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Language Log » Chinese characters and eyesight

Yet China and many other East Asian countries do not prize time outdoors. At the age of six, children in China and Australia have similar rates of myopia. Once they start school, Chinese children spend about an hour a day outside, compared with three or four hours for Australian ones.

The incidence of myopia is high across East Asia, afflicting 80-90% of urban 18-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The problem is social rather than genetic.

Commenting on the photographs accompanying these two posts, I remarked how Chinese children reading and writing often have a strained look on their face.  This may due to a variety of factors, including density of strokes, dim lighting, poor printing, and so forth.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that would seem to indicate a connection between myopia and Chinese characters

Commenting on the photographs accompanying these two posts, I remarked how Chinese children reading and writing often have a strained look on their face. This may due to a variety of factors, including density of strokes, dim lighting, poor printing, and so forth.

The questions is, though, why don't Chinese school children spend more time outdoors? Perhaps it's because they want to master those high maintenance characters, and to do so requires writing each one of them hundreds and hundreds of time so that one can recognize them accurately and reproduce them correctly when called upon to do so in tīngxiě 听写 ("dictation" [lit., "hear-write"]) quizzes.
opinion  chinese  writing  kid  eye  health  harm  research  reading  comparison  theory 
6 weeks ago by aries1988
'Game of Thrones' Lost Its Way as a Political Drama - The Atlantic

In its first half, and perhaps even for a season or two after leaving Martin’s books behind, the show trusted its audience enough to avoid allegory and the simplistic morality that comes with it. It trusted that the audience knew right from wrong, and knew that both could coexist within a character. It asked viewers to find their own messages in a series about a faux-medieval world of dragons and ice zombies—and take them or leave them as they saw fit. It would have been better if the show had ended that way.
tv  critic  2019  morality  history  fiction  writing 
12 weeks ago by aries1988
How the Inkas governed, thrived and fell without alphabetic writing

Instead of writing, the Inkas’ principal bureaucratic tool was the khipu. A khipu consists of a number of strings or cords, either cotton or wool, systematically punctuated with knots, hanging from a master cord or length of wood; pendant cords might also have subsidiary cords. The basis of khipu accounting practice was the decimal system, achieved by tying knots with between one and nine loops to represent single numerals, then adding elaborations to designate 10s, 100s or 1,000s. By varying the length, width, colour and number of the pendant cords, and tying knots of differing size and type to differentiate data, the Inkas turned the khipu into a remarkably versatile device for recording, checking and preserving information.

It is hard to see how alphabetic writing would have helped the Inkas to administer Tahuantinsuyu more efficiently: this was not an intensively governed empire but a federation of tribute-paying and politically allegiant provinces. In other spheres of government, such as law, writing would doubtless have made more of a difference, leading perhaps to the development of written law-codes, arguably even a ‘constitution’. But since writing was never developed, imperial rule remained weakly institutionalised, leading to a concentration of power and office, which meant that when the Sapa Inka was removed, there was little to fall back on.

Inka religion, which was broadly speaking animistic, acknowledged many gods, ranging from heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, stars) to topographical features (mountains, rivers, springs) to ancestors, whose earthly remains were venerated to a degree that baffled Europeans – although most of them made little attempt to understand such practices, disparaging them as heathen, folk-magic or simply childish.
americas  civ  opinion  writing  religion  fail  espagna 
january 2019 by aries1988
利器访谈:宝婷,记者、撰稿人、「不可理论」发起人 - 利器
Panasonic Lumix GF1:现在日常都是手机拍照了,旅行时才会带上这部微单相机。我买它的时候,GF 系列好像已经出到 GF5,GF5 的官配饼干头是 14mm/F2.5,远不如 GF1 的 20mm/F1.7 的定焦头。微博和豆瓣上一位曾在日本留学、画插画的小姐姐@林竹也是用的这部机器,样片可以在她的豆瓣相册看到,我的豆瓣相册里也有一些。当时还在香港读书的我,在二手买卖论坛找到卖家,花了 3800 港币入手了 95 新的 GF1。品相确实几乎全新,还配有多一块原装电池。续航能力也很棒,在巴黎旅行时每天拍大量艺术品,连续拍了 5、6 天,才用光一块电池的电量。它也非常适合拍人物。
podcast  writing  camera 
november 2018 by aries1988
Evolution of the English Alphabet (Matt Baker @usefulcharts)
RT : Ok, for those who would prefer the title to read "Latin Alphabet", here you go...
alphabet  history  infographics  comparison  west  writing  system 
april 2018 by aries1988
Fall In | Submitted For Your Perusal
When one thinks of the day as an abstract span of time, one does not go to bed with the chickens on a winter’s night: one invents wicks, chimneys, lamps, gaslights, electric lamps, so as to use all the hours belonging to the day. When one thinks of time, not as a sequence of experiences, but as a collection of hours, minutes, and seconds, the habits of adding time and saving time come into existence.

Because of the clock, Mumford continues, “Abstract time became the new medium of existence. Organic functions themselves were regulated by it: one ate, not upon feeling hungry, but when prompted by the clock: one slept, not when one was tired, but when the clock sanctioned it. A generalized time-consciousness accompanied the wider use of clocks: dissociating time from organic sequences….”
time  history  concept  life  season  productivity  howto  writing 
october 2017 by aries1988
Judith Kerr on refugees, Hitler and ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’

We loved the change, the interest of different places, and learning a language. I think the language is a huge thing because something that appears impossible, suddenly you find you’ve done it. I loved the brevity of French after the endless sentences in German. In 1935, two years after arriving in Paris speaking no French, she and her brother finished top in French in the final exams, she writes.
children  book  writing  writer  uk  ww2  nazi  kid  memory  refugee  france 
october 2017 by aries1988
野蛮生长 - 我的又一个五年 - 十五言
鼓舞我码字的一个缘由,是我加入了一个很棒的小型写作社区。一群“老司机”带路,写文顺畅了很多。比如“1793”这个集体写书项目,就是大家一起写1793年这个历史横断面,解答“世界如何进入现代”和“东方为何落后西方”两个问题。不同领域的人一起头脑风暴,很容易找到切入点。而相互竞争的写作气氛,让我几乎忘了所谓的写作障碍。“老司机”还教了我不少技巧,写作前要有充分的资料准备、不能把文章写得太散、多篇文章可以组织成一个系列等等。和这群有趣的作者认识,也让我和法律、文学、心理专业搭上线,开拓了不少视野。而凭着爱好、不以利益为前提的交往,格外让人舒心。
bio  phd  story  writing  life  programming  history  hobby 
september 2017 by aries1988
Taiwanese, Mandarin, and Taiwan's language situation
How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language

The main reason why written Cantonese could thrive in Hongkong to the extent that it has is due to the unique colonial experience under the British. Freed from the political controls and cultural dominance of the North China mandarinate for a century, the people of Hongkong were able to experiment with true vernacular writing.

Superficially (according to the surface signification of the two characters with which the name is customarily written), "Taiwan" means "Terrace Bay." That sounds nice, even poetic, but it is an inauthentic etymology and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual origins of the name.

The old sinographic form of this name is 艋舺 , which would be pronounced bɑ́ng-kah in Taiwanese. Here the radicals are useful in helping us to understand that this was an old word of the non-Sinitic indigenes for "boat." It was only during the Japanese occupation that the sinographic form of the name was changed to the two graphs meaning "Multitudinously Floriate." Phonologically this makes some sense in Japanese where they are pronounced banka, but not in Mandarin where they come out as Wanhua.

The main obstacle to the creation of an effective romanization for the whole of society is undoubtedly the affection for Chinese characters felt by a majority of the population.

extreme measures (kǒuzhū bǐfá 口誅筆伐 ["execute with the mouth and cut down with the pen"]) to prevent its happening. The irrational fury and uncomprehending linguistic fallacies that pervade this indignant denunciation of the mere suggestion of written Taiwanese are clear proof of the kinds of intimidation and pressures that have been brought to bear against writing in the regional vernaculars in China.

A century and more ago, it was still very close to the language of Amoy, but has now diverged sharply under the following influences: Malayo-Polynesian substrate borrowings, Dutch usages, Japanese elements, Mandarinisms, English loans, and so forth. Thus, by "Taiwanese" I mean the highly evolved form of Southern Min spoken on the island of Taiwan that can no longer be equated with any language spoken on the mainland of China.

We shall examine the processes whereby Taiwanese children are weaned away from their mother tongue and acquire in its stead a second language for the purpose of becoming literate.
taiwan  language  writing  history  china  chinese  opinion 
february 2017 by aries1988
Donald Trump, the First President of Our Post-Literate Age

The easiest way to grasp the difference between the written world and the oral world is that in the latter, there’s no way to look up anything. Before the invention of writing, knowledge existed in the present tense between two or more people; when information was forgotten, it disappeared forever. That state of affairs created a special need for ideas that were easily memorized and repeatable (so, in a way, they could go viral). The immediacy of the oral world did not favor complicated, abstract ideas that need to be thought through. Instead, it elevated individuals who passed along memorable stories, wisdom and good news.

platforms are fostering an emerging linguistic economy that places a high premium on ideas that are pithy, clear, memorable and repeatable (that is to say, viral).
socialnetwork  writing  speak  politics  trump  communication 
december 2016 by aries1988
梁文道:食譜的源起(食物之高級之四)

我們之所以瞭解古人的吃喝生活,是因為他們留下了記錄,而這些記錄,自然都是用文字書寫的。之前在這裏介紹過的人類學家古迪( Jackson Goody),他很敏感地意識到幾乎一切擁有高級烹飪傳統的社會都是有文字的文明。相反地,在他長年考察過的許多傳統非洲地區、不止國王和酋長吃得和庶民一樣,而且他們還沒有文字。

歐亞大陸上的各個國家可就不同了,不止國王,便連不少達官貴人都能雇得起專業人士替他們料理飲食。

這些男人與平時在家當煮飯婆的女子的最大不同,在於他們不止會做自己母親做過的菜,他們還會懂得做其他人的媽做過的菜。他們的辦法就是讀和寫,紀錄每個地方的傳統菜餚的烹調方式,紀錄每個家庭的獨到秘方,然後從全國甚至國外搜集這些菜譜,整理研究,再從裏頭推演出一套適合主子的精美菜單。而主子,就能在自己的宮廷裏頭吃到自己主宰的地區的所有特色。

歷史上有很長的時間(起碼在識字率普及以前),文字甚至還是一種壓迫的工具。在那個年代,在很多地方,讀寫文字不單不是每個人都要會的事,並且還不是每個人都有資格去學的本領。
food  writing  history  civ  royal  comparison  recette 
august 2016 by aries1988
Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age
Dr. Berninger said the research suggests that children need introductory training in printing, then two years of learning and practicing cursive, starting in grade three, and then some systematic attention to touch-typing.
research  writing  debate  digital  device  pen  brain  children  education  handwriting 
june 2016 by aries1988
ShareLaTeX, the Online LaTeX Editor
An online LaTeX editor that's easy to use. No installation, real-time collaboration, version control, hundreds of LaTeX templates, and more.
latex  online  tool  writing 
december 2015 by aries1988
English for Swedes
cheap vs. sheep (also: cheat sheet, chit-chat)
Yale vs. jail
line but linear (/layn/ but /li-ne-ar/, not /layn-ar/)
variable and variance have the stress on the first syllable.
analysis has the stress on the second syllable.
magazine and all other words with a z, which is generally not pronounced as an s.

in Swedish the verbs are not conjugated.

Avoid assigning actions to inanimate objects:
This thesis investigates algorithms. → In this thesis, I investigate algorithms.

In Swedish, no difference is made between opening and closing quotes. However, in most other languages a different glyph is used for the two. In English the opening quotes are inverted.
scandinavia  english  language  writing  advice  latex  comparison 
august 2015 by aries1988
Seth Brown's Writer Workflow
Mark Twain said that work and play are two words that describe the same thing under different conditions—I feel extremely lucky to be able to agree with him.

If I get stuck while writing, I use a few techniques to help me. Sometimes I start working on another project for a few days then go back to writing. Switching working environments and input devices can help. I move from working on the computer at my standing desk to an iPad on a chase. If I get stuck more than once or twice while working on a piece, it's usually a sign that my original ideas are flawed.
workflow  explained  interview  productivity  vim  writing  blog  work  home  tool 
august 2015 by aries1988
The 'Out The Door' rant
In his superb book Writing for social scientists (which should be renamed Writing for everyone), Howard Becker talks about the importance of being the kind of writer who can get stuff Out The Door. He suggests writers need to think more like companies who make gadgets like phones and computers. Electronic consumer goods companies have similar problems to writers, but they have shipping schedules they must stick to if they want to stay in business.

The engineers will want to delay shipping until the product matchs the vision in their heads, but the marketing people will be happy with ‘good enough’. Even if the new gadget is rough around the edges, the marketing people will still make the engineers get it Out The Door. According to Becker the logic of the marketing people is simple: if it sells, there will be money for to build the next version. The next version will be be better, but, meanwhile, this one will do (some companies are great at doing this and still turning a massive profit).

The problem with intellectual labour is, although it can be hard, the effects of the struggle are not visible. My very favourite scene in the sitcom Big Bang Theory is where two of the characters, Sheldon and Raj, are collaborating on a physics problem. The scene consists of jump cuts of the two scientists, staring at equations on a whiteboard, while the theme to the movie ‘Rocky’ plays. The scene perfectly captures the inner experience of intellectual struggle vs the outer appearance of … well, pretty much nothing.

So remember: your inner engineering department does not always have your best interests at heart. You may not like your inner marketing department, but when they do their job properly you won’t go broke. Repeat after me: Perfect is the enemy of Done. Speaking of which – I’m off to finish editing that chapter now. The marketing people are nagging at me to ship it already.
book  writing  academia  thesis  howto  psychology  instapaper_favs 
july 2015 by aries1988
Reverse Outlines
Over the coming weeks, I will discuss five key strategies for improving academic writing. I have chosen these five simply because they are the ones that I most…
It is generally more efficient to treat broader structural issues before spending time on individual sentences; the structural edit, done right, can dramatically change a text. You do not want to expend energy on sentence-level improvements before making some broader decisions about what will stay and what will go.

4. Analyze this outline, assessing the logic (where elements have been placed in relation to one another) and the proportion (how much space is being devoted to each element).

This strategy is effective because it creates an objective distance between you and your text. A reverse outline acts as a way into a text that might otherwise resist our editorial efforts. As we discussed when we looked at revision, we often find our drafts disconcerting: we know they are flawed but making changes can seem risky. A reverse outline can give us purpose and direction as we undertake the valuable process of restructuring our work.
writing  workflow  howto  edit 
july 2015 by aries1988
Are you on the same page as your supervisor?
This post is by Cassily Charles from Charles Sturt University – a fellow thesis whisperer. Cassily is the Academic Writing Coordinator for Higher Degree by…
writing 
july 2015 by aries1988
William Zinsser, Author of ‘On Writing Well,’ Dies at 92
Mr. Zinsser was a prolific author, editor and teacher, but it was his role as an arbiter of good writing that resonated widely and deeply.
writing  writer 
may 2015 by aries1988
Language Log » An Eighteenth-Century Japanese Language Reformer
In India, though, using fifty characters, [87] they have written and passed down over five thousand volumes of Buddhist texts. [88] Just knowing fifty characters, it is possible to know and transmit a limitless number of words from both past and present.
japanese  chinese  language  writing 
april 2015 by aries1988
汉字、国家与天下
由于汉语以单音节为主,同音字的数量太多,所以汉字的发展走向了表意的道路,着重字形构义,以免同音字造成误会与不便,这种特征和语音辨义的拼音文字大异其趣,开发了拼音文字所不具备的视像世界。

至于中国,白话文运动和国语运动更是民族国家建立计划的一部分。可别忘了,自清末开始,“中国不算是一个国家”和“中国人是一盘散沙”的哀叹就已渐成共识。要让中国人团结起来,语言统一是极其必要的;要让中国人没有内在的区隔,把本属士绅阶层的书写能力交还给大众,也是不可避免的。白话文的推行,汉字的改革,以及标准普通话的成立,全是中国建成民族国家的核心工程。
chinese  language  writing  history  essay  nation  change  mandarin  instapaper_favs 
march 2014 by aries1988
How to write faster
Often the ‘industry standard’ software is not the best tool for the job. Take Word processors as just one example. You must move back and forth over the text to achieve flow and make sure everything is in the right place. If you can move around your documents more easily your writing speed will increase. Unfortunately the industry default, MS Word, does not, out of the box, perform this task well.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know this is the key reason I am a huge Scrivener fan. Scrivener is a different kind of word processor that enables you to write ‘chunks’ and move them around easily (you can read more about Scrivener here and download a free trial here).

To organise my notes for writing a literature review I often use a matrix, which can be thought of as an adhoc, home made database. I got this idea from the “My Studious Life” blog, where Jenn often shares useful tips and ideas. A literature review matrix is simply a fancy grid (use Excel or a google spreadsheet) where the columns contain notes from the papers you have been reading and the rows are assigned to various themes. You can use the same basic principle to build a data analysis grid with variables in the rows and observations in the columns. I’ve made a downloadable worksheet to guide you in making your own matrix.

By forcing you to articulate the gaps or uncertainties, these sentence scaffolds help you to confront your doubts about your work in a piecemeal fashion. Since you are producing ‘thesis ready’ sentences at the same time, the process of thinking and writing is less anxiety provoking.
phd  moi  writing  howto 
january 2014 by aries1988
LaTeX Templates
{ The best source of free quality LaTeX templates }
tool  latex  writing 
march 2013 by aries1988
Using Skim with Scrivener for researching & writing your Thesis « Doctoral School blog
Every Wednesday night, between 19:30 and 20:30 UK time [1], a ‘brood’ [2] of doctoral researchers from different time-zones gather under the Twitter hashtag #phdchat, for a synchronous chat about different aspects of doctoral research. The week before last, the selected topic was the Literature Review. I mentioned that I often used Skim alongside Scrivener (on a Mac), and was asked if I could explain my workflow a bit, which is what I’ve tried to do here.

Please bear with me: these are not comprehensive instructions for these programs, but a brief introduction to each of them, followed by a description of how I integrated them into my thesis-writing workflow. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to help, or better yet, refer you to better source to provide you with answers

(I used a fantastic little program called ‘Skitch‘ to add the numbers, arrows and circles to the images in this post)
research  writing 
october 2012 by aries1988
虬髯鹤 » 严重推荐写作软件 Scrivener
如果你需要经常写长一点的文章,无论是学术文还是报告,或者是小说、剧本,那么你绝对绝对应该使用 Scrivener。
writing  mac  software 
august 2012 by aries1988

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