Sunday, January 8, 2017

I'm back!

It was raining the whole time we were in Shanghai., until the last morning...
Hi folks,

Just spent a couple of days in Shanghai, first visit to the People's Republic, in spite of a long engagement with things (and persons) Chinese. Which is why the website has been dark, because in the People's Republic there is no Google, and no Google products: no Gmail, no Chrome, no Google Maps and Google apps, and not leastly no Blogger with which to create a post. Also no New York Times, Washington Post, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and I don't know what-all else. Yahoo is fine.

Funnily enough, Yahoo is also a vehicle of rebellion against this state of affairs; when you open it up, it hits you with display ads inviting you to join a VPN (Virtual Private Network) from which, for a price of course, you can go wherever you want. As ever, the restrictions aren't meant to apply to those with the wherewithal to evade them. I imagine members of the full-time Chinese elite and foreign residents of a certain status do all the Googling they want in this simple and appealing way. (Our friend in Shanghai, an extremely low-level member of the academic elite, certainly does.)

I was able to get the Guardian and the Twitter on my phone eventually, I think because they send me notifications independent of the Google world (so does the Times normally once a day, but they don't seem to be doing it at the moment, perhaps because the dead-tree subscription is suspended). I was frankly a little unwilling to use the Twitter, not wishing to make it too easy to figure out that Yastreblyansky is the same person as the the alter egotist whose phone Y uses, for anybody who happened to be Watching, if you know what I mean.

Anyhow we're in Google-embracing Taiwan now, attending to the primary purpose of the voyage, which is to pick up our baby boy from his semester abroad, so it's time to get back. But I need to catch up on the news first. Did anything happen?

...because as long as it's raining the air's pretty clean, and otherwise it can be pretty scary.

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