Sniffle XLXIII: A Bright Light in a Bad Situation Edition

I’ve often rhapsodized on the wonder of plucky, western Australia (and New Zealand, yes) floating around in the middle of a big ocean surrounded by…well, the sorts of countries that the families of the lost flight MH370 have had to deal with for the past two and a half weeks (at the time of writing). [...]

Categories: Geography and Foreign Affairs

Trains! The “Holy Codswalloping Corruption, Batman” Edition

Technically this is a Peter Recommends, because he’s been referencing it off and on since it was published last October, but he finally sent it to me yesterday: The New Yorker – BOSS RAILThe disaster that exposed the underside of the boom. By Evan Osnos It’s very long, and I could’ve quoted the whole thing [...]

Categories: People and Current Events

Becoming Chinese

So this is very good, and although it’s long (although, not as long as I thought it would be; I was reading it this morning on my phone and emailed it to myself to finish later because I thought I was less than halfway but it turned out I had one paragraph left and the [...]

Categories: Geography and Foreign Affairs

China Getting Older Before It Gets Rich

The Telegraph – IMF sees 140m jobs shortage in ageing China as ‘Lewis Point’ hits China’s vast reserve of cheap workers in the hinterland is vanishing at a vertiginous pace. We can now discern more or less when the catch-up growth miracle will sputter out. Another seven years or so – enough to bouy global [...]

Categories: Geography and Foreign Affairs

The Cercei Lannisters of the Free World

Oh jeez: NRO – Mark Steyn (from 2 weeks ago): Pipe Dreams (File under: Principles, China, and Bullet-Ridden Feet)

Categories: Geography and Foreign Affairs

Peter Recommends CXXXIX

In the annals of REALLY BAD IDEAS: io9 – Secret Histories: China’s Worst Self-Inflicted Environmental Disaster: The Campaign to Wipe Out the Common Sparrow To wit: Back in the 1950s, China was going through its Great Leap Forward, an effort to transform China from a largely agrarian nation to a thriving industrial Marxist powerhouse. DOT. [...]

Categories: History

Musings: I Don’t Think There’re Enough Private Jet Owners To Cover This

Something to spoil your day (and I’m not even touching the end-times stuff this is predicating): The Corner – Mark Steyn: Mad Debt A threat to liberty. Forget about mid-century. We’ve got until mid-decade to turn this thing around. Otherwise, by 2020 just the interest payments on the debt will be larger than the U.S. [...]

Categories: Politics

New Genre: Bureaucracy Thrillers!

A bear has just excused himself into the woods: Guardian – Wang Xiaofang exposes world of Chinese bureaucracy Bestselling author exposes shady world while readers buy his books to get insight into how to become government officials Far from glorifying the Communist party apparatus, these books offer readers a glimpse into a shady world where [...]

Categories: Art and Literature

Meanwhile, In Search Queries…

WaPo Blogs – In China, ‘Egypt’ and ‘Cairo’ have vanished Imagine typing “Egypt” or “Cairo” into a Web portal’s search engine and seeing no stories about the massive protests in Egypt over the past week. That’s what’s happening in China right now. It’s a sign that the Chinese government fears the democratic movement brewing in [...]

Categories: Electronics

Chinese Mothers

I went to bed way late reading this in my precious Sunday Times iPad app, giggling and laughing all the way through: Sunday Times (£) – Dragon mother Do your children have play dates, watch TV or ever get less than an A grade? If so, you’re failing them as a parent, says Amy Chua [...]

Categories: Art and Literature

THIS IS SO DANGEROUS

/outraged (/but still impressed)

Categories: Sports and Leisure

Wang Yuja, Age 10

Toccata Poulenc She’s playing a Bösendorfer, the same piano Tori Amos plays.

Categories: Art and Literature

Art Installation as Provocative, Political

Compare Ai Weiwei (designer of the Birds Nest stadium in Beijing) to, I dunno (Wikies at random), this glorified theme park for pretentious adults: The Times – Ai Weiwei: the artist risking his safety for art, by Janice Turner Ai has always been a cussed, provocative figure. He took a series of photographs, Study in [...]

Categories: Art and Literature

Trains! Across the WORLD! Edition

The Times (£) – From Beijing to London in 48hrs? Now that’s a great rail journey High-speed technology and investment is about to make railways competitive again. Bargain airlines may have made previously forgotten cities accessible but security and congested skies have added hours to the journey. Trains can offer greater comfort, more space and [...]

Categories: Geography and Foreign Affairs

Sussing Out Possible Omens

A Chinese boy is born with 6 normally-growing digits on each hand and foot, giving him 24 total. Strangely, three months before the birth of Guangchun, his family’s sow also labored a weird shaped piglet, which had eight legs, two mouths and four ears. His mother says: “The pig died two days later. It possibly [...]

Categories: Science and Nature