Sunday, April 17, 2011
A quick introduction to the site if you're new: Page F30 is a kind of an amalgamation of the new, the old, and the small and large. By that I mean:
new: the name itself comes from this. Apparently the first use of the word internet on the Washington Post was on Page F30, about as far back as you can get before you reach the classifieds. Most of the time the biggest stories start somewhere way in the back, and I like to try to find these before they happen. You'll notice a lot of predictions from me about what the presence of extrasolar Earths and brown dwarfs nearby (if they exist) will do to completely change our view of the universe, for example.
old: looking into the past also helps predict the future. Combing through sites like this to see what the world thought of Hitler before WWII, predictions of what flying machines would be like and if they were possible at all, etc., is both fascinating and educational.
small: sometimes small and unknown parts of the world end up influencing great events. Israel and Palestine are about as small as countries get politically but are very much entwined in world politics, Armenia and Azerbaijan are two tiny countries that are much the same: their relationship has to do with Turkey's possible entry into the EU (Turkey's frozen border with Armenia is something that needs to be resolved), pipelines such as the BTC Pipeline from Azerbaijan to Europe, Russia's and Iran's roles in the region, and more.
large: large, long-term trends are also interesting to write about. Whether English will continue as the predominant second language of diplomacy and commerce, be replaced by another language, or become a "first among equals" among other regionally powerful languages but never manage to make the sale as the world's second language, for example.
Plus lots of posts about space, cats, and of course languages and how to learn them.
Now for the top 30 posts.
1. Iran in the 1970s before the Islamic Revolution - pictures of Iranians in the 1970s. Not a piece of pro-Shah propaganda as many of the commenters seem to think, simply a post showing that Iranians themselves are not starkly fundamentalist crazies as they are often made to seem, and nor does their current government reflect how most of them would like to be governed.
2. Why Norwegian is the easiest language for English speakers to learn - most comments below agree with the premise. Some believe that Norwegian is hard because it has dialects, which is false. Most languages have a great many dialects and Norwegian is not a special case here. Nor is it hard because I haven't learned it to fluency yet. I have a great many others on my plate to work on first. In the meantime partial proficiency is good enough.
3. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science - why it's silly to demand immediate benefits from scientific research, among other things.
4. Harvard students demonstrate how not to learn a language - just something funny I found where a group of Harvard students went to Spain to practice the language, but went in a big group of English speakers and also went to Barcelona where you hear a lot of Catalan on the street. I wrote about why going abroad to study like this is a bad idea.
5. Five myths about languages and learning them - five myths about learning languages, especially the one that you can only learn a language well up until the age of fourteen, fifteen or so, after which one's brain becomes hard as a rock. No.
6. Korean wisdom - cats fuck over mice. Just something funny I found in a Korean dictionary once.
7. Why Persian is easier to learn than most European languages - Persian is a remarkably friendly language to learn for an English speaker, much less complex and irregular than most European languages people learn.
8. The same post on Persian, but in Spanish.
Why Ceres might be a better location for colonization than Mars. More frequent launch windows and no atmosphere are a big part of this.
10. Kalmykia - too weird and unique to remain unknown. Why Kalmykia is interesting. Note that the president has changed since then.
11. Seoul in 1951 vs. Seoul now - pictures of destroyed Seoul vs. rebuilt Seoul.
12. How Latino sine Flexione was created - a post explaining the concept of the auxiliary language Latino sine Flexione.
13. More men would date an unemployed woman than vice versa. Found that article in Spanish.
14. What English might look like with all the non-Germanic words removed - inspired by Uncleftish Beholding, I tried my own version of a purely Germanic English.
15. Union of Nordic countries - a Swedish politician believes they should all unify by 2030.
16. Yellow dust in Seoul - see what it looks like in March in Seoul sometimes. Everything becomes eerie and dystopian.
17. YouTube needs to change their ratings system - this post received a lot of traffic after the Huffington Post linked to it. After the elections in Iran in 2009 there were a lot of videos showing the protests, and giving a video a high rating is a way of trying to show it to a larger audience. Sometimes you give a video a good rating (now a thumbs up instead of stars) just because you want other people to see it though, not because you think it's awesome! as the 5-star rating used to say. Government officials driving a truck through a crowd is not awesome, but you had to pick that to give it a 5-star rating. The current system is no better: a thumbs up is also a sign of approval.
18. Final Fantasy for NES now available in Latin.
19. Worst children's book illustrator ever. Joachim Ringelnatz, oh God.
20. We need a third season of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. Unfortunately my post didn't help and it was canceled. What replaced it? A comedy show called Brothers that made it about six months. What a waste.
Korean guidebook from the 1980s on how to dodge falling construction girders, comfort women, and stand like you're good at fighting. Oh yeah.
22. Textbooks for Germanic languages should be in Anglish, not English - a proposal for a controlled language that would be used in learning Germanic languages. Basically a more germanified English that would aid the students in noticing cognates.
23. No to Nynorsk - many Norwegians refuse to use it. Others absolutely love it, though.
24. How to help now that Google Translate is available in Persian - another post made after the election in Iran that was also linked to by the Huffington Post, that showed how to quickly get news through Twitter only written in Persian as it came in.
25. Understanding countries through maps - how to make educated guesses about countries simply by looking at their borders and other features.
26. Which countries can Turkish citizens go to without a visa? This search query comes up a lot.
27. The quickest way to learn a language for a forum / Reddit addict - taking your forum addiction and transferring it to another language you want to learn.
28. Heliostats - a Zeit article on using them to bring sunlight to places that otherwise spend a great deal of the year in shadow.
29. Seven people that might have changed history - seven people that almost succeeded in what they tried to do, but didn't.
30. Why Papiamentu might make a good second language for the world - why the Romance creole Papiamentu might make a good auxlang.
And those are the top 30. This barely scratches the surface of many of the topics here, so perhaps another post later on with the top 100 or maybe even more would be worth writing. In the meantime thanks for all the visits and here's to another few thousand posts.