A look at the increasingly outsourced world of underground pharma. Domestic black-market chemists handle R&D and distribution, and the actual manufacturing is done in China. Seems that way with everything.
In Guangdong there’s a small town that specializes in recycling Christmas lights. They chip the lights into mm sized bits, and then use a modified sluicebox (a vibrating inclined water table) to separate the brass and copper from the glass, plastic and rubber by density. All of these bits are then re-used in other products. The entire process would be uneconomical in the US, because our labor is too expensive, and there’s no market here for plastic scrap.
Furry Girl does a roundup of her research into abortion and other women’s rights issues as revealed by the WikiLeaks cables. Including the role that the Vatican plays in diplomatic policy, and the social consequences of elective abortions for sex-selection in China.
China’s preference for male children is apparently resulting in black-market importation of both boys for adoption, and women to marry. One of many bizarre consequences of their demographic management experiment. Mara Hvistendahl’s book Unnatural Selection goes into this in much greater detail.
An interesting Q&A from Shanghai Scrap with the author of Unnatural Selection, a book about the world’s 160 million missing girls, abortion, and the “perversion of choice”. In some Chinese counties, the male to female ratio at birth is skewed as far as 3:2 by elective abortions, which starts having broader societal implications. How does a western pro-choice feminist reconcile this outcome? Especially when the choices are predominantly being made by the women themselves.
China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work. Prisoners are coal mining by day, gold farming by night… to the benefit the prison guards. Don’t earn enough gold? Get beaten with a pipe. Yet another indication we are living in a cyberpunk novel.
An apparently illegal surrogacy ring has been busted in Thailand. The company, which called itself “Babe 101: Eugenic Surrogate” was using young Vietnamese women for both gestation and egg donation, and seems to have been aiming primarily at the Asian market, charging $32,000 for a baby with the gender and ethnic background of your choice. They were also explicitly targeting women who didn’t want to give birth for cosmetic or convenience reasons. The surrogates were not allowed to leave the (relatively comfortable) compound unaccompanied, and had their passports and money were confiscated and held by management. This is the kind of place where human germ-line engineering will start in a few years.