Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fu Ping on NPR in 2006

Hot off her extensive profile from Inc. magazine, Fu Ping next was interviewed by NPR's All Things Considered program on March 18, 2006. In this program, she provided a shorter but similar version of her story. Most of her story was actually told by the reporter Kathleen Schalch as a narrative but with Fu Ping's presence and concurrence.

The interview is available as an audio program as well as a full transcript. Among the highlights are:

Fu Ping's Contribution to Mosaic:

SCHALCH: This may sound far-fetched, but Fu is serious. And she's come up with some pretty good ideas in the past. She once led a research team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. One of the graduate students she hired was Mark Andreesen. 
Ms. FU: And he didn't like mathematics. So he asked me what project could he work on. I said how about a browser? He said, what browser? I said, well, a browser is a graphic use interface from which people can access text, images, songs, videos, whatever, and then he said, cool. 
SCHALCH: That's how Netscape was born.
It was also mentioned that she and her husband created the algorithm for the robot melting scene in the movie Terminator 2.

Fu Ping's Schooling or the Lack Thereof:

SCHALCH: That did the trick. Fu's overcome other challenges. She grew up in China, and between the ages of eight and 18, she never set foot in a classroom. It was the time of the cultural revolution. Educated people like Fu's parents were condemned, exiled, and many were killed. Children like Fu and her sister were left behind and forced to atone for their parents' sins. They were starved. 
Ms. FU: They would make food like mud mixed with the tree barks and grass. They mixed together and cooked them and then make us eat them.
The food she was describing was likely the "remember-the-bitterness meal" (忆苦饭), a popular educational tool served to the entire population. It was not intended as a punishment for children with "bad backgrounds."

Fu Ping's Rape and Political Trouble:

SCHALCH: Red Guard soldiers threw Fu's little sister into a pond to drown. Fu jumped in and pulled her out, so the soldiers punished her by beating and raping her. She was 10. Schools reopened when Ping Fu was 18. She studied journalism and spent two years investigating rumors that China's one-child policy was prompting couples to kill their baby girls. 
Fu's student project got picked up by the People's Daily. It quickly became a story outside of China, too, drawing condemnation from human rights advocates. The story Party officials had once praised was now an embarrassment. Fu was thrown in prison. 
Ms. FU: I was preparing to die, and then I was given a chance to live. 
SCHALCH: But she was ordered to leave China and never return. In a way, Fu thinks these hardships have helped her in her new life as a high-tech entrepreneur.

1 comment:

  1. As of August 14, 2013, the following false claims have been deleted from Ping Fu’s Bloomberg/BusinessWeek executive profile:

    “[Ping Fu’s] achievements included initiating the well-publicized software NCSA Mosaic.…………and developing animation software used in the movie Terminator II.


    Arnold Schwazenegger’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day was completed before Ping Fu was hired by UIUC’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (April 25, 1991). Terminator 2 premiered on July 1, 1991, about 10 weeks after Ping Fu became an employee of UIUC.

    Logically, UIUC is not likely to have any record of Ping Fu’s alleged contributions to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

    Response from the University of Illinois under the Freedom of Information Act will provide the definitive evidence that Ping Fu fabricated her non-existent animation software purportedly used in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.