Monday, November 27, 2017

The hazard of binary default in decision making processes

A question about rational / scientific / sceptical thought processes..

If there is a claim made about a certain topic, a sceptical way to
look at it is to assume that the claim is false until proper evidence
is brought up that validates the claim. In the absence of the required
and necessary evidence, the claim is disposed as false.

I'm totally fine with that.

But what if there are two sides to a topic, and there is a
counter-claim that arrives as a hidden counterpart to the claim made?
What if the decision to assume the original claim to be false, ends up
freely legitimizing / ratifying the counter-claim without any rational
scrutiny? What if the lack of satisfactory evidence on the claim side,
can not be counted as sufficient and necessary evidence to prove the
counter-claim to be true, but gets passed off as such by vested

What if, by not bringing the counter-claim up to the light of
scrutiny, by not mentioning it, and instead focusing only on disposing
of the original clam, you end up giving the counter-claim a free ride,
a golden ticket of blanket approval sans any due process of scientific

What if there have been enough instances of this kind of thing
happening to become a pattern, and what if someone figures out how to
GAME this pattern?

Let's imagine a hypothetical scenario : You want claim A to be
accepted as "proven" truth, and want to avoid due inspection of it.
Its counter-claim is B. You don't bring claim A to the table. You just
bring claim B (or have it brought through other parties). You sabotage
things such that there is not enough evidence to validate claim B.
Therefore the authoritative body declares that they are assuming B to
be false. You then quote that declaration to assert everywhere that A
is hence true.

Claim A hence gets a "free ride", and gets ratified as truth without
having to provide a shred of evidence to support it.

Is this a problem? Yes! Most real-world issues have two prominent
competing arguments, philosophies etc to them. By disposing of one
side after scrutiny and not exercising due diligence on the other, we
become susceptible to blindly believing the flip side.

This is very much what we call binary thinking.. assuming that, like
in an electronic NAND or XOR gate, the output can be either 1 or 0 and
hence if it's not 1 then it has to be 0. Digital circuits rely on this
binary logic for the sake of their own stability, but real life is not
like a NAND gate.

Also, this binary defaulting process short-circuits any chances of
finding a THIRD side to a topic, one that might be able to stand up to
scrutiny better and provide a better understanding of the topic than
both the original claim and counterclaim. If anything, this is what
innovation has always been about : to find the third side, to go
beyond the present binary confines. The binary logic endangers all
chances of innovation through its defaulting process.

How can we avoid this kind of a situation? Well, by exercising what
I'll call TRUE neutrality : by treating ALL sides to a topic with due
skepticism, by recognizing and pointing out the counter-claim, and

Example :
We know that capitalism can't be trusted, but that doesn't mean we can
just trust communism either. Conversely, we know the horrors that
communism has caused, but that doesn't mean we can blindly trust
capitalism either. This is not a binary issue, so should NOT be
treated as such.

Another one:
We know that every vaccine is not toxic for everybody. But we also
know that all vaccines are not safe for everybody. The failure of one
side in producing a solid proof (because several studies needed have
never even been done, perhaps?) cannot be allowed to blindly prove the
counter-claim. The counter-claim must also pass equally rigorous
scrutiny. And we must make room for a third or more sides to this
issue. The decisions by governments to make the entire vaccination
schedule mandatory to everybody without exception : is one example of
binary default,which short-circuits the possibility of third sides
emerging that might help reconcile the unsolved questions.

And if we want to continue being controversial, then here's a less
scientific and more political one, but which brings out the binary
hazard beautifully: if Trump is bad, that doesn't automatically prove
Clinton is good, but binary logic says it does. Millions of dollars
were spent on pushing that binary logic. The entire American
establishment : media, social media giants, academia, Hollywood,
corporations, deep state: was actively promoting the concept of binary
default, and continues doing so to this day, even asserting that
Mother Nature is punishing the USA because they didn't vote for
Hillary Clinton. Several third sides got short-circuited out in the
binary heat. It's very possible that the whole damnation of claim B
was gamed to make claim A win without the need for proving itself on
its own, and it might not be such a bad thing after all that this game
was recognized and rejected in spite of all the dominant forces
pushing it. And take a look at the demographics of who all bought into
the binary logic. Qualified and enlightened much? It might just turn
out that the people not rewarded by our binary-thinking systems may be
more immune to binary hazard than we give them credit for.

Campbell's Law (on why data can't always be trusted)

Campbell's Law, a statement created by the notable social scientist
Donald T. Campbell:

"The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social
decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures,
and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social
processes it is intended to monitor."

This is humble pie for a data enthusiast : We need to remember that
data is just another tool in our diverse toolbox and not some deity to
be worshipped.

Source article:
...In her three and a half year tenure, Rhee also fired roughly 1,000
educators, because many of them faired poorly in the IMPACT teacher
evaluation system. There is a massive body of evidence that
demonstrates that these value-added measures are inaccurate and
misleading. One commentator wrote that "the odds of this system are
more akin to flipping a coin." It's time to acknowledge that test
scores are not a correct indicator in determining quality teachers.

>> I had a similar experience in Teach for India (back in 2011-12; no idea if they may have changed focus now, so don't judge!) : there was so much attention on assessment scores that I witnessed widespread manipulation by fellows to get ahead; many such people got highlighted as success stories (and also got hired as managers later!) while the really solid good quality teachers got ignored.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 : Urban data portal that can take your messy data

I frequently come across doubts and roadblocks in the NGO and activism sector about sharing data. Some common pains:
- the format isn't proper, 
- we haven't been able to organise it properly yet, 
- report is still to be made 
- I got a copy of this really significant stuff, but it doesn't fall under my project's scope and there's nothing I can do with it.

Bringing this data to a "proper" levei can take time and effort. And sometimes you might not be able to budget for that time/effort and may have to move on to the next project or so. 

Sometimes the data you have is a huge pile of PDFs or scans.
Sometimes it's something that has been posted on the municipal corporation's website but you know it'll be taken down soon.

In such a scenario, I'll encourage you to just submit your data at this portal set up by Oorvani and DataMeet :

The people behind the website are long time open data champions and folks who understand both the social and the tech sectors. There is already a large amount of data getting collected there, and this way others who can take the work further can find that data and take it forward.

Q: What kind of documents can go here?
A: Please see this example:
Bengaluru BBMP Road History Ward 144 (Siddapura) – 2017

So please share your data there.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Questions from a democracy survey

I came across this survey shared by Sashi Tharoor on twitter. I liked the questions and also think there's scope for more that can be done there. For one, on the technical end, we should have checkboxes instead of radio buttons, as there were questions where I strongly felt for just two or three of the options and was not for the others and didn't want to select just one or "all of the above". So I'm archiving the questions and options provided : if you want to create such a survey then this is good material to start with. You can use the comments space to put in your suggestions too.

Do fill out the original survey too:

1. How strongly do you support parliamentary democracy as the best system for

Very strongly support parliamentary democracy

support democracy but not the parliamentary system

do not support democracy, would prefer autocratic rule/ benign dictatorship

no opinion


2. How well do you think our parliamentary democracy is working at present?

extremely well

adequately, but could use improvements

not working well at all

no opinion


3. what are you most concerned about in our parliamentary democracy today?

parliamentary sessions are not long enough

too much time is wasted in meaningless debates

too many disruptions and slogan-shouting

not enough questioning of Prime Minister and ministers

government's automatic majority makes debates futile

all of the above

none of the above


4. Which of these suggested reforms would you support?

A predictable parliamentary calendar of sessions, announced in advance at the beginning of the year

At least 150 days of meetings a year

Allowing the Opposition to set the agenda one day a week

Suspending any MP indulging in disruptive behaviour & expelling a repeat offender for the rest of the session

Abolishing the whip system and allowing "conscience voting" except on budget bills

all of the above

none of the above


5. Which of the following options would you prefer for India?

Continuation of the present system of parliamentary democracy

A Presidential system of directly-elected executive President, State Chief Ministers or Governors & Town Mayors with fixed terms of office not dependent on a parliamentary majority

A hybrid system (like France) involving both an executive President and a Prime Minister with a parliamentary majority

A modified system of parliamentary democracy based on proportional representation

none of the above


6. What change if any would you wish to see in the electoral system in India?

Removal of the election spending cap

Raising the election deposit to discourage frivolous candidates

State funding of elections

Creation of an electoral college to give small states more influence over the Centre

all of the above

none of the above

// End paste

Thursday, November 16, 2017

HowTo : Backup your texts from Signal Messenger to CSV

I have installed Signal Messenger on my phone after reading news about
it for encrypted communication. But it also "took over" the SMS
business on my phone. So all my SMSes are on Signal now.

I'm living with it for the time being but am open to questioning it
and walking out in the future, with a particular push-out coming from
: the app now and then refusing to let me send out even unencrypted
SMSs unless I update it. (great going, guys! Very whatsappy!)

Another limitation is that it doesn't let me text more that one person
at a time. (seriously?!) Luckily it didn't disable me from sending
texts using the phone's default messenger.

But this post is for a side option: You want to get a backup/copy of
all your texts from Signal messenger as all your SMSes are there.

Well, here's one saving grace : At least you can export messages in
Signal. I can't directly do that in my phone's default SMS app.

Signal has an export feature but it creates an XML file in its own
format which doesn't even validate on most online xml validation
sites, though you can open it in a text editor and see the messages. I
really hate this lets-use-XML-for-everything brigade. If your data is
not hierarchical, CSV is better, folks. Have mercy on others.

So here I'm going to share what I did to get all my texts (SMSes) out
from Signal Messenger to a CSV spreadsheet.

1. In Signal, options/menu > Export/Import > Export

2. It creates a .xml file on your phone. Somewhere. (forgot exactly
where and I promptly moved it to my SD card)

3. Bring that .xml to the laptop/PC. Open it in a text editor that has
Find + Replace.

4. There are XML to CSV converters on the web but they error out
because of the ampersand (&) characters. And there's lots of them,
because Signal html-encodes special characters. Typically, single
quote (') is stored as """, etc.

5. Do Ctrl+H and replace all the &s with tilde, ` (above the left Tab
key). I chose that because that's the only special character which
wasn't used in any of my content.

6. NOW feed it to the converters and they munch it politely. I used .

7. Now you have a CSV. With funny HTML codes starting with a tilde (`)
all over the place.

8. Get the CSV into the text editor again. Run Find + Replace again
and change all the Tildes (`) back to Ampersand (&).

9. Go to an HTML Decoder online. I found this and it does the job
client-side, so your data will not go to any other server from your
machine :

10. Run the CSV output through that. As output you get a CSV with the
data looking more human now. And wow there's line breaks too, but they
don't break the CSV so no worries.

11. Save the CSV data to a local .csv file, open it in LibreOffice
Calc or so. (Not MS Excel? Well, it mishandles csvs often, especially
if there's non-english characters and my texts have some, so.)

12. There, you got all your messages in a nice table that you can sort
by phone number, date etc.

Now, for why didn't I decode the HTML entities first and then convert
to CSV : The dang decoders refused to work with the XML data! And the
XML-to-CSV converters refused to work with XML that had (&) characters
in it, kept saying it was invalid. Hence the roundabout route. Once I
replaced & with ` everyone sang along.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza : I'm checking out his questionings of the dominant narratives of fascism being right-wing, and of the American Democrats being standing for non-whites and Republicans being racist. Some compelling stuff that puts together a lot of questions I've been having.

What's my problem with the Western liberal left?

What's my problem with the Western liberal left?

The prioritisation of some people's feelings

over other people's freedoms

and other people's physical well-being or even their lives.

I have a problem with that.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

SJW logic applied to Star Trek

Just for laughs..

If you took the current SJW logic to Star Trek's time, you'd have to BAN humans completely from all Star Fleet officer positions and fill every single position on deck with another species that hasn't contributed as much to the Federation yet but "needs more representation". 

Imagine the dialogue : "But I haven't said anything racist.." >> "You're a HUMAN! Humans are BORN racist!"

Scene: Earth gets destroyed ... "Oh That's just compensation for all the years when humans progressed while doing nothing for planet {X} !" ... wait, they actually did that to the Vulcan planet in the movies reboot.. damn SJWs..

Re: Antifa : Useful idiots?

Some clues coming of who's funding Antifa.. and George Soros is on it.

The Nov 4 "revolution" was advertised for on front page of NYT, which costs about $150,000. Amazing fundraising job for a grassroots movement.

For something that was pretty bigly advertised and promoted, it's a bit strange that there wasn't so much of a turnout.

Footage of the protests:
Amongst other things, the footage throws up the repeating phenomena of the rally leaders reading from scripts on the mike rather than speaking their mind.

There's also the troubling part about training sessions of these groups instructing people not to talk to anybody from the mainstream or alternative media or to engage in debate with counter protestors. So they promote the protestors being violent and at the same time order them not to engage in dialogue. The "f**k trump" protests one year ago after the election results really stood out for that : CNN had such a tough time finding one who would speak on camera that they got their own cameraman to fake it. (#cnn #fakenews)

There's speculation coming up this being linked with other recent events like the Saudi prince arrests. The richest one to be arrested also owns a stake in Twitter (the so called free speech platform) and had donated big money to Clinton (yes, that's from the world's biggest womens rights abusing country, btw they also chair the UN human rights commission). The speculation is that the money channels dried up so the paid thugs made a no show.

There's not much evidence, but hey at least I can share this as an opinion : The globalists have infiltrated the left and are using them as useful idiots. Their utopian vision contains a secret oligarch group that'll occupy the top. When they say "the people will decide", they're really referring to unelected rulers acting on behalf of the People which is pretty much what every socialist/communist revolution has led to (also what the European Union has become). And it's the abandoning of the principle of nonviolence amongst the very "principled" leftist voices that has paved the way for this, coupled with the attack on freedom of speech under the garb of stopping hate speech, which leads to censorship of any and all dissenting views. Violence and intolerance of dissent helps the bad guys use well-meaning folks for their own ends.

This video covered the hypocrisy seen on the left brilliantly:

Previously sent:
Antifa may have been set up by the US deep state.. the kind of support it gets from mainstream media, the way they are behaving.. things  are very suspicious.

This video highlights how their protests are possible only with the full support of the very establishment they claim to want to overthrow.
URGENT!! A Message to Antifa: You are Walking Into a TRAP Nov 4 -inTruthbyGrace, 2017-10-28

Even their big actions at Berkeley etc happened after the police were given explicit orders to stand down and let them do as they please. Same happened in Charlotesville where Antifa was openly allowed to attack the rally participants and in the ensuing chaos a woman got killed. For all who contest that statement, question : would the death have happened if there wasn't a violent attack on the rally participants?

The video calls for caution regarding the Nov 4 calls to action.

While there is a lot of confusion regarding which side is which, I think following some basic principles, like that of non-violence, can help a lot to simplify matters. Also, Words and Actions are NOT one and the same : It is wrong to interpret speech as violence and thus ban speech; and the using the same yardstick it is now being pushed across western colleges that it's OK to punch people, to cause physical injury, as an expression of political disagreement. So if someone says something that you don't agree with, then according to the Left and the media, it's ok if you physically attack them. This is nonsense. Words and actions are not the same, period.

One more thing : There are rumours coming of an EMP drill being planned by the US military on the same day. Need I remind you that 9/11 happened on a day when the US air force was simulating planes getting hijacked, or that some attacks in UK and France have also happened on days when their forces were practising military exercises?

Other links:
Steven Crowder Infiltrates 'Antifa' -Tipping Point With Liz Wheeler on OAN, 2017-10-02
>> undercover op corroborates the violent behaviour and plans of Antifa to cause violence and chaos including readiness to kill people for political reasons.
Overwhelming Presence of Tennessee Law Enforcement Ensures Peaceful 'White Lives Matter' Rally in Murfreesboro
>> what I'm learning from this is that there were far more counter-protestors there compared to the actual rally participants. And that their attacks only lead to popularising the cause they are attacking. In this case, had all these counter-protestors never showed up, the actual rally would have been a big nothingburger.

Will Antifa Use Kids As Human Shields? -War Room, 2017-11-04
>> This is serious.. there is a call for bringing kids to rallies where there's also reports of them bringing weapons. With people like George Soros being widely implicated in funding BLM and Antifa, we must bear in mind that in Ukraine there were several hired protestors bussed in from other countries, paid by Soros's NGOs to protest, and that mercenaries were paid to shoot these protestors so that the ensuing chaos was then used to make the coup happen. Even in US elections it had emerged that disrupters at Trump's rallies were being paid for doing what they did.. there were ads put up online for it. If children are brought to protest rallies where violence is being planned and they get caught up in the chaos then that is all the excuse the US media needs to blame everything on Trump like they have been doing all this time.

UK To Jail Viewers Of "Far-Right Propaganda" | Amber Rudd | Terrorism -The Iconoclast, 2017-10-06
>> a consequence of the deranged philosophy of equating words with actions. Britons watching anti-establishment independent media voices like breitbart or infowars or Farage or anything else the government deems is "far right" are going to be thrown in jail under the pretext of stopping terrorism. And what kind of an example does this set up for every other country in the world? The Indian govt will happily interpret this to throw in jail everyone who dissents with their policies, and they'll justify it saying "look the British are doing the same thing too". And this follows after the UK govt is already monitoring full internet histories of all their citizens : another shining example. Thanks a ton, liberals applauding the move! Oh, don't watch the video if you're in the UK.. you might get arrested!

And this one's just for kicks:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What if relaxed moralities also have a role in abuse of women?

We can understand the abuse of women in conservative societies and cultures.

But the emerging news of widespread abuse going on even in places like
Hollywood, which are anything but conservative, may point to a
different source. Ignoring that and continuing with the tired lines
like "all men are rapists" etc isn't solving anything.

A clip from a QnA session with Ben Shapiro:

Shapiro on Feminism: "What my dad taught me was to be a gentleman, and
to treat women with respect."

And if this isn't trigerring enough, here's one of the comments there:
"Feminists will be disenfranchised no matter what. If Hillary had won
they'd still be angry and hateful. It's kinda their schtick"

The West needs to be proud of their culture

Here's a video..
The West Is The Best: A Trigger Story
by ashtonbirdie

And here's my comment:

Lauren Southern is awesome, and so are you. I'm an Indian living in
India and I'm not triggered by this at all. You guys need to preserve
and carry forward what's great about your culture. Do not give it up.
Over here we have REAL right-wing fanatics and seriously corrupt
politicians who want to curtail women's rights, get rid of the
indigenous, wipe out all our ecosystem for quick money, who are
homophobic for real, who normalize rape, who want the government to
monitor each and everything that moves and who want to KILL anyone who
says anything they don't like. Oh, and the West's experience has
taught me that we can't really rely on our left-leaning folks here as
they have tyrants lurking within them too like you've experienced. So,
America, please ask your SJWs to go do their activism at the places
that actually need it, stop with the pretend show and wasting time
over there. And I hope us Indians one day "appropriate" your values of
freedom of speech and liberty and we become as wary of encroaching
government powers as you guys are, it's really needed all over the
planet and we just don't have it as strongly ingrained in our culture
as you do. India IS a gigantic cultural appropriation from various
cultures and we love doing that so we should absorb your best values
too. Till then we need you to DEFEND these values, preserve and
cherish them and don't let the tyrannical SJWs take it away from you.

What.. you thought I'll criticize her? That I'll get into some stupid
dog fight over which culture is best? To hell with that shit. I love
this lady, she makes sense, and everybody should be proud of what they

Friday, November 3, 2017

Interesting Links for October 2017

Whole lot of stuff on Las Vegas Massacre here, stuff on Harvey Weinstein scandal and its implication for the liberals and democrats who have been pretending to stand for women's rights whilst harbouring sexual predators in their midst, and wow I'm loving MILO...

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Was smallpox eradicated by vaccines or by hygiene? (and some dirt on the Invisible Hand of Science)

Was smallpox eradicated by vaccines or by hygiene?


Raw data question : anybody got the stats on the actual number of babies injected with smallpox vaccines, year on year, over the years it peaked and then died out? Can it be verified or not that at places like Leicester the incidence of smallpox did not reduce upon stopping of vaccinations? In the absence of reliable data, would the testimonies of people whose priors actually lived there count as inferior to blackboard reasoning?

When I step out of my rabid intolerant capitalist finance driven science worshipper mode for a minute, 

Then I see this as a real question, and a realistic comparison. Just like washing hands and taking bath regularly is better at keeping infections away and much healthier than swallowing Crocin etc daily, 

Hygiene and proper quarantining IS more effective, and infinitely less unnatural, than injecting everyone's bloodstream with animal puss curating genetically modified organisms floating in mercury or aluminium laden solutions. If you took something like that and removed the "vaccine" label and injected it into someone, you'd get imprisoned for attempting to cause grievious harm possibly leading to death. Given that our best technologies give some credit to biomimicry, I don't think there's any natural world counterpart of something being externally injected into an organism's bloodstream helping in making it healthy. The closest we can get is leeches, and those guys suck blood out, not put things in. For everything else we have a time-tested rule of making any external cure pass the scrutiny of the body's digestive system or the filters of the respiratory system first, and we resort to injections only in emergencies; never as years-prior prevention.

From a long term perspective, I can picture hygiene and quarantine as an effective strategy usable for the next 10,000 years (Ebola outbreak in an African country? Stop all flights, dumass!), but I cannot imagine how it can ever be possible to inject babies with 1000+ shots in their first hours of life a 100 years down the line, going by the trends we have today, comparing the number of vaccines your parents got with what you got with the number your baby got. And we've managed to mix 3 or so with much protest but I cannot see how we can possibly mix 1000+ different chemicals and bacterial or virulent organisms together into one little vial and expect it to be no different than the sum of its parts, knowing that both chemistry and biology fundamentally don't play that way.

Also, I can't help but wonder, going back to first principles, doesn't the theory of vaccination fundamentally oppose the theory of evolution? We've consigned one species on this planet to eternity-long artificial interventions at birth to help it cope with its changing environment while expecting every other species to naturally evolve to adapt (except pets who are also now getting as sick as we are when they never did this way earlier). We'd only do that if we were sure that species had no more evolving left to do.

Anyways, back to rabid intolerant capitalist finance driven science worshipper mode : let's bring out the pitchforks and torches and burn all these damned creationists and xenophobes and sexists and whatevers at the stake, get offended because we're tolerant people, burn their books, delete their videos, mandate government censorship, compulsory vaccination, imprisoning and de-custodifcation of parents who dare disobey because we're always right and Science has an invisible hand like the one in economics that will auto-magically make everyone arrive at the objective truth without needing any kind of real dialogue or effort on our part.

We can chalk everything up to peer review processes while conveniently ignoring the fact that the peer-review process is inherently designed to let new discoveries see daylight only and only if a very large number of socially awkward people have extraordinary guts to oppose the reigning status quo and put their highly competitive and difficult to attain careers on the line over it knowing that they're too specialized to be employable anywhere else. (Try calculating the probability of that happening!) We can forget that the default function of peer-review process is to prevent new ideas from getting a foothold and to enforce conformity.

We can safely dismiss the spirit of discovery and expect the dissenter to go convince everyone else first and then only come to us for our royal approval, without ever bothering to consider that others might have the same expectation as we do, and that if we keep on shunning and de-funding and censoring and prosecuting new perspectives like we presently are, then that invisible hand of Science we've put all our faith in as the economists put in theirs, might just not exist.

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