From the Chinese Press

Updated: 2013-09-23 07:15

(China Daily)

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Not in Apple-pie order

The new products launched by Apple have got a lukewarm response from consumers. It seems the company, known for its innovative products until recently, is now facing a serious innovative dilemma, says an article on youth.cn. Excerpts:

Of late, some consumers have become indifferent to Apple products. Apple, under Steve Jobs, caused a revolution in the cell phone market after releasing its first smartphone in 2007. As a result, it took home almost 70 percent of the cell phone market's profit by releasing just one or two new products a year.

But after the death of Jobs, it seems Apple products have changed from a "work of art" to common industrial products.

With Samsung controlling a big chunk of the smartphone market and Android software application creating waves among consumers, Apple is now busy trying to cut costs and lower its products' prices to maintain its market share. In a way, Apple has become like any other company.

Apple should realize that it takes five years at most for a non-innovative company to lose its advantage in the high-tech market. It should also realize that consumers have very high expectations from its products as far as innovative products are concerned, and they will start looking for other companies' gadgets if it fails to meet their expectations.

Innovation is what made Apple the market leader. And lack of innovation can cause its downfall.

Unnecessary row over HPV research

Some people have misunderstood Peking University's request for female virgins' blood for a research project on human papilloma virus (HPV). Their reaction shows that the authorities have not taken enough measures to popularize the importance of scientific research, says an article on people.com.cn. Excerpts:

Peking University has explained that HPV is usually transmitted through sexual contact and female virgins' blood serves as a negative control substance in the research on the disease, because the risk of contracting HPV is low among women who have never had sex. Expressing surprise at the public reaction, a university spokesperson said that too much attention was being paid to terms like "virgin" and "sex", instead of what the research is aimed at.

Indeed, critics of the project seem obsessed with the request for blood samples of female virgins between the age of 18 and 24 years, rather than trying to know why the blood samples were needed.

But the question is: Why did a scientific research in line with international practice evoke such a public reaction? The necessity of a scientific project should be determined by scientists, not the pubic or officials. But in China, academic evaluations sometimes depend on administrative judgments and public opinions, causing unnecessary confusion, which is detrimental to science.

The Internet has complicated the problem further with non-professionals and laymen joining the public debate on the HPV research project as if it were a social issue.

It's time the authorities took measures to streamline the debate on scientific research and popularize science. They should work out ways to explain some basic scientific concepts to the people to avoid a public row over a scientific research project.

(China Daily 09/23/2013 page9)