Great Design

Coffee Mixology

I’m kind of a lukewarm follower of technological advances, and one of the trends I finally tried out last year was a single-serve (pod) coffee maker.

The product I bought was a basic dual-use coffee maker by Ninja, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Just based on the convenience alone, I am never going back.

However, there is another useful feature: you can easily mix different coffee flavors together, or, for example, coffee and hot chocolate.  That could be a fairly big hassle to do with standard kitchen equipment even once, much less every time I happen to feel like it.

All in all, the coffee costs more (and unfortunately it’s still worse for the environment), but it’s definitely worth it.

Great Design

If You Had To Learn Spanish From Scratch…

I will diverge from standard academic thought, and say that if one is learning Spanish from scratch, or essentially from scratch, then they might as well learn “standard” conjugations for the vos person (not to be confused with vosotros) – which are only used regionally (most notably in parts of South America).

I would say the cutoff point is when one finally commits to memorizing conjugations for regular Spanish verbs.  At this point, one can easily include conjugations for vos, along with everything else.  These vos conjugations often replace conjugations in regional Spanish.

The reasons academia has not done this include the following:

•  the demand for vos is less

•  it increases learning complexity

•  vos is used very differently across the regions that do use it

I decided that thinking is wrong based on the following observations:

 a significant amount of print and film media is produced in countries that use “standard” vos – in Rioplatense-Spanish-speaking countries in particular (notably Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia)

•  the increase in learning complexity is actually a function of the learning method; a bad method (rote memorization) means incremental additions to the teaching material are (unsurprisingly) difficult, but a good learning method means incremental additions have a negligible cost

  the problem of regional differences is sidestepped if you simply teach the “standard” version of vos; furthermore, this standard version is a reasonable foundation should you want (or be forced) to try your hand at the other regional vos dialects (e.g. Chilean Spanish)