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January 25, 2011

The number of gun owners and the crime rate

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) contends that "[I]n cities where more people own guns, the crime rate. . . goes down." http://huff.to/dJe67b

"If lenient gun laws actually reduce gun violence as the NRA claims, the U.S. should have the lowest rate of gun violence. However, a look at the numbers from other industrialized countries does not show this to be the case." International Gun Laws Show Firearm Availability is Related to Deaths http://bit.ly/i4ZVRd

Do you think that there is a (negative) correlation between the number of gun owners and the crime rate?
Do you think that there is a direct causal relationship between them?

If the percentage of gun owners--including guns for hunting--in rural areas is higher than in urban areas, and if the crime rate in rural areas is less than that in urban areas, then without any causal relationship between gun ownership and the crime rate, you can infer that there should be a negative correlation between the percentage of gun owners and the crime rate. But it does not necessarily mean that the guns reduce the crime rate. What do you think of this reasoning?


January 22, 2011

Why did Keith Olbermann have to sign off?

Keith Olbermann signs off. http://on.msnbc.com/gXQFSN

I found that some people classified him in the same group that Glenn Beck belongs to. But he not only takes a different position on several matters from Glenn Beck, his style of speech is also more restrained and logical than his "counterpart." I wonder if my impression is not shared by most of the people in the USA.

"One week, the Right's theme is 'Obamacare’s death panels'; another week, it’s the 'Ground Zero Mosque'." What the Hell Happened to Keith Olbermann?: MSNBC's parent company, General Electric, never seemed comfortable with some of Olbermann's material. http://bit.ly/eHycQy

“Unlike News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who stands solidly behind the right-wing propaganda on Fox News, the corporate owners of MSNBC have no similar commitment to the work of Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz." Robert Parry http://bit.ly/eHycQy


January 15, 2011

A hypothetical situation

You were born six years ago. You are always in a room. But there is no one in the room, and nobody speaks to you. Someone, without speaking, feeds you if you begin to cry. There is a big screen on the wall, and you always listen to the sound of the prerecorded videos shown on the screen.

Do you think that you can speak a language?


January 11, 2011

Glenn Beck or complete nonsense

I don't want to blame anyone for being angry about something, but I hate wasting time hearing complete nonsense. Glenn Beck cries again and again that Michael Moore is fat, but that doesn't give us any new information. It just testifies to the fact that he is not a serious journalist. I am afraid that we will see a Glenn Beck on Japanese TV programmes.

Glenn Beck on Michael Moore http://bit.ly/ewytGz
Glenn Beck threatens to kill Michael Moore http://bit.ly/hhArKq


January 10, 2011

The importance of grammar in language

I know that google translate is not based on any grammatical analysis but on the statistical analysis of a language database, but we are human beings and sometimes enjoy processing natural languages in grammatical terms. We are all linguists in a sense.

I suppose nobody can deny the importance of grammar in language, and we should differentiate between rules that we can describe in simple grammatical terms and those that we really follow but cannot describe clearly. The discussion should be focused on how important, or useless, specific grammar terms and rules are on which level of learning.


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