vijay shankar vijay0104 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Aug 10 05:56:39 UTC 2000

Such things do happen. But this brings to mind a nice
quotation from Mark Twain (?)OPENED BY MISTAKE TO SEE
--- Steve Farmer <saf at SAFARMER.COM> wrote: > I
apologize to everyone that by accident yesterday I
> sent a
> private message -- obviously intended for an
> individual
> Indologist, and NOT for the whole List -- to
> everyone in
> Indology. The message counted as my second message
> of the day, so
> I've had to wait 24 hours to post my apology. I
> immediately wrote
> the List Owner to ask him to remove the message from
> the List
> Server, but received an automatic reply that he'll
> be out of the
> office until August 16th.
> The private message had to do with the Rajaram mess.
> I was
> trying to pass on a hunch to the recipient that N.S.
> Rajaram's claims to being "one of America's
> best-known workers in
> Artificial Intelligence and Robotics" for over a
> decade (in the
> 80s) was just as empty as his claims that he and his
> collaborator N. Jha had "deciphered" the Harappan
> script.
> The note was written quickly and was backed by only
> hearsay
> evidence. I would never make such claims publicly
> without
> checking the evidence.
> Now I've done that; my hunch was right. Rajaram's
> boasts that he
> was "one of American's best-known workers in
> Artificial
> Intelligence and Robotics" for over a decade have no
> more
> credibility than his claims about his "horse seal"
> discovery. The
> emptiness of these boasts is noteworthy since it
> shows that Rajaram's twisting of reality go much
> further than his
> manufacturing evidence in his "horse seal" and in
> his Harappan
> "decipherments."
> Those latter claims have already been handily
> debunked. The
> evidence was reviewed at two websites (now linked:
> hit "Reload"
> or "Reset" in your browser) that Prof. Witzel and I
> posted yesterday:
> http://www.safarmer.com/horseseal/update.html
> http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/R&J.htm
> The debunking of Rajaram has been rough, but it is
> fully
> documented and well deserved. Rajaram has made *big*
> claims
> that he and his (and previously unknown)
> collaborator Natwar Jha
> have made "the most significant historical
> achievement of our
> times." N.S. Rajaram's autobiography informs us that
> their
> decipherment of the Indus Valley script "is
> recognized [by whom?]
> as the most important breakthrough of our time in
> the study of
> Indian history and culture."
> Those are hardly trivial claims.
> See this at:
> M. Witzel and I have shown how specious those claims
> are, and have
> highlighted the rightwing politics that motivate
> Rajaram's work.
> Rereading his autobiographical claims yesterday made
> me think how
> *other* boasts made there might lull unsuspecting
> readers into
> thinking that his claims about "cracking" Harappan
> had genuine
> value. Rajaram's autobiography adds:
>   For more than ten years, [Rajaram] was one of
> America's
>   best-known workers in Artificial Intelligence and
>   Robotics. He has been an advisor to several high
>   technology companies in America and Europe. He has
>   also been a consultant to NASA.
> Rajaram may very well have been a contract worker
> for NASA, since
> the Agency has tens of thousands of people who work
> in that
> capacity for NASA subcontractors. (I have a dozen
> friends in that
> category.) But was Rajaram indeed a famous
> researcher at one
> time, who for "more than ten years" was "one of
> America's
> best-known workers in Artificial Intelligence and
> Robotics"? I
> asked my NASA friends who have worked for years in
> artificial
> intelligence and robotics. They had never heard of
> Rajaram. That
> was the hunch that I passed on to the intended
> recipient of my
> message.
> I suggested that I'd check things out further. I did
> that today:
> The hunch was correct. In a word, Rajaram's claim to
> have been a
> famous researcher in AI and robotics is as empty as
> his "horse
> seal" hoax.
> There's no need to take this on my word: Test the
> evidence for
> SCIENCE -- the field's fullest bibliography. It is
> drawn from
> 1200 *separate* bibliographies, and is accessed, on
> the average,
> over 200,000 times a month by researchers in
> computer science. It
> is an amazing resource. (Too bad nothing this
> sophisticated exists in the cultural sciences):
> When you get there, reset "Results" (set by default
> at "Citation"
> in the drop-down list) to "BibTex" to return the
> fullest
> information. Then type "Rajaram" in the search field
> and hit "Search."
> When you get the results, scroll down the other
> "Rajaram" entries
> (other people), just looking for "N. S. Rajaram."
> When you see
> his name, click on it in the link. It will yield
> full entries on
> all of Rajaram's referenced studies in the field.
> You will find bibliographical listings of two minor
> engineering notes:
> (1) A three-pager in SIGSAM Bulletin (an engineering
> bulletin) in
> May, 1980.
> (2) A one-page note in InTech (put out by the
> Instrument Society
> of America) from April, 1987.
> That's it! The bibliographical database might miss
> something, but
> not much. And it NEVER misses anything important. To
> put it
> lightly, these skimpy notes hardly support Rajaram's
> boast that
> "For more than ten years, he was one of America's
> best-known
> workers in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics"!
> These claims are as worthy of a horse-laugh as his
> bogus "horse seal."
> If you want to compare Rajaram work in these fields
> with people
> who in the same decade WERE "America's best-known
> workers in
> Artificial Intelligence and Robotics," type in (in
> the same
> Search Engine) any one of the names I list below.
> These names
> represent a few of the people in these fields whose
> works I've
> read (and I'm *hardly* an expert in artificial
> intelligence).
> Sometimes references will pop up that simply *refer*
> to these
> writers, even though they aren't the authors of the
> cited works.
=== message truncated ===

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