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Friday, July 27, 2012

Reading brain images

Brain-image technologies that can read your thoughts and allow you to control computer interfaces. A fairly recent development, esp. prominent in assisstive technologies (helping people with severe speech impediments) which now seem to be showing potential for migrating to the more main-stream applications.

Here is the audio link, in case you haven't had a chance to listen to today's "On the Current" on CBC: 

In simple terms, scientists are compiling and cataloguing our (prototypical, flexible) brain responses to images. Such catalogues (or dictionaries) later allow a computer program to identify what a person is actually thinking (i.e., imagining in his or her mind). They appear to work with only concrete object images (apples, trees) for now, and have harder time with abstract ones (trust, love), according to the interviewed scientists.

Fascinating! Where will keyword searching IR be in 5-10 years from now? Imagine other consequences (e.g, in courtrooms or personal relations)?! The ethical and social implication are equally scary... Will there be time when there won't be private thoughts? At the expense of some direly needed convenience, of course...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Words on Trial: The New Yorker

What can "language detectives" contribute to solving "language crimes" (e.g., extortion, black-mailing, fraud)?


 In courtroom situations, how reliable are witness narratives? 

Who's the author of a note?
Can someone's writing style be distinctly recognizable?


How much does the meaning depend on our expectations?
Are these linguistics always right?
"Words on Trial: Can linguists solve crimes that stump the police?" --
 Click here for full article

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Poetry for Children

This IS Literacy

There are lots of books of poetry out there, many are aimed at children.  Here is a short list of some great books to check out when trying to get your child/student engaged in writing or reading poetry: