Amnesty International have started a new campaign for free expression on the internet, along with a parallel campaign to free imprisoned Chinese journalist Shi Tao. Further details can be found by following the below link.:
Japan is introducing new regulations that are being compared to Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics. Technovelgy .:
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is working on a new set of safety guidelines for next-generation robots. This set of regulations would constitute a first attempt at a formal version of the first of Asimov’s science-fictional Laws of Robotics, or at least the portion that states that humans shall not be harmed by robots.
The first law of robotics, as set forth in 1940 by writer Isaac Asimov, states:
A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
Japan’s ministry guidelines will require manufacturers to install a sufficient number of sensors to keep robots from running into people. Lighter or softer materials will be preferred, to further prevent injury.
Emergency shut-off buttons will also be required. Science fiction heroes in stories and movies have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find the shut-off button for various out-of-control machines, so I hope that these buttons will be prominently placed for easy access by concerned humans.
While many may welcome these guidelines, we should be deeply concerned that they may eventually become law. As the above inset illustration shows, rogue states such as Latveria will continue to make evil robots no matter what laws other nations adopt. In light of this, we can be thankful that Pentagon has decided against allowing any gaps to develop in killer robot technologies.
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, japan, northeast asia, robots
AsiaPundit is behind the curve on picking up the ‘Bus Uncle’ phenomena. Who is Bus Uncle? He’s the latest accidental internet star — although more in the vein of Dog-poop Girl than Mahir Cagri.
The foul-mouthed ‘uncle’ unloads on Hong Kong teenager Alvin after being asked to speak more quietly on his cell phone on a Hong Kong bus, causing an even greater interruption for commuters, an arrest and merchandizing:
As can generally be expected, Roland has the best summary of links and multimedia..
Technorati Tags: asia, east asia, hongkong, northeast asia
Jakartass has passed on news that the Indonesia Help site, last active in the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, has reactivated in the wake of the earthquake that struck Java on Sunday.
As it did following the Tsunami, the site is offering news and information for donations.
John Padsen, the big nose who runs Sinosplice and the invaluable China Blog List, notes that ’round eye’ is not used as a derogatory term for Westerners.:
We English speakers have at our disposal an astounding variety of racial slurs. I don’t need to give a list here; we all know it to be true. I think one of the most interesting slurs is “round-eye” because it seems to be invented by the very group of people to whom it refers.
If you’re not familiar with the term, it frequently shows up on racist websites or websites that play up the East/West divide (but not on certain ones—more on this below). It is also used seemingly innocuously at times. It’s supposed to be a term that Asians use for non-Asians.
It may be obvious to many Asians, but as a white American, I didn’t notice anything strange about the way the term is used until after living in China for some time. The truth is, I’ve never heard any Chinese (or Japanese) refer to whites or any non-Asians as “round-eyes,” in Chinese or any other language. At times non-Asians in China might get called hairy, simian, uncivilized, or even evil, but never round-eyed.
The reason for this is simple. While non-Asians often see Asian eyes as “slanted,” Asians do not see themselves that way. If you ask a Chinese person about the difference between Chinese and white people’s eyes, for instance, they will tell you that white people’s eyes are often blue, but Chinese eyes are “black.”
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, northeast asia
On top of having to worry about being thrown in jail for revealing state secrets — as happened to Shi Tao and Zhao Yan – or on charges of ‘espionage‘ as happened to Ching Cheong, journalists in China have to worry about more mundane concerns.
An alarming report, picked up by Shanghaiist, informs us that journalists in Shanghai have the highest risk of dying an early death from job-related health factors.:
Now take a wild guess: Which occupation is the most dangerous in Shanghai? According to this report (in Chinese) by the Shanghai Evening Post, journalists, corporate managers and scientific researchers are the top ones in danger now.
Why? Xiong Sidong, director of Immunology Institute of Fudan University explains Shanghainese are threatened by a variety of physical ailments and karoshi (guolao si 过劳死 or “death from overwork”). And the three occupations listed above are the most stressful on employees in the city.
According to a recent survey, 79 percent of journalists in the city die between 40-60 years old — the average life span is 45.7 years old! — and another survey by the Chinese Academy of Science shows the average life span for scientific researchers to be 52.23. Some 15.6 percent of them die between the ages 35-54. Also, a survey targeting corporate managers interviewed 3,539 people — the result is not much better. Ninety percent of them think the work pressure is huge, 76 percent think they are nervous at work, and worst, a quarter of those surveyed said they had health problems related to work stress.
While AsiaPundit is deeply concerned that his chosen profession is the most dangerous in his city of residence, he is a touch relieved. AP has been periodically concerned by some of the occupational risks he has seen others take in the city. But upon learning that he is in the most risky profession, he will be more relaxed.
For instance, the next time he sees these window cleaners outside of his 39th floor office — supported by seats of untreated wood — he will no longer have the urge to feel any sympathy.
Instead, AP will now feel comfortable in mocking them for having such easy jobs.
AsiaPundit will now also taunt the construction workers he sees arc welding without protective goggles along Xizang Nan Lu.
Dan, who is also a journalist, should also be more relaxed the next time he gets his air conditioner repaired. It’s not like these guys face the stress of us journalists, corporate managers or researchers.
Note that the study is only limited to urban Shanghai, meaning that journalists should not yet be able to claim that they have more dangerous occupations than coal miners.
Technorati Tags: asia, china, east asia, northeast asia, media
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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