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Corn bread palate

[Warning:  graphic content.  If you are squeamish about detailed descriptions of wounded, putrefying human flesh, and excruciating medical treatment without anesthesia, it would be best to avoid reading the ending portion of this post.] I met a retired teacher here in Gothenburg, Nebraska.  His name is Sydney Kite and he is 81 years old.  I […]

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Mutable predicate-argument arrangements

The use of the verb positioned in this sentence, part of an article quoted in "'Dutch roll'", puzzled some commenters: The aircraft remained on the ground in Oakland until Jun 6th 2024, then positioned to Everett,WA (USA), ATS facilities, and is still on the ground in Everett 6 days later. But there are general processes […]

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"Dutch roll"

Simon Hradecky, "Accident: Southwest B38M enroute on May 25th 2024, Dutch Roll", The Aviation Herald 6/13/2024: A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX, registration N8825Q performing flight WN-746 from Phoenix,AZ to Oakland,CA (USA) with 175 passengers and 6 crew, was enroute at FL320 when the aircraft experienced Dutch Roll. The crew was able to regain control […]

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AI plagiarism again

Along with concerns about hallucinations and learned bias, there's increasing evidence that generative AI systems sometimes commit what would obviously be plagiarim if a human did it. One particularly striking example is discussed in a recent article by Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine: "Why Perplexity’s Cynical Theft Represents Everything That Could Go Wrong With […]

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Respect the local pronunciation: runza and Henri

After I left Omaha and headed westward on Route 30 / Lincoln Highway, I began to notice that every little town along the way with a population of around three thousand or more had a restaurant called Runza.  My instinct was to pronounce that "roon-zuh", but the people around here say "run-zuh". Because I was […]

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Dark cuisine

"Lattes with onions are a hit in China", by Allan Rose Hill, Boing Boing (6/7/24) Some might call that "over the top", I would call it "under the bottom".  It's all part of a trend referred to as hēiàn liàolǐ 黑暗料理 ("dark cuisine"). Dark cuisine basically refers to food and drinks that put people's sensibilities […]

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Gender, dialect, and taboo vocabulary in court

In case (like me) you haven't been following the murder trial of Karen Read, this article provides the background: Kim Stelloh, "Karen Read is accused of killing her Boston police officer boyfriend. Here's what we know about the murder trial", NBC News 6/7/2024. The current media fever focuses on the testimony of (Massachusetts State Police […]

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Lately I've been seeing greater use of this kind of sentence structure:  "He is an awesome hero — not".  And (mis)negation has always been a favorite topic for discussion on Language Log.  Consequently, I'm calling to your attention two recent publications on "not". "'Not' in the Brain and Behavior." Cas W. Coopmans, Anna Mai, Andrea […]

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ChatGPT is bullshit

So say Michael Townsen Hicks, James Humphries & Joe Slater — "ChatGPT is bullshit", Ethics and Information Technology 2024. The background is Harry Frankfurt's philosophical definition of the term in his essay "On Bullshit": What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning […]

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Povinelli et al. on "Reinterpretation"

In yesterday's "AI deception?" post, I proposed that we ought to apply to AI an analogy to the philosophical evaluation of "theory of mind" issues in animals. And one of the clearest presentations of that evaluation is in Daniel Povinelli,  Jesse Bering, and Steve Giambrone, "Toward a science of other minds: Escaping the argument by […]

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A Kuchean shift in terminology from Indo-Iranian to Tocharian

Sino-Platonic Papers is pleased to announce the publication of its three-hundred-and-forty-eighth issue: "A Historical Perspective on the Central Asian Kingdom of Kucha," by Angela F. Howard. ABSTRACT The article reexamines the dating of the earliest Buddhist cave paintings in the ancient Kingdom of Kucha, which was located in what is now Xinjiang, paying particular […]


Fissures in the Great Firewall caused by X

Things are becoming dicey for the CCP/PRC regime: "A cartoon cat has been vexing China’s censors – now he says they are on his tail" By Tessa Wong, Asia Digital Reporter, BBC (6/10/24) Here's the dilemma faced by the Chinese communist authorities.   It would be very easy for the censors to shut down all […]

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AI deception?

Noor Al-Sibai, "AI Systems Are Learning to Lie and Deceive, Scientists Find", Futurism 6/7/2024: AI models are, apparently, getting better at lying on purpose. Two recent studies — one published this week in the journal PNAS and the other last month in the journal Patterns — reveal some jarring findings about large language models (LLMs) […]

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