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In praise of rule-based systems

The London Text Analytics Meetup never fails to provide stimulating talks. Even if you disagree with some of the ideas, or even most of the ideas, you engage with the talk and with the speaker. Tonight’s talk (March 6, 2018) was no exception, Michael Barclay provided an overview of his rule-based system (something he rather provocatively emphasised in his presentation, since rule-based systems are considered old-fashioned today).

Reducing Misinformation: spotting fake news

This presentation at the London Text Analytics Meetup (January 2018) alarmed me a little. The title "Reducing Misinformation" sounds a bit like the heavy-handed slogan painted on the sides of Thames Valley Police Force cars some years ago: “Reducing Crime, Disorder and Fear”. Somehow an admirable goal had been mixed with a rather oppressive approach. It smacked a little of late-night security squads taking out suspects.

Scandinavian paradox

The popular image of Scandinavians is full of contradictions. Denmark, Norway and Sweden must be by several measures the richest, happiest and most successful societies the world has ever known. [...] Scandinavia is also famous for hedonism and sexual freedom; yet the plots of Scandi noir stories often turn not on crimes but on old sins: adultery, incest, abuse.

Tom Shippey, TLS, December 2 2016

What is a utopian city?

In Utopia Drive, Erik Reece [...] suggests that utopian settlements are constructed to accommodate escape and evasion, to provide safety and privacy in an alarming world. [...] Yet on the question of what constitutes utopia, Reece appears suitably baffled. [...] Reece's utopias are consistently constructed on the struggle to give something up, be it belongings, individuality, alcohol, religion, or sex.

Jacqueline Wilson, review of Utopia Drive by Eric Reece, TLS December 2 2016