Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quality reporting from the Indo

From this article on ESRI models of the economy (my emphasis added):

"It would be wrong to call that a forecast. It is more of an assumption, because migration is so hard to predict."
With employment officially defined as more than one hour's work a week, the numbers on the live register could reach 500,000 on these forecasts.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

1021 Kanji characters

Yay! I just got to character number 1021 - half way - in the super book Remembering the Kanji. I can write all of these characters from memory. Actually my success rate is 89.8% but that's fine, it's remaining stable as I add more characters. Striving for 100% success would be far more work for only 10% more reward. The tricky characters will eventually stick.

You can see from the progress graph that certain periods have been more productive than others - 600 in the first 4 weeks, 16 weeks for the next 400! What a difference having kids around makes. I accelerated again recently and hope to finish in about 3 months, although the last 2 weeks were pretty poor due to everyone around in my house being ill in a variety of sticky, gooey ways!

It would have been a lot harder without for stories when I couldn't think of good ones myself and Anki for making efficient learning just a matter of sitting down every night and clicking the buttons. Also thanks to the inspiring and entertaining Khatzumoto-san at All Japanese All the Time for documenting that it can be done and that it's a worthwhile step along the road to Japanese proficiency.

Now to try get in another few characters before Seán - asleep on the couch beside me - wakes up!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Infantile coprophagia and numerical synthaesia

I watched a very interesting documentary a few years back when Google video first started. It was about a Daniel Tammet, a semi-autistic savant who learned to speak icelandic in a week, could memorise thousand of items and perform incredible calculations. He "suffered" from synthaesia - a condition where the senses interfere with each other. Some people can "see" sounds or "smell" colours etc. Daniel Tammet could see numbers, they had particular shapes and colours and it was consistent - a week later, the same number would have the same shape and colour.

So what's that got to do with infantile coprophagia? The participants shall remain nameless to protect them but a couple of weeks ago (let the record show that it was Tue March 25th 2009) my youngest child was left alone briefly with a nappy loaded full of my eldest child's poo. When my wife returned, she found that not only had he tucked in to a tasty treat and was smiling a joyous brown smile but he had decorated the floor, the toys, the books and anything else he could get to.

So while I have no reason to believe that he will be an autistic savant, he does know what number 2 tastes like...

Notes from lidl trip

Mostly for my records so I can remember to buy it again:

  1. Twinner smoked peppered salamai. V nice.
  2. Smoked peppered salmon. V nice. (peppered brie from Aldi, also v. nice but I know that without making notes).
  3. Grafenwalder beer. Meh.