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  March 13th, 2015 | Written by

What We Learned This Week

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That crossbows are lots of fun until someone starts throwing “William Tell” around. And …

Apocalyptic environmental degradation doesn’t have to be a bad thing … We told you this week about the fate of Under The Dome, a documentary chronicling China’s beyond awful air “quality” that is three times the limit of what American regulators think of as dangerous to breathe. The documentary, by a former anchor of China’s state-run TV, obviously hit a nerve as it had more than 150 million hits on Chinese video sites. The release was also seen as a promising sign that the Chinese government was ready to face the problem it has for decades attempted to ignore; promising until it was pulled from the internet after 24 hours. But Under The Dome could prove promising for Chinese industries that would be involved in China cleaning up its act. Shares in Chinese solar companies climbed after the release of the film on expectations that China, already the largest solar market in the world, would continue to free itself of its coal dependence. Today, nearly half of the world’s coal is burned in China. On a more personal note, two Chinese industrial chairmen saw their personal wealth increase past the $1 billion after Under The Dome was released. Ao Xiaoqiang, whose company performs environmental monitoring, and Zhang Kaiyuan, whose company is a provider of desulfurization, both saw their personal fortunes rise as the value of their companies soared on expectation that there will be long and significant investment in China’s clean up.

That every “Do” has a “Don’t” … Myriam Siftar, president of MTM LinguaSoft, a language provider and cultural consultant, offered tips this week to those traveling abroad, such as not jumping to conclusions, accepting that ambiguity comes in all human interactions—except rugby—and that one should always show respect for another culture’s norms, i.e., yes, you better eat it. It highlighted how challenging any human interaction can be, especially when there are cultural gradations. For instance, this week Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, wrote about “15 Body Blunders Successful People Never Make.” In that list were some obvious things—it’s never a good idea to roll your eyes at a business contact, or your mom—but others illustrate how measured and subtle the whole dance can be. Bradberry says one should never slouch because it “communicates that you’re bored and have no desire to be where you are” but also says you should avoid exaggerated gestures because “it implies you’re stretching the truth.” Don’t cross your arms, Bradberry writes, because it suggest you’re not open to what the other person is saying, then again, you want to avoid nodding too often because it signals that you are attempting to show you agree with  or understand something you don’t. Eye contact? Yes. Absolutely. Sustained eye contact, he says, communicates confidence, strength and leadership. Then again, not too much. Bradberry warns to avoid “intense” eye contact because it may be perceived as aggressive or that you are attempting to dominate the other. If you’re confused, just do what we do, compliment their hair and ask for another helping of it.