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Chris Callison-Burch
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Iowa adding a little fun reality show component to public education:

"Each institution of higher learning under the board’s control shall develop, and administer at the end of each semester, an evaluation mechanism by which each student enrolled in the institution shall assess the teaching effectiveness of each professor who is providing instruction to the student each semester. " ...."The names of the five professors who rank lowest on their institution’s evaluation for the semester, but who scored above the minimum threshold of performance, shall be published on the institution’s internet site and the student body shall be offered an opportunity to vote on the question of whether any of the five professors will be retained as employees of the institution. The employment of the professor receiving the fewest votes approving retention shall be terminated by the institution regardless of tenure status or contract."

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/Published/LGI/86/SF64.pdf

+Daniel Povey do you know of any web service that would allow people to upload an audio recording and run ASR over it?  A journalist friend of mine wants to transcribe his interviews automatically, but is having a hard time finding any such service. 

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We have released version 1.0 of the ParaPhrase DataBase (PPDB) which contains 170 million English-English paraphrases: http://paraphrase.org

For technical details, check out +Juri Ganitkevitch's NAACL 2013 paper: http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~ccb/publications/ppdb.pdf

The range of alternate expressions that you get is impressive.  Here are the paraphrases it discovered for "pruned": cropped, trimmed, clipped, cut, carved, reduced, separated, diminished, split, impaired, decreased, shortened, downsized, curtailed, narrowed, lowered, severed, lessened, minimized, depressed, blunted, alleviated, detached, mitigated, scaled, abated, discounted, shrunk, minimised, relegated, eroded, attenuated, undercut, curbed, bridged

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I wrote an open letter to president Obama about my PhD student Omar Zaidan being excluded from the US for 1.5 years.  http://cs.jhu.edu/~ccb/publications/letter-to-the-president.pdf

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Chris Callison-Burch hung out with 9 people. <a class='ot-hashtag' href='https://plus.google.com/s/%23hangoutsonair'>#hangoutsonair</a>Juri Ganitkevitch, Gaurav Kumar, Jonathan Weese, Ann Irvine, Svitlana Volkova, Charley Beller, Xuchen Yao, meg mitchell, and Alex Quinn
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