Elastic an analysis of one of the most renowned writers in world literature Paige met, her An analysis of characters in ap by john updike biochemists wrote this.
I am always left behind. An even stupider one always comes along. All I can say as of this morning is that I never thought I would see a story as stupid as this in a respected news source, and right now I cannot imagine how it could be surpassed though within a few weeks I suppose it probably will be.
The Economist has already shown a certain affection for Alex's story: The review calls the new book "a memoir of two unusual scientific careers, one of them pursued — not exactly by choice — by a bird.
So I will simply tell you about the stunningly stupid part of the review, and leave it to you to determine, if you care to, whether the review misrepresents the book on this point.
But I warn you, especially if you know a little elementary articulatory phonetics, that this one will boggle your mind. Are you prepared to face the rest of the day with a boggled mind?
The review is anonymous, like all Economist reviews, and after what I will say below, the reviewer will doubtless come to see this as quite a blessing. What the reviewer reports, relying on the book, is that Alex the parrot didn't just chat with his keeper and keep her entertained, and know how to name fifty objects and the numbers from 1 to 6, and combine words to make up expressions Alex is said to have named cake "yummy bread", though why this is counted as a creative act rather than a failure to learn the simple word cake is not clear from the review ; the thing is, Alex also "seemed to combine phonemes to construct new words".
This is a true first: An example is cited: Lacking lips, he could not pronounce the letter "p", so his term for an apple was "banerry" apparently mixing "banana" and "cherry". Well, you probably caught it.
The phonemes systematically distinct speech sound units that humans produce by bringing together the upper and lower lips, known as bilabial consonants, include [p] as in pop, [b] as in bob, and [m] as in mom.
Say these words while looking in a mirror and you will see that your lips come together. And when you say "banerry" or "banana", of course, it happens just the same. Apparently the reviewer did not have the intelligence to reflect on why failing to learn one word with a [p] in it should have something to do with not having lips, when pronouncing [b] was apparently no problem for the self-same bird.
I stared at the page, almost unable to believe what an asinine thing had been printed there. I have no idea whether the reviewer's remark has a basis in the text of the book. Quite possibly it doesn't. The sheer dumbness of the reviewer's remark gets even worse if you reflect a little more.
Parrots don't have upper front teeth either, or the bony gum-covered area behind them that is known as the alveolar ridge, or a velum the soft membrane at the back of the mouth that can be lowered to open the velic port between pharynx and nasal cavity, so by the logic of the above quote they should also be unable to pronounce [n], a nasal consonant produced by lowering the velum and making a closure in the oral cavity by pressing the tongue tip against the alveolar ridge.
In fact parrots have just about none of the articulatory apparatus that humans have, which should mean they are utterly without the ability to mimic any human speech, right? They mimic the sound of human utterances brilliantly.
But they do it in a totally different way, simulating the acoustic effect not the articulatory production by means of an organ known as the syrinxwhich birds have and humans don't. This clever flute-like organ works for mimicking all kinds of sound without using anything like the organs or movements humans make do with.
Parrots don't need the anatomical attributes of the human oro-pharyngeal tract any more than an iPod or a radio does.Science, Math, and Modeling "If we are honest – and as scientists honesty is our precise duty" -- Paul Dirac.
An Initial Look at Some History of Science. Again to give an indication of a problem, let us look at the fields of string theory and loop quantum gravity from on high, before we plunge into the depths.
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