Language

More Than 80 Cultures Still Speak in Whistles | Science

Tourists visiting La Gomera and El Hierro in the Canary Islands can often hear locals communicating over long distances by whistling — not a tune, but the Spanish language. “Good whistlers can understand all the messages,” says David Díaz Reyes, an independent ethnomusicologist and whistled-language researcher and teacher who lives in the islands. “We can say, ‘And now I am making an interview with a Canadian guy.’”

The locals are communicating in Silbo, one of the last vestiges of a much more widespread use of whistled languages. In at least 80 cultures worldwide, people have developed whistled versions of the

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China subtext undercuts Kamala Harris’ language on inclusiveness

Elina Noor is director, political-security affairs and deputy director, Washington, D.C. office, at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ maiden trip to Southeast Asia meant to assuage the region of America’s partnership could not have been set more awkwardly against the backdrop of the country’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Addressing this dissonance at the start of her speech in Singapore, Harris underlined the need for the United States to continue pursuing its interests in other regions even as it addresses developments in Afghanistan. She is right, of course.

The U.S. is integral to the Asia-Pacific, and

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‘Hearables’ can teach you a language or music with the help of AI

Hearables are wireless smart micro-computers with artificial intelligence that incorporate both speakers and microphones. They fit in the ears and can connect to the internet and to other devices, and are designed to be worn daily. Some technology companies are now marketing these as “the future of hearing enhancement,” and focusing on their capacities to disrupt existing hearing aid markets.

But hearables aren’t hearing aids, ear plugs, headphones or headsets, although they could acquire the benefits of these devices. This means that one could rely on hearables as a kind of always-worn personal assistant nested in the

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At Yiddish Week, a beloved language is as vital as ever

(RNS) — The grounds of the Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Camp in Copake, New York, were alive in mid-August with a gaggle of nearly 100 campers, young and old. 

Like at many camps in upstate New York, they played sports, boated in the lake, swam in the pool and sang songs around the campfire.

However, to them it wasn’t a lake, it was an ozere, the cabins were not cabins, but beydlekh, and the pool, der shvimbaseyn.

The reason is that they were there with a singular purpose — to swim, sing, eat and simply live solely in Yiddish, the historical

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Opinion | How the language of criminal justice inflicts lasting harm

For too long, too many of us have accepted and reproduced the “official” jargon of the U.S. criminal justice system. Designed to desensitize, terms such as “felon,” “convict,” “offender” and “criminal” replace names and other descriptions, such as “woman,” “daughter,” “father,” “child” or “person.” These carceral labels compound punishment by reducing people to their worst moments, codifying stigma and haunting people for years after sentences are served.

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Wellness Mommy Bloggers and the Cultish Language They Use

There’s a certain subset of momfluencers on Instagram who appear, at first glance, to be like any other “nice white mommies” on the Internet. This particular type of momfluencer smiles gently in reels as she declares, with calm authority, that Western medicine will “threaten” mothers in order to inject their babies with “neurotoxins.” She upholds “free birth” and denounces “unnatural” hospital births, which are “designed to sever optimal attachment.” She warns her followers against “normalizing formula” and urges them to “break free” from the “misogyny” of viewing medical practitioners as “saviors” “in control” of childbirth. She evokes “biological law” to

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AI Can Write in English. Now It’s Learning Other Languages

“What’s surprising about these large language models is how much they know about how the world works simply from reading all the stuff that they can find,” says Chris Manning, a professor at Stanford who specializes in AI and language.

But GPT and its ilk are essentially very talented statistical parrots. They learn how to re-create the patterns of words and grammar that are found in language. That means they can blurt out nonsense, wildly inaccurate facts, and hateful language scraped from the darker corners of the web.

Amnon Shashua, a professor of computer science at the

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Top Programming Languages 2021 – IEEE Spectrum

Nevertheless, while computer chips won’t burn a literal hole in your pocket (though they do get hot enough to
fry an egg), they still require a lot of current to run the applications we use every day. Consider the data-center SoC: On average, it’s consuming 200 W to provide its transistors with about 1 to 2 volts, which means the chip is drawing 100 to 200 amperes of current from the voltage regulators that supply it. Your typical refrigerator draws only 6 A. High-end mobile phones can draw a tenth as much power as data-center SoCs, but even so

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How the Mesopotamian word for ‘elephant’ indicates Dravidian language existed in Indus Civilisation

It’s one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world: which languages did the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation speak? Existing in the Bronze age, the Indus hosted the largest such civilisation of its time, with settlements spanning what is now northwestern India and Pakistan.

Yet, while we know what their cities looked like, we know nothing about their languages, given that the Indus script remains, as yet, undeciphered.

The mystery further acquires sharp political overtones in India, given that the ruling Hindutva ideology has strongly argued against the idea that modern Indian culture has ever been influenced by

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Watch out, GPT-3, here comes AI21’s ‘Jurassic’ language model

What’s bigger than a 175-billion-parameter natural language processing program? 

A 178-billion-parameter program, of course. Such is just one of the attributes of Jurassic, a computer program introduced Wednesday by Tel Aviv-based artificial intelligence startup AI21 Labs.

GPT-3, of course, is the language program from the San Francisco-based startup OpenAI that rocked the world in 2020 by generating sentences and whole articles that seemed quite human-like. GPT-3 also shocked the world by being kept inside a fairly restrictive beta testing arrangement by OpenAI. 

AI21 is promising to go OpenAI not one better, but two better, with what it claims are superior

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