Sunday, December 17, 2017

IBM's predictions from December 2012

IBM's predictions for today from five years ago:

ARMONK, N.Y.     - 17 Dec 2012: Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled the seventh annual  "IBM 5 in 5" (#ibm5in5) – a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years.
  • Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone
  • Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousands words
  • Hearing: Computers will hear what matters
  • Taste: Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter
  • Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell

Saturday, December 16, 2017

On Petersen's nomination

Mark Joseph Stern at Slate explains it:
Trump’s Nominees Think Life Tenure on the Federal Bench Should Be Handed Out Like a Participation Trophy

Petersen drew widespread criticism for his legal ignorance, and rightly so—most second-year law students could easily identify the terms Kennedy tossed out. The best defense of Petersen is that he once held this knowledge but let it atrophy due to his current job duties: He has served on the Federal Election Commission since 2008, joining with his fellow conservative commissioners to consistently block enforcement of federal election law, particularly campaign finance restrictions. In this capacity, Petersen has not often had occasion to revisit the rules of evidence or civil procedure.

But as National Review’s David French points out, Petersen’s rustiness hardly absolves him; it merely reveals his arrogance. If Petersen had spent a single day preparing for Wednesday’s hearing, he probably could’ve knocked a majority of Kennedy’s questions out of the park. A quick review of law school study guides or bar prep material likely would’ve refreshed his memory. Petersen may not be experienced—he has spent only three years working on litigation—but he has good credentials. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law (a terrific school) and secured a job at the prestigious firm Wiley Rein. The problem isn’t just that he didn’t know what Kennedy was talking about. It’s that he didn’t care enough to read up on the law beforehand.

Petersen, it seems, operated under the presumption that a Republican-controlled committee would throw him softballs and rubber stamp his nomination. Kennedy helped sink the nomination of judicial nominee Brett Talley in large part because he showed a similar imperiousness, failing to disclose controversial writings and a conflict of interest to the committee and assuming he could get away with it. He did not, thanks to Kennedy. And as Wednesday’s hearing showed, the senator is now screening Trump’s nominees to ensure they take the process seriously, reportedly to the chagrin of other Republicans.

Lifetime tenure in the federal judiciary should not be handed out like a participation trophy. Thanks to Kennedy—one of just a few Republican senators who cares that the Trump administration is funneling unqualified and unprepared individuals onto the bench for life—it won’t be.

The Newest Banana Republic

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases —  “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” — in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

The type of person Trump is trying to turn into federal judges:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A British argument for Indian Unity

This is from the Times of London, November 16, 1855:

...A dominion of this sort, in which so many squares of the chessboard were British possessions, so many under British protection and so many others nominally independent, never yet preserved long its checkered character, and the influences tending to political unity are certainly not fewer or less powerful in India than elsewhere.   A community of religions, of commerce, and of arms, pervades and continually assimilates all India.  The sacred shrines of either faith are visited by pilgrims from all parts; the population follows trade wherever it goes, and our armies are recruited indifferently from all the three classes of States we have enumerated.   When this is the case it is quite impossible that any disorder should continue to be local.  There are no "party walls" between the States, and a conflagration, once lit, is sure to spread from one to another.   Hence there must be a unity either of order or of disorder.

{Subsequently, the case for the annexation of Oude is made.}

Police, crime statistics from India

In 2014 in India, 560,000  out of 2,260,000 sanctioned police positions were vacant. At about 138 policemen per 100,000 population, India was the fifth lowest policed country out of 71 for which the UN Office on Drugs and Crime had compiled statistics.  (from the Economic Times).  (For comparison purposes, per Wiki,  the US has 284 policemen per 100,000 population,  and Canada has 185.)

The Indian Supreme Court took note of this in April 2017 (but using 2013 data and responding to a 2013 petition), and issued further orders in July 2017.

Per the Indian National Crimes Record Bureau report of 2016, India had

Year : Number of cases
2014 : 33,981
2015 : 32,127
2016 : 30,450

Also see missing persons statistics below.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Rakhigarhi DNA commentary

It is true that the Government of India can keep a scientific finding from being published.  But keep the finding secret?   The more upsetting it is to the ruling party, the less likely it is to be kept secret. It is difficult to keep secrets in India.  The only possible way is if a very tiny number of people knew about it in the first place - in which case it can't be a Government of India policy, it is someone acting entirely on their own.

As to the alleged fear of nasty Hindu nationalists - there is a constant low level background of nasty crimes going on in India, as with any other nation.  Marxists, Maoists,  Hindu extremists, Muslim extremists, Christian extremists, cow smugglers, self-proclaimed cow protectors, gangs of criminals commit heinous crimes, often with impunity.  So there is a problem that people do not fear the law enough; the law and order apparatus is ineffective.  A huge number of police posts are unfilled, and even with them filled, India would be one of the least policed nations on earth.  Likewise, the judiciary was always very slow, and it has not expanded to keep up with the population, nor fixed its procedures to give timely justice.   This clearly needs an urgent national effort to fix.

But if the media just picks one set of these crimes and publicizes just them, then a very mistaken impression is created.  It can't happen, you say?  Just think of Hillary Clinton's emails, and the finding that
In just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.
 and (emphasis added)
Even more striking, the various Clinton-related email scandals—her use of a private email server while secretary of state, as well as the DNC and John Podesta hacks—accounted for more sentences than all of Trump’s scandals combined (65,000 vs. 40,000) and more than twice as many as were devoted to all of her policy positions.

To reiterate, these 65,000 sentences were written not by Russian hackers, but overwhelmingly by professional journalists employed at mainstream news organizations, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. To the extent that voters mistrusted Hillary Clinton, or considered her conduct as secretary of state to have been negligent or even potentially criminal, or were generally unaware of what her policies contained or how they may have differed from Donald Trump’s, these numbers suggest their views were influenced more by mainstream news sources than by fake news.
This distortion is by the mainstream media, including the "newspaper of record" in its own country, where it is the most accountable to the extent that the public can hold the media accountable, about a pivotal election on which so much of its country's future depends - judiciary, trade deals, climate, immigration, racism, safety net, wall between church and state, etc. etc. 

You think these media organizations get foreign countries correct?  You think the media in India is somehow better than the media in the USA?

So what commentators on India are doing who rely on **just** the NY Times or the Times of India or so on, are doing, are perpetuating the same kind of information bias.  The problem is that to know something is hard.  In my opinion, if it matters enough to you to stand by your opinion,  then do the research, get the full context and complete information.  If it doesn't matter that much, then recognize what you have is only a personal opinion and don't fool yourself that it is true or objective; it is just as likely to be as stinky as that other thing everyone has, like opinions.


If you thought you've seen all of the possible theories about Aryans in India, you're wrong.  After Aryan Invasion Theory, and Aryan Migration Theory, now there is AOT:  Aryan Outsourcing Theory! 
In the latter days of the Indus civilization, the townspeople may have hired Indo-Aryan charioteers to fight their wars. After the eventual demise of the Indus civilization pulled these Indo-Aryan warriors with their families and their livestock through to the Indus-Ganga plains, where they are of different kingdoms founded. They brought Y-DNA haplogroup R1a1a with them, today one of the biggest haplogroups in India. The customs of these Indo-Arian migrants would form the basis for the Vedic religion.

From here, with google translate:

Friday, December 08, 2017

Oude, 1855

Long ago, at one of the peak times of controversy over the Ramjanmabhoomi/Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, I discovered one of the joys of the full-fledged American university libraries, and found there news-reports from a previous flare-up.

This battle was over the Hanumangarhi site. The news reports are from the Times of London, and are in the order of publication (remember, news and correspondence traveled much slower in those days.)

One should note that the British were eyeing the province Awadh or Oude as they spelled it,  which included Ayodhya and its sister town Faizabad for annexation, and they did annex it in 1856. 

Monday, December 04, 2017

Two different trajectories - India, Korea

Gross Domestic Savings and Gross Capital Formation as a fraction of GDP.
India, Korea 1960-2017.
World Bank Data.
India's growth has been largely financed by domestic savings.
Korea early on had a lot more foreign investment.



Sunday, December 03, 2017

The fallacy in comparing men to chimpanzees

Bonobos and chimpanzees are equally related to humans evolutionarily speaking, yet everyone links human societies to chimpanzees only.