Humans evolved from Neanderthals

Interviewer: “Do you accept that humans evolved from something other than humans?”
Cardinal Pell (Australia): “Probably. Yeah, probably. From neaderthals.”
Richard Dawkins: “Neanderthals? (shocked face) Why from Neaderthals?”
Cardinal Pell (Australia): “Well, who else would you suggest?”
….Dawkins speechless, tries to educate mr Cardinal, gets:
Cardinal Pell (Australia): “Something in the evolutionary story seems to have come before humans… A lot of people say it’s neanderthals.”

 

Huh? Which people? If I’m forced to get a pass in study on religion in school, couldn’t Mr Cardinal be forced to get a pass in biology…

Card Confused

The letters to our office with regards to the "National Population Registry" (NPR) camps got me interested and confused. 

The NPR is run by census office under the home ministry and is a registry of all usual residents, ie. everybody who has "resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.".

It captures all sorts of data about the person including biometric data (finger prints, iris scans, photograph) and issues a smart card containing such data. At that point I had to stop and think – hey, how does this relate to the vaunted (by government, criticised by others..) UID set up by Nilekani?

From the letter we received at our office it wasn't quite clear. It did state that even if a UID/Aadhaar  had been received you should still attend the NPR camp and get your details updated. 

After some Googling it turns out that:

a) Original remit of UID didn't include issuing any cards or such, simply to collect the data and maintain the database
b) NPR was supposed to use this database to issue smart cards
c) In some areas smart cards could be issued by the local registrar
d) UID did float a tender in 2011 for the issuance of some 150 million cards 
e) Said tender was later cancelled in the end of 2011
f) After registering some 200 million people NPR was supposed to take over all registration of biometric data from UIDAI – that point has now in Jan been crossed

Conclusion is that supposedly UID number will be printed on a persons NPR smart card and if no UID exists the NPR biometric data collected should result in a UID number being created.

All this means that the NPR smart card  happily adds to the bewildering array of identification that an proper Indian resident needs to/can carry:
  1. UID registration (paper slip with Aadhaar number from UIDAI)
  2. NPR registration/smart card
  3. PAN card for income taxes
  4. Voters ID
  5. Ration card
  6. Passport
  7. ….
Not to mention extras such as: ESI smart card, drivers license, etc.

Additionally to make matters easier the UID and NPR databases are registering all residents – ie. not only citizens – where as the PAN database is for any tax resident (defined differently from UID/NPR usual residence status) and naturally voters id/passports are based on only on citizens… 

What is rape?

THE COURT: All right. Let me tell you why I’m going to sentence Mr. Gurel to six years only in spite of the People’s request for –

MS. SNYDER: Sixteen.

THE COURT: – 16. And that is, I spent my last year and a half in the DA’s office in the sexual assault. I’ve seen sexual assault. I’ve seen women who have been ravaged and savaged whose vagina was shredded by the rape. I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case. That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn’t necessarily willing, she didn’t put up a fight. And to treat this case like the rape cases that we all hear about is an insult to victims of rape. I think it’s an insult. I think it trivializes a rape.

I certainly know that this judge in California has absolutely no idea. For more read:

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/304-justice/15388-judge-demands-shred…

From today, packaged food will have ‘GM’ label

“Every package containing the genetically modified food shall bear at top of its principal display panel the words ‘GM’,” the notification under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) (2 {+n} {+d} Amendment) Rules 2012 said. Such packaged commodity rules are applicable to 19 products including biscuits, breads, cereals and pulses among others.

While GMO labeling is a bit of a distraction and in no way addresses the key issues at hand – it’s not overall bad. However, the fact that it covers only 19 product categories (albeit some of the most pervasive ones) can create trouble even if the consumer is aware of what the label means – if you look at a product not covered under the 19 heads you might assume that it lacks GMO because it lacks the label.

Naturally, as always, a rule is a rule but implementation will be a completely different matter. A shoddy implementation is worse than not having labeling at all, meaning again that this is mostly a distraction.