Author: vunkyn

After Analysing a Book is it Possible to Enjoy it?

By Tom Warner

When you find a book that you enjoy reading, you generally appreciate certain aspects of how it has been written. One example would be the creation of a character identity and how that affects you. Another may be the problems that are tackled by the characters or narrator within the plot. The question is: would you still see these features for what they are, after completing an in-depth analysis of the ‘themes’ or ‘representations’?

The theme of a book could be used to represent a common problem that we all face, so that the characters and the audience are connected. Certain personalities could also be displayed in the book that mirror those in society. This angle is sometimes thought of as a step towards the true understanding of an author’s creative choices. Alternatively, it could be seen as evidence of ‘over thinking’ and a sense of desperation for meaning, on the part of the reader. There does not always need to be a specific moral message behind the story. Sure the content may relate to our lives to grab our attention, but a life lesson or concept does not always have to be present. Continue reading

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An Easier Way to Learn Chinese?

By Tom Warner

While the language of Mandarin Chinese has become one of the most popular languages being learnt today, that does not mean that it is easy. Written Chinese characters have a tendancy to be difficult. Finding an easier way for non-native learners (L2 learners) to understand would be great wouldn’t it? Well, ShaoLan Hsueh may well have the answer with her book Chineasy.

Her book bases the Chinese characters on the visual representation of the symbols. This should help us to associate them with a meaning, rather than an unidentifiable ‘squiggle on a page’. After working on the book for an initial two years and already having a love of new words, Hsueh was given the opportunity to give a TED talk, which in turn lead to a Kickstarter project being set up online. This gave exposure in the right context and to the right people, so that the project could become a success.
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Realisation of Self

By Tom Warner

You may have heard of the ‘realisation of self’ in a few different contexts, such as literature and writing about one’s self. The fact that it could apply to animals as well is something that may not be as obvious. Humans can easily be defined by their ability to recognise and understand themselves. This is then processed by the brain.

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Avatar and Video Conferencing: will it affect Real Interaction?

By Tom Warner

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the systems innovation department at Osaka University in Japan, created a robot avatar in 2010 to replace a person in an online conversation. There have been many new versions of this particular robot, but 2010 was the initial debut.

Professor Ishiguro previously moved the world of human-like robotics forward when he created ‘Geminoid HI-2’ which resembled its creator. The robot combined movements in the body and face as well as speech production to mimic whoever was controlling it. A life like appearance, modelled on Ishiguro himself, added to the realism.

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