What Would You Buy With $3 Trillion?

Last week, the state-controlled Chinese Central Bank released figures indicating the country now holds over $3 trillion dollars in foreign-exchange reserves. The Economist has some interesting ideas on what the bank could buy if it were ever inclined to shop around for sexy investments, rather than squirrel money away on stodgy foreign currency.

The fictional-but-still-realistic shopping list includes:

• Almost all of this year's total projected oil output—estimated to be around $3.41 trillion

• Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Google combined—estimated aggregate market value $916 billion

• Every square-acre of farmland in the U.S.—about $1.87 trillion

• The U.S. Department of Defense—assets valued at around $1.9 trillion

• Manhattan's total taxable real estate—worth "only" $287 billion

• The fifty most valuable sports franchises in the world—a piffling $50 billion.

Who knew multi-trillionaires had so many tempting purchasing options?

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Bone Broth 101

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


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