1. In China, 11/11 is “Singles Day”, represented by the “4 single sticks” of the calendar date.

    It’s also China’s version of Black Friday.

     

  2. John Aziz:

    Back in the 1960s, economists were confident that the Soviet economy could overtake the economy of the United States by the year 2000. This chart — projecting huge Soviet growth — originally appeared in the 1961 edition of Nobel-winning economist Paul Samuelson’s textbook.

    Of course, the Soviet Union never achieved such high growth levels. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, its economy was barely half the size of America’s. Why did projections of huge Soviet growth turn out to be so wrong? Renegade Soviet economist Girsh Itsykovich Khanin argued that the growth rates reported by Soviet authorities were hugely overestimated. While official estimates put the Soviet economy of 1985 at 84.4 times the output of 1928, Khanin estimated that in reality it was only 6.6 times the 1928 output. Bad data from the Soviet authorities led economists like Paul Samuelson to make bad projections.

    While there are no projections that today’s Russian economy will overtake that of the United States, many economists are projecting that China, which has experienced three decades of 9.8 percent average annual GDP growth, is poised to trump America. 

    Here’s why they’re wrong.

     

  3. Duel your enemies! Commit ritual seppuku! Bind your feet!

    5 disturbing historical practices you should never, ever try

     


  4. The world’s most powerful frenemies have done quite a bit of bickering over NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Here’s what they’re saying.

     

  5. reuters:

    This week’s stunning TIME cover illustration was created by the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. via timemagazine

     

  6. PHOTO OF THE DAY: Two earthquake survivors eat instant noodles on makeshift tables outside a tent at a middle school in Baoxing county of Ya An, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

    More photos here.

     

  7. Photos taken over nine consecutive days demonstrate the air pollution levels in the sky over Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Air quality in Beijing has been at “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels since the beginning of this year. PHOTO: REUTERS/Wei Yao

     

  8. On this day in 1972: In what was arguably the most dramatic trip ever taken by a president of the United States, Richard Nixon arrived in China for an eight-day visit. The announcement that Nixon, a lifelong hardline anti-communist, would visit China stunned the world. The United States and China had been foes for a quarter-century, but Nixon recognized the need for better ties — which would also help the U.S. in its Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union. During his week-long visit, Nixon met with Mao and Zhou En-Lai; it is seen today as the beginning of China’s drive to modernize and enter the modern world. China’s economy is now the world’s second largest, trailing only that of the U.S itself. Nixon called it “the week that changed the world,” and the phrase “Nixon going to China” has since become a metaphor for an unexpected or uncharacteristic action by a politician.

    Here’s what else happened on this day in history

     


  9. Only in America:

    Verizon claims to have caught an employee — “Bob” — outsourcing his daily coding duties to China so he could spend his time browsing Reddit, watching cat videos, and surfing eBay.

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  10. Not to be outdone by People's annual ode to chiseled abs, The Onion nominated North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” Unfortunately, not everyone was in on the spoof, namely China’s largest Communist Party newspaper, The People’s Daily, which not only took the bait but splashed a 55-page slideshow dedicated to the boyish leader across its homepage. 

    The People’s Daily quotes The Onion, saying:

    With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true. Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.

    How The Onion tricked a Chinese newspaper

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  11. President Obama and Mitt Romney meet tonight for their third and final presidential debate, and the stakes couldn’t be higher: The polls show the race in a dead heat, and the debate is likely the last event that could dramatically alter the contest’s trajectory. Under pressure to defend his record and solidify his foreign-policy edge, Obama will undoubtedly underscore the killing of Osama bin Laden. For his part, Romney must convince voters that he would make a credible commander-in-chief, while seducing independent voters with an alternate national security vision. Here, a guide to where the candidates stand on key issues:

    1. Libya — The biggest chink in Obama’s foreign-policy armor? The September terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The White House’s response to the attack has been confusing, and Republicans have accused the administration of misleading the public. Romney sought to exploit this advantage, but only hurt himself by appearing to politicize the death of four Americans. His dilemma tonight: To back off Benghazi or go on the offensive? “The national conversation has been about the terrorist attack in Benghazi,” says Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal. “Did the president tell the truth at the time?” But Romney was caught “playing political gotcha with a national tragedy,” says Bill Keller at The New York Times, and another miss could badly hurt his campaign. Obama’s job is to make sure “the political spin stops,” says Juan Williams at The Hill. “The bottom line is there is no evidence so far to support the Romney camp’s claim of incompetence or a cover-up.”

    2. The Arab Spring — Romney has heavily criticized Obama for his handling of the Arab Spring, suggesting that stable, pro-American regimes would have emerged following the fall of dictators in Egypt and Libya if the president had taken a firmer hand. While it’s unclear what Romney would have done differently, Spencer Ackerman at Wired summarizes the debate thus: “[Does the U.S. need] to involve itself deeper in the Arab Spring; pick favorites within the uprisings; or stand back as the upheaval proceeds?” Obama is under pressure to defend his hands-off, country-by-country approach, while articulating a broader foreign policy argument that explains why “he’ll intervene in Libya but not Syria,” says Ackerman. Romney, for his part, “has yet to distinguish his geopolitical plans from Obama’s without seeming like he’s out to start a whole new war.”

    3. Iran and Israel — Romney has hammered Obama for failing to halt Iran’s suspected progress toward a nuclear weapon; this dovetails with Romney’s claim that Obama hasn’t been a good friend to Israel. However, both candidates essentially have the same policy: A stated determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and a vow to keep all options — from diplomacy to military force — on the table. Romney is having so much trouble distinguishing himself from Obama that he ends up sounding like a “foreign policy love child” of Obama and George W. Bush, says Sally Kohn at Salon. “Rhetorically, Romney sounds almost exactly like George W. Bush. In terms of what he’d do on the ground in places like Iran [however]… Romney sounds exactly like Barack Obama.” Unless Romney can convince voters that his policies to stop Iran and protect Israel are distinct from Obama’s, says Keith Koffler at Reuters,the president will continue to enjoy his healthy advantage with Jewish voters.

    4. Afghanistan — Afghanistan is another area in which Romney has struggled to differentiate himself from the president. Romney says “he would hew to President Obama’s timeline to withdraw U.S. troops by the end of 2014,” says Maeve Raeston at the Los Angeles Times, “but he would part ways with the president by giving greater deference to the judgment of military commanders.” However, it remains unclear what Romney would do if the military’s top brass called for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan past 2014. Obama has used Romney’s “past statements to argue that Romney’s commitment to Afghanistan could be open-ended,” says Raeston, which could be a problem for the 60 percent of voters who favor a speedy withdrawal from the country.

    5. China — Here, Romney and Obama have real differences. Romney has vowed to dub China a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office, a designation that would almost certainly spark a self-defeating trade war. Romney “wouldn’t be the first candidate to pummel China on the campaign trail and make nice in the White House,” says Keller. “But the stridency of [his] protectionist rhetoric…makes many of [his] supporters cringe.” Indeed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business lobbying group,opposes such a move. However, polls show that “Americans have turned increasingly negative toward China and its trade policies,” says Howard LaFranchi at The Christian Science Monitor, which means Romney may be on the right track, politically speaking. Obama’s challenge is to sound suitably tough on China without alienating one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners.

    6. Defense spending — Romney has claimed that the “U.S. military is in danger of becoming a ‘hollow force’ under Obama because of potential cuts,” say Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Margaret Talev at Bloomberg. Romney has proposed reversing a planned $1 trillion in Defense Department cuts and adding another $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, measures he argues are necessary to ensure American military superiority. Obama is also opposed to the cuts, but has shot down proposals to boost military spending after that, saying it’s simply unaffordable. The fight over defense spending is one of the few areas of the debate that will touch directly on domestic policy, with the candidates outlining their priorities when it comes to reducing the budget deficit.

    Oh, and don’t miss: The final presidential debate: A viewer’s guide

     

  12. Skateboarding through a ghost town — A group of lucky skaters live every kid’s dream of tearing their way through an eerie ghost town unchecked by authorities. This short takes place in Ordos, a northern China city that’s nearly completely deserted thanks to soaring property taxes. 

    More awesomeness can be found in our list of this week’s best of the internet

     

  13. Top: Deng Shuai, 14, holds a portrait of his father as he walks with a young boy after a burial ceremony on Sept. 10. The teenager’s father was one of at least 81 people killed after two earthquakes hit Yiliang, Yunnan province, an impoverished, mountainous region in southwestern China.
    PHOTO: REUTERS/Jason Lee 

    Left: Britain’s Andy Murray appears to unleash a primal scream after defeating Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during the championship match at the 2012 US Open tennis tournament on Sept. 10. This is the Scot’s first grand slam title of his career.
    PHOTO: AP Photo/Darron Cummings

    Right: The Tribute in Light illuminates the sky over Lower Manhattan on the 11-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, September 11, 2012.
    PHOTO: REUTERS/Eric Thayer

    More of this week’s best photojournalism

    (Source: theweek.com)