Archive for the ‘linguistics’ Category
I’ve had an interested in memory for as long as I can remember, so when I saw Joshua Foer on The Colbert Report I went straight to the store to get myself a copy of his book Moonwalking with Einstein. I read it over three days, and haven’t given it a chance to sink in yet.
Through out the book Foer briefly dips into techniques that he used to improve his recollection, although he calls it memory in the book. He starts with Simonides’ memory palace as his basis and continues by learning the Major System, below, and the PAO system – where every two-digit number from 00 to 99 is represented by a single image of a person performing an action on an object – which he uses for committing cards to memory three at a time.
Although the book is mostly about how Foer trained to become the US champion in one year – and it only touches on the underlying techniques used – it shows the power of not just the mind, it shows that perseverance can make the unlikely possible.
Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.
A great read.
I was forwarded the link to In Synch, a tool which will calculate the Language Style Matching for two pieces of text.
“[In Synch] determines the degree to which any two samples of language are similar in their language styles. It can be most helpful in analyzing two sides of the same conversation.”
All that is needed are two writing examples – instant messages, text chats, text messages, transcribed conversations or other writing samples – with a minimum of 50 words for each the language style can be analyzed and a score can be calculated. The scoring is from 0.50 – 1.00, so the closer you are to 1.00 the more in synch you are with the author.
Possible uses for this could be verification that a piece of written text is from an author. And in combination with text-to-speech and speech analysis this could lead to an additional factor which could be used in authentication.
I started playing with Google Scribe and wanted to see if patterns emerged so I just accepted the first suggestion by hitting enter. My starting word(s) in italics.
“I often wondered if there was anything wrong with that picture of themselves and their families in their homes and their lives are nothing but another form of therapy for these patients is not known whether these are the only ones who can not afford to pay for their own users and groups to their Friends.. Have a great day for them too and they are nothing but another form of therapy for these patients is not known whether these are the only ones who can not afford to pay for their own users and groups to their Friends / Favorites list yet, so I’ma keep popping up in their own right and do not want to be related to their particular field or industry in which they are attached to their respective owners and are strictly for viewing and printing of these books are nothing but another form of therapy for these patients is not known whether these are the only ones who can not afford to pay for their own users and groups to their Friends / Favorites list yet, so I’ma keep popping up in their own right and do not want to be related to their particular field or industry… and they are nothing but another form of therapy for these patients […]”
So I decided to find out where it came from, and a number of other people with too much time on their hands discovered that Google script believes most things are “nothing but another form of therapy“
Then I had another go and discovered another infinite loop:
“child care centers and homes for sale in the heart of the city of New York City Area Directory of All Stores at the site of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and Canada and their territories and total client assets of approximately 1 to 4 of 4 people found the following review helpful to your business partners and customers together to participate in these features is the ability to make and use them together to make anything of it until I was introduced to them by their fruits ye shall know them by their fruits ye shall know them by their fruits ye shall know them by their fruits ye shall know them by their fruits ye shall know them by their fruits ye shall know them by their fruits […]”
Naturally I tried the words you look up in a new dictionary, you know what I mean, and only tampons produced a result, ending in another form of therapy for me.
The question is can I use this to product my mail spam and comment spam for me to trick Google and spam filters?
Calque is my new word, I found it while writing a previous blog. “Calque or loan translation is the borrowing of a phrase from a foreign language by the literal translation of the original word or phrase. The new word or phrase may retain the original meaning or evolve to have a different meaning.” “‘Loan translation’ is itself a calque of German Lehnübersetzung.” Deus Ex Machina is and example of calque, it come from the Greek “apo mechanēs theos“.
“Some […] seem to be phrases that would be the same in another language with or without borrowing (such as “liver sausage” — it’s a sausage made out of liver, what else would you call it?)“
I found another uncited definition
“calque, n. a loan translation, esp. one resulting from bilingual interference in which the internal structure of a borrowed word or phrase is maintained but its morphemes are replaced by those of the native language“1
Another example not given in the Wikipedia entry could be the French ‘supermarché’, which calques English ‘supermarket’. (Ironic as ‘market’ is said to come from ‘marché’.) However the French ‘Médecins sans Frontière‘ (an NGO) is not calqued by the English ‘Doctors without Borders‘ and the Dutch ‘Artsen zonder Grenzen‘, as it is not a common phrase, it’s the proper name of an organization.
Originally posted here.
TV is great, and I watch lots of it while playing on the computer, whether that’s researching a blog or real work. I love the workings of the mind and the workings of science. Which is why I like CSI, Bones and Numb3rs. The latter one annoys me often by using Mathmatics as the Deus Ex Machina, not that the former two are any better with their liberal use of the MacGuffin. CSI and Bones have the advantage of “Locard’s Exchange Principle” to produce the MacGuffin.
“Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value.” – Professor Edmond Locard*
Alfred Hitchcock gave the example of a MacGuffin thus:
“It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says, ‘What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?’ And the other answers, ‘Oh that’s a McGuffin.’ The first one asks ‘What’s a McGuffin?’ ‘Well’ the other man says, ‘It’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.’ The first man says, ‘But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,’ and the other one answers ‘Well, then that’s no McGuffin!’ So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all.“
Originally posted here.
IANAL – I Am Not A Lawyer – but I like TV law drama, almost as much I like hospital series, as you might know if you read “Words I Wondered About In Medical Shows“, I have to admit I just like TV. (Which is why I currently work for a TV company.) I’ve always wondered what the meaning was of some basic law terms. I wanted to make a list and post it here, but as the law is slightly more complex than medicine the explanation will be slightly longer.
Habeas corpus literally means “you have the body“. The translation doesn’t really help, “[h]abeas corpus is a protection against illegal confinement […]” A writ (court order) which is obtained from “[a] judge [who] sets a hearing on whether there is a legal basis for holding the prisoner.” Before I read this I assumes it meant “where is the body.” On TV you often hear the term spoken by the defence when a murder suspect is arrested with out a victim. The corpus in this case is the suspect who is in the care of law enforcement.
Premeditation is an easy one, it “[…] shows intent to commit that crime.” It leads to the next
Malice aforethought, “[…] a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others.” That sound more like the description of a narcissist that a psych nurse once gave me, although he described somebody who was in a asylum for the criminally insane.
Prima facie means at “‘at first look’ […] referring to a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in which the evidence before trial is sufficient to prove the case.” Which means a prima facie case case would be a case that’s could be considered “open and shut.”
Obiter dicta I’d never heard of, but according to the dictionary they are “remarks of a judge which are not necessary to reaching a decision, but are made as comments, illustrations or thoughts.” Do you know what it means, if so I’d appreciate an example.
Twinkie defense, I didn’t know there was one. Seemingly you can eat to much sugar and go on a murderous rampage.
Chewbacca defense, a defence used successfully by Johnnie Cochran. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!“
This post originally appeared here.
I love watching Hospital series, such as Chicago Hope, ER, House or Grey’s Anatomy, although I’m not always sure what all the terms mean. So I had a look to find out what the commonly used terms mean:
- GCS – Glasgow Coma Scale
- GSR/GSW – Gun Short Residue/Gun Shot Wound (Ok, so I like CSI too…)
- CPR – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Pneumothorax – Collapsed Lung
- Tension pneumothorax – Worsening Pneumothorax
- Hemopneumothorax – Blood in the chest cavity
- Hypotension/Hypertension – Low/High blood pressure
- Tachycardia – Abnormally rapid beating of the heart
- Apgar test – Method to assess the health of newborn children
- Systole/Asystole – Cardiac electrical activity
- Myocardium – Muscular tissue of the heart
(Thanks to Wikipedia for their help.)
This post originally appeared here.