Natural languages, communication, etc

Archive for March, 2012

NYT modal memory

NYT Opinion page editorial gloss today

 Insurance regulation reform should allow for an interplay of state
 and federal regulation such that each reinforces the other, not pit
 one against the other.

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/index.html
link good only Thursday

The <pit> doesn’t discover the intended <should>.


rhhar…@mindspring.com

On the internet, nobody knows you’re a jerk.

.
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tshirts

www.yellshoe.com accept PAYPAL

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Re: INDIA DID SHINE – BEFORE ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY CAME TO THE SCENE AND RAVAGED HER

In article <49058e75-88fa-4a1e-b8ff-b4820e645…@y10g2000prc.googlegroups.com>,
 ravimpillay <ravimpil…@gmail.com> posted:

- — -

> A brief introduction to technological brilliance of Ancient

> Health Science:
> The Indian vision on health, Aswini Devatha concept =96 Food & Exercise,
> need of exercise, yoga Asanas, soorya namaskaram, effect of medicines,
> identification of drugs, pathyas and fasting, selected food, rest and
> upasana, ethics for doctors cause of illness, pathogenic organisms,
> precautions to be taken for good health, solar therapy, water therapy,
> yoga therapy, music therapy, Reiki, energy healing, the knowledge on
> surgery and surgical equipments, practicing surgery and explanations
> given by Maharishi Susrutha. Acharas =96 customs and rituals influencing
> health.

> Mental Health Psychology:
> Description of mind given in Upanishads, mental influence on health,
> influence of puranic and related stories in mind, mental development,
> and yoga. Influence of yama and niyama as mentioned by Patanjali,
> controlling the mind, dhyaana, food and mind, saatwic food, dreams,
> effect of manthras on mind, customs influencing the mental health and
> family relations.

> Food Science:
> Variety of Indian foods, balanced nutritious foods, natural
> traditional baby foods, the medicinal components usually added in
> foods =96 like asafetida, turmeric, spices etc. =96 advised food during
> illness, specialized cooking, roasting, fermenting, processing,
> preserving, etc done for variety of foods ands their science.
> Generation of specific flavors in foods by suitable modifying spices.
> The science of altering the foods during fasting on specific days.
> Opting for integrated balance foods through fasting and vrathaas,
> science of selecting variety foods based on seasons, importance of
> selecting cooking vessels =96 for getting micronutrients like iron,
> zinc, copper, silica, magnesium, sodium, potassium etc. – variety of
> vegetable and their significance in balanced healthy foods. Many more
> significant scientific observations can be made in a student carefully
> examine the Indian foods, Naturopathy, Vegetarian food.

> Chemistry:
> The ancient Indian knowledge on chemicals and the subject of Chemistry
> given in Rasaratna Samucchayam, Rasarnavam, Rasendra Choodamani, Rasa
> Ratnakaram etc and many similar books. These books are available in
> Sanskrit with English and Hindi translations. Sanskrit names of
> chemicals, details of setting up a laboratory, scientific temper,
> qualification of chemists, laboratory assistant, research scholars,
> properties of inorganic chemicals, and their used described by
> Nagarjuna centuries ago. Chemicals used for a various purposes as
> described in Bharadhvaja in Yantra Sarvaswa, Varahamihira in Bruhath
> Samhita and also by others in the above chemistry books.

> Bio-pesticides:
> Variety of plant products, neem, tulasi, clove, pepper, turmeric,
> tobacco, oils like sesame oil, cotton seed oil, castor oil etc are
> used as bio-pesticides and some as preservatives. Traditional methods
> of pest control are also available from old farmers.

> Plant Drugs Pharmacology:
> Active plant bio-chemicals, processing medicinal plants, etc.
> Understand as many plants as possible which are good sources of the
> bio-active principles. Variety of plants used for curing diseases like
> herbs, shrubs, creepers, grass, trees etc. The plant leaves, buds,
> flowers, stems, roots, latex etc. used for treating specific diseases.
> Single drug treatment.

> Medicines and Medicinal Preparations – Plant Biochemistry:
> The descriptions of inorganic chemicals used as medicines in ancient
> Indian Rasa Chikitsa books, their preparations, processing, and
> prevention. The plant products used as drugs, the raw drugs, their
> harvesting, drying, storage, mixing, drug formulation, decoction
> preparation etc. Variety of Ayurvedic drug formulation obtained by
> mixing many raw drugs. Knowledge on the preparation while drying,
> storing, heating roasting, boiling with water, concentration etc in
> all Ayurvedic preparations. Here we have to focus only on the
> knowledge existed and their scientific merits in the area of plant
> drugs.

> Basic Plant Sciences Botany:
> Detailed description given in Vrukshayurveda by Saarngadhra,
> Katyayana, Varahamihira, Parasara, and others. Plant growth, grafting,
> irrigation, use of manure, seeds preservation, phototropism,
> agricultural practices both basic and applied. Varity of the
> traditional knowledge still practiced in villages in production of
> agriculture commodities.

> Fermentation Technology:
> Fermentation of milk to curd and yoghurt, fruit juice, medicinal
> preparations of arishtas etc. Fermentation procedures followed in four
> major types liquors mentioned in Chanakya=92s Artha Saastra, the source
> of microorganisms, cultures, fermentation products mentioned in the
> Ayurvedic and Vrukshayurvedic books. Fermented rice based common solid
> foods like pancake, fermentation of traditional liquors from coconut
> and palm products.

> Ancient Indian Mines:
> Knowledge on the ancient Indian mines which were active during last
> three or more millennia, mines of the ores and minerals of copper,
> gold, zinc, lead and silver which were distributed throughout
> Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh,
> Madhya Pradesh etc. The technology adopted for digging, mining,
> transportation, processing on the spot, provisions given for aeration,
> and lighting in mines etc. The present day scenes of ancient
> metallurgical sites.

> Ancient Indian Knowledge in Metallurgy:
> The production and purification of metals, use of flux and slag,
> temperature attained, technology for production and purification of
> metals like tin, copper, iron, silver, zinc, lead. An understanding of
> the chemical reactions accomplished like oxidation, reduction, slag
> formation, distillation of low boiling metals etc. The fine technology
> used for the large scale production of bronze, brass, panchaloha, bell
> metal, coin making metals and many alloys mentioned in chemistry books
> and also in the books like Channakya=92s Arthasaastra. Impressive
> metallic alloy preparation techniques mentioned in the Rasa books,
> Rasopanishad and Bharadvaajaa=92s writings. The mental ingots, sheets,
> plates etc of Indian origin excavated from other countries like
> Athens, Babylonia, Rome, and Egypt.

> Iron making Technology:
> Production of pig iron, cast iron, and wrought iron in ancient India.
> Delhi and Dhar iron pillar, forge welding, lamination, paint coating
> for preventing rusting. Making of swords, the Banaras and Kodumanal
> swords, carburization in iron instruments used in agriculture and
> surgery. Rust free preservation techniques adopted for iron, woortz
> steel. Large scale production of iron alloys, export of iron to
> European and Middle East countries etc.

> Ceramics Science and Technology:
> The top quality ceramic vessels, tiles, glazed vessels, beads, bricks
> etc produced in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Lothal, Varanasi, Thakshasila,
> Kalibhangan, Hastinapura and many other north and south Indian
> archeological sites. Variety of coloring materials used for the
> ceramic vessels and decoration ceramic articles.

> Glass Technology:
> Industrial and Instrumental Glass Technology existed in India. Variety
> of multi colored glasses with different size, shape, appearance, and
> capacity produced in India. The glass beads, ornaments, plates,
> vessels made using variety of inorganic coloring materials like the
> oxides, carbonates, sulfates, phosphates etc of chromium, lead,
> copper, iron, nickel, calcium, and sodium. The non metallic compounds
> used as coloring materials. Technology introducing the golden and
> silver leaf plates in glass.

> General Instruments used in Ancient India:
> Descriptions of a variety of instruments are given in Bharadvaja=92s
> Yanthra Sarvaswa =96 only a part of this book is available now. The
> Vaimanika Saastra, Dvaantha Pramapaka Yanthra etc. the numbering
> systems with serial numbers of the components of instruments, alloy
> preparations, quality of lenses, prisms, glass plates, variety of
> Kithara Aloha =96 artificial metallic alloys having non metallic
> compounds also- dies used for molding the instrument parts and
> components, in required size and shape. The instruments used in
> astro0nomical calculations know under the title of Jyothir Yanthra.

> Musical Instruments:
> Variety of string instruments for music and dance performances, the
> metallic alloys used for the preparation of strings, wind instruments,
> the knowledge of sound waves, the membrane instruments, preparation
> and processing of the membranes for these musical instruments. The
> basic knowledge of sound in music. The granite music pillars known as
> Sangeetha Mandapa seen in ancient south Indian temples. Traditional
> Indian musical instruments like flute, idakka, mrudanga, chenda,
> thaala, naadaswara, veena, violin, harmonium and so on. The basic
> principles adopted in their making and use.

> Surgical Instruments:
> The surgical instruments known as Sastras and Yanthras numbering more
> than a hundred as mentioned in Susrutha Samhitha. The metals used for
> making these
> instruments, their size, shape, and comparison with the modern
> instruments used for the purpose. Description of plastic surgery
> techniques. The instruments for kidney stone removal, stitching,
> cutting open etc.

> Laboratory Equipments:
> More than 35 types of ceramics and metallic equipments mentioned in
> Rasaratna Samuchaya for the use in chemical laboratories for the
> processes like distillation, sublimation, extraction, drying, heating,
> roasting, mixing, decanting etc. Generally known under the name of
> Yanthras made using specific quality clays.

> Kilns, Furnaces, Mushas & Putas:

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Re: 1000 Years of Attacks Against Hinduism

In article <066cb81e-48dc-4d3d-9668-27316e6c1…@t11g2000vbc.googlegroups.com>,
 fanabba <fana…@aol.com> posted:

> Crimes Against India: and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic
> Tradition: 1000 Years of Attacks Against Hinduism and What to do About
> it (Paperback)
> by Stephen Knapp (Author)

> http://www.amazon.com/Crimes-Against-India-Tradition-Hinduism/dp/1440…

Dhanyavaad for the post.

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jyotish
Om Shanti

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OF GOD AND HOLY WATER by Rajeev Srinivasan

Of God and Holy Water

By Rajeev Srinivasan
Rediff
October 2000

A lot of noise has been made recently about an incident at the
Guruvayur temple in Kerala. A Congress politician, Vayalar Ravi, had
the humiliating experience of the temple authorities doing a punyaham
(ritual cleansing of the premises with holy water) after the wedding
of his son Unny there. I certainly sympathise with the man: this is
highly insulting, being ‘unclean’ and ‘impure’.

What makes this interesting is the fact that Vayalar Ravi belongs to
the ‘backward-caste’ Ezhavas, who are numerically powerful in Kerala,
and have been the mainstay of the Marxist party in the state. Many
Ezhavas have been agricultural labourers and tenant farmers who
benefited from the land-distribution and labour-friendly policies of
the Left.

The Ezhavas also led the Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924 and the struggle
that led to the epoch-making Temple Entry Proclamation in 1936 that
threw open to all Hindus, regardless of caste, all of the-then
kingdom of Travancore’s temples. This singular event enabled Ezhavas
in particular and the so-called ‘lower-castes’ of Kerala in general
to gain self-respect, and to participate fully in the economic and
political life of the state.

Kerala had a history of extreme caste prejudice concerning the
‘pollution’ of Nambudiri brahmins. There were detailed and precise
rules as to the proper physical distance from the brahmins to be
maintained by the different sudra castes such as Nairs, Pillais,
Ezhavas, Pulayas, Parayas et al.: something like five feet, 10 feet,
15 feet, etc. This is so that they might not ‘pollute’ the brahmins
by their shadows falling on them.

Thus, the initial press reports about the Vayalar Ravi incident were
full of allusions to the bad old days of Kerala’s caste-based
apartheid. The conclusion drawn was that a ‘backward-caste’ person
being in the temple caused it to be ‘polluted’. But this is a very
strange conclusion, because thousands of ‘backward-caste’ Hindus
visit the Guruvayur temple every day. There is no way the temple can
identify them as such, or require ritual purification. There had to
be something more.

Then came further information. The temple authorities clarified that
they did the ritual cleansing because the bridegroom was suspected of
not being a Hindu. It turns out that his mother, Mercy, is a
Christian. The Ezhavas are matrilineal, therefore the authorities
felt that Unny had to demonstrate his Hindu-ness, as he might be
considered a Christian by descent from his mother. They may have a
point.

The Indian media dealt with this whole episode quite predictably; as
usual, the ‘secular’ ‘progressives’ waxed indignant at the ‘casteist’
incident. Reams were written in high dudgeon about the obscurantist
and reactionary priests of Guruvayur. But the issue of the Christian
mother scarcely got any coverage. Railing about caste is more fun, I
guess.

It is a fact that the Guruvayur temple takes a dim view of Christians
and non-Hindus in general. It explicitly forbids non-Hindus from
entering the temple. There is the famous case of the singer K J
Jesudas who wanted to sing inside the temple, but was prevented from
doing so. Jesudas is a practising Christian, but has sung a lot of
devotional Hindu songs, including at other temples.

I have heard many arguments about this. But I come down on the side
of the authorities: they have the right to restrict entry only to
Hindus. For, Hinduism is not looking to convert anybody, unlike the
semitic religions. Any non-Hindus coming into the temple, it can
safely be assumed, are not coming there to pray to the Hindu deity.
They must be coming in as tourists, to gawk. Since this is not a
museum but a living place of devotion, I think the authorities are
right to insist that only practising Hindus be allowed in —
presumably they will pray.

In Jesudas’ case, the question was not whether he respects Hindu
deities, but whether he is Hindu. Since he isn’t, I think the
authorities are perfectly within their right to not allow him in. If
Jesudas really wanted to go to Guruvayur that badly, he could have
converted to Hinduism.

‘Secular’ ‘progressives’ will jump on me for this opinion. They will
crucify me for that oxymoron, ‘Hindu fundamentalism’. But wait, the
very same Jesudas had trouble getting his son baptised by a Christian
church, because Jesudas sang at Hindu temples! Jesudas and his wife
are card-carrying Christians. But the Christian church balked at the
ceremony of sprinkling holy water on their son because Jesudas had
committed the ‘crime’ of singing Hindu devotional songs!

Thus these Christians should be tarred with the same ‘communal’ brush
as the Guruyavur authorities. But of course not; in the lexicon of
the ‘secular’ ‘progressives’, only Hindus can be ‘communal’.

Similarly, there was an incident in Pakistan after Prime Minister
Vajpayee’s ill-fated trip to Lahore. He visited the Minar-I-Pakistan,
a tower in that city. I am told that there is some significance to
this tower in regards to the creation of Pakistan. It may well be
that the call for a "Pakistan" or land of the pure was first made at
this tower. In any case, I got the impression that Vajpayee being
there was a significant and explicit concession that Partition was
irreversible.

What was quite interesting was that after Vajpayee left the tower, a
group of Muslim fundamentalist Jamaat-I-Islami activists descended
upon the place and cleansed it with holy water! I guess this was
because Vajpayee was an ‘infidel’ kafir even though a missionary
religion should welcome infidels to come there to be converted to
become one of the faithful.

Once again, there was deafening silence from the ‘secular’
‘progressives’ in the Indian media about this act of Muslim
extremism. I am not surprised. This is to be expected.

The lengths to which these ‘secular’ ‘progressives’ go was
demonstrated tellingly recently. The motley crew named SAHMAT
protested vociferously at the Millennium Peace Summit in New York
City that the Vishala Hindu Parishad, those dreaded communalist-
divisive-fundamentalists, were allowed to co-sponsor the event. Fair
enough.

But a couple of days later, the Catholic Church came out with the
‘Iesus Dominus’ document, which states that Catholics have an
exclusive hotline to heaven, and that all other religious paths are
false, including their fellow Christian sects. This is a document of
truly breathtaking chutzpah, obtuseness and arrogance, especially in
this sceptical world of today. Naturally the Vatican has no proof for
their direct line to their God, or even for the existence of their
God: it is pure blind dogma. And the Vatican makes no apologies for
this extremely divisive document. Of course, SAHMAT did not find it
in their hearts to protest against the Catholics, who also co-
sponsored the Summit! By ‘secular’ definition, Catholics couldn’t
possibly becommunalist-divisive-fundamentalists.

It just goes to show, there just isn’t enough holy water going around
to drown all these communalist and hypocritical fools collectively.

Postscript

Sushama Londhe has an impressive site called a Tribute to Hinduism
http://www.atributetohinduism.org/

which is a veritable treasure-trove of information about the
religion. I found it very interesting to browse through.

The BBC reported on October 2
http://www.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_953000/953200…
that a group of Christian terrorists, the National Liberation Front
of Tripura, has ‘banned’ the Hindu festival Durga Puja in Tripura.
They have warned any tribals that those celebrating this festival
will be shot. They declare that they want all of Tripura to be
Christian.

It is the same terrorists who shot and killed a Hindu priest a few
weeks ago, in his own temple. Similarly, Bineshwar Brahma, a Hindu
Bodo activist and litterateur, was shot dead by Christian militants
in Guwahati in August, explicitly based on his religion. None of
these incidents has been reported widely, or at all, in the Indian
print media. I read about them at the BBC’s online site.

Christians are on a rampage in the Northeast, indulging in ethnic
cleansing and religious violence, killing Hindus, supported by white
fundamentalist churches, especially American ones. The human rights
of Hindus are being violated: for instance, there are the Reangs who
have been ethnically cleansed from their homes. But this is not news
for the ‘secular’ ‘progressives’.

There seems to be a conspiracy of silence in the Indian print media
about the activities of the Christian Taliban of the Northeast. I
wonder, is this silence being bought with cold cash? Or is it purely
ideological? Why isn’t anyone demanding the kind of action that was
taken when that Australian Christian missionary was murdered? Am I
wrong in concluding that the life of a white Christian is worth far
more than the lives of religious Hindus?

The assault on Hinduism continues elsewhere, too. Here is an e-mail
that reader Sridhar forwarded me. I have not verified these facts
about the books mentioned, I am merely forwarding the message.

September 27, 2000

We are enclosing the following information that has appeared in the
`Letters to the Editor’ column of Hinduism Today. Please lodge your
protest with Encyclopedia Britannica. We also urge you to forward
this message to as many persons as possible requesting them to lodge
their protests.

Yours in the Lord

Swami Gautamananda
President
Sri Ramakrishna Math
Mylapore, Chennai-600 004
India.

September 27, 2000 Encyclopedia Britannica

If you boot up the Ramakrishna Page of the Encyclopedia Britannica
online,
http://search.britannica.com/search?miid=1227238&query=Ramakrishna
you can see that Kali’s Child (whose thesis is that Ramakrishna was
homosexual) is the first book recommended and also the fourth book
recommended. Narasingha Sil’s appalling book Ramakrishna Revisited is
number two. While we find these two books offensive, we nevertheless
are

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BBC World Service butchers local news story

Last night, an alleged "terrorist plot" to detonate a car bomb in
front of a synagogue in the Bronx, New York, was "foiled" by FBI and
NYC police.

The BBC placed the event "north of New York City" (while it in fact
took place a few hundred yards north of the northern tip of Manhattan,
several miles from the city’s northern boundary, and in fact a few
blocks from my former apartment); and claimed that Bob Henley, usually
a political reporter for WNYC radio, who provided the information, is
from "WNY news."

The alleged "conspirators" were indeed from Newburgh, New York, a
small city an hour north of NYC, and the other part of the "plot" was
to fire Stinger missiles at military aircraft based at nearby Stewart
Air Force Base (never mind that Stewart was turned into a general
aviation airport years ago during the base closings foofaraw).

This is at least the third time in recent months the FBI has created a
"terorist plot" out of nothing. I wonder when, exactly, Cheney ordered
the FBI to set up such "sting" operations (which would never have
happened without the "informants") for the purpose of increasing
public anxiety. It is not a coincidence that Cheney is giving a speech
this morning directly opposite the President’s speech — at the
National Archives, standing in front of the original engrossed and
signed Constitution — on the closing of the Guantanamo detention
camps.

The FBI instigator provided — they didn’t even go out and try to buy
— fake explosives and phony Stinger missiles. Relevant to another
thread, no, it’s not possible for ordinary people to acquire or
possess Stinger missiles.

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PEDOPHILE CHRISTIAN PRIEST ENTERS GUILTY PLEA (Sexually molested altar boy)

Paedophile priest enters guilty plea

By Daniel Fogarty
The Age
Australia
Friday, May 22, 2009

A paedophile Catholic priest who claimed he was giving an altar boy
an anatomy lesson when he sexually molested him has pleaded guilty to
five indecent assault charges.

Desmond Laurence Gannon, 79, was a Catholic priest at Kilmore, north
of Melbourne, when he abused the boy on three separate occasions in
1968 and 1969.

The incidents occurred in the middle of 18 years of abuse by Gannon,
who has previously been convicted of molesting young boys at various
Victorian parishes between 1958 and 1976.

The court heard that despite these convictions, the Catholic church
continues to support Gannon by helping to pay his rent.

Prosecutor Ray Gibson told the Victorian County Court on Thursday
that the boy was a student at Kilmore’s St Patrick’s Primary School
in 1968 when he was asked by his class teacher to go with Gannon to
"pick up some typewriters".

Gannon drove him to a bush track were he removed the boy’s pants and
underpants and said "this is your penis". He also kissed and fondled
the boy, who was aged 11.

Gannon later fondled the boy as he was putting on his robes prior to
assisting him celebrate Mass in 1968, the prosecutor said. And he
fondled and kissed the boy in the pump room of the local swimming
pool in 1969, the court heard.

Asked by police why he took the boy to the secluded bush location and
touched his penis, Gannon replied he was explaining the "differences
in anatomy".

"I thought it was less formal rather than inviting him into the
presbytery and that’s all," he told police.

Mr Gibson said the offences were planned and deliberate and had long-
term psychological effect on his victim.

He said a jail sentence between nine months and three-and-a-half
years would be appropriate.

In a statement to the court, the victim, who is now in his 50s, said
he had gone from being a happy boy who wanted to be a policeman, to a
delinquent who spent time in jail.

"Father Gannon has succeed in destroying all my hopes and dreams," he
said.

"At last I can finally speak out. Not like the dark old days, people
are listening now."

Gannon’s lawyer Brian Bourke said the former priest had already
served one year in jail in 1995 and was now an old man who should not
spend any further time behind bars.

He said there was no evidence that Gannon had offended since 1976.

Mr Bourke said the Catholic church makes "provision" for payment of
Gannon’s rent on the unit he lives in.

Judge Frank Gucciardo will sentence Gannon, of Box Hill, on June 3.

More at:
http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/paedophile-priest-en…

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jyotish
Om Shanti

Hindu Holocaust Museum
http://www.mantra.com/holocaust

Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy
http://www.hindu.org
http://www.hindunet.org

The truth about Islam and Muslims
http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate

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INDUS SCRIPT ENCODES LANGUAGE – Response of Rajesh P N Rao et al

Forwarded message from S. Kalyanaraman

Indus Script encodes language: Response of Rajesh PN Rao et al

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Indus Script encodes language:

Response of Rajesh PN Rao et al to Internet Discussions about their
Work which appeared in Science magazine– Entropic Evidence for
Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script (21 May 2009)

In a 2004 paper, Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel claimed that the Indus
civilization was illiterate and that Indus writing was a collection
of nonlinguistic symbols. The publication of our paper in Science
elicited hostile reactions from them, ranging from off-the-cuff
dismissive remarks such as "garbage in, garbage out" (Witzel) to ad-
hominem attacks and saturation of internet discussion groups with
attempts to discredit our work by calling two artificial control
datasets in our study "invented data sets" (Farmer). Sproat and
others in the meantime sought to construct counterexamples to our
result.

Here, we respond to their arguments in a point-by-point fashion.
First, their arguments:    

 (1) Two datasets, used as controls in our work, are artificial.

 (2) Counter examples can be given, of non-linguistic systems, which
produce conditional entropy graphs like those presented in our
Science paper.

 (3) The absence of writing material and long texts is "proof" that
the Indus people were illiterate, despite their cultural
sophistication.

 We view these arguments, especially (1) and (2), as arising from a
misunderstanding of our work. Our responses to the above arguments
are as follows:

 (1) The artificial data sets in our work represent controls,
necessary in any scientific investigation, which delineate the limits
of what is possible. The two controls in our work represent sequences
with maximum and minimum flexibility, for a given number of tokens.
Though this can be computed analytically, the data sets were
generated to subject them to the same parameter estimation process as
the other data sets. Our conclusions do not depend on the controls,
but are based on comparisons with real world data: DNA and protein
sequences, various natural languages, and FORTRAN computer code. All
our real world examples are bounded by the maximum and the minimum
provided by the controls, which thus serve as a check on the
computation.

 (2) Counter examples matter only if we claim that conditional
entropy by itself is a sufficient criterion to distinguish between
language and non-language. We do not make this claim in our paper.
Rather, our results provide evidence which, given the rich syntactic
structure in the script, increase the probability that the script
represents language. The methodology, which is Bayesian in nature,
can be summarized as follows: we examine languages to find out what
is common between them, thus defining the necessary conditions for
language. We find these to be Zipfian frequency distributions,
syntactic structure such as the clear presence of beginners and
enders, preferences of symbol clusters for particular positions
within texts etc. (see References), and finally, similarities in
conditional entropy given this pre-existing syntactic structure.
Additional necessary conditions may also be present (e.g.,
similarities in perplexity and higher-order block entropies). We find
that the Indus script also satisfies these necessary conditions for
language.

Thus, we claim that this provides evidence in favor of the linguistic
hypothesis, not against it.

 The counter examples provided by Sproat and others on a blog have no
correlations between symbols. Thus, the conditional and unconditional
entropies are identical. In the Indus script, there is a large
difference between these two quantities (cf. Figs. 1 and S1 in our
Science paper). To produce a counter example in which conditional and
unconditional entropies differ, would require, as Sproat admits in a
blog, tweaking of several parameters. This exercise gets even more
difficult and convoluted when one considers higher-order entropies.
Clearly, the parsimonious explanation is that the Indus script
represents language.

 (3) With regard to the length of texts, several West Asian writing
systems such as Proto-Cuneiform, Proto-Sumerian, and the Uruk script
have statistical regularities in sign frequencies and text lengths
which are remarkably similar to the Indus script (Details can be
found in http://indusresearch.wikidot.com/script ). These writing
systems are by all accounts linguistic. Furthermore, the lack of
archaeological evidence for long texts in the Indus civilization does
not automatically imply that they did not exist (absence of evidence
is not evidence of absence). There is a long history of writing on
perishable materials like cotton, palm leaves, and bark in the Indian
subcontinent using equally perishable writing implements (see
Parpola’s paper below). Writing on such material is unlikely to have
survived the hostile environment of the Indus valley. Thus, long
texts may have been written, but no archaeological remains are to be
found. As regards the cultural sophistication of the Indus people and
literacy, we believe Iravatham Mahadevan has addressed this
adequately in his op-ed piece:

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2009/05/03/stories/2009050350010100.htm

A paper containing a more detailed and comprehensive response is
currently under preparation. Other papers providing further evidence
for linguistic structure in the Indus script are under consideration
for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

References

 o  Final version of the Science paper:

http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/rao/ScienceIndus.pdf

 o  Parpola’s point-by-point rebuttal of the nonlinguistic claim:

 o Parpola A (2008) Is the Indus script indeed not a writing system?
in Airavati: Felicitation

volume in honor of Iravatham Mahadevan (Varalaaru.com publishers,
Chennai, India)

pp. 111-131.

http://www.harappa.com/script/indus-writing.pdf

 o  Syntactic structure in the Indus script: o Koskenniemi K (1981)
Syntactic methods in the study of the Indus script. Studia Orientalia
50:125-136.

 o Parpola A (1994) Deciphering the Indus script. (Cambridge
University Press), Chaps. 5 & 6.

o Yadav N, Vahia MN, Mahadevan I, Joglekar H (2008) A statistical
approach for pattern search in Indus writing. International Journal
of Dravidian Linguistics 37(1):39-52.

http://www.harappa.com/script/tata-writing/indus-script-paper.pdf

o Yadav N, Vahia MN, Mahadevan I, Joglekar H (2008) Segmentation of
Indus texts.

International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 37(1):53-72.

http://www.harappa.com/script/tata-writing/indus-texts.pdf

http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/rao/IndusResponse.pdf

http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/mlecchitavikalpa

End of forwarded message from S. Kalyanaraman

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Spanish and Italian

Spanish and Italian seem more similar to each other than either do to
French. Firstly, do you think this is true? Secondly, why would this
be so? If all three languages come from Latin 2,000 years ago then you
would think that they would all be equally dissimilar.

hazchem

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