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Post time 2007-12-17 09:06:36 |Display all floors
Chinese automation scientist honored for “smart” ideas 2007-12-12

    BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- A leading Chinese automation expert has been named a "2007 Distinguished Scientist" by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for his breakthrough contributions to intelligent control and management for "smart" consumer electronics.

    Wang, a deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Automation, is the head of a national lab of complex systems and intelligence science. He was the first Chinese mainland scientist to be honored by the U.S.-based academic group that annually selects the world's best computing scientists with the Nobel Prize-equivalent Turing Award.

    Wang, who is also a University of Arizona professor, led his Chinese colleagues in a study of how to put home electrical appliances upgrades on the Internet.

    "Upgrading high-end appliances and powerful computers are costly," Wang said on Wednesday. "But the linked world via the Internet provides us with a connected lifestyle that is much cheaper and with more energy-efficient devices."

    Wang tried to materialize his idea to connect inexpensive, re-configurable home appliances to centrally-operated "smart control agents."

    With his team, he devised the idea of using shared smart control agents for all appliance families. Each appliance had just enough memory space and basic processing power by which electrical appliance manufacturers could effectively cut costs.

    All the smart work could be done by computer-centered control agents. In this way, each appliance needed much less computing power and could be quickly upgraded with software. The only time a consumer needed to buy a new one was when there was a major hardware upgrade in certain industries, Wang said.

    Following his recruitment by CAS in 1998 as a principal investigator for cutting edge intelligence research, Wang helped forge a research-industry alliance between CAS, the University of Arizona and Kelon Electronics Group.

    Kelong invested 10 million U.S. dollars, together with research funds from academia worth 1.25 million U.S. dollars, in researching and developing intelligent control systems.

    Wang envisioned two central controllers, one in the house and another at the appliance company headquarters. The headquarters would have a super operation center that would know the specific needs and habits of every family using its appliances.

    "Appliances are now made with a one-size-fits-all control algorithms which is quite inefficient," Wang said. "In fact, consumers use only some of the functions designed for the average users. Some dormant functions might never be used by consumers and that is a waste."

    In widely using Wang's intelligent control system, appliance producers or third-party companies could take data from households and design custom control agents and re-train appliances for tailored functions via the Internet.

    In 2004, to honor his work in intelligent control systems and applications to complex systems, Wang was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
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Post time 2007-12-17 09:13:59 |Display all floors
Top Chinese scientist receives prestigious British chemistry society's highest honor 2007-12-14

    BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- One of China's top chemists, Bai Chunli, becomes the first Chinese scientist honored by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) of the United Kingdom for his innovative research on chemistry.

    Richard Pike, RSC chief executive officer, granted the certificates of the honorary fellow of the RSC to Bai in Beijing, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) website reported on Friday.

    Bai is among the 87 global academic celebrities, including a handful of Nobel laureates in chemistry, to earn the extraordinary honor. The RSC constitution stipulates the total number of honorary fellows should be no more than 120 and they must undergo a rigorous nomination and election process.

    The 54-year-old chemist, deputy CAS president and president of the Chinese Chemical Society, is leading the most cutting-edge research on molecular nanostructure and nanotechnology in China, which earned him election in April 2006 as the elite foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

    Bai studied as a postdoctorate at the California Institute of Technology from 1985 to 1987, and previously focused on the structure and properties of polymer catalysts and molecular mechanics, which are core and original studies in physical chemistry.

    In the mid 1980s, Bai shifted his academic interest to scanning tunnelling microscopy and molecular nanotechnology, which are expected to lay the theoretical basis for developing revolutionary materials in the nanometer scale.

    Bai has netted almost all major national science awards and was named an RSC fellow in 2006.

    As chief scientist for a national steering committee of nanasicence and related technologies, Bai masterminds research strategies for China in the field.

    The RSC, which groups more than 44,000 members from diverse areas of the chemical sciences worldwide, is the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.
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Post time 2007-12-21 09:05:14 |Display all floors
诸葛亮,孔明(Zhuge Liang,Kong Ming)
诸葛亮,孔明(Zhuge Liang,Kong Ming)
Zhuge Liang's forefathers had been eminent servants of the state, but he was orphaned in youth. His ability and knowledge of statecraft were prominent, but he chose to farm his land in obscurity before Liu Bei won over him.

He helped Liu set up the kingdom of Shu in western China, in rivalry with the kingdoms of Wei and Wu after the disintegration of the Han dynasty.

He served both Liu Bei and his son and heir, Liu Chan, devotedly, and died on campaign trying to reconquer the land then occupied by Wei.

Through such works as the Sanguozhi Yanyi and popular operas, Zhuge Liang has become a legendary figure in Chinese culture.
Zhuge Liang Pays a Mourning Call

This is a story from Three Kingdoms. Zhou Yu, chief commander of Wu, Was talented and proficient in strategies and tactics but was narrow-minded and intolerant of others. He discussed with Zhuge Liang plans to conquer Cao Cao while simultaneously pondering how to murder Zhuge Liang. Zhou Yu had been wounded by a poisonous arrow when he was attacking Nanjun. Zhou's wound burst when he learned that Zhuge Liang had already taken over Nanjun, Jingzhou and Xiangyang. Zhou Yu, with a healing wound, racked his brains for ways to capture Jingzhou. His strategies, however, were all seen through by Zhuge Liang who even sent him a mocking message. Zhou Yu was vexed again. "Since You(the Heaven) made me, Zhou Yu, why did You make Zhuge Liang too?" Zhou Yu grudgingly asked before he took his last breath.
Learning of Zhou Yu's demise, Zhuge Liang decided to go to pay respects. Fearing that Zhuge Liang might be murdered, Liu Bei send Zhao Yun with 500warriors to protect him. Before Zhou Yu's coffin, Zhuge Liang personally offered libation, kneeled on the ground, and read his eulogy. Tears of grief gushed forth from Zhuge Liang. All the generals from Wu were moved. When Lu Su saw Zhuge Liang was in such grievance, he said to himself, "Zhou Liang was narrow-minded and he brought on his own death."


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Post time 2007-12-31 22:59:10 |Display all floors
One man's Utopia -- a Chinese farmer gives back to nature
Updated: 2007-12-31 16:23

Beijing -- Farming without chemical fertilizer, pesticides, machinery or plastic membrane may indeed seem old fashioned, or unenlightened in many people's eyes, in an era when so-called modern agriculture has spread to nearly every remote corner of the country.

At a time when there are worries about food safety and environmental pollution, a Chinese farmer, however, is showing the world there is a healthier choice of living that is much more environmentally friendly. The latest issue of "Life Week" featured just that in its inspiring story about An Jinlei.

Thirty-something An lives in Dongzilong Village, Hengshui District, Hebei Province, barely 100 kilometers from Beijing, the country's capital. Ever since his wife and himself contracted some 50 mu (about 3.4 hectares) of land, they decided to discard modern farming methods that may harm the earth and their produce.

At first, fellow villagers thought the couple were strange and stupid. For sometime now, farmers had been used to ploughing machines each spring that crushed and buried last season's plastic membrane in the soil.

"In 10 years time, the plastics in the soil would be one centimeter thick. You still call that farmland?" An said. What he fought against was in fact an effective method that has been widely employed in China's rural areas to raise farming output.

Compared with his fellow villagers, An spends times more effort and labor on his land. When farmers stay at home enjoying an easy winter, An still works the soil with a shovel and pickaxe to prepare for the coming spring planting.

He is proud for his products are all organic. "With pesticide, crops may survive insects. But when all insects die, the natural system in the soil is dead too." Instead An preferred earthworms to scarify the soil rather than using herbicide.

He said everyone knew that grain and vegetables grown on chemical fertilizer didn't have good taste. But the old generation, whose heart still fluttered with fear of famine, only wanted high food yields. For this, chemical fertilizer provided the best guarantee.

In his first few harvests, An did not get high yields. A few years later, however, his crops began to beat his neighbors. "It's because the vitality of the soil had recovered."

While his maize cobs were smaller than others, the seed was of a much higher quality; the fibre of his cotton was also much longer.

"Our land belongs to nature, it is not supposed to serve us only," he said, believing that all forms of life should have the right to live on the land.

As evidence, he planted one mu of millet especially for sparrows and other birds. The piece of land had since become a haven for birds, feeding thousands when the millet is ripe. What made the farmer especially proud was that these birds only feasted on the millet prepared for them and seldom trespassed the surrounding crops.

An has a bad impression of urban life, with "food grown from chemical fertilizer and pesticide, and the noise at night". For this reason, he has refused most of the frequent invitations he has received from organizations that promoted organic agriculture.

But he is not short of city friends, many of whom come and live with the couple for a period of time. Some say they want to experience pastoral lives, some say they just want to flee the pressure of urban life. Whatever their purpose, they all loved the food from An's land.

An has a Utopia in his head that he vividly described. "If only there was no factories and everyone worked on his own piece of land, our life would be healthy, our Earth would be healthy."

He has come to know that he himself alone could not change the society; he could not even influence people at his surroundings. "At first I wanted to be a pioneer and hoped people would follow my practice. But later on, I found it's impossible," he said.

"They want high yield but do not want to work hard. They continue to rely on chemical fertilizer and pesticide."

An has received many visiting groups who promote environmental protection. At first he thought they were right by urging people to use less resources and protect the environment. Soon he developed a disgust for them just because "they fly here and there in planes. It's a waste of resources in itself".

He too had flown once, to Thailand for a discussion with a local farming association. However, he vowed he would never fly again. "I was greatly depressed in the plane," he said.
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Post time 2008-1-16 00:07:54 |Display all floors
A life of science and surprises
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-14 06:55

For many born in 1960s' China, their childhood dream was to have enough to eat.

Chen Zhangliang, born in 1961 in a remote and poor fishing village of coastal Fujian Province, was no exception.

But his life, as he frequently points out, has been full of luck and surprises.

Chen, one of the country's pioneers in genetic engineering, got a new year surprise during the recent ministerial- and provincial-level personnel reshuffle - he was elevated from his position of president of China Agricultural University to vice-chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The move has surprised academic circles. As a friend who has known Chen for more than two decades, Huang Jikun, chief scientist at the China Agricultural Policy Research Center, believes the new position is "a big challenge" for Chen.

In an interview with China Daily, Huang described Chen as "frank, decisive, tireless and aggressive".

Regarded as outstanding returnee scholars, Huang and Chen have been long on advisory bodies assisting the premier and other senior leaders.

Chen's first fact-finding trip in his new position was to visit Guangxi's Baise, a poverty-stricken region where the late leader Deng Xiaoping launched a revolutionary uprising in 1929.

"The visit can refresh our pioneering sprit on the way ahead," said Chen, who feels grateful to Deng "from the bottom of my heart" as his opening-up policy allowed the scientists-turned-officials to study overseas.

Jing Yunchuan, director of Beijing-based Gaotong Law Service and a fellow alumni of Washington University, said: "Chen's move has again shown the leadership's regard for overseas returnees."

But news that "Brother Liang" (Liangge) was to leave China Agricultural University (CAU) left the campus feeling sad late last month. "Liangge" is an affectionate term of address students use for Chen, who has been president of CAU since 2002.

"Nobody wants Liangge to leave because he really cares about us. He'll remain our president forever, wherever he goes," said Li Lan, 19, a second-year English major.

Many students at CAU have Chen's name card and he frequently told them to "come to me if you have a problem".

The compassion and accessibility earned Chen great respect, perhaps unmatched by few university presidents. A 2005 survey by found that around 80 percent of students didn't support, appreciate or even know who their university presidents were.

Chen has stood out for long. At the age of 19, he was the only one accepted to university from more than 100 high-school graduates in his home county of Fuqing.

When he graduated, he was picked to study transgenic plant engineering as a doctoral student at University of Washington. Chen, whose academic career focused on gene cloning and developing disease- and pest-resistant plants, completed his doctoral degree in biology in 1987.

Then State councilor Song Jian asked Chen to return to Beijing to set up the National Laboratory of Plant Genetic Engineering at Peking University.

He was promoted as associate professor at the age of 26 before becoming a full professor and working as deputy president of Peking University prior to becoming president of CAU in 2002.

Among his many honors are the UNESCO Javed Husain Prize for Young Scientists and Time's Global 100 Roster of Young Leaders for the New Millennium, as well as the Science and Technology prizes from the Ministry of Education.

He was also named as outstanding alumni by the University of Washington, which regards him as one of China's most prominent scientists.

Chen has published seven books and more than 150 research papers; and holds seven patents with an equal number pending approval.

21st Century contributed to the article

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Post time 2008-1-18 03:47:48 |Display all floors
His camera captures the essence of country
By Raymond Zhou
Updated: 2008-01-16 08:17

Liu Heung Shing advises organizations like the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artist Agency and has worked more than a decade as a senior executive at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and Time Warner.

But what he prizes most is his 20-year career as a photographer.

Liu is the only ethnic Chinese to have won a Pulitzer for photography - for spot news photography in 1992. Through his lens, the world has come to see China going through dramatic changes, from the aftermath of the death of Chairman Mao to its rise as an economic powerhouse.

To present his "personal journey" of what he felt and experienced in China, he is compiling a collection of photographs. "I call it 'China as seen by Chinese photographers' and the primary motive is to reaffirm the progress of New China despite early setbacks," he noted.

What distinguishes him is his unique cross-cultural perspective. He says foreign reporters may take very good photos of China, but they invariably employ a foreign cultural perspective. Internationally-famed French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson was once quoted as saying that it is important for photographers to synchronize their eyes and hearts.

On the other hand, Liu does not identify with some of the photos published locally that have a strong dose of ideology and publicity.

"China is changing so fast that an authentic Chinese perception will need to evolve, but it may take generations for that," he said in an interview at his traditional courtyard house in a Beijing hutong.

As a foreign correspondent, Liu spent the bulk of his journalistic years around the world in cities such as Beijing, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Seoul and Moscow.

In 1954, Liu returned as a toddler from Hong Kong - where he was born - to Fuzhou, his parents' hometown, and experienced first-hand the Great Leap Forward as a primary school student.

In 1960, he left Fujian to return to Hong Kong. "My involvement with China spans the age of New China," he said.

Liu is keenly aware of "the power of photography".

In this digital age, when everyone can be a photographer, people may forget that photography offers "an interpretative point of view".

"You have to capture 'the decisive moment and the essence of humanity' when everything falls into a picture frame". An art critic of Newsweek magazine recently opined that photography in many ways is the easiest thing to do, therefore the hardest.

As a reporter for Time magazine, Liu traveled to Guangzhou in 1976 - the farthest he was allowed to go - and spent 10 days observing reactions of ordinary people mourning the death of Mao shortly before the Gang of Four was toppled. "I could feel this was the beginning of a big change," he recalled.

Liu said that Westerners "consistently underestimate" Chinese people's capacity to adapt because it is not so apparent for people who are not native Chinese to see that "pragmatism is in the DNA of the Chinese and it has been harnessed by thousands of years of poverty".

"The level of Chinese self-confidence and tolerance of other cultures will be commensurate with economic strength," he said.

His book, China 1949-2008, due out later this year, will be sprinkled with quotes from some 200 Chinese and foreign personalities which he calls "the voices of observers".

"I've done well by professional standards," he said. "But at heart I'm still a reporter and love to see how the media can play a more positive role, be it a book, a blog, an article, a speech or a commentary - or a picture."

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Post time 2008-1-28 08:18:55 |Display all floors
India gives Indologist Ji Xianlin top award
By Wang Shanshan (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-28 07:34

The Chinese are busy boning up on English, but few know that many English words have roots in the language of their neighbor India.

"Mandarin", the English word for an official in imperial China, for example, is derived from the Sanskrit word "mantri", which means counselor; and "orange" has its origins in the Sanskrit name of the fruit.

It is through the efforts of Ji Xianlin - considered by many to be the country's foremost Indologist - and his students that many Chinese got to know the language of Sanskrit, the epic Ramayana and other achievements of Indian civilization.

In a rare honor, the Indian government conferred Ji the Padma Bhushan - one of the country's top civilian awards - on Republic Day on Saturday. The 97-year-old scholar is the first Chinese to receive the award.

Wang Bangbei, a professor of Sanskrit at Peking University, told the Times of India newspaper: "This is a great event. The award will have a positive effect on the way ordinary Chinese look at India."

Ji chose to major in Sanskrit in 1936, when he was a student at the University of Gottingen in Germany. The reason was that "Chinese culture has been so much influenced by Indian culture, and great discoveries can be made in research on the two nations' cultural relationship," he wrote in his best-selling biography 10 Years in Germany.

In the following seven decades, he made discoveries not only about the spread of Buddhism from India to China but also about the export of the skills of making paper and silk from China to India.

He wrote seven books, including a short history of India, apart from translating Ramayana from the original Sanskrit to Chinese in poetry form.

He did the translation secretly during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). His memoir of the 10-year turmoil, titled Memoirs from the Cowshed and published in 1998, touched the hearts of millions of Chinese readers with the dignity of an intellectual in the face of both physical and mental torture.

Ji Xianlin

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