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Creuset of Ideas
A collection of various ideas



Archives of 2006-02

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Back to can we think

2006-02-24 @ 10:22

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Well, in light of the previous post, I would have to say that the answer to the question is yes.

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Autism

2006-02-23 @ 15:05

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Two recent articles in Le Devoir got me (and others) thinking about autism. The first one was an interview with Michelle Dawson, the second a presentation of recent research results. It was as if these articles were answering CPU’s call to work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Actually, the gist of it was that people with autism are differently intelligent (in the good sense of the expression), not less. That we shouldn’t try to convert them into “typicals”.

One of the biggest challenges of autism has to do with interaction, with the interface with others, as it were. And a good deal of that is reflected in the relation to language.

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Seven years ago today

2006-02-15 @ 12:52

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Seven years ago today, I received my Ph.D. (well, I got the piece of paper in May, but that’s another story). A lot has happened since. Actually, I had handed in my thesis 9 months before, but when you do that at the beginning of summer, it’s bound to take some time: no one was there, so it took months just to get an outside examinator, etc., and then there’s the whole bureaucracy…

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Cognitio 2006

2006-02-13 @ 14:05

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A little bit of publicity…
There is currently a call for papers for the Cognitio 2006 conference, to be held at the UQÀM August 19 to 21, under the theme Beyond the brain: embodied, situated & distributed cognition.
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Am I indiscreet?

2006-02-8 @ 10:25

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Some years ago, one of my professors asks what my PhD was about. When I told him I working in historical linguistics, he declared, “Historical linguistics is not a science.” (I should’ve countered with “No, it’s an art.”). Because he couldn’t see any way towards strict formalism, it didn’t fit in with his definition of science. For me, science always can benefit from art, from poetry. These visions are echoed in David Suzuky’s discussion of the way we perceive reality:

Definition identifies, specifies and limits and thing, describes what it is and what it is not: it is the tool of our great classifying brain. Poetry, in contrast, is the tool of synthesis, of narrative. It struggles with boundaries in an effort to mean more, include more, to find the universal in the particular. It is the dance of words, creating more-than-meaning, reattaching the name, the thing, to everything around it.

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No time like the present

2006-02-7 @ 12:18

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It’s no big secret that we live in the present. The past is but a memory and the future is yet to be. But the present might be where we always are, representing it in the language is tricky. Few people actually notice, even if they speak more than one language, that languages each have their own solution to this problem.

When I say represent, I don’t mean finding words to express it, like “now” or “present” but rather giving it a grammatical form. You see, the present is in reality only a point in time. Points have no dimension; in this, the present can be seen as the edge of a sword: it is impossible to stand on it, one must use part of either side for stability.

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Worth more than a look

2006-02-3 @ 15:10

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Martin at Zeroseconde was kind enough to share this discovery with the rest of us: ashes and snow. An incredible online photo exhibition from Gregory Colbert, full of beauty and poetry.

Enough said, go see it.

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I don’t remember, I don’t recall

2006-02-3 @ 14:44

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Éliane’s blog led me this morning to an article in La Presse about an “amnesia pill.” An article about the same study can also be found on the AP wire. Happily this one’s title refers to easing traumatic memories, and not erasing them. There was also a New Scientist article last month about the research done at Harvard, on which there had been discussed in the university Gazette in March 2004. Almost old news.

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Multilingual Chat

2006-02-1 @ 13:56

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Some time ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a multilingual chatroom project he was working on. It was for him a way to tinker with some aspects of machine translation (MT), and also of networks – using linked translators on the fly when MT proved too much of a problem. The goal of the project itself wasn’t the creation of a viable application as such, but rather exploration and investigation.

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