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December 2008

Written By: jfboy.shieh on December 19, 2008 13 Comments
Cultural heritage status for complex Chinese characters

Taiwan is planning to apply to UNESCO to have complex Chinese characters (also known as traditional Chinese characters,  正體字, or 繁體字) gain cultural heritage status.

I view the simplification of Chinese characters in the 50s/60s under the communist regime of Chairman Mao as being one of the greatest cultural losses in history. As a Taiwanese American, […]

Written By: daveski on December 19, 2008 7 Comments
Signs all the way home

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to use this space to post pictures of signs and talk about them — no, not the worn-out diagrams of tree-sounds and tree-concepts, the signifiers and signifieds of Saussure’s universe (though those are plenty interesting too). I’m talking about the kind of signs that you and I […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 17, 2008 5 Comments

An article in the Telegraph, UK, covers what it calls a “growing backlash” in Germany against the popular trend of appropriating English words into German discourse, or what is called “Denglisch.” An increasingly globalized world, the spread of English-based technology, and a high rate of immigration into the country (there are some 10 […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 17, 2008 2 Comments
Name Calling: The Obama Edition

The staff and press corps accompanying President-Elect Obama these days have developed some entertaining code words…see if you can guess what they mean!

8. LID

Yes We Did!

How many did you get right?

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 16, 2008 2 Comments
Oddest Book Titles?

With only 15 days, 2 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds (at the time of this writing) to go before the year draws to a close, the Internet is flooded with all kinds of lists: Top 10 of this, Top 100 of that, and Top 500 of the other. My favorite list […]

Written By: katie_k on December 16, 2008 No Comment

So as I take a break from preparing for exams tomorrow and Friday, I just want to say thank you to the Slavic Department, Lisa Little, and the grad students who set up the conversation hours – definitely the highlight of my Russian studies this semester! Спасибо за русский разговорный час!

Written By: daveski on December 16, 2008 3 Comments

TechCrunch ran a story yesterday about the Massachusetts-based startup Yamli, saying that they’re solidifying their position as a major player in the Arabic search world. (I posted previously on them here).

Apparently what they’ve done now is to allow for an automatic search for phonetically similar words with different spellings…Any […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 15, 2008 No Comment
In Utero Twitterization

Inventor and NYU student Corey Menscher has come up with the “Kickbee,” a device that transmits a baby’s kicks in the mother’s womb, and converts them to Twitter updates. Those following the updates will be informed within moments of the baby kicking. Check it out here!

Written By: Youki on December 15, 2008 13 Comments

taking a break from writing to present you with the following comic:


a lesson to remember when writing papers.

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 14, 2008 3 Comments

The King of Bombaria (“Bombagharer Raja”)

In the land of Bombaria,
The customs are peculiar.
The king, for instance, advocates
Gilded frames for chocolates.
The queen, who seldom goes to bed
Straps a pillow round her head.
The courtiers—or so I am told—
Turn cartwheels when they have a cold

… The King’s old aunt—an autocrat—
Hits pumpkins with her cricket bat
While Uncle loves to […]

Written By: Youki on December 13, 2008 13 Comments

In an earlier post, Usree linked a youtube video comparing Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” to Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly.”  A background in music theory/composition will tell you that the majority of modern, mainstream music is based off a few pretty common chord progressions (copying the melody and tempo, however, is a completely […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 12, 2008 2 Comments

Ajit Balakrishnan, the CEO of Indian’s fifth largest web portal, Rediff.com, argued recently that data collected over the last decade suggests no evidence that Indian Internet users “want Indian languages.” He went on to state that “practically all of the 300 million young people who aspire to something in this country aspire […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 12, 2008 5 Comments

I just found a helpful free site called The Plagiarism Checker which claims to detect whether a piece of text is plagiarized or not. I took several chunks from readings assigned to my class, reworded them a little, and ran them through the analyzer, and it worked fine: it detected “potential plagiarism,” and then […]

Written By: daveski on December 12, 2008 No Comment

We’ve just upgraded to WordPress 2.7, and thanks a million to Chris at the BLC, we can now read non-English fonts correctly. If you’re new to this blog and are wondering what it’s all about, check out our “About” page. If you have a story or news to share […]

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 11, 2008 No Comment

A Russian businessman just trademarked the winking emoticon used in texting/emailing:

The following emoticons,

and 😉

and 🙂

are possibly next in line, he says.

Read the BBC report on this here.

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 11, 2008 2 Comments
Lost in Translation

The Independent, UK, has an article about how the highly reputed German scientific journal, Max Planck Forschung, unwittingly used a cover image with Chinese text from a Macau brothel to highlight its China issue. In place of what the editors imagined was ancient Chinese poetry, they ended up with some clearly racy text. […]

Written By: daveski on December 10, 2008 6 Comments
노을, 마음에 드네

I was inspired by katie_k’s recent post about her favorite word in Russian, бессмысленный, and thought I’d add my own. For some reason I started hearing this word echo in my mind recently…I don’t know why it is that it resonates so much with me. It wasn’t written in a poem that I […]

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Written By: daveski on December 9, 2008 No Comment

I came across this on the UC Berkeley events page, and it looks pretty cool: “a multimedia poetry reading, featuring an open mic and a guest poet speaker” + thrift sale, all to benefit Darfur. It’s sponsored by the Berkeley Poetry Review, and the event’s in the Heller Lounge of the […]

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Written By: Youki on December 9, 2008 1 Comment

what this says?
(after it loads)

can you guess what it is?
(click on it)

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on December 8, 2008 2 Comments
Signs from Around the World!

A really amazing Flickrite, Tony Bowden, has compiled a massive gallery of signs from around the world. Check it out here. [Hat tip: Chris Bodenner.] Looking at the signs he has collected, I was reminded of a very interesting sign I took a picture of, at a park in New Delhi, India, […]

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