Irish parking sign with a Tironian ⁊, or et. If you visit Ireland, you’ll see that official signs (such as road signs and the like) are written in both English and Irish. On some of them you’ll see a character that looks like a backwards ‘r’, like this: ⁊. It’s used instead of an ampersand, or &. Although I knew the glyph and its meaning (it’s common enough on signage, and some of my teachers used it when they wrote on the board), until yesterday I never knew why it looked like that.
You may have heard the news that Lee Sedol, a Go Master, has been defeated by a computer program created by a group of Google engineers. A second match is underway today. The Google/DeepMind team has a technical paper in Nature describing AlphaGo, the program they wrote. Various commentators have remarked on the sometimes surprising but extremely effective moves that AlphaGo made. And of course there’s the usual half-serious musings about the inevitable robot uprising that this victory portends.
Had I the heavens’ enripened fruits,
Abloom with their epicuticular wax,
Cherry and sloe and chickasaw fruits,
Blue damson, greengage, mirabelle snacks,
I would make for you plum jam so sweet:
But I, being peckish, ate yours while alone
I have eaten the plums you kept out of the heat
Tread softly because there may be a stone.
As the Fall semester is about to begin, here again by popular demand are your invaluable, comprehensive, and wholly accurate twin guides to Interpreting Feedback. First—which, with the exception of a few lines, I didn’t write—is The American Grad Student’s Guide to Interpreting Feedback from Faculty Trained in Britain and Ireland:
Click for a larger version.
And second, its counterpart, The European Grad Student’s Guide to Interpreting Feedback from American Faculty:
We have changed the wording
In the workflow drop-down box
at the bottom of the Research Output entry screen
Validation is carried out by Editors of Content They check the metadata fields in the Pure record Old, New Entry in progress
Entry in progress Entry completed by User Validate The workflow statuses are visible The new wording has been chosen The actions behind the scenes are unchanged.
(With thanks to Martin O’Neill for the original administrative email.
This week on Hypercritical John Siracusa noted that a quote he had referred to about how kids have no respect for their elders these days—apparently often attributed to Socrates and allegedly found somewhere in Plato—in fact originates in a student essay from the early 1900s, summarizing such views in the ancient world. The context was John’s observation that a lot of cultural criticism purporting to be about real (and negative) social changes reduces to intergenerational grumbling about how the world used to be full of old people but increasingly seems to be full of young people.
We are pleased to present a short excerpt from the long-anticipated new work by the leading historical biographer of our time.
The Path to the Kitchen When he was young—back on his family’s small homestead in Cork, Ireland—Kieran Healy came down the stairs for breakfast with his mother, who would light the tiny gas heater (this was the 1970s; Ireland had yet to convert fully to nuclear power) in the damp, early morning chill.
Here’s another–surely unsurpassable–data point for Andrew Gelman’s ongoing interest in the question of whether people’s names influence their choice of occupation. Via Bryan O’Sullivan, the CEO of the charity Food for the Poor is named Robin Mahfood.
President Obama is in Ireland and thus so also is the presidential superlimo. The heavily-armored vehicle is an unholy hybrid of a Cadillac, a medium truck, and a small tank. According to the gearheads on Wikipedia, the vehicle is
fitted with military grade armor at least five inches thick, and the wheels are fitted with run flat tires … The doors weigh as much as a Boeing 757 airplane cabin door.
In case you were wondering who the go-to sources on l’affaire Strauss-Kahn are, at least according to Twitter:
The consequences of getting retweeted all over the place mostly involve being introduced to the range and sophistication of twitter spam and followbots.