A web tool (scroll down) built by Radim Řehůřek allows you to compute analogies between English words using Google's word2vec semantic representation, trained on 100 billion words of Google News. "He" is to "Linda" as "she" is to "Steve." "Wisconsin" is to "Milwaukee" as "Maryland" is to "Baltimore." "Good" is to "MetaFilter" as "evil" is to "LOLCats." [more inside]
The Plough and Potato have had a football team since Roman times, so they must be better at it than modern teams!
A primer in the rhetorical tactics of pseudoscience advocates in the form of an inane pub argument about football.
Donald Rumsfeld's recent speech at the American Legion Convention has revived interest in the 1938 Munich pact between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler and its use as an analogy in foreign policy debates. Military historian Jeffrey Record weighs in with Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s. Michael Cairo examines how analogical reasoning based on "the lesson of Munich" influenced the first Gulf War and Clinton's intervention in Kosovo. Juan Cole argues against "the crock of appeasement" as applied to the Middle East, whereas MacGregor Duncan claims that the Munich analogy has caused us to underestimate the diplomatic value of appeasement. Finally, Pat Buchanan claims the Islamo-fascist label is historically inaccurate (or is he worried that non-Islamic fascists get a bad rap?).
Copycat [Java] - long available only in its rickety original LISP source - is now an interactive applet. You can propose analogy puzzles based on strings of letters and watch Copycat build up and tear down models of the problem until it finds a solution it's happy with. It will explain its reasoning, and, since stochastic elements are inolved, can come up with alternate solutions upon rerun. Tutorial for the applet here; or, explore MetaCat, the next generation follow-up.
It's Always Some Poor Writer's Birthday: So thank you, I guess, good old Uncle Garrison, for remembering them on good old Minnesota Public Radio. A rather good bunch was born today, too: Nelson Algren [Party in Chicago on Saturday!], Gorky, Vargas Llosa, Russell Banks and Frederic "A Fan's Notes" Exley. [Literary types will inevitably want to play the good old "What do this motley crew have in common?" game. Cheating and false analogies actively encouraged, of course.] In fact, it's been a good week altogether. Be sure to go back to 2001 and 2002 for extra snippets. The notes, written by Keillor, are unassuming, interesting and admirably synthetic. There's also an excellent daily reading of a poem [Real Audio req.] and a running celebration of the calendar's most significant dates. I defy those who are put off by Keillor's sock-knitting, eggnog-sipping, home-on-the-range style not to grudgingly feel, amid the grrrr, an unwelcome twinge of gratitude.