Film about pollution in China

Chái Jìng (柴静) released a self financed film 1st of March 2015 about environmental problems in China. Even the official news media of People's Daily linked to the film, and already after three days had it 100 million views in China and 280 Weibo comments. For us none Chinese speakers it can now be watched at youtube with subtitles (when this is written only the first 20 minutes has  yet subtitles). I wish though that she had taken a less emotional view, and a more scholarly one because I think her point is correct, but she does do a lot of silly mistakes in statements such as "one doctor told me", or only showing pictures on days it's smoggy without adding it's not always such, by now I've spend half a year in China, mostly in Beijing, and knows it's far from normal. Using this technique it provides people not agreeing with her some very wide targets to fire at instead of the main point - just like anti climate changers do here, just like anti evolutionists do, not to mention what the tobacco advocates did for an eternity. Go for the errors of the messenger if you can't attack the conclusion.

Lately environmentalism has been a greater subject in China as well, and both ordinary people and politicians seems to get the point that affects the whole of the planet. They face the same problem as we, especially urban population and middle class strive for better environment at the same time as they want their shining new SUV's, while at the same time companies strive for loosened control or threat with taking it's business elsewhere. We in the west had the luxury of doing the transformation to a, slightly, more environmental society over decades, and the production companies mostly took their production elsewhere. This is one reason why roughly 40% of Chinas pollution comes from factories run by foreign companies that we exported in the process of cheaper labour and less (should really be read as "no") restraint on pollution. If all nations did in fact impose harsher levels on allowed pollution and had the same labour laws and salaries, those 40% might very well be heading back our way. But all is not shaped in polluted black, as showed on our wedding in central Beijing when we had a clear blue sky. The Chinese government surely seems to take the subject seriously. Even though a lot more needs to be done, it has started. Year by year has seen harsher conditions imposed on industry, vehicles et cetera. They are the country in the world with the largest percentage of their GDP devoted to renewable energy. While my home city is proud of it's eco district to be build, Chine does the same but on a scale of founding whole cities. They are world leading in solar energy, and among the top in wind energy, and have lowered their coal consumption (which we hope is a permanent move on the curve) although the country needs an amazing increase in it's energy output every year. Changes naturally doesn't take affect immediately, and just as Ruhr in Germany was a place of pollution horror-stories from when I was a child, it's now seems a place like "anywhere else". And so I'm certain China will be as well. The greatest problem though is that we nowadays knows the problem is global, and that speed is of the essence.

A thing that surprised me in her film is that she said 0,5 million dies in China every year because of air pollution. This might seem a lot, but it's also from a huge population, giving about 0.037% a year. USA cites they have 0.2 million dead for the same reason, but then on a smaller population giving almost double the fatality in 0.063% a year. According to WHO the world average from the same kind of pollution is 0.1%. Maybe it was a miss in the translation?

China Daily has a longer cover under Hot Issues dated from the 3rd, about the movie that is well spend time to read. In addition it also has an article dating from the 4th about the 12th National People's Congress where the governmental spokeswoman among other stated:
Fu Ying said the new Environmental Protection Law was introduced after four readings by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
The law has been called the "the most strict Environmental Protection Law in history", and promises "zero tolerance" toward pollution. It carries tough punishment against polluters.

Mia, the potty lover

Mia has really started to like the idea of going to the toilet by herself. So much actually that she simply drops her pants and fiddle with her diaper every time she sees a potty. Loaded up with this knowledge, we went to Ikea and bought one for her, and in the middle of there, among everyone, she did the same - down with her pants... How horrible a parents I have, she soundly screamed out with her build in siren, as I stopped her pants dropping!

The worlds first 3D-printer generated villa

Not too unsurprisingly, the Chinese have printed the worlds first villa, and are now about to set up 120 factories world wide to print houses. Faster production and fewer people needed for the construction cuts cost in earnest. As mentioned in the article, maybe we'll see it in use next time we'll have catastrophe areas, or to build away slum areas.

"Naturally" the article also need to include some Chine bashing...


New Silk Road

China has for quite some time talked about their willingness to create a new Silk Road that would span all the way from China to the Netherlands, and eventually be operating fast track trains. Before the grand vision can be utilized, the trains operates through current track systems over the Trans-Sibirian railway.

Even though the ancient road stretched between Xi'an in the east to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean in the west, although the new Silk Railroad connection might suggest a slightly easier travel, it still is quite some feat stretching from Yìwū (义乌) and Madrid. Although not being defined as the first train from China taking the (temporary) Silk Railroad, it is defined as having taken the worlds longest direct connected rail up to date.

Naturally, pretty much all links have the mandatory China slammer included in some way, because having an article with just information, or even positive such, about China is not seen with mild eyes from more or less any media owner in the west. Not to mention more sinister organisations. Sigh...


Youtube counter had to be upgraded bacause of Gangnam Style

We have a Winner!
Google thought that having a 32-bit counter on video views ought to be enough, after all, that means 2.1 billion views. Amazingly enough, Gangnam Style is the first - by great margin too, to break that number and is now up to unimaginable 2.6 billion views (not counting other then the official PSY-channel version).
Let's see what video first manage to break the 64-bit counter now implemented with its barrier of 9 quintillion...



Idag är det exakt 2 000 år sedan Geius Julius Caesar Octavianus (född C. Octavius), mera känd som Augustus, dog.

Augustus styrde över ett av världshistoriens få gyllene epoker, och världshistorien har mer än man tror påverkats av denna man.

Så idag offrar vi, alla såklart, vin till denne genialiske man och begrundar hur otroligt det är med historiens lopp och tidens gnagande.


Paranoia in perspective

Yes, my Peugeot was the locked one! As we all know, when a Peugeot stands next to an unlocked Ferrari, the most often targeted car would be Peugot...


Mia's first day at kindergarten

The day before Mia turned 13 months old, was her first day at kindergarten. It's conveniently ~200 meters away from our apartment, and it's a small group with plenty of teachers. All the elephants in the background is because she's part of the Elephant group. She's the youngest one, and the oldest is one year older.

The first two weeks we are to join in, and over this time slowly increasing the amount of hours she's there, and how far away from her we'll be. At her first day it was supposed to be one hour, but after 1,5 we still needed to drag her away. At this time she both managed to be kissed by one of the boys and get a fever so she had to stay home the next day... well, after all they do say the kids are constantly ill once they start kindergarten.

It's by the way not us being completely Mia focused, but a sad fact that we aren't allowed to take photos with any other then your own kid showing... This world is sometimes really going backwards.

Below photos are from her second day at kindergarten. As you see she can read books just as well as George W. Bush - we must improve on that!


Mia's first birthday

Celebrating Mia's first birthday with family and relatives in Beijing. She did quite a good job at ordering.



Mia's first film

At a time when Mia hadn't even seen a full child program, Maximilian and I took her to see the exhibition in Malmö showing Soviet avant garde from the 1920's. In one of the rooms a film was just about to start, so we sat down to watch it thinking it would be a 10-15 minutes documentary or something to add understanding to the exhibition. This it was not! It was for future films highly influential Sergei Eisenstein's black and white mute Strike from 1925 - and it is 1,5 hours long!

Mia sat through it all, and like Max said, sometimes laughed at the wrong time - to everyone's amusement. The last 15 minutes or so she got a bit bored just sitting and watching, so we walked a little in the background instead.

How many can say their first move was Soviet avant garde from the 20's? Go Mia!



Mia's first steps without holding hand

Mia just had her first Bambi on the ice-moments. She did her first few shaky seconds yesterday, but today it seemed to be the most fun thing in the world to practice at.

Soon I figure we'll loose a lot of weight having to run after her all the time :P


Nothing new on the western front

At place four of most important news in Sweden today - Supplies of ice cream sprinkles are almost run out in all of Sweden... It really can't be happening all that much right now. Which also, sadly, means this utterly pointless post of mine then actually has no less news value than what any Swedish newspapers manage to produce. Quite sad.


SiFi on political systems future

How do various SiFi stories describe the societies in their worlds? I found this picture with Mad Max describing the libertarian society in being, just as well as the Star Trek Federation plays out in a highly socialistic society. Well, it's only SiFi, but what sane person would choose to strive for the first... mmm, interesting... future?

Since Mulder in X-files are all about fighting the future one can wonder how much he knows of this. Since he's fighting little green men - it must be the space scenario. Since he's fighting a government within a government it must be Spock that is his Moriarty. Quite elementary... ahum.


Not much (new) under the sun

Not much difference from a Roman bikini to today's. I wonder if it were more expensive the less cloth it had in those days too.

Original post at Ancient People with more explanation to it


Water Cities in Chinia

I've never been to Venice (or it's more beautiful sounding Italian name, Venezia), but like many other I have some fascination for water cities, and think they are very beautiful. China Daily just run a post with the 10 most pretty Chinese water cities (pictures and most of the text here are taken from that page). Let's already plan in to visit some of this nice list.

Located 30 kilometers (18.64 miles) east of Huzhou, Zhejiang province, the Ancient Town of Nanxun is a well-known for its rich cultural heritage, boasting a history that dates back 760 years. It was founded in 1252, towards the the end of Emperor Chunyou's reign in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). As one of the most well-preserved old towns in the region, Nanxun Ancient Town is now among the top six ancient towns situated in Southern China.


Glass Terminator

A friend of mine has a cool job (for those of us who like grown up toys that blinks), and he got hold of a Google Glass for developers. As if he had a choice he brought it over here for us to play with too. And it was fun and quite an easy interface. Although I don't see myself running to buy one when on the day they will be released, I have no problem seeing how this will change a lot of how we interact with things for many years ahead. And in a few versions it probably will be very small and smooth to use, and then develop from geek to common.

This page wrote what sounded like a very honest long time test review of today's Google Glass development edition

Yes, this is me taking a picture of myself.

And suddenly you get pictures from all kinds of unusual angles.


Shame of a nation

There's those days when you are really ashamed of your country, and today is such a one. EU wanted a full explanation to, and a full complete stop by the USA's conducting espionage on EU citizens, industry, institutions and politicians (US aren't limited to EU of cause, but EU only concerns about themselves here). All EU nations were in favour but two - Sweden and UK. And since that's to few to stop a resolution the two instead resorted to using it's veto to stop EU from going forward with this. Who refused? But of cause it was Carl Bildt who would not give in. Sweden's foreign minister, a man who among other has been caught giving Swedish classified information to the US previously would come to no surprise putting US interest before his own country and citizens this time as well. And today his masters will once again pet him nicely on the head, 'good boy' to you our loyal lackey. Does anyone have even the slightest doubt how he would have reacted had it been any other nation then USA who conducted the surveillance?

There was a time when Sweden had people who could stand up to a bullier in the school yard, telling them to stop. Most nations and people are passive bystanders, but now a days Sweden only seems to be able to breed the bullier's trusted companions. The ones who gladly stand slightly behind their "hero" cheering on. Being happy to be on the "winning side", feeling worm inside every time they get a recognition, not caring so much about morality in general as long as it helps themselves, and especially as long as it means not being the victim themselves. Sadly never maturing enough to know the bullier don't really care about them either.

So in the end EU will now only bring up talks about computer and network safety on a joint level. I'm really ashamed.




[Ursprungligen från 2010] Nu har jag fått förfrågningen om fattigdomen och misären som alla hört att nästan alla kineser lever i att det är dags att skriva lite.

Som jag själv skrev i början på min resa så blev jag förvånad över att den levnadsstandard jag såg var väldigt hög, och undrade hur det skulle se ut utanför centrala delar samt på landsbygden, men fortsatte att bli förvånad även om jag givetvis såg vad vi tveklöst skulle definiera som väldigt fattiga.

Den klassiska bilden på folk som lever på mindre än 1$ om dagen visar hela västvärlden på <2% och Kina på 6-20%. Svänger vi däremot frågan lite och istället kollar FN:s definition på fattigdom, dvs att ha råd att köpa mat, bostad, kläder, sjukvård/medicin så ändras bilden rejält. För egentligen säger väl vad man får för pengarna betydligt mer än antalet dollar? Svenskar t ex behöver mindre i plånboken då mycket betalas genom vårt välfärdssystem och därmed har vi t ex högre köpkraft versus vad vår plånbok skulle visa. Så hur många har råd att leva ovanför fattigdomsgränsen inom sitt land? Jo, då har Kina 10% fattigdom (1) medan USA ligger på 12% (2) och EU ska tydligen totalt ha 17% (3).

Här tror jag nog Kina och EU är lättast att jämföra, de tycks liksom oss inte ha en generell fattigdom på jämn nivå, utan snarare områden såsom Sydeuropa och framför allt gamla Östeuropa. Men jag kan ju ha helt fel i det antagandet liksom i så mycket annat :)

[Tillägg 2013]: Jag hör ofta frågan om inte Kina kommer att gå under snart eftersom det numera är så stor ekonomisk skillnad mellan rik och fattig, mellan stad och landsbygd. Med så stora klyftor kan väl inte ett land överleva?

Även om klyftan ökat stort under stor del av de senaste 20 åren så är sanningen att Kina idag har så gott som samma klyftor som dagen USA. Jämlikhet mäts av något kallat ginikoefficienten vilket är ett mått på hur stor spridning ett lands förmögenhet har. Där 0 innebär att alla har lika mycket, och 1 (eller 100) innebär att en besitter allt. Kina hade 0,470 år 2005 (4) vilket ökat till 0,474 år 2012 (5). Kina ser idag ojämlikheten som något negativt och försöker förbättra för de sämre ställda på olika vis, och gini faller långsamt varje mätning sedan år 2008 (6), då den som högst låg på 0,491. Roar vi oss med att titta på USA så låg den 2010 på 0,469 (7) vilket är upp från före finanskrisen då den låg på 0,450. För att kunna relatera till dessa siffror kan sägas att Sverige är mer jämlikt men har ökat från en gini på 0,250 år 2000 till 0,320 2009.

Så varför upplevs det så olika? Kanske har det med historia att göra. Möjligen ser man ojämlikheten starkare om man kommer från ett samhälle som tidigare varit mer jämlikt, versus om man kommer från ett samhälle där den fattige "får skylla sig själv" (vilket är lustigt sagt i kapitalismen som av lag i sin modell kräver just sådana).

Om sedan ett gini är bättre på 0,250 eller 0,491 är såkart upp till var och en. Själv är det knappast en hemlighet att jag tycker att ett land med 0,250 är ett land jag generellt hellre bor i.

Så varför har vi en sådan skev bild som vi har av Kina? Kanske för att enligt samma statistik hade Kina 64% fattigdom 1979, och det fortfarande är den vi förväntar oss?

  1. Wiki. Biståndsnämnden LO-TCO säger mellan 8 och 12%. Hittar inget bättre. Dock är båda från 2004 och kan knappast tänka mig att det är annat än lägre idag.
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce/U.S. Census Bureau. 2008.
  3. Europeiska året för bekämpning av fattigdom och social utestängning, Europeiska kommissionen 2010.
  4. The World Bank
  5. Reuters från Kinas National Bureau of Statistics
  6. Detta skulle med tidsramen i åtanke kunna bero på de förändringar som Hu Jintao och Wen Jiabaos, som tog över stegvis från 2002-2005, införde om att utveckling inte enbart är ekonomisk, utan styrde mot att förbättra sociala förhållanden (och andra områden som ekonomisk utveckling berör negativt). Framför allt "New socialist countryside" samt "Socialist Harmonious Society".
  7. U.S. Census Bureau


Mia sits by herself for the first time

Mia had a great day today. First she rolled onto her tummy from her back for the first time (the other way around had worked for some time), but what made her more happy was that for the first time she sat all by herself without any support. I know the photo isn't really showing it since she leans a little towards the pillow on the right side, but hey, it's not easy to run and first collect the camera and take a photo before her small muscles gets tired enough to lean a little.


Depeche Mode

Xue got me the Depeche Mode concert in Copenhagen 2013 as my Christmas gift. I almost spoiled it when I found out they were to hold the concert and send out a note to everyone asking if anyone wanted to join - it was supposed to be a surprise!

It all ended well with me being surprised with finding Rolf and Tuffe next to our seats, so it all worked out as planned by them.

The song that stood out the most for me was how they changed the intro of Personal Jesus to half speed.

And they finished a job well done with Xue's (and my mother's) favourite, Never Let Me Down Again. A song that has the most impressive sound table I've heard.

On our way there I notice someone had taken their job very seriously. Out of the ~3,5 km long underground part of the Öresundsbro, only three lamps were out of order!

The next day we went back into Copenhagen to have lunch with Rolf and Tuffe at Slotskælderen which is a very nice little place for smørrebrød in the city centre that warmly can be recommended. Tuffe also "liberated" Mia for almost the whole time - ah, the freedom! (was it me or Mia who said that?)


See you again next time

And that was it for the third trip. Without spoiling some news, it seems that September 2014 will be next time I have to struggle with Chinese alcohol and language.


Fish food

Rolf and Tuffe treated us to a quite different thing, a fish foot massage cleaning. You put your feet into the tank filled with hundreds of suck fishes for 40 minutes. The face on the ticklish people were absolutely wonderfully fun to watch.


Long ji rice terraces

Yet another day in Yangshuo who had enormous amount of rain during the night, but fine and sometimes even sunny for when we reached our final destination of the rice terraces at Lóng jí (龙脊). We had a nice driver on our way there, but the final kilometres went with a special bus - and he was crazy! A small dwindling road with almost constant scarps on one side of the road to be taken in 80 km an hour as most... Luckily the driver on the way down was more sane and as such helped our sanity.

Since we survived the first part, we aimed at sweating to death instead by walking on the steep trails this humid and warm day. We did wuss out a little by the end though, and took a cableway on the way down (the official story though is that it was getting late - which is was).

When I asked on the final day what people had enjoyed the most, the consensus was that this was it.