How to fight monkeys

http://www.slate.com/id/2176419/

I wish we all needed this advice growing up the way we need advice on dealing with dogs. I wonder if people who grow up around monkeys have more of a sense of themselves somehow, from observing such similar animals as children? I wonder how much it affects our culture that so many of us grow up observing dogs and cats? Of course, possibly the answer is "not at all", but I doubt it.

I have a journal article I'm reading the proofs of about how our language contains information that leaks into it, so we learn things unconsciously as well as consciously through language, in fact the two sorts of process assist each other. I've never run any experiments on this sort of thing, it's more of a review article and theory building. But I'm examining a PhD towards the end of the month by someone who has looked at similar processes in music, using computers. If you remember, I started doing research on music during my MSc because it seemed more tractable than language -- back in 1992! Hard to believe it's been 15 years since I got my first AI degree.

The article I'm working on the proofs of is one I particularly like, which I originally wrote the first version of 6 years ago. That was a short workshop paper. Then I wrote a journal-length version around 2 years ago, which got rejected from two journals but now has been accepted. Every time I rewrote it it got a lot better (but less funny.) It's frustrating getting your papers rejected, but you just have to keep learning from the experience. It's kind of like a very slow dialog or argument.

I have another paper I really need to resubmit this month -- it got rejected from Nature, but with extensive reviews. Right now I think one of the reviews is crap (the reviewer being defensive about their own research) but at least one of the other ones very useful. But I know from the past that by the time I get the article published I may have learned that the reviews that looked useless actually had valuable information in them, so I can't be sure. Although it is also true that some reviews are just badly written, or done for the wrong reason (in a competitive way.) No system is perfect. But really, I haven't run into that very much. But anyway, first I should take care of the article I have proofs for!

I haven't got any modelling done this weekend. Will is here & we were supposed to go to Styria, but my friend who was going to show us around unfortunately had his son get sick. So Will & I went walking north of Vienna. It was really beautiful, but everything is closed because of the holidays. You know that Halloween was originally the evening before All Hallow's Day -- the day for remembering saints. In Austria, the next day (2 Nov) is the day you are meant to remember your ancestors, so everyone goes off with their family and lights candles at graves. It's kind of like thankgiving in that it is a long weekend you spend with your family. (although it doesn't always start on a Thursday of course, since it starts 1 Nov.!)


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We walked up from Eroicagasse (Eroica Street -- Vienna is rather proud of Beethoven having lived there) straight north off the end of the street up into the vineyards and then north east into the hills to a castle I'd often seen overlooking the valley the train goes through that I ride to work. You can't really see the hills very well from these maps, I should really work out how to link to google earth. It just takes more time...
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