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It's tough to read the mood of an entire nation. But even tougher with the traditionally stoic Chinese. Is the national mood cheery or glum? Are they as a nation excited or mellow?
Now we have a way to know, because the so-called Water Cube from the 2008 Olympics is now serving as a sort of national mood ring. Artist Jennifer Wen Ma and designer Zheng Jianwei have coated the building with LED lights that change based on how the Chinese people feel.
How do we know? Big data, of course, from China's Web users of which there are nearly 600 million. Each day, software analyzes millions of emoticons – you know, those smiley faces or frowny faces, or just odd faces from sites like Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. They analyze data, then control the pace and brightness of the lights. Fast pulses for a more excited populous, a softer glow for a calm country.
Next, new world meets old world. The colors, yellows, reds, blues, purples are determined from the ancient Chinese text, the I Ching.
What it may lack in precision in explaining China's exact national mood, it more than makes up for in beauty.