Tuesday, September 01, 2020


In his new book China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption, Yuen Yuen Ang presents four reasons:

1. Access money dominates.

More concretely, politicians prosper by getting things built, not by preventing things from getting built.

2. China’s political system operates on a profit-sharing model.

3. Capacity-building reforms have curtailed damaging forms of corruption.

4. Regional competition checks predatory corruption, spurs on developmental efforts, and ratchets up deals.

The book in fact presents serious data and argumentation in favor of those propositions, and thus it is significantly more useful than most of the China books you will read.


Anthony Albanese warns of China's growing influence in Australia's national interest

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has warned the growing influence of China in Australia is a huge issue for both major parties.

Speaking on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday morning, the Labor leader said president Xi Jinping’s regime has become a more “assertive” force than any previous Chinese government.“This isn’t a partisan issue,” he said.

 “I mean (Xi Jinping’s regime is) more assertive and we can see that played out in a number of ways, and therefore, that requires a response by the Australian government in the national interest.” When asked if China was “intervening” in Australia Mr Albanese said: “Quite clearly they are. And we’ve seen various examples of that on universities, for example. And we’ve seen that played out”.

Mr Albanese said federal Labor would never seek trade agreements under China’s controversial belt and road initiative, despite Victorian premier Daniel Andrews signing a memorandum of understanding through the scheme in 2018.


Swiss authorities want to renew a discreet agreement with China, signed in 2015, which allows officials from Beijing to enter the country and question Chinese citizens residing here illegally…

The agreement allows Chinese officials to enter Switzerland for a period of two weeks – without official status – in order to investigate Chinese citizens found to be staying illegally in the Alpine Nation. Once identified, these people can be deported in collaboration with SEM.

Individuals affected by the agreement include rejected asylum seekers, illegal travellers, and those without identity papers.

And what exactly do the Swiss get in return?  Here is the full story, via Fergus McCullough.

NIKE, THE NBA, AND LEBRON JAMES ARE OKAY WITH THIS: China Built A Vast New Infrastructure To Imprison Uighurs.

Military and security agencies are eroding civil society

War and militarisation has become ever-present in so much of our public life. Civilian power and responsibility is being marginalised. We go to war without our Parliament even debating the merits of such a momentous act. We are ceding civilian control to our military and security agencies.

Continue reading 

The China Syndrome Part I: Outbreak Quillette.


‘Heinous!’: Coronavirus researcher shut down for Wuhan-lab link slams new funding restrictions Nature

Customs and Border Protection Paid $476,000 to a Location Data Firm in New Deal Vice


Activists find camera inside mysterious box on power pole near union organizer’s home FOX13

What’s a Palantir? The tech industry’s next big IPO

As Palantir prepares to go public in what could be the largest stock market listing of a tech startup since Uber, many are wondering: What exactly does this influential but little-known company do?


Three art students, Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti, collected polluted water from all over Taiwan and turned them into popsicles.

The Measure Of Things is a search engine for finding comparative or relative measurements of physical quantities. Want to know how much, how long, how many, how far, how large, how tall, how high, or how heavy something is? Want to figure what weighs 5; 500; or 5,000 tons? The Measure Of Things can tell you what you need to know. With the Measure Of Thingstool, you can take a physical quantity – like 84 kilograms or 23 cubic meters – and see how it compares to a list of famous or well-known objects. For example, 84 kilograms is the weight of about 17 gallons of paint, while 23 cubic meters is about twice the volume of a cement mixer truck. You can use the Measure Of Things to research equivalent measures for several types of quantities, including weight, length, speed, time, height, area, volume, and computer data..”

Flower vortex

MakeTechEasier: “Windows 10 offers many ways to capture a screenshot. To take a screenshot, all you need to do is press Ctrl + PRTSC or Fn + PRTSC and you instantly have a screenshot. There is even a built-in Snipping Tool that allows you to capture a section of a window as well as pop-up menus. But all those methods only allow you to capture content that is within the dimensions of the browser’s viewing area. What if you want to capture a screenshot of a scrolling window of a webpage, document, or any other content that’s beyond the viewable area? In such cases your only option would be to use a third-party application. In this post you’ll learn the best tools to capture a scrolling screenshot in Windows…”

Thinking through the pandemic. Ours is a bleak reality full of social and personal uncertainty. And so the public is returning to existentialism   pandemic reality 

A screenwriter's manual written in 1919 lists the 37 different types of stores, incl. "possessed of an ambition", "loving an enemy", "adultry with murder", and "an innocent suspected".

Upon his death in 1790, Benjamin Franklin gave Boston and Philadelphia a small sum of money, a portion of which they couldn't use until 200 years after his death (when it had appreciated into millions of dollars).