10 reasons to upgrade to Windows 7

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I never purchased Windows Vista but from what I've read Windows 7 is looking to be really good, and it'll be nice to see Microsoft put out something really successful again. Quick boot time and as little annoyance to the user as possible is the most important part of an OS, and it looks like Windows 7 has all this and more. An article here in Norwegian has ten reasons to get Windows 7 so I'll list them here too (not a translation but a summary of the points).

1) Virtual XP mode - now there's no need to worry about software that can only run in XP, because with this mode you can just switch back to a virtual XP mode whenever you need to run them.

2) Faster installation, faster startup and clean UI
Windows 7 installation took almost 20 minutes for the person that wrote the article in Norwegian, one third of the time it took to install Vista. Startup time also takes less time than both XP and Vista, and the user environment is much more comfortable and attractive than XP.

3) Good support for network PCs - network PCs are popular for their low price, mobility and low power consumption, and Windows 7 will be available in customized versions for them.

4) You can uninstall Windows components - tired of Windows Media Player for example? Get rid of it.

5) Better driver and application support - do you have any devices in XP or Vista shown as "unknown device"? In Windows 7 most componants can be supported "out of the box", so that you don't need to fiddle with a bunch of different driver CDs to get your componants to work as they should. Known standard components will as a rule work right after installation.

6) Better calculator, drawing and writing programs - Calculator, Paint and Wordpad have been redesigned, and the two latter have an interface like that of Office 2007.

7) Less unnecessary add-on programs: those that have bought PCs from HP, Acer and so on know well how many unnecessary programs there are on these PCs that weigh them down. This has been removed for Windows 7 and instead can be downloaded as an option. (note: no idea how this works in practice. Let me know in the comments section below if you know how this is going to work)

8) Better user account control - no idea what this part is about as it's talking about some annoying feature in vista re: user accounts that almost nobody uses...but Windows 7 allows you to control the "aggressiveness" of this.

9) New features in Aero - fun stuff with making windows transparent, switching screens and whatnot. The article includes this video that shows just what these are:

10) Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) - I like this feature a lot. It allows you to record exactly how you've arrived at a problem by recording every action you take, whereupon you can just send this to someone else who can then see how the problem occurred without having to rely on your explanation of how it happened. That's the difference between trying to explain to someone what someone else said and having a recording of exactly what they did say.


Interview with Cliff May on the Daily Show, 28 April 2009

Cliff May went on the Daily Show yesterday for an interview that was supposed to be about six minutes but stretched into about twenty, and as a result only part of it was able to be shown on tv, but when these things happen on the Daily Show they always show the entire interview uncut online for those that want to watch it, so here it is in two parts:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

It's a very interesting debate and none of them backed down from their positions, and there was even a bit of agreement there towards the end. I think the scenario constantly brought forth by the pro-....torture/intensive interrogation/whatever advocates is a bit besides the point though, because it assumes that US intelligence gathering is already at something near peak effectiveness and just needs a tiny bit of tweaking in order to bring in that little bit of extra information the country needs to keep its citizens safe. However, since that's not even close to the case there's not even any reason to start thinking about changing the location of the red line one draws when conducting interrogation, since there are many way easier ways to improve intelligence gathering, such as simply hiring people that speak the languages the CIA needs, cooperation with agencies in other countries, etc. So in that light the idea of intensive interrogation on high-level targets really is besides the point.

In addition to that, the argument can also be made that maintaining a moral high ground results in a mitigation of so-called "soft" terrorists, those that aren't completely committed to their cause, but have allowed themselves to be convinced into joining due to being influenced by propaganda manufactured by vastly exaggerating a grain of truth. The problem with this though is that it's very hard to show - it's very hard to show concrete examples of terrorists not being created, whereas extreme examples of very evil people are very easy to pick out. This is similar to the growing of a forest compared to trees being cut down - when a tree is cut down and falls it does so with great commotion and is impossible to ignore, but it's very easily possible that during the time a single tree falls down, the total mass of the forest could have grown by an amount even more than this tree, thus resulting in a larger forest than before in spite of all the commotion of the one tree falling down.


Oslo's opera house in Bjørvika wins European Mies Van Der Rohe Award for architecture

No surprise for something that looks as nice as this:

Dagbladet has the story in Norwegian. Quick summary:

The EU believes Snøhetta's opera in Bjørvika is Europe's best building. At ten o'clock on Wednesday it was announced that Norwegian architects would get the Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2009, the EU's own prize for architecture...jury forman Francis Rambert wrote on the opera that "The Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo is more than just a building. It is first and foremost a living space(?), a gift to the city. The building can be seen as a catalyst for all the energy in the city."

This is also apparently the biggest prize for architecture that has been given not just in Norway but also in Scandinavia. The competition involved a total of 340 buildings.

Construction of the opera house took four years and cost $670 million...or so they thought. It actually came in under budget and ended up costing $625 million instead. You can see the four years of construction condensed into three minutes in a video here.


Where's the catch?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Took this on the street in Korea here in 2006. Take a closer look at the blue sign.

Here's a closeup:

Sweet! Free Jew! Hold on a sec, there's gotta be a catch in there somewhere...

As for what they actually sell, their official title design provides a bit of a hint. Or you could just go to their site.

Edit 2010: Naver's Street View shows us that Free Jew is still doing quite well, while the gallery below it has been replaced by a lighting store.


Catalan, Basque and Galician can now be used in the European Court of Justice

There are quite a few articles on this in Spanish that pretty much say the same thing, so let's go with...this one.

Catalan, Basque and Galician can be used starting tomorrow (=27 April) in the European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg...then it goes on about an administrative agreement that has made the usage of recognized regional languages in this way possible, and that Spain is the first country to utilize this. With this citizens can send correspondences to the court in any of Spain's official languages and receive a reply in the same language.

Catalan and Galician are both Romance languages so receiving and sending letters in those two should be a pretty easy matter (there was even a common Galician-Portuguese language in the Middle Ages), but Basque is completely different and would require relying entirely on Basque native speakers, since no one else would be able to manage the documents, and I imagine this would place a bit more burden on those handling the correspondences to be accurate. I would imagine for example that any correspondences coming in in Galician or Catalan could easily be looked over by someone that doesn't necessarily know the language as a mother tongue to get an idea what the subject is after which it would get forwarded to the person in charge, but Basque doesn't look like other European languages so letters in Basque would just go straight to the native speaker in charge. At least, that's the way I imagine it would work.


Anywhere close to Cambridge from 30 April to 2 May? Consider attending the "Crossroads: The Future of Human Life in the Universe" conference

Just a heads up for anyone that reads here often and will be in the area on the first or second of May - there's going to be a two-day conference on what I believe will be the most prominent feature of the second decade of this century: the discovery of Earth-like planets one after another and the change it will bring about on us on the way we view space and our role in the universe. As the press release states:

Astronomers are on the threshold of discovering the Holy Grail of planetary sciences: new Earth-like planets. The next challenge will be to determine whether or not these worlds have life on them - especially intelligent life that we can communicate with.
For those of us not able to attend, the event (all of them? Not sure) will be webcast live here.

IMO the talks taking place on the last day look the most interesting:
9:00 - 10:00 “How to Find a Habitable Planet” - David Charbonneau 10:00 - 11:00 “The Medea Hypothesis” - Peter Ward 11:00 - 12:00 “New Shapes of Things to Come” - Juan Enriquez 12:00 - 1:00 “Reflections on Life in the Universe” - Freeman Dyson
The talks taking place the day before are more about the possibility of life in general and why complex life should be rare, but though interesting those subjects are dealt with quite often already, and what I consider to be the most interesting is simply the process of discovering these planets. Whether there's life on these Earth-like planets is something for us to find out later, but since the most important thing is a change in the way we view space it really doesn't matter at the moment - what's important is that we find lots and lots of these planets and begin to talk about them amongst ourselves, imagine what they're like and finally hopefully come to a common realization about just how vast and fascinating the universe is; that is, it's not just a void with balls of flaming gas and uninhabitable giant planets, but one also filled with planets that may be much like our own.


Norway to take steps to protect the Norwegian language

There's a short article here today in Norwegian that doesn't go into too many details, but it seems that the Norwegian parliament has approved the forming of a new language law to protect the Norwegian language from becoming taken over by English (i.e. being reduced to a secondary language in its own country). The new language law will make certain Norwegian's official status as the official and national language in Norway, and sign language is also now recognized as a full language. The biggest single step will the the creation in the upcoming year of a Norwegian language bank, which will cost between 80 and 100 million krone ($12 - $15 million USD), and which will hold all information on the Norwegian language in order to serve as a tool for developing software in Norwegian for example.

There was an article a month back that also touched on this issue. Microsoft was looking for beta testers that knew Norwegian to test out the beta version of Windows 7, and as would be expected with software, there's always a debate over whether to use English terms as is or whether to use Norwegian expressions, like:

What is discussed among other things are Norwegian IT words such as cyber (kyber), debug (avluse), webcam (videoøye), and other words and expressions that are problematic in Norwegian.
If this new language bank is comprehensive enough it should help out here. Lest anyone think that Norway has too small a population to resist the overwhelming influence of English, just take a look at Iceland: only 300,000 people and a strong tradition of linguistic purism...so the only question is whether the people themselves intend to use the English loanword as is, or go with a more "pure" form.

You can see the press release from the relevant department here (automatically translated here), but note a peculiarity with Google Translate: the native name of a language is almost always translated as "English", so when it says "American Sign Language" for example it actually means Norwegian Sign Language. Mouseover anything that looks suspicious to make sure that the original document says what the automatic translation says it does.


Kalmykia: too weird and unique to remain unknown

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ask a thousand people if they've ever heard of the Republic of Kalmykia and there's a good chance you won't find a single one that does. After all, Kalmykia barely registers on the world's collective consciousness. Why, it even loses out on Google Trends to something as minor as the character Boromir from Lord of the Rings:

Kalmykia just isn't one of those Places That Everyone Has Heard Of. Places That Everybody Has Heard Of for example are countries like Ethiopia, Egypt, Colombia, Taiwan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Iceland, Siberia, the Sahara Desert, the Gobi Desert, and so on. This doesn't mean that most people know a great deal about these places, but at the very least their names and a few basic facts are known to just about everyone.

Kalmykia is known to almost no one outside of Russia and serious players of a certain game (explained below), but IMO it's far too weird and unique to remain a place that nobody knows anything about. Here's why.

First, location: Kalmykia is technically located just within Europe, on the northwest shore of the Caspian Sea. It's roughly located where this red circle is:

And for a closer look (there at the top):

It's technically located within the Russian Federation but is a republic with its own president, official language (Kalmyk along with Russian), etc. It's also fairly large, with a surface area of 76,100 km², which is about the surface area of the U.S. state of South Carolina.

The first thing that makes it unique is that Kalmykia is Europe's only officially Buddhist state (hence the lotus on the republic's flag), and the reasons behind this are simple: the Kalmyks are a Mongolian people that migrated to the region centuries ago from the east, which means they look like this:

The language is also a variant of Mongolian. This makes Kalmykia a tiny pocket of Central/East Asia right within the borders of Europe, and you can see a lot of this in the architecture in and around the capital Elista.

A statue of the Buddha:

The Golden Temple:

Geden Sheddup Choikorling Monastery:

among others. What has recently brought Kalmykia a certain amount of fame recently, however, has been this:

Yes, that's a chess set right in the middle of a public square. Kalmykia over the past decade or so has become the world's chess capital, thanks to its president Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov. He's not only the President of Kalmykia, but also the President of the World Chess Federation, and he's also a multi-millionaire.

Since becoming president Ilyumzhinov has spent millions of dollars of his own money on turning the small republic into the chess centre of the world, making Kalmykia the only place in the world where learning to play chess well is mandatory at school, starting at the age of six. Ilyumzhinov believes that chess is the best way to teach children logic and critical thinking, as well as to give them something to do and aspire for in order to prevent boredom and the street crime that often results from this, so kids in Kalmykia are phenomenal at chess. It seems to be customary for journalists reporting on Kalmykia to make a visit to a school to get their ass handed to them in chess by a kid perhaps a quarter their age, and it's always fun to watch.

Not only do children all learn how to play chess in school, but Ilyumzhinov has spent $50 million to build a big chess-themed city close to the capital. In appearance it looks like your average middle-class North American suburb, except that there's no middle class in Kalmykia to occupy the houses so they stand empty most of the time, except when there's a chess tournament in the city or an important guest comes to visit. Participants in the tournament then get awards such as traditional garb handed to them by girls in skimpy chess-themed clothing (ever so slightly NSFW link. For more images see the main link here).

Oh, and Ilyumzhinov also claims to have been abducted one day by aliens long ago when he was in Moscow, and also believes that chess originated in space as well -- that it must have come from the outside due to the uniformity of chess rules throughout the world.

At the same time though he seems to have genuine good intentions for Kalmykia: he's a workaholic, doesn't take a salary as president, and apparently has spent over $100 million of his own money in the development of the country such as giving salaries to government employees and constructing buildings, as the tiny republic just didn't have that kind of tax base when he first became president. As he said in an interview in 2007 responding to a question about how much of his own money he's spent on Kalmykia:

More than one hundred million U.S. dollars. When I was elected president of Kalmykia in 1993 I paid about 20 million U.S. dollars to my republic. I gave this money for salaries to teachers, doctors, and so on. Because at that time there was no money so I paid people from my own pocket.
So there it is, a quick intro to Kalmykia. Located in Europe, officially Buddhist, over 50% of the people are of Mongolian origin, chess capital of the world, led by about as eccentric a president as you can get. Whether you approve of the way it's governed or not it's definitely unique enough to deserve to be a Place That Everyone Has Heard Of.

For more insight into Kalmykia see these videos below created by Al-Jazeera in English in 2007, probably the most comprehensive introductory videos to Kalmykia you can find online.


Launch of Steve Eves' 1/10 scale model Saturn V

The launch was a success, and this rocket now has a place in the record books as the largest model / hobby rocket ever launched. Though technically a model this rocket was still some 11 metres or so in height, which is fully half the height of SpaceX's smallest rocket, the Falcon 1. Just to get an idea of how big this rocket is, see here.

The flight itself, however, was quite short, and apparently Steve Eves intends to retire the rocket. I'm a bit puzzled at spending this much time to build a rocket only to fly it once, but it's still a good thing that the flight happened as the more space and rocketry is seen to be the domain of individuals as well as governments the better.

And now, the video:

Not only was the flight perfect but so was the landing.


Spanish language being studied more and more in the Philippines, teachers receiving scholarships to take part in intensive Spanish courses

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spanish language in the world and the Philippines:
That doesn't look quite right though. Let's try re-centering the map with the Philippines in the middle:

Much better. Now you can see why English, Spanish and Chinese are of paramount importance for the country.

There are a few articles on this subject recently in both English and Spanish, so letş take a look at a few of them.

First one in English here, detailing the scholarships teachers are able to receive in the Philippines to learn Spanish, and paid for by the Spanish government.

Lapus said the project has been part of the “long-term framework” to re-introduce Spanish as an elective subject in Philippine public schools.

“Our social and historical ties with Spain and the Ibero-American countries worldwide means that we can be conversant in Spanish, an international language,” (Education Secretary Jesli) Lapus said in a statement.

Spanish was reintroduced to the curriculum in 2007.

Next is an article in Spanish here goes into more detail on the Instituto Cervantes' role in this as well. The Instituto Cervantes has had a centre in Manila since 1994, and in their most recent Spanish courses in the city 35 teachers have participated as well. In 1987 the Philippines abolished Spanish as one of its official languages along with the need to study it in schools, so this is not so much a new policy as a partial restoration of what used to be the norm. The government also wants Chinese to be a language that a lot of people speak as well. China is right next door, after all.

Finally, this other one in Spanish, also the most interesting for some of the numbers it contains. Right now 2% of the population of the Philippines speaks Spanish, and most of these are over 50. The intensive course for the teachers mentioned above consists of 240 hours of instruction in April and March. There's also a mention of Chavacano, a language in the Philippines (Zamboanga) derived from Spanish.

One of the economic benefits for learning Spanish: one 26-year-old woman working in a call centre says that she now earns 14,000 pesos (228 euros) a month but wants to learn Spanish because that would raise her salary to almost 20,000 pesos (325 euros) along with a higher position with more opportunities to double her salary.

Finally, the last article mentions one advantage those in the Philippines have in learning Spanish: the large number of Spanish loanwords in Tagalog (over 4,000). Some examples: ‘presidente’, ‘senador’, ‘diputado’, ‘alkalde’, ‘konsehal’, ‘pulysia’.


Only a little bit more time before the first primitive holodecks are created

Star Trek fan? Of course you are. And every Star Trek fan has thought before about what it would mean to have a holodeck. Well, here's something called the ICube by IDEO labs that resembles a holodeck to a certain extent:

Amazing 3D immersion technology from IDEO Labs on Vimeo.

You can see straight away that the biggest disadvantage to this is that the person using it isn't capable of going anywhere, as there are walls around him and moving just a metre or so would cause him to bump into them. How to fix that? Easy, use something like this omni-directional treadmill:

Now you can move just about everywhere...one person can, at least. Now, the most impressive part about a holodeck is the extreme realism, not just in the graphics but also the fact that characters inside the holodeck look and act just like real people, and at the moment we're not even close to creating AI that convincing. However, there are some much more basic programs used on the holodeck for other tasks such as training personnel - basic shooting and fighting games, exercise and so on, and that should be easy enough to recreate. A certain amount of limited AI (the kind you find in RPGs) would be possible too. Besides games though this could also have a lot of other realistic applications - conference calls, teaching classes, military training, sports training, etc.


Why the Republicans have nothing to run on

An interesting new poll here evaluating the first 100 days of Obama's presidency is interesting not only in the views the public has of the Obama administration, but conversely on how little it gives the Republicans to use to run on.

Here's why:

First of all, Obama is just one percentage point away from 70% approval, so that alone is a bad sign: outright opposing a popular president just doesn't reap any rewards. But also take a look at some other finer points of the poll, specific policies and acts that aren't quite as popular as his overall administration:

Barely more than half of all poll respondents back Obama's April 16 decision to release the memos specifying how and when to employ specific interrogation techniques. A third "strongly oppose" that decision, about as many as are solidly behind it. Three-quarters of Democrats said they approve of the action, while 74 percent of Republicans are opposed; independents split 50 to 46 percent in favor of the decision.
This one has only slightly more than half approval...but this releasing the memos isn't so much a policy as an either/or decision. After the memos were released came a lot of media attention to the tune of "where do we go from here?" which really brought home the complexity of the situation, but before it was done it would have been a more black and white question: "of course he should release the memos!" So if he hadn't done so it probably would have been somewhere down around 40% or so for support. There's nothing for the GOP to run on here.

Next, his rating on terrorism is pretty positive so nothing to run on there either:
Most of those polled said that, in general, his policies had either made the country safer from terrorism (32 percent) or not made much of a difference either way (43 percent).
Let's take a look at another negative:
But Obama receives less glowing reviews on his handling of the burgeoning federal budget deficit and on immigration issues, where he is at the 50 percent mark, and he gets a negative rating on how he has dealt with the big U.S. automakers.
Budget deficit! That's usually a GOP strong point. Well, it would be if a Republican president hadn't been in charge of deficit after deficit for the past eight years. Without that this could have been something to run on, but memories don't fade that quickly. And U.S. automakers...that's a tough one considering that they have basically dug their own graves. I don't think there is a way to get a positive rating when it comes to that industry at the moment.

Finally, there's this:
There is a warning sign for the GOP in the new poll: 21 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, the fewest to do so in a Post-ABC poll in more than 25 years. Last fall, Democrats outnumbered Republicans at the polls by the biggest margin in network exit polls going back to the 1982 midterms.

Advice for the GOP:

1) Do this.
2) Embrace Ron Paul. Face it, he's the only Republican with a viable and consistent message, and the only one with real grassroots supporters. But he's too old to run for president? No problem, convince his son Rand Paul to run for congress in 2010, make him into some sort of lieutenant in the movement. Rand Paul speaks the same political language as his father (he's also a doctor too) and should probably start thinking about running for congress very soon. And besides, we're talking about a change and renewal of the party, not a candidate in 2012. The candidate in 2012 is going to lose to Obama anyway so that's not even an issue. I'm thinking this might be a good poster for the 2012 election against (insert name here):

And by the way, there was a nice bit of interaction between Ron Paul and Sec of State Hillary Clinton some three days ago that you can see here:

That's something that others in the GOP have yet to learn: giving credit where credit is due. Ron Paul believes in a non-belligerent foreign policy, so when he sees signs of it he gives credit where it's due while at the same time still airing his concerns. That's called intellectual honesty. Hannity doesn't have it, Beck doesn't have it, most of the others don't have it. You need to throw them all away (that means ignore them) if you ever want to step foot inside the White House again.


Seoul in 1951 during the Korean War vs. Seoul today

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If you feel like exploring the streets of Seoul yourself after this, check out Daum's Road View service (here's a random starting point), pretty much the same as Google's Street View. After the pictures though is a much larger list of some good places to start from, so scroll down to see those.

Now for the pictures:

First, the Euljiro area downtown. Korea Bank can be seen near the middle at the intersection there.

The same area today:

You can see the same building there beneath all the tall buildings (and actually first looking at this image should help you find the same building in the 1951 image). It's now a museum.

Seoul Station:

The city was taken over three times during the war and there are some pretty poignant pictures at the War Memorial here as well showing snipers on the rooftop for example as it was a pretty good vantage point at the time. Now it looks like this:

That's the same building that has been maintained all this time, but at the same time a new station has been built just to the left (you can barely see it in the picture above) that looks like this:
That's where you can take the high-speed train (the KTX) and others to the rest of the country. You can explore the area starting from here.

Getting on the train in 1951:

Getting on (and off) the train today:

The Chosun Hotel in 1951 (established in 1914):

And now:

Some street in the city, no idea where:

(Edit 2017: apparently this is the view looking south from the intersection of Sejongno and Jongno.)

Some street in the city today:

People by the Han River in 1951:

People hanging out by the river today:

Namdaemun in 1951:

I wish I could say that this was Namdaemun today:

...but some nut burned it down last year. Now it looks like this:

You'll never guess why it was burned down. There was this 69-year-old guy that wasn't happy with the money he got from selling this land to developers...so as a protest he decided to burn the gate to the ground.

Han River in 1951 with mountains in the background:

Han River today:

This is a stream that flows through Seoul called the Cheonggyecheon (청계천):

This stream was actually covered by concrete later on, and then in 1968 a highway was built over top. The stream still flowed underneath though and in 2003 the mayor of Seoul (now the president) decided to restore it, and this was completed in 2005. Before 2005 this area (Euljiro 4-ga Station for example) was actually a pretty crappy neighborhood, with a lot of shops selling lighting and textiles and whatnot, and the raised highway overhead just added to the industrial feel. But now that the stream has been restored it looks like this:

and sometimes like this at night.

Kids playing on the street in 1951:

Kids playing on the street today:

These pint-sized arcade games on the street are positioned at just the right height for kids to sit down and play.

Finally, what appears to be a bit of hanging out amongst the ruins in 1951:

Compared to hanging out at the PC bang (pc room) today.

Now for the links to some interesting places to start from when using Daum's Road View (originally from here):


Turkish schools in Central Asia in a bit of hot water

Here's the location of one of these schools.

Interesting read here on a subject I often write about. Turkish is in an interesting position in its language family in that Turkic languages resemble each other a lot more than other languages in other families usually do (that is, there's a very high degree of mutual intelligibility) while at the same time Standard Turkish is the only language that has the wherewithal and stability to promote itself in other countries. Other Turkic languages are either similar to Standard Turkish anyway (Azeri), have just recently changed their script or are going to in the near future (Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz), still have a great deal of Russian influence and are yet to be learned by the majority in the country (Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek to a certain extent), or don't even have an independent country to their name to begin with (Uyghur, Tatar, Gagauz, etc.). Add to that the history of the Ottoman Empire and it's no surprise that Turkey is interested in promoting its language as the lingua franca of Central Asia. That doesn't always sit well with the authorities of the countries concerned though, as the article states, and not just out of suspicions of pan-Turkism, but also religious differences as well. The schools are technically founded on Fethullah Gülen's philosophy, which means a fair amount of teaching religion as well, and many secular countries have a problem with that.

One other interesting aspect of these schools that I didn't know about was that they exist in Tajikistan too. I had assumed that they didn't really have an interest in setting up schools there considering that Tajik is pretty much just Persian written in the Cyrillic script. That means quite a few similar loanwords but a completely different grammar.

You can also see the exact location of the school mentioned in the article in Dushanbe here.


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