Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

March 22, 2020

Covid-19: Some thoughts and comments

Filed under: My Thoughts,Uncategorized — Suramya @ 6:16 PM

These past few months have been a bit scary. Since Jan we have been watching Corona virus cases spike in China, get ignored and then massive effort to contain the virus. The same was done in Singapore, South Korea etc. India was relatively untouched with minimal cases in the first few months of the disease. Then we had a spike due to people returning from US/Europe etc and infecting others.

I am surprisingly impressed with how Indian Government has reacted to this issue, with both state and national governments taking strong steps to contain. I was especially surprised by how quickly government of Karnataka reacted because honestly I feel that they are mostly useless. They quickly shutdown all schools when the cases in KA were still at 4, and once we had the first death due to the virus in the state they immediately stopped all public gatherings as well as malls, pubs etc.

Now we are going to a total lockdown on Bangalore and some of the other infected areas. Section 144 is being imposed in parts of the country where idiots are refusing to adhere to the social distancing. To emphasise, social distancing the main method to reduce the speed of the spread of the virus. Here’s what the government is doing to help: (this is for the idiots who keep asking what the government is doing. More on this later in the post):

Karnataka to close borders, postpone SSLC exams, and elections

The Karnataka government will close all borders with its neighbouring states to tackle theCOVID-19pandemic. An executive order to that effect detailing the duration of the lockdown is expected soon.

Coronavirus: Mizoram announces statewide shutdown till March 29

The Mizoram government on Saturday ordered a “partial lockdown” across all districts of the state till March 29 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a notification.

Punjab orders lockdown:

Ordered statewide lock down till 31st March to check spread of COVID-19 All essential Govt services will continue & shops selling essential items such as milk, food items, medicines, etc will be open. All DCs & SSPs have been directed to implement the restrictions immediately. – Amarinder Singh

Coronavirus: Indian Railways suspends all passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight

In an unprecedented move, the railways on Sunday announced suspension of all its passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight and said only goods trains will run during the said period.

Govt announces lockdown in 75 districts

Government announces lockdown in 75 districts that have reported COVID-19 cases and casualties. Only essential services will operate in these 75 districts. Restrictions on non-essential passenger transport, including inter-state bus services remains till March 31. The decision has been taken after a meeting Cabinet Secretary held with Chief Secretaries of States and principal Secretary to Prime Minister.

Section 144 in Bengaluru from 9 pm to 12 am

Section 144 imposed from 9 pm to 12 am (midnight) in commissionerate limits to ensure people do not come out of their home once the Janta Curfew ends: Bhaskar Rao, Commissioner of police, Bangalore city. (ANI)

Section 144 imposed in Delhi

In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Section 144 of CrPC to be imposed in Delhi with effect from 9 pm on March 22 to 12 midnight of March 31. (ANI)

This is just an small list of the actions that are being taken to stop the spread. Yes, there were mistakes made and are being made but the focus is to resolve them quickly and move forward. For example a decision was taken to allow the Ayodhya celebration to happen but then the permission was revoked after a large no of people protested and the medical community advised against it as well.

On Friday, PM Modi adressed the nation and asked for a self curfew to be done on Sunday all day to help curb the spread. This was a voluntary curfew to enforce social distancing. No where did he say that the virus is going to be dead in 12-14 hours and then we can go back to normal on Monday. He asked for everyone to coorporate in social distancing for the next few weeks. You can read the complete text of his address here. Below is an extract from the address:

Hence, it is imperative to keep two key factors in mind in order to combat this global pandemic – Determination and Patience. Today, all 130 crore fellow citizens of Indians will have to further strengthen our resolve to overcome this global crisis, fulfilling all our duties as citizens, and abiding by the directions given by the Central and State governments. Today, we must all resolve to not get infected ourselves, and prevent others as well from getting infected.

Friends, during such a pandemic, only one mantra can take us through – ‘Hum Swasth, toh Jag Swasth’, that is the world will be healthy, if we stay healthy. In a situation like this, where there is no known cure for the disease, it is imperative that we stay healthy. Patience is an essential virtue to avoid this disease, and keep oneself healthy. And how does one practice patience? By staying away from crowds and gatherings, avoiding leaving your homes. This is called ‘Social Distancing’ nowadays, and is critical in these times of the global corona pandemic.

Our determination and patience will play a crucial role in containing the impact of this global pandemic. It is wrong if you believe that you are okay and nothing can happen to you, and you can continue roaming around in markets and streets as usual and remain unaffected. By doing this, you will not only be unjust to yourself but also to your family.

Keeping this is mind, I appeal to you all that for the next few weeks, step-out of your homes only when absolutely necessary. As far as possible, try and do your work, whether related to business or job, from home.

While it is essential that those who are in government services, healthcare services, people’s representatives, media personnel remain active. Everybody else must however, isolate themselves from the rest of society.

Global research and experts have been talking non-stop that the main way to stop the spread of Convid-19 is to practive social distancing. That’s what the goverment is asking us to do. Plus this is not all there are multiple other steps being taken to reduce the impact and economic packages to help the poor and impacted are in progress. Yes, we could move faster on this but some things take time.

In addition Modi asked for one more item in his speech.

Friends, in the midst of all these efforts of the people’s curfew on 22nd March, I would also like to seek your support on one more matter on that day. For the past 2 months, lakhs of our people have been working day and night in our Hospitals and Airports.

From doctors to nurses, hospital staff, sanitation workers, airlines employees, government staff, police personnel, media people, people associated with train-bus-auto rickshaw services, and home delivery agents; all have been selflessly serving others, without caring about themselves.

In the current circumstances, these services cannot be considered to be ordinary. Today, these people run the risk of getting infected themselves. Yet, they continue to fulfil their duties, serving others. As defenders of the nation, they stand firmly between us and the corona pandemic. The nation is grateful to them all.

I wish that on Sunday, 22nd March, we express our gratitude to all such people. On Sunday at exactly 5 pm, we all stand at the doors, balconies, windows of our homes, and give them all a 5-minute standing ovation. We clap our hands, beat our plates, ring our bells to boost their morale, salute their service.

To inform people about this, I request local authorities across the country to ring a siren at 5 pm on 22nd March.

We must with full sincerity, express our feelings towards all such fellow citizens who have lived by our value-system of ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’, that is Service being the highest Duty.

Note that he did not claim that this will kill Corona virus due to astrology, veda’s, sound therapy or whatever. This is just to show our appreciation for the people putting their life at risk for us to be able to continue with life. Remember the meal you ordered on Swiggy that was delivered by a person? The sweepers who are cleaning the floor or buildings? The train/bus drivers taking people around? They are risking infection so that we can continue. This is a tribute to them. Why is it ok to celebrate our cricket team’s win in a stupid game by yelling & screaming and being out on the street but suddenly its too much if you are asked to applaud for people risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones to serve you.

Worldwide people are doing this, a 30 second search gave me: Israel, Spain & Italy (who are doing it daily BTW), Germany , UK and so many more.

People need hope when things are grim. This is giving them hope. Remember Pandora’s box? The last thing remaining in the box after all the evils escaped was hope to give us the strength to battle evil & tough times. Jews sang during the War, soldiers sing at the front, this is not because it magically solves the problem but because it gives us the strength to say: I can do this. We will get through this together.

Now, lets look at what the so called ‘intellectuals’ & some of the educated people are doing shall we? Anti-CAA protests are continuing because apparently if you don’t support CAA you are immune to Coronavirus. People are absconding from home to roam the city and attend functions while they are supposed to be in quarantine. 4 morons took a train from Mumbai after being told to isolate and were only caught because they were stamped with a quarantine order and someone on the train noticed it and called the cops. Apparently we have a lot of alcoholics in the country because people are still going to Bars at night because it’s too much of a bother to stay home. This behavior is mostly in the educated class and the so called intellectuals. My maid and driver are talking about self-isolation and how they are working to ensure the spread is contained. Our building guards are enforcing hand-wash discipline for all visitors but we the educated class can’t be bothered because its too much effort. The virus doesn’t care about how much money you have and what position you are at. Do you know who I am? will not work on the virus. Washing your hands and self-isolation will.

All the morons who are going out when known COVID-19 positive or asked to self isolate should be charged with murder if any death that can be traced back to them *knowingly* being out in public after being told not to. If no death then they should be jailed for public endangerment. There is a EU country that is charging such folks with murder and I think we should do the same.

Please listen to medical professionals, reputed sources (this doesn’t include your whatsapp forwards from your 2nd cousin’s friend who heard it from his friend). Follow basic common sense rules and you will be ok.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later. Stay safe you all, and above all stay at home.

– Suramya

March 4, 2020

Seti@home project to stop distributing new work to clients after 21 years

Filed under: Computer Software,News/Articles — Suramya @ 1:44 PM

Seti@home has a fond place in my heart. It has been run by the Berkeley SETI Research Center since 1999, and I think I installed it on my machine sometime around Dec 1999 or early 2000 after hearing about it from one of the News websites (possibly Slashdot). Once I had it running on my system I was pushing to get it installed on all the computers in the University computer lab as they were running 24/7 and I saw that as a wasted opportunity for furthering search for ET. I ran it constantly on my computers till about 2009 post which I switched to running Folding@home which is more focused on Science / DNA sequencing / Medical research. Seti was one of the first Distributed computing systems that I know of and the amount of data processed by computers under its umbrella is staggering.

On March 31, the project will stop sending out new work units to users and the project will instead start focusing on analyzing all the blips identified by volunteers’ machines which could be potential evidence of aliens with an eye on publishing a research paper. Once this is completed they might start pushing out work packages again but that will be a while before it happens.

“It’s a lot of work for us to manage the distributed processing of data. We need to focus on completing the back-end analysis of the results we already have, and writing this up in a scientific journal paper,” their news announcement stated.

Looking forward to reading the research paper and conclusions generated by the Seti@home program.

Source: SETI@home Search for Alien Life Project Shuts Down After 21 Years

– Suramya

March 2, 2020

Another magical AI to detect “Inappropriate photos” and block kids from taking them

Filed under: Computer Software,My Thoughts,News/Articles — Suramya @ 11:50 AM

In today’s iteration of people who don’t want to make the effort of raising their kids and explaining the difference between right & wrong and why something might be a bad idea we have a new “magical” AI that will automatically detect when kids are making a bad choice and stop them. I mean why should a parent make an effort to talk to their kids and help them understand what repercussions of a given choice could be wrong when you have AI to make the effort for them? This new AI is being pitched to parents and has an AI-powered “Smartphone Protection” feature that prevents users from shooting or saving “inappropriate” photos (read: naked pictures).

The official Tone Mobile press release hails the TONE e20 as the world’s first phone with an AI that “regulates inappropriate images” through an AI built into the so-called TONE Camera… If the AI recognizes that the subject of a photo is “inappropriate,” the camera will lock up; and if you somehow manage to snap a photo before the AI kicks in, the phone won’t let you save or share it.

Additionally, a feature called “TONE Family” can be set to send an alert to parents whenever an inappropriate image is detected. According to SoraNews24, this alert will contain location data and a pixelated thumbnail of the photo in question.

I give it about 24 hours from when the phone is released till folks figure out a way around it.

The other issue I have with this system is how its going to classify the pics. The article doesn’t go into technical details of how the AI works and if the classification is done locally or on the cloud. If its on the cloud then every pic taken by that phone is being uploaded to a remote server owned by a 3rd party. This is a massive risk and any breach of that server is going to have a lasting and significant impact. Trust me when I say that this server would be a target of all Black Hat hackers as soon as it goes online.

I am not going to go into whether taking nude pics is a good idea or not. Its upto the people involved to take that decision, I am not responsible for what you do with your phone. If you have to take naughty pics just ensure you follow basic rules and don’t share it with anyone you don’t trust 100%.

In summary, Dear parents: Instead of offloading your responsibilities to AI try having a frank and open conversation with your kids about why certain things might be a bad idea. It will give you better results than this snakeoil.

Source: Slashdot.org

– Suramya

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