Posts Tagged ‘current news’

Uncertainty of Our Existence


Barclays, the UK bank, is to replace the password system on its phone banking service with personal voice recognition. “Unlike a password,” avers Steven Cooper, Barclays’ head of personal banking, “each person’s voice is as unique as a fingerprint.” Yet the reality is we have no idea whether either fingerprints or voices are unique at all.

If you buy a ticket for the lottery, the chances of winning the big prize are about 14m to 1. You might therefore be justified in regarding that as evidence that you are unlikely to win, and not buy a ticket as a result. Yet after the draw is made and Ms X of Glasgow is announced in the newspapers as the winner, the known unlikelihood of winning is obviously not evidence that she did not win. She did win. Unlikely things do happen.

Notorious case of Sally Clark, an English solicitor, for the alleged murder of her two babies illustrates well the problem. The case against her turned on the evidence of an expert witness, Sir Roy Meadow, who argued that it was highly improbable that two of her babies could have been the victim of natural cot deaths. Sally was exonerated by an appeals court after serving three years in prison, but died four years later. Her family said in a statement that she had never recovered from the miscarriage of justice. Expert opinion of Meadow was proved wrong in relying on the statistical improbability. It is like a meteor when it sets going we may, by assessing the available data and past history predict a doomsday scenario. But suppose along the way the larger mass of Jupiter which is at that precise moment throwing up -Aurora flares up on Jupiter is caused by volcanic moon Io*, and its path veers off one millionth of a hair width? Over the wide expanse between the earth and Jupiter the meteor would have strayed so farther off from the earth. In short statistical probabilities are never 100% correct.

The way forward

What do these insights mean in practical terms? People might well argue that even with our limited sampling of human voices, we have good reason to suspect we are very unlikely to come across two different people who have identical voices, even if we could never discount the possibility. Fine. Let us say that.

Human voice patterns or iris recognition need not be assumed to be unique to be useful tools for protecting private access to our bank accounts. In the same way, fingerprints need not be assumed to be unique to be useful in courts.


*Starting in January 2014, a telescope aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hisaki satellite focused on Jupiter for two months. At the same time, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope also focused on Jupiter for an hour each day for two weeks. Both observatories recorded random brightenings of the giant planet’s polar auroras.

These flare-ups occurred on days when the sun’s usual flow of charged particles was relatively weak. So the researchers conclude that they must be the result of the complex interactions between Jupiter and Io, and perhaps the other three Galilean moons of Jupiter — Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. (These four satellites were discovered by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610.)

Io, Jupiter’s closest moon, gets “caught in this gravitational tug of war between Jupiter and the two other large moons, Europa and Ganymede,” study co-author Andrew Steffl, from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, told Space.com. “It gets squished and squashed,” which drives internal heat just like if you bend a paper clip back and forth in your hands.

This process, in turn, drives a series of active volcanoes on Io. And when those volcanoes erupt, they blast large amounts of electrons and electrically charged atoms into space.

Jupiter’s magnetic field catches these charged particles as it sweeps past Io and “forms a donut-shaped region of relatively high-density plasma around Jupiter,” said co-author John Clarke from Boston University. This so-called magnetosphere is so large that it encapsulates all of Jupiter’s 60-plus known moons and extends nearly as far as Saturn.

(ack: The Conversation-Is every human voice and fingerprint really unique?/Aug.11- Hugh McLachlan

Professor of Applied Philosophy, Glasgow Caledonian University


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Cincinnatti Blues ©


She is watching by her high fence,

Harambe, with deep, deep blue eyes

She is sporting a tinted glass, all blue:

‘Keep a big ape, have free laff

It brings gawks who will pay your bill’.

Cincinnati! Cincinnatti!

How is it, that you let go

Harambe poor big ape?


Apes aren’t common as fruits on flatfeet:

Cops are apt to play to the crowd

Than see who is on the right;

Cincinnati! Cincinnatti!

How is it, that you let go

Harambe poor big ape?

No small thanks you let her keep the goggle

A fair exchange for the lead that tore her heart!


Note: Harambe is a male gorilla but could his life have been saved? Life is a life; Gorilla is a gorilla but the million dollar question is this: is life of gorilla of less value than divisive vituperative enemy to peace, Trump?  The gawks who scream to high heavens now want the poor mother lose her job! What hypocrisy!

A four year kid as usual is the case, knows how to strike for freedom, escaping the tight leash of his parent; This freedom in this case brought into a close encounter with a Gorilla in its cramped confines of the zoo.  All would have ended well if the crowd  behaved well. They wanted their money worth of excitement, and is as much culprit as the officer who took him down with a single bullet. The bystanders sent gentle Harambe in panic. How come nobody thinks he or she is equally at fault?-b




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Sinai plane crash: No survivors on Russian airliner KGL9268

 So runs the news of an airplane crash. It was a disaster waiting to happen, right? If an airplane is built for taking off to the air it is as natural that an air plane is waiting to crash down. It is thus, defying natural laws where the nature of gravity is in-built, must fall under the physical nature of the earth. Its effect must be absorbed by the inhabitants. An airplane develops sufficient thrust to take off but natural laws shall play against it  to bring it down. There cannot be any other explanation if we were to explain why such a disaster occurred. Man and his machine is ever against the earth and its natural laws. It makes no sense even if it was another airplane that came down. Natural law has been broken and law of gravity shall claim its due. Such a law of reciprocity exists on a moral plane, to which I shall come back in the next post.

For anyone who is curious to know more on the nitty-gritty details of the above cited news item let me add what the BBC news have to say: ‘A Russian airliner crashes in Sinai killing all 224 people on board – rescuers describe a “tragic scene” with bodies of victims strapped in their seats.’

If man did not have natural curiosity there would  be no news media to cover the events. It is natural as vultures gather where the dead are. Man’s curiosity is ever drawn to events that he is liable to experience.

In what way is the fate of Russian airliner KGL 9268 different from that of MH 17? Apart from some superficial details as the the type manufacturer etc., both events are identical. MH 17 was brought down by a Buk missile. The Guardian in their Oct.13, 2015 newspaper reports: ‘A Buk surface-to-air missile downed flight MH17, Dutch investigators have said as they unveiled a reconstruction of the plane that showed huge shrapnel damage to the cockpit and front section.’

Naturally this report has been dismissed by Russia. It is widely assumed that Russia-backed separatists were responsible for bringing down MH17, but the US has stopped short of blaming Moscow directly. The Kremlin has blamed Kiev – variously suggesting that a Ukrainian military jet shot down the Boeing 777, or that a missile was launched from a government-held area. Any disaster shall have its critics and yea-sayers. Is it really necessary to follow this line of reasoning if there are no answers? Where the facts are swallowed up by man’s inability to define truth why bother for this or that?

What is truth? No one can say exactly so let us not waste our time here.

In the welter of right or wrongs any blame we attach to any faction is thus, waste of time. Man has made errors of his conduct bind him as well as throw the key into some bottomless abyss. Thus we cannot justify Russia or the west for the disaster of MH 17. We read terrible happenings around Middle East or Palestine issue. Do those Palestinians or Israelis dead ever deserve the blame? Moral imperative of the dead has been lost as to the fact who started it all.

Nations play indeed a dangerous game ever since man set out to kill another for some reason or other. This is a group thing and man would have reasoned himself that ‘the might is right’. It is a group thing that would not have had bite if it were not in the individual first to do wrong. Like Adam whose disobedience owed to an attitude that his gains were more important than accepting the authority of God over his choices. How easy it is? Also what a slippery path it is to make himself more important than another! This same attitude finds itself at home when he bands together with others. Consequently nations have set out to make themselves greater than any natural law that enjoins an individual to respect another  as he would others do unto him. Now we see the Israelis see a knife in every shadow and any Palestine outside his four walls is literally taking a walk through the shooting gallery. There peace is only in the name Jerusalem. Since man Palestinian or Jew has lost the moral compass he is vulnerable. There cannot be any peace since man has set himself to do wrong. Similarly Russia in order to prove it is a world class player has invited disaster. MH 17 and KGL 9268 are of the same weight whatever one may say against or for the disaster.

If man does not want to follow natural justice on earth he shall have to account for many more similar disasters in future.


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The color Grey is after all green when sex is sold upfront:

What is a book made up of? The author thinks up a plot. It could be the story of a wolf who wants to eat up three little pigs. The author has to make each character play true to role assigned. He has to invent scenes making the opening, middle and the end sustain a certain drama, which holds the attention of the reader to the last. Depending on the age group to which the author addresses each personage shall play a role and serve the overall scheme. What drama an erotic novel can create? Plenty of situations between different personages that must cover some hundreds pages, all leading to bed like many roads leading to Rome. The author is trotting like a nag through the paces of his craft for the single purpose of being read and rewarded for his efforts. Fifty Shades of Grey I suppose is a phenomenon. The reader gets what he or she wants and the publisher rakes in money for his investments. The Fifty Shades trilogy, by EL James, has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and a recent film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey netted more than $570m (£368m) at global box offices.

It is more than a poetic justice that in catering to fifty shades of man’s insatiable libido money not sex should make more storm.

A woman who helped publish the Fifty Shades series but was defrauded out of royalties could be set to receive millions of dollars in damages.

A US judge ordered Australian Amanda Hayward to set aside $10.7m (£6.9m) for Jennifer Pedroza, a Texas resident.

The pair were partners in a small online publishing firm that initially issued the blockbuster erotic trilogy.

A jury decided in February that Ms Pedroza had been conned when the rights were sold to Random House.

It found that Ms Hayward, who signed the deal on behalf of their firm The Writers Coffee Shop, tricked Ms Pedroza into signing a restructuring contract that cut her out of royalties rights.

The judge said an exact amount of the settlement would be worked out once the two sides had reached agreement.(BBC News)

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Bangladesh’s anti-terrorism unit said it had arrested on Monday the main suspect in the killing of a U.S. blogger who was hacked to death in Dhaka last week in the latest attack on critics of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation.

Forces from the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman, who was previously jailed for his ties to the extremist Hizbut Tahrir Islamist group, at a bus stop in Dhaka, a RAB spokesman told reporters.

The spokesman said Farabi had confessed to threatening to kill blogger Avijit Roy. Farabi was still being interrogated.

Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was killed by machete-wielding assailants on Thursday while returning from a book fair. His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed suffered head injuries and lost a finger. She remains in hospital.

The police said Farabi was arrested in 2013 for social media comments that supported the murder of another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, but he was later released on bail. Last year, Farabi posted on Facebook: “It’s a holy duty of Bangalee Muslims to kill Avijit”, the police added.’

Holy duty of anyone who professes faith in a religion is to save and nurture lives, men and animals included. There are some 1.5 billions of Moslems world wide. Hardcore radical Moslems who espouse violence as the means to profess their belief is merely 250,000 or so. (I am not quoting exact figures) It is this lunatic fringe that hits the headlines while the pious believers go about their daily grind adding what is possible to the community in a positive manner. So it is not silent majority but the terrorists  that have come to misrepresent the religion. Tolerance, moderation, equity, justice all the virtues that the Prophet has demonstrated with his life and in writings have been thrown overboard by these misguided elements. The saying ‘A fly in the apothecary’s ointment spoils the whole contents’ sounds apt here. Since moderates prefer not to draw the ire of the Jihadists we may conclude that the Jihadists have won by default. This minority does not represent the religion. Secondly and of vital importance is their practice or Sunnat. In spirit and example their doings have nothing remotely linking to the teachings of the prophet. He said that believers should not be punished with fire since it was only reserved for the final judgment. When one hears ISIS* trying to justify the brutal murder of the Jordanese flier by citing some cleric of the 13th century one may be sure it is a fraud. Such brutal edicts historically coincided with the falling off the Islamic hegemony under Mongol invasion. Having failed to live up to the Prophet’s teachings failure has to be laid on someone else.  With such stranglehold on intellectual ferment of the Moslem scholars what has the clerics achieved? What you see is a consequence of change in direction. Neither their religion nor their political ambitions ever found feet again.

Greatness of Prophet Mohammed or Buddha or Gandhii is in their ability to forgive and make peace with those who have chosen to disagree in the most vituperative manner. Of course we need not expect in the midgets who thrive in hate speeches such nobility. They prefer to slaughter the victims with a machete as occurred in Bangladesh.


IS not only misreads the texts it cites, most clerics say, it also ignores Quranic verses and a long body of clerical scholarship requiring mercy, preservation of life and protection of innocents, and setting out rules of war — all of which are binding under Islamic Shariah law.

Many mainstream clerics compare the group to the Khawarij, an early sect that was so notorious for “takfir,” or declaring other Muslims heretics for even simple sins, that it was rejected by the faith. The Islamic State group denies that, but it draws heavily from 20th-century theories of “takfir” developed by hard-liners.

(ack: AP news -How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say’ of March 2,2015 reprinted in Yahoo.com news)

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The other day I came across a news item: Stephen Hawking is working on a new Theory of Everything. Fine. Einstein before him was wrestling with a similar one even when brought to the nursing home during his final illness. Think of Einstein working on a branch of Science and Stephen Hawking on another branch of a giant tree. The tree is one and our brain has capacity to store information but how much?

According to late Carl Sagan human brain has neurons 10¹¹ with circuits and controlling switches for electro-chemical activities; and every neuron has tiny filaments called dendrites connecting with one another. If we assign each of these connection to a bit of information it can hold only 1 % of the number of atoms that a salt crystal can carry! It is not really mind boggling if we understand the nature of humans to create an order from information the brain gathers.

If we go from a mere speck of salt to the universe we would need a brain as big as the universe itself! Our commonsense experience and evolutionary history has prepared us to understand our workaday world. But if we were to seek exoplanets and other universes these are not reliable guides. When we hit the speed of light our mass increases prodigiously while our thickness decreases to zero in the direction of the motion. Time will cease to mean anything. Without a tangible reference- the context of time and space, would the brain unravel the pulses of information to know anything?

In my view Theory of Everything is a misnomer. It should be qualified as thus: The theory what human reason only can digest.

Take a sample of a tree with an auger. It shall carry everything essential of the whole tree, but also climate changes, time etc.,

What you get of an object is not its material content but its context as well. This context is rooted in our intuition and commonsense experience and beyond. Reason in our workaday world can analyze the object but it is restricted by our own finite nature.

The Theory must go beyond it and also farther than reason. As finite beings we abridge Truth into workable truth that has limited use. So reason alone cannot get hands on Ultimate nature of our universe.


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‘Migrant ship’ in distress off Corfu.’BBC News
A cargo ship believed to be carrying hundreds of migrants has sent out a distress signal near the Greek island of Corfu, reports say.
Now end of the world seems to have come for African states and for Syria. More than 150 years ago,it was the turn of Ireland. The Great Famine wasn’t just another chapter in the history of the Emerald Isle — it threatened the nation’s survival before it even became a nation.
One million died. Two million fled. Today, the population of Ireland and Northern Ireland combined is still lower than it was before Abraham Lincoln became president.
Now, the remains of some of those who tried to flee this cataclysm have been identified — on a beach in Canada.
The bones — vertebrae, pieces of a jawbone — washed up in 2011 on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, about 500 miles from Montreal. After three years of research, Parks Canada says that they likely belonged to Irish children fleeing the Great Famine who died in a shipwreck.
“They are witnesses to a tragic event,” said Pierre Cloutier, an archeologist at Parks Canada, “You can’t have a more tangible witness to tragedy than human remains.”
When famine descended on Ireland in the 1840s, North America beckoned. Another continent — one not gripped by a potato blight — was just a shallow ocean away.
But Irish without means who wanted to fill their bellies in the New World faced one major problem: The only way to get there were “coffin ships.” were themselves deadly, claiming the lives of up to 100,000 would-be migrants.
“These ships were packed with people,” Kathryn Miles, author of “All Standing: The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, the Legendary Irish Famine Ship,” . “Most families of four would be given a platform that was about 6 feet square. So they were sleeping head-to-toe and there was no sense of quarantine or hygiene.”
One coffin ship, the Carricks, set sail from Ireland to Quebec City in 1847. But there would be no salvation for many aboard: The ship went down in a storm off of the peninsula. Survivors — 100 of them, by some accounts — washed up onshore and were taken in, while 87 people perished. In 1900, a monument was erected to memorialize the disaster.
But more than a century after the memorial went up, skeletal remains of some what Parks Canada said were victims of the Carricks  were found 40 yards away from the memorial. Without DNA testing and carbon dating, the agency can’t be sure the victims were aboard the doomed coffin ship.
But there is quite a bit they do know. The bones belonged to children — two between 7 and 9, and another as old as 12. They showed evidence of rickets, a vitamin-D deficiency found among the malnourished. Analysis of a tooth showed its former owner ate a plant-based diet. And a button found near the site was linked to a Europe that had not yet endured the Great War.

(Justin Moyer/The Washington Post/12/31/14)

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