Wednesday 29 October 2014

[大躍進] Mao Zedong's "Smoking Gun" Quotation [黑金政治學03]

"…the emperors the Chinese people most reviled —Qin Shihuangdi, Emperor Zhou, and Sui Yangdi— were the ones Mao most admired…" (Li Zhisui, 1994, p. 296)

Some further discussion of the great leap forward [大躍進] and great famine [大飢荒]. In a controversy between two current historians, a famous quotation (used to attribute blame to Mao) turns out to be spurious. The controversy reveals more of interest than just the question of how to lay the blame.

On Youtube:

Monday 27 October 2014

Devil's Advocate Amongst Atheists: Thunderf00t vs. Richard Carrier

Atheist vs. atheist; here's my response to a long-simmering dispute between two public intellectuals from opposite ends of the academic spectrum… but, wait, who are you calling an academic anyway?

On Youtube:

Saturday 25 October 2014

From Kunming to Kyaukpyu (Colonialism Lite?)

There is a striking resemblance between China's current plans to connect Yunnan to the coast of Myanmar (by train, road and oil-pipeline) and one of the greatest colonial fantasies of the 19th century: Holt S. Hallett's expedition of 1876 sparked a race between the British and the French empires to see who would be the first to build this railway connection. (Mazard, 2008)  In the end, neither one of them ever did it.  In contrast to the plans drawn up in the 19th century, the 21st century fantasy has a fairly good probability of being realized.  Although there are doubts surrounding the viability of the project, China's ambassador to Myanmar confirmed that the railroad is still underway as recently as July, 2014, (Wang, 2014) and the creation of oil-pipeline infrastructure for the route is already fait accompli, according to reporters who visited the site. (Robinson, 2014)

Tuesday 14 October 2014

On Youtube, China's Great Famine & the Great Leap Forward [黑金政治學02]

On Youtube: An overview of new publications including Tombstone [墓碑] by Yang Jisheng [楊繼繩], Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikötter, and The Xinyang Incident [信阳事件] by Qiao Peihua [喬培華], with a rapid introduction to the general subject of the Great Famine & the Great Leap Forward.


Saturday 4 October 2014

One of the greatest titles in the history of peer-reviewed articles

The article doesn't live up to its title, but then, what could?

"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False."

Now just imagine if this type of analysis were applied to articles on politics, religion or (even worse!) the overlap between politics and religion… I don't think anyone even wants to measure what percentage of research findings are false in the social sciences and humanities.

Another amusing article in the same vein: Research paper publishing sting reveals lax standards.

Shout Out to Young Droog, Shout Out To Myanmar.

In an art-form defined by non-sequiturs, this one was genuinely unexpected.

The line appears in the midst of a track called Hoodie Weather (click), and no, it doesn't otherwise comment on the politics of Southeast Asia.