared down the pre-teen pong machines and got my first real taste of China's national pastime."
posted by Chrysostom on Sep 21, 2012 - 28 comments

The mural in Oregon the Chinese government wants destroyed

A colorful mural adorns Chao Tsung-song / Tibet House in Corvallis, Oregon. Commissioned by Corvallis businessman, David Lin, the 100 foot long mural depicts at one end, a cheerful Taiwanese countryside scene, and at the other, police beating Tibetan protesters and a Tibetan monk in the process of self-immolation. The Chinese government has requested that the mural be destroyed. Mr. Lin and Corvallis city mayor, Julie Manning, say, "no."
posted by Phyllis Harmonic on Sep 20, 2012 - 44 comments

"...do you really want a couple million eagles circling overhead?"

In 2003, the BBC reported that a population explosion of Great Gerbils had destroyed more than 4 million hectares of grasslands in China's north-western Xinjiang region -- an area about the size of Switzerland. By 2005 the damage covered 5 million hectares, and the Xinjuang Regional Headquarters for Controlling Locusts and Rodents were reported to be breeding and attracting pairs of golden eagles to curb the gerbil population. So McSweeney's Joshuah Bearman was assigned to the story. His report: An Investigation Into Xinjiang's Growing Swarm of Great Gerbils, Which May or May Not be Locked in a Death-Struggle With the Golden Eagle, With Important Parallels and/or Implications Regarding Koala Bears, The Pied Piper, Spongmonkeys, Cane Toads, Black Death, [and] Text-Messaging..
posted by zarq on Sep 18, 2012 - 38 comments

"No to brainwashing!"

Tens of thousands of protestors have been gathering outside the Hong Kong government headquarters every night since the start of the new school year to protest the introduction of "moral and national education" classes at primary and secondary schools. At the forefront is Scholarism, a student group led by 15-year-old Joshua Wong. [more inside]
posted by monocot on Sep 8, 2012 - 22 comments

The Drowned World

J.G. Ballard and the alchemy of memory
posted by Artw on Sep 1, 2012 - 24 comments

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