If there ever will be a world government, one which speaks for and works on behalf of humanity for the entire planet, or most of it, that system will not use miles, pounds, ounces, inches, and yards. That system will be a rational measurement system that 99.5% of the earth already uses.
This is how America denies the future, and therefore denies itself a part of that future.
My real nitpick today is with most weather websites which insist on using fahrenheit, and require setting change (on every, single, visit) to that of celcius. You suck. Assume that traffic from anywhere but the USA wants the metric system, and allow for a preference override. OBVIOUS.
Wow, very interesting. If the past helps us understand the present, and help informed decisions on the future, then this work is an important one, and a fascinating read. There is an amalgam of different aspects, which do not hold together as well as some of Diamond's other works, but is interesting nonetheless. How people in traditional societies find/raise food, eat, raise children, comforted the aged, as well as wage war, are covered in this work.
Sections on "constructive paranoia" and bilingualism (and language extinction), as well as chapter 11 on "salt, sugar, fat, and sloth" are definitely a wake-up call to dangerous trends in America. In addition, the chapters on civil society "justice" vs. the more "conflict resolution" mechanisms in traditional societies is quite insightful.
Missing from this is a more extended discussion of marriage and gender relations, though certainly there is much of this sprinkled throughout the work.
In any case, one of the best works I've read this year (as of August, 2019). The book was published in 2012 but has certainly aged well (if at all) in the past 7 years. Highly relevant and an entertaining read.
Diamond has certain preferences regarding what we can learn from traditional societies, based on his fifty years of learning about them. Some takeaways:
- Crib bilingualism as a prophyactic against alzheimers - Children cry half as much if picked up/comforted immediately upon the start of crying, vs. the Dutch and German tactics of ignoring the child some of the time - Nuclear families tend to not function well as child caretaking/rearing, but rather extended families and a variety of "allo-parents" in terms of neighbors and villagers. - On demand nursing is common in traditional societies (for various reasons) - A lot more infant-adult contact (and being carried, as humans are "carry animals") - Physical punishment is common in some societies and uncommon in others, and probably doesn't work very well - Multi-age playgroups are a good thing (aka Montessori style and even more extended) - Child play and education are entwined, and the current mass manufactured toys and video game play makes children less creative, by certain measures - Children in traditional societies are generally more emotionally secure, self-confident, curious, and autonomous based in some part on greater freedom (and certainly some forms of greater constraint, e.g., living with little privacy) - There is wisdom in older people (story of a harrowing boat ride and talk with someone who avoided that boat and the captain as they looked young, foolish, and with a powerful motor) - Minority languages are not harmful but helpful in terms of bilingualism, and could and should be supported by governments and in schools - Salt, sugar, fat, and sloth are killers and are increasingly so
Well, it turns out, there is no such thing, per se, as an IPA Keyboard Layout, at least not in the sense that there are keyboard layouts for various languages and layout styles (e.g., English, Dvorak, etc.). This seems to me to be a tremendous oversight, though it obviously came about because someone thought supporting the entire Unicode space for the IPA was a great idea, and the only idea.
These are notes to the project, which seem to me worth pursuing. Having recently seen a number of AWS re:invent videos on Vision and Language Machine Learning tools at Amazon, I have ML-envy. Time to start a project, but while I wait for the Amazon Transcribe and Amazon Translate to become available, the recently released Mozilla DeepSpeech project looks interesting.