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“At 12% of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren.

“As snow survey crews worked, Gov. Dakine Alexa Backpack 24L Kiki Backpack Bags Green xdXOclv
met with Southern California water leaders as part of a series of drought meetings he is holding around the state.

“Every day this drought goes on, we’re going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing,” Brown said in brief remarks before the private meeting with regional water managers at the downtown Los Angeles headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.”

Read more: Los Angeles Times

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“Northern California is finally getting wet weather after some areas have gone without measurable rain for weeks. But the precipitation won’t help much to ease the drought that plagued the region.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website predicted just 0.1 inch of rain in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday. But more than 2 inches were expected in parts of Sacramento and as much as 2 feet of snow at higher elevations in the northern Sierra, where snow was falling on Thursday morning and drivers were required to have chains on their vehicles.

“The San Francisco Bay Area has had only about 10-20 percent of the precipitation that it usually gets this time of year, said National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson.”

Read more: Foxnews

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Retrieved from PhD Comics

Retrieved from PhD Comics

Piled Higher and Deeper into the Nexus

by Miles Ten Brinke

The life of a 1st year PhD candidate at Manchester Business School is a study in contradictions. The environment you suddenly find yourself in seems to tear in opposite directions, demanding of you a level of knowledge and expertise you never expected to possess and yet ever humbling with just how little you actually know. On the one hand you’re a semi-accomplished student engaged in intensive research training and analysis (everywhere from the most obscure specialist papers only you and a half dozen other people have read to the fundamental epistemology of social science) and on the other you’ve generally no idea what you’re on about and just make it up as you go.
Then there’s the time you spend with your supervisors. The you in that office stumbling over the simplest of analytic details couldn’t be a further contrast from the confident bombast of the Friday intellectual pub talk. Yet you’ve probably said exactly the same thing, only your supervisor knows just how nonsensical it is. Getting to be a PhD candidate tends to mean you do actually know about your subject, can talk up a bit of the arcane and esoteric. Soon as you enter supervisor zone though, at least in my case and with nearly everyone I know, you’re back down to a 1st year undergrad in competency. Every little victory, i.e. saying something moderately inciteful, is hard won and celebrated.
Doesn’t stop there though, MBS adds another layer- oscillating between exhausting frustration and excitement. The wrenching tug of war between the demands of your own research development and research training, having a life and working hard enough to not be a charade of an academic. An MBS PhD is very uncommon for Britain, a three year PhD where you still have considerable course work. In roughly the first year you work through three assessed core modules, eight research methodology seminars of which three are assessed, and a doctoral conference. Its a hell of a lot of work, and a challenge to balance just right. You’re told at induction to expect spending at least half your time on the work, its often far more time-consuming. Hours go by staring at screen trying to grasp positivism or paradigm shifts, or rational choice theory. Hours you wish you’d spent reading more about your subject because after all you tell yourself that’s the whole reason you’ve come in to slave away for three or four years on an epic work no one will ever read. There’s something you’re curious about, something you think you can shine a little light on. That alchemy of transformation from clueless student to proper academic you think you’ve set yourself up for did not include knowing the difference between epistemological and ontological relativism…
Annoying as it can get though, taking classes like Epistemology forces you to think much more broadly and deeply than you would otherwise. It gives you perspective about where you and your own tiny contribution to knowledge fit in the history of social scientific endeavour, brings to the surface your epistemic assumptions and the under-examined intellectual baggage of your previous training. It means, well who knows if it’ll really happen but its supposed to, we can go into our theses well aware of how we fit into the academic literature and exactly why we make the choices we do on our underlying choice of theories and the methods we’ll use to gather and analyse our data. Might even make that viva somewhere down the line just a little bit less scary, who knows.
For the especially foolhardy among us, its even worse. RTP and suddenly diving into the deep end of the academic pool not enough for ya, why not take on a part-time job too. Soon enough a fair number of us are obliged or volunteer for teaching positions, often confirming in a few short weeks every little pearl of wisdom Jorge Cham has for current and prospective TAs. Everything from the expectations of spoon-fed answers to the exceedingly creative deadline extension excuses to the lazy obstinacy have been on offer. Just Cavalli Short Dresses Fuchsia wV2m1zY
. Something to look forward to for us all.
I haven’t yet taken up the privilege, instead convincing myself that continuing to work a day a week as a policy analyst (at least for a little while, ya know just to see how it goes) will be a brilliant way to keep sharp on that ever more worshiped totem of research excellence- . Here we’ve the final contradiction. Academics now must engage with the material effects of their research, the end-product valued as much for its benefit to society or commercial potential as its scholarship. Milly Woven Trim Fit And Flare Dress Navy Multi UMYUTV
. The more interdisciplinary and practical your aims the more incomprehensible you get as you cross-specialise. Holistic policy research can be especially maddening for this, and its all pervasive.
Anyone who’s applied for research funding or done teaching these days will know what I mean, but I’d like to think in my pursuit of comprehending the Nexus I’ve gone beyond the box-ticking. I’m obsessed with praxis in academic work, so giving up a day a week now to continue honing those skills and get a chance to apply my ideas (I’m even getting in more practice on using scenario methodology in a practical policy setting) seems a fair trade. Hopefully the sum total of what I produce in my PhD is read by more than just me, my supervisors, my evaluators and any poor sap I get to help me think through my ideas. We’ll see. It’s a struggle, constantly being challenged in new and ever uncertain terms , but no pain no gain.
I love what I’m doing. Let the learning flow, I’ll slog my way through to the end.
~Miles On Water
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Challenges of Transition- German Solar European Markets’ Merit Order

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Beyond Words - Language Blog

Posted by Paul Sutherland on March 31, 2017

Scientific investigation is a slow process. Rarely are long-established ideas smashed with one individual research paper that causes everyone to turn their heads. The study of sound symbolism (also called phonosemantics) follows suit. One of the founding principles of modern linguistics, as put forward by Saussure, is the idea that sound is arbitrary: the combination of phonemes that make up the word ‘cat’ could just as easily be used to mean a dog, or a type of tree, or the feeling of elation.

This seems to hold true within individual languages. There’s nothing stopping one set of sounds from meaning any particular concept. Language is a constantly developing consensus.


But an increasing body of research is showing that there are tendencies for specific meanings to feature specific sounds more than others, in a way that cannot be explained by things like genetic relationships, areal features (features being spread across geographical areas), or borrowing. The latest, and perhaps largest, attempt to demonstrate this was published in PNAS with the title “Sound–meaning association biases evidenced across thousands of languages”. The authors looked at basic word lists from two thirds of the world’s six- or seven-thousand languages, and found statistically verifiable evidence that a number of key concepts, including physical properties and body parts, routinely are represented by words that use or avoid certain sounds.

It’s easy, when looking at the media snippets covering this paper, to say “English doesn’t have an ‘l’ in its word for tongue” and write off the research. The research, though, only points to a statistical tendency, and doesn’t pretend a 1:1 correlation. They are also very careful to be conservative, and not to generalize across the data.

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(between languages) phonosemanticity of vocabulary like body parts is fairly new. Much more attested, since Sapir’s work on Native American languages, is physical descriptors, or what is known as magnitude sound symbolism. Across the world, words indicating smallness, intimacy, and a bunch of related concepts tend to have vowels like ‘ee’, while words meaning largeness tend to have open back vowels like ‘ahh’. Our intuitions about this have been demonstrated with invented words.

Some languages, like Japanese, Korean, and a wide variety of African languages, have systems of sound symbolism that form their own class. These are commonly called ideophones, and research has shown that they tend to be colloquialisms, emotions and otherwise artful vocabulary. ‘Pika-pika’ (meaning ‘shiny’ in Japanese) is one that English speakers are likely to be familiar with for being the catchphrase of Pikachu. All languages, it seems, have onomatopoeia, but for these languages, such words aren’t reserved just for child-like speech. In Japanese, speakers can even invent words to describe particular emotions or sensations that are correctly interpreted by others.

The applications are interesting, with evidence suggesting that such words in Japanese are easier for children and non-native speakers in general to pick up, and so should be taught early on to make language acquisition faster.

I started investigating for this article based on a sentence in one write-up that described the research on two-thirds of the world’s languages as “a study that shatters a cornerstone concept in linguistics”. Honestly, it doesn’t shatter Saussure’s concept of the arbitrariness of sound. That concept has been slowly scraped away and refined to something less generalist, and this research just helps solidify the linguistics field of sound symbolism.

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writes about endangered languages, sociolinguistics and related phenomena for ALTA Language Services. He is a linguist, photographer and writer with a passion for supporting endangered language communities. To this end, Paul has an MA in Language Documentation Description from SOAS and has worked with groups including language archives, teaching material developers and UNESCO.

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