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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/02/2020 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Thanks for posting the source for those wishing more background info. I'll note that ALL of the vaccines in development show immune activity (if they didn't, they would be cancelled). However, triggering an immune response doesn't mean they will provide protection from SARS Cov-2. Some Covid-19 vaccines have undergone/are undergoing "Phase I" and "Phase II" clinical trials. Phase I determines tolerability. Phase II explores dose response, i.e., how much of a dose do you need to cause a response. Both Phase I & II trials give some information on safety. However, Phase II trials typically involve, at most, a few hundred people. In contrast, Phase III trials, which study efficacy and safety, involve thousands of people when drugs are tested and 10s of thousands when vaccines are tested. The vaccine Rotateq had 70,000 people worldwide in its Phase III trial. In addition to showing the risks of the vaccine, Phase III also informs the efficacy; how much protection will the vaccine provide and for how long. In contrast, a Phase II trial in a few hundred people doesn't give enough information to know how safe/dangerous a vaccine will be in the population. Jumping from Phase II trials into the military is slightly more acceptable ethically because the military will have young & healthy people and we know that Covid-19 is more dangerous to the elderly. (this said, many countries wouldn't do this.) For those who want an in-depth look at the vaccines in development, including CanSino, check out: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/06/29/coronavirus-vaccine-update-june-29 For those who don't have time to look, one issue with the CanSino vaccine is that it uses a common virus as its vector. As a result, many people already have immunity to the vector. This can be bad because the body may attack the common virus before the body has a chance to build immunity to SARS Cov-2. We need Phase III trials to know whether this vaccine really works and what the side effects might be. To be clear, I fully support all of the vaccine studies. We don't know now which one (if any) might be effective nor the level of risk each poses. The more candidates we test, the more likely we''ll find a safe & effective vaccine. It's a challenge for the world (my soapbox for the day.....) (I always like it when others in this group offer their expertise on different things, so I'm offering this)
  2. 2 points
    About to finish 活着, which is a great read. All good things are 3 so I'll do one more by 余华:在细雨中呼喊
  3. 1 point
    Also see here for more discussion. In another post, @murrayjames also recommends 第七天。 I haven't read it, but from the sound of it, it will probably be an easier read than 《兄弟》
  4. 1 point
    I have been thinking about this since the question was posted. I have a smart/fitness watch and I can think of a use for it as an aid to my Chinese studies as a very simple flashcard app. Just a procession of characters on the screen, swipe right for "Know it" and left " Forgotten it" When it syncs with my phone/tablet it can put the Forgotten ones in the list for study. I can image using it while waiting in a queue (something we are all doing more of), a taxi, bus ride which is not very long, or anywhere else I have 5 minutes or so. I even thought of a working title for such a project - Chinder.
  5. 1 point
    I don't really know, but in general I think AR has more potential in what I'd call 'ambient learning', learning in the background while doing something else, rather than in the sort of intensely focused 'hey look it's putting Chinese names on everything in the room' sort of approaches we've mostly seen so far. It's been a popular/successful strategy for a very long time - I remember listening to Italian language tapes in the car with my dad 30 years ago - and AR means we might be able to add visuals to supplement the audio. Even if Chinese characters themselves are too detailed / complicated to study with AR unless you're really focusing on them, subtle little things like putting a few little tone colored dots on the bottom of the screen while listening to a word or sentence could be a great way to reinforce what you're learning. There's also a lot of potential for AR to facilitate better voice interfaces, for example by showing you a list of available commands at a particular prompt; anybody who's ever called into an automated call answering system knows how easy it is to lose your place in a voice-only menu.
  6. 1 point
    That's because Chinese students have already gone through the basics and more in Primary and High School. Most moocs are for University level learners, so most of what is listed are advanced guided readings and analyses. Same goes for poetry. The table on the right on this page will give you an idea of how far behind we are - incidentally. this is a great site for anything classical. https://www.gushiwen.cn/ For the real basic grammar etc. one would have to go to the online school sites, though Rouzer, Fuller and co. seem much more suitable for us. Beginners classes assume you're about 7 years old.
  7. 1 point
    Finished reading 漢字的華麗轉身:漢字的源流、演進與未來的生命 (link to books.com.tw). It's a collection of essays by about the history of Chinese characters. The beginning essays on calligraphy are pretty short, but the later essays get longer as they cover things like modern printing, computers, and modern art. I already have plenty of books on calligraphy history, and the book filled in some modern history that I wanted to learn.
  8. 1 point
    Disclaimer: This write up is not a guide on how to type using Cangjie, check out the wiki page for a basic intro if you're interested. This is aimed at anyone who simply wants to know whether learning a new input method is or is not worth the time investment. 2020 has been a very strange year for me, as I'm sure it has for most of us. With all the extra time, I decided to get down to some things that I've wanted to do for a while but...just never had the time. One of those things was learning to type Cangjie both fast enough that I can use it for live conversation on Wechat, and for practicing my character retention abilities. There are a number of shape-based input methods for Chinese out there, the most famous being Cangjie (倉頡), Dayi (大易) and Zhengma (鄭碼) for traditional, and Wubi (五笔) for simplified. I chose to learn Cangjie as it is well suited for typing both traditional and simplified, which can't be said of most other shape-based methods (most are now able to some extent, but mainly rely on 'conversion' rather than directly typing in the specific character according to its structure). Thats not to say Cangjie is 'the best' of these systems, its just the one that suited my needs the most. Other benefits of Cangjie are that it is widely available and license-free, so no worries that it will suddenly disappear or require some payment to use. It also uses a lot less keys than methods such as Dayi, so less finger stretching. Regardless, I believe Cangjie is an incredibly well-designed system, a real work of genius that functions to break down computer-font characters in the same way stroke order helps with handwriting characters. After 6 months of practice I have racked up just close to 100 hours of typing practice on anki (typing out sentences from memory based on prompts). I can now reach around 25-30cpm. I type at around 60-70wpm in English, so I've still got a long way to go, but I'm happy with my progress as it stands. Here's what I've found is important on my journey: 1. Your keyboard keys affect how a shape-based input method helps with character retention I originally set out using normal keys with alphanumeric symbols. I learned to touch type fairly quickly in Cangjie, but found that I began to see characters as strings of English letters in my head, a little like how when you're typing in pinyin you often think of the romanised version of what you're writing before the image of the character floats into your mind. This became quite annoying and counterconstructive, so I got some Cangjie stickers from ebay and stuck them on blank keycaps to see what difference there might be. The difference was noticeable immediately, as I began to associate the keys with Chinese characters much quicker. However, I still found that with some of the more difficult keys (where the character and the element it could represent are connected in a fairly abstract way), my brain would start remembering the string of keys for the character instead of properly decomposing it into its elements. The brain always chooses the easiest option I guess. A good example of this would be 麼, where 戈 represents both 广 and 丶 in the decomposition, with 女 also representing the stroke 𡿨, it was just easier to remember 麼=戈木女戈, or even just the shape the keys made on the keyboard. So I decided to make a set of keys similar to the ones you see for 五笔, where every single symbol is listed on the keycaps (ive seen them for 鄭碼 too, probably because the amount you need to remember for it is too much of a burden on the brain). I should emphasise, I decided to use this keyboard specifically for the purposes of character retention. If I wanted raw speed I would just use blank keycaps and rely on muscle memory. This keyboard has had a massive effect on how Cangjie has helped with remembering character writing, and if anyone is interested I'll be happy to send on the inkscape file. Now when I look at my keyboard to type 麼 I can actually look for 广 - 木 (-木) -𡿨-厶 instead of remembering some arbitrary code or pattern. Think that looks scary? Its not, it is very intuitive and can be learnt in half an hour of typing I would estimate. Check out 徐碼 for a typing system that has a single code for every single character you could possibly type. Bet you like the look of that Cangjie keyboard now: 2. Cangjie 5 is a massive improvement on Cangjie 3. Microsoft Cangjie is riddled with errors. I first set out using Cangjie probably around 2 years ago, but it was only really out of curiousity and I only used it on my phone. I didnt realise it at the time but I was using the 3rd generation of the system (for reference, 1 and 2 were largely just glorified betas). Then when I moved onto using cangjie on my laptop (ms surface), I discovered that many of the codes were different, despite it still being classed as Cangjie 3. Thankfully I came across this fantastic wikibook which not only explained the errors that MS has made in its own hacky version of Cangjie (after parting ways with the creator of Cangjie), but also showed how the 5th generation of Cangjie had corrected all the weird decomposition errors and inconsistencies in Cangjie 3. I immediately switched to Cangjie 5 and have not looked back, it is internally consistent and logical throughout. I strongly recommend any future students of Cangjie to use Cangjie 5, it is a pleasure to type with and really feels like you're writing characters, just like that feeling you get when you type English and your thoughts seem to just 'appear' on the screen - there is no feeling of detachment. Here are some notes I made when I first made the switch from MS Cangjie 3 to Cangjie 5 (using 倉頡平台) Correction of character selection order based on frequency. Eg 致 before 玫,知 before 佑. Damn that ms input was annoying, always having to add in '2' after so many common characters. recognition of 尸 as representative of the double dot, eg 假 人口尸水 應:戈人土心 this is fantastic, finally the parts are separated properly! 篼 has been corrected to 竹竹女山 (instead of 竹竹尸弓, which breaks away from the treatment of 兜 as a single unit (both in 3 and 5) 撐 and 撑 have their own unique codes (another MS error, typing 牙 here gives you 手...) 木廿 来 大木 东 etc the list goes on... I encourage anyone thats interested in comparing the differences between CJ 3 and 5 to have a look at this list. In fact, browse through the whole book, its incredibly well written. (Written by the 'boss'? of 倉頡之友, a forum without which I would never have found any success in learning 倉頡). 3. Cangjie is really fun to type with If you've ever felt the frustration of having to cycle through pages of characters to find the one you want, hate typing out whole words then delete the parts you don't want, or if you just can't stand 联系and 练习 causing all your friends to question what on earth you've been doing with all those hours of Chinese study, then Cangjie is defintely worth a try (or any other shape-based input method for that matter). Once you get used to typing using a shape-based method, you realise just how annoying typing phonetically is. Yes, I get it, its very, very, very easy to learn, and it means you don't have to remember how to write characters, only recognise them. But if you are at all interested in writing Chinese, then try Cangjie (or Wubi if you're simplified only gang) and I'm sure you'll never look back. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an obscure character and being able to check it instantaneously in your dictionary. I still remember the first time I saw 鑾 and realised it was just three keys right next to each other (女火金), the pure satisfaction... Here is an update video of me typing from today:https://youtu.be/DaZ9QRSKTbc I drafted a short paragraph then recorded myself typing it back out. There are errors, and its pretty slow going, but still, shows where I am honestly at after 6 months. Hope some of this helps, and if you've got any questions let me know and I'll try and help out
  9. 1 point
    Haven't seen anything much myself; mostly 'brand expansion' sort of stuff rather than actual usable apps. My impression is that the demand is pretty tiny - hardly any customer email about it - and in my own experience it's just not very comfortable to do stuff on the watch for more than a brief interaction; about the only time I'd ever use it for more than 10 seconds at a go is if I've loaned one of my kids my phone for some reason. Chinese handwriting works reasonably well, but not enough to discourage you from taking the extra few seconds to pull out your phone and do it properly. We do get a lot of requests for automated background flashcard playback and that's something we are working on, so when that's available you should at least be able to run an all-audio flashcard session that you can play/pause from your watch, though you can also do that by double-tapping your AirPods / pushing a button on your steering column / tugging the sleeve of your smart jacket / yelling at Siri to pause audio / etc. If there's ever going to be a watch app revolution, it'll probably come ~2 years from now when SwiftUI (Apple's Grand Unified Interface Design System For All Apple Devices) is sufficiently stable / widely adopted that rebuilding an app for Apple Watch becomes the sort of thing one can do in a week or two. But by then we may all be looking at doing Chinese learning for our AR headsets instead, which have a lot more long-term potential...
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