Thursday Morning: Chinese Fortune Not Looking Good

If I was still a practicing Catholic, I’d be tempted to pray to St. Angela of Foligno today, her saint’s day. She was known for walking away from wealth and practicing charity. Given the Chinese stock market’s plummet overnight, St. Angela might be the right guide for this leg of the journey.

China halts stock trading after market sinks more than 7%
Second time this week trading has been suspended in China, with free fall blamed on Chinese currency, lower oil prices, economic slowdown. Some also blame North Korea’s nuclear test, but anecdotes from Pacific Rim region suggest news about the test did not receive the same level of attention across Asia as in U.S. Not much feedback at the time this post was written in news media about response to market by China’s leadership.

Richard Perle’s long tail seen in North Korea
Worth revisiting an analysis on North Korea’s nuclear program written last January by Siegfried Hecker of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). I agree with Hecker’s assessment, only surprised he didn’t name Richard Perle specifically for the cascade of diplomatic fail on North Korea that began under the Bush administration.

Self-driving cars, now self-driving passenger drones?
At CES 2016, China’s Ehang Inc. showed off a single-passenger drone, launched by commands entered on a tablet. The drone has no backup controls, which sounds scary as hell for a passenger flying 1000-1600 feet above the ground at +60 miles per hour. I can hear George Jetson screaming, “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” even now. FAA would be insane to permit these devices in the U.S.

Unnamed sources say VW may buy back polluting cars sold in U.S.
This report could be a trial balloon floated by Volkswagen to see if a buy-back or a hefty discount on a new car will appease U.S. owners of so-called “clean diesel” vehicles. Is this really a satisfactory remedy to fraud?

Rethinking Saudi Arabia’s future in a time of cheap oil
Another worthwhile read, if a bit shallow. It’s time to model not only Saudi Arabia’s future, but a global economy no longer dependent on oil; what risks are there for OPEC countries if they cannot depend on increasing oil revenues? Could political instability spread across Central and South America as it has in the Middle East and Africa? How will climate change figure into the equation, as it has in Syria? And then back to economic unease in China, where the market has reacted negatively to lower oil prices.

I’m out of pocket this morning, will check in much later. Talk amongst yourselves as usual.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
9 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    “We’ll take this defective product back and pay you what you paid us.” is a good start for VW, but only a start. It deals with the product itself, but not the abuse VW did to its customers who bought their vehicles because they were greener than other cars.
    .
    For that, VW needs to cough up more.
    .
    Oh, and folks need to go to jail for crafting this scheme and carrying it out. Can you say “millions of counts of fraud”? Sure you can.

    • orionATL says:

      “… Can you say “millions of counts of fraud”? Sure you can…”

      but not for much longer, if those termites john roberts and samuel alito have anything to say about it. and we won’t bother to say “class action suit” anymore either.

  2. orionATL says:

    “Richard Perle’s long tail seen in North Korea”

    now that is mighty fine political phraesology.

    the bulletin article you cite is the first detailed analysis i’ve read of nk’s actual nucler capacity.

    freighening. those bombs could make a large section of a highly populous region unliveable for centuries.

    but back home in american, the wotld’s nuclear policeman, the republican rightwing and its partner, the rightwing israeli government, were working like hell to denuclearize iran, a nation that had no nuclear bombs and no intention to build any.

  3. blueba says:

    From the raciest headline to the various comments within the blog post which cast China in negative terms we see the anti-Chinese views held here.

    If Emptywheel wants to make credible attacks on China it should consider giving Chinese the opportunity to present China’s views. Western journalists bloviating about China are a disgrace – they don’t know what they are talking about and absolutely nothing about Confusion philosophy.

    The West including here loved it when China was growing in double digits and they were gaining but always said – this is fishy it must be phony commie lies China cant really be doing that well. Now that China isn’t contributing to the profits of Western oligarchs so much the Western press goes after them – their commies they can’t do capitalism they run their economy in a high handed way etc.

    If this blog wants to cover China then let it get some Chinese to comment.

    Would Emptywheel get a bunch of male red necks from the South to talk about feminism???

    • Rayne says:

      Dude. I’m part Chinese; my father’s family name is one of the Hundred Surnames (百姓). My family’s income relies on business in China. Now point to the exact portion of this post which was critical of PRC because it’s anti-Chinese.

      The fact that the Chinese are having difficulty with currency valuation and economic stagnation is just that — a fact. It hurts my household’s opportunity to do business there.

      If you think I’m critical of China or Ehang Inc. because of their drone product, believe me, I would be critical of ANY firm producing a single-passenger drone without backup controls, regardless of country. That Ehang is a Chinese firm is merely coincidence. However, it’s important for the public and policymakers to note that emergent drone development is NOT limited to the U.S. or EU, and that Chinese companies see single-passenger drones as consumer products.

      Now take a different tack.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    So, which one of these is worse: Self-driving passenger drones, or passenger-driven drones? The FAA already allows passenger-driven flying machines (to wit, light airplanes and helicopters), with minimal regulation. If we say the self-driving kind are worse, then we are presuming that the computer is dumber than the human. Well, that may be true for now, but after we are all pushing up daisies, it may not be so.

  5. Rayne says:

    Peterr — Yeah, somebody needs to do a perp walk given the egregious nature and scale of fraud. I’m puzzled the media here hasn’t done more to focus on the fraud, instead reporting on this as an environmental protection story.

    bloopie2 — There are plenty of regulations in place for planes, helicopters, and gliders in the U.S., but regulations covering drones have been extremely slow to catch up with the technology. Can you imagine a remotely-piloted single-passenger *plane* being permitted in U.S. airspace, let alone one without backup controls? There’s the problem: Just because it’s a drone doesn’t mean it should be treated any differently than other aircraft. It’s not a luxury toy to be ignored.

    orionATL — 谢谢 ;-)

  6. arbusto says:

    Just read the Saudi’s are thinking of an IPO for ARAMCO. That’d sure give them ready cash and dissipate the impact of more downturn in oil prices or attacks of any kind on their wells, headquarters or infrastructure. Guess enough entities would overlook the downside of owning stock in Saudi Arabia.

    Interesting article on the oil under predominantly Shia areas in and around the Persian gulf: https://theintercept.com/2016/01/06/one-map-that-explains-the-dangerous-saudi-iranian-conflict/

    As to pilotless aircraft, technology exists to allow planes to taxi, takeoff, fly and land sans crew. Past studies showed however a massive reluctance of passengers to flying in said aircraft, even with modern quadruple redundant flight management systems. This may be exacerbated since crews in fly by wire planes seem woefully inadequately trained to troubleshoot system anomalies or failure. For passenger piece of mind in a “drone” a Ballistic Recovery System could be installed, but again, who would risk life or limb on pilotless hardware or software.

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