In a major language science breakthrough, computers are showing that they may be able to recover lost languages. Previously, computers were only used to save languages as they were at risk of being lost. The computers would record fragments of the language from the remaining speakers in order to help recreate the entire language.
Now, it's a whole new ball game. A team consisting of Alexandre Bouchard-Cote from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and researchers at the University of California Berkeley have developed a new way to build extinct languages. They do this first by predicting how a language will develop in the future. Then they instruct the computer to do the reverse!
The researchers give the example of the so called "Canadian Shift" where people in Canada now say "aboot" instead of "about". The computer predicts these changes in languages.
As a proof of concept, the research team reconstructed 142,000 words from 637 Austronesian languages in the Southeast Asia region. The computer was able to accurately predict changes in the language.
How awesome is that? The research can be found in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences".
And that's what's good,
The Good World News
Teachers in PS 177 high school in Queens, NY were struggling to find a way to help students with learning disabilities focus and advance in school. Most of the kids in the special ed classes are autistic and the normal curricula did not help them.
Adam Goldberg, a teacher at the school, decided to raise money to get a few iPads in the classroom. He organized them in a horseshoe and placed music software on them. Goldberg then asked the kids to play songs such as Bob Marley's "One Love" and viola! - The results were amazing.
“In some cases, these are kids that were nonverbal,” says Leslie Schecht from the NY Department of Education. “They really adapted and changed tremendously.”
Goldberg said one kid in particular who would only say a couple words, sang the entire Bob Marley's "One Love" in front of the class & then turned to his teacher and said "iPad please" :)
"When I saw the effect these had on the kids, I pulled together as much budget as I could and ordered 90" said Kathy Posa, the school’s principal.
The kids call their school band, the "PS 177 Technology Band". They have even created original hits that are available on iTunes! All proceeds go to their school.
Peace & Love,
- The Good World News
A couple weeks after Hurricane Sandy, most households in the northeast finally had power again. Although power was up, Internet access was still sparse in many areas.
This is where a team of special individuals came to the rescue. Joe and Debbie Hillis drove 1,600 miles from Saginaw, Texas with their mobile technology center to provide communication capabilities to the victims. In 2008, they created the Information Technology Disaster Recovery Center (ITDRC), a non-profit dedicated to helping set up communication in areas struck with disaster. They have helped in over 18 disasters so far!
The mobile tech center vehicle has radios, 30 workstations, mobile server rack, printers, over a hundred routers, thousands of feet of cables, computer repair parts, switches, and hard drives.
"Every time we get to a disaster we find something we don't have," says Joe, "that goes into our 'lesson learned.' "
They drove house to house helping individuals get access. The two also teamed up with a group of hackers who helped create a wireless mesh network so neighborhoods could connect to the internet for free. The hacker team consisted of
Bryce Lynch (The Doctor), Ben Mendis (Ben The Pirate) and Chris Koepke (Haxwithaxe), all members of a group called Project Byzantium. The project was created to quickly provide Internet access to areas in need.
"Once you do it you're addicted," says Debbie Hillis. "Helping people, there's nothing like it."
Peace & Love,
The Good World News