字. November 2010

  • àn - dark, gloomy; hidden, secret, obscure

    Because the clocks went back at the weekend and because I worked late, it was very dark when I left work today. I remember learning this word a while ago when I decided to see whether I could learn all the words on my hanzi cards beginning with A. I didn't manage it, but I did learn this one.

    这是一个黑暗无月的夜晚。
    It's a dark and moonless night.

  • 争气

    zhēngqì - work hard for something, resolve to improve

  • 优化

    yōuhuà - optimise

    I picked this word today, because after some success with my PCR, I spent the rest of the day optimising the conditions. I think I now have a good set of conditions, which amplifies my fragment well. 优化 is a nice word; it means 'superior change'.

    它也把新的优化细节合并到特殊服务器与本地数据库格式中。
    It also incorporate new optimization specific to particular server and local database format.

  • zhàng - bill

    Today I receive two bills that I shouldn't have. It was stressful and I had to phone people (which I hate doing), but I finally sorted it all out. 账 has been on Smart.fm and I think I always forget it, so it's a good word to include here.

    别忘了把这笔货款记到账上。
    Don't forget to charge the amount to my account.

  • 延长

    yáncháng - delay, prolong

    I left work earlier so I could catch a train to Oxford that left an hour earlier, but due to delays, I ended up reaching Oxford an hour after the train should have. I'm not sure that this is the correct Chinese word for this kind of delay, but it was always on my Smart.fm and I kept getting it wrong.

    我们怎样才能延长短促的人生?
    How can we endeavor to prolong the brevity of human life?

  • 递归

    dìguī - recursion

    Today we went to the library and picked up Douglas R Hofstader's Metamagical Themas, which covers a wide range of topics, including self-reference and recursion. I have no idea what the sentence below means in either language.

    科学家们会选择递归下降法。
    The scientists will opt for the recursive descendent method.

  • 苹果

    píngguǒ - apple

    Today Victoria and I made apple cake and it was very good. 苹果 was one of the first nouns I learnt. For a long time my Chinese lessons seem to involve creating lots of sentences about apples. Apples and aeroplanes.

    我正在用我新买的煎锅做苹果馅饼。
    I am cooking apple pies with my newly bought frying pan.

  • 牺牲

    xīshēng - sacrifice

    When playing go with Victoria, I realised that she doesn't like to sacrifice stones. I went to Go Sensei to find the Chinese for sacrifice (which I couldn't find), and discovered that the article of week was Sacrifice.

    她以自我牺牲精神救了我们的性命。
    Her self-sacrifice saved our lives.

  • 质粒

    zhìlì - plasmid

    Today I spent some time working on a program to display plasmids as an interactive SVG. The Chinese for plasmid is interesting: it literally means a 'grain of character', which is very poetic description.

    我做了一个质粒。
    I made a plasmid.

  • 污染

    wūrǎn - pollution, contamination

    Today I went to an interesting talk about research into biomarkers in oysters that have been exposed to pollution. 污染 is a Smart.fm word, which reminds me that I haven't been there for a while.

    因为污染严重,许多美丽的鱼类正在面临绝种。
    Many beautiful fish are fast disappearing because of the severe pollution.