Rice Around the World

Before the existance of technology, the majority of the population relied on books or hand-me-down remedies, stories, and recipes on how to do anything. With the introduction of portable electronic devices and constant access to the internet our everyday devices have replaced the need for books in several areas. It is no longer necessary for a home cooker or a professional chef to buy numerous cookbooks to create the perfect gourmet meal or quick dinner. All a cook needs now is internet access which plays a key role in helping you connect to cultures through food. The next major aspect to connecting to cultures is a similarity in food that is very accessible to practically anyone such as typical white rice.

If you look at each culture, evidence of rice is found in each groups diet, which means that rice can be found in practically in any household throughout the planet. Now there are three things that many people have in common, 1. access to the internet, 2. rice at home, and 3. plenty of recipes that consist of rice. Take the rice information from the Anatomy of Crop Plants Project website into consideration. We know that rice is used all around the world, why not transform your own rice into something a person across the planet would make for dinner or a snack or even in alcoholic beverage. Learn to be open-minded to the possibilities that your simple white (or brown) rice is capable of. Each day of the week you can switch your rice recipe to make fried rice (Chinese), sushi (Japanese), rice cakes in banana leaf (Vietnamese), or even jambalaya (American). The possibilities of transforming your next meal are endless and only a click away.

Choosing the Right Instructions
Before searching for the perfect recipe, it is important to know what kind of learner you are. Are you a kinesthetic learner, visual learner, auditory learner, or a reader? If you don’t know take a quiz at the Education Planner and find out! Once you know what kind of learner you are, you can choose a website that offers cooking instructions that are right for you. Finding the perfect recipe can come in many forms on the internet. Some websites will have written instructions, others many include images to elaborate on the steps, and some may be how-to videos in making a decadent meal.

Take these two links for example:

1. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/146000/lime-cilantro-rice/
2. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=duycXmCBXd0

The first link offers written instructions on how to make Lime Cilantro Rice with a list of ingredients before the instructions, no step-by-step images provided. The second link is a YouTube video made of clips throughout the cooking process of the Cilantro Lime Rice. In the Youtube video the audio does not offer exact measurements, but they are provided in the information box below the video. As mentioned in the Universal Usability Guidelines in the Web Style Guide, 3rd edition, web pages are created in consideration of internet user abilities. However, each internet user should decide which type of instructions are best for them depending on their learning style.

Expanding Your Horizons
Take a brief moment to think back to all the ways you have cooked your rice in the past. If you can only think of one recipe, that is not enough! Similar to flour and eggs, rice can be found in almost any household. Have you ever heard of a southern bell cooking fried rice? Could you image a Japanese person making jambalaya? The idea may not be as farfetched as once imagined. With the internet allowing us to reach into every corner of the virtual world, we can use our new found knowledge to learn about other cultures through cooking.

If you are curious as to what else your rice can create, check out Rice Gourmet. This site offers recipes ranging from 5 continents and 21 countries, all unique in their own way! In my opinion it would come out easier and cheaper to try a new recipe at home than having to go to a Mexican restaurant, Italian restaurant, Indian restaurant for meals that have rice. What is even better is that you can also share and impress friends, family or fellow employers with a delicious home-cooked meal that you learned how to make on the internet.

Next time that you are in your kitchen, preparing for lunch or dinner, think twice and consider the possibilities that already accessible ingredients can make by doing a quick search on the web for an easy and deliciously new recipe. All your ingredients, not only rice, teach you about other cultures through methods and additional ingredients used.


Bilingual, Trilingual, Or Polyglot?

With each passing day, the world is becoming more diverse in the fusion of cultures through food, religion, language and the use of the internet. The internet has become a gateway between communication between several countries around the world. However, the language barrier is the only thing that constrains the sharing of cultures. According to Internet World Stats, the top 6 languages used on the internet include English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and Japanese which accumulates to 2,203,433,477 people. Below you will find a minimized chart that shows exact number of internet users for the top 6 languages, a detailed chart of the top 10 languages can be found on this link.

Top 6 Languages

In the Internet

Internet Users by Language World Population for this Language (2015 Estimate)
English 851,623,892 1,398,277,986
Chinese 704,483,396 1,398,335,970
Spanish 245,150,733 441,778,696
Arabic 155,595,439 375,241,253
Portuguese 131,615,190 263,260,385
Japanese 114,963,827 126,919,659
Top 6 Languages 2,203,433,477 3, 876,894,564

If anyone decided to become bilingual (two languages), trilingual (three languages), quadrilingual (four languages) or a polyglot (5 to 7 languages or more) their opportunity to share ideas with other people would expand exponentially. Even knowing basic concepts or phrases in any particular language can be very beneficial, especially since the Internet offers us a larger opportunity to meet and communicate with people all around the world through the world wide web.

Start a New Language

Becoming fluent in any language takes time and practice through actual conversations. The best way to get started in any language is learn salutations and common phrases that are constantly used in everyday conversations, phrases such as good morning, thank you, and how are you. It expresses open-mindedness and courtesy to other people. The following links are free language sites that offer different tips on the top 6 languages. With the help of the world wide web, we can create connections by simply knowing courteous phrases.  

  • English: ESOL Courses offers several resources for practicing listening, grammar, vocabulary and even practice prompts for difference conversational scenarios.
  • Chinese: The Haiwang Yuang webpage offers phrases that include greetings, phrases used to express moments of leisure on dining, shopping, traveling, and even phrases on parenting.
  • Spanish: On the Spanish Phrases with Audio webpage is substantial amount of information on vocabulary, grammar, and the option of testing after studying each subject.
  • Arabic: Transparent Language only offers what they consider to be survival phrases (basic arabic phrases and salutations) and a word of the day. Transparent Language also offers similar guidelines for learning Korean.
  • Portuguese: The Learning Portuguese website offers tips and assistance on pronunciation, grammar, and practicing conversational Portuguese.
  • Japanese: CosCom is vast on offering information, but can be overwhelming. My advice is to stay on Words&Basics page and work your way around the site.

Each web page offers different tips and advice with a different set of rules. In compilation it can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate each site, but they were consistent in the choice of pronunciation and audio stemming from English translation.  

Once salutation has been introduced to a conversation, it can be easy to stem off with similar interest. That will provoke you to rely on an electronic translation device, but they can be unreliable sometimes. Several languages carry different grammatical structures and sometimes electronic translators don’t catch those differences. It can also miss jargon or slang.  The option of translating only fragments of a complex sentence would yield better results of translation. Easy ways to recognize those incorrect translations is simply knowing each languages noun and adjective placement.

Understanding Grammatical Differences

Take the difference between the grammatical structure of French and English on the use of nouns and adjectives for example.

  • French: “Certains pensent que la parité est un fait accompli.”
    • fait: masculine noun
    • accompli: masculine adjective
  • English: “Some think that gender equality is a done deal.”
    • done: invariable adjective
    • deal: genderless noun

In French the noun comes before the adjective, but in English the noun goes after the adjective.

Express Yourself

In my own experiences, I have met someone that spoke each of the languages mentioned above. Some of the people knew no English at all while others knew limited English. Although a full-blown conversation is very difficult to have with someone who knows limited English, it is still possible to show kindness, courtesy and understanding by simply expression salutations in another person’s language. So now when I think of hello in English, I also think of hola (Spanish), bonjour (French), assalamu alaikum (Arabic), konnichiwa (Japanese), and namaste (hindi).

An encounter can happen at any location and at any time. You can run into a new classmate at school, a client at work, at your local grocery store, and even online where someone does not speak fluently in English. Whatever the case may be, it is always helpful to have these resources in hand because it could open up mountains of possibilities. Do not allow language to become a boundary when all you need is a small list of words to light a spark between languages.. Best luck to all future polyglots!

Where’s Waldo?

By Esmeralda Peña

Flashback to your childhood with your nose deep in a ‘Where’s Waldo’ and ‘I SPY’ book.  Image having a simple ‘GPS’ locator to find Waldo or find tiny hidden items. Our childhood would have sped through those books in no time at all. On the upside, you wouldn’t agonize in straining your eyes over finding Waldo or the tiny seahorse hidden in the picture. On the downside, there would be no self-gratification of finding Waldo or the tiny seahorse on your own. Thankfully there is no device, as far as I know, that would help find Waldo or tiny hidden items besides your own two eyes. However, almost all of us now have something that does help with finding real life people and places: smartphones.

Smartphone and Applications

It is estimated that there are 1 billion smartphone devices in the world as of today. Of the 1 billion phones the most common brands are Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, and HTC. While each has its own properties that make them unique, they are all identical in the use of devices such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Smartphone users do not give much thought to having these devices on, especially since so many apps rely on GPS or Wi-Fi.  

In many cases Wi-Fi is the ideal device to use in terms of preserving battery life and data usage, but once you become mobile you must switch to GPS. Both Wi-Fi and GPS allows you to use navigation apps, productivity apps, social network apps and transportation apps such as Google Maps, Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, Viber, and Uber. These apps can be very convenient when on the go and limits the need for other devices. So in other words, having a smartphone with Wi-Fi and/or GPS can be cost efficient since it can now replace devices you might have had to buy if not for the smartphone. Although there are many positive aspects to constantly having Wi-Fi and GPS on your smartphone, many users don’t realize that there are some downfalls to constantly having those devices on your phone.

Tracking Your Every Move

While ‘Big Brother’ has been a conspiracy theory of the government, that idea is not as farfetched as we once thought. Now in day, this theory is highly probable especially for people who have smartphones. Several apps now require internet connection and often ask for your location for better precision. Google Maps requires GPS to give turn-by-turn directions. Other apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Viber also allow you to ‘check-in’ to a location and share it with friends and family. Even more so, any picture with anything in the background- Snapchat- can give hints as to where you are also. Social network apps that have access to your location can be a good thing. An example would be the new Facebook feature that allows you to let family and friends know you’re OK if a natural disaster occurs near you. It seems that at any given time, at least one app that has access to your location requires either GPS or Wi-Fi. So how do we limit the amount of access our devices have to our current locations?

Limiting Your Tracking

Several options are available to limiting our smartphones access to location, but completely cutting off ourselves from being tracked is highly improbable. For Apple products, users can decide which apps have access to GPS or running data, but would have to manually go into each app to turn off the location setting. However, once location is turned off, the app could work differently as to when it had location. Some apps work best with location on, but there are other viable options to apps that do not require location. For example, if you do not want Google Maps to know your every move, you can download an offline map that only offers an overview of an area and does not offer turn-by-turn navigation. So if you do decide to turn off your location and access to GPS to any particular apps, ‘Big Brother’ still has tricks up its sleeve to know your every move.

Once you’ve turned off your location and limited your access to GPS, what can go wrong with using Wi-Fi? Well if you’re an Apple user, just follow these simple steps:

Settings → Privacy → Location Services → System Services → Frequent Locations.

If you do not have a phone with you, allow me to elaborate what you will find here. Once you’ve reached Frequent Locations, there will be a list of Address you have used Wi-Fi, the number of visits you’ve done, AND the time and date you were there. Now that you have this information it is up to you whether you want Frequent Locations to be turned on or off. And let’s not forget the handy dandy Find My iPhone app and GPS tracker available for several smartphone devices.

So as long as you have a smartphone on you, your location will always be tracked. You have the ability to limit the apps that you want to share your location. I wonder if Waldo has ever owned a smartphone.