Socrates and the life worth living



Oscar Davis, Bond University
Socrates and the life worth living

Socrates and the life worth living

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Socrates was notoriously annoying. He was likened to a gadfly buzzing around while one is trying to sleep. The Oracle of Delphi declared him the wisest of all human beings. His life and death would go on to shape the history of Western thought.

And yet he proclaimed to know nothing. The genius of Socrates lay in his professed ignorance of what it means to be human.

Socrates (469-399 BCE) grew up in Athens over two and half thousand years ago. At the time, the Athenians were recovering from a devastating war with the Persians. As they rebuilt, the military general and politician, Pericles, championed democracy as the form of government to bring Greece into its Golden Age.

The Athenians practised a direct (as opposed to representative) form of democracy. Any male over the age of 20 was obligated to take part. The officials of the assembly were randomly selected through a lottery process and could make executive pronouncements, such as deciding to go to war or banishing Athenian citizens.

The Athens of Pericles flourished. Bustling crowds of traders from around the Mediterranean gathered at the port of Piraeus. In the Athenian agoras – the central marketplaces and assembly areas – the active social and political lives of the Athenian citizens would inspire the mind of Socrates.

Socrates teaches us that philosophical contemplation prepares us for the good life. The experience of aporia – in all of its discomfort and disruption – is the very catalyst of wonder. The philosopher, the lover of wisdom, is anyone who dares to escape the cave and look upon the sun, anyone who lives for the values Socrates died for.

US blacklists Pakistan firms over nuclear activities



News Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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The Biden administration on Wednesday added 24 companies and other entities to an export control list for supporting Russia’s military or defence industrial base, Pakistan’s nuclear activities or for supplying an Iranian electronics company.

The entities, based in Latvia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore and Switzerland, were added over US national security and foreign policy concerns, the Commerce Department said.

The companies include Fiber Optic Solutions in Latvia, which produces fiber optic gyroscopes and other equipment and Russia’s AO Kraftway Corporation PSC, which calls itself one of the biggest Russian IT companies. The company says it builds and sells a wide range of IT solutions, including hardware manufacturing.

Also on the list are Russian AO Scientific Research Center for Electronic Computing, LLC Fibersense, and Scientific Production Company Optolin, AO PKK Milandr; Milandr EK OOO; Milandr ICC JSC; Milur IS, OOO; (OOO) Microelectronic Production Complex (MPK) Milandr; and Ruselectronics JSC and Swiss based Milur SA.

The Commerce Department also added four trading and supply companies in Singapore for supplying or attempting to supply an Iranian electronics company, Pardazan System Namad Arman (PASNA), that was sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2018.

The Biden administration also added 10 companies in Pakistan and the UAE that it says pose unacceptable risks of using or diverting items for Pakistan's unsafeguarded nuclear activities or are involved Pakistan's "nuclear activities and missile proliferation-related activities".

None of the companies was immediately available for comment. The United States has made muscular use of export controls and the entity list to punish companies over their support of the Russian military and to curb the flow of foreign technology to Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February.3 Suppliers of US goods must seek a special a difficult-to-obtain license before shipping to companies added to the list.

 

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Pakistan: Coal miners suffer terrorism, violence and brutality in Balochistan



News Desk, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Coal miners in Balochistan are suffering from the dangers of insurgency, terrorism, sectarianism, dangerous working environment, along with decades of state-sponsored negligence, discrimination, violence and brutality.

Despite being a mineral-rich province of Pakistan, Balochistan is ignored by the government and the coal miners suffered the most. Miners witnessed workplace accidents as they work in the high-risk zone and seek attention, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) reported.

The International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) is a non-profit, independent, and international think tank headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

The coal miners are subjected to the double-edged sword of cruelty and hazardous working condition causing severe fatalities.

Recently, on November 12, six coal miners were kidnapped from the Mach coalfield in Kachhi district (former name: Bolan District) of Balochistan around 80 km away from the provincial capital city of Quetta.

According to IFFRAS citing sources, a large number of armed men entered the Mach coal field area and kidnapped six people working at different coal mines. The miners, working at mine no. 172.

The coal miners belong to Swat Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. This is not the first incident. Earlier, on June 13, four coal miners were abducted at gunpoint from the Habibullah Coal Company including two engineers, in Hanna Urak, Quetta.

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Jonathan, world's oldest living tortoise, celebrates his 190th birthday



Newsdesk, barta24.com
Photo: Collected

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Jonathan, the Seychelles giant tortoise, is having the biggest animal party this weekend as he prepares to ring his 190th birthday on Sunday in Saint Helena which has been his home since 1822, where the defeated French emperor Napoleon died a year before.

Since the time he came as a gift to the south Atlantic island's governor, Jonathan has garnered a lot of fame and made his place in the Guinness World Records as the oldest living land animal along with the oldest chelonian, which is an order that comprises of terrapins, tortoises and turtles. Living a celebrity life, he was also featured on the reverse side of the local five-pence coin.

Based on shell measurements, it is believed that Jonathan was hatched around 1832 and was brought from Seychelles to the UK overseas territory 50 years later.

“Jonathan’s age is an estimation based on the fact that he was fully mature, and hence at least 50 years old when he arrived in Saint Helena from Seychelles in 1882. In all likelihood, he is even older than we think,” the Guinness World Records notes.

He has been living a comfortable retirement life in Plantation House, which is the St Helena governor's official residence, where different events are being organised all weekend, which includes the issue of a special stamp, to mark his birthday.

The birthday celebrations will end with a "birthday cake", which will be cooked using favourite food items of Jonathan. As per his caretakers, the oldest living tortoise has a special love for lettuce, carrots, pears, cucumber and apples.

In the initial months of 2022, Jonathan was given the title of world's oldest living land animal by the Guinness World Records and in December, he was also mentioned as the oldest tortoise ever.

"When you think, if he was hatched in 1832 - the Georgian era - my goodness, the changes in the world. The world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, and the many governors, kings and queens that have passed, it's quite extraordinary. And he's just been here, enjoying himself,” Jonathan's main care taker and retired veterinarian Joe Hollins said.

Living through such historic world events, the old Jonathan is now covered in wrinkles, has no sense of smell and is blind with cataracts. After his precise birth date remained unknown for so many years, the governor of British overseas territory Nigel Phillips finally took the step of granting him an official birthday on December 4, 1832, in November of this year.

While the residents of Saint Helena continue to pray for Jonathan's long life, the authorities have already planned to preserve the shell of the oldest chelonian for posterity after his demise.

Source: WION

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Receives Padma Bhushan



International Desk, Barta24.com
Google CEO Sundar Pichai Receives Padma Bhushan

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Receives Padma Bhushan

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Sundar Pichai one of the most renowned CEOs in the world has been awarded Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian awards.

India's ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu awarded the civilian award to Google and Alphabet CEO in San Francisco.

Sandhu on Twitter said, "Delighted to hand over Padma Bhushan to CEO @Google& Alphabet @sundarpichai in San Francisco. Sundar's inspirational journey from #Madurai to Mountain View, strengthening India-US economic and technology ties, reaffirms Indian talent`s contribution to global innovation."

After receiving the honorary award, the Google CEO in a blog post expressed his gratitude and thanked Sandhu. According to the blog post, Pichai said he is fortunate to grow up in a family that cherished knowledge. He said that he is blessed to have parents who sacrificed a lot to make sure that he gets opportunities to explore his interests, ANI reported.

Pichai added, "India is a part of me. I carry it wherever I go. (Unlike this beautiful award which I will keep somewhere safe)."

The Google CEO also appreciated Indian PM Modi's Digital India vision, saying that the has certainly been an accelerator in the process. He said that he felt proud of the investment that he had made in the digital vision project. They recently announced an investment of $10 billion in India to make internet access easy and build products for India's unique needs using AI.

Talking about India, he said that out of 24 languages on Google Translator, 8 of them are native to India.

He added, "We're also investing deeply in digital skilling, and have trained over 1 million women through our WomenWill Entrepreneurship Program and over 55,000 teachers in partnership with the government and local organizations. We`ve also sponsored over 100,000 Google Career Certificate sponsorships in collaboration with the NASSCOM Foundation and Tata Strive."

Pichai said that he is looking forward to continuing a great partnership between Google and India.

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