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Comment Re: Really? (Score 1) 249

I can appreciate that this would have been very useful when learning my route to work in Sydney. Having to stop constantly and refer to my print-out of directions, then compare this with the GPS and trying to find street signs to see if anything matched up was a nightmare. I only had to navigate 14 kms, but it took about 2 weeks to learn the route cos I took so many wrong turns. Started out taking 2.5 hours, once I had the route finally worked out it was normally under an hour (depending on lights, traffic and weather). Of course, I assume the hammerhead will only be as good as the GPS behind it, and I'm not really sure that anything can make Sydney roads easily navigable.

Comment Re: Going to get modded down as sexist for this, b (Score 1) 690

According to that book "Bounce" which looks at excellence in many different fields, not all Africans are good runners. According to the author, the region in Africa these people come from is actually one village, which just so happened to not have a very local school, meaning that children there did a 20 km round trip every school day, under their own steam. This led to a whole lot of young people clocking up the necessary 10,000 hours of practice to become world standard. Opportunity, not genetics, generates the observed differences, just like it generates the observed school differences between the sexes.

Comment Re:Battery power and eyestrain. (Score 1) 333

I'm confused by all of these 'eyestrain' issues - does no-one else read white text on a black background? I read books on my phone (SGS2, and before that on my Palm Treo 650), and yes, having a light-background got unpleasant, but reversing the colours is fine. (And okay, I agree battery life is an issue.)

Comment Australia in the 80s (Score 1) 632

At primary school in the 80s we did Logo (you had to write out anything you'd worked out earlier into your notebook to be able to make advances in next week's half-hour slot, I spent forever making the turtle draw a stick-figure in a top-hat) and some word-programming thing (where the highlight was typing until you nearly reached the end of the line, then carefully and slowly pressing one character at a time so we could all hoot at the word jumping magically to the next line, it was great!).

Then I went to a selective, all-girls high-school, where we were supposed to learn Basic, and Carmen San Diego. Maybe something else too, but I think I spent my time making Basic programs that printed stupid jokes about a particular teacher we didn't like, and getting my friends to run them. Awesome stuff.

Now, 20-something years later, I'm starting to learn Python at Udacity. All of that early exposure must have triggered something in me :p

Comment Re:Summary (Score 1) 608

I disagree with your summary of their responses to Q4. I read them as:
Obama: I will make essential medicine freely available to those who cannot otherwise afford it.
Romney: I will keep the health system as is, and give more money to the pharmaceutical companies.
Which I thought were fundamentally pretty different.

I'm not American, and I found Romney's waffling answers really very difficult to focus on, the gods only know what questions he thought he was answering. I really don't know much about either of them (I would recognise Obama's face at least), but I've discovered today that Obama is pleasantly literate and Romney... isn't.

Comment Re:why in the hell (Score 1) 194

Agreed, phonetic and syllabic scripts are much easier to learn and to use - far fewer things to remember. But 'better'...? :p Better for the masses, yes. Better for creating beautiful, compact writing? Not necessarily. (For a language to have a truly perfect phonetic orthography, everyone must pronounce every word the same - have you seen IPA renditions of different accents/dialects? And the moment you have two dialects with slightly different phonology, even a phonemic orthography won't be perfect.) Ah, sorry, I'm probably wandering off-topic. And I'm just being a devil's advocate here too. I'm currently learning Pashto (written in a modified Arabic script), and them not writing vowels in their writing drives me nuts - it makes it impossible to read the damn thing >:/

Comment Re:why in the hell (Score 1) 194

Can you explain why (traditional/simplified) chinese is that bad?

I see alphabetic and syllabic writing systems as vastly superior

Well, the meaning of a Chinese ideogram can often be gleaned from the combination of strokes/other ideograms used, even if you can't pronounce it (although there's often some guide to pronunciation in obscure characters too). This is kind of the reverse of English, where the pronunciation is more-or-less clear, but the meaning not.

So, should the written form represented the phonetics or semantics of what is said? English only approximates the first and doesn't come close on the second, while Chinese only sometimes approximates the first but often represents the second.

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 1201

You can actually get loans that do this - allow you up to 12 months 'repayment holiday' or whatever it's called, for parental leave, illness, unemployment, whatever. You pay something extra for it, I think. At least, I was offered this option for my home loan that I got 2 weeks ago, in Australia.

Comment Re:Yeah. (Score 1) 380

(I'm actually 'back' in Australia!) Jájá, ég lærði að tala íslensku á meðan ég var tharna, og ég er meira að segja búin að taka íslending með mér heim :D And, no, I'm really not coping not being in Reykjavík - nothing beats living 2 minutes walk from everything. Okay, so the beach is a little further than 2 minutes from downtown, but my husband and I are definitely not okay with normal travel time to work being over an hour (as it is in Sydney). There's no time for 'life', only 'work'. Yes, I am madly jealous of you still being there! My current Devious Plan is to support any incentive at work that will allow me to work remotely, then, like a rat out of an aqueduct, we'll be back in the North Atlantic, dancing on the Pond when it freezes, and scouting out volcanoes again! So, you're in it for the long haul then? (PS, it is really strange that /. doesn't display thorn!)

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