Archive for September, 2010

Potential U.S.- China Trade War Escalate

U.S. have been urging China to let their currency rise faster. But China have so far refused insisting on its own timeline, claiming a rapid rise would cause serious harm to their economy. Congress has just passed a bill to punish China, insisting devaluation is a form of subsidy. China responded by letting the Yuan slips. Chinese media, which is state owned, seems to be in a sour mood also as their English News Channel talks about “American Empire and Cold Peace”.

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega claim a “quiet currency war” is underway. Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are all reported to be trying to keep their currency low. China’s Yuan has gained 1.7 percent this month but U.S. wants it to rise faster to reflect true market condition.

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Blackberry Playbook + QNX = Winner

I knew Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) was onto something when they bought the QNX software. QNX is an operating system designed not to go down. So it is used on cars and on critical instruments in the Nuclear Industry. It also handles resources efficiently. Now that Blackberry have announced their feature rich and powerful tablet called Playbook, they have shown the sensationalist media that they are still a serious contender. If they decide to support SD card expansion, then it will put them over the top of IPad. IPad was intentionally designed to have no expansion, inorder to force customers to buy the more expensive model if they want a bigger memory sized tablet. If Blackberry decide to have SD card support on their Playbook, they should go all the way and support SDXC – the next generation SD card that could have capacity up to 2TB and operates faster than current SDHC card.

The Blackberry Playbook will have 2 cameras, one facing the user and another facing the back. I will be surprised if it does not come with the bright LED flash, which should be standard by now. It will also have HDMI output so you can plug it and watch your HD video on your big screen HDTV.

It is just a matter of time before Blackberry Smartphone switches to QNX. I thought Torch and OS 6 is just a transition rushed out so that they have something close to IPhone and Android lines of smartphone while they develop their QNX smartphone.

CNET Q&A about Blackberry Playbook

Slideshow of Blackberry Playbook from PC World

More technical details from Fast Company

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Renewable Energy First Step To End War and Poverty

Identify an event that is causing tensions, conflicts or war between nations and you can easily point to natural resources, such as oil or natural gas as the culprit. Most recently, China and Japan were at loggerheads over an uninhabited island called Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese. Each side is claiming historical records as proof that it belonged to them. Using history is a tricky thing. When does it start and when does it end. One of the excuse used by Saddam Hussein for invading Kuwait was that it was an Iraqi province. Yeah maybe if you go back to thousands of BC during times of Babylonia. When Kuwait declared independence, United Kingdom was the occupying force then. But the escalating conflicts over Diaoyu or Spratly island in Southeast Asia have less to do with history but more to do with the fact that these island are said to be rich in oil or natural gas reserves.  Spratly island occupies only approximately 4 square kilometers of island but spreads over 425,000 square kilometers of the sea known to have rich resources. At least 5 countries claim part or whole of the island chain and each have navy station in an island there.

Tension in Diaoyu escalated when Japan arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat claiming he rammed their naval boat. It is hard to verify if that is true or not but Japan and Taiwan have a previous conflict where Japan claimed Taiwanese fishing boat rammed into their navy boat. The Taiwanese then release a video showing it was the other way around. Of course we don’t know if that’s the case here or not.

Middle East is in such a dire state because it is rich in oil. So the sooner we switch to relying on renewable energy sources, even if it means hefty initial cost, the better we will be in the long run.

The shift to renewables, aside from cost and more technological advancement required, won’t be straightforward also. As the recent China-Japan conflict have demonstrated, to make those new wind turbines and electric car, we still have to harness our natural resources. This time it is not oil but what is being called a rare earth metal. China is reported to be unofficially withholding export of these necessary ingredient to Japan because of their recent conflict. Mining these “rare earth metal” is expensive and they are naturally mixed with radioactive thorium and uranium. So far China is the only one with the means and established facility to process these resources.

Aside from that, there’s also the ongoing disagreement between U.S. and China over China’s trade surplus. This was brought up during the Chinese leader’s talk with U.S. executives. The Chinese Prime Minister claim that IPod cost $299 and China only get $6 with the rest of the profit going to company such as Apple and others in the supply chain. Whether the U.S. consumer’s wealth is shifting to China or Multinational companies, the fact remain that U.S. is wasting billions on war that could have gone to significantly improve their own economy and investment to accelerate advancement in renewable energy sources.

We certainly have quite a way to go in becoming self reliant. Political will and huge investment in renewable sector would be crucial. Here in Canada, Ontario have implemented programs to entice investment in this sector. Whether it succeed or not remain to be seen. Already there are indication that the program would lead to consumer shouldering the cost and it could become an election issue.

Once all nations are able to be self reliant on energy then the billions spent on war could be redirected to improving the economy and people’s livelihood. War only promotes hardship and poverty. It also promotes division, resentment and hatred that spun centuries over several generations.

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