Friday, November 30, 2007

The thuggery behind the harmonious facade - International Herald Tribune, Part 2

The thuggery behind the harmonious facade - International Herald Tribune: "Ma: Enough of this. I've heard from the 'relevant departments' that people like us are not allowed to make big bucks. We're just doing enough to make a living. The police: We haven't bothered your business, have we? Ma: Really? Unless I remember it wrong, you guys once talked to my partner and said, 'if we see him dealing with your company, your business will end.' The police: That's because you did something we didn't want you to do. Over the last few years you haven't made any trouble for us, so we haven't made any trouble for you. Ma: Is that so? You asked me to come here today. Isn't this trouble? The police: How can you say this is trouble? We're friends. Isn't it O.K. to have a cup of tea together? Ma: It's a pity we're not sitting here as friends. Enough beating around the bush, let's talk about why I am wanted here today. The police: O.K., are you or are you not planning to go to Beijing soon? Ma: I am. I'm flying there tomorrow. Any problem? The police: You have to go? Ma then insists that he is only going for business, and the police reply that if that's the case, they won't try to stop him. But they warn him, for good measure..."

This article makes me question the ethics of investing in the Chinese market. Another important question it brings up is whether or not the Chinese government will be able to continue to allow business in China to prosper or whether this type of harassment of the populace will lead to serious economic issues. In any case I am uneasy about my investments in emerging markets at this point...

The thuggery behind the harmonious facade - International Herald Tribune

The thuggery behind the harmonious facade - International Herald Tribune: "SHANGHAI: Last October, as Ma Shaofang prepared to travel from the Chinese city of Shenzhen to Beijing to attend a writers' conference, he received a menacing call from the police. Why trouble a businessman who wants to attend a conference? The problem was that as a student hunger strike organizer during the Tiananmen protests in 1989, Ma had a 'dossier' that still trails behind him wherever he goes in China. The Chinese calendar is filled with special dates, 'sensitive moments' whose association with events either historical or current put the authorities on alert and the people on guard. October 2007 happened to be the month of the Communist Party's 17th Congress, a once-in-five years affair whose political significance is such that the capital is locked down, potential 'troublemakers' rounded up and even the airwaves scrubbed with extra vigor by censors whose job it is to see that nothing can sully the image of a serene and clear-sighted leadership. So with that backdrop in mind, the police 'invited' Ma for tea. Ma's account of the meeting, which he recently published, and which was subsequently translated by the University of California at Berkeley's China Digital Times, offers a chilling glimpse of a Chinese reality that few foreigners ever see."

Very interesting article... Definitely a must read.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Intense Term

I know every college student says it, but this term was intense! Most likely I will say it again next term, and the term after that... Anyhow I have been cramming tons of information to attempt and keep up with my new lab while also trying to stay on top of 3 science based classes. Not an easy task but I love it.

On the computer science front I am currently learning my way around python. Python is a high level scripting language with some pretty cool functionality. My only gripe with it so far is that regular expression handling has to be imported. Granted that there is probably a more elegant way to do the regex stuff I wanted to do, I ended up using about 5 lines of code to go through these files the lab uses for running bioinformatics simulations and pull out relevant data for a new project I am working on. I was not pleased with the relatively confusing commands for dealing with regular expressions either. Other than that I love what I have seen so far in Python. It seems much less confusing to me than Perl.

Thanksgiving was fun. I spent it in Seattle with my girlfriend and her sister's family. Seattle is a fun town and I am definitely adding it to my list of habitable locations.

Thats all for now. It's dead week and I need to get stuff done.

Monday, November 5, 2007

learning perl and feeling nerdy

#!/usr/bin/perl

print(("a","c","e","h","j","k","l","n","o","p","r","s","t","u"," ") [4,13,11,12,14,0,7,8,12,3,2,10,14,9,2,10,6,14,3,0,1,5,2,10]);

#thats how I roll...