Sunday, May 27, 2007

Back in a couple days...

Yelapa Beach
Originally uploaded by Other Lisa
The book is done (for now); the query sent, and I'm taking off for a few days of beach and margaritas. Enjoy your week!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Must Read

I'm still working on my book (see, the thing about novels is, well, they're novels, and just because you finish a draft or three doesn't mean you're done) but wanted to call attention to a truly excellent piece by Peter Hessler (author of River Town and Oracle Bones at National Geographic. It's called "China's Instant Cities" and is a fascinating look at the nearly unimaginable pace of development through the life of a project near Wenzhou, in Zhejiang. Wenzhou people are known throughout China for their enterprise and resolve, with towns in the region specializing in everything from shoes to zippers to cigarette lighters. In this lengthy portrait, an aspiring Wenzhou businessman stakes his fortune on...the little rings that adjust bra straps.

H/T to China Law Blog for finding this gem.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My kind of car!

Now this is what I call sustainable energy:
SHINANOMACHI, Japan (Reuters) - Japanese motorists may one day pump their cars full of sake, the fermented rice wine that is Japan's national drink, if a pilot project to create sake fuel is a hit with locals in this mountain resort.

The government-funded project at Shinanomachi, 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of Tokyo, will produce cheap rice-origin ethanol brew with the help of local farmers who will donate farm waste such as rice hulls to be turned into ethanol.

"We want to present the next generation a preferable blue print -- a self-sustainable use of local fuels," said Yasuo Igarashi, a professor of applied microbiology at the University of Tokyo who heads the three year project.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Year of the Pig

More bad news about the safety of China's food supply and the willingness of the Chinese government to share necessary information to the rest of the world:
A mysterious epidemic is killing pigs in southeastern China, but international and Hong Kong authorities said today that the Chinese government is providing little information about it, or about the contaminated wheat gluten that has caused deaths and illnesses in other animals...

...Because pigs can catch many of the same diseases as people, including bird flu, the two U.N. agencies maintain global networks to track and investigate unexplained patterns of pig deaths.

Hong Kong television broadcasts and newspapers were full of lurid accounts today of pigs staggering around with blood pouring from their bodies in Gaoyao and neighboring Yunfu, both in Guangdong Province. The Apple Daily newspaper said that as many as 80 percent of the pigs in the area had died, that panicky farmers were selling ailing animals at deep discounts and that pig carcasses were floating in a river.

The reports in Hong Kong said the disease began killing pigs after the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, and is now spreading. But state-controlled news outlets in China have reported almost nothing about the pig deaths, and very little about the wheat gluten problem...