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Messages - p i l
« on: May 31, 2008, 04:32:30 PM »
[...] from both cohort and case-control studies always reflect true associations which can be universally generalized. Epidemiological research is, to a large extent, of an observational character as opposed to experimental research. One should not forget that observational epidemiological studies are subject to the influence of factors over which the investigators most often do not have full control, and that findings from these studies are less reliable than those of studies with an experimental research design. It is therefore imperative that findings from analytical epidemiological studies are critically scrutinized before any judgement of causality is made. Furthermore, findings from one single epidemiological study only exceptionally provide conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between exposure and disease.
LOL! I know what you mean
« on: May 31, 2008, 04:26:40 PM »
Interesting avatar as well! The question that has baffled scientists, academics and pub bores through the ages: What came first, the chicken or the egg?
It points out the futility of identifying the first case of a circular cause and consequence. The predestination paradox (also called either a causal loop or a causality loop) is a paradox of time travel that is often used as a convention in science fiction. It exists when a time traveller is caught in a loop of events that "predestines" him/her to travel back in time. Because of the possibility of influencing the past while time travelling, one way of explaining why history does not change is by saying that whatever has happened was meant to happen. A time traveller attempting to alter the past in this model, intentionally or not, would only be fulfilling his role in creating history as we know it, not changing it. The predestination paradox is in some ways the opposite of the grandfather paradox, the famous example of the traveller killing his own grandfather before his parent is conceived, thereby precluding his own travel to the past by canceling his own existence.
A dual example of a predestination paradox is depicted in the classic Ancient Greek play 'Oedipus'. Laius hears a prophecy that his son will kill him. Fearing the prophecy, Laius pierces Oedipus' feet and leaves him out to die, but a herdsman finds him and takes him away from Thebes. Oedipus, not knowing he was adopted, leaves home in fear of the same prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Laius, meanwhile, ventures out to find a solution to the Sphinx's riddle. As prophesied, Oedipus crossed paths with Laius and this leads to a fight where Oedipus slays Laius. Oedipus then defeats the Sphinx by solving a mysterious riddle to become king. He marries the widow queen Jocasta not knowing she is his mother.
A typical example of a predestination paradox (used in The Twilight Zone episode "No Time Like the Past") is as follows: A man travels back in time to discover the cause of a famous fire. While in the building where the fire started, he accidentally knocks over a kerosene lantern and causes a fire, the same fire that would inspire him, years later, to travel back in time.
A variation on the predestination paradoxes which involves information, rather than objects, traveling through time is similar to the self-fulfilling prophecy: A man receives information about his own future, telling him that he will die from a heart attack. He resolves to get fit so as to avoid that fate, but in doing so overexerts himself, causing him to suffer the heart attack that kills him. In both examples, causality is turned on its head, as the flanking events are both causes and effects of each other, and this is where the paradox lies. In the second example, the person would not have traveled back in time but for the fire that he or she caused by traveling back in time. Similarly, in the third example, the man would not have overexerted himself but for the future information he receives. In most examples of the predestination paradox, the person travels back in time and ends up fulfilling their role in an event that has already occurred. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, the person is fulfilling their role in an event that has yet to occur, and it is usually information that travels in time (for example, in the form of a prophecy) rather than a person. In either situation, the attempts to avert the course of past or future history both fail.
In computing, bootstrapping refers to a process where a simple system activates another more complicated system that serves the same purpose. It is a solution to the Chicken-and-egg problem of starting a certain system without the system already functioning. The term is most often applied to the process of starting up a computer, in which a mechanism is needed to execute the software program that is responsible for executing software programs (the Operating System). The term "bootstrapping" alludes to a German legend about Baron Münchhausen, who claimed to have been able to lift himself out of a swamp by pulling himself up by his own hair. In later versions of the legend, he used his own boot straps to pull himself out of the sea which gave rise to the term bootstrapping. The term is believed to have entered computer jargon during the early 1950s by way of Heinlein's short story "By His Bootstraps" first published in 1941. Bootstrapping was shortened to booting, or the process of starting up any computer, which is the most common meaning for non-technical computer users. The verb "boot" is similarly derived.
« on: May 31, 2008, 04:22:45 PM »
American intelligence agencies were bugging Princess Diana's telephone over her relationship with a US billionaire, the Evening Standard learned back in 2006. She was even forced to abandon a planned holiday with her sons in the US with tycoon Teddy Forstmann on advice from secret services, who passed on their concerns to their British counterparts. Both US and British intelligence then forced Diana to change her plans to stay with Mr Forstmann in the summer of 1997, saying it was too "dangerous" to take her sons there. Instead the princess took the fateful decision to take a summer break with Harrods owner Mohamed Fayed. This ultimately led to her going to Paris with his son Dodi, where they died in a car crash.
The revelation from independent inquiries by the Evening Standard came as it emerged that Princess Diana's phone was bugged by US intelligence agencies on the night she died without the permission of the British secret intelligence services. Authoritative leaks say the extraordinary revelations were published by Lord Stevens and were bound to raise fresh questions about conspiracy theories. The US secret service was monitoring Diana's friendship with the controversial financier Mr Forstmann for some weeks. Mohamed Fayed has always insisted the princess and Dodi Fayed were murdered in a plot involving MI6 agents and US intelligence.
The Standard learned that Diana had agreed to a week's holiday with princes William and Harry in the US. She had accepted an invitation from her one-time American boyfriend Mr Forstmann to stay with him at his house in the Hamptons. But as she was travelling with the princes, she needed the trip to be cleared by the British security services. They surprisingly vetoed Diana's plans because of concerns about the security surrounding the billionaire's homes or perhaps a possible threat from elsewhere. The decision by the security services ultimately led to Diana striking up her friendship with Dodi and returning to the south of France to holiday with him. This led to her being in Paris on 31 August, the day of the crash. The Evening Standard also understood that US secret services had a number of secret files on Diana and her closest associates that are held by the national security agency. The files, which included reports from foreign intelligence - thought to include MI5 and MI6 - come under both top secret and secret categories. The reports could not be released because of "exceptionally grave damage to the national security". The documents on the princess seemed to have arisen because of the company she kept rather than through any attempt to target her. Diana enjoyed an intimate friendship with Mr Forstmann after her relationship with Prince Charles had broken down.
Well, Diana's own mother called her a "whore." She didn't like the fact that her daughter had had romances with Muslim men. This was before the princess' romance with Dodi Fayed. Shand-Kydd said that Diana was "a whore and that she was @ # ! * i n g around with Muslim men."