Panda Talk: Chinese scientists discover how pandas flirt with each other

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Next Shark:

Chinese scientists say they have decoded 13 different giant panda vocalizations.

Researchers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in the southwestern Sichuan Province made their findings during a five-year study that involved spectrum analysis done on recordings of the endangered species, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Among their findings were that adult male pandas baa when they are trying to woo females into mating and that adult female pandas chirp when they are interested.

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Trust me. Our researchers were so confused when we began the project that they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep,” said Zhang Hemin, head of the center.

The sounds made by panda cubs were also deciphered: “gee-gee” means hunger, “coo-coo” expresses satisfaction, and “wow-wow” means displeasure.

According to the researchers, pandas are solitary and thus learn much of their language from their mothers.

If a panda mother keeps tweeting like a bird, she may be anxious about her babies. She barks loudly when a stranger comes near,” Zhang said.

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Researchers at the center, which has the world’s largest panda artificial breeding program, also hope to develop a “panda translator” that uses voice-recognition technology.

If we can understand their language, it will help us protect the animal, especially in the wild,” the researcher said.

There are currently less than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild today, all of them in China. More than 300 are in captivity, with a majority of those kept at the center.

Elderly blind man and his armless friend plant over 10,000 trees in China

My Modern Met (by Jenny Zhang):

Looking at the lush, green, tree-filled stretch of land north of the Yeli Village in Sunzhuang Township, Jingxing County, Hebei, China, it’s hard to imagine that just 12 years ago, those plains were filled with nothing but rocks and weeds. This miraculous transformation is all thanks to the hard work and dedication of an elderly blind man named Jia Haixia and his friend Jia Wenqi, a double amputee with no arms. For more than 10 years, the duo have been planting thousands of trees in an effort to protect and preserve the natural ecology of the land surrounding their village.

53-year-old Haixia was born with congenital cataracts that left his left eye blind. Then, in 2000, he lost his other eye in an accident at work, leaving him completely without sight. Wenqi, also 53, lost both his arms in an accident when he was just 3 years old. After Haixia became fully blind, the two friends were having trouble securing jobs, so they decided to lease over eight acres of land near the riverbank from the local government with the goal of planting trees for future generations. While working towards this noble objective, Haixia and Wenqi have also been able to help protect their village from flooding, while also earning a modest income from government funding.

Each morning, the two friends rise at 7AM and then head out for a day’s work. With little money to buy saplings from the store, they rely on taking cuttings from grown trees and planting them to create new life. After years of living and laboring side by side, the close duo have learned how to work together in order to overcome their individual disabilities. Wenqi often carries the sightless Haixia on his back across the rushing river, while Haixia climbs to the top of trees to cut off the boughs that will become new trees. After climbing back down, Haixia digs holes in the ground to plant the cuttings; it is then Wenqi’s job to take care of the growing saplings by watering them. With this unique system of teamwork, the friends estimate that they’ve planted over 10,000 trees in over a decade.

Haixia and Wenqi have received a tremendous amount of attention and support after news of their heroics went viral in China. According to Hebei Haoren, some generous souls have donated money to provide the elderly duo with pensions to support their lifestyles. Another article from Xinhua News Agency shares the exciting news that Haixia may be able to regain sight in his left eye thanks to an operation that a team of health care professionals are willing to perform for free. From the heartwarming story of these two friends, it seems true that no good deed goes unnoticed!












 

Kai Ko, actor arrested with Jackie Chan’s son, released

Taiwanese movie star Kai Ko, cries during a press conference Friday after two weeks in detention. The 23-year-old was arrested on drug charges with Jaycee Chan, the son of martial arts superstar Jackie Chan.

Taiwanese movie star Kai Ko, cries during a press conference Friday after two weeks in detention. The 23-year-old was arrested on drug charges with Jaycee Chan, the son of martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

ABC News:

The Taiwanese actor arrested on drug charges along with the son of Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan was released Friday after two weeks in detention, amid a broad anti-drug crackdown in China‘s capital that has ensnared several celebrities.

Kai Ko emerged from a Beijing detention center before dawn and into a scrum of reporters from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Followed to his hotel by the press pack, a visibly agitated Ko challenged one reporter to a fight before retreating inside an elevator.

Kai was considerably more composed at an afternoon news conference in which he appeared with his parents and agent and apologized for smoking marijuana.

I was wrong on this issue. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for it. I was wrong,” Kai said.

I never realized that Kai Ko is more than just a name for myself. It also means a lot to those who support and love me. It was out of my expectations that anything concerning ‘Kai Ko’ could have such a big impact on others,” he said, before bowing with his parents and agent in a sign of contrition.

The 23-year-old was arrested on Aug. 14 along with Jaycee Chan, son of the Hong Kong martial arts superstar. The arrests drew enormous media attention in the Chinese-speaking world and Kai’s news conference came amid speculation about how his career as an entertainer and brand spokesman might be affected.

Police said both actors tested positive for marijuana and admitted using the drug, and that 100 grams (3.53 ounces) of it were taken from Chan’s home.

While Ko was given a sentence of 14 days in administrative detention — standard for those caught doing drugs — 31-year-old Jaycee Chan remains in detention and faces a potentially much heftier penalty for having shared drugs with others.

Chan, whose mother is former Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-jiao, was raised in Los Angeles and has appeared in about 20 films, most of them low-budget Hong Kong and mainland Chinese productions.

Jackie Chan has publicly apologized for his son’s drug use and pledged to work with him on his recovery.

Ko, whose real name is Ko Chen-tung, rode to fame after his 2011 coming-of-age film “You Are the Apple of My Eye.” The role won him a Best New Performer award at the Golden Horse film awards in Taiwan, considered the most prestigious in Chinese-language cinema.

Ko also played the boyfriend of one of the protagonists in China-produced “Tiny Times 3.0,” a huge hit with young female audiences that knocked “Transformers 4” from the No. 1 spot in the mainland’s box office last month.

The arrests of Ko and Chan came amid a major offensive against drug-related crime in Beijing that has seen a 53.2 percent rise in investigations in the city to more than 1,800 since January, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

More than 8,400 suspects have been detained during that time, an increase of 78.7-percent over the same period last year, Xinhua said.

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Some of China’s top leaders are apparently obsessed with ‘House Of Cards’

 

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The country of China, including some of its top leaders, can’t get enough of the Netflix drama “House of Cards,” The Washington Post’s William Wan reports.

On Sohu, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, “House of Cards” has been the No. 1-streamed show since the debut of Season 2 last Friday. Streams of both seasons top Sohu’s rankings, ahead of “The Big Bang Theory.”

And according to Sohu (via the Post), most of China’s 24.5 million views of Season 1 of House of Cards came from government-sector employees and residents of Beijing. The state-run Xinhua News Agency wrote last week that “a large number of government and enterprise executives and opinion leaders also strongly recommend” the show.

One top government official who is reportedly a huge fan of the show is Wang Qishan, the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and considered one of the top seven leaders in China.

From the Post:

Wang Qishan, one of the seven most powerful leaders in China, is said to be particularly captivated, according to reports in Chinese media and officials with ties to his department, who asked to speak anonymously.

As head of China’s disciplinary committee, Wang is charged with keeping cadres in line and instilling discipline throughout party ranks — a portfolio somewhat similar to that of Underwood, the majority whip in “House of Cards.”

Much of the second season of “House of Cards” revolves around China-heavy plot lines, featuring tension among Vice President Frank Underwood, President Garrett Walker, the Chinese government, and a corrupt Chinese businessman trying to influence the White House.

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Some of China’s top leaders are apparently obsessed with ‘House Of Cards’

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China Cracks Down on ‘American Idol’-Style Shows

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AP: Chinese authorities are cracking down on how often broadcasters can air reality, dating and talent shows such as the Chinese versions of “American Idol” and “The Voice,” which draw huge audiences.

Provincial broadcasters show such programs, which are cheap to produce and earn a lot of advertising revenue, on satellite channels seen around the country.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the “American Idol” kind of talent shows now need approval from the body that oversees broadcasting, which will license one such program per channel each quarter for prime-time viewing.

It also reported that new regulations require satellite channels to allocate no less than 30 percent of their weekly air time to topics including news, economics, culture and science from next year.

There have been repeated efforts to limit American-style reality TV and other light fare shown on satellite TV, or push them out of prime-time viewing, with stated reasons including the need to stop vulgar content and promote more efficient use of resources.

Repeated calls to the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which reportedly issued the latest regulations, rang unanswered.

Liu Shanying, a political scientist at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he suspected the new regulations were because the satellite channels were taking too much audience away from the national broadcaster China Central Television.

The administration “is helping CCTV, the TV broadcaster that has the main task of carrying forward the government’s message,” said Liu, who used to work for CCTV. “The local stations have more freedom to attract audiences with entertainment shows. And that takes away too many viewers from CCTV and they are afraid that no one will pay attention to the government’s tune.”

The restrictions are expected to drive still more viewers online — where they can watch the same types of pre-recorded shows — and away from state TV.

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China Cracks Down on ‘American Idol’-Style Shows