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Tuesday, October 8, 2019


No, it's not related to Scientology.

My latest hardcopy issue of Science Magazine came in the snailmail today.

Loaded with content.

It was delivered in a sealed clear plastic cover, with a 59 page 4-color "sponsored supplement" inside.

Who was Hsue-Shen Tsien?

From WaPo:

IN JUNE, 1950, the FBI accused a brilliant Chinese scientist in California who had helped pioneer the American space age of being a Communist Party member. Despite a lack of evidence against him, Tsien Hsue-shen was held under virtual house arrest for five years and then deported to China, a victim of the McCarthy era. The United States lost a scientific genius; China gained one.

Tsien, who had once sought U.S. citizenship, quickly became one of the most powerful scientists in China, guiding the development of China's nuclear missile, satellite and space programs. In the 1960s, it was Tsien Hsue-shen (whose name is also written as Qian Xuesen), who proposed construction of the infamous Haiying missile -- commonly known as the Silkworm -- that eventually menaced American ships during the Gulf War…
From Forbes earlier this year:
The Man Who Took China to Space
Hsue-Shen Tsien was driven out of the United States by political paranoia. Will the same happen to a new generation of Chinese talent?

Amid the escalating political and economic tensions across the Pacific, the 350,000 Chinese students in the United States are caught in the crossfire. The single biggest international student group in the world, many first came to the United States for its openness, but some now fear that America will soon slam its door on them as the trade war escalates. President Donald Trump’s administration sees Chinese students as potential perpetrators of espionage and intellectual property theft, and it has tightened restrictions for Chinese citizens at U.S. universities by shortening student visa durations for technology and mathematics students and intensifying visa scrutiny. White House senior advisor Stephen Miller even recommended a blanket visa ban on Chinese students.

The United States could be throwing away a huge pool of talent—and not for the first time. In the 1940s and 1950s, some of China’s most brilliant scholars sought a home in the United States only to be chased away. Perhaps the most representative case is that of Hsue-Shen Tsien (also rendered as Qian Xuesen), a Beijing-raised, California-trained scientist who co-founded NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)—and created China’s space program when he was driven out of the United States. Many in the United States saw Tsien as China’s “evil genius”—an American-made Dr. Frankenstein who, as the 1999 Cox Report concluded, probably incorrectly, deliberately stole U.S. technologies for China’s missile development—but his exile from the United States was forced by a paranoid and xenophobic politics…
Very interesting.


Systematology as a solution
From the Stone Age to the current Information Age, human exploration has ranged from land to sea and from the sky to outer space. Previously divided by great distances, the world is now a more connected, yet more complex place, thanks to tremendous advances in communication. Modern science and technology have taken shape through the guidance of reductionist philosophy, which holds that everything can be explained by breaking down systems into their individual components—a philosophy that has led to many large-scale engineering marvels and emerging industries. At the same time, the degree of diversity and complexity of the world has increased dramatically, and we are faced with an increasing number of unavoidable problems. In the political arena, we can see that the international order of shared responsibility established after World War II is facing a new round of adjustments, with many countries asserting their own needs over those of others. In the economic arena, many countries are trying to avoid the “Kindleberger Trap” (a term coined by the late historian Charles Kindleberger, which refers to the danger of countries becoming too dependent on a single hegemonic power for their share of resources) by finding new economic solutions. In addition, the phenomenon of unbalanced development and inequality in many regions of the world is getting worse, despite globalization. In the scientific arena, physicists have penetrated to the level of the quark in their research into the structure of matter, but are still unable to answer many of mankind’s fundamental questions about our universe. Research into human genetics and cancer biology has made amazing strides, but biologists are still far from conquering cancer completely.

All these problems are related, in that all of them are connected to open (i.e., having external interactions with their environment through transfer of information, energy, or materials), highly complex, giant systems with a myriad of diverse characteristics. In systems terminology, these systems have become nonlinear, random, and self-adaptive, and their intricacy is far beyond what we currently know in any single discipline. Political scientists look at the world through factors such as power equilibrium; economists analyze factors such as economic cycles; and scientists try to use formulas and theorems to objectify the laws of the physical universe. Obviously, these different methodologies cannot avoid the disadvantage of being limited and one-sided to a certain extent. In fact, an interdisciplinary, multilevel, metasynthesis approach is required for solving all open complex giant system problems. This metasynthesis not only serves as the pathway to innovation, theoretical breakthrough, and optimization of the methodology for solving open complex giant systems problems, but is also the vehicle for the synthesis of information, knowledge, and wisdom resulting from these solutions. In summary, it marks an enormous step forward for humanity in its ability to comprehend the world and to enrich human society. The theory that furnishes us with the metasynthesis approach is called systematology—and it is more important than ever at this time in history.
OK, what is the "Kindleberger Trap?"
Charles Kindleberger, an intellectual architect of the Marshall Plan who later taught at MIT, argued that the disastrous decade of the 1930s was caused when the US replaced Britain as the largest global power but failed to take on Britain’s role in providing global public goods. The result was the collapse of the global system into depression, genocide, and world war. Today, as China’s power grows, will it help provide global public goods?

In domestic politics, governments produce public goods such as policing or a clean environment, from which all citizens can benefit and none are excluded. At the global level, public goods – such as a stable climate, financial stability, or freedom of the seas – are provided by coalitions led by the largest powers.

Small countries have little incentive to pay for such global public goods. Because their small contributions make little difference to whether they benefit or not, it is rational for them to ride for free. But the largest powers can see the effect and feel the benefit of their contributions. So it is rational for the largest countries to lead. When they do not, global public goods are under-produced. When Britain became too weak to play that role after World War I, an isolationist US continued to be a free rider, with disastrous results…
'eh? "Clean environment, stable climate," anyone?

By the way, this "sponsored supplement" publication is freely available in PDF here. Worth your time.

One more excerpt for now.
4.3. The Tsien Think Tank accelerates the seventh industrial revolution
In the 2050s, there will be a seventh industrial revolution in the optimization of human physical fitness caused by the expansive medical reform in China, leading to a revolution in economic productivity. Based on somatic science (including medical science, bioscience, etc.), major improvements can be made in human physique, function, and intelligence.

The improvement of human physique and function will be mainly reflected in the increased ability to regulate the body’s functional states… 
China has roughly 4.25 times the U.S. population. Coming on strong economically (overall) and across a breadth of scientific and tech domains, while the U.S. is mired in Trump's trade wars, xenophobic nationalism, and science denialism.


I found this interesting.

Science Magazine, in addition to being member-supported, is advertiser-supported. Never noticed any vetting disclaimers on their overt ads. Online, in general, I am not a big fan of "Sponsored Content," (e.g., like commercial "White Papers") which is essentially what this supplement comprises.

More to come...

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