November 13th, 2008


Kelley School: Crazy Ivan

"Here's something you can't do..." -Wash, doing a Crazy Ivan

ETA, 15:40 CDT Sat 15 Nov 2008 - The YouTube video of the Crazy Ivan scene from the Firefly episode "Serenity" has been taken down due to a FOX copyright claim, but you can read about it in the shooting script of the episode, and see most of it from 01:15 - 01:29 of this video.

Meaning: It's important to be nimble, more so than your competitors.

This is part of the David E. Kelley School of Advising series.


iTalkBB and other Wikipedia controversies

I use the Voice over IP (VoIP) service iTalkBB, a Vonage competitor run by a Chinese company. A while back, I created a Wikipedia page for the company that has remained at stub quality, because I haven't had time to flesh it out further.

To make a long story short, there's a section that lists criticisms of the company, which has caught some flak for poor customer service. If you aren't a Chinese speaker, itcan be very difficult to get anything done. I put the section in for objectivity's sake, because that's almost all that is written about iTalkBB on English language sites, but shills for the company keep blanking the section. Every 2-4 weeks, I have to restore the section, or another editor does. Do people really think they can censor things this way?

ETA, 16:50 CST Sat 15 Nov 2008: This past summer, the page got deleted by an "Articles for Deletion" (AfD) call for votes that happened while I was busy with project work and not watching. Here is the page on the archive of deleted Wikipedia pages, Deletionpedia.

Apparently, Wikipedians are our own the worst enemy when it comes to dissemination of information. More precisely, deletionists are a shill's best friend on Wikipedia. Nothing consigns an article to oblivion quicker than mob consensus on lack of notability. In all fairness, it works the other way, too: nothing makes something encyclopedic in the popular view than furor or controversy.

It's self-fulfilling: take the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons for example. They would never have been protested against so little that they would fail a test of notability, even if the most extreme of the incendiary comments, digging in of heels, and sensationalistic coverage had not occurred. In any case, you can see from the history of that page that Muslim editors who just wanted the pictures gone could never achieve their goals by just blanking the page. Those who hoped the controversy would die down were also thwarted by the same editors.

As for iTalkBB, service has gotten a lot better, though it's still not great in my opinion. If you could see the history page for the original iTalkBB article, you can see that the people trying to suppress the information there felt that that was a more expedient course than fixing the problem. What gives?

  • Current Mood
    disappointed disappointed

Old and Die for the Thief Is Also

... that's what Google Translate produces for 老而不死是為賊也.

The Chinese sentence is a Confucian proverb: "To be old and not die is to be a thief as well." i.e., to cling to a role in society when you have outlived your usefulness in it is to rob future generations of progress.

To be cross-posted to comptranslation.



Read manhuajia in Chinese, mangaka is the Japanese word for a or cartoonist. The Chinese characters (hanzi/kanji) are 漫画家.

From the Wikipedia entry:
Outside of Japan, manga usually refers to a Japanese comic book and mangaka refers to the author of the manga, who is usually Japanese. As of 2006, about 3000 professional mangaka were working in Japan.

Some artists may study for a few years at an art college, manga school, or take on an apprenticeship with another mangaka, before entering the world of manga as a professional artist. However, there are some that just start in manga, without being an assistant by applying to contests that various magazines run. For example, Naoko Takeuchi won such a contest sponsored by Kodansha, and Osamu Tezuka started out without being an assistant.

A mangaka will generally rise to prominence through recognition of their ability when they spark the interest of various institutions, individuals or a demographic of manga consumers. For example, there are various contests which prospective mangaka may enter, sponsored by some of the leading manga editors and publishers in the field. They are also recognized for the number of manga they run at one time.

... The -ka (家) suffix implies a degree of expertise and traditional authorship. For example, this term would not be applied to a writer creating a story which is then handed over to a manga artist for drawing.

I had thought of making mangaka a Cool Word of the Month, but there are too many "-ka"/"-jia" to make that practical. For example, a writer is called a zuojia (作家). jia is roughly equivalent to the suffix "-ist" (although it also corresponds to "-er"/-or, as the infinitive form may vary in Asian languages).