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.

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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

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