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Comment: Re:Yet more English learning (Score 2) 147

I think that the question isn't "which" language you know, but "how many" you know. The more languages you know, the more perspectives of the world you can see. Each language, like you mentioned, has encapsulated their cultures and belief systems. This language does shape the users of the languages, and the users also shape their ever-evolving language.

That being said, it doesn't make one language objectively "better" than another -- it just means that one language has a different focus than another. Sure, from the evolutionary standpoint of languages, whichever language lasts longer may facilitate a more lasting culture, but for many languages, it's just that each has a different way of looking at life. I would love to learn several languages, just to have several different perspectives on the world and life.

The US culture, for example, is all about active voice. We hate passive voice, because nobody takes the blame or responsibility for them. If someone says, "The vase was broken", we immediately react with "By whom?" (well, we'll probably say, "Who did it?", but still..) In Spanish, we use, "Se me rompió el jarrón." The direct translation is, "The vase broke itself to me." In the grammatical construction, we let people know that it wasn't intentional. The Spanish language isn't as blame-focused as English. Does it make it better? Worse? That's up to the users. Does it make it last longer? Time will tell.

There isn't a way to objectively rank language by "betterness", unless you have a set goal that you want to accomplish. Only cultures get to decide what their own goals are, and they will shape their own language by their own goals.

TL;DR Languages are only limited by what their culture's priorities are. If the culture's priorities change, the languages will too, effectively removing said limitations. Language is only seen as limiting if you're on the outside, wanting the culture to change to be more like you.

Comment: Re:...news for nerds.. (Score 2) 405

by GuitarNeophyte (#46804609) Attached to: In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes

I think there are probably two main things keeping more people from trying golf.

1) The Image. Like you said, many people consider it to be boring and pointless. Other people consider it a game only for the elite (or those who consider themselves the elite) of society.

2) The Cost. Unlike mini-golf, you generally have to supply your own equipment that can get prohibitively expensive. A friend of mine wanted to try golf because his work was having a golf outing together. He had to shell out $80 for somebody else's used clubs. $80 to TRY a game? Another of my friends went to the same golf outing and brought one club and everybody laughed at him. He had a blast, but he wasn't doing the game like everybody else.

If my friends enjoyed golfing and the golf course lent you clubs for cheap, I'd definitely try it with them. As it stands, I'll keep to frisbee golf (a very fun game, by the way), where the only cost to entry is a $12 heavy frisbee that you can lend to whoever else you want to play with. Like golf, there's plenty of room to grow, with specialty discs for different kinds of throws. Once I realized I like the game, I bought like five discs. I generally only use two of them, but I have five, so I can bring a bunch of people with me and we can all have fun for cheap.

Comment: Re:Probably typical (Score 1) 121

by GuitarNeophyte (#46747071) Attached to: 44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

this is completely me. I have three people I follow. 1) My wife. She logged in and followed herself on my account. 2) a band I like 3) DDO (D&D MMO) because it tells me when there are special deals, because I think that their normal prices are too high, but I enjoy the game. I never post. I just check every once in a while to see if they have posted anything interesting recently.

Comment: Re:Philistines (Score 1) 641

by GuitarNeophyte (#46698349) Attached to: Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Just seeing mention of OS/2 jarred my brain of an old memory. When I was in college, an old couple from my church asked me over to their house to see if I could help them with their computer. It was running OS/2 and it was the first time I had ever seen it. I had everything figured out in about 5 or 10 minutes and was able to show them how to use it. Fast Forward to a year or so ago, the first time I met up with Windows 8 was completely different. A friend of mine handed me thier laptop and asked for help getting it to play movies on a TV connected to it. I tinkered around on it for 20 minutes before I gave up and Googled the answer (turns out the default movie player can't play movies on a second monitor. You need to dig around and use Windows Media Player, which for some reason isn't the default player). It seems like the "It Just Works" thing only works with older stuff.

Comment: Re:Moving from Ebooks to Paper (Score 1) 224

by GuitarNeophyte (#46693703) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

sorry to reply to my own post, but I just thought of another anecdotal piece of information. I had heard of kids with terrible vocabulary and spelling skills who spent a Summer Vacation reading lots of books coming back to school with fantastic writing skills. Just seeing and hearing correct usage can build the patterns in our brains for correct usage and grammar. Many foreign-language-learning experts (not the Rosetta Stone people -- the people actually learning all kinds of language) recommend high quantities of almost-comprehensible input in order to stretch your language abilities.

Comment: Re:Moving from Ebooks to Paper (Score 1) 224

by GuitarNeophyte (#46693649) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

I very rarely used a dictionary as a kid, and when I took my college entrance placement exam, they gave me this huge obscure vocabulary test and I got 100% on it. I think just having good context-clue-finding skills can really be a huge benefit to vocabulary acquisition. I remember my elementary school teachers harping about context clues every time someone asked what a word meant, and now I'm super glad that they did, because it's caused me to learn a lot of words just from reading a lot. I've been living in a Spanish speaking country for the past 6 months, and those skills have been a huge help in learning a foreign language as well.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 224

by GuitarNeophyte (#46693567) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

I think it's more of a personal evolution thing. My wife, and the parent poster, still read lots of long books, so they can still do it just fine. Those of us who only read five or six novels (or less!) a year may tend to agree with the original summary. I still have times when I like to get back and re-read my favorite books, but I've found that I can keep the attention better by listening to it in audiobook form than by paper-book reading. Maybe I just need a good reading chair again and I'd be able to re-brain-plasticity my way back to being a long-book reader, but for now, I'm fine with audiobooks.

Comment: Re:Its called evolution.. (Score 1) 224

by GuitarNeophyte (#46693515) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

I used to always love reading long books. Now, I do have to admit that I have a harder time keeping with reading for extended periods of time. It'll take me two or three weeks to read the Hobbit, when it took me about as many days to read it the first time. However, with the always-connected Internet and all, I find myself "reading" the classics, like the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, by listening to audiobooks while doing something that doesn't require verbal focus, like playing video games with the sound turned off. I can perfectly pay attention to the story I'm hearing, while playing video games, and in a couple days, I'll listen to the entire audiobook.

Comment: Re:Is it not obvious? They have dirt on him! (Score 3, Insightful) 312

by GuitarNeophyte (#46680317) Attached to: Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection?

Without going into whether I agree with what you say, it seems to me that whenever people say "Most people...", it is typically to say that most people have opinnions that are close to the speaker's opinnions, even when most people are not really like that at all.

However, most people spend most of their time with people who think relatively similar to themselves, adding to their own thoughts that "most people" are like them. I'd say that "most people" (and I admit, I fall into the exact same bias that I mentioned before) just want to be left alone to do whatever they want to do. Sure, people like government to do this or that (police, roads, teach kids and stuff), but by in large, I think people just want left alone. I've been doing some travelling to some various cultures, and noticing how, as much as people are different, we're all pretty much the same. People just want to do their thing and not have to be bothered.

Comment: Re:Watch It Succeed (Score 1) 112

by GuitarNeophyte (#46523751) Attached to: Sony Announces Virtual Reality Headset For PS4

My first thought seems to be opposite of most of the people I've seen post on this. Everyone keeps pointing out that it would be hard for the PS4 to be able to produce the desired effect due to the technical specifications of the console. I haven't been following the PS* close enough to comment on this, but I have been checking in on the VR headset scene on and off for quite some time. The technologies have been coming for years and years, and many gaming rigs have multiple-monitor capability (for stereoscopic potential), so it seems to me that if there was a potential market for this type of game, we would have seen a more public attempt at it in PC games by now. As it is, the widest-spreading VR item I've seen was that weird, red-lines VR mobile platform that Nintendo put out a while back. And that was a very niche item.

TL;DR -- I don't know if the tech is powerful enough, but I just don't think there's enough market for the thing.

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