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Archive for September, 2006

Tone Marks on Roadsigns Part IMark’s opening argument.
Tone Marks on Roadsigns Part IIPrince Roy’s opening argument.
Tone Marks on Roadsigns Part IIIMark’s rebuttal.
Tone Marks on Roadsigns Part IVPrince Roy’s rebuttal.

What should the road signs have on them?

  • Mark was right, characters and pinyin with tones (42%, 22 Votes)
  • Prince Roy was right, characters and pinyin without tones (31%, 16 Votes)
  • Nothing but oracle bone script, you wusses (12%, 6 Votes)
  • Only characters, foreigners who can't read them suck (10%, 5 Votes)
  • Whatever the guerrilla tone-markers deem fit (4%, 2 Votes)
  • Only pinyin, it's about time the locals learn it (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 52

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Dueling Lăowài is a new feature on This is my rebuttal of Prince Roy’s arguments against adding tone marks to roadsigns. If you missed the opening arguments of our friendly debate, be sure to check them out!
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Dueling Lăowài is a new feature on Each “duel” will consist of four pieces by two writers: each writer will write one opening argument and one rebuttal.
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Brendan recently found a really interesting story titled Software does judge’s job in China [AFP via Yahoo! News].

BEIJING (AFP) – Judges are not usually at risk of losing their jobs to modern technology but that may be changing in China, where new software is handing down sentences automatically.

The Zichuan District Court in east China’s Shandong province has installed programs on judges’ computers that provide advice on the proper verdicts in criminal cases, the state-run China Daily reported.

It looks like the software only handles sentencing as opposed to verdicts. The original article is “量刑软件”会不会“腐败,” (”Can sentencing software be ‘corrupted?’”).

I’ve also noticed that Brendan has put up a translation of the most amusing poster I saw during my whole vacation on the mainland.

I haven’t started my diet yet, but I have been taking advantage of my gym membership now that I live in a city that actually has gyms. I have two basic sorts of weightlifting workouts. My “pushing” workout consists of bench presses, dumbbell shoulder raises, dips, and a tricep isolation exercise. My “pulling” workout consists of lat pulls, rows, and bicep curls. I also have two basic running workouts. My “short” runs are 10 minutes long and I try to keep my heart rate around 180 beats per minute. My “normal” runs are 40 minutes long and I try to run at 80% of the speed of my most recent short runs. Here’s my basic workout plan:
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I like my landlady. However, there’s a very fine line that divides charmingly batty from batshit-insane, and she’s pushing it. Her off-handed comments about how dryers are unsanitary and how it’s better to leave your clothes out on a line until they dry are weird to me, but not that unusual for Taiwan. Her daily pieces of advice that she gives me are actually kind of sweet. What happened last night disturbs me. continue reading…

A few days ago, while in the midst of a CD editing project, I spilled water on my keyboard and wrecked it. Fortunately, I live really close to 光華商場. I hopped on the subway, rode over, and went into the underground section of the market. After picking a shop, I asked one of the employees for the “cheapest keyboard”. Call me stingy, but I’m accustomed to buying the cheapest components I can, with a few exceptions. While a nice Logitech 4x optical mouse is nice, I actually prefer simple keyboards to some of the more expensive ones, which often turn out to be ergonomic monstrosities.

The clerk handed me a keyboard and mouse bundled set with a sticker saying it cost 400 bucks.

<in Chinese>
Me: Is this the cheapest keyboard here?
Clerk: Yep. 400 bucks.
Me: What about that one over there? That’s the same kind I bought last time.
Clerk: That one doesn’t come with a mouse or anything, and it’s PS2, not USB.
Me: So, how much is it?
Clerk: $150.
Me: I’ll take it.

After that, there wasn’t any pretense of apology or discomfort. I bought what I wanted and left.

Making modest goals doesn’t work. They just don’t motivate me enough to make real progress. I find that the results I get from setting several relatively easy goals are usually worse than those I get from setting none at all. Small goals aren’t exciting enough to give me the drive to actually achieve them, yet they are enough to sap my motivation when I don’t achieve them.
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Last night, while looking up some words I didn’t understand in a Chinese kids’ book, I found something really interesting, or at least really interesting if you’re a language geek. Unless there’s some reason to say something in a certain way, the Chinese way of saying it and the English way are often completely different. Here’s a case in which the similarity is so strong it seems like it couldn’t possibly be a coincidence.
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