Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An economics-heavy links edition, except for the one about the zombies... and Ai Weiwei

In case you'd forgotten that Ai Weiwei is the most beloved Chinese person in the West: Alison Klayman's documentary about him, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, got a standing ovation at Sundance. [LA Times's 24 Frames]

The race toward the Zombie Apocalypse: virus vs. bacteria -- who will win? "The WHO says the effectiveness of antibiotics is under threat from overuse in China, as diseases mutate to develop immunity. It estimates that 6.8 per cent of Tuberculosis cases in China are multi-drug resistant, compared just 2 per cent in developed countries. Experts believe that diseases as diverse as syphilis and the hospital super-bug MRSA are thriving as they adapt to China's antibiotic-heavy environment. 'We are now on the brink of losing this precious arsenal of medicines,' Dr Michael O'Leary, the World Health Organization's China representative said in a 2011 statement calling for more responsible use of antibiotics. 'The speed with which these drugs are being lost far outpaces the development of replacement drugs.'" [Time]

This Global Times (Chinese edition, translated to China Digital Times) editorial makes a couple of interesting points -- if only the author could have done it without stroking his woody: "As far as the issue of speech is concerned, in recent years there are two groups that felt the effects most deeply. One group comprises hundreds of millions of Internet users, and the Internet has opened a completely new environment for speech and a new platform for expressing opinions. There is a world of difference between their freedom of speech on the Internet and in Chinese society of yesteryear. While occasionally their online speech may be subject to keyword restrictions, nevertheless, they have all kinds of means of skirting them. // It may not be the government’s desire to provide these freedoms, but the overall facts are taking shape: it is inevitable that the Internet will bring about open speech for China." [China Digital Times]

The Beijinger wasted an entire blog post on Dashan, asking questions such as "Is it time to stop hating him already?" and "Or is it just jealousy?" They completely miss the point. Most mammals feel a natural aversion to Dashan because he looks like this:

Chinese Grammar Wiki via Sinosplice founder: John Pasden introduces this new tool in this blog post.

A Rabble-Rouser's Trip to Linyi. "'If [only] there should come a day when we are ready to die and can tell our children’s children that when we were young in 2011, we once did a little something for a fat, blind man, and we did it without the intention of changing much, but only because we wanted inner peace and to prove that in a land rife with injustice, the blossom of morality is ever opening in our hearts.' Yes, no matter how dark the skies, the flowering of justice is within us." [China Digital Times]

Deborah Brautigam, Africa expert, takes down Economist story. "The Economist still doesn't get it on China's foreign aid. They merrily mix apples and lychees in a new special report..." [China in Africa: The Real Story]

The China Growth Story. [Naked Capitalism]

Corollary: Two comments from the above link to highlight. The first is the graph that appears at the top of this post. The second is from commenter YankeeFrank, something worth remembering: "Let’s be clear: GDP, as Robert Kennedy made clear over 40 years ago, measures everything except what is important to a happy life."

If GDP is really your thing though, check this out: A debate about Chinese economics. (What, you were expecting?) [China Debate]

Because you absolutely did not ask for this, here was the musical playlist to this year's Hong Kong Chinese New Year fireworks extravaganza:

财伸到 Caishen Dao
Money God is Here (translations are mine, completely unofficial)

家大欢喜 Jiada Huanxi
Everyone is Happy

春天的故事 Chuntian de Gushi
Spring Story

龙的傳人 Long de Chuanren
Dragon Ancestor

和兰花一起 He Lanhua Yiqi
Together with Orchids

功夫熊猫 Gongfu Xiongmao
Kung-fu Panda

马照跑 Ma Zhao Pao
Horse Races Continue

Theme (all the segments had a theme, but only the last one was worth noting): 炮声“龙龙” The Sound of Fireworks is Very Loud ("Double Dragon")

大峡谷 Da Xiagu
Big Canyon

NON-CHINA READ: "'I can’t make that movie,' Lucas recalled thinking when he read the scripts. 'I’m going to have make this kind of . . . entertainment movie.' So Lucas focused on the middle chapter: the dogfights and the Nazi-hunting black pilots who shout, 'How you like that, Mr. Hitler!'" About George Lucas's new film, Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen. [NY Times Magazine]

Couple things: I'm fully aware Star Wars was revolutionary for its era. But it's a bad series of films. There's a ridiculous plot and hicks in white metallic suits who can't hit the broadside of Jabba the Hutt. The dialogue was also written by a 14-year-old.

Second: There's already been a movie about Tuskegee Airmen, a version for adults as opposed to teenagers, and you can see all of it starting here. It's good.

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