Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2014 Contents A33
Monday, May 19, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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The ideal candidate should possess:
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(next to the National Stadium)
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Fax: 868 623-6766
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How are we to take the
withdrawal of support by the
Corporation Sole (the Govt) from
those officials who have been
under heavy scrutiny as relates to
their role in a recent matter at a
government institution of which
they were a part?
Is it the pressure from the
people as one activist claims or is
it part of an electioneering
strategy for 2015 with the
government appearing to listen to
the "voice of the people" as part of
the PM's call for a "national
conversation" and taking the high
road of finally putting perceived
wrongs right, of which the recent
firings of two Ministers are ample
Is this "appearing to listen to the
people" a form of astute
politicking at its best, which if it
takes root, can produce a surprise
result for 2015? Let's face it,
whatever the missteps of this
government it continues to
sustain support on the ground.
The diehards won't be caught
dead voting for Rowley, as much
as those of similar ilk on the other
side won't for the UNC, for
reasons which we all understand,
and among the "liberal-minded"
looking for good governance for
the future, there is little in the
PNM to suggest new faces with
new ideas,away from the same ol',
same ol' for which they would
have been booted out of office.
Again, for some, why change the
government when becoming a
board member or a CEO can be
achieved by simply knowing a high
official in the party, which is also
the thinking of many contractors
or other type beneficiaries who
stand to gain from their
demonstrated loyalty to the
We should not forget also, that
it is the "material" and "tangible"
which count in an election of
which the government has much
to boast, such as "free" social
housing, free travel, free food
stamps, parcels and increased
pensions, and unlimited CEPEP
And on the same continuum, the
"visibility" of the highway
wherever it may reach, the "lights"
at night of the emerging Couva
Children's Hospital, the "tall"
building which the San F'do
teaching Hospital is, are bound to
win nods of approval!
Lest we forget, the politics of
Third World countries such as T&T
has less to do with a rational
evaluation of performance as
against that which pleases the eye
or serves the self and of these this
government has much to feed on!
And if this is seen as merely a way
to impress the grass roots in their
simplemindedness, think of the
impact of the government's high
rating on infrastructure and the
economy on the doubting
intelligentsia which is precisely
what the action of the Corporation
Sole may help to reinforce for
what is more attractive to the
liberal mind than the government
appearing to listen to the voice of
If the government continues to
appear to listen to the voice of the
people by firing a few officials in
high places who are perceived as
corrupt, with the grassroots
already in the bag, who knows the
much touted "one--term
government" may just turn out to
be a misnomer.
Dr Errol Benjamin,
It's Your Write
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The language of science and
technology is mathematics.
Just like in everyday life, if we
are unable to communicate our
thoughts and ideas to others,
they can be neither understood
nor developed; similarly for sci-
ence and technology. So math-
ematics is essential for the
growth and development of
S&T and arguably, the tipping
point in its evolution was the
acceptance of the number zero.
It is rather ironic that the
western world, which rose to
pre-eminence on the strength
of its progress in S&T, initially
refused to accept the concept
of zero, which was put forward
by ancient Indian mathemati-
But scientists and mathe-
maticians are also human and
therefore may display hostility
and recalcitrance to new ideas
that run counter to their reli-
gious and social/historical
norms. In fact, the numeral
system used as a standard
worldwide is based on the one
developed by the Indians,
including the symbols for the
numbers. The Arabs adopted it
and transmitted it to the Euro-
Western science venerates the
Greeks as the fountain source
for scientific thought and
indeed their contributions were
and are invaluable, as also
those from other civilisations.
The Greeks saw numbers in the
context of shapes and areas.
This approach was a practical
one, for mathematics provided
a method for measurements in
the real world, like determining
the areas of plots of lands and
in civil infrastructure.
Naturally the concept of zero
(the area of a point) would not
have much relevance to them.
The mathematics of the Greeks,
useful as it was, limited the
development of mathematics as
we know it today. The numbers
zero and infinity (the inverse of
zero) and operations involving
them did not exist. A com-
pletely new set of thinking and
rules were required.
These were provided by the
Indians. The mathematicians of
ancient India, while they did
utilise geometry, did not view
numbers and arithmetic as
being tied to geometry.
Further, the concepts of zero
and infinity were in existence
for a very long time. A stan-
dard concept in ancient India
was the dissolution of the uni-
verse (matter) into a void (pre-
cursor of the dark hole of
physics). In layman s language,
something/value was reduced
It is well known that the
product of zero and any num-
ber, no matter how large,
results in zero. This
concept/idea was incomprehen-
sible to many but not to the
indians and hence zero and its
operations was naturally incor-
porated into their arithmetic.
The concept of infinity posed
even greater challenges and
hence its absence in arithmetic
prior to its development by the
ancient Indian mathematicians.
To them, infinity was a well-
known and accepted concept.
In the Rg Veda, the age of
which is placed conservatively
at 5,000 years, there is a
mantra that is still chanted
today that says "The invisible is
the Infinite as is the visible.
From the Infinite, the visible
universe of infinite size
emerged. The Infinite remains
the same even though the infi-
nite universe has emerged from
it."This is a verbal representation
of the following standard
mathematical equation: "Infini-
ty minus infinity equals infini-
ty."The Indian mathematicians
gave arithmetic the huge quan-
tum leap it required and pro-
vided the basis for several new
and indispensable branches of
mathematics to emerge. These
include algebra and calculus.
The contributions by Indian
mathematicians through the
introduction of zero to arith-
metic represented a tipping
point in the evolution of math-
This in turn facilitated the
great strides made in our
understanding of the universe
and in developing technology
for the benefit of mankind.
So what is the value of zero?
It must be infinitely large.
WHAT IS THE
VALUE OF ZERO?
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
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