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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/14/2020 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    This will probably be my last update from Harbin, as things seem to be much more "interesting" in Europe now. I went outside of my apartment complex on Thursday for the first time in over 2 weeks (not due to being scared about catching the virus, it's just such a hassle signing in and out etc). Harbin finally opened up the big shopping malls, and even some smaller shops have opened too. Hopefully they will begin to do away with the constant temperature checks and name signing over the next couple of weeks. There is a fair bit of traffic now, although still much less than usual. Crossing the road is a little dangerous again: I took the opportunity to take a long walk outside. I'm in a modern apartment complex where all they had to do was lock some gates and put extra people on guard duty, but I always wondered what they did about the traditional apartment buildings. As you walk around you begin to realise that you need to stick to the main roads, as the small ones all have makeshift fencing to control the flow of people: There was quite a long queue outside this supermarket, and I was impressed by the distance being kept between each person (maybe not quite 1.5 m, but much better than usual). The supermarket in the mall next to my apartment didn't have any queues at all, and was just normal busy: I finally got to eat a meal not made by my own hands (some jiaozi, which I have never made before). Although the restaurants were open, it was take-out only. All the other stores in the mall seems to be open, but only a handful of customers. I've got another 3-4 weeks before I have to go back to the UK. I hope to be able to get some normal-style living in before jumping into a yet another quarantine-like situation back home.
  2. 3 points
    Have been reading a book about Chinese people who were hurriedly leaving Shanghai in 1949 ahead of Mao's revolution. Parts reminded me of a much more recent event, leaving China last month ahead of the virus epidemic. Here is an excerpt: The book is: Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution by Helen Zia. (Available on Amazon Kindle.) Here's a piece of the publisher's promotional blurb: I'm only half way through, but so far it's a pretty good read. (It's written in English, not in Chinese.)
  3. 2 points
    I got a nice little language learner's surprise today. Carrefour Shopping Center was giving away free Bluetooth earphones today if your purchase is over a certain amount. Normally Bluetooth earphones have little voice messages in english that tell you when you turn off, turn on, or connect to your phone correctly. This pair of earphones has all the audio messages in CHINESE! I understood "device on", "connection successful", and "device off" in Chinese. I sheepishly admit connecting and disconnecting a few times just to hear these three messages because I enjoyed it so much. It was kind of like an immersion experience..... hearing the same message that Chinese people hear. : ) : ) Now I'll hear it any time I connect to listen to my podcasts. Guess what my new favorite earphones are?
  4. 2 points
    Quick thoughts from pandemic central (Northern Italy, got stuck while visiting my elderly parents and am now both worried for them and unable to leave). The approach of different governments makes for some interesting game theory. Here businesses are under massive stress. Foreign importers are cancelling orders, or asking for "proof" that widgets are free of coronavirus, whatever that means. German and UK competitors are likely to benefit. Domestic consumers cannot consume, and employers are under massive stress to ensure employee safety – especially smaller companies that do not have the resources or the staying power to close all stores for two weeks and redo the factory floors. Italy is particularly vulnerable given the very large proportion of SMEs. So the gamble of our neighbours looks at least partly motivated by thoughts of the economic endgame. China is big and centralised enough that someone can isolate Hubei for the greater good and order Shanghai doctors to go over and help. Europe alas is 一盘散沙 and I'm looking forward to seeing German doctors helping out in Milan (the sight of that would do more for the future of the continent than 70 years of European treaties). As risk management is a large part of what I do professionally, I'm terrified any time someone shows me a model, makes a forecast, and forgets to discuss what will happen if the model is wrong. Exponential growth is counterintuitive: Italy may have 90% of all cases, but if infections grow 30% per day, the rest of the world gets there less than 10 days later. I think I can objectively say that Milan's health care system is among the best in Europe: it's very unlikely anyone else can cope much better, although at the beginning, luck helps. So I think the odds are good that Europe's "beggar thy neighbour" phase won't last very long. If building herd immunity was so easy, China would have been in a good position to try.
  5. 2 points
    I guess experts say a 70% infection rate is inevitable. The goal is to spread it out so health care is not overwhelmed. This is why I mentioned above that I would not be surprised at all if there were new waves of coronavirus in China in the future. The only thing China can do to stop this would be to not let any foreigners enter until the pandemic is over. With SARS in 2003 it took the WHO nearly 9 months after the last reported case to declare the end of the pandemic...
  6. 1 point
    I wonder if there is a good solution to having Chinese movie subtitles read to you. Ideally, I would like to have the character that is just being read highlighted (including automatic scrolling), so I can keep track more easily. Also, it would be great if I could (optionally) see the English translation and pinyin support. Currently, I have found this TTS site, which I like a lot: https://www.xfyun.cn/services/online_tts However, it does not do the other things I mentioned above. Here is a sample from the movie The Grandmaster:
  7. 1 point
    I saw that too (it was on Chinese news). To be fair, this whole thing is kind of China's fault in the first place (unless the conspiracy theories about the US military are to be believed), so there probably should be helping out. Still, Western countries could have sent more help in February. One country which did offer a lot of help (especially in terms of supplies) was actually Japan. If there is one good thing to come out of this, then it's the improved Sino-Japanese relations. I've heard that many Chinese TV stations even took the 抗日 TV dramas off the air. Yeah China has sent a team of 9 doctors and supplies to Italy last week (which in the current climate is quite something, regardless of whether its been paid for or not really). It's been really appreciated in Italy and it's on all the newspapers, hopefully it will change the way the Italians see Chinese immigrants, who are too often discriminated in my opinion. As far as I know Italy didn't provide special support in February but I've been told that there were a number of initiatives by privates and communities (e.g. there is a huge group of people from wenzhou living in Tuscany) who sent supplies.
  8. 1 point
    that’s fine for now, but once they all go back to business as usual and no one has immunity, all it takes is a few foreigners without symptoms to spread it again. or else they maintain semi-quarantine for months and lose a tenth of a percentage of gdp for every month at partial capacity personally i think the scariest thing that came out of all of this is the revelation that the CDC is a laughing stock, and that the medical systems of the US and Europe are incapable of even a worthwhile attempt at controlling this virus. they all just throw their hands up and say “it’s easier just to let it run it’s course.” well ok, i’m glad then that it’s not a more aggressive illness. but what if it were?
  9. 1 point
    Yes, they're all licensed from ReadSpeaker (formerly NeoSpeech) - https://www.readspeaker.com. With Ting-ting, have you downloaded the enhanced data? (there's an option for it in 'customize') Also I'm not sure which OSX release this was added in, but at least on Catalina there are two Siri Female voices and one Siri Male voice along with Ting-ting. Our license with ReadSpeaker precludes us from building a generate-audio-files-from-a-bunch-of-text feature ourselves, but we have already implemented automated background flashcard audio playback in internal builds of the next major Pleco update.
  10. 1 point
    Herd immunity requires ~80% of the population to have immunity. In China, only a fraction of this were infected (fortunately). This is why in the US, we're seeing disease outbreaks with vaccine-preventable diseases despite that "most" people are vaccinated. There are enough unvaccinated to sustain transmission. China has strong practices in place to protect people Friends in both Beijing & Wuxi get masks from their employers everyday. Some offices have 1/2 the people show up everyday. Hence, even if the virus is reintroduced, it's unlikely to propagate far. I had read that China is making 116 million masks/day (and this # is probably out of date). The key is introducing enough measures to push the R- or R0 value below 1, meaning the average person communicates the disease to <1 person. When this happens, the disease dies out. However, for Covid-19 to disappear, the R-value in the whole world would need to go below 1.
  11. 1 point
    Several major events in my field have been cancelled in the UK. This included a conference with 6000+ people scheduled for April...
  12. 1 point
    Lol Im keen to look on the potential upsides where they are some. I think this will have a devastating impact on trumps bufoonishness , the tirade against expert opinion, and hopefully way more spending on health infrastructure and combating viruses (rather than weapons and disinformation) Im hoping the shared difficulty all of us in society, and each country will have will bring about a renewed sense of working together.
  13. 1 point
    I believe China has sent medical staff to Iraq and Italy. There are also many videos of Chinese people going "加油意大利". Nice to see such solidarity. I guess there was no such sentiment from the rest of the world when it hit China 🙄
  14. 1 point
    I haven't been very active in this thread, but have gained a wealth of valuable information from it, and would like to thank everyone for the incredibly helpful contributions that have been made thus far. Waiting to go back to Harbin, @StChris it's been great to read all the updates from you and get some perspective on what's going on up there. At the moment we are in Cambodia, where there have been a few cases over the last couple of days, bringing the total up to 8. I managed to do a border run through Thailand and stayed the night there on Sun night so that I could sort my visa out. I managed to get a business visa which will make it easier to stay here until we are allowed to return to China. When entering the Thai side of the border my temperature was taken and I had to fill out health form, on the way back into Cambodia there was absolutely nothing, which didn't surprise me. I am surprised to have heard that Cambodia will shut it's borders to anyone from the US, Italy, Spain, France and Germany for 30 days, starting on Tuesday. Although it may be repealed in a couple of weeks, Thailand also just took away their visa on arrival option for foreigners who can just get stamped in. I fall into that category, and so I was really lucky to have made the border run when I did. Online classes with HIT started last Monday, and so far have actually been quite good. Our schedule is a bit messed up, and with the slow internet and frequent power cuts here it can be a little challenging, but it's nice that I am actually able to continue studying while being here, and won't have to add an extra year to my degree or anything like that. We have to sign in for every class we take, and on top of that the university has us sign in via a QR code on wechat every single day of the week. At the very least this involves us saying whether or not we had a class that day, and whether or not we did the required work for it. Today added our current location, whether or not we are in one of the top 10 hardest hit countries for the virus, passport no. etc. Over half my class is South Koreans, and a substantial portion of the international student body at HIT must be too, although I have no exact figure for that. So far they have been unable to give us any idea of a return date, which I think is fairly understandable. While things may be returning to normal slowly in China, I imagine the last thing they want is an influx of people from nations where infections are climbing.
  15. 1 point
    I mean this is “Chinese forums” 😉
  16. 1 point
    if they really want to flatten the peak, mass events would have been stopped earlier! you need a proactive approach with COVID 19, not a reactive approach. The evidence was there to see from other countries but the economy was prioritised, the gamble failed and some stupid BS excuse about letting people get mild doses of virus (how can we control what’s mild dose is anyway? - virus is not a frigging petrol pump). As noted earlier, this virus is infectious before symptoms start. It is really sneaky as it doesn’t kill people immediately. It kills more than flu but not quite enough to make people sit up and notice.
  17. 1 point
    Yes absolutely they are. Life is turning back to normal slowly (not there yet, but moving that way) and new cases seem to be under control, even in Wuhan by now. Having even a little tiny student activity in Shanghai this week was a very happy moment for me. However, as an immersion Chinese language school what we do is to help people to experience Chinese and live immersed in that cultural environment. And international travel is an integral part of this. So the current outbreaks in Europe and the US are hitting us (and I am sure not just us, but all Chinese language schools) even worse than the one in China did. Plus, the way it is looking this is going to be an ongoing thing, potentially for quite a long time with international travel restrictions. The news coming out from the German, UK etc. governments currently sound more like most people will get infected and this will take a year or two maybe to finish. We are very lucky that we have been around for a long time and are very stable as a company so we will get through this, even if it takes a year or two. I know just five years ago we might not have. A lot of other companies in China that will not. It is really not very happy to see. But then I have no idea what the future there will bring. Who knows, it might just all be much better. I certainly hope so. For the moment we are working full speed on our online classes - our teachers need the work even more than we as a school do and we will try everything possible to achieve that. Ok, enough moaning....things change, sometimes I feel quite optimistic, sometimes not at all. Today is more of the second type, but then that might already be very different tomorrow.
  18. 1 point
    Yes, but wearing mascara and make up helps 😁 let me know if you want product recommendations.
  19. 1 point
  20. 1 point
    发哨 人 = whistle blower 高风险 区域 = high risk area 观察期 = observation period 疫情 爆发 = outbreak 病毒 = virus 解禁 后 = after lifting the ban 封城 = closed (off) city 新冠 病毒 疾病 = Novel Coronavirus (short: 新冠 = "new crown")
  21. 1 point
    Regarding "high risk" countries, quarantine requirements etc... I just stumbled across this IATA web page that publishes the arrival/travel requirements from Timatic, the database used by airlines to decide if you can travel. https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/international-travel-document-news/1580226297.htm It seems they're updating it pretty regularly.
  22. 1 point
    it appears the uk is going down the let everyone get infected route: "Majority of people in the UK need to get a mild dose of coronavirus for 'herd immunity', chief scientific adviser says" sounds like a massive gamble to me. dammit 2020, two months of isolation, then the govt here is just like, yeah just get infected actually…
  23. 1 point
    I was thinking much the same, but now I'm starting to think the UK government knows what it's doing, even if what it's doing may be very wrong. They assume that lots/most people will get the virus sooner or later. They believe that it would rebound after any kind of lockdown. Lockdown for 4 months now and you risk a peak at the start of NEXT winter. And they want a decent cohort of the population to have got through it and acquired immunity. I don't know - very unclear, they haven't explained their thinking. But if you assume there's nothing you can do to stop most people getting it eventually, then it changes the logic a bit. Personally I'd like to see a lockdown and then use the couple of extra months it might give us to build up to the kind of mobilisation/organisation seen in China/HK/Singapore. Because even if its spread is inevitable in the UK, reducing its speed of infection must be a good thing, ensuring better hospital care for everyone.
  24. 1 point
    "We are considering banning major public events like sporting fixtures," said Johnson. "The scientific advice is this has little effect on the spread - but it does place a burden on other public services. Johnson added: "We are guided by the science; there is no medical reason at the moment to ban such events." If this is the 'scientific advice' the uk gov is getting, we clearly need to step up our international awareness…can't believe we're just sitting here waiting for it all to happen over here now. Every statement on the response to the virus seems to include the words "at the moment", serious lack of preemptive action, how on earth people are still not scared seeing whats happening in italy right now is beyond me…
  25. 1 point
    There was an announcement in Beijing today that all pax into PEK (not sure about the new airport) would be transferred from the airport to the National Exhibition Center for screening via bus. If cleared, you would then be taken via bus again to your community where you would be under quarantine for 14 days. I found out via friends who are on the way back and some Intl schools have sent out messages to staff advising of this new procedure. I rolled past the Exhibition centre today and saw a few hazmat guys, guards, police. An ambulance and some coaches pulled in around the same time. However, some uncertainty at the moment whether it’s just Passengers Flying in from high risk countries or whether it’s ALL passengers.
  26. 1 point
    This here might be what you're looking for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oITGgMMd7uA
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