Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Plants with Legs

I just finished watching The Happiness of the Katakuris, a very strange,but very good film. Some reviewers called it a "Comedy-Horror Musical". It alsohas some claymation scenes, and it's strange and touching too. I've never seenanother film like it. In a strange way, it's helped me deal with Wally's death..Anyhow, if you don't mind subtitles, it's a film worth seeing, and if you canspeak any Japanese, even better. I may be slightly biased -- I like strangefilms (Beetlejuice being one of my favourites), speak a little bit ofJapanese, and tend to like musicals. Still, I'm recommending it to most peopleI know.

Right now, I'm reading a bit on Supersymmetry.

Today in class, we reviewed an experiment on the role of phonology in writtenword recognition (particularly priming). Basically, the specimens were exposedto various types of priming for short words, and their reaction times were measured in ANOVA tests between phonology-specific, letter-specific, and someother effects. One of the things that's interesting is that, to rule outletter-specific priming, they primed with capitals, and the actual tests wereperformed on lowercase words. It's interesting that, in written languages thatlack lower-case forms of orthography, this step could not be performed. Indeed,although the focus was on phonology, it makes me wonder about orthographicpriming and recognition in two languages that I know a little bit about --Japanese (which I speak a bit of) and Hebrew (which I don't, but may learnsomeday). Both languages lack a lower-case, but that's incidental to theinteresting effect -- Hebrew has most of its vowels either interpolated fromcontext (cn y rd ths?) or sometimes written with marks beneath the consonantswhich are written. Japanese has its letters either representing aconsonant-vowel pair, a bare vowel, or "n". So, a Japanese person would beNI-HO-N-SA-I (I don't want to bother figuring out how to make those charactersin my BLOG -- just look at this)Anyhow, not shown on that chart are two modifiers that can be applied to mostof the characters -- a quote character and a circle, both of which appear inthe upper right area of the letter. They both cause a consonant shift, soKI with a quote turns into GI. I'm interested if, in both languages, themodified character would prime for the unmodified (or in hebrew, differently-voweled) character, and if so, if the priming would be as strong asthe same-version letter. Priming in hebrew when the vowels are not marked mustbe very strange -- perhaps when learning the language, priming is not as muchof a use and is done less. Things are even more interesting in Arabic, whichis related to Hebrew, but also has word-positional forms of letters -- I wonderif all forms prime to all forms, to specific forms, and generally how thatworks. English grammar apparently makes heavier demands on certain languagecentres, and as a result, lesions to those areas affects English more than itaffects speakers of other languages. I wonder if each language has a kind of'signature' as to how it uses various areas of the brain.. It would be veryamusing if people who get certain kinds of lesions are told they can livea fuller life learning another language and moving to a new country.Speaking of non-surgery ways to treat things caused by brain lesions, Iwould love to see, for people with Prosopagnosia (damage to face-recognitionspecialized centres of the brain), portable computers, and LCD glasses, beingused to 'tag' people, using the recent work in face-recognition done forsecurity purposes. Remember upside-down glasses and the studies showing peoplecan adapt to them and attain full function in a matter of weeks recievingentirely upside-down input? Perhaps altered glasses for people with damage tothe vision-processing systems could scoot damage from those fields in withundamaged areas, and people could adapt and attain nearly full visualfunctionality again.

Anyhow, I'm demoing some code for work tomorrow. Time to go home and make sureit's ready to go.

Tags: music, science

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