Add ESR’s “The Art of Unix Programming” to my list of books I need to read. It sounds highly intriguing.(0)
Archive for the 'Culture' Category
We had a good guest lecture from a retired UC Davis professor
in my History of Technology class today.
He was the son of Japanese immigrants, and grew up on an Indian
Reservation before being put in a
concentration camp during World War II. After the war, his family
moved to California where they
picked Strawberries. His lecture was about California agriculture and
the ethnicities behind it.
A very interesting thing brought to my attention during the lecture,
though. In addition
to the guest lecturer, there was a visiting professor from Japan in the
audience. When the
visiting professor would ask questions or try to make a statement, I
could barely understand
what he was saying. At first I thought to myself “Gee, that visiting
professor must be glad
the guest lecturer speaks english so well.” But as I thought about the
situation a little
longer, I realized how very wrong I probably was. When I was
learning Japanese, it was damn
near impossible for me to understand most of what a practiced
Japanese speaker said casually,
and I better understood what my fellow students were saying. This is
surely exactly the same
for people who natively speak different languages, but because I
speak English natively, I
assumed that a good english speaker was as easy for a non-english
speaker to understand as
it was for me.
Last evenings entertainment? Karaoke. I went with several people from work, and it was fun enough, but it’s honestly not something I could see myself going out of the way to do in the future. The place we went was very Asian, and so I felt a little out of place there. Because of this, the majority of their selection was Asian oriented, and the english things they did have generally came with wacky videos attached, and had bad subtitling. My favorite was the Celine Dion video, which featured obviously pirated video from the Titanic in the background. Finally, Karaoke is apparently a pretty damn expensive activity. It’s a good thing there was 7 of us, in other words.
All the same, I just don’t get what’s supposed to be fun about Karaoke. It just seems weird to me. I had fun laughing at the videos and the bad subbing and the bad song selection, but that was about it.
So, with the question in my head of “What do the languages and religions of Europe look like?”, I set out to find some answers… Now, it’s probably the geography class I’m taking that made me set out to find an answer to what do they look like, but that’s what I was looking for… And I found some satisfactory answers to one of the questions, and some not so satisfactory answers to the other.
First, I found The Historical Atlas of the 20th Century, which answers my Religion question well enough… It isn’t as precise an answer as I would have liked, but the rest of the Atlas is so damn cool that it can’t be ignored… The animated gifs to display change are probably like the third good use I’ve ever seen of an Animated Gif… Too bad there’s no way to regulate the speed of the animation short of resorting to Java or something Flashier. Oh, The guy who made the atlas has some other pretty cool things on his site, too.
No matter how cool all of the stuff that Matthew White had on display was, there was still my dangling Language question, and that was the question that I was actually more interested in. So I continued forward, undaunted by the music.
I found this flash based map, but it neither used the flash effectively nor contained very much detail. The page it’s part of, in general, uses flash for everything where simple html would have been more than adequate. This document seems to discuss french dialects, and contains several small diagrams of france… Here’s a map of Ukrainian Langauge Distribution… So with those less than stellar results after five pages of google, I tried my luck with Ask Jeeves…
I asked him “What do the languages of europe look like”. It did figure out that I was looking for a map, but it didn’t seem to want to offer me a map of languages of Europe… It seemed willing to offer to tell me what language was spoken in which contry, or to show me a map of europe, but not both. Useless butler… So with that, I’m giving up for now… Let me know if you know of such a map, please?
Today in class it occured to me that Japanese also has seven days of the week, and Japanese also calls Sunday “Day of the Sun” and Monday “Day of the Moon.” So I found myself wonder why they were so like Western names for the days of the week. I figure that, since the months in Japanese are called “First Moon”, “Second Moon”, etc, that dividing a moon into four groups of seven was logical. Also, the names of the days of the week have enough significance that I suspect they predate 1860. So, armed with these questions, I found this page, which seems to not only answer my questions, but answer related questions and generally be informative. I’d summarize here, but I’d do the page a disservice.
Go read this opinion on what is the proper way to eat sushi. Now, you might be asking yourself how I ended up that page. Well, I searched for “My Darling Lorraine” on google,, and I followed a link to this opinion. From there, I clicked on the about the author link, who is apparently the girlfriend in question of the author, because from there there was a link to the sushi eating page. Like you needed to know that. I mean how I got there. How to eat sushi is a fine thing to know.
I’m sure the AFU & Urban Legend Archive has been linked to far and wide, but I’ll add my link here, just so I can delete it out of my bookmarks.
And see, the real purpose of linkstew is revealed! I’m trying to clean out my several thousand bookmarks. I want what is actually in my bookmarks to be things that I visit regularly, while I want LinkStew to contain all the hundreds of things that I bookmarked and want to keep around, but I don’t visit at all frequently.
Hey, maybe there’s something in the archive about psychic alien thwarting helmets…