Afonso Xavier Canosa Rodriguez


On philology, potatoes and construction.
Well, this is just my first approach to blog-writing. I want it to be the way to keep in touch with colleagues and friends.




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Trying to understand
How do we begin to understand a language?
Is it efficient to process natural language in a non-linear way? How much does context matter to understand a piece of discourse?

This is my current research on natural language processing. I am working on the assumption that the more known context we have, the easier to process an unknown dependent unit, that is, an element within a sentence within grammatical and functional relationships with other parts of the sentence.

To put it in (I hope) clearer terms: with a known grammar new meanings are deduced from surrounding context. Therefore, those sentences with more already-known terms are the best not only to begin to understand, but also to learn new terms as we have more known context to infer new meanings.

The following scripts try to arrange a text presenting the sentences that are expected to be the easiest to understand and the most productive to give more 'meaning' to the whole text.

Next step: make it dynamic. This is what I have by now.
Subject: philology - Published 06-02-2012 20:07
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New Year wishes
I have enjoyed several weeks fully devoted to the development of different scripts for text processing using the first branch of the Mabinogi as main corpus. All I got by now is an ordered list of the most meaningful sentences as measured by the frequency of their component units. It was too many years without writing scripts at all (my experience with computer languages is that of an user, anyway, and very much oriented towards web publishing), so I had to review, learn and test the most basics of PhP and MySQL.

I did not expect to find a construction-related job, in fact, all my work in the past months has been directed towards a change in my field of activity.

I must be a lucky man because these days of not many offers I have found a job that is going to keep me busy for several weeks in the maintenance of a factory with a company specialized in refractory materials.

After that, well, I'll keep working, of course. And I'll try to keep this blog updated.

I have very much increased my activity in social networks this year. The following text was in fact originally written for my profile page on Google +. It is a review of some of my blogs, links, and some sites I used to visit.

Here are some selected places where to find me on-line:

Current blogs

http://www.canosarodriguez.net On potatoes, construction and philology. <---- YOU ARE HERE ! :-)

http://afonsoxavier.wordpress.com On literature, music, and how do I spend my weekends. In my mother tongue, Galegan-Portuguese.

http://tudalen.blogspot.com My new page to practise Welsh. Two posts in a year, wow!


Social networks

Twitter: I follow news on astronomy and solar system exploration mainly.

Friendfeed: Nice place where I find news and articles I like.

Orkut: I subscribed to groups on botany, farming, construction, gardening and Latin.

Google +: I landed here five months ago.


Articles, pictures, links.

The travels of Mendes Pinto. A map under construction. An amazing report of explorations and description of Asian countries in the 16th century. Even if this world is not perfect, I think it is a little bit better now. And easier to travel through, too: http://goo.gl/iqc3P

A knol I wrote. It could be useful if you grow kiwis. Adapted from previous posts on this blog.

Pictures: I have adopted a more contemplative approach towards the hedges, meadows and woods around. At the very beginning specially towards the species that can be of use for cultivars of tree fruits. Now I am trying to identify at least the most common of the wild flora in the area. Rifante, a friend with no profile on any social network, likes to come with me.

Delicious: ordered links to pages I bookmarked recently.

*************

For all those who have been visiting this particular blog, many thanks for your attention. I apologize again for my grammar. I hope that, even if slowly, you can notice I am improving my English. That was one of my purposes when I set up this blog.

There other reasons for me to keep it updated, of course. The main one is to see you are reading these posts from so distant (and no so distant too, of course) places, regularly. It is a strange feeling. Like having an audience. I don't know who you are, but you are there.

From USA to China, Spain to Germany, Russia to Japan, wherever you are, all my best wishes for the New Year.

Good crops all around the globe, best building practices, and some more steps towards machine translation allowing universal communication and global access to knowledge!


Subject: about - Published 26-12-2011 20:42
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The water wheel (III)

Finally the water wheel with a new shaft was set and fixed.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 18:28
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The water wheel (II)

A new framework had to be built, too.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 18:15
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The water wheel (I)

Former paddles were made of oak timber. Pine logs from our own woods were used for the new tub-wheel.

Hadrian drew a model, went to the wood, cut the pines and shaped the logs to build 20 replica paddles.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 18:10
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The building (II)

The roof was overgrown with ivies. All the tiles had to be removed and brushed.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 18:03
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The raceway (II)

Earthy matter and weeds in the flume. To shovel!
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 18:02
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The raceway (I)

The head race was also filled with weeds and mud.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 17:57
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Tail race and spindle

Rear wall. Tail race covered with mud and woody weeds.

Inside: vertical axle and remaining parts of the wheel. An almost archeological-excavation approach was needed to save the remaining pieces and measure them.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 17:47
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The building (I)

The building to be restored: rubble stone front-facade. Doorway with monolithic jambs and stone lintel. Third stile from the left is broken, the fourth is not: the hole is the cat's door!
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 17:34
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Building restoration
For the past eight years I have been working in several construction companies mainly in the construction of new residential buildings, more industrial facilities such as malls, and a terminal airport in the past two years. I can only reckon now three projects where the main process was restoring: rebuilding the roof of the main building of a farmstead, the interior of an old urban house (slabs and inner walls), and the walls of the garden of a country house (rubble stone with mortar).

The range of buildings to be restored is broader than residential dwellings, of course. And it can require the construction of elements that are not currently manufactured and have no specialists devoted to their production. This year I could witness (I didn't take part) how a water mill and its former functional facilities were restored. The waterwheel in particular. My brother, Hadrian, undertook the building of an horizontal-waterwheel as a leisure activity. I followed with some amazement the evolution from drawing drafts, to cutting pine logs, to the final assembly of a tub-wheel.

This is a collection of pictures of this restoration. I asked permission to Hadrian to publish them here. Both pictures and text are adapted from an album originally created and published by Hadrian.
Subject: construction - Published 24-10-2011 17:20
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Refractory lining
This month I have been working on the maintenance of the refractory lining of industrial furnaces.

Rather than the tasks to be completed (removing deteriorated surfaces, shuttering and pouring of refractory concrete), the hardest part of this job was the working environment: temperatures warmer than usual, low height of the furnace and almost permanent need to use a mask.
Subject: construction - Published 29-08-2011 23:30
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