Another scramble


…drawn to the example set by the fast-growing economies of Asia like China, Singapore and Malaysia — all of which achieved phenomenal growth under modernizing authoritarian governments — a group of African leaders has emerged that openly declares its admiration for this mode of government.

via Africa and the Chinese Way –



Arf, arf. Arf.


The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.

via Dogs Are People, Too –


Yin and yang


…the surge in imports suggested that domestic demand was holding up, a major goal for China’s policy makers, who are trying to reduce the economy’s dependence on trade and investment in favor of more self-sustaining domestic consumption.

via Commodity Imports Rise, Giving China Good News –

Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia have been hurt by their dependence on slower-growing China. They have also been hit by China’s gradual shift away from industries dependent on commodity imports from Asian neighbors, like steel production, and toward service industries.

via Muted Fears of Contagion as Asian Currencies Fall –


On laughing where nothing is funny.


Take every racist joke you know—they will not have heard them, I assure you—and replace the target race, no matter what it is, with “Japanese.” To wit: What do you call 100,000 Japanese men at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. How do you stop a Japanese man from drowning? Take your foot off his neck. It’s just that easy to become the funniest person in the entire country of North Korea.

via My Week in North Korea –


North Korea is that guy at the party who makes everyone wish they hadn’t come.


The North’s strongest card is not nuclear. Its strongest card is its ability to “royally annoy” everyone, Mr. Church says. “Its strength does not come from chemical weapons, arrays of artillery, or brigades of mobile missiles. This small, sad country’s best weapon is not something stashed deep in a granite mountain or smuggled to a rusting port in the hold of a tramp freighter. To find it, no spies need be recruited, no costly, esoteric intelligence collection systems deployed,” he writes.“The basis of the North’s greatest strength is deceptively simple: People who are irritated pay attention.”

via North Korea: Not Crazy but Very Misunderstood –


Don’t you just hate it when you lose your rivers like that?


More than half of the rivers previously thought to exist in China appear to be missing, according to the 800,000 surveyors who compiled the first national water census, leaving Beijing fumbling to explain the cause.

via 28,000 rivers wiped off the map of China | The Australian.


If Mongolians had cooking shows…


Munkhbaatar filled the empty carcass with a layer of scalding stones, then stepped aside. Ganzorig took several pieces of meat from the platter and placed them inside the fleece. The meat contacted the hot stones, and smoke billowed out of the fleece, making it hard to see. Narantunglag placed another layer of hot stones into the fleece. Ganzorig inserted another layer of meat. The men worked this way quickly, making sure to hold the developing steam and heat inside the carcass until it was full of meat and stones. They closed the neck opening with a metal wire, cinching it tight.

via Bodog, the real Mongolian Barbecue | Roads & Kingdoms.


The China Syndrome

Ambivalence about the source of legitimate government is not only a major obstacle to democratization, but is also a potential source of political instability.

via “Why China Won’t Rule” by Robert Skidelsky | Project Syndicate.