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.)
This is the first time I write here about linguistics. So far I have not considered myself qualified to say much about the topic, but finishing my third semester of undergraduate studies now, I feel I can start writing about it a little bit.
Language is all around us. It is everywhere, everyone uses it, and people are interested in languages wherever you go — people like languages. I get into spontaneous conversations about language with non-linguists several times a week. But when I tell people that I study linguistics, and moreover, that I’m into grammar theory, many are nearly shocked. “Grammar theory?! Why? Grammar is so boring!”. This post is an attempt to explain why, of all things, I love grammar. Continue reading Why Grammar?
A new study confirms something I have long suspected: the thing that makes videos games fun and attractive is the sense of achievement, not the violence. In my school and in many others, concerned parents have voiced their fear that their children are spending too much time playing video games, which is allegedly a waste of time and, depending who you ask, possibly dangerous because of the glorification of violence. My own parents used to take issue with my spending so much time on the computer, too, really.
But what is often misunderstood is what actually makes video games so attractive – what, in fact, makes games attractive in the first place. Let me give you a definition: Games are sets of restrictive rules, designed to create an artificial challenge that requires specific application of skill to surmount. This is the same in every context, from video games through board games through roleplaying games through card games and parlor games. It should be no surprise that children like games – children are incredibly eager to challenge themselves. Anyone with marginal involvement in the video game world knows that a game has to be challenging to be considered a good game.
Gamers and game-players are all in it for the challenge. And children, natural born learning machines, are challenge fiends. They love a challenge. So it should come as no surprise that they really like games.
Study: violence in games not that compelling for most gamers (Ars Technica) (Via Slashdot)