Archive for Humor

A new draft…

This is not at all the experience that I've had with multiple-authored papers — but it's funny:

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DARPA/Dartmouth one/won …

Despite the evidence of my most recent relevant post, the best current speech-to-text systems still make mistakes that a literate and informed human wouldn't.

In this recent YouTube video on the history of robotics research, the automatic closed-captioning system renders "DARPA" as "Dartmouth":

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Text orientation ambiguity

Perhaps Victor can point us to an analogous ambiguity in Chinese poetico-political history:

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Pseudo-Chinese conversation of a Japanese couple

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Language as a (nonviolent) weapon

From the movie "Jak rozpętałem drugą wojnę światową" (How I Unleashed World War II):

The initial Q&A:

Q: Name und Vorname?
A: Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz.

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Nancy Kathryn Walecki, "Sound as Ever: Gram Parsons and Harvard’s hand in country rock", Harvard Magazine July-August 2023:

During Parsons’s Burritos era, Thomas left Harvard to write his dissertation in a cabin on Mount Baldy outside Los Angeles. Now more of an older brother to Parsons than a proctor, he would take study breaks with him in town: “It was a whole different world from Heidegger and Wittgenstein.” Once, they met Janis Joplin in a nightclub parking lot. “This is my adviser from Harvard. He’s into phenomenology,” Gram said. “Wow,” replied Joplin. “I believe in ghosts, too.”



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Coors Light Bear

An NFL policy prohibits players from endorsing alcoholic beverages. So Coors found a linguistic work-around:

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Victorious Secret

The next event in the Salon Sanctuary concert series is "Victorious Secret: Love Gamed and Gender Untamed in the Sparkling Courts of the Baroque":

Before the bars of gender binaries caged the mainstream operatic imagination, a golden age of fluidity guided the vocal soundscape. Virility declared itself with the castrato’s clarion high notes, while femininity spoke in earthy tessiture that plunged to shimmering depths.

Texts of the period revel in ambiguity, unfurling genderless narratives of anonymous lovers and unnamed beloveds. Stories of active pursuit and passive reverie remain alike at loose ends, with neat resolutions many movements away.

Please join us for this special program in honor of Pride Month, as the music of the past reveals a golden underground of nonbinary riches, accompanying us in our witness to a new Renaissance.

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Language change (about to be?) in progress

Current big news around here is the collapse of an elevated section of Interstate 95 due to a tanker truck fire.

As Wikipedia explains, I-95 "is the main north–south Interstate Highway on the East Coast of the United States, running from U.S. Route 1 (US 1) in Miami, Florida, north to the Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing between Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick". It's also an important connection between the Great Northeast and the rest of Philadelphia, which enables this linguistic joke:

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ChatGPT has a sense of humor (sort of)

Benj Edwards has a mirthful article in Ars Technica (6/9/23)

Researchers discover that ChatGPT prefers repeating 25 jokes over and over

When tested, "Over 90% of 1,008 generated jokes were the same 25 jokes."

[includes an AI generated image of "a laughing robot"]

On Wednesday, two German researchers, Sophie Jentzsch and Kristian Kersting, released a paper that examines the ability of OpenAI's ChatGPT-3.5 to understand and generate humor. In particular, they discovered that ChatGPT's knowledge of jokes is fairly limited: During a test run, 90 percent of 1,008 generations were the same 25 jokes, leading them to conclude that the responses were likely learned and memorized during the AI model's training rather than being newly generated.

The two researchers, associated with the Institute for Software Technology, German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Technical University Darmstadt, explored the nuances of humor found within ChatGPT's 3.5 version (not the newer GPT-4 version) through a series of experiments focusing on joke generation, explanation, and detection. They conducted these experiments by prompting ChatGPT without having access to the model's inner workings or data set.

[Jentzsch and Kersting] listed the top 25 most frequently generated jokes in order of occurrence. Below, we've listed the top 10 with the exact number of occurrences (among the 1,008 generations) in parenthesis:

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Laowai (the Old Furriner) trolls the CCP

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Annals of Artificial Stupidity

Katie Deighton, "What Can’t the Internet Handle in 2022? Apostrophes", WSJ 9/29/2022:

Sybren Stüvel is an Amsterdam-based software developer with a fairly uncommon name and a surprisingly common predicament.

As he completes the tasks of daily life, computers refuse to accept his name as valid or mangle it entirely. A credit card provider rejected his moniker, a Vancouver hotel hit bumps locating his reservation—as he stood there exhausted from a nine-hour plane trip—and an airline wouldn’t let him check into a flight. “You can imagine my stress level,” he said.

While buying insurance, he said, “They asked me to confirm that my last name is indeed Stüvel.”

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What 'IPA' means now…

I have mixed feelings about the International Phonetic Alphabet. It's good to have standard symbols for representing phonological categories across languages and varieties. You need to know the IPA in order to understand books and papers on many speech-related subjects, as well as for practical things like learning to sing the words of songs in languages you don't know. And the IPA is certainly better than the various clunky alternatives for (symbolic) dictionary pronunciation fields. So I teach it in intro courses.

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