We Know Iceland is Photogenic, but What This Photographer Captured is Astounding

11 July, 2014 at 09:49 | Posted in Culture, Nature, picture of the day | 1 Comment
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We Know Iceland is Photogenic, but What This Photographer Captured Is Astounding Photo Gallery: photo 3

By Benjamin Kim
Epoch Times

TO PHOTO GALLERY

Erez Marom was born in 1980 in Holon, Israel, where he still lives today, though his annual trips to Iceland inspire him greatly. He spends about a month in Iceland each time conducting workshops and finding new treasures to photograph.

He writes on his website: “Upon first visiting Iceland in late 2011, I fell in love with its eeriness, its people and especially its out-of-this-world landscapes. But back then I wouldn’t have guessed that this country and I would develop such a special, deep, and long-lasting relationship.”

His parents encouraged him to pursue an artistic career. He started playing the drums when he was 9 years old and is still an active musician today.

In 2008, some photos taken with a DSLR (digital second lens reflex) camera and his passion for photography began. He especially focuses on travel and nature photography, making Iceland a perfect subject. He has also captured the beauty of India, Nepal, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Peru, his native Israel, among other locations.

Sights of the Northern Lights and Iceland’s fjords have long been favorites of photographers, but Marom captures unique views that make the viewer appreciate the beauty of Iceland anew.

To see more of his work, visit his website, www.erezmarom.com. For more information on his photography workshop, Click Here.  To visit his Facebook page, Click Here

via We Know Iceland is Photogenic, but What This Photographer Captured Is Astounding Photo Gallery

Reading Maxim Leo’s Red Love: The Story of an East German Family

9 July, 2014 at 15:50 | Posted in books, Culture, Society | 3 Comments
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Kristina:

Interesting review about people living in a communist country…

Originally posted on Angelina Hue:

I just finished reading Red Love: The Story of an East German Family by Maxim Leo. What a compelling, intense and poignant journey this has been.

The moment I started reading Red Love, I was drawn into the inner dynamics, turbulent emotions and revealing stories of Leo’s family. The latter included his grandfathers’ experiences during the Second World War and the effects which lingered throughout the three generations.

Red Love examines the relationships between Leo’s family members as well as each individual’s connection to the German Democratic Republic (GDR). This is more than just a family memoir; it is also a journey through the history of the short-lived sovereign state, seen through the eyes of someone who was born into it, grew up in its shadow and saw it vanish overnight.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Leo brings the reader back in time by piecing together the narrative of his family through intimate interviews, old photographs and letters, diaries as well as surveillance files…

View original 448 more words

Everything We Have Been Taught About Our Origins Is A Lie

24 June, 2014 at 09:00 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Funny things :-), Science | Leave a comment
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- See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

- See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf


Written by Graham Pick

In June 1936 Max Hahn and his wife Emma were on a walk beside a waterfall near to London, Texas, when they noticed a rock with wood protruding from its core. They decided to take the oddity home and later cracked it open with a hammer and a chisel. What they found within shocked the archaeological and scientific community. Embedded in the rock was what appeared to be some type of ancient man made hammer.

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal. The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal.  The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

In 1889 near Nampa, Idaho, whilst workers were boring an artesian well, a small figurine made of baked clay was extracted from a depth of 320 feet. To reach this depth the workers had to cut through fifteen feet of basalt lava and many other strata below that. That in itself does not seem remarkable, until one considers that the very top layer of lava has been dated to at least 15 million years old!

It is currently accepted by science and geology that coal is a by-product of decaying vegetation. The vegetation becomes buried over time and is covered with sediment. That sediment eventually fossilises and becomes rock. This natural process of coal formation takes up to 400 million years to accomplish.

- See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal.  The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

In 1889 near Nampa, Idaho, whilst workers were boring an artesian well, a small figurine made of baked clay was extracted from a depth of 320 feet. To reach this depth the workers had to cut through fifteen feet of basalt lava and many other strata below that. That in itself does not seem remarkable, until one considers that the very top layer of lava has been dated to at least 15 million years old!

It is currently accepted by science and geology that coal is a by-product of decaying vegetation. The vegetation becomes buried over time and is covered with sediment. That sediment eventually fossilises and becomes rock. This natural process of coal formation takes up to 400 million years to accomplish.

- See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal.  The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

In 1889 near Nampa, Idaho, whilst workers were boring an artesian well, a small figurine made of baked clay was extracted from a depth of 320 feet. To reach this depth the workers had to cut through fifteen feet of basalt lava and many other strata below that. That in itself does not seem remarkable, until one considers that the very top layer of lava has been dated to at least 15 million years old!

It is currently accepted by science and geology that coal is a by-product of decaying vegetation. The vegetation becomes buried over time and is covered with sediment. That sediment eventually fossilises and becomes rock. This natural process of coal formation takes up to 400 million years to accomplish.

- See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

Read more: Everything We Have Been Taught About Our Origins Is A Lie – Malta Now

18 Reasons To Celebrate Sweden On Sweden Day

7 June, 2014 at 10:48 | Posted in Culture, Funny things :-), Society | Leave a comment
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 | By Suzy Strutner

June 6 is Sweden Day! Hip, hip hooray!

Swedes will be celebrating their national day with balloon launches, flag-raisings and a ceremony with the royal couple. We won’t be there for the festivities, but we can still think of plenty of reasons to toast our BFFs to the northeast.

1. Swedish summer is absolutely stunning.

Though it’s not always blisteringly hot, the woods in Lapland are more than worth some nippy temperatures.

2. It’s one of the happiest countries on Earth.

They ranked number five in last year’s World Happiness Report, partly because citizens have “high interpersonal trust.” In short, everyone in Sweden is really nice.

Read more: 18 Reasons To Celebrate Sweden On Sweden Day

3-Year-Old Remembers Past Life, Identifies Murderer and Location of Body

22 May, 2014 at 10:03 | Posted in beyond science, books, Science | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge.In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

A 3-year-old boy in the Golan Heights region near the border of Syria and Israel said he was murdered with an axe in his previous life. He showed village elders where the murderer buried his body, and sure enough they found a man’s skeleton there. He also showed the elders where the murder weapon was found, and upon digging, they did indeed found an axe there.

In his book, “Children Who Have Lived Before: Reincarnation Today,” German therapist Trutz Hardo tells this boy’s story, along with other stories of children who seem to remember their past lives with verified accuracy. The boy’s story was witnessed by Dr. Eli Lasch, who is best known for developing the medical system in Gaza as part of an Israeli government operation in the 1960s. Dr. Lasch, who died in 2009, had recounted these astounding events to Hardo.

The boy was of the Druze ethnic group, and in his culture the existence of reincarnation is accepted as fact. His story nonetheless had the power to surprise his community.

He was born with a long, red birthmark on his head. The Druse believe, as some other cultures do, that birthmarks are related to past-life deaths. When the boy was old enough to talk, he told his family he had been killed by a blow to the head with an axe.

It is customary for elders to take a child at the age of 3 to the home of his previous life if he remembers it. The boy knew the village he was from, so they went there. When they arrived in the village, the boy remembered the name he had in his past life.

A village local said the man the boy claimed to be the reincarnation of had gone missing four years earlier. His friends and family thought he may have strayed into hostile territory nearby as sometimes happens.

The boy also remembered the full name of his killer. When he confronted this man, the alleged killer’s face turned white, Lasch told Hardo, but he did not admit to murder. The boy then said he could take the elders to where the body was buried. In that very spot, they found a man’s skeleton with a wound to the head that corresponded to the boy’s birthmark. They also found the axe, the murder weapon.

Faced with this evidence, the murderer admitted to the crime. Dr. Lasch, the only non-Druze, was present through this whole process.

To read more of Hardo’s stories, read his book, “Children Who Have Lived Before.”

ALSO SEE: Boy Remembers Wife and Killer of Past Life, Finds Them Again

via 3-Year-Old Remembers Past Life, Identifies Murderer and Location of Body – The Epoch Times.

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Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People – Scandinavia House in New York

19 May, 2014 at 08:59 | Posted in Culture | Leave a comment
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Saturday, May 10 through Saturday, August 23, 2014
Free admission | #samistories

Curated by the Tromsø University Museum and Northern Norway Art Museum, Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People is a landmark exhibition examining the history, identity, politics, and visual culture of the Sámi, the indigenous people of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

Featuring a selection of contemporary artworks and traditional duodji (handicraft)—including a reindeer milk scoop, shaman’s drum, cradle, and a selection of hats and dolls—Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People offers visitors an overview of Sámi history and visual culture from the 17th century to the present.

Read more: Scandinavia House – The Nordic Center in America

Chinese Art Takes Center-stage at 2014 Art Nordic

13 May, 2014 at 14:17 | Posted in China, Culture, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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By Damian Robin
Epoch Times

The Art of Zhen Shan Ren (truthfulness, compassion, tolerance) International Exhibition is the main feature of the 2014 Art Nordic, the largest art fair in Scandinavia, this weekend.

It is a powerful depiction of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, the qigong practice that has been growing around the world by the million since 1992, shown in 36 artworks at Øksnehallen in downtown Copenhagen from May 9-11.

Since 1999, the Chinese Communist Party has persecuted Falun Gong practitioners—also called cultivators—with misinformation, arrests, imprisonment, and torture. The artist collective of seventeen artists, all but one of whom is of Chinese descent, communicates the universal view of Falun Gong, as well as the persecution, which they have all personally experienced.

“Cultivators look at issues from a deep perspective,” Zhang Kunlun, a sculpture and painter who co-founded the Exhibition in 2003, has said, “and inspiration springs forth like a fountain.

“As artists we have a duty to present this magnificent period of human history for the future.”

While the whole world has its eyes on Denmark during the Eurovision festivities in the same weekend, Art Nordic’s Boi Wynsch said, “In the art world, you often experience a reluctance to deal with the direct connection between art and the real world.

“This is in no way a reluctance that these seventeen artists possess. Treading a path that very few artists are able to follow, they use their art to communicate a stirring, frightening, and convincing portrayal of the reality that they themselves have experienced—one that many Falun Gong practitioners still experience in China today.”

He said, “This makes their art very different from the art that is typically produced in Scandinavia, and that makes me even more excited to present it at Art Nordic.”

The individual backgrounds of the seventeen artists are very different, but they all share the ambition to express—in spite of the recurring tragic theme of all their artworks—the truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance that are essential to the practice of Falun Gong.

All the artworks except for a sculpture of a Buddha, are realist oil paintings, a style chosen by the artists, because its simplicity and accessibility allow them to communicate the stories they wish to relay to their audience. The exhibition is centered on seven themes, including The Joy of Cultivation, Persecution in China, and Peaceful Resistance.

The first exhibition took place at The National Art Club in New York in 2004. Among the artists are names such as Xiaoping Chen, Dr. Xiqiang Dong, Kathy Gillis, Yuan Li, Daci Shen, Weixing Wang, and Dr. Kunlun Zhang.

The exhibition is a close collaboration with Foreningen Konst och Kultur Zhen Shan Ren in Gothenburg, Sweden. Typically, the exhibition is only displayed in museums, but as an exception, in Denmark it can be experienced as part of an art fair. NTD Nordic is a sponsor of the exhibition.

Art Nordic offers 5,000 square meters of art from 200 different artists, including more than 60 from Sweden, who have all pre-qualified for the art fair within the categories of visual arts, ceramics, sculptures, photography, glass and ornamental art. The fair is expected to draw an audience of 12-15,000 people.

Read more about Art Nordic, The Art of Zhen Shan Ren, and the other artists at art-nordic.dk   and about The Art of Zhen Shan Ren International Exhibition at www.zsr-art.org.uk/

via Chinese Art Takes Center-stage at 2014 Art Nordic

Link to video interview: Art Nordic presents: The Art of Zhen Shan Ren

In the Middle of a Blue Anemone

4 April, 2014 at 08:34 | Posted in Culture, picture of the day | Leave a comment


But have you seen… There are small hearts in the middle of a blue anemone :-)

tulpaner-1-2

 …

 

Stones Larger Than the Pyramids’ — Florida’s Coral Castle

16 February, 2014 at 07:27 | Posted in Culture, Funny things :-) | Leave a comment



By Paul Darin
Epoch Times

A visitor to the Coral Castle will see a stone fantasy garden with carved coral stones and blocks weighing several dozen tons each. The mystery of the garden is not in the blocks themselves but in how they were carved and put into place.

This feat of engineering was accomplished entirely by one man—Edward Leedskalnin—who carved, transported, and set all of the stone slabs and blocks by himself with no help or modern machinery. He used only hand tools he bought from a junkyard. Additionally, the blocks are cut and set with intricate precision, locked into place without mortar.

Leedskalnin, born in Latvia on Aug. 10, 1887, was a quiet, private man who was just over 5 feet tall, weighing just over 100 pounds. He somehow managed to carve and sculpt more than 1,100 tons of coral rock, transporting the rocks 10 miles and setting them into place using only a crude wooden tripod, a borrowed tractor, and a truck.

All of his work was done during the night between midnight and 6:00 a.m., according to the documentary Mystery at Coral Castle. Whenever someone would try to catch a peek at his work, he would stand upon his watchtower and announce: “As soon as you leave, I will continue my work.”

People could see the blocks being transported down the highway, but no one ever saw Leedskalnin move, lift, or set any of the blocks. The only witnesses are two children who supposedly saw Leedskalnin “float” the blocks into place like moving balloons. The mysterious man was also known for his extensive theories on magnetism.

The Coral Castle walls themselves weight 125 pounds per cubic foot, and each section is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet thick, according to the Coral Castle Museum. Weighing approximately 30 tons, the greatest stone in the castle is twice as massive as any used in the pyramids, according to the documentary In Search of Coral Castle.

Another particular oddity of the castle includes a 9-ton swinging stone door that moves when just a little force is applied; a child could move it with ease. A raised obelisk weighing 28 tons is another curious feature, as well as a carved stone crescents sitting atop 20-foot high walls.

The story regarding the inspiration for the Coral Castle is that of a tragic romance. When Leedskalnin was still a young man, at the age of 26, he was engaged to a woman who left him the day before they were to be wed. Leedskalnin vowed to create the structure as a symbol for his love for her.

The stones were quarried near his original home in Florida City. After a developing subdivision threatened his privacy and the privacy of the Castle, he bought property in Homestead, Fla., just 25 miles from Miami, and moved all of his pieces over the course of three years.

Leedskalnin started the endeavor in approximately 1923 and finished around 1951. Through the ‘40s up until his death in December of 1951, he would charge 10 cents admission for visitors to his castle and garden.

via Stones Larger Than the Pyramids’—Florida’s Coral Castle – The Epoch Times

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Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future?

13 February, 2014 at 07:11 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The Viking sword Ulfberht was made of metal so pure it baffled archaeologists. It was thought the technology to forge such metal was not invented for another 800 or more years, during the Industrial Revolution.

About 170 Ulfberhts have been found, dating from 800 to 1,000 A.D. A NOVA, National Geographic documentary titled “Secrets of the Viking Sword” first aired in 2012 took a look at the enigmatic sword’s metallurgic composition.

In the process of forging iron, the ore must be heated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit to liquify, allowing the blacksmith to remove the impurities (called “slag”). Carbon is also mixed in to make the brittle iron stronger. Medieval technology did not allow iron to be heated to such a high temperature, thus the slag was removed by pounding it out, a far less effective method.

The Ulfberht, however, has almost no slag, and it has a carbon content three times that of other metals from the time. It was made of a metal called “crucible steel.”

It was thought that the furnaces invented during the industrial revolution were the first tools for heating iron to this extent.

The difference in purity is seen by the consistency of the Ulfberht steel, almost free of slag. (Screenshot/NOVA/National Geographic)


Modern blacksmith Richard Furrer of Wisconsin spoke to NOVA about the difficulties of making such a sword. Furrer is described in the documentary as one of the few people on the planet who has the skills needed to try to reproduce the Ulfberht.

“To do it right, it is the most complicated thing I know how to make,” he said.

He commented on how the Ulfberht maker would have been regarded as possessing magical powers. “To be able to make a weapon from dirt is a pretty powerful thing,” he said. But, to make a weapon that could bend without breaking, stay so sharp, and weigh so little would be regarded as supernatural.

Furrer spent days of continuous, painstaking work forging a similar sword. He used medieval technology, though he used it in a way never before suspected. The tiniest flaw or mistake could have turned the sword into a piece of scrap metal. He seemed to declare his success at the end with more relief than joy.

It is possible that the material and the know-how came from the Middle East. The Volga trade route between the Viking settlements and the Middle East opened at the same time the first Ulfberhts appeared and closed when the last Ulfberhts were produced.


via Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future? » The Epoch Times

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Where the Fragrance Becomes a Shimmer and an Outstretched Hand a Moment of Love

11 February, 2014 at 10:53 | Posted in books, Culture, quote of the day, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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I have moved in their footsteps as in a waking dream where the fragrance from a full-blown
peony is no longer a fragrance but a shimmer; where the deep red color of a maple leaf
in autumn is not a color but a privilege; where a country is no longer a place but a
lullaby. And where an outstretched hand is no longer just a gesture, but
a moment of love that continues into sleep,
into awakening, into everyday life.

~ Kim Thuy


(This is my translation, I’ve read her book Ru and these lines are just so beautiful. I guess that if you want the exact translation you have to read her book. And that is not a waste of time…) :-)

8 Italian Artists Who Changed the World

3 February, 2014 at 07:04 | Posted in Culture | Leave a comment
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By Tim Gebhart

The Italian peninsula has long been a land where the fine arts have flourished under a meticulous eye and in an idyllic setting. Wealthy and demanding benefactors connected their prestige and power to art.

Nowhere else has fine art played such an iconic role: it set a precedent to guide humanity toward lofty ideals beyond the purely material, and shaped our view of the world through its images.

Listed here are a few of the most significant artists that pushed the realm of fine art to new heights either in technique or expression.

Fra Angelico (1395–1455)

As his name suggests, Fra Angelico means “angelic friar.” Fra Angelico was said to have stirred the transition from late Gothic paintings, which resembled iconography, to the classic Grecian style. When not working for wealthy patrons, he revealed his devout, humble nature through frescoes painted in the San Marcos friary.

The images he portrayed varied from his counterparts in that he depicted Mary and the saints as people rather than lofty, inaccessible beings. His constrained palette and gentle, relaxed figures give his paintings a surreal quality.

“Annalena Altarpiece.” Tempera on wood, 1437-1440, 70.87 inches by 79.53 inches. Museo di San Marco (Florence, Italy).

Read more: 8 Italian Artists Who Changed the World

Noah’s Ark Blueprints Found—4,000-Year-Old Detailed Instructions

30 January, 2014 at 14:12 | Posted in archaeology, Culture | Leave a comment



‘One of the most important human documents ever discovered’

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

Irving Finkel, British Museum curator and author of “The Ark Before Noah,” has found a 4,000-year-old tablet that describes the materials and measurements for building Noah’s Ark.

It also describes the Ark in a way never before conceived by archaeologists—as round.

Finkel writes in a museum blog post of his discovery. Douglas Simmonds had approached him at the museum with a tablet given to him by his father. His father had picked up some artifacts from Egypt and China after the war in the late 1940s.

The tablet “turned out to be one in a million,” said Finkel. Dating from 1750 B.C., it tells the Babylonian “Story of the Flood.” The Babylonian story, and its similarities to the story recounted in the Book of Genesis, were already known, but this table “has startling new contents,” Finkel said.

He lists off some of the materials a God told the Babylonian Noah to use for his ark: “Quantities of palm-fibre rope, wooden ribs and bathfuls of hot bitumen to waterproof the finished vessel … The amount of rope prescribed, stretched out in a line, would reach from London to Edinburgh!”

The ark would have had an area of about 2.2 miles squared (3.6 kilometers squared)—about the size of one and a half football fields—with walls 20 feet high.

The aspect of the description that most stunned Finkel, however, is that the ark was round. He said: “To my knowledge, no one has ever thought of that possibility.”

Finkel told the Associated Press that the tablet is “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”

via Noah’s Ark Blueprints Found—4,000-Year-Old Detailed Instructions

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Book Review: ‘Tiger Woman on Wall Street’

28 January, 2014 at 07:00 | Posted in books, China, Culture, Economy, Society | Leave a comment
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Junheng Li writes about her journey from China to America, shattering conventional wisdom along the way

By Valentin Schmid
Epoch Times

For a China skeptic, reading this book is like listening to a sermon. For a China bull, it will start ringing the alarm bells. For anyone interested in how the world’s second-largest economy works, this book provides a great overview, neatly packaged within the life story of a remarkable and interesting woman.

“My father’s quintessential tiger parenting ultimately resulted in an American success story built with Chinese strengths,” Junheng Li tells us about her upbringing in the suburbs of Shanghai in the 1980s, her American college experience in Vermont in the 1990s, and her successful Wall Street career in the 2000s.

Having lived in both cultures and having experienced both education systems, Li offers her insights on the differences between China and America. She builds a compelling case for why the mainstream perception that “China will rule the world” won’t come to fruition in the near future, and why America, despite its problems, is better equipped for a long-term contest.

“Until the software—the quality of its citizenry and society—matches the government-led hardware of infrastructure buildup, China is far from constituting a credible threat to America,” she writes.

Drawing on her experience as a Chinese citizen and an American businesswoman—Li now runs a boutique investment research firm specializing in Chinese companies—she sheds light on deep issues such as declining moral values in a communist state, and more practical matters like the risks hidden in the Chinese banking system.

Although the subtitle, “Winning Business Strategies from Shanghai to New York and Back,” over-promises a little, specific investment and real-life examples, as well as many Wall Street anecdotes, illustrate her main points.

As a result, the narrative never gets too dull or technical, so the book remains accessible to the average reader. In addition, most investors, whether professional or not, can learn a few things from Li’s contrarian methods.

Drilled for Success

For Li, education is the determining factor in her personal life, and in how China and America compete. In what she refers to as “tiger parenting,” Li’s father drilled her to be successful from a very young age.

She had to complete arithmetic exercises while kneeling on a rugged washboard with sharp edges. Her dad threw her in a swimming pool as a toddler with a small flotation device so she would learn how to swim.

“It was the only way his daughter would gain an edge in China’s highly competitive education system,” Li writes, adding she knew he was doing it for her, so she could be successful later in life.

She writes that the basic rigor of learning mathematics and grammar as a child is an asset she would use for the rest of her life. However, the Chinese system is based mostly on memorization, whether it is mathematics or Communist Party propaganda. Independent thinking and innovation are not taught.

“The [regime], represented by the Ministry of Education, still holds onto Marxist and Maoist teachings because it is afraid to part with the bygone era—parting with it would mean reform, and the party inherently fears reform,” Li writes.

This is a major flaw, which constrains the full potential of the country’s citizenry, according to Li. Rampant cheating in high schools and universities explains why Chinese companies have been successful mostly by working hard and copying others, fielding few innovations of their own.

Thanks to her father, who never believed communist propaganda and was an avid Voice of America listener, Li got inspired by the American classic movie “Gone With the Wind,” and set her sights to move to the United States.

After another round of hard work and memorization, Li aced her Chinese university and the TOEFL English exams, and got a scholarship for Middlebury College in Vermont.

In America, it wasn’t the academics of her economics course material, but rather the way education was approached in the United States that baffled Li.

“The hardest changes lay in the social and ethical rules that governed the campus.” She writes about the relaxed supervision, yet strict code of ethics at her college. Students were expected to complete their work independently and honestly, something she had never heard of in China.

According to Li, this approach of accountability, as well as risk taking and independent thinking in class and group work is a cornerstone of American innovation—a big advantage it has over China.

“China’s education system has failed to produce either an honorable or an innovative society,” is Li’s shattering verdict.

An Honor Code

Ultimately, the differences in the two countries’ education systems reflect a different moral code, which also translates into business practices.

“It [seems] counterintuitive. China had delivered impressive economic growth since I was a child. One would think that as a country gets richer, its people would no longer need to fight for their livelihoods. Shouldn’t they therefore hold themselves to higher moral standards, like the honor code we had at Middlebury?” Li asks.

Apparently not. Li then astutely analyzes this moral dilemma: Having robbed the Chinese nation of its spiritual beliefs by persecuting religious believers and indoctrinating the masses with atheist communist ideology, the Chinese Communist Party replaced a noble code of ethics with money worship and belief in the Party itself, which cares for nothing but power.

According to Li, solely caring about profit and outdoing others are the direct reasons for China’s creativity-stifling education system, slew of corporate scandals, widespread official corruption, and destruction of the environment, all of which Li documents with numerous examples.

“Social values remain weak because the system does not encourage citizens to believe in a power higher than the state—and given the personal tragedies and inequalities that many Chinese have witnessed in the last 30 years, the state is hard to believe in,” she writes.

Poised for a Crash

All of these factors have played a role in creating a lopsided behemoth economy that is ripe for a huge adjustment.

“Many people living in China, from the top leadership in Beijing to corporate executives to average citizens, believe the country is nearing an inflection point that will force it to reflect and reform.”

For Li, the command nature of the economy, the lack of morality, and the problems in the education system have left the Chinese economy with a one-size-fits-all solution of exploiting cheap labor and massive debt expansion, mostly for infrastructure investment and real estate.

She argues that while the export model of manufacturing cheap goods was successful in lifting 500 million people out of poverty during the past 30 years, it has now hit its limits as wage growth has surpassed the level of productivity growth.

Advancements in productivity are limited by an education system that fails to promote innovation, and therefore prohibits the progression toward more value-added products and services.

According to Li, the second wooden leg of the Chinese growth miracle is its massive debt expansion and investment in unproductive projects. Because the Chinese regime is obsessed with growth, when growth threatened to slow as part of a normal economic adjustment, it always forced banks to expand lending.

This prevented the occurrence of smaller cleansing cycles and created one massive debt super cycle, which has to come to an end sooner or later. More money funneled into unproductive investments by state decree will not result in more value creation. Instead, it looks like the whole economic system is poised for a crash—sooner, rather than later.

“The country’s trajectory seems similar to that of an athlete on steroids. As with most athletes on steroids whose temporary outperformance is inevitably followed by a long period of underperformance, the truth will eventually find its way out,” she writes.

The astute analysis found in “Tiger Woman on Wall Street” goes far deeper than the hyped-up numbers of Chinese GDP growth, currency reserves, or self-made millionaires. Li’s accurate and vivid description of China’s cultural fabric and its economy makes this a must read for anyone interested in the country’s economy and its people.

“Tiger Woman on Wall Street” is available from the McGraw-Hill Companies in print and in Amazon Kindle format.

via Book Review: ‘Tiger Woman on Wall Street’: photo 2

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Chinese Bamboo Strips Revealed as First Known Times Table

23 January, 2014 at 07:37 | Posted in archaeology, Chinese culture, Science | Leave a comment



By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

Scientists in China have aligned fragments of bamboo with Chinese calligraphic writing on it to recreate a mathematical device used 2,300 years ago, making it the world’s oldest known decimal multiplication table.

In 2008, the researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing received almost 2,500 decrepit bamboo strips from a donor, who had bought them at a market in Hong Kong. They date back to about 305 B.C. from the Warring States period before China was unified in the Qin Dynasty.

Each strip was around 0.3-0.5 inches wide and up to 20 inches long with a vertical line of calligraphy in black ink.

Twenty-one of the strips were marked with only numbers, and formed a matrix structure when arranged correctly. The top row and right-hand column contain the same 19 numbers (from right to left and top to bottom–0.5, the numbers 1 to 9, and multiples of 10 from 10 to 90.

“The strips were all mixed up because the strings that used to tie each manuscript together to form a scroll had long decayed,” said researcher Li Junming, according to the journal Nature, adding that it was “like putting together a jigsaw puzzle” because some parts were broken and others were missing. “It’s effectively an ancient calculator.”

The matrix can be used in several ways, for example the entries where each row and column meet are the results of multiplying those numbers, and any whole or half integer between 0.5 and 99.5 can be calculated.

The team think the system may have been used by officials to calculate land surface area, crop yields, and taxes. “We can even use the matrix to do divisions and square roots,” historian Feng Lisheng told Nature. “But we can’t be sure that such complicated tasks were performed at the time.”

“Such an elaborate multiplication matrix is absolutely unique in Chinese history,” he added. Previously, the earliest known Chinese tables were used during the Qin Dynasty from 221 to 206 B.C.

via Chinese Bamboo Strips Revealed as First Known Times Table: photo 2

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