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They were internet games developers who had made their pile by listing in the US their Shanda Interactive company; perhaps it was their way of returning part of the proceeds to the US market through funding activities of a neuroscience research center in Caltech; it is however odd they were thinking how neuroscience research could help people accept mortality and death and thus prevent suffering. |
Huh? One would think such a research should focus on how to extend life by studying the neuro-processes that trigger the successive collapse of organs during incipient dying. They also invested in a distressed chain of hospitals absorbing its debts but stating they would be passive investors. Huh again. A business that is in distress needs management oversight; saying one will not be involved is as good as encouraging the cause to continue. In any case, it's their money so let's move on.
Before the next simpleton-made-good starts writing another cheque for overseas causes, think first of those poor children in remote villages who have to carry their chairs and tables to their schools. Even a small fraction of that US115 million (on top of the other US200 million to build the centre) would have alleviated their difficulties immediately. Don't hold the chopsticks at the wrong end. Help those closer home who don't even have the basics. It's a befuddling situation; overseas huaren of limited means visit and donate to such village schools every year and yet the local tycoons and moguls donate without a second thought to rich overseas countries. California for instance is one such state of one such country; its appalling treatment of Chinese natives during its railway building period still rankles for want of sufficient compensation and apology.
Is there a plausible reason for the largesse to Caltech? Many years ago, Caltech was the foremost science institution in the US, and was even ranked ahead of MIT. Today it is still ranked very high but some of the sheen seems to have disappeared. It is renowned for research of earthquakes, jet propulsion and cosmology. As with MIT, only the cream of the country's best young science scholars get to enter each year; one wonders how many are from NY's Brooklyn College which has a strong school science reputation, probably populated by jewish students.
To continue, Caltech's graduate students swam in the same swimming pool with their professors in a collegial atmosphere; you can view that in one of the Life specials photos of about forty five years ago i recall. China's Tsinghua is probably closer to MIT than to Caltech which had one notable lecturer, the effervescent Feynman who wrote the celebrated lectures on physics. You can view some of those lectures on youtube and also see the students who were attending them. Caltech is of course also known for its jet propulsion lab which was once headed by von Karman who when young as a Hungarian jew had written equations on the dust surface of a train as it was leaving the station. von Karman's protege was of course Tsien, father of China's rocket program; although his Caltech colleagues sided with him, he had to feign illness in order to escape from the US state officials to return to China to start her rocket program just using everything memorized in his head; he however might have made a serious mistake when giving advice on the agricultural program. Lastly, earthquakes are a threat in California because of the San Andreas fault. Earthquake detection depends on sensitive instrumentation, one of which many years ago being navigational gyroscopes which was a specialty of Draper of MIT. Because of some US state bureaucrat saying no, China could not buy those gyroscopes which would have given sufficient early warning to subsequently prevent millions from dying when the last giant earthquake struck.
So it is not hazardous to guess that's why the neuroscience research for Caltech is to study how to accept death. ()
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