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Popular Elsewhere

15:27 UK time, Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The most intriguing headline comes from a popular Wall Street Journal article: how to negotiate your salary like an FBI agent. The next question must surely be: do FBI agents get paid well? This isn't covered in the piece. What is suggested is you treat your salary negotiation like you are a hostage negotiator.

"So let's say the HR person says, 'We think you're a great fit for the job, and we'd like to offer you a starting salary of $75,000.' Say something like: 'I see. So you're saying that the salary for this position would be $75,000.' Then be silent.
"In doing so, you've listened attentively, paraphrased what the interviewer has said, mirrored back the last few words, and left an effective pause in the conversation to allow the interviewer to fill the gap. Most people hate awkward silence in conversation, and will rush to fill it, and what can happen in this scenario is they fill it with a higher offer."

Alternatively they just reply "yes".

How Google Translate works may surprise you. The answer is drawing in Independent readers. It uses the reams of text where there are translations side by side - from EU or UN conferences to crime novels. So it is based on already millions of hours of human translators' work. But the article goes one further, saying it is better than a human translator because the article concedes that the automatic translator may "serve up the odd batch of nonsense" but at least you can tell from a mile off when it is doing so.

Like when we translated "serving the odd batch of nonsense" into a few languages and back to English to get "serving the mess fringe". Whereas a human translator may have changed that to at least make sure it makes sense, even if it loses its meaning.

While machines are translating languages, Discover readers are clicking on a story which says machines have been developed which can invent their own language. The piece says "the bots can coin words to describe places they have been, places they want to go, and plans for getting there." But it may be a while before their language can be translated on Google Translate - the "Lingobots" so far are just communicating in beeps.

And finally, readers are appreciating a Daily Mail headline. A story about coins being wedged into trees starts "Who says money doesn't grow on trees?" Well, the article does, actually. It explains the coins mysteriously appearing in trunks are thought to be put there by passers by hoping to be rewarded with good luck.

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