Sunday, April 02, 2006

Word Burst

Not Partner Material put a word cloud on her blog(via The Philosophical Marshmallow). What a lovely idea, I thought and here is mine:

(courtesy of snapshirts)

Would it not be lovely to just project an inner word cloud onto page or post instead of laboriously placing words on a linear string of syntax? Considering that our brains may explode into thousands of words per moment, as Gerald Crow suggests in his paper on The Writing Problems of Visual Thinkers a word cloud may well give a more accurate picture of the racket in our brains.

The increasing use of subliminal audio tapes suggests that the mind may have the ability to think in complete syntactical units at enormous rates of speed, and in several channels simultaneously. One recent experiment suggests that the mind may be able to think a burst of a thousand words as rapidly as it can produce a picture: Korba (1986) estimated that people can think at the equivalent of 4,000 words per minute.

And then again - maybe not. NASA - among other things - seems to be working on a device that will read your mind. If you let it.
In space, no one can hear you scream. Use a cell phone on a crowded commuter train and everyone can.
Charles Jorgensen is working to solve both problems, using an uncanny technology called subvocal speech recognition. Jorgensen demonstrates it at his offices at NASA's Ames Research Laboratory in Mountain View, Calif. He attaches a set of electrodes to the skin of his throat and, without his opening his mouth or uttering a sound, his words are recognized and begin appearing on a computer screen.

Admittedly, words that you merely think of saying are a far cry from the word bursts Grow writes about. Still, I'm glad that as a woman no one could expect me to constantly wear a turtle neck or - perish the thought - a tie that picks up my subvocalisations.

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