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Is the Era of Groundbreaking Science Over?

jacksonyee Re:This ain't the first time ... (470 comments)

I've been living in China teaching English for two years now, and I can tell you that the locals themselves are quite wary of bad copies coming out of their own factories. The Chinese are indeed good at copying things, but not all of the copies necessarily work so well, and the few that do are still far behind most of the originals in one area or another.

Now, if you want to talk about the Japanese or the Germans for taking our original inventions and making them better, then I'm with you all the way. The Chinese? They still have a while to go before overcoming their issues, especially when the cheapskate culture is so widespread around here.

about a year and a half ago

Asus PadFone Combines Smartphone, Tablet, Keyboard

jacksonyee Re:Tablets (77 comments)

I own a Nokia N900 3.5" smartphone, a cheap $80 Chinese knockoff 7" tablet that's basically the equivalent of a Nook, and an Asus 12" netbook, and I can tell you that the 7" tablet definitely comes in handy for many situations.

  • It's just the right size to fit into your pants' pocket (if you prefer pants with large pockets like most geeks that I know tend to).
  • The screen size makes reading eBooks much more enjoyable than on a phone, and you can carry it around in your hand without having it being awkward like the 12" netbook.
  • It's wonderful for showing off pictures or videos to a group of people who don't have to squint to see the 3.5" screen.
  • It's great for watching movies on the bus, the train, or the plane.
  • The 7 hour battery life means that I can use it for about a whole day without worrying about draining my smartphone's battery and not being able to receive a call when I need to.
  • When you need to pacify your cousin's kids or your own students while waiting, you can just pull it out, let them play games on it for a couple of minutes, and don't have to worry about them breaking it or deleting your important documents.

There are definitely a lot of things that I find lacking in Android, but for the most part, it does what I want it to do. You may think that a tablet won't do anything for you, but try it out for a month or so. It really is quite convenient for a whole class of situations.

more than 2 years ago

Senate Lets Teachers, Students Be Facebook Friends

jacksonyee Re:Wait, what? (66 comments)

Yet another great example of our congressmen throughly reading the very laws that they vote upon...

If only most Americans had somewhat decent interest in politics beyond the narrow confines of our own lives, we could catch things like this much sooner before they became a media worthy issue in the first place. Oh well, at least this is one win for sensibility in this case, unlike some of the recent SCOTUS cases. Cheers!

more than 2 years ago

NASA Sells Space Food, Shuttle Tiles To Schools

jacksonyee Re:Could be a great learning tool (120 comments)

It's really no problem at all.

If you plan on teaching in one of the larger cities, then it would be very good to have a Bachelor's Degree in some English-related subject. Barring that, you can pick up a 100 hour TEFL/TESL certificate in about a month, which will open up the door to many schools.

If you head to one of the smaller cities where foreigners are a bit harder to come by, then you really don't need any qualifications at all. All you have to be is a native speaker who is willing to take the time and the energy to teach, and many schools will happily accept you.

Just be warned that although China is a reasonably modern place in many aspects, coming from the Western world is still a huge culture shock in terms of how things are done around here, so be prepared for a lot of adjustments. Since you're coming from Germany rather than the U.S. though, you will probably have an easier time than I did adjusting to the metric system and the public transportation systems here.

Since China's wages are still about 1/10th that of us in the Western world, you will definitely not be making any money to take back to Germany, but it's still a fun experience, especially if you enjoy working with kids. The younger Chinese kids are *NOT* shy at all, but the older they get, the more shy they seem to become. All in all, it's been a good experience.

about 3 years ago

NASA Sells Space Food, Shuttle Tiles To Schools

jacksonyee Re:Could be a great learning tool (120 comments)

When I was growing up, it was ST: TNG which got me interested in science along with Mr. Wizard and a whole lot of good teachers along the way who introduced me to model rocketry, optics, and home chemistry sets. We've advanced so much since then in terms of homebrew projects and access to information via the Internet, but have also lost a lot in terms of freedoms and regulations since 9/11. So many things that we used to do because we were kids and sorely for fun are now outlawed or frowned upon in this time and age. It's hard to say whether this generation will have an easier time growing up than we did.

The thing that I've found after switching careers from a programmer in the U.S. to an English teacher in China is that kids are amazing resilient and playful wherever they are. All you have to do is to give them the right tools, a little push along the way, and it's incredible what they can accomplish. Now, the U.S. educational system is still an order of magnitude better than the Chinese one in many ways, but the rest of the world is catching up slowly, and it's quite possible that the playing field will be leveled in our lifetimes. I sorely wish that my current students will have a chance to get outside of the standardized testing mindset and be able to develop their own thoughts and ideas for themselves, but it's an uphill climb against society in both countries for different reasons. All we can do as teachers is to try.

about 3 years ago

NASA Sells Space Food, Shuttle Tiles To Schools

jacksonyee Re:Probably costs a lot (120 comments)

Half the guys over here live on $2 a day, so even $1 would be a lot out of their pockets. 8-(

Now, if every adult male in the U.S. contributed $5, I could definitely go for that. It's about as good as the $3 campaign contributions on your taxes that you keep getting nagged about every year, and it would go to something that I could tell my kids about rather than how things used to be when the shuttle was still running and we could send our own astronauts to the ISS. [sighs]

about 3 years ago

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

jacksonyee Good Luck With Everything, Rob! (1521 comments)

I was in high school when one of our fellow lab assistants by the name of Lucas (although I cannot remember his last name to save my life at the moment) introduced me to Slashdot in 1997. It was one of the few sites that I went to everyday along with ESPN and the New York Times. I've lost my login three times since then, so I will definitely not be competing with the rest of you for lowest UID status, but I can definitely say that this is one of the sites which has really influenced me throughout the years, and has helped me view all of the marvels of life from perspectives foreign to my own. I know that we complain a lot here about broken JavaScript, CSS, and the horrors of Slashcode, but at the end, other than Arstechnica, this is the place that I come to for stories that interest me.

Thanks for all of your work here, Rob. I never knew you personally, but your contributions have shaped our generation more than you'll ever know. May God bless you in all of your future endeavors.

about 3 years ago

How To Ruin Your Game's PC Port

jacksonyee Re:Who else mis-read the title? (244 comments)

That was about my sentiment as well, only my brain added:

But jeez... I don't have that old ISA SoundBlaster card with the game port on it anymore...

[dons long, white beard and fake glasses] These younger kids probably don't even know what a game port is anymore. Now get off my lawn!

more than 3 years ago

41% of Chinese Websites Shut Down In 2010

jacksonyee Re:To answer your question (203 comments)

It's interesting that you should use the word "normal" in your post, because here in China, Internet filtering is indeed normal, the same way that you would considering post-9/11 groping to be normal and being constantly watched in the streets of London normal. Do I agree with it? Certainly not, but every place has its own culture and laws, and for the most part, the modern Chinese people are getting along just fine without trying to fit in with Western ideals.

It's actually quite amazing to me how much China has progressed from the days of the Cultural Revolution though. Between all of the new high-tech buildings, the girls in miniskirts out on the streets, the new high speed train which rivals the Japanese, and the huge influx of luxury items, it's hard to believe that this was a nation torn apart and hungry just half a century ago. Now, I believe that the Bill of Rights (not the Constitution itself, due to that nasty 3/5th compromise) is one of the greatest ideas in history, but China has placed economic freedom above political freedom in its efforts to pacify its people, and having a chance to be here and talk to various people, I've actually found that it's working decently well.

Not every place is like the U.S., but not every place is like the Middle East either. I really don't know how the "China model," as it's often called, is going to end up, but to be honest, propaganda is everywhere. How many times have you watched a commercial where everything was true? How many people do you know who watch Fox news or listen to Rush Limbaugh? Even NPR and the BBC have their own biases. How many actual, purely objective articles can you find in the mainstream media? Certainly, we don't have the state mandated media in the U.S. like China does, but the important thing to accept is that everyone has their own propaganda, no matter where they are. It's just a matter of which ones you agree with and which ones you don't.

Do the things that work for the U.S. automatically work in China? It's going to be very interesting to find out in the next ten to twenty years as China continues developing and opening up to the world. I'm curious to see how this huge housing bubble and the enormous debts of the local governments are going to turn out, but there's no denying China's growth and advancement in the last 30 years. With Russia's fade from glory, I'm hoping that some competition can get the U.S. out of its current funk and start being the country that we're capable of being. If not, China will be glad to sell us everything that we need, and once they get past the copying stage and start innovating for themselves, it's going to be scary.

more than 3 years ago

41% of Chinese Websites Shut Down In 2010

jacksonyee Re:Quick experiment for you /.ers currently in Chi (203 comments)

Just tried it here from Kunming with the results:

Wikileaks Cables Say No Bloodshed Inside Tiananmen Square 235
Bing Censoring All Simplified Chinese Language Queries 214
Chinese Social Websites Go Under "Maintenance" 84
Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Others Blocked In China 151
20 Years After Tiananmen, China Stifles Online Dissent 235
China Blocks YouTube, Again 127
China Makes Arrests To Stop Internet Porn 204
China Does U-Turn, Lifts Ban On Websites 133
China Allows Access to English Wikipedia 219
Users Rage Against China's 'Great Firewall' 277
Yahoo Confirms Beijing Blocking Flickr 163
Helping Other Big Brothers Go High Tech 97
Yahoo China has the Worst Filtering Policy 184
Poor Spelling Beats Google's China Filter 248
Business At The Price Of Freedom 254
China Prosecuting Webmaster Over Site 27
Follow us: Twitter Facebook RSS Feed

Stupid Slashdot not respecting my pre element...

more than 3 years ago

41% of Chinese Websites Shut Down In 2010

jacksonyee Re:To answer your question (203 comments)

I've been a daily Slashdot reader since 1997, and I've been exploring China since March of this year. The only time that I've ever had Slashdot blocked was with the Falen Gong article a couple of months back. Apparently, there was a url keyword detection routine which filtered the page out. Every other page has loaded just fine. Fortunately, since I have a shell account on a U.S. server, ssh -D [port] got around it quite nicely.

I'm not sure how it is in the rest of the country, but here in Kunming, if you run a website, you have to have it registered with the police, which means that someone is probably periodically checking on your site to make sure that the content is considered appropriate and "harmonious." It is definitely a big brother approach, but considering the situation with the cameras in London, Homeland Security in the U.S., and the filtering in Australia, I really can't see an open web besides perhaps a couple of the European countries. To be honest, it reminds me an awful lot of the early gated communities like AOL, only this time, we're dealing with government rather than corporate interests.

Youtube, Dailymotion, Twitter, Facebook, and other such sites are blocked on a constant basis requiring a VPN or SOCKS proxy to get around. It's a bit of an annoyance, but most people around here simply use the native Chinese versions and don't notice anything of the outside world. It's only us foreigners that really know what's going on.

On the one plus side, China Telecom has a 3G mobile data plan with a 100 hour per month limit. I haven't found a data cap on it yet, and I used 17GiB last month watching Stargate: Universe. It's 500 yuan for the adapter and 400 yuan for six months, which works to ~67 yuan, or slightly over $10 per month use. Take that, AT&T!

Whenever I finish exploring here and get to Europe, I'll get a chance to see how all of you fancy Europeans have been haggling us Americans about our data plans and cell phones for years. ;-)

more than 3 years ago

Firefox 8 20% Faster Than Firefox 5

jacksonyee Re:Wow, talk about version inflation (441 comments)

I'm giving up my mods on this thread to post this, but I simply couldn't resist jumping in with Buzz Lightyear's

To infinity... and beyond!

Personally, I think we should just start going to build numbers for every project. Having Firefox 76,326,358 would certainly take care of that annoying Chrome rivalry. ;-) Then perhaps geometric sequences, Taylor series, quantum dynamics... software versioning would never be the same again!

more than 3 years ago

Chinese Officials Need a Better Photoshopper

jacksonyee Re:Multiple parody pictures (105 comments)

The best thing about these parody pictures is that they actually made it onto CCTV Nightly News, one of the most watched programs in China where I first saw these pictures. I do have to say that I'm rather partial to the moon landing one where they're in the background myself. 8-)

more than 3 years ago

Massive Black Hole Devours Star

jacksonyee Re:Harmful? (77 comments)

I would think that articles concerning the Big Bang would predate the 4 billion years of this story, so probably not. If you consider our past discussions about multiple universes, oscillating universes, and so forth, it becomes even more muddy. I personally would like it just fine if Slashdot managed to make it no more than a week behind the headlines on other sites, versus the months to years that we get sometimes around here. Still, there is no other site on the Internet besides Arstechnica that has the range and intelligence found in some of the comments here.

more than 3 years ago

Just Months After Jeopardy!, Watson Wows Doctors

jacksonyee Re:Computer... (291 comments)

In the case of a medical doctor, why even bother Geordi? We already have an excellent holographic doctor which Robert Picardo has played for seven seasons and a movie.

I'm a doctor, not a doorstop!

more than 3 years ago

Google Founders' Jets Caught On WSJ's Radar

jacksonyee Re:so what? (427 comments)

There are plenty of people in the Western world who have the dedication to save energy in their daily lives. You just don't hear about them in the media because it's really not all that interesting to make a story about how someone is air drying clothes instead of using the dryer or buying a fuel efficient car instead of a gas guzzler because of their personal insecurities.

Also keep in mind that the "Western world" is not just the United States, but also includes Europe and other countries as well. According to Wikipedia, the average American consumes 11.4 kWh, while the Japanese and Germans consumes only 6 kWh, which is a huge difference.

Here in China, we consume 1.6 kWh per person, but thanks to our huge population and developing industries, we use almost as much energy as the U.S. India is about ten years behind us in development, but I suspect that they will be on a similar track soon.

On a personal level, it's not really all that hard to make a significant dent in your energy usage, and I'm not talking about changing out incandescents for CFLs either. Just simple things like not using the dryer as much, changing the thermostat a couple of degrees, and driving a bit less make a huge difference. I'm not a global warming doom-sayer by any means, but this is our planet. It's our responsibility to try to keep it as clean as it can for our children. Sure one person is not going to make a difference on the global scale, but every movement starts from somewhere.

more than 3 years ago

Idle: Four Injured In iPad Fight At Beijing Apple Store

jacksonyee New Record for Slashdot Being Current (194 comments)

I just read this article on China Daily this morning about the mad rush for iPad 2s' today, saw a clip of this story on CCTV News half an hour ago, then come to read Slashdot only to find out that this story is the top of the front page. I've been reading Slashdot since 1997, and I'm used to stories being submitted days, weeks, months, and sometimes years after the fact. Apple fans going crazy for new products is too trite for news nowadays, but Slashdot being current is a rather creepy occurrence... I'm not sure whether to be pleased or to expect Duke Nukem Forever to be released next...

A more interesting article from the site is the wearable cat ears that move to your expressions. How long before all of the Cosplay girls start adopting these?

more than 3 years ago

USC Researchers Demonstrate Real-Life Gmail Motion

jacksonyee Congratulations to the USC Team (32 comments)

After the tragedy/comedy combination that was April Fool's Day, it's nice to see someone taking a joke and turning it into someone useful. As a poster mentioned earlier yesterday, it would be quite nice to give Outlook the finger and have a sad face or a pouting puppy popup on your computer. That would take a large amount of the users' and tech support's rage out.

I am by no means in favor of a Minority Report-style interface for everyday computing, but it would be useful in certain situations. To release this software in a day is something that I would have expected only from the collegiate level, particularly from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, or Berkley. Keep the good work up, USC.

more than 3 years ago

Over Half a Decade, China Closed 130,000 Internet Cafes

jacksonyee Re:Hmm (121 comments)

About the same thing happened with me. I recently moved back to China and thus did not have my ID card yet. My little brother went and got us both into an Internet gaming place with no questions asked. Of course, it seems that most of the people there did nothing more than to play Counterstrike, World of Warcraft, or little puzzle games all day, and I'm well over 21, but I don't really consider this a big deal. It reminds me of going to R rated movies back in the days where you knew your friends working at the box office and no one really cared as long as the theatre got their money. I haven't heard of anyone playing Everquest for 72 hours straight and getting themselves killed here in China yet, and we have larger issues to deal with like the economy and providing medical care for everyone.

more than 3 years ago


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