Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why BBC 2's Newsnight dropped female Muslim for their 'who speaks for Muslims' studio discussion............

 ...................... so they wouldn't upset the Daily Mail!!!!!

A week ago two acknowledged space scientists, Dr Hiranya Peiris and Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock appearing on Newsnight to discuss "detected gravitational waves, an echo of the Big Bang, the universe's cataclysmic birth almost 14 billion years agobrought forth this description by a Daily Mail columnist:
"....two women were invited to comment on the report about (white, male) American scientists who've detected the origins of the universe – giggling Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Sri Lanka-born astronomer Hiranya Peiris"

Read a disgusted Professor David Price, vice-provost for research at University College London (UCL) feelings on the matter in the Guardian:
"I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the insinuation in your newspaper that Dr Hiranya Peiris was selected to discuss the Big Bang breakthrough on Newsnight for anything other than her expertise.
In Ephraim Hardcastle's column on 19 March, he asserts that Dr Peiris and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock were selected based on gender and birthplace because 'Newsnight's Guardian-trained editor, Ian Katz, is keen on diversity.'
The implication that anything outside of her academic record qualifies Dr Peiris to discuss the results of the BICEP2 study is profoundly insulting. She is a world-leading expert on the study of the cosmic microwave background, with degrees from Cambridge and Princeton, so is one of the best-placed people in the world to discuss the finding.
Dr Aderin-Pocock is a highly-qualified scientist and engineer with an exceptional talent for communicating complex scientific concepts in an accessible way.
Full letter here. 

Perhaps fearing the wrath of the Daily Mail, and their contempt for contribution by intelligent females in highly technical matters, persuaded BBC 2's Newsnight team to host an-all male debate -  " last min editorial decision to replace me for 'wider views' (M. Francois-Cerrah/Twitter Feed) on who speaks for British Muslims?

Newsnight 24 March 2014: Who speaks for UK muslims?

On BBC2's Newsnight last night (Monday 24 March 2014),  Myriam Francois-Cerrah was dropped and replaced with  Mohammed Ansar resulting in umpteen minutes of squabbing among UK Huffington Post's political director Mehdi Hasan, Ansar both of whom clearly objected to former radical and 'counter-extremist think tank' Quilliam Foundation's Majid Nawaz, looked on by an unusually hapless Jeremy Paxman. Missing was a rational discussion about there not being a need for anyone to speak for the disparate coterie of Muslims anywhere.

Pity Newsnight backed down on Myriam's views though.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

'Alan Turing: His Life and Impact' book wins top prize in 2013 Prose Awards

2013 Winners

R.R. Hawkins Award
Elsevier Science
Alan Turing: His Work and Impact in the West, 350-550 AD

Edited by S. Barry Cooper and Jan van Leeuwen

From here:

Chapters detailed here: http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/give-page.php?300

Turing book

Thursday, October 31, 2013

When Two Cyborgs Met

Neil Harbisson, and pioneer of implants, Professor Kevin Warwick met at the 2045: A Futurist's Symposium in the UK in October 2013:

Neil Harbisson and Kevin Warwick*

Hear Neil's TED Talk I listen to colour: 

Read about Professor Warwick at the 2009 World Science Festival: on 'Battlestar Galactica: Cyborgs on the Horizon':

"....the story of how he became the “World’s First Cyborg” yet left a deep impression. (A microchip embedded in a nerve in his wrist transmitted perceptible pulses to directly to his brain, based on signals sent via the Internet across the Atlantic ocean.)"

More here:


*Photo courtesy of Mariana Viada / Cyborg Foundation

Friday, March 08, 2013

International Women's Day 2013

On International Women's Day 2013 hear Kakenya Ntaiya speak at TED agreeing to female circumcision if she could go to school:

Below, pictures from last month's One Billion Rising in Parliament Square, London, 14 February 2013.

Ruby Wax, 1 Billion Rising, Feb 2013

Jon Snow head & shoulders above the rest!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

1 Billion and Rising

Today, Thursday 14 February 2013 saw worldwide gatherings for 1 Billion and Rising to end violence, including (dis) honour killings, rape, against women the world over.

Why they rose:


From here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/pages/about-one-billion-rising

News of today's 1 Billion and Rising event in Parliament Square in  the Guardian here:


Pictures from Parliament Square (from Demotix.com):

Yvette Cooper & Thandie Newton

Ruby Wax 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

DJango and DJango Unchained

Quentin Tarantino's use of the Luis Bacalov Django 1966 composition, featuring Rocky Roberts' Elvis-style vocals from the  Franco Nero starrer in his latest cinematic feast DJango Unchained is pure genius! [Loved his Kill Bill Vol 1 use of *Santa Esmeralda's I'm just a soul whose intentions are good, oh Lord please don't let me be misunderstood]'.

Trailer for DJango 1966:

Details for the tune:

Song from spaghetti western film Django (1966)
Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Starring Franco Nero
Music composed by Luis Bacalov
Song performed by Rocky Roberts (see image right)

From here:


End of DJango 1966:


DJango Unchained 2012 trailer:

Quentin Tarantino interview on UK Channel 4 News 
Channel 4 news' Krishnan Guru-Murthy provocative interview with Quentin Tarantino
"KGM: Let me ask you about violence. You said, you know, everyone knows you make violent movies, you like violent movies. Why do you like making violent movies?
QT: Erm... I don't know. It's like asking Judd Apatow: "Why do you like making comedies?"
KGM: You just get a kick out of it? Or you just enjoy it? Or...
QT: It's... It's... It's a... I think... I think it's good cinema. I consider it good cinema. You know, it's... You sit there in a movie theatre when these cathartic, violent scenes happen... I'm talking about the cathartic violence scenes.
..Then there's the cathartic violence of Django paying back blood for blood.
KGM: Is that why you think people like watching violent movies -- people who are not violent people or twisted people in any way, but why it's OK to go into a movie and enjoy the violence?
QT: Yeah, well, it's a movie. It's a fantasy. It's a fantasy -- it's not real life. It's a fantasy. You go and you watch. You know, you watch a kung-fu movie and one guy takes on 100 people in a restaurant. That's fun!"

Make up your own mind, about whether movie producers should be held responsibility for violence, rather than the perpetrators, and view the full Guru-Murthy & Tarantino's interview here:


From Ian Jack's article in the Guardian:

"To chastise the director for fictions and anachronisms may be to miss the point. We know Tarantino's interest doesn't so much lie in history as in the history of films; not so much in the time depicted as in previous depictions of the time. Spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation movies, John Wayne: all get their salute as the two men change the purpose of their travels from the hunt for profitable criminals to the finding and freeing of Django's wife, who is still enslaved on a Mississippi plantation owned by the capricious Mr Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). And yet Tarantino, to judge by his promotional interviews, wants it both ways: to create a preposterous entertainment and at the same time to have it taken seriously as a rewarding study of American slavery."

Read more here:

I loved the movie and hope it wins the 5 Oscars it's nominated* for (including "Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen" for Tarantino).

*Addendum: Congratulations to  DJango Unchained team, the film won 2 Oscars in 2013: Quentin Tarantino for Original Screenplay, and Christoph Waltz for Supporting Actor.

That *Santa Esmeralda tune:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Snow sculptures: Dalek by Steve Battle and Deborah Cooper

UK snow in January 2013 has seen some fabulous snow sculptures; Steve Battle and Deborah Cooper's snow dalek is the best by far!

Image from Steve Battle's website here: