Friday, July 10, 2009

The Saskatchewan provincial government alongside the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) have come together to establish a CA$500 million, 10 megawatts research nuclear reactor to produce medical isotopes.

“In 1949 … cobalt-60 treatment was tried for the first time here in Saskatchewan, where it saved a woman battling cervical cancer. Maybe we can lead again in terms of nuclear medicine,” said Brad Wall, the Premier of Saskatchewan, “Governments should be involved in pure research. We’re dealing with some circumstances as they present themselves”

“We’ve had faculty that are interested in this. We have an issue of national importance, We see a reason why the U of S and the province could assist in this national issue. We see how it could help the country. We see how it could build on the university’s research strength,” said Richard Florizone, U of S vice-president of finance and resources.

The research conducted at the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron on campus would be enhanced by a research reactor.

“In the case of a power reactor, in Saskatchewan we have much better alternatives. In the case of a medical isotopes research reactor, this may be a circumstance where the benefits outweigh the risks,” said Peter Prebble, director of energy and water policy for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.

The nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ontario in Canada was shut down on Thursday, May 14 by the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) due to a leak of heavy water and will not re-open until late 2009 or spring of 2010.

The repairs of the NRU are complex and challenging. “I’ve heard it described as . . . trying to change the oil in your car from your living room. We’re faced with conducting remote investigations in a radioactive environment with high radiation fields, conducting the examinations and inspections through small openings in the top of the reactor and accessing over great distances,” said David Cox, director of the NRU engineering task force.

“The unplanned shutdown of the NRU will result in a significant shortage of medical isotopes in Canada, and in the world, this summer,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources.

The Petten reactor in the Netherlands is another of the six extant nuclear reactors globally. It must also be shut down between mid July and mid August.

Medical isotopes are used in diagnostic procedures for cancer, heart disease and other medical conditions. When radioactive isotopes are injected into the body, radiologists can view higher radiation via medical imaging, enabling them to make a more accurate diagnosis.

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Sorrento and its Famous People



Sorrento is beautiful and the scenes are simply indescribable. This town is the birthplace of the famous poet Torquato Tasso, author of the Gerusalemme Liberata .

The town was featured in the early 20th century with the song \’Torna a Sorrento\’ (Come Back to Sorrento), with lyrics by Giambattista De Curtis, who is the brother of the songs\’ composer. In the 1920\’s the famous Soviet writer Maxim Gorky also live in Sorrento. Later, in the 40\’s, the well known astro-physicist Ian Dickson made his home in Sorrento. He also owned one of the most expensive house in Napoli.

Sorrento\’s beauty and luxury hotels have attracted so many famous people. Among some of them are the famous, \’Enrico Caruso\’ and \’Luciano Pavarotti\’. Just across Sorrento in the middle of the blue calm Meditterrarean Sea, lays two prestigious Islands, such as Capri and Mischief that have attracted the famous stars, writer and artist from all over the world.

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The beauty of the nature and historical buildings, combined with the culture and food from wonderful restaurants, are all inspirational to any artistic person that needs to find peace within by the surrounding he sees.

No matter how busy into the season Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast get, somehow when you look all around your environment and into the sea, peace is found. Passing time in a boutique hotel in Sorrento could help revive the places that have inspired the famous people that have loved the city\’s breathtaking landscapes.

During Sorrentos\’ long History, the town has hosted many other well known people; such as; Paul Heise between ( 1853-1877), Edward Grieg(1872-1881), Marrion Crawford from (1895-1909) and others. Charles Dickens wrote a beautiful quote about his memorable stay in Sorrento. While Caruso was enjoying his last days in Sorrento, Lucio Dalla composed his song Ti voglia bene assaie ( I Love you Very Much), which was written by Donizetti and song with a Neapolitan tone.

Lucio Dalla was a permanent guest of the Hotel Exelsior Vittoria. Sorrento is also home to Sofia Loren, to whom the keys of the city were donated honoring her as a citizen.

Sorrento and the surrounding areas are beautiful with so much character that is seen in every building, monument and in the nature of the gardens and sea of which the creator has given us to admire.

Sorrento is a very central place to stay and have the convenience of traveling to the other towns with short train or bus rides. There is also the option of renting a car or taking taxis, at your convenience.

Visit the

Relais Villa Savarese

to get in touch with the same places that inspired lucio dalla and where sofia loren shot some of her most important films.

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 Correction — October 4, 2013 The last paragraph of this article should say “President Maduro” rather than “President Morales”. We apologize for the error. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Bolivian President Evo Morales announced Thursday he will file legal charges against the United States President Barack Obama for crimes against humanity. President Morales announced he was preparing litigation after Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro’s plane was allegedly denied entry into U.S. airspace over Puerto Rico.

President Morales called Obama a “criminal” violating international law. Morales called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), made up of 33 member states including Argentina, Mexico and Chile, and encouraged member states to remove their ambassadors from the U.S. to show their solidarity. He asked Bolivarian Alliance member states to boycott the next United Nations meeting, to be held in New York on September 24. He also said the U.S. had pursued a policy of “intimidation” and have a history of blockading presidential flights.

In July this year, the Bolivian presidential aircraft was prevented from landing in Portugal to refuel, allegedly at the request of the U.S. administration. After Italy, Spain and France each banned the aircraft from entering their airspace, it was ultimately forced to land in Austria. Here, the plane was boarded as part of the search for U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden. Several Latin American heads of state promptly condemned the actions.

President Evo Morales is in his second presidential term after first being elected in 2005. He campaigned on the promise of alleviating Bolivia’s crippling poverty — Bolivia was Latin America’s poorest nation at the time he was elected — and is Bolivia’s first indigenous leader. He became internationally recognisable for the striped jumper he wore while meeting with high level dignitaries, including kings and presidents, around the world. His actions as President have included halving his own salary and those of his ministers, seizing Bolivia’s gas and oil reserves, and redistributing the nation’s unused countryside to the poor.

President Morales had been bound for bilateral talks in China. He maintains he will not be prevented from attending them.

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A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, August 9, 2009.


Indonesia is to carry out DNA tests on the body of a man killed in the Temanggung district of Central Java. The body is believed to be that of Noordin Mohammed Top. Born in Malaysia, Top is believed to have been behind a string of terrorist attacks in Indonesia since 2002, including the 2002 Bali bombings and the bombing of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels this July.

After a 16-hour siege, Indonesia’s elite Detachment 88 stormed a building in Beji village that police intelligence officers believe was occupied by Top and his group.

In an unrelated police raid two would-be suicide bombers were also killed; the target of their truck bomb was believed to be a residence owned by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


  • Suherdjoko & Dicky Christanto. “Terror suspects in shoot-out” — The Jakarta Post, August 8, 2009
  • Xiong Tong. “Indonesian police to conduct DNA test on terrorist leader Top” — Xinhua News Agency, August 8, 2009
  • Blomfield, Adrian. “Police foil plot to kill Indonesian president after raid on top terror suspect” — The Telegraph, August 8, 2009

Following a mass trial on August 1, at which critics of the Ahmadinejad regime were tried for sedition, Iran has on Saturday initiated a second mass trial of those it accuses of attempting to destabilise the Iranian state. Amongst the dozen accused are staff members of the British and French embassies and a French national. Both France and Britain have protested, with British officials calling the situation “completely unacceptable” and the French saying that the Iranian allegations were “absolutely baseless”.

In what have been described as show trials, opposition leaders have confessed to crimes against the state.

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  • “Iran holds 2nd protest-related court session” — CBC News, August 8, 2009
  • “Embassy workers on trial in Iran” — BBC Online, August 8, 2009
  • “French national on trial in Iran over post-election unrest” — Deutsche Welle, August 8, 2009

Great train robber Ronnie Biggs has been released from prison custody on compassionate grounds by British Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw. Biggs, aged 80, is suffering from pneumonia and is said to have just days to live.

His release comes on the day of his birthday and the 46th anniversary of the crime that made him infamous.


  • “Freed Train Robber Ronnie Biggs Turns 80” — Sky News, August 8, 2009
  • Burns, John F. “Britain’s Great Train Robber Freed” — The New York Times, August 8, 2009

Samantha Orobator, a British 20-year-old from Peckham, London has been returned to the United Kingdom to serve out the remainder of a life sentence for drug smuggling. Convicted in Laos of attempting to smuggle 680g of heroin, Orobator initially faced execution by firing squad, which she escaped only when she became pregnant.

The circumstances of her trial and the circumstances of how she came to be pregnant has led to human rights organisation Reprieve to call for the quashing of her conviction. However the British government has indicated that it will honour its prisoner repatriation agreement with Laos.


  • Vorakhoun, Phonekeo. “Pregnant British prisoner returns home from Laos” — AsiaOne, August 8, 2009
  • “Pregnant prisoner returns to UK” — BBC News Online, August 7, 2009
  • Addley, Esther. “Ministers condemned for imprisoning pregnant woman after ‘sham trial’ in Laos” — The Guardian, August 7, 2009

In a move championed by its chief executive officer, Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation announced it will charge for online content across all its titles by the end of the year. News Corporation owns the publications The Times and The Wall Street Journal amongst other media interests.

The move comes after a collapse in advertising revenues and US$3.4 billion of losses in the fiscal year just ended. Murdoch explained “…quality journalism is not cheap” and said his plan will “save journalism”. He says he is confident that competitors will follow his lead.


  • “News Corp tests charge-for-content policy at Sunday Times: report” — Agence France-Presse, August 7, 2009
  • Golson, Jordan. “News Corp. Mogul Cries ‘Charge!’ for Online News” — Business Week, August 6, 2009

Buoyed by better then expected unemployment figures for July, President Barack Obama claimed on Friday that the United States economy is “pointed in the right’ direction and that “we’ve rescued our economy from catastrophe”.

His speech comes in the wake of Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicating that 200,000 fewer jobs were lost in July then in June.


  • Brandon, Katherine. “The President On July Unemployment Figures” — Executive Office of the President of the United States, August 7, 2009
  • Collinson, Stephen. “Obama says US economy saved from ‘catastrophe'” — Agence France-Presse, August 7, 2009

Five of Hong Kong’s six Disciplined Services continue to press the territory’s government for pay parity with the Hong Kong Police Force. Although industrial action is for the time being unlikely unions representing officers from correctional services, customs and excise, fire services, immigration and government flying services will hold a mass meeting later this month to put pressure on the government.

Similar rank and grade structures are used through out the six services, however despite the claim that customs and police officers having similar duties and workloads, a police officer will receive up to HK$7,900 more than a custom officer of the same rank.


  • Wong, Adele. “Summer of strikes looks less likely” — The Standard, August 7, 2009
  • Lee, Diana. “Customs officers seek pay parity with police” — The Standard, August 5, 2009
  • “Customs officers demand pay parity” — RTHK, August 4, 2009

Social networking site Twitter is the unlikely victim of the ongoing hostility between Russia and Georgia. However, on the anniversary of the South Ossetian war, Russian hackers launched a mass denial-of-service attack aimed at silencing Cyxymu, a Georgian economics professor critical of Russia. In addition to Twitter other sites at which Cyxymu posted were also attacked, however being a smaller operation the attacks caused a complete outage of Twitter while the other sites were merely slowed.


  • Bradley, Tony. “Twitter Continues to Battle DDoS Attack” — PC World, August 08, 2009
  • “Pro-Georgian Blogger Target of Mass Cyber Attacks” — Voice of America, August 08, 2009

Pakistani intelligence service sources state that Hakimullah Mehsud leader of Fedayeen al-Islam has been killed in a fight for the leadership of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) an al-Qaeda ally.

The statement comes a day after public speculation of the death of TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud in a drone attack on the 5th of August. Baitullah and Hakimullah are cousins with Hakimullah serving as a deputy to Baitullah. The TTP is a coalition of disparate groups and without the charisma and leadership of Baitullah, appears to have fallen victim to internal feuding. According to sources Hakimullah Mehsud met with rival Taliban leader Waliur Rehman to determine the succession, word at the shura became heated and led to a gunfight that resulted in the death of Hakimullah and the serious wounding of Rehman.

Hakimullah had earlier issued statements denying Baitullah’s death.


  • “TTP leader dead in succession fight?” — Dawn (newspaper), August 9, 2009
  • Burke, Jason. “Taliban commander denies the death of Baitullah Mehsud” — The Guardian, August 9, 2009
  • “Report: Taliban torn by feud after death” — UPI, August 8, 2009

Hurricane Felicia has weakened to a tropical storm, but residents of Hawaii are continuing to monitor the storm’s progress as it approaches the islands.

Tropical storm watches were posted for portions of the state, and some beaches have been closed in anticipation of high surf. Meanwhile, emergency supplies were selling rapidly at local stores: “Things are just flying out”, said Vicki Lebowitz, manager of The City Mill in Oahu.

The storm, once a Category 4 major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, is expected to further weaken before making landfall on Hawaii.

  • “Felicia weakens to tropical storm near Hawaii” — Yahoo! News, August 9, 2009
  • Associated Press. “Hawaii to close beaches as Hurricane Felicia nears” — The Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2009

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Rock musicians Kid Rock and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee were involved in a minor altercation at the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards (VMA), held on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Both Lee and Rock were former husbands of Pamela Anderson, who was present at the VMAs and delivered her lines from the top of a table. Eye witnesses claim the fight started when Kid Rock, who was sitting next to rapper Diddy, walked up to Lee and slapped him. Tommy Lee stood up to fight back and Rock punched him in the face. Lee was dragged off by security guards before he was able to fight back.

Rap Producer Rich Nice said Lee had been antagonizing Rock before the altercation. The incident inspired many jokes from hip hop and rap artist, such as MTV VJ Sway who was quoted saying “They say it’s only rappers. I told you rockers fight too.” Police cited Rock for misdemeanor battery.

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Trends In The Currency Markets – How To Stay On The Right Side


James Woolley

People approach forex trading from many different angles. Some like to look for overbought and oversold markets to try and trade price reversals, whilst others look for potential breakouts. However the most profitable trading strategies are generally those that trade with the overall trend. So let me provide you with 5 indicators that will help indicate the current trend.

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1. MACD The first indicator is the MACD indicator. This is widely used amongst forex traders and is one of the most popular. You can use this indicator to highlight the current trend because if the actual MACD line is above 0 the pair is in an upward trend, and vice versa if it is below 0. 2. RSI Another indicator you can use is the RSI indicator, short for Relative Strength Index. A lot of people use this indicator to find overbought or oversold pairs, but it is just as useful for identifying the current trend because if it is above 50 it is trending upwards, and if it is below 50 it is trending downwards. 3. Stochastics The Stochastics indicator can be used in a similar way. The 50 level is again the critical level and is the difference between an upward trending market and a downward trending market. 4. Exponential Moving Average Moving averages are really popular as well and I particularly like to use the exponential moving average (EMA) ahead of all the others because it is more relevant to the recent price action. There are lots of settings you can use. You can use a 5, 20, 50 or 200 period EMA, for instance, but whichever one you use, the current trend will depend on whether the price is currently above or below this indicator. 5. Supertrend The Supertrend indicator is not one of the mainstream indicators like those mentioned above, but it is no less valid. In fact it is one of the more effective indicators. It is really easy to use because a green line indicates a bullish trend and a red line indicates a bearish trend. These are 5 technical indicators you can use to identify the current trend and find out which way you should be trading. However there are lots of others you can use such as the CCI, TRIX and Smoothed Repulse indicators. The point is that you have a much greater chance of making money on a consistent basis if you always trade with the trend. So it is always worth consulting some of these indicators from time to time in order to spot the latest trends in the forex markets.

For more articles on forex trading, click here to learn about the merits of trading the

5 minute forex charts

and to read a full review of the

Forex Profit Accelerator

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Trends In The Currency Markets – How To Stay On The Right Side

Today as automation has taken over almost every department of business operations, the HR department is not far behind. The new age advanced HRMS software available in the market today are designed to automate every HR task to save the time and efforts of the HR personnel and at the same time, boost efficiency and productivity of HR department. Digital HRMS, Pocket HRMS, Keka and Beehive HRMS are good examples. Having said that, HRMS is perhaps the most data intensive software in organisations today. In such a scenario, it becomes extremely important for organisations to ensure optimum protection of data from breaches, external threats and vulnerabilities of all sorts. HRMS advanced security features are thus, extremely essential for ensuring protection of employee data within the organisation.

There are several threats to human resource data in today’s world. To begin with, more and more HRMS software are now hosted on the Cloud, to make way for applications and on-the-go access. The rise in the popularity of enterprise mobility has taken things a step further, as now employees access HRMS software on the mobile devices of all kinds, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Even as more and more employees access HRMS software on their very own devices, there is the risk of malware and other threats creeping into the application. After all, the more number of devices on the network, the higher the chances of threats creeping in. This is the reason enterprise mobility has resulted in stricter security measures in enterprises across the globe.

The fact that not many people are aware of the consequences of compromise in data security, means the stakes are high. Surprisingly, a significant amount of data breaches happening in organisations across the globe, are directly or indirectly a result of employee activity. This calls for the need for an initiative to raise awareness about information security in organisations today. Also, controlled access and role based access to information is a good measure to prevent misuse of sensitive information.

Talking about HRMS advanced security features, here is a quick look at what can be expected from the new age HR software that the organisations are investing in today.

Key Features of New Age HRMS Software

  • Encryption of user data
  • GDPR Compliance
  • SSL certification
  • Physical data security
  • Role based access to data
  • Measures against unauthorised access
  • Controlled access
  • Internal security controls
  • Strict password policy
  • Data purging policy
  • IP based access restrictions
  • Antivirus and firewall

As cybercrimes continue to rise, there is an ever increasing need to step up when it comes to information security in organisations. As data is being gathered from different sources, there is a very high possibility of threats and malware linked to this data, being transferred into the system of the organisation. This can prove to be highly damaging and the consequences can be disastrous.

Hence, it’s high time the enterprises woke up to the seriousness of the situation. There is the urgent need to take concrete steps for complete security of HR and employee information. Advanced HRMS security features are a must-have if organisations want complete protection of information that they have stored and maintained in the database.

The good news is that the new age HRMS software that one finds in the market today, have these HRMS advanced security features built in, so all that the enterprises need to do is get one such software and use it to the maximum potential.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

War protestor Cindy Sheehan, the mother of fallen soldier Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq 3 years ago, wrote on what has been published by the Daily Kos as a personal web journal on Monday morning, a day in observance of Memorial Day in the United States, that “This is my resignation letter as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement.”

Her son Casey would have been 28 years old Tuesday. In what she writes are meditations upon developments in Sheehan’s life after she began a war protest that led her and a following of people to Camp Casey, beside the Texas ranch of President Bush in August 2005, included the notion that, “The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think.”

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

In the text of Sheehan’s diary she is unable to reconcile herself with the Democratic Party that on Thursday, May 24, succumbed to the Bush administration on language for a troop funding bill that at one time tied funding to a time limit for U.S. involvement in Iraq. The presidential veto of that legislation to set a deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq resulted in the U.S. Congress caving to executive branch over the issue of war funding, and may have been the final straw for Sheehan.

“I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike,” wrote Sheehan.

Sheehan said that she has spent every bit of money that she has received as compensation for the loss of her son from the U.S. government, and as a person who garnished speaking fees from the national attention on her campaign against the Iraq war, on trying to bring peace.

“I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost,” wrote Sheehan.

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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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