Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists presents Fifty Years of Space Nuclear Power
"A plutonium fueled RTG that was deployed in 1965 by the CIA not in space but on a mountaintop in the Himalayas (to help monitor Chinese nuclear tests) continues to generate anxiety, not electricity, more than four decades after it was lost in place. See, most recently, "River Deep Mountain High"
by Vinod K. Jose, The Caravan
magazine, December 1, 2010." (MeFi previously
posted by HLD
on Jun 28, 2011 -
From steroid-spiked pork to glow-in-the-dark meat to recycled cooking oil collected from sewers: China wrestles with food safety problems.
'China's food scandals are becoming increasingly frequent and bizarre': 'In May, a Shanghai woman who had left uncooked pork on her kitchen table woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that the meat was emitting a blue light, like something out of a science fiction movie.' 'Farmers in eastern Jiangsu province complained to state media last month that their watermelons had exploded "like landmines" after they mistakenly applied too much growth hormone in hopes of increasing their size.' 'Until recently, directions were circulating on the Internet about how to make fake eggs out of a gelatinous compound comprised mostly of sodium alginate, which is then poured into a shell made out of calcium carbonate. Companies marketing the kits promised that you could make a fake egg for one-quarter the price of a real one.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Jun 27, 2011 -
"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia
— or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 10, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
Here is an article from the Asia Times.
that discusses the fact that "a rumor is spreading virally throughout the Middle Kingdom that asserts that Austrian-born Hitler was raised by a family of Chinese expats living in Vienna."
Apparently "as the rumor spreads throughout the Chinese social web, admiration for Hitler is growing stronger and stronger. Blog posts with titles like 'Why I like Hitler' are popping up every day, and an increasingly greater share of young Chinese are choosing to express their nationalism by voicing support for Hitler."
posted by rudhraigh
on May 31, 2011 -
Prison administrators in China have found a new use for forced prison labour: gold-farming operations
, in which prisoners play multiplayer games for hours on end, handing over the gold they acquire to the guards, who sell it online for real money.
posted by acb
on May 25, 2011 -
"The handover to a new president and premier has generated plenty of speculation in the press, about who the leaders are and what is will all mean, but sometimes it’s useful to go back and fill in the very basics, since China has a unique and in some ways quite confusing political system." A Primer on China's Leadership Transition. [via]
posted by spiderskull
on May 16, 2011 -
The Honeymoon From Hell.
Stefan and Erika Svanstrom had planned a long trip that would start in Singapore in early December and end in China four months later.
But things didn't go exactly as planned. They encountered floods, fires, tsunamis and earthquakes along the way.
posted by mannequito
on May 6, 2011 -
Current TV previously & previously
, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Apr 30, 2011 -
The official "StreetView" map of China is eerily reminiscent of SimCity, rendered in perfect isometric perspective without a pixel out of place: Shanghai
, the Forbidden City
, and Hong Kong
. That hasn't stopped companies from trying to create a more true-to-life photographic alternative: there is coverage of Hong Kong
in Google Street View; sanction to cover the rest of China appears to have been given to City8
, which covers 40 cities. (The latter site is in Chinese, but Chrome or language plugins do a decent job of translating the content). [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul
on Mar 17, 2011 -
Have you ever wished Tom (of Tom and Jerry) was more like Dirty Harry? Maybe just shoot Jerry once in a while? Then you're in luck! 黑猫警长
(Hei Mao Jing Zhang, literally Black Cat Police Chief, more commonly translated as Black Cat Detective) was a hugely popular children's cartoon that ran from 1984 to 1987 in mainland China. Episodes featured the eponymous police chief taking down criminals any way he could, whether it's shooting fleeing mice in the back, burning locusts with exploding arrows, or administering beatdowns with shock batons. Beyond the police brutality, children also got to see baby animals eaten by giant eagles and learn about sexual cannibalism in praying mantises. And it's on Youtube
! [more inside]
posted by kmz
on Mar 3, 2011 -
This is a pretty amazing video of a Chinese magician doing magic tricks with goldfish
on the BBC spanish website. Extended video and discussion (along with possible spoilers) can be found on youtube
. It's been picked up by some English-language sites (here
). Real controversy, or just hype to drum up publicity? Either way, the magician is refusing to divulge his secrets (but insists that no fish were harmed in the trick).
posted by math
on Feb 18, 2011 -
, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference
held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago
have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions
. He was received less kindly
by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined
to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
posted by anigbrowl
on Jan 20, 2011 -
The other places are like kindergartens compared with this. It smells so incredibly evil! I didn't think such a place existed except in my own imagination. It has a ghastly familiarity like a half-remembered dream. *Anything* could happen here... any moment...
Pauline Kael called it "hilariously, awesomely terrible". Others consider it "a forgotten gem
of a film that set the gold standard for noir films to come".
It was Josef von Sternberg's last major film - The Shanghai Gesture
(1941). (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
posted by Joe Beese
on Jan 18, 2011 -
China is eating our lunch, says one columnist. Obama called it a "Sputnik moment."
When a Philadelphia football game was delayed because of snow, the governor of Pennsylvania said we had become a nation of wussies, and said, "The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."
Not so fast there, says a guest writer to the Seattle Times:
"To be sure, our 14th-to-25th ranking in the Program for International Student Assessment
is no cause for complacency. Neither is China eating our lunch, or any meal — at least not yet." Which brings up the hokou system,
which guarantees that the Chinese students measured for the test are the richest, best of the best in the country, and not the working poor of Shanghai. Some have called the system, which separates "urban" from "rural" workers, "China's apartheid."
posted by Cool Papa Bell
on Jan 2, 2011 -