Multilingual = Depth

I like the idea that computers cannot be used to translate books from one language to another. Computers aren’t smart enough to choose between multiple meanings of a word based on the context of the sentence in which it is placed, whereas the human mind can do it without conscious effort. For this reason, there is still value in learning a new language in the foreseeable future. I’m not sure that computers will ever be able to translate large bodies of text. So, if I want to read about ISIS (ISIL), Iraq, Cuba, or Ukraine from a source other than the United States or England I need to learn another language. The Cuban Newspaper “Granma,” Spain’s “Pais,” and France’s “Le Monde” all offer perspectives I won’t find in the New York Times. They broaden my understanding of the world. I can only imagine the depth that an Arabic Al Jazeera or Mandarin Daily News would provide. These papers aren’t translated. We’ll never know what they say without figuring it out for ourselves. –Carl Miller

Life Long History

Maybe the first two thirds of our lives are just a set up for the last third. If that’s true I should pick up hobbies that I can continue later in life. I figure I won’t be able to play sports at 70, so I shouldn’t work at honing my skills there. I won’t be able to work on cars due to my arthritis (everyone has that at 70, right?) so that hobby is out. My hands will be too shaky for models…so that leaves reading. The study of…something is where I need to be. I think history works best because it’s not concrete, more detail can always be added to my understanding through gaining a new perspective from a new book, and there are no bounds to what history contains. I think I’ll become a history nerd for late life’s happiness.  -Carl Miller