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And The Best University In China Is...
Beida vs Tsinghua – China’s world class universities and global players
BEIJING– Beida and Tsinghua are the two most prominent universities in China, a country of 1.35 billion people. (There are many other famous ones like Nanjing University, Renmin, or Fudan University, but for the scope of this article let us focus on these two.) Let’s make no mistake, although Beida and Tsinghua are (just) ranked no 46 and 52 in the world according the THE rankings 2013 (Hong Kong University ranks no 35, but is listed separately [it’s a British ranking, and HK was a former colony]), nevertheless these two are powerful global players.
The “Harvard of China”
Peking University(short: Beida, from “Beijing Daxue”) is the center of China’s humanities and often called “the Harvard of China” (or, from a Chinese point of view, Harvard is called “the Beida of America”), while Tsinghua is strongest in engineering and the sciences, and known as “the MIT of China.”
Tsinghua is wealthier and looks typical American, at least the main campus. Beida has its beautiful lake and is home to China’s greatest modern thinkers and philosophers like Gu Hongming, Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Ji Xianlin, and Hu Shi. The list goes on.
Increasingly, the two are testing their prerogatives and are competing for China’s top spot and for attracting best and brightest students in all the fields. They established their own business schools, language schools for foreigners, etc.
Tsinghua’s new leadership programme
Stephen A. Schwarzman, the US billionaire and chairman of Blackstone Group, believes that Tsinghua will take the lead in the future. He may be right. China’s new president, Xi Jinping , is a Tsinghua graduate (the Premier, Li Keqiang, is from Beida), so are many of the technocrats in the Communist Party that rules China.
Tsinghua has an edge in research and technology, and Schwarzman donates $300m into a new leadership programme that wants future global leaders from the US and elsewhere to come to Wu Daokou in Haidian district of Beijing in order to experience Chinese elite education and the ‘guanxi’ or “connections” it brings along. After all, this century is deemed by many as the Chinese one.
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Haidian – Beijing’s university district
Beida will watch this new US investment carefully. Both universities float on cash and invite famous people from abroad. Political leaders like Tony Blair have a tough time choosing which one to visit and deliver their keynote speeches. (David Beckham recently visited Beida). Gigantic conference centers like Beida’s ‘New Global Village’ with dozens of apartment blocks were built; even a museum restaurant, and Beida’s new Lake View Hotel (which charges up to $500 a night).
Tsinghua parades its mighty TUS Park facing Chengfu Road, the High Street of Wu Daokou, a couple of glassy skyscrapers that house Google, Baidu, and Deutsche Bank, among others. Beida has its own metro station named after it. Each campus is as huge as entire districts in some European capitals.
Tsinghua lies just across the street from Beida, and towers prominently among 168 (!) other institutes of higher education in Haidian. Chinese universities are campus university (unlike, say, European universities) and are closed communities with their own hospitals, supermarkets, and village-sized dormitories. They are massively subsidized by the central government to keep the food and housing prices on-campus in check. It’s a cheap world as long as one does not leave the campuses.
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But the massive increase of students over the past 20 years, including hundreds of thousands of foreign students (there are 60.000 Koreans living in Wu Daokou), are pushing the people into the local surrounding communities like Zhongguancun, the Silicon Valley of China.
For many observes it does not really matters which university comes ahead in 2014. All competition is good for China, and for all those students who come here.
Syndicated by east-west-dichotomy.com.
Image credit: Beida vs Tsinghua/east-west-dichotomy.com
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Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.
But science loves a good challenge<p>The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~audoly/" target="_blank">Basile Audoly</a> and <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~neukirch/" target="_blank">Sebastien Neukirch </a>won an <a href="https://www.improbable.com/ig/" target="_blank">Ig Nobel Prize</a>, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/audoly_neukirch_fragmentation.pdf" target="_blank">Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read</a>, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously. </p><p>They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a "snapback effect" is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.</p><p>While this settled the issue of <em>why </em>spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn't establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.</p>
Physicists, being themselves, immediately wanted to try and break pasta into two pieces using this info<p><a href="https://roheiss.wordpress.com/fun/" target="_blank">Ronald Heisser</a> and <a href="https://math.mit.edu/directory/profile.php?pid=1787" target="_blank">Vishal Patil</a>, two graduate students currently at Cornell and MIT respectively, read about Feynman's night of noodle snapping in class and were inspired to try and find what could be done to make sure the pasta always broke in two.</p><p><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-mathematicians-solve-age-old-spaghetti-mystery-0813" target="_blank">By placing the noodles in a special machine</a> built for the task and recording the bending with a high-powered camera, the young scientists were able to observe in extreme detail exactly what each change in their snapping method did to the pasta. After breaking more than 500 noodles, they found the solution.</p>
The apparatus the MIT researchers built specifically for the task of snapping hundreds of spaghetti sticks.
(Courtesy of the researchers)
What possible application could this have?<p>The snapback effect is not limited to uncooked pasta noodles and can be applied to rods of all sorts. The discovery of how to cleanly break them in two could be applied to future engineering projects.</p><p>Likewise, knowing how things fragment and fail is always handy to know when you're trying to build things. Carbon Nanotubes, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/carbon-nanotube-space-elevator" target="_self">super strong cylinders often hailed as the building material of the future</a>, are also rods which can be better understood thanks to this odd experiment.</p><p>Sometimes big discoveries can be inspired by silly questions. If it hadn't been for Richard Feynman bending noodles seventy years ago, we wouldn't know what we know now about how energy is dispersed through rods and how to control their fracturing. While not all silly questions will lead to such a significant discovery, they can all help us learn.</p>
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In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
- The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
A pastor at the chapel of the St. Josef Hospital on April 1, 2020 in Bochum, German
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images<p>Christian nationalists, in general, believe the U.S. and God's will are tied together, and they want the government to embody conservative Christian values and symbols. As such, they also believe the nation's fate depends on how closely it adheres to Christianity.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unsurprisingly then, in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic, conservative pastors prophesied God's protection over the nation, citing America's righteous support for President Trump and the prolife agenda," the researchers write.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Correspondingly, the link between Christian nationalism and God's influence on how COVID‐19 impacts America can be seen in proclamations about God's divine judgment for its immorality―with the logic being that God is using the pandemic to draw wayward America <em>back </em>to himself, which assumes the two belong together."</p><p>The logical conclusion to this kind of thinking: America can save itself not through cautionary measures, like mask-wearing, but through devotion to God. What's more, it stands to reason that Christian nationalists are less likely to trust the media and scientists, given that these sources are generally not concerned with promoting a conservative, religious view of the world.</p><p>(The researchers note that they're unaware of any research directly linking Christian nationalism to distrust of media sources, but that they're almost certain the two are connected.)</p>
Predicted values of Americans' frequency of incautious behaviors during the COVID‐19 pandemic across values of Christian nationalism
Perry et al.<p>In the new study, the researchers examined three waves of results from the Public and Discourse Ethics Survey. One wave of the survey was issued in May, and it asked respondents to rate how often they engaged in both incautious and precautionary behaviors.</p><p>Incautious behaviors included things like "ate inside a restaurant" and "went shopping for nonessential items," while precautionary behaviors included "washed my hands more often than typical" and "wore a mask in public."</p><p>To measure Christian nationalism, the researchers asked respondents to rate how strongly they agree with statements like "the federal government should advocate Christian values" and "the success of the United States is part of God's plan."</p><p>The results suggest that, compared to other groups, Christian nationalists are far less likely to wear masks, socially distance and take other precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior during the pandemic, and the second leading predictor that Americans avoided taking precautionary measures."</p><p>But that's not to say that religious beliefs are causing Americans to reject mask-wearing or social distancing. In fact, when the study accounted for Christian nationalist beliefs, the results showed that Americans with high levels of religiosity were likely to take precautionary measures for COVID-19.</p>
Limitations<p>Still, the researchers note that they're theorizing about the connections between Christian nationalism and COVID-19 behaviors, not documenting them directly. What's more, they suggest that certain experiences — such as having a family member that contracts COVID-19 — might change a Christian nationalist's behaviors during the pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Limitations notwithstanding, the implications of this study are important for understanding Americans' curious inability to quickly implement informed and reasonable strategies to overcome the threat of COVID‐19, an inability that has likely cost thousands of lives," they write.</p>
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