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Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

diakka Re:Mandarin vs. Spanish (142 comments)

If you're having trouble with pinyin, and since you already seem to prefer traditional characters, then just use bopomofo/zhuyin fuhao. Once you learn one pronunciation system well, it's trivial to learn the other because the sounds they represent are the same, all you have to do is link them up in your mind. I personally used pinyin for many years, but using an Anki deck, I learned zhuyin fuhao in a matter of days after I moved to Taipei.

Learning Chinese is a loooooooooong road. For the casual language learner, I'd say your best ROI on your time is going to be with Spanish. But then again, it all depends on what you're motivated to learn, because motivation is the worst thing to waste. I will say however, that if your motivation is even remotely to raise your value in the eyes of Chinese girls, don't bother, because of the girls that date westerners, given the choice between fluent Chinese and six pack abs, they'll choose the abs about 90% of the time.

3 days ago

"Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer To Reality

diakka Re:Magic Pill - Self Discipline (153 comments)

While I agree with most of what you said, the message has a callousness that will likely cause it to fall on deaf ears. Also, to imply that it's easy or simple just to eat less or control your appetite is a bit condescending to those who have a difficult time with this. Most people lack an awareness about their appetite and take a very reactive approach to satisfying their hunger. But the truth of the matter is that sugar and carbohydrates can rule us with the fierceness of a drug or alcohol addiction. I myself have never had a trouble knowing when to stop drinking, but others, due to genetics, can't have just one.

Once I finally started to treat sugar as a drug addiction, I finally started having the success at controlling my weight. I'm currently 60lbs lighter than my peak and have a six pack for the first time in my life at 39. Now that I know how to do it, it's easy, but figuring it out and changing my habits was not.

So while I do sympathize with overweight people who struggle with controlling their appetite, I do find the fatalistic attitude that many overweight people have adopted to be quite annoying, and potentially harmful to others around them.

about a week ago

Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

diakka Re:To speak Chinese is not to know China (217 comments)

It's common for foreigners to go on game shows and speak a little Chinese. For some reason, this is very entertaining to some of the locals, but I never opted to do anything like this during my stay in China as I felt it was like being a performing monkey, and somewhat degrading.

However, in this case, I think that in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, it's more than just being a performing monkey. I think this effort might serve to increase awareness of our attempts to show that Americans and other western nations are very willing to expand their horizons and venture into other cultures. His Chinese might be intermediate level at best, but I hope he continues to make progress, as it's a long and arduous path, and given that he's the CEO of Facebook, it's amazing that he's making progress at all.

And one day when his Chinese is truly fluent and Facebook is still blocked in China, then the take of the way at the end of the day from all this effort might simply be that coopreration with mainland Chinese is not worth the effort. China needs to go a long way to prove to the world that it's not a zero-sum culture.

about 2 months ago

Obama Presses China On Global Warming

diakka Re:Funny (261 comments)

Yes, the west is so decadent in our consumption.
And surely the selfless Chinese themselves bear no responsibility for not pricing in the damage to their environment in the price of their goods. It is the west's evil desire to consume that is the source of environmental damage and child exploitation in China. How could you even think that China themselves should bear responsibility? The Chinese are morally superior and have no desire to consume. You can be sure that if the Chinese were as rich as Westerners, they would NEVER be so wasteful. Destroying their environment and enslaving their children are just what they view as minor sacrifices in order to basque in the knowledge that they make us Westerners happy. The selfish west is completely to blame for China's ails.

In all seriousness, I suppose we could do something, impose tariffs, or boycott Chinese goods to discourage purchasing of certain products, and I think we do this already to protect certain industries, but I would think that the more you do it, the more you risk an escalating trade war. And even if you did, I doubt that many Chinese would really be in support of it.

about 3 months ago

Can Cyborg Tech End Human Disability By 2064?

diakka It's coming! (121 comments)

With the advancement AI and advancing cybernetics, I predict that this is inevitible. Human disability and imperfection will be eradicated, along with the whole human race, of course.

about 7 months ago

US To Charge Chinese Military Employees With Hacking

diakka Interesting Strategy (225 comments)

Surely they're not going to get any cooperation from the Chinese government on this, but by naming these individuals, they could be limiting the future career choices of those individuals. Want to work at a foreign compa ny? might be tough. Want to travel to the US or country that has extradition with the US? Better think twice about that. Even if you want to work at a local Chinese company, you might not be able to command as high of a salary if you can't get competing offers from foreign companies. A high percentage of well moneyed and educated individuals in China have plans to emigrate to foreign countries with the growing pains China has on the horizon, and some talented folks might be dissuaded from this career path. How this will play out in the real world is hard to say, but If the US didn't think it would have some effect, I don't think they'd do it.

about 6 months ago

Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

diakka Collusion (482 comments)

Why is it that cell phone companies previously found it profitable only to sell phones on contracts, and now find it profitable to move slightly in the opposite direction?

Why were things so expensive before? I think it's simple: Collusion.
Previously, no cell phone company offered significant off contract savings for bringing your own device. This is all beginning to change with the advent of the iPhone and the drastic cost difference between high end phones and lower end Android devices along with cost negligible feature phones. The cell phone providers are beginning to see that there is benefit in differentiating themselves by offering non-contract discounts and so the benefits of colluding are decreasing. I believe there's still a lot of room for prices to fall.

Now, to the point of the savviness of consumers, offering long term payments and bundling are absolutely an effective way to obfuscate the cost of a product. Just take car sales for example: There are countless number of "payment buyers", when deciding how much to pay for the car, they think in terms of $xxx/mo. So it's only too easy for the greedy dealer to just up increase the loan amount, or interest rate on the loan to hide the real price. This is a real and effective sales tactic that is alive and well, and operates on basically the same principal since most consumers are programmed to think in terms of dollars per month. The average consumer is such a poor decision maker that it wasn't until recently with the changing cell phone landscape, that market forces were strong enough to make cracks in the united front of collusion by the major wireless providers.

about 8 months ago

Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

diakka Re: Ridiculous. (914 comments)

Actually the pain being dead is horrible. You can feel your flesh rot. This is why zombies eat brains, to make the pain of being dead go away.

about 9 months ago

Massachusetts Court Says 'Upskirt' Photos Are Legal

diakka So does this mean... (519 comments)

...going commando in a skirt is now indecent exposure?

about 9 months ago

3-D Printed Pelvis Holding Up After 3 Years

diakka Titanium? (82 comments)

Personally, I would have opted for adamantium.

about 10 months ago

Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down

diakka Re:What a Joke (92 comments)

Well, not to be rude, but you're guess couldn't be more wrong. I never said that I hadn't heard of them, in fact, I have been aware of their existence for many years, but as far as I know, Red Flag never saw success anywhere near that of QQ or Baidu, and I almost never heard it mentioned among my Chinese Linux using associates, of which I have quite a few. Granted, none of them work in government, but still, unless I'm a statistical anomaly, it's pretty good evidence that my assessment of Red Flag as a joke is spot on.

But if I am wrong, I'd love to hear about any major deployments of Red Flag or any awesome contributions to FLOSS that could be attributed to them.

about 10 months ago

Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down

diakka What a Joke (92 comments)

Red Flag always seemed to be a joke to me. I am not aware of anyone in my social circle that has used their products, much less put any Red Flag systems into production. Were any major software projects or code contributions even driven by Red Flag? Even the name Red Flag just sucks, it sounds like a Chinese nationalistic shanzhai version of Redhat. The marketing genius who came up with that one should just go jump off a building. Maybe black hole software would have been a better name, because that's where all their funding went.

about 10 months ago

PIN-Cracking Robot To Be Showed Off At Defcon

diakka Time lock (114 comments)

Just program in a lock with a progressive time interval for each failed attempt. Each failed attempt causes you to have to wait longer to try again. If you limited failed attempts to say, 50 consecutive failed attempts per day, then you could easily stretech out the time to brute force crack the key to months.

about a year ago

NHTSA and DOT Want Your Car To Be Able To Disable Your Cellphone Functions

diakka Great Plan! (405 comments)

What could possibly go wrong?

about a year and a half ago

Reps Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Legalize Mobile Device Unlocking

diakka Re:Paying off a subsidy that's already paid off (133 comments)

That is just the tip of the iceberg. The real benefit to the companies is not just the money they make from one individual customer, but by making contracts standard behavior, it makes the market less fluid and competitive. Customers can't easily switch to a slightly cheaper carrier before the contract is up, and so the carriers can continue to gouge the customers and keep profit margins from thinning out over time.

about a year and a half ago

Reps Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Legalize Mobile Device Unlocking

diakka A bit late (133 comments)

This bill would have never passed when it actually meant something to consumers. With the plethora of unlocked devices available on the market, T-Mobile has already begun offering favorable deals on no-contract plans where you pay for your own device, so it's only a matter of time before the rest follow suit. If this actually does pass, it just means that the financial incentive to the phone companies was simply too small to justify the cost of supporting a lobby against it.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: 2nd Spoken/Written Language For Software Developer?

diakka Re:Mandarin Chinese (514 comments)

I disagree with this at this point in time. First, Chinese is not a European language. A native speaker will require many years of study to achieve a level that will be even remotely useful in the workplace. I personally have spent about 6 years actively studying, more than 10 passively studying, and am just now at a level where I would feel comfortable functioning in a Chinese work environment. And I apologies for blowing my own horn, but people often tell me that my Chinese is the best of any westerner that they know. Guess what? I have yet to see any development jobs come my way because of it. There could always be a change in the future. That said, most of those types of jobs could just be given to a Chinese person with a high level of English. If you learn Chinese, do it because you are interested in learning Chinese because the ROI is pretty lousy. I suppose this could change in the future, but I kind of doubt it.

If anyone knows a job for someone with a CS/admin + Chinese background, feel free to message me.

about 2 years ago

Birth Control For Men Edges Closer

diakka This will change everything. (407 comments)

It's estimated that 1/2 of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned. Really, every child should be wanted by both parents. Willing parents are the best parents. If this world only had children that were wanted, the quality of child rearing that each child gets is going to be far better. Population explosion could possibly come under control as well.

more than 2 years ago

Exceptionally Preserved 2,600-Year-Old Brain Found

diakka Re:Intact human brain? (167 comments)

You clearly have never seen Return of the Living Dead. Just destroying the brain is not enough. You must ether be cremated or at least have an ample supply of brains to eat, otherwise you will be driven mad by the pain of your own flesh rotting.

more than 2 years ago

Why People Who Make Things Should Learn Chinese

diakka Re:There are fewer than 50 (588 comments)

Sorry, but you're wrong. 1500 characters won't get you much unless you're working vocabulary is much bigger. First, I know a little over 3000 characters and about 11,000 words, but I can barely handle newspapers without the aid of a dictionary, much less doctoral thesese. My reading speed is painfully slow. Second, because of my inability to process newspapers, newscasts, etc., I would not comfortably call myself fluent. Maybe a low level of fluency, but that is really pushing it. I'm hoping that once I get to around 15,000 words and 3500 characters, that I will be just about there.

While I do call in to question the GP's figure of 50, I would say that true fluency is a rare thing among westeners. A near native proficency can still make you a clebrity here.

more than 3 years ago


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