Ştim cu toţii că moldovenii au o trăsătură unică, despre care alte popoare habar nu au. Spre deosebire de ei, noi suntem ospitalieri! Aceasta este evident.
I am terribly bad at managing money. I don't know how much I have on myself at this particular moment, I don't know how much I have in my bank account at the moment, I don't know how much I have in my stash, I don't know where my stash is, nor I know which currencies the money in the stash is in.
I don't know how much I paid for all the bills last month, I don't know whether it was more or less than it was the month before. I have not the slightest clue how much it is compared to what I will pay this month, the one after it, or three months from now.
I don't know if the water company is being honest by charging me as much as the meter said I consumed.
I don't know if I use the most efficient Moldtelecom package, because I have no idea how many of the included minutes were not used. Maybe I should switch to a low-end package?
Am I paying too much for my Internet? Do I really need an unlimited traffic contract with my ISP, if in the past N months my needs never exceeded X GB?
This is just the tip of the iceberg; if I add all my minor expenses (5 lei here, 20 lei there) to the game, I might discover that the sum of little parts ends up being greater than the sum of the big ones!
Could it be so that it is much more efficient to buy a home theatre and invite my friends over, instead of going to the cinema?
A couple of months ago I was disconnected by the electricity company for "not paying the bill"; they didn't bother asking me whether I received it in the first place; I didn't even notice that that month I received fewer "papers" than usual. On the other hand, if they sent two papers instead of one, would I foolishly pay both invoices without noticing?
I have no clue, because I am terribly bad at managing money. And so are you, if your response for most of the above was "I don't know either"; if you think you're not, you should review your definition of "good at managing money". Things become a zillion times trickier if we add "living on my own" and "wife and kids" to the equation.
I hope I've convinced you, that there is a need for an instrument that can aid us in dealing with the points described above.
Technology will help us.
Work is going to kill you if you don't enjoy spending time at the office. If your work-day is keeping you focused on "time left until the lunch-break" or "how many days there are until Friday" you're very likely not to be enjoying your job.
Why does that happen? Is the problem in you? Is it the job itself? Should you get a new one?
Let's see what the typical problems are, and get a better picture.
Imaginează-ţi că se alcătuieşte o versiune moldovenească a programului "Mythbusters", şi că trebuie să găseşti un titlu pentru emisiune.
Denumirea trebuie să fie în "limba moldovenească".
SPOILER WARNING: În comentarii vei găsi variante propuse de alţii, fii atent să nu te laşi influenţat, sau influenţată.
Prin viaţă păşind
pe-o obscură cărare,
de ochi nevăzut
am fost dat în uitare...
Un aisberg albastru
rătăcit în pustiu,
nimeni nu ştie
că sunt şi eu viu...
Griji îmi făceam
că n-oi fi în stare,
cuvinte să leg
decît de jale...
Că orice idee
lansată de mine,
tristă a fost -
astfel va rămîne...
Dar nu e aşa,
într-o zi ne-am atins,
şi sensul în viaţă
din nou l-am distins.
În braţele tale
încet mă topesc,
vreau să destăinui
I stumbled upon a discussion about a book, which had a reference to a verse in Russian. Few of the readers of that site are speakers of the Russian language, so some wondered what the meaning of the verse was.
I realized that answering their question was not trivial, because translations are always tricky when you want to do the job well.
Here is how the challenge was described: Please translate this into English, without asking me anything. Just translate it as you think is better, preserving the artistic value.
Ya poet, zovus' Neznaika,
ot menya vam balalaika.
Я поэт, зовусь Незнайка,
От меня вам балалайка.
You can see several problems already:
- Neznaika is a character known to people with exposure to the Russian culture, others have no clue who he is;
- Balalaika is a Russian musical instrument, there is no translation for this word;
- No context is given, and it is emphasized that no questions should be asked - therefore the translator will have to fill in the blanks with something (I believe this is the coolest part of the challenge).
Before you continue reading, try to come up with your own version.
What is ahead? Different people's interpretations, an analysis of the task, as well as a new challenge.
Language is the #1 tool of the social engineer; I believe that in a company, anyone who is dealing with customers should have some basic social engineering skills:
- This protects the company against being exploited by other social engineers, who are looking for sensitive data;
- This places the company in a better light because people will have a positive impression after interacting with the company's personnel.
Today's trick is the use of passive voice when delivering news other than good news.
Warning: shifting blame, as described here, is a psychological effect that makes a problem seem less aggressive, which makes you seem less guilty. The objective is to avoid angry clients, and psychological traumas for company employees. Do not, under any circumstances, push things onto someone else's shoulders. Sooner or later your ass will be busted, and your lies will have to be paid for. If you are one such person, stop reading and go away.
Every now and then, a conversation with a friend transforms into a debate about the existence of absolute truth.
I think absolute truth exists, but not many ideas or statements can be labeled as 'absolute truth'. To be more specific, I think that absolute truth can only be applied to some mathematical concepts.
Q: What is absolute truth?
A: Absolute truth is something that is true regardless of the context (this definition is subject to change).
- For example we can say that "parallel lines never intersect", but this is only true in the context of Euclidian geometry. Even though it is a math-thing, it is not an absolute truth.
- Another example is "1+1=2", it is a bit more difficult to counter. The statement is true if '+' means "add two numbers", but it could also mean "concatenate", so the result would be "11".
- Try to prove that "1+1=2" without first defining '2' as the next integer after '1'; if you can't, then why not "1+1=3"? (for very large values of '1' :-)
I am not a "radio person", but in the not-so-distant past I made a discovery which I am sharing with you - Just a minute, with Nicholas Parsons.
The players are given a subject, they must talk about it for one minute, without repeating themselves, hesitating, or deviating from the discussion point; i.e. no "repetition, hesitation, or deviation".
When either of these happens, another player can challenge the current speaker, explain where their fault is, and take over the subject. This sounds easy, but it is not.
The game is very entertaining, because the players are really good at it, and they have a great sense of humour. This programme is a great choice if you are into self-improvement, and you want to develop your language skills, and creativity. The game has several rounds, there are four different subjects (one for each player), so we get 4x the fun!
Too bad that I only discovered "Just a minute" two weeks ago, because the game has been on air since 1967 (over 600 episodes!), being one of the oldest shows on BBC radio. Wow!
It is on air every Monday at 18.30, and Sunday 00.00; you can listen to it online (follow the link given earlier).
To summarize the above, "Just a minute" can help you:
- improve your rhetoric;
- improve your [spoken] English;
- develop your imagination;
- get a really really good laugh for half an hour, almost without breaks.