5/20/13 10:55 pm - ubuntu_fridge - Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 317
Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #317 for the week May 13 – 19, 2013, and the full version is available here.
In this issue we cover:
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Except where otherwise noted, content in this issue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License BY SA Creative Commons License
5/20/13 03:00 pm - snopes_dot_com - Texas Horse Hunts
5/20/13 03:00 pm - snopes_dot_com - Mermaids: The Body Found
5/20/13 03:00 pm - snopes_dot_com - The -Caine Mutiny
5/20/13 03:10 pm - languagelog - 2013 Blizzard Challenge
From Simon King:
I am pleased to announce that the English section of this year's Blizzard Challenge listening test is now live. Please help us out by taking part, and encouraging your colleagues, students, friends, contacts, etc. to take part too. It's your chance to hear a range of speech synthesisers, including some really good ones. Please circulate this message widely - for example, on mailing lists, forums and using social media - we need to reach as many people as possible in the coming month or so.
In order to participate, sign up here and follow the instructions.
5/19/13 12:00 pm - stallman_rss - Urgent: Support the Home Defenders League
US citizens: state your support for the Home Defenders League, who are pressuring the Department of Justice to prosecute criminal banksters.
Here's more about their week of action, now in progress.
5/19/13 03:47 pm - languagelog - A far-flung Nostratic colony in the Andes
In "The Inca Connection: A Quechua Word Game", 5/18/2013, Piotr Gąsiorowski compares "a 200-word Swadesh list for Southern Quechua and the Tower of Babel 'Eurasiatic' etymologies", and finds 22 clear matches. He notes that "There are only twenty-two matches because I got bored too soon, but it’s an easy game", and concludes
I think I have already demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Quechua people are a lost Nostratic tribe. Note that the semantic matches are impeccable and the similarity of the words is quite obvious to any open-minded observer. Indeed, the matches are much better than many of those in the LWED. The quality of examples 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9, in particular, is guaranteed by the fact that they represent statistically certified ultraconserved Eurasiatic vocabulary (Pagel et al. 2013). The famous items ‘mother’, ‘bark’, and ‘worm’ are among them. […]
But there is more to Quechua than just its Eurasiatic affinities. It seems to be particularly close to Proto-Indo-European. Compare the Quechua numerals pichqa ‘5’ and suqta ‘6’ = PIE *penkʷe, *sweḱs, clearly a common Indo-Quechuan innovation not shared with any other Eurasiatic group. I can’t reveal too much at present, but mark my words: you’ll read about it in Nature one day – or Science, perhaps, or PNAS.
Certainly the current reviewing standards at Nature, Science, and PNAS (at least for speech- and language-related papers) will allow and even encourage this future bombshell, if only Piotr can be persuaded to hold his nose and write the paper.
I leave it as an exercise for the reader to integrate the Quechua data into the statistical analysis of Pagel et al. 2013. While you're at it, you could incorporate the Quechua/Sinitic correspondences revealed in Mark Rosenfelder's prescient 1996 work "Deriving Proto-World with tools you probably have at home". A quote from that source worth repeating:
When I first posted this stuff to the Net, one gentleman wondered aloud (wondered anet?) if I might have proved that Chinese and Quechua are related. Some days it's not worth getting out of bed.
Similar words with similar meanings do not prove that languages are related. They might point to a relationship– but they might also be due to borrowing ('gung ho' really is from Chinese); they might be due to universal processes like babytalk or onomatopoeia; and above all they may just be chance.
This seems to be hard for some people to accept. Just look at ren and runa, or gaijin and goyim, they seem to think– how could that possibly be due to chance?
These people should be treated with respect. They are the people who made Las Vegas what it is today.
What are the chances of finding maliq'a-style pseudo-cognates? Well, empirically, based on my experiences finding the above Quechua/Chinese list, the answer is "One half." That is, with a little ingenuity, and given languages with reasonably compatible phonologies, you can find a 'cognate' between two unrelated languages about once out of every two words you try.
5/19/13 04:01 am - candorville - Playing House
5/19/13 12:00 pm - stallman_rss - California suing JP Morgan
California is suing JP Morgan for fraudulent and illegal practices in thousands of lawsuits against people who may or may not really have been in arrears on their credit cards.