In Box

Expert Sitings: Isaac Mao

Isaac Mao is cofounder of the Social Brain Foundation and vice president of Shanghai-based United Capital Investment Group. He helped pioneer the practice of using overseas servers to host Chinese blogs and served as cofounder of CNBlog.org. His Web site is isaacmao.com.

1bao.org
Chinese journalist-blogger Zhai Minglei started his blog after his print magazine, Minjian, was banned in 2007. Roughly translated as "newspaper for only one person," 1bao's insights on politics, culture, and the media are popular among young Chinese, who access it despite China's censors

kurzweilai.net
The Web site of futurist Ray Kurzweil is my go-to source for the latest news and commentary on technology and artificial intelligence. Through a weekly e-mail newsletter, Kurzweil highlights the best theories and visions of how science and technology can make the world a better place.

chinadialogue.net
ChinaDialogue is the first fully bilingual Chinese-English site dedicated to environmental issues in China. It collects links to news stories and reports -- both positive and negative -- on everything from the melting glaciers in the far northwest to Beijing's smog.

en.yeeyan.com
YeeYan (or "voice of translation") is a "bridge blog" between the English- and Chinese-language worlds. Chinese users can read the most recent articles from Western media, including those from Web sites banned in China. Westerners, meanwhile, will find translations of Chinese blogs and media on topics ranging from the recent uprisings in Tibet to this summer's Olympic Games.

In Box

Caught in the Net: Syria

Syria has ordered Internet cafe users to hand over their identity in exchange for access. State security officials recently told Internet cafe owners to record the names and national identification card numbers of their customers, also noting the times they come and go. The records will be collected and reviewed by security officials. The government did not comment on the decision, but in the past it has insisted such steps are necessary to prevent "penetration by Israel." Maybe. But given the increasing number of bloggers criticizing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, a more plausible explanation may be a desire to quiet the dissidents in the cafes.