Saturday, December 13, 2014

Top Websites Blocked by Chinese Government

Among the top 10 websites (according to traffic volume recorded by Alexa), 5 are blocked by the Chinese government. Among the top 1000 sites, 169 are blocked, a number raised from 62 (an increase of 172.58%) of last year 2013.

    Top websites:
  1. Google.com (100% in the last 90 days)
  2. Facebook.com (100% in the last 90 days)
  3. Youtube.com (100% in the last 90 days)
  4. Yahoo.com (28% in last 90 days)
  5. Bidu.com
  6. Amazon.com
  7. Wikipedia.com
  8. Taobao.com
  9. Twitter.com (100% in the last 90 days)
  10. QQ.com

Other blocked sites include: blogspot.com, netflix.com, dropbox.com, nytimes.com, vimeo.com, flickr.com, slideshare.net, macys.com, archive.org, wsj.com, bloomberg.com, android.com, pastebin.com, instagram.com, wordpress.com, scribd.com, speedtest.net, tumblr.com, reddit.com, among others.

A complete list of websites blocked by the Chinese government can be found at GreatFire.Org.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Harvard Professor vs. Less Slanty-Eyed Menu

Boston.com reported on an EMail exchange between Harvard Business School Professor Benjamin G. Edelman and Ran Duan an operator of a Boston Chinese restaurant Sichuan Garden.

Professor Edelman ordered a take out from Sichuan Garden. Later he noticed he was charged more than the online menu of the local shop, by $1 for each main course, $4 in total. The restaurant first dismissed the discrepancy as an honest error of lacking resource to updating the online menu being a local Mom and Pop store, then offered to settle by a refund. Professor Edelman then attempted to extort $12 from the restaurant by boasting his personal connections to Boston 'authorities' and misinterpreting a clause 93A in Massachusetts General Law. The Professor then lawyered up his demand to half of the meal, or $26.5.

The email exchanges in its entirety were published by Boston.com, and became viral. Other lawyers and law professors weighed in to point out that what Professor Edelman did bordering between being unethical (threatening criminal/administrative punishment for private civil gain) and criminal (misrepresenting law to an unrepresented party and extortion).

The story made its way to all major news outlets left and right including The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News and as far as Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Le Monde, Die Welt, and Stern, just name a few, in a matter of hours. Jewish community was upset because Dr. Edelman's "behavior plays into every anti-Semitic stereotype about us -- that's we're greedy, power hungry, self centered, etc." and makes "all of us Jews look bad". At an online Jewish forum, one commenter quickly pointed that Dr. Edelman was "not observant -- he ordered shellfish". The other commenter responded, "thankfully, it is playing out differently, that he makes Harvard professors look bad".

In public, Professor Edelman offered this 'apology' on his personal website:

My Emails with Sichuan Garden

December 10, 2014

Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline.

Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it's clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future.

I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.

Out of public's eyes, following three consecutive messages were sent to the Yahoo account of the restaurant operator, a second generation Chinese American, Mr. Ran Duan.

Email No. 1:

Ben Edelman Today at 3:54 PM
To me

Hi Ran,

I want to call and personally apologize for how I approached my interaction with you. Can we set up a time to talk? What number should I call?

Thanks.
Ben Edelman

Email No. 2:

ben@benedelman.org Today at 5:09 PM
To me

You may have won the battle Duan, but at least we can agree your menu is a little less slanty-eyed.
Thank you

Email No. 3:

ben@benedelman.org Today at 5:23 PM
To me

I sincerely apologize for that previous message just moments ago. I was intending to make light of the situation to a small group of students by typing a jovial response via your contact form but hadn't realized that pressing 'enter' would actually send the message as your website clearly has a button that must be clicked on. Nowhere does it state that pressing 'enter' will also be the same as clicking.

I trust you understand this & will not make this private correspondence, public.

Thank you
Ben

Blogger Luke O'Neal twitted "Edelman tells me that this was 'not a genuine email' from him. So someone has apparently hacked him in order to send racist slurs."

There are some problems with Luke's twitt. 1) You don't have to 'hack' anyone at all to send a message by any name. Even if the Luke O'Neil knows nothing about the Internet, the Harvard Professor must remember some basic concepts in CS 50 (the most popular course at Harvard, with 818 undergraduates enrolled in Fall 2014, btw), and thus 2) It makes the second sentence less slanty-eyed to having been crafted by the professor himself.

If all the professor can legally offer on the racial slur was quote and unquote, 'not a genuine email' from him, then I would be unsure about whether this is an HLS's way of denial in technicality or flat admitting of guilt.

Update:

This was obviously not the first time Dr. Edelman ran afoul of Asian restaurant. Reading the story online, a former sushi store manager provided an equally sensational email exchange to the Boston.com. In that incident, Dr. Edelman was not happy a Groupon coupon he bought did not apply to a dish the shop considered a special offer (to be excluded from using currently with the coupon). The sushi place subsequently shut down.

Extended Reading: What Other Lawyers Wrote in Their Spare Time Of course, as a licensed lawyer and a Harvard Law School alum Dr. Edelman is not alone. As another lawyer lamented, Dr. Edelman was only one of the "95 percent of lawyers who makes the rest of us look bad". So what did other lawyers wrote in their spare time?

George J. Atis, an outsourcing and technology transactions lawyer, wrote in the team agenda on Kayla Watkins, 12, the only girl on his son's hockey team,

"It is now 14 games into the season and I have noticed that Kayla's play has not improved. It is at the point where many of the team members do not want to play on this team if this situation is not addressed." Atis then details two possible options for consideration, either moving Kayla from defence to forward and keeping her off of power plays and penalty kills, or playing her every second shift on defence and again keeping her off special teams "until her skating and shooting improves." "If Kayla is NOT amenable to the above options, the coach should find Kayla a new team to play on - commensurate to her skill level - for the balance of the season," the agenda reads.
Kayla was cool about the agenda, only annoyed that Atis was offering a professional judgement while not even a member of the coach team. Apparently Mr. Atis is quite proud of his accomplishment. At one point, his own business website reads (which has since been removed):
As a sole practitioner in this area, you can imagine that my reputation is everything – and I never compromise it for any one client. I wont back down from bullying a 12 year old girl if needed to reach my goal.

In another place at another time, an unnamed lawyer who hired a photographer to shoot his own wedding at $3,800 sent a threat of $300,000 to the photographer afterwards, demanding extra work and extra money for 'no picture of the buffet (they had at a Las Vegas hotel)'.

It was a long story, but the highlights are:

  1. the lawyer's demand:

    So, if you don't comply with our demand, it's a NO WIN SITUATION. You only get to decide how much you want to pay. I will summarize your options again:

    1. Pay $18,800 to Karen. All this goes away....

    2. Do nothing. You will get sued; I will get my judgement for $300,000. I will file a Writ of Garnishment with all your employer and banks, place a lien on your houses, Subpoena you to court for Supplementary proceedings to find out what assets you have, and pursue the matter until all $300,000 is paid in full. If failed to appear in court, I will have the judge issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Then, next time you get pulled over, the cop will arrest you.

    I am a partner at this firm; that means I have - ZERO - out of pocket expenses for suing you. It costs me NOTHING. I will subpoena you out to court to get your testimony under oath of perjury..

    EVEN IF the jury agrees with you, (by some miracle) how much do you think you will need to spend on paying a lawyer? I guarantee you, by the time this gets to a jury, it will cost at least $50,000 in lawyers fees. YOU WILL NOT GET THESE FEES BACK, EVER.

  2. The photographer's work for this particular wedding was deemed excellent (90% percentile judged by one expert photographer), by many prominent wedding photographers, including Robert Evans, who shot the weddings for Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
Amazingly, the Washington State Bar refused to disbar this gadfly. After all, the WA Bar is probably a club house for HLS alums.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

All everyone cares to know about APEC '14

APEC is an abbreviation of Asia-Pacific Economic Conference. The 2014 summit will take place in Beijing in a few days from today to Nov 12, 2014.

The Seagull gathers the most authoritative list of all everyday person cares to know about this conference. In order to present a neat and ordered city, residents and travellers are advised following policy changes:

  • Transportation:

    Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin and Shandong implement traffic control. Vehicles are allowed on the road according to their license plate numbers. Air travel will be delayed at major airports. Subway will skip certain stations, and limit capacity by deploying manned entrant doors. Vehicles with out-of-town licence plates will not be allowed into Beijing. Mail delivery to Beijing will be partially suspended, started Oct 20th, 2014.

    The first APEC casualty was a 33 year-old girl who was pinned in between the security gate and the carriage door at the Huixinxijienankou (South Side of West Huixin Ave) of Line 5 in the evening rush hours of Nov 6. Because the subway system was running under human overwrite mode to handle unusually high volume of passengers driven by traffic control on the ground, automatic safety measures did not kick in when the passenger was stuck between two doors.

    While enjoying the clear deep blue sky, the most beautiful autumn color of Beijing, foreign visitors should bear in their mind that the sacrifice Chinese people made for this damn conference. Remember to wash your hands before heading home, because they had been stained with blood.

    The girl's name is Xiaomei Pan.

    Beijing residents are advised not to open their street-facing windows. The notice warned them, otherwise they risk being mistakenly shot by snipers of the security forces from 'multiple countries'.

    A fleet of Hongqi (Red-flag L6) with $1 million unit cost is deployed to transfer conference attendees.

  • Eat:

    Beijing will halt milk delivery, close restaurants and food stores in certain areas.

    The conference center guarantee the last dish to the furthest table will be delivered within 4 minutes and 35 seconds after it was taken out of the wok.

  • Living:

    Beijing and Tianjin will postpone centralized heating by 15 days despite cold weather.

  • Life:

    Beijing will entertain dinners for the conference goers with extravagant fireworks in the middle of the city. Tianjin, on the opposite, will prohibit fireworks throughout the city.

  • Death:

    Funeral homes in Beijing will not be allowed to cremate closeth of the deceased.

    The centralized appointment making service for all hospitals in Beijing will be shut down to discourage patients seeking medical help during the conference period. Hospitals will not treat outpatients unless its emergency. Among all the bizarre, this one is in particular hard to digest. Pictures on the right is the official 'holiday' schedule of Xuanwu Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Beijing.

  • Industrial:

    Factories in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shangdao, Inner Mongolia and Shanxi were ordered to adjust or suspend production in the duration of the conference.

  • Work:

    The entire city of Beijing received a one week vacation time from Nov 7 to Nov 12. Residents are encouraged to travel to other places to leave an orderly city to the visitors.

  • Cultural:

    A book "Xi Jinping Talks on Ruling a Country" in multiple languages was published and provided at the Press Center.

  • Architecture

    A $1 billion conference center was constructed specifically for this conference. Hundreds of small shops in adjacent areas were converted to tourism shops.

The Great Leader Chairman Mao ignited Chinese people's aspiration with a famous saying, 'Man will conquer nature'. Apparently Beijing has accomplished just that, in terms of air quality and pollution control. By all means, this APEC 2014 is poised to surpass the Olympic 1936 as the most magnificent show of power in modern mankind history. After all, Socialists in Germany did not command the weather. Xi Jinping in China did.

Heil, Chairman Xi!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Canadian Professor Who Does Not Speak English

According to the self-description which is officially verified by the Sina Weibo, Zhichuan "Frank" Li is an assistant professor of Finance at the Ivey Business School of the Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.

Yet this Weibo account wrote a twisted translation of the oath people take at their naturalization ceremonies, taking advantages of the fact that the great overwhelming majority of Chinese Internet users were blocked by the Great FireWall and could not read English.

The original version of the Oath of Allegiance is published at the USCIS website.

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Professor Frank Li wrote in his Weibo account, in Chinese, "......, that I will defend the United States with weapons, that I will serve in the United States military forces, ......".

And this took place in the context while the CCP Propaganda Department labeled Hong Kong umbrella revolution to US interferences, and launched a smear campaign against independent intellectuals with US connections.

By his own post, Dr. Frank Li presented himself as a Canadian professor who does not speak English, or does he? Comparing the two versions, it's not hard to reach your own verdict.

Dr. Frank Li of the Ivey Business School of the Western University was also caught wet handed in intentionally fabricate speech of Hong Kong activists, which was then spread over the Internet.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, there is difference between making your voice heard and falsifying information. Steering public information is a professional technique which belongs to propaganda officials, not university professors. It also takes skills of an art, which obviously has not been acquired by Dr. Frank Li. Perhaps the Ivey Business School of the Western University in New London, Ontario, Canada should revisit Dr. Zhichuan "Frank" Li's credential and qualification.

Ivey Business School boasts the first North American business school to open a campus in Hong Kong. Dr. Frank Li's writings has made the Ivey Business School a prima facie propaganda outlet for the CCP. With an understandable monetary interest on its plate, the Ivey Business School has an obligation to exonerate itself from officially encouraging faculty members to distort public information for fiscal gains, unless the Ivey Business School of the Western University no longer considers itself as a member of the academic community.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Xi's Anti-Corruption Campaign Delivered Alarming Messages

Xi's anti-corruption campaign delivered alarming messages to his political rivals.

There are two distinctive patterns that were largely skipped public attention. 1) Only those 'lined up in the wrong queue' were crushed by the campaign. 2) The total number of senior officials that were sacked in the campaign was actually less than his predecessor, despite the perception of the public.

In other words, the anti-corruption arm of the CCP was converted to a political branch to deter any dissenting voices from within the CCP.

In separate threads, Xi spoke at a judicial panel, when he made the following statement: there are cases that are obvious in a layman's eyes, but unnecessarily complicated by intricacies of laws.

Red Flag (Hongqi) Magazine echoed Xi's words by claiming a judicial system can not replace dictatorship of the proletariat.

President Xi's most recent stunt was his talk at a panel of arts and literature. Xi summoned the most well known writers and entertainers in the country, and told them "arts and literature should not be enslaved by what the markets demand". The undertone is that they should submit themselves to the benefit of politics.

The Director of CDC Must Go

Perhaps it's time to move CDC away from Atalanta.

Nancy Snyderman was under the CDC self-monitoring program when she was spotted dining in a public restaurant. The CDC Director Tom Frieden insisted on CNN that the white female "not not putting others at risk".

Snyderman was classified as 'low risk'.

Amber Vinson was considered 'low risk' and under the CDC self-monitoring program, when she board an airplane for a family reunion.

Tom Frieden jumped on the opportunity to call out the black female "shouldn't have gone on that commercial flight", on camera before he heard of anything specific about the incident. Half day later it was revealed that Vinson had been cleared to board the commercial flight by a CDC official. In other words, Vinson asked first. When an Asian female nurse was contracted the deadly virus, the first words out of Frieden's mouth was the nurse broke a CDC protocol at work. Two weeks later, all nurses, including the hospital had come forward to testify that no protocol had been violated.

Tom Frieden is a disgrace as a doctor, a civil servant, and a human being. We do not second guess any of Frieden's decisions, whether they are in the interests of national security or scientific advancement. However what this senior government said and did in front of TV cameras make laymen lost faith in this administration's heart.

In the past 14 years, the CDC funding has been steadily increased through two presidencies from $2 billion to $7.5 billion.

Monday, June 09, 2014

How Mary-Faith Cerasoli Gets By

Mary-Faith Cerasoli is an adjunct professor for several colleges in the New York City. Her course load is about five courses per semester. Her annual income is around $22,000 before tax.

52 years old Mary-Faith has no medical insurance, owing 'thousands' in medical bills. She has around $60,000 in student loans. She is not married. She is homeless.

Mary-Faith's situation has been featured by varies websites to highlight the economic struggle of adjunct professors in the US. She appeared on PBS, the New York Times. Some colleagues and friends set up a website to raise funds for her. With a goal of raising $4,000, it received $285 in 17 days.

So Mary-Faith, why do you do this? Obviously, your skill is not appreciated by the college, because it is not appreciate by tuition-paying students. Teaching and learning should be a two-way selection process, wherein the students vote with their money, and you vote with your feet.

Extended reading: The Teaching Class.