I attended my first Christmas party of the season last night…

“Now, before you call me Ebeneezer Scrooge or jump all over my my seeming lack of Christmas spirit, let me just say that Christmas is far and away my favorite holiday and the source of some of my best memories. But these are just plain bad….” Place your children’s stuffed animals under the tree as a welcoming committee for Santa. I’m sure all the kids will feel great when they…

Scientists Exposed as Sloppy Reporters

“They noticed in a citation database that misprints in references are fairly common, and that a lot of the mistakes are identical. This suggests that many scientists take short cuts, simply copying a reference from someone else’s paper rather than reading the original source.” –Scientists Exposed as Sloppy ReportersNew Scientist) This one is going to be posted up in newsrooms for a while. I tell my students that peer-reviewed academic…

The Music of the Language

“Like Shakespeare, or many of the greatest writers, [P. G.] Wodehouse is violently cavalier with English grammar. The dictionary will tell you that ‘window’ is a noun, ‘small’ is an adjective, ‘Fred’ is a proper noun. Shakespeare’s Cleopatra sees herself ‘window’d in great Rome'; Hardy has a figure which ‘smalls into the distance'; a character in Wodehouse can ‘out-Fred the nimblest Astaire’. Try to do that in German. ” Philip…

"The whisky was invisible", or Persistent myths of MT

You may have heard that an early version of computer translation software took the input “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” and changed it to “The whisky is strong, but the meat is foul.” Or maybe it was “Out of sight, out of mind” translated to “Invisible idiot.” Or maybe the mistranlsated phrase should have been “Don’t believe everything you read.” –“The whisky was invisible”, or Persistent…

Conducting Research Surveys by E-Mail and the Web

“Internet-based surveys, although still in their infancy, are becoming increasingly popular because they are believed to be faster, better, cheaper, and easier to conduct than surveys using more-traditional telephone or mail methods. Based on evidence in the literature and real-life case studies, this book examines the validity of those claims.” Matthias Schonlau, Ronald D. Fricker, Jr., Marc N. Elliott –Conducting Research Surveys by E-Mail and the WebRAND) This book is…