Monday, September 14, 2015

Thoughts on some excerpts from the ISIS propaganda magazine [non-China]

I found out that ISIS publishes its own propaganda magazine. Taking a look at a couple of issues, I'm amazed at the modernness of the writing and formatting, combined with what seems like a complete rejection of the basic values of modernity.

This is a scary passage:

This one projects quite a different image:
But then it's back to the same:

This passage suggests it's a cult (though I guess that's true of most religions, to a certain degree):
The amazing thing for me about this is how the people who made this can be so primitive in their opinions and yet so media savvy. The degree of intelligence and cultural awareness displayed, side by side with the brutality and closed-mindedness, surprises me. Their complete faith in their interpretation of Islam, despite its conflict with the humanistic ideas that I think of as a major product of civilization, seems primitive. But they're clearly media savvy and engaged in the global culture. It's not like they don't know about the beliefs. They just choose to reject them.

Sources: Issue 4, Issue 2

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Learn Mandarin Now's Top 10 Ways to Learn Mandarin Chinese

I was one of the people surveyed for a project on the best ways to learn Chinese undertaken by Learn Mandarin Now. My personal three top picks were:
  1. mdbg.net dictionary
  2. Hanping Chinese dictionary for Android
  3. YellowBridge.com Chinese dictionary
Here is the infographic with the results of the survey!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why I love languages

One of the profile questions on OKCupid is:

If you had to name your greatest motivation in life thus far, what would it be?

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What's your answer? Mine, without a doubt, is knowledge.

As I was watching this video, I came to a realization:


Minds like mine - minds that love knowledge - are drawn to mysteries.

When I watch a video of someone speaking a language I have absolutely no exposure to, I see something which makes absolutely no sense to me and yet is meaningful for both the speaker and his audience. I feel compelled to learn more so that I can know what he is saying.

Chinese has always particularly fascinated me because it is such a mystery.