Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The world's "weirdest" languages, spy planes spot archaeological sites, making museums more accessible and more from around the web

Open-Source Software Making Museums More Accessible Oftentimes, the process of visiting a museum begins at an institution’s website, and not all of them are accessible to people with disabilities. In fact, several notable NYC institutions’ websites are not readable by visitors with loss of vision. Those museums should take a tip from Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art whose open-source software—a tool that can be added …

English and More of the World’s “Weirdest” Languages

Using information from the World Atlas of Language Structures, researchers surveyed the features of 239 languages to determine which are “weirdest”—meaning in sound, the number of features and sentence construction. Out of 239, English ranked 33rd. Citing its abnormally high number of phenomes (most languages have around 25, but English has 44) and the odd way English-speakers assemble questions, the study unbiasedly shows how English …

Google Translate Employs Decades-Old Language Theory

Google Translate uses complex neural and numeric systems to find equivalencies in speech and text across languages. The tool is seemingly simple—at least for users. But on the backend, developers worked tirelessly to get the application to where it is now. One fascinating breakthrough came when Google employees applied Wittgenstein’s language theory: a posthumously published theory that words hold no supreme meaning and that meaning …