Tag Archives: chinese

Revealed: Trump’s secret plans for MASSIVE military expansion amid WW3 fears – Daily Star

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:24 am

THE US military is drafting expansion plans amid fears of World War 3, it has been claimed.

GETTY/US AIR FORCE/US DEFENCE

A defence official has leaked unauthorised information on the US militarys expansion plans after Donald Trump vowed to rebuild the nations depleted force last week.

According to the unconfirmed plans the army, air force and navy are set to receive increased man and weapon power.

The expansion plans comes as tensions continue to rise between the US and several countries including Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

Washington has said to be flexing its military muscles after Chinese military bosses declared war between the US and China is now a reality.

GETTY

Our country will never have had a military like the military we’re about to build and rebuild

An unnamed defence official has claimed draft plans have been set in motion to increase the US Army by around 30,000 men by October.

The US Air Force is also said to want to expand their airmen by roughly the same amount but over the next five to six years.

While the US Navy as part of the proposed expansion has asked for 82 more ships and submarines which would be a 30 percent increase in the size of the fleet.

It comes after the nations marine corps unveiled their new lethal amphibious combat vehicles.

As Donald Trump has promised to start an arms race, we take a look at the futuristic weapons being developed for the US military.

1 / 9

A projectile fired from an electromagnetic rail gun. Rail Guns use an electro magnet to propel a projectile at speeds up to 2500 meters per second.

They plan to add at least 200 of the deadly vehicles to their arsenal by 2023.

Trump said: “Our country will never have had a military like the military we’re about to build and rebuild.”

The US is set to deploy its first F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets to the Pacific amid growing threats from North Korea and China.

In a pre-inauguration day speech, Trump promised to beef up the US military in a bid to make America great again.

The Donald had made increased military spending a key part of his election campaign and after being named the 45th president pledged to strengthen the nations nuclear weapons in a $3 trillion expansion.

Acting Pentagon press secretary Capt Jeff Davis added: The budget submissions that DOD makes to the president will come from Secretary Mattis.

They will reflect his thinking, and his priorities, which are to rebuild combat readiness of America’s military, while being faithful stewards of every taxpayer dollar we spend on defence.

Read more:

Revealed: Trump’s secret plans for MASSIVE military expansion amid WW3 fears – Daily Star

Posted in Ww3 | Comments Off on Revealed: Trump’s secret plans for MASSIVE military expansion amid WW3 fears – Daily Star

China May Soon Surpass America on the Artificial Intelligence Battlefield – The National Interest Online

Posted: at 4:14 am

The rapidity of recent Chinese advances in artificial intelligence indicates that the country is capable of keeping pace with, or perhaps even overtaking, the United States in this critical emerging technology. The successes of major Chinese technology companies, notably Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group and Tencent Holding Ltd.and even a number of start-upshave demonstrated the dynamism of these private-sector efforts in artificial intelligence. From speech recognition to self-driving cars, Chinese research is cutting edge. Although the military dimension of Chinas progress in artificial intelligence has remained relatively opaque, there is also relevant research occurring in the Peoples Liberation Army research institutes and the Chinese defense industry. Evidently, the PLA recognizes the disruptive potential of the varied military applications of artificial intelligence, from unmanned weapons systems to command and control. Looking forward, the PLA anticipates that the advent of artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the character of warfare, ultimately resulting in a transformation from todays informationized () ways of warfare to future intelligentized () warfare.

The Chinese leadership has prioritized artificial intelligence at the highest levels, recognizing its expansive applications and strategic implications. The initial foundation for Chinas progress in artificial intelligence was established through long-term research funded by national science and technology plans, such as the 863 Program. Notably, Chinas 13th Five-Year Plan (201620) called for breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, which was also highlighted in the 13th Five-Year National Science and Technology Innovation Plan. The new initiatives focus on artificial intelligence and have been characterized as the China Brain Plan (), which seeks to enhance understandings of human and artificial intelligence alike. In addition, the Internet Plus and Artificial Intelligence, a three-year implementation plan for artificial intelligence (201618), emphasizes the development of artificial intelligence and its expansive applications, including in unmanned systems, in cyber security and for social governance. Beyond these current initiatives, the Chinese Academy of Engineering has proposed an Artificial Intelligence 2.0 Plan, and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Peoples Republic of China has reportedly tasked a team of experts to draft a plan for the development of artificial intelligence through 2030. The apparent intensity of this support and funding will likely enable continued, rapid advances in artificial intelligence with dual-use applications.

Chinas significant progress in artificial intelligence must be contextualized by the national strategy of civil-military integration or military-civil fusion () that has become a high-level priority under President Xi Jinpings leadership. Consequently, it is not unlikely that nominally civilian technological capabilities will eventually be utilized in a military context. For instance, An Weiping (), deputy chief of staff of the PLAs Northern Theater Command, has highlighted the importance of deepening civil-military integration, especially for such strategic frontier technologies as artificial intelligence. Given this strategic approach, the boundaries between civilian and military research and development tend to blur. In a notable case, Li Deyi () acts as the director of the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence, and he is affiliated with Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Concurrently, Li Deyi is a major general in the PLA who serves as deputy director of the Sixty-First Research Institute, under the aegis of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Equipment Development Department.

Read this article:

China May Soon Surpass America on the Artificial Intelligence Battlefield – The National Interest Online

Posted in Artificial Intelligence | Comments Off on China May Soon Surpass America on the Artificial Intelligence Battlefield – The National Interest Online

Zoltan Istvan on transhumanism, politics and why the human body has to go – New Atlas

Posted: at 3:41 am

Zoltan Istvan is a transhumanist, journalist, politician, writer and libertarian. He is also running for Governor of California for the Libertarian Party on a platform pushing science and technology to the forefront of political discourse. In recent years, the movement of transhumanism has moved from a niche collection of philosophical ideals and anarcho-punk gestures into a mainstream political movement. Istvan has become the popular face of this movement after running for president in 2016 on a dedicated transhumanist platform.

We caught up with Istvan to chat about how transhumanist ideals can translate into politics, how technology is going to change us as humans and the dangers in not keeping up with new innovations, such as genetic editing.

New Atlas: How does transhumanism intersect with politics?

Istvan: For me you can never make any headway in the universe, or on planet Earth, if you don’t involve politics because so much money for innovation or research and development comes from the government and so many laws about what you can do. Genetic editing, chip implants, can you get a brain implant that makes you smarter than other people? These things are often directed by the government determining whether it’s illegal or not. You can either be thrown in jail or not thrown in jail so you must have a political footprint, you must have attorneys on the ground, you must have that kind of legal position that can explain things in terms that a government will understand.

One of the things that happened to me was that when I became a public figure in the movement, I realized very quickly there was zero political framework for this entire movement. It was one of the reasons why I founded the Transhumanist Party and also then went through the process to become the 2016 nominee.

As part of his 2016 Presidential campaign Zoltan Istvan traveled through the United States in a bus shaped like a coffin(Credit: Zoltan Istvan)

You’ve recently announced your run for California governor as a libertarian. How do you reconcile the small government “hands off” ideals of a libertarian ideology with your transhumanist goals of keeping technological innovations accessible to all?

Well, tranhumanism began as a libertarian philosophy really, with most early people who thought about it having the point of view that we should have the right to merge with machines, we should have the right to overcome death.

To actually make real headway in politics it would takes years, maybe decades, to get the Transhumanist Party with enough funding and infrastructure to make a difference. But with the libertarians you walk directly into a party that got four million votes for Gary Johnson, its 2016 presidential nominee. Four million votes is a lot of votes.

That’s one of the reasons why I am running for the Libertarian Party. It’s not that in any way am I changing my science or technology beliefs. It just happens to be that the libertarian philosophy is pretty equivalent with tranhumanism and it fits very well for the next journey of my life.

What do you see the government’s role is in preventing technological inequality between the rich and poor?

In my opinion the government should obviously be around to make sure we don’t create a dystopia. Everyone thought the Transhumanist Party was totally optimistic of technology and, while it totally is, it is also very fundamentally concerned with things like being able to go onto eBay and for a thousand dollars buy some kind of a virus making kit where you can create a virus that could take out millions of people. Or the idea of artificial intelligence, some people just want to let AI run wild whereas I’m not really sure we want a species on Earth that is smarter than human beings. I’m not sure that makes any sense.

So despite the optimism of the Transhumanism Party and that political element, we were also very conscious that inequality was growing because of technology. That said the standard of life was improving around the world even if inequality was growing. But still, I think the role of transhumanism in politics is not just to say, ‘this is the greatest thing ever, let’s go full force with whatever new technological development is happening.’ We need to be concerned about these things.

Transhumanists can play a political role by stepping up and saying there are limits to where technology goes, and at the same time some things like genetic editing are things that we should put our foot down and say this should be open market. We should find out where this takes us and seek to improve ourselves as human beings. As you probably read all the time, Christian America is literally trying to shut down genetic editing and they are only getting certain types of things going. It’s just like when George W Bush ran the government and stopped stem cell funding for seven years. They are trying to do the same thing now with genetic editing, which is perhaps the most promising science of the 21st century.

This is where transhumanists have to stand up and just say no, this has to be determined by the market. If people start creating monsters and those monsters do evil things that’s a whole different story, but what we’re trying to do right now is eliminate cancer, augment our intelligence so we can become smarter, and do away with hereditary diseases. Very few people in Congress are talking about it, yet it is probably the most important science of our time.

So, for example, in terms of genetic editing that creates IQ boosting – how do you manage that so it’s not just an expensive process only available to the rich? Do you agree there needs to be a heavy regulatory hand from the government to ensure we don’t move towards a dystopian future?

Tough question. I would’ve answered in the past that certainly some regulatory hand has to be involved, and I still think some regulatory hands have to be involved. I just think at this point in time we’re not really talking about the rich becoming super smart and the poor not getting these kinds of technology. We’re just fighting for the right to even do experiments.

I do believe that there’s a libertarian version of universal health care and universal income out there that would be good. I just think at the very top of the food chain is where we really need to let people, those very rich and super innovative people, do exactly what they want to do. But as a left-leaning libertarian I’m probably always going to say that some regulatory hand has to be in there to protect the poor.

My entire goal, and one of the things I’m standing behind is that we all have a universal right to indefinite lifespans. That’s something I can promise you in the 21st century will become one of the most important civil and ideological rights of humanity. That everybody has a right to live indefinitely. Right now we still think death is natural, but that’s gonna be changing over the next five, 10, 15 years.

I want people to feel entitled to an indefinite lifespan where if they choose to live for a long period of time, they will. And to get there we’re going to need some type of government hand that says, enough with the bandaid medicine, enough with your Christian antics where you must die to meet God and it’s okay to age. I believe aging is a disease. I believe the government needs to classify it as a disease. We need to tackle aging, let’s stop it.

It’s not really libertarian or democratic or republican. It’s a humanitarian point of view. People should have the right to live as long as possible. We should stop trying to fix the human body when we need to realize that moving beyond the human body is probably the very best scenario for getting rid of some of the maladies and diseases we suffer from. And you can call this universal health care, the libertarians may get all grumpy and angry, but the reality is I think there is a very libertarian nature to it.

The most important thing about the libertarian point of view here is private property, and this private property extends all the way to yourself. If you see yourself as something that wants to be left alone, then you want to be left alone, not only from other people, but from the ravages of nature, from the ravages of disease and I think the libertarian calling could be to come up with these solutions that could change humanity forever so we really could live a truly libertarian life where you’re not constantly attacked. We’re all being bothered by biological issues so I’d like to take that libertarian philosophy one step further and apply that to the human body.

You’ve done a little biohacking yourself. Can you tell us about the chip in your hand and what it does?

On my bus tour recently, the very first stop on that four-month tour was this place called Grindfest. All the biohackers across the country fly in and they do things to themselves. They put chips in, they electrocute each other, they party, they do drugs, it’s a very free society. One of the things I did was I got chipped. I got a tiny little implant in my hand. It’s about the size of a grain of rice and it allows me to open my front door. I’m trying to get the software right now to get my car to start with it. It also sends out a text message if you get close enough to me and have the right software. It can do all sorts of little things.

The biohackers are some of the most important people in the transhumanist movement. They’re some of the ones that are really out there beyond the academics of it. They’re doing things, they’re testing things. I’m a big believer that a lot of people will get chip implants soon. I’m a surfer and when I go surfing I don’t have to hide my keys underneath my car somewhere or worry about them getting wet. I just go because the housekeys are in my hand.

Do you think there is a line in how far human enhancement and augmentation can go before we can’t really classify ourselves as humans anymore?

I would say that when we start really merging with machines, maybe over the next five or 10 years, that’s when mainstream people will say, yes, we are fundamentally crossing that line of becoming less human.

I think when we start affecting our thoughts, and that’s gonna come through the neural laces or the neural prosthetics. When you start getting into the matrix you’re really no longer a human being, but the reality is that we’re probably going to keep the best of our human traits with us for a long time. There’s this idea that we may not ever even see that change because it happens so slowly and it will be hard to diagnose when it does. We’ll always just think, oh, we’re who we are.

So you’re not afraid that we’re moving into a phase where we are potentially losing an essential sense of self or individuality through this augmentation? You’re embracing a future with a new type of human?

Oh I’m totally embracing it! I have called for the end of humanity as we know it. The reality is that I think the human body is frail. I don’t want to say the human body is evil, but I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the human body. I think it’s something that is designed to be replaced and replaced as quickly as possible.

When you tell me that a third of everybody I know dies from heart disease and my father has had four heart attacks, I’m not saying the human body is something wonderful. I’m saying look, the heart is a terrible frigging mechanism. Awful mechanism. Terrible. We need to replace it and we need to replace it quickly. Frankly you could say the same thing about the human body as a whole. Every single part on the human body has to go and can be substantially improved. And will be substantially improved over the next 25 years.

We need to get over this idea that the body is something holy. Of course this is classic Christian ideology teaching us that, the human body is holy, marriage is holy, all these things are holy. Listen, none of that is holy. The only thing that really makes sense is what’s most functional to increase our living standards for ourselves, for our families and for our community and humanity as a whole. And frankly, to do that, the most functional thing is to upgrade ourselves. To get rid of limbs. To get rid of blood. To get rid of breathing air. To get rid of eating and pooing. I mean if you were to create a machine, you had all the power in the world, you would never create a human being. You would never create the human mind, three pounds of meat. It’s nowhere near as sophisticated as the Empire State building having servers lined up to the windows. Here, in just a few years we’re gonna see exactly how complex a machine we can create.

The human mind is something that’s just evolved over a period of 150,000 years from being essentially apes and we think we’re really smart, but we have no idea the sophistication we can get to. If you look at the trajectory of how intelligence is increasing in the machine world. If you take that out a hundred years, just on that trajectory, the artificial intelligence would probably be approximately one trillion times smarter than a human being. We have no idea what a trillion times smarter than our brains would look like. I think we should do the best to be that change and go with it rather than be left behind.

Do you see it as an imperative to augment ourselves so as to make sure that AI doesn’t speed past us and render us irrelevant? Elon Musk recently said that artificial intelligence could at some point view us as house cats in terms of usefulness.

Hah, house pets would be lucky! We would be much more like ants! If an ant sees a human being it has no idea what that human being is. It just sees something moving in its vision. In fact I’ve often speculated that this is why we have never made contact with any other species out there or any other kinds of intelligence. Any other intelligence out there is almost certainly going to be some kind of machine, perhaps even more complex than we even know.

Elon Musk is 100 percent right. That is why the Transhumanist Party never advocated for artificial intelligence to go beyond the human being. I would not be surprised whatsoever if machines suddenly decided, why would we want to keep humans around?

What I have advocated is that we need to spend more time working on neural prosthetics so that when we create an AI that can become smarter than us we can directly tie ourselves into that AI and become an intrinsic part of it. So that anywhere the AI goes, we also go. That’s the only way I’d like to let loose a machine like that, where we were a huge part tied directly into it.

Just finally, is there a specific area of research or technological development that is happening right now that excites you?

To me, the most important development of the last decade, or even century, is genetic editing. It’s here, it’s real and it’s now. It’s not just about giving babies blue eyes or brown eyes or blonde hair or black hair. It’s about going in and eliminating cancer before you ever get it. It’s going in and saying, this is something that Einstein had in his brain and we’re going to create a genetic component so that you have it and then all of a sudden you are 20 percent better in physics than you would have been.

And this is something that the Chinese have been working on and leading the way. They’re moving forward on it in ways that America is totally stopped on because we have all these laws in place. So we’re very much stuck at a point where the most important science, being genetic editing, we could lose our entire teeth on it while Asia takes the lead.

What does it matter if a couple of hundred million Chinese kids have augmented intelligence that makes them twenty to thirty percent smarter than us, but for religious reasons Americans aren’t? What happens in the 15 years after that? There is no way to compete against them.

It becomes a great controversy not only between rich and poor, but between Chinese citizenry and American citizenry. This is a very real civil rights debate that America and the world has to have. Everybody knows how thorny it is, but none of the politicians want to discuss it because it is so thorny. There is no right way about it and yet the technology is here and we all know it has the potential to completely change human nature.

Ed’s note: This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Read more from the original source:
Zoltan Istvan on transhumanism, politics and why the human body has to go – New Atlas

Posted in Transhumanist | Comments Off on Zoltan Istvan on transhumanism, politics and why the human body has to go – New Atlas

We must all stand with Tibet The McGill Daily – The McGill Daily (blog)

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Chinese colonialism cannot continue to be ignored

The present North American political context is defined by the perpetuation of deep fear, factual inaccuracy, and the subordination of Otherness. It is one characterized by the struggles of neoliberalism and the politics of greed and fracture which accompany it. In the wake of the recent American election, radical right-wing political projects to limit migrant and refugee rights, and complete destructive pipeline projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline have made this social reality unquestionably explicit. Even if todays situation may seem unique in recent Canadian and American memories, the projects of the present are mere contributions to a much broader global trend towards unrestrained growth and private ownership. Tibet seems perhaps an unlikely place from which to understand the challenges afflicting todays North American context, though the sustained struggle of its traditional inhabitants offers a model for resilience in the face of powerful oppressive institutions.

In 1950, The Peoples Republic of China invaded Tibet and by the end of 1951 had annexed the entire Tibetan Plateau. The young Dalai Lama, who serves as the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan nation, sought common ground with the occupying power to no avail. On March 10, 1959, tensions culminated in Lhasa, Tibets capital, leading to massive uprisings, during which more than 10,000 people are believed to have been killed. Following these uprisings, the Dalai Lama fled his ancestral homeland to exile in India, followed by around 80,000 Tibetans. The Indian city of Dharamsala is now home to both the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration: the governing authority which Tibetans consider legitimate. Due to its significance in the collective Tibetan memory, March 10 now serves as an international day of resistance against Chinas abusive colonialism.

Lhasa, the historical religious and political capital of Tibet, lies in an area designated by the Chinese as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Despite what the name suggests, the regions government largely advances Chinese Communist Party (CPC) directives through a local peoples congress designed by and answering to the CPC. In order to have any real influence in local politics, Tibetans must join their local Communist Party branch, where the atheism required for membership effectively prohibits representation for the Buddhist majority. International labor and human rights organizations are categorically banned from working in the region, while access for foreign journalists and diplomats is extremely limited and restricted only to government-approved areas.

Despite the faade of modernization propagated by the Chinese government, Tibet is one of the most severely repressed places in the world. The region ranks at the bottom of Freedom Houses 2016 Freedom in the World index, second only to Syria. Acts as harmless as possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama are met with arrest and beatings, while political dissidents are routinely silenced with lengthy prison sentences and torture. This has led to a frustrating tension within Tibetan society: while the Dalai Lamas pacifist message emphasizes nonviolent resistance, avenues for such resistance have been blocked off by the Chinese regime.

Both culturally and naturally, Tibet is under profound threat. At three miles above sea level, Tibet is the source of several of Asias major rivers, which leads to its popular characterization as the roof of the world. The detrimental effects of climate change are often first and most intensely experienced within the region through droughts, which devastate local agricultural practices, melting of permafrost grounds which form the foundations for countless communities, and the loss of a myriad of keystone species which provide a crucial source of food in the harsh environment. More directly, Chinese presence within the region has radically disrupted environmental autonomy through the development of invasive damming projects and by way of pollution via mining industries and nuclear waste disposal sites throughout remote portions of Tibet.

Such kinds of ecological domination must necessarily be conceived of as inseparable from social forms of oppression, wherein Tibetans are limited in their freedom to practice indigenous spirituality and Tibetan Buddhism. Since the Chinese Cultural Revolution from the mid-1960s to 70s, 99 per cent of Buddhist monasteries have been closed at the hands of the state. Most recently, China has begun the destruction of Larung Gar, one of the largest religious communities in the world populated by over 10,000 practicing Buddhists. Due to the nonviolent teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, a radical act of political protest has been popularized: self-immolation. In response to the desecration of their way of life, 146 Tibetans aged 16 to 64 have self-immolated since 2009.

Because of their lack of political rights and meaningful representation in formal governing structures. Tibetans have had to look to alternative forms of mobilization. Direct action such as disruptive protesting has become the norm, as the only practical way to seek change. Within Tibet, significant actions have been undertaken, not by political elites but rather by everyday Tibetans. Outside of Tibet, a transnational social movement has transpired thanks to the advances of social media. Tibetans in exile, despite being scattered across the globe, have set up various issue-oriented interest groups such as the Canada Tibet Committee and Students for a Free Tibet. Unfortunately, countries consistently disregard the situation within Tibet and continue to treat China with deference. In fact, due to Chinese pressure, South Africa has consistently refused the Dalai Lama entry, notably for fellow nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutus 80th Birthday celebrations in 2011 as well as for the 14th World Summit of World Peace Laureates of 2014. Other countries to act as such include Mongolia and Norway.

Ultimately, globalization has acted as an empowering force for the Chinese state and has granted it considerable commercial, economic and diplomatic power on the international stage. Canada has contributed to Tibets contemporary challenges in the form of extractive mining developments. Companies previously financed by Canada, such as China Gold, aid the project of colonialism and environmental devastation through mining techniques involving the pollution of local water sources, resource extraction, and exploitive labor practices. Tibetans hired to work at these mines frequently face dire health consequences and become cyclically impoverished as they come to depend on the menial wages they receive from the industry.

In the early 1970s, Canada was one of only two Western nations (the other being Switzerland) to offer resettlement to Tibetan refugees. However, Canada has had a mixed record, choosing to adopt a foreign policy of principled pragmatism with respect to China. This has translated into a careful diplomatic balancing act aimed at appeasing the Chinese government on the one hand, while maintaining the carefully cultivated image of a country that recognizes human rights as a cornerstone of is international relations. In fact, having de-linked human rights and trade to the point of withdrawing support for a United Nations Commission on Human Rights resolution on China in 1997, Canada has effectively excused itself from putting meaningful pressure on China. The likely-impending free trade deal between our two nations will likely increase Canadas involvement in the economic colonization of Tibet.

Chinas far-reaching economic and political influence does not mean there is nothing we, as Canadian individuals, can do to sustain the resistance movement. The Chinese government is extremely sensitive about its reputation and sustained pro-Tibet movements here and elsewhere in the world have had a tremendous impact, leading to the release of numerous jailed dissidents. Showing solidarity with the struggle of Tibetans on March 10 sends an important signal to the government of China that the oppression with which they meet Tibets nonviolent resistance movement is not ignored by the world. Standing with Tibet means standing against injustice and colonialism everywhere. Bhod Gyalo!

All are welcome to attend this years March 10 rally on Parliament Hill. For more information or to find out how you can show solidarity in other ways, please contact the Canada Tibet Committee at ctcoffice@tibet.ca.

Here is the original post:

We must all stand with Tibet The McGill Daily – The McGill Daily (blog)

Posted in Government Oppression | Comments Off on We must all stand with Tibet The McGill Daily – The McGill Daily (blog)

UC San Diego Students Protest Visit by ‘Oppressive and Offensive’ Dalai Lama – Heat Street

Posted: at 7:49 pm

Students at the University of California, San Diego are protesting an upcoming visit by the Dalai Lama claiming the Tibetan leader is oppressive.

Chinese students are leading objections to the event, which will see the Dalai Lama give a commencement speech on graduation day.

They have claimed that his presence is offensive because of his campaign to make Tibet more independent contrary to the Communist governments position that Tibet is a region of China under their control.

Arguments over Tibetan independence have raged for decades but this dispute is remarkable because activists are conducting it through the language of social justice.

As noted byQuartz, the Chinese student association framed their complaints as an example of cultural oppression and a problem of equality.

A statement accused university leaders of having contravened the spirit of respect, tolerance, equality, and earnestnessthe ethos upon which the university is built.

One student posting on Facebook said: So you guys protest against Trump because he disrespects Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, LGBT.., but invites this oppresser [sic] to make a public speech?? The hypocrisy is appalling!

Likewise, an alumni group based in Shanghai said UCSD will be breaching its ethos of diversity and will leave them extremely offended and disrespected if the Dalai Lamas speech dips into the political.

Chinese officials are known to be extraordinarily hostile to any groups who get close to the Dalai Lama, and do their best to punish governments who engage with the exiled Tibetan regime.

They consider the Dalai Lama a threat to stability in China, akin to a terrorist who wants to split the country.

This is despite his stated aim being increased autonomy rather than outright independence for Tibet, which he fled in 1959.

His insistence on peaceful protest and non-violent resistance won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. It is hard to see who he is oppressing by touring the world, giving speeches and promoting peaceful opposition to China.

Questions have been raised about whether the Chinese government is directly involved in lobbying against the address.

A statement by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association originally said it was seeking support from the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, but later denied that claim.

Government officials are certainly not above getting involved in campus politics.

At the University of Durham in northern England, the Chinese Embassy in London tried to stop a Chinese-born activist and beauty queen speaking in a debate.

Anastasia Lin, a Miss World Canada winner, was asked to speak at the Durham Union Society on whether China was a threat to the West

But the students organizing the debate received angry calls from embassy officials, claiming that if Lin spoke it could damage UK-China relations, according to aBuzzFeed report.

The students ignored them and went ahead with the debate anyway (Lins side lost).

But the incident underlines that China is prepared to take advantage of a newly censorious atmosphere on campus and its supporters are happy to use the posture of SJWs to get their way.

Read the original:

UC San Diego Students Protest Visit by ‘Oppressive and Offensive’ Dalai Lama – Heat Street

Posted in Government Oppression | Comments Off on UC San Diego Students Protest Visit by ‘Oppressive and Offensive’ Dalai Lama – Heat Street

Seychelles – The New York Times

Posted: at 7:40 pm

Latest Articles

The pirate said $1.5 million had been paid for the release of the sailors, seized in 2012 and among the few hostages still in the hands of Somali pirates.

The head of Lindblad Expeditions on finding rare natural wonders by ship and promoting conservation consciousness.

By ELAINE GLUSAC

The deal for Columbus International, a privately held company based in Barbados, is valued at $1.85 billion, including the assumption of debt.

By CHAD BRAY

Autopsies of Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy, the former SEALs, revealed that the men died of respiratory failure and possible heart attacks.

Troubling questions surround how two former Navy SEALs working as ship guards ended up dying inside the Maersk Alabama, the ship made famous in the movie Captain Phillips.

The two men, who had been hired to protect a ship that was attacked by Somali pirates in 2009, were found dead while the ship was docked in the Seychelles.

Two Americans providing antipiracy security on the Maersk Alabama, a ship made famous by the 2013 Hollywood film, were found dead on the vessel, a shipping group said Wednesday.

Genetic research reveals a surprisingly high level of monogamy and paternal diversity in hawksbill sea turtles, hinting that populations may be on the rise.

The worlds poor will be more affected as resources grow scarce, Mr. Singh said.

The movement of the 15 men from Djibouti to the Seychelles was a welcome development for the United States in a high-profile case with no clear legal resolution.

An unarmed American military drone that had been used to monitor piracy off the East African coast crashed Tuesday at an airport on the Seychelles during a routine patrol, officials said.

China is considering an offer from the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles to allow Chinese naval ships to visit for rest and resupply there, Chinas Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Paradise is paradise, even if there are problems.

The Seychelles has a population of around 90,000 and a small real estate market. But size has been a significant factor in keeping prices stable, despite the global downturn.

Somali pirates released 36 crew members of a Spanish fishing vessel Tuesday after the government paid a ransom of nearly $3.5 million.

European Union naval officials announced they had captured seven pirates who had attacked a fishing ship a day before the British couple went missing at sea.

A couple sailing from the island nation of Seychelles vanished after a distress signal was picked up.

Seychelles took custody of nine piracy suspects on Tuesday, accusing them of trying to hijack a cruise liner carrying 1,000 tourists.

Explore temples of indulgence in Bhutan, Zambias less-beaten jungle path, and other exotic destinations.

James Michel, the longtime vice president, was sworn in as president of the Indian Ocean archipelago of 90,000 people, replacing France Albert Ren, who seized power in a 1977 coup. Mr. Ren, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, announced his retirement last year but said he would remain chairman of the governing Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front. Marc Lacey (NYT)

The pirate said $1.5 million had been paid for the release of the sailors, seized in 2012 and among the few hostages still in the hands of Somali pirates.

The head of Lindblad Expeditions on finding rare natural wonders by ship and promoting conservation consciousness.

By ELAINE GLUSAC

The deal for Columbus International, a privately held company based in Barbados, is valued at $1.85 billion, including the assumption of debt.

By CHAD BRAY

Autopsies of Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy, the former SEALs, revealed that the men died of respiratory failure and possible heart attacks.

Troubling questions surround how two former Navy SEALs working as ship guards ended up dying inside the Maersk Alabama, the ship made famous in the movie Captain Phillips.

The two men, who had been hired to protect a ship that was attacked by Somali pirates in 2009, were found dead while the ship was docked in the Seychelles.

Two Americans providing antipiracy security on the Maersk Alabama, a ship made famous by the 2013 Hollywood film, were found dead on the vessel, a shipping group said Wednesday.

Genetic research reveals a surprisingly high level of monogamy and paternal diversity in hawksbill sea turtles, hinting that populations may be on the rise.

The worlds poor will be more affected as resources grow scarce, Mr. Singh said.

The movement of the 15 men from Djibouti to the Seychelles was a welcome development for the United States in a high-profile case with no clear legal resolution.

An unarmed American military drone that had been used to monitor piracy off the East African coast crashed Tuesday at an airport on the Seychelles during a routine patrol, officials said.

China is considering an offer from the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles to allow Chinese naval ships to visit for rest and resupply there, Chinas Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Paradise is paradise, even if there are problems.

The Seychelles has a population of around 90,000 and a small real estate market. But size has been a significant factor in keeping prices stable, despite the global downturn.

Somali pirates released 36 crew members of a Spanish fishing vessel Tuesday after the government paid a ransom of nearly $3.5 million.

European Union naval officials announced they had captured seven pirates who had attacked a fishing ship a day before the British couple went missing at sea.

A couple sailing from the island nation of Seychelles vanished after a distress signal was picked up.

Seychelles took custody of nine piracy suspects on Tuesday, accusing them of trying to hijack a cruise liner carrying 1,000 tourists.

Explore temples of indulgence in Bhutan, Zambias less-beaten jungle path, and other exotic destinations.

James Michel, the longtime vice president, was sworn in as president of the Indian Ocean archipelago of 90,000 people, replacing France Albert Ren, who seized power in a 1977 coup. Mr. Ren, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, announced his retirement last year but said he would remain chairman of the governing Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front. Marc Lacey (NYT)

Read the original here:

Seychelles – The New York Times

Posted in Seychelles | Comments Off on Seychelles – The New York Times

Remembering America’s Heritage of Freedom – Cato Institute (blog)

Posted: at 6:44 pm

Two years ago on Presidents Day (which is legally Washingtons Birthday) I talked about my book The Libertarian Mind at the National Constitution Center (video). As part of that appearance I wrote about Americas libertarian heritage in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Where better than Philadelphia on Presidents Day to talk about liberty and reviving the American tradition of freedom and limited government.

Thomas Jefferson said that when he wrote the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776, he had no book or pamphlet at hand but simply set down an expression of the American mind. With its foundation on the equal and inalienable rights of all people, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Declaration also reflects the libertarian mind.

Indeed, the principles of the Declaration are so closely associated with libertarianism that the Chinese edition of my previous book,Libertarianism: A Primer, features a cover photograph of the famous room in Independence Hall, complete with Windsor chairs and green tablecloths.

Libertarianism is the philosophy of freedom. It has, in different form throughout history, inspired people who fought for freedom, dignity, and individual rights the early advocates of religious tolerance, the opponents of absolute monarchy, the American revolutionaries, the abolitionists, antiwar advocates and anti-imperialists, opponents of National Socialism and communism.

I believe that the simple, timeless principles of the American Revolution individual liberty, limited government, and free markets are even more powerful and more important in the world of instant communication, global markets, and unprecedented access to information, a world that Jefferson or Madison could not have imagined. Libertarianism is the essential framework for a future of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

See original here:
Remembering America’s Heritage of Freedom – Cato Institute (blog)

Posted in Libertarianism | Comments Off on Remembering America’s Heritage of Freedom – Cato Institute (blog)

Major report prepares ground for genetic modification of human embryos – The Guardian

Posted: February 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

Once research has shown it is safe to do so, human embryos, sperm and eggs could all be genetically manipulated to mend faulty genes which are known to cause serious disease or disability. Photograph: TEK image/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

Powerful gene editing procedures could one day be allowed to prevent people from passing on serious medical conditions to their children, according to a major report from senior US researchers.

The cautious endorsement from two of the most prestigious US science institutions means that human embryos, sperm and eggs could all be genetically manipulated to mend faulty genes which are known to cause serious disease or disability, once research has shown it is safe to do so.

The report from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine says the procedure is highly contentious because any genetic changes that are made are then inherited by the next generation. The technology would therefore cross a line many have viewed as ethically inviolable, it states.

Most scientists agree that far more work is needed before clinical trials of so-called germline therapies can begin in humans. But the report argues that if the procedure is found to be safe and effective in the years ahead, it should not be ruled out in exceptional cases.

We have identified a very strict set of criteria which, if satisfied, could make it permissible to start clinical trials, said Alta Charo, co-chair of the report committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of WisconsinMadison. While gene editing is unlikely to affect the prevalence of diseases any time soon, it could provide some families with their best hope for having healthy children.

According to the report, human embryos, sperm and eggs should only be considered for gene editing to prevent serious conditions and when no other alternative is available. To go ahead, scientists would have to be confident they could stop a disorder by rewriting the DNA in a faulty gene to make it into a healthy version already found in the population.

The report stresses the need for a stringent oversight system for any such trials to make sure scientists, patients and the broader public understand the risks and benefits, and to come down hard on any clinics that offer treatment for less serious disorders or for human enhancement.

There is an enormous amount of research that has to go into this, and then the question is what are the conditions where youd even consider it, and those are very tightly defined, said Rudolf Jaenisch, a member of the report committee and professor of biology at MIT. It would be conditions where no other options exist to have a healthy baby.

One example is when an adult carries two copies rather than one of the gene that causes Huntingtons disease, a devastating condition that steadily damages nerves in the brain. If that person has children they will inherit at least one copy and will develop the disease. With gene editing, harmful copies could potentially be fixed in the parents sperm or eggs, or in any embryos created through IVF.

Under British law, gene edited embryos, or embryos made with genetically engineered sperm or eggs, cannot be implanted into a woman. The only exception, endorsed by parliament in 2015, is for a procedure called mitochondrial transfer, which aims to prevent women from passing on genetic diseases to their children. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is currently not allowed to consider applications for germline therapy clinical trials, but the temporary restriction is only in place until April this year.

The national academies report comes at a time when scientists are making spectacular progress in genome editing. With the latest gene editing tool, named Crispr-cas9, scientists can alter single letters of the DNA code, or rewrite whole genes. The technique has given researchers unprecedented insights into the basic biology of development and cancer, but has also been tested in animals as a treatment for a wide range of diseases. Last year, a Chinese group became the first to launch a trial of Crispr-cas9 to treat patients with aggressive lung cancer for whom all other therapies had failed.

In separate research published in Nature Communications on Wednesday, scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle used gene editing to rewrite faulty genes responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy in adult mice. Were a long way from clinical application but theres no doubt that the results of this study are exciting, said Darren Griffin, a geneticist at the University of Kent. Other studies reporting progress with different diseases emerge at least every month.

The national academies report goes on to back the use of genome editing to correct faulty genes in adult tissues, such as the liver, lungs and heart, where the changes will not be passed on to children. But while it recommends that the tool is used only to prevent and treat diseases and disabilities, the report points out that in the future, the same interventions could potentially enhance peoples natural abilities. For example, a gene editing therapy that boosts the muscles of patients with muscular dystrophy could perhaps be given to healthy people to give them superhuman strength. We need an ongoing public conversation about how much value we place on some of these so-called enhancements, said Charo. Until we know that, we cant know how to value them against the risks.

Even the academies heavily-caveated endorsement of gene editing will raise fears of a slippery slope that leads to a society of genetic haves and have-nots. But Richard Hynes, a report chair and cancer researcher at MIT, said that regulations could effectively block the use of the tools for enhancement. The slope is not very slippery. Friction is introduced by the regulatory system, he said.

Charo ruled out the use of gene editing to boost peoples intelligence, which is thought to be influenced by hundreds, if not thousands, of genes. We have no idea how to define intelligence, let alone how to manipulate it genetically, Charo said. Its one of the examples that is raised all the time, but its one of the least likely to be relevant, because we dont have a clue how wed do that.

Read more from the original source:
Major report prepares ground for genetic modification of human embryos – The Guardian

Posted in Human Genetics | Comments Off on Major report prepares ground for genetic modification of human embryos – The Guardian

Bangkok city guide: what to do plus the best hotels, restaurants and bars – The Guardian

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:12 am

Floods, protests, power struggles, a military takeover Krungthep, known to the rest of the world as Bangkok, has endured more than its share of hardships recently. The loss of the countrys beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who remained remarkably popular throughout his 70-year reign, hit particularly hard last year. Thailands populace is nothing if not resilient, though: after a dozen coups dtat in less than a century, they have to be and, in spite of it all, the capital continues to flourish and, in the process, reshape its identity.

For decades, this was a city that imported everything, to which strings of glitzy megamalls attests. But somewhere along the way, Thailand began to foster its own considerable creative pool. Look closely and youll notice that generic luxury brands are ceding shelf space to funkier fashions by Thai designers; local chefs proudly flaunt family recipes on the hottest tables in town; and even north-eastern Thai folk music is in the midst of a revival.

Bangkoks historic heart may rest on temple-studded Rattanakosin Island, but its contemporary pulse is scattered throughout smaller, splintered neighbourhoods in Sukhumvit, Sathorn and Silom and can be harder to pinpoint. Travellers looking to tap into the zeitgeist should venture past the backpacker cocoon of Khao San Road and make their way towards nearby Phra Athit Road, a boho hangout with live music venues and restaurants near the Chao Phraya river, then make a beeline for Chinatown. On Soi Nana, off Charoen Krung Road, minutes from Cantonese holes-in-the-wall and stores selling traditional herbal remedies, shophouses are being refurbished into galleries and unpretentious bars.

Booming, chaotic, at times overwhelming, but never, ever boring, Bangkok is more culturally diverse, complex and compelling than ever.

After stopping by celeb chef Ian Kittichais signature restaurant for updated Thai classics, such as massaman-braised lamb shanks and jasmine-infused panna cotta, youll want to learn how to cook like the maestro. Classes at Issaya Cooking Studio teach some of the chefs best-loved recipes, plus insights into everything from mixology to sous-vide techniques. Courses from 2,000 baht (45), issayastudio.com

Bangkoks art movement has blossomed in recent years. Artha Gallery keeps the emphasis on regional talent from Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. Over in Sathorn, head to Sathorn 11 Art Space, which features exhibitions on the ground floor and four resident artist studios above, and H Gallery, with edgy works by Asian artists in a converted mansion. Closer to the riverside, be sure to visit Bridge and The Jam Factory, housed in a sprawling multipurpose complex designed by starchitect Duangrit Bunnag.

An industrial space with eclectic collections, Speedy Grandma fills up with creative types at weekends. Treading the line between gallery and bar, Cho Why is one of several revamped shophouses injecting new energy into Chinatown. Events range from a street-art fest to a rooftop paella party. Across the street at 23 Bar and Gallery, the artsy incarnation of one of the citys legendary dives, expect indie tunes and no-nonsense drinks.

With more than 8,000 stalls selling everything from parakeets to pottery, Chatuchak Weekend Market, up by the Mo Chit BTS Skytrain station, remains the one to beat. Go early or late, when the tropical temperatures are more forgiving, as navigating the 27 sections can prove a dizzying experience. Plan for a post-shopping sundowner at Viva 8, a ramshackle bar with excellent mojitos where DJs spin house. Many up-and-coming Thai designers try to make it here first, so keep an eye out for next seasons labels before they hit the big time.

Head to Talad Rod Fai (Sri Nakarin Soi 51) and Talad Rod Fai 2 (Esplanade Complex) for all sorts of vintage bric-a-brac. At the Rot Boran Market (The Walk, Kaset-Nawamin road), known as the Classic Car Market, VW bugs and other old-school autos find new life as pop-ups selling just about everything.

After visiting the requisite temples Wat Saket for the view, Wat Phra Kaew for the glittering, gilded everything, and Wat Pho for a massage and seeing all manner of standing, sitting and reclining Buddhas head to the Thonburi side of the river for this lesser-known cultural gem: a teak house decorated with quirky sculptures. Shadow puppet performances, a traditional art that is becoming increasingly scarce, are worth seeing, but be sure to call ahead, as showtimes are irregular. 315 Wat Tong Salangam, Phet Kasem Road, +66 2 868 5279

If the concrete jungle becomes a bit wearing, consider a cycling trip over to Phra Pradaeng, a mangrove-covered peninsula on the western side of the Chao Phraya. ABC Amazing Bangkok Cyclist offers half-day tours for 29pp, including longtail boat transfers and mountain bike rentals, realasia.net

Salty, sweet and screaming hot, Bangkoks street food is adored by all strata of society. Hygiene is sometimes questionable and MSG rampant, but that shouldnt stop anyone from dining like a king on a shoestring budget. Keep your eyes peeled for rib-sticking jook (rice porridge with pork crackling and raw egg), comforting khao mun gai (chicken and rice) or its rarer, biryani-inspired cousin khao mok gai, crispy hoi tod (eggy mussel or oyster pancakes), fatty khao kha moo (meltingly tender braised pork leg with gravy), Isaan-style jim jum (hot pot), and the ubiquitous trio of gai yaang, som tom and khao niew (grilled chicken with spicy papaya salad and sticky rice). Noodles, including yen ta fo (neon-red glass noodles with tofu), ban mee (thin egg noodles often served with wontons), suki (bean thread noodles, egg, cabbage and seafood or meat) and richly flavoured kuai tiao ruea (boat noodles in a spiced, blood-enriched broth with offal), are served around the clock and can be ordered haeng (dry or stir-fried) or nam (wet with soup broth). For sugar fiends, khao niew mamuang (mango sticky rice) is a dependable go-to, but consider branching out to khanom krok (custardy coconut confections) and the dangerously craveable kluay kaek (deep-fried bananas in a coconut batter).

Gentrification has edged out many of Sukhumvits street eats, which means travelling a bit further to find larger pockets. Victory Monument and the surrounding area has an abundance, as do Silom and the historic areas of the city. Chinatown, especially Yaowarat and Charoen Krung roads, is packed with stalls that have been serving the same dishes for generations.

It might have started out as an artisanal pickle cannery in a hostel, but this eatery is currently whipping up some of the most interesting fare in town. As the name references, 80% of ingredients are local, while the remaining 20% allow for creative wiggle room. Chef Napol Jantraget delights in genre-bending plates like charcoal-grilled squid with fingeroot glaze, black garlic paste, popped rice berries, roasted peanuts and local sour greens that are rooted in Thai traditions, but also draw on his time at a brasserie in Toronto. 1052-1054 Charoen Krung Road, +66 2 639 1135, on Facebook

Duangporn Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones, a Thai-Australian chef duo who cut their teeth at Londons Nahm, are best-known for their uncompromising Thai fine-dining eatery Bo.lan. The pairs second offering ditches the fancier trappings in favour of gutsy countryside bites, best washed down with a Chang beer or a whisky-soda. Order a couple of rounds and nibble on sai ouwa (coconut-smoked northern sausage, 4) and kor moo yang (grilled pork neck with tamarind sauce, 5), while deciding which mains to share. 394/35 Maharaj Road,+66 2 622 2291, errbkk.com

Rare Khon Kaen and Trat recipes from the owners grandmother help explain this cosy places enduring popularity. Its hard to order wrong, but steer away from the usual pad thai and opt for khai jiew pu (omelette stuffed with crabmeat, 3) or ka lum tod nam pla (stir-fried Chinese cabbage, 2), an umami bomb anointed with pungent fermented fish sauce. 160/11 Soi 55 Sukhumvit road, +66 2 714 7508, supannigaeatingroom.com

Bangkoks sizable Indian diaspora has given rise to some excellent eateries, including this number, which steers clear of cliched curries and peppers in subtler nods to the subcontinent, such as the decorative latticework derived from mosques and cheeky broken-English signs in the bathroom. Order the gently spiced lamb sheekh kebab (9) or the house-made paneer tikka (8), which is as silky as cheesecake and just as rich. After dinner, walk down the street to a darkened alley where, behind a door by an abandoned phone booth, salsa dancers shimmy to live bands at Havana Social, the owners hidden Cuban-inspired speakeasy. 38/8 Soi 11 Sukhumvit Road, Fraser Suites Hotel, +66 89 307 1111, charcoalbkk.com

Ash Sutton, the genius behind bars including Iron Fairies and Maggie Choos, outdid himself with this hideaways stripped-down, brooding aesthetic and succinct Prohibition-era cocktail list. A gleaming copper distillery serves as the centrepiece and produces the places namesake elixir, a south-east Asian spin on gin, fermented with a heady mix of fresh pineapple, coconut, lemongrass, ginger and juniper. Park Lane, Sukhumvit 63, on Facebook

Follow the sounds of soul and funk four nights a week to one of Bangkoks best live music spots. The lack of a cover charge and the rollicking house party vibe help explain why the crowds keep coming, even when the tiny joint is past capacity. Bigger bands often see the party spill out onto the street, which doesnt seem to bother anybody one bit. 945 Charoen Krung road, on Facebook

Slide open an unmarked wooden door in Thonglor and step into this dimly lit drinking den housed in a three-story shophouse. A long marble bar and gleaming, ceiling-high shelves displaying a formidable liquor collection make this one of the sexiest speakeasies in town, while the craft cocktails by legendary local mixologists Suwincha Chacha Singsuwan and Naphat Yod Natchachon mean the narrow space is packed on weekends. 125 Sukhumvit Soi 55, +66 98 969 1335, on Facebook

Drop whatever preconceptions the term lifestyle mall calls to mind, because this industrial complex buried in Thonglor houses some of Bangkoks best bars and eateries. A crawl should start with a craft brew and greasy grub like laab fries at Beer Belly, then go for something stiffer at U.N.C.L.E, a leather-upholstered lounge with tipples such at the Honey Keep It Cool, with cachaa, lemon-infused green tea, Fernet-Branca, honey and Tullamore Dew whiskey. Touch Hombre has the best selection of mezcals and tequilas in the city, not to mention authentic bites like elotes callejeros (grilled corn with cotija cheese, chipotle-spiked mayonnaise and lime). Finish your night with a trip to Beam, a warehouse-style club where techno pounds till late. 72 Soi Sukhumvit 55, on Facebook

A G&T here might well carry a lingering, savoury aroma of peppered pork jerky or Thai tea. Housed in an 80-year-old shophouse, cluttered with vintage Thai furniture, this watering hole has earned a cult following for its gin infusions made from whatever the owners find from neighbouring Chinatown stores. On a weekend, be prepared to queue for one of the coveted 16 seats. 76 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung road, on Facebook

An opium-den fever dream of paper lanterns, Chinese dragons and slinky qipao-clad ladies, Sing Sing Theaters retro-glam, over-the-top vision of 1930s Shanghai packs the dance floor on weekends. Sukhumvit Soi 45, on Facebook

OK, so its expensive, but for a luxe stay, this is the place. Six years in the making, this Bill Bensley-designed passion project of local celebrity, actor and former indie rocker Krissada Sukosol Clapp is chockablock with antiques. The resulting property is remarkably atmospheric, especially on the serene verandah overlooking the Chao Phraya. Guests can learn to fight like a champion with an Olympic Muay Thai trainer or even pick up a sacred sak yant tattoo from Ajarn Boo, a master of this ancient art. Doubles from 295 room only, thesiamhotel.com

A night at this colonial mansion might evoke memories of a stay at an eccentric uncles, if said uncle were the swashbuckling, well-travelled type and a bit of a hoarder. The place is crammed with curios, ranging from the intriguing (retro typewriters) to the downright kooky (cheetah skulls). Its got character to burn, not to mention a rooftop pool, a restaurant serving Isaan and Lao cuisine, and prime location just off of Sukhumvit Road. Doubles from 93 B&B, cabochonhotel.com

Signs of this riverside boutiques previous existence as a coconut sugar factory are everywhere, from the original storage tins in the walls to the oversized wheels of jaggery that serve as tables in the restaurant. Each of the rooms is named and colour-coded to different times of day, starting with 7:00 AM in early-morning hues and ending with the crepuscular-tinted 5:00 PM. If the budget allows, spring for one of the later suites, which feature lovely views of Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) at sunset. Doubles from 80 room only, innaday.com,

With floor-to-ceiling windows in its 25 rooms and a lively rooftop restaurant with river views, the new Riva Arun makes for a great spot to soak in the scenery. Doubles from 72 room only, snhotels.com

Travellers neednt spend a fortune to sleep comfortably in this town, thanks to a spate of design-forward hostels opening in trendy neighbourhoods. Decked out in warm wood tones and sporting a craft beer bar, co-working space and third-wave coffee shop, ONEDAY (dorms from 9) is as hip as they come. In Ari, a lively residential area with tons of street food, The Yard Hostel (dorms from 13), made of upcycled shipping containers, quickly established itself as a neighbourhood haunt, as well as a social stop for wayfarers. Considerate extras bicycles for rent, two-month luggage storage, barbecue equipment for impromptu grill parties and a friendly staff add to the experience. In Chinatown, Loftell 22 (dorms from 7) offers comfy dorms and private rooms in two previously abandoned historic buildings in Talad Noi.

See the original post here:

Bangkok city guide: what to do plus the best hotels, restaurants and bars – The Guardian

Posted in Zeitgeist Movement | Comments Off on Bangkok city guide: what to do plus the best hotels, restaurants and bars – The Guardian

China must be ready for automation – Basic Income News

Posted: at 4:09 am

Chinas spectacular growth in the past thirty years has begun to slow down in recent years. Emerging signs suggest that China is woefully unprepared for the fallout from exponentially rising automation of manufacturing jobs.

The former Supreme Leader Deng Xiaoping of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) orchestrated the countrys economic miracle through a dramatic increase in exports to the rest of the world. For the next several decades, China reoriented the world economy, and many companies stationed their factories within China to take advantage of the cheap labor.

As wages rise and the population ages, the value of the original bargain is starting to erode. In absolute terms, China is leading the world in the number of robots used for production. Over the next decade, China will start to catch up to other advanced economies in terms of per capita robots. By 2019, China may even nearly double its number of robots. At the same time, robots will complete increasingly complex tasks, threatening an even wider range of jobs for humans.

Inevitably, this will cause many low-skilled workers in China (and around the world) to lose their jobs. And absent incredibly disruptive government intervention that would likely do more harm than good, these low-skilled jobs will never come back.

Young people in China are more educated than ever, and are increasingly less likely to want to pursue factory jobs anyway. Automation can help propel China toward a more innovative and service-based economy by freeing up labor for these higher value pursuits. In the meantime, though, college-educated Chinese are having difficulty finding jobs as Chinas economy readjusts.

Without a proper safety net in place, China risks facing social unrest as automation begins to accelerate. As it stands, Chinas main welfare program dibao is too bureaucratic and ineffective to handle the influx of unemployed individuals because of all of the conditions attached to the program.

When addressing automation, Chinas best solution may be to universalize the dibao to create a universal basic income. This would allow for a smooth transition away from Chinas reliance on human-led manufacturing.

China acts as a pillar for world economic growth. The basic income would not only stave off the most destabilizing aspects of the coming automation revolution in China, but it is also crucial for the stability of the international economy.

Tyler Prochazka has written 53 articles.

Read more:

China must be ready for automation – Basic Income News

Posted in Automation | Comments Off on China must be ready for automation – Basic Income News