Like many I joined WikiTribune, the new social network for news. The service quickly overtook Aacademia.edu as the primary spam engine of my inbox. Got me thinking that Nuzzel, an app that algorithimically surfaces stuff to read by what your followers share on Twitter, already ads a layer of trust...
Thread: There was a session today at #NCTE19, the annual conference of @ncte, called "Misreading the Science of Reading." I want to share some thoughts, and some reading material, to add to the conversation. #elachat #ilachat 1/x I've been an education reporter for a decade+. A few yrs ago, I knew nothing abt the "science of reading." But in the past 3 yrs, I've read thousands of pages of books, articles, research papers. 2/x I've interviewed hundreds of researchers, teachers, school leaders, tutors, parents, students and struggling readers. I've visited 9 states. And I've been shocked to learn that: 3/x
Thread: There was a session today at #NCTE19, the annual conference of @ncte, called "Misreading the Science of Reading." I want to share some thoughts, and some reading material, to add to the conversation. #elachat #ilachat 1/x
— Emily Hanford (@ehanford) November 22, 2019
This newsletter has not been written by a GPT-2 text generator, but you can now find a lot of artificially created text that has been.
For those not familiar with GPT-2, it is, according to its creators OpenAI (a socially conscious artificial intelligence lab overseen by a nonprofit entity), “a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text.” Think of it as a computer that has consumed so much text that it’s very good at figuring out which words are likely to follow other words, and when strung together, these words create fairly coherent sentences and paragraphs that are plausible continuations of any initial (or “seed”) text.
This isn’t a very difficult problem and the underpinnings of it are well laid out by John R. Pierce in *[An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise](https://amzn.to/32JWDSn)*. In it he has a lot of interesting tidbits about language and structure from an engineering perspective including the reason why crossword puzzles work.
November 13, 2019 at 08:33AM
The most interesting examples have been the weird ones (cf. HI7), where the language model has been trained on narrower, more colorful sets of texts, and then sparked with creative prompts. Archaeologist Shawn Graham, who is working on a book I’d like to preorder right now, An Enchantment of Digital Archaeology: Raising the Dead with Agent Based Models, Archaeogaming, and Artificial Intelligence, fed GPT-2 the works of the English Egyptologist Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) and then resurrected him at the command line for a conversation about his work. Robin Sloan had similar good fun this summer with a focus on fantasy quests, and helpfully documented how he did it.
Circle back around and read this when it comes out.
Similarly, these other references should be an interesting read as well.
November 13, 2019 at 08:36AM
From this perspective, GPT-2 says less about artificial intelligence and more about how human intelligence is constantly looking for, and accepting of, stereotypical narrative genres, and how our mind always wants to make sense of any text it encounters, no matter how odd. Reflecting on that process can be the source of helpful self-awareness—about our past and present views and inclinations—and also, some significant enjoyment as our minds spin stories well beyond the thrown-together words on a page or screen.
And it’s not just happening with text, but it also happens with speech as I’ve written before: Complexity isn’t a Vice: 10 Word Answers and Doubletalk in Election 2016 In fact, in this mentioned case, looking at transcripts actually helps to reveal that the emperor had no clothes because there’s so much missing from the speech that the text doesn’t have enough space to fill in the gaps the way the live speech did.
November 13, 2019 at 08:43AM
Readtrack is an experimental tool built during the 2012 NYT TimesOpen Hack Day. It gives music recommendations based on the content you’re looking at by doing semantic analysis of the current…
It’s a question that’s been debated more and more as the years go by. Each January is Braille literacy month, and each year I hear arguments advocating its decline. Each time, I shake my head and ask myself again how people can be so?...
Last year, I publicized my reading plan for the year. Overall, I’m very happy with the number of books I managed to read (20) and the quality of what I read. There are some aspects of the plan I wish I’d been better at but that’s a small regret. I enjoyed almost everything I picked up with few...
I did a miserable job of reading the non-fiction on my list this year, but did a good bit of juvenile fiction that I enjoyed. I did however read a humongous amount of online content (articles, etc.) and managed to log nearly every bit of it.
My year in reading has been marked by reflection on who I am and who I aspire to be, but mostly, it has been marked by a realization that I am okay, that even though I can be better, it's also okay to be who I am.
Every so often you come across That Book, the exact thing you need to read, and a lot of the time it’s something that you might not have run into before and that you certainly had no idea you neede…
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
dismissing pleasure in reading (whether as illicit, or unserious, or whathaveyou) opens space for anxiety to become one’s dominant reading affect, and particularly “anxiety about whether we’re reading the right stuff, or reading for the right reasons, or reading in the right way.” ❧
I’m pleased to announce a new project I have been working on. indiebookclub is an app for keeping track of the books you are reading or want to read. It is primarily intended to help you own your data by posting directly to your own site with Micropub. If your site does not support Micropub yet, y...
Prior work established the benefits of server-recorded user engagement measures (e.g. clickthrough rates) for improving the results of search engines and recommendation systems. Client-side measures of post-click behavior received relatively little attention despite the fact that publishers have now the ability to measure how millions of people interact with their content at a fine resolution using client-side logging. In this study, we examine patterns of user engagement in a large, client-side log dataset of over 7.7 million page views (including both mobile and non-mobile devices) of 66,821 news articles from seven popular news publishers. For each page view we use three summary statistics: dwell time, the furthest position the user reached on the page, and the amount of interaction with the page through any form of input (touch, mouse move, etc.). We show that simple transformations on these summary statistics reveal six prototypical modes of reading that range from scanning to extensive reading and persist across sites. Furthermore, we develop a novel measure of information gain in text to capture the development of ideas within the body of articles and investigate how information gain relates to the engagement with articles. Finally, we show that our new measure of information gain is particularly useful for predicting reading of news articles before publication, and that the measure captures unique information not available otherwise.
So there was a MYSTERY at the library today.
A wee old women came in and said "I've a question. Why does page 7 in all the books I take out have the 7 underlined in pen? It seems odd."
"What?" I say, thinking she might be a bit off her rocker. She showed me, and they did.
I asked if she was doing it, she said she wasnt and showed me the new book she was getting out that she hadnt even had yet. It also had the 7 underlined! "I don't know, maybe someone really likes page 7?" I said, assuming of course that there is a serial killer in the library.
I checked some other books. Most didn't have it, but a lot in this genre did - they're "wee old women" books (romances set in wartime Britain etc). Lots of underlined 7s. The woman who pointed it out shrugged and went on her way, "just thought you should know".
My manager came back from doing arts and crafts with some of the kids and I decide to tell her about the serial killer in the library.
And that’s how I found out that a lot of our elderly clientele have secret codes to mark which books they’ve read before.
Our computers do it automatically but many have been doing it since before that was possible, so Esther might underline page 7, while Anne might draw a little star on the last page, and Fred might put an “f” on the title page. Then when they pick it up, they can check!
It’s quite clever really but now I’m dying to just underline page 7 of every new wee old women book we get in.
So, good news: there’s not a serial killer in the library whose MO include the number 7 and wartime romances. Bad news: people are defacing books rather than just asking us to scan them (smiling face with smiling eyes)
I'm now concerned that the amount of people enjoying this thread means there's going to be a new spate of readers using secret codes - apologies to librarians everywhere!
(although, in truth, I find it hard to be annoyed about it - better than torn pages and felt pen graffiti!)
(Also, I am new to the library job, hence why I hadn't seen it before! The library and our customers are great though (smiling face with smiling eyes))
Just had another victim of the page 7 vandal returned!!!
(Now checking every book that looks like it might be their taste...)
My 3yrold thinks all people looking at their phone are reading poems.
At five guys: “Look at that man, reading a long poem.”
— Hannah VanderHart (@hmvanderhart)
Our tech columnist tried to skip digital news for a while. His old-school experiment led to three main conclusions.
Gentle Reader gives you the freshest content in an easy-to-read format with no clutter and no ads. Add your favourite websites and Twitter accounts or discover new articles by exploring what other readers are bookmarking based on your interests. That way you can save time and hassle by efficiently combining RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, bookmarking and read-later services all in one app. What's more you have complete control over if, when, and how you discover new information with our unique matching function.
One of their default feeds, while solid, appears to only allow a synopsis sentence or two instead of the full feed, so it’s not the best example for the site to feature.
Now that the social network is changing what shows up in your feed, you’ll have to go elsewhere for current news.
I would prefer more transparency about how those that use algorithms are doing so.
Some of these don’t amount to much more than glorified RSS feed readers, and I’m shocked that the state of the art of the area isn’t much further along than it was a decade ago.