Tag Archives: China

Weirdo Wednesday – June 1, 2011

Last month we traveled around the World Wide Web, peeking at various weird places on the internet. We were treated to some pretty bizarre stuff and frankly… we barely scratched the surface. There is a cornucopia of weirdness out there just waiting for cyber explorers to drop by.

This month, I thought we would climb out of the internet and drop in on some of the weird places this rock we call Earth has to offer. While researching the weirdness I was presented with a dilemma of vast proportions. With as much weird as the planet has to offer, which one comes first.

The “Hanging Monastery” of Datong, China, built more than 1,500 years ago is attached to a precipice high above the wooded Golden Dragon River (Jinlong he). Its Chinese name is Xuankong Si, sometimes written as Xuan Kong Si, which literally translates as the Monastery in Mid Air.

The cliff-side structures were built in 491 AD using architectural techniques way ahead of its time. Horizontal shafts were bored into the side of the mountain to serve as anchor points. Large wooden dowels were cut from single trees and then driven into the holes.  The depth of the holes and the hardness of the rock provided a strong cantilevered base to build on.

The reason Xuankong Si was built so high above the ground may be one of practicality – defense against marauders or protection from floods.  The more romantic version is that the Monks were dedicated to silence and so high above the ground they might achieve this ideal.  It is said that they were forbidden to hear the barking of dog, the wailing of a child or even the sound of a rooster crowing as it welcomed the dawn. It is now largely a tourist attraction but caretakers are said to still live in its caves and halls.


Is GE Helping China Compete Against Boeing?

Nelson Ching/Bloomberg News - Lin Zuoming, president of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, with Jeffrey R. Immelt, G.E.'s chief, at a 2009 event in Beijing.

Things that make you go hmmmm.

The NY Times recently reported that GE would sign a lucrative joint-venture deal with a state owned Chinese manufacturer to provide the same high-tech avionics technology Boeing uses in their new advanced airliner the 787 Dreamliner.

Considering China’s recent introduction of a stealth fighter, does anyone besides me see this technology share as a bad thing. The technology includes the highly sophisticated computer control and networking system, core to the avionics brain of the Dreamliner. This sounds like a very bad idea to me.

The first customer of this joint-venture is the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, also a government owned company. They manufacture the C919 Airliner which is a 200 seater and directly competes with the Boeing 737.

This comes on the tail of Boeing’s recent announcement that a soft aircraft market has pushed them to layoff 1,100 workers across multiple locations.  How many more layoffs will come should Boeing begin losing airliner sales to the Chinese?

Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Boeing, Jim McNerney Jr., was recently overheard musing about the possibility of moving the company to China. McNerney is no stranger to the GE company having spent over 19 years in various GE businesses, including President and CEO of GE Aircraft Engines, President of GE Asia-Pacific, and an Executive VP position at GE Capital.  His GE roots run very deep.  Somewhere in a back office where billion dollar deals are made, the GE/Boeing connection runs to the very top executive levels. You can bet that Boeing’s McNerney and GE CEO Jeff Immelt talk frequently.

Which brings everything back to here.  In Immelt’s own words, he’s “A nut for China. Every business discussion at GE should be including China, China, China, China, China.” The funny thing about that is, I’m struggling to see how helping China build jobs helps the US build jobs at home. (GE Laid off approximately 18,000 US workers in 2008) Jeffrey Immelt is President Obama’s pick to lead the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Here’s another little tidbit. In March of 2010, President Obama appointed Boeing CEO, Jim McNerney, to chair the Export Council, which operates as an advisory committee on international trade. You would think the kind of technology transfer this GE deal contains would have to be signed off on by this council. Hmmmm… coincidence?

If this joint-venture is successful, US Jobs will be lost. And GE does not get into these things to lose. More will be revealed, hopefully before another million US jobs are lost.

Corporations have neither bodies to be punished nor souls to be damned. ~Chinese Proverb