top Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing
... a notoriously difficult language to learn and particularly, to speak
If the Chinese language is really such a notoriously difficult language to learn (and to speak) there ought to be no one using it anymore, right?
I dunno about you, but I do think
/. has gone way too hyperbole !!
Actually, it is considered a notoriously difficult language for westerners to learn. I don't think that is hyperbole. "The hardest language and nearly impossible to learn" would be hyperbole. As someone who did learn Mandarin and spent a couple years in Asia speaking Mandarin with people on the streets pretty much all day every day, I can tell you it's about as different from English as you can get. Having also studied French, I can tell you it's much more difficult than picking up a Romance language.
If you wanted to pick apart a section of the quoted text as inaccurate, it would be "particularly, to speak". You could pick apart the fact misplaced comma, or you could just look directly at his meaning. That implies that of the parts of learning the language, speaking is the most difficult. This couldn't be more wrong for Chinese. If you break language into four tasks: speaking, listening, reading and writing, then speaking is by far the easiest. Reading an writing in Chinese is something that most foreigners I met in Asia never even attempted.
Totally agree. It's the same in reverse too. If you started with Chinese as your native tongue, then romance languages are very difficult too. This is due to the way sentences are constructed. I was doing some translation the other day and found that I often had to reverse the order of different phrases in the sentence to get the sentence to flow. There is one upside of starting with Chinese first and that is understanding the different tones within Chinese. Most of the westerners that I know who is learning or trying to learn Chinese struggle with tones. The words for mother, numb, horse, and to insult have very similar sounds as they are simply the 4 different tones for the same pinyin combination. Most of the time, if a native mandarin speaker says those for words (in mandarin) in quick succession, most westerners wouldn't be able to tell which is which. I know someone will now point out that a lot of Chinese can't distinguish between r and l, so learning Chinese first is not any better. But I want to point out that's because they were taught incorrectly and they think it's the correct pronunciation. Both the r and l sounds exist in mandarin so there is really no reason to get them wrong except if they weren't taught correctly.
Of course, if you learn both languages young enough then both languages are "easy". It's all perspective and when you are trying to learn each of the languages. Therefore, the statement aimed at the western audience is correct, it is notoriously difficult. But if the same statement were aimed at the Chinese, they will laugh mercilessly at you because it's pretty darn easy.
top Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?
You probably have telephone lines running through the house. One way to easily wire cat5e or cat6 cables is to run them the same way as the telephone wires. You open up the wall outlet for the telephone wire. Take it apart and tie the wire to a piece of string that is sufficiently long. Pull on the telephone wire in the basement until you see the string. Tie the cat cable to the string as well. Go back up stairs and pull on the string until both the telephone and the cat cable are up stairs. You can get a jack with both telephone and cat outlet from a electonrics hardware store and you can have ethernet cables running to all the telephone ports as well. Just repeat for the other jacks and you'll be wired in no time. Just remember to pick either 568a or 568b beforehand and stick to it. I recommend 568a because it's easy to wire into the punch block of the patch panel. As long as you stick to 568a the entire way through, everything should work out of the box.
top Google Quietly Nixes Mandatory G+ Integration With Gmail
Fair point regarding the Google+ search results. I guess I never really thought about that. I guess it's good that they reversed the result huh?
Not sure if I follow the real name policy argument. Personally, I understand that people want privacy and there was a huge outcry when Blizzard also required real names as part of their RealID row out. But at the same time I think the issue that both Blizzard and Google wanted to address was cyber-bullying by hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. I think everyone else just got caught in the crossfire because of a few bad actors. In all seriousness, neither Google nor Blizzard really benefits by having your real name. It's not like the earn money by knowing your name, they earn money by knowing your interests. Your name just doesn't give them that. And for them to require real names, there must be something else there. But then again that's just my 2 cents, take what you will.
top Google Quietly Nixes Mandatory G+ Integration With Gmail
Even if you had a Google+ account, if you didn't use it, what did it matter?
top China Bans iPad, MacBook Pro, Other Apple Products For Government Use
China has always been controlled from the center. In past eras, China has had technological and exploration advantages over the West that were wiped out by intrusion and isolation commanded from China's locus of concentrated power - whether via emperors, or the current regime.
Long run (maybe, even near-long-term) this does not bode well for China's prospects, because when one is sealed off from outside ideas and innovation, one will ultimately fall behind and adapt only in suboptimal ways. What results is a waste of social and intellectual capital.
That makes no sense. China just banned its government from using Apple products, not Apple products in general. It hasn't sealed itself from outside ideas and innovations at all. Chinese citizens can still buy iPads and iPhones so Chinese smartphone manufactures still has to compete.
Another reason why this may have happened that most people probably wouldn't think about is that this might be a move to fight corruption. iPads and iPhones have been vastly popular as "gifts" within the government. Banning the government from purchasing them as gifts would help to fight some of the corruption problem they're having.
top Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?
1. PPACA sets up a tax liability for all and a tax credit for those who gets health insurance.
2. Congress has the power to levy taxes (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 and amongst other places in Article I, Section 8 as well as the 16th Amendment)
3. Constitution does not forbid congress to pass legislation that enables citizens to receive tax credits. And the congress did that by the creation of an agency to help people get health insurance. "Federal and State Exchanges"
4. Therefore, PPACA is well within the power of congress according to the constitution.
The Supreme Court found this to be the case so if you think it's unconstitutional, you'll have to take it up with the Supreme Court. Although, they are highly unlikely to want to hear the case again.
You may think Obamacare is bad, in reality, insurance premiums are high because hospitals have to make up for its huge amounts of bad debt from treating people without insurance and can't play for their treatment. And since hospitals can't refuse emergency room patients, they take a huge loss. Not to mention, it clogs up the Emergency Room so that someone who absolutely needs Emergency Care may not receive it in time. To make up for that, the hospitals charge insurers a huge amount and provides really bad service. The wait time at certain hospital ERs are 4 to 6 hours. To fix the problem. you need to keep people out of the ER, make hospitals charge less.
The PPACA attempts to do that by:
1. Encouraging people to get insurance. It's ok if you don't, you'll just have to pay some more taxes.
2. If you have insurance, you go get seen by a doctor before you have to go to the ER. This reduces the stress on ER and ensures that the hospital's bad debt is reduced.
3. Hospitals are put on a new plan to get paid. Instead of a set fee for providing a service, they are now paid to manage the health of an individual. Before the incentive was to do as many tests and treatments with the patient as possible since the government paid up for each one. Now the hospital is paid a set fee to provide care towards 1 patient per month at a certain standard of care. If they do too many tests, that will eat into their margins. If they do too few tests and the patient gets really sick, then they fail the quality of care test and they get penalized on the payment. Either way, the hospitals will be incentivized to provide good quality of care without going overboard. And this will reduce the cost of care overall, which will in turn reduce healthcare insurance premiums.
Full disclosure: I work for a major pharmaceutical company on the impact of PPACA on their ability to access physicians and sell their products.
top Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?
Go to Business School. It's a huge investment, but it really lets you go anywhere that you want. Also it will allow you to build a pretty good network that you can leverage in getting that next awesome job.
top Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams
So they decided that it was dangerous and made it illegal to point lasers at air planes yet they think it's some how safe to point it at cars? Seems like someone forgot to sanity check their idea.
top Utah Bill Would Prevent Regional Fiber Networks From Growing
And this is why we can't have nice network infrastructures.
top Chrome's Insane Password Security Strategy
Your child needs better "friends."
Security is when you don't store your password in any browser in the first place. Consider your child's "friend" again. When your child is in the restroom, that "friend" can easily compromise your child's account by simply visiting the site (they're already logged in thanks to saved passwords).
top Kobo CEO Says Not Selling Washing Machines Key To Overtaking Amazon
Except that's just not how the market work. Focusing might sound good on the surface, but in reality it's not going to be the most successful. It might even be better for the customers that it has, but it's not going to make more money. First off, if you can buy everything from one place then you are used to and comfortable with buying stuff from that place, so a vast majority of people will buy stuff from that store. Who do you think sells more dog food in America, Petco or WalMart? Secondly, if you're a company with more revenue streams, you have more resources to develop new products, and you have more resources to hold yourself up between the time you release those products and the time you actually start making a profit off of them.
You can argue that Kobo's focusing could lead to
I'm just going to point out a few minor flaws in your argument. In Petco vs Walmart example, WalMart is still only in one industry, retail. This is considered relatively focused as far as the market is concerned. The issue with Amazon is that they've actually diversified outside of retailing such as Video Streaming, Cloud Vending, Logistics (third party sellers and Amazon then distributes), and other smaller segments. So Amazon is not focused. But on the other hand, Kobo is too focused. They only do one thing. But I totally agree with you that they need something amazing to beat Amazon since Amazon has such a head start on Kobo in the market.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is a spectrum of focus. 1. Ultra-focused: Petco and Kobo, 2. Focused: Walmart, 3. Not Focused: Amazon, 4. Conglomerates: 3M, Time Warner.
Corporate Finance basically tells that Ultra-focused companies usually end up in niche positions. Companies like Walmart generally do very well. Amazon will still do OK, because their "diversified" businesses come from core capabilities required to succeed at their core business, ie logistics and excess server power. And then conglomerates generally trade at a discount in the stock market because generally the disadvantages of diversification outweighs the advantages, and individual investors can diversify themselves as opposed to having to invest in diversified companies.
That being said, I don't think Kobo will be able to beat Amazon anytime soon. After all there aren't that many David vs Goliath stories unless there is mismanagement or the "Goliath" is resting on its laurels. about a year and a half ago
top Intel Says Clover Trail Atom CPU Won't Work With Linux
I can't see what possible benefit it is to Intel to deliberately limit the market for their processors. Unless they are doing this for Microsoft's benefit, in which case, surely, there are anti-trust implications?
I don't think they are doing this for MS's benefit. Microsoft already have such a large network effect, this will do almost nothing for MS. The network effect is how Microsoft and Intel became giants in the first place. Wintel machines of the late 80's and early 90's allowed them to quickly erase Apple market share. You can have a shitty product but the value proposition increased as the installed user base increased, so you'd still have to buy it. I think every agrees Win Vista was horrible. MS spent 1 billion dollars developing it and then broke even on Vista 2 month after release by moving 20 million units a month at $50-60 per unit net. Compare that to the original OSX, also about 1 billion to develop. $50/60 per unit (less for the newer kitties), but Apple only moved 19 million per year. It took Apple 2 years to break even. The advantage is already there, this will do very little for MS.
I think the issue that Intel is try to address for themselves is that supporting Linux/Android is painfully expensive because the Linux/Android space is very fragmented with many different versions of kernels, drivers, etc Supporting Win8 which is fairly uniform will reduce the cost of support.
Sure not limiting it to Win8 will potentially reduce revenue, but you also reduce costs. If the reduction in cost is greater than the reduce in revenue, you have positive increase in profitability.
top Fundamentalist Schools Using "Nessie" To Disprove Evolution
Existence of Nessie doesn't disprove evolution. Unfortunately evolution doesn't say Nessie can't exist, just very unlikely.
Anyway, if anything evolution tells us dinosaurs still roam the earth today. Or at least their descendants, the birds. So the "OMG Dinosaurs disprove evolution" is a bunch of non-sense..
top Ask Slashdot: Good Low Cost Free Software For Protecting Kids Online?
If you really need something to block things on the cheap then use PeerBlock (it's free). Then you can use the lists at iBlockList or look for some lists on the internet. There should some appropriate lists for you. Also you can white list servers individually if needed.
Diablo 3 Banhammer Dropped Just Before RMAH Goes Live
I think the DRM arising from being online is secondary. The biggest reason why the game has to be online all the time is the real money auction house (RMAH). If you allow RMAH and a off-line single player mode then you can hack your save games to get unique items. Then hop online to sell in the RMAH. Blizzard wouldn't want that.
top In Calif. Study, Most Kids With Whooping Cough Were Fully Vaccinated
Also, the article clearly points out that the vaccine works, just it's effect wanes over time. And it is recommended to get a booster. This extract grossly misquotes the intent of the article and undermines the work that the medical community does.
top In Calif. Study, Most Kids With Whooping Cough Were Fully Vaccinated
Let's put it this way. When you have a vaccine that works 95% of the time, and 99% of the kids are vaccinated. You'll have ~5% of the population contracting the disease despite being vaccinated. And the 1% of the population will contract the disease because they weren't vaccinated. You end with way more students that are vaccinated with the disease than those who are not vaccinated (absolute number wise). But it also ignored the fact that 94% of the population was protected against the disease.
top PSVita Released In the USA and Europe
I got my PSVita game and accessories last week from Amazon and just got the console today. Can't wait to go home and try it out. It's like Amazon did that on purpose to say, you should gotten the early launch bundle
No I'm not a fanboy, just an early adopter. I also purchased the 3DS the day it was available. I have a Wii and a PS3. No xbox because I'm not buying a system just to play Halo, and I suck at FPS anyway. OK I guess I could buy an xbox for Fable, but I was too addicted to WoW at the time to play anything else. Seriously I didn't even touch my Wii and PS3 for like an year and a half. >_>
top Ask Slashdot: What Would Real Space Combat Look Like?
As far as what kind of ships, my opinion is without very effective anti-laser defensive equipment, capital ships are just bad ideas. They make easy targets by fast small and agile fighters which can still punch holes in your defenses very quickly. A swarm of the smaller ships can quickly overwhelm the capital ship since the capital ship is easily detected where as the smaller ships have greater stealth characteristics and can approach virtually undetected until it's too late. Remember what I was saying earlier, if your opponents wouldn't even know the laser is coming until it hits them, then you have huge huge advantages of going small and stealth and building a larger number as opposed to capital ships.
If there was great anti-laser shielding equipment, then I'd imagine capital ships should still be useful as they can provide more fire power, carry more supplies, and travel further.
As far as if there would be wars or battles. I'd say that a space war will be drawn out over many many years or even generations as it takes a very long amount of time to travel the interstellar distances even if we are able to produce FTL travel techniques (which is unlikely in any event). Which means it's unlikely to have an all out space war. It'll be more likely to just be random skirmishes within a single stellar system.
top Ask Slashdot: What Would Real Space Combat Look Like?
Projectile weaponry would be fairly worthless given laser based counter measures that can shot down your projectiles long before they will reach their target. The only way to get them to hit is to overwhelm the defense system, which means huge amounts of resources wasted in trying to hit a target.
So the vast majority of weapon systems will be energy based. Lasers will not be visible until it hits you since it's moving at the speed of light. So in that respect you probably would not even see it until it's hit you. In fact you'll probably wouldn't even know that you are being fired at until something's hit you. Unless your opponents are using some sort of energy-emitting ("active") method of tracking your position, they would fire at you and you'd only know after you've been hit since classical information cannot travel faster than light or the laser itself.
If you have laser energy dissipating shields, then you'd see a blinding light splash across your shield when you get hit.
Now let's consider if you were in a space suit and in space and you're spectating. It's also likely that you wouldn't see much either. Lasers are monochromatic and does not scatter unless interrupted by particles. If vast stretches space, there is actually nothing there. In those regions, you wouldn't see the laser going between the ships. You will see when the laser impacts and does damage or if it is dissipated, but the whole Star Wars thing with the lasers that you can see? You wouldn't see them. If you are in a dust/gas field, then yes, the lasers will get deflected off the particles and you should see the laser. Of course laser based weapons will be less effective as it is hitting a whole bunch of stuff before it finds its way to the target. (You can think of a laser pointer at home. If you have a very clean room, no dust, then the laser point will point at whatever it is you're pointing at and you shouldn't see the beam itself. If you have dust in the room then the laser will illuminate the dust and you can make out the beam).
Continuing down the line of though, you probably wouldn't hear much if you didn't have a radio if you were in a space suit in space. Space is pretty much a vacuum and vacuums don't conduct sound unfortunately. Waves require matter to propagate (light is a special case) and sound is a wave. So without a radio, you get to watch the war in absolute silence (go watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, but ignore the orchestral accompaniment). But if you had a radio or was in a space ship, you'd hear explosions from the ship getting pummeled by laser batteries. But of course, if you were unlucky enough to get sucked out of the whole that was punched into your space ship, you'd very quickly be unable to hear anything before you died from suffocation or got incinerated by a second valley from the lasers.
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