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Babel's Dawn: Which Came First, the Word or the Gesture? -
Babel's Dawn: Which Came First, the Word or the Gesture?
"Susan Goldin-Meadow is a hero on this blog because her work is both serious and original. It fills a gap in our understanding. In 2008 she presented a report on gesture that has stayed with me. It made clear that gestures are a natural way of illustrating what is not included in a grammatical structure. For example, a person might say, "The plane ride was very…" and then illustrate the ride by moving the hand horizontally while simultaneously bouncing it up and down. Ever since that presentation I have been of the fixed opinion that gesture has, from speech's beginning, accompanied spoken words. So naturally I was pleased to see that Goldin-Meadow has published a paper titled "Widening the Lens" in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – B (abstract; paper). It summarizes her work." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Since apes gesture in the wild, it is often proposed that gesture led to speech, but we need to find a process that might link the two. Apes, after all, don't go on to speak, so why did we? Goldin-Meadow's paper suggests possible processes and their limits." - Maitani
SITES - The Visual Heritage Project -
"The Visual Heritage Project is an initiative to increase documentation on at-risk archaeological sites through crowd sourcing image collection. The Project takes an innovative approach to delivering this media by harnessing public data from social media and archival records. Through pairing these images, the Project provides a visual tour of history. Scroll through years of development as the images associated with the sites evolve over time, and begin exploring." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Graham Priest on Buddhism and logic by Massimo Pigliucci -
Graham Priest on Buddhism and logic by Massimo Pigliucci
"Graham Priest is a colleague of mine at City University of New York’s Graduate Center, a world renowned expert in logic, a Buddhist connoisseur, and an all-around nice guy [1]. So I always pay attention to what he says or writes. Recently he published a piece in Aeon magazine [2] entitled “Beyond true and false: Buddhist philosophy is full of contradictions. Now modern logic is learning why that might be a good thing.” I approached it with trepidation, for a variety of reasons. To begin with, I am weary of attempts at reading things into Buddhism or other Asian traditions of thought that are clearly not there (the most egregious example being the “documentary” What The Bleep Do We Know?, and the most frustrating one the infamous The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra). But I quickly reassured myself because I knew Graham would do better than that." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Memories of errors foster faster learning -- ScienceDaily -
Memories of errors foster faster learning -- ScienceDaily
"Using a deceptively simple set of experiments, researchers have learned why people learn an identical or similar task faster the second, third and subsequent time around. The reason: They are aided not only by memories of how to perform the task, but also by memories of the errors made the first time." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
""In learning a new motor task, there appear to be two processes happening at once," says Reza Shadmehr, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "One is the learning of the motor commands in the task, and the other is critiquing the learning, much the way a 'coach' behaves. Learning the next similar task goes... more... - Maitani
"The surprise finding in the current study, described in Science Express on Aug. 14, is that not only do such errors train the brain to better perform a specific task, but they also teach it how to learn faster from errors, even when those errors are encountered in a completely different task. In this way, the brain can generalize from one task to another by keeping a memory of the errors." - Maitani
I still can't see how the experiment they describe leads to the conclusions posed in the paper. - Maitani
Perhaps in over simplifying, but I didn't need science to know this. - MoTO: Team Marina from Android
What they describe are simple experiences everyone knows, and I can't find anything unexpected in the experiment. Why I was interested in this, was the assertion that "The surprise finding in the current study, described in Science Express on Aug. 14, is that not only do such errors train the brain to better perform a specific task, but they also teach it how to learn faster from... more... - Maitani
BBC News - Why is Sanskrit so controversial? -
BBC News - Why is Sanskrit so controversial?
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"India's new government focus on Sanskrit has sparked a fresh debate over the role language plays in the lives of the country's religious and linguistic minorities." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Inside a brightly lit classroom at Delhi's Laxman Public school, a group of students sing a Sanskrit hymn. Across the corridor, in another classroom, a group of grade eight students are being taught Vedic Mathematics, which dates back to a time in ancient India when Sanskrit was the main language used by scholars. It is all part of Sanskrit week - a celebration of the classical... more... - Maitani
"Sanskrit is a language which belongs to the Indo-Aryan group and is the root of many, but not all Indian languages." - That is inaccurate. Classical Sanskrit and other Indo-Aryan languages are closely related, but they very likely descend from two different dialects of Old Indo-Aryan. The language of the most ancient documents of Indo-Aryan is the so called Vedic Sanskrit or just Vedic... more... - Maitani
The right-wing Hindu nationalists have started their project, I see. - Eivind from Android
Northern language group moves against Southern? They're just appropriating medieval French culture! - Pete : Team Marina
Hinduism is present in all Indian languages, in Sanskrit or Hindi as well as in the non-Indo-Aryan languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam. It is also right that a huge part of Sanskrit literature was not about religion; for two millennia, Sanskrit was the universal language of literature and learning. Alas, it is not a new phenomenon at all that the language is used as an instrument of right-wing Hindu indoctrination. With the new government, the project undoubtedly gains pace. - Maitani
Plus, there is the detrimental influence of several nationalisms, Northern vs. Southern, and more. - Maitani
3quarksdaily: The colourful life of the man who translated Proust’s opus -
3quarksdaily: The colourful life of the man who translated Proust’s opus
"The subtitle of this entertaining biography describes CK Scott Moncrieff as a “Soldier, Spy and Translator”. But Jean Findlay, his great-great-niece, makes clear in Chasing Lost Time that the list of his accomplishments and activities did not end there. Scott Moncrieff was also a generous family man, a promiscuous homosexual and a converted Catholic. His colourful, 40-year life somehow seems to embody almost every literary cliché of his time, from poet of the trenches to jazz age expat. And yet his name never appeared on the front cover of any of the 20-odd books he published." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
bi de bize bak amk - Kucuk ren
w o w! - ma∟ıĸ
:-)) - Maitani
"I took part on Saturday in a panel discussion at the World Humanist Congress in Oxford on ‘Is there something about Islam?’ which debated whether ‘there is anything distinctive about Islam’ that leads to violence, bigotry and the suppression of freedom. Other panellists were Alom Shaha, Maajid Nawaz and Maryam Namazie. This is a transcript of my introductory comments." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Every year I give a lecture to a group of theology students – would-be Anglican priests, as it happens – on ‘Why I am an atheist’. Part of the talk is about values. And every year I get the same response: that without God, one can simply pick and choose about which values one accepts and which one doesn’t." - Maitani
"My response is to say: ‘Yes, that’s true. But it is true also of believers.’ I point out to my students that in the Bible, Leviticus sanctifies slavery. It tells us that adulterers ‘shall be put to death’. According to Exodus, ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’. And so on. Few modern day Christians would accept norms. Others they would. In other words, they pick and choose." - Maitani
A very good piece. - Eivind
And it is on such an important issue. I want to ask everyone of my acquaintances who are self-appointed critics of Islam and Quran to read it. Islamophobia is strong in Germany. - Maitani
Phlox, Engelstrompete, Fetthenne und Stockrose
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Like! - ma∟ıĸ
Thank you, Malik.That roof garden is my little hobby. :-) - Maitani
EM Forster: 'But for Masood, I might never have gone to India' | Books | The Guardian -
EM Forster: 'But for Masood, I might never have gone to India' | Books | The Guardian
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"It took EM Forster 11 years to write A Passage to India – what made his progress so slow? Damon Galgut explores the repression and unreciprocated love that influenced the author's most celebrated work" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"At the time that he embarked on A Passage, Forster was at a curious point in his creative life. All of his other published novels were written in a flurry between 1905 and 1910. He had published some short stories too, but there are strong indications that his novelistic impulses were running dry. He had started a new one, which he called "Arctic Summer", in 1911, but it had already stalled before he set out on his first visit to India and it would never be completed." - Maitani
A Passage To India - Location-Notes, Photos, and Maps of the Barabar Caves near Gaya, Bihar -
A Passage To India - Location-Notes, Photos, and Maps of the Barabar Caves near Gaya, Bihar
A Passage To India - Location-Notes, Photos, and Maps of the Barabar Caves near Gaya, Bihar
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"The Barabar Caves are some 35Km north of Gaya, in the state of Bihar. They were visited by author E.M. Forster on one of his two visits to India. Struck by their curious echo, he used them as a central location in his book 'A Passage To India', renaming them 'The Marabar Caves' for the story. The Marabar Caves don't really exist. Well, that's almost true. You can find out more about them on my Marabar Caves page, but for now, lets talk Barabar." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall -- ScienceDaily -
"People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research. Findings of the study suggest that simply telling learners that they would later teach another student changes their mindset enough so that they engage in more effective approaches to learning than did their peers who simply expected a test." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
""The immediate implication is that the mindset of the student before and during learning can have a significant impact on learning, and that positively altering a student's mindset can be effectively achieved through rather simple instructions," Nestojko said." - Maitani
Ogretmen ogretir. The teachers gonna teach. - clara glass from iPhone
bu iyi - hulusi
What Would Krishna Do? Or Shiva? Or Vishnu? - -
"This is the ninth in a series of interviews about religion that I am conducting for The Stone. The interviewee for this installment is Jonardon Ganeri, currently a visiting professor of philosophy at New York University Abu Dhabi and the author of “The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in Early Modern India 1450–1700.”" - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Neolithic dairy farming at the extreme of agriculture in northern Europe - http://rspb.royalsocietypublis...
"Abstract: The conventional ‘Neolithic package’ comprised animals and plants originally domesticated in the Near East. As farming spread on a generally northwest trajectory across Europe, early pastoralists would have been faced with the challenge of making farming viable in regions in which the organisms were poorly adapted to providing optimal yields or even surviving. Hence, it has long been debated whether Neolithic economies were ever established at the modern limits of agriculture. Here, we examine food residues in pottery, testing a hypothesis that Neolithic farming was practiced beyond the 60th parallel north. Our findings, based on diagnostic biomarker lipids and δ13C values of preserved fatty acids, reveal a transition at ca 2500 BC from the exploitation of aquatic organisms to processing of ruminant products, specifically milk, confirming farming was practiced at high latitudes. Combining this with genetic, environmental and archaeological information, we demonstrate the... more... - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Can a word really be untranslatable? | OxfordWords blog -
Can a word really be untranslatable? | OxfordWords blog
"There’s no such thing as an untranslatable word. There, I’ve said it. Despite all the memes, blogs, and books to the contrary, all language is inherently translatable. However, whether the broader meaning of a text – the jokes, philosophies, and cultural peculiarities of its language – is translatable depends almost entirely on the individual with their nose in the dictionary (not to mention the dictionary itself)." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"When we say that a word is untranslatable, we tend to mean that it lacks an exact or word-for-word equivalent in our own language. In our desire to make everyone and everything understood, we sometimes forget that languages are living, writhing beasts: they evolve and mutate at such a rate that their genetic make-up is by nature very different, and it is almost impossible to pin them... more... - Maitani
Translatable vs untranslatable - Maitani
AS IF STILL BURNING | Pandaemonium -
AS IF STILL BURNING | Pandaemonium
AS IF STILL BURNING | Pandaemonium
"This week marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Today marks  the anniversary of an even more grotesque event – the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Three days later the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. These remain the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Some 12 km² of Hiroshima were destroyed, as were around 69% of the city’s buildings. The images above, which were taken by the US military on the day, show Hiroshima before and after the bombing. Some 66,000 people are thought to have died in Hiroshima on the day; probably a similar number again died over the next four months as a result of their injuries or from radiation sickness. So fierce was the heat that people were vaporised but their shadows left upon the walls." - Maitani
The Language of Food: Tea if by Sea -
The Language of Food: Tea if by Sea
The Language of Food: Tea if by Sea
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"We drink a lot of tea in San Francisco—I guess you should expect no less for a city originally named Yerba Buena, after a local wild herb in the mint family (Satureja douglasii, shown to the right) used as an herbal tea." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"One local tradition is yum cha, 'drink tea' in Cantonese, the Chinese name for a mid-morning spent lingering over pots of tea with friends or family. Yum cha is invariably accompanied by dim sum: steamed shrimp dumplings, Malaysian-style steamed spice cakes, braised tofu skins stuffed with vegetables, pork siumai dumplings topped with fish roe. But the tea is what defines the ritual:... more... - Maitani
Why metaphor matters | OUPblog -
Why metaphor matters | OUPblog
"Plato famously said that there is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry. But with respect to one aspect of poetry, namely metaphor, many contemporary philosophers have made peace with the poets. In their view, we need metaphor. Without it, many truths would be inexpressible and unknowable. For example, we cannot describe feelings and sensations adequately without it. Take Gerard Manley Hopkins’s exceptionally powerful metaphor of despair: selfwrung, selfstrung, sheathe- and shelterless, thoughts against thoughts in groans grind." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"How else could precisely this kind of mood be expressed? Describing how things appear to our senses is also thought to require metaphor, as when we speak of the silken sound of a harp, the warm colours of a Titian, and the bold or jolly flavour of a wine. Science advances by the use of metaphors – of the mind as a computer, of electricity as a current, or of the atom as a solar system.... more... - Maitani
Eurozine - Do not trust economists! - Lukasz Pawlowski, Tomás Sedlácek, Marcin Serafin -
Eurozine - Do not trust economists! - Lukasz Pawlowski, Tomás Sedlácek, Marcin Serafin
"Treat economists like any religious minority, says Tomas Sedlacek. Grant them the right to say whatever they believe and the right to gather. But always be sceptical of the stories they tell. Just take the invisible hand of the market: it's plain wishful thinking, like a prayer." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
One (count 'em) economist (I forget their name and gender) predicted the (possibility of something akin to, but not necessarily on the scale of the actual) global economic meltdown before the fact. He (or she, possibly it, but definitely not they) is the exception that literally (yes, literally) proves the rule. - Slippy
Fascinating! - Son of Groucho
A Calendar Page for August 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog -
A Calendar Page for August 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog
A Calendar Page for August 2014 - Medieval manuscripts blog
"Agricultural labours continue in these two calendar pages for the month of August.  On the first folio, among a scatter border of flowers and insects, we see a roundel of two peasants, inside a barn.  They are at work threshing the wheat that was harvested in July, while, through the window behind them, we can see a few birds circling.  On the facing folio, a barefoot peasant is shaking a shallow basket, literally separating the wheat from the chaff.  Above him is a seated woman with a palm for the zodiac sign Virgo." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
BBC Nature - Dinosaurs 'shrank' regularly to become birds -
BBC Nature - Dinosaurs 'shrank' regularly to become birds
BBC Nature - Dinosaurs 'shrank' regularly to become birds
"Huge meat-eating, land-living dinosaurs evolved into birds by constantly shrinking for over 50 million years, scientists have revealed." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Theropods shrunk 12 times from 163kg (25st 9lb) to 0.8kg (1.8lb), before becoming modern birds." - Maitani
Watching some turkeys cross the road I could really see the dinosaur in them as they moved. Amazing to think such a thing can happen. - Todd Hoff
Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Wine cup of Pericles found -
Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Wine cup of Pericles found
"Experts are "99 per cent" sure that the cup was used by the Athenian statesman, as one of the other names listed, Ariphron, is that of Pericles' elder brother." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
""The name Ariphron is extremely rare," Angelos Matthaiou, secretary of the Greek Epigraphic Society, told the newspaper." - Maitani
The Smart Set: As the World Burned - July 25, 2014 -
The Smart Set: As the World Burned - July 25, 2014
The Smart Set: As the World Burned - July 25, 2014
"The Burning of the World: A Memoir of 1914 is a document of one man’s attempt to repaint his broken landscape. It is remarkable how quickly his world was lost. In hindsight, we think of the First World War as a four-year affair. We forget, though, that Austria-Hungary lost half of its men within the first two weeks of the war — 400,000 men, including 100,000 who were taken prisoner by the Russians. At the war’s start, the grand Austro-Hungarian soldier, with his long ridiculous sword, was often killed or maimed within days of reaching the battlefield. The injured and insane were sent home to wander their cities like ghosts, to parade before the horrified eyes of their neighbors. And the war kept going on." - Maitani
The Barefoot Bum: Does epistemology matter? -
The Barefoot Bum: Does epistemology matter?
"A number of articles recently assert that the epistemology of religion doesn't matter; what matters are the practices. (The latest of course, being Religion, Heuristics, and Intergenerational Risk Management, with my response.) And it is asserted that epistemology doesn't matter in a deep way: even if we know that the underlying structure of a set of practices is false, even in the "worst" sense of falsity, that doesn't matter. I find this position deeply problematic." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Amphitrite’s Brood: Sea-Monsters in the Classical World | res gerendae -
Amphitrite’s Brood: Sea-Monsters in the Classical World | res gerendae
"[δείδω μή] …τί μοι καὶ κῆτος ἐπισσεύῃ μέγα δαίμων ἐξ ἁλός, οἷά τε πολλὰ τρέφει κλυτὸς Ἀμφιτρίτη: [I’m afraid] that some god’s going to send a great sea-monster against me; glorious Amphitrite breeds them in numbers." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Culturally as well as geographically, the sea was central to the Classical world. These days we’re encouraged to think of the Mediterranean as something that united rather than divided the region, teeming with shipping and movement. All of this is true, but sea-faring was also deeply perilous,[1] especially in the autumn and winter. Shipwrecks and deaths at sea were common. It’s no surprise, then, that ancient Mediterranean waters were believed to be home to all manner of monstrous and deadly creatures." - Maitani
Indo-European Linguistics  »  Brill Online - http://booksandjournals.brillo...
Indo-European Linguistics  »  Brill Online
"The peer-reviewed journal Indo-European Linguistics (IEL) is devoted to the study of the ancient and medieval Indo-European languages from the perspective of modern theoretical linguistics. It provides a venue for synchronic and diachronic linguistic studies of the Indo-European languages and the Indo-European family as a whole within any theoretically informed or analytical framework. It also welcomes typological investigations, especially those which make use of cross-linguistic data, including that from non-Indo-European languages, as well as research which draws upon the findings of language acquisition, cognitive science, variationist sociolinguistics, and language contact." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
Fwd: Deaths in the Iliad: a Classics Infographic (via Demetrios the Traveller
BBC News - The most important battle you've probably never heard of -
BBC News - The most important battle you've probably never heard of
BBC News - The most important battle you've probably never heard of
"Exactly 800 years ago on Sunday, in a field next to what is now the airport of Lille, a battle was fought which determined the history of England." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"Today few people in the UK have heard of Bouvines. It has none of the ring of an Agincourt or a Crecy. Probably that is because England lost it. But the battle of 27 July, 1214, was just as significant as England's later victories over the French. Maybe more so." - Maitani
Bouvines and Muret- two 'obscure' battles with huge impace. Imperial loss at Bouvines as crucial as English; northern French victory at Muret also key in shaping France and thus Europe - Pete : Team Marina
It's right. I had never heard of it. But it sounds like it's one of those rare times when a defeat was probably the best outcome. - Mark H
I dunno. John being defeated was probably good, but the French winning- not so much ;) - Pete : Team Marina
Hah, weren't Maldon and Hastings also defeats? - Victor Ganata
Maldon led to an EPIC poem though ;) - Pete : Team Marina
Hasting to the Norman Yoke and thus, by winding roads, Lord of the Rings ;) - Pete : Team Marina
Babel's Dawn: How Can You Recognize Language? -
Babel's Dawn: How Can You Recognize Language?
"This is a blog about the origins of speech, but what began? How can we tell it when we see it? Parents usually say their children have started talking when they have a couple of words. Linguists tend to look for some hint of grammar. Some experts look for a favorite generative procedure. So there is room for argument even before we come up with a single fact about the beginnings." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"...But there is a long list of "design features" that characterize human language. In the 1950s and 60s the linguist Charles Hockett worked out a list of properties that, taken as a whole, were supposedly unique to language, and the list has become one of the commonsense tests of language origins. If your theory ends up with something that includes Hockett's properties, you may be onto... more... - Maitani
The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts - The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts -
The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts - The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts
The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts - The Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Mathematical Texts
"Cuneiform writing was invented some 5000 years ago in southern Iraq for the purpose of keeping accounts - and for the next few hundred years book-keeping remained its sole use. The last datable cuneiform tablet, also from southern Iraq, is an astronomical diary for the year 75 CE. For the three millennia spanning the rise and fall of cuneiform writing, and arguably for some time after, numeracy was an inseparable and essential part of literate culture throughout the Middle East." - Maitani from Bookmarklet
"While the vast majority of cuneiform tablets contain numerical data, written by professional scribes, a smaller number are the outcome of teaching, learning, or communicating mathematical techniques or ideas as part of scribal education. This website presents transliterations and translations of around a thousand published cuneiform mathematical tablets; a similar number await decipherment and analysis in museums around the world." - Maitani
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