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Posts Tagged ‘Taiwan’

Taiwan’s junior league baseball team from Taipei remained undefeated, beating Texas to claim the title!  More here.  Here’s hoping that the little league team can pull it off as well.

Addendum: Congratulations to the Taiwan little league team in placing third.  Tough loss to Japan in the international finals.

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Lin Yu Chun 林育群

Hopefully Lin Yu Chun 林育群’s English wikipedia page will stay up; there’s a fair number of links to interesting videos of him singing.

For instance, links include him on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, singing I Will Always Love You and Amazing Grace, and his own personal blog and photo album.

Haven’t heard of Lin Yu Chun?  Here’s a short article on him – Web sensation Lin wows US audiences.

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  • Is any illness covered by insurance? – Kristof – “Then Ms. Walker gave me the company’s definition of “chronic” (you couldn’t make this up): “Chronic means a medical condition which has at least one of the following characteristics: has no known cure; is likely to recur; requires palliative treatment; needs prolonged monitoring/ treatment; is permanent; requires specialist training/rehabilitation; is caused by changes to the body that cannot be reversed.” That sounds like a spoof from “The Daily Show.” To translate: We’ll pay for care unless you get sick with just about anything that might be expensive. Then we’ll cut you off at the knees.”
  • Jeff Sheng’s photos of gay military personnel – “Mr. Sheng, a photographer, had finished the first phase of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a series of portraits of gay men and lesbians serving in the military, all of them in uniform and with their faces obscured in some way — by a hand, a door frame or by darkness. Some subjects turn their backs to the camera. In one image an airman who takes the pseudonym Jess sits on a hotel bed leaning forward. One elbow rests on his knee, his hand cupping his face to shield it from the camera. The portrait is pervaded by a sense of loneliness and isolation.”
  • The fishing lobby wins again – “By a depressingly lopsided margin, countries meeting in Doha at the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species rejected a proposal by Monaco and the United States to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, which is spiraling toward extinction. The convention had earlier rejected, also by a wide margin, a softer motion by the Europeans that would have placed the tuna high on the international list of endangered species but delayed a trading ban for one year.”
  • School law clinics face a backlash – “Law school students nationwide are facing growing attacks in the courts and legislatures as legal clinics at the schools increasingly take on powerful interests that few other nonprofit groups have the resources to challenge. On Friday, lawmakers here debated a measure to cut money for the University of Maryland’s law clinic if it does not provide details to the legislature about its clients, finances and cases. The measure, which is likely to be sent to the governor this week, comes in response to a suit filed in March by students accusing one of the state’s largest employers, Perdue, of environmental violations — the first effort in the state to hold a poultry company accountable for the environmental impact of its chicken suppliers.” – the effect of money on government and education…
  • From a songbird, new insights into the brain – “Some 50 laboratories around the world are studying the zebra finch, many in the hope of gleaning clues about how human language is learned. Like people and a few other species, the finch can imitate a sound it hears. The mechanisms of this vocal learning seem to be quite similar in birds and people, from the level of the brain’s anatomy down to specific genes. People with mutations in a gene called FOXP2 have several kinds of speech defects, and researchers have found songbirds cannot sing when their version of the gene is disrupted. With the zebra finch’s genome in hand, researchers have learned that a surprising number of the bird’s genes are involved in singing and listening to the songs of other zebra finches. Some 800 genes become either more or less active in the zebra finch’s neurons during singing, the researchers say in the current issue of Nature.”
  • Animal abuse as clue to additional cruelties – “Responding to growing evidence that people who abuse animals often go on to attack humans, states are increasing the penalties for animal cruelty and developing better methods for tracking convicted offenders… “It’s not that animal abuse is more prevalent,” said Stephan Otto, director of legislative affairs with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “What has changed over the past few years is the recognition that animal abuse is often a warning sign for other types of violence and neglect.”… In Idaho, which is one of the states without a felony cruelty penalty, farmers and ranchers are pushing a bill that would more clearly distinguish livestock from pets and would exempt livestock from the protections afforded pets.” – the final line speaks volumes…
  • Taiwan and fauna:
    • Ministry gives migrating butterflies helping hand – “Green protective netting stretching 860m will be set up along the Formosa Freeway for the next two weeks to help purple crow butterflies on their annual northbound migration, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. Drivers are asked to travel well within the speed limit to minimize butterfly fatalities during their yearly trek. The National Freeway Bureau will also shut down the outermost lane during peak migration hours from today to April 11.”
    • Team uses radar to track birds migrating to Kenting – “Lee Teng-chih (李登志), director of the office and a participant in Pan’s project, said the team members would provide real-time radar images of the migration to bird watchers at home and abroad on the Web so that bird watchers would know when and where they could see the birds. “Japan has a sakura blossom forecast telling people when and where they can appreciate the beauty of the blossom and we would like to build a raptor migration forecast with our system,” Lee said.”
    • Legislator urges protection of local endangered insects – “Chiu said in the letter that his father and he had seen vendors almost wipe out the population of beetles in Baguashan (八卦山), Changhwa County, while local environmentalists have been working to restore the two species of beetle in the area. “Those vendors have been catching [the beetles] without restraint. I think it is very cruel. Please stop them from catching [the insects],” Chiu said. Beetles have been popular pets in Taiwan in recent years, particularly with elementary school children. The insects are usually sold at stationary stores near elementary schools or pet stores.”
    • No molesting Chaishan’s monkeys, Kaohsiung says – “From next month, visitors to Kaohsiung’s Chaishan Mountain (柴山) who feed Formosan macaques living there will be fined, the city government said yesterday. Under the new policy, hikers are being asked to observe “four noes and one help” — do not feed the wildlife, do not play with the monkeys, do not threaten or attack them, do not let children or pets out of sight and help stop inappropriate behavior by visitors to the mountain.”
  • Through cage bars, an exotic peek into drug wars – “At almost every turn at Villa Lorena, animals display indignities suffered at the hands of man. A caiman with a severed limb stretches under the tropical sun. A macaw with a sawed-off beak flutters in its cage. Luís, a cougar who once belonged to a drug trafficker, limps around his cage, the result of having a front leg cut off. Ms. Torres speaks of each case with passion, somewhere between outrage and desperation, bringing to mind the episode in Nietzsche’s life when he broke into tears and threw his arms around a horse on the streets of Turin while attempting to save it from a coachman’s whipping.”
  • Be horrified by the existence of billionaires – “Sixty-two of the 1,011 are Russian oligarchs. Twenty eight are Turkish oligarchs. Even Carlos Slim made his fortune from being the monopolist who controls 90 percent of Mexico’s telephone landlines and 80 percent of its mobile phone subscribers. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) notes that he charges among the highest usage fees in the world. But hey! He is a billionaire and what matters today are his riches — not the manner in which the money is made. He may have started out as a productive entrepreneur. Today he is using his power to expropriate wealth on a grand scale. The contrast with his rival Gates could hardly be greater. Microsoft may have had its head-to-head confrontation with the EU Commission over anti-competitive practices, but Gates built his company by innovating around one of the great historic general purpose technologies. Information and communication technology is like the railway, internal combustion engine or air travel — a technology with massive spill-overs and implications for society. It is a classic example of productive entrepreneurship.”
  • ASEAN free trade agreements disaster for all but China – “Thailand, in particular, had a bitter experience. In 2005, tariffs for 200 items of vegetables and fruits were abolished. Thailand expected to export tropical fruit to China and import winter fruit from it at zero tariff. But what happened was that Thai farmers of garlic, longan and other fruit and vegetables were decimated by cheap Chinese imports. Worse, Chinese officials reportedly either refused to lower tariffs on Thai imports or left the Thai produce to rot in warehouses.”
  • China will not block FTAs: MAC chair – “Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said yesterday she believed Beijing would not obstruct Taiwan from signing free-trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries. “I personally do not think the mainland will interfere,” she said. “Based on the experience we have over the past 20 months, we don’t think the mainland will hamper our efforts.” When asked what she based her assertion on, Lai said the council hadn’t received any messages from China since last spring saying that Beijing would hinder Taiwan’s bid to sign agreements with other countries. When asked whether the administration had any strategy in place in the event of obstruction by Beijing, she reiterated that she did not think this would happen.” – brilliant.
  • The police in Taiwan asked Plurk to head over users’ registration details and IPs – “One of the Plurk’s founders Alvin Woon posted a message on Plurk, saying that he’s recently been asked by the police for Plukers’ personal information, IP addresses and records of their messages. Alvin was wondering what would be the due process in relation to privacy in Taiwan, as so far, he has only received a letter from the prosecution but no court orders.”
  • Signs: The most useful thing you pay no attention to – very interesting article series from Slate.  I particularly liked part v: the war over exit signs, and the mention of the symbolic language LoCoS.  It would be an interesting thing to learn.  This is the best reference I could find for it online.
  • Why net neutrality isn’t dead – Wu – “Given these kinds of problems, from 1910 on, firms that offered communications services were declared common carriers and obligated, basically, to treat everyone the same and not to charge outrageous prices. But as the 21st century began, the Bush administration, in one of several experiments in neoclassical economics, decided to abandon the common carrier model for communications. Cheered on by economists, industry, and some technologists, the FCC, under Chairman Michael Powell, declared that both DSL service and cable broadband were no longer covered by the FCC’s authority to regulate common carriers. Instead, they were “information services,” a category over which the FCC had limited say (more limited than even Powell thought). That is why the D.C. Circuit said last week that the FCC lacked the authority to punish Comcast when it began to block the popular BitTorrent protocol. It isn’t that the court hobbled the FCC; under Powell, the FCC, it turned out, had crippled itself.”
  • News sites rethink anonymous online comments – “When news sites, after years of hanging back, embraced the idea of allowing readers to post comments, the near-universal assumption was that anyone could weigh in and remain anonymous. But now, that idea is under attack from several directions, and journalists, more than ever, are questioning whether anonymity should be a given on news sites.” – I don’t know about this; my inclination is to think that the cure is worse than the disease…

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