Zipf’s law: the curious aspect of human language and communication in nature

No Comments

If words are ranked according to how often they are used, then a clear mathematical relationship arises. The third most common word occurs one-third as frequently as the most common. Similarly the tenth most common word occurs one-tenth as frequently as the most common. This observation was popularised by the American linguist George Zipf who tried to explain it. Curiously, the relationship is also found elsewhere in nature; in the sounds made by dolphins and humpback whales, and even in the chemicals some plants produce as signals for insects.

‘Bogus’ scholarly society agrees to publish papers without peer review

No Comments

‘If you wish to publish your paper immediately without peer review. We can do it for you.’ Background Briefing exposes the predatory practices of an open access publisher that claims to be one of Sydney’s leading scientific associations.

Google Books Ngram Viewer

No Comments

For example

Conference: 9th international symposium on Iconicity

No Comments

here’s a link to the conference website

there’s also a permanent link in the ‘conferences’ blogroll, way down on the right…

You are what you Facebook ‘like’

No Comments

Research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows patterns from these Facebook preferences can provide surprisingly accurate estimates of your race, age, IQ, sexuality and other personal information.

The researchers developed an algorithm which uses Facebook likes – which are publicly available unless a user chooses stronger privacy settings – to create personality profiles, potentially revealing a user’s intimate details.

These mathematical models proved 88 per cent accurate for differentiating males from females and 95 per cent accurate distinguishing African-Americans from whites.

The algorithms were also able to extrapolate information such as sexual orientation, whether the user was a substance abuser, or even whether their parents had separated.

This data can be used for advertising and marketing, but it also could make users cringe because of the amount of personal data revealed, the researchers said.

“It’s very easy to click the ‘like’ button, it’s seductive,” said David Stillwell, a psychometrics researcher and co-author of the study with colleagues from the University of Cambridgeand Microsoft Research.

“But you don’t realise that years later all those likes are building up against you.”

Stillwell says that while Facebook data was used in this study, similar profiles could be produced using other digital data including web searches, emails and mobile phone activity.

“You can come to the same conclusions with many forms of these digital data,” he says.

The study examined 8,000 US Facebook users, who volunteered their likes, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results.

While some of the patterns appeared obvious – Democrats like the White House while Republicans liked George W. Bush – others were less direct.

Extroverts liked actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, while introverts gravitated toward the film The Dark Knight. Those determined to be “liberal and artistic” liked singer Leonard Cohen and writer Oscar Wilde, while conservatives preferred Nascar racing and the film Monster-in-Law.

The predictions relied to a large degree on inference, by aggregating huge amounts of data: those predicted to be homosexual were tagged as such not because they clicked on sites about gay marriage, but because of their preferences in music and TV shows, for example.

Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82 per cent of cases, and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse, between 65 and 73 per cent.

People with high IQs more frequently liked The Colbert Report television show and films including The Godfatherand To Kill a Mockingbird.Those with lower IQs preferred Harley Davidsons and Bret Michaels of the rock band Poison.

For Those Of You With Jobs

No Comments

Cool Yule!

No Comments

MAK Halliday At Connecting Paths 2010

No Comments

MAK Halliday at Connecting Paths, Sun-Yat Sen University and City U HK, November 2010

Michæl Halliday – Language Evolving: Some Systemic-Functional Reflections On The History Of Meaning

No Comments

An Ecology of Mind: A Film by Nora Bateson

No Comments

Older Entries

Get Adobe Flash player