Generally what seems to be the case, if you were to do a search for that word/statement/phrase, and click on it’s link - not only will the webpage not load, but you’ll also be slapped on the wrist by not being able to load any pages from that website for about 2-5 minutes (for the “first offense”, “further offenses” will be for longer amounts of time - up to an hour or longer). So for example, if I were to read about a renowned sight in China …say this one…then to click on a link on that page about a historical event that happened there (ie a protest that happened 20 years ago - by the way don’t click on this link if your reading this from China) - I will get a page saying there was a time out/page load error and coincidentally the entire site is inaccessible for X amount of time….
Browsing around the internet for some articles about this topic…Here are some excerpts from an interesting article, “The Connection Has Been Reset” by James Fallows on theAtlantic.com
A high level view, beyond the view of “Internet Censorship”
“….Think again of the real importance of
the Great Firewall. Does the Chinese government really care if a citizen can look up the Tiananmen Square entry on Wikipedia? Of course not.
Anyone who wants
that information will get it—by using a proxy server or VPN, by e-mailing to a friend overseas, even by looking at the surprisingly broad array of foreign magazines that arrive, uncensored, in Chinese public libraries.
What the government cares about is making the quest for information just enough of a nuisance that people generally won’t bother. Most Chinese people, like most Americans, are interested mainly in their own country.
All around them is more information about China and things Chinese than they could possibly take in. The newsstands are bulging with papers and countless glossy magazines. The bookstores are big, well stocked, and full of patrons, and so are the public libraries. Video stores, with pirated versions of anything.
Lots of TV channels.
And of course the Internet, where sites in Chinese and about China constantly proliferate.
When this much is available inside the Great Firewall, why go to the expense and bother, or incur the possible risk, of trying to look outside
All the technology employed by the Golden Shield, all the marvelous mirrors that help build the Great Firewall—these and other modern achievements matter mainly for an old-fashioned and pre-technological reason. By making the search for external information a nuisance, they drive Chinese people back to an environment in which familiar tools of social control come into play…..”
How the Great Firewall (GFW) works from a General/Semi-Technical Sense:
“…Andrew Lih, a former journalism professor and software engineer now based in Beijing (and author of the forthcoming book The Wikipedia Story), laid out for me the ways in which the GFW can keep a Chinese Internet user from finding desired material on a foreign site. In the few seconds after a user enters a request at the browser, and before something new shows up on the screen, at least four things can go wrong—or be made to go wrong.
The first and bluntest is the “DNS block.” The DNS, or Domain Name System, is in effect the telephone directory of Internet sites.
Each time you enter a Web address, or URL—www.yahoo.com, let’s say—the DNS looks up the IP address where the site can be found. IP addresses are numbers separated by dots—for example, TheAtlantic.com’s is 18.104.22.168. If the DNS is instructed to give back no address, or a bad address, the user can’t reach the site in question—as a phone user could not make a call if given a bad number. Typing in the URL for the BBC’s main news site often gets the no-address treatment: if you try news.bbc.co.uk, you may get a “Site not found” message on the screen. For two months in 2002, Google’s Chinese site, Google.cn, got a different kind of bad-address treatment, which shunted users to its main competitor, the dominant Chinese search engine, Baidu. Chinese academics complained that this was hampering their work. The government, which does not have to stand for reelection but still tries not to antagonize important groups needlessly, let Google.cn back online. During politically sensitive times, like last fall’s 17th Communist Party Congress, many foreign sites have been temporarily shut down this way.
Next is the perilous “connect” phase. If the DNS has looked up and provided the right IP address, your computer sends a signal requesting a connection with that remote site.
While your signal is going out, and as the other system is sending a reply, the surveillance computers within China are looking over your request, which has been mirrored to them. They quickly check a list of forbidden IP sites. If you’re trying to reach one on that blacklist, the Chinese international-gateway servers will interrupt the transmission by sending an Internet “Reset” command both to your computer and to the one you’re trying to reach. Reset is a perfectly routine Internet function, which is used to repair connections that have become unsynchronized. But in this case it’s equivalent to forcing the phones on each end of a conversation to hang up. Instead of the site you want, you usually see an onscreen message beginning “The connection has been reset”; sometimes instead you get “Site not found.” Annoyingly, blogs hosted by the popular system Blogspot are on this IP blacklist.
For a typical Google-type search, many of the links shown on the results page are from Wikipedia or one
of these main blog sites.
You will see these links when you search from inside China, but if you click on them, you won’t get what you want.
The third barrier comes with what Lih calls “URL keyword block.” The numerical Internet address you are trying to reach might not be on the blacklist. But if the words in its URL include forbidden terms, the connection will also be reset.
(The Uniform Resource Locator is a site’s address in plain English—say, www.microsoft.com—rather than its all-numeric IP address.) The site FalunGong .com appears to have no active content, but even if it did, Internet users in China would not be able to see it. The forbidden list contains words in English, Chinese, and other languages, and is frequently revised—“like, with the name of the latest town with a coal mine disaster,” as Lih put it. Here the GFW’s programming technique is not a reset command but a “black-hole loop,” in which a request for a page is trapped in a sequence of delaying commands. These are the programming equivalent of the old saw about how to keep an idiot busy: you take a piece of paper and write “Please turn over” on each side. When the Firefox browser detects that it is in this kind of loop, it gives an error message saying: “The server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.”
The final step involves the newest and most sophisticated part of the GFW: scanning the actual contents of each page—which stories The New York Times is featuring, what a China-related blog carries in its latest update—to judge its page-by-page acceptability. This again is done with mirrors. When you reach a favorite blog or news site and ask to see particular items, the requested pages come to you—and to the surveillance system at the same time. The GFW scanner checks the content of each item against its list of forbidden terms. If it finds something it doesn’t like, it breaks the connection to the offending site and won’t let you download anything further from it.
The GFW then imposes a temporary blackout on further “IP1 to IP2” attempts—that is, efforts to establish communications between the user and the offending site.
Usually the first time-out is for two minutes. If the user tries to reach the site during that time, a five-minute time-out might begin.
On a third try, the time-out might be 30 minutes or an hour—and so on through an escalating sequence of punishments.
Users who try hard enough or often enough to reach the wrong sites might attract the attention of the authorities. At least in principle, Chinese Internet users must sign in with their real names whenever they go online, even in Internet cafés. When the surveillance system flags an IP address from which a lot of “bad” searches originate, the authorities have a good chance of knowing who is sitting at that machine…….”
All in all, I guess I should just be happy that probably over 99.9% of the content on Wikipedia is probably still available for me to read(or atleast until the end of the Olympics, when all the foreigners leave ;-)) and that it is obvious what content I am not allowed to read (and go read about it through VPN connection :-D)- rather than having content filtered page by page (ie certain passages re-written on the fly) - think we’re a looooong, looooong way from that (at least technically I hope)….]]>
I really wanted to make a cheesecake, and found a recipe that uses a rice cooker - however I couldn’t find 6″ pans…much less a Springform Pan. The next runner up was the French Silk Pie - requires no baking, and the ingredients weren’t too hard to find (well minus the pre-made pie crust and pan…and oh yeah…unsweetened baking chocolate) - just needed a mixer to create this concoction… No hand mixers, or any mixers for that matter were to be found at the local superstore (about the size of a regular Walmart, but also sells groceries) - Was eyeballing a what looked to be a sturdy blender…well maybe not so sturdy, but looked ok as long as I didn’t want to make frozen margaritas all day - about 45 USD - then the sales lady wooed me over to the blender they had on sale this week that they were also demonstrating - pretty impressive on what they presented…it had the same power as the one I was looking at (250W) , and was half the price- 22USD …..However like what I have told my students “Its not what they say, its what they don’ t say…” - It was one of those crappy blenders you see on tv, that they never run for more than 20-30 seconds, you know
the ones that can make a simple smoothie for one or help you grate some cheese for melting in the microwave for nachos.
While mixing the ingredients for the pie, I was really getting annoyed with the motor turning itself off after 20-30 seconds then requiring 20-30 minutes to cool down - remembering during the presentation that the lady was pouring water on the unit while it was mixing, I suppose showing that it was perhaps waterproof - a very dim light clicked on in my head - maybe I could use this as a means to more efficiently cool the unit while mixing, so I could use it for longer amounts of time…So with my very crude “water cooling” *cough Pitcher of Water cough* solution - I proceeded to start mixing again - Hey it seemed to work OK - the blender could function for 5 minutes now without needing to cool down, and when it did, pouring water on it constantly brought the cool down time to no more than 5-10 minutes . I was almost done with the Pie, adding the last 2 eggs to be beaten in (10 more minutes of mixing with a blender/mixer), when my blender had enough of the water torture & increasing viscosity of the batter and decided to shoot flames from its air intake and release its “magic smoke“. - In hindsight I am probably deserving of the Darwin Award if I got electrocuted with my water cooling idea…alas it seems I never win any awards…..Anyway beating 2 more eggs into this mixture wasn’t much fun - took around 30 minutes and thought my arm was going to fall off…The end product…well I guess it was OK, just a bit gritty from the sugar not being mixed well enough into the batter…since I hand mixed the last 2 eggs in,I probably mixed in alot of large air bubbles, as the pie had a weird lumpy top finish when it was set -nothing 5 ounces of grated dark chocolate couldn’t fix
Returning the blender was somewhat interesting - things aren’t as easy to return here as they are back in the States - You really just can’t return things you don’t like, and if returning something that is defective you have to run around a little. Showing my dead blender to customer service (with the assistance of my tutor :-)) I was instructed to talk to the lady who sold it to me and have her verify it was really defective.
Showing her the unit, she plugged it in, and it started working again, but had this weird smell and grinding sound - she said t was fine, when I asked her if the blades were moving at the right speed, she tried it again, but this time with a pop, some flames and smoke - scaring away her potential customers who were watching her make smoothies :-p, she said OK and replaced the unit with a new unit, when my tutor told them I wanted a refund - she made some nice story about how this device is a saftey hazard and that I deserve to have my money returned - some more running around and I finally got refunded - Somewhat looking for a mixer again, but thinking they might be really over priced here - may have to drag one back with me in my checked luggage if I come back….
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Recipe for the French Silk Pie- thanks Megan!
French Silk Pie
1 cup butter, room temperature
1.5 cup white sugar
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (2 ounces total), melted and cooled
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 prepared 8 inch pastry shell, baked and cooled
Cream butter in a mixing bowl.
2. Gradually beat in the sugar with an electric mixer until light
colored and well blended.
3. Melt chocolate in double boiler. If using cocoa powder, follow
directions on package for substitution quantities and mix in double
4. Stir in the thoroughly cooled chocolate (you don’t want to melt the
butter), and vanilla extract.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time,
beating 5 minutes on medium speed after
6. Spoon the chocolate filling into a cooled, baked pie shell.
7. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
Tip on cooling the chocolate, I like to keep stirring it so that while
it cools none of it starts to set and get hard. When it is about room
temperature, it is time to add it.
*Additional Tip - Make sure all utensils are 100% dry when working with melted chocolate, also be very careful of not getting any water or steam in contact with it as well - otherwise it will seize
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Recipe for the Rice Cooker Cheesecake
Creamy Cheesecake (Rice Cooker)
Serving Size: 4
This cheesecake is very rich and creamy and, because the recipe does not require an oven, it won’t heat up the house, making it a delicious summer dessert topped with fresh fruits. For a little extra zing, add a tablespoon of grated lemon or lime rind to the cheesecake batter.
This recipe can be done in either the 7-cup or 10-cup electric rice cooker by Wolfgang Puck.
This recipe can be done in either the 7-cup or 10-cup electric rice cooker by Wolfgang Puck.
|3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
¾ cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon corn starch
|1 6-inch spring form pan (most craft stores carry them in a 6X4 size; check cake-decorating aisles)
2 cups water inside the nonstick pot of rice cooker
Cover with a paper towel.
the May Day Holiday.
In years previous, for this holiday, people over here got 7 *cough* days off.
However with all the mass migrations that happen during long holidays (ie. National Day, Spring Festival, May Day) where most people travel back home or visit relatives on the other side of the country - pretty much clogging up all forms of transportation (and unofficially probably hurts workplace productivity once the workers come back)- the government has decided to chop them up.
So instead of having 7 *cough* days for May Day - It is now 3 plus a day off for Tomb Sweeping Day and Dragon Boat Festival… You maybe wondering why Im coughing Its not to say they don’t get that amount of time off, its just that they have to make up that time…oh yeah…and those times include the weekends…..so lets take the May Day Holiday as an example - They have Thursday, Friday
and Saturday off.
Now you may be asking “what about Sunday?” - well on Sunday they have to work - to make up for Friday…For China’s 7 day holidays, it usually means, that they have to work the weekend before the holiday - so their 7 day vacation is really a 3 day Vacation (7 days - 2 (weekend days) - 2 days they have to make up = 3 days)
I remember reading something about how even China has better personal leave time than America - “Three weeks off mandated by the government” - however It doesn’t look like they counted the days the workers have to make up on the weekends prior/after those days of leave….I think I would rather much take the standard 10 work days (that I can use anytime) along with the 5 national holidays in the states …However I think I’d rather take the standard German days off - up to 6+ weeks depending on tenure with a a company
Currently Im tied up with 8-10 hours of Chinese tutoring/classes a week - usually after each session for about 20 minutes or so my head continues to hurt…Also in the process of interviewing at potential places (in the U.S. as well as in China) I might work for after teaching - yep back to the bump n’ grind of “real work” and oh yeah… Studying for the dreaded GMAT.
That nightmare will end on June 2nd.
Then hopefully a trip around Hong Kong and Japan during Mid June
On a high note - I can access Wikipedia again! (and also Blogspot) - I wonder if was decided to open those sites up earlier than the scheduled 4 weeks prior to the Olympics… Oh well hope it stays!
My break was ok - really COLD (was suppose to be warm)…Hopefully in the next coming days I’ll get around to posting my archives from my trips (photos & some archived blogs).]]>
According to Lonely Planet China 2007
” Cold Mountain Temple ???
About 2km west of the Garden to Linger In, this temple (Hanshan S; 24 Hanshansi Long; admission 20Y, with Maple Bridge 45; 7:30am-5:30pm) was named after the 7th century poet-monk Han Shan.
Han Shan has excerted a surprising amount of influence on 20th century literature, first showing up in the work of Beat writers Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac,
and later in the poetry of Irish Nobel prize-winner Seamus Heaney.
Today, the temple holds little interest except for a stele by poet Zhang Ji immortalising both the nearby Maple bridge and the temple bell (since removed to Japan). However, the fine walls and the humpback bridge are woth seeing.
Tourist bus Y3 takes you from the train station to the temple.”]]>
Now…besides doing some traveling, just have to figure out what Im going to teach next semester]]>
I guess to understand the “awesome-ness” of this word, click on this link to see what started it all, or prepare for the wrath of Trogdor….
My Charlie Brown Tree (More lights than bristles) - Got the tree for 5 yuan at the local grocery store…the red “glass” balls were more expensive - 7 yuan (lights were free - last guy left em :-D)
My Very First wreath (That is slightly misshapen/deformed from the constant falling off my door)
Merry Christmas Everyone!