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New Observer

New Observer

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Published by Henggao Cai
From December 31,2010
From December 31,2010

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Published by: Henggao Cai on Jan 28, 2013
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01/28/2013

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Chinese News Weekly Tel:(732)744-1000 Fax:(732)744-1185 E-mail:cnewsweekly@yahoo.com
  新象週刊
2010
12
  月
31
   日
 
24
  青   園 地
 
The New Observer 
One of the Goliaths of Chinese media, director ZhangYimou is best known for hisuse of color and his diverse portrayals of adversity amongthe lower class. His worksrange from fast-paced martialarts films to sweeping trag-edies, including award-win-ning classics like
Hero, The House of Flying Daggers
,and
 Raise the Red Lantern.
After the epic scale and stag-gering budget of his most re-cent project— 
The Curse of the Golden Flower,
whichcost $45 million—Zhangreturns to simplicity with
Under the Hawthorn Tree
,a tale of forbidden romanceduring the Cultural Revolu-tion. Released in Chinesetheaters in September, thestory follows the relation-ship between an impover-ished student and the son of a powerful official.The film is unpretentiousin its artistry. After the elabo-rate props and sweeping shotsthat saturated
The Curse of the Golden Flower 
,
Under the Hawthorn Tree
’s muted pal-ette and simple techniques arerefreshing. Star-crossed loversJingqiu (Zhou Dongyu) andLaoshan (Shawn Dou) are both played by relatively unknownactors. Almost documentary-like in its narrative structure,the simplicity of the film is adeliberate parallel to the in-nocence of the romance it por-trays: the relationship betweenJingqiu and Laoshan focuses purely on emotional aspects,unfolding like a children’s sto-ry. Love at first sight? Pure,virginal heroine? Good manwith eyes for only one woman?Check, check, and check. Fromthe couple’s first encounter totheir final and tragic separa-tion,
Under the Hawthorn Tree
hits just about every archetypein the young romance genre.To its credit, this movienever claimed to be a block- buster. It is simultaneously predictable and substantial;understated, and yet melan-choly. Unlike many modernreleases, it refuses to push itsappeal by selling sex and scan-dal. On the other hand, thenarrative approach—includingfrequent fade-outs to blocks of exposition—creates an uncom-fortable distance between theviewer and the story behind thescreen. Some may find that thecharacters lack color outside of their relationship. Jingqiu andLaoshan are ideals, and as suchtheir romance is portrayed asliterally perfect. No internalconflicts arise; the few hiccupsstem from either outside cir-cumstances or from quickly-resolved misunderstandings.The relationship stays sweetand simple all the way up to itstidy conclusion.Still,
Under the HawthornTree
does what it was intendedto well. A candid portrayal of China during the Cultural Rev-olution, it uses an overarchingromance as the perfect vehicleto covey the attitude of thetimes as well as the challeng-es faced by the people back then. The cynic will comeaway with a little bit of historyand a whole lot of relief fromHollywood entertainment; theromantic will enjoy the por-trayal of a tender love. ZhangYimou’s latest work, althoughnot ambitious, is hardly a wasteof time—give it a chance, andit might even be unforgettable.The Kno is the perfect ex- perience for hands-on learning.Using a touch-screen panel,this gadget allows you to haveall your textbooks, notebooks, browser, and many more appsright at your fingertips. “Mostof the companies that hope totake on Apple in the white-hotmarket for tablets are industrygiants like Dell, Google, HP,Microsoft and Samsung. Butamong the startups looking to become tablet contenders, Knostands out,” said a review inthe New York Times.The Kno is available in ei-ther the single 14” screen panelor the dual 14” screen panelwith either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage space. It comes with a pen stylus, which you can useas if you were writing regu-larly. The Kno allows you towrite all over the digital book and create sticky notes for  places where you need to go back to review or that are im- portant. Besides the pen stylus,there’s also a virtual keyboard provided to type class notesor reports. The Kno lets youdo research right on the spotwith its built-in browser thatconnects you to your school’sWiFi or any other local WiFiautomatically. In the browser,you can open or make PDFfiles and mark notes in them,or access GoogleDocs and Of-fice Live. The Kno supports both HTML5 and Adobe Flash10.1. Other applications in-clude the calendar, calculator,email, ebooks, collaborativewhiteboards, and interactiveflash cards to make studyingmore effective between Knousers.As for textbooks, the Knohas collaborated with major academic publishers, including but not limited to McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons,Pearson, and Cengage Learn-ing. Prices for textbooks onthe Kno are also cheaper thanif you were to buy them froma bookstore. Not only do yousave up to 20-50%, but youcan also save trees, have text- books instantly delivered, andhave the option to rent or buythe textbooks. The online text- books also have lots of featuresas well. You can highlight andtake notes right on the digitaltextbook. Furthermore, if youtouch a word and then the defi-nition, it will immediately takeyou to the browser and searchthe word up for you on Google.Plus, these textbooks also link to videos that explain a certaintopic being discussed in the book.Throughout the course of the school year, folders and binders can start to pile up froman overload of papers, home-work, and packets. With theKno, you won’t have to dealwith misplaced papers and anoverflow of papers. Everythingwill be stored in your Kno. TheKno organizes all your materi-als by term and course, linkingyour books, bookmarked web-sites, and notes all together.Mom, Dad, I know what I wantfor Christmas!The idea of extraterrestriallife coming to Earth has be-come very popular in our soci-ety, and people of all ages have become curious about what is beyond our planet. Recentlyscientists in California havefound interesting new bacteriathat live off of arsenic in-stead of phosphorus.Until this dis-covery,scientisthad be-lieved thatall lifeon Earthneeded sixelements tosurvive: carbon,hydrogen, nitro-gen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. However,this newly-discovered bacteria is called GFAJ-1 can survive and growon arsenic instead of on phosphorous. Ironically,arsenic is supposed to be poisonous andwill kill life.According toCarl Pilcher, di-rector of NASA’s Astrobiol-ogy Institute at Moffett Field,California, “Until now a life-form using arsenic as a build-ing block was only theoretical, but now we know such life ex-ists in Mono Lake.” Research-ers performed an experimentin which arsenic successfullytook the place of phosphorus.But does this mean that thereare aliens out in the universethat are living on arsenic? For now, nobody knows.When this story firstcame out, people everywhere jumped to conclusions. Thisdiscovery only shows that wehave moved forward and thatthere is a possibility that thereis life somewhere other than onEarth. This was not the onlydiscovery that can help provethere is life on other planets.Scientists have now foundthat there are three times morestars in the universe than pre-viously thought. The reasonthe estimated number of starshas tripled is because scien-tists have been undercountingred dwarf stars. Red dwarvesare stars that are about a thirdof the mass of our sun. Basedon the new estimate, there areroughly 300 sextillion (300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 3 x 1023) stars in the universe.The more stars there are in theuniverse, the more space thereis. If there is more space wedo not know about then thereis a larger possibility of lifeout there.But with a high profile announce-ment like this thereis bound to be criti-cism. Some peoplealso think that thefindings are flawed because they believethat the scientists whoannounced the discov-ery just want publicattention. Manyscientists includingchemists believe thatthe microbe can swap phosphorus for arsenicin its biomolecules. Evenwith this criticism, theworld would like to believe that thereis life beyond our  planet.As technologyimproves and we understandmore about our own world,we’ll be able to get closer andcloser to determining whether or not there is intelligent lifeelsewhere in the universe. Butfor now, we still don’t know.
All You Need to “Kno”
By Stacy Liu
Arsenic Aliens
By Ximin Wang
Under the Hawthorn Tree
By Tian Rei Wu

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