Weird Stuff

Languages that make you smile

Watching the 21 Accents video (via Neatorama) made me think that different languages/accents seemed to require different mouth positions. Is it possible that some phonemes are only achievable with the mouth wide-stretched in a smile? Then loading a language with such phonemes would be one way to ensure people appear friendly to strangers whatever the real mood of the person. Social engineering through accent shaping, now that is an interesting thought!

On uselessness of pretending to be somebody else

While reading weka Data Mining book, I have come across this impressive example of using machine learning to confirm person’s authorship (p. 358). In 19th century, there lived a famous rabbinic scholar Ben Ish Chai, who among other writings had two collections of letters. Ben Ish Chai claimed that only one collection was his and that the other one was somebody else’s, found by him. Modern scholars thought both collections were his, but could not prove it conclusively as the style of writing was different.

Parsing jumping jacks

What could be common between Computational Linguistics and Aerobics? Quite a lot, as it turns out to be. Dance descriptions, while not really in English do have a regular structure and can be thought of as a sub-language with full set of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels. There are basic words of the language (move names), correct ways of putting them in a sentence (a routine) and all the way up to good flowing text (classes that do not hurt the participants).

Memories, memories

I just found my own oldest webpage (handcoded) and my oldest public source code (Java) at once. - that has hosted this long-dead memory since 1999 - is just so great. Looking back at it, I realise that I was right in the thick of Internet development: When I just started working with Java, we had to throw out all the printed Javadocs, because jdk1.0b2 was released and a lot of Java API (e.

Chumby: Digital picture frame for parents and much more

I want to get my parents a digital picture frame. But at the moment I cannot. That’s because I don’t want my somewhat less-technical parents to have to fiddle with memory cards, choosing and transferring photographs or running Vista. My ideal digital picture frame for them would be one sitting in a living room or a bedroom with new photos to delight my parents every so often. Such a device would have to be: