Thursday, June 04, 2009
The name comes from an article by the Washington Post called The Future Is Now, an article partly about how new technologies, even the most influential ones, usually begin in almost complete obscurity. According to the article, the first use of the word "internet" to refer to a computer network happened in 1988 in the very same paper, in the Financial section on Page F30, which is about as obscure a location as you can find. On that day the big news was likely something to do with the following:
September 24–26 – Large, militant protests against the 1988 World Bank and IMF meetings take place in West Berlin.
Certainly news that might have warranted the front page, but on the same day there was a much, much more important piece of news buried in the back of the newspaper. This is not the whole of PageF30.com but it is the inspiration for the name -- understanding events that might not receive a great deal of attention due to being new, misunderstood, only available in other languages, etc. is very important in understanding the background behind the larger stories seen every day. As Feuerbach put it:
...the good, the new, comes from exactly that quarter whence it is not looked for, and is always something different from what is expected. Everything new is received with contempt, for it begins in obscurity. It becomes a power unobserved.
The address pagef30.com is pretty new.
Yes, that address was registered in May 2009. Until then it was still called Page F30 but used the address mithridates.blogspot.com (Mithridates is the name I use online).
How many people write for Page F30?
What's with all the news on constructed / auxiliary languages?
English isn't destined to be the world's second language (it'll be the world's most influential language for a long time but will fall short of being spoken fluently by everyone) and no other language is strong enough to take its place, so looks like we need another solution if we want to find a way to communicate in a second language regardless of one's mother tongue. One solution to the problem is the installation of a universal second language that takes much less time to learn than "natural" languages and all the irregularities they have.
I'd like to translate a post on Page F30 I like into another language.
That's been done before with this post for example being translated into Spanish. If you'd like to translate a post here into a language you run a site / write a blog in, let me know.
You write about languages a lot. Do you have a favourite?
Not really, but Japanese and Turkish (I'm fluent in Japanese, pretty good at Turkish) are two that I'd pick if I had a gun to my head and had to choose. Korean as well (it's the language I use 90% of the time during the day), especially as a language that complements Japanese quite well. It's unclear whether the two languages were originally part of the same language family, but from the point of view of the student this doesn't really matter, as due to their long association with each other the two resemble each other enough that a knowledge of one is very complementary to understanding the other.
Do you think there will be something comparable to the rise of the internet over the next few years?
Yes, it'll be the discovery of Earth-like planets in other solar systems. We're currently on the cusp of being able to discover planets the same mass as our own, and when we discover the holy grail of astronomy (an Earth-sized planet in the habitability zone of a star) our view of space will undergo a phenomenal change. At the moment space is to us a vast void with other planets, other stars, galaxies, black holes, etc., but what they all have in common is that each of these are destinations that humans can't live on or explore without severe difficulty, and even if we could they don't resemble our home. Once we have discovered other planets that resemble our own though, all of a sudden this vast void will begin to be filled with places that have a gravity similar to our own, a temperature similar to our own, and who knows what else that resembles our own Earth. These planets are naturally incredibly far away, but some of them will be destinations that we might be able to explore, or maybe even turn into a second home, if we could just reach them. Once we begin to discover planets of this nature it will be impossible to think of space in the same way again.
What are the future plans for Page F30?
Getting more readers and expanding the site's influence. I'm also looking for just the right plug-in or widget to make the site a bit more community-oriented (i.e. so that more people will be talking with each other and sharing ideas instead of mostly just responding to posts). Suggestions on that are welcome.
I have a question.
Okay, write it below and I'll either answer in the comments area or add it to this post.
Added 9 June 2009: Okay, but who are you?
I'm a 29-year-old Canadian guy in Seoul, Korea. Short summary: In January 1998 I began working in offices in downtown Calgary, hated it, and decided that I would learn Japanese to fluency so I could escape and live in a better place with a better job (at the time I was thinking translation) and I spent every waking hour learning the language, and a year after that I was in Japan. I had thought Japanese would be the only foreign language I would learn but one day in Vancouver I bought a book for $1 called 不思議な日本語 (Mysterious Japanese) by an author that I'm pretty sure was called 이경희 (I've since lost the book and have never been able to find it again) that was about the historical relationship between Korean and Japanese, and in addition to always wanting to know what Koreans on the bus next to me were saying I decided to learn that next and was able to do so a few months later when I went back to Japan (Fukuoka this time) as it was easy to take the ferry across the bay to Korea to practice it in person. After that I became interested in other languages, and along with that naturally came an increase in interest in geopolitics even in regions that I had never, and still have never visited (Turkey and Iran in particular). I began with constructed languages in 2005 when I decided to finally take up Esperanto to see what it was about but decided to go with Ido a few days later. In 2005 and 2006 I was featured in a number of Korean magazines and newspapers and went on tv and radio a number of times for interviews (most of the time in Korean, every once in a while in English). This was interesting but the subjects I really wanted to talk about by then (space, IALs, etc.) didn't really fit the format, as tv shows are mostly interested in personal stories (how did you first become interested in Korea, is the culture easy to fit into, how is the food...) and subjects that don't require any explanation up front, and so I declined to do any more after that and decided that the only way I was going to be able to write about space, science, languages, geopolitics and all the other subjects I most want to write about at the same time would be by simply starting my own blog, and thus Page F30 was born.
Added 9 July 2009: How can you be contacted?
Writing a comment below any post is as good as sending an email to me as new comments are sent to me right away, so that's the best way to contact me about anything related to something written here. Otherwise you can contact me at this address: