360-Degree Translation and More

by Krishna on June 2, 2009

It was fun reading Philipp Lensen’s list of classic movie quotes translated to Japanese and back using Google Translate. This is an example of the most important test for validating the export function in your application, which is to write an import function (and vice versa). So if you are exporting data in a specific format, your test should be to import the output file and spit it out again. If the final version matches the first, you can be reasonably confident in your functions.

Binny suggests that learning English spelling is a useless skill (!) and he is “really mad at the genius who invented it”. As it happens, I was listening to a lecture “Story of Human Language” by John McWhorter. He sheds some light on this by explaining that language is dynamic and the meanings and sounds of words change. So take a word like “foot”: Over time, people contract the vowel and start pronouncing it “fu̇t”. That is how accents, dialects and new languages are formed. Not that it makes any easier, but now you know.

Jeff Atwood has a new non-apology after yet another disastrous encounter with the P=NP problem. I can think of so many great things Atwood can write about based on his experiences with the successful programmer heaven StackOverflow.com, but he continues his flirtation with writing aggressively about things he has a rudimentary understanding of. Over the months, we have had the following rationales from him:

  1. He is a proponent of the “Smackdown” Learning Model, i.e., using a confrontational style of communication when expressing a viewpoint.
  2. He has 50,000 page views a day and 75,000 RSS subscribers (now more like 125,000 subscribers).
  3. In the same post, he says that he has “strong opinions, weakly held”.
  4. He is only writing stuff to get people to “just think about it”.
  5. In fact, you are reading the world’s most dangerous blog and you should “think for yourself”.
  6. And today, if you don’t like him, just ignore him. (Don’t go polluting his comments section!)

I am a huge fan of Coding Horror because the links that Jeff puts up and the comments (which include corrections) are great resources for further reading and research. So, this is not a big deal at all. But the pattern of excuses is hilarious and is a good public example of how many arguments you can find to justify a behavior that is increasingly concerning to other people and how difficult it is to simply stop doing it.

{ 1 comment }

Binny V A June 18, 2009 at 2:41 am

Thanks for the link. And I’ll take a look at the “Story of Human Language”

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