Wednesday, December 03, 2008

SCIENCE FICTION: THE PIED PIPER OF SCIENCE

(Summary: The paper explains, science fiction, historical background, and its importance in the field of science.
This paper was to be read by Justice Yatindra Singh at Varanasi on 13.112008 in the first ever national discussion on 'Science Fiction: Past, present, Future' organised by National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) New Delhi. However due to unavoidable circumstances it could not be read but was circulated.)
 

In the thirteenth century, 130 children disappeared in Hamlin, Germany.  It is not clear,
  1. If this was in 1212 or 1260, or 1284 or any other year;
  2. If they died or were killed or just went away to another place;
  3. What was the reason for their disappearance.
However, Hamlin town  records this incident. The 'Donat', the Hamlin book of statutes, contains  references to it. The tragic incident was also recorded in the stained window of the market church. It was destroyed in 1660 but on the basis of surviving descriptions, it has been reconstructed by Hans Dobbertin (historian).  Around sixteenth century, a  tale was added to it:
From Wikipedia
'The town of Hamlin was suffering from a rat infestation. A man dressed in pied garments (the pied piper) appeared, offering them a solution. The people promised to pay him for his services. He played a musical pipe to lure away the rats and drowned them into the Weser river. However  the people refused to pay him. The man left the town angrily. 
The pipe piper returned on St. John's Day.  While the inhabitants of Hamlin were in the church, he played his pipe again. This time, instead of rats, the tune attracted the children. One hundred and thirty boys and girls followed him out of the town and were never seen again. Two children, a lame, and a deaf were left behind to tell the tale.'

Some say that the pied piper was the devil himself; some accept this story as an explanation to the tragic incident. Leaving the dark aspect of the tale, the pied piper  was a master musician, who could attract anyone with his tunes.  So is the case with science fiction: they not only create interest in science but make us aware about different possibilities.

Friday, October 24, 2008

BE THE CHANGE – YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD

(Summary: This paper not only provides legal implications of open format but also explains its advantages, problems and how to make them more popular.
Text of Talk delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh on 09.10.2008 in the Second International Open Document Format User Workshop organised by the E-Documentation committee chaired by South Africa's Department of Home Affairs in collaboration with ODF Alliance at Pretoria.)

It is honour and priviledge, to participate in the 2nd ODF workshop, and to be in South Africa – a country that Indians owe a lot.


One hundred and fifteen years ago (1893), a young 23 years old Indian barrister, took his maiden but fateful South African train journey from Durban. He was coming to Pretoria to defend a legal case. He could not complete the journey that night: he was thrown out of his first class compartment at Peter Maritzburg, despite the fact he had first class compartment ticket. His only fault was that he was coloured. He spent that cold winter night at the railway station but started his journey from Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi to Mahatma Gandhi. It was during his 21 years stay here at South Africa that he realised importance of human dignity and started struggle against racial descrimination; It was here that he realised importance of non-violence (Satyagrah) and started quest for our independence.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to visit this wonderful country that I always wanted to visit.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

WHERE CAN PENGUINS FLY?

(Summary: This paper explains what is open source and open format; why they should be used; and talks about some good open source programmes that run on Windows.

Text of Talk delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh on 20.09.2008 on the Software Freedom Day at the University of Allahabad, Allahabad.)

Two of my finest years have been spent roaming around the corridors of the science faculty of the Allahabad University. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to renew those memories. I am happy to be here to talk about open source,  open formats, and some popular open source programmes  on windows.

Mahatma Gandhi's   philosophy was,
'Means are more important than the end:  it is only with the right means that the desired end will follow.'
To the charge that  'means are after all means', he would say,
‘Means, after all, are everything’.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

CHARMS AND DANGERS OF HARRY POTTER'S WORLD

(Summary: This post is about problems relating to intellectual property rights on the Internet.
This talk was delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh, Judge Allahabad High Court on 4.5.2008 in National Judicial Seminar on 'Cyber Law: Current developments and Key Issues for the District Judiciary' at National Judicial Academy Bhopal)

Harry Potter's world is the world of fantasy; he takes Hogwart's express to reach the Hogwart's castle where the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry is situate—some where in Dufftown near Scotland. It is impossible for any muggle (i.e. non-magical person like us) to locate the castle as it has charms, spells and dangers around it; we can see only the ruins and danger warnings.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Courtsey: Warner Brother Studios

We, the muggles, can reach our own fantasy world, riding our Hogwart's express—the Internet. It has its own charms, spells, and dangers. One of them is, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). Before we talk about this danger, a few words about our Hogwart's Express—the Internet and the Web.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SANJEEVANI BOOTI: PROTECTION, PROBLEM AND SOLUTION

(Summary: This post is about traditional knowledge, how it is being legally protected and the problems relating to its protection.
This talk was delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh, Judge Allahabad High Court, Allahabad on 4.5.2008 National Judicial Seminar on 'IPRs: Current developments and Key Issues for the District Judiciary' at National Judicial Academy Bhopal)



Sanjevani Booti! ... Am I supposed to talk about traditional knowledge or Sanjevani Booti?

Hanumaan and Sanjevani Booti: Photograph courtesy Ramanand Sagar's TV serial Ramayan

Who does not know the Laxman-Meghnath episode in Ramayan. Lakshman was wounded by Meghnath and Hanumaan was send to Himalayas to fetch Sanjevani Booti, a plant having medicinal properties. In botanical terms the plant is known as Selaginella bryopteris and this episode is nothing but traditional knowledge.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

COMPUTER SOFTWARE AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

(Summary: This paper discusses, how intellectual property rights operate in the field of computer software.
It was read by Justice Yatindra Singh Judge Allahabad High Court on 15th March 2008 at National Conference on Advancements in Information Communication Technology Allahabad)

Justice Michael Kirby picture from Wikipedia
Justice Michael Kirby is a puisne judge in the High Court of Australia, the highest court there. On 21st February 2008, Justice Kirby was the chief guest in the annual dinner meeting of Internet Industry Association Sydney, Australia. The audience here, reminds me of his speech on that occassion,
'The people who built the Internet ... have ... extra dimension. I asked tonight when I came in here and saw you all: why is this such a male dominated audience? Why are there so few women?
If I were to go to a Law function tonight, about half the audience would be women – and the same in most professions. But here, this is overwhelmingly a male domain.
My conversationalist said, it all goes back to the fact that to be good in this type of technology, you have got to have that very strange mental quirk. And that’s a male phenomenon. It’s on the Y chromosome, in the male genes. That’s probably why they are mostly men here.
I don’t know that I accept that.
It may be a power thing. You may be just a little bit behind the rest of us in society. But it’s a thing for you to look to. Women are the great networkers. And toilers in the Internet are in the business of the greatest network of them all.'
Even I don't accept the explaination offered by the conversationalist however, it is not only a thing to look to but a thing to be look into. With this preliminary, Let's come to today's topic.

The Monkey Trial

It was illegal to teach theory of evolution in most of states in US.  John T Scopes, a biology teacher, was prosecuted to teach it. He was ...