The Pig War: Japan and China and an island dispute from long ago.

While watching Zulu for about the bajillionith time, I was curious about the British military strength back in the 1800s worldwide. I did a quick search of Wikipedia and came across a list of all British military engagements over the centuries. One of them sort of stuck out, primarily due to the random name:  The Pig War San Juan island lays inbetween the US and Canada just up from Seattle.  In 1859, an American farmer shot a roaming pig that was owned by an employee of the Hudson Bay Company. The farmer offered $10 in compensation, but the owner demanded $100. And this led to military action. US troops (including George Pickett of Pickett’s Charge fame) landed on the island, and British navy sent in ships.  The US sent in more canons and the British prepared to deploy some Marines.  The orders from the Canadian governor was to a British Rear Admiral was to “engage the American soldiers” but the Admiral refused. “Two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig” would be foolish he is quoted as saying. Troops from both sides occupied the islands, exchanging insults and occasionally swapping alcohol and other goods. When word got back to Washington and London the leaders were flabbergasted that something like this was about to go to military action.  They agreed on binding arbitration which was eventually decided in favor of the US. Now, 150 odd years later, we have China and Japan fighting over another silly little island, this time not about pigs but about oil. So as to avoid the braindead QQ puppets and Japanese nationalists who pummel any posting about the islands with moronic jingoistic claims, I’ll forgo delving into the underlying claims of either country. But I will point out that a British Rear Admiral at the time had more sense than any number of politicians to keep things sane and under control rather than risk a battle between two superpowers over something as silly as a tiny island. Sadly I don’t think the players in either country in today’s battles has half as much sense.      ]]>

My Geek Travel bag

  So what did I take? Canon 40D iPad 1 iPad 2 Regular Glass / Sunglasses Noise canceling headphones Earbuds $500HKD (cab fare home from airport) $200USD (emergency money) $200,000 JPY 15′ MacBook Retina Canon battery recharger Plug adapters MicroUSB charger 2 iPad Chargers SIM card adapter HSBC Bank key Thunderbolt-Ethernet adapter Macbook charger iPad cable MicroUSB cable Mini USB cable Passport holder & Airline/Hotel cards Mini-wallet Main-wallet All of this fit into my backpack for the trip.  There was also a ‘cable bag’ that went along in the suit case with plenty of other cables and whatnot that I wouldn’t need on the short flight (4.5 hours) to Tokyo.   ]]>

How to rank medals by country in the London Olympics.

As we near yet another Olympics, the old debate about how to rank Olympic Medals is likely to come up once again. I’ve written about it in 2008 and 2010, so probably best to do an update as we kick off the London Olympics in 2012. Under the Olympic Charter, there is no “official” list of medals by countries.  It is forbidden:

The IOC and the OCOG shall not draw up any global ranking per country. A roll of honour bearing the names of medal winners and those awarded diplomas in each event shall be established by the OCOG and the names of the medal winners shall be featured prominently and be on permanent display in the main stadium.
Since the games in Australia however, the press office started to issue “advisories” showing how nations were doing, and in these advisories the rankings were by the number of Gold medals first, followed by Silver, then by Bronze the so-called ‘Gold First’ standard.  The United States media, and their counterparts in Canada, have consistently ranked medals in a different manner, the so called ‘Total Medals’ standard.  In 2008, this led to a ‘split’ where the world’s media declared China the “Winner” of the 2008 games as they had the most Golds, but the US media also felt the US did the best as they had the most “total medals”.  However, in 2010, Canada had the most Golds, followed by Germany, then the United States, which also had the most medals.  This confused many in the European press as the official Olympic tally from the Vancouver Press office was listing in the ‘Total Medals’ format which showed Canada not have the best record. At the close of the 2008 Olympics, IOC President Jacque Rogge said that the IOC had no position on which table is better.
“China has won the most gold medals and the United States of America won the most total,” International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said during a news conference Sunday. “I believe each country will highlight what suits it best. One country will say, ‘Gold medals.’ The other country will say, ‘The total tally counts.’ We take no position on that.”
So as we move into the London Olympics, I found it interesting to see the official ‘medal table’ on their website goes both ways.  Those who want the Gold first standard can click the sort button by Golds, but those who prefer the Total medals count can sort by the totals. We won’t likely see a determination as to what is better / worse in this Olympiad, but more and more voices are starting to complain the emphasis on “Gold” is neglecting the development of some athletes and sports in countries with limited resources to put forward for their Olympic team.  Whether we see a further discussion about this after the Olympics remains to be seen.  Maybe I’ll do another post when we get to 2014.  

How to Sign Up for Weibo in English

UPDATE: Through a little URL sniffing I found this English-sign up page. More and more I’m hearing folks ask me how do you sign up for Weibo in English, so I thought I’d make a quick little guide with the help of my translator (i.e. wife). The easiest way to do this is to download Google Chrome and get the translation extension that will translate, on the fly, any webpage.  Now the English-Chinese translations are never quite perfect, in fact, they’re usually quite a bit worse than say English-Spanish or English-French, but you can get the general idea of what is going on through those plug-ins that will do the translation for you. If you don’t have Google Chrome, here is what the first two pages say when you get started with Weibo. Goto Click the Blue button at the top right.   That will take you to the details screen, where you enter the details as follows.  When you click the submit button at the end, you’ll get an activation notice saying that an email has been sent your email address.  Click the link there and you should be good to go.       Now, as for who to follow, I’m creating a list of English-speaking Weibo users on another site.  Will have that up shortly.  ]]>