Dan Ruderman, Physicist and technologist


Cool Tools Show 128: Dan Ruderman

Our guest this week is Dan Ruderman. Dan is a physicist and technologist. He is faculty at the Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC, where he applies machine learning to individualized cancer treatment. Dan enjoys overseas travel, and picking up enough foreign language to never again order a plate of organ meat.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

Anki NihongoShark.com Kanji Deck
“There’s this program called Anki, which works both on your desktop computer but also on your phone. I think it costs like $25 or something like that, but it’s well worth it, and you can synchronize them. It’s basically a platform for flashcards, and people have uploaded all kinds of flashcards decks for all kinds of subject matter: sciences, chemistry, physics, pathology, history. All kinds of thing you want to learn about, there are flashcard decks on those things. Well, someone has put together a particular flashcard deck around Kanji that I really like, and it’s called NihongoShark Kanji. So it has the 2200 Kanji that you need to learn to be basically proficient, and then it has their meanings in English on them — and it has some of the Japanese as well — and so you can learn them. ….What’s wonderful about Anki is it doesn’t just give you the new cards that you’re supposed to learn this day, but it also goes through and reviews the previous ones that you’ve supposedly learned and maybe have forgotten. It takes you back to them, and so it’s continually reinforcing your learning while it’s having you learn new things.”

Pimsleur Approach Gold Japanese I,II,III, IV Complete 64 Cd’s Total
“Pimsleur makes language CDs for all kinds of languages, and I’ve found their stuff to be really good. The particular one that I’m using is Pimsleur Approach Japanese Levels 1-4 Gold Edition, and you can get 64 CDs combined, and you can get it on eBay used for like $100. So for essentially like 60 hours of learning, that’s really pretty inexpensive. It’s very high-quality. The language instruction is great. They take you through conversations, they teach vocabulary. It has a good pace. It has male and female speakers, so you’re hearing multiple people say the same words but also different genders. Sometimes you can’t quite make out a sound, but then you’ll hear the other person say it and suddenly it makes sense. Great conversation examples that are useful for the traveler.”

A Guide to Japanese Grammar ($19)
“As I said, I’m taking a multi-pronged approach, learning the Kanji, learning the listening and speaking, but also grammar, of course, is essential. And so you want to find a book that isn’t too dry. You want to find one that is practical, and I really like this book A Guide to Japanese Grammar by Tae Kim. His name is Korean. I don’t think he’s a native Japanese speaker, and so that means that he has some perspective on the process of learning as an adult. … He’ll make sentences that aren’t really sentences in English, but they are sentences in Japanese or they’re concepts, and so you really get this sense from the very beginning of the way the Japanese think in terms of their language, and I think that’s a really important thing to do.”

JapanesePod101 Youtube Channel
“A great part of learning a language is trying to get immersed as much as possible in the culture and see how it works in real life, and what I love about JapanesePod101 is it has those real-life aspects where they’ll go and they’ll do something. They’ll go to tea shop, and they’ll talk to the guy that sells tea, and they’ll see what the tea is all about. And so it’s these real-world activities, the kinds of things you want to do as a tourist. Now, what’s great about it also is you have English subtitles. So they may be talking Japanese, you see the English subtitles. But more than watching a Kurosawa movie, you also have the Japanese there often with it. So you will have the spoken Japanese, you’ll have the written Japanese in full Kanji and Hiragana, you’ll have the Latin alphabet transliteration, and then you’ll have the English. But what’s great about YouTube is … Once they say something, you can pause, see all the text together, take your time, and learn it.”

We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $341 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! – MF