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If a self-driving car causes an accident or a surgical robot kills a patient, whose fault is it? These are some of the questions a recent report funded by the European Union sought to answer.

Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov famously wrote about the “three laws of robotics.” Essentially, the laws state that a robot may not injure a human being, that it must obey orders given by humans and that it must protect its own existence when this doesn’t conflict with the first two laws.

Making robots answerable to malpractice  is a vain exercise. A Gynaecologist who advertises he is a plastic surgeon and makes hideous mistakes his license to practice can be revoked. But a robot?

Think of all the bad surgery performed by Great Britain on her former colonies? Partition of India was one such. it was more like the Great Bungler having had run of the House it did not possess either in spirit or by common consent, just decamped when the house was all but finished. The present crisis of Syria was also another mess. Is UK or France called to account for their ineptness?

With men and nations laws must work; so must Law call to account those who set a robot to solve their problems. As soon as robots can think for themselves and change procedures to save the wear and tear of their own parts the fun really begins.

benny

It would have been a proper gesture as well as belated recognition of the role of Aristotle by awarding him the Nobel Prize for Science.

Charles Darwin had this to say of Aristotle:“Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.”

Like Herodotus who was acknowledged as the Father of History without much of controversy Aristotle ought to have been given long ago the mantle as the Father of Science.

Herodotus lived at a time much of history of nations that loomed large for scholars was accepted as myths where gods played a crucial role. Hellenic thought accepted them as necessary. In China Will of heaven was held up by the emperor whose right to rule was a mandate from above. If a dynasty came unravelled the significance was clear: it had forfeited the right by the Will of the Heavenly Emperor. In Greek ethos no less similar conclusion was accepted as correct.

How is it then that Aristotle the tutor of Alexander the Great failed to gain due recognition from scholars who had received so much from his inquisitive mind?

One may cite so many areas where Aristotle got it wrong. Think of the following ideas proposed by him.

* too much sex causes sunken eyes because semen drains matter from the human brain.

*the right-hand side of the body is more honorable and therefore hotter than the left. (In India this idea has its variant. It is the left hand one uses to wipe the butt after going to the toilet.)

*He also believed that the human heart processes and integrates sensations from the external world.

*The brain, beyond storing the matter that becomes semen, was just a cooling device for when the heart’s fires blazed too hot.

Mingled with all the bizarre zoology, however, are many impressively accurate and detailed descriptions. His accounts of the hyena’s genitals, the parental behavior of male catfish, and the limited sensory capacities of sea sponges are just a few of the many things about which he was essentially correct.

A fascinating new book by the evolutionary biologist and science writer Armand Marie Leroi claims that Aristotle fully deserves Darwin’s high praise. In The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, Leroi argues that Aristotle developed many of the empirical and analytical methods that still define scientific inquiry.

He was more than an encyclopedist. He collected such comprehensive data in order to analyze and interpret it. His theories and interpretations are often astonishingly insightful. One 20th-century Nobel laureate suggested that Aristotle deserved to receive the prize posthumously for his realization that the information that dictates and replicates an organism’s structure is stored in its semen. In some sense he was anticipating the discovery of DNA. His theory of inheritance can also account for recessive traits that skip generations, the contributions of both parents to the features of a child, and unexpected variations in traits that do not derive from either

Many of his observations are readily recognizable to a reader of Darwin. He notes that an elephant’s size confers protection from predators and that fish with high rates of infant mortality produce a larger number of offspring to compensate for the likelihood that most of the progeny will perish. He showed a nuanced understanding of how the forms and features of animals are adapted to their environments. Darwin even mentions Aristotle as a forerunner who anticipates the theory of natural selection in the preface to the third edition of On the Origin of Species.

Aristotle perceived some of the universal associations between longevity, period of gestation, adult body size, and degree of embryonic development that biologists still study today. He noticed the correlations among these features, but he was sensitive to the distinction between correlation and causation and sought to eliminate confounding variables. Then he integrated his findings into broader theories with deep explanatory power.

(ack: the Daily Beast)

For those who are interested here is a review of The Illustrated Omar Khayyam http://omariana.nl/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/#comments

For Omar Khayyam and other books available please check out http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bennymkje

Dear Colette,

I want to write to you

about being a woman

for that is what you write to me.

I want to tell you how your face

enduring after thirty, forty, fifty. . .

hangs above my desk

like my own muse.

I want to tell you how your hands

reach out from your books

& seize my heart.

I want to tell you how your hair

electrifies my thoughts

like my own halo.

I want to tell you how your eyes

penetrate my fear

& make it melt.

I want to tell you

simply that I love you–

though you are “dead”

& I am still “alive.”

Suicides & spinsters–

all our kind!

Even decorous Jane Austen

never marrying,

& Sappho leaping,

& Sylvia in the oven,

& Anna Wickham, Tsvetaeva, Sara Teasdale,

& pale Virginia floating like Ophelia,

& Emily alone, alone, alone. . . .

But you endure & marry,

go on writing,

lose a husband, gain a husband,

go on writing,

sing & tap dance

& you go on writing,

have a child & still

you go on writing,

love a woman, love a man

& go on writing.

You endure your writing

& your life.

Dear Colette,

I only want to thank you:

for your eyes ringed

with bluest paint like bruises,

for your hair gathering sparks

like brush fire,

for your hands which never willingly

let go,

for your years, your child, your lovers,

all your books. . . .

Dear Colette,

you hold me

to this life.

Burro-graphite

IMG_1694Burro-a small donkey

from the blog: Shootin’ The Breeze Post:Beau’s Stubborn New Friend

Be glad your nose is on your face-

Jack Prelutsky

Be glad your nose is on your face,


not pasted on some other place,


for if it were where it is not,


you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose


were sandwiched in between your toes,


that clearly would not be a treat,


for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread


were it attached atop your head,


it soon would drive you to despair,


forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose

would be 
an absolute catastrophe,


for when you were obliged to sneeze,


your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,


remains between your eyes and chin,


not pasted on some other place–


be glad your nose is on your face!

For those who  are interested in reading my appreciation of classic movies 120 of them here is your chance: Check out

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/my-reel-life/paperback/product-21846402.html

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