Archive for abortion

Hippocratic oath for maths?

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2019 by xi'an

On a free day in Nachi-Taksuura, I came across this call for a professional oath for mathematicians (and computer engineers and scientists in related fields). By UCL mathematician Hannah Fry. The theme is the same as with Weapons of math destruction, namely that algorithms have a potentially huge impact on everyone’s life and that those who design these algorithms should be accountable for it. And aware of the consequences when used by non-specialists. As illustrated by preventive justice software. And child abuse prediction software. Some form of ethics course should indeed appear in data science programs, for at least pointing out the limitations of automated decision making. However, I remain skeptical of the idea as (a) taking an oath does not mean an impossibility to breaking that oath, especially when one is blissfully unaware of breaking it (b) acting as ethically as possible should be part of everyone’s job, whether when designing deep learning algorithms or making soba noodles (c) the Hippocratic oath is mostly a moral statement that varies from place to place and from an epoch to the next (as, e.g., with respect to abortion which was prohibited in Hippocrates’ version) and does not prevent some doctors from engaging into unsavory activities. Or getting influenced by dug companies. And such an oath would not force companies to open-source their code, which in my opinion is a better way towards the assessment of such algorithms. The article does not mention either the Montréal Déclaration for a responsible AI, which goes further than a generic and most likely ineffective oath.

futher attacks on reproductive rights

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2019 by xi'an

The relentless go at eroding and eventually banning abortion rights in the US has stepped even further with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempt at banning the European organisation Aid Access from providing abortive pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) to US women, based on the argument of “risk to consumers [sic] of unapproved new drugs [re-sic]”. Just to put things into the right context, these drugs are available in the US [provided an abortion clinic or a neutral physician is within reach] and Europe, by prescription, both for abortion and diseases like peptic ulcers or arthritis, and the FDA itself stated that “The risk of fatal sepsis in women undergoing medical abortion is very rare (approximately 1 in 100,000).” Also, the World Health Organization has listed these abortion medicines as essential since 2005. While the support organisation Plan C lists other on-line providers of these drugs, Aid Access is perceived as the safest option. As in other attacks, this potential ban forces women to resort to more and more dangerous alternatives. Alas, all consistent with a more and more extremist anti-abortion component of the US society that sees ideology take over the freedom, safety, and rights of women. And that is always prompt to hide behind the First Amendment to promote fake clinics that cut women’s access to information about reproductive health services.

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2019 by xi'an

. ” The Texas state legislature is debating a provision that wouldn’t just outlaw abortion, but legally qualify it as homicide(…) This, incidentally, is exactly what pro-choice advocates warned about when they said that a law passed in the George W Bush era, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, as well as the related state laws, could eventually be used to criminalize abortion(…) All of these laws are in violation of Roe v Wade, but it seems one goal is to take advantage of an increasingly conservative US supreme court and see if Roe could be overturned, or at least rendered meaningless.” The Guardian,  11 April, 2019

““At a rally in Ohio last month, Mr. Trump suggested that wind power was too unreliable to be useful. “Let’s put up some windmills,” he said. “When the wind doesn’t blow, just turn off the television darling, please. There’s no wind. Please turn off the television quickly!” The New York Times, April 3, 2019

“The US is threatening to veto a United Nations resolution on combatting the use of rape as a weapon of war, the Guardian’s Julian Borger reports. The US is objecting to language that says survivors of sexual violence should have access to comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health. It’s part of a hard line taken by the Trump administration in recent months, refusing to agree to any UN documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions (…) In recent months, the Trump administration has taken a hard line, refusing to agree to any UN documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions. It has also opposed the use of the word “gender”, seeking it as a cover for liberal promotion of transgender rights.” The Guardian, 22 April, 2019

“A U.S. threat to veto U.N. Security Council action on sexual violence in conflict was averted on Tuesday after a long-agreed phrase was removed because President Donald Trump’s administration sees it as code for abortion, diplomats said. The U.S. veto threat was the latest in a string of policy reversals that some U.N. diplomats say has been driven by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, a conservative Christian who staunchly opposes abortion rights. The language promoting sexual and reproductive health is long-agreed internationally, including in resolutions adopted by the Security Council in 2009 and 2013 and several resolutions adopted annually by the 193-member General Assembly.” The New York Time, April 24, 2019

“We believe in freedom and liberty and the right to keep and bear arms. We know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy are the centre of American life… In America we don’t worship government; we worship God.” The Guardian, April 26, 2019

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2019 by xi'an

” A recent survey by Bankrate.com found that just 40% of US households have enough money to cover a $1,000 in emergency expenses.” The Guardian, Feb 2, 2019

““Until we heard those cheers coming from Albany, we thought states were moving beyond such barbaric practices.” Mr. Pence offered his argument as a litmus test of morality; he described the new abortion legislation as a “shameless embrace of a culture of death.” But among conservatives, the White House’s outrage was also greeted as a clear and shrewd political strategy” The New York Times, Feb 1, 2019

“When Senator Elizabeth Warren formally announced her 2020 presidential bid this weekend, President Trump responded with a familiar line of attack. He mocked Ms. Warren for her claims to Native American ancestry, again calling her by the slur “Pocahontas.” Mr. Trump then appeared to refer to the Trail of Tears, the infamously cruel forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century that caused thousands of deaths.” The New York Times, Feb 10, 2019

“The United States is suspending one of the last major nuclear arms control treaties with Russia after heated conversations between the two powers recently failed to resolve a long-running accusation that Moscow is violating the Reagan-era treaty. Mr. Pompeo acknowledged a risk of a new arms race if the treaty is ultimately scrapped after the six-month window.” The New York Times, Feb 1, 2019

“In some states, lawmakers have sought to pass laws that would ban or severely restrict abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned or effectively gutted (…) The court is likely to confront other abortion cases, too, as several state legislatures have recently enacted laws that seem calculated to try to force the Supreme Court to consider overruling Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.” The New York Times, Feb 8, 2019

“Mr. Trump’s willingness to invoke emergency powers to circumvent Congress is likely to go down as an extraordinary violation of constitutional norms — setting a precedent that future presidents of both parties may emulate to unilaterally achieve their own policy goals.” The New York Times, Feb 15, 2019

cuida tu vestido y no hables tanto, Jorge!

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2018 by xi'an

“Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves” June 16, 2018 [ “Il secolo scorso tutto il mondo era scandalizzato per quello che facevano i nazisti per curare la purezza della razza. Oggi facciamo lo stesso ma con i guanti bianchi”]

“Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime, an absolute evil”  Feb. 19, 2016

“Is it fair to hire a contract killer to solve a problem? It is not fair. We cannot take out a human being, even if it is small.” Oct. 10. 2018 [“E’ giusto affittare un sicario per risolvere un problema? Non si può, non è giusto fare fuori un essere umano, benché piccolo, per risolvere un problema”]

a weird version of secularism

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2018 by xi'an

international safe abortion day

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on September 28, 2018 by xi'an