Fact Check re Syrian children

Friday, 23 December, 2016

20161223-fact-check-re-syrian-children

(This is a post I shared on Facebook.)

My dear FB Friends, I had enough today. I refuse to stay silent seeing suffering children in Syrian or anywhere around the world being further insulted. I’m absolutely #BeggingYouToFactCheck your posts before you share anything (claims of photos of suffering Syrian children are fakes, radiation in our food in Canada or US, etc). Stop sharing things so quickly from a random “non-trusted” site. (It is hard to define “trust” but will you take a C$100 bet reports from this site will NOT be confirmable lies or fakes later?)

My last straw was seeing a long time friend sharing a post that claims photos of suffering children of Syria are fakes! Accusing they were photos of the same child in three photos.

I LOVE children as they are our future. Defenceless & suffering little children in Syrian or anywhere around the world don’t need some baseless accusations!

Against my own earlier post in stating I won’t spend my time to fact check my friends anymore. They are adults and should really do their own damn fact check! I decided to do one *last* simple #FactCheck. How long did this simple check take me to confirm my friend was dead wrong? Well, precisely less than 60 seconds! Typing a few words into Facebook search of all places! (Some checks take longer but this one is less than 60 seconds) I was able to confirm my friend’s shared accusation was untrue thus sickening.

I don’t have infinite time to fact check my friends’ posts but when I see things that are fishy, for those friends that I care enough, I may leave a tag comment #BeggingYouToFactCheck

I know I may risk pissing some friends off as some friends had told me they enjoy sharing stuff, including unproven medical claims with neither proper nor reputable sources or references.

Sorry my Facebook friends in advance. If you need to unfriend me after seeing one of my #BeggingYouToFactCheck tags, I don’t mean to insult you in anyway. But in our post-truth world, we are in danger of being drowned with fake news and lies that were reshared endlessly in social media like Facebook.

P.S. A few words about references and good sources, when you want to make an astonishing or extreme accusation, please make sure you have sourced the share from creditable media or double or triple sources things and not simply from a single FB page or .com sources that are align to your own political views.

Repeating what I wrote above: It is hard to define “trust” but will you take a C$100 bet reports from this site will NOT be confirmable lies or fakes later?


Uncensored Madonna Woman of The Year Speech & Billboard Censored/Edited out of sequence version

Wednesday, 21 December, 2016

In our post-truth world, I am so disappointed with Billboard for posting Censored/Edited  out of sequence version of Madonna Woman of The Year Speech. For the record, someone shared this Uncensored Madonna Woman of The Year Speech (16:28 vs Billboard’s 10:29) Here are some text transcript but neither are full transcripts as they haven’t included some part of her speech.

The Full uncensored Madonna speech  (16m28s) [HT Lola Larassa]

(Censored & heavily edited) Madonna Woman of The Year Full Speech | Billboard Women in Music 2016 (10m29s)

NOTE: I thought Billboard behaved badly and left this comment.

@Billboard While I appreciate the chance to watch this partial speech video, I am very disappointed re your misleading (frankly, I was going to say deceitful) claim this is a Full Speech. You should really have more respect for your own Billboard Woman of The Year! Or you don’t really give a flying beep because Madonna is a Woman (and not a MAN) after all.
The site Digital Music News has an article entitled, “I’m Madonna. And This Is the Blatant Sexism, Misogyny, and Constant Bullying That I’ve Faced…” which others have claimed is a full transcript of Madonna’s speech. I have no way to tell thanks to you!!! (update: After watching Lola’s version, the transcripts miss things too so they are not full transcript.)
@Billboard Has our post-truth world arrived early before January 20, 2017 and facts and truth really don’t matter to you anymore?!
P.S. Other commentator has written “beggars can’t be choosers” in thanking you for the video. Sure, having something to watch is great but I am not willing to give up “facts” for that yet?! I would rather watch a cell phone video of Madonna’s FULL & Unedited speech than your mangled version (which I suspect, given others’ transcript, you might have edited things out of sequence)! What the beep is wrong with you @Billboard?! Please don’t suck!

Bonus: RARE Madonna 1/2 hour Vogue B-Roll Footage [HT Lola]


Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy will ‘revolutionize’ treatment of brain diseases

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016
20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

20160824 Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman

CBC News had a great Facebook LIVE Q&A session with neurosurgeons Dr. Michael Schwartz and Dr. Nir Lipsman from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. And a great news report (with video)  “No scalpel, no drill: Medical procedure to treat uncontrollable hand tremor a ‘game changer’“. Here is an excerpt,

“The technology “will open up a new era that will revolutionize the way brain diseases will be treated, eventually benefitting millions of patients,” says Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of physical sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute. He also helped develop the technology. […]

Doctors hope to apply the technology in the treatment of other diseases like Parkinson’s and epilepsy.”

(Note: In the LIVE Q&A you can hear neurosurgeon Dr. Nir Lipsman talk about Parkinson’s disease and this new procedure at timecode 3:03.)

Here is a video “Neurosurgery – with sub-titles, ending with MR image” with subtitle text.

Reference: New England Journal of Medicine, August 25, 2016 “A Randomized Trial of Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy for Essential Tremor” (PDF file)

P.S. On a personal note, it may be way too early to speculate but I do wonder how far can the procedure go (its first pilot study published in 2013 as reported in NEJM), I do wonder openly/hopefully if one day it could be used to help patients with glioblastoma like my friend Maria’s husband Sean had unfortunately suffered. Well, after a quick search, I managed to find this 2014 study reported in NIH, “First noninvasive thermal ablation of a brain tumor with MR-guided focused ultrasound


Christian Louboutin – Great minds of our time

Monday, 1 August, 2016

I was introduced to the luxury footwear designer Christian Louboutin thanks to my late French friend Laurent as he happened to know Christian as a family friend. Here are a few videos I am watching today.

An Audience with Christian Louboutin: Full-length video | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 25, 2011)

Christian Louboutin Addresses FIT Graduates (published May 23, 2014)

Christian Louboutin Interview | NET-A-PORTER.COM (published Nov 13, 2009)

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I wrote and shared this entry in memory of Laurent Jean Philippe Ravalec, my late and awesomely unique French friend, where one of our last video chats (which I documented here) happened in November 2015 just a day after the horrible Paris attack.

Talking to my French friend Laurent about Food (published April 7, 2012) is another video of us chatting about our common love: food!

Laurent, I miss you my friend!


TED & related Talks (Some of my favourites)

Tuesday, 5 March, 2013

Here are 7+ hours of TED & related Talks (20+ videos in total). Enjoy.


U of Toronto University Professor Emeritus Stephen A. Cook won NSERC $1 million Herzberg Medal – with interview by Kempton

Wednesday, 27 February, 2013

20130227 Professor Cook interview pix

Congratulations to University of Toronto Computer Science professor Stephen Cook, best known for formulating the P v. NP problem, for winning the $1M 2012 Gerhard Herzberg medal (also via CBC News)!

After all these years, I still remember the thrill in taking my first year UT Comp. Sci class in 1987 with prof. Cook! And it remains an honour (and bragging right) to have taken the famous third year CSC364 Computability and Complexity class with prof. Cook and seeing him proved to us 3-satisfiability and taught us P v. NP, etc. I am truly excited for prof. Cook!

Check out my 15 minutes interview with Prof. Cook this morning: Interview with Dr. Stephen A. Cook, 2012 Winner of NSERC’s $1m Herzberg Medal

By the way, as prof. cook mentioned in the interview, he came to the idea of the NP complete problem about 6 months after he came to Toronto in 1970. If you read the detailed & insightful oral history interview with Stephen Cook (courtesy of University of Minnesota), you will realize professor Cook could have easily stayed at UC Berkeley (if they had not denied him tenure) instead of joining us at University of Toronto! Lucky us!

Last week, I asked prof. Kelly Gotlieb “Father of Computing in Canada” for his thoughts about some giants in computer science, here is what Kelly has to say about Steve (video clip).

Here is “NSERC Presents 2 Minutes With Stephen Cook

Here is an excerpt from a great Q&A from U of Toronto.

What drew you to this field – and to this particular focus?
I enrolled as a mathematics graduate student at Harvard in 1961, thinking I’d concentrate in algebra. Computer Science did not yet exist as a discipline. After taking a course in `logic and computation’ from Hao Wang, my future advisor, I switched fields. My PhD thesis was inspired by a question posed by a pioneer in the field named Alan Cobham: Is multiplication (of large numbers) intrinsically harder than addition? Part of the challenge was to formulate this as a precise mathematical question.

Why U of T?
I joined the faculty of the computer science department at U of T in 1970. This was one of the world’s first CS departments, and Tom Hull, the department chair, had a powerful vision for its future. He already had recruited some aspiring young faculty, including my close colleague Allan Borodin, who continues to be a pillar of the department. It helped that Toronto is a good sailing venue on Lake Ontario, and sailing was (and is) a major hobby for my wife and me.

What advice would you give to a student just starting out in this field?
You’ve made a good choice. The possibilities are boundless.

Via this UT page, see more media coverage about the 2012 Herzberg Prize at these links below:

“- Globe & Mail

– Canada.com

– Calgary Herald

– CBC News


Shall Copyright Law trump Freedom of Press? NASCAR and Encana seem to think so.

Tuesday, 26 February, 2013

Shall Copyright Law trump Freedom of Press? The senior executives NASCAR and Encana seem to think copyright law should be more powerful than many people will permit it to be. I for one would love the Supreme Court of US and Supreme Court of Canada to decide some of these “copyright” cases so that any potentially ruthless & illegal actions cannot be taken again in US and Canada! Of course, IANAL (I am not a lawyer) and I rely on further instructions and guidelines from the justices at the two Supreme Courts to decide one way or another in each of the countries. Quoting an Feb 21st article by me,

“It should be noted that copyright law has been used in Canada in recent years to over-reach (in my opinion) into other unrelated areas. Take Euro-Excellence Inc. v. Kraft Canada Inc., 2007 SCC 37, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 20, a Supreme Court of Canada judgment on Canadian copyright law as an example, it ultimately is a case about the import of chocolate that somehow got twisted into a case about copyright.”

For the case of NASCAR, see reports in Washington Post and Paid Content.

For the case of Encana, see my summary reporter in examiner.com.

Claimed “copyrighted” video clip in the NASCAR case:

Claimed “copyrighted” audio clip in the Encana case.


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