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Comment 2014 scholarly book on language (Score 1) 626

Read David Braine's Language and Human Understanding: The Roots of Creativity in Speech and Thought[1]. Unless you think programming languages have anything to do with creativity and especially, in breaking wholes into parts (fun quotations of Bertrand Russell and Aristotle in the first two pages of de Koninck's "The Unity and Diversity of Natural Science"[2]), you need a whole different kind of language. The difference is between a structurally closed language which is 'dead' (Interpretive Social Science: A Second Look[3], 12; Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics[4], 79), and a structurally open language, which has that critical informality that allows one to explore new territory that the language was not 'designed' to address. Finally, from Jacques Ellul's The Humiliation of the Word[5]:

Meaning is uncertain; therefore I must constantly fine-tune my language and work at reinterpreting the words I hear. I try to understand what the other person says to me. All language is more or less a riddle to be figured out; it is like interpreting a text that has many possible meanings. In my effort at understanding and interpretation, I establish definitions, and finally, a meaning. The thick haze of discourse produces meaning.

All of intellectual life (and I use the word "all" advisedly), even that of specialists in the most exact sciences, is based on these instabilities, failures to understand, and errors in interpretation, which we must find a way to go beyond and overcome. Mistaking a person's language keeps me from "taking" the person—from taking him prisoner. (19)

Anyone who tries to circumvent the above (eliminating all ambiguity everywhere) is doing violence to creativity and humanity.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Language...
[2] http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aver...
[3] http://www.amazon.com/Interpre...
[4] http://www.amazon.com/Interpre...
[5] http://www.amazon.com/The-Humi...

Comment Re:How fitting—doesn't need to be! (Score 1) 333

The current incarnation of the media might need this—especially if they rely on advertising instead of being paid by the people who consume what they produce. As it turns out, who pays determines what is made/said! This is merely capitalism at work, and here I mean 'capitalism' entirely neutrally—an emergent system based on many individuals voting on their conception of 'good' and 'bad'. Yeah I've been reading some F.A. Hayek recently. I don't think all incarnations of the media require this. Some might need actual mature adults. You know, if they wanted to actually make the world a better place instead of spread inanity and mediocrity around like some cheap butter substitute. (Yeah, I'm a butter supremacist.)

Comment Open Annotation already exists (Score 1) 142

This exists: Open Annotation:

Annotation is a pervasive activity when reading or otherwise engaging with publications. In the physical world, highlighting and sticky notes are common paradigms for marking up and associating one's own content with the work being read, and many digital solutions exist in the same space. These digital solutions are, however, not interoperable between systems, even when there is only one user with multiple devices.

This document lays out the use cases for annotations on digital publications, as envisioned by the W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group, the W3C Open Annotation Community Group and the International Digital Publishing Forum. The use cases are provided as a means to drive forwards the conversation about standards in this arena.

There's a San Francisco 501(c)(3) working on this stuff: hypothes.is

Comment let's look into psychology of the mass murderers (Score 1) 1633

I just came across Canada stabbing victims identified as students: ‘They were all good kids’. The dichotomy is intriguing:

(1) The victims were 100% innocent.
(2) The murderer was 100% guilty.

Bang Bang You're Dead is a great way to explore the question, "What if this dichotomy were wrong?" Now, I don't mean to assert that victims always match the pattern in Bang Bang. Sometimes people lash out at folks who had nothing to do with their pain. But sometimes they do. And when we assert (1) and (2), we sometimes depart from a true description of the situation. Do we care about this?

The idea that merely removing guns from the populace will stop the 'badness' which leads to a good proportion of mass murder is delusional. It'll merely suppress visibility of the problem. Sadly, many are just fine with this. Treating the symptoms is easier than treating the cause. False dichotomies are easier than uncomfortable tensions.

Comment Developers need to eat (Score 1, Interesting) 1098

Does RMS have plans for how developers will eat if e.g. steals their code and makes it cheaper? Does he have plans for companies which wish to contribute some of their developer time to open source, and some to heavily-invested-in trade secrets? I've been in situations where I wanted to use and contribute to OSS for part of what I did, but couldn't because of copyleft. I wonder if this is why the embedded systems space has such terrible OSS support: the lack of sufficient 'boundaries' between modules in embedded code forces one to be fully infected by the virus or clear of it entirely.

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