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Country: Europe, FR, France
Author/entrepreneur Ping Fu left China with only $80, a ticket to San Francisco paid for by relatives, and no command of English; the alternative was a dangerous life labeled as an 'anti-Communist' in China. Her target was the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, to study English. Her 'sin' - having written a senior thesis about the then prevalent practice of forced abortions of young girl fetuses and killings of baby girls, a reaction to China's 'one-child' policy; when the People's Daily and the international media picked up the story, the trouble started. Ping was thrown in prison and it wasn't clear if she'd be executed or not.
Ping Fu had grown up in China's 1965-68 Cultural Revolution during which 36 million were persecuted and 3 million killed or maimed. Being part of a well-educated, relatively wealthy merchant and academic family was dangerous in those times. When it began she was in the first grade - learning was labeled 'counterrevolutionary' and Mao closed all the schools. Everyone was required to stand outside each morning and salute a picture of Chairman Mao at the end of the lane she lived on. Older children then went to study and recite from Mao's Little Red Book. Soon after her brothers were sent off to forced labor and psychological indoctrination/abuse, and her father was arrested. Then Ping Fu was seized and moved from Shanghai to Nanjing - turns out she'd been born there, but sent by her mother to live with a sister in Shanghai. (Ping Fu had visited her real mother several times, but thought she was her aunt.)
Eight-year-old Ping spent the next ten years in a barracks building with her then four-year-old sister - together in a room with no bed or other furnishings. (She eventually found a discarded mattress and rickety chair that the two shared.) Bathroom facilities - a nearly overflowing stinking depression in a room used by the entire floor. Water had to be boiled, using charcoal, before drinking. Ping and the other children were all 'black elements' because they were outcasts from educated affluent parents. Fortunately an anonymous nearby source sometimes donated cooked food for the sisters - otherwise food was very poor quality and usually only every other day. Ping was often forced to humiliate herself and denounce her parents, along with other disgraced adults in the building. She sat through lectures about the bitterness of the poor nearly every other day. She was not allowed to mail letters to her parents - that would be evidence of counterrevolutionary thinking.
At age ten, Ping was raped by a group of boys, requiring 40 stitches and weeks of recovery. She was able to diminish and then end the beatings and taunting by young Red Guards by helping one with her written assignments. Soon afterwards she began factory work about an hour's walk away - six days/week for six hours/day, plus two hours each day to study Mao's teachings. She assembled radios at first (about 40 - 50 per day), then an electrician who wired rooms and repaired equipment, and ultimately operating milling and stamping machines. Fortunately her supervisor was very supportive, and her real mother moved in with the two of them and contributed her factory salary.
At the university in Albuquerque Ping earned money cleaning houses and babysitting to pay out-of-state tuition while studying first English, then literature. After learning enough English she became a waitress, bought an old car, and learned to drive. Pine switched to computer science and transferred to San Diego State University when she saw how poorly literature/journalism graduates fared, and taught herself math via checking out library books on the subject - 2nd grade on up. Her sister Hong joined Ping after 18 months and earned a master's degree in architecture. Ping soon obtained a programming job paying $15/hour, then took night on-call work because it paid double, even if there were no calls. The author reports earning nearly $80,000/year by the time she graduated two years later.
Ping was offered several jobs, chose Bell Labs in Illinois for the chance to work with Nobel prize-winners and receive financial support for further education. She quickly became disillusioned because the job was a small piece of a team of 5,000 converting the system from analog to digital. Ping took graduate math courses, then married her instructor and moved to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in 1991 where she felt challenged again by meaningful work - predicting earthquakes, using quantum mechanics to conduct 3D image processing and create massive databases. Ping then founded Geomagic to scan objects with optical beams, then render them on a computer screen in 3D (DSSP) using software developed by her husband, went through some rough financial times, and learned to be a better manager as a result.
DSSP streamlined manufacturing for Fisher-Price dollhouses, and has transformed the hearing aid and dental tech industries. In CAD/CAM, designers create a product, employing software as a digitally enhanced pencil and drawing board; in DSSP, the image on the screen originates from the product itself. The part can then be virtually redesigned and new versions compared with the original. DSSP was used to laser-scan the Statue of Liberty with which to build a digital model of it - to help rebuild in case of terrorist attack or other damage. Another application is computer-aided inspection for eg. aircraft engine turbine parts.
Bottom-Line: Ping Fu's American dream emerged from a Chinese nightmare. Her 'Bend, Not Break' is an inspiring story.
I'm a medical student, and this book is awesome for studying at night. you can pick ten random subjects and basically learn everything you need to know in two concise pages. i wish it had pictures, but the book is so giant already i cant imagine how much heavier it would be with them. fully recommend it!
Fast machine! This is a replacement for an office computer (old XP Pro machine with only a gig of memory) and I really like the fact it has Windows 7 Professional loaded and ready to go. This machine is super quiet, has plenty of USB ports (6, USB 2.0) and has plenty of memory to run a lot of business apps at the same time. There is plenty of room for expansion with various cards in the back. The 500gb hard drive, in my opinion, is a little light considering the inexpensive cost of drives these days, so why not load it with a 1tb drive? It comes loaded with 2gb of memory expandable up to 4gb, which will work for most people. You can't go wrong with this machine, it works just like it should and the case itself is pretty sleek looking.