May 19, 2010
Now that AltSci is back up and fewer a few serious XSS bugs, I thought I would show you some awesome things that AltSci has given you in the past few years. AltSci Language AI is perhaps the most interesting, with gems like "悪政" and "День Победы", you may learn a lot more than a language or two.
Tonight I hacked on something for work and for humanity. At the same time a person I know worked for me on another project that will not so much advance humanity so much as prove something quite simple. Who did more for the world, who had more fun, and who did the most work are pretty much immaterial but I wished that everyone in the world could enjoy a fraction of the satisfaction that a programmer does when they create a piece of code. A piece of code that can be open sourced and that helps others, even better.Read more »
Original Analysis: Sept 25, 2008
Updated Analysis: Aug 9 - Sept 8, 2009, Feb 15, 2010
Published: Feb 15, 2010
Over a year ago I released the concept and initial analysis of the Japanese AI project here. Since then I have been using the results off and on for translation, learning, and other projects. Not long after, I wrote a generic version of this project, AltSci Language AI using Twitter as the data source. It also utilized the Google Translate Language API to translate the conversations on the fly. It became obvious that the benefits of this type of language software would be quite useful, so I made a few quick user interface improvements to Japanese AI, so that I could release the full results.Read more »
May 12, 2009
The Twitter Language AI is ready to be used! How do you use it? Type a word into the input box, then click "Search". This will search Twitter for that word. It will return the last 15 results and histogram all the words it finds. This is very simple functionality, right? Why would someone want a histogram of words spoken on a topic? For one, market research. If you know the word that people associate with your brand or topic, you can market it using their words. Yowch, that's almost like advertising, isn't it? Yup. The actual original purpose for this was to learn foreign languages by translating the most common words first (similar to my Japanese Language AI). The second interesting thing to do with the Twitter Language AI is to click the "Graph" button. This will take the data in the left and graph it on the right as shown in the image. This is really interesting and useful for scientists who don't want to import the data into a spreadsheet just to graph it. It uses the Google Visualization API and sends no data to Google (just your IP address and HTTP headers) to draw this, which is pretty cool.
Click the image above to use the Twitter Language AI.
April 15, 2006
Temples are a social, recreational, and spiritual place to visit in Japan. They carry history, culture, religion, and sights that draw tourists, frequent visitors, and religious people. If you can't find one, you're probably not looking. They are indeed everywhere. You can actually walk from Tokyo Tower to the Imperial Palace and further to the Yasakuni Temple via temples. The closest temple to my residence was Senso-ji, only 4 short blocks, which made it a common place to visit. Even though it wasn't my favorite place, it was up there just because it is such a sweet place.
The first time I went to the Senso-ji was on a Saturday during one of their festivals. I forgot my camera, so I didn't get a picture of the young kids dressed in swan hats. There's a lot of interesting stuff there besides the two temples, and souvenir shops. For one, the pond is excellent. It's so long that it has a few bridges over it.
There are a lot of people there and you're likely to find Japanese beauties posing for photos wearing yukata. Most temples that I saw were both Buddhist and Shinto. Wikipedia clears this up, saying that the 6 story temple is a Shinto shrine, Asakusa Jinja and the other is a Buddhist shrine, Senso-ji. Senso-ji has quite a few interesting pieces of culture. 1) Buddhists gathering to pray for virtues, 2) tourists taking in the sights, and 3) people going there to hang out. To compare these three culture items with America is slightly embarassing. Shrines are very nifty and there are plenty of religious people in Japan. The structure of the temples are much more open than churches are. There are plenty of interesting things for tourists to see in the various temples of Japan. Compared to shopping malls, temples are excellent place to hang out. If you'd like to argue the qualities of American spots, feel free to e-mail me.
There are a few things that a Japanese person will tell you about visiting a temple. Most importantly, if you want to pray, go right ahead. The idea is walk up the stairs, throw a coin into the box (optional), bow toward the shrine, pray, and then clap your hands lightly to finish. I'm not sure what the deal is, but it seems like a pretty simple way to pray. The next thing to think about is the incense or water. A temple might have incense burning. Just grab a few pieces of smoke to clean yourself from evil. Some temples have water. You take the dipper, wash one hand, switch hands, then pour a handful of water to rinse your mouth. This system is to ensure that people that go to the temple are fairly clean (from dirt and evil). The last thing is the mikuji, which is a Shinto tradition which is fortune paper sold for upkeep of a shrine. You'll probably need someone to translate it. For example, the one I got at the shrine at tallest spot in Tokyo said that I had medium luck in life, decent business, and if I was interested in love, to keep my thoughts on personality instead of beauty. Good advice and the fortune was pretty spot on.