Deng Xiaoping was fond of quoting the ancient Chinese proverb “Tao guang yang hui”, which is generally rendered: “Hide your brightness, bide your time.” The idea was to keep China’s capabilities secret until the moment was right to reveal them. Until then, the priority was to raise incomes and integrate the country into the global economic system.
Now China is comfortably the world’s second-largest economy and, quite possibly, on its way to becoming the largest. In Xi Jinping it has a leader whose articulation of a China Dream – “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” – is explicitly aimed at recapturing national greatness. The time for false modesty, it seems, is over.
By Leonid Ragozin in Moscow, theguardian.com, Dec. 12, 2013
Vladimir Putin has defended Russia's anti-gay laws in his annual address to both chambers of the Russian parliament.
In an apparent reference to the laws banning "propaganda of non-traditional relations", the Russian president said that on the international arena Russia sees itself as a defender of conservative values against what it considers an assault of "genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance" which he said "equals good and evil".
By Michael R. Gordon, Mark Landler and Anne Barnard, New York Times, Dec. 11/12, 2013
[....] The administration acted after warehouses of American-supplied equipment were seized Friday by the Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist fighters who have broken with the moderate, American-backed opposition, but who also battle Al Qaeda.
Administration officials said that the suspension, confirmed on Wednesday, was temporary and that the nonlethal aid, which is supplied by the State Department, could flow again.
But with rebels feuding with one another instead of concentrating on fighting Mr. Assad, and with the United States still groping for a reliable partner in Syria,...
WATERLOO, Ontario — Canada’s postal service said Wednesday that it would cease home delivery over the next five years, and substantially increase postal rates.
Though Canada would become the first Group of 7 country to end all residential mail delivery in cities and older suburbs, Canada Post shares many problems with postal services in the United States and elsewhere, including rapidly declining mail volumes and high wage and pension costs. Along with the service cuts, the government-owned service said it...
The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.
“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Jacob Bourjaily, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University and an author of the first of two papers detailing the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper,...