Tag Archives: Language

Are you a grammar guru?

The quiz almost got me on lay vs. lie but I scored 100%. How’d you do?


Click image to open interactive version (via Staples.ca).

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Stuff in the news 7/20/2013 – Technology

Robot

  • Pew Internet have released a study that determined specific pros and cons of using digital technology in a classroom environment. According to the survey, the majority of middle school and high school educators believe that digital tools increase student collaboration with applications such as Google Docs, and help them share their work through social media platforms…. Read more
  • I’m picturing Radar O’Reilly as a cyborg here…  The Cognitive Desktop: From Siri’s Creators, A Predictive Digital Personal Assistant
  • Just in case you want to really mitigate your Sharknado risk: SAMS wetsuits make surfers look less tasty
  • National Geographic has a fascinating piece up now about how forensic linguistics led to revealing J.K. Rowling as the actual author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. OK, so it’s not TIME magazine publishing about natural language processing but still great to see it being discussed mainstream. read about it here
  • Drones – use them only for good.
  • Did you sign a petition to stop phone record surveillance? Oh, well. Secret court renews controversial NSA phone data harvest program (Denver Post). John Perry wrote today in IEET that he likens this practice to piracy: “…there’s a way the NSA debate is like the piracy debate. The problem with a file sharer isn’t that he or she copied, but that the copy was done without permission. The NSA can be characterized as doing the same thing: copying data without permission. In both cases, a fundamental quality of digital technology — frictionless, nonrivalrous copying — enables the behavior. In both cases, the authority to grant permission is the key issue.”
  • And, to close out today’s SITN for Tech, two interesting things on mapping. The first is a project in London, ON, to map social good endeavors. The mapathon (next Thursday, the 25th) is open to the public.
  • The second is a new Coursera online class that actually started on the 17th (for 5 weeks), so you’ll have to play a bit of catch up for credit, I think:  Maps and the Geospatial Revolution The short description reads, “Learn how advances in geospatial technology and analytical methods have changed how we do everything, and discover how to make maps and analyze geographic patterns using the latest tools.” Hat tip Robert Dunne for the course link.

Stuff in the news 6/27/2013 – Communication

Vintage Telephone

Image courtesy of Daniel St. Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • I don’t know about this article. Maybe a better idea would be to have a vacation or concentrate on your business trip. We seemed to manage just fine before all this “connectedness”. DO have a plan in place, in case of emergency, of course – but we should all keep the immediate gratification aspects of technology in check: Ways Technology Keeps You Connected to Your Significant Other While Away
  • How often do you talk about something you’re passionate about (whether work, volunteer, or hobby) to someone who is completely outside your field? Or what about newcomers to what you do? I am terribly guilty at times of using acronyms or terminology that a newbie might not have been exposed to. At work, I have a policy on my team that if I explain something to a new team member, that person gets to explain it to someone else the next time.  The following article was written about science communication but applies to all of us who have to get across complex ideas to the public.  What is science communication?
  • Only the abstract is at this link – the full article is $30 but might be worth it if you have the change on hand… Technology and Collective Action: The Effect of Cell Phone Coverage on Political Violence in Africa
  • This may draw more attention to you than not doing it, by virtue of the notion that if you’re encrypting your info, you might have something interesting to spy on. Personally, that whole notion may be over the top but PRISM-proof your phone with these encrypted apps and services
  • … because we need another social network.  Potluck, A New Social Network Based on Link Sharing and Discussion
  • I love analogies. This author took a 1946 US Forestry Service document about being lost and compared it to what you should do if you’ve lost your bearings in handling your social media. It is true that I take an approach of “all who wander are not lost” but if I see no traction, I’ll try another route – e.g. breaking down these news posts by topics). At any rate, the poster is worth sharing and may even help you, should you get lost in the woods, literally!
  • “Monitoring electronic conversations just got a lot more powerful with the alliance of Digital Reasoning and OP3Nvoice, announced at SIFMA today.

    Digital Reasoning, with roots in defense and intelligence, can search and understand structured and unstructured data and use it to build a view of underlying entities, facts, relationships and discover geospatial and temporal patterns. OP3Nvoice can monitor audio, video and text conversations across channels including fixed lines, mobile and Skype and search and locate conversations very fast.”

  • What’s The Difference Between A Social Media Crisis And A Bonehead Move?
  • This is one of those “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” sorts of stories.  The confidence of Speech-Language Pathology students regarding communicating with people with aphasia. When I was an undergrad in speech & language pathology, I had the astoundingly fortunate opportunity to work in the U of M – Ann Arbor residential aphasia clinic. At that time, it was the only such residential facility in the country. One day, I was facilitating a group reading session and could not get a point across to one of the members. Apparently, I was saying the same thing as previous attempts but increasing my volume because one of the patients looked at me and said, “We’re aphasic, not deaf.” Oops! The point here is that it’s not something you really pick up in the myriad of classes you might take, it’s practical experience that really teaches you how to do things. This is true of the work world, as well as the world of clinical therapy – practice, practice, practice!
  • Webinar: Social Media Performance Metrics: Measuring Depth – Tuesday, July 2, 2013 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT

Stuff in the news 6/20/2013 – Communication

Vintage Telephone

Image courtesy of Daniel St. Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • How MomsRising and charity: water have used Storify & Quora for success
  • This piece is a good companion to my previous blog post, To Post or Not to Post. Things you should pay attention to when considering posting in the aftermath of a tragedy… Social Media Moments of Silence – 5 Areas to Monitor During Tragedies
  • Social-media tools allow anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account to play a role in determining how many readers a story reaches. And online communities such as the heavily trafficked Reddit enable readers to submit links to their favorite content, and vote up or down the content submitted by others, thereby changing a given item’s prominence on the site. The result is that the mainstream-media oligopoly is now just one force deciding what “the news” is and how important a story or image might be.“Over the last 100 years, you go from a point when a newspaper would be able to set the tone and the five top stories of the day, to what Walter Cronkite and his cohort would say on the evening news, and then to the explosion of cable news, and now the Internet,” says Gabriel Snyder, 36, the editor of The Atlantic Wire and former editor in chief of Gawker. “We’ve gone from having just a few handfuls of places that might set the agenda to this proliferation that is reaching a near infinite number of people who can define what the top story is today.” — Source: Streams of consciousness: Millennials expect a steady diet of quick-hit, social-media-mediated bits and bytes. What does that mean for journalism?
  • From NPR: “On July 3, the 1977 movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope will premiere dubbed in Navajo. The Navajo Nation and Lucasfilm have teamed up to translate the original Star Wars movie into Navajo, the first time a major motion picture has been translated into a Native American language.”
  • Do you really want to know what your cat thinks? Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals? 
  • Use it only for good….  NSA-Style Intelligence Comes To Financial Services Communications
  • “Monitoring electronic conversations just got a lot more powerful with the alliance of Digital Reasoning and OP3Nvoice, announced at SIFMA today.

    Digital Reasoning, with roots in defense and intelligence, can search and understand structured and unstructured data and use it to build a view of underlying entities, facts, relationships and discover geospatial and temporal patterns. OP3Nvoice can monitor audio, video and text conversations across channels including fixed lines, mobile and Skype and search and locate conversations very fast.”

  • Facebook is revamping their Insights again. I don’t know how this is going to affect analytics, comparatively, but you should be aware of the changes: Facebook Studio :: Blog | Updating Page Insights
  • Just one more reason to refrain from using “baby talk” to your infant –  “The little sounds and puffs of air that toddlers often inject into their baby babble may actually be subtle stand-ins for grammatical words, new research suggests.”
  • The [UK] government has published its communications plan for 2013 to 2014, prioritising professional development and innovative partnerships.

Stuff in the news 6/19/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Helping out our friends at Village Memorial in Portland, OR. They’ve entered a contest on the NASA Tech Briefs website and we want you to know about it and vote for them, if you would, please. The concept behind their project is that pathogens stay resident on a human body after it is dead, even up to a couple of days. This, of course , can be a health hazard to survivors of a disaster or first responders. Village Memorial has developed an eco-friendly method of removing these pathogens through the use of “mycelium enzymatic digestion”, or to use layman terms, pathogen-eating fungi. Here’s their video from YouTube:
  • There will be a full blog post coming soon but I want to mention this because it’s such a great use of virtual tech. I am at my new favorite hangout, Hillside Market, this afternoon and had a very nice chat with  the owners, Trish and Pam, who was paying barista today. Also here was Fernando Aleo, owner of the now closed Epazote restaurant that used to be on Agua Fria in Santa Fe.  Turns out that one of Fernando’s projects has been to host virtual dinners between Santa Fe, NM and Chihuahua, MX. He creates the menus and has staff in both locations and they meet by Skype. Is that not cool? Definitely looking forward to his new ventures here in Santa Fe!
  • Haiku Deck is one of those apps that I’ve been meaning to try but I’m so averse to doing anything on an iPad that I have to see extremely well, like spreadsheets. Still, this article is making me reconsider, as the author is pretty honest about the shortcomings it has. May major worry is the notion that you have to upload the presentation to their server and it’s not reliable. I do have a pico projector, so I suppose I could present directly from the iPad but it’s not ideal, since I like to share my slide decks.
  • Good stuff in here: 50 Ways Your Business Can Get The Most Out of Gmail
  • ” In the future, a grandmother’s crowning achievement—the thing she never forgets to remind her grandchildren about—will be that Justin Bieber retweeted her once. The framed screenshot of the RT will become a family heirloom.” — Has The Internet Changed Our Definition Of Success?
  • Feedly rocks! The pending integration with Sprout Social will make it even better. Feedly Cloud Available to All Users Two Weeks Before Google Reader Shuts Down, Press Updates With Support
  • Four ways OS X Mavericks will save your MacBook’s battery.
    • Great. Now fix the battery life on the iPhone….

Stuff in the news 6/18/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Cat tracking – what better use of cameras and GPS, really? Secret life of the cat: What do our feline companions get up to?
  • Be one with the storm. “Our vehicles don’t fight the hurricane; we use the hurricane to take us places,” said [Kamran] Mohseni, the W.P. Bushnell Endowed Professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the department of electrical and computer engineering.” Disposable Drones Will Collect Data by Surfing Along with Hurricanes
  • The Vasisala Lightning Explorer site depicts 20-minute delayed strikes on a map and refreshes every 20 minutes.
  • Ushahidi co-founder, Julia Rotich, gives a TED talk on developing resilient connectivity in Africa:
  • Given that I was just stranded by United Airlines overnight in Denver and couldn’t find more than about three outlets at the gate, it’s good to know that NYC is planning to Offer Free Phone-Charging Stations in Parks
  • The U.S. Government Wants Your Input on Human Spaceflight
    • “What good is human spaceflight?This is the question being posed by the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) on behalf of The National Academies, and they want your answers….Submissions, which have a four-page limit, should answer three guiding questions:
      1. What are the important benefits provided to the United States and other countries by human spaceflight endeavors?
      2. What are the greatest challenges to sustaining a U.S. government program in human spaceflight?
      3. What are the ramifications and what would the nation and world lose if the United States terminated NASA’s human spaceflight program?”

Stuff in the news 6/18/2013 – Communication

Vintage Telephone

Image courtesy of Daniel St. Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Researchers in the UK used AI algorithms to model online reading preferences, using machine learning. The results are somewhat disappointing for my public affairs friends.
    • “The research, led by Nello Cristianini, Professor of , identified the most attractive keywords, as well as the least attractive ones, and explained the choices readers made… Professor Cristianini, speaking about the research, said: “We found significant inverse correlations between the appeal to users and the amount of attention devoted to public affairs… …”People are put off by public affairs and attracted by entertainment, crime, and other non-public affairs topics.”
  • Looking for a robust social media management system. It may require some monetary investment but check out Figure 8 in this Slide Share. A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation
  • “In moments of political and military crisis, people want to control their media and connect with family and friends. And ruling elites respond by investing in broadcast media and censoring and surveilling digital networks.” – Why Governments Use Broadcast TV and Dissidents Use Twitter
    • Note to ruling elites (and PIOs, as well):  You do not control the message on the interwebs. Get used to it. Engage or be overshadowed. Monitoring is a good thing, if you know what to do with the results.
    • Don’t really get this engagement thing? Here’s one place to start: 3 Models of Citizen Engagement – GovLoop
  • 5 (weird) Ways Government is Experimenting with Social Media
  • Do you really want to know what your cat thinks? Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals? 
  • Use it only for good….  NSA-Style Intelligence Comes To Financial Services Communications
  • “Monitoring electronic conversations just got a lot more powerful with the alliance of Digital Reasoning and OP3Nvoice, announced at SIFMA today.

    Digital Reasoning, with roots in defense and intelligence, can search and understand structured and unstructured data and use it to build a view of underlying entities, facts, relationships and discover geospatial and temporal patterns. OP3Nvoice can monitor audio, video and text conversations across channels including fixed lines, mobile and Skype and search and locate conversations very fast.”

  • If the story is being reported accurately, this policy in River Bend, IL makes so much more sense than just banning teachers and students from “friending each other”. The policy prohibits individual contact, including by phone and requires the teachers to go through parents or a mass messaging system for event cancellations. Have a policy and make it consistent. Social media is just a communication tool. School District Limiting Communication Between Staff and Students
  • In another school district in Massachusetts, a teacher is advocating and implementing a comm plan. How about that? I have concerns about the notion of her students e-mailing her individually and probably would have opted for a collaborative space where they can post pictures without doing that but just the notion that she has a plan for everyone to follow is quite impressive:
    • “Communication protocols and systems create an almost seamless structure which leaves room for more responsive student service and coaching.”
    • Indeed.
  • Apparently, there’s a downside to more connectivity. Increased cell phone coverage tied to uptick in African violence: ‘Significantly and substantially increases the probability of violent conflict’

Stuff in the news 6/12/2013 – Communication

Vintage Telephone

Image courtesy of Daniel St. Pierre / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was going to make this topic social media but I want to keep it out there that social media is just a mode of communication, like the telephone or the megaphone or messages in bottles. Sure, you may have to modify your message to fit it into allotted space but that was true if your dime ran out in a phone booth, too (Remember phone booths?).

  • Former FCC Head: In times of crisis, open WiFi can keep us connected (6/6)
  • Another great use of #Skype –> Fordham Notes: Using Skype to Bridge the Gap Between Cultures – http://bit.ly/13F0taX
  • “What matters more than the goal of language learning is its motivation. Instead of regarding “foreign” language instruction as a means for preserving academic privilege or meeting the demands of a global marketplace, we need to embrace the acquisition of languages as a preparation for one of the most fundamental experiences we share as human beings—the encounter with difference. We should all learn how to become translators so we can appreciate and negotiate the inherent challenges and promises of traversing gaps in meaning between languages and people. Inter-human understanding lies somewhere between the puzzling incommensurability of languages and the utopian desire to achieve the seemingly impossible—a common language.” Source: Patrick M. Erben: Learning Foreign Languages Increases Inter-Human Understanding
  • Interesting…. A quoted statement by Facebook powers-that-be says that they have long allowed scientific photos of the human body and photos of women breast-feeding. Yet friends are still protesting removals of such photos. Who’s right? Old protest, as sometimes happens? What is it that makes some people not want to talk about such things? How can a mother feeding her child be obscene? Strange, that.  Facebook Announces It Will Now Allow Post-Mastectomy Photos
  • Nothing new here, in my opinion. I’ve long put hashtags on my page for searchability and archiving during fires and other disasters. Use of hashtags is perfectly fine. Using Facebook as if it were Twitter and posting blow by blow accounts of an event, not so much. How hashtags will change Facebook | Digital Trends

  • Another book for the queue… Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection [Kindle Edition] It turns out I actually agree with the author of the essay that he is reviewing on his blog here…

“Dobelli asks, “Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business.” Most stories, he argues, “are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitised, sarcastic and fatalistic.”

But I’m interested to see Ethan Zuckerman’s arguments to the contrary. – See more at: http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2013/06/12/linking-news-and-action/#sthash.0Lh2e1td.dpuf

Stuff in the news 6/11/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Verbling brings immersive language learning into your living room (exclusive)

Given how badly my foreign languages have rusted over, I do believe it’s tie to look into this.