Apr 19

China Watch Blog reports that Tianhe-2 has started to provide computing services to the public while in-system debugging is ongoing. The first beneficiaries are users of the previous pilot system.

Located in Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province, Tainhe-2 is regarded as the world’s fastest supercomputer.

On November 18, 2013, Tianhe-2 topped the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world. The computer beat the second-placed Titan by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. Titan is housed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Tianhe-2 was built by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT).

Tianhe-2 possesses 16,000 computer nodes, carries 32,000 XeonE5 main processors and 48,000 XeonPhi coprocessors, and counts a total of 3,120,000 cores. It was delivered to the National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou (NSCC-GZ) on the east campus of Sun Yat-sen University after the completion of the first installation.

Currently, the Tianhe-2 host system is undergoing commissioning and operation trials, and providing computing services to some users. Guangzhou Supercomputing Center will hold an application promotion and make preparations to formally provide computing services.

Successful exploitation of Tianhe-2 will require a large number of professionals, especially interdisciplinary talents who possess professional knowledge and understand supercomputing.

According to personnel from the Guangzhou Supercomputer Center, there is a shortage of supercomputing professionals in China. In addition to introducing overseas supercomputing talent, an interdisciplinary supercomputer application research institute will be established in Sun Yat-sen University in the future for the domestic training of interdisciplinary supercomputing professionals.

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Apr 11

China Watch Blog has learnt that the heart of the Internet is “bleeding” from a bug in widely-used encryption technology, according to security experts.

The online threat, code-named Heartbleed, could affect millions of Chinese computer users by exposing their passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information to potential theft by computer hackers.

“Heartbleed is the No. 1 online threat this year,” said Shi Xiaohong, a security expert with Qihoo 360.

Shi likened it to a “nuclear crisis in the Internet landscape” due to its potential for damage.

More than 30 percent of domestic websites requiring web log-ins — covering online payment, e-commerce, online bank and e-mail services — have been affected by the bug. Users can’t protect their information if they have used the services of websites with OpenSSL encryption technology, even if their computers are well protected by anti-virus tools, according to Qihoo 360.

The security researchers who uncovered the threat are particularly worried about the breach because it had gone undetected for more than two years. Hackers may have been exploiting the problem over that period.

Domestic websites, including Taobao, the online shopping site, and train ticket site12306.cn, and global sites such as Yahoo were found to have the bug. By yesterday evening, most websites had been upgraded to fix the bug.

“All of our websites, including Taobao, Alipay and Tmall are safe now with system upgrading,” Alibaba said.

Beijing-based Qihoo 360 sent alerts to around 120,000 website owners in China urging them to upgrade their systems.

The Heartbleed bug was found by Google Inc and US security firm Codenomicon, and prompted the US government’s Department of Homeland Security to advise businesses to review their servers to see if they were using vulnerable versions of OpenSSL, Reuters reported.

Ordinary computer users are advised to change passwords or at least not to access websites that haven’t been upgraded.

Yahoo, which has more than 800 million users worldwide, said most of its most popular services — including sports, finance and Tumblr — had been fixed, but work was still being done on other products it didn’t identify.

In a statement, it said it was “continuously working to protect our users’ data.”

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Mar 25

China Watch Blog reports that team LISANew capital acquired in 2013 enables the company not only to carry on the AKOYA program towards LSA certification, but also to develop itself internationally.

The company, its headquarters, its team, its beliefs and projects remain located in the heart of the French Alps in Savoie; just like its activities of design, assembly and marketing airplanes, as well as services and products related to mobility. What expands is our commercial presence.

Besides the fresh momentum, this new partnership with our investors opens the doors of a market with unique potential for LISA. During the last year, we had the opportunity to introduce the AKOYA to several Chinese of varied aviation backgrounds, including professionals and aviation enthusiasts. Although general aviation is currently far from liberalization, there is little doubt that many AKOYAs will fly in the Asian skies in the coming years. China is driven by an astounding desire to develop light aviation in its territory, and the actions recently launched by the government to open the airspace show that a very promising market is about to bloom.

With this in mind, LISA decided to open its first sales office in Chengdu, in the Sichuan Province in Western China. The objectives are, on one hand to welcome customers wishing to obtain additional information about the AKOYA and to increase our international influence, and on the other hand to better understand the light aircraft certification requirements in China.

This presents us with the opportunity to participate in the creation of a favorable environment necessary to develop light sport aviation. Except for airlines, aviation is in its infancy; all the infrastructure, services (airfields, maintenance centers, flying schools and other related services) are yet to be created.

Yao ZHANG has been instrumental in connecting LISA with China and the creation of this office. An aviation enthusiast, Yao was a member of the national Chinese scale-model team and is a glider pilot. He at first considered becoming an aeronautical engineer but later decided to come to France in 2006 where he received his diplomas from SciencesPo Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies) and from l’école des Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences), two very prestigious French schools. In 2012, he launched consultancy activities in China at the benefit of relations between French and Chinese SMEs, mainly in innovation and sustainable development.

On his first meeting with LISA, Yao was seduced by the company, its airplane, its projects, and its team. “Taking part in LISA’s development is a true pride because it gathers my passions for aviation and new technologies and my entrepreneurial desire while combining French and Chinese culture that are both close to my heart.”

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Mar 25

China Watch Blog reports that twenty-five distinguished scholars and internationally recognized experts have been appointed to the Global Commission on Internet Governance’s (GCIG) new Research Advisory Network (RAN).

The Global Commission is a two-year initiative launched in January 2014, by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Chatham House. Chaired by Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, the commission will produce a comprehensive stand on the future of multi-stakeholder Internet governance.

The commission’s RAN, led by CIGI Senior Fellow Laura DeNardis, will assist in identifying and prioritizing Internet governance and Internet policy related issues within the commission’s mandate. Members of the RAN will provide expert briefings to the members of the commission and conduct research and analysis for the commission’s preparatory work and final report.

“The research advisory network will be an indispensable component of the Global Commission on Internet Governance,” said Fen Osler Hampson, co-director of the commission and director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics program. “Under the direction of Laura DeNardis, the RAN will be of great benefit to this initiative’s critical analysis and findings. I’m grateful that these experts have agreed to participate.”

The twenty-five member network consists of:

Sunil Abraham
Izumi Aizu
Peng Hwa Ang
Subimal Bhattacharjee
David Clark
Sadie Creese
Leslie Daigle
Oleg Demidov
William Dutton
Lorraine Eden
Laurent Elder
Patrik Fältström
Tobias Feakin
Urs Gasser
Clem Herman
Jeanette Hofmann
Konstantinos Komaitis
Ronaldo Lemos
Meryem Marzouki
Carolina Rossini
Michael Schmitt
Emily Taylor
Rolf H. Weber
Andrew Wyckoff
Christopher S. Yoo

Additional RAN members will be confirmed over time. For more information on the GCIG, including its twenty-nine commissioners and twenty-five research advisers, please visit: www.ourinternet.org. Follow the commission on Twitter @OurInternetGCIG.

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Mar 24

China Watch Blog reports that the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s new “Today in Energy” brief looks at how China surpassed the United States to become the world’s biggest net importer of crude oil and other liquids.

“In September 2013, China’s net imports of petroleum and other liquids exceeded those of the United States on a monthly basis, making it the largest net importer of crude oil and other liquids in the world.

The rise in China’s net imports of petroleum and other liquids is driven by steady economic growth, with rapidly rising Chinese petroleum demand outpacing production growth.”—-EIA’s Today in Energy

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Mar 23

China Watch Blog reports that college students with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) drink more alcohol than their peers, according to a new study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

In addition to the problems normally associated with alcohol abuse, the students’ heavier drinking also exacerbates their PTSD symptoms, the study found.

“The study doesn’t identify what traumas led to the students’ stress disorder, but it’s safe to assume a good portion of them are survivors of child abuse and/or neglect,” says Rayne E. Golay, psychotherapist, child advocate and award-winning author of The Wooden Chair, (www.raynegolay.com), a novel that illustrates the post-traumatic stress in the wake of child abuse and neglect.

Parental alcoholism is often a factor in child abuse and neglect. It’s compounded by the risk that as adults, these children model their behavior on their parent – including drinking alcoholically.

Golay, who specializes in addictions counseling, says that in her many years in practice, she saw one common misconception among her alcoholic patients: They all believed that their drinking didn’t affect anybody but themselves.

“That’s simply not true. In a home with an alcoholic parent, everyone suffers, the most vulnerable being the children,” Golay says. “They live in an insecure and unstable home, and because the alcoholic parent’s behavior is unpredictable and terrifying, the children learn to be constantly on guard.”

Not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, Golay is quick to note. And she’s not anti-alcohol. However, she urges parents and young adults to seriously evaluate whether alcohol is a problem in their lives, because there are solutions.

Golay offers these suggestions for people who suspect alcohol may play too important a part in their lives:

• Ask yourself the following questions; if you answer “yes” to one, alcohol may be a problem in your life.
Have you had the morning after drink? Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble? Does your drinking cause problems at home? Do you tell yourself you can stop any time you want although you keep getting drink? Have you neglected your duties because of drinking? Has anybody suggested you should stop drinking?

• Try having one drink every day for a month.
“One drink — that is, 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor — one drink, no more, no less,” Golay says. “If you can do that, you’re probably not an alcoholic.” She suggests this test because most alcoholics can remain completely abstinent for a length of time, but they’re unable to stop after one drink. To an alcoholic, one drink is too much and a million isn’t enough.

• If you think alcohol is a problem, a 28-day Minnesota Model treatment program gives good results. Golay mentions Faith Based Treatment (www.SoberRecovery.com), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (www.samhsa.gov) among other options.

The residential Minnesota Model combines detox and counseling built around the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (www.aa.org). Individualized, it includes the patient’s family.

“It’s effective because it starts with detox from all mood-altering chemicals, which is
imperative for lasting sobriety,” Golay says. “It also aims to break down denial. It forces
the patient to take a serious look at the consequences of alcohol in his or her life.”
No matter which treatment the individual chooses, aftercare and continued attendance
at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are of vital importance for lifelong sobriety.

“When the protagonist, Leini, in my book The Wooden Chair, is a young woman, she realizes that she’s relying more and more on alcohol to cope with daily life,” Golay says.

“Leini also recognizes that the abuse she suffered as a child and her parent’s drinking are family patterns passed down to her from her maternal grandmother through her own mother. In my book The Wooden Chair, Leini determines to end this cycle by getting professional help.”

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Jan 14

China Watch Blog reports the malware attack that took advantage of Yahoo’s Java-based ad network around Christmas Eve was far greater than anticipated, the company confirmed in a post (via CNET) on its help web pages.

Initially believed to have affected only European users on January 3, 2014, the malware ad attacks were then said to have occurred during December 31, 2013 – January 3, 2014.

But Yahoo on Friday revealed the attack actually took place between December 27, 2013 – January 3, 2014, and affected users outside of the European Union as well.

It’s not clear how many users may have been affected by the hack, although initial estimates from security companies said that up to 2 million machines might have been compromised during a four-day attack.

Yahoo says that the attack happened after an account was compromised, without revealing more details about said account.

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Jan 07

China Watch Blog has learnt that the US Senate has approved Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the US Federal Reserve by a vote of 56 to 26, something which comes as no surprise as the financial industry was abuzz with this news since last year. She’s the first woman to lead the US central bank in its century-long history.

Ms Yellen has long focused on fighting unemployment and backed the Federal Reserve’s recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and huge bond purchases.

She will begin her four-year term on February 1, replacing Ben Bernanke, who’s held the job for eight years. Janet Yellen has been Fed vice chair since 2010.

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Jan 04

China Watch Blog has learnt that in room-size metal boxes, secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled, “Penetrating Hard Targets”.

Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park. The development of a quantum computer has long been a goal of many in the scientific community, with revolutionary implications for fields like medicine as well as for the NSA’s code-breaking mission.

With such technology, all forms of public key encryption would be broken, including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets.

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Jan 03

China Watch Blog has learnt that marijuana users celebrated on Wednesday as Colorado became the first US state to allow retail cannabis sales, putting it in the vanguard of efforts across the country to legalise the drug.

The western state famous for its ski resorts and breathtaking mountain vistas has issued 348 retail licences — including for small pot shops — that can sell up to 28 grammes of pot to people aged 21 or older.

Washington state on the Pacific Coast will follow Colorado several months from now, when it also allows stores to begin selling cannabis.

Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti was the first person to legally purchase cannabis for recreational use in the United States.

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