Social media platforms are arbitrarily banning users because their AI platforms can’t take a joke.
Month: May 2021
It would be hard to exaggerate how bad the WordPress interface is now.
Even worse, it seems to change almost from day to day.
Never know what I’ll get when I open a text-editing window.
Are cognitive biases learning biases?
I’ve been reading studies on the nature of implicit learning.
As far as I can tell, the so-called cognitive biases are actually learning biases.
How to end a sentence
A sentence from John Brennan on the subject of UFOs:
I think some of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something that we don’t yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say constitutes a different form of life.How UFO sightings went from joke to national security worry in Washington
I think I’ll use this when we discuss hedging in class next fall.
Sex and the semicolon
George Gopen on his introduction to the semicolon:
To be completely straightforward with you, for a very long time I harbored a suspicion that the semi-colon had something to do with sex. I remember the day – I was 12 years old at the time – when my English teacher reached the section of our textbook that dealt with the semi-colon. With a noticeable amount of emotional discomfort, he told our all-male class, “We won’t go into the semi-colon. You don’t need that now. You’ll need that later.” He was relieved not to have to tell us; we were relieved not to have to face the unveiling of the mystery. We were feeling that way about a number of concerns at that particular stage of life and had seen our fathers undergo the same discomfort and the same escape by avoidance.My teacher was right, of course. I didn’t need the semi-colon at age 12. Unfortunately, by the time I was grown up enough to need the semi-colon, there was no one around to explain it to time. By then, I was somehow supposed to know all about it. I went around for years thinking I was one of the few people who did not understood (sic) this mystery. I now know that most people are just as insecure about it as I was. The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader’s Perspective by George D. Gopen, p 161
I just found out that a copy editor removed a colon from a key sentence in the critique I just published of Jaswal et al’s pro-FC eye-tracking study. The resulting sentence is incoherent:
Indeed, it would be quite strange if there were the ability to answer open-ended questions, or, more generally, to participate in a communicative exchange, is independent of linguistic medium (speaking, writing, typing), and is limited only by one’s ability to function in that medium (to pronounce words, to write letters and spell words, to type and spell words) and by one’s general communicative competence.
I’ll leave it as an exercise to the interested reader to figure out where the colon goes.
Hint: here is the immediately preceding sentence:
There is, in fact, no empirically established or diagnostically categorized language disorder that combines extant oral skills with conversation skills that only emerge during hunt-and-peck typing.
Word to the wise: when reviewing proofs, make sure to look for tiny strike-through marks through punctuation marks whose occasionally crucial function your copy editor may have somehow overlooked.
A recent eye-tracking study fails to reveal agency in assisted autistic communication
One year ago, Vikram Jaswal et al published a study claiming to find empirical support for a method of facilitated communication known as Spelling to Communicate.1
Finally, a critique of it has been published. You’ll find it in here, in Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention.Continue reading
Guide, side, teach, tell
Barry Garelick’s Out on Good Behavior: Teaching Math While Looking Over Your Shoulder (Katharine reviewed it here) is a terrific book: funny, affecting, and real. One of my favorite passages, from the Introduction and Dedication:
I want to share some advice I received from Ellen, one of my two “parole officers” whom you will meet in this book….
“Students have more faith in something they think they came up with than something the teacher tells them.”
…Some teachers have told me that they are not allowed to answer a student’s question directly. In fact, the quote from Ellen was her response to my question of why it’s acceptable for students to show other students how to do a problem, but it’s not acceptable if a teacher does so….
From time to time, however, most, if not all, teachers will answer a student’s question by telling them what they need to know in order to solve a problem. And most, if not all, teachers (myself included) feel guilty doing this, because we are taught that that’s giving away the answer and we are handing it to the student, or to put it in more educational terminology: “teaching by telling.”
The Hundred Years’ War.
Floor Time embraces Facilitated Communication
I’m not sure why I didn’t see this coming years ago—except that years ago, when I first heard of Floor Time, no one was talking publicly about FC. “Years ago” was the late 1990s, and, following the 1993 Frontline exposé Prisoners of Silence, FC had gone underground. (I had thought it had been so thoroughly debunked that was gone, gone—as in gone for good).