Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Netizens Unite: A Q&A with chinaSMACK Blog Founder Fauna

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By Alec Ash Fauna (a web name) is the founder and editor of chinaSMACK, a website that translates popular and trending Chinese digital content and online comment threads into English. It’s been around for over five years, and has hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors. The content is taken from a range of Chinese websites, […]


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Equatorial Guinea’s Most Important Living Writer Forced Into Hiding

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By David Shook Juan Tomás Avila Laurel is Equatorial Guinea’s most important living writer, but he’s often been persecuted by his own state for his outspokenness regarding their blatant disregard of human rights. This week that disregard has turned dangerous, as Malabo’s infamous security forces have forced Avila Laurel, 48, into hiding for his work […]


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Remembering Jack London’s Oriental War

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By Paul French “I am disgusted! I’ll never go to a war between Orientals again. The vexations and delay are too great.”      — Jack London He’d sailed his broken down sloop Razzle Dazzle as an oyster pirate; he’d crewed the sealing schooner Sophie Sutherland along the coast of Japan; he’d served with Kelly’s Army […]


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Funny Bones: A Q&A with Jesse Appell About Comedy in China

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Photo by Fernanda Fraiz By Alec Ash Jesse Appell is a young American in Beijing who performs comedy in Chinese – both traditional Chinese forms and more Western fare such as stand-up. He studied Chinese comedy as a Fulbright fellow, and now promotes cross-cultural comedy through a project called Laugh Beijing. His parody music video Laowai […]


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Technology, Entertainment, Design: SyFy’s Helix

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DESPITE SOME B-grade acting and melodramatic character back stories which do not inspire me to take their emotional depths seriously (i.e. Alan’s (Billy Campbell) childhood and his dull flirtation with Sarah (Jordan Hayes), whose secret cancer seems another tired cliché), SyFy’s Helix continues to fascinate me with its world building. This week we saw some […]


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Where in the World is Willy Vlautin?

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By Juliet Suess Have you heard of Willy Vlautin? If you haven’t yet, and are in the Bay Area this weekend, the Naked Bookseller recommends you stop by Green Apple Books on Saturday. Mr. Vlautin made a name for himself in the Nineties as frontman of Portland-based Richmond Fontaine. With its clear alt-country bent and […]


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What Foreigners Do in China

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By Xujun Eberlein In the remote mountains of Yunnan Province, China, a middle-aged European ecologist gave up his high-level international program manager job and made his home with a local woman. Together, they set forth to reestablish the rainforests destroyed by rubber tree plantations, cultivated a garden — a seed bank — that “was home […]


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Back to the Post-Apocalypse: Jericho on Economic Politics

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By Jonathan Alexander SINCE 9/11, several SF television series, from the one-season Threshold (2005-6) to the more recent Continuum (2012-present) have grappled with the specter of terrorism.  Many, like Threshold and Continuum, play out hyperbolic scenarios of terrorist infiltration and attack, variously alien or from the future, to speculate on governmental and individual responses to terror.  […]


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