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Monday, August 30, 2010

Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

Does Your Language Shape How You Think? - NY Times

I believe yes. Times is a good example. If I write any more I am going to get in trouble...

From the article.

Chinese, on the other hand, does not oblige its speakers to specify the exact time of the action in this way, because the same verb form can be used for past, present or future actions. Again, this does not mean that the Chinese are unable to understand the concept of time. But it does mean they are not obliged to think about timing whenever they describe an action.


China to Job-Seeking C.E.O.’s: Come Work for China

China to Job-Seeking C.E.O.’s: Come Work for China - NY Times.

A common problem with state owned companies is nepotism, where the best person may not get the job, but a relative or other politically well connected person does. The term used for offspring of the Chinese leadership is princeling.

The same happens in the US with Ambassador postings. Many of them go as political payoffs for the administration that assumed power.

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“guo jin, min tui,” or “the state advances, the private sector retreats.”

“guo jin, min tui,” or “the state advances, the private sector retreats.”

Saying by Chinese business owners when talking about State Ownership of Industries in China.

Good article - China Fortifies State Businesses to Fuel Growth - NY Times

With the exception of Singapore, most state run companies have not done that well. And with the state owned businesses increased political power, will this change?

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chinese Tourists in PH

Even More Socialism Studies!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Music and Learning Chinese

Interesting.  I've been reading through Coginitive Daily's old article (but still very helpful) by David Munger on a research whether music helps people learn language or not.

The researchers made up some words and had people listen to it just spoken or with musical tones.  Then they  tested which set up had more people recognizing the made up words.  Guess which set got to identify more words?  Yup, those tested with music got to recognize the made up words better.

So if you think Chinese is just too difficult and different, and you are not too sure if your child will learn the Chinese words, you can be sure Chinese songs with simple lyrics can help your child learn and remember some Chinese vocabulary.

There are a lot of available Chinese songs for kids CDs and read-along Chinese stories that you can choose from so your child can enjoy Chinese.  Singing or reading along doesn't even feel like studying.  Be prepared for your child to tug at your sleeve and request that you play Chinese CDs at home or in the car. 

Please visit our Learn Chinese with Music Weekly Sale!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Golden Walk

I am reading a book that is scaring me a bit...

It's called The Five Year Party, How Colleges have given up on educating your child and what you can do about it.

A new term is Golden Walk. The walk given by a student on your campus tour. And how the student walks backwards and tells you all about the college.

It seems these walks are carefully planned and rehearsed marketing activities. There is one consultant who charges up to $20,000 to help a schools Golden Walk.



As a parent, I have such mixed feelings on tutoring. Unfortunately its necessary in some schools just to get a decent grade.

As Private Tutoring Booms, Parents Look at the Returns - NY Times


China Traffic Jam could Last Weeks

60 miles long with speeds often at 1/3rd mile per hour. Some drivers were trapped for 5 days in the jam. Its in day 11. The traffic jam is on the 110 Expressway that runs from Huaian in Hebei province, northwest of Beijing, to Jining in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (coal mining area).

Multiple causes for the traffic jam:

1. All roads lead to Beijing.
2. Increase in cars has out paced the roads. 2000 new cars per day in Beijing.
3. Road Construction
4. Illegal coal trucks use this route due to no checkpoints.
5. Increase in illegal coal trucks from the North due to illegal coal mines in the south being closed.
6. Illegal overloading of trucks increases wear on road
7. The amount of vehicles that can enter Beijing proper is limited, especially at night.


China traffic jam enters Day 11. A tale of deceit and criminality? - Christian Science Monitor
China Traffic Jam Could Last Weeks - WSJ
Gridlock is a way of life for Chinese - Guardian

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Feng Shui & Deals

When Feng Shui Helps Determine a Deal’s Fate - NY Times

The article is good on going over some of the basics. In Mandarin, 8 sound like Wealthy and are good. 4 Sounds like death, so not good. If a couple of digit number ends with an 8, its better. 2's are also good. 6 are OK.


1 in 3 Nikes Counterfeit?

80% of the counterfeit goods seized by US Customs comes from China.

Inside the Knockoff-Tennis-Shoe Factory - NY Times

The problem I see in the lack of IP Protection is it also hurts Chinese businesses that try to innovate. They also get hurt by counterfeiting.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Delaying Kindergarten

I have such mixed feelings on the should you delay your child or not.

With our daughter my wife and I decided to have her go forward a year. So she is usually the youngest in her class by a couple of months. Our thought was this gives her another year. A lot of teachers and administrators were against it.

With my nephew, I wish he had been delayed. He's in the third grade going on fourth and I am very worried about him. But, as an Uncle, all I can do is give advice to my brother and sister in law.

The Littlest Redshirts Sit Out Kindergarten - NY Times


Friday, August 20, 2010

Festival of Ghosts in Malaysia and Singapore

If the living visit the dead on Qing Ming and Cheung Yeung Festivals, for Festival of Ghosts, it is believed that the spirits of the dead visit the living.

Festival of Ghost is celebrated by the Chinese around the world on the fifteenth day of the 7th lunar month.  So if we compare with the Western Calendar, that's August 24, 2010 this year. (next Tuesday)

On this day, it is believed the gates of Heaven and Hell are open to the world, so spirits can come and go here and there. People can cook special vegetarian food for their ancestors and leave them on the table set with empty seats.

In Malaysia and Singapore, a performance show is staged specially for the spirits during the Ghost Festival.  This festival is called Getai or Hotai.  These loud shows are to appease the spirits and entertain the living.  If you look for Getai or Hotai in Youtube, you will find performances in simple or fantastic costumes that will leave even the spirits goggle-eyed. 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chinese Made Easy?

What does Chinese Made Easy refer to?

For me, its obviously the Learning Chinese Series, Chinese Made Easy. Or as some say, the adult version.

For Google, Chinese Made Easy seems to be my textbooks Chinese Made Easy for Kids. They seemed to have missed the for kids part.

For many users it's a show on the Cooking Channel in the UK.


Baby Sitters for Teaching Chinese

NY Times has an article on this.

Looking for Baby Sitters: Foreign Language a Must - NY Times.

It also helps to have Baby Chinese Teaching materials to help out.


Chinese WiFi on the iPhone?

The iPhone 4 appears it is going to support WAPI, the Chinese standard for WiFi.

Apple Tweaks Wi-Fi in IPhone to Use China Protocol - PC World

It seems about 50% of the phones sold in China are sold on the black market and support WiFi, and not WAPI. The result has been poor sale for the authorized WAPI phones. Apple iPhone officially sold in China did not include WiFi, so most people bought ones with WiFi that were sold originally outside of China. And since these were jail broken, they were also loaded with all sorts of unauthorized applications such as Skype (not the China authorized version that is not secure).

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China to Invest Billions in Electric and Hybrid Cars

State owned companies in China have the goal of putting a million electric and hybrid cars on sale within a few years in China.

Exciting news. The problems with industrial policy is it does not always work...

China to Invest Billions in Electric and Hybrid Cars - NY Times


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chinese Office?

My daughter is a huge fan of The Office. And now they are going to have a Chinese version.

The Office heads to China? - LA Times


Harvard students for under $15,000 a year?

Best Value Colleges Give Big Scholarships, Deep Discounts - US News & World Reports
Many Harvard students pay under $15,000 a year. An Oklahoma college costs $8,000

I have been freaked out by the cost of private colleges at $50,000+ a year. For four years that is $200,000. Even in California a nice down payment on a house.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who's Searching for Chinese Made Easy?

For sometime now, the ChildBook people have been thinking of the 22,000 people apparently looking for Chinese Made Easy textbooks online.  Who and where are they?  If they aren't getting the book from us, why?

We always try to be a step ahead in giving you information so that when you need anything, it will be there conveniently for you.  We were concerned that we were somehow not meeting your expectations because compared to 22,000 we relatively were providing few Chinese Made Easy books.

After sometime of searching for answers, it hit us that yes, 22,000 people were looking for Chinese Made Easy.  But they were looking for food! There was a show named Chinese Food Made Easy... plus looking at data from other sources the searchers for the Chinese Made Easy textbooks were much smaller than 22k.

It was strange and funny because the answer was right under our noses.  We've been seeing top page results for food-related  Chinese Made Easy for some time now, but it just didn't ring a bell. 

So now we can relax a bit about that.  But if you do need information on our products, just say so, and we'll try to provide it so that it's easy for you to shop for your learn-Chinese materials.

Bye for now!

Please check out our Chinese Made Easy and other great textbooks are at our Chinese Textbooks and Curriculum page.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

China's fight against disposable chopsticks

China's fight against disposable chopsticks - LA Times

I question the cost difference. 1 cent for a disposable pair of chopsticks, verses 15 to 70 cents to sterilize them.

I am thinking about what restaurants use disposable chopsticks in the US, verses which ones don't. Its something I have not noticed.

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Chinese teens sample American summer camp

Chinese teens sample American summer camp - LA Times

A quote that shows the difference in culture: "This was pure fun. I have never played like this before," said Tan, 14


Kindergarten costs more than College?

In China, kindergarten costs more than college - Christian Science Monitor

In Beijing, sending a child to kindergarten costs as much as $660 a month, compared with $102 a month for the country's top college.

Follow Jade - Let's Visit Chinese Kindergarten in DVD


Sunday, August 15, 2010

China Beach

I was looking up railroad tunnels in Santa Cruz (yes, Iron Mountain really uses one for document storage) along with mole people (yes, people actually live in tunnels below NY). I had a fun discussion yesterday that was a lot of fun and I wanted to check some facts.

Anyway, I came across this today:

Why is New Brighton State Beach not called China Beach? about a fishing camp in Santa Cruz showing the Chinese presence in California.


Teachers - A great one can make a difference

Good article from the LA Times -

A Times analysis, using data largely ignored by LAUSD, looks at which educators help students learn, and which hold them back.

I am hopeful the article helps. Some schools in LAUSD have a 60% drop out rate, which is a crime. The cost to society of a high school drop out can be huge. I was a student teacher in LAUSD and it had a huge impact on me. It was so different from my daughter's school where most kids want to learn and are driven by high parental expectations to do super well in school. Where I student taught, the students were so apathetic. An example was I offered a make up test for students who had missed a test, I came to school early. No students showed up for the test. I still shake my head in wonder at that. I find it incredibly sad.

A great teacher, and a poor teacher, can make a huge difference in your child's education. The headache is figuring out who the good ones are. I have noticed this with my daughter that she does so much better with a great teacher. She has been very lucky to have had a number of great teachers.

A good resource for parents to find out more about their teachers. I was surprised for my daughter's school how accurate it was on the teacher profile and how many teachers were in it. http://www.ratemyteachers.com

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Great Comment on the Economist

I was reading an article about, They Have Returned and I thought this comment was a classic...

Ohio wrote:
Aug 13th 2010 4:44 GMT

If someone is hiring people to post pro-China and anti-US comments whenever there's a China article on the Economist website, please re-interview and offer better pay. The standard of the comments have fallen from CPC propaganda to just silly in the last few weeks. And they need an editor. One good comment with a well constructed conspiracy theory and correct grammar and sentence structure is much more effective than 5 hastily submitted unintelligible ramblings.

And another person gave a link to 50 Cent Commentors.


Irish Boy in Finals in China's Storytelling Competition

Tiernan Murphy has only studied Mandarin Chinese for 3 years, and he is one of the top five for the China Story Telling competition. The first time a non Chinese has placed that high.

China gets first seanchaí as Irish boy masters Mandarin - Irish Times.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

eBooks continue Growth

8.5% of all books sold are now eBooks.


Quick Change in Strategy for a Bookseller - NY Times.


My school district Superintendent Fired

I just read this in the local paper. Wow.

Walnut Valley Unified fires superintendent citing `change in direction' - SG Tribune

And my daughters school has a new Principal. The previous one retired.

I am still not very happy with her for not finding room for my daughter in an honors class for the program she was head of. It made my daughter's junior year more challenging for that class when she got into honors. But that is the headache of budget cuts. Classes are hard to come by and hard decisions were needed. My daughter's school has had to bear a lot of budget cuts. And our school district does not get as much funding as others because of the crazy way funding is apportioned in California.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Chinese-Canadian website a portal to past

I have learned a lot about Chinese history in the US, but not for Canada. A new webe site is being created about the Chinese experience in Canada.

I have been to 3 Chinatowns in Canada so far. Vancouver, Quebec, and Montreal. Chinatowns I have found are a great place to get good food when your traveling at a reasonable cost.

My page on Chinatowns also has a listing for Canada.


Homeschool Unit on World History - Ancient China

Ancient China has passed the flying colors of being included as a homeschool subject unit on great civilizations - Ancient China was once a great superpower, is currently a superpower, is instrumental in inventing or discovering technologies we use today and its culture is so old it's just cool and mysterious.

If you want to use colorful books on Ancient China that will be interesting to your homeschooler, here are some that might interest your child and even you!

Ancient China
Ancient China - DK Eyewitness Books. English. Hardcover.
Homeschool Unit Ancient China
Made in China - Ideas and Inventions from Ancient China by Suzanne Williams
Homeschool Unit Ancient China3
China Art. 100 ancient lady portraits clip art CD.
Homeschool Unit Ancient China4
Ancient China - Time Travel Guide by Jane Shutter
Homeschool Unit Ancient China5
Science In Ancient China by George Beshore
Homeschool Ancient China6
The History and Activities of Ancient China (English) by Jameson Anderson

And for those studying Chinese for your homeschooling language curriculum, please drop by our Weekly Sale as we are featuring a Home Schooling Sale this week! 


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High Speed Trains in China

Bettig Big on HIgh Speed Rail - Time

Key Points:
  • China is going to double the amount of miles of high speed rail in the next two years
  • China in 1981 has 54,000 km or rail. By the end of the year it will have 100,000
  • Currently China has 6442 km of high speed rail.


1. Will the cost to maintain the system make sense in the long run?

2. Will China's population increase in wealth quick enough to be able to afford the system.

I hope they have something like the Euro Pass or what Japan has for using the Bullet Trains when I finally get to China. I am not a train freak, but my Father sure is. And I grew up with a model train board that took up our garage!


Student Loans vs. Credit Cards

The amount of student loans outstanding is now more than Credit Card debt in the US per this WSJ Blog Entry.


Begging for Ingenuity on Chinese Valentines

Today I learned that Chinese Valentines is also a day for Ingenuity-Begging Festival, since young girls ask for skills that will help them maintain the home.  Since Zhi Nu, the main character in the Chinese Valentine legend, was pretty much the ultimate weaver, young girls asked for blessings of skills on this special night  (she just weaved clouds, if you weren't ingenious to be able to do that, I don't know what is.)

So here is a picture I saw on http://www.cultural-china.com/ (thank you for letting me borrow the picture:-) about a nice depiction of the festival. 

In the picture you can see young girls learning to knit and sew.  The older ladies teach the young ones, and of course, like any festival, there is a lot of food to help the celebration along.  I'm guessing those are dumplings in the picture.

Chinese Valentines is also called the Seventh of the Seventh, meaning it's the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.  So in our time, that will be on August 16 this 2010.

Happy Valentines!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Young People Love Monkey King

Here is a gem of a video by Asia Society interviewing Prof. Anthony Yu as he talks about why young people are enchanted with Monkey King and the story Journey to the West.

Well really, I think it's not just the young people who are fascinated with the Monkey King, I think everybody regardless age, does!

Sorry, no embed code is available, so you'll have to clink the link below.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Learning a Language From an Expert, on the Web

Amazing how the Internet is changing and making it easier to learn a second language.

Learning a Language From an Expert, on the Web - NY Times


Women Attracted to Red per Study

Per a multi-cultural study in the Multicultural study published Aug. 2 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General a man wearing Red is more attractive to women. It makes men appear more powerful and of higher status.

I wonder how that applies to ChildBook.com The web site is Red. But in Western Culture Red is also the color of Danger. Stop signs are in Red. In China Red symbolizes prosperity and high status. Per Chinese Color Symbolism Red is the color of good luck, happiness, joy, life's energy, and for brides, since it is of energy as symbolized by fire. This is why you get Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year filled with money!

Women attracted to Men in Red, Research Shows - University of Rochester


Hong Kong iPad without Traditional Characters

It's silly, but Apple launched the iPad in Hong Kong without Traditional Chinese Character support.

Hopefully that will change at the rumoured August PR event by Apple.

The lack of Traditional Chinese support is one of the major reasons I have not bought an iPad. I value my head, since my dear Taiwanese Mother-In-Law might take it if I gave her a computer that only supported simplified. On second thought, she would not, but her daughter (my wife) would.


Walnut teens WOWs Dragon Boat Festival

Walnut High School (the other High School in my daughter's school district) has Dragon Boat Team. The competed in the Dragon Boat Races held last week at Long Beach in Southern California. Which I missed again :-( I was busy taking people to the airport.

The boats look just like the Dragon Boat coloring pages!

Walnut teens WOWs Dragon Boat Festival - SG Tribune.


China Missile Threat - 2 Views

China is developing a missile that may be able to sink an aircraft carrier. After President Clinton in a Taiwan election put three US Air Craft Carriers off China' coast sending a message the US would back Taiwan, China's military's focused on preventing this in the future. They have developed a missile that theoretically could take out an air craft carrier. One view is its a huge threat and neutralizes the premier method of US force projection for protecting Taiwan. The other is China's military has a huge corruption problem leading to quality issues and have not even been tested yet and is a lot of hype.

The two views:

Chinese Missile could shift Pacific power balance - Christian Science Monitor

What Goes Around, Comes Around - Strategy Page

Older Post:

Red Dawn 2010 with China as the Invader - Film got delayed due to MGM's bankruptcy. As did the Hobbit.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to School Learning Chinese Lesson Plans

It's not only the kids who are psyching themselves up to back to school, the teachers and homeschooling parents are preparing too.

If you're a teacher or parent and wondering on what extra activities you can provide in the classroom, or activities to prime up your child for school here are some lesson suggestions, taken from our ChildBook Resources to Teach Chinese
Read the book together and compare Yeh-Shen with the mainstream European Cinderella.
Lessons that may be used to discuss poetry in :"A Thousand Peaks
Moon Festival is on Sept. 22, this would be a timely lesson children can enjoy
Discussing the current state of pollution in China, it's effect on the local population, what the Chinese Government is doing about it, and comparing it to pollution in the United States and what the current trends are.

If you need more,  you can head over to our ChildBook Free Lesson Plans section for Teachers and pick what you think suits the child.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sounds Like Home

Sounds Like Home - Every once in awhile, I hear the language of my parents, Toisanese, being spoken in Honolulu. In Honolulu Magazine.

By Nancy J. Usui who also has a blog http://www.toisanpride.com/

Just because a person says they speak Chinese, it does not automatically mean Mandarin. There are a lot of Chinese dialects spoken (which Mandarin has now become the main one over the last 100 years).


Back to School Reading List

Summer is almost over and so are the days just goofing off and sleeping and waking late.  It's time to brush up on one's Chinese again and it wouldn't hurt to pick up a book or two and practice reading Chinese characters!  If it's the first time for you to take a Chinese subject this school year, it wouldn't hurt to know some words already, right?

Some books are for practicing reading Chinese.  There are also books in English you might find interesting.  Plus, you might need some help so I included some dictionaries you can consult when you go through this

Back to School Reading List (mixed ages and levels)

In Chinese

Greedy Puppy. Simplified Chinese Chinese, Pinyin, English. Paperback
The Pipi's Go for a Picnic (Wo Xihuan Series), Simplified, Softcover. 36 pages
A Hankie For The Wild Bunny (Wo Zhen Bang Series) Simplified, Softcover. 36 pages
Chinese Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes 
Buzz Off I'm Busy, (Busy Bugz Pop-up Series) in Traditional and English

The Frog in the Well - Hard Cover. Traditional and Simplified Chinese and English 
A Red Gourd (Masterpieces of Chinese Children's Literature), Simplified/English, Hardcover. 53 pages

Greek Mythology #10: Orpheus and Eurydice. Simplified Chinese. Softcover.
The Mouse Bride, Hardcover Book
The Making of the Monkey King 
Seven Magic Brothers Bilingual in English and Chinese - Traditional Characters
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China 

In English

I Hate English by Ellen Levin 
Look What Came From China by Miles Harvey. English. Softcover.
The Great Voyage of Zheng He, Bilingual Book 
The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folktale by Ed Young
Julie Black Belt, The Kung Fu Chronicles, Oliver Chen, English, Hardcover, 36 pages 
The Seven Chinese Sisters 

Dictionaries and References

Chinese English Dictionary with Pictures by Milet (Chinese/English), Traditional Chinese 

Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters, Simplified, Paperback 

Concise English-Chinese Romanized Dictionary by James C. Quo, 316 pages

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

$100 Million Counterfeit Seized in SF

Container loads. Wow.

Feds bust counterfeit goods pipeline to S.F. - SF Gate

And they were in Fisherman Wharf Stores.


Plagiarism in the digital age

At some schools, its an arms race with teachers using software to check for plagiarism and students trying to find work arounds and hacks. The web has made it so much easier to copy and paste. To buy papers. To share papers via e-mail and IM.

I guess some schools and students have not gotten to that level yet of counter measures against plagiarism checkers.

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age - NY Times

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Summer Reads - Any Book

Its amazing how much kids lose during the summer.

A three year study found ginvg low-income children access to books during the summer and allowing them to choose runs they want to read helped reduce the summer reading gap.

The key is finding something kids like to do. Make it interesting and fun. A bit of structure is required since some kids would be very happy waking up at noon and goofing off for the rest of the day during the summer.

For other schools its amazing on how much Summer Homework is assigned. My daughter goes to one of those schools and was busy before leaving on her vacation doing lots of work for her English, French, and IB.

Summer Must-Read for Kids? Any Book - NY Times


CA has new Education Standards!

The state of Ca adopted common National Standards. The state of California got more points for being in the Race to the Top funding by adopted the national standards. I hope by having a natiounal standard it reduces some of the politics involved (yes, I am an optimist).

State board approves new national education standards - LA Times


Monday, August 2, 2010

Libraries - Bigger Source of DVD's than Netflix?

I found this surprising.

Libraries: a bigger source of DVDs than Netflix - LA Times

The selection at my local library of DVD's was not that great. And my collection of Science Fiction was bigger. And their Chinese book selection for kids was also small. But where I live does need a bigger library. The library is packed all the time.


Starbucks Wangwang?

The return of politically charged science fiction in China - By Xujun Eberlein - Foreign Policy

A controversial novel marks the return of politically charged science fiction in China -- and evokes a decidedly mixed vision of the country's future.

One view of a potential future.

Warning - article requires a lot of thinking.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

80% Counterfeit Goods Made in China?

Per the CBP last year 80% of all counterfeit goods seized in the US were from China.

The article mentions the reason for so many counterfeit goods is excess capacity in China.

Another one not mentioned, is its an easy for for a factory to make extra money. One shift for the real good under license. Another shift for the counterfeit ones that go through a side door.

Economic Indicator: Even Cheaper Knockoffs - NY Times.


So-Called 'Digital Natives' Not Media Savvy, New Study Shows

So-Called 'Digital Natives' Not Media Savvy, New Study Shows - NY Times

This sums up the study results:

During the study, one of the researchers asked a study participant, "What is this website?" The student answered, "Oh, I don't know. The first thing that came up."


One of the key things I learned in college was to ask the question, why did the person write this? What was their goal? It helps when figuring out the credibility of a page. Who is the author? What is their agenda? What is their background. Sometimes a quick google search is needed. There as one article in the Christian Science Paper on China. Slightly negative. So I google the author and it explained why once I figured out the authors background. It's surprising how many articles in the media are a bit lazy on researching what they are writing about and what is left out.


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