letnja_kisha: (дом)
Am I right in saying that when you're just meeting someone you say "Nice to meet you" while when you're saying goodbye to a person you just met you say "Nice meeting you"? Seems weird - why such a difference?
letnja_kisha: (Default)
I hate:

1. Parking at Berkeley Bowl.
2. Putting gas into my car.
3. Driving in Bay area traffic
letnja_kisha: (чај)

...But the most powerful technology driving the obesity epidemic istelevision. "The best single behavioral predictor of obesity inchildren and adults is the amount of television viewing," says theSchool of Public Health's Gortmaker. "The relationship is nearly asstrong as what you see between smoking and lung cancer. Everybodythinks it's because TV watching is sedentary, you're just sitting therefor hours—but that's only about one-third of the effect. Ourguesstimate is that two-thirds is the effect of advertising in changingwhat you eat." Willett asserts, "You can't expect three- andfour-year-olds to make decisions about the long-term consequences oftheir food choices. But every year they are subjected to intensive andincreasingly polished messages promoting foods that are almost entirelyjunk." (Furthermore, in some future year when the Internet merges withbroadband cable TV, advertisers will be able to target their messagesfar more precisely. "It won't be just to kids," Gortmaker says. "It'll be to your kid.")...

...Note that the pyramid [food pyramid] comes from the Department of Agriculture,not from an agency charged with promoting health, like the NationalInstitutes of Health or the Department of Health and Human Services(DHHS). The USDA essentially promotes and regulates commerce, and itspyramid (currently under revision; expect a new version in 2005) wasthe focus of intensive lobbying and political struggle byagribusinesses in the meat, sugar, dairy, and cereal industries, amongothers...

...Consider the flap that arose after the United Nations' World HealthOrganization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization issued areport in 2003 recommending guidelines for eating to improve worldnutrition and prevent chronic diseases. Instead of applauding thereport, the DHHS issued a 28-page, line-by-line critique and tried toget WHO to quash it. WHO recommended that people limit their intake ofadded sugars to no more than 10 percent of calories eaten, a guidelinepoorly received by the Sugar Association, a trade group that hasthreatened to pressure Congress to challenge the United States' $406million contribution to WHO.

Clearly, some food industries have for many years successfullyinfluenced the government in ways that keep the prices of certain foodsartificially low. David Ludwig questions farm subsidies of "billions tothe lowest-quality foods"—for example, grains like corn ("for cornsweeteners and animal feed to make Big Macs") and wheat ("refinedcarbohydrates.") Meanwhile, the government does not subsidizefar healthier items like fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. "It's aperverse situation," he says. "The foods that are the worst for us havean artificially low price, and the best foods cost more. This is worsethan a free market: we are creating a mirror-world here."...
letnja_kisha: (sad)
After reading this, the only answer to the question "who" is "federal forces". I don't believe in drug addicts being able to shoot like snipers.
letnja_kisha: (Default)

I always thought that people buying dry food and water because they were afraid of terrorists were... taking a little too many precautions. Now, after looking at New Orleans, I am thinking of the same to prepare for a possible Bay area earthquake. You can't evacuate for a quake.
letnja_kisha: (sad)
Who is shooting at them? And, more importantly, why???
letnja_kisha: (cognitive)
I am reading Vygotsky's "Thought and Language" ("Мышление и речь", Лев Выготский). Here's a quote:

Wallon suggested that there is a period when a child views a word as an attribute of, rather than as a substitute for, an object... The data on children's language (supported by anthropological data) strongly suggest that for a long time to a child the word is a property, rather than the symbol of an object...

The idea is so simple, and very intuitive. I just wonder how come I didn't know about it before?

The next obvious question is how we perceive objects and their properties. Do we learn "object perception" or something like that? Is some of it pre-wired? A lot of it has to do with vision, of course, and as far as I understand, much of the vision system is innate. However, are the higher vision processes that compose whole object experiences also innate? Or are they learned? References appreciated.


Jun. 24th, 2005 09:22 am
letnja_kisha: (чај)
I was listening to NPR this morning and they were talking about moving scams that are ever-so-popular in the States now. They said that many moving companies will pack up your stuff, lock it and then raise the original price to be double or more. Until you pay more, they won't release your things. There is even a web-site now, where they share stories, give advice, etc. It was founded by a guy, whose original quote was $1869, but then the movers held his stuff ransom and demanded $5012.50 instead.

I am sure glad we didn't get one of those scams when we moved two weeks ago. I mean, they did raise the price, because, as they didn't tell us, their hourly rate was 1.5 times more after 4 pm and they charged extra for supplies. But overall it was fine, I expected that much anyway. I guess it's different for a local move than for an interstate move, too.
letnja_kisha: (linguistics)
I was reading an excellent excerpt from a book by Terence W. Deacon, "The Symbolic Species". It's the reading my students have to do for the cog sci class I am starting to teach next week, and so I thought it would be good for me to read it, too :-) The chapter (#4) has a lot of different stuff, including child learning and neural nets, which I found very enlightening.

Other than that, there was a mention of the fact that complete bilinguals have two different centers in the brain for the two languages they speak. I don't know how many centers I have; the only thing I know for sure is which languages interfere with each other in my mind, and which do not. English never interferes with anything. Neither does Russian (there is one exception). Only the languages that I do not speak on a daily basis mix with each other. Thus, when trying to remember Spanish after a year of Arabic, Arabic words were trying to get into the Spanish sentences. Spanish and German mix much less after I lived in Germany (but, I mean, it's not really possible that at the beginning I had one center for Spanish and German, and then they started separating, or is it?).

One weird exception to all this is Serbian. While it does not mix with English or anything else, it has a tendency to insert words into my Russian sentences. I can only explain it with the fact that Russian and Serbian are so similar; they must build on the same base in my head. You know, some people told me stories that sometimes they start speaking Russian to an English speaker without realizing it, or vice versa, or inserting Russian words into English sentences - and it's never happened to me. But I do insert Serbian words into Russian sentences or vice versa (more common Serbian words into Russian sentences) without paying any attention to it. There are two categories of words here: one is interjections, or very common phrases such as "you know" or "well". I insert them and only later realize that it was Serbian, not Russian. Words in the other category are words that my parents have to tell me don't exist in Russian. It's quite amusing - it could be a perfectly good Russian word, and most likely that root is used in Russian, too, just with a different prefix. And my parents go "Zhenya, that's not a word of the Russian language".

Another interesting thing is which levels of language are the same for all languages and which are different. These are just things I noticed myself doing. Phonology is different for every language, and I have to consciously switch from one system to the other. Have you noticed how difficult it is sometimes to say a Russian word with Russian pronounciation in the middle of an English sentence? It's like stumbling over something while walking. I find that with Russian and Serbian, too (since the systems are similar, but not quite). I think most people living in a country, other than their country of origin (depends on when they came there, of course) have noticed this, too: when nervous, or overly emotional, my long-forgotten Russian accent comes up in a foreign language. My mother-in-law, when too emotional, starts speaking in the Dalmatian dialect (it's all [i] instead of [e]), while usually she speaks in the Belgrade dialect; it's really cool.

For intonation, it's not too clear to me. I know that my Russian intonation has been greatly affected by my English (that's the first thing that goes after a week in Moscow), but my Serbian intonation is very Serbian (maybe because Filip's Serbian intonation didn't change, I don't know). Word access seems to be just on the "most frequently used" basis. It really drives me crazy sometimes when I can't remember the right word in the right language.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
I am so tired. I want my finals to be over ASAP.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
It is the weirdest thing - I have great trouble distinguishing long and short vowels in Arabic, although the difference between them is quite audible, and it is more pronounced than in English. Actually, in English there isn't a set of long vowels and a set of short vowels that are exactly the same as the long vowels, just shorter, per se, it's just that some are longer and some shorter.

Russian certainly doesn't have a distinction between short and long vowels, so that is one reason for me having trouble in Arabic.

I don't remember that I had any trouble with English vowels, but it was so long ago that I am not sure if I ever confused 'beach' and 'bitch' or 'sheet' and 'shit' (why are those contrasts always so amusing?). I certainly do not do that now.

Anyway, the question is, why would I confuse the vowels (or not remember the difference, I can certainly hear it) in Arabic, while I don't do so in English?
letnja_kisha: (summer rain)
Saw people wearing T-shirts with slogans on campus:

- "Smile, it confuses people"
- "Time is an invention"
- "My home is in my head"

A riddle

Jul. 21st, 2004 01:34 pm
letnja_kisha: (snegurochka)
A Buddhist Monk begins at dawn one day walking up a mountain, reaches the top at sunset, meditates at the top for several days until one dawn when he begins to walk back to the foot of the mountain, which he reaches at sunset. Make no assumptions about his starting or stopping or about his pace during the trips. Riddle: is there a place on the path that the monk occupies at the same hour of the day on the two separate journeys?
letnja_kisha: (snegurochka)
"In the 1880s the French chef, Olivier, opened a restaurant in Moscow called the Hermitage. It became one of the most famous dining clubs in the city, where many innovative dishes were served. Olivier later published a book of everyday Russian cooking and gave his name to this elaborate salad".


Но рецепт там совсем не привычного Оливье.
letnja_kisha: (snegurochka)
At first I wanted to write in Russian, but then I realized it was going to be 10 times slower (because all the terminology is much more accessible in English in my brain).

Usually, at least here in the States, phonology, syntax and semantics are considered to be the most important branches of linguistics, the core of it. These three are thought to be the fundamentals, since they describe the main components of language: the actual sounds that we use to produce language, how we structure our speech, and the meaning we put into it.

Although I agree that these subjects are very important for the study of linguistics, I think that two different disciplines should be considered as the core of linguistics: sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics. Language is intricately connected with thought, in fact, in my opinion, one is not possible without the other, hence cognitive linguistics. Language is inherently social, thus sociolinguistics.

I suppose the three current core branches, phonology, syntax and semantics, have to do with outer manifestations of language, and the two new proposed core disciplines strive to understand why these outer manifestations exist, thus all of them are important.

My interests lie more in cognitive and sociolinguistics, and I think that those two disciplines combined hold keys to many mysteries of language.
letnja_kisha: (summer rain)
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can,
Wisdom to know the difference,
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking as Jesus did this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that you will make all things right
If I surrender to your will.
So that I might be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

letnja_kisha: (Default)

Psychologists have discovered that even the most independent-minded of us will conform to social pressure when we are with a group of people. In one classic experiment, people were shown a vertical line and asked to find a line of identical length from a selection of three.
You might think that this is an absurdly easy task, and when people perform it by themselves they do very well. However, psychologists have discovered that we are very easily swayed by the opinions of other people when we do this task in a group. In one study, a group of three people was set up, where two of the people were confederates of the experimenter. When the confederates deliberately gave wrong answers, people were often swayed to give the wrong answer also. In fact, 75% of people gave at least one wrong answer, with some people conforming to peer pressure on every occasion.


letnja_kisha: (Default)

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