Christmas in China (or It’s All a Blur of Red and Green)

China’s color might be red, but the only reason you hear it mentioned so often these days is because of the green.  For all the talk of China though, what do you really know about the country?  …  Aside from the population, censorship, poor working conditions and growing unrest.

This is obviously a gigantic topic, so we’ll begin by pulling together a few pieces regarding its political structure and leadership:

We start, complexly enough, with a nation of 1.3 billion people.  How many are in the Party?  80 million, or a little over 6% of the population.  (For comparison, Buddhists are estimated to include 50-80% of the populace, with Taoists around 30%.)  What are the perks of being a card carrying member?  Better jobs, better schools, and better …  wait for it… information!

As the BBC’s chart below shows us, that 80 million boils down very quickly to the 23 men and 1 woman who make up the Politburo, though they go on to say that the real power lies with the 9 members of the standing committee within it.


(click for BBC feature)

The BBC gives summaries on each segment, but the highlights include a National People’s Congress that only meets once a year, party elders who don’t go away, and the State Council, which “sits at the top of a complex bureaucracy of commissions and ministries and is responsible for making sure party policy gets implemented from the national to the local level.”

Or perhaps your eye was drawn to the Discipline Commission, originally established as the Central Control Commission and now officially known as the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.  Charged with rooting out corruption in the party, you can decide for yourself whether you want to be the fifth person to like them on Facebook.

From there, we go to the names behind all these political bodies via a chart from The International Tibet Network:

(click to enlarge)

Don’t recognize many names?  Then try out Drew Conway’s interactive chart below, showing the most connected and critical members of China’s top brass going into 2012.

(click for interactive chart)

This year the fifth generation of Chinese leadership is expected to transition into power, with Xi Jinping likely to replace Hu Jintao as General Secretary and President.  While the fifth will be preoccupied with China’s economy, it is speculated that the sixth generation, born in the 1960’s, will be the source of significant political reform after their rise to power in 2022.

As for all the green, the Wall Street Journal is keeping score here: China Econtracker

[Charts from the BBC’s How China is Ruled, The International Tibet Network’s, and Zero Intelligence Agents]

Wasted URLs: Free the Animals

What makes for a wasted URL?  It depends on the person and the site, particularly what that person expects to see when they type the URL in and press return.

Consider, if you will, animal names. What do you think is on Dog or What would you want to see on  Would you want pictures and information on the animal?  Would a company branding themselves or a product make the grade?

To explore these questions and more, Ape Con Myth surveyed 144 animal sites.  Here’s what was found…

The State of .Com Animal URLs in 2012


Parked domains are a common sight online and it is no different for the animals. Roughly a fifth of the sites in the sample group proved to be nothing more than a bunch of paid advertising links. If you’re lucky, there’s a picture. If you’re really lucky, it’s a picture of the animal, but don’t expect much. In addition to our friends below, other animals in this sad group include the Boar, Hamster, Hippopotamus, Hornet, Jackal, Koala, Mouse, Otter, Squid, and Wildebeest.



Next comes the parked ads and links that seem like they are almost trying. For Chicken, you’re promised oven baked chicken recipes. The beauty of the Swan is channeled for plastic surgery. Turkey is ready to book your hotel in Istanbul.  And wants you to know it is “Your Site For Buying A Donkey”. Good luck navigating towards those goals however, as search results often lead to more search results. If you get nervous about your privacy searching for things on Google, see what your gut thinks when you click a link on Chimpanzee, Elk, Mosquito, Porcupine, Shrew, Spider and the ever-loved Stinkbug.



Naturally someone was eventually going to smell a business plan in these animal droppings, which was the case with Name Administration Inc. of the Cayman Islands. They go big, touting themselves as “The Leading Cow/Hippo/Mink/Partridge/Snake Site on the Net”, despite not following through with the correct animal pictures nor making much sense of the searches. Nonetheless, they are there to help you find a saddle for your cow, video piano lessons for your partridge, car insurance for your hippo and all the beaver coats money can buy. Meanwhile, each page shows up completely blank with Ad Blocker Plus on.



Leaving behind the parking lot, we enter the construction site. Websites don’t write themselves after all. It takes a lot of time and care to create a good site. To make as large and majestic as its namesake, even more so. In the meantime? Blue. Blue since 2007! What’s the word on Wolf? The countdown says 272 days to go! Crab has only been waiting a year, but looks like it will be a conceptual improvement from its previous life as the home of Charm Net ISP out of Baltimore. You’ll also have to wait in anticipation for Anteater, Antelope, Llama and Reindeer as they too are coming soon…

But something, even a background color, is better than nothing, which is exactly what you get with Aardvark, Baboon, Butterfly, Gerbil and Rat.


Read the rest…

FaceBook, Inc. Offering Best Free Scrapbooking Class Ever

Facebook Timeline Tobias Scrapbooking

“We supply the glitter, glue, the crepe paper and the ready-made template pages for you to decorate and fill out…”

Munch Facebook Timeline

“So, dig ug whatever you can and remember, photocopies are not admissible as memories” – Prof. Zuck

How much will you put in your F.B.I. profile scrapbook timeline?

The Super PIPA-SOPA Action/Info Flowchart Reference Guide

Whether you are just tuning in or have been following the saga from the start, The Super PIPA-SOPA Action/Info Flowchart Reference Guide is ready to get you up to speed and lay the whole thing out.

SOPA getting shelved might be a move in the right direction, but the companies supporting it aren’t just going to forget about the internet.  It isn’t over and we shouldn’t let this momentum go…

(click to enlarge)

And don’t forget, January 18th is Internet Blackout Day!  Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and a host of other sites will be joining in to get the word out.  Find out more and get blackout code for your site at SopaStrike.  It is sure to be an interesting day.

2011 Calendar Results

The Ape Con Myth 2011 Have a Nice Dot Calendar is drawing to a close.  Now it’s time to wrap yours up and send a copy in for analysis.  Here’s ACM’s results straight from the home office, with weekdays in red and weekends, along with federal holidays, in blue:


Meanwhile, it’s getting about that time.  Do you have your Ape Con Myth 2012 Novelty Rip-Off Calendar yet?  Next year won’t be the same with it, order today!

The Ape Con Myth 2012 Novelty Rip-Off Calendar

Will the world end in 2012?  You wish.

The Ape Con Myth 2012 Calendar is not a doomsday calendar, but one specifically designed to get you through what by all appearances could be a pretty interesting year.

Buy one today and enjoy a year of people asking you what that is on your wall!

And to get you in the mood, here’s something to take up more of your time via BoingBoing
Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Time
A Brief History of the Apocalypse

The latter, a timeline of past, present and future predictions of Earth’s doom, starts things off on a familiar note:

“According to Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” This is one of the earliest examples of the perception of moral decay in society being interpreted as a sign of the imminent end.”

Alas, it was just another Thursday.  And so it goes?

Next year, break the monotony with The Ape Con Myth 2012 Novelty Rip-Off Calendar!

Also available at Electric Works.

A Quick Look Back Before Preparing To Evacuate 2011

Before December turns into a blur and we suddenly find ourselves deposited on the sure to be weird shores of 2012, let’s take a quick riffle through the soon to be scraps of 2011.  So far Ape Con Myth has produced 225 posts this year.  The most democratic way to look at it must be by the number of eyeballs drawn to it, so with no further ado…

Here’s the Top 11 posts of 2011:

11. Copyright Triple Threat – Meet S.968, S.978 and H.R. 3261 – November 1st
This action is still in play and there’s still time to add your voice to your representatives’ ears.  It’s only the internet as you know it at stake.

10. The Self-Employed: Same As It Ever Was? – May 11th
Having a job shelters you from a lot of things, both good and bad.

9. Regarding Your Lack of Privacy Online – July 26th
If it’s not one thing, it’s the other.

8. You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – April 20th
ACM’s first infographic, providing perspective on who has seen what online.

7. Wasted URLs: – March 28th
No comment.

6. @Peanutweeter – May 26th
The wonderful yet short-lived Peanutweeter, RIP.

5. 2007 U.S. GDP in Pie-Vision! – May 3rd
The culmination of many posts, this chart breaks down our national effort.  It’s what we do.

4. Plato Sucks – April 19th
An easy win.

3. For the People in the Tents – November 14th
ACM’s proposed cover for Time’s Person of the Year issue in support of Occupy Wall Street and the 99%.

2. Moo Cow Moo Cow – September 13th
Apparently there is consistent demand for “cow moo” results on Google.  This is the tortoise going for post of the decade.

1. Google’s Six Front War Visualized – July 14th
The runaway winner of 2011, with nearly 4 times the cow’s visits, a look at who Google is up against.

There you have it.  Well, almost.  Here’s the Top 3 Ape Con Myth thinks got away…

3. 2,000 Years of Darkness and Bafflement and Wonder – June 10th
A little something to get you into the holiday spirit.

2. GDP by NAICS (or, Here Come the Numbers) – July 12th
Still a work in progress, a presentation of Ape Con Myth’s favorite dataset, the North American Industry Classification System.

1. Conway’s Game of Life – April 12th
Fun with a cellular automaton.  Whatever that means.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading!

Copyright Triple Threat – Meet S.968, S.978 and H.R. 3261

You almost have to admire the tenacity of the Copyright Crusaders.  They do not let up.  If it wasn’t for the vague and obnoxious legislation they produce, they could be role models for us all.

Let’s start with the obnoxious.  You know how you break the law every time you sing “Happy Birthday”?  That’s about the level S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, is working on.  Consider for a moment what you think the punishment should be for, say, posting a video of yourself singing along to a song on YouTube.  Where ridicule from our peers would have once sufficed, now the Senate might raise the penalty to five years in jail, which should sound familiar.

(The Original Overkill)

It’s important to note that the actual bill stipulates the streaming be for commercial purposes because that’s where the vague side of their equation comes into play.  While they always mean to be going after the bad guys, the language of these bills always leaves it open such that it could be applied to any (enormous) number of innocent cases.

In response to S.978, Fight for the Future has taken the most obvious (and seemingly) innocent case in the book.  They started the Free Bieber campaign to point out how American’s young singing sensation got his start by streaming his own renditions of popular music on YouTube and therefore would be guilty.  And though his lawyers aren’t too happy about the campaign, the Bieber himself has chimed in, suggesting that the sponsor of this bill, Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-MN), be “locked up”.  Meanwhile, Demand Progress has a petition for you to sign if you think a five year sentence might be a little too much.  While it would be nice to think the federal government has better things to do, their record says they do not.

Sadly that was just the appetizer of this story.  Now we get to the real mouthfuls.  S.968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT-IP) and the crazier House version, H.R. 3261, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), lay out an incredible expansion of power enabling the government and private parties to effectively create a blacklist of websites found to offend the very broad language used to qualify an infraction.

The entertainment unions have endorsed SOPA and offered a window to the problem along the way.  From their statement:

“Left unchecked, these rogue websites threaten the vitality of the online marketplace by stealing the work of American innovators and undermining legitimate business.”

If you’ve ever navigated the pathetic selection of movies available legally online, you might question the movie industries’ understanding of the online marketplace.  Change a couple of words and you get the other side of the story:

‘Left unchecked, these rogue bills threaten the vitality of the online marketplace by censoring the work of American innovators and undermining legitimate business.’

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a petition against PROTECT IP going, but after you sign it, we need to start thinking bigger.  Last year  it was S.3804, Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, and this year it’s back, repackaged and pushing for more than it was already denied.  They’ll keep coming back with this until they get what they want or what they want is taken off the table.  Perhaps a constitutional amendment is in order, or maybe a counteroffer.  All we need is a representative crazy enough to sponsor a bill for rolling back copyright duration to 15 minutes.  That might get them to consider something in the middle.

There are sensible solutions to these problems.  All they have to do is accept them and we can all move on.

P.S. Heads-up Europe, they’re coming for you too.

The Internet Makes It Easy For You To Profit Off Of A Resistance Movement, Ask Me How!

As Occupy Wall Street balloons beyond the Big Apple to include protests and meetings in over 800 cities around the world, there’s one question on everyone’s lips: “How can we make some money off of this?”

Welcome to the Ape Con Myth guide to starting a business off of people pissed off about business!

As any entrepreneur will tell you, the first step is always the same: start a grassroots political movement.  It might sound difficult, but all you need is one page, some images and a little text.  Call it something like The Occupy Party of the United States, and you’re done.

[This is why stock photography should be a regulated industry.]

Okay, almost done.  One site can be disavowed easily.  Besides, what’s a national movement if it’s not everywhere?!  It’s time to buy some domains!

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  Use the same content on each site to save time.  Then, all you need are ads.  There’s no need to research your audience, just focus on known weaknesses, such as what suckers people in Corpus Christi, Texas are for the San Francisco Ballet.

And you can’t go wrong with a mix of dating and criminal record website ads to even it out.  Remember, these protest kids love irony.  Let them soak in it.  They’ll click through.

What’s the catch?  There is none.  You can start this business in Australia if you want.  This thing is international.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”   …  Abe, you had me at ‘you can fool some of the people all of the time’.

If you’re interested in what’s happening, stick to the real thing:  Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Together

To and Fro, Internationally

Ever thought about getting out of Dodge in a big way?  Looking for ideas?  At, you’ll find a handy world map of information on where your fellow citizens have gone to and the origins of those who took their place…

The data comes from the Global Migrant Origin Database and gives a rough estimate of migrant populations circa 2000.  There were an estimated 175M migrants worldwide as of 2000, up from 75M in 1960.  But that’s only an increase from 2.5% to 2.9% of the total world population, which went from 3 billion-ish to 6 billion-ish in those same 40 years.

Anyway, here’s the list of lines that more than a million people have crossed, with the U.S. starting and finishing it off.

Pulling the full data set and counting up the complete totals for each country, the United States once again tops the list in positive net migration at 32.4M, with Mexico on the negative end of the spectrum at -9.7M.

But the impact of these numbers depend on the total population of each country.  Considering only countries with populations over one million, the United States comes in 15th in terms of migrant population as a percent of total 2000 population.  Meanwhile, Mexico falls just short of the list in regard to percent of population lost against the total population had no one left.

And finally, here’s the stats on all 24 countries with a population over 50M as of the 2000 censuses.

There’s a story behind every number on here.  Hopefully once we get all the numeric data visualized, the next wave of visual representations will work to connect the data to those stories.  We have so much data, but so little reference for it.

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