A family friend has moved to China to teach English and is keeping us posted via a blog. This photo caught my attention, because any toilet that can do all of those things can’t be cheap, reliable, or good for landfills when it dies a premature death from mechanical failure. This is not moving in the direction of sustainable technology. Not to mention, hitting the bidet button by accident would be unsettling on multiple levels.

This photo of the Great Wall does not impress me in the same way it impresses others. To me, it is the supreme reminder of just how incompetent government can be, and how our instinct to protect our monkey troop can be manipulated to make us do just about anything. The expense and effort that must have been expended to build something so completely worthless boggles the mind. We might all be speaking Chinese today if those resources had gone into things like science and education instead. We may be one day anyway, considering our present leadership and the way we are wasting resources in Iraq — our own version of the Great Wall.

Her blog got me to poking around on the net this morning for news on China and pollution. There was this article, which was an interesting read in part because it was written in such poor English. You would think they could find a better-qualified translator. Also note the ad at the top celebrating the 85th anniversary of communism.

I also found this piece discussing the coming “war” over natural gas supplies and this blurb showing the effects of Chinese coal-fired power plants (which explains why the Chinese are looking for more natural gas).

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.