28 September 2007

Computer pacalit de iluziile optice

Cele doua nuante de gri din imaginea de mai sus (iluzia lui White) sunt de fapt identice. De ce apare aceasta iluzie? Teoria e ca bebelusii invata prin incercare si eroare cum sa distinga intre o culoare intunecata datorata faptului ca obiectul se afla in umbra si o culoare intunecata in sine. A face distinctia asta e insa destul de greu, si in anumite conditii creierul o da in bara - ca in cazul de mai sus, sau de mai jos:
Until now there has been no way of knowing whether this theory is correct. Beau Lotto and David Corney at University College London, UK, think they have finally done it. They created a program that learns to predict the lightness of an image based on its past experiences – just like a baby. And just like a human, it falls prey to optical illusions. They trained it using 10,000 greyscale images of fallen leaves that animals might face in nature. It had to predict the true shade of the centre pixel of the images, and change its technique depending on whether its answer was right or wrong. The researchers then tested the program on lightness illusions that would fool humans. First, it was shown images of a light object on a darker background, and vice versa. Just like humans, the software predicted the objects to be respectively lighter and darker than they really were. It also exhibited more subtle similarities – overestimating lighter shades more than darker shades. Next, the researchers tried White's Illusion. Again like a human, the program saw areas of grey as darker when placed on a black stripe, and lighter when placed on a white stripe. Previous computer models tried to directly copy the brain's structure. They could fall for either of the two illusions, but unlike a human, not both at once. Inbuilt failings Lotto's programme was instead just designed to judge shades through learning, without being modelled on the brain. He says that suggests our ability to see illusions really is a direct consequence of learning to filter useful information from our environment. "We didn’t evolve to see things accurately, but to see things that would be useful." Lotto points out. That has implications for robot vision. Most creators of machine vision try to copy human vision because it is so well suited to a variety of environments. The new findings suggest that if we want to exploit its advantages, we also have to suffer its failings. It will be impossible to create a perfect, superhuman robot that never makes mistakes. "I think it's a sensible conclusion," says Olaf Sporns, of Indiana University, Bloomington, US. "If you build machine vision systems that perform similarly to humans, you should expect them to be subject to the same illusions." Thomas Serre, a vision expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US, is impressed with the team's results. "It's a very neat and elegant way of showing that [learning experiences] alone can explain illusions," he says.

Inteligenta = Memorie = Predictie

Jeff Hawkins despre inteligenta si despre cum ar trebui sa arate o teorie a mintii umane. Inteligenta artificiala foloseste un model de forma input -> algoritm -> output. Hawkins spune ca o abordare mai corecta ar fi una axata pe modelarea memoriei, in care agentul face in permanenta predictii despre realitate si le compara cu ce vede. Astfel de pilda noi remarcam ceva nu pentru ca am lua in calcul toate detaliile din fata noastra, ci doar daca dam peste o predictie care nu se potriveste. Inteligenta nu se refera la complexitatea comportamentului, ci la abilitatea de a face predictii. Abilitatea de a face predictii e legata de memorie, insa memoria nu este ca un depozit in care sunt depozitate informatii, ci functioneaza narativ: cand esti intr-o situatie iti aduci aminte in mod spontan ce s-a intamplat in situatii similare. Este destul de greu sa te decizi sa-ti aduci aminte ceva de genul ce am facut si am discutat acum trei ani cand am fost nu stiu unde. Iti aduci aminte in mare, insa in realitate exista si amintirile mult mai detaliate care iti apar daca esti din nou intr-o situatie in care detaliile sunt relevante.

Si daca se destrama Belgia?

Dupa peste o suta de zile fara guvern apar tot mai multi care spun ca poate ar fi bine ca Belgia sa se separe in doua. Problema e ca belgienii au votat pe criterii etnice, iar partidele de aceeasi culoare politica din Valonia si Flandra nu se inteleg intre ele. The Economist:
In a nutshell, the problem is that the parties that did best in the elections on the Flemish side of the linguistic frontier that divides Belgium, and the parties that did best on the French-speaking side of that frontier, simply cannot agree on a coalition platform for a new government. Boiled down still further, one key problem is that the man who did best of all, the Flemish centre-right politician Yves Leterme is (despite his Gallic-sounding name) hugely distrusted by Francophones in his country, who think he is a Flemish chauvinist, determined to cut loose the (poorer, state-dependent) French-speaking bits.
Financial Times:
The first lesson for the EU should be obvious: fail to show respect for core national identities at your peril. If Belgium is having problems holding two national groups together in a single state, crass attempts by deep integrationists to bind closely together the fate of 27 may end in tears. The greatest long-term danger to the EU may not, therefore, come from the proverbial British eurosceptic banging on about the threat posed by Brussels to the great British sausage. It may come from among its most passionate supporters. ... The second lesson is that the consequences of anti-reformist economic and social agendas may extend further than had hitherto been assumed. A driving force for separatist sentiment in Belgium's Flemish north has been frustration at having to subsidise a socialist-orientated Walloon south with its attendant problems of mass unemployment and welfare dependency. Differences in the ability of national groups to confront economic problems with equal seriousness can put great strains on a supra-national state entity, as was also clearly demonstrated in the divergent economic and social priorities of the Czechs and the Slovaks in the run up to the collapse of Czechoslovakia in 1993. In a too deeply integrated EU, countries that have taken their reformist responsibilities seriously - especially looking a decade or two hence when demographic decline and reductions in the working age population begin to bite - may start to ask serious questions about the value of an EU in which they have to bail out the laggards. The EU must recognise that the economic reform question is not merely about relative growth rates in a globalised world. It touches on the future of the EU itself.
FT sugereazaca UE nu este doar un proiect al celor cu o viziune supra-nationala, ci si a nationalistilor care vad o oportunitate de a-si largi aria de influenta. Pentru prima data s-ar putea ca, datorita integrarii in UE, interesele nationale contrare sa poata coexista in mod pasnic:
Democratic pragmatists, who support European integration as a means to enhancing national interests rather than as an end in itself, can plausibly argue that their vision of the EU has never been more relevant. If the Flemish and Walloons do unhook from each other, they can quickly hook back into the EU as separate entities bound by common European values. The very existence of the EU allows us to contemplate a resurgence in national sentiment without fear of violence or confrontation. In the context of Europe's past, that is no small achievement.
O alta lectie care ar fi de invatat din Belgia, subliniata de The Economist, ar fi ca un sistem de votare descentralizat, similar cu proponerea de vot uninominal de la noi, in care politicienii sunt incurajati sa se intereseze mai mult de problemele locale si mai putin de cele nationale, accelereaza tendintele de segregare:
It seems only fair, therefore, to pass on word of a rather elegant solution to the crisis currently gripping the kingdom of the Belgians, crafted by a group of French and Dutch speaking academics, the Pavia group. Their analysis is that crises like this are inevitable because parties only stand for election on one side of the linguistic frontier. In Belgium, national parties ceased to exist some years ago. If you live in Flanders you can only vote for politicians from the Flemish-speaking parties (there are a handful of bits of Flanders near to bilingual Brussels where this is not the case, but they are the exception). And the same holds true for Francophone Belgians. Even if their dearest desire is to punish Mr Leterme at the ballot box, and vote for his political rivals, they cannot: they can only vote for Francophone politicians standing in their bit of the country. The Pavia group makes a second, linked observation. The current system forces Flemish parties to make wild promises to their voters about all the concessions they are going to wring from the Francophone camp, and all the good things they will bring to Flanders. And the same thing happens, in mirror image, among the French-speaking parties. Then, once the voting is over, the best-performing parties sit down to form a coalition government, trapped by the long lists of demands they promised to make during the election campaign, but which the other side cannot begin to concede. Pavia's solution is to force all parties that want to be in the national government to fight for seats in a special "federal", ie nationwide constituency. A tenth of the 150 seats in the lower chamber of the national parliament would be elected from this nationwide constituency, with nine going to Flemish candidates, and six going to French speakers (in proportion with their relative populations). The idea is that each party would have a strong interest in winning seats from this national constituency (with so many parties, even a really large party can expect to win fewer than two dozen seats overall, so two or three more can make a difference). Once parties decide to woo voters in the whole of Belgium, that should temper their wilder, most sectarian campaign positions. This seems logical. If Belgian readers are still speaking to us, it would be interesting to hear their thoughts.

25 September 2007

Cum sa opresti o gena si sa descifrezi codul genetic

Un scurt metraj foarte misto despre descoperirea (intamplatoare) a ARN-ului inhibitor - mecanismul prin care organismul se apara de virusi si cu ajutorul caruia geneticienii pot acum sa opreasca o expresia unei anumite gene. In felul acesta poate fi descifrat codul genetic - i.e. se poate identifica functia pe care o are fiecare gena in parte. (Filmul simplifica intr-o anumita masura lucrurile spre sfarsit, pentru ca nu descrie faptul ca o anumita trasatura fenotipica este controlata de obicei de mai mult de o singura gena - problema descifrarii codului genetic devine astfel mult mai greu de rezolvat datorita numarului foarte mare de combinatii posibile.) Partea intai: Partea a doua:

21 September 2007

Inteligenta sociala vs. intelegenta abstracta

Grupul lui Tomasello a facut un nou studiu asupra diferentelor cognitive intre cimpanzei si copiii mici.
Human cognition depends on transmitted behaviors—the skills we use in adult life in society, we learn as children. The cultural intelligence hypothesis postulates that humans have a species-specific set of social-cognitive skills that other higher primates don't have that allows us to more readily learn from others. For the first time, this cultural intelligence hypothesis has been tested, and the results published in Science. The researchers conducted a series of cognition tests on a group of young children, chimpanzees, and orangutans. The tests were designed to differentiate between the cultural intelligence hypothesis and the general intelligence hypothesis that predicts that humans are simply more intelligent than other primates. The tests were designed to determine intelligence as it relates to the physical world (spatial memory, tool use, etc) and also to the social world (social learning, comprehension, intentions, etc). Interestingly, the human subjects only did significantly better in the latter series of tests, but the chimps and orangutans were as adept at the physical world tests as the infants. This provides support for the cultural intelligence hypothesis, suggesting that humans have evolved specific social-cognitive skills relevant to exchanging knowledge between individuals in cultural groups.

Predictii pentru anul 2000

Cum credea New York Times, in 1950, ca va arata lumea in anul 2000. - vom avea mancare facuta din rumegus - vom calatori cu rachete - ne vom barbieri cu ajutorul unor substante chimice - toate vasele vor fi din plastic care se va topi sub un jet de apa fierbinte - vom avea o piscina cu apa (adanca de cativa cm) pe acoperis pentru a raci casele - toata mobila va fi impermeabila si vom face curatenie in casa cu furtunul
Furniture (upholstery included), rugs, draperies, unscratchable floors — all are made of synthetic fabric or waterproof plastic. After the water has run down a drain in the middle of the floor (later concealed by a rug of synthetic fiber) Jane turns on a blast of hot air and dries everything. A detergent in the water dissolves any resistant dirt. Tablecloths and napkins are made of woven paper yarn so fine that the untutored eye mistakes it for linen. Jane Dobson throws soiled “linen” into the incinerator. Bed sheets are of more substantial stuff, but Jane Dobson has only to hang them up and wash them down with a hose when she puts the bedroom in order.
- sute de mii de oameni vor avea elicoptere personale cu care sa mearga la lucru in fiecare zi, iar trenurile de persoane nu vor mai exista - posta va fi trimisa cu racheta - vom avea cladiri din aluminiu in loc de otel - "storms are more or less under control. It is easy enough to spot a budding hurricane in the doldrums off the coast of Africa. Before it has a chance to gather much strength and speed as it travels westward toward Florida, oil is spread over the sea and ignited." - "The physician of 2000 knows just what diet is best for a patient. This knowledge, coupled with his knowledge of hormones, enables him to treat old age as a degenerative disease. Men and women of 70 in A.D. 2000 look as if they were 40. Wrinkles, sagging cheeks, leathery skins are curiosities or signs of neglect. The span of life has been lengthened to 85." - "such virus diseases as influenza, the common cold, poliomyelitis and a dozen others are cured with ease" - "doctors place heart patients in front of a fluoroscopic screen, turn on the X-rays and then, with the aid of a photoelectric cell, examine every section of the heart. Cancer is not yet curable in 2000. But physicians optimistically predict that the time is not far off when it will be cured" (Probabil ca nu au vindecat cancerul din cauza aparatelor alea cu raze X :) - si desigur, chilotii vor fi reciclati pentru a face bomboane Autorul mai prezice si ca viata va deveni complet standardizata iar diferentelor nu vor fi vazute cu ochi buni - insa acest lucru este ceva bun:
Any marked departure from what Joe -Dobson and his fellow citizens wear and eat and how they amuse themselves will arouse comment. If old Mrs. Underwood, who lives around the corner from the Dob-sons and who was born in 1920 insists on sleeping under an old-fashioned comforter instead of an aerogel blanket of glass puffed with air so that it is as light as thistledown, she must expect people to talk about her “queerness.” It is astonishing how easily the great majority of us fall into step with our neighbors. And after all, is the standardization of life to be deplored if we can have a house like Joe Dobson’s, a standardized helicopter, luxurious standardized household appointments, and food that was out of the reach of any Roman emperor?

Un cal mecanic

inventat in 1933. Din pacate nu a prins!

Picteaz-o cu verde si galben!

Un videoclip pentru un cantec Limbique:

18 September 2007

Cele mai socante 20 de experimente stiintifice


Matt Ridley - Nature via Nurture

Tuvalu - 10 cm deasupra nivelului marii

Tuvalu e prima tara din lume care o sa dispara inghitita complet de ocean, datorita incalzirii globale. In consecinta 11 000 de oameni vor ramane fara tara. Funafuti, cea mai mare insula:
Some of the islands are already uninhabitable; the ocean nibbles at the narrow landmass from all sides. Nine islands totaling just 26 square kilometers (10 square miles) in area make up the fourth-smallest country in the world. There's hardly any industry, no military, few cars and just eight kilometers of paved roads. The majority of the people make their living from fishing and agriculture. The country is so small that there is only a rough division of labor, with people acting as cooks and captains, ice cream salesmen and politicians. Environmentalists have long worried about the fate of this tiny Pacific state. Now, however, international legal experts have also taken up the topic of its imminent demise. A nation's "territorial integrity" is one of the paramount legal principles. It's unprecedented, however, for a country to completely lose its territory without the use of military force. ... There is no legal definition for a country entirely without land. ... Only one thing seems clear so far: without a physical territory, all the Tuvaluans become stateless. ... Some experts now believe changes will have to be made to international law to deal with the impact of climate change. Tuvalu is not alone -- other small island nations like Kirabati, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are also concerned about their future. Regardless of what happens the island nation of Tuvalu will at least survive its physical demise in the virtual world. Even today the country's main source of income is from selling the rights to its national ".tv" Internet domain.

11 September 2007

Iubire franco-germana

Probleme cu Carta Drepturilor Omului a Uniunii Europene

Pana acum numai Marea Britanie si Polonia au anuntat ca nu vor semna Carta Drepturilor Fundamentale a Uniunii Europene. Statutul legal al cartei, in ce masura ce scrie acolo trebuie implementat de state, este inca discutabil. Mi se pare ca exista o serie de probleme cu carta: Carta incepe destul de enervant cu:
The peoples of Europe, in creating an ever closer union among them, are resolved to share a peaceful future based on common values.
Eu unul nu vad Europa drept o uniune a popoarelor. Ce fac cei care, asemeni mie, nu apartin nici unei etnii? Putin mai tarziu este scris totusi:
It [the Union] places the individual at the heart of its activities, by establishing the citizenship of the Union and by creating an area of freedom, security and justice.
Primul drept este dreptul la demnitate. Ce-i aia?! Nici o explicatie, nimic. "Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected." Adica ce anume exact trebuie respectat si protejat? Articolul asta va fi folosit de toti fundamentalistii religiosi care vor sa impiedice criticile. Sub incidenta articolului "Dreptul la integritatea persoanei" stau si:
- the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain, - the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.
In primul rand ca astea doua nu sunt drepturi ci interziceri. In al doilea rand nu sunt de acord cu ele. Daca e sa luam de buna "the prohibition on making the human body ... as such a source of financial gain" atunci industria modei sau fotografiile nud ar trebui interzise! Iar dreptul de a-ti vinde organele ar elimina piata neagra a organelor, iar interzicerea clonarii umane e pur si simplu o absurditate. In afara de factorul "yak!" nu exista nici un argument serios impotriva ei, un om clonat ar fi exact la fel ca unul normal - nemaivorbind ca exista deja persoane care au exact acelasi cod genetic: gemenii identici. Daca mai devreme carta este suspicios de vaga, acum este exagerat de specifica. Ceva atat de particular precum clonarea nu are ce cauta intr-o carta a drepturilor fundamentale. In plus, interzicerea clonarii vine in contradictie cu un alt drept scris in carta!
Freedom of the arts and sciences The arts and scientific research shall be free of constraint. Academic freedom shall be respected.
Ce carta e aia care se auto-contrazice?! Cand vine vorba de a descrie dreptul la religie, din carta lipseste dreptul de a nu avea religie!
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. 2. The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right.
Punctul 2 trebuie vazut in legatura cu "dreptul la demnitate", el nu se refera la dreptul de a critica religia (cu toate ca asa e exprimat), ci ofera dreptul statelor de a impiedica critica religiei. Cat de patetic arata acest pasaj in comparatie cu dreptul la religie garantat de Constitutia Americana:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press
sau dreptul din declaratia de la Revolutia Franceza:
10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.
Scurt si la obiect, atat dreptul la religie cat si la a critica orice religie. Nici o gargara cu "demnitatea". Dreptul la proprietate este "tricky":
Everyone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss. The use of property may be regulated by law in so far as is necessary for the general interest.
Daca ne-am fi nascut ieri, pasajul asta ar parea ca suna foarte bine. Insa... Acel "except in the public interest" suna extrem de ciudat. Exact asta spun si Chavez sau Putin cand nationalizeaza firmele de petrol. In al doilea rand "fair compensation" este o fraza extrem de dubioasa, pentru ca in general toti cei care vorbesc de "fair" o fac in opozitie cu pretul real de pe piata. Acest pasaj stabileste deci dreptul statului de a-ti confisca proprietatea si a te despagubi dupa cum considera el ca-i "drept" sau "rezonabil", i.e. nu la pretul real al proprietatii tale asa cum e ea pe piata. Este o gluma proasta ca acest pasaj chipurile garanteaza dreptul la proprietate, el garanteaza dreptul statului de a-ti fura proprietatea. Dreptul de aici e chiar o scadere fata de acum 200 de ani:
17. Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified.
Necesitatea a fost acum inlocuita cu "public interest", "equitably indemnified" a fost inlocuit cu "fair compensation", iar de la compensatia inainte de a-ti fi luata proprietatea s-a ajuns la "intr-un timp rezonabil de scurt dupa ce ti-a fost luata". Articole ipocrite:
Article 20. Equality before the law Everyone is equal before the law. Article 21. Non-discrimination 1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
Astea suna foarte bine, insa nu vor fi aplicate prea curand. Conform articolului 20 nu ar putea exista asa ceva precum imunitate parlamentara sau monarhii. Conform articolului 21 nu ar putea exista legi care sa faca discriminari pozitive. Drepturile muncitorilor. Dreptul de a face parte din sindicat nu e insotit si de dreptul de a nu face parte dintr-un sindicat. Muncitorii au:
the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate levels and, in cases of conflicts of interest, to take collective action to defend their interests, includingstrike action.
insa in multe tari problema este exact opusa, ca muncitorii sunt obligati sa negocieze numai la nivel colectiv, iar cand sindicatele actioneaza violent impotriva celor care angajeaza asa zisi "spargatori de greva" statul nu face nimic ca sa impiedice violentele. Una dintre problemele majore ale tarilor din Europa este somajul, iar somajul este cauzat de coduri ale muncii extrem de rigide. Carta pune aceste rigiditati printre "drepturile fundamentale":
Article 30: Protection in the event of unjustified dismissal Every worker has the right to protection against unjustified dismissal, in accordance with Community law and national laws and practices. Article 31: Fair and just working conditions 1. Every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and dignity. 2. Every worker has the right to limitation of maximum working hours, to daily and weekly rest periods and to an annual period of paid leave.
Aceste drepturi sunt o aberatie. Daca conditiile de munca nu sunt bune, nu-i respecta sanatatea, sigurata si demnitatea, nu-i ofera suficient timp liber etc. muncitorul n-are decat sa plece in alta parte. Cine e statul sa decida ce conditii sunt sau nu "bune" sau sa ne impuna cat timp maxim avem dreptul de a munci?! Dreptul de a nu fi dat afara e o incalcare flagranta a dreptului la proprietate - e treaba angajatorului ce face cu capitalul sau, si dat fiind ca el e cel care-si asuma toate riscurile legat de profitul sau pierderile afacerii lui, el trebuie sa aiba dreptul sa-si organizeze afacerea absolut oricum vrea. Angajatii nu risca nimic, indiferent daca firma merge bine sau nu, ei isi primesc salariile pe munca depusa. Dat fiind ca angajatorul cara riscurile el trebuie sa aiba dreptul sa-si aleaga angajatii oricum vrea. Cine e statul sa-i bage pe gat sa munceasca cu cine el/ea nu vrea sa o faca?!
Everyone residing and moving legally within the European Union is entitled to social security benefits and social advantages in accordance with Community law and national laws and practices.
Asta-i motivul pentru care Uniunea Europeana e obligata sa aiba mega-legi anti-imigratie si pentru care imigratia ilegala e asa o mega-afacere; fara aceasta prevedere orice imigrant (fie el legal sau ilegal) ar fi obligat sa-si gaseasca de lucru - altfel ar muri de foame. Astfel sunt o gramada care vin in Europa (legal sau ilegal si apoi abtin statut legal) pentru a trai apoi din ajutoarele sociale platite de europeni. Un articol interesant:
1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national law or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than that which was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed. If, subsequent to the commission of a criminal offence, the law provides for a lighter penalty, that penalty shall be applicable. 2. This Article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles recognised by the community of nations.
Intrebarea e de ce exista si punctul 2? Nu era suficient 1? De pilda 1 spune ca daca esti acum condamnat pentru, e.g. trafic de marijuana, si mai tarziu pedeapsa pentru traficul de marijuana e micsorata, atunci si pedeapsa ta va fi micsorata; insa punctul 2 spune ca daca mai tarziu vanzarea de marijuana va deveni legala, tu vei fi in continuare tinut in puscarie. Pare cam absurd. Ultimul articol suna cu adevarat ciudat, putand fi suspectat ca e de-a dreptul auto-contradictoriu:
Prohibition of abuse of rights Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised in this Charter or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for herein.
Cu alte cuvinte nu ai voie sa interpretezi aceste drepturi in asa fel incat sa fie incalcate drepturile. Insa cum iti dai seama daca sunt sau nu incalcate drepturile altfel decat interpretand?! Cu alte cuvinte, n-ai voie sa interpretezi aceste drepturi in asa fel incat sa incalci interpretarea acestor drepturi! O lipsa ciudata din carta de drepturi fundamentale: dreptul de a nu te auto-incrimina. Concluzia trista e ca la peste 200 de ani de la Revolutia Franceza europenii sunt inca incapabili sa scrie ceva care macar sa se apropie de ceea ce a fost conceput atunci si cu atat mai putin de ceea ce au conceput americanii de atunci.

Robert Ince despre Creationism :)

08 September 2007

Poster electoral rasist in Elvetia

Cel mai mare partid din Elvetia, Partidul Popular, are urmatorul poster electoral: Posterul se refera la o propunere de a expulza automat din Elvetia orice infractor de origine straina. Presedinta tarii, Micheline Calmy-Rey, din Partidul Social Democrat, a calificat posterul drept rasist.
Calmy-Rey's comments came on the same day that the People's Party was ordered by a judge to remove a campaign video from its website. Footage showed staged scenes of youth violence and pictures of foreigners juxtaposed with picture-postcard scenes of Switzerland, along with the message: "Heaven and Hell". The ruling came after seven of the youths featured complained they had been duped into taking part.
Partidul Liberal a facut doua parodii ale posterului:

07 September 2007

Cel mai important eveniment din ultimii 10 ani

In 1996 la nivel global 42% din oameni lucrau in agricultura, 21% in industrie, 37% in servicii. In 2006 procentajele din agricultura si servicii s-au inversat: 36% agricultura, 22% industrie, 42% servicii. Pentru prima oara in istoria lumii majoritatea oamenilor nu mai lucreaza in agricultura. Este interesant si faptul ca tranzitia nu a avut loc crescand numarul celor care lucreaza in industrie, ci a crescut direct numarul celor care ofera servicii.
To me this stuck out as the news of the day. This is a huge milestone. In the west we’re accustomed to the farming sector being 4-6% or so, but that certainly has not been true in most of the word. You might think the industrial revolution was a long time ago, but the reality is that farming has remained the center of the overall human condition. Until sometime in these past few years, that is. And thus passes a tremendous milestone in the history of our species. Farming, invented around 8000 BC, quickly dominated human activity and has continued to for some 10,000 years. And we even find that the agriculture->industry->services transition doesn’t hold up globally. The industry segment simply isn’t big enough, so increasingly workers go directly from farming to services.
Mai mult.