I’m back in Taipei after a highly successful MINEXPO 2021 and a blissful long weekend visiting some old haunts in San Francisco. Watching some live blues at The Saloon was the highlight but soaking in some of the Beat Generation spirit at the fabled City Lights bookstore and the nearby Vesuvio came very close to it.


The life story of Duke Wen of Jin is every bit as dramatic as that of Duke Huan of Qi and just as deserving of an epic Netflix series. It combines a bitter brew of blood and betrayal mixed with the sweet taste of vindication and triumph — not to mention a wicked concubine and fraternal conflict.

Five brothers from five mothers

Like Duke Huan, Duke Wen was not in line to inherit his father’s throne. He was the second son of the ruler Duke Xian and his second wife Hu Ji and was given the personal name of Chonger…


Driving a forklift is a demanding job that can all too easily lead to operator fatigue and distraction due to the repetitive nature of the work and the relentless pressure to meet ever tighter fulfilment deadlines. Even a momentary loss of concentration by an operator caused by tiredness or a quick glance at a smartphone can lead to serious consequences such as a collision with a pedestrian who inadvertently steps too close to the vehicle.

To help operators maintain attentiveness while they are behind the wheel, the VIA Mobile360 Forklift Safety System features a driver monitoring system that issues a…


In 14.15 of the Analects Confucius favorably compares Duke Huan of Qi with his fellow hegemon Duke Wen of Jin, describing the former as “proper and not crafty” and the latter as “crafty and improper”.

Given that Duke Huan seized the crown ahead of his older brother and had him executed, this is a generous verdict from the sage to put it mildly. Just about the only more serious violation of the rules of propriety the duke could have committed would have been to knock off his father to acquire the throne.

Confucius’s justification for his judgment appears to be…


A hunch, a hope, and a boyhood friend

Perhaps Guan Zhong’s willingness to return to face what to many must have seen as certain death was based on the hunch or the hope that Bao Shuya, who happened to be both his best boyhood friend and Duke Huan’s closest advisor, would get him out of the pickle he was in.

Even though the duke was sorely tempted to have Guan Zhong executed, Bao somehow managed to persuade his ruler that he would be better off allowing Guan not just to live but also to become his chief minister. …


If Netflix is looking for a successor to The Crown, it should consider commissioning a dramatization of the rise and fall of the great hegemon Duke Huan of Qi. His story features all the elements of a gripping historical epic on a scale that makes the affairs of the House of the Windsor seem almost quotidian in comparison. It would also have the potential to provide global audiences with a better understanding of the powerful and unpredictable forces that drove the Zhou dynasty on its path to destruction and ultimately led to the unification of China under the Qin dynasty.


Book 14 of the Analects highlights one of the most significant causes of the growing instability that characterized the Spring and Autumn period: namely, massive overproduction of the hereditary elite that dominated all aspects of political, economic, social, and cultural life.

The book is packed with references to dukes, lords, ministers, and sundry other members of the nobility ranging from towering giants like Duke Huan of Qi and Duke Wen of Jin to obscure but still important officials like Shi Shu and Bi Chen. …


When it comes to order processing for any ecommerce business, much credit is given to automated inventory management systems and organized warehouse personnel workflow. What is often overlooked, however, is the literal heavy lifting which drives any well-oiled logistics supply chain − specifically, the hard work done by forklifts and their operators to make sure the right payload arrives at the right order collection point.

The forklift itself is by no means at the forefront of tech innovation, nor does it appear to be the most obvious candidate for AI technology. Yet, the potential growth in order processing efficiency that…


Although Duke Ai was the nominal ruler of the state of Lu, his power was so limited that he did not have much choice but to tell Confucius to talk to the Three Families about taking military action against the murderer of Duke Jian of Qi.

It was not as if Duke Ai had an army to command, even if he had wanted to, because control of that had long been ceded to the Ji, Meng, and Sun clans. …


The sparseness of the prose in 14.21 gives us no idea how Confucius reacted to the refusal of Duke Ai to accept his proposal. We can only speculate about his feelings as he departed from the audience.

While it is reasonable to assume that Confucius was frustrated and disappointed at his weak ruler for his unwillingness to act against the murderer of a fellow sovereign, a much more interesting question is whether this episode caused sage to question if all the time and effort he had devoted to restoring traditional Zhou dynasty values had been wasted.

Confucius dedicated his whole…

Richard Brown

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.

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