Not actually eating oatmeal

[A conversation inspired by Ryan saying something slightly incorrect during breakfast]

ME: ... for example, I can say "what are you eating?"

ME: Then you say, "I'm eating oatmeal."

RYAN: I'm eating oatmeal.

ME: That's right, let's try again!

[ Ryan gnawing on the rubberized handle of his cutlery ]

Is language development supervised?

I once read that existing models of machine learning didn't really explain the way that children learned to make correct and felicitous utterances. On the most basic level, this makes sense to me—if machine learning accurately modeled children, then computers would be as proficient at English as children are.

But more specifically, I read that purely unsupervised learning can't explain language acquisition because in that model, there's no indication of which words or sentences are correct and which aren't.

Tantalus-Arboretum Trail

Emily, Ryan and I attempted to hike the Tantalus-Arboretum trail the other day.

Parking was easy, free, and nearby:

Lending Club Experiment

I've seen references to Lending Club in several different places, including an article in The Economist, news about Google's $125 million investment in the company, and the tritium lending club boat


ME: What's this? [draws 11]

RYAN: Eeleven

ME: What's this? [draws 12]

RYAN: mm mmm what's this?

ME: twelve

RYAN: twelve!

ME: What's this [draws 13]

RYAN: fourteen

ME: thirteen

RYAN: thirteen!


ME: What's this [draws 15]

RYAN: fiteen

EMILY: Try 13 again

ME: What's this [draws 13]

RYAN: mm mm thir...

EMILY: Yeah, that's right!  thirteen!

RYAN: Thirteen

ME: What's this [draws 17]

RYAN: Sedenteen

First Math Lesson

ME: [trying to come up with a way to entertain Ryan while he's sitting in his high chair and I'm cooking] I'm going to teach you some math.  Do you want to learn math?

RYAN: [...]

ME: One plus one equals two.

RYAN: More Cheerios

ME: if you have one Cheerio and another one Cheerio, then you have two Cheerios

RYAN: mayihavemorecheeriospleasethankyou!

ME: [gets more Cheerios]

RYAN: [...]

ME: One plus one equals...

RYAN: [...]

ME: What is one plus one?

RYAN: [...]

ME: Two!

Delayed gratification

The famous Stanford marshmallow experiment found that kids who were able to delay gratification (by forgoing one marshmallow now in favor of two marshmallows later) tended to have better outcomes later in life under various mesaures.

Lazy Parenting

I've seen firsthand and heard from various sources that many toddlers go through a phase of constantly asking questions. Even though people warn me that this phase is tiring, and I'll wish it was over, I've been actively trying to encourage my son to become an incessant-question-asker as soon as possible. Every time we're out and about, I've been teaching him how to ask "What's this?" and "What's that?"

I love you



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