Archive for May, 2007

Hard is not Impossible

I did a talk at Jerusalem Perl Mongers meeting.

I showed a little script that i wrote two years ago when i wrote a paper about Lithuanian grammar. The script searches a text for uses of the nearly extinct Illative case. In the paper i tried to understand why do authors still use even though there are other ways to describe motion in Lithuanian. The paper was surprisingly well-received back then. (See also discussion about it in Debesėlis forum.)

Anyway, the script is not too clever in any special way. Scanning a text for words with illative endings is almost the same as scanning a log on a server for errors. (I once heard a co-worker using the phrase “perling through the logs”. He said that it’s his own invention!) Except that human language is much more complicated.

Now i say that clever analysis of a text in a natural human language is not impossible. I am thinking of a unified way to translate grammar books and dictionaries to machine-readable representation – to describe English, Lithuanian and Hebrew in the same way. I tried to search for other projects that did something like that, but found only theories without implementations or implementations which were too language-specific (Hebrew-only, English-only, etc.) After thinking about it for a few weeks i also started to truly understand a lot of concepts that i learned have been taught in the five years of studying for a Linguistics degree.

With modern tools such as Google, Perl 6 grammars, Semantic Web-related technologies, and some older ones, such as Prolog, building such a system seems technically feasible, just a question of man-years. At the Perl Mongers one of the participants also turned my attention to WordNet, which is mostly English-specific, but seems promising.

A lot of my friends want to establish a start-up company. If i shall ever do that, that’s what my company would do.

Live to tell

I don’t like Microsoft’s Live Search but for some reason it likes me.

Look what it finds if you search for coffee drinking.

If you don’t understand what am i talking about: One of the pics that it finds is this.

People Speaking – Me-e-e-e-e

— “I wonder – now, with all the fuss about Winograd committee and all that, what can Olmert want? Cause one day, sooner or later, he won’t be a prime minister. Is there still anything that he actually wants?”

— “Mmm … To go to Ame-e-e-e-erica …”

Reality – Parking Parking

a parking coupon from Jerusalem, saying מדחני החניה מופעלים על סינגלור בע"ם. שמור עירך נקיה

This “Pay and Display” parking coupon says: “Parking parking meters are operated by Singelor ltd. Keep your city clean!”

There’s a nice short Hebrew word for parking meter, which is מדחן (madkhan), so מדחני החניה essentially means parking parking meter.

With this post i am finally starting the new series called “Reality”, which i planned for a really long time. For a somewhat similar (and daily updated!) series in Russian, see Art. Lebedev’s Idioteque. Unlike Lebedev’s, this collection is not supposed to be always funny.


Zoë standing
Zoë sitting

Or neighbor, a dog-lover himself, found this cutie (no, not Sandy Bar) when she was about a month old. He said that he really liked her and called her Zoë, but couldn’t take her home, because he was his own grown-up German Shepherd will mistreat her. Her eyes were irresistible and we took her.

Taking care of her proved harder than we had naïvely thought, as she is much more playful than the average puppy. After a few days of futile search for a new home Hadar’s uncle took her. He probably cared for her pretty well, but after about three months he gave up and gave her back to us.

Her first night back at our home was very hard. She really hated to sleep alone and kept whining all night, but Hadar didn’t want her in her bed. At three o’clock i took a sleeping bag and went to sleep in the kitchen. She immediately fell asleep with me in the sleeping bag.

The night after that she was already quiet, but we nevertheless didn’t want to make her miserable by leaving her alone every day and started looking for a new home for her again. It was very easy this time – Hadar somehow found an adult Soviet-born lady who took her. Maybe my Russian skills helped.

It’s hard to see how cute she is at these pictures, because she is too black and way too playful to be photographed.

Free Speech

ноль девять
ф девять
один один
ноль два
девять д
семь четыре
е три
пять б
д восемь
четыре один
пять шесть
ц пять
шесть три
пять шесть
восемь восемь
ц ноль

Oh (edit): If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Wedding Pictures!

I got married to Hadar on 2006-10-04.

Now i finally uploaded all the photos.

They can be accessed here: Amir Aharoni’s photos on Zooomr.

Feel free to browse. I wrote comments on some of them – you may leave your own!

A comment tor the technically minded: Each of the famous photo-sharing service – Flickr, Picasa, Yahoo photos, and ImageShack – had something that bugged me. Finally i found what i wanted – it’s the new “bad boy” Flickr competitor Zooomr. They have some technical glitches, but they admit that they are beta-quality. They are good enough for me now.


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