Gross Starbucks

Last week there was Dumb Starbucks that LA lined up for, and the news that Subway was using a chemical found in yoga mats to make their ever-fresh breads. It’s been an exciting time for global brands!

The suspect chemical, azodiacarbonamide, is banned in Europe, Australia, and conscientious Singapore and Japan, but still fine for everyone else to eat – and we know that pretty much anything goes in China.

Starbucks China has come clean and admitted that they also use azodiacarbonamide in their pastries, and they’re a bit unapologetic about it. It’s considered a legal food additive in the U.S. as well as China, just maybe not the most PR friendly of ingredients.

Funnily enough, Subway China has come out and stated that they don’t use azodiacarbonamide in their restaurant’s breads. That’s mostly because their bread comes from New Zealand where the chemical is banned as a food additive.

That’s a globalization WIN!

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Whale Sharks Slaughtered in PuQi, China

Since when did the gentle giant get hunted? It’s been going on. 600 are slaughtered a year and are worth $30k each. (Smithsonian Mag)

China Whale Sharks from WildLifeRisk on Vimeo.

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The Zombie Diet Plan


Move over cabbage soup diet, paleo-diet, juice detox, and yes, even you, fetus pill diet. The pursuit of slim has been stepped up a notch with these illegal human flesh diet pills confiscated in Jeju, South Korea, as reported by Medical Daily.

Jeju, Korea’s premiere orange juice and honeymoon destination, is also home to two entrepreneurial Chinese students who thought they could make some extra cash selling trend-hungry Koreans diet pills with human flesh.

Koreans have been going to great extremes in recent decades to be thinner, taller, whiter, and better. Korean beauty trends are being exported all over Asia and beyond – snail cream, anyone? – but apparently there are some people still willing to look to exports for quick beauty solutions, even dehydrated people meat.



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Chinese Graffiti on the Luxor

Sad times. Nothing is sacred. The Luxor gets allegedly tagged by a tourist. (Chinasmack – Chinese Graffiti)

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Please pick up your own poop.

File this one under C’mon, Chinese people.

A Chinese shop owner in Namibia, told one of his local employees to toss out a plastic bag of his wife’s poop. The employee refused and was fired. Story covered here by

Problem #1 – Why is your wife pooping in a plastic bag? The story says she didn’t want to use the toilets used by the employees. I understand how desperate one can be when poop is eminent, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever been inclined to poop in a bag. Maybe she didn’t poop *in* the bag, but pooped somewhere else and scooped it up doggie style. I could maybe do that…

Problem #2 – If you poop somewhere no one else is pooping so that your poop then has to be disposed of, it’s pretty bad form to ask someone else to clean up after you. I’m cool with changing my daughter’s crappy diapers now, because someday, she’ll change mine (or pay a health care worker to do it). Maybe the wife who pooped handed the bag to her husband and asked him to throw it away, and he just passed it off to his employee. If he really loved his wife, he would have done it himself.

Problem #3 – Don’t fire the employee you just asked to toss your wife’s poop in the garbage. Maybe just pretend you thought he was walking past the trash so maybe he could toss in there for you, but that you’ll do it instead. Maybe offer him a bonus if he does it. Maybe hand the bag back to your wife and tell her she should throw it away herself, and use the toilet next time.

There are reported to be over 40,000 Chinese nationals living and working in Namibia. They’re there doing construction, manufacturing, retail and food service. China has been tapping into Africa’s mineral wealth for over a decade now, and nearly every where they go there have been culture clashes, rumors of corruption, shady labor policy, and mutual distrust.

The pains of being new the new Evil Empire.

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China Earthquake Update

Earthquakes in China happen, and the results are usually swept under a rug. China is nearly the same size as the US which means a huge vast land especially away from the coasts, but what happens when a disaster happens in a poor zone? Death, bad services, no help, which then translates to less news and for those who live elsewhere? It’s a disaster that’s forgotten or overlooked when meshed with “our” own problems. We hope the survivors can get past this without our attention. (Buzzfeed – Earthquake)

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Labor Camp Reform Coming: Chinese Toothpick Prices May Rise

In January, following the appointment of the new government, there was a lot of talk of the changes that would come. Newsweek reported that there would be reforms to China’s labor camp system, the laojiao.

The laojiaos made news in the US last December when a K-Mart shopper found a note from a labor camp worker in her Halloween decoration. Like a message in a bottle, it was a desperate plea for rescue. The note’s authenticity was questioned, and K-Mart issued a wag of the finger to any companies that used forced labor to make their bargain goods, but not a lot came out of it.

Now its April, and the government has vowed to make reforms, but with few details offered, and big challenges facing real change. The laojiaos have become profitable, and China’s not interested in losing its foothold as the world’s cheap labor leader. Perhaps the biggest roadblock of all is finding an effective, humane, and efficient system for silencing political dissidents. Blocking access to Facebook is easy, but building a better Guantanamo… that’s another story.

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Save the Children

Giant Robot may be part of the problem, with Game Nights and our annual Game Over art show, but it looks like video game addiction is getting serious in Hong Kong. The South China Morning Post reports on the efforts of social workers, and their plea for financial assistance to help  the “hidden youth” escape the vortex of their computer monitors and walk freely in the sun, under blue skies free of pixels.

“It is most important to engage these youths… We need more funding support. It is rather labour intensive [to reach out to these youths].

“If we just contact them by e-mail, they still sit in front of the computers.”

New tactics must be devised in the war against video game addiction. Please email your suggestions to the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.

In the wake of Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Wondercon lets all have a moment of silence for the fallen children who are the unwitting victims of the pestilence that is video game addiction.  And let this be a reminder that sometimes it’s a good to step outside and connect with the real world (as long as you can still get wifi).

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McDonald’s China’s Sausage Double Beef Burger

“All the good stuff is in Asia”. We’ve heard it over and over and here’s yet another example. The legendary Sausage Double Beef Burger might be the way to control over-population. The bun looks great by the way and only $2.82!

(FoodBeast – McDonalds China Sausage Double Beef Burgers)

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Ok Cadaver Cupid

You thought online dating in LA was hard? Try being a single guy in China.

You thought being a single guy in China was hard? Try being a dead single guy!

China’s One Child policy has taken its toll on the straight male population now old enough to be goaded into marriage by eager parents. Chinese men are looking for foreign brides in the most non-traditional places. Even when they do find a bride, they still have to worry about authentic natural beauty. Dark days indeed.

Now, the plight of the single and deceased.

ABC News reports the sentencing of four grave robbers in  Southwest China’s Sichuan province. They were digging up dead brides for dead bachelors.

These matchmakers with dirt under their nails help broker “ghost marriages” for families who have lost unwed sons. In an effort to help their lost boys keep from wandering this earthly plane in search of “the one”, they marry them off to unwed girls who have met similar fates.

The moral of the story: the toughest thing of all is being a woman in China. Alive or dead.




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Beijing Air Pollution

Something must be wrong, right? Definitely not a place you’d want to visit. This is what it looked like on wednesday. (Washington Post – Beijing Air)

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China Airs Final Moments of Life

A drug kingpin on death row is about to be executed, and television airs an hour of images of a Laotian man who is responsible for killing 13 Chinese fisherman in the Mekong River. In case you were wondering, that’s what he looks like. Earlier in the week the drug kingpin said,

Chinese television also broadcast a chilling interview with Naw Kham taped earlier this week in which he said, “I am afraid of death. I want to live. I don’t want to die. I have children. I am afraid.”

(LA Times - Naw Kham)

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Ai Weiwei Never Sorry to be on Independent Lens Today

Ai Weiwei Never Sorry to be on Independent Lens today. Watch it! ( – Never Sorry) Also here’s an interview with director Alison Klayman from August 2012. ( – Alison Klayman)

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China’s Air in a Can

Two flavors, Pre Industrial Taiwan and pristine Tibet. For $.80 you can have some fresh air with the face of the billionaire creator, Chen Guangbiao. More novelty over reality, this is just how bad it’s getting. Jokes are being “made” about it.



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C’mon Chinese People!

I’m jumping in on this, because… well… c’mon Chinese people? Why do you have to try to out-gross the American children’s pageant scene? There’s no need.

Full, depressing story here.

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Homemade Respirator Keeps Kid Alive in China

Hurray for DIY. This bicycle contraption is actually helping pump air into the poor kid.

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Rise of The Little Emperors

Results of the One Child Policy in China?

“considerably less trusting, less trustworthy, more risk averse, less competitive, more pessimistic, less conscientious and possibly also more neurotic,” said Lisa Cameron, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

“Experimental participants are also incentivised with money, the amount of which depends on the decision made in the experiment, which, experimental economists argue, provides a greater motivation for participants to reveal their true preferences,”

(IndependentUK – Little Emperors)


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C’mon: Throwing Snow Balls at Lions?

Throwing snow balls at lions at a zoo in China. That one day when the lion decides to use his super lion strength to jump higher than anyone ever thought he could to maul visitors won’t be a surprise. Remember the SF Zoo attack by tigers? (Chinasmack – Snowballs at lions)

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China asks, “Meet Halfway?” on Islands Dispute

This is what a small minority of Japanese leaders are asking for. Just to meet halfway. We wrote about Haruki Murakami and Shunji Iwai’s voices about this subject which includes sharing. (Giant Robot)

China called on new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to meet Beijing ‘halfway’ to try and improve relations that have been hurt by a debilitating territorial dispute. (TimesofIndia – Halfway)


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China Slasher Video Released

The Doomsday believing 36 year old who wounded 22 kids in China video released. Scary to see a man running around with a cleaver.



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