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Creuset of Ideas
A collection of various ideas



Archives of 2006-05

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We’re not all there.

2006-05-31 @ 8:12

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By that I mean, we’re somewhat oblivious to what we actually do. Our image of ourselves, for better or worst, does not take all we do into account (then again, how could it). And I don’t mean things like the fact that what leaves the greatest impression on us when we meet something new is not the looks, but the smell. That’s a matter of biology and subconscious reactions. I mean readily observable behaviour we are blind to.

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Wednesday Linguistics: Me and Mine

2006-05-31 @ 7:16

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“The president took far too seriously McClellan’s constant references to ‘my army.’”

Ah, possessives. But they’re not really that, now are they? We call “My, your, our” possessives, but that is a misnomer; actually reductive, in that it only refers to one of their uses. When I say “my brother,” I by no means mean that I possess him. One way to see that various uses of these determiners is to look at the ambiguity of “my picture;” out of context, one can’t really know if I’m talking about a picture of me, the picture I’m holding (as oppose to that one someone else is), the one I own, or the one I took.

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self portrait challenge - monkey

2006-05-29 @ 7:57

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I know, the June challenge, Pop Art, has been announced, but since we’re still in May, here is one last introduction to me:

Mab the Monkey Continue reading »

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Vacation

2006-05-27 @ 19:55

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Well, faithful reader, you will have noticed that I haven’t been very productive these last few weeks. Fatigue I guess. Which is why a took a week’s vacation, far from (almost) everything, even the Internet, here. Nice environment to think a bit, or not. Although I would have like to take more time (couldn’t, have a seminar for my coworkers I’m suppose to co-facilitate), and gone a bit farther (like Corsica or Prague), a week is enough for a bit of cleaning up one’s life.

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Nothing Wrong

2006-05-23 @ 9:53

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TMCM strikes again…

TMCM

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self portrait challenge - waking

2006-05-17 @ 15:51

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Well, this is pretty much the view my alarm clocks gets of me in the morning…

Me waking

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Rainy Day

2006-05-15 @ 11:25

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It’s a rainy day
I think I’ll stay in bed
Don’t want to keep, put to sleep
These doubts in my head
I’m closing my eyes
And the curtains too
‘Cause the grey only brings me blue
The grey only brings me blue

On a day like today
You can’t send the clouds away
And pretend that it’s all okay
When everything is cold and grey…

Andrea Revel, Rainy Day

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Wednesday Linguistics: Late and not mine

2006-05-11 @ 9:38

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Interesting article about an even more interesting culture and language.

The Pirahã people have no history, no descriptive words and no subordinate clauses. That makes their language one of the strangest in the world — and also one of the most hotly debated by linguists.

In this article, it is said, in passing, that “Linguistics generally focuses on what idioms across the world have in common.” That is a good start, but to really understand something, scientist usually also look at the differences. Those can say a lot about a system. It is, in a way, a form of “differential diagnostic”. The language in question, Pirahã, does not have subordinate clauses. You can’t say “When I have finished eating, I would like to speak with you,” you have to say “I finish eating, I speak with you.”

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Guilty of translating

2006-05-11 @ 9:13

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I couldn’t let this one go by.

Translation is the art of erasing oneself in order to speak in another’s voice. Good translators speak for others, not for themselves. So when NYU graduate student Mohammed Yousry took on the job of translating Arabic for lawyers representing Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric convicted of conspiring to bomb several bridges and tunnels around Manhattan, Yousry agreed, like any good translator, to follow his lawyers’ lead. For doing his job, he now faces the possibility of twenty years in prison as a supporter of terrorism. He is scheduled to be sentenced in a federal court in New York in September.

This is incredible. And unacceptable. By the same logic, any translator working for US intelligence service translating Ben Laden tapes and what not should be convicted of the same crime.

Via 3quarksdaily

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Too computer

2006-05-10 @ 10:08

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You know you’ve spent too much time in front of word processors when you’re reading a book and you’re wondering why that misspelled word doesn’t have a wavy red line under it. That happened to me yesterday…