Do I make sense?

I’d had a video automatically transcribed. I presume all kinds of AI jiggery-pokery had gone into turning audio frequencies into text – it was clear that the transcription engine was aware that a lot of hemming and hawing could be deleted, on the other hand not quite silences could be extrapolated into what probably was being said. A few times this worked amazingly well, but all too often the resulting text was nonsense. I was going to blame this on the lack of deep understanding on the part of the transcription engine, but as I replayed and replayed the same five second clip, trying to hear what was being said, by myself, I came to wonder: Is this actually what my students hear when I lecture—words that may be grammatically correctly connected, but rarely make any sense?


Women and attack helicopters

There has been a bit of a kerfuffle about the short story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter”. I don’t have the skin in the game to judge if the story is hurtful to trans people, but for a number of reasons I was intrigued enough to read the story and found it, at least from a literary perspective, to be quite good. The author is, I understand, suggested to be using a pseudonym. Quite possible; the quality of the writing suggests at least some prior experience with writing (science) fiction. In this case, perhaps twenty years ago this would have been characterised as a story of cyborgs, while today such close coupling between humans and machinery is taken for granted. The way this melding is described I associate with authors such as Charles Stross or Peter Watts (and yes, I realise those are male authors). I struggle to identify precisely what it is in the writing style that ties them together; perhaps something about wars fought remotely, but where the machines at the front have their own ideas about it.

Murray Leinster’s “The Wabbler” can be seen as an early predecessor, but reads, at least now, as more detached. It may have had a stronger impact in the 1940s when semi-autonomous fighting machines were just emerging.

But, to return to the original subject: when the modelling club used to participate at the Hobby Fair in Stockholm, we offered plastic models at cost for families to sit and build together at our table. An observation we made at the time was that the mothers tended to choose attack helicopter models. Perhaps it is indeed true that they have a very feminine combat style.


Finished model 2019-III

I find paper models to be scarily difficult to build – the paper is hard to shape and utterly unforgiving of the slightest mistakes. Still, I got challenged to put together a postcard model of Drottningholm palace. Which I did. The results, as I had feared, were mostly horrible, but as soon as it was done, I got supplied with a postcard model of the Liebfrauenkirche in Munich, so I guess I have to start on it. An idea of mine is that I will use my photo-etch bending tool to bend the paper into sharp corners. We shall see how that goes.


Who cares about categories anyway?

I’ve often wondered about the way books in the Amazon web shop get categorised, and this latest set of recommended reading suggests they have a very liberal attitude to contents.


Language complications

Master’s students are presenting their theses, faculty members comment on their work. My German colleague’s accent becomes even more accentuated in English, and still more by him being quite critical:
“I take ekzeption to your very first vord. Vaht do you mean by ‘vee’?”

Having dissected the permissible uses of authorial pronouns, he continues:
“I zink your use of RE iz inappropriate.”

The student, already rattled, becomes even more confused:
“Did I write RE? It should be ER.”

The opponent relentlessly pursues the RE issue, while the student desperately scans through the paper, vainly trying to find the offending statement. I finally make the connection, and interrupt the proceedings:
“I think what we’re discussing, is AI.”


Veckans ord: härröra

En anledning till den framgångsrika tyska invasionen av Frankrike var att de brittiska och franska arméerna var okoordinerade, det var rent ut sagt en fullkomlig härröra.


Finished models 2019-I and II

Well, compare with my earlier dryads. This did get a honorable mention for skillfully executed atmosphere at Warszawski Festiwal Modelarski 2019, but I’m not convinced it’s all that. However, the wash lent by a friend definitely brought out the surface texture much better this time, but the Vallejo paints insist on flaking as soon as you look at the figure, no matter how carefully it has been primed. I shall try using surgical gloves when handling the figures and see if that makes a difference.

The Orc Druid, well, you can see the difficulty I’ve had with the colour demarcations; that is definitely something that I have to improve. Possibly I need to dilute the paint more, but also feather the areas more.

Both figures old Games Workshop items.