China's comment army posted 488m things last year

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The Chinese government's comment army generates nearly half a billion comments a year on apps and social networks, doing all it can to sway opinion in favor of the party. The vast message-managing operation spans the globe, reports Paul Mozur.

The common belief that they are paid 50 cents per post leads people in China to call them the Fifty Cent Party.

A new study says those people are closer to the government than previously thought.

The study, from researchers at Harvard University, says the legions of online commenters are not all freelancers paid by the post. In fact, it says that most are government employees, preaching the principles of the Chinese Communist Party on social media while carrying out their jobs in the local tax bureau or at a county government office.

The key technique is distraction — don't rebut, change the subject — all driven by a growing belief among authorities that direct censorship is too crude and obvious. Read the rest

Chinese state-backed corporations beat US lawsuits with sovereign immunity

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Sovereign immunity prevents one government from using its courts to attack another, but Chinese state-backed industries are taking it to new places, arguing that sovereign immunity means that the US courts have no jurisdiction over Chinese companies whose products are harmful or whose conduct is negligent -- and US courts are buying that argument. Read the rest

POV video from Shanghai Disneyland's Tron lightcycle ride

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Ricky from Inside the Magic writes, "This weekend Shanghai Disneyland began soft openings and that means the world has now had the pleasure of finally seeing a TRON ride come to life - and it's brilliant. The Tron Lightcycle Power Run is a roller coaster that lets guests hop on the film series' signature vehicles and race around the track to Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy tunes, surrounded by special effects. The Grid is live and is very real." Read the rest

Chinese censorship: arbitrary rule changes are a form of powerful intermittent reinforcement

China's Internet censors are capricious and impossible to predict -- but this isn't because China's censors are incompetent, rather, they're tapping into one of the most powerful forms of conditioning, the uncertainty born of intermittent reinforcement. Read the rest

Riot Control Robot Unveiled in China Looks Ominously Like a 'Doctor Who' Dalek, May In Fact Be One

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“China's first intelligent security robot debuts in Chongqing,” reads the headline in the Chinese Communist Party official newspaper People's Daily. The riot control robot has a name, “AnBot,” and it's freaking everyone out even more than your regular garden variety riot control robots because the damn thing looks like a Dalek from Doctor Who. And nothing good comes from a Dalek.

Read the rest

Chinese opsec funnies: your foreign boyfriend is a western spy!

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In this Chinese government comic book, women are warned that mysterious foreign strangers who pitch woo at them are secretly Western spies trying to get at their government secrets. Read the rest

Watch these bulldozers battle over turf, for real

In China's Hebei Province, bulldozers from competing construction companies battled it reportedly over a business opportunity. According to ABC News, police finally put a stop to the insanity and two drivers were injured. Perhaps the operators have been watching too many Survival Research Labs performance videos.

Read the rest

Competing construction companies stage a bulldozer fight in a busy street

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In this video, we see a rare bulldozer duel between construction rivals in Xingtang county, Hebei province. Read the rest

China's Internet censors order ban on video of toddler threatening brutal cops

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China's Internet censors have ordered the country's social media companies to block further sharing of a viral video that shows a toddler threatening members of the notorious urban management police squad with a long pole, telling them to leave his grandmother alone. Read the rest

Shanghai law uses credit scores to enforce filial piety

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Multiple generations of one-child policies have left China with a calamitous demographic crunch: a system that formerly relied upon large cohorts of descendants to care for their elders is now finding itself top-heavy with ever-longer-lived pensioners relying on dwindling cohorts of working-age descendants who have all but abandoned the Confucionist virtue of filial piety.

Read the rest

Banned on China's Internet: all discussion of the Panama Papers

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On Sunday, 100 news outlets published the first tranche of articles based on the largest leak in history, 2.6TB worth of records from Mossack Fonseca, the third-largest lawfirm specializing in confidential offshore shell-companies. Read the rest

Panama Papers: Largest leak in history reveals political and business elite hiding trillions in offshore havens

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An anonymous source has handed 2.6TB worth of records from Mossack Fonseca, one of the world's largest offshore law firms, to a consortium of news outlets, including The Guardian. Read the rest

New trends in Chinese mobile UIs for 2016

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Dan Grover has updated his excellent annual survey of UI trends in Chinese mobile apps with a new installment that covers the t-shirt icon, the happy shopping bag, the moving SEND button, the rise of data-management apps and chatbots, and more. Read the rest

Phishers trick Mattel into transferring $3M to a Chinese bank

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Last spring, in the chaos following the firing of Mattel's CEO (who presided over a disastrous slide in Barbie sales), a Mattel finance executive got an email from his new boss, replacement CEO Christopher Sinclair, ordering the transfer of $3 million to a new Chinese supplier. Read the rest

Vulnerability in recorders used by 70+ manufacturers' CCTV systems has been known since 2014

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Back in 2014, RSA published a report documenting a new tactic by criminal gangs: they were hacking into the digital video recorders that stored the feeds from security cameras to gather intelligence on their targets prior to committing their robberies. Read the rest

Donald Trump saying "China" with bass accompaniment

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Bassist Iggy Jackson-Cohen is a genius. HuffPo made the source supercut. Read the rest

Modular cellphone kits for makers

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Rephone makes modular open source hardware cellphone components -- GSM cores, touchscreens, speakers, GPS, miscellaneous sensors, and antennas -- that you can mix and match to build cellular capability into everyday gadgets; one project builds a complete cellular phone into a watch-strap for a Pebble smartwatch. Read the rest

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