Friday, November 29, 2013

Beijing Recognizes Underground Jails

In a press conference today, the deputy director of the National Petition Bureau Mr. Li Gao was asked to comment on the underground jails scattered around the Bureau. Local governments set up these underground jails to detain appelees who come to Beijing to petition their mistreatment by local governments before they could be transferred back. By letters of current law, this is illegal.

Mr. Li Gao stated, these petitioners were detained when they conducted "illegal petition", therefore, they were not under protection of law.

Mr. Li's comment was puzzling in many ways. First of all, what conducts would make petitioning to the National Petition Bureau 'illegal'? Secondly, regardless of what these petitioners were doing in Beijing, how could local governments from other provinces jail them in Beijing without going through any judicial procedure? Also, what are the legal arguments for local government to set up secret jails in Beijing?

Billionaire and civil activist Mr. Wang Gongquan was arrested this summer. Mr. Wang visited the underground jails in a winter night earlier this year and demand releasing of the detainees. Mr. Wang was charged with disturbance order.

On a separate note, domestic techie tycoons lessoned Party leadership how to make use of Internet technology. Zhongguancun, September 30, a Robin Yanhong Li in a full white suits, founder and CEO of Baidu the Chinese search engine, briefed Xi Jinping the concept of Big Data and applications into social management, such as online surveillance of public events.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rutgers Student Guilty on Child Porn

19 year old Rutgers University student Wang Hongyu was arrested in January 2012, and was charged with endangering welfare of a child and obstruction.

Police tracked the source of a child pornography image they downloaded. The IP belongs to a computer on campus at Rutgers University, later identified to be Wang's computer.

Police found numerous child porn pictures on Wang's computer.

Wang pled guilty last week. He is facing 3-5 years of jail time, to be sentenced in January.

New Jersey Police did a good job to catch a sex offender. However, based on the description of media coverage, the handling of the case left many unanswered questions. Wang's name sounds coming from a lower level family in China, and the fact that he lives with his parents in an apartment near campus suggests the family might not have afforded a good lawyer.

  • Experts had demonstrated using IP to identify a computer was unreliable and often error-prone. However, it appeared that the IT Department of the Rutgers University did not provide an opportunity for Wang to review or squat the subpoena or police request for this information.
  • When detective found Wang on campus, he agreed to ride with the detective to his parents' home to inspect the computer in question. Obviously, the detective did not have a search warrant, nor an arrest warrant. Wang did not have to go with the detective. Further, he did not have to reveal the whereabouts of the computer.

    In China, people are brainwashed to unconditionally cooperate with the authorities. Wang came to the US in a late age. It is highly possible that he believed he must help the police to criminalize himself, as the Chinese rule mandates.

  • In the charging document, police said Wang had two strong magnets in both of his shoes, and attempted to use them to wipe out the hard drives in his computer after he led the detective to his parents's apartment.

    This accusation sounds very fishy to any IT professional working in the field. The Seagull consulted a magnetic disk drive expert, who confirmed that the scheme as described would not work.

If a Kennedy can walk away from murdering a 15 year old girl on an excuse of having bad lawyers, Wang might also have his day in a court with common sense.

Senseless Sports

Some sports are senseless, i.e. boxing or professional wrestling.

Professional wrestlers pretends to hurt each other with fake punches, kicks, elbows, chains and often fake chairs. They are often cheered by thousands in the arena at the same time millions who watch through satellite broadcasting. With full knowledge of a fake game, viewers bet on who may win out with real money and full hearted enthusiasm.

Boxers win a game by physically hurt another person, who sometimes is a player who have been training together for years or a family friend off stage. They would be cheered when they made a knockout, that is, to destabilize the opponent with one commanding strike. Many who were knocked-out would not wake to see the light of another day.

But both professional wrestling and boxing are so yesteryear. Today's youth were obviously addicted to new senseless sports: knockout and walkout.

It has been widely reported that young Americans had embraced a sports call knockout. An young man would suddenly release one calculated blow to a totally random bystander. The point was not robbery, or rape, but to knockout the person with only one strike. It requires high level personal combat skills, decisives, determination and self discipline. You can't alert the target, and it often calls multiple assistants to distract the target.

It is said this urban sports originated from St Louis, and had spread out to all metropolitan areas in the US. Many uploaded their highly professional and skillful execution of totally clueless bystanders to Internet video hosting services as brag rights. As explained in this YouTube video, old and young, male and female are playing the extremely popular game.

In the good ol' days, decorated criminals avoided victimizing weak targets, sometimes even at cost of their own safety; otherwise they could risk their reputation, something critically essential for surviving lawless jungles. However, today's youth community were too lazy, that they only adore the end result, that is the motionless body after a knockout, not how to reach it. Players of the game often chose weak targets, such as woman with children, and cheated their way with bullets instead of fists. Yet, they are still adored and cheered by their peers.

Yesterday, a 26 year old mailman Tyson Jerome Barnette was shot and killed on daily route when he was delivering mail in PG (Prince George's) County in Maryland. It has been extremely rare when a full uniformed mail carrier being gunned down on duty delivering mails on foot. This gamer was so lousy that he not only picked up a totally clueless mailman, but also he/she shot him five times.

A Washington Post article penned by Martin Weil, however, implied the fault fell on the mailman's ineffiency in delivering his shift. "It was thought that the carrier's unfamiliarity with the route might have been linked to the lateness of his deliveries," disregard that many comments promptly pointed out that other carriers had been complained about being targets by senseless sportsmen in the same area, and that they had to work at dark before and after sunlight times. There was no blame, zero, on the senseless and lousy gamer who had committed this horrific crime.

The knockout of mail carrier was not accidental. The day before yesterday, students in PG county created a national walkout day all by themselves. Students from all schools across the county participated the senseless sport called walkout at noon on Friday. It was not a protesting, nor 'starting' a dialog as often so used conveniently after such incidents. Students stated clearly, it's nothing but a game. In addition to dancing and celebrating, they also placed chairs on ceilings.

What else is coming that have we not foreseen since the liberals took stage in Washington D.C.? It seems that neither the President himself or his Secretary of Education is bothered by these new senseless sports at all.

People who have been fed up with these senseless sports demand a change. Yes, we can. The Election is only two years ahead.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jiang Zemin, Li Peng Wanted by Spanish Court

Spain's National Court has issued arrest warrants for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng, as well as three other officials for their role in alleged genocide in Tibet.

Former President Hu Jintao is also under the same investigation, but is not facing arrest at this time.

Spain National Court claims jurisdiction over severe human rights violations even outside its territories on the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Chilean dictator General Pinochet was indicted for human rights violations by Spanish magistrate Baltascar Garzon in 1998. Six days later, he was arrested in a hospital in London by British police acting on a request from Spain.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pigeons in Hefei

In an western style wedding ceremony on Nov 11, 2013, the organizers released hundreds of pigeons near the south shore of Swan Lake in the city center of Hefei (source, more pics). In Chinese culture, pigeons are expected to bring good luck and blessings.

The birds immediately found themselves targets of local residents who happened to be at the scene. People of all ages rushed to the birds. Before pigeons could fly away, most were caught and cooked.

Hefei is the capital city of Anhui, hometown of former President Hu Jintao.

Anhui is the most dangerous province in China for birds. Local residents often use fine nets larger than roadside billboards or poisoning an entire lake to catch migrating birds.

May God Bless People in Anhui.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

IIE: 235,000 Chinese students in the US in 2012-2013

    From Open Doors 2013: Data Highlight:
  • Total number of international students: 819,644, a 7% growth over the prior year;
  • International students represent 3.7% of total U.S. higher ed students body; the corresponding numbers for uk(19%), Australia (27%)
  • 235,597 Chinese student enrollments in 2012/13 academic year, a 21% increase over the prior year;
  • Popular fields of study for Chinese students: Business (28.7%), Engineering (19.6%), Computer Science (11.2%), * 2012 data
  • Top countries: China (29%), India (12%), South Korea (9%), represent 49% of the total international students population;
  • Department of Commerce said international students contributed more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy in a year;
  • Top hosting universities: USC (9,840), UIUC (9,804), Purdue (9,509), NYU (9,362), Columbia (8,797);
  • Top sources of funding: personal (63.6%), US Colleges (20.7%), Foreign Government (7.1%)
    Note: 2012 data for State of Maryland:
  • Foreign students 13,969 (No. 16);
  • Top hosting universities: UMCP (3,924), JHU (2,923), Montgomery College (1,787), UMBC (1,017), Towson (802)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bloomberg Called China Nazi-era Germany

Bloomberg, the world lead financial news agency, blocked an article by its own reporters on Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin to prevent 'jeopardising' its position in China.

Although internal editors and reporters stated that they had 'fully edited, fact checked and vetted by the lawyers,' editor-in-chief Mr. Matthew Winkler insisted to pull the story at the eleventh hour.

To justify his decision, Mr. Winkler compared the situation with Nazi-era Germany where some media undertook self censorship to remain in the country. According to Financial Time, a Bloomberg spokesman did not comment on the Nazi Germany reference.

NY Times broke out the story first, without naming Mr. Wang Jianlin.

Insiders said the article became sensitive when it turned out Mr. Wang's business was deeply entangled with members in the standing committee of the Chinese politburo. Wang is known for being the wealthiest person in China with his property valued at $14.2 billion.

Reporting on Dalian based Wang was once considered safe as his big sponsor Mr. Bo Xilai's aspiration to the top position in China ended abruptly two years ago. However, the Third Plenum of CCP which concluded yesterday indicated Bo's legend would carry on despite that Bo would remain behind the bars. Bloomberg must have smelled it coming a few days ahead with its extensive business networkings in China.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Schools

This list is compiled by Campus Pride and published by the Huffington Post.

  • University of California, Riverside (Riverside, Calif.)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
  • Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.)
  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland)
  • Connecticut College (New London, Conn.)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago)
  • Ithaca College (Ithaca, N.Y.)
  • Macalester College (Saint Paul, Minn.)
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, Mass.)
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth (Duluth, Minn.)
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis)
  • Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio)
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
  • University of Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
  • Portland State University (Portland, Ore.)
  • Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.)
  • Rutgers University (Piscataway, N.J.)
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles)
  • Southern Oregon University (Ashland, Ore.)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
  • University of Washington (Seattle)
  • Washington State University (Pullman, Wash.)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Toyota's Sudden Acceleration Tested in Court

October 24, 2013, jury in Oklahoma City found Toyota Motor liable for a 2007 crash after a Toyota Camry suddenly accelerated. The jury also found Toyota acted with 'reckless disregard' for the rights of others, which triggered a second phase of the trail to determine punitive damages. Toyota was able to have reached a settlement for an unspecified amount on punitive damages beyond the court approved $3 million actual lost.

This case was significant because for the first time, a technical team was able to recreate the sudden acceleration symptom under a controlled environment that was recognized by a court. By ejecting a flip of a single digit number, which could be caused by many possible scenarios listed, the testing item entered a verifiable potential fatal status.

There are many things Toyota could have done to avoid the fatal crash:

  1. Amateur architectural design. There are 67 functions with complexity over 50 - untestble, and 12 functions with complexity over 100 - unmaintainable. The key culprit function that controls the throttle and other sensors contains over 1300 lines of code and 146 degrees of complexity. Unbelievable, Toyota used more than 11,000 global variables, which should be entirely avoided.
  2. Not following developing guidelines. As a safety critical system (SCF), there is an existing guidelines MISRA C, which is adopted by major automakers. Toyota claimed that they followed their own internal guidelines, which is 50% compatible with the industrial guidelines. However, the real overlapping is less than 10%. What's more, Toyota did not even follow it's own internal guidelines. The tech team found over 80,000 violations in Toyota's code. Toyota had proposed its own finding that every coding violation implied one major defect and ten minor defects.

    Recursion technique, a taboo in embedded programming, was used extensively.

  3. Lack of protection to key variables, including the most critical variable: the TargetThrottleAngle global variable. Toyota used an uncertified operating system. In some cases, they did not use ECC code. In other cases, they used insufficient ECC code.
  4. No stack protection. Toyota estimated their stack is used 41% max in the worst case, while the tech team found it could be as high as 94% without taking into consideration of the recursion issue. With recursion it would be unlimited, thus a real risk of accidentally overwriting key program values. Some models of Toyota has no monitor of stack overflow (to a key OS task allocation record area).
  5. An overwhelming task X.
  6. No watchdog program on tasks, and an insufficient watchdog on CPU overloading (using hardware interrupt to feed the dog).
  7. A hardware protection system fails when task X fails.
  8. Brake Echo Check must be triggered by an act on brake.
  9. Brake Override System included in task X.
  10. A 'litany' of other faults were found in the code, including buffer overflow, unsafe casting, and reac condition among others.
Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp. CJ-2008-7969, Oklahoma County District Court

This post summarized discussions in a Chinese analysis which was in turn based on testimonies from Michael Barr.

Toyota's statement on Oct 25, 2013:

While we strongly disagree with the verdict, we are satisfied that the parties reached a mutually acceptable agreement to settle this case. We remain committed to providing our customers with safe and reliable vehicles, and we will continue to defend our products vigorously at trial in other legal venues.

The biggest problem? NASA, contracted by the NHTSA, did not find the problem in a previous government investigation.

Further reading at EDN, and do not miss the comments which are very informative.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Chinese Student Extradited to the US

Tim Tse was a student studying for a Master's degree at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in January 2006, when he allegedly sexually assaulted a female student H.Y.T. from Taiwan.

Tse was arrested at a border crossing when he was traveling to mainland from Hong Kong in January 2013. The Chinese authority contacted the US when his name triggered an alarm on computer screen. Tse was sent back to Hong Kong from where he was extradited to the US. Although there was no extradition agreement between the US and China, there is such agreement between Hong Kong and the US.

According to the police, Tse, having his face covered with a ski mask, broke in the 26 years old victim's residence on S Riverwood Blvd where she was sleeping at the time and drugged her by placing a soaked rag soaked with a toxic chemical over her mouth. Tse then showered her and forced a pill down her throat. The woman was beat and raped. Tse also took photos of the naked victim.

The woman was not able to name a suspect, but Tse contacted the police one week later. Tse initially admitted to police that he was angry with the woman for a variety of reasons and wanted to take nude photos and posted them online to humiliate her. Tse then claimed he was not provided proper legal advice, and tried to suppress the confession.

Tse was arrested and charged with second degree sexual assault and burglary on Nov 14, 2006. He was assigned a public defender, being indigent; however, managed to post a bond of $100,000 in cash the same day. Tse's girlfriend posted the bond on Nov 16 with money wired by Tse's family. Tse boarded a United flight to Hong Kong at O'Hare in Chicago on Nov 19.

Wisconsin v. Tim Tse, 2006CF006108

This time, Tse's bond was set at $5 million. On Oct 22, 2013, Tse pled guilty on Burglary. The court dismissed Secual Assault charge.

Tse's next court appearance will be on Dec 6, 2013. Tse is represented by Dean A. Strang, who has extensive trial experience including in the SCOTUS.

A April 16, 2007 youtube video claimed Tim Tse was from Shanghai, China. Court record also showed Tse claimed he was a native Mandarin speaker. However, based on the way the name is spelled, the Seagull is positive that he must not be from the mainland. Hong Kong is possible, though. Charles Stone, the victim's friend and a lawyer, said Tse was a Chinese citizen. On the other hand, towards the end of the video, the news anchor said the at large Tse could be on an airplane to Hong Kong.

When Tse was apprehended and brought back to the US a few months ago, local TV station FOX6 proclaimed that regardless the result of the trial, Tse would be registered as a secual offender for the rest of his life. It did not go that way.

Update: Franklin Now has a detailed recount of the saga:

According to the 2006 criminal complaint and Franklin Police Department police reports:

The attack occurred in the woman's apartment in the 6900 block of South Riverwood Boulevard between Nov. 4 and 5, 2006. The victim, who was 26 at the time, told police she was sleeping in her bed when a man placed a rag containing some sort of chemical over her mouth, hit her and choked her several times. He pulled off her pajama bottoms and underwear and fondled her underneath her pajama top.

The woman told police that during this time she saw flashes, which led her to believe the man was taking pictures of her while she was partly nude.

The man then took her into the bathroom and placed her in the shower, where he tied her up, placed a towel over her face and attempted to force a pill down her throat. She spit the pill into the shower when she heard the man leave the room, and when he returned he dragged her by her shoulders and hair back into the bedroom, where he left her lying on the floor.

The victim stated that she was lightheaded and dizzy, and went in and out of consciousness several times during the attack.

After the man left her bedroom, the woman grabbed her cellphone and dialed 911. Officers found the woman lying on her bedroom floor, shaking uncontrollably, with a towel covering the bottom portion of her body. The Franklin Fire Department took her to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

About a week after the incident, police received a call from the victim's boyfriend, who stated that Tse had just confessed to attacking the woman.

"I guess he was feeling some pangs of guilt after the attack," Spak said, "so he decided to tell the victim's boyfriend, who then called us."

When questioned by police, Tse, who was dating the victim's roommate at the time, told officers he was angry at the victim for a variety of reasons that he never explained and planned the attack out of revenge, according to the criminal complaint. He stated he wanted to take pictures of the victim without her clothes on and post them on the Internet to humiliate her.

Franklin detectives later searched Tse's home in the 1600 block of North Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee, where they seized all computers, hard drives, monitors, storage disks, CDs and DVDs, along with any cameras or chemicals. However, police never found any pictures or video of the victim, police reports state.

"He never actually posted the pictures on the Internet, or did anything else with them," Spak said. "To our knowledge he destroyed the camera, and all the photos along with it."

Tse admitted to entering the woman's home using her roommate's key, and using a chemical-soaked rag to render her unconscious. He also admitted to groping the victim because he wanted to scare her and "make her believe she was going to be sexually assaulted," and to taking pictures of her in various stages of undress, according to the complaint.

It goes on to state that Tse told police he stole several items before leaving the apartment because he believed it would be better for him if he made the incident look more like a burglary.