samedi 25 février 2012

Ignoring 500 billion galaxies: Mathematics vs Common sense in the debate about the probability of Extraterrestrial life

Carl Sagan said that "extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence." In a stunning display of mathematical logic vs common sense, David Spiegel of Princeton University and Edwin Turner from the University of Tokyo published a paper last summer that turns the Drake equation upside down using Bayesian reasoning to show that just because we evolved on Earth, doesn’t mean that the same occurrence would necessarily happen elsewhere; "using evidence of our own existence doesn’t show anything" they argue, "other than that we are here."

What Bayesian reasoning overlooks, of course, is the inconvenient fact that there are some one trillion galaxies in the known universe and some 50 billion planets estimated to exist in the Milky Way alone and some 500,000,000 predicted to exist in a habitable zone.
Spiegel and Turner point out that basing our expectations of life existing on other planets, for no better reason that it exists here, is really only proof that were are more than capable of deceiving ourselves into thinking that things are much more likely than they really are.
They argue that other unknown factors exist that could have contributed to us being here that we don’t yet understand. So, they conclude that, deriving numbers from an equation such as that put forth by Drake, only serves to underscore our belief in the existence of other alien life forms, rather than the actual chances of it being so.
We think evidence will be discovered in the next 20 years: The Kepler mission has discovered 1,235 exoplanets that revolve around a sun, in an area that represents around 1/400th of the Milky Way. By extrapolating these numbers, the Kepler team has estimated that there are at least 50 billion exoplanets in our galaxy — 500 million of which sit inside the habitable "Goldilocks" zones of their suns, the area that it is neither too hot nor too cold to support life.
Astronomers estimate that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe. If you want to extrapolate those numbers, that means there are around 50,000,000,000,000,000,000 (50 quintillion) potentially habitable planets in the universe.
As Arthur C. Clarke, physicist and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey wrote, "The idea that we are the only intelligent creatures in a cosmos of a hundred billion galaxies is so preposterous that there are very few astronomers today who would take it seriously. It is safest to assume therefore, that they are out there and to consider the manner in which this may impinge upon human society."To an objectivist, empirical view, the rules of Bayesian statistics can be justified by requirements of rationality and consistency and interpreted as an extension of logic. Using a subjectivist view, however, the state of knowledge measures a "personal belief".
More information: "Life might be rare despite its early emergence on Earth: a Bayesian analysis of the probability of abiogenesis" and

Prime Minister Gary Conille resigns from the executive power who has been facing crisis after crisis since Michel Martelly took power eight months ago.

Haiti Prime Minister Garry Conille has resigned from office, giving in to political pressure from President Michel Martelly to step down.

Conille sent a letter to Martelly shortly after 10 a.m. Friday, almost an hour before he was supposed to meet with the president and ministers at the National Palace, several sources confirmed.
The National Palace issued a press release just before 2 p.m. confirming the resignation, saying Martelly will address the nation at 7 p.m. Friday.
“We are muddling through from crisis to crisis,” said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University of Virginia. “The immediate future is likely to be very turbulent and a major crisis may be in the making.”
For days, Conille, a former UN diplomat and gynecologist, had been under pressure to step down, with presidential advisers delivering the request in person. On Thursday, rumors circulated that Martelly would formally ask for Conille’s resignation in a letter.
The international community, influential business leaders and top Haitian politicians had been scrambling for days to prevent a political confrontation that could lead to the ouster of Conille just four months after he took office. But all their efforts failed.
The presidents of both the lower chamber of Parliament and the Senate told diplomats and Conille that they were opposed to the ouster, and feared that it would deepen the crisis in Haiti. But others say that with the president and prime minister unable to see eye-to-eye, Haiti was facing a crisis of governance.
Conille and Martelly have been at loggerheads over issues of the nationality of government officials — including that Martelly has an American passport — an investigation of $300 million in post-earthquake contracts and who controls government ministers.
On Thursday, as speculation spread about whether the prime minister would stay or go, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti read a statement on what the mission called “a series of repeated crises between the executive and legislative powers that undermine the proper functioning of the institutions and the democratic process,” over the past few weeks.
“The political deadlock and institutional paralysis between the government, Parliament and the president does not reflect the commitments they have undertaken vis-à-vis the Haitian people and are not likely to create the necessary conditions for recovery of the economy and the consolidation of democracy,” Mariano Fernandez, special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General and head of the mission in Haiti, said in a statement.
As Fernandez spoke, government ministers and their chiefs of staff were complying with a Senate commission investigating the nationality of government ministers.
In his statement, Fernandez said “2012 could prove a turning point for Haiti in terms of reconstruction, economic growth, investment and strengthening of political institutions and governance.”
Though negotiations have been taking place for days over Conille’s replacement, observers say there is no telling when Haiti will get a working government. It took five months for Conille to be appointed as prime minister, and he was Martelly’s third choice. Already names are being circulated, all three of them close to the president.
There is no guarantee that any of those choices will be approved by the Parliament, which has been at odds with the president since his May 14, 2010, inauguration.
“President Martelly, like all previous Haitian presidents, is not willing to have a prime minister who has his or her own agenda and who seems to be protected and defended by the international community,” Fatton said. “Haitian politics has not changed significantly in this respect; Martelly is maintaining the tradition that only one figure, the President, can be the ultimate and indeed sole ‘decider.’ Sharing power is simply not yet in the DNA of Haitian governance in spite of the constitution.”

Article Source: Miami Herald

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vendredi 3 février 2012

Le President Martelly denonce un coup d'Etat


Denonciation d'un complot de coup d'Etat par le President Martelly

Le President Michel Martelly, non-invite, interrompit une rencontre du Premier Ministre Gary Conille avec un groupe de parlementaires dans la residence privee de ce dernier 

A la residence du Premier Ministre les membres du groupe majoritaire du Senat (G-16) et celui de la chambre des deputes (GPR) s'etaient reunis pour discuter avec le premier ministre de la constitution et du programme d'education graduite du gouvernement. 

Le President, alerte par un parlementaire, arrivait inattendument a la rencontre et suivant plusieurs temoignages President Martelly denonca la rencontre comme un complot pour le renverser.

"Le chef de l'Etat utilisait des propos injurieux et stupides que nous ne pouvons pas repeter pour qualifier les membres presents", declarait un senateur qui rapportait l'incident a Haiti Press Network.

" Le President nous qualifiait de toutes sortes de noms pour exprimer qu' il s'agissait d'un complot pour le renverser en faveur de Steven Benoit", continua le senateur.

Senateur Steven Benoit n'etait pas present durant l'evenement et durant la conference de presse de jeudi confirmait etre au courant de l'incident mais rejeta l'idee d'un plan pour renverser le president.