Friday, December 24, 2010

Citizens of China can no longer call the NBA by its name

China is the most populous country in the world, and basketball is its most popular sport. Ergo, there are a lot of NBA fans in China, and not just because of Yao Ming. At various points in the last decade, they've also loved Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James as if they were their own.

Now, they can't refer to the best league in the world by it's real name due to the Chinese government's language purity initiatives. Bo Gu has more on Behind the Wall (via ProBasketballTalk):
As a result of practices that damage the "purity of the Chinese language," the regulator prohibited the "arbitrary" use of English words or acronyms from foreign languages mixed with Chinese. It also forbade the use of "ambiguous" words that are neither Chinese nor foreign.
When words in a foreign language have to be used, the government decreed that a note or annotation in Chinese must be added. And the names of foreign people, places and science terms also have to be translated into Chinese. [...]
In April, TV channels were told to ban English acronyms like NBA, which translated into Chinese in as long as 10 characters: "Mei Guo Nan Zi Zhi Ye Lan Qiu Lian Sai."
This is obviously an unfortunate situation, and not just because the Chinese translation of NBA is laughably complicated. One of the greatest things about the contemporary NBA is that it's a truly global league featuring players from all sorts of backgrounds and nations. It's partially defined by the multiplicity of experiences that make up its member athletes and franchises. That makes the league indicative of the world as it is rather than as a few people would like it to be.
The Chinese language purity movement applies to spheres that reach far beyond the NBA, but it's reason for being runs antithetical to what the NBA is currently trying to be. Even if Chinese fans call the NBA by its "pure" name, they will still be watching a league in which "purity" is an impossible ideal with no grounds in real-world experience.

If the government is devoted to this initiative, is the next step to ban the NBA entirely? I doubt that's in the offing, but that suggestion should prove just how ridiculous this plan is. The NBA, like the world, is a complicated place, created in the United States but consumed by people all over the world; its name belongs to no one language or creed. At its best, it's an amalgam of backgrounds, and it'd be a shame to deny that wonderful fact in pursuit of a foolish notion of linguistic perfection.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010, What A Year

This year will be remembered for some of the world's worst disasters and greatest escapes, stunning sporting triumphs and scandalous affairs. 
The Herald Sun has covered them all, but you can refresh your memory of an incredible year, where you can see all pictures, video and most strident opinions again, as well as everything you missed.
The most popular stories on our website were not surprisingly reports about some of the best known faces in the country getting into strife, whether they were those we loved, or just love to hate.

Arguably the biggest global story of the year, was the incredible rescue of all 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine were rescued who had originally been given up for dead 66 days earlier. One by one, the miners emerged from 600m underground as a live TV audience watched with bated breath.

But the miracle of their rescue was underlined by the deaths of 29 trapped miners in New Zealand’s Pike River coal mine after multiple underground blasts. There was no shortage of grim news through the year, not least of which was the shocking deaths of nearly 50 asylum seekers as they tried to land a rickety boat on Australia’s Christmas island. That tragedy was dwarfed in January by a catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti killing at least 230,000. Pakistan also reeled from disaster in July when one-fifth of the country was flooded affecting 20 million people in as crops, homes and infrastructure were wiped out. And a gigantic oil spill by BP off the Gulf of Mexico in the United States in April 22 is now considered the worst ever ecological disaster in the US.

The same month an airline crash in Poland sent the nation into mourning and triggered a political crisis after killing President Lech Kaczynski and much of the Polish leadership. But it was also a year of draws and close calls, and in an early prediction of Australia’s close-run political race, a hung UK Parliament eventually fell to the conservatives. In Australia, political watchers witnessed the first hung Federal Parliament for generations after Julia Gillard’s bloodless coup against Kevin Rudd in June. Weeks later our first female Prime Minister’s honeymoon was over, leaving Labor forced to deal with the independents.

The FIFA World Cup is now in the hands of Spain after the soccer superpower defeated the Dutch in South Africa. For many Aussie rules fanatics, there was no more dramatic moment of the year that the 2010 AFL Grand Final, and one the most dramatic draws ever seen on the sporting scene. In the gripping game, St Kilda fought raging favourite Collingwood a standstill, leaving fans and players gasping with shock at the siren and the drawn scoreboard. The Pies romped into history with an emphatic win at the following week’s rematch, ending a 20-year Premiership drought and easing the pain of the dreaded Colliwobbles.

Global celebrities endured a rough ride of break-ups, deaths and sex scandals. And among the biggest shocks was for Sandra Bullock when she learned then-husband Jesse James had been up to no-good with the inked star "Bombshell" McGee in March, only days after the high of picking up Oscar gold.

As the year drew to a close, one of the biggest stories on the planet was about WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. As the embarrassing revelations uncovered about 200,000 leaked US diplomatic cables continued to mount, furious governments called for him to be arrested or assassinated. Ironically, the WikiLeaks files are stored on servers in a Swedish cold war nuclear bunker 30m underground.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Planners mean when they say . . .

What the Planners say

What the Planners mean

What the Developer hears / understands

“I like it.”
I like it.
They like it.
“Well done!”
Well done!
We’re done!
“I wish more projects had this feel.”
“I wish more projects had this feel.”
They like it so much maybe they’ll give us more.
“Lets review this”
I don’t like it.
It’s taken their breath away!
“Does this meet the regulations?”
Can we kill it through technicalities?
We’re OK, it meets the regulations...I think
We don’t like it, do we?
They have some minor questions.
“What do you think?”
You don’t like it either, do you?
We’re in trouble, they’re thinking.
“I have some concerns.”
I don’t like it.
Well, Planners are only one vote!
“It’s... too...”
I don’t think I could ever like it.
Maybe we overdid the gargoyles.
“Is the applicant here?”
Can we talk, or do we have to be diplomatic?
No! After spending all of this energy, to say nothing or a King’s ransom in fees, the applicant has decided to go to the racetrack where the odds are better.
“Have you tried...?”
This doesn’t work.
There’s not enough in the budget to do it once, let alone twice.
“Let’s look at the landscape plan.”
Maybe we can just hide it.
There goes the landscape budget!
“That’s an...‘ interesting’ approach.
What planet did this come from?
They like it.
“Lets get other staff involved.”
Maybe the other staff can tell you what we’ve been unable to communicate.
Who do they think got us into this mess? There goes another month.
There’s no way I can teach them what’s good design, so I’ll get technical.
He doesn’t like the gargoyles.
“Yes, we’ve heard the argument that planners breed design mediocrity.”
We’d be happy if this was even mediocre.
They know we’re going to blame this “camel” on them.