China only works if we do

My DC neighbor Rick Ballard, a master of invention and a linguist of note, stopped by to show me his newest creation."I call it the Way Forward machine," he said, explaining it was a takeoff on the reverse phenomenon in the movie ,"Back to the Future" where the Professor was able to transport the souped-up De Lorean backwards in time."If you press the button on the right as you aim the machine at a room, it tells you what is happening there now and what will happen there in the future.""How far forward can it go," I asked, curious but skeptical. "About two and one-half years -- after which I've been getting so much static that it's hard to understand what's happening." We live not terribly far from the Chinese Embassy and Chinese is one of the languages he's fluent in, so I asked if he wouldn't like to try it out there and after his enthusiastic agreement we bundled the blinking, chirping thing into the back of my car and headed off to...(Read Full Article)