The Last of Us [Murder at The Dakota]

72094a70-d7ed-11e4-9748-3fd77e204473_8409531487_c93dacf41f_kConsidered Manhattan’s most exclusive building, the Dakota is a co-op built in 1884 on the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side. John Lennon was murdered outside in 1980, and his widow, Yoko Ono, still lives in their apartment. The building was also the setting for Roman Polanski’s classic 1968 creeper, “Rosemary’s Baby.”

The perfect setting for an old-fashioned, “dead body in a locked room” whodunit.

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The Endless Night, The First 16 Pages – [an excerpt from IUP, Book 01]

Poisen Elves
Be careful what you wish for … sometimes you get it

Click on the image of Jenny Miller, Mondo’s BFF, to read the pages … Enjoy … :)

 

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Finally, the US Army gets Ford Tough? The Humvee gets replaced! / 最后,美军得到福特艰难?悍马被替换!

Here is the badass truck replacing the US military’s aging Humvees

The Verge | Original Source

00-oshkosh-jltv
Homespotlight-JLTV-3
oshkosh-jltv(Oshkosh)
LAND_M-ATV_and_HMMWV_lgHumvee on the left versus JLTV on the right

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle — the HMMWV, or Humvee — is a stalwart of the battleground. If you asked someone to draw a military truck, they’d almost certainly draw this classic machine, which is almost older than a millennial (1984!) and gained such a pop culture following at one point that civilians started buying them. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in particular, is famous for his undying love of the “Hummer.”

But seriously, they’re old. The US military has been keen on retiring Humvees for some time, and it has finally awarded the $6.7 billion contract to replace them to Wisconsin-based truck maker Oshkosh, which expects to make about 17,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) over the course of the deal. The JLTVs, which will come in multiple two- and four-seat configurations, aren’t just better armored and generally more capable trucks than the ones they’re replacing — they also look extraordinarily mean. (I’ve seen them in person, and I can attest that the meanness is real.)

The big selling point for the JLTV is what Oshkosh calls the “Core1080 Crew Protection System,” which includes mine resistance, IED detection, and a lot of bolt-on armor. It’s not just about defense, though: optional turret and missile launch units put bite behind the bark. A suspension that can be raised and lowered electronically makes it easier to transport JLTVs to wherever they’re needed, but out in the field, it’s got 20 inches of wheel travel for insane off-road capability. Oh, and Oshkosh claims it’s 70 percent faster than the best tactical wheeled vehicle (TWV) in the market currently.

The Humvee was tame enough to make it to dealerships, but this thing? I’m skeptical we’ll ever see a red JLTV cruising down the highway, unless Arnold wants to prove me wrong.

Hint: Use the ‘s’ and ‘d’ keys to navigate

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中国的习近平在关注的中心,因为市场开始新的一周 / China’s Xi Jinping at center of concern as markets begin new week

McClatchyDC, World | Original Source

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The Last of Us [Lalo Schifrin Marquis de Sade—Import—Like New—CD]

Album Notes—Full title: The Dissection and Reconstruction of Music from the past as Performed by the Inmates of Lalo Schifrin’s Demented Ensemble as a Tribute to the Memory of the Marquis De Sade / 为演出单位拉罗富林的痴呆症乐团的囚犯作为贡品萨德侯爵的记忆解剖和音乐的重建从过去. Personnel: Lalo Schifrin (piano); Jerome Richardson (alto flute); Clark Terry, Ernie Royal (trumpet); Kai Winding, J.J. Johnson (trombone); Richard Davis (bass); Grady Tate (drums).Recorded in April 1966.This is part of Verve’s Elite Edition series. Come again? This crackpot title—probably the longest ever concocted for a jazz album—actually is a front for a not-so-dangerous, hard-swinging album in which Schifrin invents or borrows 18th-century classical themes and sets them into big band or small-combo contexts. Such is Schifrin’s chameleonic mastery that his own inventions are a match for the themes of the period, and he is tasteful enough not to overload the window dressing and keep the rhythm section loosely swinging nearly all the time. Once, Lalo tries something wacky; on “Beneath a Weeping Window Shade,” he has singer Rose Marie Jun intoning a madrigal-like Francis Hopkinson song against some avant-garde multiphonic flute from Jerome Richardson, ministrations from a string quintet, and Schifrin’s own comments on harpsichord. There is also a stimulating pastiche “Aria” that sounds like Schifrin arguing with Heitor Villa-Lobos and Henry Purcell in 9/8 time. With the cream of New York’s jazz session men of the ‘60s on board—including the inimitable Grady Tate on drums, Richardson on flute and tenor, Gene Bertoncini on guitar, and J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding on trombones—and Creed Taylor’s production dictating the distinctive timbres, jazz buffs will have a fine time with this collision of the centuries, which leans heavily to the jazz side. The album was reissued on CD as part of Verve’s limited Elite Editions series. ~ Richard S. Ginell

 

Mondo experiences Jayne’s interrogation via Becky’s rekall. An abomination, Mondo is able to be privy to Jayne’s telepathic exchange. Because rekall is a synergy, Becky [through Mondo] is also now privy to Jayne’s telepathic exchange.

The telepathic exchange. The seed of reasonable doubt vis-à-vis Jayne’s guilt is planted in both of them. Also the suspicion that Jayne might be a mortal playing the long game, and therefore is guilty as hell. This is what puts Becky’s panties into a bunch. Mondo, on the other hand, could care less.

So, she’s just the back catcher on this one. Knowing this, with a flick of the switch so to speak, Mondo is bored and wants to go back from whence she came from. Or at the very least, if she’s got to be stuck here for the duration, she’d like to get lost, strung out, and dirty, a depraved junkie harlot who’s forcibly confined in a filthy hovel someplace getting her wretched brains fucked out by some bi-pedal or preferably multi-pedal humanoid leech.

Whether dressing staid spinster shrew or a little more mainstream severe, Mondo’s sober modes fall into three categories. High school mean girl, crazy, or overly sexualized [aliased as overly sexually repressed]. Right now, she’s in overly sexualized mode [aliased as overly sexually repressed]—with undertones of mean girl and crazy.

Passingly, the Hidden Ones make themselves perceptible to Mondo. It’s a mouthwatering tease appealing to Mondo’s degenerate tastes in sex. But. Been there, done that, been banged by that, a zillion times before. In other words. They’re offering Mondo her usual intoxication.

This time. Mondo wants something baser, even sicker, and more depraved. Which speaks volumes, because Mondo’s intoxicated mode is extremely base and decidedly feral—mindlessly bestial at its lowest ebb. She’s become jaded again. And needs it racketed down to an all new low. How the mighty craves to fall again.

In her mind she has an idea of what her newest debaser should look like. She’d like to be used by something like a Klapp only much worse. She’d like a she-male leech who’s multi-pedal, still vaguely humanoid, and overtly Gorgon. She’d like to be used against her will with absolutely no control over the situation. An inmate confined in an otherwise abandoned Victorian insane asylum. She wants something no one has yet to offer her before let alone while she’s been on this trek.

In short, the Hidden Ones are not the new low that she craves. Mondo waves them off. They fade from perception and leave. No longer is Mondo on their menu, but before they leave, they implant an impression in Mondo’s mind—maybe there’s something here in this world like what she seeks.

Something purely predatory, and exclusively solitary except for their only mate and maybe a lone robot lackey. Feeding and fucking at night. Sleeping during the day. Devoid of personal hygiene. Filthy and infested. Even baser than the Hidden Ones. Supernatural. Leeches, not people. Giant leeches in the guise of leech women. A feral Kum offshoot—as such a Kum variant. Mindless lunatics. Creatures of pure instinct. Parasitic enslavers. Repellant. Disgusting. A Dagon.

Physically, Dagon are akin to a multi-pedal version of The Hidden—octopus tentacles from the waist down. Tentacles that end in rattlers akin to a rattlesnake’s.

Mentally. Not sentient. Being creatures of pure instinct. Clicks and hisses are the only sounds that normally come out of their hideous, inhumanly-wide mouths. But, they can simulate speech to be used as a lure for prey.

What looks like a biomechanical harness composed of multiple overlords is anchored into their spine. Nasty parasites feeding off of an even nastier, much larger parasite. But. These disgusting parasites are not overlords and are not synthetic. It’s not a harness. It’s an ugly parasitic skin outgrowth, i.e. a large hideous convoluted wart, on the back of these multi-pedal creatures. These viral lesions are called “Schlags”, a byproduct of a Dagon’s spine being overloaded, their venom is much more narcotically potent than that of either a Klapp’s harness or an overlord.

Dagon only know rage, all-encompassing insanity, raped-ape fucking, the insatiable Hunger, and the unquenchable Thirst. They infect and addict. Their Kiss promises only Consumption.

From the waist up. Emaciated, ravenous, varicose-veined abominations. Septuagenarian she-male versions of the Master Vampires as portrayed in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful series, minus the exoskeletons or the tattoos.

There is no need for arcane glyphs to enhance their addictive nature by increasing their venom’s addictive potency.

Hairless bodies, bloodshot eyes, mouths full of sharp fangs, clawed fingers, and filth-engrained milk-white skin.

Teeth that are so filthy, they look rotten. A long, retractile proboscis, akin to a Klapp’s, in place of a tongue. Fetid, wormy breath.

Patches of reptilian scales on their face, arms, and torso. Male and female humanoid genitalia—hung like a horse.

Three waist-length shriveled floppy pendulous breasts with hideous stretch marks and stringbean nipples. The right breast is actually a disgusting moog, as such it has a sucker in place of a nipple.

A vile, reeking crotch. Their crotch has a strong, gamey odor. Hands that are horribly thin, the fingers are little more than claws.

Sections of their body are so dirty, they look black. Having no use for clothing, they go naked. Any attempt to clothe them will incite them to bouts of extreme rage and violence.

Dagon have a face that is a hideous parody of a human female’s. With living venomous snakes in place of a head of hair. Snakes that erupt from a bony skull.

Light grey eyeballs. Red, constricted pupils. And no irises. When their eyes fluoresce, gazing directly into their glowing eyes can turn susceptible onlookers into stone. For the resistant, those not turned to stone, it’s a fluorescent gaze that can be hypnotic and subjugating, mesmerizing and beguiling—or unsettling—or nauseating and stomach-churning—or vomit inducing—or just plain annoying. Just plain annoying, for those too jaded or otherwise not interested in their “charms”. Hypnotic and subjugating, mesmerizing and beguiling, for addicts.

Long dirty fingernails.

In summation. Dagon. The vilest personification, so far, of her ongoing unremitting fixation with intoxication by a human-like blood sucker, i.e. a giant leech. A large, full-grown woman sized parasite. A hermaphrodite. Hung like a horse. Labia, clitoris, uncircumcised penis, testicles—male/female human genitalia that’s equally unattractive, unless you’re a nercophiliac, that is. A she-male, genitalia wise. Nonetheless, a Dagon is an “it”, not a he or a she. Things grow on it. Things live on it. Things feed on it. Head lice, fleas, and crabs. Graveyard lichens and moss grow here and there on their filth-ingrained skin. Overall, it reeks of a foul stench—smelling like rotting meat that has been left to hang too long.

But. Therein lies the problem. Even for such as this. Used by a Dagon. The bifurcation of a Dagon’s insidious Schlag hooked into her spine. She knows that eventually, she would overcome this, and return to her severity of mainstream lifestyle. Addictions are just a momentary distraction. Depraved junkie whore would get put on the shelf again.

Although Mondo and Becky appear helpless, totally absorbed in reliving this moment in photogenic detail, they are no more helpless than when they are asleep. In other words, they aren’t helpless at all.

They are completely aware of their physical surroundings in the here and now. And they are totally immersed in reliving this memory of the past.

There it is again. That faintest suggestion. But. It is there. A very low frequency hum. Known as The Hum. It is a phenomenon, or collection of phenomena, involving a persistent and invasive low-frequency humming, rumbling, or droning noise not audible to all Kum addicts. The Hum is sometimes prefixed with the name of the Kum variant which the problem has been particularly publicized: e.g., the “Bristol Hum” or the “Taos Hum”.

Data from a Taos Hum study suggests that around two percent of the population [of Kum addicts] can detect the Taos Hum. For those who can hear the Hum it can be a very disturbing phenomenon. Among those who cannot hear the hum and some specialists, there has been skepticism about whether it exists; it is distinct from, and should not be confused with, the term sometimes used to describe the well-attested phenomenon of microseisms.

The essential element that defines the Hum is what is perceived as a persistent low-frequency sound, often described as being comparable to that of a distant diesel engine idling, or to some similar low-pitched sound for which obvious sources (e.g., household appliances, traffic noise, etc.) have been ruled out. There are a number of audio reproductions of the Hum available on the web [i.e. collectively, the various inter-world and intra-world internets], as well as at least one purported recording.

A study into the Taos Hum indicated that at least two percent could hear it; each hearer at a different frequency between 32 Hz and 80 Hz, modulated from 0.5 to 2 Hz. Similar results have been found in an earlier British study. It seems to be possible for hearers to move away from it, with one hearer of the Taos Hum reporting its range was 48 km. There are approximately equal percentages of male and female hearers. Age does appear to be a factor, with middle aged humans being more likely to hear it.

Mondo steps out of Becky’s first-person perspective and steps into the role of objective third-person observer. Extrapolating her perspective as if she were present in the interrogation room separate from Becky when this past event happened. Becky is aware of Mondo as if she was there when this happened, but no one else seems to be aware of Mondo.

Mondo moves slowly toward Jayne, at a diagonal. The Hum grows louder the closer she moves toward Jayne. When she reaches the table at which Jayne sits, Jayne looks up and smiles. Her toothy grin stretching literally and therefore impossibly [for a human that is] from ear to ear.

“Maybe you should try us … You will not become bored with us using you like you think you would. For you, it will be as if you were tailor made for us, depraved junkie whore.”

The words project into Mondo’s mind—overpoweringly so. It is not telepathy, nor is it anything remotely like it. It is something primal. Predating telepathy. Base. Twisted. Deranged. Animalistic. Electroshock for the brain that serves as a form of direct communication and a lobotomy all wrapped up into one, neat package.

Jaynes stands up. Again, no one else seems to notice except for Mondo and Becky. Jayne’s clothes shred as she changes into something. She changes into an “it”. She changes into a Dagon—a very old, and thus very powerful, Dagon. Its true form.

It points at Mondo.

“Ours!”

It begins to drool, profusely. Hungry for chattel which it craves to use. User—Dagon. Chattel which it craves to use—Mondo.

The hum reaches a mesmerizing crescendo. The Dagon’s eyes fluoresce—fluorescent lime green. Mondo’s eyes, nose, and mouth begin to bleed. Her eyes marble like the peepers of a dead fish.

Becky’s now-altered rekall toggles. Mondo and Becky are forcibly bounced back into the here and now, no longer rekalling the past. Toggled and forcibly bounced by the ancient Dagon.

Mondo’s eyes are no longer marbled. But. Her eyes, nose, and mouth are still bleeding!

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别搞错了 – 这是“中国十年”开幕 / Make no mistake — this is the opening of the ‘China Decade’

Business Insider
By Ian Bremmer, TIME.com  | Original Source

gettyimages-477262484China is still on the rise.

Stock market plunges, currency devaluations, and warehouse fireballs out of China have dominated headlines this summer.

But make no mistake — this is the opening of the “China Decade,” the moment when the emerging giant’s international influence crosses a crucial threshold.

These five facts explain why China’s rise is inevitable, even in the face of bad news — and why it won’t last forever.

1. Rough summer

Economic indicators have been pointing to a Chinese slowdown for some time — exports had already dropped 8% last month compared to the same time last year — but matters have come to a head these last couple of months. Between June 12 and July 8, the Shanghai stock market plummeted 32%. On July 27, the stock market fell 8.5%, its greatest single-day drop. To put that in perspective, “Black Tuesday,” which kicked off the Great Depression in 1929, saw the Dow plunge 12%. Markets under the thumb of autocratic regimes were thought to be immune to such wild swings; turns out they’re not.

On August 11, the Chinese government devalued the renminbi to kick-start their slowing economy. By the end of the week, the currency’s value had fallen by 4.4%, its biggest drop in 20 years.

(The New York Times (a), CNN Money, The New York Times (b), TIME)

china gdp growth

2. China’s rise

Yes, growth is slowing, but to levels enviable in any developed country. In the mean time, China’s march to No. 1 continues. In 2014, China’s total GDP overtook the US’s when measured by purchasing power parity. Using this metric, China accounted for 16.32% of world GDP in 2014, eclipsing the US’s 16.14%.

More impressive than the size of China’s economy is the speed with which it’s grown. Back in 2000, Chinese imports and exports accounted for 3% of all global goods traded.

By 2014, that figure had jumped to more than 10%. In 2006, the US was a larger trade partner than China for 127 countries. China was the larger partner for just 70. Today, those numbers have reversed: 124 countries trade more with China than with the US.

(International Monetary Fund, Financial Times, Russia Today)

3. China’s resilience

And despite recent turmoil, China’s economy has staying power. That’s in part because China’s leadership has spent decades building its foreign-exchange reserves, which today are valued at $3.7 trillion. That’s by far the world’s biggest rainy-day fund.

More important than its money buffer is China’s consolidated political leadership under Xi Jinping. China’s president has presided over an extensive anticorruption campaign that has already seen 414,000 officials disciplined and another 200,000 indicted.

In the process, Xi has probably rebuilt some of the party’s lost credibility with China’s people. He has definitely sidelined current and potential opponents of his reform program — and of his rule. And the lack of backlash illustrates just how strong his political control really is.

(Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic)

4. Spreading wealth (and influence)

Consolidated leadership also enables Beijing to pursue its comprehensive global strategy. China has spent the last two decades tactically investing around the world. Chinese investments in Africa jumped from $7 billion in 2008 to $26 billion in 2013, helping the continent build desperately needed roads, rails, and ports.

In Latin America, China has already pledged to invest $250 billion over the coming decade, giving Beijing a solid foothold in the West. This extends China’s influence well beyond East Asia, helps China secure long-term supplies of the commodities it needs to continue to power its economy, creates jobs for Chinese workers, and helps China open new markets for its excess supplies of industrial products.

rtx10ot5Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, left, and Wang Jing, chairman of the Hong Kong international company Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. (HKND Group) celebrate signing a concession agreement for the construction of an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua at the Casa de los Pueblos in Managua June 14, 2013.

China also wants to use its money to reshape the world’s financial architecture. To that end, Beijing just launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to rival the Washington-based IMF and World Bank. Given that 57 countries have signed up as founding members, some of them US allies who chose to ignore US objections, it’s well on its way. With initiatives like the AIIB, China will continue funding infrastructure projects — and building goodwill — for years to come.

(Bloomberg, BBC, Wall Street Journal)

5. Problems ahead

All that said, China’s longer-term challenges are becoming impossible to ignore. By 2050, it’s estimated that China’s work force will have shrunk by 17%. Blame demographics — back in 1980, the median age in China was 22.1 years; in 2013, 35.4, and by 2050 it will rise to 46.3. An aging labor force is like an aging sports star: Both want more money, and both are nowhere near as productive as they once were.

Pollution continues to take its toll — less than 1% of China’s 500 cities meet WHO air-quality standards. China’s environment ministry concedes that nearly two-thirds of underground water and one-third of surface water is “unfit for human contact.” A new study estimated that 4,000 Chinese die prematurely each day thanks to air pollution.

rtr1sthn-1A man swims in a polluted canal in the center of Beijing, August 16, 2007.

As China’s masses join a growing middle class, the leadership will have to deal with stronger public demand for clean air and water. Beijing better deliver if it wants to keep the peace, and its regime, intact.

And the public will have the means to make its demands known: There are already 650 million Chinese people online, and censorship, however sophisticated, can never fully control the flow of ideas and information in a social-media market of that scale — witness the information leaking out on the Tianjin blast. China’s leaders know they must care about public opinion.

(Bloomberg, UN Economic and Social Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations, Russia Today, CNN)

China’s growing strength threatens the established world order, but its domestic vulnerabilities will have global repercussions, as well. It’s still too early to tell which of the two will be more destabilizing.

Either way, the world will be shaped by Beijing’s successes and its failures. Welcome to the China Decade.

Read the original article on TIME.com. Copyright 2015. Follow TIME.com on Twitter.

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Lingerie Fighting Championships Sizzle Reels / 内衣战斗的冠军,赞卷轴

 

 

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中国希望大国,而不是大的责任 / China Wants Great Power, Not Great Responsibility

BloombergView | China | Original Source

By

640x-1

Forty-three years after Richard Nixon made his famous visit to China, that country has seemingly decided to take a page from the former U.S. president’s Treasury Department. As China lowers the value of the yuan, the country’s economic policy makers are mimicking the blasé attitude of Nixon-era Treasury chief John Connally, who dismissed international complaints about U.S. monetary policy with a curt remark: “It’s our currency, but it’s your problem.”

To be fair, Japan has acted with similar self-interest since late 2012, when its 35 percent devaluation began. But that raises a prickly question: What options do Asia’s smaller economies have when the region’s two biggest seem intent on passing their own vulnerabilities onto everyone else?

China will be watching closely for the region’s response, for economic as well as political reasons. Beijing’s designs for regional leadership have always depended on winning the loyalty of its neighbors in order to reduce America’s financial, diplomatic and military role in Asia. Vietnam has already initiated a devaluation of its own, lowering the value of the dong by 1 percent on Wednesday in order to keep pace with China. Less clear are the potential responses of South Korea, Indonesia or the Philippines.

China claims it’s just doing what the International Monetary Fund asked in moving to a more market-determined exchange rate. But markets have taken so badly to China’s 3 percent devaluation because no one really believes President Xi Jinping‘s government when it says bigger drops aren’t coming.

Take yesterday’s Bloomberg News report that China’s wealthiest investors have been the quickest to bail out of plunging stocks. China would surely deny Communist Party cronies are getting tipoffs on when it’s best to sell, but investors would be forgiven if they felt skeptical.

The government’s obsessive efforts to censor deadly explosions at a toxic-material warehouse in Tianjin have only fed suspicions that Xi’s team is obfuscating on economic matters, too. As Patrick Chovanec of Silvercrest Asset Management told me in a Twitter exchange, China is facing an “erosion in trust in government (stock bubble, Tianjin blast, etc.)” both at home and abroad.

Former U.S. Treasury secretary Henry Paulson made reference to China’s reality-challenged growth targets in an Aug. 18 speech. Rather than setting unattainable goals like 7 percent growth, he said, Beijing would do better with international investors if it offered targets that don’t stretch credulity. Others have made similar points about China’s local-government debt. As best JPMorgan Chase can tell, Chinese municipalities face a debt-service burden of about $156 billion this year. What can’t be known (aside from the true debt figure, of course) is the extent to which rising interest payments and falling land revenues are affecting the solvency of local governments.

Beijing still believes money can buy the trust and soft power it craves, which explains the new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank it has sponsored. But as long as analysts don’t feel the Chinese government’s pronouncements are genuinely reliable, skepticism about the yuan will only grow.

Xi should start by informing the world how low, exactly, the yuan might go. Beijing would win further goodwill by reassuring governments and investors that it is trying to efficiently resolve the country’s looming crises in debt and stocks. The absence of such guarantees suggests Beijing is inclined to do the opposite, leveraging the country’s massive state-owned enterprises and banks to meet the government’s own growth targets and exporting its deflation pressures.

Finally, China must act like a true stakeholder in Asia. Until now, China hoped to reap the benefits of becoming a rising power without the responsibilities that accompany that status. Rather than establish clear rules for diplomatic engagement in disputed areas of the South China Sea, China has preferred to play the bully. That has allowed it to get its way in the short term, but will win it little affection in the long run.

China’s desire to have it both ways also can be seen in the country’s push for the IMF to grant the yuan reserve-currency status without first achieving the transparency such a distinction normally requires. The same goes for China’s contention it has no influence over a North Korea dependent on its money. Or Beijing’s exporting of polluted air as far as the U.S. mainland.

This is China’s moment to show it can be a trusted steward of a global economy that has lost its way. And the yuan is a good place to start. But, by defining its self-interest so narrowly, China is failing to make a positive first impression.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author on this story:
William Pesek at wpesek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Cameron Abadi at cabadi2@bloomberg.net

 

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Dr Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip — How to Get Ahead in 3 Easy Steps

3 Steps to Getting AheadA CEO of a manufacturing corporation was explaining his new policy to the employees. He said, “We’re going to become more and more automated. Now I know many of you will be concerned that our new robots will be taking your jobs.

I want to assure you we are taking steps to guarantee that all of you will remain on the payroll. According to the plan we are developing, you will receive a full week’s pay but will be required to work just one day each week. We are designating Wednesday as your workday. You will only have to come in on Wednesday.

From the back of the room, one worker asked, “Will we have to come in EVERY Wednesday?

Of course, that’s not a true story, but it could be. It seems like so many people want to get ahead without having to work for it. They want fairy-tale results without hard-working input.

That’s not reality. As Harold Geneen, the former chairman of ITT said, “It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises — but only performance is reality.”  In other words, talk is cheap; the only thing that really counts is action.

That being the case, let me tell you what actions you have to take … or how you can get ahead in just three easy steps.

1.  Make a commitment.

People ask me if it takes a lot of time to get ahead in their personal lives or professional careers.  I say, “No. It takes commitment.  You can’t be like the Kamikaze pilot who flew 188 missions. He was busy, but he wasn’t committed.

The great explorer Captain Cook knew that more than 200 years ago when he named his ships “Resolution,” “Endeavor,” and “Discovery.”  He knew that all success starts with commitment.

The comedian George Burns commented on the critical importance of commitment as well.  He said,

“When you think you’re right, stick to your guns, no matter how much opposition you have to put up with. As Gracie said on one of our shows, ‘They all laughed at Joan of Arc, but she didn’t cave in. She went right ahead and built it’.”

Just be careful.  Don’t confuse a decision with a commitment.

It’s like the four frogs sitting on a log.  One decides to jump.  How many are left?

Most people say “three.” The answer is “four.” Just because one decides to jump doesn’t mean he actually does it.

For example, you may have decided to lose some weight, start exercising, or be assertive, but you may not be doing very much to accomplish those goals.  Decision does not automatically translate into action, but real deep-down, gut-honest commitment does.

The first step in getting ahead is making a commitment.  (Indeed, if you want to master all the steps in getting ahead personally and professionally, you should book my new program on “Up Your Attitude: The Secrets That Turn Potential into Performance” for one of your upcoming meetings.)

2.  Act as though you work for YOU, Incorporated.

Stop thinking that you work for someone else. The bare naked truth is you work for you … your future, your survival, your needs, your desires, your dreams, your family, and a whole host of other things YOU want.   And the more fully you grasp this truth, the quicker you will get ahead.

For example, when you know you work for YOU, Incorporated, you will do several things that will help you get ahead.  You would ELIMINATE ENTITLEMENT THINKING.  You no longer think, “I’ve been working so hard lately that I have a right to call in sick tomorrow.”  You would know that such dishonest behavior would not help YOU, Incorporated get ahead.

Even though you may technically work for someone else, when you act as though you work for YOU, Incorporated, you would also ACT AS IF IT’S YOUR BUSINESS. You would seek better, more efficient ways to do things. And you would look for things that would result in long-term savings or long-term profits for your business.

You would also DO MORE THAN ENOUGH. You would take on new duties, work a few extra hours, and wouldn’t have to be asked.  Whereas losers do just enough to get by, winners do more than enough—and so will you, if you really want to get ahead.

You would DETERMINE WHAT SKILLS YOUR COMPANY NEEDS AND ACQUIRE THOSE SKILLS. Most employees wait until the company sends them to training. Not so if you work for YOU, Incorporated.  You go out there and attend seminars even if you’re not sent and even if you have to pay for it yourself.  After all, you’re investing in the future of your company … YOU.  And this strategy alone will put you ahead of almost everyone else in the organization.

Finally, you would SHOW A LITTLE GRATITUDE. Pat yourself on the back once in a while for the effort and progress you’re making.  And give your “technical” employer some positive feedback as well. When all is said and done, new opportunities come to appreciative people more often than complaining people.

3. Keep on keeping on.

The Los Angeles Times surveyed 120 top performers in business, sports, politics, entertainment, and academia. The one characteristic all these producers had in common is that they persistently worked to reach the top.  They kept on going.

Two of my former students, Scott Anderson and Chip Kudrle, who went on to form the Diamond Performance Group, found that 92 percent of salespeople give up after the fourth “no.” However, 60 percent of customers say “no” four times before they say “yes.” That means the majority of the sales go to the few salespeople who are persistent enough to hang in there.

To get ahead, steps 1 and 2 are critical, but this third step to keep on keeping on is what brings it all together.

Final Thought:   There are many secrets of success, but none of them work, unless you do.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Zimmerman’s program “Up Your Attitude!”

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中国是其最大的危机在十年之中 / China is in the midst of its biggest crisis in decades

Business Insider
By Rodger Baker, STRATFOR | Original Source

ap836050023338China’s President Xi Jinping arrives for a meeting with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff at the Planalto Presidential Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, July 17, 2014.

Last week was an eventful one for China. First, the People’s Bank of China shocked the financial world when it cut the yuan’s reference rate against the U.S. dollar by nearly 2 percent, leading to a greater than 2 percent drop in the value of the yuan in offshore trading.

The decline triggered a frenzy of speculation, including some expectations that the Chinese move would trigger a race to the bottom for Asian currencies.

Beijing said the adjustment was designed to fix distortions between the trading rate of the yuan and the rate it should have been at according to speculation, and that subsequent large shifts were unlikely.

The International Monetary Fund, however, noted that the move could lead to a freer floating yuan — something the IMF has asked of Beijing before the organization considers including the yuan in its Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies. In comments made on the sidelines of its annual report on the Chinese economy, released later in the week, the IMF also noted that the yuan was not undervalued, despite the decline.

Also last week, Chinese state media issued a warning to retired officials to stay out of politics and not misuse their former networks and prestige. The warning followed reports in state media suggesting that the annual unofficial gathering of current and former Party officials at Beidaihe was canceled and would not serve as a policy-making venue in the future.

The reports noted that Party officials had already held several additional sessions in Beijing and that decisions were being made in the open, not in some secretive gathering of Party elders. Other reports circulating in Chinese media warned that former Party and military officials were involved in real estate speculation along with other economic mismanagement and needed to stop.

rtr3wetzVice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Caihou (R) attends the opening ceremony of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) next to then-Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, March 3, 2012.

Finally, last week China dealt with one of its worst industrial accidents in years — a series of explosions at a chemical short-term storage facility in the busy port city of Tianjin. More than 100 people were killed in the explosions and aftermath, prompting the government to launch an investigation into illegal storage and improper safety procedures at that and other facilities around the country.

Citizens have begun small-scale demonstrations in Tianjin to demand government reparations for damages as a result of the blast. In response, Beijing stepped up its media campaign against rumors, using state media to remind the public that the government publicly charged a Politburo standing committee member with corruption, so the public can trust the government to be open and not hide a conspiracy surrounding the Tianjin blast.

rtx1o7fxStudents and teachers stand around lighted candles which form into Chinese characters.

If there is a common theme running through these events, it is the way Beijing is emphasizing its openness in decision-making, in reporting and in explaining its actions. This is not the China of the past that tried to hide the truths of major natural or man-made disasters from its citizens. It is not the China that operated by secret agreements made only after a consensus of Party elders, or the China that tried to protect Party officials at the expense of the public.

Nor is it the China of tight currency controls, amid fears that the vagaries of global markets could affect China’s economic regulation. Or at least that is the message Beijing is trying to send. It is a message perhaps meant more for domestic than international consumption, but one that recognizes that neither abroad nor at home is there a lot of trust in the Chinese Communist Party or the government to pursue a transparent policy. The taint of corruption, collusion and nepotism remains strong and is perhaps even reinforced by the breadth and depth of the ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

Old Systems Become Obsolete

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The reality is that China is in the midst of what may be its most serious crisis since the days of Deng Xiaoping. And the model of government and economy Deng put in place is no longer effective at managing China, much less shifting it in a new direction.

As China emerged from the chaos of the Maoist era, Deng initiated three basic policies for China’s future growth and development, starting around the early 1980s.

First, allow the economy more localized freedom, accepting that some areas would grow faster than others but that in the long run the rising tide would lift all boats.

Second, prevent any single individual from truly dominating the Chinese political system. No longer could a figure like Mao Zedong exert so much personal influence that the entire country could be thrown into economic and social upheaval.

Instead, China’s leaders would be locked into a consensus-driven model that limited any individual source of power and eliminated factions in favor of widespread networks of influence that overlapped so much they could not be truly divisive. And finally, walk softly internationally, be ruthless in the appearance of a non-interference policy and avoid showing any military strength abroad. This latter point was intended to give China time to solidify internal economic and social cohesion and strength while avoiding distraction or inviting undue military attention from its neighbors or the United States.

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In retrospect, Deng’s model worked exceptionally well for China, at least on the surface. While the Soviet Union collapsed, the Communist Party of China held together, even after Beijing’s mismanagement of Tiananmen Square.

Although at times slow to respond or initiate proactive change, China’s leaders managed the country’s rapid economic growth in a way that avoided extreme social or political destabilization. The Party managed not only the leadership transitions set in motion by Deng, but also, amid intra-Party scandal, the latest transition to Xi Jinping. China’s leaders even managed the impact of the global economic slowdown and appear capable of maintaining order even as economic growth rates slow considerably.

But the relative calmness on the surface belies disturbing deeper currents. The dark secret of consensus rule was that, while appearing to provide stability, by the late 2000s it was doing more to perpetuate underlying structural problems that could delay or even derail actual reforms or economic evolution. The lack of radical shifts and turns, the avoidance of major recessions and the ability to defer significant but potentially destabilizing reforms made China look like an unstoppable juggernaut.

China’s economy climbed past Japan’s and seemed destined to surpass the U.S. economy. And if economic strength translated into total national strength, then China was emerging as a significant global power. Beijing even began breaking from Deng’s cautions on overt military power and started amore assertive foray into the East and South China seas, both because of a perceived need to protect its increasingly important sea lanes carrying natural resources and exports and because it was feeling more powerful and capable and wanted to act on those strengths.

However, all economies are cyclical. As they grow through different stages, the deadwood needs to be trimmed and funding provided for the new shoots. Recessions, slowdowns, bankruptcies and sectorial collapses are all part of the natural economic process, even if they are disruptive in the short term.

As China claims to be climbing the value chain in manufacturing and exports, it is not simultaneously trimming away older components of the economy or effectively weaning itself from the stability of large state companies that are disproportionately locking up available capital compared with total employment.

rtr37fckAn investor naps in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Wuhan, Hubei province, September 3, 2012.

Parochial interests by local and provincial governments — themselves keen to avoid any sense of instability — have left massive redundancies intact across China’s manufacturing sectors, particularly in heavy industries, the backbone of early Chinese economic growth.

Consensus politics allowed China to grow, but not in a healthy manner — and the global economy is no longer giving China the freedom to just keep pouring on the fertilizer and hope no one notices the rot spreading through the trunk and branches.

Xi’s Crisis Management

The leadership transition to Xi in 2012 was also not nearly as smooth as it first appeared. It occurred amid the Bo Xilai scandal, in which it appeared the former Chongqing Party Secretary was making a bid not only to reshape the direction of Chinese politics but also to usurp Xi’s rise to central Party and state leadership. What has emerged amid the ongoing anti-corruption campaign is that the challenge was much more serious than it may have appeared, including an alleged assassination plot against Xi.

The recent pronouncements regarding former Party leaders and officials staying out of politics suggests that challenges to Xi’s position are still emerging. Xi’s decision to build a national security council and economic affairs advisory body, to which he belongs, has aroused opposition from former officials used to playing a role in shaping policy. Publicly canceling the unofficial Beidaihe summit was an overt strike against former officials. The consolidation campaign continues.

While China faces some of its toughest economic challenges, and after it has stepped out into the South China Sea and international military affairs in a way it cannot easily pull back on, it is also contending with internal dissent and intra-Party fighting.

Xi’s consolidation drive, closely linked to the anti-corruption campaign, is all about tightening the reins of control to allow more rapid policy adjustments, force macro-policies on localities and accelerate the Party and state’s response time to changing circumstances. But that challenges decades of tradition and entrenched power and interests. It also creates a contradiction: The economic policies are moving toward liberalization, but the political and social policies are moving toward autocracy.

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To manage the next phase of China’s economic opening and reform — something that changes in the global economy and decades of internal ossification are forcing upon Beijing — Xi is simultaneouslycracking down on media, information, social freedoms and the Party itself. The fear is that significant economic reform without tight political control would lead to a repeat of the Soviet experience: the collapse of the Party and perhaps even the state.

Each event, each headline, should be assessed in the context of this internal crisis. The currency dip — an important step in liberalizing yuan trading, gaining a role in the Special Drawing Rights basket and continuing China’s path toward yuan globalization (freeing the country at least a little from the dominance of the U.S. dollar) — has auxiliary risks, not least of which is that a freer currency can move in directions far from those the government would like to see.

The explosion in Tianjin is reinforcing the fears of rampant mismanagement and corruption. It has sparked a new round of conspiracy speculation and is placing the government in a position where it must deal with protesters in a major city as well as foreign investors and traders — again raising uncomfortable questions about safety and security in China.

The warnings against retired officials interfering in politics may be more than just public relations attempts to highlight some newfound transparency.

This is not to say China is on the verge of collapse, that the government and Party is about to fracture along internecine battle lines, or that economic reform is simply impossible in the face of entrenched interests. But none of these are out of the question.

China has entered a stage of the uncertain.

The transition to an internal demand-driven economy will not happen smoothly, nor will it happen overnight. The reduction in exports and the drain on investment is already under way. And with all of these issues sitting squarely on his shoulders, Xi is preparing for his September visit to the United States, where the litany of concerns about China expands daily.

The transitory period is the most chaotic, the most fragile, and that is where China sits right now.

Read the original article on STRATFOR. Copyright 2015.

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10 Drowned Towns You Can Visit [10. Church of Mediano, Spain]

Mental Floss | Original Source

cebd0a353c3f7656bb3f0fc5150f772137655cf9Photo by YAY Media AS / Alamy. Design by Erik Mace for Yahoo Travel

By Bess Lovejoy

There are so many places lost beneath the waves around the world, you could create an alternate atlas of watery wreckages. But during the 20th century, the number of towns underwater increased exponentially as hydroelectricity projects submerged some to create power for many. These drowned towns were intentionally flooded behind new dams, their buildings removed or dismantled, and their residents displaced.

In recent years, droughts have allowed some of these towns to re-emerge. Others remain underwater. Here are 10 haunting waterworlds.

***

10. Church of Mediano, Spain

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Photo:  Juan R. Lascorz, Wikimedia // CC BY SA-3.0

Spain has a number of drowned towns, but one of the most notable sights is the Church of Mediano (above) in La Fueva, Huesca. The church, which dates to the late 16th century, was submerged in 1974 to create the Mediano Reservoir. The tip of the steeple is always visible, even when the reservoir’s levels are full. Intrepid divers used to be able to explore both the inside and out, but the inside has been boarded up for safety reasons. Elsewhere in the country, in Catalonia, the ruins of the 1,000-year-old village of Sant Romà de Sau (below) are also visible when water levels in a nearby reservoir drop, and include their own atmospheric church.

More from Mental Floss:

25 Things You Should Know About Philadelphia

6 Responses to Sneezes From Around the World

25 Things You Should Know About Detroit

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中国电影面临的社会化媒体间隙要改写历史,玩起来毛的作用 / Chinese Film Faces Social Media Backlash for Rewriting History, Playing up Mao’s Role

by Abid Rahman | The Hollywood Reporter | Original Source

‘The Cairo Declaration’ puts the Chinese communist leader at the center of WWII discussions between world powers, despite him not coming into power until 1949.

开罗宣言是世界反法西斯战争的里程碑式的会议,它是由中国抗日战争领导人、共产国际最高指挥官毛泽东同志与朝鲜人民军领导人、宇宙联席会议主席金正恩同志共同缔结的拯救人类的共同宣言—《开罗宣言》。

Cairo Declaration is a landmark meeting of the World Anti-Fascist War, the joint declaration by the Chinese Anti-Japanese War it was the leaders of the Comintern Supreme Commander Comrade Mao Zedong and the Korean People’s Army leader, Comrade Kim Jong-un co-chairman of the Joint concluded universe to save mankind Cairo Declaration.”

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A big-budget Chinese film that sought to play up Mao Zedong‘s skills as a statesman and negotiator has come in for harsh online criticism for rewriting history.

The Cairo Declaration, which The Guardian reports is produced by a company with close links to the Chinese military, is about the wartime summit between President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek that took place in the Egyptian capital in 1943. The three leaders met to discuss the war against Japan, as well as the future of Asia after the end of hostilities.

The Cairo Declaration, which is released in China this month to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender, downplays the prominent role played by Kai-shek. Instead, promotional posters and trailers focus on Mao Zedong.

Zedong, who became leader of the Chinese communist party in 1935, didn’t accede to the leadership of the country until October 1949, so played no part in the Cairo summit and didn’t even attend.

Chinese social media users have been quick to mock the filmmakers for so brazenly rewriting history with many creating fake posters for the film featuring real and fictional characters, such as Gollum and Kim Jong-un, making an appearance at the Cairo summit.

中国人民的抗日战争是世界反法西斯战争的重要组成部份,1943年,盟国大反攻就要到­来,开罗会议召开,中、美、英三国政府代表团参加,会上形成了一个具有法律意义的重要­文件《开罗宣言》。

 

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