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Remapping LA - Guernica
"Before California was West, it was North and it was East: the uppermost periphery of the Mexican Empire, and the arrival point for Chinese immigrants making the perilous journey from Guangdong."



"Open any contemporary map of LA and you can see the exact spot where the Mexican gives way to the American: Hoover Street, just west of downtown, in which angled Mexican streets bend to accommodate the US grid. In a 2010 essay, Waldie described that point as “crossing from one imperial imagination to another.” A shift in power, in place and identity—all marked by a single line.

***

In his map, Ord diligently marked street names, topography, and the families to whom designated agricultural lands belonged. (Many of these names now remain in Los Angeles memory as city streets: Sepulveda, Vignes, and Sanchez.) Ord, however, omitted one crucial feature: the plaza.

The city block that it occupies made it into the map. But the plaza itself went unlabeled. Perhaps it was an oversight, an urban feature that may have seemed inconsequential to a surveyor from the East Coast. The omission, however, marginalized a crucial feature of Los Angeles.

Under Mexican rule, the bare plaza—a photo from 1862 shows a rough square crisscrossed by footpaths—had been of critical importance. It anchored social and civic life in the city: a site of weddings and inaugurations, and, ultimately, the place where United States military commanders parked their troops when they invaded during the Mexican-American War—complete with brass band playing “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Even more, the plaza represents an important facet of the mestizo, an urban space that mixes elements of the indigenous and the European. In the early days of colonization, plazas in Spain were small, medieval affairs, tucked into a city’s available spaces. But plazas among Mesoamerican cultures were power centers—larger, more open, more ceremonial, more central, often surrounded by a settlement’s most important buildings. In his engaging 2008 book The Los Angeles Plaza, William David Estrada notes that the vibrant plazas that developed in Latin America, “especially in Mexico, were as much a product of the Indian world—the world of the Maya, Toltec, and Aztec before the conquest—as they were European.”

The Plaza de Los Angeles, therefore, is not simply a random green space. It is the urban embodiment of a non-Anglo, hybrid American space—American, in the sense of belonging to the continent, not simply the US. Of the 44 pobladores who arrived from Sinaloa, Durango, and Jalisco, and who founded the City of Los Angeles in 1781, only two were Spaniards. Most of the people were indigenous, mixed-race, black, or mestizo. The plaza was their shared space—a space that reflected the city’s location, not as a Western outpost, but as a Northern one.

Today, the Plaza de Los Angeles is lined with stately trees and punctuated by a bright bandstand. It is a prominent tourist attraction, part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument that includes nearby Olvera Street, a passageway stuffed with vendors dispensing ceramics, ponchos, and hot churros dipped in sugar and cinnamon. The plaza is no longer the center of civic life in Los Angeles, but it remains an important social space. On weekends, musicians entertain Latino families who attend religious services in the area, then descend on the square to eat and dance.

In the popular imagination, LA is often cast as a Westside yoga girl who’s into colonics and kale. But Los Angeles is more likely to be a little Mexican girl, grooving to a cover of “Juana La Cubana” in the plaza—a space her ancestors helped devise.

***

As important as the plaza has been to Mexican life, it has been critical for other groups, too—in ways both poignant and chilling. That takes me back to the simple map that hangs at the Chinese American Museum.

Shown on the map is a short lane that once ran parallel to Los Angeles Street, just off the plaza. Sometime during the era of Mexican independence, it became known as Calle de Los Negros. As the story goes, one of the alcaldes (mayors) of the era baptized the street after the mixed-race families who lived there, and the name stuck. After California was ceded to the US, Calle de Los Negros was Anglicized to “Negro Alley”—never mind that most the people who lived there by the end of the nineteenth century were Chinese.

Calle de Los Negros, in fact, was the site of a notorious riot known as the Chinese Massacre of 1871. The ruckus started when a white man was accidentally killed in crossfire between two Chinese groups. In the wake of his death, a mob of 500 people “of all nationalities”—including police officers, a city council member, and a reporter—began a brutal assault on any and all Chinese people living in Negro Alley. Some were lynched; others were shot. Bodies were mutilated and dragged. An estimated 17 people died; seven men were ultimately convicted for manslaughter.

It was an episode of vicious anti-Asian sentiment that drew international headlines. It also drew attention to a street whose name was born of racism—racism that carried into Los Angeles map-making. Calle de los Negros was frequently referred to in English as “Nigger Alley.” And in some early twentieth century maps, it is that appalling pejorative that appears as official map nomenclature, including on the historic sheet at the Chinese American Museum.

Today, all that remains of Calle de los Negros are the maps. The lane was later renamed Los Angeles Street. In the 1950s, it was razed and replaced with a freeway on-ramp and a parking lot. Sometimes ugly histories are also erased from the faces of cities and their maps.

In the 1930s, much of old Chinatown was bulldozed to make way for Union Station. The community was relocated a few blocks to the north, to a complex of fanciful buildings that bear the flourishes of Chinese temple architecture. The new Chinatown is less residential and more commercial, cluttered with restaurants and tourist markets and a photogenic statue of Bruce Lee (not to mention a singular Asian-Mexican gas station). Subsequent generations of Chinese immigrants have chosen not to live in this area. Instead, they have moved to communities such as Alhambra and Monterey Park, further east.

But one vestige of the old Chinatown still survives: the Garnier Building, a red brick, Romanesque Revival structure completed in 1890. The Garnier, which appears in the map at the museum, once served as an important hub for Chinese life in Los Angeles. It was here that residents could visit the herb shop, get access to financial services, and support organizations that fought for citizenship rights. (The Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese Americans from applying for citizenship until 1943.)

The Garnier is now the home to the Chinese American Museum, which helps preserve the community’s history. A small courtyard marks the entrance to the museum, where paper lanterns bob in the breeze. It is a touch of Asia in a structure that lies between tilted streets with Spanish names, just steps from the Plaza de Los Angeles.

To look at Los Angeles as West is to see a charming, yet incomplete, picture of Los Angeles. It is one narrative that overwrites many. The Los Angeles of the West is a Los Angeles molded to Anglo preconception. It is a Los Angeles of railroads and Hollywood. It is the end of the line.

The Los Angeles of the North and the East has been here for centuries, and it is everywhere. It has given Los Angeles its name and its grid. It has shaped the city’s architecture and supplied its most distinctive flavors. It is Chicano teens drinking Taiwanese bubble tea on an avenue called Cesar Chavez. It is Latino families flocking to a 1960s American diner that’s been converted into a pan-Asian noodle joint. It is Asian low-riders and Salvadoran sushi chefs. It is the point of entry—the beginning."
carolinamiranda  us  california  losangeles  history  maps  mapping  cartography  2019  china  chinese  mexico  architecture  cities  plazas  power  east  west  orientation  chinatown  canon  djwaldie 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Haw flakes - Wikipedia
"Haw flakes (Chinese: 山楂餅; pinyin: shānzhā bǐng) are Chinese sweets made from the fruit of the Chinese hawthorn. The dark pink candy is usually formed into discs two millimeter thick, and packaged in cylindrical stacks with label art resemblant of Chinese fireworks. Some Chinese people take the flakes with bitter Chinese herbal medicine.[1]"



"Traditionally Haw flakes used to be given to children for the deworming of digestive tract parasites.

Gourmet haw flakes are also available at specialty Chinese markets. Gourmet haw flakes tend to be larger than the Shandong haw flakes (gourmet haw flakes are about 35–40 mm in diameter where as the Shandong haw flakes are about 25 mm in diameter.)"



"Haw flakes have been seized on several occasions by the United States Food and Drug Administration for containing Ponceau 4R (E124, Acid Red 18), an unapproved artificial coloring.[2][3] Ponceau 4R is used in Europe, Asia and Australia but is not approved by the US FDA.

Currently, Haw flakes contain Allura Red AC (FD& C #40) as the red coloring. In Europe, Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by children. The food coloring was previously banned in Denmark, Belgium, France and Switzerland."
food  hawflakes  china  chinese  candy 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Different languages: How cultures around the world draw shapes differently — Quartz
"How do you draw a circle? We analyzed 100,000 drawings to show how culture shapes our instincts"



"Did you start at the top or bottom? Clockwise or counterclockwise? New data show that the way you draw a circle holds clues about where you come from.

In November, Google released an online game called Quick, Draw!, in which users have 20 seconds to draw prompts like “camel” and “washing machine.” It’s fun, but the game’s real aim is to use those sketches to teach algorithms how humans draw. By May this year, the game had collected 50 million unique drawings.

We used the public database from Quick, Draw! to compare how people draw basic shapes around the world. Our analysis suggests that the way you draw a simple circle is linked to geography and cultural upbringing, deep-rooted in hundreds of years of written language, and significant in developmental psychology and trends in education today.

Circles, a universal form

Revered by the ancient Greeks, essential to Islamic art, and venerated in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, circles are a universal shape. No matter where you begin, there are really only two ways to draw a circle, a single stroke heading clockwise, or a single stroke heading counterclockwise.

Google’s dataset contains 119,000 unique circles drawn by people in 148 countries, and includes coordinates for the path traced by each player’s finger (or mouse). Applying some simple geometry to data from the 66 countries that submitted over 100 circles, we identified the circle-drawing directions favored by different nations.

Americans tend to draw circles counterclockwise. Of nearly 50,000 circles drawn in the US, 86% were drawn this way. People in Japan, on the other hand, tend to draw circles in the opposite direction. Of 800 circles drawn in Japan, 80% went clockwise. Here’s a random sample of 100 circles people drew in each country:

[image]

British, Czech, Australian, and Finnish circles were drawn in the same direction, with the same consistency, as American ones. Some countries are even more regular—around 90% of French, German, and Filipino drawers submitted circles drawn counterclockwise. In Vietnam, a full 95% were drawn this way.

[image]

Most of the world, it seems, draws circles counterclockwise, with just two exceptions from our dataset: Taiwan and Japan."



"There are countless ways that we subtly, unconsciously carry our cultures with us: the way we draw, count on our fingers, and imitate real-world sounds, to name a few. That’s the delight at the heart of this massive dataset. To test our theories, we approached colleagues, friends, and family who write in Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese, and, feeling a bit silly, asked them to draw circles. They gladly jumped in, wondering what their fingers would do, and eager to feel part of something larger.

But there’s still plenty we don’t know. Interest in shape-drawing seems to have gone out of style in psychology. With one exception, all of the research we found on cultural shape-drawing and the torque test was from before 1997. Increasingly, people around the world communicate by typing and tapping, but while the art of handwriting might someday get lost all together, perhaps we’re already forming a whole new crop of keyboard-led cultural differences."
us  japan  japanese  srg  circles  classideas  2017  culture  taiwan  chinese  scripts 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Ever-Evolving Typographic Life of the Arabic Language - The New York Times
"This past summer the producers of the award-winning television series ‘‘Homeland’’ had a problem. Principal photography for the fifth season was planned for Berlin but critical scenes were set in a Syrian refugee camp. The set designers contracted three Arab street artists — Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl (a.k.a. Stone) — to provide a touch of Middle Eastern authenticity to the Western European backgrounds by way of some generic Arabic graffiti. In the frenzied final days leading up to the filming, it seems no one bothered to check the work. Only after the fact did the artists reveal they had bombed what some call ‘‘the most bigoted show on television.’’ Their tags were indeed political, just not in the way their employers had intended: They provided critiques of the program itself, such as ‘‘ ‘Homeland’ is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh,’’ and, more bluntly, ‘‘ ‘Homeland’ is racist.’’ The artists asserted that their subversion was possible because in the eyes of the Western crew, ‘‘Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East.’’

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that in this moment of extreme anti-cosmopolitanism, where every form of other — from whatever perspective that other is rendered — is subject to suspicion, the mere presence of foreign writing is enough to evoke menace. Indecipherable texts are often metonymies for unknowable threats and unintelligible ideologies. Think of countless summer blockbusters where crates or tanks or missiles emblazoned with unreadable Cyrillic or Chinese characters portend certain doom. We tend to feel safe in our familiar alphabets. In turn, they link us to powerful traditions and communities. The origins of the little serifs on the corners of the letters you are reading here stretch back through the centuries, beyond revolutions, technological and intellectual, to the chiseled inscriptions on the monuments of ancient Greece and Rome. (Renaissance type designers, reviving Roman letterforms, prized the inscriptions on Trajan’s Column as the most perfect model.) Like all design objects, letters too are inherently ideological.

If the Roman letter recalls the chisel, Arabic is borne of the brush. Arabic calligraphy links back to ancient scripture and the origins of Islam. The Koran was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic, and the distinctively fluid form of writing is intertwined with the religion and culture of more than a billion people worldwide. That a writing system as lyrical and visually poetic as Arabic has come to signify something insidious — at least to Western eyes — is not just a little ironic. It speaks to the limitations of a technology-driven global community.

While the first printing presses arrived in the Middle East within decades of Gutenberg’s prototype — the quintessential disruptive technology — Ottoman bureaucrats allegedly outlawed any printing of Arabic text, by penalty of death. The mechanization of sacred writing bordered on blasphemy or at least cultural capitulation. By the time the draconian restrictions against printing were allayed in the 18th century — at least for secular texts such as mathematics and medicine — typographers faced a new challenge: the inherent complexity of Arabic. With 29 letters, each with two or four different contextual shapes, and thousands of possible unique letterform combinations, calligraphic Arabic simply wouldn’t fit the limited matrices of Western machinery that, in the intervening centuries, had developed to accommodate a limited system of Roman upper- and lowercase letters.

For centuries, traditional Arabic calligraphers had steadfastly refused to apply their skills to the creation of movable type, so the calligraphic never became fully typographic in the way, say, the handwriting of Medieval monks was transformed into standardized letters used on printing presses. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that several versions of a simplified Arabic alphabet were developed in collaboration with local calligraphers — underwritten by Western tech giants like IBM and Linotype angling to open up new markets — to work efficiently within the restrictions of Roman-based systems. Simplified Arabic was wildly successful, and is still used throughout the world, but in pruning and standardizing the alphabet, most of the elegant gestures of hand-brushed script were necessarily filtered out. Within the last decade, however, a cadre of highly skilled, mostly Middle Eastern designers, many of them autodidacts retrofitting Roman-based digital font authoring tools, are creating a fully typographic Arabic: one that merges the dizzying eclecticism of original writing systems with contemporary font production.

Prominent among them is Huda Abi Fares. Born in Beirut, she studied graphic design at RISD and Yale in the 1980s at the height of the Swiss modern influence. In 2004, she started the nonprofit Khatt Foundation in Amsterdam as a way of addressing the problem of cross-cultural type design and building a community of like-minded Arabic typographers. Today, the Khatt website showcases the work of more than 1,700 designers around the world. She has also started a project, ‘‘Typographic Matchmaking,’’ which pairs Dutch and Arabic designers together. Two alumni, the Slovakian Peter Bilak from the Netherlands, a world-renowned designer of Roman alphabets, and a Lebanese designer, Kristyan Sarkis, have since established TPTQ Arabic, a new type foundry focusing on the development of high-quality unified Arabic/Roman font families designed for global digital distribution. Think of bilingual contexts, such as the concourse of an international airport or signs on a highway, where an aesthetic coherence between writing systems is essential.

These nascent efforts point to a global modernization that doesn’t come at the cost of cultural specificity or aesthetic homogenization, but synthesizes calligraphic traditions to create new forms. Type designers spend their lives deep in the minutiae of reading and the hidden visual codes that permeate the fabric of our language. There is no form of design that is less noticed or more prevalent: Type touches everyone. Perhaps, just perhaps, these young designers can find a way to cross whatever chasm is dividing us. The task is increasingly urgent. We literally cannot read each other."
arabic  2016  fonts  typography  letterforms  language  michaelrock  politics  hudaabifares  khattfoundation  peterbilak  kristyansarkis  tptqarabic  moveabletype  cyrillic  chinese 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Translation and the news—crossing languages in the age of networked journalism - FOLD
[See site for references relating to each of the different notes.]

"As my time as a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow winds down, I wanted to reflect a bit on what I’ve learned about journalism, translation and the importance of the network in contemporary digital journalism. Much of this applies more broadly—language is going to be and already is a critical issue for technologists concerned about supporting the increased range of people online—, but I’ll focus on the specifics of journalism in this post.

It’s been an incredible few weeks of interviews, conversations, seminars, workshops, historical research (especially at the beautiful Widener Library), Hacks/Hackers, a conference on comments and going beyond them. We also managed to squeeze in a few pilot projects with Bridge, our platform for translating social media. I’ll be writing a longer, more thoughtful version of my time for Nieman Lab in coming weeks, so I’ll not try to craft too much of a logical narrative in this post.

Instead, some notes to jot down:

We’re moving toward a majority internet population. With 3.3 billion online and a 832% growth rate, the internet is incredibly diverse.

The “next billIon” have arrived, and already, language diversity is steadily increasing. I’ve written before about how ostensibly “offline”communities like in rural northern Uganda, North Korea and Cuba are impacted by the internet, and it’s important to keep in mind that the internet has ripple effects far beyond those who are formally online. As we crossed into a majority urban population, even rural areas have now oriented toward cities, providing raw and manufactured materials and serving as dumping grounds.

A similar effect will no doubt take place with the internet—even if not everyone is officially connected with a single user account, they will be pressured to find creative solutions to get connected. (Zachary Hyman and I have a piece coming out soon in Makeshift to this effect, and you can read what Julia Ticona and I discussed in the US context for Civicist.)

With regards to language, the sheer diversity of speakers online is stunning. From 2000 to 2015, we’ve seen 6592% growth amongst Arabic speakers, 2080% amongst Chinese speakers and 3227% amongst Russian speakers, to name a few. Even more striking is the fact that English speakers will soon be the minority online, and the growth of non-Top Ten language continues apace. If the news is breaking, it’s almost always going to happen online too. And more importantly, it will be happening in many more languages than English.

Multilingual content hasn’t caught up with multilingual users.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity. According to the IDN World Report, English content is vastly overrepresented on the web. Part of this, of course, can be explained by the fact that many people speak English as a second language. But other languages, like Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, are severely underrepresented.

This sounds like an opportunity for content creators to make relevant content for language speakers, whose experience of the internet is much more limited than that of English speakers. At the same time, adapting the current business models—advertising and pay to read—for these new markets will be a challenge. As Buzzfeed’s Greg Coleman pointed out, global advertising presents unique challenges. If so many people speak English, why bother with other languages?

As came through in many interviews I’ve done, readers tend to prefer their own language, even if they do speak English. I’d like to dive into this with more rigorous research, but it generally makes sense. As digital journalist and Nieman Fellow Tim de Gier described it to me, the internet is full of road bumps. Our job as journalists is to reduce those road bumps and point people to our articles. If it’s in another language, even one we speak, that’s just one more bump in access.

Networked journalism is here to stay. And it’s an opportunity for more diverse stories.

In 2006, Jeff Jarvis defined networked journalism as a field where "the public can get involved in a story before it is reported, contributing facts, questions, and suggestions. The journalists can rely on the public to help report the story; we’ll see more and more of that, I trust. The journalists can and should link to other work on the same story, to source material, and perhaps blog posts from the sources.... After the story is published — online, in print, wherever — the public can continue to contribute corrections, questions, facts, and perspective … not to mention promotion via links."

He added that he hoped it would be a sort of self-fulling prophecy, as more newsrooms turned to networks to both source and distribute the news. Journalists are shifting from simply manufacturers of news to moderators of conversations.

This month, at the Beyond Comments conference hosted by MIT Media Lab and the Coral Project, it became increasingly clear that major news outlets are striving for an alternative. In a terrific panel moderated by Anika Gupta, journalists like Amanda Zamora, Joseph Reagle, Monica Guzmán and Emily Goligoski pointed out that we need to make a shift from thinking of the audience as an audience to thinking of them more as a community.

To meet both speed and accuracy, translators need better tech and better processes.

In a breaking news environment, both speed and accuracy are critical. Indeed, translation and technology have always worked closely together. There are two examples that stick in my mind. The first is the Filene-Finlay simultaneous translator, developed at IBM and used in the Nuremberg trials. The second is the printing press: in Western Europe, it wasn't until books were translated from Latin to vernacular languages that they started to have an impact.

What does this look like in the digital context? It's something we're exploring at Meedan with Bridge, our platform for social media translation. Other great examples include Yeeyan, a Chinese platform for crowdsourcing news translation; Amara, for subtitling videos on platforms like TED; and Wikipedia.

But just as importantly as the tech, we need better systems and processes. The rigorous training of UN interpreters has made simultaneous interpretation at scale possible today. Glossaries, keeping up to date with the news, pairing interpreters together--this is the stuff that makes the tech powerful, because the humans behind it are more effective.

These processes can be supplemented with new tools in the digital context. Machine translation, translation memories, dynamic and shared glossaries can all help, as can fostering a collaborative mindset. What's most striking to me is the fact that interpretation at the UN is collaborative, with at least two interpreters per language pair. As we do away with the myth that translation is a one-to-one matter (i.e., one translator to one text), we can generate a stronger body of translations made possible through collaboration.

....And that's it for now - I'll be working on a much longer report, complete with case studies and examples, for the Nieman Lab in coming weeks. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!"
journalism  translation  socialmedia  anxiaomina  2016  networkedjournalism  netowrks  diversity  world  languages  inclusion  inclusivity  news  meedan  yeeyan  amara  wikipedia  ted  anikagupta  amandazamora  josephreagle  monicaguzmán  emilygoligoski  jeffjarvis  timdegier  internet  web  online  gregcoleman  spanish  español  chinese  arabic  russian  zacharyhyman  juliaticona 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Unless you speak English, the Internet doesn’t care about you | Fusion
"The internet is global but it is also regional. Cats are to the U.S. and Japan what goats are to Brazil and Uganda. If you speak an uncommon language, the internet can feel downright rural. The problem isn’t just getting online, but whether there will be anything for people who get online to actually do.

“What’s critical to understand is that, with the next billion users coming online, we’re going to see a wide variety of new languages represented online,” said An Xiao Mina, a co-founder of the Civic Beat and a technologist at Meedan working to build a platform to translate social media. “We live in a world of many internets, where even if you reduce the limits of geography, censorship and connectivity, language prevents large swaths of people from connecting with each other.”

But it’s not just ‘obscure’ languages that are discriminated against on the web.

Even use of Arabic—the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world and the fourth most common language among internet users—was until recently limited on many mobile phones. In some places on the internet, it still is. To cope, Arabic speak­ers developed “Arabizi”, a combination of Roman letters and numbers that make it easier to chat. Arabizi is a essentially a transliteration of Arabic into English characters, using numbers to stand in for some of the letters that don’t have direct counterparts in sound, like 7 for ح (ha), which sounds a bit like a guttural “h.”

It’s an ingenious solution, but one that shouldn’t have to exist. When emoji exploded in popularity, developers across all platforms worked quickly to make it easily usable on their devices. Why so slow with Arabic?

Arabic Wikipedia, by the way, has just 400,000 articles. A language spoken by more than 400 million people is less represented than Swedish, a language spoken by just 9 million. The demographics of the internet have historically been very different from that of the offline world, and those colonization effects are dramatic.

Recent research has shown that speaking English is a significant factor in determining whether someone adopts use of the web. Some languages are not well represented online, but others, like Tibetan, are completely invisible, unusable on browsers, operating systems, and keyboards.

The Tibetan blogger Dechen Pemba recently wrote about the frustrations of not being able to access the Tibetan language on a phone. Google, he wrote, failed to develop a Tibetan language interface and only recently incorporated the Tibetan language font on some Android phones. (That’s one way for Apple, which does support Tibetan, to win customers from Android.)

“Given that the Tibetan literary tradition goes back to the 7th century … my pet hate is when Tibetan language is described as ‘obscure,'” he wrote. “I wonder how it is possible that the language of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhists, comprising of as many as 60 million people, can be wilfully left behind in terms of modern technology?”

Facebook’s Free Basics program was controversial in India in large part because it limited the internet resources the digitally disadvantaged would have access to. Would it include access to domestic violence protection programs, or would it be a walled ghetto devoted to social media and online shopping? Language barriers can also force internet users into digital ghettos, or force them to forsake their mother tongue (and its culture) to escape them.

“The fact that a lot of groups have very little local-language content is problematic because it can contribute to a global homogenization of ideas and culture, and perhaps even knowledge itself,” said Mark Graham, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Graham predicts negative impacts on cultural diversity if the Internet’s language is predominantly English, Chinese, and Spanish. A version of this, for example, is happening right now in Iceland, where the packaging on so many imported goods is in English that it’s becoming more common than Icelandic in every day life.

A linguistically divided internet can also lead to the creation of monocultural bubbles. Wikipedia provides a good example: one study showed that most content on Wikipedia is available in exclusively one language. Even English Wikipedia only has articles that correspond with about half the topics of German Wikipedia.

“The Chinese internet is a good example of this,” Graham said. “There are more Chinese internet users online than internet users from any other country. So, this has meant that there is a lot of content out there in Chinese. Which, in turn, means that it is easy for Chinese internet users to exist in their own ‘filter bubble’—not really exposed to different content on the broader Web.”

Mina pointed out that the web’s prioritization of mainstream languages also leaves many tools for political organization and speaking out off-limits to marginalized groups.

“If you don’t speak a top ten language, the internet you have access to is extremely limited,” Mina told me. “Imagine going to a Chinese restaurant and just trying to order based on pictures.”

Graham told me he’d like to see more online spaces like Wikipedia that are digital commons where users can contribute content in any language they like, allowing local internet users to essential built their own web. But getting those digital commons filled with content first requires creating incentives to get people online in the first place. And part of that means making content that is already out there accessible across the boundaries of language. Mina is interested in chipping away at those boundaries by creating technology that translates social media content from one language to another. Scott Hale, a data scientist focused on bilingualism at the Oxford Internet Institute, told me that user interfaces could help break down language barriers by allowing users to interact with them in multiple languages at once. Most online interfaces—Google and Facebook among them— are designed with monolingual users in mind, only surfacing content in one language at a time. Allowing people to easily toggle between languages is one way to break down the linguistic silos that online life creates.

“You can’t just put a bunch of people in the network and expect that they connect,” Mina said.

The internet was supposed to be the thing that made all of our differences irrelevant, that erased borders and boundaries by translating everything into 1s and 0s. But online borders definitely exist with language boundaries that can be impenetrable."
internet  language  languages  web  online  anxiaomina  kristenbrown  wikipedia  arabic  english  translation  homogenization  culture  swedish  freebasics  arabizi  india  iceland  technology  socialmedia  politics  chinese  spanish  español  diversity 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Connecting a City with “Chinese Twitter” | USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
[See also: http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/alhambra-source-citizen-journalism-55541 ]

"In a conference room packed with 17 members of Chinese ethnic media and Los Angeles-based foreign correspondents, Alhambra Police Chief Mark Yokoyama announced last December that he was launching the country’s first municipal Sina Weibo — or “Chinese Twitter” — account.

The move was an effort in conjunction with USC Annenberg to engage the suburban Los Angeles community’s large immigrant population. L.A.-born Yokoyama was not prepared for the response. Scores of questions from Chinese-speakers from Alhambra to the Midwest to Beijing eager to better understand American policing overwhelmed him. In just five days, the account attracted more than 5,000 followers, about five times the “likes” for the Facebook account the police department had spent more than a year building.

The Weibo frenzy slowed after the first week, but interest remained strong, and within four months followers were more than 11,000. The immediate impact is clear: Chinese or Mandarin calls to the department requiring translation increased 64 percent since launching. Police departments from New York to Seattle to Monterey Park have inquired about how to create their own accounts, the initiative won the California Police Chief’s Excellence in Technology Award, and Yokoyama is convinced Weibo has transformed his force’s relationship with Alhambra’s Chinese immigrant population. “We’re answering those questions that have probably been on the minds of people for a long time.

They just didn’t know how to ask or who to ask,” Yokoyama said. “It tells me people have some sense of trust in at least asking the question of the police. That’s the outcome that I’ve most enjoyed.”

Weibo has proven an innovative way to fortify the city’s communication infrastructure, according to Annenberg Professor Sandra Ball-Rokeach. She teamed up with Journalism Professor Michael Parks in 2008, in an effort to investigate how local news in a multiethnic community can impact civic engagement and cross linguistic and ethnic barriers. The result was Alhambra Source, a multilingual community news web site with more than 80 local contributors who speak 10 languages. Weibo was a serendipitous outcome of the project that resulted from bridges forged between local media, immigrant residents and policy makers.

“The fact that now there is increased communication between the police and the ethnic Chinese community is critically important,” Ball-Rokeach said. “Weibo is kind of a mobile community relations department. It’s a way in which new technologies can actually facilitate police community relations, particularly with hard-to-reach populations.”

Indeed, Alhambra’s venture into Weibo added a cultural and linguistic layer to a growing trend toward social media in policing. For the past four years, the International Association of Chiefs of Police has been monitoring social media use among departments. The growth has been “exponential,” according to Senior Program Manager of Community Safety Initiatives Nancy Kolb. Word reached Kolb about the Alhambra Weibo account earlier this year.

While other cities have created Twitter and Facebook accounts in Spanish, this was the first time she knew of a U.S. police department using an international social media platform to reach residents. But she does not think it will be the last, based upon how social media is growing. “There is a nexus of social media with just about everything that law enforcement does today,” Kolb said. In many ways, police departments are following in the steps of media and private companies that were initially concerned about the ability of the masses to talk back and now are embracing it.

“Just this year alone so many agencies have come on board,” said Captain Chris Hsiung of the Mountain View, California Police Department. Located down the street from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, the agency has championed the idea that police need to embrace social media to engage with residents and promote community safety.

“We have nothing to really fear. Occasionally you get egg on your face like New York did,” Hsiung said, referring to a recent incident when the New York Police Department asked residents to pose with police officers and their initiative backfired when residents posted negative pictures instead with police arresting them that went viral. “But if you’re human, transparent, people really like you. A lot of our approach mirrors private sector PR strategies. People are out there and if you’re not part of the conversation you have no control over it. But if you’re part of it you can help control it.”

When Yokoyama signed on as chief in 2011, he quickly realized that finding a way to create that sort of conversation with the Chinese population that is roughly a third of Alhambra’s population would be a challenge. More than a quarter of the city’s residents live in linguistically isolated households where no adult spoke English well. As such, the language barrier was clearly the first hurdle: Just 6 percent of his force, or 5 out of 85 sworn officers, spoke Mandarin or Cantonese. At events most of the people who came were white and Hispanic, which better reflected the demographics of the force.

The idea for the Weibo account was generated after Yokoyama read an article in Alhambra Source on engagement techniques to reach the Chinese community. The chief asked for a meeting with Alhambra Source editorial staff and the author, courts interpreter and Alhambra Source community contributor Walter Yu. To reach younger, more highly educated and affluent recentimmigrants like himself, Yu suggested the department develop Weibo. He also offered to help make it happen, adapting his significant social media skills to help Alhambra become a presence on the Beijing-based social media site. While immigrants once would send letters back to relatives or flock to call centers, today they tend to hold onto social media ties from their home countries. In China, unlike most of the rest of the world, the government has banned Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“The Chinese are afraid these will become mechanisms for discontent to build and they don’t want that,” said Clayton Dube, director of Annenberg’s USC U.S.-China Institute. But Beijing has let homegrown social media companies grow, among them two Weibo — or microblogging — firms and another one similar to the texting service Whatsapp with social attributes that is growing rapidly.

“The China-based services perform two important functions,” according to Dube. “First is they give Chinese netizens tools that give them similar sort of functionality without setting them free basically. They use these as a way of moderating the public temperature. ... They also censor them and use them to put out their own messages.”

So far, at least, Alhambra Police Department’s Weibo is not seen as worth censoring and Dube does not think it would raise concern in Beijing. “I think the Alhambra Police Department was smart to do this,” Dube said, “And I think other communities with large numbers of Chinese speaking residents of whatever nationality should be mindful that it would be of their benefit to inform residents via this tool.”

The Alhambra Source, Yu and the police chief developed a system for taking in questions, translating them, and sharing them with the public. Yu created an #AskAmericanPolice campaign on the Alhambra Police Department Weibo account. When questions arrive, often as many as dozens a day, Yu translates them into English and sends them to the police chief. Yokoyama responds and sends them to Alhambra Source staff for a copy edit.

Once approved, Yu translates them back into Chinese for Weibo. He also sends the Chinese version to Alhambra Source, which is posted along with English and Spanish versions. The questions come from immigrants living in the Los Angeles area, across the country, and even from people in China curious about how American policing works. One parent wrote in from Missouri, “I have an 8-year-old—may I ask if I can leave my child at home legally?” Various local residents asked how to report incidents of fraud and stalking. And others just expressed relief to learn that they could actually call the police and not get in trouble.

“I believe sometimes people are just afraid to report to the police because of repercussions,” Yu said. In addition, immigrant residents are learning that the role of police in the United States is different than in China. For example, the idea that police will actually help out with a noise complaint or protect a lost pet is foreign to many immigrants. “In China police don’t do anything about pets,” Yu said. “Now they actually see them helping them and they get really curious.”

Along with the dialogue, came tips, as the police realized this was a key segment of their population that could be activated to help solve crimes. When there was a faux Southern California Edison phone call scam, the police department put out a warning on Weibo. Soon people were reporting that they’d been scammed. Others reported prostitution and drug sales.

Also contributing to the success of the Weibo account was that it coincided with the police department investing in its English-language Facebook account. In the past, the city used it the same way it would use a press release, essentially a one-way fax machine to the public. Officials would post a heavily vetted, and rather dry, print report once every couple of weeks. But then the department started posting pictures, and officers were encouraged to post on Facebook. The numbers started to take off, and so did the discussions on Facebook. For Yokoyama, the only frustration is that he still cannot be as fully integrated a part of the conversation as he would like.

“On Facebook I’m there all the time, but this is the unknown,” he said, explaining the challenges … [more]
weibo  2016  socialmedia  facebook  twitter  language  languages  chinese  mandarin  police  lawenforcement  spanish  español  journalism  media  alhambra  losangeles  alhambrasource  sandraball-rokeach  culture  communication  news  communicationecologies  sociology  danielagerson 
february 2016 by robertogreco
An Xiao Mina at Biased Data - An Xiao Mina - Open Transcripts
"Just to close, as we think about the role of lan­guage on the Internet, it really biases our expe­ri­ence, and there are a lot of risks and chal­lenges there, espe­cially as peo­ple from the Global South are com­ing online. The abil­ity for them to access con­tent and for them to con­tribute to impor­tant con­ver­sa­tions online will be severely lim­ited. It’ll look more like this, and I think some of the most impor­tant work we can do in tech is to bring it out into lan­guages that they can under­stand."
anxiaomina  language  languages  internet  online  web  2016  mikemcdandless  translation  blacklivesmatter  umbrellamovement  crowdsourcing  machinetranslation  sarahkendzior  russian  uzbek  opentranslationproject  aiweiwei  meedan  inequity  socialjustice  wechat  audio  chinese  china  bias  experience 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Random Radicals: A Fake Kanji Experiment
[via:
http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/136754440176/random-radicals-continuation-of-project-by
"As humans, we are able to communicate with others by drawing pictures, and somehow this has evolved into modern language. The ability to express our thoughts is a very powerful tool in our society. Being able to write is generally more difficult than just being able to read, and this is especially true for the Chinese language. From personal experience, being able to write Chinese is a lot more difficult than just being able to read Chinese and requires a greater understanding of the language.

We now have machines that can help us accurately classify images and read handwritten characters. However, for machines to gain a deeper understanding of the content they are processing, they will also need to be able to generate such content. The next natural step is to have machines draw simple pictures of what they are thinking about, and develop an ability to express themselves. Seeing how machines produce drawings may also provide us with some insights into their learning process.

In this work, we have trained a machine to learn Chinese characters by exposing it to a Kanji database. The machine learns by trying to form invariant patterns of the shapes and strokes that it sees, rather than recording exactly what it sees into memory, kind of like how our own brains work. Afterwards, using its neural connections, the machine attempts to write something out, stroke-by-stroke, onto the screen."]

[See also: http://blog.otoro.net/2015/12/28/recurrent-net-dreams-up-fake-chinese-characters-in-vector-format-with-tensorflow/
via: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/136134267951/recurrent-net-dreams-up-fake-chinese-characters

"… I think a more interesting task is to generate data, which I view as an extension to classifying data. Like how being able to write a Chinese character demonstrate more understanding than merely knowing how to read that character, I think being able to generate content is also key to understanding that content. Being able generate a picture of a 22 year old attractive lady is much more impressive than merely being able to estimate that the this woman is likely around 22 years of age.

An example of a generative task is the translation machines developed to translate English into another language in real time. Generative art and music has been increasingly popular. Recently, there has been work on using techniques such as generative adversarial networks (GANs) to generate bitmap pictures of fake images that look like real ones, like fake cats, fake faces, fake bedrooms and even fake anime characters, and to me, those problems are a lot more exciting to work on, and a natural extension to classification problems."]

[See also: http://www.genekogan.com/works/a-book-from-the-sky.html
via: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/136157512956/a-book-from-the-sky-%E5%A4%A9%E4%B9%A6-another-neural-network

"A Book from the Sky 天书

Another Neural Network Chinese character project - this one by Gene Kogan which generates new Kanji from a handwritten dataset:

These images were created by a deep convolutional generative adversarial network (DCGAN) trained on a database of handwritten Chinese characters, made with code by Alec Radford based on the paper by Radford, Luke Metz, and Soumith Chintala in November 2015.

The title is a reference to the 1988 book by Xu Bing, who composed thousands of fictitious glyphs in the style of traditional Mandarin prints of the Song and Ming dynasties.

A DCGAN is a type of convolutional neural network which is capable of learning an abstract representation of a collection of images. It achieves this via competition between a “generator” which fabricates fake images and a “discriminator” which tries to discern if the generator’s images are authentic (more details). After training, the generator can be used to convincingly generate samples reminiscent of the originals.

… a DCGAN is trained on a labeled subset of ~1M handwritten simplified Chinese characters, after which the generator is able to produce fake images of characters not found in the original dataset."]
art  deeplearning  kanji  chinese  machinelearning  neuralnetworks 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Adapting to a more global, more diverse Internet » Nieman Journalism Lab
"“Thanks to denser networks that foster better pipelines for attention, the Internet gives communities a pathway directly to newsrooms.”

According to Quartz’s Next Billion vertical, Internet use is projected to double — from 2.5 billion to 5 billion — between 2012 and 2016. That’s next year, and already, the global diversity of the netizenry and how they use the Internet is starting to change people’s relationship with the news. Much of this growth is expected to occur in Asia, while the fastest growth will be in Africa. These so-called “next billion” Internet users are often different from the first 2.5 billion in their background and lifestyles, representing a plethora of languages, cultures, incomes, and methods of technological access. And the implications, I think, will reach many different aspects of journalism.

The news will break on many networks, and these networks won’t be open.

After the explosions in Tianjin this year, GIFs, photos, and videos circulated on Twitter, Facebook and Sina Weibo. But the first person to break the news did so through a private messaging group on WeChat, posting video of fire outside the chemical plant just minutes before the explosion. For minutes afterward, the mobile-first, private platform was the primary place for sharing and discussing.

Increasingly, eyewitness media is discussed and disseminated on private networks like WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk, Snapchat, Viber, and Facebook Messenger. This is already having significant effects on newsgathering. At the recent TechRaking conference at MIT, journalist Andy Carvin and others pointed out that, when media do surface on the open web, it’s incredibly difficult to find and source the originator, as the images are often stripped of metadata, compressed, and of indeterminate provenance.

Digital journalism, so accustomed to APIs and tools that aid discovery and aggregation, will likely have to adapt. Partnership and advocacy efforts are likely right — platforms can do more to facilitate journalists’ efforts, and newsrooms can build better tech for these platforms. As well, the technological approach to digital journalism will need be supplemented by the traditional relational skills of newsgathering: cultivating sources, building relationships, and fostering trust.

It won’t be enough to speak just one language, or even three.

As news and reports of the Paris attacks rippled through social media, journalists captured and reported on eyewitness media shared in both French and English. Just a day before, a flurry of tweets and Facebook posts in Arabic, French and English discussed the worst bombing in Beirut since 1990.

News reports of the Paris attacks in French were translated to English:

[tweed embeds]

To Chinese:

[tweet embed]

To Arabic:

[tweet embed]

From French to English and then to Italian:

[tweet embed]

Meanwhile, false reports of a tsunami heading for Japan triggered the trending topic #PrayForJapan. An earthquake had indeed happened, but the Japanese-language reports clearly stated it wasn’t strong enough to trigger a tsunami:

[tweed embeds]

In the hecticness of the day, Spanish newspapers picked up a selfie of a Canadian Sikh man Photoshopped to look like he was wearing a suicide bomber’s vest. In Baghdad, a real suicide bomber killed 18 people. It was a day for hashtag prayers for multiple corners of the world:

[tweet embed]

Every day, global trending topics on Twitter alone appear in multiple languages and scripts — when I glance at them at different times of the day, they frequently appear in Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, Korean, and French, often outnumbering the English-language trending topics. English speakers, once the dominant group on the Internet, will soon become just one of many language speakers online.

Global communities will be talking back to media — and demanding better representation.

In recent years, we saw the transformation of #BlackLivesMatter from a hashtag and a nascent movement to a core question in the presidential primary debates. This year also saw #SomeoneTellCNN re-emerge as a satirical hashtag in Kenya in response to the network calling the country a “terror hotbed.” In the past, these tweets yielded minor changes in coverage; this year, a senior executive personally flew to Nairobi to apologize for the statements. And after Facebook turned on Safety Check for citizens of Paris, Beirutis asked why they didn’t get a Safety Check feature, even though their city had just been bombed a day before.

We can expect more of this. Geographically far from most media outlets, people in many regions of the world have historically had few avenues to attempt to improve global reportage of their issues. Thanks to denser networks that foster better pipelines for attention, the Internet gives communities a pathway directly to newsrooms. At its worst, call-out culture can be destructive and foster a herd mentality against the less privileged in society. But at its best, when people organize and amplify their voices to punch up rather than down, they can make real changes in media and media representation. What can we do to listen more effectively?

GIFs won’t be icing: they’ll be the cake.

[gif embed]

Let’s go back to Tianjin. Some of the most powerful images that circulated on WeChat were, in fact, GIFs. While livestreaming video tools like Periscope will push the boundaries of high-bandwidth, high-resolution video, the humble GIF is also on the rise, with built-in tools on sites like Tumblr and Instagram and autoplay features on Twitter now making it easier than ever for people to generate and share compelling moving images.

This matters for global Internet users because GIFs, in addition to being eminently shareable, consume less data — and less data charges. They also work well with smaller screens, whether that’s a low-cost smartphone or an Apple Watch. While cats and dogs will always have a special home on animated media, so will the mews, er, news."
anxiaomina  journalism  2015  messaging  internet  web  socialmedia  language  languages  news  translation  gifs  kakaotalksnapchat  viber  facebook  whatsapp  lineapp  andycarvin  digital  digitaljournalism  online  twitter  arabic  french  english  chinese  mandarin  italian  portuguese  japanese  spanish  portugués  español 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Filtered for top-notch long reads ( 5 Dec., 2014, at Interconnected)
"1.

This well-illustrated piece on Chinese Mobile UI trends [http://dangrover.com/blog/2014/12/01/chinese-mobile-app-ui-trends.html ] is full of great nuggets.

My favourite is that companies have adopted automated "chat" as their official public face. Each brand is a bot that runs inside one of the several apps that users in China have instead of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. How it works:
You can send any kind of message (text, image, voice, etc), and [the bot will] reply, either in an automated fashion or by routing it to a human somewhere. The interface is exactly the same as for chatting with your friends, save for one difference: it has menus at the bottom with shortcuts to the main features of the account.

A couple more features:
Other than that, every feature you can use in a normal chat is available here. WeChat even auto-transcribes the voice messages (mentioned before) into text before passing them to the third-party server running the account. Official accounts can also push news updates to their subscribers. Every media outlet operates one ...

I'm into this, I'm into this. Our western way for interacting with companies (assuming the shitty voice menu things are wildly out-dated) is websites, which we browse. But instead of browsing, a conversation?

So... cultural difference between China and the west, or just one of those forks in the road? Or a glimpse of the future?

2.

Hooked on Labs [http://thelongandshort.org/issues/season-two/hooked-on-labs.html ] (thanks Iain) draws a line between the practice of Robert Hooke in the 1660s and the modern trend for companies to have "labs."
Labs are places where people conduct experiments to test out theories. The new labs proliferating outside the hard sciences are a symptom of the spread of experimentalism as an ideology for how we should shape the future. Curiosity is at the core of experimentalist culture: it holds that knowledge should develop by being testable and therefore provisional ...

I like that the answer to "how should we invent?" can be not a process but a location. Other answers might be "a studio," and "the field," both of which suggest a variety of processes and practices without being pinned down.

I guess my recent preoccupation with coffee mornings is about the same thing. Can the "coffee morning" as a place, with all its informality (which I am desperate to preserve), be a way to dowse the scenius, to allow invention to occur without process?

Also coffee.

And this bit:
One vital source of this conversational approach to science was Copenhagen and the culture that Niels Bohr created around his institute for theoretical physics and his nearby home.

...which reminds me of this terrific story about the development of the theory of electron spin and how it came together as Bohr travelled across Europe by train.

At the beginning of the trip:
Bohr's train to Leiden made a stop in Hamburg, where he was met by Pauli and Stern who had come to the station to ask him what he thought about spin. Bohr must have said that it was very very interesting (his favorite way of expressing that something was wrong), but he could not see how an electron moving in the electric field of the nucleus could experience the magnetic field necessary for producing fine structure.

And as Bohr travels from town to town, he meets scientists, hears arguments, develops his view, and carries information. Great story.

I think of the interactions between scientists as the hidden particles that don't show up in the traces of a cloud chamber. They're there, busy - multiple - far denser and richer and messier than the clean interactions of the citations in scientific papers or at conferences - the invisible trillions of forks that are left out of Feynman diagrams. Those interactions are what really matter, and their stories are the most interesting of all."
mattwebb  2014  china  chinese  interface  input  chat  communication  internet  web  online  browsing  conversation  wechat  labs  openstudioproject  charlesleadbeater  nielsbohr  experiments  experimentation  experimentalism  curiosity  classideas  invention  place  studios  lcproject  informal  informallearning  informality  scenius  process  howwelearn  messiness  interaction  culture  difference  frontiers  us 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Small-Batch Chinese Noodles In L.A., Available Only A Few Hours A Day | Have You Eaten? | Food | KCET
"The other week I had dinner with a veteran Chinese restaurant owner and offhandedly, I asked him what his favorite Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles was. Serial diners usually struggle with this question -- but not Sam.

"Dai Ho Restaurant," he said without a moment of hesitation. "Here's the thing, they're only open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and unlike other Chinese restaurants, the menu is very small."

"Why do you think that is?" I asked.

"Quality," he explained. "At those restaurants that have hundred of items of their menu, it's really difficult to keep the ingredients fresh. But at Dai Ho, there's only eight or so selections. The inventory is simple. Nothing goes to waste and nothing is left sitting out for too long."

The Restaurant

Located in Temple City on Las Tunas Drive, Dai Ho (大和, da he) Restaurant has been open for 28 years (with a previous location in Alhambra). The two Chinese characters in the restaurant name translates to "big" and "gather," respectively.

"We wanted this restaurant to be a big gathering of people," owner May Ku explained. Dai Ho is only opened 3.5 hours each day, Tuesday through Sunday, but has had enough patrons to sustain itself for nearly three decades. It's a small window of time for customers to drop in, but May and her husband Jim are at the restaurant as early as 6 a.m. for prep work."
losangeles  food  chinese  2013  restaurants  noodles  templecity 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Chineasy - Where characters are revealed
"A visual-based learning system which teaches Chinese characters, simple stories & phrases.
Our aim is to bring down the great wall of Chinese language."
chinese  languages  language  learning  education  languagelearning  languageacquisition  via:anne  srg  edg 
may 2013 by robertogreco
6,297 Chinese restaurants and hungry for more - latimes.com
"David Chan, an L.A. attorney, will try any Chinese restaurant once and has the spreadsheet to prove it. He has become a go-to expert for critics."
california  food  losangeles  chinese  2013  maps  mapping  spreadsheets  restaurants  davidchan 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Xi'an Famous Foods - Liang Pi Cold Noodles, Lamb & Pork Burgers - Flushing/Chinatown/East Village NYC
"Xi'an Famous Foods does not serve the typical Chinese food, just as Xi'an is not the typical Chinese city. Situated in the western region of China rich in history, the ancient city of Xi'an is known as the first capital of China, and the resting place of the famous terra cotta soldiers. Having once been the starting point of the Silk Road, Xi'an celebrates its diversity and boasts a unique cuisine that may be best described as a fusion of Middle Eastern and Chinese foods."

[Ate at the Flushing location with Sebastien Marion. We had "[N1] Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped Noodles." So good.]
chinatown  restaurants  manhattan  queens  flushing  nyc  chinese  food  xianfamousfoods 
november 2012 by robertogreco
140 Characters On Chinese Twitter Is More Like 500 Characters On Twitter.com - AllTwitter
"There’s been some talk that China’s answer to Twitter, Weibo, will be coming to the US in a matter of months. Weibo and Twitter both offer 140 characters as their maximum, but, interestingly, 140 characters in Chinese is not the same as 140 characters in the Roman alphabet that English and many other speakers use. In fact, you can fit in almost five times as much meaning on Weibo as you can on Twitter."

"There are plenty of features that Weibo might compete with Twitter on: the number of active users, for instance. However, if Weibo were to follow the same model as Twitter when it launches in the US but expand the number of characters to more than 140, it might compete on the ability to include more meaning in each tweet (weibeet?) too."
2011  charactercounts  wordcounts  characters  words  microblogging  twitter  weibo  chinese 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Brevity: Twtr | The Economist
"THIS 78-character tweet in English would be only 24 characters long in Chinese: [image]

That makes Chinese ideal for micro-blogs, which typically restrict messages to 140 symbols. Though Twitter, with 140m active users the world's best-known microblogging service, is blocked in China, Sina Weibo, a local variant, has over 250m users. Chinese is so succinct that most messages never reach that limit, says Shuo Tang, who studies social media at the University of Indiana.

Japanese is concise too: fans of haiku, poems in 17 syllables, can tweet them readily. Though Korean and Arabic require a little more space, tweeters routinely omit syllables in Korean words; written Arabic routinely omits vowels anyway…

Romance tongues, among others, generally tend to be more verbose (see chart)…

Kevin Scannell, a professor at St Louis University, Missouri, has found 500 languages in use on Twitter and has set up a website to track them."
charactercounts  characters  wordcounts  words  kevinscannell  semiocast  weibo  arabic  urdu  farsi  microblogs  efficiency  2012  romancelanguages  portuguese  spanish  english  chinese  language  twitter 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Panda Express Takes Sweet And Sour Beyond The Food Court : The Salt : NPR
"…points to success of Sriracha…says Americans are craving a flavor profile Panda's well-positioned to provide.

"The spiciness, that teriyaki flavor. Those different types of sour & tart & tangy…really starting to become more appealing. In fact, if you just look at the kids' aisle for candy…that's most of the types of food we see. Very tart & sour flavors are what kids are looking for."

So are older kids, like college students who routinely devour Korean food & seek out Korean-influenced frozen yogurt, like Pinkberry. It's reflective of a changing American palate. Tristano says there are about 40,000 Asian restaurants in US that represent about 13% of all full service sales.

"Compared to Italian at about 11%," he observes. "Now Italian used to be larger than Asia, but the 2 have flipped over the past 2 years."

…admits "Asian" seems like ridiculously broad category compared to Italian, but it's in Panda's interest to play up pan-Asian approach; 1 stop for Chinese, Korean & Thai."
2012  restaurants  sriracha  chinese  korean  thai  us  asian  food  trends  pandaexpress 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Learn 40 Languages for Free with Free Audio Lessons | Open Culture
"How to learn languages for free? This collection features lessons in 40 languages, including Spanish, French, English, Mandarin, Italian, Russian and more. Download audio lessons to your computer or mp3 player and you’re good to go."
languages  language  learning  arabic  spanish  bulgarian  catalan  chinese  mandarin  danish  dutch  english  esperanto  finnish  french  free  gaelic  german  greek  hebrew  hindi  hungarian  indonesian  irish  italian  japanese  korean  latin  lithuanian  luxembourgish  maori  norwegian  polish  portuguese  romanian  russian  swedish  tagalog  thai  ukranian  urdu  vietnamese  yiddish  lessons  māori  catalán 
november 2011 by robertogreco
In Battle to Save Chinese, It's Test vs. Test - China Real Time Report - WSJ
"Chinese students’ obsession with learning English is apparent. Chinese cities are littered with billboards and fliers for teaching institutes, and the demand for native-speaking teachers and tutors seems endless. For many, the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, ranks second only to the infamous gaokao college entrance exam as a driver of candle-burning study habits.

Worried that this preoccupation with English is contributing to a decline in native language skills, officials at the Ministry of Education are now trying to get students to return to their linguistic roots. How? By introducing another test."
china  english  chinese  testing  education  trends  languages  culture 
october 2011 by robertogreco
When in San Francisco, go to Mission Chinese... - Covenger & Kester
"When in San Francisco, go to Mission Chinese Food:

"The hole-in-the-wall at 2234 Mission Street in San Francisco looks more like a greasy spoon where General Tso’s chicken is ordered by number than a cult outpost offering quirky, responsibly sourced Chinese food. Inside, it’s both. Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint, who ran the pop-up Mission Street Food out of Lung Shan restaurant, are now cooking here permanently with Mission Chinese Food. Alongside Lung Shan’s menu, you can now indulge in what Mr. Bowien calls “whimsical Chinese” — sizzling cumin lamb, ma po tofu, barbecued brisket braised with a Mexican/Coca-Cola gastrique. “It’s not fusion,” he said. “It’s not fine dining. It’s not authentic. It’s not from one region. We’re just trying to do everything backwards.”"

Or, you know, just fly there for a meal."
food  chinese  sanfrancisco  restaurants  popup  pop-ups 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Parenting: Is Amy Chua right when she explains "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal? - Quora
See also: http://shanghaiist.com/2011/01/10/tales_of_a_chinese_daughter_on_the.php AND http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/ all via http://twitter.com/alfiekohn/status/26291670614016000

Still haven'y (yet!) seen anyone consider the difference in effectiveness/side-effects between being a "Chinese mother" in Asia and being a "Chinese mother" in less diverse areas. Does it make a difference to the child if he/she sees peers who are subjected to significantly different parenting approaches, as opposed to being 'the norm'?
parenting  education  amychua  children  chinese  culture  discussion 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Primero Hay Que Aprender Español. Ranhou Zai Xue Zhongwen. - NYTimes.com
"rush to Chinese is missing something closer to home: the paramount importance for our children of learning Spanish.

…I’m a fervent believer in more American kids learning Chinese. But the language that will be essential for Americans & has far more day-to-day applications is Spanish. Every child in US should learn Spanish, beginning in elementary school; Chinese makes a terrific addition to Spanish, but not a substitute.

Spanish may not be as prestigious as Mandarin, but it’s an everyday presence in US — & will become even more so. Hispanics made up 16% of America’s population in 2009, but that is forecast to surge to 29% by 2050, according to estimates by the Pew Research Center.

As the United States increasingly integrates economically with Latin America, Spanish will become more crucial in our lives. More Americans will take vacations in Latin America, do business in Spanish, and eventually move south to retire in countries where the cost of living is far cheaper."
language  spanish  chinese  china  learning  education  schools  tcsnmy  teaching  business  economics  nicholaskristof 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Academia Semillas del Pueblo - Wikipedia
"…public charter school of LAUSD. It offers instruction in grades Kindergarten through eighth, and is located in the community of El Sereno, on the east side of Los Angeles. The school. which opened in 2002, was founded by Marcos Aguilar, a former teacher at Garfield Senior High School.

Academia Semillas del Pueblo offers an unusual multi-language curriculum aimed at the community's large population of recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Students are taught Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and the Aztec/Mexica Nahuatl language, as well as English. The curriculum emphasizes Pre-Columbian cultural traditions. The interior of the school has no walls separating classes, and multiple grades are taught the same material simultaneously. The school's official press release describes it as "dedicated to providing urban children of immigrant families an excellent education founded upon native and maternal languages, global values, and cultural realities.""

[See also: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/1550006804/seed-booklet-handbuilt ]
losangeles  language  spanish  español  learning  education  schools  lcproject  alternative  race  mandarin  chinese  culture  immigration  elsereno  marcosaguilar  multilingual  nahuatl  precolumbian  charterschools 
december 2010 by robertogreco
English Opens Doors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"English Opens Doors, or Inglés Abre Puertas in Spanish, is an initiative of the Chilean Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) to apply technical expertise and improve English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching, making it more accessible to all school-age Chileans. The English Opens Doors Program was created in the country of Chile in 2003 and is supported by former President Michelle Bachelet and Minister of Education Mónica Jiménez."
chile  education  language  languages  english  volunteerism  mandarin  chinese  glvo 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Trouble With Teens | China Power
"Having skipped tumultuous teenage years, Chinese are forever doomed to live as teenagers all their lives. Whereas Americans may be stubborn, moody, quick to anger, insecure, impetuous, condescending, extreme, & paranoid in teenage years, Chinese may suffer from these psychological issues all their lives. The psychologists who wrote Reviving Ophelia, Raising Cain, & Real Boys may not be happy w/ how American families & schools are distorting emotional development of children, but if they came to China they’d faint in horror & despair."

[via http://twitter.com/janchip/status/15102206749 "wobbly sociology+sterotypes and/but interesting" ]
china  education  opinion  social  teens  youth  empathy  independence  self  identity  parenting  schools  tcsnmy  chinese  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  adolescence  management  business  cooperation  collaboration  aynrand  narcissism  well-being  socialemotionallearning  culture  students  us  socialemotional 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Google's Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years
"# internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.

# Today's teenagers are the model of how the web will work in five years - they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.

# 5 years is a factor of 10 in Moore's Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today. # there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance - & distribution distinctions between TV, radio & web will go away.

# "We're starting to make significant money off of Youtube", content will move towards more video.

# "Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results."

# There are many companies beyond Twitter & Facebook doing real time.

# "We can index real-time info now - but how do we rank it?"

# It's because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that "is the great challenge of the age.""
ericschmidt  facebook  twitter  realtime  chinese  china  content  trends  internet  future  web  video  business  socialmedia  media  google  technology  search  mooreslaw 
november 2009 by robertogreco
362 - Greek To Me: Mapping Mutual Incomprehension « Strange Maps
"“When an English speaker doesn’t understand a word of what someone says, he or she states that it’s ‘Greek to me’. When a Hebrew speaker encounters this difficulty, it ’sounds like Chinese’. I’ve been told the Korean equivalent is ’sounds like Hebrew’,” says Yuval Pinter (here on the excellent Languagelog).
languages  maps  visualization  linguistics  communication  humor  greek  mapping  sociology  incomprehension  culture  language  world  chinese 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Livemocha: Learn Languages Online - English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, 学会英语
"ivemocha is an exciting e-learning Web 2.0 startup founded by a group of experienced and successful entrepreneurs based in the Seattle area. Livemocha addresses a $20 billion worldwide language learning market fueled by rapid globalization, immigration and travel. Livemocha is a first of its kind web based language learning solution integrating online instructional content with a global community of language learners. Livemocha is a venture funded company backed by Maveron, a leading Seattle based venture firm with tremendous consumer and e-learning expertise."
languages  learning  online  elearning  spanish  italian  french  mandarin  english  lessons  tutorials  language  socialnetworking  collaboration  e-learning  chinese  education 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Shanghaiist: Video: The growing divide
"Kaiser Kuo, digital guru of Ogilvy China and the man behind the Ogilvy China Digital Watch, throws an interesting light on the growing divide between the anglophone and the Chinese internets." Direct link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30z4ctOAZ2M
via:regine  china  chinese  internet  web  online  censorship  freedom  anglophone  divide  digitalwatch  culture  culturaldivide  disconnect  westernworld 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Zon!
"Zon is an unique interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese. By interacting in the Zon environment you will be exposed to Chinese language and cultural knowledge in a new and exciting way. Everything that you do in the game is another chance to learn new words, phrases and cultural info about China. Never before has learning Chinese been more fun."
learning  education  mandarin  chinese  languages  online  internet  mmorpg  mmo  games  gaming  social  language  tutorial  interactive  free 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Los peores turistas del planeta « Clan-destinos - "Entre los peores turistas destacan los chinos, los indios y los franceses. Son considerados maleducados, quejicas, y reacios a lo local....
"Especialmente, el estudio destaca la falta de voluntad de los franceses para hablar la lengua del país, y el poco interés de los chinos por la cocina local...mejores sobresalen los japoneses ...seguidos por los alemanes, británicos y canadienses."
tourism  french  chinese  indians  international  globalism  nationalism  japanese 
july 2008 by robertogreco
How English Is Evolving Into a Language We May Not Even Understand [via: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/07/sentences-to-po.html
"An estimated 300 million Chinese — roughly equivalent to the total US population — read and write English but don't get enough quality spoken practice. The likely consequence of all this? In the future, more and more spoken English will sound increas
english  future  china  language  languages  evolution  anthropology  words  writing  linguistics  globalization  chinese  culture 
july 2008 by robertogreco
italki - Language Exchange and Learning Community
"italki.com is where you can find everything you need to learn a language. italki is a social network and an online resource for learning foreign languages."
learning  education  languages  language  english  spanish  italian  japanese  portuguese  french  chinese  dictionary  community  collaboration  foreignlanguage  students  teaching  onlinetoolkit  reference  resources  dictionaries 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Here Comes Everybody » Blog Archive » Re-thinking language instruction
"If the teachers had set out to kill the language, I’m not sure they could have done it more effectively. But, of course, they didn’t set out to kill it, they set out to teach it, which would sound almost comical, if it weren’t so tragic."
language  learning  teaching  spanish  chinese  technology  podcasts  pedagogy  conversation 
february 2008 by robertogreco
TravelinEdMan: New York Times article on online language learning and 10 such sites
"the field of online language learning is exploding! Listed below are 10 online language learning sites (the first two, Livemocha and Chinesepod are reviewed in the NY Times article)"
language  learning  online  podcast  podcasting  web  foreignlanguage  spanish  chinese  onlinetoolkit  internet  communication  languages  español  mango  ipod  audio  video  via:stephendownes  speaking  listening  voice  voip 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Yingzi: If English was written like Chinese
"The English spelling system is such a pain, we'd might as well switch to hanzi-- Chinese characters. How should we go about it?"
analogy  asia  china  chinese  culture  design  dialect  english  writing  languages  linguistics  symbols  tutorial  pictograms  humor  characters  words  radicals  reasoning  via:mattwebb 
january 2008 by robertogreco
China Now Magazine
“Either Chinese characters die or China is doomed.”..."Jiao Yingqi, however, thinks that Chinese characters could be the very source of a 21st-century renaissance in cultural and scientific innovation"
china  chinese  language  writing  future  history  symbols 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Happiness: The Chinese zombie ships of West Africa - Ocean Defenders - the weblog
"We're in the big African Queen inflatable, cruising alongside an anchored trawler. It's more rust than metal - the ship is rotting away."
africa  boats  environment  economics  ecology  culture  chinese  china  science  ships  society  photography  activism 
april 2006 by robertogreco
Wired 14.04: The Mandarin Offensive
"Inside Beijing's global campaign to make Chinese the number one language in the world."
english  language  learning  education  future  marketing  chinese  china  business  mandarin 
march 2006 by robertogreco

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