If the Chinese language is really such a notoriously difficult language to learn (and to speak) there ought to be no one using it anymore, right?
I dunno about you, but I do think
Actually, it is considered a notoriously difficult language for westerners to learn. I don't think that is hyperbole. "The hardest language and nearly impossible to learn" would be hyperbole. As someone who did learn Mandarin and spent a couple years in Asia speaking Mandarin with people on the streets pretty much all day every day, I can tell you it's about as different from English as you can get. Having also studied French, I can tell you it's much more difficult than picking up a Romance language. If you wanted to pick apart a section of the quoted text as inaccurate, it would be "particularly, to speak". You could pick apart the fact misplaced comma, or you could just look directly at his meaning. That implies that of the parts of learning the language, speaking is the most difficult. This couldn't be more wrong for Chinese. If you break language into four tasks: speaking, listening, reading and writing, then speaking is by far the easiest. Reading an writing in Chinese is something that most foreigners I met in Asia never even attempted.
Totally agree. It's the same in reverse too. If you started with Chinese as your native tongue, then romance languages are very difficult too. This is due to the way sentences are constructed. I was doing some translation the other day and found that I often had to reverse the order of different phrases in the sentence to get the sentence to flow. There is one upside of starting with Chinese first and that is understanding the different tones within Chinese. Most of the westerners that I know who is learning or trying to learn Chinese struggle with tones. The words for mother, numb, horse, and to insult have very similar sounds as they are simply the 4 different tones for the same pinyin combination. Most of the time, if a native mandarin speaker says those for words (in mandarin) in quick succession, most westerners wouldn't be able to tell which is which. I know someone will now point out that a lot of Chinese can't distinguish between r and l, so learning Chinese first is not any better. But I want to point out that's because they were taught incorrectly and they think it's the correct pronunciation. Both the r and l sounds exist in mandarin so there is really no reason to get them wrong except if they weren't taught correctly.
Of course, if you learn both languages young enough then both languages are "easy". It's all perspective and when you are trying to learn each of the languages. Therefore, the statement aimed at the western audience is correct, it is notoriously difficult. But if the same statement were aimed at the Chinese, they will laugh mercilessly at you because it's pretty darn easy.
Not sure if I follow the real name policy argument. Personally, I understand that people want privacy and there was a huge outcry when Blizzard also required real names as part of their RealID row out. But at the same time I think the issue that both Blizzard and Google wanted to address was cyber-bullying by hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. I think everyone else just got caught in the crossfire because of a few bad actors. In all seriousness, neither Google nor Blizzard really benefits by having your real name. It's not like the earn money by knowing your name, they earn money by knowing your interests. Your name just doesn't give them that. And for them to require real names, there must be something else there. But then again that's just my 2 cents, take what you will.
Ionizing radiation from the flare could cause HF radio blackouts and other communications disturbances, especially on the day-lit side of Earth. In the next few hours, when coronagraph data from SOHO and STEREO become available, we will see if a CME emerges from the blast site. If so, the cloud would likely be aimed directly at Earth and could reach our planet in 2 to 3 days."
Link to Original Source
“There is not, and there has not been in the world, such a terrorizing and vile violation of human rights of an entire people than the blockade that the US government has been leading against Cuba for 55 years,” Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters.
He also blamed the embargo for the difficulties in accessing internet on the island, saying that the United States creates an obstacle for companies providing broadband services in Cuba. Additionally, he said that the area is one of the "most sensitive" to the embargo, with economic losses estimated at $34.2 million. It is also the sector that has fallen "victim of all kinds of attacks" by the US, as violations of the Cuban radio or electronic space “promote destabilization" of Cuban society, the report notes.
The damage to Cuban foreign trade between April 2013 and June 2014 amounted to $3.9 billion, the report said. Without the embargo, Cuba could have earned $205.8 million selling products such as rum and cigars to US consumers.
Barack Obama last week signed the one-year extension of the embargo on Cuba, based on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, created to restrict trade with countries hostile to the US."
China has always been controlled from the center. In past eras, China has had technological and exploration advantages over the West that were wiped out by intrusion and isolation commanded from China's locus of concentrated power - whether via emperors, or the current regime.
Long run (maybe, even near-long-term) this does not bode well for China's prospects, because when one is sealed off from outside ideas and innovation, one will ultimately fall behind and adapt only in suboptimal ways. What results is a waste of social and intellectual capital.
That makes no sense. China just banned its government from using Apple products, not Apple products in general. It hasn't sealed itself from outside ideas and innovations at all. Chinese citizens can still buy iPads and iPhones so Chinese smartphone manufactures still has to compete.
Another reason why this may have happened that most people probably wouldn't think about is that this might be a move to fight corruption. iPads and iPhones have been vastly popular as "gifts" within the government. Banning the government from purchasing them as gifts would help to fight some of the corruption problem they're having.