The striking sandstone spires of Zhangjiajie National Park, China's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, inspired the landscape of Pandora, the setting of James Cameron's Avatar.
Once the tallest building in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China, this tower went down in eight seconds on April 25.
This angle gives an excellent impression of the local government's appreciation of modern public safety standards:
https://twitter.com/globaltimesnews/status/857172436353138688/ Read the rest
The Chinese media report on a man called Zhao from Xi'an who took revenge on his noisy upstairs neighbors whose boy wouldn't stop jumping on his ceiling by buying a "building shaker" -- a gadget that thumps your shared walls until your neighbors capitulate -- and leaving it on while he went away for the weekend. Read the rest
It's been a decade since Yahoo got raked over the coals by Congress for helping the Chinese government spy on journalists and dissidents, some of whom were then arrested and tortured. Read the rest
Companies in the EU and China have been caught offering to commit fraud to launder sales of mass surveillance weapons to Al Jazeera reporters posing as representatives of autocratic regimes under sanction for gross human rights abuses; these weapons would allow their users to target and round up political dissidents for arbitrary detention, torture and murder. Read the rest
Hainan Island will be designated a special economic zone for "medical tourism," where foreigners will be able to fly to get cheap health care (similar to how offshore entities can go to Guandong Province to have cheap electronics manufactured) Read the rest
A new Transparency International report ranks the world's most superheated urban property markets to find the most corrupt and finds that Australia is a playground for offshore criminals looking to launder their money, because "real estate agents are not subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterTerrorism Financing Act 2006," thus, "70 per cent of Chinese buyers pay in cash and they represent the largest proportion of foreign purchases in the country." Read the rest
Police who rely on vulnerabilities in crooks' devices are terminally compromised; the best way to protect crime-victims is to publicize and repair defects in systems, but every time a hole is patched, the cops lose a tool they rely on the attack their own adversaries. Read the rest
Despite Trump's denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble -- which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we'll be burning all of them with impunity -- is about to pop. Read the rest
Last December, I published my review of Andrew "bunnie" Huang's astoundingly great book The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware -- without realizing that the book's release had been delayed because the published decided to do some very fancy and cool stuff with the printing process. Read the rest
China's explosive growth as the world's factory powerhouse is almost impossible to overstate: the largest migration in human history took place when 80 million young women left the provinces to come to the Pearl River Delta for the new manufacturing jobs, and China began building new megacities across its landmass to serve as the hubs for new factories and industries, consuming as much cement between 2011 and 2013 as the whole US used during the whole 20th century. Read the rest
Jonathan Stray summarizes three different strains of propaganda, analyzing why they work, and suggesting counter-tactics: in Russia, it's about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it's about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it's weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach. Read the rest
Yuhuang Shannan -- an hour's high-speed train journey from Shanghai -- is a newly formed, walled village in which only hedge fund employees and their visitors are allowed to venture, a kind of Canary Wharf with Chinese characteristics, with schools staffed by non-Chinese teachers, a private club, and its own health care facilities. Read the rest
Alibaba subsidiary Taobao has given rise to "Taobao Villages" -- 18 villages that were once among China's poorest places, where former peasant farmers have attained prosperity by working in factories that produce a single class of goods (for example, Daiji township, a remote town in Shandong where most working age people have moved away, is now a high-speed-fiber linked booming factory town dedicated to "acting and dance costumes"). Read the rest