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Results for "April, 2011"

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  • Who gets your vote for most human computer?

    The most human computer?

    Each year there's a contest at the University of Exeter to find the most human computer. Not the computer that looks most like you and me, or the computer that can beat all comers on Jeopardy, but the one that can convince you that you're talking to another human being instead of a machine. To be considered most human, the computer has to pass a Turing test, named after the British mathematician Alan Turing, who suggested that if someone talking to another person and to a computer couldn't tell which was which, then that computer could be said to think. And thinking, in turn, is a sign of being human.

  • English-only in the exit row

    The USAir emergency exit row seating card reads, “Please contact a USAir Express crewmember if you are not able to read, speak, or understand English.” That’s because the airline won’t let non-English-speaking passengers sit in the emergency exit row, and it requires all passengers who want to sit there to acknowledge that they’re qualified to do so verbally, in English.

    Whether USAir’s English-only rule for exit row seating is a safety precaution or an attempt to get travelers to embrace English as the language of upward mobility and extra leg room, that first sentence on the seating card is useless: anyone who can’t read English won’t know they have to report this handicap to the flight attendant.

  • OED hearts OMG