A good friend in the business has been long telling me that Japan is a mature market for language learning books, materials and software. The shrinking commercial areas at language conferences attest to this. Now, another indication I came across this morning. Mindsnacks is a new software for language games, with apps for iPads and [...]
Looking into the future, or prognosticating, predicting, punditry, or guessing, is a skill. Recent results from a study at Hamilton College shows that some are better than others.
“We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction’s accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to [...]
People are uneasy here. The aftershocks continue unabated, now more than 1,000 since the big one March 11. We had 3 in one night, strong enough to wake us up. The epicenters are moving south, near Chiba, which is about 30 miles to the east of us. Fortunately, no significant damage has been reported. Our [...]
I started school today. For my third-year students I have an activity where we look at how much each class session costs them. We divide tuition (about ¥1.2 million, or US$14,000) by the number of classes in a year (usually around 400, each 90 minutes). They usually guess pretty closely to the ¥3,000 ($35) price [...]
The buds are plumping here in Tokyo ready to burst forth in their frothy cascade of pink and white effervescence, evanescent impermanence, tantalizing with their bouquet. The days warming, the nights still a little chill, but one of 3 bedcovers are folded up.
OK, OK, too poetic. But you get the idea. Spring has [...]
For now, some bits and babs.
Woke up this morning and almost got shook out of bed by another earthquake. Late afternoon, another small shake. Learning to live with this daily wobble is difficult. The shake this morning put the kitchen door out of whack, so it won’t close. Have to get the sander out [...]
Just returned from a month of restaurants in the US, and that means an expansion of the waistline. I also bought 4 pairs of pants to replace my worn-out slacks for work. I was happy to hold my waist size to that of 3 years ago, but now realize that this too is a sham, [...]
Kurt Vonnegut is in my top 3 writers. Here are 8 reasons why.
From the entry in Wikipedia.
In his book Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Vonnegut listed eight rules for writing a short story:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel [...]
That is how much a dollar costs these days. Glad I stopped sending money over there about 3 years ago. Sorry I sent over so much in the years before. Then again, things may come around eventually, but I don’t expect a quick recovery. Interesting that the Japanese stock market is tanking because the support [...]
What they have in common? Skills that cannot be easily measured. This is the point of a very long article by Malcolm Gladwell at the New Yorker: Most Likely to Succeed in the Annals of Education section.
What does it say about a society that it devotes more care and patience to the selection [...]
About 7 minutes from my house on my bike is a repair shop with an old man in it. He should be retired, and could probably sell his shop for enough to retire on. But he and his wife, both in their 70′s, show up every day. They go slowly, but this guy can fix [...]
Over at Freakonomics an interview with Rose George, author of The Big Necessity, about treating human waste, shows that for every dollar spent on sewage treatment, seven dollars in health care costs are saved. Truly, the best health care invention of the last 200 years is toilets.
I was reading Stephen Downes‘ article on the Future of Online Learning, and ran into a paragraph that hit home more than the rest, about the marketplace for course content.
Today, much of the value derived from the learning marketplace is based on an artificially imposed scarcity – a scarcity of seats in classrooms, a [...]
Reading the news today, a paragraph from David Brooks stands out as a prediction on the social fabric of the US as they (we?) enter into a prolonged recession.
Finally, they will suffer a drop in social capital. In times of recession, people spend more time at home. But this will be the first steep [...]
Thanks to the guys over at Freaknomics, specifically Ian Ayers editorial in the Los Angeles Times by the Police Commissioner, I have found a new tool.
Ayers did a study on who gets stopped by the LA PD. Minorities are stopped much more often, searched, frisked and questioned much more than whites, even when violence [...]
Saw this first on Digg, where the GOP is trying to use foreclosure roles in Michigan to deny people the vote.
How sadly, sinisterly ironic is this. Deregulate the mortgage lending industry so that the market collapses and voters get booted from their homes. Use this information to eliminate these disgruntled voters from the polling [...]
I woke up this morning and opened my browser, and found the Dow down 500 points, to less than 11,000. Lehman Brothers is filing for protection against bankruptcy (Chapter 11, the lesser of the two evils.) Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America for the bargain basement price of $50 billion. AIG needs about [...]