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Comment: Re:Really? Theory of Mind (Score 1) 219

by mcswell (#48852385) Attached to: Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

I don't know whether empathy was a precise concept--maybe some psychologist tried to define it, but IANAPs.

Sometimes it seems like my dog, and maybe my cat, have empathy. But I would never think of them as having a theory of my mind. I realize I may be anthropomorphizing, but I think the picture--whether or not it's true--provides some insight into what the difference would be between empathy and theory of mind. The fact that we can distinguish them, however, does not of course mean that the distinction is useful in reality; that's an empirical--not definitional--question.

Comment: Stands to non-reason (Score 2) 181

by mcswell (#48852317) Attached to: NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

Spying on another country does not constitute an attack; bringing down its systems would be an attack. Like bringing down a company's computer systems would be an attack. (Spying on US companies by network infiltration has been going on for decades, including defense contractors; to my knowledge, while that spying was frowned on, it hasn't been labeled an attack.)

It's also the case that North Korea is technically still at war with South Korea, which is an ally of ours. And it has attacked boats in international waters. And it has nukes, which it has threatened to use on other countries, including Japan (another US ally) and the US. And it has rockets capable of achieving orbit, which could in principle be used to deliver those nukes. I don't say that any of these are plausible imminent threats, but it would be foolish of the US not to use all means it can--short of attacks--to keep track of the reality behind the threats.

Whereas Sony is an entertainment company.

Comment: Re:There is no Lollipop update (Score 1) 437

by mcswell (#48808739) Attached to: Is Kitkat Killing Lollipop Uptake?

I came to this article thinking maybe I had missed s.t., maybe it was possible to upgrade my phone's OS after all. Of course it isn't (at least not easily). But I have to wonder why. Why is it I can upgrade the OS on my PC (or change it to an entirely different OS), but not my cell phone or tablet?

Comment: Re:Chicago schools (Score 1) 169

by mcswell (#48808511) Attached to: Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

I went to my son's grade school PTA meeting, determined to become an involved parent. (This was about 20 years ago.) The Principal told us that he couldn't tell us where the new school was being built, but if we'd heard the rumors we probably knew. I had not heard any rumors, so I was unenlightened by this. They then gave the salesman who had sold the school its yearly fund raiser 3 minutes to talk. He talked for 2 minutes 57 seconds (yes, I timed him) about how the cheeses were wrapped that the students would sell. I suppose some other things came up in the PTA meeting, but those are the two that stand out in my memory (the others must have been even less memorable).

I lost my determination to be involved, at least through the PTA. I'd be interested to hear if all PTAs are this ineffective, or if my experience is typical.

Comment: Re:Chicago schools (Score 1) 169

by mcswell (#48808497) Attached to: Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

...and before that (50+ years ago), it was called the New Math. It put me and everyone in my junior high school a year behind in High School math compared with the students coming to that same High School from a junior high that resisted the New Math. (Fortunately, I had a High School math teacher my junior year who let me read the trig textbook and work the exercises at the same time I took his Algebra II class. I caught up, but I think I was the only student who did so.)

Comment: Re:solved problems (Score 1) 71

by mcswell (#48648975) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator

Not sure exactly what you're saying, and in fact I said I was NOT disagreeing.

To be more specific, I'm sure there is no Skype translator (nor any other speech-to-speech translator) between Navajo and Yup'ik, both of which are relatively low density languages (i.e. few computational resources). And no one has (afaik) made even a text-based MT system between either of these languages and English (or some other interlingua), much less between the two of them. (Might be easier between Navajo and Gwich'in, I suppose, both being Athabaskan languages and therefore more structurally similar; but still not done.) Nor are there, afaik, any S2T systems for either of these languages (probably not any T2S systems either). Nor for most of the other 7000 or so languages on this planet.

Well-resourced languages are like English, French, Mandarin, (Modern Standard) Arabic, etc.

Comment: Re:Information density (Score 1) 150

by mcswell (#48647863) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Ah, thanks--I'll have to look up the original article in Language on my shelves when I get back to my office, I'd forgotten about that one.

I guess I was thinking of information density as measured by time (dI/dt), whereas these measurements are by syllable count (dI/dS). They make the point that the time-based measure is virtually the same for all languages. I do wonder what the density as measured by phonemes would be, since Spanish tends to have more open syllables than English. Maybe they looked at this.

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. -- Ernest Haskins

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