June 29, 2015

"Last year the military's weapons tester found that every single major weapons system had cybersecurity vulnerabilities."

Washington Post If the United States and China ever got into a shooting war, it might look a lot like "Ghost Fleet," a new book co-written by Washington think-tankers. by Brian Fung

'Amazon says that the book has the United States, China, and Russia eye each other across a twenty-first century version of the Cold War, which suddenly heats up at sea, on land, in the air, in outer space, and in cyberspace. The fighting involves everything from stealthy robotic–drone strikes to old warships from the navy’s “ghost fleet.” Fighter pilots unleash a Pearl Harbor–style attack; American veterans become low-tech insurgents; teenage hackers battle in digital playgrounds; Silicon Valley billionaires mobilize for cyber-war; and a serial killer carries out her own vendetta. Ultimately, victory will depend on blending the lessons of the past with the weapons of the future.

'Set up as a novel told from the perspective of, alternately, a Navy captain, a U.S. Marine-turned-insurgent and an occupying Russian official, among others, "Ghost Fleet" explores how our military's reliance on digital technology is both an asset and a liability. Author P.W. Singer says that it is a novel that explores a scenario that is now fictional but could unfortunately be real: the risk of a great power war in the 21st century, the risk of a U.S., a China, a Russia going to war. Except that it's backed by 400 endnotes documenting how every single technology in it, every single trend, even some of the things that characters say, are drawn from the real world.

'Author P.W. Singer says that if you think war is going to be easy, it'll be likelier to happen. And it's not just among leaders. Polling in China — 74 percent of Chinese think they'd win a war with the U.S. There's a term that translates as "peace disease," which is what Chinese military officers have started to lament having. The idea of, "I've never served in combat, and that's a bad thing." These attitudes are very reminiscent of the attitude before WWI.'

Wu Gan charged...

Saudi Gazette Chinese authorities have formally arrested and charged a prominent rights activist who had called for official accountability over what he said were miscarriages of justice, his lawyer said on Monday. via Reuters

'Wu Gan, a burly 43-year-old online free speech advocate, was charged with causing a disturbance, defamation and “inciting subversion of state power,” his lawyer Yan Wenxin said.

'Wu, better known by his online moniker “Super Vulgar Butcher,” was detained in May. Earlier that month on Twitter, he had called for official accountability after a police officer shot and killed a civilian in northeastern Heilongjiang province. The incident stirred outrage among many Chinese over what they saw as abuse of power.

'The arrest comes amid what rights groups say is the most severe crackdown on human rights in decades in China. The clampdown has drawn censure from the West and activists, who say the ruling Communist Party has grown increasingly intolerant of moderate dissent.'

"The average Chinese stock is now trading at 30 times earnings."

Fortune China’s stock market is up by 25%, but it has been a rocky road, and lately it’s been all down hill. by Stacy Jones and Stephen Gandel

'China’s stock market is up 25% this year. But it has been anything but a smooth ride. Shares of Chinese stocks rocketed up for most of the first half of the year, increasing by nearly 50% in the first five-and-a-half months of the year.

'From that point, though, the market has mostly gone straight down. Stocks have been dipped by nearly 25% over the past two weeks or so. And the plunge is picking up steam. China’s Shanghai Composite index has dropped by roughly 11% in the last two trading days. That’s the equivalent of a nearly 2,000 point plunge in the Dow.

'Where do we go from here? Some have predicted the drop in Chinese stocks for a while. China’s economy has been slowing, and corporate profits have been falling. So the fact that Chinese stocks were rising as much as they were was a bit of a mystery from the beginning of the current run. China’s central bank has been pumping money into its economy, partly to boost its stock market and help its economy more broadly.'