China’s Fall and Rise to Power

China today is one of the economic juggernauts in our world. However, it has not always been all highs for the Asian nation. It once experienced some hard times courtesy of different influences from different western civilizations. Studying China’s drop and re-emergence to power would give us a chance to learn about its previous rise and fall, as well as the external and internal threats that affected its rise to economic power.

In the 1100’s China was a leader in steel production, textile manufacturing, paper production, book printing, and firearm manufacturing. These goods were transported all over the world using larger commercial ships than that of England. China was the leading trading nation, with long distance trades reaching Africa, Middle East, and Europe. The British and the Europeans were following China. They were eager to attack and take a hold of China’s advanced and lucrative market. China was dominating the globe up until the rise of the British imperialism at around the 1800’s.

Britain, not able to overpass China in economic power, relied on its military power. It used its different armed forces from its different colonies to force its products on China. Britain was imposing their exports to China led to unequal treaties that lowered tariffs. As a result, China was flooded with one of Britain’s major export opium and then was the start of the First Opium War.  This is the start of the period of intervention by western imperialism which was also coined as the hundred years of national humiliation. The First Treaty signed was the Treaty of Nanking. It forced China to accept foreign traders to its soil and allow British citizens extraterritoriality. Also, China had to cede Hong Kong to Britain for 99 years. For the next century, China agreed to a series of similar treaties. Some major treaties signed where the Treaty of Wanghia with the United States and Treaty of Whampoa with France. These treaties expanded the rights of extraterritoriality which led to foreigners obtaining independent legal systems within treaty ports. Other treaties were the Treaty of Tianjin, Treaty of Aigun, Treaty of Beijing and the Treaty of Shimonoseki with the later resulting to China ceded Taiwan to Japan. As a result of these, the penetration of the western civilizations has colonized China’s market. Imperialism has forced exploitation of the great number of Chinese peasants and workers. This made Chinese leaders finance the trade deficits imposed by the different treaties.

At the end of the 20th century, China was broken. It fell from economic power, appeared colonized by the western imperialists and became a deprived population. Most of the major ports of China were controlled by the imperialists and was under the corrupt ruling of the imperialists. China was in pieces.

Modern China’s rise to power was made possible because of the Chinese communist revolution. China was able to defeat the Japanese Imperial army, then the US imperialists. The Communist government abolished the extraterritorial privileges of western imperialists which drove out all the millionaire warlords and traffickers. It all started in the 1950’s with the removal of the European, Japanese, and US imperialists draining China of its wealth. Then at around the 1980’s, China has opened its soil to large-scale foreign investors. China’s leaders started importing technical know-how and accessing overseas markets in exchange for cheap labor. China was in a transition of capitalism. It privatized numerous industries and implemented income generation through concentrating on a class of wealthy local capitalists who are linked with foreign capitalists. The capitalist class together with its foreign partners were all responsible for the rise of China to become the world’s second-largest economy. This has ended the century of the humiliation of the Republic of China.



German Publishers Appeal Decision in Market Power Case Against Google

German Publishers Appeal Decision in Market Power Case Against GoogleGerman publishers have appealed a Berlin court’s rejection of a case in which they accused Google of abusing its market power by refusing to pay them for displaying newspaper articles online, a lawyer for the publishers said on Monday.

Germany’s biggest newspaper publisher, Axel Springer and 40 other publishers had accused Alphabet Inc’s Google of unfair treatment.

The court had rejected the case in April, saying that Google’s business model was a “win-win” proposition for both parties. Although Google had a 90 percent share of the German market, the company was not treating certain publishers unfairly, the court said.

Jan Hegemann, a lawyer representing the publishers, told Reuters that they would continue to press their case about Google’s alleged abuse of market power, and had filed the appeal late last week.

The conflict centres on a long-standing row over payments for newspaper content, which Google makes freely available via its online platforms Google News, YouTube and other services.

While some in the media industry accuse Google of making money at its expense, the Silicon Valley company says publishers profit from advertising revenue generated through its site.

The unfair treatment allegation centred on what German publishers said were threats by Google to punish those media outlets which demanded payment by displaying abbreviated versions of their stories.

A related ruling on whether Germany publishers should receive payments from Google for displaying their news articles is still outstanding.

Researchers see the power of two in robot roaches making climb

Researchers see the power of two in robot roaches making climb

(Tech Xplore)—Over at the University of California Berkeley the field of biomimetics is alive and well with researchers actively studying and harnessing the way animals can move and manage their environments— little is ignored in the mechanics and dynamics as the researchers see if they can come up with little robots with like capabilities.

As Evan Ackerman observed inIEEE Spectrum: “Some of the most successful insects are the social and cooperative ones, like ants, which can do incredible things.”

Two researchers were in the news recently because of their impressive work in getting roach-like robots to climb. Carlos Casarez and Ronald Fearing are ready to report on their work in a paper titled “Step Climbing Cooperation Primitives for Legged Robots with a Reversible Connection,” which will be presented at ICRA 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden from May 16.

A video is up as well that shows how “Two VelociRoACH Robots Cooperatively Climb a Step.” The importance of their work is focused on the fact that they used two robots to accomplish an otherwise daunting task of climbing something.

Steps placed as obstacles in research settings has posed quite a challenge for little robots unable to control leg articulation and contact forces. Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum said these were “absolutely terrible at climbing over obstacles. The problem is that the underactuated nature that makes them so fast and cheap to produce also means that you can’t control the motion of each leg independently.”

Adding a winch module exerts forces on a tethered magnetic connector. Casarez, lead author of an upcoming paper in IEEE Spectrum, commented on what the winch means in strategy: “The tether-assisted climbing mode fills in the last piece of the step climbing strategy— instead of just sending one member of the team up the step after climbing while connected, the winch can be used to pull the other team member up the step as well.”

Ackerman wrote about the winch module too: “The tethering system itself consists of a rapidly-prototyped winch module with a polyethylene monofilament tether and magnetic connector that can be latched on to a compliant pin on the back of a second VelociRoACH.” (The latter stands for Velocity Robotic Autonomous Crawling Hexapod.)

The two robots achieve what they could not individually. “Successful trials for (I) single robot transition, (II) form connection, (III) connected climbing, (IV) release connection, and (V) tether-assisted climbing primitives are shown. When these independent primitives are performed sequentially, the robot team can climb a high-traction sandpaper step 6.5 cm in height, which is tall relative to their 10 cm body length.”

Asked about further research goals on this, Casarez said in IEEE Spectrum: “I think there is some more interesting work in exploring how far two-robot cooperation can go. For example, instead of climbing a step, the robot with the winch could be used as an anchor for a tethered VelociRoACH that explores down an unknown chasm, which can then be retrieved after exploring.”

Data-gathering applications in disaster areas come to mind. As Ackerman wrote, “Imagine sending a swarm of these little guys into, say, Fukushima to gather data about the environment inside: you know that half of them are going to get fried by radiation, and none of them are going to come back, but it just isn’t that big of a deal, because they’re essentially expendable.”