Category Archives: Internet

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to didyoulearnanything.net.

I spent a lot of the last ten days installing WordPress, learning about CSS, fiddling with file permissions, and figuring out the new name and domain name. It’s a huge pleasure to finally be posting this.

I hope you like the new site. Let me know if you bump into any errors, or if you have ideas for improving the layout or something.

It’s been really great getting to know WordPress better. It really is an amazing project, and I’m glad I could move from the turnkey hosted environment of wordpress.com to this web server without needing to learn to use a whole new system.

As for the hosting, I was very happy to discover the provider I chose: NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. At first I was a little hesitant about using such a non-user-friendly service, and it’s been a true challenge. But it’s great to work with such a likable service provider. They have a really great attitude and it feels right to be their customer.

A note about Sappir.net:

Sappir.net currently still points to the old version of the blog. It will change to point here over the next few days. I think RSS feed subscriptions should continue working once the transfer is complete, but you should just remove the old feed and switch to the new one if you don’t want to miss anything.

Wired on Google’s Algorithm

Wired has a fascinating look into Google’s search algorithm and how it has developed. I may not have mentioned this, but I really love Google. However, I was hooked into this one by the quote provided on The Daily Dish, which made it sound like linguistics might come up:

Google’s synonym system understood that a dog was similar to a puppy and that boiling water was hot. But it also concluded that a hot dog was the same as a boiling puppy. The problem was fixed in late 2002 by a breakthrough based on philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theories about how words are defined by context. As Google crawled and archived billions of documents and Web pages, it analyzed what words were close to each other. “Hot dog” would be found in searches that also contained “bread” and “mustard” and “baseball games” — not poached pooches. That helped the algorithm understand what “hot dog” — and millions of other terms — meant. “Today, if you type ‘Gandhi bio,’ we know that bio means biography,” Singhal says. “And if you type ‘bio warfare,’ it means biological.”

Article link (via Daily Dish)

(Not much linguistics in there, but very interesting.)

Open Rights Group: How copyright extension actually works

The Open Rights Group’s Sound Copyright campaign has put up this helpful YouTube video to explain the issue of copyright extension in sound recordings.

YouTube: How copyright extension in sound recordings actually works

The European Parliament will soon vote on doubling the term of copyright in sound recordings. This measure will benefit the record labels but hardly anyone else. If you’re in Europe, go over and sign Sound Copyright’s online petition: link

New blog discovered!

I’ve discovered a new blog, ComingAnarchy.com. (Thanks, Google Reader!)

It looks like an interesting mix of topics. The latest Quote-of-the-Day post, from Friday (Jan. 9) is of particular interest  right now. Here’s an extended quote from the Economist:

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, has been saying all week that, although Israel’s immediate aim is to stop the rocket fire and not to topple Hamas, there can be no peace, and no free Palestine, while Hamas remains in control. She is right that with Hamas in power in Gaza the Islamists can continue to wreck any agreement Israel negotiates with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. Mr Abbas, along with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, may quietly relish Hamas being taken down a peg. Egypt is furious at Hamas’s recent refusal to renew talks with Fatah about restoring a Palestinian unity government.

(emphasis CA’s)