Thursday, August 07, 2008

Too Much Pressure

EE Times Asia has a story about Olympic Torches for the masses.

When viewers around the world turn on their TVs on Aug. 8 to watch the opening ceremony of Beijing Summer Olympics, only few will be aware of a behind-the-scenes controversy quietly brewing in China over the use of MEMS-equipped electronic toy torches in the stadium.

This tempest in a teapot represents both China's desire to put the nation's best foot forward and its government's intention to quash even the slightest hint of potential political dissidence.

Suspense is building around a single question: Will the Chinese Olympic Committee allow spectators during the opening ceremony to use the Waving Torch—a replica of the Olympic Torch designed to spell out messages in midair when spectators wave them rapidly back and forth? Officials are thought to be concerned that the programmable torches might be hacked.
What kind of hacks were they afraid of? Maybe a torch that spelled out "Free Tibet" or some other equally scary phrase.

The Olympics was supposed to highlight the entry of China into the modern world. What it is really highlighting is that China is a repressive regime afraid of the opinions of its people and much of the Western world.

It high lights the problem of all repressive regimes. When you have a pressure cooker with steam up it is best to let the pressure off slowly or you get accidents. Taiwan and South Korea accomplished this. It will be interesting to see if the People's Republic of China can. If they become a failed state there will be a host of problems especially considering their significant Muslim population.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

1 comment:

linearthinker said...

Slightly OT.

When I started at the University of Nebraska in 1962, I was told a story about a sub-rosa fraternity that had a mole in the pep team's card section design group. The rascals shuffled the card deck instructions so that on cue the whole student section display in the stadium spelled out some obscene message. I think it was on national TV, but could be wrong there. I think CalTech went hitech with a similar prank, and managed to hack their scoreboard.

I can't recall hearing exactly what the NU message said, but I've always enjoyed the story. It had to be tame by today's measure.

Free Tibet, indeed. Dangerous stuff, free speech.