2008年2月29日 星期五

cybernetics (the name didn't stick, but the prefix sure did)

An appealing feature of ''The Dream Machine'' is its comprehensiveness. Most of the big names are here, along with brief synopses of their ideas. Using the common trick in popular science writing of humanizing the players, Waldrop gives us not only Alan Turing's account of an abstract computer but his tragic death at 41. John von Neumann's work on computer architecture is sketched, as are tales about his lightning mental calculations. Norbert Wiener's cybernetics (the name didn't stick, but the prefix sure did) is presented as is his proverbial absent-mindedness. The same treatment is accorded Vannevar Bush's anticipations of hypertext, Claude Shannon's information theory and the psychologist George Miller's and the linguist Noam Chomsky's rebuttal of behaviorism.

下引文或許深一點 不過我們主要談這句:
Norbert Wiener's cybernetics (the name didn't stick, but the prefix sure did) is presented as is his proverbial absent-mindedness.
它說數學家Norbert Wiener鑄的 cybernetics 一字,
並沒有普遍化, 廣為人所應用。
不過,它的前綴cyber倒是常存了 (譬如說 cyberspace/cybercrime......)。

cybernetics Show phonetics
noun [U]
the scientific study of how information is communicated in machines and electronic devices in comparison with how information is communicated in the brain and nervous system

prefix (GRAMMAR) Show phonetics
noun [C]
a letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a word to make a new word:
In the word 'unimportant', 'un-' is a prefix.
See also affix (WORD PART). Compare suffix.

Origin: 1948
We who spend so much time in the cyberworld owe it all, or at least the cyber-, to the American scientist Norbert Wiener. For his 1948 book Cybernetics he derived the prefix from classical Greek kubernGtGs, meaning "one who steers," and added the suffix -ics to indicate that it was a science like physics or mathematics. Wiener, a mathematician, proposed cybernetics as the study of systems of control and communication, in particular those of the human mind and the computer. The analogy between mind and machine introduced by cybernetics made possible the development of primitive computers into machines that imitate human modes of thinking.

Nobert Wiener Cybernticsor Control and Communication in the Animal and the MachineMIT Press.1948,1962
Norbert Wiener : Cybernetics池原止戈夫 他訳; サイバネティックス 2- 動物と機械における制御と通信 岩波書店1961
維納N.著﹐《控制論》郝季仁譯,北京:科學出版社﹐19632007年還有北京大學未修正之版本。我們看一些小錯誤:Shikao Ikehara (池原 止戈夫 Ikehara Shikao; 19041984) 東京工業大学名誉教授,非「東京工藝研究所」;美國麻省(麻州)理工學院 是歷史的誤譯,不過接下來「麻省省立醫院」就……

column inch

IT IS easy to forget, now that China and India are all the rage, that until ten years ago South-East Asia was the world's fastest-developing region, winning the sort of investor attention and breathless column inches that the two new giants now enjoy.

Wikipedia article "Column inch"

WordNet: column inch
Note: click on a word meaning below to see its connections and related words.

The noun has one meaning:

Meaning #1: a unit of measurement for advertising space
Synonym: inch

marshalling exuberant perspicacity

William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died on Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.

marshal (ORGANIZE) PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Phonetic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
verb [T] -ll- or US USUALLY -l-
to gather or organize people or things in order to achieve a particular aim:
The fighting in the city followed reports of the rebels marshalling their forces in the countryside.
The company is marshalling its forces/resources for a long court case.
They had marshalled an armada of 1000 boats and a squadron of 70 aircraft to help clear up the oil.
It is unlikely that the rebels will be able to marshal as much firepower as the government troops.

exuberant PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Phonetic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
1 (especially of people and their behaviour) very energetic:
Young and exuberant, he symbolises Italy's new vitality.

2 (of plants) strong and growing quickly

perspicacious PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Phonetic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
quick in noticing, understanding or judging things accurately:
His perspicacious grandfather had bought the land as an investment, guessing that there might be gold underground.

perspicacity PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Phonetic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
the ability to understand things quickly and make accurate judgments:
a woman of exceptional perspicacity

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)