June 15, 2012 |
In an attempt to replicate the early experiences of infants, researchers in England have created a robot that can learn simple words in minutes just by having a conversation with a person. The work, published this week in the journal PLoS One, offers insight into how babies transition from babbling to speaking their first words. The 3-foot-tall robot, named DeeChee, was built to produce any syllable in the English language. But it knew no words at the outset of the study, speaking only babble phrases.
December 20, 1998
Regarding Joy Horowitz's "A Room With a View" (Nov. 22): I have taped above my desk the words that the author found copied by her father from Gustave Flaubert, along with her own conclusion: "The futility of words in the face of feeling; the longing for more. This is what my father the psychologist understood best. Still, we keep trying, because even as words fail us, the greater failure is in abandoning our hearts." Both should be made available in the Oxford Book of Quotations. I have more hope today because of this story and these two citations.
January 19, 1992
Anyone who gets angry enough to write a letter because she finds three words she's never heard of does not enjoy "learning new words." By throwing the unfamiliar at us, your Book Review is not--to quote Susan Groothuis (Letters, Dec. 29)--using "extraordinary methods to baffle and unsettle us." You are challenging us. I, for one, welcome it. EILEEN FLAXMAN, LOS ANGELES
August 13, 2011 |
Over a recent breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel, Gloria Steinem is awash in pale, neutral colors. She wears a flowy white blouse, no makeup but for sheer, nude lipstick and soft, blond highlights still frame her face, as do her trademark aviator sunglasses. The neutral canvas catapults one accessory front and center: Steinem's words, which are unwavering and polished as ever. "I'm old, but the movement is young," says Steinem, 77. "Every social justice movement has to last at least 100 years or it doesn't really get absorbed into society.
October 29, 1989
It's unfortunate that the members of Guns N' Roses lack the maturity to deliver their message without having to make every fourth word a foul one. At the recent Coliseum concert, the guitar player served up some incredibly trite lead, but not before proving that, yes indeed, he was a member of GNR: He too has a marvelously varied vocabulary, which also contains only four-letter words--duhh. What a gem. What a sterling example for the kids who came to hear good music. What a jerk.
June 25, 1989
In their June 11 letters denouncing "word taboos," Eric Borer and Evan S. Marlowe seem to be saying: Because our society is permeated with vulgarity, violence and crime and because "we have as much to fear from ribaldry as from dirty laundry," let us be rid of all taboos. If I understand their message, vice should not be taught as evil, because it is part of our society. This kind of mentality led to the downfall of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. RICHARD D. SWIFT Rancho Cucamonga
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 1990
The announcement that the UC San Diego Guardian has dropped "freshperson" from its "non-sexist language policy" in favor of "first-year student" (San Diego At Large, Jan. 10) points up, once again, the ridiculousness of trying to root out male-oriented words from the lexicon. Being a freshman is an honorable state, as is being a human or a woman. The suffix "-man" means person. It does not mean male. The words "man and "mankind" have always included males and females and are used generically to describe humans, as opposed to animals or other forms of life.