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Wikinews interviews Democratic candidate for the Texas 6th congressional district special election Daryl Eddings, Sr’s campaign manager

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Wikinews extended invitations by e-mail on March 23 to multiple candidates running in the Texas’ 6th congressional district special election of May 1 to fill a vacancy left upon the death of Republican congressman Ron Wright. Of them, the office of Democrat Daryl Eddings, Sr. agreed to answer some questions by phone March 30 about their campaigns and policies. The following is the interview with Ms Chatham on behalf of Mr Eddings, Sr.

Eddings is a federal law enforcement officer and senior non-commissioned officer in the US military. His experience as operations officer of an aviation unit in the California National Guard includes working in Los Angeles to control riots sparked by the O. J. Simpson murder case and the police handling of Rodney King, working with drug interdiction teams in Panama and Central America and fighting in the Middle East. He is the founder of Operation Battle Buddy, which has under his leadership kept in touch with over 20 thousand veterans and their families. He was born in California, but moved to Midlothian, Texas. He endeavours to bring “good government, not no government”. Campaign manager Faith Chatham spoke to Wikinews on matters ranging from healthcare to housing.

An Inside Elections poll published on March 18 shows Republican candidate Susan Wright, the widow of Ron Wright, is ahead by 21% followed by Democrat Jana Sanchez with 17% and Republican Jake Ellzey with 8% with a 4.6% margin of error among 450 likely voters. The district is considered “lean Republican” by Inside Elections and voted 51% in favour of Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election. This is down from 54% for Trump in 2016’s presidential election, the same poll stated.

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Black boxes from Air France Flight 447 localized

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, or “black boxes”, from an Air France plane that crashed on June 1 last year in the Atlantic Ocean, have been localized to within about 2 square miles (5 square kilometers), a French official said on Thursday.

The French government and military officials have urged caution, saying there is no guarantee the flight recorders will be found. French navy spokesman Hugues du Plessis d’Argentre commented to AFP, “[I]t’s like trying to find a shoe box in an area the size of Paris, at a depth of 3,000m (9,800ft) and in a terrain as rugged as the Alps.”

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200, carrying 216 passengers and 12 crew members, for a total of 228 people on board, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean after flying in bad weather. The pitot tubes, which measure airspeed, are considered likely to have been a contributing factor to the crash. However, the actual cause has yet to be determined.

The search is now in its third phase, which started on March 30 – April 1, 2010 and was originally announced to last 30 days. However, on May 4, the search was extended to May 25.

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China Toys Market By Segments, Companies, Forecast By 2026

China is one of the biggest toy markets in the world. Its possible growth has generated a considerable opportunity for domestic & international toy manufacturers. A substantial rise in the popularity of interactive and multi-functional toys has been observed among children, positively impacting the toys market. Due to the increase in consumer spending, there is an increasing demand for toys. Besides expanding metropolitan residents’ income levels and rising living standards, a shift is being witnessed from conventional toys to innovative electronic toys. According to Renub Research, the China Toys Market was US$ 48.305 Billion in 2020.

There are wide varieties of toys available in China’s market. Dolls and Stuffed Toys showed extraordinary growth in value terms in 2019, primarily driven by the huge success and rapid rise of blind collectables. There has been an increase in demand for construction Sets & Models with schools closed during the lockdown. That was seen as an excellent way to entertain children for a more extended period.

The video game industry has developed a regular revenue model over the past few years due to the continuous emergence of video games. As technology advances, consumer spending on video content, virtual reality products, and video game tournaments have witnessed significant growth. As per this research study, the Toy market in China is expected to be US$ 61.275 Billion industry by 2026.

The main sales channels for toys include Online, Chain Stores, supermarkets & hypermarkets. Currently, speciality stores have been expanding and have a significant toy buying channel for parents & speciality toy chain stores represent the largest distribution channel as these stores have well-established networks and offer a wide range of products. In this COVID-19 lockdown, the online industry has shown good growth. Our research says that China Toy Market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 4.04% from 2020 to 2026.

Factors to Drive China Toy Industry

China abandoned its one-child-policy to allow families to have an additional child. During China’s 13th Five-year Plan period, a two-child policy was announced in October 2015. This policy targets 90 million women of reproductive age who already had at least one child. Due to this policy’s effect in the 18 months, there were 5.4 million additional births. Besides, China always had a healthy growth rate of its disposable income. For the first time in 2019, China’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) has exceeded USD 10,000. So the future of the toy industry is bright in China.

China Toy Companies

Key companies are focusing on introducing new products in the market to serve the consumers’ interests. New product engagement is the most preferred strategy in the Chinese market. The key players were embarking on mergers and acquisitions as essential plans to achieve consolidation and optimize their offerings. Some of the keen players included in the market studied are Mattel Inc. & Hasbro Inc, Lego Inc, Vtech.

Renub Research latest report titled China Toys Market by Segments (Dolls & Stuffed Toys, Construction Sets & Models, Cards Games, Puzzles, Toys for Toddlers & Kids, Plastic & Others Toys, Video Games-Consoles), Sales Channel (Department Stores, Super / Hyper Market, Online, Baby Products / Toys Shop, Chain Stores), Company (Mattel Inc., Lego, Hasbro, Inc, Vtech) report provides in-depth analysis of China Toy Industry.

Request a Free Sample Copy of the Report:

Segments – Market breakup from 7 viewpoints

1. Dolls & Stuffed Toys2. Construction Sets & Models3. Cards Games 4. Puzzles5. Toys for Toddlers & Kids6. Plastic & Others Toys7. Video Games Consoles

Sales Channel – Market breakup from 5 viewpoints

1. Department Stores2. Super / Hyper Market3. Online4. Baby Products/Toys Shop5. Chain Stores

All company have been covered from 3 viewpoints

• Overviews• Recent Developments• Revenues

Company Analysis

1. Mattel Inc.2. Lego3. Hasbro, Inc4. Vtech

About the Company:

Renub Research is a Market Research and Consulting Company. We have more than 10 years of experience especially in international Business-to-Business Researches, Surveys and Consulting. We provide a wide range of business research solutions that helps companies in making better business decisions. We partner with clients in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their businesses. Our wide clientele comprises major players in Healthcare, Travel and Tourism, Food & Beverages, Power & Energy, Information Technology, Telecom & Internet, Chemical, Logistics & Automotive, Consumer Goods & Retail, Building and Construction, & Agriculture. Our clients rely on our market analysis and data to make informed knowledgeable decisions. We are regarded as one of the best providers of knowledge. Our pertinent analysis helps consultants, bankers and executives to make informed and correct decisions.

Our core team is comprised of experienced people holding graduate, postgraduate and PhD degrees in Finance, Marketing, Human Resource, Bio-Technology, Medicine, Information Technology, Environmental Science and many more.

Contact Us:Renub ResearchPhone No: +1 678–302–0700 (USA) | +91–120–421–9822 (IND)Email: info@renub.comWeb: Follow on Linkedin:

Wikinews interviews Adrian Mizher, independent candidate for Texas’ 6th congressional district special election

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wikinews extended invitations by e-mail on March 23 to multiple candidates running in the Texas’ 6th congressional district special election of May 1 to fill a vacancy left upon the death of Republican congressman Ron Wright. Of them, independent candidate Adrian Mizher agreed to answer some questions by phone on March 30 about their campaigns and policies. The following is the interview with Mr Mizher.

Mizher describes himself as a senior loan closer on his LinkedIn profile at BBVA USA, a Birmingham-based subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. He has lived in Kennedale, Texas for five years and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area for 16 of the last 24 years. A cum laude graduate of Southwestern Adventist University, he grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has lived for eight years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He endeavours to bring “a never ending fight for fidelity to the Constitution and promotion of our Conservative values”, speaking to Wikinews on matters ranging from the economy to immigration.

An Inside Elections poll published on March 18 shows Republican candidate Susan Wright, the widow of Ron Wright, is ahead by 21% followed by Democrat Jana Sanchez with 17% and Republican Jake Ellzey with 8% with a 4.6% margin of error among 450 likely voters. The district is considered “lean Republican” by Inside Elections and voted 51% in favour of Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election. This is down from 54% for Trump in 2016’s presidential election, the same poll stated.

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Calls for bottled water bans grow in Canada

Saturday, August 23, 2008

London, Ontario is the latest in a string of Canadian cities to have acted on increasing public demand to ban bottled water. On Monday, the decision to eliminate bottled water sales in city-run facilities was passed by London’s city council with a vote of 15-3 in favour. The move was driven by a desire to reduce waste and shipping, have a lower impact on the environment and promote tap water as a cheap and safe alternative.

London’s new restrictions will be implemented over the next several months in buildings that are already equipped with water fountains. Bottled water will still be permitted at many city-run events, such as upcoming summer festivals. Privately-owned retailers will not be affected by the ban.

Other cities, such as Vancouver, Ottawa and Kitchener, that are already engaged in debate on the issue, may now be watching London carefully for how the ban plays out. Other areas have already begun to phone London with questions on the details of its new regulations. Toronto has begun taking a look at bottled water packaging as part of its waste diversion strategy, and its public school board is looking into the possibility of a total restriction on bottled water sales.

In recent years, an awareness of the energy that is required to manufacture, transport and recycle the product has spread nation-wide. Proponents of the ban point to the fact that it can produce as much as 150 times the volume of greenhouse gas when producing bottled water as compared to supplying the same volume of tap water. They also point out that the water that goes into bottled water products is not inspected as frequently as tap water in Canadian cities.

Some have taken this cause to heart more than others, such as British Environment Minister Phil Woolas, who called the use of bottled water “morally unacceptable.” Restaurant critic Giles Coren of The Times of London criticizes those who use the product as “the new smokers.”

Canada’s beverage industry has come down with criticism on the increasing opposition to bottled water. Spokesman Scott Tabachnick for Coca-Cola Co., which produces Dasani brand bottled water, commented on the convenience of the product: “It’s hard to bring your kitchen sink with you.”

It’s hard to bring your kitchen sink with you.

Vancouver City Councillor Tim Stevenson thinks that bottled water’s time has come and gone: “Bottled water companies have had a fabulous ride on an unnecessary fad.” Vancouver officials are still determining how bottled water restrictions, which have been voted for by the City Council, can be phased in.

Next month, the city is planning to initiate a marketing campaign encouraging Vancouver residents to choose tap water and to remember to carry reusable drinking containers whenever possible.

Renowned environmental activist Dr. David Suzuki has praised London’s decision, saying that it represents a turning point for people’s perceptions on the issue: “I’m really delighted that London has done this because it really makes us focus on some fundamental issues.” He hopes that someday people will “look at anyone who hauls out a bottle of water and say, ‘What the hell’s wrong with you?'”

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Truck Bed Liner How Spray On Liners Work

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UN carries out first review of US human rights record

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The United Nations has completed its first ever assessment of the United States human rights record, which began last November. They made 228 recommendations for improvements. On Friday, the U.S. accepted about 174 of these, agreeing to such recommendations as the humane treatment of terror suspects and repudiation of torture, but rejected the recommendation to drop the death penalty.

The Legal Adviser of the Department of State, Harold Koh, listed nine core areas in which the U.S. agreed to make improvements, including civil rights, immigration, and the humane treatment of suspects held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Koh said President Obama agreed to push for ratification of conditions under the Geneva Conventions and to add protections for international armed conflict detainees. Koh refused to drop the death penalty as many European countries requested, arguing that it was legal under international law.

Some nations wanted the U.S. to reduce prison overcrowding, prevent racial profiling, and ratify international treaties protecting the rights of women and children. China and Russia wanted Guantanamo to be shut down. Cuba, Iran and Venezuela said the U.S. was ignoring too many recommendations.

The Obama administration joined the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council two years ago, allowing for increased international scrutiny. This is the first time the five-year-old council has reviewed the U.S. record of human rights. Nations are held accountable to make the improvements in the recommendations that they agree to.

In criticism of the U.S., the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program, Jamil Dakwar, noted that the U.S., unlike 100 other countries, lacks an independent human rights monitoring commission.

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British computer scientist’s new “nullity” idea provokes reaction from mathematicians

Monday, December 11, 2006

On December 7, BBC News reported a story about Dr James Anderson, a teacher in the Computer Science department at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. In the report it was stated that Anderson had “solved a very important problem” that was 1200 years old, the problem of division by zero. According to the BBC, Anderson had created a new number, that he had named “nullity”, that lay outside of the real number line. Anderson terms this number a “transreal number”, and denotes it with the Greek letter ? {\displaystyle \Phi } . He had taught this number to pupils at Highdown School, in Emmer Green, Reading.

The BBC report provoked many reactions from mathematicians and others.

In reaction to the story, Mark C. Chu-Carroll, a computer scientist and researcher, posted a web log entry describing Anderson as an “idiot math teacher”, and describing the BBC’s story as “absolutely infuriating” and a story that “does an excellent job of demonstrating what total innumerate idiots reporters are”. Chu-Carroll stated that there was, in fact, no actual problem to be solved in the first place. “There is no number that meaningfully expresses the concept of what it means to divide by zero.”, he wrote, stating that all that Anderson had done was “assign a name to the concept of ‘not a number'”, something which was “not new” in that the IEEE floating-point standard, which describes how computers represent floating-point numbers, had included a concept of “not a number”, termed “NaN“, since 1985. Chu-Carroll further continued:

“Basically, he’s defined a non-solution to a non-problem. And by teaching it to his students, he’s doing them a great disservice. They’re going to leave his class believing that he’s a great genius who’s solved a supposed fundamental problem of math, and believing in this silly nullity thing as a valid mathematical concept.
“It’s not like there isn’t already enough stuff in basic math for kids to learn; there’s no excuse for taking advantage of a passive audience to shove this nonsense down their throats as an exercise in self-aggrandizement.
“To make matters worse, this idiot is a computer science professor! No one who’s studied CS should be able to get away with believing that re-inventing the concept of NaN is something noteworthy or profound; and no one who’s studied CS should think that defining meaningless values can somehow magically make invalid computations produce meaningful results. I’m ashamed for my field.”

There have been a wide range of other reactions from other people to the BBC news story. Comments range from the humorous and the ironic, such as the B1FF-style observation that “DIVIDION[sic] BY ZERO IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE MY CALCULATOR SAYS SO AND IT IS THE TRUTH” and the Chuck Norris Fact that “Only Chuck Norris can divide by zero.” (to which another reader replied “Chuck Norris just looks at zero, and it divides itself.”); through vigourous defences of Dr Anderson, with several people quoting the lyrics to Ira Gershwin‘s song “They All Laughed (At Christopher Columbus)”; to detailed mathematical discussions of Anderson’s proposed axioms of transfinite numbers.

Several readers have commented that they consider this to have damaged the reputation of the Computer Science department, and even the reputation of the University of Reading as a whole. “By publishing his childish nonsense the BBC actively harms the reputation of Reading University.” wrote one reader. “Looking forward to seeing Reading University maths application plummit.” wrote another. “Ignore all research papers from the University of Reading.” wrote a third. “I’m not sure why you refer to Reading as a ‘university’. This is a place the BBC reports as closing down its physics department because it’s too hard. Lecturers at Reading should stick to folk dancing and knitting, leaving academic subjects to grown ups.” wrote a fourth. Steve Kramarsky lamented that Dr Anderson is not from the “University of ‘Rithmetic“.

Several readers criticised the journalists at the BBC who ran the story for not apparently contacting any mathematicians about Dr Anderson’s idea. “Journalists are meant to check facts, not just accept whatever they are told by a self-interested third party and publish it without question.” wrote one reader on the BBC’s web site. However, on Slashdot another reader countered “The report is from Berkshire local news. Berkshire! Do you really expect a local news team to have a maths specialist? Finding a newsworthy story in Berkshire probably isn’t that easy, so local journalists have to cover any piece of fluff that comes up. Your attitude to the journalist should be sympathy, not scorn.”

Ben Goldacre, author of the Bad Science column in The Guardian, wrote on his web log that “what is odd is a reporter, editor, producer, newsroom, team, cameraman, soundman, TV channel, web editor, web copy writer, and so on, all thinking it’s a good idea to cover a brilliant new scientific breakthrough whilst clearly knowing nothing about the context. Maths isn’t that hard, you could even make a call to a mathematician about it.”, continuing that “it’s all very well for the BBC to think they’re being balanced and clever getting Dr Anderson back in to answer queries about his theory on Tuesday, but that rather skips the issue, and shines the spotlight quite unfairly on him (he looks like a very alright bloke to me).”.

From reading comments on his own web log as well as elsewhere, Goldacre concluded that he thought that “a lot of people might feel it’s reporter Ben Moore, and the rest of his doubtless extensive team, the people who drove the story, who we’d want to see answering the questions from the mathematicians.”.

Andrej Bauer, a professional mathematician from Slovenia writing on the Bad Science web log, stated that “whoever reported on this failed to call a university professor to check whether it was really new. Any university professor would have told this reporter that there are many ways of dealing with division by zero, and that Mr. Anderson’s was just one of known ones.”

Ollie Williams, one of the BBC Radio Berkshire reporters who wrote the BBC story, initially stated that “It seems odd to me that his theory would get as far as television if it’s so easily blown out of the water by visitors to our site, so there must be something more to it.” and directly responded to criticisms of BBC journalism on several points on his web log.

He pointed out that people should remember that his target audience was local people in Berkshire with no mathematical knowledge, and that he was “not writing for a global audience of mathematicians”. “Some people have had a go at Dr Anderson for using simplified terminology too,” he continued, “but he knows we’re playing to a mainstream audience, and at the time we filmed him, he was showing his theory to a class of schoolchildren. Those circumstances were never going to breed an in-depth half-hour scientific discussion, and none of our regular readers would want that.”.

On the matter of fact checking, he replied that “if you only want us to report scientific news once it’s appeared, peer-reviewed, in a recognised journal, it’s going to be very dry, and it probably won’t be news.”, adding that “It’s not for the BBC to become a journal of mathematics — that’s the job of journals of mathematics. It’s for the BBC to provide lively science reporting that engages and involves people. And if you look at the original page, you’ll find a list as long as your arm of engaged and involved people.”.

Williams pointed out that “We did not present Dr Anderson’s theory as gospel, although with hindsight it could have been made clearer that this is very much a theory and by no means universally accepted. But we certainly weren’t shouting a mathematical revolution from the rooftops. Dr Anderson has, in one or two places, been chastised for coming to the media with his theory instead of his peers — a sure sign of a quack, boffin and/or crank according to one blogger. Actually, one of our reporters happened to meet him during a demonstration against the closure of the university’s physics department a couple of weeks ago, got chatting, and discovered Dr Anderson reckoned he was onto something. He certainly didn’t break the door down looking for media coverage.”.

Some commentators, at the BBC web page and at Slashdot, have attempted serious mathematical descriptions of what Anderson has done, and subjected it to analysis. One description was that Anderson has taken the field of real numbers and given it complete closure so that all six of the common arithmetic operators were surjective functions, resulting in “an object which is barely a commutative ring (with operators with tons of funky corner cases)” and no actual gain “in terms of new theorems or strong relation statements from the extra axioms he has to tack on”.

Jamie Sawyer, a mathematics undergraduate at the University of Warwick writing in the Warwick Maths Society discussion forum, describes what Anderson has done as deciding that R ? { ? ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,+\infty \rbrace } , the so-called extended real number line, is “not good enough […] because of the wonderful issue of what 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} is equal to” and therefore creating a number system R ? { ? ? , ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,\Phi ,+\infty \rbrace } .

Andrej Bauer stated that Anderson’s axioms of transreal arithmetic “are far from being original. First, you can adjoin + ? {\displaystyle +\infty } and ? ? {\displaystyle -\infty } to obtain something called the extended real line. Then you can adjoin a bottom element to represent an undefined value. This is all standard and quite old. In fact, it is well known in domain theory, which deals with how to represent things we compute with, that adjoining just bottom to the reals is not a good idea. It is better to adjoin many so-called partial elements, which denote approximations to reals. Bottom is then just the trivial approximation which means something like ‘any real’ or ‘undefined real’.”

Commentators have pointed out that in the field of mathematical analysis, 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} (which Anderson has defined axiomatically to be ? {\displaystyle \Phi } ) is the limit of several functions, each of which tends to a different value at its limit:

  • lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} has two different limits, depending from whether x {\displaystyle x} approaches zero from a positive or from a negative direction.
  • lim x ? 0 0 x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {0}{x}}} also has two different limits. (This is the argument that commentators gave. In fact, 0 x {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{x}}} has the value 0 {\displaystyle 0} for all x ? 0 {\displaystyle x\neq 0} , and thus only one limit. It is simply discontinuous for x = 0 {\displaystyle x=0} . However, that limit is different to the two limits for lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} , supporting the commentators’ main point that the values of the various limits are all different.)
  • Whilst sin ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle \sin 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 sin ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {\sin x}{x}}} can be shown to be 1, by expanding the sine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 1.
  • Whilst 1 ? cos ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle 1-\cos 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 1 ? cos ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {1-\cos x}{x}}} can be shown to be 0, by expanding the cosine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series subtracted from 1 by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 0.

Commentators have also noted l’Hôpital’s rule.

It has been pointed out that Anderson’s set of transreal numbers is not, unlike the set of real numbers, a mathematical field. Simon Tatham, author of PuTTY, stated that Anderson’s system “doesn’t even think about the field axioms: addition is no longer invertible, multiplication isn’t invertible on nullity or infinity (or zero, but that’s expected!). So if you’re working in the transreals or transrationals, you can’t do simple algebraic transformations such as cancelling x {\displaystyle x} and ? x {\displaystyle -x} when both occur in the same expression, because that transformation becomes invalid if x {\displaystyle x} is nullity or infinity. So even the simplest exercises of ordinary algebra spew off a constant stream of ‘unless x is nullity’ special cases which you have to deal with separately — in much the same way that the occasional division spews off an ‘unless x is zero’ special case, only much more often.”

Tatham stated that “It’s telling that this monstrosity has been dreamed up by a computer scientist: persistent error indicators and universal absorbing states can often be good computer science, but he’s stepped way outside his field of competence if he thinks that that also makes them good maths.”, continuing that Anderson has “also totally missed the point when he tries to compute things like 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} using his arithmetic. The reason why things like that are generally considered to be ill-defined is not because of a lack of facile ‘proofs’ showing them to have one value or another; it’s because of a surfeit of such ‘proofs’ all of which disagree! Adding another one does not (as he appears to believe) solve any problem at all.” (In other words: 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} is what is known in mathematical analysis as an indeterminate form.)

To many observers, it appears that Anderson has done nothing more than re-invent the idea of “NaN“, a special value that computers have been using in floating-point calculations to represent undefined results for over two decades. In the various international standards for computing, including the IEEE floating-point standard and IBM’s standard for decimal arithmetic, a division of any non-zero number by zero results in one of two special infinity values, “+Inf” or “-Inf”, the sign of the infinity determined by the signs of the two operands (Negative zero exists in floating-point representations.); and a division of zero by zero results in NaN.

Anderson himself denies that he has re-invented NaN, and in fact claims that there are problems with NaN that are not shared by nullity. According to Anderson, “mathematical arithmetic is sociologically invalid” and IEEE floating-point arithmetic, with NaN, is also faulty. In one of his papers on a “perspex machine” dealing with “The Axioms of Transreal Arithmetic” (Jamie Sawyer writes that he has “worries about something which appears to be named after a plastic” — “Perspex” being a trade name for polymethyl methacrylate in the U.K..) Anderson writes:

We cannot accept an arithmetic in which a number is not equal to itself (NaN != NaN), or in which there are three kinds of numbers: plain numbers, silent numbers, and signalling numbers; because, on writing such a number down, in daily discourse, we can not always distinguish which kind of number it is and, even if we adopt some notational convention to make the distinction clear, we cannot know how the signalling numbers are to be used in the absence of having the whole program and computer that computed them available. So whilst IEEE floating-point arithmetic is an improvement on real arithmetic, in so far as it is total, not partial, both arithmetics are invalid models of arithmetic.

In fact, the standard convention for distinguishing the two types of NaNs when writing them down can be seen in ISO/IEC 10967, another international standard for how computers deal with numbers, which uses “qNaN” for non-signalling (“quiet”) NaNs and “sNaN” for signalling NaNs. Anderson continues:

[NaN’s] semantics are not defined, except by a long list of special cases in the IEEE standard.

“In other words,” writes Scott Lamb, a BSc. in Computer Science from the University of Idaho, “they are defined, but he doesn’t like the definition.”.

The main difference between nullity and NaN, according to both Anderson and commentators, is that nullity compares equal to nullity, whereas NaN does not compare equal to NaN. Commentators have pointed out that in very short order this difference leads to contradictory results. They stated that it requires only a few lines of proof, for example, to demonstrate that in Anderson’s system of “transreal arithmetic” both 1 = 2 {\displaystyle 1=2} and 1 ? 2 {\displaystyle 1\neq 2} , after which, in one commentator’s words, one can “prove anything that you like”. In aiming to provide a complete system of arithmetic, by adding extra axioms defining the results of the division of zero by zero and of the consequent operations on that result, half as many again as the number of axioms of real-number arithmetic, Anderson has produced a self-contradictory system of arithmetic, in accordance with Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

One reader-submitted comment appended to the BBC news article read “Step 1. Create solution 2. Create problem 3. PROFIT!”, an allusion to the business plan employed by the underpants gnomes of the comedy television series South Park. In fact, Anderson does plan to profit from nullity, having registered on the 27th of July, 2006 a private limited company named Transreal Computing Ltd, whose mission statement is “to develop hardware and software to bring you fast and safe computation that does not fail on division by zero” and to “promote education and training in transreal computing”. The company is currently “in the research and development phase prior to trading in hardware and software”.

In a presentation given to potential investors in his company at the ANGLE plc showcase on the 28th of November, 2006, held at the University of Reading, Anderson stated his aims for the company as being:

To investors, Anderson makes the following promises:

  • “I will help you develop a curriculum for transreal arithmetic if you want me to.”
  • “I will help you unify QED and gravitation if you want me to.”
  • “I will build a transreal supercomputer.”

He asks potential investors:

  • “How much would you pay to know that the engine in your ship, car, aeroplane, or heart pacemaker won’t just stop dead?”
  • “How much would you pay to know that your Government’s computer controlled military hardware won’t just stop or misfire?”

The current models of computer arithmetic are, in fact, already designed to allow programmers to write programs that will continue in the event of a division by zero. The IEEE’s Frequently Asked Questions document for the floating-point standard gives this reply to the question “Why doesn’t division by zero (or overflow, or underflow) stop the program or trigger an error?”:

“The [IEEE] 754 model encourages robust programs. It is intended not only for numerical analysts but also for spreadsheet users, database systems, or even coffee pots. The propagation rules for NaNs and infinities allow inconsequential exceptions to vanish. Similarly, gradual underflow maintains error properties over a precision’s range.
“When exceptional situations need attention, they can be examined immediately via traps or at a convenient time via status flags. Traps can be used to stop a program, but unrecoverable situations are extremely rare. Simply stopping a program is not an option for embedded systems or network agents. More often, traps log diagnostic information or substitute valid results.”

Simon Tatham stated that there is a basic problem with Anderson’s ideas, and thus with the idea of building a transreal supercomputer: “It’s a category error. The Anderson transrationals and transreals are theoretical algebraic structures, capable of representing arbitrarily big and arbitrarily precise numbers. So the question of their error-propagation semantics is totally meaningless: you don’t use them for down-and-dirty error-prone real computation, you use them for proving theorems. If you want to use this sort of thing in a computer, you have to think up some concrete representation of Anderson transfoos in bits and bytes, which will (if only by the limits of available memory) be unable to encompass the entire range of the structure. And the point at which you make this transition from theoretical abstract algebra to concrete bits and bytes is precisely where you should also be putting in error handling, because it’s where errors start to become possible. We define our theoretical algebraic structures to obey lots of axioms (like the field axioms, and total ordering) which make it possible to reason about them efficiently in the proving of theorems. We define our practical number representations in a computer to make it easy to detect errors. The Anderson transfoos are a consequence of fundamentally confusing the one with the other, and that by itself ought to be sufficient reason to hurl them aside with great force.”

Geomerics, a start-up company specializing in simulation software for physics and lighting and funded by ANGLE plc, had been asked to look into Anderson’s work by an unnamed client. Rich Wareham, a Senior Research and Development Engineer at Geomerics and a MEng. from the University of Cambridge, stated that Anderson’s system “might be a more interesting set of axioms for dealing with arithmetic exceptions but it isn’t the first attempt at just defining away the problem. Indeed it doesn’t fundamentally change anything. The reason computer programs crash when they divide by zero is not that the hardware can produce no result, merely that the programmer has not dealt with NaNs as they propagate through. Not dealing with nullities will similarly lead to program crashes.”

“Do the Anderson transrational semantics give any advantage over the IEEE ones?”, Wareham asked, answering “Well one assumes they have been thought out to be useful in themselves rather than to just propagate errors but I’m not sure that seeing a nullity pop out of your code would lead you to do anything other than what would happen if a NaN or Inf popped out, namely signal an error.”.

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Trial date set for fraud case against Church of Scientology in France

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A trial date has been set in a fraud case against the Church of Scientology in France. The date for the first hearing has been set for May 25, 2009. If the Church is found guilty, then Scientology would be ruled illegal and would be banned from operating in France.

Prosecutors claim that the Church is engaged in illicit practices in attempts to sell their alleged self-help material. The Church also faces charges of illegally operating as a pharmacy by illegally treating individuals with prescription medications.

The charges come from an unnamed woman, who in 1998 purchased nearly 140,000? (US$30,000) worth of Scientology self-help material which allegedly included prescription drugs. After a few months passed, the woman said she felt like she was being scammed.

Following several complaints from other unnamed individuals and an investigation, judge Jean-Christophe Hullin ordered the Church’s ‘Celebrity Center’, and the seven managers to be put on trial for fraud and “illegally practicing as pharmacists.”

The special treatment reserved for the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center raises questions about the equality of the justice system and the presumption of innocence.

On September 8, 2008 the Church released a statement following the order to stand trial saying that they felt “stigmatized” by the French judicial system.

“The special treatment reserved for the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center raises questions about the equality of the justice system and the presumption of innocence,” the Church said in a statement to the press.

This is not the first time the Church has been accused of fraud in France. They have also been convicted of it several times, including the Church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard who was convicted of fraud in 1978. In 1997 the Church was convicted of fraud in Lyon and 1999 in Marseille. The 1978 convictions included Hubbard and his wife at the time, Mary Sue, both now deceased, and two other Scientologists.

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The 1978 convictions included Hubbard and four Scientologists after a seven year investigation into the Church by the French authorities. The court ruled that Hubbard and the others were using Scientology by making fraudulent claims that it was curing people from diseases to “increase the financial revenue” of the Church, and the ruling ordered Hubbard and the Scientologists to serve four years in prison.

However, Hubbard, along with the four Scientologists fled France, never to return, and never served a prison term.

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