Air France deveni li unesim companie europan con un Airbus A 380

Saturday, October 31, 2009


De un articul ci scrit in francesi.

It es fat! Desde yer, Air France es li unesim companie europan quel ha possedet un Airbus A 380. Li companie acceptat li livration del gigantic aeroplane in un ceremonie in li loc de Airbus in Hamburg.

"Li A 380 constitute un excellent response al economic crise quel continua far un dramatic efecte a nor comercie", comentat yer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, li director-general de Air France, qui espera vider 15 million in sparniage per annu por chascun A380 in servicie.

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Li A 380 posse acomoda 538 passageros in tri classes: nin in classe prim, 80 in afere-classe, 449 in economic. It va haver six bares e va posser ofertar plu spacie in li tot classes. Li passageros de Air France deve atender quelc semanes ante que juir it, pro que li unesim vola comercial inter Paris e New York ne va evenir ante que 20 novembre. Li companie, quel va posseder 12 A380s in tot, va usar ili in servicie a New York e Johannesburg, ante fórsan anc Tokyo.

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Con un Airbus 380, Air France va posser usar solmen quar aeroplanes a New York chascun die vice quin, donc un sparniage de 20%.

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How H1N1 helps to prevent the spread of other diseases

This is a similar post to this one I wrote back in May, now that we've had a few months to see what effect H1N1 has had on countries throughout the world. As the charts there show, the first time H1N1 was announced the search engine traffic for the terms handwashing and hand washing skyrocketed, even more than the annual traffic the term receives due to Global Handwashing Day (October 15th).

Since May when the outbreak was first mentioned in the news, Korea (where I live) has changed quite a bit. Until this year bathrooms have been just as often as not without soap, and most people (men at least) didn't bother to wash their hands. Now it's common to find a spray bottle with disinfectant next to the sink, and places like COEX (a big mall in Gangnam with the trade tower and a number of other important buildings) have installed new soap dispensers as well as disinfectant machines at the doors that a lot of people can be seen using as they enter or leave.

Media attention is also very concentrated, with news stories like these every day.



An article here can also be read on the differences in behavior in the United States that have come about since H1N1 appeared.

The reason why this is so beneficial is because of the number of other diseases that can be transmitted in the same way, because a changing of a country's habits towards washing hands and keeping food and water sanitary can go a long way towards fighting these diseases as well. An image here has recently been circulating the internet with the number of deaths so far for H1N1 compared to the yearly deaths for other diseases. H1N1 is a bit below 6000 whereas some others are over a million. Let's take a look at a few of the most common infectious diseases and see if changes in one's habits can help:

AIDS - 2,734,371 deaths. Not spread through simple contact so no help there. AIDS stays the same.

Diarrheal communicable diseases - 1,649,779 deaths. Common ones are cholera, bacillary dysentery and typhoid. These diseases are usually spread through the following: "flying insects feeding on feces may occasionally transfer the bacteria through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions. Public education campaigns encouraging people to wash their hands after defecating and before handling food are an important component in controlling spread of the disease." Lots of help there.

Tuberculosis - 1,381,755 deaths. Spread through the air from coughing and whatnot. H1N1 campaigns at the moment involving school closures, avoiding public spaces etc. right now help against TB as well but the effect won't be permanent.

Child cluster diseases - 989,231 deaths. That includes polio, diphtheria, measles, and tetanus. These diseases
are also spread through food, water, sneezing and coughing and so on.


There are a few diseases after those as well, but this should suffice to show what a benefit the media attention should be bringing. H1N1 seems to be a bit like the disease version of the narco subs used by drug traders to bring cocaine into the US, because it allows authorities to practice and train against a relatively smaller threat (cocaine compared to something more vicious like bombs) which should benefit in the struggle against a much larger one.

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British Columbia not getting enough French teachers from Quebec, looks toward Europe to ease shortage


This story just came out in the Vancouver Sun today. British Columbia has a shortage of French immersion teachers and finding enough teachers from Quebec is turning out to be a harder and harder prospect, so they are looking to Europe.

Given the current approach it doesn't look like it's going to be all that successful, as the schools are looking to hire those that are already teachers in places like France, where job security as a public employee is ironclad and then there is also the hassle of getting a visa. For a qualified teacher in France that is looking to work abroad it would be much easier to simply stay in the EU and teach in a place like the UK, Ireland, Spain etc. instead of going all the way to Canada.


Due to this, a different approach might be needed. Perhaps hiring people with different qualifications (well-educated and of a certain minimum age but not necessarily public employees) or from a different country could work. Hiring fluent French speakers from Romania could also be a possibility since Romania has a particularly high ratio of fluent French speakers but a much lower GDP per capita.

Ideally the best way to create an immersive environment is to have more than one teacher in the classroom at a time, because watching two fluent speakers interact with each other is a completely different experience from simply being taught a language. I still remember seeing French being actually used between two teachers back in grade 3, which is when I realize that this was actually a language that was going to be taught (French class in Alberta starts from grade 4) instead of just another subject. Subsequent boring lessons from a less than fluent French teacher then helped to wipe out this strong impression, however, making it feel like just a subject again.

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More on the European Commission's search for French and other interpreters

This is the third post on the subject here - the second can be seen here, and includes a video in French making an appeal for people to become interpreters. An article in French here came out today with some more detail on the job and the process. Some information from there:

- At the moment, the Commission and Parliament make use of 998 permanent and 2000 independent interpreters.

- The Commission has a budget of 128 million for translation, which makes up 11,000 meetings throughout the year where interpreters are present. That would probably be about 40-50 meetings or so on weekdays.

- An extra 1000 interpreters will be needed over the next 10 years, of which 200 will be for French.

- "4500 euros at the start of one's carrier" - I assume this is the monthly pay. Not bad at all - that's $6600 US or $80,000 per year. The salary then goes up to 10,000 euros for an experienced interpreter, which is $14,805 USD or $177,660 per year.

- The Commission has found a decrease in interest in other languages due to English being predominant, but nevertheless the interpreters are still needed. This is a point I often make: often when the number of people learning Language X in a country goes down, Language X then actually becomes more valuable as a tool for advancing one's career. Spanish has recently become more popular than German in the United Kingdom among students for example, but Germany and Austria and the rest haven't gone anywhere.

- With 23 official languages there are 500 possibilities for interpretation, which often results in double interpretation since Maltese-Estonian interpreters just aren't that plentiful. Slovak for example may be interpreted into French by the Slovak-French interpreter which is then turned into Maltese by the French-Maltese interpreter. The downside to this is a slight loss of accuracy, though two isn't all that bad.

- The competition to become an interpreter is still quite difficult, and only 30% pass. No information on exactly what this competition means in practice. Due to the difficulties in finding interpreters though many wonder if the salary needs to be increased. They certainly won't be considering a lowering of standards as another way to find interpreters, so the best way to find them is to simply do what they are doing now: show just how many are needed, how much money can be made, etc. Interpreting isn't a career path that many consider early on in life.

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A simply massive photographic tour of the Solar System

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bookmark this page if you are interested in space and like photographs, or especially if you have a friend that should be interested in space but isn't for some reason. It's a diary entry from Daily Kos, and features a simply massive amount of photographs of all the objects in the Solar System from Mercury out to Saturn, including not just planets but also asteroids as well. Due to its massive size it was only able to make it out that far, but Part II should be coming out later which will complete the rest of the Solar System.

The asteroid photos are particularly interesting as many of them have been scaled in order to show their respective sizes, such as this one showing the relative size of asteroid 951 Gaspra compared to Phobos and Deimos.



Another interesting image there shows the size of Washington D.C. compared to another asteroid.

Showing the surface area of objects is especially important in my opinion, and I've written a post on a similar subject here as well (along with a few others).

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The French mother tongue population in Canada outside Quebec over the years


Here's an interesting page worth bookmarking for those interested in linguistic trends, which contains two particularly interesting charts: the population of those speaking French as a mother tongue outside of Quebec over years, and inversely the population of those speaking English as a mother tongue inside Quebec. The numbers are recorded every decade so we're due to have a new set of numbers relatively soon after the next census. First the French mother tongue population:



1951 - 7.3%, 700,000 people total
1961 - 6.6%, 870,000 people total
1971 - 6.0%, 890,000 people total
1981 - 5.2%, 900,000 people total
1991 - 4.8%, 970,000 people total
2001 - 4.4%, 970,000 people total

You can see that looking at the numbers in two different ways can make it look like the French population outside Quebec is either shrinking or remains strong.

As for the English mother tongue population in Quebec:



It showed a continual increase (in total population, not ratio to the general population) until after 1971 when it dropped like a stone.

1951 - 13.8%, 560,000 people total
1961 - 13.3%, 700,000 people total
1971 - 13.1%, 800,000 people total
1981 - 10.9%, 690,000 people total
1991 - 9.2%, 640,000 people total
2001 - 8.3%, 590,000 people total


Another interesting page here gives the most bilingual (E/F bilingual, that is) cities in the country:

  1. Montreal - 52%
  2. Moncton - 46.9%
  3. Ottawa-Gatineau - 44.4%
  4. Halifax - 12.1%
  5. Winnipeg - 10.9%
  6. Toronto - 8.3%
  7. Vancouver - 7.8%
  8. Edmonton - 7.6%
It also notes that Montreal is the city in North America with the largest proportion of people that speak at least three languages.

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Europa: usage de Internet Explorer cade ancor, 2.6% min quam ante six mensus

Thursday, October 29, 2009


De un articul in francesi quel on posse leer ci.

Internet Explorer, li max usat navigator de internet, continua a cader. Secun li max recent barometre de navigatores publicat lunedí per li institution AT Internet, in septembre li navigator de Microsoft representat 62% del visitationes in Europa, contra 64.6% ante six mensus. In detra, Firefox (Mozilla) continua su bell progression, anc Google Chrome, nu li quaresim max usat navigator de internet per usatores europan.

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In tot Europa, li navigator del Fundation Mozilla representat 27.8% del visites in marte ma 28.4% ti septembre. In Hungaria e Slovakia, li contestor Firefox es in avan de IE.

Pos ili on trova Safari (Apple), con 4.3% in septembre (contra 3.3% in marte), e Google Chrome, nu in li quaresim loc con 2.8%, du vezes plu mult quam ante six mensus. Li navigator Opera stagna a 2.2%.

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Parliament passes resolution unanimously saying that immigrants to Quebec should learn French first and foremost


You can read about it in English here and in French here. The resolution was put forth by Thomas Mulcair of the NDP, which is Canada's fourth largest party (the smallest in Parliament). Mulcair is also their only Quebec MP, and he first won his riding of Outremont in a byelection. Outremont used to be a Liberal stronghold and the Liberals are hoping to take it back next election, which is where some of the criticism comes from in spite of the bill having unanimous support - the view of the other parties is that it was a pretty obvious bill to vote in favour of and that the NDP is thus just grandstanding.

The Bloc, of course, sees it as a no-brainer and another affirmation that Quebec is different, unique, etc., and Giles Duceppe's comment on the bill is that he will use it as a tool to advance the issue of separatism/independence for Quebec.

The article in French also notes that it was the Conservatives that tabled a motion in 2006 to recognize Quebec as "a nation within a united Canada".

As for whether this will have a positive effect on French in Quebec - it probably will have a bit of an effect as a simple affirmation that Quebec isn't a province like the others where immigrants can just go and live and work in English alone.

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Flock (the web browser) releases Spanish language version. Portuguese to follow.


Flock is a relatively successful niche web browser modelled on Firefox but with different features built in, mostly related to social networking. In order to expand on their user base they have recently released a Spanish language version of the browser as well. Due to the size of the community that uses the language this one is being promoted with quite a bit more fanfare than the other language versions, including partnering with Univision, as you can see in this screen capture.



Another big language out there has users that seem very attracted to social networking, and that's Portugese. Thanks to avid use in Brazil Portuguese has become the #2 language on Twitter, Brazilian users apparently have swamped Orkut, and perhaps they would like this browser as well. I wrote that suggestion in the comments below and a few hours later the community ambassador for Flock replied that yes, they are working on a Portuguese translation.

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28 October 2009: Ares I-X flight was a success

Oh yeah. NASA made it look easy.

The part at about 0:50 in is the best, and can be seen in an image here - it's a cone of moisture surrounding the top of the rocket.

See here on why this flight is so important.

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27 octobre 2009: Union Europan leva sanctiones economic a Uzbekistan

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


De un articul in francesi de RIA Novosti.

LUXEMBOURG, 27 octobre - Li ministres de aferes extran del Duanti-Sett, assemblat mardí in Luxembourg, decidet levar li embargo sur li liveration de armes a Uzbekistan, anunciat li porta-voce del Concil del Union Europan (UE).

Li porta-voce dit que li Consil del ministres decidet ne extender li sanctiones por incitar li autoritás uzbek a amelior li situation de public órdine e jures homan.

Ci decision ja ha esset aprobat per li ambassadores del membre-states del UE.

Li Union Europan introductet li sanctiones (restrictiones de consules e un embarge sur li liverationes de armes) contra Uzbekistan in novembre 2005, in response al refusa del autoritás uzbek de lansar un international investigation pri li trubles massiv in Andijan (ost) queles hat fat circa 200 mortes in mai del sam annu.

In octobre 2008, pos li liberation de multiplic defensores de jures homan in Uzbekistan, li Union Europan levat un parte del sanctiones, per levar li restrictiones de visas por uzbek oficiales.

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Volunteers sought for simulated Mars mission, with a duration of 520 days

At our current level of technology Mars remains an extremely challenging destination, with launch windows only every 780 days and a journey time of six months or more, one way. I created a map a while back showing a comparison of the distance between Earth and the Moon vs. Earth and Mars, as without the comparison it can be difficult to imagine. The distance from the Earth to the Moon is represented by the blue line going down the street a bit, and the distance from Earth to Mars is in red, making a journey that takes over an hour by car (on the map, that is).


View House to school in a larger map

This is why the volunteers needed to simulate a Mars mission will need to undergo the mission for a total of 520 days - 250 days there, 30 days on the ground, and 240 days back. The numbers themselves show the problem with Mars, as we haven't even had people in space for that length of time yet. The longest a human has ever been in space has been 437 days, and that was in Low Earth Orbit. Since most of this time would be spent in 0g, it could prove to be damaging to the physiology of those on the mission.

So why not embark on a one-way mission then, to live off the land as many advocate? This is actually the best plan we have at the moment for seriously colonizing Mars, since a mission to such a distant location in such a large gravity well becomes exponentially more difficult if we have to plan for a return mission on top of everything else. A one-way mission allows all the resources at our disposal to be used for the trip there and living off the land after arrival.

BUT

If that's true then the same argument can also be made for the Moon. If one-way plus living off the land is the best and cheapest way to colonize Mars then it's also the cheapest way to colonize the Moon as well. The Moon would also technically not be a permanent one-way mission since those on the surface would take with them plans to construct a return vehicle, and would also be helped by mission control step by step as communication between the Earth and the Moon only has a delay of about 2.5 seconds. The return trip could also happen at any time whereas one from Mars would have to be timed to the very infrequent launch windows that open up between Earth and Mars...and of course the return trip would only require a few days of supplies for the astronauts compared to at least 240 days for those on the way back from Mars.

So why not make the argument for a one-way trip to the Moon instead?

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How humans evolved to be exceptional long-distance runners but then turned into wimps


That's the theme painted by an article here in the New York Times from yesterday and another one here from about two weeks ago. The one from the New York Times discusses one of the more interesting features of the human race in which humans actually stand out from other land-based animals - their ability to go long distances without overheating as other animals do. When watching documentaries on TV it's easy to feel like humans are pitiful in comparison to some of the feats displayed by other animals, but the ability to go such distances without overheating is actually something that other animals don't have. It's also the reason why Romans would set up waystations along roads where messengers could jump off their tired horse and onto a fresh one in order to deliver a message as fast as possible, because over long distances a human is actually more efficient than a horse. The article from two weeks ago also makes the argument that tens of thousands of years ago humans were also just as impressive in terms of speed, with even average humans at the time being able to run as fast as our Olympic sprinters now.

On a related note, Iron Maiden has a song from 1986 about running - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.



And on a related note to that, the hype back in the 1980s and early 1990s over Iron Maiden's supposed "Satanic" lyrics was always quite funny, as the majority of their songs are mostly intellectual pieces about history and literature. Alexander the Great, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, To Tame a Land (that one's about Dune), Quest for Fire (prehistoric humans again), and on and on. Hell, even the album The Number of the Beast has a song about trying to get a prostitute to quit working the streets and start living a normal life (22 Acacia Avenue, with lyrics such as Charlotte can't you get out from all this madness - Can't you see it only brings you sadness - When you entertain your men don't know the risk of getting disease).

In fact, often an Iron Maiden song is the best introduction to a topic.

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Esperanto fa su intrada al universitá in li Université de Haute-Alsace à Mulhouse in Francia

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


De un articul ci in francesi, un articul tre tripic quel on posse leer in mult jurnales, quel explica sur li lingue e pro quo persones studia it. Ma li question es: esque ti es un reclam por Esperanto, o por Occidental?
Esperanto fa su intrada al universitá


« Bonan tagon. Ĉu vi parolas esperanton ? ». In li facultá de lettres, lingues e scienties homan (FLSH) del Universitá de Haute-Alsace à Mulhouse, Edmond Ludwig saluta su studiantes. Deci-un es nov, por li moment, in ti cursu de du hores per semane por iniciar se al lingue international Esperanto.

Un prof de german, nu retirat, Edmond Ludwig es anc li presidente del association Espéranto France-Est. « Yo aprendet ti lingue per corespondentie ante trianti annus. In nin mensus, yo devenit capabil de docer it. » il dit.

Li iniciative por ti nov líber UE (unité d'enseignement, in Occidental unité de aprension) es del decan de FLSH, un facultá u li lingues yiddish e alsacien anc es instructet..

« Li lingue international Esperanto ne plu posse esser ignorat, scri M. Kerdilès. Reconosset per l'Unesco desde 1954, enormmen usat in E-mails, fat visibil per un Wikipedia de 100 000 articules, difuset sur numerosi stationes de radio, sin obliviar su edition special de Monde Diplomatique, il devet conceder que por academica, it hat devenit ínevitabil. »

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Esperanto, simplic a aprender por lu tot, esset designat al fine del 19im secul per Ludwig Zamenhof, un oftalmolog poliglott qui vivet in Bialystok, un cité in Polonia u coexistet quar diferent comunités queles presc ne parlat con li altris (polonés, russ, german e judéo).

« It es li max facil del lingues vivent. Pos tri sessiones, on deveni capabil a dir mult coses, assecure Edmond Ludwig. Al fine del unesim semestre, mi studiantes mastrisa it. Vade e vide in un colegia. Pos quar annus de anglesi o german, on ne posse leer quam ci! » di li instructor con entusiasme in li triesim hor del cursu.

Simplicitá

Malgré ti simplicitá, o pro it, « on posse traducter omno in Esperanto, afirma M. Ludwig. In li nivelle de comunication international, turisme, li presse e litteratura, ti lingue ha fat su pruvas. »

Adplu, Esperanto es un apert porta a altri lingues, queles on posse aprender talmen plu facilmen. To es un argument avansat per mult studientes present.

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Esperanto prunta de diversi radicas: latin, anglo-saxon, international... con un scope de maxim simplicitá, li tot substantives termina in o, adjectives in a, adverbies in e, li infinitives de verbes in i. Li conjugation anc es tre simplic: in li presente, li tot verbes por tot persones termina in as; os in li futur, is in li passate, us in li conditional.

On ne posse far un erra ortografic: « Omno quel es dit es scrit, e omno quel es scrit es pronunciat, di Edmond Ludwig. E por li vocabularium, hay radicas basic, con quel on posse adjunter un gruppe de prefixes e sufixes, chascun con un function bon definit. Por exemple, « Mal » indica li contrarie. »

Esperanto? « Con 16 regules, tu ha bon includet it», di un slogan.

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October 2009: FBI still short on translators, met hiring targets in 2008 for only 2 of 14 languages

No change here - the FBI, along with other intelligence agencies, is having a hard time finding qualified translators to go through the piles of content that needs to be translated daily. You may also remember this post from earlier this year on the hiring bonuses (up to $35,000) the CIA provides for those fluent in "mission critical" languages. One of these is Persian and I consider it to be the easiest of them all. Indonesian is also a part of them but Indonesian varies quite a bit from region to region whereas Persian is quite standardized and stable. Then again, personal interest is the number one factor in learning a language well so don't choose one of those languages just because it may be easier to learn if you have no personal interest in the language and/or the region it's spoken in.

The biggest problem is always the same: the catch-22 situation where candidates need to be given extensive background checks, but the languages the FBI and other agencies need are usually spoken in regions where extensive time spent there can be a bit suspicious, so ironically the more time one has spent in the region the harder it can be to get hired.

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Ares I-X test flight to happen in under 10 hours

And live coverage begins in 6.5 hours from now. The flight will happen in the morning in the US, afternoon in Europe, and evening in Asia, so anybody should be able to watch it unless something like being at work happens to prevent that. You can follow the launch here at spaceflightnow.com.


Google Trends doesn't show any spike of interest yet for the search term, so if it's successful and makes the front page then we should see a lot of surprised people that weren't aware how far the (potential) replacement for the Shuttle has already progressed.

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26 October 2009: Earth just got hit by another meteor, this time in Latvia (update: it was a hoax)

Edit: looks like this was a hoax. Impressive! I'll leave the original post as-is though for posterity.

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Yet another meteorite impact - this one hit Latvia and ended up creating a fiery crater about 5 metres in depth. That link has a video of the crater while it was burning so definitely check it out.

And all this only a day after NASA released a report on another meteorite impact in Indonesia earlier this month. These meteor strikes are actually quite timely as the Arecibo Observatory can point to them as reason enough to keep the observatory well funded since it's our best way to detect these objects before they strike. We obviously need more capability than what we have at present though since fairly large meteors continue to slip past us before we have a chance to spot them.

Just one country to the north we have a good example of what a much larger meteorite strike looks like - Kaali Järv, a small lake in Estonia formed from an ancient meteorite impact. That crater was certainly an inferno after it first fell and a disaster zone for years after, but now it's a nice lake with beautiful trees surrounding it and a school nearby. I went there in 1998.

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How to learn German: study for 8 hours a day and then live with a German family

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here's a very good video that shows the dedication that one needs to learn a language, even for those that are naturally gifted. This is a guy who has learned at least 16 languages and gives an account of the way he learned German in the beginning about a decade ago:



Often the claim that one speaks X number of languages is a bit suspicious but in this person's case it's certainly not. Note that the languages here have been learned through direct experience - living in a country, being married to someone from that country, having to use it at work, etc.



It also reminds me a bit of Jack Seward and his book Easy Japanese. The title of the book was already decided beforehand as it's part of a series of books by the same publisher - Easy Japanese, Easy German, Easy French and what have you, but he wrote later on that the title he actually wanted was "learn Japanese in 25 hard years", since that's the amount of time he says it took him to learn it to fluency (though I suspect he was being a bit modest with that estimation).

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10,000+ people turn out in Carcassonne for the revival of the Occitan language


From an article here in French, where the cities look to be quite the awesome places to hold a demonstration. Here's an image of Béziers where the last demonstration was held in 2007, a town that looks to be no less impressive architecturally than Carcassonne.

As always, when the subject of regional languages such as Occitan and Catalan comes up one wonders what the current linguistic situation would be if France and Spain had been united respectively around those languages instead of French and Spanish, considering their similarity to each other. You can always tell that two languages are similar when articles in one language on the other have to list the differences between the two instead of their similarities.

Here's part of the article:
More than 10,000 people turned out in a festive atmosphere Saturday afternoon in Carcassonne for the defence and revival of the Occitan language. Behind the banners saying "Occitan lenga oficiala", "libertat per la lenga, per el pais", and "l'occitan a l'escola", the demonstrators in numerous flags of red with the Occitan cross left the centre of the city where they regrouped to head toward the medieval city, where the streets were decorated with Occitan colours.

The deputy-mayor of Carcassonne Jean-Claude Pérez and the Green european deputy José Bové were also there.

The demonstrators are asking for a recognition of the legal status of regional languages, the creation of public service television and radio in Occitan and the installation of an "ambitious linguistic politic" permitting the development and learning of Occitan. Two similar demonstrations happened previously with 10,000 people in October 2005 in Carcassonne, and 18,000 - 20,000 in March 2007 in Béziers.

Les organisateurs demandent la reconnaissance d'un statut légal des langues régionales, la création d'une télévision et d'une radio de service public en langue occitane et l'instauration d'une "politique linguistique ambitieuse" permettant notamment de développer l'enseignement de l'occitan. Deux précédentes manifestations similaires avaient réuni 10.000 personnes en octobre 2005, déjà à Carcassonne, et 18 à 20.000 personnes en mars 2007 à Béziers dans l'Hérault.

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China open to cooperation on a manned mission to the Moon

Here's an example of reason #3 from the ten reasons why we should explore the Moon first and put Mars on the back burner - China is an example of one nation willing to cooperate with the greater international community on a mission there, and indeed seems to prefer the idea of doing so compared to trying it themselves. The Moon is at a level of difficulty where many other nations have just (or are about to) developed the capacity to help out.

One wonders though whether it would be better for space in the end for other nations to cooperate with the US, or to simply send their own people into space and lunar orbit (in preparation for a manned landing) in order to create a bit of a space race again.

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Windows 7 posse esser descargat inlinea


De un articul ci in francesi.
Windows 7: descarga it inlinea

Annus passa e strategies changea. In veritá, mem un gigante de computadores quam Microsoft monstra clarmen li pruva: li distribution inlinea de su nov OS Windows 7. Observa que por li unesim vez in su historie, li firma de Redmond va far Windows 7 obtenebil per descargar (por usatores non-professional). Li file descargat tande posse esser copiat in un maniere particulari e tra un programma furnit per Microsoft self, sur un clave de USB de quel on posse installar it sur li PC.

Ma to ne es un comercial operation, pro que un disconto sur li precie de Windows 7 ne va exister per ti metode. It es principalmen por facilisar li instalation in netbooks queles ne have un DVD por instalar Windows 7. Nu, ci iniciative es limitat al mercate american, ma Microsoft ne exclude que li scope posse extender se a Europa in li venient dies.

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Fueleconomy.gov to be available in Spanish soon at ahorremosgasolina.gov

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Typing in ahorremosgasolina.gov (let's save gasoline.gov) will redirect the user to fueleconomy.gov where a tiny button on the right leads to a few Spanish pages, but according to the Los Angeles Times this is expected to increase quite a bit as more and more pages are added on.

The other interesting fact from the article: the site already receives over 100,000 visitors per day. To put that in perspective here it is compared to ctv.ca, one of Canada's largest broadcasters:



The site is featuring an article here that is no surprise at all - consumers are willing to buy more environmentally conscious plug-in hybrids but only if they are a bit more expensive than regular cars. At up to $2,500 more than a regular car 46% said there was "some chance" they would buy a hybrid, then at $5,000 more it fell to 30%, followed by only 14% for a car that cost $10,000 more.

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LADEE - the Moon's atmosphere is so wispy and fragile that we need to study it now before it changes beyond recognition


NASA has a press release here about an upcoming probe called LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) that will study the Moon's extremely tenuous atmosphere beginning in 2012 when it launches. The Moon has such a tiny atmosphere that the whole thing put together has a mere ten tons of mass, which is why human colonization will quickly change it into something completely different. Rocket exhaust, escaped gas from human settlements etc. will not take long to completely remake the atmosphere into something quite different which is why a mission like LADEE is needed now.

It would be a good thing to create a thin atmosphere for the Moon though, as detailed here. There is probably a certain level of atmosphere that can still keep the Moon in largely the same condition it is in now, but with some simple wind patterns and just enough atmosphere to keep the smallest of micrometeorites from being able to fall down and cause havoc among human explorers when least expected.

The article gives a good comparison of the difference between our atmosphere and that of the Moon. One cubic centimetre on Earth has this many molecules compared to the Moon:

Earth - 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 molecules
Moon - 100 molecules

And the Triton-like Moon that would provide the benefits detailed above might be something like this:

Triton-like Moon - 14 285 714 300 000 molecules

Looks quite big but that's only 1/70,000 that of Earth, and nothing even compared to Mars which is still almost a vacuum in terms of human physiology.

The article also provides an interesting view of how ice could have collected in the cooler parts of the Moon by having H2O molecules jumping about until they reach parts of the Moon that are cool enough that they settle down and remain undisturbed. Enough time with this process and one ends up with a soil containing permafrost from which water can then be extracted by human explorers.

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Fireball reported over Indonesia 8 October 2009 was a 5-10 metre asteroid

Read about it here. Yet another reason to keep funding to the Arecibo Observatory flowing.

If you speak Indonesian you can watch the news report that happened the day the fireball was spotted in the sky.

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Studentes in Iran clama sloganes a ex-ministre del guvernament de Ahmadinejad, jetta un sapate

Por tis qui pensa que li resistentie in Iran ha terminat, vide ci video de yer:



Li sloganes clamat:

- Mentiard, u es tui 63%? (To es li númere de votes que Ahmadinejad pretende a har procurat)
- Morte a tu!
- Mi fratre mort, yo va reganiar tui vote!
- Vive Mir Hossein!

It sembla que ear a un universitá al invitation del Basiji ne esset un bon idé. Li nómine del ministre es Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, e il esset li Ministre de Cultura e Islamic Orientation.

On posse leer in articul pri li incidente ci in francesi.

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Turkish Language Association President: Turkish is in fifth place among the languages of the world

Saturday, October 24, 2009


An article on this can be seen in Turkish here and corresponds well with what I often write here. The geographic and demographic extent of Turkish isn't obvious at first and is often very downplayed on sites like Wikipedia, where the total number of speakers attributed to Turkish is a laughable "about 70 million", or less than the population of Turkey. But then again many of those numbers are taken from Ethnologue where apparently even French was apparently listed as having a population of 65 million(!).

There is also a tendency to focus far too much on native speakers alone, which means that Turkish speakers in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, etc. etc. etc. all get left out of the count. Usually when people look up the population numbers of a language though they are simply interested in how extensive the language is - how many people use it, not how many have grown up with it as a first language. Generally only linguists are interested in the second number.

There are also a few surprises in the list of languages spoken throughout the world - the language in 6th place in terms of population is actually Bengali, and Javanese and Wu are quite high up as well, which shows that numbers alone really don't mean a great deal - being used as an official language of a country, geographic extent, economic development and other factors are much more important. Bengali in 6th place is only spoken in Bengladesh and areas nearby, so only about twice this area:



and an economic clout less than that of Slovakia. Compare this to Turkish (and other Turkic languages) from the article:
The President of the Turkish Language Association Prof. Dr. Haluk Şükrü Akalın said that Turkish was spoken in a total area of 12 million square kilometres (note: that's the United States plus Argentina) and was in fifth place among languages of the world.

Bülent Kılınç, the governor of Düzce, also gave a speech at the conference saying that "Turkish is spoken in just about every part of the world. However, we are causing our language to be forgotten through a daily loss of (proper) reading habits."
The rest of the article is not interesting enough to translate as there are no extra numbers or new facts to report. However, for an overview on the position of Turkish in Central Asia and other parts of the world see a post here from last month. The biggest advantage that Turkish has is 1) being mostly mutually comprehensible with other Turkic languages, and 2) being the official language of a country that completely overshadows each and every other part of the world that uses a Turkic language. Romance languages on the other hand are generally less mutually comprehensible and also happen to be located in countries of relatively equal or similar influence and economic development, and as a result there is no clear "winner" that overshadows the rest. If Latin had remained the official languages of these countries it would have been the uncontested winner as a common tongue that could be used in almost all parts of the world, but looks like it wasn't meant to be.

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The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)'s Nuntii Latini (news in Latin) reaches an audience of 75,000


YLE's Nuntii Latini is perhaps the most prominent example of news in spoken Latin today, and according to this article in Spanish it reaches an audience of 75,000.

The rest of the article is about why Finland likes the language so much, what the country did for Latin in 2006 when it had the European presidency, the relationship between Latin and Spanish, etc. Worth reading if you can read Spanish but the most interesting part for me was the number in the beginning.

Don't forget that YLE also has a bulletin board here for written communication between users in Latin as well, with a total of 8203 posts. Right now a discussion on Berlusconi is particularly popular.

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Augustine Commission releases report on the role of the United States in manned exploration, calls for an extra $3 billion per year

Friday, October 23, 2009


The long-awaited report has just been released and can be viewed here. There are a lot of articles each summing up the report in their own way but for those interested it's probably better to just download it and read the executive summary yourself, which is only 10 pages long.

The main conclusion drawn by the report is that human spaceflight at current funding is unsustainable and needs at least an extra $3 billion per year above the FY 2010 level in order to make any of the scenarios presented possible. The two scenarios given as being the most possible are Moon First, and Flexible Path. Moon First doesn't necessarily mean landing people on the Moon from day 1, and would involve manned missions orbiting the Moon as well for example. Flexible Path is quite interesting and would involve a variety of possible destinations such as near-Earth asteroids, or even the moons of Mars. The idea of spending more than a year in space to explore the moons of Mars for a bit and then return is a terrible one, but a near-Earth asteroid is a very good idea. It's kind of a way to kick the can down the road so to speak, in starting out with an easy (no landing gear or return rocket required) but completely new destination and then hoping that things will work out in the following years. Usually this would be a bit of a pipe dream but since we're on the cusp of a new era in space exploration this just might work.

By a new era I mean:

- An era in which private companies are able to do their share in manned exploration in a way that has never been done before
- An era in which we know of tens to hundreds of Earth-like planets in other solar systems (the first one should be discovered any day now, and definitely no later than 2010)
- An era in which emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil are able to share a much larger part of the burden than now.

The report also mentions the contributions that other nations are able to make to space exploration, namely Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the European Space Agency. Some countries that may be added to the list later on are Brazil, Mexico, perhaps even Turkey. South Africa also plans to have a space agency by next year.

The report says that Mars is humanity's ultimate destination in the inner Solar System, though not necessarily the best first destination. The word Ceres also does not appear once throughout the report so they obviously did not give it any thought either, and certainly not the idea of exploring any large asteroids in the asteroid belt such as 24 Themis that would make an excellent destination.

VASIMR is only mentioned once on page 103. The Google Lunar X Prize is also only mentioned once on page 92. All in all it's a pretty conservative report, dealing only with the main issues and barely touching on some of the more interesting possibilities in the next few years that could really change the way space works.

The report also recommends that the ISS be extended, as spending all this time constructing it only to deorbit it after five years of use would be a bit of a waste. This is true, but it doesn't really state exactly what the point of the ISS remaining in orbit would be in any great detail. Both sides (those that say the ISS needs to stay and those that say it's a waste) are right, but the only reason for the divergence of opinion is the lack of funding in the first place; if funding was sufficient from the start there would be no need to quibble about what to do with it.

Because that really is the only issue that really matters at the moment. NASA's budget has continually fallen as a percentage of the US GDP since the Apollo program and all the reports in the world on what to do won't correct this. Increase funding ($3 billion per year really is a pittance; continued operations in Iraq this year will cost $45.5 billion) and everything is solved.

Behold a very depressing chart.


Perhaps the US should pester countries like Canada that have escaped the financial crisis relatively unscathed to pitch in more than they are at the moment. Canada's budget for space exploration is woefully low, both in total ($373 million) and per capita ($11 per person per year compared to $58 per person per year for the US).

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Dracula li ínmortale: finalmen un nov roman pri li vampire, e scrit per un del familie Stoker


Bon, un nov roman pri li vampire Comto Dracula, e scrit per un Stoker. On trova un articul pri li libre ci in francesi, li majorité de quel yo ha traductet in Occidental. Ma yo ancor ne ha leet ti libre e ne posse dir ca it es interessant o ne.
Li atnevo de Bram Stoker ha resurectet le in un continuation del roman Dracula. It es dunc ja 112 annus pos li aparentie del icone de romanes gotic in in libre con li titul Dracula: li ínmortale. Li libre besonat six annus de resercha e un colaboration con un altri autor por dar it vive. Dacre Stoker, 51 annus, ne scrit li libre sol, ma con li scritist de New York Ian Holt, 39 annus.

Li aventura de Dracula: li ínmortale es situat 25 annus pos li ovre original.

Lass nos rememorar que Bram Stoker (1847-1912) esset inspirat per un comto romanian por crear su vampire. Vlad Tepes, dit Vlad li traforator, terrorisat li region de Carpathia per su cruelitá. Li action de Dracula: li ínmortale eveni in 1912. Con mortationes in London e Paris e un chasse a vampires in tot Europa, li terrore del prince del tenebre ha avigilat. Alquí tracia li heróes del roman original, e it es imposat a Quincey Harker, li filio de Jonathan e Mina Harker, e su amicos de haltar lu mal.

Dacre Stoker e Ian Holt examinat scrupulosimen 124 págines legat per Bram Stoker por un duesim roman. In un interview dat al Presse canadés, Dacre Stoker explica que ili volet prender de ci notes alquó que ne hat esset usat per su atoncle. To ne significa li resurection de personages existent, ma anc li creation de altris, quam un inspector de policie e "un lesbian comtessa vampire".

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List of Persian and Arabic loanwords in the Ottoman Turkish language


A blog post here (now unavailable; cache can be viewed here) from Milliyet includes a long list of words of Persian and Arabic origin in the Ottoman Turkish language (the language used in the Ottoman Empire before the language was reformed including a new script and the discarding of many loanwords) that should prove interesting not only to those interested in the language but IAL (international auxiliary language) creators as well. Note though that since many of these words are no longer used in Turkish anymore they do not constitute as much of a common ground as they used to until the beginning of the 20th century.

Also keep in mind that c in Turkish is read as j in justice, so cam (glass) is read as jam. Turkishdictionary.net is a good way to check whether a word is still in use (though it won't tell you whether a word is commonly or rarely used), as a word like cüda (isolated) doesn't exist there, though you will find it elsewhere. It's on the Turkish version of Wiktionary and can be found in the English version as well through inputting the Arabic script. In modern Turkish usually one would say something like yalnız or ayrı kalmış to mean isolated, but apparently cüda has more to do with being isolated from something one loves (family or country).

After the Persian words there is also a list of Arabic words. The title of the article is "Turkish + Persian + Arabic = Ottoman", which is probably the best way to explain the Ottoman language in a single sentence. It's kind of like what English might be like if it had a few more loanwords from Greek and was written in the Greek alphabet as well.

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October 2009: Amazon finally launches Kindle in Norway


I thought that this would have been done a long time ago but it looks like this hasn't been the case, as an article from today tells us.
Amazon.com's director Steve Kessel is ready to present the new digital reader Kindle to the Norwegian market, but Amazon is still lacking an agreement with a Norwegian publisher and thus no Norwegian titles are available.

"Kindle will be a success in Norway. Norway is one of Kindle's top countries", said Steve Kessel to VG Nett.

A full 250,000 books, newspapers and magazines are available in English however in the digital reader which is adapted to purchase books wirelessly over the internet.

"Every book that exists in any language is available within 60 seconds", Kessel explained.
According to Aftenposten, Amazon will allow Norwegian publishers to determine the retail price themselves, while they offer 35% of the turnover.

Norwegian bookstores have said that they prefer to launch their own solutions for Norwegian e-books. A Kindle reader will cost over 2000 kroner ($360 USD) including shipping.

That's still a bit vague. This article gives a bit more information - though the lack of a deal with a Norwegian publisher means that Norwegians only have access to English titles through Amazon.com, pdf files and whatnot without DRM copyright protection can be downloaded and read, so Norwegian books can be read through other means.

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Europa ne plu es exemplari in su libertá de presse, secun Raporteros Sin Frontieras

Thursday, October 22, 2009


De un articul trovat ci in francesi.

Libertá del presse in li Old Continent es ínsatisfatori, particularimen in Francia, Italia e Slovakia, durante que li Unit States con li "Obama-efecte" ha restaurat su image, secun li classification mundal de 2009 de Reporters sans frontières (Raporteros Sin Frontieras, RSF) publicat mardí.

Por li triesim annu consecutiv, li "trio infernal" de Turkmenistan, Corea de Nord e Eritria, relativmen in 173im, 174im e 175im positiones, remane al fine del liste.

In ti tri landes, li presse es "talmen silenciat que it es ínexistent", explica RSF.

In li trio al cap on trova Denmark, Finland e Irland, landes u li libertá del presse es max respectat.

Támen, RSF note que Europa, "longmen exemplari in su respecte del libertá del presse", ha regresset, con "solmen 15 del landes de Europa es in li gradu superiori (li max alt 20) contra 18 in 2008".

"It es disturbant que on trova que li democraties de Europa quam Francia, Italia o Slovakia continua, annu pos annu, a perdir lor positiones in li classification", comentat Jean-François Julliard, secretario general del organisation.

"Qualmen on denuncia li violationes fat in li munde si noi ne es ínreprochabil in nor territoria", il dit.

Francia, quel ja ha perdit quar locs in 2008, ha perdit ott altris in 2009 por aparir in li 43im position.

Italia, u jurnalistes es ancor fisicmen menaciat secun RSF, cadet al 49im loc e Slovakia, 7im in 2008, cadet al 44im loc.

Ci tri landes ha cedet lor position al yun democraties de Africa (Mali, Africa de Sud, Ghana) e Latin-America (Uruguay, Trinidad e Tobago).

Por RSF, "li menacie principal" veni del nov legislationes in vigore, quam li jure de response automatic introductet in Slovakia.

Támen, li Unit States ha fat un grand salta, del 40im al 20im loc. "Li ariva del nov presidente Barack Obama e su atitude min guerraci quam de su precessor al presse ha fat mult", emfasa li organisation.

RSF monstra con li altri fingre al Israel, quel ne plu es li unesim land in li Media-Ost pos un perde de 47 locs (nu 93im), e Iran, quel ha aproximat se "al porta del trio infernal".

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NASA scientists show that water can be extracted from lunar soil with a simple 1000W microwave

An article from yesterday gives more good news regarding the extraction of water from the soil on the Moon, as NASA scientists have been able to extract water quite easily from simulated lunar soil in a simulated lunar environment simply using the power of a 1000W standard microwave. The advantage of using microwaves to heat the regolith is that it heats the soil from the inside out, and the simulated vacuum of the environment also helped push the water to the surface. In two minute using a microwave to cook the soil some 95% of the water had left the soil and been extracted for use.

Apparently this test has only been performed on simulated soil with permafrost which would only be present in the permanently shadowed craters at the poles, but the results are still positive for the prospect of working with standard lunar soil as well. The experiment published yesterday shows that a single 1000W microwave could create nearly a ton of water per year. With the ability for robots on the surface of the Moon to be remotely controlled from Earth the easiest process in setting up a lunar outpost would seem to be sending a few of these to the surface ahead of time to prepare for the arrival of astronauts through the extraction of water and perhaps some simple construction - creation of a landing pad to avoid kicking up excess amounts of dust, for example.

While we're at it, here's the intro to the movie Contact. While the scale is inaccurate (an accurate scale would mean having the Solar System disappear within the first second or two and would probably just confuse everybody as it would look like nothing was happening) it's still a great visualization of just how much there is to explore.

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18 Octobre 2009 (26 Mehr 1388): Mir-Hossein Mousavi promesse a continuar li contestation in Iran


De un articul hodie trovat ci in francesi.

Tehran - Li movement de reforme in Iran ne ha renunciat su demandes malgre li repression quel sequet li reelection contestat de Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, confirmat hodie Mir-Hossein Mousavi, li chef del oposition in Iran.

Il declarat que "Nor partisanes ne es li tumultuatores. Li reformes va continuar durante que li demandes del popul ne es satisfat", secun li site de internet Kaleme soledí.

Li election presidential de 12 junio e li unde de contestation quel sequet ha plongeat Iran in un crise political sin precedentie pos li Revolution Islamic de 1979.

Li repression del demonstrationes ha fat 70 mortes secun li opposition, ma li figura oficial es min quam un demí de ti ciffre.

Li movement reformiste ha raportat mult milles de arestationes. Un centene de persones, con mult anteriori membres del administration, remane detra barres. Til nu tri ha esset condamnat a morte in un judicie in masse.

"Retener ti persones in prison ne have alquel sense. Ili deve esser liberat tam tost quam possibil." continuat Moussavi in un incontra con li parentes del anteori vice-ministre del aferes extran Mohsen Aminzadeh, qui es un del prisonarios.

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BBC Persian video on Iskandar Lake (Iskandarkul) in Tajikistan

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Iskanderkul seems to be quite the lake. It's located right in the middle of the mountains to the northwest of the capital Dushanbe, and BBC Persian did an interview with a guy from London the other day by the side of the lake. What makes him special is that he has been travelling across Europe and Asia with his bicycle all this time, through countries such as Bulgaria in Europe and Turkey, Iran and others in Asia. The guy's name is Ben Rowlands and he has a site here, and the videos for BBC Persian (in Persian but you can still make out most of the English interview even in spite of the dubbing and the lake looks fantastic in any language) can be seen here and here - the first is a link from BBC Persian itself with the article and the second link is a YouTube version of the same video without the text.

So where exactly is the lake? Right here.


View Larger Map

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October 2009: NBA and new FEMA website now available in Spanish


Two bits of news for those following the role of Spanish in the United States:

FEMA's Spanish website has been redesigned - now it looks like this. Archive.org shows us what it looked like in Spanish last year for comparison.

The other bit of news comes from here and is on a new website instead of just a redesigned one: the NBA has launched a new site called éne-bé-a in Spanish in order to appeal to the estimated 15% of the 120 million NBA fan base that speaks Spanish. Here's the new site.

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Icon A5 personal airplane featured on Associated Press

Here's a new type of personal aircraft that seems to have a lot of promise.



(that's 500 km at 220 kph)

Some things that make it interesting is being able to fold the wings up to place it in one's garage, the interior resembling that of a car, and the location of the propeller behind the cockpit instead of in front. Icon's site gives the estimated price at $139,000 but some articles are estimating that the price will end up being a quarter of a million dollars (not sure where the estimate comes from). That price takes it out of the exclusive domain of the ultra rich and places it in that of the normal rich, those that can afford to spend up to a few hundred thousand dollars on something they really want if necessary - and there is a high probability of living next to a lake for them as well.

In the city where I'm from for example (Calgary), the most expensive area is located around the Glenmore Reservoir and from there it's only 50 km northwest to Ghost Lake, a fairly popular place during the summer. That would be less than 30 minutes using the Icon A5.


View Glenmore Reservoir to Ghost Lake in a larger map

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Just one week until the maiden launch of NASA's Ares I-X

This is exciting - we finally have the first images of the Ares I-X on the launching pad, a vehicle much taller and more slender than the Shuttle. This launch is actually being given so much importance that the next launching of the Shuttle has been delayed as a result. The Ares I-X is pretty much the same height as the Ares I will be, so this image will suffice to show its height:


That's 94 metres compared to 54 for the Shuttle, but at the same time will be much lighter - the Saturn V weighs in at 3 million kg, the Shuttle is 2 million, and Ares I will be only about 900,000 kg, so less than half that of the Shuttle. This is why it has been said to be basically a slimmed down version of Apollo.

In other news, some are saying that the new direction given to NASA in the near future may be a focus on travel to near-Earth objects (asteroids) and perhaps a Mars flyby. The former is a good idea (just a few weeks, and lots of science can be done on the surface); the latter isn't (one year+ in space for the sake of a flyby of a planet we already know a great deal about). As written before, I was originally a supporter of the idea of going to near-Earth objects first but the discovery of water on the Moon has cemented me towards that instead...but if the decision is made to go to a near-Earth asteroid first then that will certainly be exciting too. Don't forget that the discovery of water on the Moon also implies a process that could take place on asteroids as well so perhaps we would find out that water on the surface of such objects is actually quite common.

But this is still speculation until we see the final report. In the meantime, here's a video on the Ares I-X being taken to the launching pad.

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Li mite del generation multitache - it sembla que frequent usatores de multitachage fa it plu mal

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


De Radio-Canada in francési.

Un equip de reserchatores del Universitá de Stanford in California ha recentmen publicat li conclusiones de un studie pri multitachage in li jurnale Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Li equip volet comprender plu bon li "generation multitache" quel ha developat habilitás de adaptation in li simultan gerentie de multiplic fontes de information.

Ma quam raportat in li jurnal sviss Largeur, li conclusiones del studie es surprisant e li unesim surprisat esset li reserchatores self. Ili decovrit que li max frequent usatores de multitachage fat tre mal in un varietá de taches. In comparation, ili esset min concentrat quam tis qui fat solmen un cose simultanmen. Finalmen, ili esset plu distractet e min successosi in passar de un tache a un altri.

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SkyTran seems to be getting a lot of attention lately


SkyTran at the moment only brings up ten results on Google News, but has gotten quite a bit of viral attention outside the mainstream media over the past two years. Here's one from last year, another one from today, and another one on Daily Kos gets quite political.

The basic idea behind SkyTran (seen in the image on the right as those tiny suspended vehicles next to the train) is that it would use pods that carry either one or two people, which would then wait at the "station" (a tiny docking area). The pods above are those that are on the move, and once a person at a station climbs in and pushes the button it will then move forward and join the other pods on the top lane, travel at 160 kph, and not stop until it reaches its destination whereupon it will then go to the off ramp, the passenger gets out and it joins the rest of the pods waiting for another customer.

One of the biggest problems with SkyTran would be handling excess capacity, such as after a football game. On a train it's possible to just jam in but hadling this with SkyTran wouldn't be easy. A possible solution would be making it expensive enough that only regular commuters would want to use it, while others would stick with the train as time is not of the essence for them on a leisurely trip home after the game. It's also questionable whether those who have just watched a game would even want to suddenly split up into groups no greater than two, since part of the fun is talking about the game on the way home in a group and suddenly being split up into either two or one (if you're unlucky and have an odd number of people) would kind of deflate the jovial atmosphere.

The FAQ for SkyTran can be seen here. It seems to be a bit overly optimistic about preventing graffiti though simply by being modern and clean (clean usually results in a lower chance of graffiti), since tagging a SkyTran could turn out to be pretty popular. One solution might be to hire local graffiti artists to do some interior design, in the same way that building owners have done.

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Well, turns out that significant extrasolar planet finding for the 19th of October was...

Monday, October 19, 2009


...ready for it?

32 new extrasolar planets.

(space.com article here too)

Wow. Most of them are Jupiter-sized as always, but one of them is only five times the mass of Earth which isn't a bad catch. With these 32 we now know of more than 400 planets outside our solar system. It also means that we've discovered more planets in 2009 than in 2008. It's incredible how commonplace the discovery of planets is becoming. Within perhaps two or three years we will reach a point where a new planet is being discovered every single day...and there is virtually no end to the places where they can be discovered, plus the fact that the more refined our observational skills become the smaller objects we will be able to discover. After Earth-like planets come Mars-sized ones, then Mercury, Ceres, asteroids, etc. etc.

Edit: an article here from the BBC says that the same team is expecting to confirm another batch of planets in the coming months too.

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Jean Sarkozy, li filio de Nicolas Sarkozy, ne es unic


Li nova de hodie in Occidental de francés es de La Presse, e es pri li recent nova que li filio de Nicolas Sarkozy va esser li chef del max important districte de aferes de Paris a un etá tre yun - 23 annus. Li articul monstra un micri comparation con altri landes queles have un situation comparabil, ma ili ne es landes in Europa.
Li possibil nomination del filio de Nicolas Sarkozy al chef del max important districte de aferes de Paris ha esset un scandale in Francia ma su historie es lontan de esser unic. Rue89 amusat se per redacter un (long) liste de ci "filios e filias de" queles seque (un poc tro) fidelmen li pasus de lor potent patres.

Ci supervise remane longmen in Africa, u li exemples ne manca. It sufice a pensar pri Ali Bongo, qui succedet su patre, li presidente durante 40 annus. In li Congo, Joseph Kabila Kabange devenit presidente pos li assassination de su patre durante que li filio del presidente del Republica de Senegal es e su personal consiliator, e li presidente del Agentia National del Organisation del Conferentie Islamic, e li Ministre de State por Transportes Aeral e Infrastructura.

Asia ne es un exception con con Kim Jong-Il, qui succedet su patre al cap de Corea de Nord in 1994 e espera a transdar a su yun filio.

In Europa, li hom fort de Uzbekistan nominat su filio quam representate de su land in li Nationes Unit. Un posto invidiabil, except por li filia del presidente de Kazakhstan, qui posse fanfaronar de esser simultanmen un membre de Parlament, director de du grupes de medies, presidente del Congress de Jurnalistes e li fundator del partise Assar...

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7 October: National Taiwan University adds Turkish to its list of foreign languages


Here's a small piece of news on this in Turkish.
National Taiwan University (國立臺灣大學), Taiwan's best university, has begun courses in Turkish. In the university located in the capital Taipei, Turkish has taken its place alongside languages like French, German, Spanish and Russian as optional foreign languages.

Ahmet Gürhanlı, a Ph.D with a doctorate in electronic engineering, is teaching the lessons in the university with a population of up to 30,000 local and international students.

Ahmet Gürhanlı is also the general secretary of the Anadolu-Formosa Association, the only Turkish non-governmental organization in Taiwan, and says that eight students have signed up for the first lessons in Turkish. Gürhanlı says that the student interest in the lessons is 'wonderful', and that "They don't want to lose track of even the smallest details, and do all their homework without fail. The two hours in class go by before you know it."

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Quick reminder: the Arecibo Observatory may save the planet some day.

By the way, since just two days ago an asteroid flew by the Earth that we didn't discover until a few days before it was upon us it might be good to remember that there is an observatory called Arecibo that not only is uniquely powerful for detecting these objects (it told us a few months ago that an object approaching us was not just one asteroid but rather a trinary system), but it might be closed due to a decrease in funding from $10.5 million per year to $4 million. Baffling. An observatory that could one day mean the difference between being hit and not being hit by an asteroid has to fight for survival.

Due to the strength of the report that calls the observatory uniquely powerful there is a fairly good chance that NASA will step in to fund the NEO observation program there, so make sure to keep an eye on that keyword to see what the most recent developments are and feel free to blog or write a post on a forum about it if you feel so inclined.

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Li jurnalist de Newsweek irano-canadian Maziar Bahari liberat del prison de Evin in Tehran hodie

Sunday, October 18, 2009


E un altri bon nova: hodie yo comensa denov li scrition de novas in Occidental, traductet de un altri lingue. Li nova de hodie es de francesi e es trovat ci. Li articul in anglesi de Newsweek es trovat ci.
Iran liberat saturdí véspere e sub caution li jurnalist irano-canadian de "Newsweek", arestat ante quar mensus inter li demonstrationes organisat per li oposition pos li electiones presidential de 12 junio e represset per sangue, anunciat samedí li agentia de presse oficial de Iran.

Maziar Bahari esset liberat del prison de Evin in Tehran, in un exchange de un payament de caution de tri million riales (204,000 euros), raportat li agentia oficial, citante li procurator de Tehran. "Newsweek" confirmat ci information in un declaration scrit a su site de internet.

Maziar Bahari esset un parte del centene de persones acusat de participar in un complot organisat per li oposition por renversar li guvernament de Iran.

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Majidi Mall construction in Arbil (Iraqi Kurdistan) seems to be almost done

A post today on Reddit has a few interesting photos taken directly by a user that lives in Kurdistan, and the construction of the mall seems to be almost complete. The photos are as follows:

In other news from here in Turkish, the German Consulate-General (Dr. Oliver Shinatin) said that those with a Kurdistan passport would be able to get a Schengen Visa beginning in March 2010. Thus far the process has only been able to be done using Iraqi passports.

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