23 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 Chinese Books Lack an Index

Yet even if some technological fix were to be devised to solve the problem of character entry, the non-alphabetic nature of the writing system still results in other serious and long-standing “invisible” problems. For example, the inclusion of a standard index to books, manuals and reference materials is made orders of magnitude more difficult by the Chinese writing system. The result is that to this day, the vast majority of non-fiction books published in China do not have an index, or a...
Folksonomies: writing chinese sinology
Folksonomies: writing chinese sinology
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23 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 提笔忘字

The most astounding example I encountered back in my early days studying Chinese was during a lunch with three graduate students in the Peking University Chinese department. I had a bad cold that day, and wanted to write a note to a friend to cancel a meeting. I found that I couldn’t write the character ti 嚔 in the word for “sneeze”, da penti 打喷嚔, and so I asked my three friends for help. To my amazement, none of the three could successfully retrieve the character ti 嚔. Three ...
Folksonomies: mandarin chinese sinology
Folksonomies: mandarin chinese sinology
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"Forget the word Pen"

22 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 The Myth of the Lone Genius

Today, the Romantic genius can be seen everywhere. Consider some typical dorm room posters — Freud with his cigar, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the pulpit, Picasso looking wide-eyed at the camera, Einstein sticking out his tongue. These posters often carry a poignant epigraph — “Imagination is more important than knowledge” — but the real message lies in the solitary pose. In fact, none of these men were alone in the garrets of their minds. Freud developed psychoanalysis ...
Folksonomies: genius collaboration
Folksonomies: genius collaboration
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22 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 Human Respiration is Carbon Neutral

The very first time you learned about carbon dioxide was probably in grade school: We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Any eight-year-old can rattle off this fact. More specifically, the mitochondria within our cells perform cellular respiration: they burn carbohydrates (in the example shown below, glucose) in the oxygen that we breathe in to yield carbon dioxide and water, which we exhale as waste products, as well as energy, which is required to maintain...
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We exhale carbon and that carbon is sequestered in the next plant we eat.

21 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 Climate Forecasts vs Projections

"Projections are essential for giving us information on long-term trends, but the timescale is beyond what many policy makers (and the public) consider to be relevant to their decision-making processes. Climate forecasts seek to address this issue by providing information on a shorter term (decadal) that can be used directly to inform policy," he said. "As climate forecasts improve, they will become more and more important in providing reliable information on what is likely to happen to the c...
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Forecasts are short-term predictions intended to inform policymakers because projections, which predict the long-term trend, are beyond political scope.

19 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 Explorocracy / Homo Diaspora

So we’re to be ravaged by speculation and thrill-seekers. We’ll be the wilds. I’ve been to deadwood planets and pioneer towns: even those way stations have their good things. We’ll open up the sky. We’ll have knowledge to sell. Uniquely detailed maps. Immer byways only locals like us can find. We have to establish our credentials as an explorocracy; so to survive and rule ourselves, we have to explore. We’ll soon have one immership in our little navy, and at least one captain. Wh...
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19 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 The Decline in Reading is Because of Limited Time

With e-books becoming more dominant and less money coming into the industry, the bookstores die (they're already highly marginal now). With bookstores' death, so go the publishers (after all, any established author will make more money from self-publishing and now the *one* (incredibly important) thing the publishers offer - shelf space - is gone). With publishers gone, we all essentially become slush pile readers. The books are nearly free, but the constraint is *time*, not money, and with ...
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Not money, time is a limited resource.

11 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 How to Talk Math With Kids

Some simple ways to work numbers into the conversation: Note numbers on signs when you’re walking or driving with children: speed limits and exit numbers, building addresses, sale prices in store windows. Ask children to count how many toys they’re playing with, how many books they’ve pulled out to read, or how many pieces of food are on their plate. Use numbers when you refer to time, dates, and temperatures: how many hours and minutes until bedtime, how many weeks and days until a hol...
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Work it into the day-to-day conversation.

28 JUN 2014 by ideonexus

 The Similies

OF COURSE we were hardly all the similes the Ariekei spoke. Some were animal or inanimate: there was a house in Embassytown out of which, many years before, the Hosts had taken all the furniture, then put it back, to allow some figure of speech. The split stone, made so they could speak the thought, it’s like the stone that was split and put together again. Most, though, were Terre men and women: there was something in us that facilitated. Many similes, of course, were uninterested in thei...
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The Ariekei can only speak in analogy, not lie, and not speculate. Because of this, they need people to serve as similies, references for their language.

24 JUN 2014 by ideonexus

 The Law of Large Numbers

The game is called who’s the best at flipping coins. It’s pretty simple. You flip a bunch of coins and whoever gets the most heads wins. To make this a little more interesting, though, not everybody has the same number of coins. Some people—Team Small—have only ten coins, while the members of Team Big have a hundred each. If we score by absolute number of heads, one thing’s for almost sure—the winner of this game is going to come from Team Big. The typical Big player is going to ...
Folksonomies: mathematics statistics
Folksonomies: mathematics statistics
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