Sunday, August 28, 2005

Work in Progress

Figured I'd better blog before I finished the current book I'm reading, it may be a while. "The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain" is very interesting but taking a while. Good points so far:
  1. In general a repudiation of Chomsky's Universal Grammar. The idea is that languages, being memetic software, could evolve must faster than the brain. Their target: children's brains.
  2. Interesting discussion of why no animals have even simple languages -- not a complexity issue, rather an issue of lack of symbolic processing capabilities.
  3. Animal signing systems, including humans, are a parallel system, not an early version of language. Think about human non-language signing: laughter, sobs, snorts, shrugs, growls, and of course, my favorite, the (female) scream -- an on switch for the adrenaline of every male in hearing distance. I have meaning for years to read Darwin's "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals". OK, it's on order now.
Biked to High Bridge today, 40.6 miles, 3h10m. Collapsed and slept for 2 hours afterwards. I really need to start biking during the week.

Pouring rain here. Katerina hitting New Orleans. 4th strongest hurricane on record, wasn't even a tropical storm as it approached Florida. A couple of weeks ago an MIT researcher published an article on global warmings' increasing the intensity of tropical storms. I've been preaching this for years -- of course, I got it from John Barnes' "Mother of Storms", published in 1995.

Music-wise, had all my daughters point me at Kings of Convenience "Riot on an Empty Street". Norwegian pop, woo-hoo. The folky stuff reminds me of Belle & Sebastian, but not quite as sappy. The jazzier stuff is pretty good, track 5 "Know-How" is very catchy, my middle daughter's favorite.

Downloaded lastest New Pornographers, "Twin Cinemas", listening to it now.

Movie-wise, was pointed at "Kung-Fu Hustle" by an old friend, I've watched 3 times. The movie is hilarious.

I was loaned a copy of "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", about the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians behind the songs of the Motown golden age. Very enjoyable, great music of course.

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