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Comment Re:Easy! (Score 1) 481

It reminds me of this joke (which I heard my father who's a physician)

There was a chief physician at a renowned medical college who was said to always start the first round of the year for medical students by teaching them on the 'singular imporant principle of medicine'. He would begin by talking about diabetes mellitus: "Diabetes is a Greek name, but the Romans noticed that the bees like the urine of diabetics, so they added the word 'mellitus' which means sweet as honey. As you know, you may find sugar in the urine of a diabetic..."

He then held up a fresh sample of urine just taken from a patient and held up like a trophy, with the students staring at the straw-colored fluid as if they've never seen such a thing before. The physician then suddenly dipped his finger boldly into the urine, and licked his finger with the tip of his tongue. As if tasting wine, he opened and closed his lips rapidly. Could he perhaps detect a faint taste of sugar?

The sample was passed on for the students to try; they all dipped a finger into the fluid, and then licked their finger.

"Now you have learned the first principle of diagnosis, I mean the power of observation" said the physician grinning. "You see," he continued triumphantly, "I dipped my MIDDLE finger into the urine, but licked my INDEX finger, not like all you."

http://www.wydo.org/content/medicines-first-principle

Comment Re:Load of crock (Score 1) 663

Where is the authorization for apple to modify/reduce functionality post-sale?

definitely unethical for apple to modify functionality post sale

I can see why Android handset manufacturers are so ethical. They don't provide any OS updates.

Look, OS upgrades inherently modify functionality post-sale. The user authorized them to do that. Oh, so you'd then want to argue that they didn't *warn* the user? Yes, I'll probably scream license agreement then, because before you know it your pea-brain theory of post-sale-ethics would require a thousand pages of fine print detailing ALL the changes in the OS upgrades that the user might or might not miss.

Unless of course, the user doesn't have an option to downgrade the OS to the backup.

What's your complaint again?

And to you mods who gave this idiot a +1, were you thinking with your brain, or did Apple Hatred burn through all your neurons?

Comment Re:Look over here, look over here! (Score 1) 479

* Insisting there is some conspiracy or that scientists are in it for the money.
* Bringing up the same tired, well covered talking points ("scientists are so stupid they've forgotten about solar output").
* Attacking news and opinion articles and using this to "debunk" the actual science.
* Latching on to the shrieking shrill enviro-nuts and using that to "debunk" the science.
* Pretending that economic consequences of action say anything about the science,attacking proposed action and using that to "debunk" the science.
* Cherry picking the actions of one or two scientists and using this to "debunk" all the other scientists.
* Confusing scientists with everyone else arguing about it and using that to "debunk" the science.

Which side are you talking about again?

The only difference is that: #1 scientific consensus is on the warmists' side, and #2 you believe the warmist camp to hold the truth.

But, in that case, why not just flat out say the reason you're opposed to them is BECAUSE THEY ARE FUCKING WRONG? At least it's honest.

Comment Re:Not Surprising at all! (Score 1) 192

And go where, Yahoo, G+, Geocities?

Slashdot, of course! The OP is obviously a paying customer of Slashdot, and he disables all advertisements, uses a fake username and email, so that he never becomes a "product" by Big Customers buying his personal info and eyeballs.

And this is why he hasn't deleted his Slashdot account yet.

Comment Re:Basic Statistics Deception (Score 1) 400

the laws of physics care not what Al Gore thinks or does.

it does not matter if it is Al Gore, JP Morgan & Co., or Colonel Fucking Sanders who points it out: internalising the market externalities around the burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest tool we have to do something about this before it is too late.

The problem with your argument is that, while what politicians do is irrelevant to *science*, coming up with a solution to the physical problem is part of a *political* process, where we can of course discuss whether Al Gore, JP Morgan & Co, etc are working in the our (the unprivileged) interests.

For example, to take things to an extreme as an illustration, science tells us that if we kill everyone on Earth, the warming will be stopped. Shall we do that? Going down the ever slippery slope, we could ask what if the solution entails millions of people suffering more than they already do? What if under developed countries somehow bear an unfair burden of the problem? What if rich people receive unjust benefits from exploiting the "carbon offset" markets, at the expense of the sufferings of others? What if these political interests obscure and cast the supposedly objective *science* in doubt? What if people who don't have a PhD refuse to believe that more suffering *now* and making fat bastards rich is not a cost they would rather bear to avoid a supposed catastrophe that may happen in 50 years?

It's not just science. The physics is the easy part.

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 2) 562

For traditional => simplified, it's a matter of adjusting a few days and thinking wtf why does it have to look so ugly, but it's still trivial. I never really spent time "learning" the simplified characters beyond trying to read a few novels in simplified Chinese. The difficulty is probably about the same as adjusting to read 1337 5p34k.

Not sure about the other way round. Might be harder, but I can't imagine it's as hard as learning another language or dialect...

What I really meant though, was that regardless of whether the two writing forms are mutually intelligible, they are still a basis where different spoken dialects can share a common written script. In contrast, a pronunciation based writing system would cause the written forms to diverge with each dialect having its own text.

You probably already know what I mean though, even if I might not be expressing myself clearly...

Comment Re:Cantonese is superior to mandarin (Score 1) 562

When something becomes a dialect vs another language seems a bit like selecting where colors change in a rainbow.

Indeed it's like trying to define the boundaries of (biology) species and variety. But still, in some cases the differences between Chinese dialects can arguably be greater than some of those within the European "languages".

To illustrate the differences between so called "dialects", "why" is "wei shen me" [1] in Mandarin, but "dim gai" in Cantonese; "who" is "shei" in Mandarin, but "bin gor" in Cantonese. Negatives ("no-something") usually takes a prefix of "bu" in Mandarin but "mm" in Cantonese. Their written forms are totally different too, so it's not like we have a very funny way to pronounce the same thing. I'd say it is the "basic language" that is different, while the large corpus of vocabulary is mostly shared among the "dialects". But then, vocabulary is liberally borrowed between the European languages too.

There's a few things that obscures the wide variation between the "dialects". One is that we write written Chinese in mostly the same way, due to tradition and communicative purposes. Standard modern Chinese is written in the form of modern Mandarin (i.e. Putonghua) and the norm is that "self-respecting" educated Chinese write in that standard form regardless of their spoken dialect. The second is that while our pronunciations are can be markedly different, a large part of the written script remains identical, because Chinese characters are not pronunciation based. So while there may be variations in the script in different European languages (eg. "wine" (en) => "vin" (fr) => "wein" (de)), the written text is the same in Chinese, even though there may be large pronunciation differences.

A fun thing that I like to mention is how written Japanese might in some cases be more legible to Mandarin speakers than written Cantonese. The Kanji in written Japanese has roots in classical Chinese (something comparable to Latin in Europe), and thus if the Japanese text is mostly written in Kanji (i.e. avoiding kana where possible), it's quite legible to those who understand Chinese. For example, the Kanji form of "who" in Japanese ("da-re") is written in the same character as "shei" in Mandarin. Of course, when spoken it is totally mutually illegible, but you can see how a supposedly "different" language (Chinese vs Japanese) can have more similar roots than a "dialect" within the Chinese language family.

[1] ("me" pronounced as in "mermaid" without the suffix)

Comment Re:Cantonese is superior to mandarin (Score 2) 562

Flattered with your title (it's my first spoken language), but you really have no idea what you're talking about.

There are various "accents" of Mandarin, but Cantonese, Hokkien, etc are not accents. I'd say they're somewhere between dialects and distinct languages. Even discounting phonetic differences, the written vocabulary can be very different -- to the extent that I probably understand written Japanese more than the colloquial use of various Chinese "dialects". (To a Mandarin speaker, I often hypothesize that Cantonese written in Chinese characters can be harder to understand than Japanese-written-in-mostly-kanji... it's a fun fact that shows the divergence of the local dialects/languages)

Not sure whether anyone thinks that people speaking Hokkien "suck" (I haven't heard of any such "dialect-discrimination", though the official discouragement [or even persecution] of local spoken dialects is surely happening), but it's a practical problem for communication if there's no common legible language for people within a country.

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 2) 562

I'm the opposite. I generally seem to read English at a much faster rate, even though Chinese is supposed to be my "first language". It might have something to do with "practice". The amount of English I read is probably an order of magnitude greater than Chinese.

It also might have something to do with the content though. It feels like Chinese fiction is easier on my eyes, whereas English is better for technical and (complex) argumentative writing.

Comment Re:Pinyin has been around for ages (Score 1) 562

There is another, arguably better, system called Zhuyin, that is less confusing because the phonetic symbols come from actual Chinese words that are written with only a few strokes

Not true. Chinese is my first language, and since I'm not Taiwanese, I still have no friggin idea how to pronounce those Zhuyin symbols. They are not actual Chinese words (characters).

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 1) 562

Pedantic.

But I think the GP's claim is still valid. Using pronunciation based writing systems for writing Chinese would isolate the various spoken dialects because the pronunciation between them are not quite legible to each other, but either simplified or traditional Chinese works as a common, mutually intelligible form.

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 1) 562

Chinese has a long tradition of writing differently than speaking.

It was quite recent (early 20th century) where there were movement by Chinese intellectuals to "write what you speak" (which was largely successful) -- but the tradition still sort of lives on where the spoken language seems to change faster than the written language, and the form is still slightly different. The spoken language is sometimes a bit more wordy than the written language too, perhaps in part because of the need to disambiguate the homophones.

Besides, it would be impossible to easily read any Chinese texts written more than a hundred years ago if you just knew the romanized pronunciations. The issue with *writing* them is sort of becoming a moot point, with the advent of computers. The standard way to type Chinese is using pronunciation based input methods.

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