China’s big hack. 

You may have seen some headlines about China managing to slip extra chips onto servers operated by Apple, Amazon and other US tech companies. This is a link to the Bloomberg piece with the original reporting that’s worth a read. It reinforces my view that internet security is a myth. learn more

Rainbow trout can now be called salmon in China. 

“A move to let rainbow trout be labelled as salmon after a food scandal causes a splash in China.” I guess nobody should be surprised by another food scandal coming from China, but I imagine the problem is actually a global one. I’d love to see a food supply chain transparency solution, blockchain or otherwise. learn more

China and the race for AI dominance. 

Here’s an interesting perspective from Wired UK that’s heavy on quotes from Kai-Fu Lee, one of the most famous technologists in China (he’s been an exec at Apple, Microsoft and Google). The author thinks China will win the global race. I think the jury’s still out. learn more

P.F. Chang’s goes to China. 

Per the WSJ article, so far, it’s going better than Taco Bell’s attempt to break into the Mexico market. “The chain says it isn’t trying for real Chinese cuisine; diners want to know what Americans think Chinese food should taste like” learn more

The Three Body Problem

Author: Cixin Liu, Translated By: Ken Liu

This book is Chinese-language science fiction, translated into English. I’ve heard from a few folks that it’s all the rage among China’s tech community, and I couldn’t resist a chance to read it (hear it read) first-hand.

Judged purely as a science fiction book, it’s good. The story kept my attention and I didn’t want to put it down. There were plenty of interesting twists and turns, and it was full of scientific language and concepts.

That said, I don’t judge this purely as a science fiction book. For me, it was more than that. At the start of the book, I kept thinking “How did this make it past the Chinese censors?”

The book gave me a window into Chinese culture, in some ways directly and in some indirectly. It’s not often I read books written from non-western perspectives, so I really enjoy the opportunity!

View on Amazon

DNA surgery on embryo removes disease. 

A Chinese team has used a DNA editing technique called base editing to remove a genetic disease called beta-thalassemia from a human embryo. “Base editing is an advance on a form of gene-editing known as Crispr, that is already revolutionising [sic] science.” learn more

A look inside a Chinese bitcoin mine. 

“Located in a decaying industrial park on the outskirts of town, the mine employs about 50 and consists of eight single-story, warehouse-like buildings, each 150 meters (492 feet) long. Seven of them host 21,000 machines that, together, represent nearly 4% of the processing power in the global bitcoin network.” learn more

A photon was teleported 500km from Earth to space. 

Einstein derisively called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance.” Since his time, the phenomenon has been pretty well documented. Now, researchers in China have achieved entanglement over the longest distance yet, from the Earth all the way to orbit. It’s teleportation, but not in the Star Trek sense of the word (yet?). learn more

A non-US retail success story. 

Sometimes it’s easy to get myopic, forgetting that there are many great retailers outside of the US market. This Bloomberg article highlights A.S. Watson Group, which plans to open 1,400 stores this year – a third of them in China. Their profit margins in China are 22%. learn more