Archive for November 25th, 2006

Pandas & Porn?

25 November 06

How could I not share this with you?

In order to improve the dismal mating habits of captive pandas, experts in China have been showing pornographic DVDs to the male pandas. It seems that when they got two compatible pandas together, instead of breeding, all they did was fight. Porn DVDs to the rescue!

Okay, that will be the last time “porn” is ever mentioned on this blog again!

Advertisements

China – Say Hello to the Green Cat

25 November 06

Thomas Friedman, one of my favorite New York Times columnists, has devoted several recent columns to China’s depressing environmental record and what can be done to make China go green.

Deng Xiaoping once famously said of China’s economy: ”Black cat, white cat, all that matters is that it catches mice” — i.e., forget about communist ideology, all that matters is that China grows. Not anymore, said Mr. Rosen. ”Now the cat better be green, otherwise it is going to die before it catches the mouse.” 15 Nov 2006

His thoughts echo my own:

A friend of mine here wakes up every morning and does his own air quality test — as many Beijing residents do: He looks out his 24th-story window and checks how far he can see. On a rare pristine day, when the wind has swept Beijing, he can see the Fragrant Mountain rising to the northwest. On a “good” pollution day, he can see the China World building four blocks away. On a bad day, he can’t see the building next door.

Shortly before I arrived in Beijing, China had been host of a summit meeting of 42 African leaders. Time magazine reported that Beijing officials had “ordered half a million official cars off the roads and said 400,000 more drivers had ‘volunteered’ to refrain from using their vehicles” in order to clean up the air for their African guests. No sooner were they gone, however, than all the cars returned and Beijing’s air went back to “unhealthy.” China’s Environmental Protection Administration, Time noted, recently estimated the annual number of premature deaths in China caused by air pollution at 358,000. 17 Nov 2006

Yep, that is what I did every morning in Shijiazhuang – open the curtain and see how far I could see. More often than not, that wouldn’t be too far. Here in Linyi, the doesn’t seem to be too much pollution. We are experiencing typical Winter weather – cold, overcast days with wind and occasional fog, but the visibility is still good.

In my opinion, China’s biggest problem is it’s environmental problems.  So how does China clean up? There really is no question that they must. In a country this populated, with a large peasant base, the change must be society-wide, from the bottom up. Local and national leaders must join forces to change habits & practices. They need access to greener energy. Everyone needs education. Businesses and manufacturers need to understand that going green increases profits. They need a green revolution!

In the third article on the topic, Friedman, writing as new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, addresses President Hu Jintao and discusses the idea of US – China cooperation on green energy initiatives. A “good for you, good for me” idea.

**Thomas Friedman’s opinion columns on nytimes.com require a subscription in Times Select service in order to read them online. They should be available free at your local library. If you would like to read the articles online, email me and I will help you find a way. 😉

Just before posting this, I found an article discussing the environmental problems of China that you can access for free. China’s Ecological Suicide on the China Worker Site.

America Doing Some Good in the World!

25 November 06

When I think of Myanmar, (actually I think of Burma) I think of a tropical country hidden behind a curtain of oppression & isolation. Burma is a place that I would love to visit – if and when the ruling junta are out of power and Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer under house arrest.

Imagine my surprise when I read in the International Herald Tribune about the American Center, located in Yangon. The American Center is part of the US Embassy and contains a library, reading center, broadband internet center and auditorium showing popular movies. Burmese members of the American Center can even request special books or DVDs. Right now there are over 15,000 members.

America may get a lot of bad press for meddling in other countries’ affairs, but here is an example of an excellent initiative!

As some of you know, I have decided to return to Grad School to get my Masters in Library Science. This story is so inspiring to me because one of the reasons I would like to be a librarian is to ensure that information is equitably available to the people who need it, especially in cases like this.

I am waiting to hear if I have been accepted to Texas Women’s University’s Distance Study Program for Spring 2007. This is the perfect time for me to go back to school as my work schedule is light enough to allow for lots of studying. You may ask how I can study about libraries while living in a small city in China – I asked the same question. Technology, my friends. The future of libraries is on the Internet and computers.