January 25, 2006

Today Isn't Any Other Day

Lubbock is in the midst of a record-setting drought, and it seems as though the weather-predicting gizmo on my desktop is always predicting rain for the next day. But so far, no rain. Perhaps tomorrow.

(Yes, I just linked cattlenetwork.com. Yes, that was the point of the post.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at 07:08 PM | Comments (7)

January 24, 2006


Today is the second anniversary of this blog. At least I remembered it this year.

Coming soon: More posts! I hope.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 12:17 PM | Comments (10)

January 16, 2006

More on "At All"

An unusual use of "at all" here:

Hiroshi rarely speaks to either of them, and though his bedroom is 15 feet from the kitchen, he has had only two meals with them in the last two years. Mieko would gladly cook three meals a day for him if he'd eat them. "It's very hard for me as a mother," she said. She occasionally finds empty packages of fermented soybeans in the kitchen garbage can - one clue that he eats at all.

See my previous discussion of "at all." As far as I can tell there's no conventional NPI licenser in the last sentence. The hints of negativity I can find are that the context suggests that there is doubt that he eats at all, and that he doesn't eat very much, but I wouldn't dare trying to work that up into a theory of NPI licensing.

The whole article is extremely sad. Hiroshi's case is kind of the worst-case scenario for grad students; the disproportionate feeling of failure when you do something poorly, and the feeling that life has passed you by while you were in grad school. Though the underlying economic and social mechanisms are probably very different in Japan.

via fortuna

Posted by Matt Weiner at 08:10 AM | Comments (11)

January 15, 2006




Go Steelers!

Posted by Matt Weiner at 02:51 PM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2006

I Look Like...

via Yggi and Drezner, according to the celebrity match on a picture that I don't seem to have up on the web (I'm orange and holding a beer)...

in order...


Robert Graves (cool!)
Scott Joplin (megacool!!)
Bjarne Stroustrup (who?)
George W. Bush (noooooo!!!!)
and Leni Riefenstahl (WTF?)

followed by Snoop Dogg, Hans Frank, and the goofiest picture of Donald Sutherland I ever hope to see.

As Yglesias says, face recognition technology has a ways to go. (To be fair, none of these matches were higher than 58%.)

[UPDATE: And trying a different picture--if you do an image search on my name, it's the only front-page result that is of me -- I have a 67% resemblance to Kareena Kapoor. That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day. Discretion forbids me from noting who my partner in crime looks like.]

Posted by Matt Weiner at 08:04 PM | Comments (6)

January 07, 2006

RIP Hugh Thompson, Hero of My Lai

via Unfogged, Hugh Thompson has died. As a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, he saw U.S. soldiers massacring unarmed civilians at My Lai, and landed his helicopter between the soldiers and civilians to stop the massacre.

In this 1998 chat (via), Thompson tells what happened:

That was two times we'd asked for help and got people killed. Shortly after then, we saw some Vietnamese who had just made it to a bunker and were hiding inside the bunker. On the other side of the opening, we saw the American forces coming toward them. We just kind of figured those people were dead in about 15 seconds if we didn't do something. That's when we elected to land the aircraft between the American forces and the bunker.

That bolded quote is the essence of heroism for me. As Mad Mike says, too often we treat as heroes people who kill people, instead of people who stop killing. From the BBC:

Mr Thompson was shunned for years by fellow soldiers, received death threats, and was once told by a congressman that he was the only American who should be punished over My Lai.

I can't help thinking that if people like Thompson were held up everywhere as exemplars of heroism, the world would be a much better place.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2006


Brian Weatherson blogs on the difference between must-p and p. This came up at the informational session on epistemic modals at the APA Eastern, which I was chagrined to miss.

I blogged something similar to this case just before Thanksgiving. Kai von Fintel pointed out that the data I observed had been remarked on before, and then kindly put my post on his list of deli.cio.us links on his blog, subtitled "Matt Weiner discovers that 'must p' is weaker then 'p'."

Which raises the question, perhaps related to Brian's thoughts on 'discover': Is this a sense of 'discover' in which the discovery can be restricted to a group or domain, who did not know something that was known elsewhere. (Analogous to Columbus's discovery of America, when the Native Americans had known about it for a while.) Or was Kai being funny?

(Thanks to Minjoo Kim for pointing out Kai's link, back in November.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)