Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Research tensions in NLP

"There seems to be kind of Boyle-Mariotte Law (volume times pressure is constant) in operation: at one end of the scale, researchers apply a lot of “pressure” (deep analysis) to a few dozen to few thousand items; at the other end, they apply analytic techniques that are a great deal shallower, but the volume of items is considerably larger, often in the millions to hundreds of millions of items."

Andras Kornai and Beth Sundheim
In the introduction of a workshop.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Social aspects of knowledge

"Values and norms are also formed within cultures and this affects the way people classify, e.g. fruit and vegetables are common categories in Western cultures, but are not universally recognised and Western language and culture is sometimes characterised as encouraging people to think in categories, whereas Eastern cultures are described as promoting thinking in terms of concepts."
"If it is accepted that knowledge is a social process, affected by issues of power and dominance, it follows that the powerful do not merely dominate how knowledge is represented or used, but what counts as knowledge at all. Political philosophers such as Foucault claim that what is considered true by any community at any time is dependant on a dominant discourse influenced by socio-political or cultural factors."

Assessing information taxonomies using epistemology and the sociology of science, Fran Alexander

Friday, June 1, 2012

Consequences of the fall of Constantinople

  1. The influx of Greek scholars into the West propelled further the Renaissance.
  2. European military advances were fuelled by constant Ottoman threat.
  3. As the main overland trade link between Europe and Asia was severed, more Europeans began to seriously consider the possibility of reaching Asia by sea.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Christianity - language and culture schism

"Many other factors caused the East and West to drift further apart. The dominant language of the West was Latin, whilst that of the East was Greek. Soon after the fall of the Western Empire, the number of individuals who spoke both Latin and Greek began to dwindle, and communication between East and West grew much more difficult. With linguistic unity gone, cultural unity began to crumble as well. The two halves of the Church were naturally divided along similar lines; they developed different rites and had different approaches to religious doctrines. Although the Great Schism was still centuries away, its outlines were already perceptible."

More here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Decline of an empire

As one Ummayad chieftain responded to a question about the reasons of the decline of their empire: 

"Rather visiting what needed to be visited, we were more interested in the pleasure and enjoyment of life; we oppressed our people until they gave up and sought relief from us, [...] we trusted our ministers who favoured their own interests and kept secrets from us, and we unhurriedly rewarded our soldiers that we lost their obedience to our enemies."