Roots of Chinese Officials’ Lies; To understand China’s politics you have to learn how her officials speak

September 19, 2013, 12:59 p.m. ET

Roots of Chinese Officials’ Lies

To understand China’s politics you have to learn how her officials speak.



Princeton Professor Emeritus Perry Link draws on 30 years’ worth of notes about the Chinese language’s quirks to construct a revealing picture of how Chinese involved in politics think. The country may have been torn apart by a century of ideological struggles, but the maddeningly malleable manner of expression known as guanhua or “official language” has united the warring factions. Mr. Link dissects the mechanisms by which the modern rulers of China both consciously and unconsciously use language to club the populace into submission. There are important lessons here for those who deal with China on any level. Take for example the tendency to lapse into sloganeering. Chinese signs recommending caution when crossing the road, or reminding lavatory users to flush, often use seven-syllable 2–2–3 rhythms called qiyan, one of the building blocks of poetry. To the Chinese ear this meter not only sounds “right” but the rhythm lends their instructions authority. This has made it popular with propagandists. Even at the height of the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guards condemned all that was traditional, Mao Zedong used the same classical form, Linghun shenchu gan geming: “Make revolution in the depths of your soul.” Read more of this post

Buffett Says Federal Reserve Is Greatest Hedge Fund in History; laments lack of investment bargains

Buffett Says Federal Reserve Is Greatest Hedge Fund in History

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett compared the U.S. Federal Reserve to a hedge fund because of the central bank’s ability to profit from bond purchases as it accumulated a balance sheet of more than $3 trillion. “The Fed is the greatest hedge fund in history,” Buffett told students today at Georgetown University in Washington.

To contact the reporters on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at; Marci Jacobs in New York at

Buffett lauds Bernanke but laments lack of investment bargains

7:32pm EDT

By Jonathan Stempel and Peter Rudegeair

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett said on Thursday he would recommend reappointing Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman, while adding that low interest rates have inflated asset values and complicated his hunt for investments at his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The billionaire investor spoke one day after the central bank surprised investors by postponing its expected wind-down of monetary stimulus, which has in five years more than tripled the Fed’s balance sheet to above $3.6 trillion. Read more of this post

The father of history: Translating Herodotus; A new version of the most entertaining of historians

The father of history: Translating Herodotus; A new version of the most entertaining of historians

Sep 21st 2013 |From the print edition

Herodotus: The Histories. Translated by Tom Holland. Penguin Classics; 834 pages; £25. Buy from

OVER the course of the past decade Tom Holland, a British popular historian, has produced a succession of highly readable works of fiction and non-fiction about the classical world. He has adapted Homer, Virgil and Thucydides for the radio and, as a labour of love and at a rate of a paragraph a day, he has translated Herodotus, the man Cicero called “the Father of History”. Mr Holland’s preface states that “Herodotus is the most entertaining of historians”, indeed “as entertaining as anyone who has ever written”. This lively, engaging version of the “Histories” provides ample support for what might otherwise appear to be a wild exaggeration. Read more of this post

8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator

8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator

‘I want to put a ding in the universe.’ ~Steve Jobs

By Leo Babauta POSTED: 09.16.2013

Sometimes immersing yourself in the creative world of people doing amazing things can bring unexpected results. My son Justin is interested in 3D animation, and my daughter Chloe is into screenwriting, and so it was a thrill to take them on a tour of Pixar Animation Studios, courtesy of one of the Pixar animators. Bernhard Haux is a “character technical director”, which in his case means he models characters and works on their internal motions (I think — I didn’t fully grasp the lingo). Which means he is just a small piece in the larger Pixar machine, but a piece that’s aware of what everyone else is doing too. He’s worked on major movies such as Up, Brave, Monsters U and others in the last 6 years. Bernhard was gracious enough to show us around the Pixar campus, and while we couldn’t really dig into their super-secret process, we did get a few glimpses of the magic. And as a result of these small glimpses, I learned some surprising things. I’d like to share them here, in hopes that they’ll inspire others as they inspired me. Read more of this post

Chipotle serves up a masterclass in digital marketing; Fast-food chain’s video captures imaginations

September 19, 2013 6:21 pm

Chipotle serves up a masterclass in digital marketing

By Emily Steel

Fast-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is redefining how to market to consumers in the commercial-zapping, constantly distracted digital age with its latest viral campaign that attacks the processed food industry. “The Scarecrow”, a three-minute animated video, follows a worker at Crow Foods Incorporated, a dystopian factory that purports to feed the world. The scarecrow, who stands as a symbol of the protector of food, quickly learns that the food processed in the plant is anything but real. Set to a haunting Fiona Apple version of “Pure Imagination”, a song from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the scarecrow discovers a conveyor belt churning out “100 per cent beef-ish” meat. Chickens, advertised as “natural”, are pumped full of a neon green liquid. The mood lifts when the scarecrow returns to his home on a farm, picks a red pepper – the Chipotle logo – and starts preparing his own fresh food.

Read more of this post

Close observers of consumers; Anthropologists can shed light on areas that market researchers fail to reach

September 19, 2013 6:20 pm

Close observers of consumers

By Emma Jacobs

John Curran spent weeks shadowing British people going about their daily business. He was there on the school run, he followed them to the supermarket and lurked in cafés while they sipped cappuccinos. Mr Curran is not a private investigator hoping to uncover a dirty secret but an anthropologist – a social scientist who studies human behaviour through systematic observation – working on behalf of a greeting card company. His task? To discover events in need of commemoration. Read more of this post

Evidence shows life ‘originated from space’, say scientists

Evidence shows life ‘originated from space’, say scientists

2013-09-20 02:45:06 GMT2013-09-20 10:45:06(Beijing Time)

Scientists believe they have found the first evidence of life arriving to Earth from space, which could “completely change our view of biology and evolution”. The team, from the University of Sheffield, made the discovery after sending a balloon high into the stratosphere. On its return they found organisms that were too large to have originated from Earth. Professor Milton Wainwright, who led the team, said the results could be revolutionary. He added: “If life does continue to arrive from space then we have to completely change our view of biology and evolution. Read more of this post

The Explosion In Mobile-Centric Audiences And What It Means For The Tech And Media Industries

The Explosion In Mobile-Centric Audiences And What It Means For The Tech And Media Industries

TONY DANOVA SEP. 19, 2013, 3:00 PM 490


By year-end 2013 there will be some 2 billion active smartphones and tablets in the world, and they will outnumber PCs by a significant margin. The proliferation of these gadgets is happening right under our noses, but many analysts still underestimate mobile device diffusion, and the flow-through effect on usage. Smartphones and tablets take desktop functionality and put it in a more appealing package, which is why they’ve already attracted one-fifth of total media consumption time. Read more of this post

Entertainment: Generation next; How will media groups reach millennials, who control $990bn in spending but do not buy books, music or magazines

September 19, 2013 8:19 pm

Entertainment: Generation next

By Emily Steel

How will media groups reach millennials, who control $990bn in spending but do not buy books, music or magazines

Alexandra Gombar cannot remember a time before the internet existed. Since the first-year student at the University of North Carolina was born, people have been browsing Yahoo, finding rentals on Craigslist and shopping on She remembers surfing the web at about the same time that she learnt how to read and write. The 18-year-old seldom watches television programmes on a TV set. She rarely buys music albums or books. She does not subscribe to magazines or newspapers. Yet she expects millions of videos, songs, books, blogs and tweets to be available at the touch of a screen. Ms Gombar is a member of the first generation of adults who have not known life without instant messages or immediate access to the web. They have documented their teenage years on social media. They live in an on-demand media world and do not feel the need to own any of it. Read more of this post

Tapping China’s ‘leftover treasure’, Alibaba online funds platform nears $3.3 billion

Tapping China’s ‘leftover treasure’, Alibaba online funds platform nears $3.3 billion

5:17pm EDT

By Matthew Miller

BEIJING (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s online mutual funds platform, which launched in June allowing customers to buy and sell a single money market fund, is set to attract more than 20 billion yuan ($3.27 billion ) by the end of this month. That would make the Zenglibao fund, managed by the fledgling Tianhong Asset Management Co, the most successful fundraising by any mutual fund in China this year. Read more of this post

Alibaba’s Stock Market Quest; Why the Chinese Internet company won’t list in Shanghai

Updated September 19, 2013, 6:03 p.m. ET

Alibaba’s Stock Market Quest

Why the Chinese Internet company won’t list in Shanghai.

It looks ever more likely that the world’s largest tech IPO since Facebook will have to wait until next year. China’s Alibaba, an online trading portal, expects to raise at least $10 billion when it lists, but it is struggling to figure out where it will sell its shares. New York and Hong Kong are the main competitors. Less often discussed is that Shanghai is not on the short list, or even the long list. This is the result of China’s slow pace of financial reform. Twenty-three years after the Shanghai Stock Exchange opened, the exchange is still ineffective at mediating capital flows between global investors and growing companies. Chinese entrepreneurs face the hassles and costs of heading overseas to list instead. Read more of this post

Wash, Rinse, Rebrand: Electrolux Spiffs Up Appliances in China; Company Has Been Stuck in Slow Sales Cycle

September 19, 2013, 7:09 p.m. ET

Wash, Rinse, Rebrand: Electrolux Spiffs Up Appliances in China

Company Has Been Stuck in Slow Sales Cycle



Fifteen years ago, Electrolux AB ELUX-B.SK +2.30% dreamed of being a major mass-market supplier of washers, refrigerators and other home appliances in China. Now, conceding that its initial strategy was a flop, the Swedish appliance maker is preparing to reintroduce itself in China as a premium brand. Before year-end, Electrolux plans to launch a variety of appliances aimed at people seeking more style and features. The company says it will apply lessons it has learned in Brazil, where it has been far more successful. Read more of this post

Adidas profits warning cites EM currencies

September 19, 2013 10:21 pm

Adidas profits warning cites EM currencies

By Alice Ross

Adidas, the world’s second largest sportswear group by sales, issued a profit warning last night blaming the slump in emerging market currencies for lower than expected projected sales for the year. Investors in the German company should brace themselves for income payouts up to 11 per cent lower than previously forecast, the group said, as it lowered its net income projection for shareholders to €820m-€850m for 2013, down from an estimate of €890m-€920m. Read more of this post

Auto Makers in India Increasing Prices to counter higher costs, caused mainly by a sharp fall in the rupee currency’s value

Updated September 19, 2013, 12:23 p.m. ET

Auto Makers in India Increasing Prices


NEW DELHI—Hyundai Motor Co., 005380.SE +0.39% Tata Motors Ltd.500570.BY +2.75% and General Motors Co. GM -0.93% are raising their vehicle prices in India to counter higher costs, caused mainly by a sharp fall in the rupee currency’s value. Prices of Hyundai’s cars such as the Eon and i20 subcompact hatchbacks will rise between 4,000 rupees ($65) and 20,000 rupees effective Oct. 1, India’s second-largest car maker by sales said. Read more of this post

Indonesia to Run World’s Biggest Gas Deficit by 2018

Indonesia to Run World’s Biggest Gas Deficit by 2018

By Tito Summa Siahaan on 8:55 pm September 19, 2013.
Indonesia will emerge as the main driver in the international gasoline market as imports to Southeast Asia’s biggest economy increase to meet domestic demand, according to a forecast from Wood Mackenzie, a global energy think tank. “From 2012 to 2018, Indonesia’s gasoline deficit will grow from 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 420,000 bpd,” Sushant Gupta, Wood Mackenzie’s Asia Pacific head of downstream research, said in a statement released on Thursday. Read more of this post

Taxis Vanish in Rain as Singapore Gets Congested: Southeast Asia

Taxis Vanish in Rain as Singapore Gets Congested: Southeast Asia

At 6 a.m. one weekday morning, 64-year-old taxi driver Koh Chia Hock set out to ply Singapore’s roads when it started raining. So he turned around and went home. “If I go and fetch a customer, it’s very risky,” said Koh, as the heavy traffic raises the chance of an accident that could leave him without earnings while the car is repaired. “I don’t have the stomach for it. I don’t want to drive when it rains.” Cab drivers like Koh are avoiding the traffic jams that have become a hallmark of Singapore’s tropical rainstorms after a jump in the city’s population and a surge in vehicles clogged roads. As the government shuts the center of the city this weekend for the annual Formula One street race, residents are bracing for even more delays. Read more of this post

Debt explosion real story of Fed QE dance; Western finance cannot be fixed without tackling credit addiction

September 19, 2013 5:14 pm

West’s debt explosion is real story behind Fed QE dance

By Gillian Tett

Western finance cannot be fixed without tackling credit addiction


The danger with addictions is they tend to become increasingly complusive. That might be one moral of this week’s events. A few days ago, expectations were sky-high that the Federal Reserve was about to reduce its current $85bn monthly bond purchases. But then the Fed blinked, partly because it is worried that markets have already over-reacted to the mere thought of a policy shift. Faced with a choice of curbing the addiction or providing more hits of the QE drug, in other words, it chose the latter. Read more of this post

The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally)

The Rise of Compassionate Management (Finally)

by Bronwyn Fryer  |   8:00 AM September 18, 2013

Don’t look now, but all of a sudden the topic of compassionate management is becoming trendy.

A growing number of business conferences are focusing in on the topic of compassion at work. There’s the International Working Group on Compassionate Organizations. There’s the Changing Culture in the Workplace Conference. Then there’s Wisdom 2.0, dedicated to “exploring living with greater awareness, wisdom and compassion in the modern age.” The speakers are no slouches: eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Bill Ford (yes, that Bill Ford), Karen May (VP of Talent at Google), and Linked In CEO Jeff Weiner top the bill. At TED, Karen Armstrong’s talk about reviving the Golden Rule won the TED prize in 2009 and has given rise to a Charter for Compassion signed by nearly 100,000 people. Read more of this post

Li Revives Old Lending Playbook After Cash Crunch: China Credit

Li Revives Old Lending Playbook After Cash Crunch: China Credit

Syndicated loans to Chinese companies are poised for their best quarter in two years, after a cash crunch curbed expansion in the bond market. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. led $21.3 billion of bank loans denominated in either U.S. dollars or yuan since June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Including $4 billion of deals in the pipeline, volumes this quarter are set to challenge the $26.8 billion raised in the three months ended Sept. 30, 2011. Local-currency corporate bond sales total 51.3 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) this period, the slowest in two years. Read more of this post

Asia Should Think Twice Before Cheering Fed’s Decision; Fed Can’t Taper Over India’s Cracks

September 19, 2013, 5:25 AM

Asia Should Think Twice Before Cheering Fed’s Decision

By Ewen Chew

At first glance, the Federal Reserve’s surprise decision to postpone a highly anticipated reduction in its bond-buying program is good news for Asian markets. But reading between the lines, the Fed clearly feels the U.S. economy isn’t improving as expected, and might actually be priming markets for tougher times ahead. If so, the impact won’t be limited to America, but will affect Asia’s export-oriented economies and capital-hungry markets as well. Read more of this post

Cancer Follows Epic Trail From Dinosaurs to Tumbleweeds

Cancer Follows Epic Trail From Dinosaurs to Tumbleweeds

A yearlong odyssey into the world of cancer a while ago made me reluctant to devote much time to reading about the illnesses of others. But George Johnson’s “The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery” drew me back into the chaotic realm of homicidal cells, starting with his drive along the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway in western Colorado. Once this area was filled with frolicking saurians who ate each other and then died out, leaving only the tiniest traces for the paleo-oncologist. Tissue decomposes, bones disintegrate. Even so, evidence is mounting that cancer has been around since the early days. The Hadrosaurus, for instance, seems to have had a genetic disposition for tumors near the end of its spine. Why? Was it a plant the creature dined on? Or perhaps X-rays from outer space that damaged its DNA? (This might support a theory that cosmic rays killed off the dinosaurs.) A science writer for the New York Times and other publications and the author of several books including “In the Palaces of Memory,” an intriguing road map through the brain, Johnson writes with imaginative flair about the whole range of the cancer experience, from nutritional puzzles, clinical trials and wounds that do not heal to the endlessly complex ways a cell can create “something alien inside you.” Read more of this post

The cofounder of unconscious thought theory explains how taking a break and distracting the mind can lead to higher-quality decision making

August 27, 2013

The Thought Leader Interview: Loran Nordgren

The cofounder of unconscious thought theory explains how taking a break and distracting the mind can lead to higher-quality decision making.

by Ken Favaro and Amy D’Onofrio

Could you boost the quality of decision making and innovation at your company by encouraging a more structured form of intuition? Loran Nordgren thinks you could. Indeed, the associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management argues that adopting new approaches to how we process thought is the remedy that will free organizations from the shackles of traditional strategic planning. Read more of this post

Intense competition, technological advances and regulatory changes have left investors struggling, raising the question, ‘Is alpha dead?’

Beating the Market Has Become Nearly Impossible


Charles Ellis is a master story teller. When Ellis served on Yale University’s investment committee from 1992 to 2008, his colleagues, who included David Swensen, went so far as to call the advice and wisdom he imparted through his stories “Charley’s parables.” So when I decided to research whether alpha — investment returns above what a plain old index fund would give you — was just a fairy tale that the investment industry told itself at bedtime, Ellis was my guy. I asked the author of Winning the Loser’s Game and the man who wrote the foreword to Swensen’s landmark book on portfolio management to talk to me for a video series we were filming on the murky topic of why institutional investors rarely beat the market. It isn’t a new problem (Ellis first wrote about it in 1972), but it has been getting steadily worse, and I believed I might be writing alpha’s obituary — not good when your job is writing for a publication named Institutional Investor. Read more of this post

ASEAN is not yet ready for integration, Mahathir says

ASEAN is not yet ready for integration, Mahathir says

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 09:32

Supalak Ganjanakhundee

The Nation/Asia News Network

Singapore is the only ASEAN member that will be completely ready for economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, and some of the group’s poorer members should be allowed to retain their economic protections, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday. “The poorer members of ASEAN are not yet ready for the AEC. Even the richer members are not really ready for the AEC. This is because their domestic policies are not similar,” Mahathir told a conference on “Assessing ASEAN’s Readiness by Country” held by Krungthep Turakij newspaper at a Bangkok hotel. Read more of this post

South Korean upstart Infraware battles Microsoft for office space; Android users may not have noticed, but the app most of them use to read and create Microsoft Office files is not made by the U.S. firm that pioneered office software

South Korean upstart Infraware battles Microsoft for office space

4:06am EDT

By Miyoung Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean upstart Infraware Inc is in a David and Goliath battle with software giant Microsoft over a lucrative niche of the mobile office business and just like the diminutive biblical hero, it believes it can win. Infraware already dominates the market for office software applications on Android devices and says it now has a killer strategy to extend that domination to Apple Inc handsets as well by giving its best-selling Polaris app away for free. Read more of this post

Nonagenarian Valley Produces Next Big Thing for Elders

Nonagenarian Valley Produces Next Big Thing for Elders

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are finding their next big idea in the elderly capital of America.

While the world’s biggest firms have struggled to develop products targeted at older consumers, a group led by former Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) Corp. and EBay Inc. employees yesterday unveiled Lively. The system of tiny sensors helps the elderly maintain their independence, letting far-flung relatives know whether they take their pills on time or exit the house. Read more of this post

Why This TV Season Will Confirm Mobile’s Unstoppable Rise As A Complementary ‘Second Screen’

Why This TV Season Will Confirm Mobile’s Unstoppable Rise As A Complementary ‘Second Screen’

MARCELO BALLVE SEP. 19, 2013, 8:05 AM 3,218

These days, TV shows and ad campaigns are planned with a smartphone or tablet-toting TV viewer in mind. A wide majority of U.S. audiences now use a second screen while watching TV, and about half of them do so on a daily basis. The second screen industry has grown up around this now-established consumer habit. Social media is a big part of it. Social media helps to determine whether a piece of TV content will go viral, or flop. TV and ad executives spend a lot of time getting their second screen and social TV strategies right.  In a new report from BI Intelligence, we take stock of how far the second screen industry has come and explain why this new TV season will confirm its importance. We look at mobile-social behavior and how it overlaps with the second screen trend, and reveal the data behind consumer shopping on mobile for products they see advertised on TV. Finally, we discuss winning second screen strategies like that of TV series “Duck Dynasty,” and explain why stand-alone second screen apps and show-focused apps probably won’t take off. Read more of this post

Why taxi cab drivers cannot put down their smartphones; Every Silicon Valley buzz-phrase, from the app economy to the internet of things, has converged on the industry

Last updated: September 18, 2013 6:49 pm

Why taxi cab drivers cannot put down their smartphones

By John Gapper

Every Silicon Valley buzz-phrase, from the app economy to the internet of things, has converged on the industry

The New York minicab service I used to favour communicated in code. When you rang and gave your address, the radio dispatcher would reply “five minutes” and hang up. This meant a cab would arrive at any time from one to 10 minutes later. “Seven minutes” meant 20, and “10 minutes” meant that anything, or nothing, could happen. This week, when I wanted a ride to London’s Heathrow airport, I used a computer account with Addison Lee, the biggest London service. The software told me when the car would come, showed me the likely route and deducted the fare from a credit card. A clean Ford Galaxy van arrived early and took me there smoothly – at twice the price of my former, less predictable journey to John F Kennedy International. Read more of this post

Why big IT projects crash; The history of embarrassing failures offers clues to where things tend to go wrong

September 18, 2013 8:13 pm

Why big IT projects crash

By Henry Mance

There are several ways the US Air Force could have wasted $1.1bn. It could have poured tomato ketchup into 250m gallons of jet fuel or bought a sizeable stake in Bear Stearns. Instead it upgraded its IT systems. Work began in 2007 to reconfigure how the force managed its logistics, with the aim of replacing 200 dated networks with a single piece of Oracle software. By the time the project was abandoned last November, it was at least four years behind schedule and would have required an additional $1.1bn to become usable. Yet in making such mistakes, the Air Force is not flying solo. This week a UK parliamentary watchdog described a failed National Health Service patient IT programme – the cost of which has spiralled to £9.8bn – as “one of the worst and most expensive contracting fiascos in the history of the public sector”. Earlier this month the Department for Work and Pensions admitted that it had written off £34m of IT costs, incurred in an attempt to overhaul how social security benefits are paid. A week earlier Co-operative Bank said it had written off the £148m cost of a new IT system that would no longer be implemented.

Read more of this post

Tesla’s Musk Uses Twitter to Find Engineers for ‘Autopilot’ Car

Tesla’s Musk Uses Twitter to Find Engineers for ‘Autopilot’ Car

Elon Musk, Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s unconventional chief executive officer, has turned to Twitter Inc. to further his goal of developing self-driving cars by posting a “help wanted” ad on the social media site. Musk, who told Bloomberg in May that Tesla would eventually develop its own “autopilot” technology for cars, wrote in a post on Twitter yesterday that the Palo Alto, California-based maker of electric cars is serious about developing such a system. “Intense effort under way at Tesla to develop a practical autopilot system for Model S,” said Musk, 42. “Engineers interested in working on autonomous driving, pls email Team will report directly to me.” Read more of this post

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