The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Air Date: 
January 16, 2013

Photo, above: Tibetan monk self -immolates. The unelected tyrants of Beijing are thrown into confusion by the massive domestic and international opposition to Chinese Communist Party oppression of a people who deeply wish to be free and independent.  See:Hour One, Block B, below: Lobsang Nyandak, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas.


Hour One

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Toshi Yoshihara, John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Naval War College and co-author of Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy, in re:  Are China's aggressive moves for domestic political consumption or the predicates for war?  PLA newspaper refers to war. Japan also. At the Naval War College, it's thought that some of the rhetoric on both sides is directed to different audiences. China: for domestic propaganda; Japan: will remain resolute in defense of the Senkakus.  Of course, while every nation has war plans, few allude to them in such corrosive terms. Very hard for China to climb down if it had to, cd be propelled into escalation, dangerous situation. Chinese professor: Aimed half at those Japanese voices aimed at war, and half at [general peaceful planning].  Chinese mindset is anger at feeling dissed.  Chinese movnig aggressively to discredit Japanese claims over the Senkakus, first with ships and now with planes. Every time China intrudes into Japanese space, Japanese coadst guard has to scramble, which can lead to Japanese fatigue.  Xi may be saying, "I'm fulfilling my mandate.'  War ould begin in any of many ways – likely that some accident or miscalculation  bumping at sea, Japanese warning shot, many tactical situations – could lead to shots fired in anger.  Some Chinese warships are seriously out of date; Japan's first-rate self-defense force could overwhelm China's. China's military: corruption, and – political officers standing next to an instructing military officers. Very dangerous.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Lobsang Nyandak, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas, in re: At least 95 Tibetans have set themselves afire in Tibetan areas protesting what they perceived as China’s hardline rule and demanding the return of Dalai Lama, the community’s spiritual leader. Chinese authorities say that the Dalai Lama was instigating separatism and was influencing locals to self-immolate to grab international attention. “Police investigations show the self-immolation of Sangye Gyatso, a 26-year-old resident of Duohe Village, Nawu Township in the city of Hezuo, on October 6, 2012, was 'masterminded by key members of the Tibetan Youth Congress of the overseas Dalai clique'," a government statement said. The charge is "goading a Tibetan to self-immolate."  Ninety-five self-immolations in protest of Chinese brutality.   Chinese govt allegations of inciting are wholly baseless; not the first time the Tibetan Youth Congress has been accused, incl of terrorist, m, and even His Holiness of terrorism! Fear among Chinese leadership because they have no idea how to deal with such distress and resistance among Tibetans.  Since by no means does every Tibetan like the Tibetan Youth Congress, Beijing is erring to bully the group and so generate public favor.  This is a continuation of policies that are decades old.   Xi Jinping's policies are merely a continuation of the old ways. During h Vietnam War, the US president and Penatagon equally had no idea how to deal with Vietnamese Buddhist monks's self-immolations.  Now 54 years after Chinese occupation began, China's right to rule Tibet is being seriously questioned by the intl community. They seem to think that if they can stop the self-immolations everything'll be all right, so they redouble the oppression, incl on the families and friends of those who self-immolation.

Seven Tibetans arrested for inciting self-immolation

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Hotel Mars, episode n. David Livingston, The Space Show, & Gerald D Nordley, astronautical engineer (orbital mechanics, space operations, spacecraft engineering, advanced propulsion) and a writer; investor in XCOR & Tethers Unlimited, in re: The newly-announced Kepler planet (KOI-172.02, or KOI-172c) is the second known planet candidate in the KOI-172 system, the first being a 1/6 Jupiter-radius planet (about half the radius of Neptune) in a very hot 13.79-day orbit. This one is estimated to be a bit more than 1/8 Jupiter radius (1.5 Earth radius) in a 242.489 day orbit. (John Batchelor: I think of  Kepler planets as Plan B if it doesn’t work out on Earth.)  Today, fiction meets science: habitable-zone planets with atmosphere. These establish statistics for planets of all kind, giving us an idea of whet me might find nearer to home.  In Kepler system, naming: Kepler Object of Interest names – KOI [digit].[digits for planets found]  Different from normal exoplanet naming, which is the name of the {nearest?] star with A, B, C, etc.  Kepler will identify a planet, then we turn to Hubble or the like to tease out more information. Red dwarfs are main-sequence stars, too.

If it has a thin, habitable atmosphere and has a similar composition to Earth, allowing for some compression it would have a mass of about 3.5 Earth's and an escape velocity of over 17 km/s at its surface (compare to 21 for Uranus and 11 for Earth). How could such a world have a thin atmosphere?

An alternative construction might have an Earth-sized core covered with, say, 1500 km of ice and a thousand km of atmosphere. Note the other planet in a 14-day orbit as evidence of migration in this system and consider that neither world is likely to be anywhere near where it was formed.

The Kepler "pipeline" data give the host star near-solar mass, but a radius of only 0.66 Sol--approaching sub-dwarf territory. The announced temperature was 5603 K. That would result in a luminosity of only 0.385 Suns and an insolation for the planet of about 2/3 that of Earth. The small radius, of course, makes the transit of a 1.5-Earth radius object easier to see. It's understood that, if the stellar radius is actually larger, the planetary radius would be as well. In any event, the planet appears to be firmly inside the limits of most people's habitable zones.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: China air pollution and reaction, and natural limits to growth without transparency and accountability. I fond the Tibetans to be galvanized and more r less unified in the face of Chinese oppression. They'll be around a lot longer than the Communist Party will.   JB: In Vietnam, it led to re-education camps, brutality, suffering.  GC:  At some point, Tibetans will have a chance to establish their own country; if China collapses, Tibetans need to take advantage of that moment because it won’t last long.     GC: Urban pollution in China so disastrous that a factory was on fire for three hours before anyone realized that it was smoke from a fire, not just the asphyxiating fog. JB: Party is not accountable or transparent; the smoke is so horrible that the leadership is not only pitiless but powerless. GC: When Chinese people want to know what the pollution index is, they go to the American twitter feed. Seems to me that things are too bad to be sustained; tipping point, you can’t censor the weather.


Hour Two

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management, in re: If you looks at electricity use in China, looks as though GDP growth in China is around 4 or 5% (not the 7.8% that people expect the regime to say).   Chinese state enterprises see few opportunities in China, rather, abroad. If they cd make money in China, that's where they'd put their ren min bi.   "A gradual squeeze is still a squeeze." China is still overreliant on investment for growth; overinvestment persists; slow suffocation of capacity for real growth-generation.  Last year's favorable numbers driven by state stimulus. This time, it's not bank lending. It’s off-balance-sheet risky investment vehicles. Consumption continues to grow, which is why foreign companies stay. Look for huge bumps in the road. Logistics, agriculture, healthcare, consumer, retail – all these could be legit growth, but what the govt still favors is rentier behavior.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Alan Tonelson,  Research Fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council Educational Foundation, in re: US market for Chinese-made goods: I look at US consumption of high-value goods – capital- and tech-intensive industries – how much Americans consume each year,  how much of that made overseas. In 2011, import shae hit a new all-time high of almost 38%.  Chinese now is ore than 5% of the advanced high-value goods. We need to conduct a top-to-bottom review of US trade policies, esp effect of  US agreements. and esp from China – subsidies have produced the massive offshoring; these perverse incentives must be reversed. China in the WTO in 200 made China immune to US trade  laws that try to protect US trade laws from predatory practices -  subsidization and dumping, Sadly, not currency manipulation. At CES in Las Vegas, Microsoft was not there this year; where it always used to have its giant exhibit was a Chinese company introducing products [intriguingly similar to Microsoft products]. Chinese industry has benfitted from a massive wave of tech transfer – some voluntary, much of it extorted by the Chinese govt – outlawed by a US-Chinese agreement in the 1990s and yet still pervasive. Chinese have become trade bandits. Washington has declined ot deal with this. There are no rules that China respect – it doesn’t even have a rules –based governance internally. No tradition of that throughout history.

Annual study of import penetration by Chinese-made goods into US markets for advanced manufactures.  The report will take the data up to 2011 (because of publication lags in some of the Census data, need to perform the necessary calculations).  It will still shed some light on the issue of if the relative competitiveness of US and China-based manufacturing is changing significantly. 

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China FDI Shows Full-Year Decline as Economic Expansion Slows 

Bloomberg News, Jan 15, 2013

China’s foreign direct investment declined for the first full year since 2009 as economic growth slowed and manufacturers relocated to markets with cheaper labor, contrasting with outbound spending that surged to a record. Inbound FDI dropped 4.5 percent in December from a year earlier to $11.7 billion, the 13th decline in 14 months, according to Ministry of Commerce data released in Beijing today. For the full year, inflows fell 3.7 percent to $111.7 billion, while China’s non-financial investment abroad increased 28.6 percent to $77.2 billion.

China is gradually losing its advantages as a destination for workshops and plants as land and labor costs rise, while deploying some of its $3.3 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves in growth opportunities abroad. The shift in FDI may benefit countries including Indonesia and Vietnam, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

“It’s an inevitable trend that labor costs will keep rising in China -- not only in coastal areas but also in inland regions,” Shi Lei, a Beijing-based analyst with broker Founder Securities Co., said before the report. “The country will not be an ideal place for low-end manufacturing.”

FDI inflows compare with a 5.4 percent drop in November to $8.3 billion. Outbound investment in the first 11 months of last year rose 25 percent to $62.5 billion. The role of FDI is diminishing as leaders of the world’s second-biggest economy boost domestic infrastructure spending and lending increases. The share of foreign funds out of total fixed-asset investment has dropped from a peak of 11.8 percent in 1996 to 1.5 percent in 2011, data published by China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Leaving China  Labor-intensive, international manufacturers are leaving China for other Asian countries, Trinh Nguyen, an economist with HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, said in a Jan. 9 report. Textile investment inflows into China shrank 18.9 percent in the first three quarters of 2012 while manufacturing FDI inflows into Indonesia rose 66 percent, Nguyen wrote.  Panasonic Corp. (6752), the Japanese electronics maker, said Jan. 11 it will end production of plasma televisions in Shanghai and shift flat-panel operations to China’s Shandong province.

China’s outbound FDI may surpass inflows within a year, Shen Jianguang, chief Asia economist at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., said in November. China’s foreign-exchange regulator said Jan. 14 that it has created a new unit to use the nation’s reserves, the world’s largest stockpile, by supporting Chinese companies expanding abroad. The Chinese government will release data Jan. 18 on fourth- quarter gross domestic product, December industrial production and retail sales and full-year fixed-asset investment. Economic growth probably accelerated to 7.8 percent in the October- December period from a year earlier, up from a three-year low in the previous quarter, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

------Zhou Xin, with assistance from Sunil Jagtiani in New Delhi.  Reporter: Xin Zhou in Beijing at   Editors: Paul Panckhurst at; Scott Lanman, John Liu.

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Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Gardiner Harris, NYT, in re:  India’s New Focus on Rape Shows Only the Surface of Women’s Perils  While a horrific gang rape in New Delhi has drawn attention to a violent epidemic, rape is just one facet of a broad range of violence that leads to the deaths of almost two million women a year.   Amartya Sen has identified 100 million missing women in India:  not only female infanticide (which is 12% of those missing); note dowry phenomenon, where a woman to be married is seen as such a burden that  money has to be given to the receiving family, which often finds the dowry too small and so burns the woman to death, reported as a kitchen fire. In India, huge numbers of motorcycles – men wear helmets and women don't.  Predatory male culture. After the recent, horrifying deaths, reporting of reporting of rapes has much increased. In New Delhi, eight women for every ten men. It’s taken thousands of years to develop this awful culture.  Bollywood is an amazingly important root feature of current Indian culture, and has featured a lot of rape scenes; nonetheless, unlikely that that's driving the issues instead of reflecting them. Even small girls don’t get fed as much as boys; mothers quit breastfeeding girls first, don’t give girls mosquito netting vs malaria; even elderly men get much better healthcare than do elderly women.  They see the different status accord to women in other cultures, are deeply frustrated. One Indian man made a speech, "The young woman who was murdered [by rape] could have avoided the whole thing by holding the hand of one of her attackers and saying, 'You are my brother.'"  This is an insane environment.    

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  . Joseph Sternberg, Asia WSHJ, in re: The Grapes of Australia's Wrath - vintners down under become the latest victims of the 'currency wars.'  Casella Wines, Australia's largest family-owned winery, recently notched its first quarterly loss in 20 years, and may now find itself in trouble with its bank. Just announced their first queerly loss – the Aussie is growing stronger and stronger, making wines more expensive in the marketplace. this is "the Dutch disease."  Chinese buying lots of natl resources, driving up the value of the Australian dollar – but wine industry needed to make improvements – water for irrigation. labor prices, and more.

Hour Three

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Amanda Crawford, Bloomberg News, in re: Arizona Becomes Valley of the Gun as Manufacturer Licenses Surge.   Twice as many U.S. businesses have been licensed to manufacture firearms and overall, federal licenses to sell, make or import firearms are up more than 15% in the last three years. The number of manufacturer licenses more than doubled in 41 of 76 cities with more than 50 gun dealers. The number of federal firearm licenses more than doubled in Charlotte, NC and Lake Havasu City, AZ. The number of gun shops in Aurora, CO surged 40%. Growth in licenses occurred in cities throughout the country with Arizona, Florida and Texas leading the way. Scottsdale, AZ, had the highest concentration of licenses among cities with more than 150,000 people, with more than 4.5 license holders for every 10,000 residents. Houston is highest for cities with more than 1 million people with 1.9 licenses per 10,000 people. Full story:

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International, in re:  Why So Few Consequences in Robert Menendez and Mike Crapo Senate Scandals?  Sen. Robert Menendez allegedly stiffs prostitutes and hires an illegal-immigrant intern but will soon head the Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Mike Crapo is arrested for DUI and is promoted to chief deputy party whip. Is there no shame in the Senate chambers, asks John Avlon.  Maybe all this can be chalked up to just another example of why Congress is less popular than head lice or root canal. In both cases, partisan media were quick to jump on the sins of the opposing party member while more or less ignoring the inconvenient allegations against the guy on their team. But even more troubling is their post-scandal promotions and the tacit admission that winning matters more than doing the right thing in the Senate clubhouse.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Michael Cieply, New York Times, in re: To Get Movies Into China, Hollywood Gives Censors a Preview   Eager to tap China’s movie market, Hollywood studios try to win censors’ approval — taking on Chinese partners, tweaking story lines and, when filming in China, inviting bureaucrats to the set.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Mark Schroeder,, in re: Malian and French ground troops clashed with militants linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Diabaly on Jan. 16, a security source said. Additionally, Mauritania has reportedly increased its border patrols, increasing the pressure on militants in the region. The Malian and French forces began their operation in Diabaly on Jan. 15 as France stepped up its deployments throughout the country.    Algeria: Militants Reportedly Kidnap 6 Foreigners  Islamist militants seized five Japanese nationals and a French citizen from an oil facility in Ain Amenas, southern Algeria, on Jan. 16, Reuters reported, citing local and diplomatic sources. Algerian officials did not immediately confirm the abduction.     Algeria: Troops Sent to Rescue Hostages Reportedly Seized by Malian Militants Algerian troops have begun an operation to rescue hostages seized Jan. 16 at a natural gas facility, Reuters reported. Oil major BP confirmed that an incident took place at a gas field. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said it was gathering information on the incident, and French Foreign Ministry officials said they were trying to verify the report. An Algerian security official said the militants who carried out the kidnapping came from Mali, and added that the Algerian army has caught up with and surrounded them.

Hour Four

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Bob Zimmerman,

Volunteers are needed to analyze images from Mars. We need your help to find and mark ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ on the Martian surface. Scientists believe that these features indicate wind direction and speed. By tracking ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ over the course of several Martian years to see how they form, evolve, disappear and reform, we can help planetary scientists better understand Mars’ climate. We also hope to find out if these features form in the same spot each year and also learn how they change.

1. Volunteers needed to look at Mars images.

2. Wildfire almost destroys an astronomical observatory in Australia.

3. Another ice drilling team in Antarctica, making three this year. Also, the Russians have recovered their first sample from Lake Vostok.

4. Robot refueling on ISS: the next stage in the demo begins this month.

5. More on the privately-built Bigelow module to be added to ISS.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:   Bob Zimmerman,, in re: An American ice-drilling team has reached Lake Whillans in Antarctica after a 600 mile journey.

Their plan is to drill down 2,600 feet to the lake. With the Russians and British, this makes three teams this year trying to drill into the buried lakes of Antarctica.

A wildfire has damaged an astronomical observatory in Australia.  The telescopes mostly appear unharmed, though some support facilities and a lot of nearby homes have been destroyed.

How the Bigelow module added to ISS will: Looking a bit further down the road, the potential launch of a Bigelow BEAM module, particularly if it takes place on a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster could be a harbinger of much greater things to come. As Mars visionary Robert Zubrin and many others have observed, the addition of an inflatable module similar to that being considered for the station, to the SpaceX Dragon 2.0 capsule greatly increases the available space and capability of a future Dragon to serve both as a Mars transfer vehicle, and / or surface habitat. Add in the introduction of Falcon Heavy, and the pieces for an alternate vision of far more affordable (and timely) inner system exploration begin to fall into place.

Stewart Money has it exactly right. I have never accepted the claim that Orion was the only spacecraft being built that would be capable of going beyond low earth orbit. Add the right components to any manned vehicle, and you have an interplanetary spaceship.

The trick of course is adding the right components. For both Orion and Dragon, the present assumptions are much too nonchalant about what those components are. For humans to prosper on an interplanetary mission, the vessel requires a lot more than a mere capsule and single module.

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Roger Kimball, New Criterion & WSJ op-ed, in re: This Metamorphosis Will Require a Permit  Sandy wrecked our house, but bureaucrats are keeping it broken

Wednesday  16 Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Sarah Maslin Nir, NYT,  in re scammers selling cars flooded during Hurricane Sandy?  Where do you go to launder a flood car title?  What happens to the saltwater damaged parts. 

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Hour 1:  Painted Veil, Tomorrow Never Dies, Starship Troopers, Crysis

Hour 2:  Crysis

Hour 3:  Cowboys & Aliens, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Infamous

Hour 4:  Star Trek, Skyfall


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