September 30th, 2011
11:28 PM ET

Digital face-swapping

Anyone who's seen the Mission: Impossible films will remember seeing characters rip life-like masks off their faces to reveal Tom Cruise underneath.

Now a Spanish coder has figured out a way to put someone else's face on your own through the power of software alone - no mask required.


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Filed under: General • Technology • Viral Videos
September 29th, 2011
07:05 AM ET

China Social Media Trends – Thursday Sep 29, 2011

Sources include Chinese social media sites such as Sina Weibo ranking page (风云榜), Baidu Beats, and Weibo Top News (新浪新闻). Please keep us posted with what's buzzing on your radar and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Sina Weibo Top Trending Terms

Typhoon (暴风雨) – Netizens discussing Typhoon Nesat which is approaching the southern part of China. Many posting “let the Typhoon come more fiercely!” (让暴风雨来得凶猛一点吧)

Amazon (亚马逊) – Netizens discussing Amazon’s newly launched tablet Kindle Fire. Many comparing it to Apple’s iPad – mixed reviews.

Many top trending topics still relate to Tuesday's Shanghai metro line 10 collision. Although Shanghai Metro Department received praise from netizens for updating the public via its official Weibo in real-time after the accident, it also triggered online anger for deleting its apology post, then reposting a similarly worded one after a few hours. Many criticized the department for playing "yet another Party propaganda game." You can read a comprehensive wrap up here. One metro official clarified today that the first apology was taken down because "many felt the wording wasn't appropriate."

Shanghai Metro Department's second apology post: [Apology again] Today is the darkest day in the operation of Shanghai subway. No matter what the final reason or responsibility, [we] feel extremely ashamed and regretful for the harm and loss caused for the residents. We are trying our best to rescue the injured and resume operation; we also collaborate with related departments for further investigation; we are determined to put an end to more accidents, even though our apologies pale in comparison with the practical damage. We still want to issue our sincere apology.


Shanghai Metro Line 10 (十号线) – As netizens continue to focus on the collision, many are also posting people's reactions today after the metro line resumed operation. One user, @XuYiZhou_Jo (@徐一舟Jo), snapped a picture of a super protected passenger at the station which went viral on Weibo.

This cautious passenger, @WuHeng (@吴忄亘), later posted another image of his "SWAT attire" on metro line 10, attracting thousands of reposts.

Top Trending News Topics

Tiangong-1 (天宫一号) – This is China’s experimental space platform scheduled to launch between 9:16aET and 9:31aET today to test docking systems for an eventual manned space station. More details here.

Netizens discussing the launch – many giving the project their blessings but many expressing indifference. Since the launch is ahead of China's National Day celebrations this Saturday, some also criticize the timing for being yet another Party propaganda.

Selected Weibo reax:

@786XiaoRan: Today will undoubtedly become a milestone in China’s history of space technology. Closely monitoring the launch tonight…
786潇然: 今天注定要载入我国航天发展史…密切关注今晚的发射…

@03ZERO: Hope China’s space technology strengthens! Personally I think if our space science catches up, foreign nations will think twice about bullying…regardless, looking forward to good news~
03ZERO: 希望咱国家的航天事业越来越强,个人认为如果航天强,那么国外不敢随便折腾 ……不管怎样,期待好消息~

@KeLaoDist: I don’t care at all. Just like all the gold metals during Olympics, this has nothing to do with taxpayers other than spending their money.
克劳嗲ist: 真不关心。就像奥运会上的金牌一样,不关纳税人的事,还花了纳税人的钱。

@PangCiBlog: China’s corruption could affect high-speed railway, it is only a matter of time until it affects space technology!
肥兹博客: 中国腐败可以烂到高铁地铁,烂到航天也是早晚的事!

@NovemberXiaoPang: Gift for China’s National Day? Let’s hope this won’t turn into another railway project…
十一月的小胖: 献礼国庆?别弄得像高铁一样。。。

iPhone5 – Netizens discussing Apple’s intention to unveil iPhone 5 on Oct 4. Many guessing what the green phone icon with one missed call represents.

An online poll on “will you purchase an iPhone 5 no matter the price?” indicates that as of 2amET: 15% (3,140 votes) chose “yes” while 43% (9,032 votes) chose “depends”

September 27th, 2011
09:37 AM ET

China Social Media Trends – Tuesday Sep 27, 2011

Sources include Chinese social media sites such as Sina Weibo ranking page (风云榜), Baidu Beats, and Weibo Top News (新浪新闻). Please keep us posted with what's buzzing on your radar and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Sina Weibo Top Trending Terms

Not many significant Weibo trending terms today as netizens continue their discussion about popular TV series, local celebrities, etc.

Top Trending News Topics

Shanghai Metro Line 10 collision – Shanghai metro line 10 malfunctioned around 2pm HKT on Tuesday, causing a rear-end collision. Sources from the metro department said equipment failures could have caused the crash. Per Xinmin Newspaper's Weibo posts, no death but several injuries were reported. Many stranded passengers posted updates and images online. More details here.

Shandong Yantai Foxconn fire – A fire broke out at a Foxconn plant in Yantai, Shandong Province around 10:20am HKT this morning. Netizens closeby reported sounds of explosions. The fire has been controlled and investigation is underway. Weibo user "worldof" posted first image of the fire below. More details here.

Train staff beaten passenger to death – A middle-aged man was beaten to death by train staff when he tried to mediate a quarrel between a passenger and three railway workers. The incident took place at the Ganzhou railway station in Jiangxi Province around midnight on Tuesday. Further investigation indicates that the victim was also a railway worker.

Netizens expressing anger toward train staff's unnecessary hostility. Even after media reported the fight was an "internal struggle" among railway workers, many still feel shocked by the sheer absurdity and brutality involved.

One Weibo user "HookCaptain" (Hook船长) commented, "high-speed rail crash people to death, train staff beat people to death, ticket booth suffocates people to death, railway station scares people to death." (动车撞死人,快车打死人,买票挤死人,站台吓死人).

Luoyang sex slavery case – Ongoing discussion since last Friday about an ex-firefighter who kept 6 women as sex slaves in a basement dungeon in Luoyang, Henan Province. The suspect, Li Hao, is subsequently fired and stripped of Party membership. More details here and photo slideshow via Tencent here.

Southern Metropolis Daily’s reporter, Mr. Ji Xuguang, exposed the story but was accused by related officials for “leaking a state secret” (侵犯”国家机密”) in publishing the case.

Given the mounting unresolved questions (how did Li organize sex trade? How did he commit murders? How come the women didn't ask for help?), many are speculating that Li Hao is in fact a scapegoat to cover up other top officials’ dirty deeds. No evidence to support such claim at the moment.

Selected Baidu Beats

Li Yang’s children as experiments (李阳孩子实验品) – Crazy English founder Li Yang stirred yet another controversy after his domestic abuse incident. Recently, he told an interviewer that his children and his marriage were “experiments” in cross-cultural education. When the reporter reminded him that his kids were human beings, Li replied: “Life is an experiment, don’t we also experiment on lab rats?” More details here.

Michael Jordan engaged (乔丹订婚) – Chinese netizens are discussing a rumor that basketball legend Michael Jordan is engaged to his longtime girlfriend Yvette Prieto. This is generating a lot of discussion because Jordan remains a popular figure in China.

Ruo Xiaoan’s diary (若小安日记) – This is almost the Chinese version of “The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl" but with a different twist. Ms. Ruo Xiaoan is a Hangzhou prostitute who garnered notoriety online when she began keeping a public diary of her experiences with clients. Netizens coin her as “China’s most educated prostitute.” According to local police, she was arrested last week. More details here.

September 26th, 2011
02:21 PM ET

China Social Media Trends – Monday Sep 26, 2011

Below is a summary on today's top trending topics on Chinese social media sites including Sina Weibo ranking page (风云榜), Baidu BeatsWeibo Top News (新浪新闻). Please keep us posted with what's buzzing on your radar and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Sina Weibo Top Trending Terms

Terms related to local TV series and celebrity gossips continue to make top trends. One term worth mentioning is "Chinese men's basketball team" (中国队) where netizens congratulate the team for being qualified for London Olympics. More details here.

Top Trending News Topics

Xinwen Lianbo (新闻联播) unveils new look – China's prime-time news program, Xinwen Lianbo, which airs at 7pm HKT daily on CCTV 1 unveiled a new look. More details here.

Netizens discussing the new anchors, opening music, reporting style, etc. Some praising the more stylish and colloquial feel while others criticizing the channel. You can take a look at the mixed reviews in Chinese here.

Progression of Xinwen Lianbo's look taken from Hua Shang Newspaper's Weibo below:

Guizhou Vice Mayor's daughter You Yixi – The 21-year-old daughter of a local government official in Guizhou has become the target of yet another online storm. Ms. You Yixi, whose father You Chenghua is the Vice Mayor/Director of Jinping County in Guizhou Province, is depicted in the image below holding two designer bags. More details here.

Images were allegedly taken from You Yixi's Weibo and shared among netizens online.

Netizens have coined her as "Guo Meimei No.2".

29-year-old Deputy Party Secretary in Hebei Province – Mr. Yan Ning has been promoted to become the Deputy Party Secretary of Hebei's Guantao County. However, the government stated that Yan's resume is "a secret", which triggered widespread public anger. Yan's profile was finally made public and his track record shows a history of extremely fast promotions. More details here and here, which includes a translation of Southern Metropolis Daily editorial about the affair.

September 19th, 2011
08:05 AM ET

"Versailles" in China

You would be forgiven for thinking that this grandiose palace – filled with crystal chandeliers and pianos – is the Palace of Versailles in France... but it's not.

This is the new headquarters of a state-run drug maker in China.

Photos previously published on the Harbin Pharmaceutical Group's website show its unbelievably luxurious interior, full of gold and marble, and its reproductions of works by famous artists.

The HQ also features office space fit to host royalty; but it has not proven popular with people on the street, or on the web.

The photos triggered harsh criticism from Chinese netizens; it has been reported that some critics even went as far as hacking the website to express their anger.

Chinese media report that Harbin Pharmaceutical say the images are from an "internal museum" and have now limited the shots on their website to simple exteriors of the building.

September 14th, 2011
05:02 PM ET

Li Yang’s love-hate relationship with Sina

Just days after being exposed as having abused his wife on Sina’s microblogging portal, Mr. Li Yang has granted them an exclusive interview.

“As soon as I saw [the photograph she posted online], I thought my personal image has been completely ruined. I was in a state of extreme fury,” Li said on Monday.

As China’s top celebrity English teacher and the flamboyant founder of "Crazy English" which employs non-traditional methods of language learning, Li admitted to beating his American wife and apologized via a Weibo post last Saturday (Sep 10).

In both Chinese and English on his Weibo account, Li apologized to his wife, Kim Lee, and three daughters for causing them "serious physical and mental damage." He later added that they are seeking professional counseling.

This rather overdue apology from Li came more than a week after Lee posted photographs of her bruised face on her Weibo account, instigating widespread online reactions as outraged netizens flooded Li's Weibo with criticisms.


September 14th, 2011
11:41 AM ET

Deadly ax assault in China spurs online buzz

The death of six people, including two pre-schoolers, at the hands of an ax-wielding man in central China early Wednesday, has provoked a heated debate online about mental health.

The attack took place in Gongyi city in Henan province when a 30-year-old man, Wang Hongbin, allegedly began hacking people on the street, according to the International Information Office. He is now in police custody.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent assaults involving children in China. In most cases the attackers were suspected of having mental health problems. In a brazen attack last March, a community doctor in Fujian province stabbed eight children to death out of rage after he was jilted by his girlfriend, shocking the entire nation.

Similarly, the Henan incident struck a chord on China’s social networks, as netizens debated the reasons behind such attacks.


September 6th, 2011
02:31 PM ET

Monster croc captured: How big is it?

That man is hugging what's said to be the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity. News reports in the Philippines say it measures 6.4 meters long and weighs a whopping 1,075 kilograms.

So just how big is that? We plugged the stats into WolframAlpha for some comparisons. Here's what we came up with:

As if that wasn't scary enough, this monster croc weighs more than the original Mini Cooper... or about the same as the current Mini Cooper Coupe.