/. postings: On Computer Translators During Wartime
American soldier 1: We didn't plan on leaving the electricity and water off for months, you know.
Administration-enabled translator: We are so happy that you love America for toppling your eeeeeeevil dictatorship!
American soldier 2: Hoo yah, we're gonna git us some awl!
Administration-enabled translator: We are going to train you to defend yourselves before we leave!
American soldier 3: Dude, I was totally kidding about your sister
Administration-enabled translator: Why do you HATE FREEDOM?!
American soldier 4: See, we worship the same thing, really - God, Allah, means the same thing!
Administration-enabled translator: Praise JESUS!this was in response to
Computer Translator Ready for Use in Iraq
/. posting: On Language (minus Will Safire)
Trade languages don't erode the use of local languages (what's "cultural language"?) - trade languages get used because there isn't a language in common. ("No language was harmed in the making of this commercial transaction")
On many occasions, it's been shown that if the pidgin language is used consistently around kids, they'll start using it, but just add in all this extra grammatical stuff that they expect to hear but don't - and then the language is said to become "creolized".
Also: we don't predominantly think in language. We think in something that's more base than, and was prior to, language. Everyone always hears that decades-old, long-ago-disproven Whorfian line, that people (in the same species, with the same neurological makeup) actually think differently according to what language they speak - but no one's buying it anymore except those Psych 101 students who are going to major in elementary education instead of cognitive development.
I'm a language dork so I feel like I HAVE to comment every time I see language stuff on /. Except for all those "it's"es where it should be "its". Those, I can let you guys have.
this was in response to
Really though it's most important because the technology can eventually eliminate the need for trade languages, which can eventually erode the use of local, cultural language. Since we [predominantly] think in language, people who speak different languages think differently and that is valuable. At the same time, it will probably never eliminate the need for fluent human translators, because sentience appears to be a necessary quality for the best command of language.
From the Activism Files
This weekend, I rolled out of bed after a party where I'd consumed champagne-&-raspberry-malt-liquor out of a plastic cup (trashy glam homos rock! Happy burfaday, you Tasmanian freaker) and took my tired ass to the Convention Center to unleash my own brand of unobtrusive-but-admonishing activism onto the neuroscientists in attendance.
I was originally planning on handing them out as people walked off the Metro, but I was able to walk right in the building without any guards stopping me or checking a pass. I did ask one Convention Center employee at an info desk if it was OK if I handed out "this pro-science flyer? [demonstrates]" She said it was not permitted, "because you might get caught." Oh, is it that easy? I slinked away, smirking "Right. Or I might not."
She smiled back. Black women run this town. Civil not-quite-obedience does earn you a little respect.
You'll note His Honorable Highness of Utter Chilldom, the Dalai Lama, was in attendance at this very conference composed entirely of otherwise nonreligious attendees. No, I didn't get to spam him with my missive - all those State Department Condie-lovers crawling about, and all. But I like to think I got the notion to a few convention attendees that people everywhere, including those who read Jack Chick tracts (and try to imitate them), are watching scientists and are expecting them to get their shit together. Below, my missive...
Yes, that's the elephant butt from Chris Mooney's book. Yes, that's two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling (1954 Chemistry; 1963 Peace.)
The Venus Express. All aBOOOARD, bitches!
The Venus Express, the newest probe bound for our sister world, finally pulled out of the Baikonur Station (in The Kazakh Stan.) It's not often I can reference Big Eighties Hair bands that pertain to some millennial rocket launchins (I'm lookin' at you, Belinda Carlisle - "Heaven is a Place on Earth" sounds like an argument to disband the space program) but today, after a long wait for the launch, begins ... an even longer wait. Eh, what's a travel time of three months equal to in Venusian years?
I can't wait that long. Hobbitty little Transuranic is impatient! I want to see lead melt on the surface. I want to see what our own atmosphere might become, given enough deals on Hummers and Ford Escapes and enough years of avoiding the Kyoto Protocol. I want to see heavy metals rain down, like it would on our sister world, from a sky thicker than the hairsprayed locks of that center blond chick in Bananarama. (In high school, we called those "battle bangs".)