Death miniature: The toy…

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

[Death miniatures series stories]

Death miniatures are fictional ultra-small stories related to death. The goal is to draw out emotions and make the reader think more about death, which is the only thing that we keep on avoiding, even though it is defining our life and behavior from the moment we are born till the day we draw our last breath…

She always loved this toy.

From the moment that she saw it she could never sleep without it.

She would be so happy now.

Holding it in her small little hands.

A small fluffy octopus with seven arms.

We had laughed so much with that.

Look at her now.

With the sevenctopus again in her tiny arms…

A touch on my shoulder.

It was time.

I gave her a kiss.

(Sleep tight my child)

The tears rising.

But as the coffin was closing…

I could still see the toy.

And for a moment.

Without knowing why or how.

I just smiled.

(Oh, she loves this toy!)


Death stories series

Creating with style…

In search of inspiration for improving computer-based text translators, researchers at Dartmouth College turned to the Bible for guidance. The result is an algorithm trained on various versions of the sacred texts that can convert written works into different styles for different audiences.

Internet tools to translate text between languages like English and Spanish are widely available. Creating style translators – tools that keep text in the same language but transform the style – have been much slower to emerge. The Dartmouth-led team saw in the Bible “a large, previously untapped dataset of aligned parallel text.” Beyond providing infinite inspiration, each version of the Bible contains more than 31,000 verses that the researchers used to produce over 1.5 million unique pairings of source and target verses for machine-learning training sets.

“The English-language Bible comes in many different written styles, making it the perfect source text to work with for style translation,” said Keith Carlson, a PhD student at Dartmouth and lead author of the research paper about the study.

As an added benefit for the research team, the Bible is already thoroughly indexed by the consistent use of book, chapter and verse numbers. The predictable organization of the text across versions eliminates the risk of alignment errors that could be caused by automatic methods of matching different versions of the same text.

“The Bible is a ‘divine’ data set to work with to study this task,” said Daniel Rockmore, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth and contributing author on the study. “Humans have been performing the task of organizing Bible texts for centuries, so we didn’t have to put our faith into less reliable alignment algorithms.” (1)

In the beginning there was Logos.

And we tried to express God with words.

We were bad at it in the beginning.

But gradually we learned.

To use words better.

To express ourselves.

To make art with lifeless marking on white paper.

And people read and wept.

And people believed and followed.

And people forgot.

And people became indifferent.

At the end, the markings on the paper were dead.

Being nothing more than sad reminders.

That we once upon a time were alive.

That we used to be part of God.

In the beginning there was Logos.

And we tried to express God with words.

We were so good at it in the beginning…

PS. Dartmouth College has a long history of innovation in computer science. The term “artificial intelligence” was coined at Dartmouth during a 1956 conference that created the AI research discipline. Other advancements include the design of BASIC – the first general-purpose and accessible programing language – and the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System that contributed to the modern-day operating system.

Death and life in books…

Ngrams analysis of words used in books throughout the ages provide interesting insights of the way people think in various ages.

In the past the use rates of the words ‘life’ and ‘death’ were similar and their patterns followed each other in fluctuations over the year. However lately and especially after the French Revolution and “Enlightenment”, the use of the word ‘death’ in books seems to be dropping while at the same time the use of the word ‘life’ seems to be increasing. (1) It is also important to note that in parallel with the decline in the use of the word “death”, we also see a decline in the use of word ‘God’ in books during the same period. (2)

One upon a time we were used to the notion of death.

And we accepted it as a part of life.

We then suddenly became “enlightened”.

And we started to dogmatically reject death and God. We started loving life as life, without paying any attention to the major components it consisted of. And we developed psychiatry, we started becoming depressed, we started thinking of suicide (3), we started wanting more and more to feel “happy”.

Once upon a time the books were dark.

Once upon a time the books were full of death.

Now we have Marie Claire.

Do you feel happy?

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