Tag Archives | Communication

Jargon is the Death of Culture

On the Maraya Karena Show, the eponymous host speaks about the under-acknowledged connection between language and reality, and what happens when meaning slips from our patterns of expression:

What will murder all our movements?
JARGON!!!
In this syntactical reality our greatest obstacle to heaven on earth is mindless repetition of stale language.

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Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals?

talk to animalsThe Atlantic speaks with Con Slobodchikoff, a professor of animal behavior at Northern Arizona University, who has spent 30 years decoding animal communications and believes we are approaching the point of breaching the human-animal language divide:

A computer science colleague of mine and I are using artificial intelligence techniques to keep a computer record of the call that prairie dogs were making, analyze it with these AI techniques, and then spit back the answer to us, which potentially could be in English. And then we could tell the computer something that we wanted to convey to the prairie dogs. And the computer could then synthesize the sounds and play it back to the prairie dogs.

The [prairie dogs] have word-like phonemes, combining those into sentence-like calls. They have social chatter. They can distinguish between types of predators that are nearby — dogs, coyotes, humans — and seem to have developed warnings that specify the predators’ species and size and color.

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How Plants Help Each Other Grow By Near-Telepathic Communication

6a0148c76e8722970c0167621abbea970b-800wi“Plants substitute biosynthesis for behavior”, employing biochemical messaging as a means of interacting with their environment on a level we don’t even fully understand, yet we are constantly immersed in this sea of molecular communication.. Its been hypothesized that plant psychedelics are messenger molecules to mammals that naturally raise awareness at critical junctures in order to impart information vital to maintaining the continuity of the all life in biosphere…But how do plants communicate with each other besides the thick matrix of pheromonal activity?

Via Waking Times:

Plants have scientifically been show to draw alternative sources of energy from other plants. Plants influence each other in many ways and they communicate through “nanomechanical oscillations” vibrations on the tiniest atomic or molecular scale or as close as you can get to telepathic communication.

Members of Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse’s biological research team have previously shown that green algae not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other plants.

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Hearing The Dead Speak Via Electronic Voice Projection

The BBC on those who believe that radio and tape recording devices offer a window to the realm of the dead:

In 1969, a mysterious middle-aged Latvian doctor turned up in Gerrards Cross with a large collection of tape recordings…he had established contact with Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and many other deceased 20th Century statesmen. The recordings – 72,000 of them – contained their voices. His name was Konstantin Raudive, and he called his technique Electronic Voice Projection, or EVP.

It wasn’t real-time interactive communication. You asked your questions, and then left the tape running, recording silence. But listening back, through the mush and static, you could sometimes just about make out people speaking.

Nowadays, EVP is a standard tool of ghost hunters worldwide. There are hundreds of internet EVP forums and many serious and well-educated people who see it as proof positive that the dead are trying to talk to us.

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The French And Chinese Militaries Could Once Again Use Carrier Pigeons

Long distance strategic communication via bird may seem obsolete by a hundred years or so, but pigeon squadrons are quietly being maintained and could one day be essential in calamitous conditions, the Wall Street Journal writes:

Glorified for their roles in World War I, pigeon squadrons have long been removed from active duty because of the introduction of more reliable, all-weather communication systems. And yet the French Defense Ministry still operates a military dovecote—Europe’s last—with 150 birds drafted into the 8th regiment for communication and transmission.

The corporal [who] sees to their upkeep and training draws hawkish scenarios—a nuclear catastrophe, a hurricane, a war—where racing homers would be the last-resort messaging network. In the Syrian city of Homs, insurgents defying the regime of President Bashar al-Assad are relying on carrier pigeons to communicate because their walkie-talkies are out of reach, he says.

Last year, Mr. Decool became concerned that France could be outdone in carrier-pigeon expertise by China, which maintains a platoon of 50,000 birds with 1,100 trainers for communication in border and coastal areas, according to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

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A Future Of Fewer Words

Today we use an ever-shrinking pool of shorter, simpler words as image-based communication eats up word-based language. Not long from now, we’ll be grunting and sending each other extremely complicated emoticons. Lifeboat writes:

An ongoing “survival of the fittest” may lead to continuing expansion of image-based communications and the extinction of more than half the world’s languages by this century’s end. Not only is the world using fewer languages, but also fewer words. Consider the rich vocabulary and complex sentence constructions in extemporaneous arguments of politicians in earlier centuries against the slick, simplistic sound bites of contemporary times.

The cell phone has become a ubiquitous, all-purpose communications tool. However, its small keyboard and tiny screen limit the complexity, type, and length of written messages. Because no sane person wants to read streams of six-point font on a three-inch video screen, phones today are built with menus of images up to the presentation point of the messages themselves.

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Dotsies: Language Of The Future?

Dotsies is a minimal, dot-based alternate version of the Latin alphabet. Why have we not evolved past using a 3,000-year-old character system?

Since latin letters (a, b, c, etc.) are optimized to be written by hand, they take up a lot of unnecessary space. Your eyes have to move at a frantic pace from left to right to read. Get more screen space! Save paper!

It’s easier than you think. There are only 26 letters. It takes only about 20 minutes at memorize.com/dotsies to get them into your short term memory. Each letter has five dots that are on or off (black or white). You’ll be very slow at first, but will noticeably speed up over time. As you progress, words start to look like shapes.

DOTSIES

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Teaching A Cactus The Japanese Alphabet

Could plants communicate with us, if we had the right way of listening? The wife of a Japanese researcher gives her cacti a language lesson:

The chief of research for Fuji Electronic Industries has constructed special instruments which translate the electrical output of plants into modulated sounds, giving voice to a cactus. Relying on her affinity for plants, Mrs. Hashimoto looks forward to actual conversation with her cactus…Convinced it possesses an intelligence, she is determined to teach it the Japanese alphabet.

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The Quest To Invent A Sarcasm Detector

science-sarcasm-Professor-Frink-Comic-Book-Guy-631Sarcasm levels are ever-increasing in our modern world — perhaps a century from now, communications will contain more sarcastic expressions than sincere ones. So what is the value of being tongue-in-cheek? It involves more intelligence and creativity than straight-talk, and machines cannot (yet) understand or imitate it with complete accuracy. Thus irony may be our last and best weapon in the inevitable war against the robots. Smithsonian Magazine reveals:

For the past 20 years, researchers from linguists to psychologists to neurologists have been studying our ability to perceive snarky remarks and gaining new insights into how the mind works. Studies have shown that exposure to sarcasm enhances creative problem solving, for instance.

Sarcasm detection is an essential skill if one is going to function in a modern society dripping with irony. “Our culture in particular is permeated with sarcasm,” says Katherine Rankin, a neuropsychologist at the University of California at San Francisco.

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Dolphin Whisperer Could Help Us Speak To E.T.

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Photo: Auntie Rain (CC)

Could talking to animals guide us to talking to extraterrestrials? Discovery News reports:

For 27 years, marine biologist Denise Herzing and colleagues have been regular visitors in the Atlantic Ocean home of a 200-member pod of spotted dolphins living north of the Bahama Islands.

Understanding the relationships between the members of the pod is key to unraveling what their dozens of whistles, clicks and other signals mean.

“The large goal of this project is to tell the story of what it’s like to be a dolphin,” Herzing, a researcher with Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and the founder and head of the Wild Dolphin Project, told Discovery News.

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