Winter Is Icummen In

I put the garbage and recycling out on the curb last night. As I turned to go back to the house I could see the Pleiades in the east. They were still low, but well above the hill that blocks my view of the eastern horizon.

I don't know much of the night sky, but I do know the Pleiades and Orion. And I know the Pleiades aren't far from Orion. Orion is a winter constellation around here. When I got inside, I dusted off the planisphere and checked. Sure enough, given the location of the Pleiades, Orion was just at the horizon in the east.

It won't be long til winter. It won't be long at all.


Robotic Acquisition of Language

Interesting aside in a posting on language acquisition about an experiment in which robots spontaneously developed a simple language including synonyms. Referenced paper, "Boot Strapping Word Semantics," available as PDF and PS.

The "gavagai" problem, mentioned at the beginning of the post, is a crux in language acquisition pointed out by Quine in his arguments about the indeterminacy of translation: a native speaker saying "gavagai" and pointing to a running white rabbit doesn't necessarily indicate that "gavagai" means "rabbit"—it could mean "rabbit," "white," "running," "hunted animal," "undetached rabbit parts," etc.

Stick a Yellow Ribbon

Found via Pharyngula. Not work appropriate.


Buffy Wisdom Monday

MANNY: Interesting, isn't it?

BUFFY: (fake smile) Oh yes! Like how the cow and the chicken come together even though they've never met. It's like Sleepless in Seattle if, if Meg and Tom were, like, minced.

Season 6, Doublemeat Palace, after watching the orientation film.


Buffy Wisdom Monday

Willow (to Evil Willow): Good luck. Try not to kill people.

Season 3, Doppelgängland

Paraliterary Writing

Just noticed that the Kootenay School of Writing has a call for submissions for issue 13 of W, their magazine/journal:
The Kootenay School of Writing is seeking submissions for the 13th issue of W magazine, to focus on "paraliterary" or nonliterary writing projects.

The thesis driving W13 is that as the parameters of poetic practice/praxis are reshaped in coming decades, more and more writing that now seems unclassifiable, except as "interesting, but not literature", will become imaginable within expanded, and culturally more pertinent, definitions of poetry.
Partial list of possibilities on the site. Sounds like an interesting project. Back issues of W are available as pdf files.


Oulipo at Drunken Boat

Issue 8 of Drunken Boat is up with a wonderful special feature on Oulipo, including contributions from official members and many, many others, including me.

Also, be sure to check the Canadian Strange feature for another one of Lisa Robertson's strange prose peregrinations from The Office for Soft Architecture.


Catherine Wing

Reads "The Pitch" on The Poetry Bus. (Text here—scroll down to 28 October.)

Serial F**k-Up

Cyrus Nowrasteh, the screenwriter of "The Path to 9/11," has a history of ignoring facts and just making stuff up. See the Salon War Room summary and the NYT story.

The Mouse That Whored

CorrenteWire turns up one of many connections between Disney / ABC and the Administration. (Image borrowed from Atrios.)


11 Minutes

...after the first plane struck.


David Cunningham

As long as folks in the Administration are throwing around analogies to the 1930s, here's one.

David Cunningham, director of "The Path to 9/11," is today's Leni Riefenstahl, minus the talent.

More here, here, and here. You can read Cunningham's lame-ass defense of why his nose is brown and crusty at ABC's blog.

Nellie McKay

Interesting to me because sometimes there's a very sharp edge under the bouncy pop and she's not afraid to play with the harmonies. More McKay here and here.


On the Tail of Every Trend

I sure seem to find out about everything late these days. For those of you who are even behind me, here's the OK Go video.

And here's Michael Froomkin over at Discourse.net on the video and a follow-up. Oh, and Grant McKracken at MIT who brought it to Froomkin's attention.


Peter's Survey

Earlier this week, Peter put a survey up, asking folks what mode they typically wrote in. A few days later, Peter looked at the results and concluded that there was no clear distinction. That wasn't the way it looked to me, so I took the numbers, fed them to Excel, and did a chart. You can click on the chart to see a larger version.

Personal lyric is way ahead of all the others. And, if you add in those modes that share the notion of writing as self-expression (say, "Confessional" and "Post-confessional," and in all likelihood "Formal"), well, it's not even a contest.

There's a reason folks talk about a mainstream in poetry.


Kathleen Flenniken, friend and fellow Floating Bridge editor, is featured today on Poetry Daily.