We’re Booked

When the schedule you want is unavailable, here’s how different kinds of hotels might write the notification:

Harsh: “We’re full. Go away.”

Dramatic: “We have spurned your advances! Our hearts, er, rooms are fully booked. We apologize to the depths of our being.”

Scientific: “As much as we want to squeeze you in, Pauli’s exclusion principle disallows it”

Millennial: “We literally can’t even. We’re booked AF.”

Corporate Memo: “Please be advised that the schedule you have chosen is not available at this time. We apologize for any possible inconvenience we may have caused you—not that we have done anything legally wrong by doing so, since we have not committed to anything yet.”

Plants Talk to Each Other Using an Internet of Fungus

Mycelium running through soil (Credit: Nigel Cattlin / Alamy

I came across an interesting article over at BBC about how plants talk to each other using an “internet of fungus”. While the science itself is interesting, what caught my attention was the headline’s refreshing use of metaphor. It’s much more common to use nature metaphors to communicate technological concepts, e.g. “fertile ground for innovation”, “tech ecosystem”, “computer virus”, than it is to do it the other way around. I particularly love the phrase “Internet of fungus”.

Confusing Chinese Characters – How to Distinguish 更 and 便


Chinese characters can sometimes be confusing. In this post, we take a look at four similar looking characters and examine some ways to remember and distinguish them.

Character Pinyin Definition
gèng more / even more
gēng part of 更改 (gēnggǎi) change
便 biàn convenient
便 pián part of 便宜 (piányi) cheap

I chose these two characters with four meanings because they’re relatively common and I myself have been having problems remembering how to write them down due to the similarity of the forms and two of them having multiple readings. They also happen to be on the HSK vocabulary lists from level 3 onwards.

Let’s look at each of them in context to make it easier to remember, then devise some memory aids to easily distinguish them from each other.

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