The All-Thing

All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.

各位能夠讀中文得來賓您好。小的這還在學中文中,恐怕中文寫得不太好,希望你們還看得懂。


閒居初夏午睡起 (楊萬裡)

梅子留酸軟齒牙,芭蕉分綠與窗紗。
日長睡起無情思,閒看兒童捉柳花。

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Tue, 07 Oct 2003

Voynich Manuscript

This is pretty cool.

"The Voynich manuscript dates back at least to the seventeenth century, though it is possibly much older. It is approximately 240 pages long, and its pages are filled with hand-written text and crudely drawn illustrations. The illustrations depict plants, astrological diagrams, and naked women. These illustrations are strange, but much stranger is the text itself, because the manuscript is written entirely in a mysterious, unknown alphabet that has defied all attempts at translation."

sample page

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/voynich.html (and many more, e.g. the Google Directory entry).

Though I hadn't heard of it, this is apparently pretty well-known in the NLP community as it's a nice, compact and compelling open question (e.g. Eric Brill used it as a project in his classes). And it follows Zipf's Law, suggesting that there is an actual natural language underlying the document.

Posted at 16:04 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 03 Sep 2003

Sudden book influx

During the past week, three people at work have independently and without prior warning left books for me to read. I have:

  1. Lolita
  2. The Stars My Destination
  3. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Pirates

Was it something I said? Does this particular selection something about my personality?

This reminds me, I've been meaning to write a mini-review for Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others and China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, both of which I read in SA, but the very very short review (for both) is: <shrug>.

Posted at 10:57 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Tue, 19 Aug 2003

Language Modeling for Information Retrieval

Whoohoo, just received a complementary copy of my book. Ok ok, I just contributed to one chapter; it's not really mine. Still, it's pretty cool to have a hardback publication.

UPDATE 8/24/03: realized I had a link already for purchasing this book directly from Kluwer. The advantage is that they list the table of contents and you can verify I'm really there. :)

Posted at 15:21 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Mon, 21 Jul 2003

The Dispossessed

Been re-reading The Dispossessed again, probably for the tenth time. Which must mean I'm feeling morose, cause it's my favorite book and usually cheers me up. But for the first time, I'm having trouble really appreciating it. I think maybe I've matured too much to be able to buy into it any more—so much of the society on Annares just seems like a simple-minded feminist socialist utopia that it just rings hollow. I can't sufficiently suspend disbelief any more.

There are still pockets, here and there, of a kind of transcendental Zen bliss that I really enjoy (Shevek and Shevet, Shevek and Gimli), but overall, I can't get past the feeling that Annares is a thinly-disguised version of LeGuinn's own naively idealized society, a society that has, and depends on having, miraculously erased certain fundamentals of human nature.

Posted at 22:49 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 25 Jun 2003

Jazz Violin

Holy shit. I want this book so bad. I have been on an insane Grappelli kick, and the other Matt Glasser fiddle book that I have is fantastic.

It's cool to think that I'm only three degress away from Grappelli in terms of instruction.

Posted at 10:35 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink

Tue, 24 Jun 2003

Kokoro

Just finished reading Kokoro. I liked it more than I expected, given that I generally have a very low tolerance for classics (often near-regardless of time period or country of origin—someone who sees tremendous value in, or has the patience for, classics, I am not). The fact that the entire thing was a long exposition on man's fundamental loneliness, inescapable except through death, might explain my appreciation. I tend to dig that kind of thing.

Anyways, it's written in very simple, clear prose, and has a nice personal take on generation gap issues, which, I suspect, were particularly strong in Japan during the giant cultural transition that was the Meiji restoration. Worth reading.

Posted at 10:52 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink


   

For courage mounteth with occasion. -- William Shakespeare, "King John"