Three states considering "right to repair" laws that would decriminalize fixing your stuff

Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it both a crime and a civil offense to tamper with software locks that control access to copyrighted works -- more commonly known as "Digital Rights Management" or DRM. As the number of products with software in them has exploded, the manufacturers of these products have figured out that they can force their customers to use their own property in ways that benefit the company's shareholders, not the products' owners -- all they have to do is design those products so that using them in other ways requires breaking some DRM. Read the rest

China's private data-brokers will sell you full dossiers on anyone in the country

China is engaged in a bizarre dystopian experiment to use social network ratings to punish political dissidence, "antisocial behavior" and noncomformity, using data pulled from many sources, including purchases on China's major ecommerce networks like Alibaba; but you don't have to be the Chinese government to spy on people with an extraordinary degree of creepy precision: for a very small amount of money, China's private data-brokers will let you spy on anyone in the country. Read the rest

The first-ever close analysis of leaked astroturf comments from China's "50c party" reveal Beijing's cybercontrol strategy

The Harvard Institute for Quantitative Science team that published 2016's analysis of the Chinese government's '50c Party', who flood social media with government-approved comments has published a new paper, How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, not Engaged Argument, in which they reveal their painstaking analysis of a huge trove of leaked emails between 50c Party members and their government handlers. Read the rest

These are the Chinese bros who make bras and underwear

This short documentary by Enric Ribes and Oriol Martínez is titled Xiong Di, which translates in English to "brother" or, according to the directors, "fellas."

"I repeat the same things every day,” says Qu Maomao, 27. “Same clothes, same place, same process." (Dazed)

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98% of Bitcoin trading volume over the past six months was in Chinese Renminbi

In case you were wondering why Bitcoin experienced a crazy spike recently: China's economy is a hyperinflated bubble, poised to burst and the Chinese central bank is depreciating the Renminbi -- so China's wealthy are getting their cash out of the country as fast as they can, using any means necessary: suing themselves, spending huge whacks of cash while on vacation, and converting it to Bitcoin (this is especially urgent now that the Canadian real-estate money laundry is shutting down) -- this is just the latest salvo in the Chinese capital flight story. Read the rest

China's anti-money-laundering rules could burst Canada's real-estate bubble

China has adopted stringent new anti-money-laundering rules that will make it nearly impossible for small investors -- for example, middle-class families who pool their savings -- to get their money out of the country in order to buy condos in Canada's superheated property market (not just Canada, of course!). Read the rest

Timelapse of dangerous Beijing smog rolling in

On January 2, YouTuber Chas Pope captured a noxious cloud of Beijing smog rolling toward his building.

I made this earlier today - a bank of AQI400+ smog arriving in Beijing within the space of 20 minutes. It's already gone viral on the Chinese internet, let's see what happens internationally...

Luckily, Beijing subways have the answer: your own anti-smog rebreather!

Beijing Airpocalypse Arrival (YouTube / Chas Pope) Read the rest

Beijing subway ad for an anti-smog rebreather

Bloomberg Asia journalist David Ramli tweeted this photo of a bicep-mounted anti-pollution filter for joggers, displayed on the wall of a Beijing subway station, the day after Beijing posted record pollution levels, 24X the WHO recommendations, with 24 other cities issuing red alerts. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Chinese social media went a-flutter at this photo of an apparent App Store clickfarmer

This year-old photo of a woman seated at a wall of Iphones went viral on Chinese social media, where it was identified as a clickfarmer whose job is to repeatedly install apps on multiple phones in order to inflate their App Store ranks. Read the rest

Hong Kong's Architecture of Density through Michael Wolf's lens

Though he's lived there since 1994, German-born photographer Michael Wolf has only been documenting Hong Kong since 2003. This interview looks at two of his more notable projects: his shots of massive residential high-rises, and the back alleys of the city. Some of the high-rise shots are below: Read the rest

World's highest bridge opens to traffic

Duge Beipanjiang Bridge crosses a gorge 565 meters above China's Nizhu River. That's a bigger height than One World Trade Center, and beats the previous record-holder by about 70 meters. Read the rest

The Hardware Hacker: Bunnie Huang's tour-de-force on hardware hacking, reverse engineering, China, manufacturing, innovation and biohacking

I've been writing about genius hardware hackers Andrew "bunnie" Huang since 2003, when MIT hung him out to dry over his book explaining how he hacked the original Xbox; the book he wrote about that hack has become a significant engineering classic, and his own life has taken a thousand odd turns that we've chronicled here as he's founded companies, hacked hardware, become a China manufacturing guru, and sued the US government over the anti-hacking provisions of the DMCA.

China's Navy just seized a U.S. military drone that was underwater in the South China Sea

The Cold Drone Wars have begun. In a first-of-its-kind military standoff, the Chinese Navy has taken possession of an underwater autonomous drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea.

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Folding Beijing: the 2016 Hugo-winning novelette about the obsolescence of labor and the preservation of privilege

Belatedly, I've finally read Hao Jingfang's novelette "Folding Beijing," which won the Hugo Award last summer in Kansas City: it's a story about a future in which the great cities continue to be engines of economic power, but where automation eventually makes most of the people in the cities obsolete -- a problem solved by dividing the city's day and geography up by strata, using marvellous origami buildings that appear and disappear, and suspended animation technologies that whisk away great portions of the city's unneeded proletariat for most of the day. Read the rest

America: a welcome home for corrupt foreign politicians and businesspeople

Some of the most notorious criminals of South and Central America and China have resettled to the USA with money they looted from their countries' treasuries or defrauded their fellow citizens of. Read the rest

Gorgeous handmade dieselpunk coats

Xiaolizi is a design collective in Jiaozuo in Henan province, China; they've produced a remarkable line of gorgeous and moderately priced dieselpunk women's coats that are just on the line separating fashion and cosplay, much like Chicago's Volante Design -- my top pics are the Navy wool coat and the gray military coat, both $190 (with customizations available). (via Diesel Futures) Read the rest

How governments and cyber-militias attack civil society groups, and what they can do about it

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (previously) is one of the world's leading research centers for cybersecurity analysis, and they are the first port of call for many civil society groups when they are targeted by governments and cyber-militias. Read the rest

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