Tuesday October 23, 2018
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Race as a tool to keep people Divided: Will Science break the Shackles?

Race as a concept has been used by humans to divide and create divisions among us for deriving economical and political gains.

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Race: Are We So Different at Chicago History Museum
Race is still a big deal in USA and other parts of the World. Pic by Dr. Munish Raizada taken at the Race exhibition at Chicago History Museum. November 2017
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Chicago:

Last week I along with my family went to see an exhibit on Race that is being currently held at Chicago History Museum until July 2018. Developed by American Anthropological Association (AAA), theme of the exhibit is: “Race: Are We So Different?”

The answer is: No, we are not!

There is only one human race, and that is Homo Sapiens.

There are no sub-races in humans. We all humans constitute one race, despite the differences in our colors and contours, morphological features. The latter are largely explained by science.

However, it goes with out saying that Race as a concept has been used  by us to divide and create divisions among us for deriving economical and political gains. In the name of superior Vs inferior race, people have been subjugated, persecuted and killed. History tells us that, genocides have been carried out, citing the basis of race.

Whereas science and anthropological studies have solidified that we the current or Modern human species (Homo sapiens) are all descendants of our forefathers originating from Africa. Evidence shows that about 60,000 years ago, some of our African ancestors (therefore Blacks) started spreading out to other parts of world. Some reached Asia (including India) and others of course to Eurasia and the current Western hemisphere.This implies that we all form one race, called Human Race.

Exhibition on Race at Chicago History Museum
We might look different, but are we so different? This is the theme of the exhibit on Race being held at Chicago History Museum. Pic taken by Dr Munish Raizada Nov 19,2017

This anthropological facts backed increasingly with sophisticated genetics tools accessible now will change our understanding more and more in coming years. Indian nationalists will also be for a shock because their premise of preserving Indians as a very special civilization that uniquely originated in India will be difficult to maintain as the scientific concepts reach to the the public in more easy- to- understand style.

The scientific fact about race makes many people uncomfortable. Because this is a strong antidote to the man-made idea of Race. Historically, Race and color have been used to create power structures and inequalities within human societies. In the game of black and white, many find it hard to digest when confronted with the idea that their forefathers were blacks (coming from Africa).

Now, let us apply this fact to religion. The latter is also a man made concept. Religion (in contrast to spirituality) though seemingly a unifier, has historically played a mixed role. It has molded civilizations after civilizations, but no one will deny that much of the bloodshed, conflict and violence has emanated from the womb of religion.

Despite all this, we are living in exciting times of science and technology. The marvels of science are exploding at an unprecedented speed. The research into medicine, human genome project, human brain project, space and quantum or particle physics are already enhancing our understanding of ourselves and the Universe in a manner unknown previously. Through research into consciousness and ageing, humanity will see new victories in years and decades to come.

The rapid emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will catapult the World – for better or Worse, ‘God” only knows! But, I will agree with what Stephen Hawkins is saying: It is time for the humans to move to other planets before AI starts consuming or replacing humans.

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Testing Of Self-Driving School Bus Halted In Florida, USA

French utility Veolia agreed to sell its 30 percent stake in Transdev to Germany's Rethmann Group.

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transdev
FILE - The headquarters of French international public transport company Transdev is seen in Issy-les-Moulineaux. VOA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday said it had ordered Transdev North America to immediately stop transporting schoolchildren in Florida in a driverless shuttle as the testing could be putting them at “inappropriate” risk.

The auto safety agency known as NHTSA said in an order issued late Friday that Transdev’s use of its EZ10 Generation II driverless shuttle in the Babcock Ranch community in southwest Florida was “unlawful and in violation of the company’s temporary importation authorization.”

“Innovation must not come at the risk of public safety,” said Deputy NHTSA Administrator Heidi King in a statement.

Transdev
Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is now rolling out the service in San Francisco. (Uber), VOA

“Using a non-compliant test vehicle to transport children is irresponsible, inappropriate, and in direct violation of the terms of Transdev’s approved test project.”

In March, NHTSA granted Transdev permission to temporarily import the driverless shuttle for testing and demonstration purposes, but not as a school bus.

The agency said the company had agreed to halt the tests. A spokeswoman for Transdev did not respond to several requests for comment Monday.

Transdev North America is a unit of Transdev, which is controlled by France state-owned investment fund Caisse des Depots et Consignations.

The company in August issued a news release saying it would “operate school shuttle service starting this fall with an autonomous vehicle, the first in the world.”

Transdev
Self Driving Car, Google

Transdev said the 12-person shuttle bus would operate from a designated pickup area with a safety attendant on board, would travel at a top speed of 8 miles per hour (13 kph), with the potential to reach speeds of 30 mph (48 kph) once additional infrastructure was completed.

There are numerous low-speed self-driving shuttles being tested in cities around the United States with many others planned.

NHTSA previously said it was moving ahead with plans to revise safety rules that bar fully self-driving cars from the roads without equipment such as steering wheels, pedals and mirrors as the agency works to advance driverless vehicles. The agency has said it opposes proposals to require ‘pre-approving’ self-driving technologies before they are tested.

Also Read: LG Signs Deal For Developing Self-Driving Modules For Mobile Robots

NHTSA told Transdev that failure to take appropriate action could result in fines, the voiding of the temporary importation authorization or the exportation of the vehicle.

Earlier this month, French utility Veolia agreed to sell its 30 percent stake in Transdev to Germany’s Rethmann Group. (VOA)