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How Well Does Mark Zuckerberg Speak Chinese?

Mark Zuckerberg recently made headlines by speaking Mandarin during a half hour Q&A at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He started with a disclaimer that “my Chinese is terrible” but after an enthusiastic response from the audience he continued, saying that while the language is “difficult,” he “likes challenges.” He spoke for about a half hour, answering questions and cracking jokes. Everyone was very impressed.

Well, almost everyone. Tweets and comments trickled in criticizing his accent, his failure to use proper tones, and the apparently rehearsed nature of many of his phrases. One headline read “Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin Like a Seven-Year-Old.” The author, Issac Stone Fish, put Zuckerberg’s skills “roughly at the level of someone who studied for two years in college, which means he can communicate like an articulate 7-year-old with a mouth full of marbles.”

Victor Mair at Language Log pegged him at a level “about ¾ of the way through intensive first-year Mandarin,” but still found his efforts impressive. According to Mair, “his tones are indeed a bit wobbly, and his grammar shaky at times, but his pronunciation (vowels and consonants) is generally acceptable, and he has a decent range of vocabulary (actually surprisingly good for someone at his stage of learning the language).”

What is more impressive than Zuckerberg’s command of Mandarin is his relaxed and assured manner. Adults who try to learn foreign languages are most hampered by the problem of self-consciousness, the fear of making mistakes or looking foolish. Not so for Zuckerberg, forging ahead with a smile, on a stage in front of an audience no less. That sort of confident enjoyment in newly acquired language skills goes a long way toward building on those skills. That’s how you really learn a language.

Of course, it helps that he gets such a positive, almost thrilled reaction to everything he says, simply because he’s speaking Chinese. This is not just because he is a billionaire CEO. As Brian Fung points out, “it’s hard to understate how much cultural and political messaging is bound up in a white person speaking Chinese, even bad Chinese … seeing a foreigner deign to speak the national language for a change can yield sheer delight.”

If a Chinese person were to speak in English at a U.S. university at a level on par with Zuckerberg’s Chinese, it would be received with dismay, not delight. But that doesn’t mean the Chinese person didn’t have to work just as hard to get to that level. We should be impressed with Zuckerberg’s Chinese—he put in the effort when he didn’t have to, after all, but we should also remember to be impressed by the many people we meet every day who had to learn English as adults. They’ve likely never had anyone tell them how well they speak it. Take a moment today to spread some language love. Or at least a few likes.

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The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, HighSpeedInternet.com took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit HighSpeedInternet.com.

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Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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