Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Asian Americans Called on SCOUS to End Discrimination in College Admission

It was filed on behalf of the 80-20 National Asian-American Educational Foundation, the National Federation of Indian American Associations, the Indian American Forum for Political Education, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. (The latter group focuses on discrimination against Jewish Americans, and the brief argues that today's admissions policies have the same impact on Asian-American applicants as previous generations' policies had on Jewish applicants.)

The brief focuses heavily on research studies such as the work that produced the 2009 book, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life (Princeton University Press), which argued that -- when controlling for various factors -- one could find the relative "advantage" in admissions of members of different ethnic and racial groups.

The book suggested that private institutions essentially admit black students with SAT scores 310 points below those of comparable white students. And the book argued that Asian-American applicants need SAT scores 140 points higher than those of white students to stand the same chances of admission. The brief also quotes from accounts of guidance counselors and others (including this account in Inside Higher Ed) talking about widely held beliefs in high schools with many Asian-American students that they must have higher academic credentials than all others to gain admission to elite institutions.

via Inside Higher Ed

Burning Electric Car Engulfed Three Lives On Board

It is not uncommon to see Communist China government cover up any accidents, regardless of where the fault laid on. However, even veteran reporters were surprised by the swift ban on reporting of a multi-car accident in Shenzhen of Guangdong Province. Within an hour of the accident, traffic cops were deleting reporters photos, and news outlets were issued a gag order.

There was not much debate over the cause of the accident on May 26. A drunk and speeding Nissan GTR hit two cars. The driver and three passengers on the GTR suffered no injuries. Police issued photos of the driver with a single band-aid on his forehead, presumably from the airbag release, but the band-aid was absent a few hours later. Three passengers were not hurt at all. However, the driver of a taxi hit by the GRT was killed when his BYD E6 was engulfed in flames, along with two passengers. The GTR hit another car before it stopped on the road. There is no casualty on the third car.

A question is raised regarding safety of BYD's electric car. The local government deployed 300 E6 model electric cars as taxis as a showcase for Shenzhen's technology capacity.

BYD, a battery maker, was known to the world as the rising star in making electric vehicles from scratch. Although the advocate from central government seems to come to a halt since last year, the manufacture rallied enough support in the local government. The industry has long been curious on BYD's success in overcoming two major obstacles in developing full electric vehicles: cost of battery and fire safety. Some speculation points that BYD did not solve the cost issue of low producing ratio of batteries. Instead, BYD relied on mass labor to comb through batteries to pick out good ones. The incident may be seen as a major blow to BYD's claim of battery safety, especially under abuse, such as in a moderate collision.

Last May, Media reported BYD dismissed over 1000 employees and cut off a retail network for mini-cars. November, the Ministry of Land and Resources of China canceled a BYD project in Shannxi Province. Fourteen officials of local and provincial levels were disciplined.

Warren Buffett famously invested in BYD, a booster for believers in BYD and electric vehicles alike. For readers interested in studying Chinese entrepreneurship, BYD provide a typical trace of a rising course. The company started as a battery maker in 1995. Echoing the government's call for new energy cars, BYD secured government support after it announced it had grasped key technology in electric vehicle manufacturing. However, only several hundred electric cars had been delivered since the inception of an auto division in 2003. Instead, the company become one of the largest traditional car makers, taking advantage government policies tailored for electric car makers. The company then getting into fields of solar energy, also in response to government police steering. Most recently, the company added mobile communication into its profile.

BYD claimed that because the accident was so sever, ordinary gasoline car would also have failed to protect its occupants in similar condition. BYD's stock price bounced back Monday after initial setback.

Shenzhen is one of six 'New Energy Cars Test Cities' designated by the central government, along Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun, Hangzhou and Hefei. Shenzhen government is on schedule to deploy another 500 E6 taxis by the end of June.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ZTE Plant Cell Phones with Backdoors in the US

ZTE, a leading global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, was caught distributes a cell phone model which contains a backdoor with hardwired root password in the US through MetroPCS.

As reported at many Android community hubs, such as Land of Android, or simply Google ZTE backdoor

The ZTE Score M is an Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) phone available in the United States on MetroPCS, made by Chinese telecom ZTE Corporation.

There is a setuid-root application at /system/bin/sync_agent that serves no function besides providing a root shell backdoor on the device.  Just give the magic, hard-coded password to get a root shell:

$ sync_agent ztex1609523
# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root)

Nice backdoor, ZTE.

Another model 'Skate' sold in UK was also found the same issue.

ZTE and Huawei are the top two communication equipment manufactures in China. Due to its rich features and low cost, ZTE cell phones are very popular among Android community. This revelation is a major blow to consumer confidence in Made-In-China electronic products.

While Chinese telecommunication manufactures are barred in other countries, so far they have not received much scrutiny in the US market. India government blocked ZTE and Huawei from sub-contracting a $426 million deal in India's infrastructure constructions, following similar steps made by government of Australia, due to security concerns.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Amazing Pictures, Only in China

Major Col. Li Congna graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from the National Defense University in 2000. Li was awarded the 12th annual PLA scholar in 2011. In 2010, Li produced over 400,000 lines of code of lower level driver system in 90 days. The entire system development was completed in 4 months. In comparison, a typical programmer for the US defense contractor produces 500 lines of code per year.

In 2011 alone, Li's group invented 20 new algorithms, and published more than 10 papers. Li was awarded a 2nd level medal.

You may mistook it an overcrowded hospital room, because of the hanging IV bags. In reality, it's but a classroom in No. 1 High School in Xiaogan, Hubei Province. The graduating seniors studied for the upcoming national college entrance examination (June 7 - 9) so hard that they had to take IV to keep energy level. Because of its large rural population and relatives few national famed colleges, Hubei is one of toughest place to apply for college, even in already touch China.

If the hamlets in camouflage pattern cued you a M*A*S*H kind army installation, you are wrong again. It's yet a community hospital, Shanxia Hospital in Pinghua, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. And it is not a drill or whatsoever, but a daily scene or normal operating. Due to frequent incidents of doctors and nurses attacked by angry patients, the hospital armed medical staffs with personal armor. It is mandatory. More pictures here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Chen was Forced out of US Beijing Embassy

It seems Cheng Guangcheng is yet another victim, in maintaining a delicate balance between US's national interest and human rights.

Washington Post reported Chen, who walked out of the US Embassy in Beijing voluntarily and had a medical checkup accompanied by the US Ambassador to China Gary Locke himself. State Department and Washington Post stated Chen wanted to stay in China to continue his fight on human right issues for other Chinese people. At the end of a phone conversation, a joyful Chen told Sec Clinton, 'I want to kiss you'.

The words Chen used were, actually, 'I want to see you'. Clinton avoided meeting with Chen to appease her Chinese hosts. Sec Clinton and Treasury Secretary are visiting Beijing for more important topics the two countries are interested in, for example, economic issues.

As a matter of fact, Chen was forced out of the Embassy. Chinese officials who were negotiating Chen's situation with the US threatened Chen if he did not leave the Embassy, his wife and daughter would be beaten by batons. His wife had been chained to a chair since Chen's escape make known.

Since Friday, he had no ways to contact his friends out of the Embassy. Chen was trying to contact Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) when his phone was taken away by US officials. Chen told friends he would like to leave China with his family.

It is such an irony that a few months apart, bad cop Wang Lijun (a provincial-level senior official) and blind activist Chen Guangcheng found the US Embassy to be the safest place in China. However, both were kicked out by Washington. While US officials were up front in state Wang had little chance of grant of refuge because of his track record of being a bad cop, they are scrambling for words when they refused a blind activist Chen, who had international fame and had been persecuted along with his family for years.

In the end, governments of US and China staged a big show, in which the US Embassy, the State Department, the Washington Post and possibly President Obama all played major roles. President Obama refused to address a direct answer on Chen in a news conference one day before. While all parties tried to play by their own plot, Chen's true willing became the elephant in the room.

What a cast, what a show! Break a leg.