2017-03-10

History of Toilets

I watched The Toilet: An Unspoken History, a great BBC documentary presented by Welsh poet Ifor ap Glyn.

2017-01-15

周有光

周有光, Zhōu Yǒuguāng, passed away yesterday. He is famous for being the head of the committee which invented Hànyǔ Pīnyīn. Pīnyīn is the most widely used method of writing Standard Chinese in a Latin script alphabet, as well as the only official such system in the People's Republic of China. Pīnyīn is purely based on the sounds of the language, rather than roots or meaning. Each consonant sound is matched to a single letter or combination of letters, while each mark above a vowel represents a specific tone (tone marking is sometimes eliminated for typing convenience, but this is considered bad practice). The vowels are more complicated (see the Wikipedia page for a more accurate and expanded explanation), but there still is a one-to-one correspondence between sound and spelling. For example, Pīnyīn is actually the Pīnyīn representation of 漢語 (or 汉语 in simplified characters). 漢 is represented by "pīn", while 語 is represented by "yīn". 周有光 breaks down as 周 = "zhōu", 有 = "yǒu", 光 = "guāng".
The project of creating the script took several years before it was published by the government in 1958. This project helped 周有光 avoid being purged, but, like other intellectuals, he was sent to live in the countryside for “re-education” during the Cultural Revolution. He turned 111 the day before he died.
Pictures:
1920s With his wife in 1953
In 2012

2016-09-24

Macau Champurado and Artifexian

It's good to be back! I haven't posted since... February! I am going to try to post more often, but I can't promise that things like this will not happen again. I have my own conworld projects and have things to do offline (maybe even this strange thing called "getting a life").
Speaking of hiatuses, Dóci Papiaçám di Macau released a new video, 11 months after their previous one. If you forgot or don't know what Dóci Papiaçám di Macau is, I suggest reading this post first. The video is about a group of tourists who come to see Macau. The tour guides sing about the hip, international city of money and shiny things marketed to tourists. The tourists protest, so the guides show them the real Macau: the ruins of St. Paul, the old streets in which people live, places of worship, the food that locals have eaten for generations, etc. I wish more tourists thought like them, rather than the one Chinese tourist in the video who just complained all the time.
On the other hand, Artifexian, the conworlding channel of YouTube that inspired my second post, appears to be on an indefinite hiatus:
Links to things discussed in the video:
RIAM Official: https://goo.gl/eK2sh5
Artifexian Podcast: http://goo.gl/qh9YVt