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languages December 18, 2007

Posted by AP in arts/culture, international.
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here’s something that has been on my mind for a while. this is partially in response to a recent article and its comments at marginal revolution.

learning another language has two benefits:
1. it allows one to communicate with people who speak that language but not one’s own, and
2. although i lack technical knowledge on the subject, i assume that it has some neurological benefit (as an analogy, listening to classical music or solving a crossword puzzle are supposed to have a similar effect).

learning another language does NOT:
3. instantly grant one profound cultural appreciation,
4. make one superior in any way to people who do not speak multiple languages,
5. allow one to pass judgment on those who do not speak this or any other language, or
6. make one any more or less culpable to societal problems.

i welcome all thoughts.

google’s $10 million “android” prizes November 12, 2007

Posted by KG in design, econ, media, news, tech.
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tyler cowen on the economics of prizes:


Today Google put out a sneak peek at Android in the form of an SDK — a software developers kit that will help programmers get used to making things for Android phones.

The company also announced $10 million in prizes for developers who build great Android programs. The Android Developers Challenge offers 50 prizes of $25,000 each for the best programs submitted by March 3; some among those 50 will then go on to compete for greater prizes of $100,000 and $275,000.

Though this isn’t a huge sum for Google — we’re talking fewer than 15,000 shares of Google stock here — the prize is sure to spur at least a few clever comp-sci grads to drop everything and build Android’s first great app. The third-party apps will be crucial to the system’s success, because judging by the video of a couple of prototype phones that Google put out today (see above), Android, as it stands now, looks rather bland.