Re: OT: excellent book on information theory

Discussion in 'Python' started by Tim Peters, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Tim Peters

    Tim Peters Guest

    [Paul Rubin]
    ....
    >> David J.C. MacKay
    >> Information Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms
    >>
    >> Full text online:
    >> http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/

    ....
    >> The printed version is somewhat expensive, but according to the
    >> following analysis it's a better bargain than "Harry Potter and the
    >> Philosopher's Stone":
    >>
    >> http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/Potter.html


    [Grant Edwards]
    > That made me smile on a Monday morning (not an insignificant
    > accomplishment). I noticed in the one footnote that the H.P.
    > book had been "translated into American". I've always wondered
    > about that. I noticed several spots in the H.P. books where
    > the dialog seemed "wrong": the kids were using American rather
    > than British English. I thought it rather jarring.


    You should enjoy:

    http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/differences.html

    and especially the links near the bottom to try-to-be-exhaustive
    listings of all differences between the Bloomsbury (UK) and Scholastic
    (US) editions. More "Britishisms" are surviving in the Scholastic
    editions as the series goes on, but as the list for Half-Blood Prince
    shows the editors still make an amazing number of seemingly pointless
    changes:

    http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/hbp/differences-hbp.html

    like:

    UK: Harry smiled vaguely back
    US: Harry smiled back vaguely

    Non-English translations have real challenges, and because this series
    is more popular than the Python Reference Manual these days, there's a
    lot of fascinating info to be found. For example, I think the
    Japanese translator deserves a Major Award for their heroic attempt to
    translate Ron's "Uranus" pun:

    http://www.cjvlang.com/Hpotter/wordplay/uranus.html
     
    Tim Peters, Jan 16, 2006
    #1
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  2. Tim Peters

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "Tim Peters" <> writes:
    > For example, I think the
    > Japanese translator deserves a Major Award for their heroic attempt to
    > translate Ron's "Uranus" pun:
    >
    > http://www.cjvlang.com/Hpotter/wordplay/uranus.html


    Gad, I'm surprised that was in the original.

    For an absolutely amazing translation feat, try Michael Kandel's
    Polish-to-English translation of Stanislaw Lem's "The Cyberiad".
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 16, 2006
    #2
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  3. On 2006-01-16, Tim Peters <> wrote:

    >>> http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/Potter.html

    >
    > [Grant Edwards]
    >> That made me smile on a Monday morning (not an insignificant
    >> accomplishment). I noticed in the one footnote that the H.P.
    >> book had been "translated into American". I've always wondered
    >> about that. I noticed several spots in the H.P. books where
    >> the dialog seemed "wrong": the kids were using American rather
    >> than British English. I thought it rather jarring.

    >
    > You should enjoy:
    >
    > http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/differences.html


    Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out (in
    context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot" and a
    "dustbin" is a "trash can."

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! It don't mean a
    at THING if you ain't got
    visi.com that SWING!!
     
    Grant Edwards, Jan 16, 2006
    #3
  4. Tim Peters

    Xavier Morel Guest

    Tim Peters wrote:
    > Non-English translations have real challenges, and because this series
    > is more popular than the Python Reference Manual these days, there's a
    > lot of fascinating info to be found. For example, I think the
    > Japanese translator deserves a Major Award for their heroic attempt to
    > translate Ron's "Uranus" pun:
    >
    > http://www.cjvlang.com/Hpotter/wordplay/uranus.html
    >


    The translations of Pratchett's works are also quite amazing feats. I
    think that when they were looking for a polish translator one of the
    people they auditioned told them something along the lines of "You can't
    even think like this in polish."
     
    Xavier Morel, Jan 16, 2006
    #4
  5. On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 21:57:54 -0000, Grant Edwards <>
    declaimed the following in comp.lang.python:

    >
    > Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    > average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out (in
    > context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot" and a
    > "dustbin" is a "trash can."


    Yeesh... I could see bonnet and boot being a problem... Have the
    editors also been inflicted with the ol' "a pub's a bar; a bar's a gate;
    a gate's a street" <G>
    --
    > ============================================================== <
    > | Wulfraed Dennis Lee Bieber KD6MOG <
    > | Bestiaria Support Staff <
    > ============================================================== <
    > Home Page: <http://www.dm.net/~wulfraed/> <
    > Overflow Page: <http://wlfraed.home.netcom.com/> <
     
    Dennis Lee Bieber, Jan 17, 2006
    #5
  6. Tim Peters

    Steve Holden Guest

    Grant Edwards wrote:
    > On 2006-01-16, Tim Peters <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>>http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/Potter.html

    >>
    >>[Grant Edwards]
    >>
    >>>That made me smile on a Monday morning (not an insignificant
    >>>accomplishment). I noticed in the one footnote that the H.P.
    >>>book had been "translated into American". I've always wondered
    >>>about that. I noticed several spots in the H.P. books where
    >>>the dialog seemed "wrong": the kids were using American rather
    >>>than British English. I thought it rather jarring.

    >>
    >>You should enjoy:
    >>
    >> http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/differences.html

    >
    >
    > Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    > average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out (in
    > context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot" and a
    > "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    >

    They know that the average American could work it out. They also know
    that the average American doesn't like to do anything remotely like hard
    thinking, hence they make these changes so the books don't read like
    "foreign literature".

    regards
    Steve
    --
    Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
    Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
    PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/
     
    Steve Holden, Jan 17, 2006
    #6
  7. Tim Peters

    Max Erickson Guest

    Steve Holden <> wrote in
    news:dqird8$jke$:

    > Grant Edwards wrote:
    >> On 2006-01-16, Tim Peters <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>>>http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/Potter.html
    >>>
    >>>[Grant Edwards]
    >>>
    >>>>That made me smile on a Monday morning (not an insignificant
    >>>>accomplishment). I noticed in the one footnote that the H.P.
    >>>>book had been "translated into American". I've always wondered
    >>>>about that. I noticed several spots in the H.P. books where
    >>>>the dialog seemed "wrong": the kids were using American rather
    >>>>than British English. I thought it rather jarring.
    >>>
    >>>You should enjoy:
    >>>
    >>> http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/differences.html

    >>
    >>
    >> Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    >> average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out (in
    >> context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot" and a
    >> "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    >>

    > They know that the average American could work it out. They also know
    > that the average American doesn't like to do anything remotely like
    > hard thinking, hence they make these changes so the books don't read
    > like "foreign literature".
    >
    > regards
    > Steve


    A rather less cynical interpretation is that they are attempting to make
    a children's book accessible to as many children as possible, i.e., the
    youngest readers as is practical. I don't mean to disparage the book by
    calling it a children's book, I have read and enjoyed several of them,
    but the target audience for the books is clearly kids.

    max
     
    Max Erickson, Jan 17, 2006
    #7
  8. On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:28:15 +0000
    Steve Holden <> wrote:
    > Grant Edwards wrote:
    > > Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    > > average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out
    > > (in context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot"
    > > and a "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    > >

    > They know that the average American could work it out.
    > They also know that the average American doesn't like to
    > do anything remotely like hard thinking, hence they make
    > these changes so the books don't read like "foreign
    > literature".


    I'll pass on the snobbery.

    The real reason is that it was an expensively promoted
    book. Customizing it for an American audience was a way to
    suck money out of that flow into the pockets of the
    American publisher. In order to justify that expense, they
    have to have something to show for their efforts.

    Or if you want to put it another way, if you pay somebody
    to fiddle with the prose, fiddle they will.

    --
    Terry Hancock ()
    Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com
     
    Terry Hancock, Jan 18, 2006
    #8
  9. Tim Peters

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Terry Hancock <> writes:
    > > > Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    > > > average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out
    > > > (in context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot"
    > > > and a "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    > > > ...

    > The real reason is that it was an expensively promoted
    > book. Customizing it for an American audience was a way to
    > suck money out of that flow into the pockets of the
    > American publisher. In order to justify that expense, they
    > have to have something to show for their efforts.


    I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    movie.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 18, 2006
    #9
  10. Tim Peters

    Steve Holden Guest

    Terry Hancock wrote:
    > On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:28:15 +0000
    > Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >
    >>Grant Edwards wrote:
    >>
    >>>Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    >>>average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out
    >>>(in context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot"
    >>>and a "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    >>>

    >>
    >>They know that the average American could work it out.
    >>They also know that the average American doesn't like to
    >>do anything remotely like hard thinking, hence they make
    >>these changes so the books don't read like "foreign
    >>literature".

    >
    >
    > I'll pass on the snobbery.
    >

    I don't know what snobbery is involved: the same is true of the average
    English reader, but the book was written in English.

    > The real reason is that it was an expensively promoted
    > book. Customizing it for an American audience was a way to
    > suck money out of that flow into the pockets of the
    > American publisher. In order to justify that expense, they
    > have to have something to show for their efforts.
    >
    > Or if you want to put it another way, if you pay somebody
    > to fiddle with the prose, fiddle they will.
    >

    If you say so. Stranger things have happened.

    regards
    Steve
    --
    Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
    Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
    PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/
     
    Steve Holden, Jan 18, 2006
    #10
  11. On 2006-01-18, Paul Rubin <> wrote:
    > Terry Hancock <> writes:
    >> > > Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    >> > > average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out
    >> > > (in context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot"
    >> > > and a "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    >> > > ...

    >> The real reason is that it was an expensively promoted
    >> book. Customizing it for an American audience was a way to
    >> suck money out of that flow into the pockets of the
    >> American publisher. In order to justify that expense, they
    >> have to have something to show for their efforts.

    >
    > I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    > might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    > inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    > movie.


    ;)

    That's a joke, right?

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! Have my two-tone,
    at 1958 Nash METRO brought
    visi.com around...
     
    Grant Edwards, Jan 18, 2006
    #11
  12. Tim Peters

    Tim Peters Guest

    [Paul Rubin]
    >> I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    >> might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    >> inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    >> movie.


    [Grant Edwards[
    > ;)
    >
    > That's a joke, right?


    Probably not, if Paul's American. For example, here in the states we
    have Python Parks, where you go to look at scenery from inside your
    python.
     
    Tim Peters, Jan 18, 2006
    #12
  13. Tim Peters wrote:>
    > Probably not, if Paul's American. For example, here in the states we
    > have Python Parks, where you go to look at scenery from inside your
    > python.


    As an American residing in Canada, I'll say that Python Parks are only
    fun if they spring for hydro -- otherwise it's kind of dark.

    Parse that, non-Canadians. :)
     
    Christopher Subich, Jan 18, 2006
    #13
  14. On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 07:58:10 +0000
    Steve Holden <> wrote:
    > Terry Hancock wrote:
    > > On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:28:15 +0000
    > > Steve Holden <> wrote:
    > >>They know that the average American could work it out.
    > >>They also know that the average American doesn't like

    > >to >do anything remotely like hard thinking, hence they
    > >make >these changes so the books don't read like
    > >"foreign >literature".
    > >
    > > I'll pass on the snobbery.
    > >

    > I don't know what snobbery is involved: the same is true
    > of the average English reader, but the book was written
    > in English.


    My apologies, then, I thought you were making a
    nationalist remark. I'll agree that people in general
    are lazy. ;-)

    Getting overly sensitive, I guess: Once your country goes
    and violates international conventions and UN sanctions,
    invades foreign countries who haven't attacked it, and
    starts taking political prisoners, spies on
    its own citizens, punishes dissent against the ruling party,
    and starts torturing people, everybody thinks they have a
    right to criticize you on every nitpicking little thing!

    I wish I was kidding about all of that.

    --
    Terry Hancock ()
    Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com
     
    Terry Hancock, Jan 18, 2006
    #14
  15. Tim Peters

    Steve Holden Guest

    Terry Hancock wrote:
    > On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 07:58:10 +0000
    > Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >
    >>Terry Hancock wrote:
    >>
    >>>On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:28:15 +0000
    >>>Steve Holden <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>They know that the average American could work it out.
    >>>>They also know that the average American doesn't like
    >>>
    >>>to >do anything remotely like hard thinking, hence they
    >>>make >these changes so the books don't read like
    >>>"foreign >literature".
    >>>
    >>>I'll pass on the snobbery.
    >>>

    >>
    >>I don't know what snobbery is involved: the same is true
    >>of the average English reader, but the book was written
    >>in English.

    >
    >
    > My apologies, then, I thought you were making a
    > nationalist remark. I'll agree that people in general
    > are lazy. ;-)
    >
    > Getting overly sensitive, I guess: Once your country goes
    > and violates international conventions and UN sanctions,
    > invades foreign countries who haven't attacked it, and
    > starts taking political prisoners, spies on
    > its own citizens, punishes dissent against the ruling party,
    > and starts torturing people, everybody thinks they have a
    > right to criticize you on every nitpicking little thing!
    >
    > I wish I was kidding about all of that.
    >

    So the only thing you (the USA) lack is the hundreds of years of
    experience at those activities that Britain has. Sometimes I wonder
    whose name governments *do* govern in.

    regards
    Steve
    --
    Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
    Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
    PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/
     
    Steve Holden, Jan 18, 2006
    #15
  16. On 2006-01-18, Steve Holden <> wrote:

    >> Getting overly sensitive, I guess: Once your country goes
    >> and violates international conventions and UN sanctions,
    >> invades foreign countries who haven't attacked it, and
    >> starts taking political prisoners, spies on
    >> its own citizens, punishes dissent against the ruling party,
    >> and starts torturing people, everybody thinks they have a
    >> right to criticize you on every nitpicking little thing!
    >>
    >> I wish I was kidding about all of that.

    >
    > So the only thing you (the USA) lack is the hundreds of years
    > of experience at those activities that Britain has.


    Just wait.

    I hear that Cheney is having a tower built alongside the
    Potomac river. As soon as they figure out what the GS rating
    for "royal executioner" is going to be, they can start
    scheduling the public beheadings. The only question left is
    how much Fox "News" will pay for exclusive broadcast rights.

    > Sometimes I wonder whose name governments *do* govern in.


    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! Catsup and Mustard
    at all over the place! It's
    visi.com the Human Hamburger!
     
    Grant Edwards, Jan 18, 2006
    #16
  17. Tim Peters

    Roger Upole Guest

    "Paul Rubin" <http://> wrote in message news:...
    > Terry Hancock <> writes:
    >> > > Very interesting. And rather sad that editors think the
    >> > > average Amermican reader too dim-witted to figure out
    >> > > (in context, even) that a "car park" is a "parking lot"
    >> > > and a "dustbin" is a "trash can."
    >> > > ...

    >> The real reason is that it was an expensively promoted
    >> book. Customizing it for an American audience was a way to
    >> suck money out of that flow into the pockets of the
    >> American publisher. In order to justify that expense, they
    >> have to have something to show for their efforts.

    >
    > I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    > might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    > inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    > movie


    Just as another isolated data point, the first time I saw the
    expression "car park", I went and looked it up. Even
    though from the context the meaning seemed obvious,
    I was left with some doubts as to whether it might have
    some more specific connotations. For instance, it could
    have referred to a metered lot, or to a parking garage
    with time tickets, or even some kind of valet parking.

    Often, assuming that the "obvious" literal meaning
    is correct can have hilarious (or disastrous!) results.

    Roger





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    Roger Upole, Jan 19, 2006
    #17
  18. Roger Upole wrote:

    >>I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    >>might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    >>inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    >>movie

    >
    >
    > Just as another isolated data point, the first time I saw the
    > expression "car park", I went and looked it up. Even
    > though from the context the meaning seemed obvious,
    > I was left with some doubts as to whether it might have
    > some more specific connotations. For instance, it could
    > have referred to a metered lot, or to a parking garage
    > with time tickets, or even some kind of valet parking.


    But a car park can be any one of those things, or
    something else such as an unmetered lot.



    --
    Steven.
     
    Steven D'Aprano, Jan 19, 2006
    #18
  19. Tim Peters

    Roger Upole Guest

    "Steven D'Aprano" <> wrote in message news:...
    > Roger Upole wrote:
    >
    >>>I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    >>>might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    >>>inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    >>>movie

    >>
    >>
    >> Just as another isolated data point, the first time I saw the
    >> expression "car park", I went and looked it up. Even
    >> though from the context the meaning seemed obvious,
    >> I was left with some doubts as to whether it might have
    >> some more specific connotations. For instance, it could
    >> have referred to a metered lot, or to a parking garage
    >> with time tickets, or even some kind of valet parking.

    >
    > But a car park can be any one of those things, or something else such as an unmetered lot.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > Steven.
    >


    And this is exactly my point. Without already knowing
    that it's used as a general term, one doesn't know just
    what the expression implies (or doesn't imply).

    Roger



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    Roger Upole, Jan 19, 2006
    #19
  20. Roger Upole wrote:

    >>>>I wouldn't have figured out that a "car park" was a parking lot. I
    >>>>might have thought it was a park where you go to look at scenery from
    >>>>inside your car. Sort of a cross between a normal park and a drive-in
    >>>>movie
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>Just as another isolated data point, the first time I saw the
    >>>expression "car park", I went and looked it up. Even
    >>>though from the context the meaning seemed obvious,
    >>>I was left with some doubts as to whether it might have
    >>>some more specific connotations. For instance, it could
    >>>have referred to a metered lot, or to a parking garage
    >>>with time tickets, or even some kind of valet parking.

    >>
    >>But a car park can be any one of those things, or something else such as an unmetered lot.


    > And this is exactly my point. Without already knowing
    > that it's used as a general term, one doesn't know just
    > what the expression implies (or doesn't imply).


    And you won't get that from the dictionary, only from
    context. And having got the context, you don't need the
    dictionary definition to know whether it is paid or
    unpaid or even whether it matters.

    I mean, when you read "He sat on the chair" do you need
    to look up the dictionary to discover that chairs can
    have arm rests or not, they can be made of wood or
    steel or uphostered springs, be on legs or coasters,
    fixed or movable? If it mattered, a good author will
    tell you, and if it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.

    I cheer your willingness to look unfamiliar words in
    the dictionary, no sarcasm implied, but the dictionary
    rarely gives you either context or connotations (see
    the difference between describing somebody as wearing
    "sensible shoes" and "practical shoes").



    --
    Steven.
     
    Steven D'Aprano, Jan 19, 2006
    #20
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