Odd Creature Found In China

TZ #4 Ping Pong

A video was posted last week to YouTube of an unidentified creature that was caught in China.

In the video – uploaded by YouTube user Raymond Yeung – the “alien-like” being is seen trying to break its way out of a steel cage using its teeth. Since its release, the video has been stirring up some major debate, in China especially, over the creature’s identity.

The video’s caption states that it was captured in the Shenzhen Reservoir in China’s Sand Bay.  Reports say that the Department of Drainage removed it from the water before trapping it in the cage.

Some say it is a “water monster” from Chinese folklore.

David Neal, director of Animals Asia, gave a new perspective.  “It looks like a bear cub which is suffering from some medical condition which has caused it to lose all of its fur,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

Internet users have also said the animal is a Malaysian sun bear which is suffering from alopecia, a disease which causes baldness, states dailymail.co.uk.



(Updated article)

U.S. Making A Statement? U.S. Won’t Send Aircraft Carrier To China This Year

The Pentagon announced Friday it wouldn’t send an aircraft carrier to visit China this year.  It is a move intended to persuade China to seek diplomatic solutions to territorial disputes, a U.S. official said.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said U.S. and Chinese officials met Thursday to discuss military exchanges over the coming year to build on previous efforts.  However, he said the U.S. has ruled out a visit to China by a U.S. carrier.

Officials had earlier proposed the U.S. send an aircraft carrier to visit China as part of the effort to expand defense ties between the two countries, but Pentagon officials last week deferred a decision on the carrier visit while awaiting progress in U.S.-China talks on other agreements, including one to reduce the risk of midair collisions between military aircraft.

A defense official said the Pentagon had decided against such a visit because of concerns with China’s actions in the Pacific. Tensions in the region have increased in recent years as Chinese ships and planes have repeatedly confronted vessels from neighboring countries in disputed areas of the South China Sea and in the East China Sea.

Russia To Build High Speed Rail

David Pakman

According to the Moscow Times, in mid-October, Russia and China signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop a high-speed rail network that included construction of a high-speed rail line from Moscow to Beijing.

“Trains are expected to hurtle along the new line at an average speed of 400 kilometers per hour, cutting the travel time between the two cities from the current six or more days to about 33 hours.”



China Shuts Down Gmail, Google

The last easy way to access Gmail was apparently blocked, and state-run media in China said that Google’s unwillingness to obey Chinese law is to blame for the shutdown.

“China welcomes the company to do business on the prerequisite that it obeys Chinese law; however Google values more its reluctance to be restricted by Chinese law, resulting in conflict,” the Global Times said in an editorial.

Gmail, the world’s biggest email service, has been largely inaccessible from within China since the runup to the 25th anniversary in June of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Users could access the service by using third-party mail applications but Jeremy Goldkorn, the founder of Danwei, a Beijing-based firm that tracks Chinese media and the internet, said that has also been barred by the government.

China operates the world’s most extensive and sophisticated internet censorship system, known as the “great firewall”. Foreign websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are routinely blocked and content that the ruling Communist party deems offensive is often quickly deleted.

Google withdrew from China in 2010 after a fallout with Beijing over censorship issues.

“The issue at heart is to what extent Google is willing to obey Chinese law, on which China’s attitude is steadfast,” said the Global Times, which is close to the Communist party.

Access problems could be “caused by the China side, by Google itself or a combination of the two”, it added.

A Google spokesman said that an internal check had found “nothing wrong on our end”.

If China did block Gmail, the Global Times said, it “must have been prompted by newly emerged security reasons” and users should “accept the reality”.

“We only need to have faith that China has its own logic in terms of internet policy and it is made and runs in accordance with the country’s fundamental interests,” it added.

“We don’t want to be shut off, as it obviously doesn’t serve our own interests.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was not aware of the blocking of the service when asked about the issue at a press conference on Monday.

“I would like to stress that China always welcomes and supports foreign investors’ legal business operations in China,” she said.

Video by The Lip TV.



Economy: We’re #2 ?

IMF Headquarters 1 in Washington D.C.

According to MarketWatch, the Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. “For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet,” states MarketWatch.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the latest numbers for the world economy. When you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

China’s recent decision to bring gross domestic product calculations in line with international standards has revealed activity that had previously gone uncounted.

As recently as 2000, the U.S. produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

The calculations are based on a well-established and widely used economic measure known as purchasing-power parity (or PPP), which measures the actual output as opposed to fluctuations in exchange rates. So a Starbucks venti Frappucino (or a Big Mac) served in Beijing counts the same as one served in Minneapolis, regardless of what happens to be going on among foreign-exchange traders.

PPP is the “real” way of comparing economies: it is “exchange-rate-adjusted.” It is the one reported by the IMF and was, for example, the one used by McKinsey & Co. consultants back in the 1990s when they undertook a study of economic productivity on behalf of the British government.

When you exclude the PPP, the U.S. economy remains allegedly almost 70% bigger than that of China.

But many economists or financial institutions consider such measures largely meaningless. Does the U.S. economy really shrink if the dollar falls 10% on international currency markets? Does the recent plunge in the yen mean the Japanese economy is vanishing?

Back in 2012, the IMF tried to challenge the importance of PPP, for reasons of ideology.  It is not in anyone’s interest at the IMF that people in the Western world start focusing too much on the sheer extent of China’s power.

However, when the IMF’s official World Economic Outlook compares countries by their share of world output, it does so using PPP.

All statistics are open to possible dispute. It is possible China’s latest numbers overstate output — or understate them. That may also be true of U.S. GDP figures. But according to MarketWatch, the IMF data are “the best we have.”

This will not change anything in the short term, but it will change much in the long term.

We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. since at least 1945 and, in many ways, since the late 19th century.  However, throughout history, political and military power have always depended on economic power.



Dukee Explosion Could Have Been Avoided

Hate “Big Government” regulations? Chances are, you’ve never had your home destroyed by a giant explosion of human waste.

The Bangkok Post reports that a cesspool filled with excrement exploded in Zhangjiajie, China, injuring 15 people and knocking down a building on Saturday.  Accumulated methane gas from the cesspool exploded after someone decided to burn trash too close to an unregulated cesspit full of human waste.

Three of the injured had to be hospitalized.

Thankfully, nobody died.  The Bangkok Post blames the poop explosion on a lack of government regulation.

China’s urban infrastructure has often been hastily built with little regard for safety as hundreds of millions of people have moved from the countryside to cities in recent decades.

Secular Talk video.

Bangkok Post article:


Ironic: Incoming Chair of Senate Environment Committee Is Climate Change Skeptic

The incoming Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, James Inhofe (an Oklahoma Republican), is a climate change skeptic.

There are several conflicting arguments the right makes against regulating carbon emissions.

1.  Global warming doesn’t exist.

2.  The regulations would be too expensive for the U.S.

3.  China isn’t reducing their emissions, so the U.S. would be at a competitive disadvantage if the U.S. reduced its own emissions.

However, if the first point is true, then the others shouldn’t matter, but Senator Inhofe seems to make all points at the same time.

The president also just signed a new climate treaty with China, possibly making the third point not valid.

Sam Seder video.

Republicans Vow More Gridlock On Climate Change

Obama2According to the Huffington Post, if anyone thought the announcement of a bilateral U.S.-China climate agreement on Wednesday might lead to a breakthrough on climate policy in Washington, Senate Republicans would like to inform them otherwise.

The presumptive Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said he was “distressed” by the U.S.-China deal, arguing that it “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emission regulations are creating havoc in my state and other states around the country.”

House Republican Leadership Address The Media After Conference Meeting

Does this mean that McConnell feels there should be more stringent regulations on China, or no regulations on his state? He failed to address that topic.

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the agreement on Wednesday. Under the deal, the U.S. will aim to cut emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, and China will reach its peak emissions by 2030. This was heralded as a major breakthrough on the path to a global climate agreement.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chamber’s most vocal climate change denier and the likely new chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, took to the Senate floor Wednesday, criticizing the agreement for allowing China years before it begins to reduce emissions, and casting doubt that it ever would. “Even if they did agree to reducing emissions, we wouldn’t believe them,” said Inhofe. “They don’t end up doing what they say their going to do in these agreements.”

Oddly, Senator Inhofe is set to be the new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Republicans also plan to take steps to gut the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to MSNBC, when asked the other day about his goals for the next Congress, McConnell (R-Ky.) said his top priority is “to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”

Coral Davenport reported earlier this week that GOP leaders are united behind a vision intended to undermine EPA regulations:

“The new Republican Congress is headed for a clash with the White House over two ambitious Environmental Protection Agency regulations that are the heart of President Obama’s climate change agenda.

“At this point, Republicans do not have the votes to repeal the E.P.A. regulations, which will have far more impact on curbing carbon emissions than stopping the [Keystone] pipeline, but they say they will use their new powers to delay, defund and otherwise undermine them.”

Senator Inhofe is expected to open investigations into the E.P.A., call for cuts in its funding and delay the regulations as long as possible.

Davenport continues:

“Mr. McConnell signaled last week that he, too, wanted to cut the E.P.A.’s budget to keep it from enforcing environmental regulations. Republicans might also include provisions that would repeal the E.P.A. regulations in crucial spending bills – a tactic that could force a standoff between Mr. Obama and Mr. McConnell over funding the government.”

Banqiao Dam Collapse, China: The Worst Dam Collapse Ever

The Banqiao dam and Shimantan Reservoir Dam are among 62 dams in Zhumadian, China, that broke catastrophically or were intentionally destroyed on August 8th, 1975, following the collision of Typhoon Nina and a cold front.

The typhoon was blocked for two days before its direction ultimately changed from northeastward to west.  The death toll of this disaster was declassified in 2005.

The accident took an estimated 171,000 lives.

According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, approximately 26,000 people died from flooding.  However, another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine.  Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people.

11 million people lost their homes.  It also caused the sudden loss of 18 GW of power, the power output equivalent of roughly 9 very large modern coal-fired thermal power stations.

As a result of this near stationary thunderstorm system, more than a year’s rain fell within 24 hours (new records were set, at 189.5 mm rainfall per hour and 1060 mm per day, exceeding the average annual precipitation of about 800 mm), which weather forecasts failed to predict.

It was the worst dam collapse ever.  The People’s Daily claimed the causes of the dam failure were both natural and man-made.  Investigations have also reported that the dam was poorly engineered and constructed making it vulnerable.

China’s Copycat Suburbia


What do China’s cities look like after 15 years of government policies attempting to mimic planning templates that have since been abandoned in the US and Europe?

Soon You Can Sleep in This Fake Bavarian Castle in the Middle of China

Urban groupings with “Houston-style financial districts,” “Dallas’ car culture,” and “Atlanta’s endless sprawl,” surrounded by suburbs like Rancho Santa Fe, a faux-Californian community of Mission-style homes outside Shanghai whose developers decided to simply name it after the real one.

That’s according to Bianca Bosker, author of Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China, who wrote on the country’s “deja vu design binge” in The Guardian. The copycat planning and its effects on the country have also reproduced Paris, a Bavarian-style castle (which is actually a hotel), and an entire Austrian town.