I was a guinea pig in an experiment by Seb Schmoller which apparently proved that in machine translation, probabilistic methods are superior to rules-based.
The opening lines of Lawrence Stern’s A Sentimental Journey, the novel that gave name to my blog:
HEY order, said I, this matter better in France–You have been in France? said my gentleman, turning quick upon me with the most civil triumph in the world.- -Strange! quoth I, debating the matter with myself, That one and twenty miles sailing, for ’tis absolutely no further from Dover to Calais, should give a man these rights–I’ll look into them: so giving up the argument–I went straight to my lodgings, put up half a dozen shirts and a black pair of silk breeches–‘the coat I have on,’ said I, looking at the sleeve, ‘will do’–took a place in the Dover stage; and the packet sailing at nine the next morning–by three I had got sat down to my dinner upon a fricaseed chicken, so incontestably in France, that had I died that night of an indigestion, the whole world could not have suspended the effects of the Droits d’aubaine*–my shirts, and a pair of silk breeches–portmanteau and all must have gone to the King of France– even the little picture which I have so long worn, and so often have told thee, Eliza, I would carry with me into my grave, would have been torn from my neck.– Ungenerous!–to seize upon the wreck of an unwary passenger, whom your subjects had beckon’d to their coast– by heaven! SIRE, it is not well done; and much does it grieve me, ’tis the monarch of a people so civilized and courteous, and so renowned for sentiment and fine feelings, that I have to reason with–
But I have scarce set foot in your dominions–
* All the effects of strangers (Swiss and Scotch excepted) dying in France, are seized by virtue of this law, though the heir be upon the spot–the profit of these contingencies being farmed, there is no redress.
After taking the liberty of posting in my principal blog Mathematics under the Microscope an old letter by Donald Knuth on calculus reform, Donald Knuth: Calculus via O notation, I got 20,000 hits in 24 hours. I always knew that Donald Knuth had cult following, but I never thought that his fans followed him that close. Perhaps it is place to mention Knuth’s most personal book:
Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About (CSLI Lecture Notes) . I strongly recommend it to you regardless of your (a)religious convictions.
Gordon Brown and leaders of major political parties of UK have a chance to save the Olympic movement by proposing that, starting from London Olympics of 2012, the Games should be depoliticised:
- That British politicians will give every possible behind-the-scene support to the London Games, but will refrain from attending the Games or any related public events.
- That appropriate British government officials (maybe, even Brown himself) will visit the Beijing during this year Games with a technical mission — as hosts of the next Games — but, again, refrain from attending any public events.
- That all official and public ceremonial functions will be performed by the National Olympic Committee.
- And that organisers of next games (including Winter Games in Russia) are invited to follow this example.
As it has now become common knowledge, Olympic torch ceremonies were invented by the Nazis in 1936:
Disposing of an old armchair, I cut it open and extracted 18 pounds 10 pence in small change, more than a US dollar and a Euro in corresponding cents, as well as some coins from Canada, Turkey and countries that I could not recognise.
Content of my spam box tells a lot about the state of society. Today, a new theme was added to offers of cheap debt consolidation and credit cards for small businesses:
No cost trip to see Polaris World’s properties in Spain from Manchester airport
… it has to be seen to be believed.
Read an interview, given by Veronica Kumar, Head of people solutions and change, T5, to Human Resources magazine, 1 Feb 2008.
A few juicy bits:
… “We needed to define a new proposition,” says Kumar. Back in 2004 this was what she and her colleagues were grappling with. “We solved it by asking ‘what is our nirvana state?’ – which was to be non-unionised, to deploy BA staff to BAA processes and vice versa – and then worked backwards to find what was an acceptable level of change.”
… Simple things such as having briefing rooms for each team means staff would now be expected to congregate there for 15 minutes at the start of each day, and not be late. Information desks are also to be a thing of the past in T5 (“We don’t want staff just sitting around doing nothing,” Kumar says).
… Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – History in the Making, is a new book by Sharon Doherty, former HR and organisational effectiveness director for Heathrow and Terminal 5. It tells the story of how the people strategy for T5 was run to plan and on budget.
[the book is available for pre-order at Amazon!]