An Educational Blog
Facial Recognition (Technology): _____ _____ Prologue: Faces are special. Days after birth, an infant can distinguish his/her mother’s face from those of other women. Babies are more reliably engaged by a sketch of a face than they are by other images. Though human faces are quite similar in their basic composition, most of us can differentiate effortlessly among them. A face is a codex of social information: it can often tell us at a glance, someone’s age, gender, racial background and mood. The human brain is often less reliable than digital algorithms, but it remains superior at facial recognition. At the airport, when a scanner compares your face with your passport photo, the lighting is perfect and the angle is perfect. By contrast, an average human can recognize a family member from behind. No computer will ever be able to do that. Though we may take for granted our brain’s […]
Sexual Harassment: _____ _____ Prologue: In October 2016, a month before the presidential election, a 2005 tape came to the public’s attention. In raw footage from behind the scenes on Access Hollywood, Republican candidate Donald Trump bragged boldly about kissing women without their consent, grabbing at their genitals, and simply having his way: “…when you’re a star, they let you do it.” In a subsequent debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper called the actions that Trump described “sexual assault.” Trump called it “locker room talk.” Whatever the term, the behavior and the attitude ultimately proved inconsequential, not sufficiently meaningful or outrageous to derail Trump’s election victory. In January 2017, Trump took up the position as the most powerful man in the world. Yet, almost exactly one year later, scores of women are stepping up and speaking out. They tell heart-breaking, terrifying stories of sexual harassment, and sexual assault at the hands of […]
ATHEISM: _____ Caveat: This article has no desire to insult anybody in any way at all. If anyone feels offended, it is a regrettable misunderstanding because the criticisms are aimed at the objectives of the belief, never at believers as individuals. I recognize and respect right of all individuals to believe in their faith and their God if that helps them to live better life in the brief period of human existence allotted to them. But religious beliefs and doctrines become dangerous if they threaten the liberty and the integrity of the individual or of the society. _____ _____ Prologue: According to Psalm 14 of the Bible, people who don’t believe in God are filthy, corrupt fools, entirely incapable of doing any good. Before the 18th century, the existence of God was so accepted in the western world that even the possibility of true atheism was questioned. This is called […]
Nipah: _____ Figure above shows burial of a victim of Nipah virus in Kozhikode, India. _____ Prologue: An outbreak of probable encephalitis hit Siliguri, India in 2001. All hell broke loose when a cardiologist by the name of Dr Ajit Maity and a nurse associated with Medinova Florence Nursing Home fell victim to this disease. It was reported that both had contracted it while treating a patient. A few other doctors, nurses and paramedics were taken severely ill in another hospital. Ten among those infected medics later died. Soon, Siliguri started resembling a ghost town. The roads were deserted, shops shut and schools were closed for a week. There was misinformation circulated based on rumour and gossip. But worst of all was that some doctors secretly fled. Some doctors were apprehended at Jalpaiguri Railway Station and Bagdogra Airports by citizens before they could slip away. Red-faced politicians had flown in […]
Organ Donation & Transplantation (ODT): ____ Jemima Layzell died of a brain aneurysm in 2012 and her organ donations have helped eight people including five children. ____ Prologue: In 1894, the surgeon Otto Lanz (1865–1935) warned his colleagues not to scoff at a treatment “which aims at replacing the organ that has lost its function in the organism”. Today, no one would doubt the seriousness of a surgeon who treats a disease by replacing an organ. However, it was only around 1900 that the idea of organ replacement became self-evident. The introduction of antibiotics, massive vaccinations of the general population to prevent infectious diseases, and organ transplantation may be considered the miracles of twentieth century medicine. Organ transplantation is the best therapy for terminal and irreversible organ failure. Transplantation has given many a new lease on life and, to many more, an extension that would have otherwise been impossible. […]
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