By Bryan Stevens,2014-05-19 12:31
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    Put some control on your desire

    SOME years ago, I heard of a case involving the mistreatment of a patient in a mental hospital. The patient had an uncontrollable desire to drink water, a condition called polydipsia.

    The switch in the brain that was supposed to trip when he'd had enough liquid was stuck in the "on" position. He would drink water from any source a toilet was as good as a sink and if no one stopped him, he

    would keep drinking until his body fluids were so diluted he passed out.

    This guy is a metaphor for all of us: Our "enoughness" switch is broken.

    Rich people have never had a sense of enoughness, but the failure of enoughness isn't just a problem for rich people. Look around your own house. Look in your closets. Closets in a modern house are dramatically larger than they were 50 years ago. They're still not big enough to hold all of our stuff. And we keep buying more.

    Part of the explanation for this has to do with our evolution. Our species never developed a sense of enoughness because the problem of

    too much stuff didn't used to exist. In the ancestral environment, stuff was scarce. You never knew when you'd have another opportunity to get some. It was an adaptive strategy, for example, to eat as much as you could whenever you got a chance. People who took advantage of those opportunities carried around a little extra fat and were better able to survive when lean times cameas they inevitably did.

    In the developed world today, for the first time in human history, scarcity is not a problem for many of us, but the tendency to grab stuff persists. Waiting for a sense of enoughness to evolve is likely going to be a long wait.

    Perhaps the time has come for us to assert some control over our desire to acquire ever more stuff. It is not fashionable to be modest or humble in our aspirations. The more popular view is that you can accomplish anything at all if you want it bad enough and you try your hardest.

    The problem, of course, is that this is delusional nonsense. I understand that desire is the mother of achievement. You don't get to be Michael Phelps or President Barack Obama by settling for good enough. Achievement comes from the overpowering drive to be better, faster, stronger, bigger, richer and from the indomitable conviction that

    greatness is your destiny. All that is true, but it is not the whole truth.

    A sense of enoughness means considering that perhaps you might want to stop drinking from that urinal, or maybe you can do without another pair of shoes, or perhaps we would all be better off if we didn't throw another 40,000 young lives into war.

    While it may not be the path to great achievement, this may be the beginning of the path to wisdom.


go up in smoke成泡影?破灭

    Because of the stock market crash, his investment just went up in smoke.因为股市崩盘;他投的钱都打了水漂。

no strings attached没有附加条件

    She was looking for a serious relationship, but he just wanted some fun, a relationship with no strings attached.她想开始一段认真的感情;而他


    Unfortunately, the dream stopped dead for sensitive student

    IN recent years, campus suicides have become a social phenomenon that is troubling higher education in China. Academic pressure, bad job prospects and poor mental health conditions have all been cited as reasons for these tragedies. In a recent case, Yang Yuanyuan, a grad student at Shanghai Maritime University, took her own life after a housing dispute with her school.

    Yang, 30, was from a poor family. After school authorities reportedly denied her request to let her mother live with her in her dorm room, she hanged herself. It was November 26, just a few months after she'd been admitted to grad school.

    In the wake of this tragedy, many people have been lamenting the loss of the "university spirit", saying that her university should have been more charitable. Xiong Bingqi, however, writing in Beijing Youth Daily, says that people can't expect a university to act as a charitable organization. If Yang's mother really needed help, Xiong maintains, she could have asked the government or sought other sources of assistance.

    University spirit means the pursuit of academic freedom, which means that universities need to be free from government interference. Instead of blaming Yang's school, Xiong writes, people should be asking why Yang's family failed to get help from the government or society.

    Did poverty really drive Yang to despair? Commentator Gen Zhai, writing on, says Yang could have had other choices. With a bachelor's degree, she should have acquired enough academic and social skills to be making a living and supporting her mother. Instead, she insisted on pursuing a higher degree, knowing it was well beyond her and her family's financial abilities. She made a selfish choice when she decided to take her own life, leaving her mother all the more helpless.

    Xin Haiguang, a blogger on, looks at the issue from another angle. Yang killed herself because she was disillusioned with her "Chinese dream", Xin opines. "Chinese dream" refers to the success ordinary people get through personal endeavors and fair competition. In today's China, Xin explains, that's usually done through higher education. Yang must have believed that knowledge would change her and her family's fate, but the dream stopped dead in its tracks.

    Xin goes on to say that as our country's economy becomes stronger, many young people don't feel more hopeful. Yang was just one of the countless number of people struggling to get the bare necessities of an ordinary life and the slightest bit of progress towards a better life. Yang chose death after her dreams went up in smoke.

    Funny place to advertise cigarettes

    A SCHOOL being donated by a business to help children in the earthquake disaster area in Sichuan province? Who could find fault with that? Yet when you take a look at the name of the school, "Sichuan Tobacco Hope Elementary School", things start sounding a little wrong. And having slogans like "Contribute to society, and tobacco helps realize your potential" pasted all over the school building has a lot of social workers and media commentators getting deeply concerned.

    Zhao Qiang, a commentator on, disputes the tobacco company's insistence that they should be free to make their charitable donations. If they really wanted to be socially responsible, Zhao says, they wouldn't put their brand on a school they gave money to. This is thinly-disguised advertising. It helps recruit future smokers from the schoolchildren, the group that should be protected from the health hazards of smoking.

    Ou Muhua, writing on, thinks that tobacco advertising and tobacco companies giving to charity are two separate issues. The former should be prohibited but the latter shouldn't be banned completely. Many countries in the world allow tobacco companies to donate to certain welfare causes. The Chinese government shouldn't relieve tobacco companies of their social responsibility by keeping them from giving to charity, according to Ou. Instead, tobacco companies should be allowed to sponsor some charitable causes, but with absolutely no strings attached, especially no advertising.


    conviction 深信

    evolve 进化

    fluid 流质

    scarce 缺乏的

    aspiration 志向

    delusional 虚妄的

    dilute 稀释

    endeavor 努力

indomitable 不屈服的

    adaptive 适应的

    ancestral 祖先的

    assert 声称

    charitable 仁慈的

    disillusion 醒悟

    inevitable 必然的

    lament 悲叹

    maritime 海事的

    opine 发表意见

    polydipsia 剧渴

    Well, yes, we can be a tad impolite

    “Hey, gimme some respect”, page 8, Nov 11

AS a post-90s student, I've definitely found that we're different from

    our older cousins' generation, the 80s. We're obviously more outgoing,

    moodier, crazier, more emotional, more creative, and more fashionable. Unfortunately, to tell you the truth, many of us are also more impolite.

    I think that's because we're mostly single children living with more affluence and have been spoiled a lot by our parents. This has led to being self-centered and selfish, and has made our sense of self-esteem much too strong.

    Education in school, as I see it, needs much improvement. We're getting too much plain textbook knowledge and too little practical knowledge about getting along with others, which is, no doubt, far more important. It can also be taught both at home and at school. I draw the conclusion that parents and teachers would do better if they thought of a way to teach this before simply working themselves into a rage and complaining about the kids' mistakes. We ought to look for where the problem actually lies.

    Quite a few people consider the post-90s generation, a lost, failed generation. To be quite frank, though, we don't like to be called that, but, of course, we need to try our best to be better in every way, so later we can tell everyone that we're an agreeable, promising and successful generation.

The future is up to us to create.

    Shut down offensive BT sites?

    TO the shock of many seasoned Chinese Internet users, early in December, some of the best known BitTorrent (BT) download sites were inaccessibleincluding, Emule, and

    BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing program used for distributing large amounts of data. Hundreds of thousands of netizens visit these sites every day, downloading massive amounts of audio and video content. Although the sites’ webmasters announced that they were having temporary technical difficulties, people suspected that the service suspension may have something to do with a government crack down on online pornography and pirated content.

    While many observers point out that a lot of the download content on these sites is pornographic or pirated, BT technology fans argue that the sites also help them download far more legitimate content, and that

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