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China uses more energy than the United States now 2010-Jul-22 at 08:48 PDT

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From China now world’s biggest energy user, by Carola Hoyos, 19-Jul-2010:

China overtook the US last year to become the world’s biggest energy user, the International Energy Agency revealed on Monday.

Beijing’s new status is expected to make it even more influential in global energy markets, in determining prices and how it is used.

China clinched the top slot more quickly than had been expected because the US has over the past decade far outpaced China in using energy more efficiently. On a per capita basis, the US still uses far more energy than China and remains less efficient than Europe.

A second big consequence of China’s growing heft as an energy consumer is that the country will thus increasingly determine how energy is used on a global scale – from the types of cars manufactured to the kinds of power plants built. This means China will also determine energy consumption patterns outside its borders. “There will be a big multiplier effect,” Mr Birol said.

What does this mean? As Thomas Barnett talks about all the time, demand drives supply, and China’s leadership knows damn well that the supply of energy that they eventually need will be far greater than is supportable with oil and coal, both economically and ecologically.  The shift to clean energy will not be driven by Western do-gooder ideas, but by the hard facts of supplying over 1.2B people with enough electricity to run a modern life over the next couple of decades, some of whom don’t even have any power lines yet.

(And don’t forget India, which is facing the same questions for their 1,000,000,000+ people.)

The technologies we need to move energy production forward (namely, nanotechnology-based manufacturing, and improvements in photovoltaics and batteries) are coming, and coming soon, because the demand for them is so high, and the profit motive for creating them is so strong.  We also know that they’re coming soon because the exponential growth curves for the development of these technologies are running smoothly and right on time to deliver 100% of the world’s energy needs through solar in less than 20 years.

And don’t get all Green on this, thinking that profit motive being involved is a bad thing.  In an Integral economy, we think about having four bottom-lines, one in each quadrant, and the upper-right quadrant still has profit as one of its drivers.  That’s a good thing… as long as it’s not the only driver, as it so frequently is today.

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China challenges the US and the world with the second fastest supercomputer ever 2010-Jun-01 at 00:40 PDT

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Chinese Supercomputer Is Ranked World’s Second-Fastest, Challenging U.S. Dominance, by John Markoff, 31-May-2010

The Dawning Nebulae, based at the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen, China, has achieved a sustained computing speed of 1.27 petaflops — the equivalent of one thousand trillion mathematical operations a second — in the latest semiannual ranking of the world’s fastest 500 computers.

And they have an even faster one coming in the fall.

But China appears intent on challenging American dominance. There had been some expectation that China would make an effort to complete a system based on Chinese-designed components in time for the June ranking. The Nebulae is based on chips from Intel and Nvidia.

The new system, which is based on a microprocessor that has been designed and manufactured in China, is now expected later this year. A number of supercomputing industry scientists and engineers said that it was possible that the new machine would claim the title of world’s fastest.

If you think this is fast… well, you probably already own a computer capable of tens of gigaflops right now.  Even at a modest rate of doubling of speed like every five years, you’ll own a computer this fast in less than fifteen years, and your mobile device/phone will be this powerful in less than twenty years.

The first step is to admit you have a problem 2009-Dec-29 at 13:46 PDT

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Audit Found $35 Billion in Fraud Among Chinese Officials, David Barboza, New York Times, 29-Dec-2009

But analysts say the Communist Party faces significant hurdles in trying to curtail corruption. Every year Beijing announces new anticorruption drives, new laws and new policies aimed at dealing with the problem. But every year the scale of fraud seems enormous, particularly in a country where the average person earns less than $50 a week.

In 2005, for instance, the National Audit Office reported finding about $35 billion worth of government funds misused or embezzled. That was the last year the office gave a national figure covering its audits, according to its Web site.

Experts say the audits revealed one thing: many in government are finding ways to steal public money.

It’s probably not a shock to find out that there’s a lot of corruption, especially as you get farther away from the Eastern power structure there. But here’s why this is a good thing: it means that the Chinese government is starting to take corruption seriously, and that is always an indication in a society that a growing middle class is demanding more rights, and starting to get them.  There was also well-publicized mafia corruption trial a couple of months ago… something fairly unlikely just a few years ago.

All good signs for the future.

But analysts say the Communist Party faces significant hurdles in trying to curtail corruption. Every year Beijing announces new anticorruption drives, new laws and new policies aimed at dealing with the problem. But every year the scale of fraud seems enormous, particularly in a country where the average person earns less than $50 a week.

In 2005, for instance, the National Audit Office reported finding about $35 billion worth of government funds misused or embezzled. That was the last year the office gave a national figure covering its audits, according to its Web site.

Experts say the audits revealed one thing: many in government are finding ways to steal public money.

But analysts say the Communist Party faces significant hurdles in trying to curtail corruption. Every year Beijing announces new anticorruption drives, new laws and new policies aimed at dealing with the problem. But every year the scale of fraud seems enormous, particularly in a country where the average person earns less than $50 a week.

In 2005, for instance, the National Audit Office reported finding about $35 billion worth of government funds misused or embezzled. That was the last year the office gave a national figure covering its audits, according to its Web site.

Experts say the audits revealed one thing: many in government are finding ways to steal public money.