Posts Tagged ‘Universities’

Proof The Distraction of Electronic Devices Means You Aren’t Paying Attention: College Students Checking Phones During Class Have Lower Grades

January 11, 2019

While reading President Trump’s latest tweets may seem like a much better alternative than listening to liberal college professors drone on about politics, a new study suggests that constantly checking your phone during class could come back to haunt you during exam time.

According to a new study in Educational Psychology, students in college classes that are allowed access to electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets that include nonacademic vices such as Facebook or Twitter tend to perform at a lower academic standard compared to classmates attending lectures where such devices were banned.

Image result for using electronic devices inschool, pictures

In the study, researchers at Rutgers University compared two separate classroom environments for learning: one class allowed tablets and cellphones for student usage, while another class banned the use of electronics entirely during lecture.

In their findings, researchers noted that students enrolled in the class that allowed smartphones and tablets to be used that admitted to using them during class performed approximately 5 percent lower (roughly half a letter grade) on the end of term final examination when compared to the population of students in the class that banned electronics.

Related image

It is also worth noting that students enrolled in the smartphone/tablet-friendly class who did not report using the devices during class performed better than their peers who chose to use the devices, but still did not perform as well as their peers in the class where electronics were banned, suggesting that such devices likely create a disruptive classroom environment that is detrimental to everyone’s grade, not just those who use devices.

The main author of the study, Arnold Glass, noted that while the usage of the devices were most detrimental to the grades of those individuals who were using the devices, the lack of rules banning their use almost certainly impact the information retention of all individuals enrolled in the class.

“These findings should alert the many dedicated students and instructors that dividing attention is having an insidious effect that is impairing their exam performance and final grade,” said Glass. “To help manage the use of devices in the classroom, teachers should explain to students the damaging effect of distractions on retention — not only for themselves, but for the whole class.”

John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute regularly.


China hushes up scheme to recruit overseas scientists

January 10, 2019

US has become increasingly suspicious of China’s Thousand Talents Programme

China’s ‘Thousand Talents Programme’ is made up of several different schemes and has recruited some 6,000 scientists

By Yuan Yang and Nian Liu in Beijing

China has asked officials to stop mentioning its premier programme to recruit the brightest tech talent from overseas, after growing suspicions over the scheme from the US. Late last year, the government ordered civil servants and recruiters not to discuss by name the “Thousand Talents Programme”, under which thousands of scientists and experts have been attracted to China with lavish grants.

Related image

The plan, which began in 2008 to boost the standard of Chinese research, and which was instrumental in bringing back a large number of scientists born in China who had grown up or studied overseas, is still active, according to a number of recent applicants and civil servants. The last application round occurred in December. But an order to hush up the programme came after US investigators turned their attention to the scientists who have taken part, especially those who previously worked in the US or who had returned to the US after spending time in China.

Image result for china, science labs, microscopes, pictures

In December, Bill Priestap, assistant director of the counter-intelligence division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned a US Senate committee that China’s “talent recruitment and “brain gain” programmes . . . also encourage theft of intellectual property from US institutions”.

The US is trying to suppress China all-round, the Thousand Talents plan is not the problem Rao Yi, professor of neurobiology at Peking University Last September, Texas Tech University warned faculty in a letter that the US Congress saw the Thousand Talents programme as “part of a broader strategy to build technological superiority” and that the State Department and Congress believed elements of the plan to be “closely allied to the Chinese military”.

The letter contained a warning: that recipients of Thousand Talents awards could be barred from Department of Defense grants, and in future possibly federal research grants, a significant disincentive for researchers. Han Lifeng, the chief executive of a talent agency that has worked with about 30 “Thousand Talents” experts, has noticed the mood shift.

“Technology competition between the US and China is fierce now. The US sets obstacles for scientists who want to come back, so China doesn’t mention the name ‘Thousand Talents Plan’ in documents or meetings any more.”

One academic at a top Chinese university was told to remove the “Thousand Talents” awards from the websites of some faculty members, in order to “protect them from suspicion”.

Others have warned against US government concerns turning into a broad-brush, racial attack against Chinese scholars, following a shortlived White House proposal to halt student visas for Chinese nationals.

“The US is trying to suppress China all-round, the Thousand Talents plan is not the problem,” said Rao Yi, a professor of neurobiology at Peking University who gave up his US citizenship after 22 years of living there in order to return to China.

Mr Rao said he had been denied visas to the US several times. At the Shenzhen Innovation Park, a tour guide skipped past the Thousand Talents slogan painted on to one wall. “We don’t mention that scheme by name any more,” she explained. I think this program has done a lot to attract talented Chinese from abroad who otherwise would’ve stayed abroad Foreign academic The national Thousand Talents programme is made up of several different schemes and has recruited some 6,000 scientists.

One major branch targets academics with job offers from a Chinese university, either to teach full-time or for a shorter summer placement. Academics usually receive about Rmb1m ($146,670) in a personal “setting-up” grant, and then up to Rmb5m extra for a research grant to be spent as they wish. Experts can receive even more from local governments and add-on grants. According to the Chinese media, some “outstanding” researchers have been awarded as much as Rmb100m.

The plan helps Chinese universities compete with their better-funded international counterparts, and has played an important role in reversing some of the brain drain of talented families who left China to seek their fortune elsewhere.

“I think this program has done a lot to attract talented Chinese from abroad who otherwise would’ve stayed abroad. I think that’s their main goal, really, to build the system back up with talent which is native to the country. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” added a foreign academic who wished to remain anonymous.

Tim Byrnes, assistant professor of physics at New York university’s Shanghai campus, and a Thousand Talents recruit, said the Chinese government had not interfered with his research or directly investigated what he was doing. “I’ve not had to give reports of my research for the Thousand Talents, and I don’t see any plans to do so,” he said.

The system can be highly opaque: Mr Han admits that the application process can be bureaucratic and require “connections” or “special channels” to make sure one is successful. As a result, although “the intention is good”, a lot of experts who are recruited are not necessarily world-class, said one professor, a recent Thousand Talents applicant.

“Some of them are reaping benefits from confusion,” the professor added.


Colleges were better when they were more ‘Paper Chase’ than origami

December 22, 2018

After a couple of years of being ridiculed for demanding “safe spaces” from speakers whose ideas “trigger” them, today’s college students might be expected to stop leaving themselves open to ridicule. But no.

Courtesy of The College Fix comes yet another story of epic campus mollycoddling across the country. Apparently, there’s a nationwide epidemic of students finding final exams so stressful that they need sugar-plum fairies to get them through.

By Quin Hillyer
Washington Examiner

Students’ perceived need to “ de-stress” is so acute that some need coloring books, others want to pet miniature horses, others want Legos, and a few were into sessions of “cloud gazing.” Many of these exercises in ultra-de-stressification were officially sponsored or encouraged not just by friendly volunteer outfits but by the metastasizingly large administrative staffs of the colleges themselves.

Image result for news for ponies at duke to lower stress

Duke University brought in ponies to help student de-stress

About the best that can be said about this story is that at least it doesn’t mention Brown University’s earlier resort to Play-Doh and blankies. Do these administrators understand the harm they do by infantilizing their students? Do the students know how pathetic it demand they be infantilized?

Image result for news for ponies at duke to lower stress

Sure, exams can be stressful. And if, as a way to break the tension, a student wants to dig out his old coloring books for a few minutes and laugh, well, more power to him. But do students really need others to organize them into pre-school-like situations, pat them on the heads, and tell them everything is really really truly going to be hunky dory?

When my age cohort was in college, we didn’t have professors who forced us to do Indian fire walks or wear hair shirts to the exams. But we also didn’t ask the Student Affairs Office to show us videos of cute widdle puppies, either. About the farthest we went in self-indulgence during exams would be to go a week without shaving, or maybe pretend we liked it when a roommate thought it was stress-relieving to play Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” 50 times in a row at high decibels.


U.S. At War With China Over Economic Espionage, Intellectual Property Theft

December 20, 2018

Recently, three major events occurred amid the trade war truce between China and the United States that point to key issues in trade negotiations and intellectual property rights.

China’s Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities, and could be extradited back to the United States. Beijing’s response was to detain two Canadians—Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor—on accusations of endangering Chinese national security. Zhang Shoucheng—a physicist and professor at Stanford University in the U.S.—committed suicide on the same day that Meng was arrested.

Theft of  intellectual property is a sensitive topic. Chinese spies were arrested by the United States in the past year or so on accusations of economic espionage. There are some indications that the focus of the Sino-U.S. trade war is no longer on tariffs, but on the infringement of intellectual property rights.

December 19, 2018
Image result for china, microchip, flag, pictures

Highlights of the Latest Revision of the US Special 301 Report

The focus of the Special 301 Report this year is technology transfer and intellectual property rights protection. Unlike previous years, the content of this report is being constantly revised in response to changes in the Sino-U.S. trade war. In its latest revision released on November 20, the United States believes that “China fundamentally has not altered its acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, and indeed appears to have taken further unreasonable actions in recent months.”

The report focuses on two major themes:

1. The impact of the Chinese government’s policies on China’s foreign direct investment.

The U.S. trade representative reviewed hundreds of reported transactions in the following technology-intensive industries: aviation; integrated circuits; information technology; biotechnology; industrial machinery; renewable energy; automobile. It concluded that evidence proved the policies and measures of the Chinese regime had a major impact on investment in each technology-intensive industry studied. At multiple levels of government—central, regional and local—the Chinese regime has guided and promoted the acquisition of U.S. companies and assets of these industries.

The report lists the names of over ten Chinese companies which include Tsinghua University, China Telecommunications Corporation, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd, and China Southern Airlines. Each company was classified into the categories of state-owned, military-civilian, and private sector in considerable detail. Although Tsinghua University is not a business, it was included in the list because many of the overseas tech talents brought to China through the Thousand Talents Plan are specially-appointed professors at Tsinghua University.

2. Under the support of state power, there are four methods for stealing U.S. intellectual property rights.

i) China continues to implement and support cyber theft, invade U.S. companies’ and other countries’ commercial networks, and engage in other illegal methods for obtaining information. These stolen information include trade secrets, intellectual property rights, technological resources and even classified information concerning negotiations between China and the United States.

ii) Although the Chinese government has relaxed restrictions on foreign investment and shareholding for certain industries, it still passes limitations on overseas investment or forces U.S. companies to transfer technology to China, while at the same time putting U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage in the global market.

iii) By exploiting imperfections in WTO (World Trade Organization) regulations, China imposes discriminatory licensing restrictions on foreign capital and steals intellectual property rights.

iv) The Chinese regime, through unfair means, promotes the acquisition of U.S. companies by Chinese firms in order to obtain advanced technology and intellectual property rights. In 2018, many Chinese firms invested in U.S. tech companies, such as those in Silicon Valley.

Of the four methods listed above, the second and third are derivatives of the “partnership period” between the United States and China. During the Kissinger era, U.S.-China relations were based on the principles “contact, cooperation, influence, change”—hoping to promote Chinese democracy by allowing economic development. To combat “using development to promote democracy,” China adopted the strategy of “using technology to change the market”—a devious and cunning method. The United States has protested against China’s unfair trade practices, but never as seriously as the current Trump administration.

The “other illegal methods for obtaining information” raised in the first method is closely linked to China’s Thousand Talents Plan that borrows American scientific and technological talents. As to the Silicon Valley venture capital investment mentioned in the fourth method, the Special 301 Report has named three Chinese venture capital institutions: 6 Dimensions Capital, Danhua Capital, and Oriza Ventures.

6 Dimensions Capital is a healthcare focused investment firm that was created due to its acquisition of four U.S. biopharmaceutical companies within one month.

The founder of Danhua Capital is Zhang Shoucheng, who committed suicide on December 1. Zhang is a tenured professor of the Departments of Physics, Electrical Engineering, and Applied Physics at Stanford University, and a member of the American Academy of Sciences. He was a candidate for the Nobel Prize for his work in physics. However, Zhang was also a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a specially appointed professor at Tsinghua University, and winner of the 2017 China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award. An investigation on Danhua’s financial practices in the United States in recent years found that the company was suspected of using venture capital to obtain U.S. technology and sending it to China, according to the Special 301 Report.

Thousand Talents Plan: Focus of the FBI

Here we must explain the Thousand Talents Plan. The CCP has always paid great attention to overseas united front work. For those who have achieved success in the scientific and technological fields in the U.S., the CCP has been constantly eyeing and hoping to bring them closer. The CCP first set up the “Yangtze River Scholars Program” to hire them back to China for part-time work or short-term academic exchanges.

Beginning in 2008, the Thousand Talents Plan was established by the United Front Department, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, with  the Organization Department of the Central Committee taking the lead. The program’s goal was to recruit experts and scholars from prestigious universities and research institutions, professional and technical personnel of well-known enterprises, and those with extensive knowledge of intellectual property rights or those have mastered core technology. Full-time returnees must work in the mainland for no less than six months a year, while short-term returnees must work at least 2 months a year in the mainland for three consecutive years. At the time, many scholars were proud to participate in the program because China and the U.S. were “important economic partners” and “strategic partners.”

However, with the frequent incidents of China’s infringement of U.S. intellectual property rights, the Thousand Talents Plan has become the focus of the FBI. In October 2017, a message was being spread among a group of Chinese-American scientists over WeChat (Chinese social media platform) : “Please ask your friends to spread the news as soon as possible. The FBI has said that Chinese who enter the Thousand Talents Plan are automatically under the FBI’s realm of surveillance.”

On June 6, a U.S. Senate Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “Thousand Talents: China’s Campaign to Infiltrate and Exploit U.S. Academia,” which disclosed information on the China-U.S. spy war. U.S. defense and intelligence officials said at the hearing that the CCP’s use of the Thousand Talents Plan to attract scientific and technological talents who were educated or working in the United States was a major part of its various efforts to transfer, replicate and eventually catch up with U.S. military and commercial technology. Its goal is to transfer U.S. technology, intellectual property rights and knowledge to China through legal and illegal means.

At present, many Chinese scientists in the United States have already been arrested and sentenced. They are Ning Xi, an automated robot expert at Michigan State University; Zhang Yiheng, a former professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech; Zheng Xiaoqing, a chief engineer of General Electric Company (GE); and Wang Chunzai, a former researcher and oceanographer at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

These scientists have a few things in common. They all went to the United States for further study, where they obtained doctoral degrees and achieved outstanding professional achievements. They are naturalized U.S. citizens and they are all scholars under the Thousand Talents Plan.

Recently, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center became the focus of the FBI, where 18 people were either arrested, dismissed, or asked to resign, including four Chinese professors. Therefore, in the American Chinese community, there is a saying that “the Thousands Talents Plan has become a list of prisoners.” Since August, China has kept secret its recruitment work for the Thousand Talents Plan.

“Made in China 2025”—a “Roadmap to Theft”

At the beginning of the Sino-U.S. trade war, Beijing understood that the biggest concern of the United States is not the trade deficit but the long-term competitiveness of the country. A new notice concerning industrial upgrade and technological transformation was issued by the General Office of the State Council of China on December 10. But it did not mention “Made in China 2025”—China’s top industrial development strategy that was vigorously promoted in the past. However, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that although China is no longer emphasizing its “Made in China 2025,” “that doesn’t mean they’ve dropped it,” according to a Reuters report.

On December 12, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the issue of Chinese espionage. John Demers, Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division, testified at the hearing that “Made in China 2025” is a roadmap to theft. From 2011 to 2018, more than 90% of national espionage cases involve China— China is hastening operations. “China’s strategy is the same: rob, replicate and replace. Rob the American company of its intellectual property, replicate the technology, and replace the American company in the Chinese market, and one day, the global market,” Demers said.

California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris proposed a bill to amend the current U.S. economic espionage law and relax some of its restrictions so as to allow U.S. prosecutors to directly prosecute those engaging in economic espionage abroad—those individuals whose thievery brings “real economic impact” to the United States.

The 90-day grace period agreed between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 summit meeting in Argentina was for the purpose of resolving China’s problem of intellectual property rights infringement. Through analysis of various information released by the United States, this round of negotiations emphasized three parts: first, China must promise not to steal intellectual property in the future; second, China must form “domestic supervision” by including participation from a U.S. representative—for instance, a U.S. representative was dispatched after HSBC was punished for violating regulations; third, whether to investigate previous infringement violations, as well as to what extent to conduct such investigations.

Based on current public information, Liu He—the Chinese vice premier—was originally expected in the United States on December 10, but he did not arrive as scheduled. The intellectual property rights spy war has restarted, with the bridge for spy exchange being in a third country, Canada. These complicated multilateral negotiations will be extremely difficult to resolve.

He Qinglian is a prominent Chinese author and economist. Currently based in the United States, she authored “China’s Pitfalls,” which concerns corruption in China’s economic reform of the 1990s, and “The Fog of Censorship: Media Control in China,” which addresses the manipulation and restriction of the press. She regularly writes on contemporary Chinese social and economic issues.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


American Universities: 93 percent of U.S. college professors said that under Trump the United States is “less respected”

December 17, 2018

Republican presidents have never fared well in the offices of America’s mostly liberal college professors, but President Trump is taking it especially hard, according to a unique survey of “international relations scholars” and political science teachers.

Of 1,157 polled in the Teaching, Research and International Policy project at the College of William and Mary, 93 percent said that under Trump the United States is “less respected.”

What’s more, just 4 percent said that the U.S. is respected at the same level in past years, and a tiny 2 percent said that U.S. gets more respect abroad than previously.

Image result for harvard, photos

The poll bolsters the criticism of Trump on many campuses, but challenges claims inside the administration that the president has boosted U.S. credibility overseas with his trade policies, stepped up war on terrorism, and outreach to North Korea.

The findings parallel Democratic views of the president. Pew Research Center, in an analysis of the survey, said that in its tests 87 percent of Democrats feel that the U.S. is less respected under Trump.

Republicans don’t agree. Some 42 percent said the U.S. is less respected, and only 28 percent feel it’s major problem.

“While majorities of Democrats viewed the U.S. as less respected internationally at various points during the Obama administration, there was a 29-percentage-point increase in the share saying this between 2016 and 2017 following Donald Trump’s election. Similarly, the share of Republicans saying that the U.S. is less respected abroad dropped by 28 percentage points from the end of the Obama administration to when Trump took office,” said Pew.


Morning Prayer for Monday, December 17, 2018 — “Look How Great The World Is Doing Without God” — “Maybe We Should Pray”

December 17, 2018

The way of faith is for everybody who really wants to live. But many people can go through life without much of it. Many are doing so, to their own sorrow. The world is full of lack of faith. Many people have lost confidence in any meaning in the universe. Many are wondering if it has any meaning at all. Many are at loose ends. Life has no goal for many. They are strangers in the land. 

Avicenna developed ‘probably the most influential and interesting medieval attempt to show that God exists’, says Prof Peter Adamson. Photograph: Detlev van Ravenswaay/ Getty images

Meditation for the Day

“He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the just and the unjust.” God does not interfere with the working of natural laws. The laws of nature are unchangeable; otherwise we could not depend on them. As far as natural laws are concerned, God makes no distinction between good and bad people. Sickness or death may strike anywhere. But spiritual laws are also made to be obeyed. On our choice of good or evil depends whether we go upward to true success and victory in life or downward to loss and defeat.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may choose today the way of the spiritual life. I pray that I may live today with faith and hope and love.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day



 — (Prayer and Spiritual Practice and service to others help us to this)

Remember: Everything you feed your brain contributes to good mental health or your disorders… This is why quiet daily meditation and even prayer is recommended by many experts….

See also:

The Islamic thinker who ‘proved’ God exists



See also:

Aristotle’s argument for the existence of God

We just recently became interested on Aristotle’s “Metaphysics” after a professor we know said, “His is the inconvenient truth. Hundreds of years before Christ, Aristotle believed he proved the existence of God using logic from his teacher Plato. College students today don’t want to think — even though they cast out religion. Therefore, Aristotle is usually overlooked these days….”

Can’t make truth, ideas, monuments or God go away by refusing to accept them!

Totalitarian universities and suppression of the truth

December 17, 2018

Totalitarianism doesn’t always come wearing jackboots. It can curl its malign tendrils around us without massed parades, torture chambers, or firing squads.

During the Cold War, most Warsaw Pact states bore only a mild resemblance to George Orwell’s Oceania. They were altogether more banal, more tawdry, more sordid. Yes, they depended on police informers and, yes, only one party was allowed to win elections. But, by the 1970s, quite a lot of normal life had reasserted itself. There were shops and underground punk bands and sports teams and even limited foreign travel.

The defining feature of totalitarianism, the characteristic that made life in Erich Honecker’s East Germany or Gustav Husak’s Czechoslovakia so miserable, was the not the repression of free elections but the repression of free inquiry. People were afraid to open their mouths in case they said the wrong thing.

By  Dan Hannan
Washington Examiner

Image result for Oxford University, pictures

The consequences of expressing an unorthodox opinion were not usually judicial. A few committed dissidents were locked up for sedition, but, more typically, the penalties were unofficial. Your driving license would somehow go missing in the system. Your kids would lose their university places. Above all, you’d be unable to find any but menial jobs. The bitter joke in Czechoslovakia was that the window cleaners were professors, poets, and playwrights.

Can you imagine living in such a society, where your words, though they broke no written law, might condemn you? Where saying the wrong thing, even unintentionally, could end your career?

Welcome to our universities.

Last week, more than 200 academics demanded that Cambridge University sack a young scholar named Noah Carl who was guilty, they averred, of “racist pseudoscience.” They accused Carl of “vital errors in data analysis and interpretation,” although they failed to cite any of these errors. They went on: “Carl’s published work and public stance on various issues, particularly on the claimed relationship between ‘race’, ‘criminality’ and ‘genetic intelligence’, leads us to conclude that his work is ethically suspect and methodologically flawed.”

Despite the quotation marks, none of Carl’s works is being quoted there, and for a good reason. As far as I can make out, he has not himself written about any relationship between race and intelligence.

His actual offense seems to be that he published a paper arguing that scholars ought to be free to explore such issues. His argument was, in essence, that repressing academic research is more damaging than reaching uncomfortable conclusions. Instead of denying that some traits might be inherited, he argued, antiracists should take their stand on the firm ground that treating people differently because of their ethnicity is morally repugnant, irrespective of any conclusions that science reaches.

This point is worth stressing. Carl has not himself carried out any research on the heritability of IQ. He has simply defended the right of researchers to follow their studies as they see fit. Yet, it is precisely the defense of intellectual freedom that, paradoxically, upsets so many academics these days.

A year ago, for example, Nigel Biggar of Oxford University, arguably Britain’s senior academic theologian, was similarly denounced by a professorial mob for suggesting that the assessment of the British Empire should be rigorous and measured rather than unequivocally condemnatory. (Full disclosure: Biggar, a clever, modest and devout man, was my college chaplain when I was an Oxford undergraduate.)

Again, the pursuit of disinterested inquiry — the very reason that universities are supposed to exist — is nowadays seen as a provocation.

It’s hard not to recall the attitude of premodern churchmen, who saw certain subjects as beyond argument. Darwinism was not assessed dispassionately in clerical circles. It was not assessed at all. Even to study such an idea was at first considered blasphemous.

Most societies sacralize certain values, sometimes pretty arbitrarily. The doctrine of diversity, equality, and inclusion is, in a sense, our modern Trinity. But note the extraordinary reversal. Darwin’s theories were, by and large, taken up by people who preferred science to faith, evidence to dogma. Evolutionary biology was seen as a rational and progressive discipline, a challenge to obscurantism, and it eventually prevailed for that reason.

Today, though, evolutionary biology has become the most dangerous of topics to people who regard themselves as progressive in other contexts. They are the first to howl down antiscientific prejudices when it comes to, say, climate change. But when confronted with this topic, they suddenly act like medieval inquisitors, refusing to allow any discussion that might offend against the approved dogmas.

I leave the last words to Frederick Douglass — words which Carl quotes approvingly, and which recall the days when leftists saw free speech as an uncomplicated good: “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”



A Death In Silicon Valley ‘With Chinese Characteristics’ — And China’s infiltration of Silicon Valley

December 15, 2018

On December 1 the distinguished Chinese quantum physicist, venture capitalist, and Stanford University professor Zhang Shoucheng died in what news reports are calling a suicide.

Image result for U.S. , China, Flags, pictures

The news of his death has been upstaged in the media by the arrest that same day of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese IT giant Huawei, in Vancouver (discussed in my last column). Zhang’s death is certainly a much greater human tragedy; but it’s equally significant in drawing attention to the lengths China is going in order to win its battle for high-tech supremacy with the U.S., including on our home turf in Silicon Valley.

Related image

Zhang Shoucheng

Zhang Shouchen’s story is like something out of a John Le Carre novel, or maybe David Ignatius’s recent thriller Quantum Spy. Intellectually gifted, with a career laden with academic honors including a distinguished professorship at ShanghaiTech University as well as at Stanford, Zhang’s research in quantum physics even sparked rumors he was a candidate for a Nobel Prize.

Despite being a naturalized U.S. citizen, Zhang maintained close contact with the Communist regime in China (the head of ShanghaiTech, for example, is the son of former party leader Jiang Zemin). His company Digital Horizon Capital, known by the acronym DHVC, has been identified as part of a major Chinese infiltration effort into Silicon Valley, according to the U.S. Trade Representative Richard (sic) Lighthizer’s latest report on China—a report released just days before Zhang’s death.

By  Arthur Herman — 

Lighthizer’s 53-page report—an update of his landmark March 2018 report on China’s unfair trade practices—came out on November 20 and is a devastating expose of China’s “unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices,” including including a major blitz to buy its way into Silicon Valley, in order to harvest the technologies it wants from the best American high-term firms, both large and small.

Image result for robert lighthizer, photos

Robert Lighthizer

Lighthizer’s report specifically named Zhang’s DHVC as part of the “web of entities” set up in Silicon Valley “to further the industrial-policy goals of the Chinese government.” Zhang’s DHVC, as it turns out, is heavily back by the investment arm of an entity called the Zhongguancum Development Corporation (ZDG), a Chinese government state-owned firm, which revealed on its website during DHVC’s launch that Zhang’s outfit was going to focus on innovative technology being fostered at Stanford and elsewhere in Silicon Valley, for the benefit of ZDG.

Confusing? It’s actually very simple. DHVC was specifically set up to provide a steady stream of American-developed technology and IP to ZDG, which ZDG uses to build up China’s high-tech hubs including ShanghaiTech, as well as companies like Ali Baba and Baidu (who invested heavily in DHVC’s first round of funding). From there those technologies and IP can be used to increase the global market share of Chinese high-tech industry—but also to help to reinforce China’s Great Firewall and closed Internet; its police state surveillance of its citizens; in addition to boosting China’s military competition with the U.S.

In an ironic twist, Zhang’s associations even have a direct link to Ms. Meng and Huawei, since DHVC also helped to fund a company that provided Huawei phones with the technology to allow users to use their knuckles for activating their phones. That technology is called FingerSense and was developed by Qeeco, which just happens to be a U.S. company—even though both the CIA and FBI have warned against using Huawei phones and AT%T and Verizon won’t sell them.

There’s no doubt that the Lighthizer report, and news of Ms. Meng’s arrest, made Zhang and his associations increasingly radioactive, especially with the increased scrutiny of China’s infiltration of Silicon Valley. There has been no police investigation of his death on December 1, and his family insist it was a suicide. But there are those who wonder if that claim is accurate, and whether—given Zhang’s far-reaching and potentially explosive knowledge of China’s activities in Silicon Valley–Chinese agents have had a hand in his demise.

Either way, Zhang’s story is a tragedy. But it is also a warning, that China’s competition with the U.S. for high-tech supremacy involves Beijing establishing beachheads right here in the U.S. These include the place where America’s high-tech crown jewels are kept, namely Silicon Valley. It’s time to take the necessary steps to make sure that we don’t lose those crown jewels through neglect or greed, and thereby lose the high-tech race for the future.

Private sector competition is the key to lowering the costs of college

December 12, 2018

There’s a crisis in our higher education system today. College tuition has skyrocketed to record highs, leaving many students unable to afford college without taking out thousands of dollars in student loans from the government.

College tuition started rising steeply several decades ago when the federal government began directly issuing loans to help students pay for higher education. Because the government was committing itself to loaning out the full price of tuition for students, colleges realized they could charge whatever they wanted, and the taxpayer would foot the bill. One study showed that for every dollar of subsidized loans disbursed, college tuition jumped by 58 cents.

As a result, student loan debt in America now totals over $1.5 trillion and affects more than 44 million people, outweighing all other types of debt.

By Ron Paul

Image result for college in america, photos

Large numbers of these indebted students are struggling to enter the job market because many degrees being offered at universities don’t provide students with marketable skills. As a result, according to one study, over a third of college graduates are underemployed, with many more struggling to find good jobs with the degrees they earned.

Because many students have massive debts while also struggling to find employment, the number of people defaulting on student loan payments is climbing, meaning financial health, and even the ability to get a license to work, are at risk for millions of Americans.

It’s not unlike the housing bubble that caused the Great Recession a decade ago, where government policies encouraging people to take out home loans regardless of their ability to pay led to widespread defaults and foreclosures. This student loan bubble isn’t sustainable, which means taxpayers may be on the hook even more if it bursts.

The solution to this problem is to increase competition from the private sector.

Time and time again, in every aspect of our economy, free-market competition produces better products at more affordable prices. The same is true in higher education. If we allow for true free-market competition, the price to get a degree and learn important skills will come down.

There’s already some competition in higher education that is helping to reduce costs, such as more affordable community colleges, private schools, and online programs. However, further solutions are needed to make college truly affordable for everyone.

The technology sector offers a strong example of what free-market solutions to our struggling higher education system would look like.

For students who want to learn how to code — which is an increasingly useful skill in the modern economy — there are a lot of options besides earning a traditional degree. Students can attend coding bootcamps, which are short-term courses designed to teach students how to code without getting a traditional degree.

There are coding bootcamps all across America, including devCodeCamp in Milwaukee and Full Stack Academy based in New York, as well as many other bootcamps online. No matter what your ZIP code is, if you’re ready to work hard and learn a skill, the private sector can give you the chance.

That’s just one example of how education can and will succeed if the government gets out of the way of private sector innovation and competition. The free market is always better at providing quality services at lower costs than the government, which is why we should work to expand alternative private education into more sectors. That was my aim when I founded the Ron Paul curriculum several years ago.

Education is no different from anything else in our society: More private-sector innovation and competition will inevitably yield better results at lower costs to consumers.
Ron Paul is a former Republican congressman from Texas.

Graphic from:

Colleges In The US

China’s campaign to undermine U.S., democratic values sparks controversey

November 30, 2018

Chinese media on Friday hit back at a U.S. academic report which urged the United States to engage in “tit-for-tat” retaliation to counter what it said was China’s widening campaign for influence which threatened to undermine democratic values.

The 213-page report, published by the U.S. think tank Hoover Institution on Thursday, said China’s ruling Communist Party had in recent years “significantly accelerated” both the investment and intensity of its global influence-seeking efforts.

Image result for china, u.s., flags, pictures

The report was penned by a group of more than 30 prominent Western experts, such as Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York, many whom had long advocated for closer engagement with China.

The sharper tone comes as President Xi Jinping has increased repression at home and adopted what the report describes as an “increasingly forward and aggressive posture on the global stage”.

China’s state-run Global Times said the report’s threat assessment was unfounded.

“We believe the Chinese infiltration into the United States the report describes does not match up with China’s objective aspirations,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

The report, however, found that there was now a “surprising” level of bi-partisan scepticism about China’s intentions and a willingness to push back against its “predatory” policies.

“China is exploiting America’s openness in order to advance its aims on a competitive playing field,” it said. “Once largely a form of economic competition, China’s recent turn to military and political rivalry with the United States has changed the whole equation of the bilateral relationship.”

In order to counter China’s activities, the report makes a series of suggestions for United States lawmakers, institutions and businesses that it said could help ensure “transparency, integrity and reciprocity”.

It recommends denying U.S. visas to Chinese journalists and having scholars affiliated with the Chinese government-run “Thousand Talents Programme” registered as a foreign agent.

The report also lauded recent legislation that strengthened the review process by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency panel that assesses the national security implications of investment.

Legislation passed in June by U.S. President Donald Trump was a “substantial improvement” that closed loopholes that China had been exploiting, it said.

The authors also included a note of caution that China’s efforts should not be exaggerated.

“China has not sought to interfere in a national election in the United States or to sow confusion or inflame polarization in our democratic discourse the way Russia has done,” it said.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd and Philip Wen; Editing by Michael Perry