In The Guardian:
"in this system of immense power, small differences can translate into large outcomes"
Also: Chomsky now has a weblog --- or, perhaps more accurately --- someone is posting Chomsky's comments on the Net for him:
All the entries read as though someone started recording Chomsky mid-lecture. For a few days, one could post comments. Not surprisingly, that did not last.
The first meeting of SPRIG will be this Friday, 9 AM, in the Phonetics Lab, Bartlett 6 (in the basement of Bartlett if you've never been there). Download the newest version of PRAAT beforehand.
Help us reach #1
Though WHISC has a tiny readership, we feel that this should not stop us from being #1. Anyway, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation seems to prefer WHINSEC.
Robert Stalnaker spoke earlier this evening at Amherst College:
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The Department of Communication Disorders cordially invited you to attend a presentation on Thursday, March 25th, 4-5 p.m. in 321 Arnold House:
Dr. LaVae Hoffman, Research Scientist
University of Texas at Austin
'Clinical Implications in Specific Language Impairment: Bridging Theoretical Investigations into Clinical Intervention Research'
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[If fewer interesting people with stimulating questions had stopped by the WHISC editorial offices today, we would have gotten this issue out in time for these notices to be of use to you.]
The GLSA welcomes
Friday, March 26, 3:30 pm, in Machmer W-26
Luis Alonso-Ovalle has posted his forthcoming NELS paper:
Luis Alonso-Ovalle. 2004. Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents. In Keir Moulton and Matthew Wolf, eds., 2004), Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society 34. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: GLSA.
Volodja and I got back Saturday evening from a week in Prague at the Mathesius Lecture Series (probably the last one ever), where we gave four lectures and attended lectures by Manfred Krifka and Stuart Shieber, and spent time with a number of our Prague friends and with 5 Georgian friends and colleagues who were attending Mathesius.
I especially enjoyed Manfred's lectures. Besides his 3-lecture series, he also delivered the annual Roman Jakobson lecture for the Prague Linguistics Circle, which all Mathesius participants were able to attend. (And then he was at a conference with Angelika in Leipzig at the end of last week.)
GEN and EVAL, but be very, very quick! ---
The Gen and Eval mechanisms are central for OT. Gen is a pattern generator. It creates the set of possible structural realizations of an input --- the candidate outputs. For our purposes, candidate outputs can be strings. Eval evaluates the entire set to determine which candidate output is optimal with respect to a finite set of constraints.
Here is your task:Someone (not necessarily B.G.) offers you US$1 billion if you fully and successfully apply GEN+EVAL to the following string of words, judging (as human evaluator) for each candidate whether it is a grammatical string:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.
Assume that the candidate set is given by the set of all permutation variants of the words in the quotation. This simplification (to a finite candidate set, with no symbols added or taken away) is not inherent in OT, but it is a live possibility that the set of potential winners is finite. With just this restriction in place, is it reasonable to accept the deal, given that you will get the money only after delivering?
Here are some clues:
Trafficking in verkehrts
The task of WHISC Whimsy #1 was to insert one word per box such that the example becomes a grammatical German sentence (inserting commas to taste):
Jan Anderssen was the first and only WHISC reader to supply a correct answer:
Hubert Haider's solution:
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In brief, WHISC Whimsy #2 told the story of a professor who valiantly displayed 19 CVC roots of proto-Finno-Ugric that he claimed to be derived from proto Indo-European (PIE). The question: Can we be sure that these are not accidental matches?
Hubert's answer begins from the solution to the Birthday Paradox: How many people must be in a room for the chances of two of them having the same birthday to rise above 50%? The answer is 23. Hubert then reasoned that 19 CVC roots out of a basic vocabulary of about 3000 places the chance level at 190 correspondences.
A week later, the professor for Indo-European Studies called me into his office. Look, he said to me, 35 Students are enrolled in my class, and there are no two with the same birthday. (He was not impressed by me pointing out that I had said: chance greater than 50%)
Click the postcard to see its other side.