About Me

My name is Gordon Tisher; I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

I have at various times been a print shop gofer, a day-care worker, a undergraduate in math and computer science, a scuba diver, a grad student in linguistics and theology, a horseback rider, a network administrator, a martial artist, a computational linguist, a flight student, a video game programmer, a classical choral singer, and a student of languages.

I am married to an excellent woman by the name of Andrea, and we have a daughter named Emily and a son named Brendan. In my spare time I blog about linguistics, science, politics, religion, and fatherhood.

I grew up in Liberia, and have lived in and traveled to a wide variety of places.

Interests

I have worked in the fields of computational linguistics / natural language processing, video games and general web development. My resume is here.

Computing

These are some of the personal software projects I’ve worked on:

  • IronMeta: a programming language and application for generating pattern matchers/transducers on arbitrary streams of objects. It is an implementation of Alessandro Warth’s OMeta system for C# on .NET.
  • Neurocognitive Linguistics Lab: a program to experiment with Sydney Lamb’s neurocognitive linguistics model.

Linguistics

I have a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics and Exegesis. I’m a fan of Sydney Lamb‘s relational network theory of neurocognitive linguistics.

I have implemented a network activation modeling program.

Languages

I like to study languages as a hobby. A list of those I’ve studied in the past is here (adjust the fluency levels downward for five years of marriage and parenthood :-)

I have studied Koine and Attic Greek, and try to keep up a minimum of practice in those. I have translated the Gospel of Mark into English.

I have a number of Esperanto blogs in my RSS reader, and try to at least keep up my passive fluency in that language.

Aviation and Space

I’m a huge aviation and spaceflight geek. I was working on a pilot’s licence for a while some years ago, but Real Life (TM) intervened.

I still spend time in Flight Simulator.

I’m a big fan of the NewSpace companies that, unlike NASA, are actually making steps towards a permanent and expanding human presence in space: Virgin Galactic (I drove to California to watch the first SpaceShipOne flight into space in 2004), SpaceX, Xcor, Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space, Unreasonable Rocket, and others.

Choral Singing

I sang in Trinity Western University’s Chamber Choir in school, and have sung in various community choirs since then.

I am currently a member of the Abendmusik Vesper Choir.

Applied Science

I love lurking around the fringes of serious efforts to push our understanding of science and technology in unexpected developments.

One of the projects I follow is James Woodward’s work on exploiting his formulation of Mach’s Principle in general relativity to develop a reactionless drive. Woodward’s model does not violate conservation of momentum; the entire universe is the reaction mass, and loses exactly as much momentum as the driven craft gains. Woodward and others have produced some tantalizing results, and he is continuing to work on eliminating spurious thrust signals from his experimental apparatus. Another possible but further-out application of Woodward’s physical model is the ability to generate regions of negative energy sufficient to stabilize the entrance to a traversable wormhole.

Another is the continuation of the late Robert Bussard (of Bussard Ramjet fame)’s work on the “polywell” variant of the inertial electrostatic confinement approach to nuclear fusion. The theoretical advantage of Bussard’s approach is that it makes it easier to use the Hydrogen/Boron-11 reaction, which is largely aneutronic and might be able to work as a direct conversion device, skipping the usual steam turbine intermediate step in nuclear power systems.

Ancient Near Eastern Chronology

I am a fan of revisionist chronology of the ancient near east, in particular the theories of David Rohl and Peter James.

Although there is no love lost between them personally, their approaches are similar in that they both would shorten the Third Intermediate Period and challenge the conventionally-accepted sychronism between the biblical Shishak and the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I. A large archive of scholarship on this topic is available at the archives of ISIS. An active mailing list is available via Yahoo Groups.

In Centuries of Darkness Peter James focuses on the Greek Dark Age, which he regards as an artifact of an erroneous chronology.

Rohl introduces his theory in the context of Egypt and Palestine in A Test of Time. He addresses Greek history and its interaction with the model in his recent book The Lords of Avaris.

Bernard Newgrosh, in his Chronology at the Crossroads, and Pierce Furlong in his dissertation have shown that this model synchronizes well with the chronology of Assyria.

I have some ideas of a software system for organizing chronological data and hypotheses, but have not as yet done any work on it.

Martial Arts

I practiced Tai Chi, Aikido and Taekwondo in my twenties; health problems and then a social life intervened.