Sunday, March 15, 2015


33 comments:

  1. "No, I've never had my students call me by my first name. Maybe you just need to show them that you respect them, and they'll respect you back."

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    1. After that goes through my patented translocompacitor, which adjusts for colleagues' privilege-blind expressions, I come up with: "If you looked like me, your students would treat you like they treat me."

      Frankie, this is good stuff. The original comic is good directed at students, but your aiming at colleagues is hella fun.

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    2. Thanks Ogre, your patented translocompacitor has decoded flawlessly!

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  2. "Oh, I always say no to committee work. It takes too much time away from my teaching and research."

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  3. Wait, mockery-free? Is that why I'm the only one here?

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    1. I wondered when someone would insert the hyphen.

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  4. Why, yes, I am pointing a pencil at a book with no words.
    It's an attempt to stop you noticing what's on my monitor.
    Anyway, how can I help you?

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  5. An appointment? I'm not showing any openings in my book.

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  6. I've called you here to discuss your annual performance review. Will you be making the usual wire transfer to my account in the Caymans, or will you be opting to pursue opportunities at another institution?

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  7. You heard me correctly. Assessment obfuscates pedagogy.

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  8. "Don't worry about student evals. I'm a very tough grader, and my evals are great!"

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    1. Translocompacitor says: "My load is all seminars, 500-level and up."

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    2. Does the Translocompacitor work on Stommelese?

      And I bet Calvin (& Hobbes) would have found a use for one of those!

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  9. Further riffing on the blank page theme (thanks to EC1 for getting that rolling):

    "I got your grade for all your skipped assignments right here."

    "99% of what I do in class is listen. This journal contains everything of merit that I and my students have learned from this pedagogy."

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  10. The Translocompacitor (R) is indeed inspired by the Transmogrifier of Calvin & Hobbes. It shares many design features and most importantly operates within a similar neural computing platform.

    Various phrases of Stommelese have been fed into the Translocompacitor, which in all cases yielded a single output phrase irrespective of the actual input phrase. Intriguingly, when the output of that first pass was fed back into the input, the output of the second pass was found be non-deterministic. Output phrases as a function of the number of passes through the Translocompacitor are shown in Table 1.


    TABLE 1: Translocompacitor Output vs. Pass Count.

    Pass 1 (100% of cases):
    "Adulate me, O lesser mortals, for what I have wrought!"

    Pass 2 (68% of cases):
    "I need you to like me."

    Pass 2 (32% of cases):
    "I agree with that guy who is definitely not myself."

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    1. Stommelese appears to be a smug-driven phrase struture grammar (despite marked forms of Stommelesian dependency as noted in Pass 2).
      We are concerned as to whether the Translocompacitor could handle the increased level of smug if / when tenure occurs.

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    2. I may have stumbled upon an explanation of the conflicting output. More later.

      Meantime, as to the last concern, I'm not sure the machine will last long enough to run that experiment.

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    3. Anything written in Stommelese should come with a smug alert.

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    4. Heh. When EC1 mentioned smug, I did indeed flash to the South Park episode excerpted in the link that Pat provided. On the other hand, if you make fun of intellectuals driving Priuses, you're gonna have a bad time. Not really; it is raucous good fun.

      Now, the Translocompacitor. It turns out I had it set to mimic the sentence structure of the input, which means that when fed tweets, it favored concision over precision; this presumed a certain amount of background knowledge on the part of the reader, and Shannon information theory comes into play. When I set the algorithm to favor readability, it decomposed "I agree with that guy who is definitely not myself" into "I agree with that guy who is definitely me" and "I am not myself".

      The non-deterministic output was apparently the result of the machine having some state memory. It recognized when the phrase fed into it was the output of the previous run, and that apparently "primed" the current run. If I fed it a neutral phrase such as "The sum of the first two sides is greater than the third" immediately before feeding it "Adulate me, O lesser mortals, for what I have wrought!", the output from the latter was consistently "I am a wanker."

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    5. Oph, you need to develop this idea into a full post. Translate "dean-speak" or aomething. It deserves to see the light of day, not be vuried in (wonderfully entertaining) blog comments.

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    6. I think EC1 is on to something. If we imagine a phrase structure rule, like SP -> pret S', and S' -> S XP, then a sentence is an IP of the form IP -> ct I', I' -> I SP. Let SP be "smugness phrase" or perhaps "sock puppet," pret be a determiner in the form of a pretentious pronouncement like "radical subjectivity," and ct be a "concern troll" aux. I of course carries the sentential tense, which is like verb tense, but indicates how tense the smugness makes a listener. XP can be any other phrase, most often a CP with an embedded IP. I think this phrase structure accurately generates all the possible sentences of Stommelese.

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    7. Oh, yeah. And all those nodes are empty of semantic content. It goes without saying. Colorless green ideas tweet furiously.

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    8. Thanks Ben, I may try that. My trepidation is that while I am quite comfortable bouncing pinball-like off the ideas of others, the sustained effort required of an original piece comes far less easily to me.

      In its current form, the Translocompacitor reduces bafflegab to the idea (conscious or not) that generated it. By laying out the state flow diagram (or whatever that is) Prof. Chiltepin has helped me imagine a Translocompacitor running in reverse: feed it the subtext, and it generates the text.

      I've been working on a couple of pieces that rely on a similar hidden device to aid my creative process, but I hadn't considered making the device an overt device in the story. (However, I'm soon submitting something in which the characters play with a different device.)

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  11. OK, displaced by tennis scores, this post has left the front page, so nobody will read it anymore. I nevertheless have one more caption to add to the meme:

    "I'll write out the math for you again. See, for every $10 I trim from your cost-of-living-only raise, I only get $1. With 100 faculty in your division, that saves the university $900. Everybody wins!"

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    1. Why don't you just tell me how to best run the page to suit your needs?

      Where should the new tennis scores go? It is our home school, you know.

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    2. It suits my needs fine the way it is. I thought I was playing on the idea of the futility of my writing something that nobody would read. I see now that the ablative absolute was over the top. That whole sentence of mine is just stupid.

      But the joke's good? Please tell me the joke's good. I worked really hard on it.

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    3. Except that the people I work with would get the numbers wrong. Verisimilitude. You know, like getting the voice of the stommelgangers different from your own

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    4. Clearly I didn't work hard enough. And the thing I referred to isn't really an ablative absolute, either. This day is turning into shit.

      I should have said this earlier: Sorry, Terry.

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