My Best Teaching Is One-on-One

一対一が僕のベスト

Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.

当然、先生方と共同レッスンも、特別レッスンの指導もします。

But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.

しかし、僕の一番意味あると思っている仕事は、講義が終わってから、
一対一と
個人的にその課題の勉強を応援することです。

It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.

まあ、コンピュータプログラムにすると、得意先の方に出来上がった製品を体験させるようなことと思います。
役に立たない製品はまだ製品になっていないと同様です。

Friday, July 1, 2016

Love Yourself!

Some music critics cynics have been using Justin Bieber's 2015 song as an excuse to help push the meta-semantics of "love yourself" towards something vulgar, not really appropriate to the greater meanings of the word, "love".


This is business as usual. The concept of love as a desire for someone else to be happy has been under attack since well before this world welive on was organized into a solid form out of the "waters" (hydrogen gas and other dust) of the void between the stars.

The lying spirit has always been unsatisfied with the idea that one person could desire that someone else could be happy, let alone the idea that one person could do things so that another could become happier.

That lying spirit has always wanted to consign general happiness to the domain of illusion and false shadows. It has always been jealous of that wonderful thing we call happiness, in which it could not deal without becoming that which is not a lie (and thus, according to itself, negating its reason for existence -- confusion on confusion).

So we can understand why cynics who pose as critics would try to paint Bieber's song and the meme of the title especially black.

Admittedly, both the lyrics (sung with the Biebe's usual style) and the video (choreographed and performed wonderfully by Keone and Mari Madrid) focus on certain  simpler aspects of a relationship in which both partners are focused on themselves rather than the other. It could be treated as a kiss-off, if it weren't for the Biebe mumbling something before he starts, about love being more than expecting to get things in return.

He was trying to say something important, even though we might have reason to believe he still doesn't understand. (Hey, there are some things about that I don't think I understand yet.)

And trying is an important thing.

Irony can be used intentionally, and even lack of intent does not cancel the art of irony. (This is where the cynics get it wrong. Art transcends the intent of the artist, so they're asking a question that we don't have to ask.)

And the point about this meme is that you have to love others to love yourself, and you have to love yourself to love others.

I think this is the reason the video fascinates me. Keone and Mari do a very nice job of portraying both the puppy dog and the spoiled cat approach and demonstrating that both approaches end up failing to reach beyond self. The characters they portray share the same space quite easily, but they forget to properly look at the other person's needs, and fail to look at their own needs, as well.

The puppy dog fails, for instance, to say, "Let's share that apple!" after the spoiled cat has failed to say the same thing. The puppy dog gives it up and the spoiled cat takes it all.

(One thing that might help in interpreting the video my way, if you really want to try, is considering that, in most relationships, which partner plays the puppy dog, and which the spoiled cat, is not fixed.)

Just for fun and confusion, I'll bring up the Japanese words 「慈愛」 (jiai, charitable love) and 「自愛」 (jiai, self love), and leave you to think about the implications. (It's a commonly misplayed meme among Christians.)

(And I want to re-write this in Japanese, but even the time to write this much in English is time I didn't have.)

to gil & tim @fedora.*, et. al.

Certain people on technical mailing lists use e-mail addresses from providers, but refrain from routing their outgoing mail through those providers.

Technically, this is supposed to be allowed, at least by some operational subset of the RFCs for the internet.

But the result is that the providers have no opportunity to put their stamp of approval on their outgoing mail.

According to the current efforts to control unsolicited mass mailing ("spam"), lack of that stamp of approval is supposed to be(come) one of the principle marks of unsolicited mass mailing.

Once upon a time, the internet was supposed to be egalitarian. If I wanted to run my own e-mail servers, there was no particular reason for me not to. And if I wanted to run a mailing list or a news server, if I could afford a server, I could do it.

Somebody wants to say, "NO MORE! You have to be part of the establishment to do that!" (This, in the form of paying unreasonable fees to arbitrary self-declared bureaucracies who certify "identities" based on marginal documentation rather than actual knowledge or familiarity.)

I sometimes wonder if much of the unsolicited mass mailing industry has not been supported by people who didn't want that egalitarian internet. They want everyone to be brought under the umbrella of their Internet, where they control the licenses and privileges.

I've ranted about this before, as in this post: http://defining-computers.blogspot.jp/2014/05/things-to-fix-in-e-mail-newsgroups-and.html that is now out of date because the world has headed significantly in the opposite direction.

We have to get ourselves un-addicted to official approvals.

The blame lies elsewhere. I wish I had the network and social cred to get a real movement started, away from the current faceless CA system and towards a different identity assurance system that depends on actual, existing day-to-day trust relationships.



Anyway, Tim, Gil, et. al., my spam box is about half full with your conversations from Fedora mailing lists. The anti-Monsanto campaign gets another tenth, to push the volume of false-positives over 50%.


This causes me mixed feelings, and a certain ironic amusement.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fluid Mechanics and Passenger Trains

Riding the commuter express because it's the next train, not because I'm in a hurry. It's really crowded, and not fun to ride.
急いでいるわけではなく、次が通勤急行だったので乗ることにしました。結構込むし、楽には乗れません。

The next regular/local is a five minute longer wait, so the express gets to my station eight minutes earlier.
次の各駅はこの急行の5分後の出発するので、急行の方は降りる駅までに8分早く到着します。

If it were a regular, instead of an express, it would still get me there five minutes earlier.
例えば、急行ではなく、各駅だったとすると、8分ではなく、5分早く着くでしょう。

Three whole minutes. I'm not in that much of a rush. But it's an express, so I guess I'm lucky to ride it.
三分だけです。それほど急いでいるわけではありません。急行でしょう?乗って得するのではありませんか。

But, really?
マジ?ホンマ?

When regular trains get too crowded at rush hour, what is the train company's automatic response?
ラッシュ時の各駅電車の乗客人数が度を越すと判定されたら、電鉄会社の自動対処はどういうものでしょう?
 
Add another regular train?
各駅をもう一つ増やすのですか?

No, nothing that simple.
そんな簡単なことはしません。

Add an express. That will carry more passengers, faster, right?
急行を増やすでしょう。それはもっとたくさんの乗客をより早く運んでい行くでしょうね。

But if the express has the same number of cars of the same type as the regular, does it really carry more?
ただ、車両の数も種類も一緒なら、急行は各駅よりも多くの人数を載せることができますか?

No?
どうでしょう?

It must be faster, though, and faster must mean more, right?
急行は早いに、早いは多いでしょう。ね。

Only if the express has its own track. This one doesn't. They usually don't.
まあ、急行の電車は専用の線路があれば、可能かも知りません。今乗っている線は急行専用線がありません。大体の線路はそう、急行専用線がないわけです。

Because the commuter express has to have a clear slot, they can't add another local. And they can't add any more expresses.
通勤急行のために線路の予約時間ををクリアしないと行けないので各駅はこれ以上増やせないのです。急行もこれ以上増やせません。

So the existence of the express induces a limit on the number of trains and on the number of passengers.
急行の存在によって、便数の制限も乗客の人数の制限もできてしまいます。

Without this express, they could add two locals, or maybe even three. Even two would be half again the number of passengers, and would arrive just a minute later than the express I'm riding. Three would be double the number of pasengers, and get me there at the same time as the express.
この通勤急行がなければ、各駅を2つも、3つも増やせます。二つだけ増やしても、今の人数をさらに半分まで増やせるのです。今乗っている通勤急行よりも一分だけ送れるでしょう。3つの各駅を増やせば、乗客の人数が倍になって、僕が今乗っている通勤急行到着時間と同じものになるではありませんか?

In the other direction, in the morning, it's worse. The local waits for the express, three stops in. Sometimes it waits for two expresses. The express itself does get there a little faster, overall, maybe in thirteen minutes. But the local slows down from sixteen  or seventeen minutes to as much as twenty-five minutes.
朝の反対方向を考えると更にまずいのです。朝乗る駅から3つ目の駅で急行待ちとなります。場合によっては2つも待たされるのです。全体的、急行だけは確かに少し早く着きます。旅行時間は13分か14分が普通です。各駅はその分16分か17分ほどの旅行時間から、場合によっては25分までの旅行時間に伸びてしまいます。

The existence of the express actually slows the average time down and reduces the total maximum number of passengers.
急行の存在だけで、事実上平均旅行時間が遅くなり、事実上乗客人数が減少されるのです。

Morning express trains are literally packed like sardines. No room to read your mail, ebook, or scriptures, unless you like squeezing your phone, tablet, or book between your body and the other passengers' bodies. And touching them where they don't want to be touched on the way up.
朝の急行便はイワシのように詰めていくのです。eメールでも、eブックでも、聖典でも読むほどの場所の余裕ができません。まあ、携帯、タブレット型器あるいは本を自分の体と他の乗客の体の間に挟んで読むのが好みでなければ、読めません。そして、挟んで読もうとするものを持ち上げる際、他人の触ってほしくないところを触れてしまうのですね。

All so you can feel lucky for getting squeezed in there.急行便に突っ込まれて、得した気分ができるためですね。

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fixing bad links in my novel

In my first novel, which I am in the process of writing: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/04/economics-101-novel-index.html, I had bad links in chapters
  1. http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch01-introducing.html,
  2. http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch02-introducing.html, and
  3. http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch03-introducing.html
The links had skipped ahead to chapter 11, so if you are reading it, you may have missed chapter 10: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.jp/2016/03/economics-101-novel-ch10-bobbie-and.html. And things might have made even less sense.

(I'm still working on the characterizations in chapters 04 to 09.)

The novel is about two good Mormons who get left on a desert island alone. (I know, I know. What do they say, Fools jump in where angels fear to tread? I'm a fool.)

My intent was to show the economic interactions in a very simplified system, something like timing feathers and cannonballs dropped in a vacuum chamber.

Hey, isn't simplification one of the first steps in solving hard problems?

:-p

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rotted Soybeans? -- 腐った大豆?

I vaguely remember telling someone on a technical mailing list, when the conversation had turned to food, that tofu is not rotten soybeans.

He had learned from someone that the "fu" in "tofu" meant "rotten".

I am not always on the top of everything. That's all I can say.

I can't find the post today, but let me try to set the record straight.

The "to" in both "tofu" and "natto" is "bean". Without other qualification, it often (but not always) means soy bean.

(It is actually read, 「とう」、 which would have a literal Romanization as "tou", but lengthened vowels are often ignored in Romaji. Oh. In Japan, Latinization is Romanization, or Romaji.)

The "tou" in natto and tofu is also read "mame" (mah-meh, sort of), and it means "bean". (Sometimes, it is used non-literally to mean "clever", as well. If you are a mame, if you are a bean, you are clever. I like that.)

Indeed, the "fu" in "tofu" means, erm, well, "rot", when it is read "kusaru". But it really means "aged", as in aged cheese. (Think, "funky". Have you ever heard of funky cheese? I'm not mentioning beer, okay?)

That's one reason why they used to call tofu "soy cheese". (Some people do still call it soy cheese.)

But it would be more appropriate to think of cottage cheese than, say, bleucheese. (What happened to the wikipedia article on bleucheese? They misspell it and don't even mention the derivation. Re-writing history? Evidence that the crowd can lose touch?)

Tofu is not really made by aging any more, except for the more expensive kinds. The soy milk is curded in a method that is similar to the methods used in curdling milk to make cottage cheese. Doesn't even take more than a day to make most of the tofu you buy in the stores.

(You can make cottage cheese with vinegar or lemon juice instead of rennet. In a similar way, you can make tofu with nigari, which is often a magnesium salt.)

The "natsu" (納) in "natto" (納豆) means to store away, or to put something where it belongs. It is also pronounced, "osameru", which is another word used to describe paying taxes: "Zeikin wo osameru." (税金を納める。) or "nouzei" (納税). (Yeah, in nouzei, the same character is read "nou" instead of "natsu". Nothing unusual about that with Kanji characters.)

But natto is fermented soybeans. Last time I looked, Wikipedia had a pretty good explanation of why.
In brief, a long time ago, maybe in China, according to the traditions, some high-muckey-muck in the army ordered a lot of soybeans, not knowing what to do with it. But when no one in camp knew what to do with it at all, they just buried it away in disgust.

Some time later, when the whole camp was about to perish for want of food, someone noticed the dogs happily digging into the buried trash. They spied on the dogs and saw that they were into the buried soybeans. And they all decided, if the dogs are eating it, maybe we can try it, so they dug up the buried, and now fermented, soybean, and tried it, and lived. And had strange tastes in food when they got home.

(There are many versions of this story. Don't take it too literally.)

So, natto could be called rotten soybean.  Fermented soybean sounds better, and is more accurate.

I like natto. When I couldn't eat chocolate, I found natto made (for me) a good substitute for chocolate. (I now eat pure cacao mass fairly regularly. Good stuff, although you don't want to eat a lot of it at once.)

Modern natto doesn't even taste all that strongly of ammonia. And it has a lot of the good stuff that you would only otherwise find in Japan in expensive meats -- amino acids, B vitamin predecessors, protein, etc.

There are valid reasons for not being able to stomach either natto or tofu. For instance, allergies to soybean do exist.

But, if someone tells you they won't eat rotten soybean, and that's why they won't try tofu, maybe they've been confused by dictionary definitions again. Natto is probably what they are thinking they should avoid.

Maybe.

;-)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Notes on the Computer, Notes by Hand

As I've mentioned elsewhere, my wife listens to Doujo Youzo every morning.

This morning, he picked up something the Wall Street Journal also has (finally) picked up on recently. (Not sure but what he got it from the WSJ or from one of the Japanese newspapers that follows the WSJ. I wasn't listening when the conversation started.)

When you take notes by hand, you remember more than when you take them by PC.

That should be obvious. Really.

You can take more notes on your laptop or even your tablet without losing concentration on the lecture or presentation, but the interface is too narrow, the form too structured. You won't retain it as well as if you took the notes by hand.

The promise of the early Macintosh apps (or Alan Kay's Dynabook concept) has yet to be fulfilled.

There's a reason for that, too.

But there's one more step in this discussion. There were many courses I took better notes in when I did not take notes, or when I took very sparse notes.

Much of that had to do with preparation.

When I was prepared, I spent most of the lecture time testing the professor's presentations against my own opinions and understanding. That's the stuff I retained. That's the stuff I took home with me to work on.

When I was not prepared, I was basically either trying to record the lecture in my notebook (the absolute worst way to take notes, and the most common way among intermediate level students) or struggling desperately to leave trail markers for myself which I then went home and found myself counter-motivated to search through during the semester. (After the semester, those trailmarkers often proved valuable.)

The PC and the tablet, as note-taking devices, are highly structured. That means it's easy to go into record mode and just dump stuff direct from your ears and eyes to the hard disk.

But it is creating the structures that you create when you take thoughtful notes by hand that leaves the structures in your mind that make it possible to find the information again.

(There's a lot more to say about this, Unicode inheriting certain rigidities from ASCII, the general problem of pixels vs. arcs, the problem of arc recognition which the problem of text recognition inherits, the many problems of voice recognition the pigeon-hole structure of relational databases, ... .

I don't have time for this rant, darn it. And it's a favorite rant, too. Want to translate even this much to Japanese, but I definitely don't have time for that. It takes me at least as much time to translate as to write, still.

And I note that this all has a bit to do with English education in Japan, too -- the too highly structured nature of their approach to education: http://reiisi.blogspot.com/2016/05/english-education-in-japan-going.html.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pet Peeves -- よく苛立つもの : One Hundred And Twenty-five -- 百そして二十五

The NHK Radio Language programs are pretty good quality programs.
NHK の外国語ラジオ番組は質のまあまあ良い方の番組です。

But they do make mistakes.
たまには間違えることもあります。

This year, they got a fast start on some common mistakes. One of them is a pet peeve of mine.
今年はもうこんなに早い内に、よくある間違いを番組に取り入れています。その一つは僕のよく不満を言うところです。

"And" in numbers is for between the integer part and the fraction:
数字の中にて「アンド」の位置は、整数と分数の間です。

179.34 is one hundred seventy-nine and thirty-four one hundredths.
「179.34」と言えば、百七十九と百分の三十四ですね。

It is not one hundred and seventy-nine and thirty-four one hundredths.
そして七十九百分の三十四ではないでしょう。

125 is one hundred twenty-five, not one hundred and twenty-five.
「125」にすると、百と二十五ではなく、百二十五になると思います。

Sure, in conversation it goes either way, according to the habits of the speaker. And if you go back a couple of hundred years, people wrote strange things like "five-and-twenty". (Oh. That's still a phrase in idiomatic use.)
きっと、会話にはどちもをよく言うのです。話す人のくせによるものです。まあ、およそ二百年前に遡ると「五と二十」のように、 "five-and-twenty" のような書き方もありました。(あっ、それは現在でも熟語となっています。)

Now, peeves are not really something one should pet.
正に、苛立ちは実は、なでているように、よく気にかけているはずなものではありません。

And I have no problem with individual use, even in public. I even encourage it, tell people it's good to develop personal dialects.
それに、公にしても、個人表現は全く問題ないと思っています。自己表現を応援しています。個人方言を作るのを勧めるまではしております。

And I encourage teachers to teach what they know, and not get hung up on rules.
更に、ルールにはまらず、自分の知っているものを教えなさいと、先生方によく奨励するのです。

But it is better to teach the standard if you know it, especially on a national radio education program.
但し、標準がお解りになる場合、特に国中に放送されるラジオ教育番組の中に、標準を教えたほうが正しいと思います。

It's okay to mention common non-standard usage, too. But the beginners' program, Kiso Eigo One, this morning (a repeat of last Wednesday) did not even mention the standard usage.
標準外の表現も、取り上げてもいいでしょう。ただね、基礎英語1の番組の(これは先週の水曜日の繰り返しでしたが)今朝のレッスンに標準の表現の "seven hundred seventy-seven" をサッと言うこともなく、

Seven hundred and seventy-seven. 
の「七百そして七十七」という風に教えてくれたのです。

That's what they said, not the standard "seven hundred seventy-seven".