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No beating about the bush.
Let’s ask the professors UIDAI cited in its latest report: Do you agree with UIDAI’s assessment of Aadhaar? Do you share their confidence in the project? Did UIDAI ask you in advance, before using your name for their marketing purposes?
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have been accused of making false claims about the reliability of the biometrics that its unique identification number (UID) or Aadhaar scheme relies on. The report released earlier this week by UIDAI is in response to those criticisms.
UIDAI say that “… based on the analysis, it can be stated with confidence that UIDAI enrolment system has proven to be reliable, accurate and scalable to meet the nation’s need of providing unique Aadhaar numbers to the entire population. It is now safe to conclude that the system will be able to scale to handle the entire population”. But that is mere assertion, it begs the question, they would say that, wouldn't they.
They need independent and respected biometrics experts to agree with them, if this report is to boost confidence in UIDAI’s abilities. They mention several names. The casual reader may assume that these named experts all agree with UIDAI’s conclusion that Aadhaar will work. It would be instructive to ring them up and ask them directly for their opinion.
Does Professor John Daugman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… although [the false positive identification rate of 0.057%] is expected to grow as the database size increases, it is not expected to exceed manageable values even at full enrolment of 120 crores”? It seems unlikely—Professor Daugman is the man who first pointed out that any attempt to prove uniqueness in a large population of biometrics must drown in a sea of false positives, please see
And does Professor Jim Wayman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… based on the [receiver operating characteristic] model, the UIDAI expects the accuracy of the system to remain within the same order of magnitude as reported above. Hence it can be stated that system will be able to scale to handle the entire population without significant drop in accuracy”? It seems unlikely—Professor Wayman is the lead author of a paper which concludes that biometrics is a discipline out of statistical control, the results gathered so far tell you nothing about what to expect in future, please see
If the two professors agree with UIDAI and renounce their earlier statements, well and good.
But if, on the other hand, they say that they have no reason to believe that UIDAI is right, they have not had a chance to assess the evidence that UIDAI claims to have, they do not understand why UIDAI has mentioned their names, then this schoolboy attempt to justify UIDAI’s waste of public money will fall humiliatingly flat on its face.
(David Moss spent eight years campaigning against the UK’s National ID (NID) card scheme, which was finally scrapped by the British government. Mr Moss is an MA in Philosophy from Cambridge University, MSc in Software Engineering from Kingston. With a career spanning of over 35 years, Mr Moss at present works as director at Business Consultancy Services Ltd and can be contacted at [email protected])
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It was a Black Day for Pune, reminiscent of the ghastly German Bakery Blast when innocent lives were snuffed out in minutes. Today, it was a maniac driver who went berserk on busy streets killing 9 and injuring 27 within an hour’s drive
Santosh Mane, the driver of Maharashtra State Transport Undertaking (ST) who had joined just two years back returned early this morning from an official run to Gangapur, known for black magic and located about 60 km from Solapur. While his colleagues believe it has something to do with he being ‘possessed’’ of some evil spirit that led him to do a dastardly act, the wicked reality was that a few hours later, around 8.15 am, he steered an empty ST bus through busy streets, where children were going to school, the elderly were returning from their morning walks and youngsters were heading towards their colleges and vendors were carting their goods for another day of business.
Mr Mane drove like a maniac for a good 16-odd km for nearly an hour, before he killed nine innocent people, mostly youngsters, injured 27 and damaged 30-odd vehicles. As news spread like wildfire, the rumour doing rounds was that terrorists had entered a bus and were on a killing spree. The reality was that Mr Mane, who later claimed “he did not know what he was doing’’ (and sorry there would be hopefully no divine intervention to salvage him), could not be stopped even by the cop who bravely climbed from the rear of the bus on to the rooftop and fired eight rounds on the vehicle, but to no avail. (Let us not delve prematurely into the fact of whether his pistol should have aimed at the tyres to deflate them or straight on to Mr Mane). It was only after nearly an hour of horrendous destruction of life and limbs that he could be stopped, after he hit a bigger vehicle leading to the slowing down of his bus.
After receiving beating from the public, which was chasing the bus on two-wheelers and the police van which was hounding him, Mr Mane has been handed over to the city Crime Branch for interrogation. According to Pune Police Commissioner MeeranBorwankar, “Though police put up barricades at various spots when they received alerts, Mane simply drove through them and carried on.’’
The injured were rushed to various hospitals but mainly to the largest public hospital of Pune, the Sassoon General Hospital. The doctors might have attended to the injured immediately but it’s not surprising to note that the CT scanner has been out of order since the last one-and-a-half years and so most of the patients had to be sent to a private hospital. One of the relatives mentioned that he has been patiently waiting for five hours and yet his nephew has not been sent for the CT scan. So much for the lessons learnt after the German Bakey Blast that occurred on 13 February 2010 when 27 young lives were lost and there was utter chaos to treat the injured who were rushed to Sassoon.
While questions would be raised about how Mr Mane was permitted to drive the ST bus out of the Swargate Depot (Ms Borwankar mentioned he had access to the master key as he was a regular employee), the fact is that families of the injured were being treated callously and like non-entities at Sassoon. Just as we saw in the Delhi blasts, VIP politicians (remember PMC elections are round the corner) were rushing as fast as they could to Sassoon to meet the injured and face television cameras. Predictably again, police bandobast was geared towards ensuring smooth VIP visit rather than hearing the cries of the near and dear ones who wanted information about the injured. Again, no lessons learnt from the German Bakery Blast where the scenario was ditto.
Now, let us see what the law enforcing authorities do with Santosh Mane? Will he be cozily imprisoned for endless time like AjmalKasab? Will he be in the news till public memory fades? Or will Pune witness history with a fast court trial and severe punishment to this culprit? As an agonized mother shouted, “No, no he is not mad, he has purposely killed so many.’’ She wants stringent punishment—that’s the least society can do for her.
With much attention on the effects of global warming on the climate system, the recent severe winter weather has heightened global warming scepticism among the general public. Analysis of the most recent observational and modelling data supports links between strong regional cooling trends in the winter and warming trends in the prior seasons
Mumbai and several parts of the country are reeling under the cold and chilly weather. Some think it is the extended winter. However, the sudden drops in minimum temperatures (between 2°C to 4°C) at many places are not because of just random variations, but in fact are side effects of the global warming phenomenon. According to researchers and scientists, the global warming might be causing more cooling and snow in many parts of the world.
In an article published in Environmental Research Letters, a team led by Judah L Cohen of Atmospheric and Environmental Research (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/014007), wrote that, “Evidence suggests that summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover. And that dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling.”
Rajan Alexander, who keeps a track of various things through his blog, reported that earlier this week, the Sahara desert witnessed snowfall. A 24-hour cold spell brought snow and rain to the Bechar province in western Algeria. Bechar is located in the northern Sahara, about 36 miles south of the Moroccan border. Similarly, the Gulf countries are facing extreme cold waves, Mr Alexander wrote. According to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) forecast for Tuesday, minimum temperatures were set to dip to 0°C in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) mountainous regions while internal areas could see temperatures dipping to a nippy 5°C and coastal areas could see minimum temperatures of 13°C.
Back home, Leh in the Ladakh region recorded its coldest night at minus 21.8°C of the season with Kargil recording a minus 21°C was the second coldest place in India on Tuesday. The harsh cold weather, on 17 January 2012, broke records in many places, with Madikeri (Karnataka) registering its lowest in 132 years at 4.8 degrees Celsius, Mysore’s coldest day in 120 years was at 7.7 degrees Celsius and Bangalore’s coldest day of January in the past 19 years with minimum temperature dropping to 12 degrees Celsius.
Many climatologists believe that the Arctic Oscillation (AO) affects the probability of certain weather events occurring in certain places. However, the heightened chance of a phenomenon by no means assures it, nor does the lessened likelihood exclude it. When the AO index is positive, surface pressure is low in the polar region. This helps the middle latitude jet stream to blow strongly and consistently from west to east, thus keeping cold Arctic air locked in the polar region. When the AO index is negative, there tends to be high pressure in the polar region, weaker zonal winds, and greater movement of frigid polar air into middle latitudes.
The AO fluctuates stochastically between negative and positive values on daily, monthly, seasonal and annual time scales and despite its stochastic nature, meteorologists have attained high levels of predictive accuracy in recent times, at least for the shorter term forecasts.
While the AO may not have much effect on Indian-sub continent, it’s the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which may have some co-relation with Indian monsoon. A study, “Interannual and long-term variability in the North Atlantic Oscillation and Indian summer monsoon rainfall” was done by Dugam, Kakade and Verma of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2068184) to investigate the co-relation based on data of over 108 years.
The study found that: “The decadal scale analysis reveals that the NAO during winter (December-January-February) and spring (March-April-May) has a statistically significant inverse relationship with the summer monsoon rainfall of Northwest India, Peninsular India and the whole of India. The highest correlation is observed with the winter NAO. The NAO and Northwest India rainfall relationship is stronger than that for the Peninsular and whole of India rainfall on climatological and sub-climatological scales.”
In short, fluctuations in the AO and NAO caused due to global warming can be blamed for the cold, chilly and extended winter across the globe. According to the article published in the Environmental Research Letters, the Arctic is warming more strongly than other parts of the globe and also sees more sea ice melt all the way into late summer and early fall.
It said, “The warmer conditions over open Arctic waters (remember, dark waters absorb heat from sunlight while light-coloured ice reflects it) lead to higher moisture levels in the air. More moisture means more clouds that can bring on more precipitation. Over Siberia, where it’s still cold enough for snow instead of rain, those additional clouds and moisture mean more snow than normal, especially in the fall.”
“Increased autumn snow cover in Siberia can help bring on the winter phase of what’s called the AO, a variation in surface atmospheric pressure patterns. That can affect the jet stream and other prevailing wind patterns, bringing blasts of Arctic air deep into lower latitudes, especially in the eastern United States, southern Canada and northern Eurasia,” the article added.
Here is the anomaly in temperatures provided by WXMaps.org and published by Steven Goddard in his blog real-science.com. The graph and pattern shows all heat trapped is causing temperatures 10°C below normal across the northern hemisphere.
So what is in store for India in next week? According to WXMaps.org report, the temperatures may go back to their normal averages at most places. However, places like northern India and south India would continue to see temperatures 2°C to 6°C below their normal range during this season. Some parts in central India is likely to be little warmer. See the image below…
1. Rajan Alexander from http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.com/