Wednesday, June 09, 2010

You kids today, with your hipping and your hopping and your Orwell...

I confess that I'm not entirely sure who Lindsey Lohan is. I am going to assume from the picture of her standing in front of the MTV Awards backdrop that she is shallow, vain, self-obsessed, and has all the fine sense of public decorum of a civet cat on methamphetamine; in other words, a celebrity of some sort.

I also assume that, since it is announced that she is on probation for an alcohol-related offense of some sort, she has at some point committed a gaffe that the LAPD could not in good conscience ignore, like driving a Ferrari through a shop window, throwing up on a fashion reporter's Manolos, or pulling Britney's extensions out in a drunken catfight.

I will note that, for her sin(s), she is apparently not only tagged like a migrating harp seal, but that said tag contains a miniature HAL 9000 unit that monitors her perspiration for evidence of alcohol, and finks on her if it detects a trace, like a digital Gladys Kravitz with 911 on permanent speed dial.

I like technology as much as the next kid, but may I say that the implications of stuff like that creep me right the hell out?

38 comments:

Ed Foster said...

I personally think she should just be in jail. High speed auto crash after H.S.A.C., massive drugs and booze, a complete sociopath who can't hold a job.

But it's L.A., and she's a celebrity. L.A. is number three on my list of cities for the U.S. to drop if I ever get to be a White House speechwriter, just after Chicago and San Francisco, and before New Orleans and New York.

A great place to visit, but.....

TJP said...

To clarify: a Lindsay Lohan is an ethanol-powered device that can modify the grill of a Mercedes in under two seconds.

genedunn said...

Sorry... I'm not buying your protestations of ignorance as to the significance of Ms. Lohan. While you claim to not be sure who she is, you simultaneously brand-drop Manolos and admit to detailed knowledge of Britney's current coiffure.

Joseph said...

Gladys Kravitz dates you pretty fiercely Tam. (me too come to think of it).

As for the tech, really I don't think its the tech that scares me as the people who deploy them. Much like Google gives me the heeby jeebies. They know way too damn much about everything I do at this point.

Diogenes said...

Apparently, she feels that court appearances are no more important than showing up for class in high school. The aforementioned creepy techno device is there because she decided to go party in Cannes instead of showing up for a scheduled court date. The judge was not amused.

I know this not because I follow Ms. Lohan, but because for some reason her travails are considered "news" and they are sometimes inflicted on me during my morning drive.

Just another pretty, dumb rich kid on the fast track to self-destruction.

Tam said...

genedunn,

I only know what Manolos are because it's one of those designer names that has percolated through pop culture sufficiently that I probably read it on a blog sompelace. My own taste in footwear runs more to 5.11.

As to Britney, whom I am mostly aware of because she was in a Pepsi commercial with Bob Dole some years ago, I seem to recollect that she did some public head-shaving stunt since I started this blog, and various photos glimpsed at CNN.com indicate that her hair either grows faster than the deficit or chicanery is involved.

About this Ms. Lohan; is she a singer or an actress or one of those annoying creatures like Paris Hilton who doesn't seem to actually do anything except display herself in public in a way that gets you spanked when you're three and on the cover of tabloids when you're twenty-three?

Außenseiter said...

@Ed Foster

Sociopaths are probably no more likely to have DUIs than the rest of us. I wouldn't bet on it, they're kind of reckless. Anyway, many upstanding pillars of community have commited DUIs. Mr.Cheney and Mr.Bush, for example.
Youthful indiscretions, mostly.

Does it matter whether she can hold a job? She has probably already "earned" much more money than you'll manage to in your whole life. Were she in possession of a few ounces of common sense, she could probably retire tomorrow and live off investments.

@Tam
As long as tagging devices are by law mandatory only for people who keep messing things up, what could go wrong?

The gov't already knows where you go(unless you eschew use of mobile phones), who are your friends(unless you are paranoid schizophrenic who only browses through TOR, never talks on a clear line and so on), and where your cat goes to school...

What are you scared of? US of A has a bad history of fucking up stuff that works okay elsewhere (online bank security, to name just one).

But the idea of tagging people who keep making dangerous mistakes to help prevent them from doing them again is pretty good.

As soon as these devices get cheaper, you can be sure your moral majority is surely going to start tagging their kids and teenagers ;)

Life can be hilarious.. ;)

Hypnagogue said...

You can't jail LiLo, she's an AA-list actress! She's also Disney property, so her imprisonment would be a violation of the Treaty of Anaheim.

Anonymous said...

"US of A has a bad history of fucking up stuff that works okay elsewhere..."

Like tagging and/or bagging critical commentators, yes? Please tell me more about this magical "elsewhere" of which you speak.

Al Terego

robnrun said...

What would creep me out is combining that device (which calls the police) with the factory installed devices that refuse to turn the car on unless you pass the test. It is a very short step over to the idea that all new cars ought to have tracked breathalyzers in the name of prevention.
And while you're at, how hard would it be to track your speed, your obedience to lights, use of turn signals? The computing ability it there, the GPS system is there, what isn't there yet is the computer's knowledge of the road system. But it would be technically possible to map the system and track each car's GPS, and then speed is straightforward triangulation, correspondence with traffic lights is already possible... It would make for a more efficient, safer road system and policing effort, but I am not sure people are designed to live happily in a micro-managed system. We would live of course, people are nothing but adaptable.
It isn't paranoia, it is an awareness that the incremental choices are adding up, be it regulating lightbulbs or cars.

Joel said...

Manolos? I'm not familiar with that handgun. Spanish?

Tam said...

AT,

It's comic relief. I find the jaded world-weariness and provincialism to be deliciously ironic. Besides, I knew everything at that age, too. :)

Joanna said...

I'm actually playing with this idea for a short story -- one character is under 24-hour audio and visual surveilance via implanted sensors, so his minders see and hear everything he does and says. The fun part is coming up with inventive ways for him to take advantage of that fact.

Anonymous said...

As to who/what LieLow is...I think it's a "reality" thing, wherein the object of attention has only parenthetical or even incidental relation to any kind of talent or performance ability.

You know, kind of like TopShot.

AT

Anonymous said...

Lilo was an actress at least once. I know that because I'm married to a devout fan of Herbie the Love Bug. But Herbie: Fully Loaded was five years ago. But since then???

Ah, well, according to Wikipedia, she's been doing "independent" films (translation: no one cares if your leading lady is a drunken ho when no one's watching your film), and also attempted to begin a career as a singer (or someone who makes noise while dancing scantily clad). In 2005, she was well-qualified for that, I don't know about lately...

nbc said...

In this end of the pool, a "lilo" is an inflatable mattress.

Cheap, plastic and prone to split.

Oh.

Lewis said...

Joanna:

I think David Drake had a series of short stories, way back in the day, on that very subject. In a world of perfect surveillance, murder is still possible . . . just trickier.

Außenseiter said...


"US of A has a bad history of fucking up stuff that works okay elsewhere..."


Online banking, for example. US banks have been getting wiser lately, though.

Or credit card fraud. There is far less of it in Europe. Something about

Also supposedly identity theft:
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/banking/financialprivacy/p116528.asp

Also, we don't have that much bacteria in our food.

Moreover, measures are being taken in Europe to stop farmers from giving sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to farm animals. This is a dangerous practice that has not yet been curbed in the United States. (you know, a sub-lethal dose of antibiotics to bacteria is just the thing you need to breed antibiotic resistance in them)

http://www.salmonellablog.com/2009/10/articles/salmonella-information/antibiotic-resistance-in-salmonella/

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/112/1/S1/253

I could also go on about meth, credit cards(something of a rarity, people don't tend to spend money they don't have on something other than housing), per capita murder rate, personal bankruptcies, and other stuff that isn't that much of a problem here.

Though, I think I'll rather go outside and do some cycling.

Mister_V said...

Brilliant deduction, Holmes!

Anonymous said...

"identity theft"...meh; anybody wants to be me, have at it.

"we don't have that much bacteria in our food"...don't know how you can eat that shit anyway.

"meth, credit cards(something of a rarity, people don't tend to spend money they don't have on something other than housing), per capita murder rate, personal bankruptcies, and other stuff that isn't that much of a problem here."...great examples of free will and the consequences thereof.

And speaking of free will and consequences, that kind of brings us back to the tagging/bagging of critics...but keep toeing that party line and you'll be okay.

It's been 1984 there for a long time, but as Tam's post suggests, we're doing our best to catch up.

AT

Außenseiter said...

Id theft? Well, send me your social security number.

----------------------------------
Free will? You seriously believe it's anything else but a useful social fiction?

(Lol)

That shit. Well, we may be doing something right eating that "shit". Consider the morbid obesity and diabetes rates. Or that most European spends far less on health per capita than the US yet have better public health and less sick citizens.

Tam said...

"Consider the morbid obesity and diabetes rates."

Because a country where even the poorest can afford to be fat is a total failure.

Don't worry, though, at the rate our government is dictating our eating habits, we'll soon be caught up to you, Winston. I'd type more, but my telescreen is reminding me that I'm late for the physical jerks.

Anonymous said...

"Free will...a useful social fiction"

I was going to say something about slurpin' the kool-aid to wash down that bacteria-free gruel, but damn, boy...

Just a young'un and they own your soul already...that's just sad.

AT

Geodkyt said...

Außenseiter said... Or that most European spends far less on health per capita than the US yet have better public health and less sick citizens

Of course, having your health care system underwritten by the US goes a pretty far way towards making it cheaper to YOU.

Care to compare medical advances (including new drugs) introduced from Europe vs. the US? Or discuss the fact that the "better" care Europeans tend to get is about 10-15 years behind US medical practices?

Europeans get to skim the cream off the top of the US system in terms of drug inventions, and then the payers tend to skimp on delivering services, for example, offering surgery rather than drug treatment, becuase surgery is cheaper, if more risky.

Tam said...

My Newdrugitol costs me $150/pill because Newdrugcorp can only charge Außenseiter $5/pill, and they gotta make up the R&D costs somewhere. Contrary to popular belief, them biochem researchers didn't waste all that money on sheepskins for charity.

That's okay, though. Barry'll fix it so that Newdrugcorp can only sell their pills for $5/pill here too, and then NOBODY will get new drugs, and it'll all be fair. :D

Geodkyt said...

And to bolster Tam's point against the incoming screams of, "But Newdrugcorp doesn't HAVE to sell Nudrugitol in Germany at $5/pill if they don;t want to!!!"

If Nudrugcorp DOESN'T give Germany the "production" cost (note "development" isn't included there) plus a government-approved profit margin, then Newdrugcorp doesn't get to sell aspirin in Germany, either.

One of the few places where a drug company CAN charge what it cost to bring a drug to market is the US, where they have to make up their R&D costs (including the 99.99+% failures) is in the US. You'll never recoup R&D selling new heart drugs at production cost (plust slight markup), but if you can convince a bunch of rich Americans that it is worth it to extend their life, you can. Especially since you can do the same thing with "quality of life" drugs that government overseen health programs won't cover (or won't cover very much of) like the Little Blue Pill of Intern Chasing.

Außenseiter said...



"Free will...a useful social fiction"

I was going to say something about slurpin' the kool-aid to wash down that bacteria-free gruel, but damn, boy...

Just a young'un and they own your soul already...that's just sad.

And you're old and still deluded.(no offense meant. Most people just accept common prejudices from their culture. You probably haven't been thinking about free will much)
Isn't that *just sad*? Anyway, if you want to know why I think it's reasonable to consider free will an illusion, point me to your email. You can contact me through my skypename (downnotacross)
It's always good to put one's thoughts to paper, so to speak.

It's useful for us as a society to act as if free will was real. But it's not. We act according to our nature, and to the information we have. Some of us can think about the consequences of their actions, but that's about it.


FYI, no one "owns" my soul. For me, it's impossible to accept any other authority than one that has repeatedly demonstrated competence. Thus, believing in any religion, ideology, is right out.
Stupid left-right ideological squabbles are just sad to watch. Both sides are deluded, nothing more than apes or "intellectuals" armed with keyboards.

We're nothing more than disgusting(have you ever seen your guts? Smelled them? Then tell me they're not *disgusting*), fallible meatbags cursed with a insufficient intelligence, a host of biases(fear processing, for example), and insufficient lifespan.

That's the way things are, and billions of God-botherers can't change reality. Wishful thinking is just that.

@Tam
Big Pharma spends more on marketing than on R&D. In fact, many novel chemical compounds have been found in university labs, that are often state funded.

It's also "not true" that European doctors use more surgery. (probably). Mother specializes in internal medicine and has been treating brain tumors that were previously only operated on with drugs. I don't know whether they are European or US in origin though. I'll ask, though.

I'll give you that Americans probably pay a little extra for R&D. They can well afford it. (largest debtor nation ever, or so I heard)
However, what makes the US system so expensive are lawyers and "CYA" medicine. In the US, the doctors cannot treat patients according to their judgement. They have to use "best practices", have the patient undergo a zillion test that are not good for anything but CYA against lawyers-

See here:
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/293/21/2609

43% reported using imaging techniques when unecessary, for example. You probably have no idea how expensive medical imaging is. A simple CT costs hundreds of dollars. MRI probably goes into thousands.

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/cat-scan-cost.html

And so on.



Care to compare medical advances (including new drugs) introduced from Europe vs. the US?


See this:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/331/7522/958
quote

The US accounts for just under 48% of world sales and spent 49% of the global total on research and development to discover 45% of the new molecular entities that were launched on the world market in 2003, less than its proportionate share. European countries account for 28% of world sales, 36% of total research and development spending, and 32% of new molecular entities, more than its proportionate share



Or discuss the fact that the "better" care Europeans tend to get is about 10-15 years behind US medical practices?

I believe you pulled this out of your arse.

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/socialism-and-cancer

USA is somewhat ahead in cancer survival rates. But the differences are not major. Probably not 10-15 years, but 3-5.

Außenseiter said...


My Newdrugitol costs me $150/pill because Newdrugcorp can only charge Außenseiter $5/pill, and they gotta make up the R&D costs somewhere.

Not really true. We have some price controls, but I've second hand information (mother is an M.D. specializing in internal medicine) about how she routinely prescribes treatments costing tens of thousands of euros a year to patients who need such treatements.
(and wouldn't be able to afford them, were they uninsured)


Our insurers also don't cancel insurance coverage of people who get ill.

See:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36711197/

73% of psychiatric drugs are prescribed by non-psychiatric doctors.
Absurd, as ordinary M.D.'s are hardly competent to do so. But there's lot of money in it. Maybe you should leave it to the patients..


http://psychrights.org/articles/ForbesProzacNationIsThePartyOver.htm


http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2008/09/25/us-kids-take-more-psychotropic-drugs-than-europeans.html

US kids take about three times as much psychotropic medication than European kids. Is that really necessary? Are they that much crazier? Must be all the freedom & liberty in the air..


Anyway. I gotta get back to doing useful stuff, such as going over the 489 test questions which one needs to master to get a gun permit. Luckily, the bureaucrat who wrote them up made (b) the correct answer for the more esoteric questions.

Yeah. I freely admit it sucks, but hey, at least, if you're really, really stupid in the way Martin Bryant was stupid(IQ 80), you can't get a legal gun here.

I prefer the Slovak system, where a bunch of cops grills you about what would you do if you had a gun and *x* happened ..
jhasdfajlagkjghgdfhghsdfjhgsdfsjghsdfsjnbdf

Firehand said...

She's one of the current crop of celebritutes. Almost impossible to not hear of because the 'news' media seem to think drunk and/or drugged actors are news.

Will Brown said...

Occupationally late to the debate as I am, I simply cannot resist the temptation of pointing out to Herself the availability of a simply marvelous invention for discovering facts and information about topics of passing interest. :)

And the implications that can be drawn from any capability are grounds for the creeps if that's your fancy. Personally, I like the options technology like this offers (though I suspect I would have chosen to sit out the sentence myself - I've been in LA County Jail, it's not that bad).

Matt G said...

Ditto Ed Foster--

It's not sinister that she wears a Hal-9000; it's sinister that all it takes to keep one out of prison after crashing while intoxicated on alcohol and cocaine is celebrity, and a bit of dough.

The bimbo should be modeling the haute couture of DayGlo coveralls.

Tam said...

Matt,

It's not her wearing HAL that creeps me out, so much as it is the idea that our society thinks that a right and meet punishment for any offense is to let someone roam the streets, and yet wire them up like Locutus of Borg. I find it creepy and Orwellian by its very nature.

If someone's a demonstrated and duly convicted danger to the public weal, then by all means, lock them away. Or else let them roam free. But these halfway measures get creepier by the year...

Dave said...

Imaging more expensive than additional surgery? My father had an Achilles Tendon replaced about two weeks ago. A 1.5 hour day surgery morphed into a 4 hour surgery with a two day stay at the hospital. Turns out 40% of his tendon was calcified, which changed the whole course of the procedure. An MRI would have identified the state of his AT, which would have changed the course of his surgery.

Ed Foster said...

Aussensiter: Medicine costs so much in the USA because we get better medicine for our money. I have lots of relatives in the medicine business (emergency medicine and cardiology), and I hear the actual facts most Americans don't get (often want ) to hear.

The "facts" are skewed due to our unfortunate (and very European) urban culture, which is dieing almost as fast as it's parent culture on the old continent.

Half of all African-American men (overwhelmingly urban and Democrat/Socialist) will be dead by age 45, from AIDS, murder, drugs, or high speed auto crash. Google up the meaning of the expression "down low".

The illegitmacy, family breakup, and traumatic death rate of Hispanics is rapidly approaching that of their black neighbors. What do they have in common, that they don't share with the common run of Americans?

A lifestyle fairly typical of western Europe, with an urban political machine that has a totally Western European outlook on life. To whit, "I don't care a damn about next week, as long as I can enjoy this one. Government will somehow find a way to make this dream world last forever".

I find it bitterly humorous that the only thing keeping the sickly dollar afloat is the expected near immediate demise of the Euro. Early jumpers have already pushed the Australian dollar about as far as it can go, so Uncle Sam gets a short respite.

The longest lived demographic group on earth is Asian-American women, people who are almost exclusively middle and upper class, and who consume very little medication. They live far longer than relatives in their parent cultures.

I imagine that, were statistics to be compiled for middle class European-Americans, without the inner city, they would be similar.

Tune out the geographically and culturally isolated 10% of our population that produces almost 70%of our crime and long term able bodied welfare, and we have a system so far superior to Europe there literally isn't any comparison. Assuming of course the Obamaniacs don't turn us into another England over the next few months.

Isn't it interesting that Germany and the Stockholm region of Sweden, the twin birthplaces of western collectiveism, now offer people the option of American style HMO's rather than traditional socialist medicine?

I wonder why people with the money to opt out of the workers paradise would want to do so?

For reference, assuming they are allowed in, I fully expect to be sheltering European relatives in the next decade, and am making preperations for their welfare.

Außenseiter said...


A lifestyle fairly typical of western Europe, with an urban political machine that has a totally Western European outlook on life. To whit, "I don't care a damn about next week, as long as I can enjoy this one. Government will somehow find a way to make this dream world last forever".

Europeans, in general, are much more pessimistic than Americans. The level of trust in government here is similar, with some exceptions (Netherlands).

I don't know what made you believe the attitude to life is that it's fun-and-games and who cares and gov't will provide. The fact that people have less children here doesn't have much to do with culture. Demographic decline is quite common among most developed societies.
Look at this graph:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TFR_vs_PPP_2009.svg (courtesy of CIA world factbook, I believe)

Care to substantiate that? Anecdotes are not data...


For reference, assuming they are allowed in, I fully expect to be sheltering European relatives in the next decade, and am making preperations for their welfare.

Ed. I believe you are a good and capable guy. But I've corresponded with you. You are, not to mince words, a cloud-cuckoo lander. You completely disregard information that doesn't fit into your worldview. While that's common in humans, technical people should know better. It's sad to see another person who've succumbed to the Randian kool-aid.
(i.e. : always blame the reds. Or the government, it's red too. You can't do wrong, as long as you are selfish enough. Admirable in it's clarity, I admit)

Just the bit about how "chinese history" was invented by communists. That's about as likely as that Velikovsky was right.
Unless you were joking, but then it was a very strange form of joke.

Would you care to wager a small amount of money(1/12th of an ounce of gold perhaps ) on that? Email me, and we could work out a deal.

I believe you won't have to shelter European relatives.

Denser population, more efficient energy use, less poverty and the income disparity is smaller too. Social tensions are lesser. (I don't care abou "social justice". It's just that countries with high income disparity tend to be oligarchic hellholes. Like Argentina or Colombia or Phillipines)

//word verification: ingsoc
Ha!

Ed Foster said...

You can't do wrong as long as you're selfish enough? How about a simple exchange of value? That would be closer to the Randian ideal. I have coal, you have iron ore. If we work together we have a synergy, and are both better off.

Add a bureaucrat, and we have quotas, plus "professional managers". I've seen companies destroyed by people like that.


Bureaucracy is a barely controlled cancer that eventually breaks under the weight of it's own self-importance and self-interest.

But debating that with a liberal is like screaming at the wind. It won't slow the breeze, and it makes your lungs sore.

The essence of collectivism, not capitalism, is selfishness. The capitalist has to have something to offer in order to trade, has to get inside the head of his competition and his potential customer.

The liberal/socialist says "make government bigger, and it will take care of me, mandate that everything will be fair". An intellectual child, shallow and selfish, who bonds only with people like himself, to whom the concept of extended family, of cultural loyalty and continuity is archaic.

You mentioned birth rates. What is the only major country in the world that still has a positive birth rate? The United States. There is another word for birth decline. It's called cultural suicide.

In that, the U.S. differs from any other nation in the world. And, the typical 35 year old Democratic woman in America, the lady most like her typical overseas counterpart, has the same birthrate as most of Europe, about 1.4 children per woman. She's also probably not married.

Her Republican counterpart, call her the traditional or "mainstream" American, most likely is married, and has almost 2.4 children.

Rationalise all you want, but you are on a dieing continent, that has run out of the will to survive. I don't want to see that happen here.

Lincoln said it best, when he called America "The last, best, hope of man".

Assuming we can purge it of it's increasing Europeanness, starting this November.

Ed Foster said...

As for the Chinese bit, what I was saying was that modern China, like any underdeveloped country, has a large inferiority complex the government has tried to soften with a great deal of selective reporting and several outright fabrications.

Study the Warring States period and the Chin dynasty, the origin of China. A European ox-cart was better built than a Chinese "chariot" of that period, and virtually everything from modern rice (Vietnam) to iron, the wheel, the domesticated horse, and weaving arrived from outside.

Mostly by Indo-European tribes the Chinese called Yue-Chi. Proto-Slav and Balt peoples we refer to as Saka and Scythian in the north, more or less Celtic people called Tocharians in the west and Tarim basin.

It's a country that got it's first sewer in the 1920's, in Shanghai, put in by the British. A country that never had a city with a birth rate as high as it's death rate until Mao. Small wonder that most of the world's plagues have always evolved there.

The Chin emperor celebrated his conquest by melting the bronze weapons of his enemies to make statues. At a time when not just iron, but steel was being worked in the west.

From the Warring States period up to the mid 19th century, Chinese warfare was characterised by massive armies of untrained levies being used in an attempt to block comparatively small amounts of mediocre light cavalry.

The Great Wall the tourist see was built as a public works project in the 16th and 17th century, long after it had any military use. And shortly before the breakdown of China's bureaucracy caused the death through starvation of 100 million of China's 140 million people. Collectivism at work.

Before that, it was a pile of dirt, simple rammed earth.

Yes, they invented gunpowder and the simple rocket, by accident if the traditional story about the pharmacist and the bamboo is accepted.

But so did the Europeans, without any help from the Chinese, and the first Chinese cannons were several centuries behind Europe, and obvious (and flimsy) copies of Turkish designs.

A hydralic society like China, Egypt, the Mesopotamian cultures, must be structured and inflexible, with an enormous bureaucracy to organize the hundreds of thousands of miles of dams, dikes, and levees that maintain water flow for irrigation. It has no place for innovation except as a last resort, and change takes centuries.

Außenseiter said...

@Tam

Does your blog eat comments? I remember posting one late last night (~1500 on 6/10).

Ed's grasp of history is curious.
Here's some uni site on early gunpowder warfare:
http://ai.cs.utsa.edu/wikipedia0.7/A/Ca/Cannon.html#Early_history

Chinese cannon were not "several" centuries behind Europe (back in the 14th century at least)


The Chin emperor celebrated his conquest by melting the bronze weapons of his enemies to make statues. At a time when not just iron, but steel was being worked in the west.

Well. Makes sense, disarming them. Also, your assertion they did not use steel is untrue. They made more bronze tools, as it was an established industry and they had mass-production techniques for it.


http://www.staff.hum.ku.dk/dbwagner/koreanfe/koreanfe.html

Chinese metalworking was more oriented on casting than smithing. Supposedly the level of sophistication in their bronze production was unrivalled until 19th century Europe. (they somehow learned to put copper sulfate on their bronze to prevent corrosion)

Note that they did catch up pretty quickly, and by the first century BCthey were making lots of steel by decarburising cast iron. (which process I believe wasn't inventedi n Europe until the 17th centzry or so..

http://www.staff.hum.ku.dk/dbwagner/koreanfe/koreanfe.html


Another means of producing wrought iron raw material from cast iron was used in the Han and somewhat later times. Whereas in the fining process the iron is heated so hot that it is in a pasty state and can be stirred about, it is also possible to use a lower temperature and decarburize the iron in the solid state. Cast iron from the blast furnace is cast into thin plates, typically on the order of 10 x 20 cm and 0.4 cm thick (e.g. KGXB 1978.1: 21, pl. 2.4). These are heat-treated, presumably in a kiln, in an oxidizing atmosphere, perhaps at a temperature of 750-850deg.C for a period of days. This process removes the carbon and results in wrought-iron plates which can be easily formed by the smith by either hot or cold hammering. This process was probably less fuel-efficient than fining, but may have been more labour-efficient and, perhaps most important, lent itself to large-scale production by unskilled labourers with quality control by sampling rather than piece-by-piece testing. We shall see below certain artefacts found in Korea and Japan which resemble these Chinese artefacts and may be imports from the large-scale iron industry of Han China.


and so on..


A hydralic society like China, Egypt, the Mesopotamian cultures, must be structured and inflexible, with an enormous bureaucracy to organize the hundreds of thousands of miles of dams, dikes, and levees that maintain water flow for irrigation. It has no place for innovation except as a last resort, and change takes centuries.

Duh. Change took centuries here too. Industrial revolution didn't happen overnight. Same goes for the beginnings of capitalism.

Your country doesn't seem to innovate much either(anymore). In established industries. Sure, you've started the computer age, but look at electricity generation. Coal mostly. Absurd in a country that pioneered nuclear power.