Friday, 13 June 2014

nothing to see here

Great links from the Slate Political Gabfest last week. The first was to a New York Times story about Xiao Jianhua. He was the head of the Peking student union when the Tienanmen Square protest took place. He started off a bit pro protest. Then he decided things were getting too anti state and he took the other tack. Did it pay off? Well, that's for you to judge. To help you:

In the quarter-century since, he became the prototype of the politically connected financier. He has assiduously courted the party elite, including the family of its current president, Xi Jinping, becoming something of a banker for the ruling class and a billionaire in his own right.

Now 42 years old, Mr. Xiao controls a sprawling business empire with interests largely in state-dominated industries, including banking, insurance, coal, cement, property and even rare-earth minerals, and largely managed by his holding company, the Tomorrow Group.

The second was to Leonardo da Vinci's job application to the Duke of Milan, which says he'd be a good employee because he can (nine different points) make bridges quickly for troops, destroy walls, cast cannons, etc. Then (one point) he can do peacetime architecture. Then, just as a by the way: I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.


Everything is Broken, which was a link from [someone else] is about internet security and why there isn't any. (Clue: people in charge of it are just these guys, like you are. You know how you are just some guy who wants to get home to the kids or finish work in time to watch Game of Thrones and sometimes cocks up? So is everyone else! Even the Melvyn Braggs of this world are just doing their best to get by. This will be my theme when someone asks me to write a commencement speech.)

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