Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Sunday, August 29, 2004day link 

 Cassiopeia A
picture Picture Cassiopeia A in the most detailed image ever made of the remains of an exploded star. The colors represent different ranges of X-rays with red, green, and blue representing, low, medium, and higher X-ray energies of the supernova remnant. The one million second image shows a bright outer ring (green) ten light years in diameter that marks the location of a shock wave generated by the supernova explosion. Taken in the first half of 2004 by the Chandra Advanced Charged Coupled Device Imaging Spectrometer, launched July 23, 1999, aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
[ | 2004-08-29 22:27 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

New Scientist:
Language may shape human thought – suggests a counting study in a Brazilian tribe whose language does not define numbers above two.

Hunter-gatherers from the Pirahã tribe, whose language only contains words for the numbers one and two, were unable to reliably tell the difference between four objects placed in a row and five in the same configuration, revealed the study.

Experts agree that the startling result provides the strongest support yet for the controversial hypothesis that the language available to humans defines our thoughts. So-called "linguistic determinism" was first proposed in 1950 but has been hotly debated ever since.
I don't know why it needs to be so hotly debated. Seems pretty obvious that the patterns we're used to think in, and the words we have or don't have for things, is shaping what we can perceive and discern. Japanese or Korean speakers often habitually confuse L and R sounds in English, because they're considered the same sound in their language. Or use singular and plural in the "wrong" way, because their distinctions are different. Interesting, but not very strange. Maybe we should all try to develop new kinds of distinctions, so we can see and talk about things we never paid much attention to before.
[ | 2004-08-29 22:38 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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