Artillery Barrages between Koreas

According to media from South Korea, North Korea fired artillery onto Yeonpyeong Island, which locates in the disputed area between the North Limit Line by South Korea and US and North Korean Military Demarcation Line on West Sea or Yellow Sea on Nov. 23rd1. It is believed that the Hoguk Exercise (호국훈련, National Protection Exercise) in the disputed areas triggered the incident2. Before the military drill, DPRK has condemned the annual exercise and warned they would fire shots2. Since the South explained the exercise is a routine one, a military activity in disputed areas should be controversial. It is reported that South Korea lost 4 (including 2 civilians) and injured 19 (including 3 civilians)3. The casualties and losses from North Korea are unknown till now.

Fig. 1 Disputed Maritime Demarcation Line between Koreas1

Fig. 2 People watch as plumes of smoke rise up from buildings on South Korea’s Yeonpueong island after North Korea fired hundreds of artillery rounds4

Fig. 3 CCTV captures the moment a shell lands on the island4

Fig. 4 A South Korean marine walks through destroyed houses on Yeonpyeong (Photograph: Lee Jin-Man/AP)5

Before the current president of South Korea took the power, the relationship between Koreas was smooth and stable. As we know, North Korea is developing its nuclear power, and the explosion could be regarded as one from atomic bomb. Just before the artillery barrages, a report by Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker stated that North Korea has a modern, clean centrifuge plant of more than 1000 centrifuges all neatly aligned at the country’s Yongbyon nuclear complex and could make two nuclear bombs per year6. One more fact that we could not ignore is that the low living standard in Korea. Thus, we can concluded that North Korea develops mass destruction weapons without considering the starving people. Hold on, please. Here is a question. Why Kim spent so much on the weapon? Killing Chinese? No, I do not think so. Killing Korean? Maybe. Japanese? Possible. American? How? If there was no troops in South Korea, I believe it is hardly for North Korea to attack Washington. Frequent military exercise near or in the Korean Peninsula made the area very sensitive. During the Korean war in the mid 20th century, the threatens of atomic bombs from US on China and Korea were the motivations to develop the nuclear weapons for their own. After China successfully tested its first atomic bomb in 1964, the Communist government claimed that China undertakes not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones at any time or under any circumstances7. North Korea needs a secure environment to develop its economy, while the aggressive President Lee Myungbak and the US troops in South Korea made the wish less possible. Now US and other countries press China to rein in North Korea to prevent further provocative incidents such as the deadly artillery attack on a South Korean island close to the border8. On the other hand, US deployed the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and four other US Navy (USN) warships to the West Sea (Yellow Sea)9 and began a joint military exercise with South Korea within a broad range which covers 34 degrees 30 minutes north latitude to 36 degrees to 125 degrees east longitude 124 degrees 42 minutes announced by South Korea’s National Oceanographic Research Institute on Nov. 2710. The location of the joint exercise is close to China and North Korea, since it is sort of far from the disputed area10. North Korea has condemned the 4-day war games bring the divided peninsula “closer to the brink of war”11. China started a series of diplomatic activities to ease the tensions, such sending senior officials to Koreas11, exchanging ideas with related countries12, and calling for emergency 6-way talk13. Recently, Wikileaks released US diplomatic cable including the attitude of China on Koreas14. The joint military exercise is to make the situation more complex and worse. President Lee Myung-bak is very confident about the military forces of South Korea, but if North Korea showers Seoul with artillery rounds and rockets, there are predictions that half of the capital will be destroyed in just a day15. It seems that what Lee has done at the risk of millions of South Korean’s lives. The unification of Koreas should be a long term process provided that North Korea could develop its economy and democracy under a stable environment. Otherwise, it is a disaster for all the people in Northeast Asia, especially for China and Koreas. US government and President Lee Myung-bak should abandon the strong and unrealistic policy to North Korea, and drag the Korea Peninsula back onto the right track to peace and denuclearization.

References:

  1. Dispatch: North Korea Shells a South Korean Island.
  2. N.Korea fires artillery shells toward Yeonpyeong Island, killing two marines.
  3. Bombardment of Yeonpyeong.
  4. Korea on the brink: South warns of retaliation after North’s shellfire strike kills two marines.
  5. South Korea cancels Yeonpyeong island drills.
  6. North Korea could make two nuclear bombs per year.
  7. China’s National Statement on Security Assurance.
  8. US to press China to rein in North Korea after attack.
  9. US sends aircraft carrier to Yellow Sea following North Korean attacks.
  10. U.S. military exercises in South Korea Yellow Sea in Shandong sailing 170 kilometers away from the warning is announced.
  11. US-South Korea Joint Naval Show Sparks High Voltage Tension.
  12. Peace & the Koreas.
  13. China Calls For Six-Party Talk With N. Korea.
  14. China frustrated with North Korea: WikiLeaks.
  15. Gov’t Mulls Turning Baeknyeong into Forward Deployment Base.

EasyRecovery

A couple of hours ago, suddenly all the pdf files on the desktop of my laptop disappeared with several application software and many folders. One of the folder contains the updated files of my research work. I am not sure whether I have met exactly the same situation before, while I believe that is not the first time that I lost my data. I began using Ontrack® EasyRecoveryTM Professional since 2002. Not only EasyRecovery but also FinalData could recover the lost data or unintentionally deleted data. From my personal experience, I prefer to EasyRecovery much more.

If the lost data contain some common used format files, such as word, excel or powerpoint, the software have special recover program for each format. I remember that I helped my colleagues to recover bunches of reports, data, and presentations. Since EasyRecovery doesn’t have such a module,  I almost successfully recovered all the pdf files today.

No software is perfect, and EasyRecovery is not an exceptional case. There are still some pdf files are not fully recovered. One of them only gives a name but no content at all. Also, I tried recover some word files before, but the results disappointed me a lot.

In nowadays, the hard drives run more quickly than before. Also, the size of theirs are by far larger than before. Therefore, the hard drives seem to be more fragile. Thus, all of us should remember the most important thing is backup. Even, more than one backups should prevent the damage from the disasters. Maybe solid state drive is another choice, but the threshold is too high for most user. The online storage offers one more option to keep the data, which also could remotely accessed. The internet connection is a must under such a situation. Besides, the net speed is concerned. Eatra money is needed, and the quality is not fully guaranteed.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Note: The 8th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (namely Airshow China) is being held in Zhuhai from 16th to 21st this November. Besides, I hope Space Shuttle Discovery could successfully finished her last mission. This post is dedicated to those who are concerning about the advancement in aerospace.

One week before, I went to visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which locates on the west shore of Manhattan Island, close to the Central Park and Times Square (as shown in Fig.1 below). In Fig.1, the red circle indicates the location of Time Square and the yellow one on the right top shows the Central Park.

Fig. 1 Location of USS Intrepid (Green circle)

Zoom in the google map online, you can see the aircraft carrier with a Concorde supersonic passenger airliner (blue circle)  and a diesel-electric submarine USS Growler (SSG-577)(purple circle). Actually the arrangement of the aircrafts on the flight deck in the figure below was different from what I have seen. I am not sure how often Google Maps updates the data. At least a legend surveillance aircraft, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, was not on the map. Actually the blackbird and F-14 Tomcat were on the side close to 12th Avenue. When I first saw the aircraft carrier and the two planes at the corner of 12th Avenue and 46th Street, I thought that was Su-27 Flanker, a great and famous fighter made by former USSR and Russia. The vertical tails look very similar to each other. With the crackdown of Soviet Union, US also obtained several flankers from former USSR members for personal use and collection.

Fig. 2 Layout of Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Fig.3 British Airways Concorde

Fig.4 USS 577 Growler

Fig. 5 Lockheed A-12(SR-71 Blackbird)

Fig. 6 Grumman F-14 Tomcat

OK, let’s come back to the visit to the museum. After purchased the ticket, I went to the hanger deck, where I can see the interior structure of the aircraft carrier. Also, the history of the aircraft carrier and stuff related to the vessel, such as the Aurora 7 Capsule Replica could be seen on hanger deck. I did not pay much attention there, within half an hour I turned to the flight deck via the stairs. Several guns with different calibers could be seen on the way.

When I was standing on the flight deck, a special feeling came into my mind. Once upon a time, I had a dream about the aircraft carrier. China should have her own aircraft, which could help the People’s Liberation Army Navy to protect the maritime rights and interests, especially on East China Sea and South China Sea. A rumor said that a USSR/Ukraine made aircraft Varyag anchored in Dalian, China under reconstruction for military use. It seems to be unpredictable that how soon it could join the navy. I am proud of being the first standing on a real aircraft carrier among our group of military fans. It is regretable that the AC is not belong to China.

I am not going to introduce the aircrafts on the flight deck, because you can find more details about the exhibits on the wikipedia. A picture of Tomcat once was under a huge glass plate on my desk when I was in high school. The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon loaned from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. is one of the most popular fighter in the contemporary world. I am familiar with the Mig fighters from Poland and China. From childhood, I had the models of a series of Mig fighters at home. It is a pity that there was no F-15 Eagle, or F/A-18 Hornet on the deck. As for F-22 Raptor, the most advanced fighter in the world, I did not even have a wish to see it there. I heard that there was an F-22 air show around NYC before. Maybe I could wait for the next to catch the steal fighter with my new camera.

Fig. 7 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

I feel so lucky that I can see  the Royal Naval HMS Daring (D32) near the museum. After the visit I did research about the warship. The lead ship of the Type 45 or ‘D’ Class of air defence destroyer was declared officially in service at the end of July in 2010, since it was lauched  in 2006. The new destroyer visited US for a joint exercise with US aircraft carrier USS Enterprise(CVN-65)1. Unfortunately, on Nov. 10th, only two days after it went back to UK from US2, it has been forced to go into the dock with engine problems3.

Fig. 8 United Kingdom Royal Naval HMS Daring(D32)

References:

1. UK Navy’s HMS Daring conducts joint exercise with US aircraft carrier.

2.Daring Destroyer Returns From US Exercise.

3. Daring’s engines fail.

Traffic Jams, Automobiles, Oil and Gas, and Alternative Energy

Recently, the traffic jams in Beijing trouble the capital of People’s Republic of China, with intensity1. I had the experience of traffic jams in Beijing. Under such kind of dituations, the highways seemed to be a huge parking lot. Now people, including me, call Beijing as Top Jams (pronounced as shou 3 du 3 in Chinese) instead of capital (pronounced as shou 3 du 1). The traffic jams happened intenser and more frequently due to the increasing private cars, especially in the severe weather and holiday seasons2, 3. The monster traffic jam in mid-August make the capital seem to be a huge parking lot4, 5. Shai Oster stated that Beijing considers car limits to fight for the traffic jams in his blog6, actually the policy has been implemented for years. Starting in 2008, Beijing authorities started to limit the cars on road through having the drivers leave theirs at home once a week based on the last digit of the license plate6.. The problem is that some of the owner could buy the second car to avoid the limitation. That is not the only tradition Chinese have. Above I mentioned that the holiday seasons made the traffic jams worse. Each year, Chunyun (transportation in Spring Festivals) could move more than 2 billion people times7. This year, Beijing fell into its most severe traffic jam around mid-Autumn festival season3. According to Beijing Municipal Traffic Committee, the Beijing municipal government would invest 80 billion RMB in 2009 on transportation infrastructure construction to solve the traffic problems8. Obviously the construction has not solved the problem, yet. Actually, in my opinion, simply increasing the investment in transportation construction will never work, especially with the current urban planning and increasing cars.

The increases of private cars also push up the oil price. According to International Energy Agency outlook, the oil peak will not reach until 2035, and drives the oil price over $200 per barrel by 2035, equivalent to $113 in 2009 real dollars9. The demand by China is projected to account for 39% of rising energy demand and 57% of rising oil demand9. Kevin Clarke said that China does not have to take any lessons from America on consumption because the planet could not support the 1.3 billion people have the same standard living level as current Americans have10.The attitude is so negative that I could not agree with at all. We could not wait the day after tomorrow coming without any efforts. The alternative energy resources could solve the problem? I am highly doubting it. In fact I have some advices on how to deal with such a situation.

  1. Developing the public transportation with alternative energy resources.
  2. Limiting the private cars, especially with fossil fuel.
  3. Increasing the consumption tax on oil and gas.
  4. Lowering the gap between conventional and alternative energy prices.
  5. Improving the technology and energy efficiency
  6. Reducing the energy consumption.

References:

  1. Beijing traffic jams only growing.
  2. Beijing roads choked by 140 traffic jams in a day.
  3. Traffic Jams In Beijing Reach New Records Of Congestion.
  4. Beijing: World’s Biggest Parking Lot.
  5. China Traffic Jam Could Last Weeks.
  6. Beijing, Fighting Traffic, Considers Car Limits.
  7. Chunyun.
  8. Beiijng strives to solve traffic problems.
  9. International Energy Agency says ‘peak oil’ has hit. Crisis averted?
  10. Take the next exit: Avoid an economic traffic jam.

OpenOffice.org and Kingsoft Office 2010

The trial version of Microsoft Office 2010 on my laptop has been expired early today. I had to uninstall the software suite and try to find an alternative. I have a genuine copy of Microsoft Office 2003 bought on campus several years ago. Unfortunately I do not bring the disk with me. Thus, I had to give Microsoft Office up.

As I know, there are several alternative software to Microsoft Office. I used Kingsoft WPS which stands for Word Processing System on MS-DOS operating system, and its successors, WPS 97 and WPS Office series. The personal edition of Kingsoft WPS Office (Chinese) is free for all Chinese users. This time, I chose another free office suite, OpenOffice.org or OOo, which could be run on multi-platform. The latest stable version is 3.2.1, while I selected the release candidate, 3.3.0. This office suites includes OOo Writer(similar to MS Word), Base (MS Access), Calc(MS Excel), Impress (MS PowerPoint), Draw (CorelDraw), and Math (MS Equation Editor). A snapshot of OOo could be found at the end of this paragraph. The free software suite could be satisfied the needs of MS Office users, but also provide some extra applications, such as exporting the file into PDF format without Adobe Acrobat. Up to now I am used to the one I have never used before.

A Snapshot of OpenOffice.org Office Suite

BTW, the row between Tencent QQ and Qihoo 360 sounded the alarm of privacy security. It is said that both of them may grab the users’ personal information on the computer without notice. And now they are exclusive of each other. I do not care about it that much, because I seldom use either of them now. In fact the row offers their competitors an opportunity to give help to the users. Kingsoft Duba(Internet Security, and/or Anti-Virus Suites) and Kaspersky Lab could be used for one year without paying any money in China Mainland market. If you are interested, you need to visit their Chinese websites. There are bunches of free software online, I believe if you want you can have a computer which could satisfy the daily needs without paying a penny on software.