2016-01-30

How to count zombis in Japanese?

``I don't know how to count zombies in Japanese.'' I voluntarily translate mathematics exercises in Khan academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/) from English to Japanese/German.  You can learn anything on Khan academy.

When I translate the following question:
Liliana used 4 dark power crystals to raise 14 zombie soldiers. She wants to know how many zombie soldiers (z) she can raise with 10 dark power crystals...
In Japanese, when you count, you added postfix depends on what you count. I know how to count people: 1人,2人, 3人. But, is a zombie a person? A zombie could be an animal, then, I should count them 1匹,2匹, 3匹.  Wait, is a zombie a dead body? Then I should count them 1体,2体, 3体. A zombie could be a novel ghost, then 1柱,2柱... The question told me they are zombie soldiers. Soldiers are the same as the people, then 1 人,2人, 3人. In the end, I decided to translate them as 1人,2人, 3人, this means a zombie is a person.

I like translation work like this, quite interesting. You can join the Khan academy internationalization for your own language. (https://www.khanacademy.org/contribute)

2016-01-24

How can we make the quality of social media's article higher?

It's been long time since I left a social media. The reason was I could not use my time well on the social media. I think there could be a good way to use my time on it. Today, I watch the following TED talk, and think about other aspect of the social media.

Wael Ghonim: Let's design social media that drives real change
http://www.ted.com/talks/wael_ghonim_let_s_design_social_media_that_drives_real_change
I also felt ``polarization of people'' when I used the social media. People gathered on a theme/page. Most of the people already like. interested in, or know the subject. They are not completely stranger. If people feel this page is not exactly they ware looking for, they would just leave the page. In the end, I am more interested in a talk with friends at a cafe. Usually I and my friends have some different opinions and I could found something new. Even we found a different opinions, we usually continue to talk and both try to know and understand the difference. But on the social media, some can just logged out or go to somewhere else where no different opinions. That is easy, but no learning, no understanding.

Most of social media has only like/dislike evaluation of an article. With such evaluation criterion, more sensational words or hate speech tend to have higher number of clicks, that results higher score of the article. Because for example, you can easily found like/dislike on a hate speech. This kind of article doesn't help for understanding. One typical such hate speech example is `Do not let in a specific religious people in the country'. If this article was evaluated by number of both like and dislike clicks, this could have a high score. That kind of article considered as people are reading the article. This attracts the advertisement market. It's a typical Yellow Journalism strategy.

It is hard to find ``learning new'' component with like/dislike evaluation. If someone has already liked it, they click `like', and not liked it, they click `dislike'. If I wrote more sensational lie, populism article, I could got more like/dislike than an article I thoroughly researched. But at the end, I stop reading such articles. This is usually only a short time boom. The left behind is a small specific group of people.

Can we have more quality oriented criterion of an article? Ghonim proposed a criterion, ``I change my mind a bit/no affect my mind'' instead of like/dislike criterion. According to this criterion, he expects that authors would write more higher quality articles. This criterion is based on what the readers learn. If you change your world a bit, especially you expand your own view of the world, it is leaning. If people learn a new idea, expands to the new area, that would be a high quality article. I can also imagine, ``I learn something new by this article'' is another criterion.

There is no problem for like/dislike criterion when the subject is a hobby. However, if we need to talk about social problems, this criterion may harm the society. Ghonim talked about this based on his experience in Egypt, 2011. I found this talk so interesting and it surely changed my mind about like/dislike criterion.

I also wish that the social media will use a new criterion, that is based on understandings and conversation among people who have different opinions.

2016-01-23

No virtual machine on Oracle virtual box and Avira

December 2015, I suddenly cannot run Oracle VM Virtual Box (5.0.10) on Windows 7, my desktop machine. It failed to create a virtual machine, the error message is the following.
VirtualBox - Error In supR3HardNtChildWaitFor
---------------------------
Timed out after 60001 ms waiting for child request #1 (CloseEvents).
(rc=258) where: supR3HardNtChildWaitFor
what: 5
Unknown Status 258 (0x102) (258) - Unknown Status 258 (0x102)
I relatively less use the virtual machine on this desktop machine. But when I would like to use Linux, then I need to reboot the machine. This is inconvenient.

I have another windows 7 notebook, but I don't have this problem. Today I found the solution.

https://avira.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Avira-sollte-das-Ausf%C3%BChren-von-VMs-in-Virtualbox-nicht-blocken/160234-26744#idea-tab-comments

The combination of Avira's process protection and Virtual Box cause this problem. Avira announced the real solution will be provided at the release of 9th of Febrary. You can find two types of workaround on the page above. My notebook uses other virus checker from other company and that has no problem.

2016-01-03

My interesting book: Reading ``Capital'' with the idea of entropy

More than a half year ago, I read ``Capital'' by Karl Marx in Japanese. I read only a half of the volume 1.  This part is talking about the value of things. My first impression was that this is quite complicated and I didn't get well. But, at one point, I thought that he might be talking about entropy. Based on such wild hypothesis, many part of the book became clear to me.

He wrote that the value of the thing is defined by human thought. Someone thinks a thing has a value. The value is relative. However, all the values are generated by human's labor. Thus, the labor should be the unit of the value. I understand this book in
this way. An example is a value of linen. When a tailor made a shirt by linen, the textile weight or property doesn't change, however, the value (price) has been changed. The value of shirt is generated by labor.

Entropy indicates how the state is in order in physics/informatics. Let's think about cleaning a room. You can collect dust in a room, but the amount of dust doesn't change. However, the room state is in order instead of chaos/disorder. When you put your clothes in your shelf, this state is more in order than when your clothes are distributed on the floor. In this case, the amount of clothes doesn't change. In some sense, the state in order has more value than disorder state. A tailored cloth has more order than textile. In nature, the state is always one direction: order to disorder. Your room only goes to dirtier state and never goes cleaner state if you don't clean your room. (This explanation is ambiguous and not rigorous. If you want to know more about entropy, please look it up.)

When you tailored a cloth from a linen textile, or when you clean up your room, you decrease the entropy. I think Marx wrote that in many different ways. It seems his basic idea is that human labor is the only actor that can decrease the entropy. I would say it is true at that time.  Therefore, he thought the labor is the unit of the value. I think some part of book should be written in mathematical formula, that makes easier to understand his idea for some people.

Assuming this hypothesis (= he was talking about decreasing entropy as a value), I can read the book easily. I thought why he didn't write easier first, but then I realized I learned the recent knowledge. When Marx wrote the book, the idea of entropy is not so common, also not really systematic. There was no easy way to learn at that time. At such time, he thought the value as entropy (or a similar idea) and he introduced such idea to economics. I can imagine that was a revolutionary idea.

This book was published in 1867. If the value is based on how much entropy can be decreased, we can have a simple question using a modern perspective, ``why the entropy is approximated by a labor time.'' This is too rough approximation. When the industry is based on a simple labor dominant work (as people work in a pipeline in a factory), this assumption might be OK. Everyone works in similar way, so measuring the value is based on the how long a person worked no matter what is produced by the work or who worked. Nowadays this assumption seems not right anymore. Marx might want to criticize the value evaluation by classes. Some noble people got more value even producing the same product. But a skilled person can produce more valuable products than non-skilled person. Creators like artists and authors are good examples. If I and a famous author worked on a writing exactly the same amount of time, the value of the produced books are completely different. If I and an experienced chef cook the same amount of time, the dishes by the chef should taste much better than mine. Moreover, we have now computers and robots. These machines can produce valuable things, which means not only human can decrease the entropy. If Marx saw the nowadays computer controlled factory, I am interested in what he would write.

I only read the half of the first volume, so I only saw the introduction of Capital. I haven't see why the subtitle is ``Critique of Political Economy'' yet. I would like to read further later. Still I felt I understood better with this idea, so I would like to introduce this idea to you.

One last interesting thing is about the German words Arbeitnehmer (employee) and Arbeitgeber (employer). According to his idea, only the labor can give the value, so the Arbeitgeber (the one gives the work) should be an employee. An employer only takes the value, so the Arbeitnehmer (the one takes the work) should be the employer. He wrote that he expected this mistake will be corrected soon. However, 150 years later, this mistake has not been corrected yet.