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AROUND THE WEB
- 03 May, 2017 – Episode 617 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)
By Kirsten Sanford - Thursday May 4, 2017
- After Terror Attacks, Britain Moves to Police the Web
By MARK SCOTT - Monday Jun 19, 2017
The country is cracking down on the use of encryption for instant messaging, as well as on potentially extremist material that circulates across social media.
- Roger Abrahams, folklorist who studied African American language, dies
By William Grimes - Saturday Jul 1, 2017
Roger Abrahams, folklorist who studied African American language, diesRoger Abrahams, one of the first folklorists to study the language and performance styles of black Americans as reflected in songs, proverbs and riddles both old and new, died June 20 in Sunnyvale.Mr. Abrahams (pronounced Abrams) cast his net wide, exploring Anglo-American folk songs, jump-rope rhymes and counting rhymes, but devoted most of his scholarly energies to the African diaspora in the Caribbean and the United States.Earlier folklorists had focused on black religious expression, the language of the church and pulpit.The Emergence of African American Culture in the Plantation South (1992), Mr. Abrahams turned back the clock to study the corn-shucking ceremony, a ritual with songs and chants that he reconstructed through newspaper accounts, travelers tales and diaries as a means of understanding the social dynamics of plantation society.Historian Wilson Moses, reviewing the book in the Historian, called Mr. Abrahams “probably the most celebrated living preservationist of African American secular oral traditions.”John Szwed, Mr. Abrahams’ collaborator on “Discovering Afro-America” (1975) and the essay collection Blues for New Orleans:After earning a master’s degree in literature and folklore from Columbia University in 1959, Mr. Abrahams returned to the University of Pennsylvania, where, under the direction of Leach, was awarded a doctorate in literature and folklore in 1961.To better understand the African roots of African American folk practices and verbal styles, Mr. Abrahams did extensive field research in the Caribbean, beginning with a week on St. Kitts and Nevis in 1962.With ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, he recorded sea chanteys and the songs performed at tea meetings, a combination variety show and church fundraiser.Mr. Abrahams pursued his interest in black speech and street culture in the United States in several works that, like “Deep Down in the Jungle,” rejected the current argument that black Americans suffered not only from poverty but from a deficient culture.Mr. Abrahams taught for many years in the English department of the University of Texas in Austin, where he also served as the director of the African and Afro-American Research Institute.
- Gong, an AI-based language tool to help sales and customer service reps, nabs $20M
By Ingrid Lunden - Wednesday Jul 12, 2017
As artificial intelligence continues its spread into all aspects of computing, many believe that it will be the next big frontier in CRM. Today a startup called Gong.io underscores that trend: the Israeli startup, which has built a tool that uses natural language processing and machine learning to help train and suggest information to sales people and other customer service reps, has raised a… Read More
- Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Chief Medical Writer - Monday Jul 17, 2017
More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests."What we've discovered here is there are aspects of language that are affected earlier than we thought," before or at the same time that memory problems emerge, said one study leader, Sterling Johnson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Next, they tested 264 participants in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention, a long-running study of people in their 50s and 60s, most of whom have a parent with Alzheimer's and might be at higher risk for the disease themselves.In the second round of tests , they declined faster on content (ideas they expressed) and fluency (the flow of speech and how many pauses and filler words they used.) They used more pronouns such as "it" or "they" instead of specific names for things, spoke in shorter sentences and took longer to convey what they had to say.Researchers could not estimate the cost of testing for a single patient, but for a doctor to offer it requires only a digital tape recorder and a computer program or app to analyze results.Another study at the conference on Monday, led by doctoral student Taylor Fields, hints that hearing loss may be another clue to possible mental decline.Family doctors "can do a lot to help us if they knew what to look for" to catch early signs of decline, said Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer's Association's chief science officer.
- the Upstart Coding Language Conquering Silicon Valley
By Klint Finley - Tuesday Jul 18, 2017
The story behind the new language making coders smile