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2008 May June Beijing Primer

Liver Chips? Pass the Dip!

In less than a year, all cosmetics sold in Europe will have to be “cruelty-free—that is, developed without the use of animal testing. As the industry sweats over the new regulations, chemical engineering professor Douglas Clark, together with Jonathan Dordick of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the team at Solidus Biosciences, the company Clark co-founded, are […]

Bang You’re Alive

In search of a truly non-lethal bullet. The ballistics lab is in a vault in the basement of Etcheverry Hall. That’s where Dennis Lieu uses scuba tanks to launch silicone projectiles. Lieu, a mechanical engineering professor, uses a huge, table-mounted air gun to fire golf-ball-size silicone projectiles at a model torso, also made of silicone. If […]

Olympics Fever

Beijing locals may appear restrained, but enthusiasm for the Summer Games is breaking out all over. On a sunny “Blue Sky day” (an official meteorological phrase in smog-plagued Beijing), the very kind of clear morning all Chinese hope for on the opening day of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, I take a taxi to the Olympic […]

Wrong Trajectory

America is losing its higher education advantage, with enormous repercussions. International observers have long viewed America’s higher education system, including a cadre of high-quality major research universities such as Berkeley, as one of its most important socioeconomic advantages. As the first nation to pioneer the idea of mass higher education, the United States proved that the […]

Anti-Revolutionary Art

The Sigg collection tracks the rise of Chinese modernism. The vast complex called the Dashanzi Art District was originally built to house workers and to manufacture Chinese military electrical parts and, some say, munitions. Which explains its other name, 798: Designations beginning with 7 were given to all military factories in China, helping camouflage their identity. […]

The Body Politic

China’s body image shifts from cultural revolution to sexual revolution. There came a startling moment when everything shifted. A man carrying two plastic bags, one in each hand, stood directly in the path of a column of armored tanks, effectively preventing them from proceeding down the avenue toward Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The day before, on […]

The Great Leap Nowhere

After decades of rampant cultural destruction by communists and then capitalists, what does it mean to be Chinese? At noon one day before Chinese New Year, my landlord rapped on the red lacquered doors leading into the small traditional courtyard house in which I live. My courtyard lies near the southern end of Zhuzhong Hutong, or […]

China’s Black Hole

Does anyone—including China’s central government—have the power to rein in the country’s soaring emissions? On the north bank of the Yangtze River near Nanjing, countless smokestacks emerge from the vast industrial sprawl and fade into thick smog. Inside the compound of Nanjing Iron & Steel, a six-story-high, geodesic dome houses the plant’s nerve center. Standing before […]