My comments on other blogs, blogged.

(ie, the poor man's trackback)

For Linux users, folks who for some reason can't install software, and for when you're away from your own computer, allow me to plug a little something I whipped up.

This is a web-based tool that annotates electronic Chinese text. Hover the mouse over words to see pinyin and definitions. No flashcards, no radical lookup or study aids, but good for reading newspaper articles and short paragraphs of text.

How's about "1587, A year of no significance: the Ming dynasty in decline" by Ray Huang?

And could you have a two page report done by Tuesday? ;)

I would like to request a couple pictures of the food. Your descriptions are fabulous, absolutely mouth-watering, but of course a picture would be worth a thousand words.

Ah, finally a place to rant about this article--or at least, to express some misgiving. Try disabling stylesheets for that page; you'll find that the text doesn't flow, because the "tooltips" are not part of the normal text, they are extra definitions and notes added after the flow was established. Thus, a user with a CSS-disabled browser (or a screen-reader) would be confused by the lack of continuity in the text. That's why this (pretty trivial) use of CSS was never put forward before, in my mind. Tooltips should either be left to the browser, as Mozilla does with the contents of the TITLE attribute, or with Javascript, importing text that does not disrupt the flow of the text.

There's some sort of indie blogger meet-up this Friday too:
When: 7PM, this Friday.
Where: Cafe Ambrosia.
Link: ArborBlogs Meeting -- Reminder.

I was under the impression that the pedalling backwards thing was a simple way of implementing two gears. It's very faint in my mind now, but it was something like "pedal backwards to get the bike started, then forwards when you have built up a little speed." Look for that next time you see the three-wheeled carts in action.

Regarding the first question: the character next to "person" is probably missing a stroke in the radical on the right, making it 赠 (that's unicode 赠, maybe in Japanese it's 贈). My Chinese dictionary gives the definition "give as a present; present as a gift". That would make sense in this context.

As for 人營, I think you mis-read the first character -- it should be "enter" (like "person" but backwards) so it may have been a present upon attaining a management (leadership?) position.

I hope I didn't come across as really superficial in my short reply. I think my reaction was to your calling ms Zhang "a dog", which was way off base and I'm relieved that you pulled back just a little bit. I don't really keep up with all the actors you folks do; I don't recognize half of the names you're throwing out (movies were never my thing, and I'm living in Michigan at the moment). I totally agree with your comment about the streets of Tianjin though: random people-watching nets a high number of "lookers", and the fact that they are actually approachable in real life is a *big* plus. It's "realness" I find attractive; the idea was summed up well in this post from (fellow China-watcher, but also romance/relationship-watcher) Richard's weblog:

these [body shape] preferences crumble fast when confronted with a nice smile, a good sense of humor, or any of the other wonderful things that make up a great person.

Nooo! Blasphemy.

I'd like to expand just a bit on the legal system bit: having a legal system that is "imprecise, a matter of opinion, and random" can actually have upsides, depending on the perspective you look at it from. For one, it gives judges (and the government they work for) flexibility in administrating justice as they believe it will benefit the country/society. Douglass North (won a Nobel prize for his work on institutions and institutional development) would say that non-market insitutions come into being when transaction costs make markets too "expensive" an allocative system. If we consider a court to be an allocator of rights, it would not be far off to say that having a "command" court rather than a court based on rule-of-law would allow to make up for deficiencies in enforcement, differences in access to power, and might actually create a more stable (albeit unfair) society. While Americans companies were loathe to enter Korea during the 70s and 80s because of its inconsistent and "random" legal system, it may have afforded Korean companies the protection they needed to develop the competitiveness they need to survive world market today. In fact, hasn't China used the same "tactic"? Should China's legal system be overhauled tomorrow, literally?

Not to say that I'm not glad I live in the USA. Our legal system rocks more than most.

Interestingly relevant, I went to a lecture this evening by John Ohnesorge, an assistant prof at the University of Wisconsin Law School who talked about the "Rights Revolution" taking place in Korean with respect to legal reform. One of the points he made was that, yes, for many years Korea didn't have the rule-of-law legal system that the IMF insists countries must have to be prosperous world players. And yet Korea still managed to pull off the economic miracle that turned it into one of the Asian Tigers. As a China scholar in training, that idea was very eye opening to me because China has bought so enthusiastically into the rule-of-law idea as a tool for economic development.

As Korea updates its administrative law and derivative legislation, which empower citizens to sue government agencies and corporations they own stock in respectively, the progressives have to be wary of going too far in their reforms, lest they end up like the US where pretty much every law is not enforced unless it passes muster in court (too much power to the judiciary), and where the major beneficiaries of lawsuits are not the plaintiffs but the lawyers.

Employees at the Ann Arbor Borders just got a 25 cent raise across the board, among other benefits. Is unionization the answer?