the Gregorian calendar year

I’m ready I’m ready for the laughing gas… I’m ready to duck I’m ready to dive I’m ready to say I’m glad to be alive — U2 (1991) In calendar year 2010 I was fortunate to have read books which made me reconsider my thought process and viewpoints, and to have visited a number of … Continue reading


杨树高, 榕树壮, 梧桐树叶像手掌。 The psychological difference, for me, in studying Chinese compared with Spanish or English is that you have an additional goal to work for: penmanship.  The simple act of writing a character well is immensely satisfying, on top of the challenge of studying vocabulary and watching your grammar. I just found this out … Continue reading

I need an input-output matrix

…for how I spend my time.

unemployment, exhibit A, Germany

You can search “unemployment in Germany” on Google.  (Big up for returning a nice time series plot.)  A comparison with unemployment in the UK — The uptick in German unemployment from the ’08 crisis was pretty much a blip.  You often hear this attributed to “strong exports”, the “weak euro”, etc. but economic policy was … Continue reading

frei und kostenlos

Suddenly it bothered me that gratis and libre take the same word, “free”, in English.  Here is what I gathered from the Online Etymology Dictionary and Word-Origins.  Its root is the Proto-Indo-European “prijos”, meaning dear, beloved, or friend.  (The modern noun-verb “friend” shares the same origin.)  “Prijos” was used in reference to one’s own family … Continue reading