trochee: (linguistics)
[ profile] caracola starts a discussion that includes the statement "ASL has no sign for tact". This statement struck me as suspiciously snowclone-ish, and I'm curious if anybody might know about such a sign in ASL.

Some of my friends here might have resources that have more information. Any ideas of where to look? Anybody know the sign?

To complete my jargon and topic list: social networks (how), sign language (what), and snowclones (why)!
trochee: (wholeness)
Suppose [hypothetically] I just received an email with the subject line "This is not an interesting email".

Would I read it?
trochee: (linguistics)
arrived at jointly with clever coworker:

The Library of Babel demonstrates the flaws in targeting recall in information retrieval systems.
trochee: (Default)
You put the thesis in
kick the antithesis out
pull the synthesis together
and you shake it all about

it's the Hegel dialectic
and you turn it all around;
that's what it's all a-bout!

Inspired by some discussion on [ profile] evan's journal.
trochee: (silly)
I've never seen a bottom quark
a black hole or neutrino
though the doc insist
they must exist:
frankly, what does he know?

(further apologies to Gelett Burgess)
trochee: (bithead)
I just had an EE professor ask me for advice on how he can go learn Perl.

Sometimes I think I must actually know what I'm doing.
trochee: (silly)
My abstract for the UNLP workshop:
High-speed, high-entropy parse forest pruning with TUNGUSKA

Transylvania Polygnostic University
High Energy Magic Building

Genetic Algorithms are a popular theory, especially because we hear that genetics research is well-funded these days, and we suspect that government agencies often use bag-of-words models to make grant decisions. [Please take note that this research has no bearing on terrorism, biostatistics of terrorism, biostatistical terror, or the missing chemical weaponry in Iraq.] Growing sophistication in these algorithms has incorporated more and more analogies from evolutionary and molecular biology, including "crossover", "mutation", "island effects", "Dr. Moreau", and "wolf-boy".

[Alvarez and Alvarez] propose that the superorder /Dinosauria/ was erased by a long-distance movement phenomenon involving a kiloton ice comet, bringing in the advent of angiosperms known as "trees". Our TUNGUSKA system implements an analogous method for construction of syntactic trees designed to follow these trends. Our parser, implemented in SNOBOL, uses catastrophic destruction of a treebank or parse forest to provide an ecological niche for new trees, using a BLAST and PSI-BLAST pruning technique only recently approved by the Department of Energy.

We present current results in the first stages of this experiment, which has a large effective radius and has resulted in great support from nearby surviving faculty, who are happy to move their offices to accomodate our research. Many have issued supportive comments like "if you run that thing again you'll kill us all." They laughed at us at the academy, but who's laughing now?

Ah, I crack myself up.

trochee: (Default)
Apparently, European non-American international paper sizes are all of the ratio √2:1 , with A0 being defined to have a 1m² area. Thus A1 has 0.5m² area, and A2 has 0.25m² area, etcetera. Thus A6 is a postcard and A10 is (at least in principle) 26-by-37mm -- the size of a large postage stamp. In addition, a sheet of Ai paper can be exactly covered by two sheets of Ai+1 paper. (This is a special property of this ratio.) The relatively well-known A4 letter paper is a member of this class, and thus has an area of 2-4 = 1/16 m².

Thus you can compute the dimensions of any Ai paper by solving the system of equations:
l * w = 2-i
l = √2 w
This neat interlocking relationship would be really handy (as the link suggests) for easy reductions with a photocopier. American paper sizes, o my foreign reader, have no such elegant relationship to each other known to this author.

[update: unbelievably geeky, but cool: the B series is the geometric means between adjacent A values, and even the C-series (envelopes) follow the same pattern.]

Also, there's a rather tongue-in-cheek (one hopes) explanation for other interesting properties of the A4 paper.

[this post brought to you by trying to print the B5 paper size Computational Linguistics two-up onto American letter paper.]
trochee: (silly)
next week is the time traveler convention.

As they point out -- we should only need one. Wouldn't it be a trip if there were a lot of odd people showing up at MIT on Saturday night?
trochee: (smiling)
In a conversation that included [ profile] chr0me_kitten earlier today, she brought up apophenia*. [Edit: Also, earlier this week, [ profile] imtboo and [ profile] blackwingedboy have both been talking about Mercury in retrograde, which, initially, frustrated the heck out of me. But [ profile] imtboo and I talked about it. Now bear with me, here, 'cause I'm coming back to that thought.]

An old professor of mine [at least, I think it was him! it was about the same time I was reading Daniel Dennett for the first time, and it mighta been him] used to rant about how the apparent inner voice of consciousness, and indeed the useful mental processing that goes on as a cognitive tool, is "merely" a short-circuit to the mouth-ear loop. He didn't go into much detail, but I've adopted the idea fairly firmly as I continue to study language, computation and communication.
self-speech as a pack/unpack approximator... )

My point, if it wasn't already clear [i'm getting to it, I promise!]

analysis of the world into any arbitrary system is itself a creative act. Sometimes, the truth is in the data, and sometimes the truth is in the learner. When we have mental "ruts", we often need to reorganize what we already know and look at it all from a new perspective. Have you ever packed a suitcase only to find that not everything fit, and then found that if you unpack it all and start over, it all fits without trouble? That sort of "serialize, then restore" seems to be useful.

other discussion )

notes along the way )
trochee: (Default)
Here's [pdf, may need subscription] an interesting article.

"The language of genes." Nature, 420:211--217.
Linguistic metaphors have been woven into the fabric of molecular biology since its inception. The determination of the human genome sequence has brought these metaphors to the forefront of the popular imagination, with the natural extension of the notion of DNA as language to that of the genome as the 'book of life'. But do these analogies go deeper and, if so, can the methods developed for analysing languages be applied to molecular biology? In fact, many techniques used in bioinformatics, even if developed independently, may be seen to be grounded in linguistics. Further interweaving of these fields will be instrumental in extending our understanding of the language of life.
I think this article -- as interesting and useful as it is -- seems to be a little oversimplified in all the areas.

Perhaps that's what makes interdisciplinary success -- as long as you're convincing each reviewer that the material in the other area is good, you're golden.

EDIT: here are some other links that seem to point to the same article.

nerd joke

Mar. 11th, 2005 03:34 pm
trochee: (silly)
what do machine-learning experts have in common with obstetric fertility experts?

it's a bad bad joke )
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