Also available as a downloadable mp3:
As regular readers of Our Finite World and the Doomstead Diner know, Gail recently took a month long trip to China, where she was invited by Professor Feng to give a compact University course to undergraduate students (with graduate students and faculty sitting in if they liked) at the China University of Petroleum in Beijing.
China University of Petroleum – Beijing (CUPB) is a national key university in China, located in the world famous scenic Changping District, the area close to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. It is one of the 100 institutions implementing the national “211 Project”.
The university is equipped with the first-class facilities, including a library with a collection of 300,000 books, modernized classrooms, new computer facilities and a comprehensive sports center.
Above all, CUPB has an excellent academic staff body of 545, including 121 full professors and 128 associate professors.
Unfortunately, internet access from China is limited for a couple of reasons. First off, any number of websites (like Google for example) get the Thumbs Down from the Chinese government. WordPress is another site not well liked by the Chinese Central Committee. While you can access some WordPress sites from China, actually getting onto your Admin board to do publication work is close to impossible. Besides that, access is spotty in terms of bandwidth and speed, so even if a site is theoretically accessible, the infrastructure won’t allow you to access it in any usable form in many locations. So Gail was a bit concerned before leaving that she wouldn’t be able to fill in the OFW readers on her trip while she was over there.
I personally am notorious for finding end-around means of getting things up on the net that are otherwise difficult to do (you have to be creative when you get booted off as many websites as I have been. 😀 ), so when Gail mentioned this problem on OFW, I emailed her and suggested she send me her Updates from China * in email, which I would then publish for her on OFW under my byline. While website work is pretty tough from China, you can pretty much get your emails out. How well this plan would actually work was a question mark since neither of us had tried such a thing before, but it turned out to work marvelously well.
Upon her return here to the USA, basically RIGHT OFF THE PLANE, I snagged Gail for an Interview while her recollections of the China Trip were still fresh in her mind, despite the Jet Lag of course. 😀 We cover numerous topics in this discussion, including Chinese economic issues, Water and Air Pollution issues, Demographic issues and venture off as well into discussion of the various monetary issues we see ongoing in Europe as well.
As these things go, this one is one of the best we have ever done, right up there with my personal favorite with David Korowicz, the Irishman with the Gift of the Blarney Stone who wrote Financial System Cross-Contagion: A Study in Global Systemic Collapse and a few other well documented and researched papers. Also right up there with the most popular discussion generally speaking with Nicole Foss (aka Stoneleigh) of The Automatic Earth blog.
Hope you enjoy the discussion. While you listen, here below are a few more pictures from Gail from the China Trip. You can find more of them in the China Trip articles in the archives on Our Finite World.
Inside the Taichi Electric boardroom where we met with officials. The people shown came with our group, however. Lots of smoking; windows were open and no heat despite temperature in the low 50s. No elevators in buildings we visited.
Popular cheap Chinese noodle dish in the school cafeteria. It consisted of tomato sauce with vegetables, noodles and a fried egg on top. It came with unlimited refills on the noodles and sauce, for the equivalent of $1.30.
The equivalent of UPS delivery for students at the university. If a student knows the date a package is expected to come, the student can go and check the sidewalk for it. I didn’t find out what happens when it rains or snows.
*Gail’s China Trip Travelogue Posts