China: From Copycat Nation to Space Innovation
The conventional wisdom is that China's economy is based on stealing intellectual property and underpricing it. If we look at aerospace technology, we see a different story.
The United States is an innovation economy while China is a copycat economy. That is how the conventional wisdom goes, and a common objection to China's way of doing business was neatly summarized by Alexandra Harney recently in The New York Times. "Too often China’s purpose is not to build on what the competition has done," Harney writes, "but simply to steal its work and underprice it."
In other words, dishonesty wins in China, and it might very well be the country's undoing. The fear of intellectual property theft erodes trust and cooperation. And that seems to be one big reason China is stagnant when it comes to innovation.
However, if we look at aerospace technology, we see a different story. According to a recent paper by Michael Raska of the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies at Nanyang Technological University, "since the late 1990s, China's government has gradually introduced elements of competition and globalisation, with the aim of overcoming the entrenched monopoly of China's traditional defense-industrial conglomerates."
Raska says these reforms have allowed China to streamline research and development, and transfer technology between its civil and commercial space entities. This has all happened under a veil of secrecy, but there are still very clear signs that China is fast developing into an innovator in aerospace technology. For instance, Raska observes:
The trajectory of China's ballistic missile R&D and production shows a gradual transition from copying and reproducing first-generation Soviet ballistic-missile technologies to adapting and modifying smaller, mobile, solid-propellant ballistic missiles and their follow-on second-generation systems. China is now an independent producer and technological innovator of selected missile systems and related aerospace technologies.
What's the Big Idea?
The United States has certainly copied industrial practices from Europe, while inventing its own -- notably the moving assembly line. The U.S. has been using that manufacturing model now for 100 years, and many would argue it is time to catch up with the times, and, dare we suggest, look at practices from other countries in order to reverse-engineer a flourishing U.S. economy.
In other words, being a copycat and an innovator often go hand-in-hand, and a good example of this is China's space program, which has recently achieved some significant milestones.
China recently completed its first manned docking mission in space, with its first female astronaut being a vital part of the 3-member crew. This was a significant step forward in China's plan to build a large manned space station by the year 2020.
So how did they get there? Here are some of the important milestones in the history of China's aerospace program:
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
As tempting as it may be to run away from emotionally-difficult situations, it's important we confront them head-on.
- Impossible-sounding things are possible in hospitals — however, there are times when we hit dead ends. In these moments, it's important to not run away, but to confront what's happening head-on.
- For a lot of us, one of the ways to give meaning to terrible moments is to see what you can learn from them.
- Sometimes certain information can "flood" us in ways that aren't helpful, and it's important to figure out what types of data you are able to take in — process — at certain times.