Talking Points

Three things you can talk about this week:

1. Goldman Sachs paying for employee sex changes

2. Afghanistan’s flourishing opium trade

3. Art heists in Zurich

And three things you can’t:

1. How Valentine’s Day is a commercial sham

2. Facebook in Spanish

3. Guantanamo Bay’s TV night

By the Numbers

11 billion

Dollars worth of damage the recent snow storms in China have

caused the country


Army troops and reservists who have been called in to provide

aid for the relief effort


Tons of candles brought by China’s air force to the areas most severely affected by the storms

Source: BBC

Quotes of the week

“Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?”

DAVID SHUSTER, a reporter for MSNBC, on Chelsea Clinton’s increasingly active role in campaigning for Hillary’s presidential run. Shuster was promptly suspended from appearing on all NBC news productions

“The wrath of God is the only way I can describe it.”

PHIL BREDESEN, the governor of Tennessee, on the damage caused by a tornado that hit five Southern states and killed at least 60 people

“One push of the button will blow up half of Brisbane.”

GEOFFRY MARTIN FRYATT, a 57-year-old man from Australia, threatening to destroy the city by detonating a supply of chemicals with his TV remote control. Fryatt was drunk at the time, and his lawyer said he was behaving recklessly because he had lost much of his life savings in a case of fraud


Just your typical guy

He’s just an everyday normal guy, and his “sexual performances are average.”

Or at least that’s what the white rapper in this video maintains. With a sideways trucker hat, green bandana and oversized coat with a fur hood, this guy does his best to seem legit. The flailing arms and shaking shoulders only make his case stronger.

Throughout the video, guitar and drums serve as the background music to his self-deprecating rhymes. He does most of his rapping on a rooftop, though some scenes find him in front of a red brick wall or in a room by himself.

This “normal” guy says he works at customer service for a phone company, making $12 an hour. He can’t afford a car, so he uses public transportation. He lives in a small apartment and has only $600 in the bank.

He tells us that he’s “average looking,” and that he hasn’t had sex since 2003. But the sex wasn’t exactly free of charge, he confidently says. Oh, and he’s a “Grey’s Anatomy” fan.

And yet, with his authoritative rapping, you’d think he was 50 Cent.


See this and other YouTube videos of the week at

Theme party suggestion

Passing time sans Valentine – Forget the candy hearts. Forget the tacky cards. Forget the red roses. It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, but so what? Don’t let this Hallmark holiday get the best of you. We recommend you stop gushing and do something constructive with your time. Cancel those dinner reservations and spend an evening discussing whether waterboarding constitutes torture. Whatever you do, save the tears for another day.

Throwing this party? Let us know.

Study of the week

Cousin couples founds to have more kids

Couples who are third or fourth cousins are more likely to have more children and grandchildren than other couples, according to a study that was conducted among Icelanders and published in the journal Science.

The researchers also assert that marriage between third or fourth cousins may be advantageous because it could provide for genetic compatibilities between the couples.

But the researchers also caution that marriage between close cousins can increase the chances of the child having a disease by 25 percent.

In the study, researchers examined more than 160,00 Icelandic couples starting in 1800. They used a genetics genealogical database.

Women who were born between 1925 and 1949 and married a third cousin had an average of three children and about seven grandchildren. Those who married an eighth cousin or someone more distantly related had two children and five grandchildren.

– Brian Tengel

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