Posts tagged ‘biology’

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer: Walled Little World

Good weather conditions so far – mostly a good mix of sun, rain and overcast skies. Everything is still lagging behind schedule by a few weeks, as the warm season started late.


Small grapes, great expectations

Some of the crops are growing on mini-terraces as the slope would make watering wasteful otherwise.

lavender and potatoes

Lavender and potatoes

potato blossom

potato blossom


Tobacco – only a few rows so as not to exceed the legal limit.



Summer Observations, July 12, 2011
Rain at last, June 19, 2011


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Collector’s Items: Kimjongilia on Display in Shenyang

The man who will forever be remembered for inventing computer simulation as a gift to the North Korean military, thus sparing the world a nuclear war.

The dear leader who will forever be remembered for replacing nuclar wars with intelligent technology (click picture).

1) Voice of Korea, German Service, February 9, 2012

On the Day of the Shining Star – the birthday of Kim Jong-il -, the General Association of Koreans in China held a Kim-Jong-ilia exhibition in the Chinese city of Shenyang on February 4. The General Association of Koreans in China chairwoman Choe Un Bok and her coworkers, the Korean compatriots in China, the Consul-General of the DPRK in Shenyang and his co-workers, the members of the branches of Korean companies in Shenyang as well as cadres of Chinese Liaoning Province took part in the exhibition. The participants abided silent commemoration of Kim Jong-il.

Zum Tag des Leuchtenden Sterns – Geburtstag von Kim Jong-il – veranstaltete der Generalverband der Koreaner in China am 4. Februar in der chinesischen Stadt Shenyang eine Kim-Jongilia-Ausstellung. Die Vorsitzende des Generalverbandes der Koreaner in China, Choe Un Bok, und ihre Mitarbeiter, die koreanischen Landsleute in China, der Generalkonsul der DVRK in Shenyang und seine Mitarbeiter, die Angehörigen der Filialen der koreanischen Firmen in Shenyang sowie die Funktionäre der chinesischen Provinz Liaoning nahmen an der Ausstellung teil. Die Teilnehmer verharrten in schweigendem Gedenken an Kim Jong-il.

The speakers emphasized that the merits of Kim Jong-il, who had made a great contribution to deepening and developing [DVJK]-Chinese friendship, would live forever. They emphasized that the Kim-Jongilia, the flower for the praise of Kim Jong-il, would bloom forever in full blossom as a world-famous flower in the hearts of progressive people of the world and among the Korean compatriots in China.

Die Redner hoben hervor, die Verdienste Kim Jong-ils, der durch die energische auswärtige Tätigkeit einen großen Beitrag zur Vertiefung und Entwicklung der DVJK-China-Freundschaft geleistet habe, werden ewig fortleben. Sie betonten, Kim-Jongilia, Blume zur Lobpreisung Kim Jong-ils, werde als weltbekannte und als berühmte Blume in den Herzen der fortschrittlichen Menschen der Welt und der koreanischen Landsleute in China ewig in voller Blüte stehen.

Voice of Korea (Stimme Koreas), 09.02.2013


2) KCNA: Kimjongilia Show Held in Shenyang

Pyongyang, February 8 (KCNA) — A Kimjongilia show for celebrating the birth anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il (the Day of the Shining Star) was held in Shenyang, China on Feb. 4 under the sponsorship of the General Association of Koreans in China.

Present there were officials of the General Association of Koreans in China including Chairwoman Choe Un Bok, Koreans in China, the consul general and members of the DPRK consulate-general in Shenyang and officials of Liaoning Province, China.

Speeches were made at the show.

The speakers said that immortal are the feats of Kim Jong Il, who made great contributions to strengthening the DPRK-China friendship with his energetic foreign activities.

Kimjongilia, flower praising the great man, will shine as the famous flower in the world and bloom in the minds of world progressives and Koreans in China, they noted.

They expressed belief that the Korean people will achieve greater success in the building of a thriving nation under the leadership of the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un this year.

Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), February 8, 2013

An informal Chinese translation (or re-publication) of a KCNA news article:

朝中社平壤2月8日电 旅华朝鲜人总联合会4日在中国沈阳举办庆祝金正日总书记诞辰日(光明星节)金正日花展。


3) China News Service, February 8, 2013: Three Postal Stamps

North Korea issues postal stamps to commemorate Kim Jong-il’s birthday on the “Day of the Shining Star”.  This picture shows Kim Jong-il at his time as a student at Kim Il-sung University. According to KCNA on February 7, the North Korean Postal Stamps Publishing Office published new stamps to celebrate the “Day of the Shining Star”, Kim Jong-il’s birthday. They include two small and two individual stamps.


朝鲜发行邮票纪念金正日诞辰日“光明星节”。图为金日成综合大学时期的金正日。 据朝中社7日报道,为庆祝朝鲜已故领导人金正日的诞辰日“光明星节”,朝鲜国家邮票发行局推出了新邮票,包括2枚小型张和2枚个别邮票。 […..]

China News Service, February 8, 2013


Friday, September 21, 2012

You Be the Judge…

… what’s nicer:

a) That parrot shitting from a pole, or …
this cute family?

Those who know a thing or two about KT will also know that he doesn’t like cats. He does like fawning animals that do as he says (i. e. dogs), and he has a parrot whom he taught to caw stuff like

KT ten-thousand years! KT knows better! KT is a sex symbol!

To each his own.

To keep this strictly scientific, I’ll try to include one of those WordPress polling functions here:

No, I won’t. Too much of a hassle. Just leave your comments, and I’ll count them,  two years on or so.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Press Review: “I don’t want to comment, but I guess…”

Main Topics: Senkaku Islands, Xi Jinping

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

China’s automobile market had slowed, but that the past eight months’ numbers suggested that the overall trend was good, People’s Daily quotes Dong Yang (董扬), president and vice secretary of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (中国汽车工业协会).



For the next step in its chain of arguments, People’s Daily quotes Jin Baisong (金柏松), a researcher at the ministry of commerce’s Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (商务部国际贸易经济合作研究院, CAITEC):

Japan must understand that if it wants to welcome bright economic prospects, it must get along with its neighbors in a friendly way. Only if there is peace, it can drive its economic development. China may tell Japan that Chinese economic sanctions could make it [Japan] pay a huge price for its provocation concerning the Diaoyu Islands [Senkakus] issue.



While the first two “voices” probably don’t follow each other coincidentally, the third is about another kind of “consumer choice” Changsha Municipal Price Bureau and Tobacco Monopoly Bureau demand controls that ensure reasonable retail prices for cigarettes, and Chen Pingfan (陈平凡), a lawyer and professor at Xiangtan University, analyzes:

As the consumer market becomes more diverse by the day, “astronomical prices” for cigarettes, wine, and similar products are actually part of consumer choices just as well. To ban cigarettes sales “at astronomical prices” spells a wrong approach on variable taxes run counter to the development rules of a market economy.


And Wang Renxiu (王仁秀), Zhejiang LQ Bamboo Fiber Company’s general manager, awakens to a new managerial truth:

In the past, I used to believe that as long as the products are getting out, everything is alright. Now I know that the company needs to successfully go out [go global, 走出去], that it first needs to train its own basic skills.

Wang is just back from a U.S. tour, and reportedly said that the first thing she needed to do now is to apply for trademarks for her company’s products.



As for the first two “voices” quoted by People’s Daily, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted a more explicit statement by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers’ Dong Yang, as long as five days ago:

While August had otherwise been positive for auto sales in China, some Japanese auto makers bucked the trend, the WSJ wrote on Monday.

At a press conference on Monday, Dong Yang, secretary general of the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, linked slowing sales of Japanese cars to the countries’ growing diplomatic tussle over islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

“I don’t want to comment much but I guess Japanese brands sales slowed in August mostly due to the Diaoyu issue,” Mr. Dong said.

Meantime, Xi Jinping (习近平) took a botanical tour of the China Agricultural University to celebrate Science Popularization Day on Saturday. The activity is to continue until September 21, and one of its main topics is “food and health”. Television reports all seem to show the same officially-published two pictures, but no motion pictures of Xi.

The BBC‘s Mandarin website quotes Xinhua as the original source of the latest Xi coverage. The BBC quotes Boxun with sources that didn’t want to be named as saying that Xi had cancelled public appearences during the first half of the month as he had been too busy with assuming party-leadership tasks from Hu Jintao, and with managing Beijing’s reactions to the Senkaku Islands issue.

It can hardly be denied that an incoming CCP chairman is very busy indeed, and this information will probably never turn out to be unfounded, but it should also be said that not every bit of news that Boxun publishes turns out to be correct.



» Physical and verbal insults, Ministry of Tofu, Sept 15, 2012
» 在华日本公民人身安全依法得到保护, Xinhua, Sept 14, 2012


Monday, October 3, 2011

China, Myanmar, WTO: Dependence, Low-End Exports, and Friendly Consultations

The government has suspended work on the controversial Myitsone dam as a result of widespread public protest over its likely environmental and social impact,

reports the Myanmar Times.

Myitsone Dam under Construction, Wikimedia Commons (click on photo for source)

Myitsone Dam under Construction, Wikimedia Commons (click on photo for source)

China News Service (中国新闻网) reported on Sunday (October 2, 2011, 00:41 GMT) that

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) told a press conference today that the Myitsone electric plant project is a joint Sino-Chinese project which went through scientific demonstration and strict examination. The matters concerned should be properly handled through friendly consultations between the two sides.


Q: According to reports, Myanmar’s parliament announced on September 30 that during president Thein Sein’s tenure, the Sino-Myanmarnese cooperative  Myitsone electric plant  project will remain shelved. What is the Chinese side’s comment on this?


A: The Chinese government has always supported Chinese companies in developing cooperation with companies abroad, based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and demanded that Chinese companies should perform in strict accordance with those countries’ law and regulations, to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations, and urges governments in pertaining countries to guarantee the Chinese companies’ legal legitimate rights and interests. The Myitsone power plant is a project jointly invested by China and Myanmar, and went  through the scientific demonstration and strict examination of both sides. The matters concerned should be properly handled through friendly consultations between the two sides.


Also on Sunday (Saturday, 18:07 GMT), People’s Daily‘s Bangkok correspondent Ji Peiyuan (暨佩娟) quoted Myanmar media:

According to Myanmar media reports, Burmese parliament announced on September 30 that during president Thein Sein’s tenure, the Sino-Myanmarnese cooperative  Myitsone electric plant  project will remain shelved. Thein Sein said: “Myanmar’s government is elected by the people, therefore, we have to pay attention to the will of the people. We are obliged to focus on settling the people’s worries and misgivings.”

Thein Sein said that the Myitsone electric plant  project could harm [or destroy, 破坏] the natural landscape, the livelihoods of the local people, the private capital in the cultivation of rubber plantations and crops, and collapsing dams, caused by climate change, could also damage the livelihoods of the people near the Myitsone plant, and further down the river. He also said that the Myanmar government would consult with the Chinese government to avoid harming Sino-Myanmar bilateral relations and friendship.

Myanmar Myitsone hydropower plant is worth 3.6 billion US dollars, and is about 200 kilometers away from Tengchong County in Yunnan Province. and is a major hydropower by the China Power Investment Corporation, in the region of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River. It’s located in the Kachin mountainous region and to be developed at the 干流河段 section of the Irrawaddy River, with a capacity of six million kilowatts.

The rest of People’s Daily’s report reflects the statement made by Chinese foreign ministry Hong Lei (see this post’s initial paras).

The BBC reported that a letter by president Thein Sein had been read out in parliament, announcing the decision to suspend the project. The project had fuelled fighting between the army and ethnic Kachin rebels. The BBC quotes its South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey as saying that the decision appears to be further evidence of the new leadership’s desire to seek legitimacy by being more open to public opinion.

Both continuing the project in the long run (completion was originally scheduled for 2019), and its abandonment, would pose many problems. Continuation would reportedly have a negative impact on biodiversity, as frequently reflected by organizations like the Burma Rivers Network, it may come with side effects as many other mega dams from the Aswan Dam in Egypt to the Three-Gorges dam in China have, and rebel movements in the region could make the Myitsone project vulnerable to sabotage. Besides the mythological weight the river carries, forced relocations, and the loss of means of livelihood also seem to have driven opposition.

But Mynamar may have good reasons to keep consultations with Beijing as friendly as possible. Even if Yangon (or Naypyidaw) flatly refused to pay damages (if legally obliged to do so), business with its powerful neighbor would suffer. China sees itself a s a victim of trade protectionism, and this case, if it becomes a high-profile bone of contention, would add to that.

On the other hand, the further process may also make it clear to Beijing that mere deals with third-world countries’ regimes may not be sustainable. If China’s rulers understand that is a different question. Protectionism and resource nationalism had been on the rise and hampered Chinese business, official Xinhua news agency reported in September, citing an Ernest & Young report. Obviously, China was a “victim” of trade protectionism (贸易保护主义最大受害者).

There is grumbling among China’s academia, too. On the tenth anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO, People’s University (aka Renmin University) professor Gu Genliang (贾根良) questioned China’s foreign trade approach of importing high-end products and exporting low-end products (进口高端产品并出口低端产品).

By exporting hydropower to China, Myanmar would follow a path similar to the one Gu Genliang deems harmful. China, Gu Genliang (and many other Chinese people, academics or not) feel that they are being exploited, especially by America, of course.

[Update, April 11, 2012: the linked website, Utopia, is currently offline.  Apparently, Wu Genliang’s article can also be found here.]

Gu also fears foreign blackmail:

We are mired in heavy dependence on foreign resources and on on our own cheap exports. Large-scale low-end exports consume a lot of energy and natural resources, which led to our country’s dependence on foreign energy and resources which not only made the prices for these sources explode, which transferred the fruits of our people’s hard work into the hands of energy-exporting countries, but also has the potential of making us suffer from foreign countries’ embargos, thus carrying a huge security risk. At the same time, while our country is so reliant on foreign resources, it is ridiculous that we are exporting large quantities of rare earths and minerals coal, etc. at low prices.


The WTO ruled in July that Chinese export restrictions on certain raw minerals violated global rules

Gu spells out the conditions under which China’s WTO membership could still be useful – or those under which it should consider leaving the organization.

Myanmar is still a long way from even joining.

But maybe, at least, it will stop exploiting China’s dependence on energy, and pull the plug on the Myitsone project for good.



» The Government had little Choice, Asia Times, Oct 4, 2011
» Vietnam: Under Threat of Invasion, April 29, 2009

Updates / Related

» Aung San Suu Kyi Cautious, BBC, Oct 3, 2011


Friday, August 5, 2011

Obituary: Luke Kanyomeka, 1960 – 2011

Professor Luke Kanyomeka, an agronomist, was a Zambian national, but taught and researched at the University of Namibia, where he was the deputy dean of the faculty agriculture and natural resources at Ogongo. He was best known for his leading role in a project to grow rice in in Kalimbeza, Caprivi, Namibia, a region which borders both on Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Production in Kalimbeza reached commercial stage in 2008/2009, and is hoped to make Namibia less dependent on, if not independent of, rice imports, from countries like South Africa. Much of the project was modeled after Indonesian rice production.

Kanyomeka was Zambia’s Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) National Assembly candidate in elections scheduled for September 20 this year, for Nangoma Constituency in Zambia’s Central Province.

He died on July 22, in a hospital in Windhoek.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Matter of Experience

I think I’m all right, thank you. I’ve still got 10 kilograms of the stuff I bought during SARS.

An old Granny in a Beijing supermarket earlier this month, in reply to a helpful younger lady who offered to help her grab a bag of salt.

Overheard by Froog.


Salt, Autobahn, Free Elections, March 19, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scientific: Salt, Autobahn, and Free Elections

The good news, for all the friends of free markets, is that Hong Kong is still a free market. Panic-buying in Hong Kong pushed up the retail price of salt to as high as HK$30 a catty, from the usual HK$2, according to the HK Standard (via ESWN). Eating lots of salt may help to ease your fear, but it can also kill you, if you eat too much of it, a warning tweet or other microblog post with a sad story from Zhejiang Province informs us.

Meantime, a saltrush in Guangdong Province has reportedly ebbed away, after several authorities in charge had refuted rumors (辟谣, pì yáo).

Or maybe it was rather once it dawned on the innocent (but chronically wary) buyers that they had been “fooled” yet again. On Friday, after the frenzy, Guangdong Provincial Price Bureau received complaints from citizens who wanted to return their salt bonanzas, and their money back, but were turned down by the retailers, reports the Yangcheng Evening Post (via Enorth). Inevitably, during the days of (occasional, I guess) panic, the Chinese retail market had turned out to be a very free market, too. Yangcheng Evening News also provides us with some salt statistics, courtesy Guangdong Provincial Salt Bureau (广东省盐务局).

The salt-buying frenzy began on March 16, at 2 p.m., and ended on March 18. But even though it lasted only for two days, it amounted to what would regularly be a one-month sales quantity. Some 1,000 tons were sold in Guangzhou on March 17. Normally, it would be 180 to 200 tons a day.

Seems that cool heads mostly prevailed in Guangzhou itself  – but then again, maybe there just wasn’t more salt on offer. Anyway, thinking of five Grannies instead of one buying salt, and near-empty shelves ahead, such situations probably have to lead to a strong sense of competition, for the survival of the fittest. Chaotic scenes were probably rather local phenomenons anyway, from Wednesday through Friday.

Let’s simplify this… how does a traffic jam occur? An experiment in Essen, Northrhine-Westphalia, tries to explain. All participating car drivers were told to keep an unvariable distance to each other, at a constant pace. It worked for ten minutes, which is actually quite good. The supervisor’s explanation: the bigger the differences in individual drivers’ pace, the more likely a jam will occur. On the Autobahn, car speeds differ widely.

Who caused the jam? Nobody knows. The driver who is to blame doesn’t know either. The jam occurs some fifteen to twenty cars further behind him or her. Once you get too close to the rear bumpers of the car in front of you, a chain reaction will occur behind you, as you have to brake, making the car behind you slamming on the brakes (more so than needed, maybe) obliging the next cars in the row to do likewise.

It’s a bit more complicated with buying frenzies, probably, because we have two circular flows here: the chain of buyers, and the stream of supplies.

But the moral of the story is the same: the buggers who cause the problems are likely to get away. Except for that anxious buyer in Zhejiang. He expired – or so the microblog quoted by ESWN is saying –

after taking in too much salt in order to ward off radiation. By the time that his family took him to the hospital, it was too late.

When nothing goes right, blame someone. A tweet as an example (please mind that China in itself is at various  mental developmental stages, and this may be meant seriously, or it may just be a bit of Jasmine fun):

This episode also shows that the Chinese government is failing its people.  The people want salt but there is no salt to be found anywhere.  This is the failure of the government.  If there were free elections, salt would be available to anyone who wants it anytime.

We have free elections in Germany, but we don’t have the universally five-lane autobahn we‘d like to have either.


Garlic Prices: to Buy is to Believe, May 14, 2010
Zigong (“Salt City”), Wikipedia



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