Updated my pages of Chinese red songs and Soviet red songs

They are at https://gmachine1729.com/lists/%e4%b8%ad%e5%9b%bd%e7%ba%a2%e6%ad%8c/ and https://gmachine1729.com/lists/%d1%81%d0%be%d0%b2%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%b8%d0%b5-%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%81%d0%bd%d0%b8/.

Additionally I made recently a page of DPRK music videos and films/parades (like The Flower Girl) but this one is quite short and incomplete for now.

Before I basically just a list of links of online videos. Since Russia doesn’t really have its own video site, the Russian ones were all YouTube, and the Chinese ones were half YouTube, half Chinese video sites. I have been aware that WordPress automatically embeds YouTube videos, so it occurred to me that I could with some JavaScript code within the browser pull out all the hrefs with youtube.com. I looked up https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/1239977170942371939.html with some code and based on it I ran

hrefArr = document.getElementsByTagName('a');
for( var i=0; i<hrefArr.length; i++ ){
  if (hrefArr[i].href.indexOf("youtube") > -1) { 
    console.log(hrefArr[i].href)
  }
}

to get

2019-07-09 下午9.28.06

copy pasting the printed urls into a text editor and a s/VM802:1/ and copy pasting the result back into the WordPress editor did the trick.

2019-07-09 下午9.42.01

And yes for the Chinese ones, for all the ones without YouTube links, I found a YouTube video of that song, added it, and when finished with the manual searching and adding, reran the extract and embed all youtube urls process described above.

The result (scrolled screenshot taken via this Nimbus browser plugin):

chinese-red-songs-youtube-embedded-list-part1chinese-red-songs-youtube-embedded-list-part2

Advertisements

开始读(其实更是看连续剧)红楼梦了

不知为何,想起可以趁着还有时间好好利用读读红楼梦了,我想这对于了解中国更传统的文化会很有帮助的。其实,在美国时,接近两年前的时候,我就试了读红楼梦了,但基本是大失败,实在是太难太长了,而且他的文化背景对我也太陌生了。读过的也基本全忘了,留在脑子里的基本只有很少一点如什么“纨绔膏粱”,“簪缨世族”,跟我们现在生活和语言毫无关系的当时的贵族和文人用的语言。当时的我还对文言文有点兴趣,至少因为我从某种角度在内心里还有傲慢学术精英主义者的一面,觉得如果不知道点文言文,有些中国人会不把我当人看,就如我不把彻底美国化的美国华裔当人看。(注:刚才这话有为了幽默效应而夸张,莫以直译视之,我其实是个相对平易近人的人。)

现在在中国待了半年以上,红楼梦可以再尝试一下。尽然《敌营十八年》四十集的连续剧我都基本全看完了,那五十集的内容文化背景对我远远更陌生的五十集的红楼梦连续剧也是可以慢慢吃的,多久能吃完,难说。若看迷了,可能几个月,甚至就一两个月,也可能痴迷于工作和其他事情,没时间和精力把它放到边上,得两三年。至少现在我可以很欣慰的说我以完成了其百分之二。

我在似懂非懂地看视频的同时,也会在网上读读关于红楼梦的剧情,人物,和相关背景,也创建了在我这网站上一个红楼梦语录页,目前只有来自第一回最开始那部分的语录,这些我都会找到(或理解后自己编也行)其译文,为了我的(和我网站访问者的)学习和未来的参考。我倒是想过找或者买个红楼梦的删节版本读,后来也觉得算了吧,可以看连续剧,也可以读网上关于剧情的内容,归根结底,剧情的概括可不就是个超级删节版么。

网上的原本太长太难则考虑找删节版却把我引到了我爷爷留下的书架。我记得我爷爷特别爱收集东西,尤其是录像,印象非常深刻的是我小时候他家里收集了不少录像,而且内容非常之广,从动画片到纪录片到新闻,其整理分类排序也都做得相当完美,当时九十年代用的还是卡带。

他留下的那书架,其内容让我感到“很有意思”。书前面摆了不少各种各样用石头做的漂亮的东西(不知道这个中文该如何更简洁的形容)做为一种修饰,书很多都是一些跟共产党相关的,至少那些最容易引起注意,也有四大名著,包括红楼梦,只不过那原本红楼梦我网上也能看到。这可能在中国没那么奇怪,但对于在美国长大的我,反应自然会是一种笑。里面包括什么毛选,还有邓小平,周恩来,陈云,等的文集,也有翻译到中文的一些列宁的著作。也堆了不少红色小册子,拿了最上面的看了看,标题却是“中国共产党第九次全国代表大会”,那好像是69年的。

可以说我也以新型的互联网平台做了点类似,我为了自己和别人方便找,也为了troll一下笑一笑,收集了在这上面一些苏联红歌中国红歌的视频,回国后,一旦得知一个新的艺术水平不错的,如白雪唱的《永恒的军礼》,可能也会将其插入到列表里。

有点晚了,就不再写了。红楼梦打算慢慢地看。可以通过它感受一下中国科举封建制度下的贵族文化。

vKontakte (вКонтакте) and a return to Russian

Sunday while taking a break I decided to see what’s up on Unz Review. Most memorable was https://www.unz.com/ishamir/banned-by-facebook-for-telling-the-truth/ by Israel Shamir. Ultimately, that inspired me to make a list of alternatives to media sites and internet services controlled by Israel/Jews/Zionists/Hasbara. vKontakte, which means “in contact,” was on that list. And so, with some free time, I made an account for myself and chatted on there with a Russian tenured professor in the US with similar views. I haven’t touched Russian (the language) for a while, but vKontakte sort of brought me back to that. Just like one can’t avoid the ads within one’s Facebook messenger contact list, one can’t avoid Russian content on vKontakte. I saw plenty of posts in Russian with comments in Russian. So yet another distraction. It’s quite unlikely that I’ll ever use the language very directly, especially in a way that helps my career. The main benefit of knowing it is to access some content. The better I am at reading it the easier it will be for me to learn about that other really rich and powerful cultural world. I remember long long ago somebody told me that Russian is useless, because Russia’s economy sucks, and they’re really only good at aerospace, but they’re not going give you their state of the art aerospace technology anyway. To be fair, the content both in science and engineering and in politics and the arts in Russian is quite substantial. It almost rivals or even rivals or even exceeds the English language world. I am already quite a fan of their music after all, which was what led into the language in the first place. And it’s some actually high culture, not the spiritually poisoning garbage in the English media Continue reading “vKontakte (вКонтакте) and a return to Russian”

周末过得还相当充实,做了些翻译和业余的编程

周五晚上,我想到可以把Ron Unz在他的媒体网站Unz Review上发表的关于孟晚舟事件的文章翻译成中文。所以周六就那么做了。少部分不太好翻译的地方我就漏掉了。结果是:

Averting World Conflict with China
避免与中国的全球冲突
The PRC Should Retaliate by Targeting Sheldon Adelson’s Chinese Casinos
中华人民共和国应当以针对谢尔登·阿德尔森的中国赌场回击
RON UNZ • DECEMBER 13, 2018

As most readers know, I’m not a casual political blogger and I prefer producing lengthy research articles rather than chasing the headlines of current events. But there are exceptions to every rule, and the looming danger of a direct worldwide clash with China is one of them.

如大多读者所知,我不是一个一般的政治博主,我更倾向于创造较长的研究性文章而非追随时事中的标题。不过每一个规律都有意外,与中国直接全球化冲突的风险也是其中之一。

Consider the arrest last week of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer. While flying from Hong Kong to Mexico, Ms. Meng was changing planes in the Vancouver International Airport airport when she was suddenly detained by the Canadian government on an August US warrant. Although now released on $10 million bail, she still faces extradition to a New York City courtroom, where she could receive up to thirty years in federal prison for allegedly having conspired in 2010 to violate America’s unilateral economic trade sanctions against Iran.

考虑上周华为首席财务官孟晚舟的拘捕。在香港飞往墨西哥的过程中,孟女士在温哥华国际机场转机时突然被加拿大政府凭八月的美国拘捕证而扣留。虽然已以一千万美金的保释金而释放,她依然面临被引渡到纽约的法庭,在那里,她有可能为据说10年违反美国单边对伊朗经济制裁被判长到三十年的联邦监狱。

Although our mainstream media outlets have certainly covered this important story, including front page articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, I doubt most American readers fully recognize the extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history. As one scholar noted, no event since America’s deliberate 1999 bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade, which killed several Chinese diplomats, has so outraged both the Chinese government and its population. Columbia’s Jeffrey Sachs correctly described it as “almost a US declaration of war on China’s business community.”

虽然美国的主流媒体绝对报道了这个重要的发生,包括纽约时报和华尔街时报的头版,我不觉得大部分美国读者完全意识到该国际事件的重要性以及其改变世界历史道路的潜力。如一位学者指出,自美国1999年对中国南斯拉夫大使馆的导致好几位中国外交人员死亡的有意轰炸,没有任何事件引起过中国政府和人民同样的愤怒。哥伦比亚大学的杰佛瑞·萨克斯正确的称之为“接近于美国对中国商业圈的宣战”。

Such a reaction is hardly surprising. With annual revenue of $100 billion, Huawei ranks as the world’s largest and most advanced telecommunications equipment manufacturer as well as China’s most internationally successful and prestigious company. Ms. Meng is not only a longtime top executive there, but also the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, whose enormous entrepreneurial success has established him as a Chinese national hero.

这中反应一点不出乎预料。有千亿的年营业额,华为是世界最大的,最先进的通讯设备供应商及中国国际上最成功最有威望的公司。孟女士不仅是在那儿资深的高管,也是该公司创始人任正非中国国家英雄的女儿。

Her seizure on obscure American sanction violation charges while changing planes in a Canadian airport almost amounts to a kidnapping. One journalist asked how Americans would react if China had seized Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook for violating Chinese law…especially if Sandberg were also the daughter of Steve Jobs.

她的在加拿大转机时根据不明确的美国制裁违反的公诉的拘捕接近于一个绑架。一位记者问了美国人如果中国为了违反中国法律拘捕了雪梨·桑德伯格会如何反应,尤其假设桑德伯格又是乔布斯的女儿。 Continue reading “周末过得还相当充实,做了些翻译和业余的编程”

An email I wrote to a Russian in Russia on my thoughts on media/information sovereignty

I feel some of its content is worth sharing more widely. So I’m copy pasting it here with some modifications.

I’m kind of disappointed that Ron Unz blocked my comment in Chinese on his article http://www.unz.com/runz/averting-world-conflict-with-china/. I made a few more today, suggesting someone on there to email me and others to join a potential WeChat group (but there’s a chance they’ll get blocked too). I’ve attached screenshots.

I also don’t like this clause

Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter

There are some particular people on the site I’d like to talk more in private, like AnonFromTN and Vidi. I’ve exchanged a fair bit with the former already on that site publicly, who is a Russian immigrant biologist. Do you have his contact information?

There is also that Unz Review is really high latency (aka very slow). It was in the US too. After all, images plus hundreds of comments have to be loaded all at once. I actually prefer not to turn on my VPN while in China. Chinese sites hosted in China load slower if I use that (even when I use its Hong Kong configuration) and turning on/off is an annoyance. Sadly, if I want to listen to some Soviet songs, I basically have to go on YouTube. Even Yandex video results are almost all YouTube. Now that is something that Russia didn’t do right, not making their own large video site (tell me if there is one).

In that Chinese comment of mine, in reply to a guy almost certainly Chinese who is very pro Chinese communist according to his comments (text below along with screenshot in case you want to copy paste to an online translator), I wrote that even though Unz Review is contrarian towards American mainstream, it’s still an American media, in English, and that if he likes the Chinese communists so much, he would do much better to support some Chinese companies, maybe work for one, than comment in English on a fringe media site political viewpoints few English readers really want to hear. Continue reading “An email I wrote to a Russian in Russia on my thoughts on media/information sovereignty”

苏联的伟大,中共文明继承 (величие советского союза, китайская коммунистическая культура наследует) перевод китайской поэмы

对于知乎上的如何看待一美国华裔发帖称父母若为孩子着想就别轻易移民美国之问,我写了一下之回

他说的很对,我跟他背景同样,六岁去了美国,也是凭自己的政治觉悟和语言天赋,以中文互联网为主要工具,把中文达到了与中国人没啥差别的水平。我比ArmorUSA还小一些,看来失去了当真正先驱的机会了,可依然独立得到了同样的判断,看看我的博客gmachine1729.com就能看到了,已经写了一年多,而ArmorUSA昨天才得知。我将来也要回来,已经开始联系中国公司了,为此欢迎从此回答读者得到联系和援助。我是做计算机的,但是回国我并不一定非要做它,或许更愿意从事一些文化政治宣传方面的工作,利用我的特殊才华加背景向更正确的方向启发中国人,这么做可以比作一位软件开发员有远远更大的影响力。而且我相信星星之火可以燎原!

Continue reading “苏联的伟大,中共文明继承 (величие советского союза, китайская коммунистическая культура наследует) перевод китайской поэмы”

On the political English language

I recall how like four or five years ago, somebody told me that the Ministry of Education of China made English optional on the gaokao. I wonder what exactly was the rationale behind it. That was saying how English will not end up all that useful for most Chinese high school students (remember that those who immigrate to the US are a very small percentage, and that reading technical literature in English isn’t all that hard for smart people in STEM), and that time would be better spent learning more physics and chemistry as well as other non-language skills as far as economic productivity goes. This explanation certainly makes sense. China functions just fine doing everything in its own language, one notoriously difficult and complex in the eyes of outsiders. There is also that too much English might lead to more connection to America than is beneficial. On this note, I can think of how India’s English may have actually hurt it; because of it, the economy there naturally ended up depending too much on English services as opposed to actual industrial production, from which real economic power derives. Moreover, India’s English has greatly hindered her from developing a domestic internet industry, in contrast to China.

Continue reading “On the political English language”

Trying out speech input

I wrote my previous blog article lying in bed at night very tired, trying out speech recognition input. I was using the one provided by Sogou. It turned out that even after many manual corrections, there were still several errors made which I didn’t catch. You can check the complexity and level of ambiguity of the writing itself (of course you’ll have to read Chinese). You also don’t know how clearly I spoke. Yes, it can be a problem when you speak quickly without a certain level of enunciation, especially when your combination of words isn’t all that frequent. There are of course also exceptional cases which a smart human would easily recognize that the machine cannot, like when I say Sogou, a human with the contextual knowledge would not see it as “so go.” Of course, this is expected, AI is only as good as your training data.

I tried Google’s speech recognition too, here, and initially it seemed to work much better, until it started to make errors too. Next, I tried IFlyTek, this company in Hefei which supposedly hires a ton of USTC (中科大) grads. Still not much better. It’s much easier to type Chinese and have to select something other than the default very occasionally. Turns out that the statistical NLP techniques for Chinese input work well enough, especially given the corpus that Sogou, whose input method I use, has accumulated over time. I had read that back a while ago, it even criticized Google for using some of their data for their Pinyin input method, and Google actually conceded that it did. It’s expected that the Chinese companies in China would have easier access to such data. Even so, Google Translate still works visibly better than Baidu Translate, even for Chinese.

From an HCI perspective, it’s much easier to input English on phone than to input Chinese. Why? Because spelling (Pinyin in the case of Chinese) correction, necessarily for phone touch-screen keyboard, works much better for English than for Chinese. Sure, Sogou provides a 9 key input method as shown below (as opposed to the traditional 26 key),

SogouNineKeyScreenshot

where once one is sufficiently practiced, the key press error rate goes down significantly, but the tradeoff is more ambiguity, which means more error in inference to manually correct. In the example below, 需要(xu’yao) and 语言(yu’yan) are equivalent under the key-based equivalence relation (where equivalence classes are ABC, DEF, PQRS, etc). Unfortunately, I meant 语言(yu’yan) but the system detected as 需要(xu’yao).

SogouNineKeyInferenceError

You can kind of guess that I wanted to say that “Chinese this language is shit.” The monosyllabic-ness of the spoken Chinese language, in contrast to the polysyllabic (?) languages in the Middle East for which the alphabet was first developed, obstructed the creation of an alphabet. Because each distinct syllable in Chinese maps to so many distinct characters with different meanings, there would be much ambiguity without characters. For an extreme example of this, Chinese linguistic genius Yuen Ren Chao (赵元任) composed an actually meaningful passage with 92 characters all pronounced shi by the name of Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den.

I remember how in 8th grade history class, an American kid in some discussion said how our (Western) languages are so much better than their (Chinese-based) languages, and the teacher responded with: I wouldn’t say better, I would say different. Honestly, that kid has a point. Don’t get me wrong. I much appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the Chinese language. I’m the complete opposite of all those idiot ABCs who refuse to learn it. But no one can really deny that the lack of an alphabet made progress significantly harder in many ways for Chinese civilization. Not just literacy. Printing was so much harder to develop, though that is now a solved problem, thanks much to this guy. There is also that Sogou’s Chinese OCR, which I just tried, basically doesn’t work. Of course, nobody really worries about this now, unlike in the older days. In the early 20th century, there were prominent Chinese intellectuals like Qian Xuantong (钱玄同) who advocated for the abolishment of Chinese characters. Moreover, early on in the computer era, people were worried that Chinese characters would be a problem for it.

In any case, unless I am presented with something substantially better, I can only conclude that any claim, such as this one, that computers now rival humans at speech is bullshit. I was telling a guy yesterday that AI is only as a good as your training data. It cannot really learn autonomously. There will be edge cases in less restricted contexts (unlike in chess and go, where there are very precisely defined rules) such as a computer vision and speech recognition obvious to a human that would fool the computer, until the appropriate training data is added for said edge case and its associates. Analogously, there has been a near perpetual war between CAPTCHA generators and bots over the past few decades, with more sophisticated arsenals developed by both sides over time. Technical, mathematically literate people, so long as they take a little time to learn the most commonly used AI models and algorithms, all know. Of course, there will always be AI bureaucrats/salesmen conning the public/investors to get more funding and attention to their field.

Don’t get me wrong. I still find the results in AI so far very impressive. Google search uses AI algorithms to find you the most relevant content, and now deep learning is being applied to extract information directly from image context itself, vastly improving image search. I can imagine in a decade we’ll have the same for video working relatively well. To illustrate this, China now has face recognition deployed on a wide scale. This could potentially be used to search for all the videos a specific person appears in by computationally scanning through all videos in the index, and indexing corresponding between specific people and times in specific videos. Of course, much of the progress has been driven by advances in hardware (GPUs in particular) which enable 100x+ speedup in the training time. AI is mostly an engineering problem. The math behind it is not all that hard, and in fact, relatively trivial compared to much of what serious mathematicians do. Backpropagation, the idea and mathematical model behind deep learning that was conceived in the 80s or even 70s in the academic paper setting but far too computationally costly to implement at that time on real world data, is pretty straightforward and nowhere near the difficulty of many models for theoretical physics developed long ago. What’s beautiful about AI is that simple models often work sufficiently well for certain types problems so long as the training data and computational power is there.

My whole experience with the American school system

I accidentally stuffed my face last night and found myself too uncomfortable from that to do anything productive, to my great disappointment. So I verged onto non-technical topics again, and in particular, I reflected somewhat on my personal experience growing up as a Chinese immigrant kid in America, and I write this with a hope that it might be inspiring to others with a similar background.

Continue reading “My whole experience with the American school system”

Русская практика

I wrote the following over a month ago. I was quite pleased, because it was the first time I actually spoke Russian to the point of being able to carry on a passable conversation. Of course, English words were interspersed here and there, but it wasn’t too bad. I was excited enough afterwards that I wrote this piece, which almost certainly has some errors, which I expect to pick out over time. Not to toot my own horn too much, but this is not a bad result after a little over a year of reading and Facebook pinging in it off and on, when I feel too lazy to do anything more productive. Russian learning wise, it was also awesome to meet online this guy, an undergraduate at MIT in physics Индийского присхождения, a child prodigy who taught himself Russian in high school, who also spent a summer in St. Petersburg if I remember correctly. He is obviously much better at it than I am, but I expect to catch up soon. It will only become easier and easier over time. Maybe I can even write some music with lyrics in it, eventually, who knows.

Continue reading “Русская практика”