* Hey, why didn’t we think of that? Here’s the missing Nobel Price stuff that makes your head spin:
A Saudi inventor’s proposal to insert semiconductors subcutaneously in visitors and remotely kill them if they misbehave will not be patented in Germany.
On Wednesday, a German Patent Office spokeswoman said the application was received on October 30, 2007 and published 18 months later, as required by law, in a patents database. But inventions that are unethical or a danger to the public are not recognized.
Reporters said the document proposed that tiny semiconductors be implanted or placed by injection under the skin of people so their whereabouts could be tracked by global-positioning satellites. This could be used to prevent immigrants overstaying.
A model B of the system would contain a poison such as cyanide, which could be released by remote control to “eliminate” people if they became a security risk. The document said this could be used against terrorists or criminals.
Microchip implantation in humans has raised new ethical discussions by scientific professional forums, academic groups, human rights organizations, government departments and religious groups.
The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) of the American Medical Association published a report in 2007 alleging that RFID implanted chips may compromise privacy because there is no assurance that the information contained in the chip can be properly protected, notwithstanding health risks (chips can travel under the skin).
Fjordman: A History of Algebra
thanks to Gates of Vienna:
Fjordman’s latest essay, “A History of Algebra”, has been posted atÂ Jihad Watch. Some excerpts are below:
Victor J. Katz sums up the state of global mathematics around the year 1300, with a special emphasis on the major Eurasian civilizations, Europe, India, China and the Middle East:
“European algebra of this time period, like its Islamic counterpart, did not consider negative numbers at all. India and China, however, were very fluent in the use of negative quantities in calculation, even if they were still hesitant about using them as answers to mathematical problems. The one mathematical subject present in Europe in this time period which was apparently not considered in the other areas was the complex of ideas surrounding motion. It was apparently only in Europe that mathematicians considered the mathematical question of the meaning of instantaneous velocity and therefore were able to develop the mean speed rule. Thus the seed was planted which ultimately grew into one branch of the subject of calculus nearly three centuries later. It appears that the level of mathematics in these four areas of the world was comparable at the turn of the fourteenth century. Although there were specific techniques available in each culture that were not available in others, there were many mathematical ideas and methods common to two or more.”
If the level of knowledge was comparable across the major regions of Eurasia by the early fourteenth century, why was modern mathematics developed in Europe? In the Islamic world, mathematical sciences and natural philosophy tended to be classified as “foreign sciences” and treated with some suspicion, not integrated into the core curriculum at places of learning. In Europe there was a growing body of universities where natural sciences were viewed more favorably and where students enjoyed much more free inquiry and legal protection. The Islamic world did not develop calculus, analytic geometry or heliocentric astronomy.
In China, the education system was a part of the imperial bureaucracy, which did not encourage studies in science or mathematics but memorization of ancient literary classics. Those who did mathematical work usually did so in isolation, independent of each other and often unknown to each other, and their work was in many cases not followed up. This does not mean that Chinese mathematicians did not make valuable contributions, but like in the Islamic world this often happened more in spite of than because of the education system.
The practical handbookÂ Jiuzhang Suanshu (Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art) is the longest surviving Chinese mathematical work, and prominent Chinese mathematicians, among them Liu Hui in 263 AD, published commentaries on it. Zu Chongzhi (ca. 429-500 AD) calculated Ï€ to seven decimals, the most accurate known estimate in the world until the Persian JamshidÂ al-Kashi (ca. 1380-1429) surpassed this. The Chinese were proficient in solving many kinds of algebraic problems. One of the most dynamic periods of mathematics in China was the late thirteenth century, with men such as Qin Jiushao (ca. 1202-1261).
No Science here:
The Myth of Islamic Science
No such thing: Â Sharia-Compliant Science means not asking any questions, because it could conflict with the Koran:
What follows contains not a shred of science but instead a series of checklists and tips for imparting Sharia rulings on matters of health, hygiene, and sexual ethics. The ISESCO authors mention the Islamic basis for upholding “equality in human dignity” and “good treatment of the girl and kindness towards her” and opposing female circumcision and “indiscrimination between the sexes” (sic?). They also instruct teachers that Islam forbids, among other things, fornication, homosexuality, intercourse during menstruation, andkhulwa (an unrelated man and woman being alone together). At the same time, they assert that Islamic law justifies polygamous marriage and, above all, abstinence.
The student should adhere to the lofty Islamic morals and ideals that call for modesty, lowering one’s gaze, avoiding mixing and being alone with a person with whom one can be intimate, abstinence, resisting shameful deeds, avoiding any provocative act or item of dress that may encourage sexual harassment and lapsing into harlotry . . . [and] observe abstinence before marriage.
And this from a publication that was “compiled in cooperation with United Nations Population Fund”!
The broader question remains: what explains the malaise of Muslim science and what can be done about it?