Whither the World Island?

Alfred W. McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, writes on global geopolitics. The brief excerpts below do not do the essay justice. Geopolitics of American Global Decline: Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century … On a cold London evening in January 1904, Sir Halford Mackinder, the director of the London School …

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Imperial exams and human capital

The dangers of rent seeking and the educational signaling trap. Although the imperial examinations were probably g loaded (and hence supplied the bureaucracy with talented administrators for hundreds of years), it would have been better to examine candidates on useful knowledge, which every participant would then acquire to some degree. See also Les Grandes Ecoles …

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DNA Dreams at Harvard

This is a panel discussion of the documentary film DNA Dreams (see below), about BGI and its Cognitive Genomics Lab. DNA DREAMS Moderator: Dr. Evelynn Hammonds, Director of the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research/Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science Panelists include: (L …

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FFI Presentations at Shenzhen International Innovation Auditorium Conference and Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment

This is an advance copy of my January 19 and January 22 presentations at the Shenzhen International Innovation Auditorium Conference (hosted by the Shenzhen Municipal Government) and to the Chinese National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA, Beijing). I will be using the same presentation for both groups. For the CFSA I will review …

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Fukuyama and Zhang on the China Model

This is an interesting discussion between Francis Fukuyama and Zhang Wei Wei on the so-called China Model. Zhang is an apologist but overall the discussion is enlightening. Fukuyama’s perspective is the familiar liberal democratic one so I excerpt Zhang below. ZHANG | … In his presentation, Dr. Fukuyama raised four issues concerning the China Model, …

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Next Super Collider in China?

If you’re in particle physics you may have heard rumors that the Chinese government is considering getting into the collider business. Since no one knows what will happen in our field post-LHC, this is a very interesting development. A loose international collaboration has been pushing a new linear collider for some time, perhaps to be …

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Weddings and the Dead

I’ve been thinking about weddings a lot recently. It’s not just that I’m planning my own wedding which is less than ten weeks away, I’m also in my little brother’s wedding which is right around the corner. Of course, I can’t resist looking into the darker and death-related aspects of weddings and wedding planning. Weddings …

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Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China

The study below discusses a psychological/cognitive/personality gradient between N and S China, possibly driven by a history of wheat vs rice cultivation. Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture (Science) Cross-cultural psychologists have mostly contrasted East Asia with the West. However, this study shows that there are major psychological differences within China. …

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The beautiful (Zambian) game in a beautiful (Chinese) stadium

The latest Cowries and Rice podcast features Michigan State University History PhD candidate Hikabwa Decius Chipande discussing China’s stadium diplomacy in Zambia. Intriguingly, the enterprising hosts of the podcast, Winslow Robertson and Dr. Nkemjika Kalu, contacted Chipande in Lusaka after reading his “China’s Stadium Diplomacy: A Zambian Perspective” post on this blog. In the interview (listen above), …

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The Gene Factory (New Yorker)

  LETTER FROM SHENZHEN: THE GENE FACTORY A Chinese firm’s bid to crack hunger, illness, evolution—and the genetics of human intelligence. BY MICHAEL SPECTER A well-balanced article about BGI in the New Yorker. I am misquoted about our current ability to predict height from genomic information, despite an hour on the phone with the Harvard-educated …

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