Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] fireballs and NLP

Henry Longmore Henry.Krit.Longmore@m.cc.utah.edu
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 18:18:57 -0600 (MDT)

emanate (em'<schwa>n<long a>t'), verb.  1. to flow out, issue forth;
originate. 2. to send forth, emit.  (Random House Webster's Collegiate
Dictionary, 1991)

Based on this definition, it could be either that the fireball issued
forth or originated from the side of the tower, and the viewer was
beneath where the fireball was emanating, or that there was a fireball
emanating from the base of the building.  Not that I've seen all
footage of the collapse of the towers (I am glad for this), but I
didn't see any fireballs when they collapsed as I was watching live,
nor in the footage I've seen since.  On the other hand, if there was a
fireball at the time of collapse, it could be completely
reasonable...these buildings would, would they not, have likely used
natural gas or some other energy source to keep all 110 floors warm in
the winter.  How many tons falling onto a container of gas, or
whatever the power source was, does it take to cause an explosion?

Henry K.

 }Let's talk linguistics!
 }>From: Henry Longmore <Henry.Krit.Longmore@m.cc.utah.edu>
 }>essentially (I didn't record it) the same...they saw an enormous
 }>fireball emanating from beneath the tower.
 }>I am taking a class in Natural Language Processing (and have taken a
 }>couple of linguistics classes).  This causes me to analyze the
 }>sentence more than usual.  So the question is, how do we parse the
 }>sentence?  Does the phrase "beneath one of the towers" attach to the
 }>person who was doing the viewing?  Or does it attach to the fireball?
 }I've been studying computer linguistics, which includes NLP. So I understand 
 }the parsing issue, but what is your actual point by this?
 }Do you mean that there *was* no fireball "from beneath the tower"?
 }It's probably as you say, that people were watching it standing beneath the 
 }tower, but didn't the fireball actually emerge "from beneath"? Not that I 
 }know what it looked like, but I would guess that it emanated from the top? 
 }It's an interesting parsing dilemma however. :)
 }However, I had to look up the word "emanate" in my dictionary, and according 
 }to the definition I would interpret the sentence as "from beneath the tower" 
 }belonging to the fireball.
 }So, I did contradict myself now.