0Shares0000Jose Fonte (R) scored for Lille in their 1-1 draw at Reims, a result which leaves the door open for PSG to clinch the Ligue 1 title on Sunday night © AFP / FRANCOIS NASCIMBENIPARIS, France, Apr 7 – Paris Saint-Germain can clinch another Ligue 1 title on Sunday night by beating Strasbourg after nearest rivals Lille were held to a 1-1 draw at Reims.Jose Fonte’s 56th-minute header had Lille on course to take all three points in Champagne country, but substitute Remi Oudin’s 78th-minute leveller — initially ruled out for offside but then given after a VAR review — denied the visitors. Reims were also left furious at the referee’s decision to ignore a handball in the box by Lille defender Adama Soumaoro in stoppage time as the home side appealed for a penalty.The result leaves second-placed Lille a massive 19 points adrift of PSG at the summit, and the capital club will therefore retain the title with eight games to spare if they see off League Cup winners Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes.PSG are looking to be crowned champions for the eighth time in their history, and the sixth time in seven seasons.If Thomas Tuchel’s side wrap it up on Sunday night, it will match the club record set in 2015/16, when Laurent Blanc’s team also secured the title with eight matches to play.Lille, who host PSG next weekend, are more concerned with holding off the teams below them as they look to secure second place, which provides automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League group stage.The draw at the Stade Auguste-Delaune moves them five points clear of third-placed Lyon, who slumped to a shock 3-1 loss at home to relegation-threatened Dijon on Saturday.“If we had won I think that we would have sealed our place on the podium,” said Lille coach Christophe Galtier.“We are 11 points ahead of Saint-Etienne but there are still 21 points to play for.”Fourth-placed Saint-Etienne drew 2-2 at Amiens on Saturday, while Marseille, in fifth, were beaten 2-0 at Bordeaux on Friday.Reims are just a point behind OM in sixth place as last season’s second-tier champions continue to enjoy an excellent campaign on their return to the elite.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
An unusual paper appeared in PNAS this week.1 Four social scientists from Columbia and Yale argued that scientific papers can actually perpetuate false ideas rather than correct them. The abstract says that an influential paper can generate momentum that becomes merely cited as fact by subsequent authors:We analyzed a very large set of molecular interactions that had been derived automatically from biological texts. We found that published statements, regardless of their verity, tend to interfere with interpretation of the subsequent experiments and, therefore, can act as scientific “microparadigms,” similar to dominant scientific theories [Kuhn, T. S. (1996) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago)]. Using statistical tools, we measured the strength of the influence of a single published statement on subsequent interpretations. We call these measured values the momentums of the published statements and treat separately the majority and minority of conflicting statements about the same molecular event. Our results indicate that, when building biological models based on published experimental data, we may have to treat the data as highly dependent-ordered sequences of statements (i.e., chains of collective reasoning) rather than unordered and independent experimental observations. Furthermore, our computations indicate that our data set can be interpreted in two very different ways (two “alternative universes”): one is an “optimists’ universe” with a very low incidence of false results (<5%), and another is a “pessimists’ universe” with an extraordinarily high rate of false results (>90%). Our computations deem highly unlikely any milder intermediate explanation between these two extremes. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)In other words, scientists tend to follow bandwagons, and one can either be an optimist that they will get it right most of the time, or a pessimist that they get it wrong most of the time. Either way, the problem arises partly because scientists do not have the resources to study or replicate every experiment, so they tend to trust what is published as authoritative. The volume of published material is daunting: “More than 5 million biomedical research and review articles have been published in the last 10 years,” they said. “Automated analysis and synthesis of the knowledge locked in this literature has emerged as a major challenge in computational biology.” Although new tools for sifting and collecting this information have been designed, what comes out may not always accelerate knowledge toward the truth, but rather maintain inertia against change. The authors examined millions of statements from scientific texts, then formed a mathematical model to study the “large-scale properties of the scientific knowledge-production process” –We explicitly modeled both the generation of experimental results and the experimenters’ interpretation of their results and found that previously published statements, regardless of whether they are subsequently shown to be true or false, can have a profound effect on interpretations of further experiments and the probability that a scientific community would converge to a correct conclusion.They discovered “chains of reasoning” that relied on previously-published interpretations. This counters the commonly-held belief that scientific findings act like independent data points that accumulate toward a more accurate picture. Scientists, like other people, can follow the lemmings over a cliff:There is a well established term in economics, “information cascade”, which represents a special form of a collective reasoning chain that degenerates into repetition of the same statement. Here we suggest a model that can generate a rich spectrum of patterns of published statements, including information cascades. We then explore patterns that occur in real scientific publications and compare them to this model.Sure enough, scientists fell into this trap. They tended to gather around accepted interpretations, though tending to believe their own interpretations most of all: “scientists are often strongly affected by prior publications in interpreting their own experimental data,” they said, “while weighting their own private results… at least 10-fold as high as a single result published by somebody else.” The researchers applied probability theory to study how likely a chain of reasoning would lead to a correct result:An evaluation of the optimum parameters under our model (see Model Box) indicated that the momentums of published statements estimated from real data are too high to maximize the probability of reaching the correct result at the end of a chain. This finding suggests that the scientific process may not maximize the overall probability that the result published at the end of a chain of reasoning will be correct.As they noted, the model is more significant than just for teasing academic curiosity: “If the problem of convergence to a false ‘accepted’ scientific result is indeed frequent, it might be important to focus on alleviating it through restructuring the publication process or introducing a means of independent benchmarking of published results.”1Rzhetsky, Iossifov, Loh and White, “ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published online before print March 16, 2006, doi 10.1073/pnas.0600591103.Imagine that: the very methodology invented to uncover truth could suppress it. This could explain the near uniform acceptance of Darwinism and condemnation of intelligent design (and other maverick ideas) in Big Science. Could it be that publication sets off a chain reaction that gains momentum and leads to erroneous interpretations? Could scientists sometimes be just as prone to crowd psychology as the rest of us? And you thought that the scientific method, peer review and publishing were safeguards against collective error. The Hwang scandal should have provided a sharp wake-up slap (see 01/09/2006). Lest we make this one paper a self-fulfilling prophecy and start a new erroneous information cascade, we grant that such things are difficult to model mathematically with confidence. Thomas Kuhn’s cynical view of science is not without controversy, and many scientists do work independently and interpret their results carefully. These authors, though, should be commended for alerting us to the fact that scientists and scientific publications can perpetuate “microparadigms” that could be false. There is anecdotal evidence to support this claim in the case of evolution vs. intelligent design. Those who publish in the journals any statements about I.D. tend to cite the standard ID-bashing texts as references: Pennock, Gross, Forrest etc. It is unlikely they actually read those books, and even less likely they consider the arguments on both sides. To them, the experts have spoken, and Judge Jones has ruled, so all is needed is to make a short statement with a footnote to the authorities. More anecdotal evidence comes from a scientist active in the ID movement, who shall remain unnamed, who stated that, in his experience, scientists tend to be very fair and self-critical in their own narrow specialties, but on other subjects, are among the most dogmatic, closed-minded people he knows. Time and again he has seen them follow the leader – to merely ask questions like “what does Richard Dawkins think about it? Well, then I’m agin it, too!” On the flip side, pro-evolution scientific papers often reference authorities carelessly. An author may refer briefly to Darwin’s finches as evidence for natural selection, for instance, passing a lateral footnote to the Grants, merely assuming that the Grants demonstrated evolution in their work, without actually studying their work critically to see whether the evidence is valid or convincing (08/24/2005, 04/26/2002). These cases illustrate how scientists can sometimes march in lock-step on certain topics, assuming one another’s authority, instead of contributing their own independent empirical findings toward an objective truth. Science is an intensely human enterprise and, therefore, is subject to human foibles like crowd psychology. Our finiteness and human nature limit our ability to grasp natural realities. One scientist cannot possibly know everything even in his or her own field. Imagine mastering five million articles in ten years, just in one area (biomedical research), to say nothing of replicating or verifying each paper’s experimental results. We’re human; we’re limited; it’s so much easier to cite the popular statements of the leaders and follow the chain-of-reasoning gang. The more controversial the material (e.g., evolution vs intelligent design), the more it would seem that polarized interpretations are geared to maintain their own momentum. Applying Newton’s Laws to social science, a body of ideas tends to remain stationary or in uniform linear motion unless acted on by a sufficient force. And – every action to oppose the momentum has an equal and opposite reaction.(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Nelson Mandela International Day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world.Brand South Africa volunteers its time at the YMCA Centre in Soweto on Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July 2017. (Image supplied)Ntombifuthi Ntanzi In the words of Nelson Mandela; “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”Nelson Mandela International Day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. Eight years later since the launch of Mandela day, it has gained momentum, with worldwide support from citizens of all races and ages, playing their part by giving 67 minutes of their time to the less fortunate and taking #ActionAgainstPoverty.The Nelson Mandela Foundation last month adopted the theme #ActionAgainstPoverty as a firm call to take action towards eradicating poverty and making a meaningful contribution to the lives of those facing poverty and inequality in society. It all begins with small steps from each and every stakeholder.This was evident at the YMCA Centre on Tuesday the 18th, it was abuzz with young and old coming to contribute to the Mandela Day activities.Brand South Africa volunteered their time and hands to paint the premises. Brand South Africa’s Strategic Relationship Manager: Government, Ms Toni Gumede said, “Brand South Africa is pleased to be reiterating the words of Nelson Mandela through action and our involvement to the Mandela Day does not just end here, we encourage everyone to play their part.”Absa also pledged a mentorship programme, renovated the computer centre, donated 30 computers and stocked the library.Speaking to the community, David Hodnett, Deputy Chief Executive of Barclays Africa and Chief Executive of the group’s South African banking operations said, “The success of today really lies in there being so many partners who have come together.”“The YMCA is a very historical place for our country’s liberation story and the work that is done by the YMCA organisation for the young children is inspirational. We are so happy to give back to a location that is so very important to our history”, said Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson Lunga Nene.See more below:Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
The death, on Tuesday, of Radhika Tanwar at the hands of a stalker is heart- rending. A young life has been snuffed out for no fault of her own. A cowardly killer used the easiest method to kill her – shot the unsuspecting victim at close range with a country- made pistol and walked away. On Wednesday, a gun was used to shoot a couple and injure them grievously. Almost every other day a murder is committed with the use of a gun. It takes something to bludgeon or knife a person to death, pressing the trigger of pistol is much easier. The state has done little or nothing to make it difficult to get one and so, for the homicidally inclined, the gun has become the weapon of choice.HistoryGuns were not always so easily available. In the 1960s when the Maoists decided to take on the Indian state in Naxalbari, in West Bengal, the only firearms they could muster were some 12 bore guns and hunting rifles looted from tea estates. In fact many of the Naxalites used pipe-guns made of ordinary water pipes.Chambal had its dacoits and Mumbai its gangsters, but the easy availability of guns in northern India is a relatively recent phenomenon. Its epicenter lies in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the breakdown of administration in the 1960s and 1970s led to the proliferation of workshops churning out country- made weapons. Today’s Naxalites, of course, are armed with a variety of weapons – .303 rifles, SLR and INSAS carbines – many of which have come from government armouries by means that are not easy to determine.advertisementParallel to this has been the exponential growth in the availability of licensed arms. Till the 1960s, getting a gun license was quite difficult in India because of the hang-over of British colonial laws where the issue of licenses was closely linked to loyalty to the empire. But the rise of democratic politics saw a proliferation of gun licenses as newly rising castes saw gun ownership as much an issue of prestige, as to offset the perceived advantage of their upper caste rivals.In India strict gun-control laws were an outcome of the imperial necessity. The eighteenth century, in which the British fought their way to dominance in the Indian subcontinent, was a very violent one. Given the Mughal mansabdari system, armed men owing allegiance to their feudatories were scattered across India. With the breakdown of Mughal authority, India, particularly in the north, saw a long period of anarchy where petty rajas and landlords vied with each other for control, and the British by virtue of their superior military organisation and world view managed to prevail. Once they came to power, and especially after the 1857 uprising, they undertook a policy of systematically disarming the people through tough legislation and laws that made the ownership of weapons without license a major crime.This was not very different from the system they had back home. In the seventeenth century, the British aristocracy created laws restricting hunting and gun ownership to the upper classes and denying them to the poor. The legacy of this continues to this day and UK has some of the toughest laws against owning guns. Civilians, regardless of the circumstances, cannot own handguns.Other guns, mainly for hunting and sport are strictly licensed. But by themselves guns don’t kill. As the slogan goes, ” guns don’t kill, people do.” It is true that the easy availability of guns promotes its use in crime in the US. The American right to bear arms is written into their constitution and has as its basis the history of the country which was liberated from the colonial yoke because the people had the firearms to turn against their British overlords.But, Switzerland with a similar history, i. e. where people fought for their freedom and were able to defend their country against their bigger European neighbours because they remained armed and ready for war, does not have the kind of crime statistics you see in the US. It is a certain kind of a social and political milieu that provides the backdrop of their usage for violent ends.In the US it is obvious in its stratified social system and ghettoisation of the minorities. Unfortunately, the ambiance in India with its burgeoning urbanisation, poverty and social tensions make for an incendiary situation. Layer upon this a ruthlessly predatory attitude towards women and the weak, compounded by the breakdown in effective policing in most parts of India.advertisementProliferationThe big threat lies from unlicensed weapons. And these have proliferated widely. Making the weapon itself is not the problem, even the technology available to a village craftsman can do the needful. Ammunition is an issue, but leakages from the licensed system as well as from the police and the armed forces have created the problem. Last year, this paper reported how ammunition from CRPF armouries in UP managed to find its way to Maoists in the jungles of Chhattisgarh.Given the rapid urbanisation of the country and the emergence of large unpoliced or poorly policed areas can result in the rise of criminal gangs who are not afraid of taking on the police. We already see some aspects of this phenomenon in the Ghaziabad- Meerut area of the national capital region. If something is not done to check the proliferation of country- made weapons, things could go from bad to worse.The police need to first understand that there is a problem. The issue of misuse of licensed weapons is straightforward enough. Here the police need to not only strengthen the processes relating to the issue of licenses, but to also institute a process whereby which licenses can be withdrawn from people who could become a threat to society because of their possession of a licensed weapon. In other words, the licensing process should involve much more continuous monitoring.As far as the country- made gun phenomenon is concerned, the challenge is vaster. One aspect of it is the location and destruction of workshops that produce them. The second is to break the supply chains of ammunition for such weapons.LeachingThe third, and most doable, is to leach away the weapons from those who possess them. Countries have tried different ways of doing this-Brazil, Zambia, South Africa have experimented with amnesty and cash bounties to encourage people to turn in illegal weapons.What the Delhi police can easily do is to offer an amnesty, to start with, and then undertake a sustained drive to locate and seize these weapons. One way to do this is surprise search and seize drives where the police can seal off a mall, a market or a bus stand and search every person for hidden weapons. This will deter people from carrying the weapons around. For its part, the union government needs to pass laws that will enhance punishment for the manufacture, transportation and possession of illegal weapons.If the police and the government throw up their hands and claim they cannot do anything, it may be a better idea to make licensing easier and encourage the ordinary citizen to become a gun-owner and train them in the use of guns.At least this will be able to equalise the advantage that the criminals have vis- vis the common folk as of now.
Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess MOST READ Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving LATEST STORIES Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Google Philippines names new country director Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) goes up for a 3-pointer during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)MIAMI — It’s official: In the NBA, this was the year of the 3-pointer.Again.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Playoff-bound Clippers stay hot in dominant win over Cavaliers Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The NBA has set a record for 3-pointers made for the seventh consecutive year, after the 25,808th of the season was made Saturday night. The league is on pace for about an 8 percent rise in 3-pointers over last season — and 3s are getting made a staggering 57 percent more often than what was the case just five years ago.The league record for total 3-pointers attempted was broken earlier this month, with 72,354 getting hoisted entering Saturday.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe first season where the NBA combined to make 15,000 3-pointers was 2009-10. The 20,000 plateau was broken just three seasons ago, and this season’s total is on pace to end up just shy of 28,000. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments