Ad hoc text analytics

Twitter 2009

I found an old sentiment analysis application. It has very unglamorous packaging but a  good algorithm under the hood. I ran the Twitter user id’s of the brightest people I know. well, know of, who are active Twitter users. The assessment of “bright” was subjective by me.  All are acknowledged experts or advanced degree holders. Maybe half speak English as a second language, but are sufficiently articulate that their “essence”, well, intelligence shines through.

Guess what: It worked! I don’t know if anyone cares about this sort of thing, that really sharp successful people score well on this sentiment analysis indicator. That doesn’t necessarily mean it would have any predictive value. And no one seems to care much about this anyway. But what I’m saying is that most of these people only have okay-ish Klout scores e.g. 40’s. But they’re not trying to use Twitter for any particular social media purpose. Well, I don’t know that with certainty.

Published in: on 13 February 2012 at 6:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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Taleb and the language of risk

Last night, I read about Nicholas Nassim Taleb on English Language and Usage StackExchange (EL&U). Professor Taleb wants to introduce a new word to the vocabulary of global financial collapse, antifragility:

So let us coin the appellation “antifragile” for anything that, on average, (i.e. in expectation) benefits from variability.

Consensus on EL&U was that this was a creative but unnecessary neologism. I echo the concerns of other EL&U users: Antifragility might cause confusion (maybe it is “anti-fragility”). There are many adequate, extant words that Taleb could use, however, antifragility is a term that will be uniquely associated with him.

I am not convinced that there are many entities that actually thrive due to uncertainty. A delta hedge that is long volatility is the only construct that I can think of off-hand. Perhaps that was what Taleb had in mind.

The original Black Swan

book cover of black swan with navy background

The Black Swan by Thomas Mann; 1954 UK First Edition

There was a slightly less contemporary black swan, the novella written by Nobel-prize winner Thomas Mann toward the end of his long and distinguished literary career.

The plot of that short fiction work also pertained to an anomalous event, one that could be considered a statistical outlier. (more…)

Published in: on 1 February 2012 at 6:28 am  Comments (8)  
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Word Games

Great Vocab Didn't Save the Thesaurus from Extinction

The original thesaurus is gone but an evolved creature has been sighted recently!

More verbal fun can be found at Fun with Words.  Go there to get your

  • anagrams
  • palindromes
  • spoonerisms
  • tongue-twisters
  • pangrams and
  • rebus puzzles

Don’t forget mnemonics! Be on the lookout for malapropisms too. It’s all part and parcel of the joy that is etymology.

Oxymorons? No

Oxymora are also featured. An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two seemingly contradictory phrases. Fun-with-words taught me that “oxymorons” is not grammatically correct. I had assumed that oxymoron had a similar singular-plural form as moron versus morons!

Rebus as a puzzle

A rebus is more than a part of speech. It combines both text and visual images to make a statement. Creating a rebus is quite an effort. I learned that by composing one as a love letter, while at Swarthmore College.

There are some not-so-great rebus generators online.

Here’s a nice definition of a rebus:

Literary rebuses use letters, numbers, musical notes, or specially placed words to make sentences. Complex rebuses combine pictures and letters. Rebuses may convey direct meanings, especially to inform or instruct illiterate people; or they may deliberately conceal meanings, to inform only the initiated or to puzzle and amuse.

I found a Flickr user who has lots of rebus examples but they are all copyright protected. You can go look at them here.

Published in: on 27 August 2010 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment