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"Last year, when the Party faced mounting complaints over deadly air pollution, Internet censorship, and rampant graft, it arrested lawyers, activists, and journalists in the harshest such measure in decades, and circulated an internal directive to senior members. The notice identified seven “unmentionable” topics: Western-style democracy, “universal values,” civil society, pro-market liberalism, a free press, “nihilist” criticisms of Party history, and questions about the pace of China’s reforms. The list was, in retrospect, a near-perfect inventory of the liberties that distinguish life in Hong Kong."

What is more, China’s new confidence in its own system of Leninist capitalism and its new assertiveness in the world have only been encouraged by the spectacle of a paralyzed U.S. Congress and Europe’s faltering governments. Such models of democratic practice leave Party officials feeling more justified than ever in rejecting Western democracy’s checks and balances, electoral politics, universal values, human rights, independent civil society, open media, and freedom of religious organization. “One part of the now long-standing Chinese leadership critique of Western-style democracy is that it is prone to paralysis and gridlock and ultimately governmental weakness,” Xi recently commented.
This is spot on. China Strikes Back! | ChinaFile


With the Ethereum pre-sale now live and on track to raise tens of millions of dollars, it seems like a good a time to step back and explain what Ethereum is and why so many people are excited about its potential.

Ethereum is generalized Bitcoin.

If Bitcoin is a block chain platform for…

What does Crimea tell us about Google?

What does Crimea tell us about Google?

What can we infer about Google’s technology, politics and business from observing its approach to mapping Crimea, a few weeks after its invasion and subsequent annexation by Russia? Let’s take each area in turn:

Technology:We’ve long known Google has the ability to serve different mapping datasets to different Google top-level domain properties. For example, different-language versions of Google…

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MH370: Google adds satellite search imagery to Google Earth; black box heard?

Two new pieces of information today relevant to the ongoing search for Malaysian Airlines MH370: There is a potential location for the black box, and Google Earth now shows recent satellite imagery of the search area in its default layer.


  • A Chinese patrol ship has picked up pings that match those of a black box, both on Friday and again on Saturday, according to China’s CCTV. The approximate…

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MH370: Amateur hour at the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency?

MH370: Amateur hour at the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency?

The Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) today released an annotated satellite image purporting to show a debris field in the Southern Indian Ocean, near the area where the plane is believed to have perished.

Unfortunately, using only the information contained by the image, it can easily be proven to be self-contradicory, and hence useless.

I’ve been collecting satellite imagery of possible…

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MH370: Updated route, final radar plot

MH370: Updated route, final radar plot

We now appear to have one more official source of information to go on: Via Twitter, a photo, apparently shown to Chinese media in Beijing on March 22 or 21, of a Malaysian military radar image showing MH370, pinpointing its last plot at 02:22 MYT (UTC+8):


To analyse the image properly, I took a screen shot of the same area from SkyVector‘s amazing aeronautical charts, overlaid and aligned that…

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MH370 - Airports in flight range on Google Earth

MH370 – Airports in flight range on Google Earth

Over the weekend, several initiatives mapped airports that could serve as potential landing spots for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. WNYC first mapped large airports within MH370′s flight range onto Google Maps; then David Strip used data from OurAirports to cast a wider net of potential landing spots and put that in Google Maps.

That’s a good idea, but Google Earth is perhaps the more…

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China — a photographic update

China — a photographic update

In February, work took me to China, my stay there bookended by a weekend each in Beijing and Shanghai — time enough for some long exploratory walks with my go-anywhere camera, the minuscule Panasonic Lumix GM1 with the legendary 20mm F1.7 lens.

Beijing:This was my first time back in three years, so I wanted to visit all my old haunts, to update my mental map of the place. The pollution reading…

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Flight MH370 — search data in Google Earth

Flight MH370 — search data in Google Earth

The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has had me glued to the Internet. Now over a week into the mystery, more specific data has begun to emerge regarding MH370′s apparent flight path and possible last locations, from two distinct sources. I felt I could contribute by adding these as accurately as possible to Google Earth, for others to use. Here’s the resulting KMZ filefor Google…

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