Friday, December 21, 2007

(240) Q+A

At 10:46 a.m. on September 25th 2007 I contributed, as Parsifal, to this thread


at the General Chat section of the forum.

imyaman Posted: Sep 25, 2007 7:34 am
Recently, I saw a discussion prog on TV, relating so called global warming to consumption. Thats the fart of a cow contained more CO2 than your cars emission for one day not to mention all nuclear explosions & wat effect they've had etc. That these new criteria were being put down to consumption by an ever increasing population world wide demanding more from a finite resourse, there was something that came to mind viz our animal kingdom. That is survival. Races, species, plants etc all become extinct if they dont adapt & have new species or survival of those that can adapt to new environmental conditions. If this were the case, why get involved in other countries problems who have failed to adapt? Should we be sending missionaries etc or leavce to their own way????

Parsifal Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:47 am
Adapting as part of survival is not an observed fact; it is a supposition prioduced by Darwinists to support their creation myth.
But then there are NO other observed facts to support the Darwinian theory.
The simplest of all organisms is, of course, one cell.
Monocellular bacteria survive ANYWHERE on Earth; in the Sahara, the arctic, the Himalayas, the ocean depths.
The idea that the blue whale, the aardvark or the human being are each adapted to suit their niche and have evolved to fit those is just nonsense.
But then, all of the rest of Darwinism is nonsense too. Harmless nonsense...

kevin tyler Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:23 am
you keep going on that darwin was wrong james, what is your theory? i like the theory that all human life began in africa, and that if it wasnt for differing doses of sunshine and migration to warmer and colder climes, we would all be the same size shape and colour.

Parsifal Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:46 am
Fair enough, Kevin: i think Darwinism is a specious but ultimately baseless creation myth.
What is advanced to support it looks like evidence, but collapses when subjected to critique.
The only alternative explanation ever advanced - and one to which I personally subscribe - is that God went ZAP!
But, since there are an enormous number of problems with that idea, too, and since I don´t greatly care, and since Richard Dawkins is absolutely right in claiming that it ought to be possible for an omnipotent God to do His own proving of His existence, I do not get my knickers in a twist about people believing in silly Darwinist ideas.
It´s the other extreme who suppress people because of their gender or sexuality or who fly aircraft deliberately into buildings, and they are the ones who ought to concern us.
Not the harmless Darwinists.
I do get worked up about misczrriages of legal justice, such as the conviction of the Millionaire Three. MIsassessments of scientific evidence trouble me far less, Kev

I then went into an adjacent room and saw that a book I had ordered had just arrived in the mail.
It was Q+A by Vikas Swarup,,GGLJ:2006-38,GGLJ:es&q=Q%2bA+book+Vikas+Swarup

and I had been moved to buy it by a reference to its being the source of the screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire (see Entry 238).

On reading the book I was struck by certain coincidences it contained.

For instance:

a) It begins with a man relating how he has been incorrectly arrested for winning the top prize on a TV quiz show.

I, almost single-handedly, had championed the defence of Charles Ingram, who was also incorrectly arrested (and indeed convicted) for winning the top prize on such a show.
The format of this quiz is almost identical to that of the modern Who Wants To Be A Millionare?, in that Millionaire? had recently altered so that now only 12 correct answers to questions, as opposed to the previous 15, were needed to win the top prize.
The show in the book was also one of 12 questions to the Billion Rupees top prize.

b) The contestant was able to answer those questions not through book learning but rather via events and coincidences he has undergone. It is success founded upon such empiricism which arouses the suspicions of the programme makers.

I myself was only able to answer my 8th question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? -

In what county are the standing stones of Avebury? -

through having them pointed out to me by Bob Woffinden when misdirecting him back to the M4 after our visit to Charles and Diana Ingram in September 2005.
(See Entry 224).

c) The central character of Q+A, Ram Mohammed Thomas, is helped out with the answer to his second question by the host, who explains that it would not look great if a competitor were to go home empty handed.

In the same week as I read that I also read, at , that Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi of pop group Status Quo, had just been given a second bite of the cherry after having given an incorrect answer to a chess question, when playing for charity on WWTBAM?.

Their 500 Pounds question was -,,2203257,00.html

d) The Apollo 13 theme
My own appearance on Millionaire? is detailed in Entry 224, where I also write of how my inability to get a video of Apollo 13 to play a couple of months before the show was what prevented me from being able to answer my £500,000 question.
Incidentally, the very fact that I was trying to watch the video was something of a misdemeanour on my part, as my wife and son had gone out for the day to an area 30 miles or so to the south to which we had aspirations to move in the event of my winning a good sum, and where indeed we were to move the following year.

I was supposed to be left to do general knowledge study for the show.

But instead, with characteristic laziness, I decided to just watch a video.

In Q+A there is a reference to Apollo 13, e.g. on page 87 -

´Just then the central spotlight goes out, plunging me and Prem Kumar into darkness.
"Oops! Houston we have a problem," says Prem Kumar. The audience laughs. I don´t get the joke.
"What did you just say?" I ask Prem Kumar.
"Oh, that is a famous line from the film Apollo Thirteen. I am sure you don´t see English films.
You use this line when you suddenly have a major problem, and we do have a major problem here. The show cannot proceed till we fix the spotlight." ´

But the line was not initially one from the film: it was a real statement, actually spoken from the stricken spacecraft, on April THIRTEENTH 1970.

It was later included in the screenplay.

It emerges that the show´s makers now want Ram out, and the host whispers to him that this next question will be unanswerable for a mere "waiter" like himself.
But, via an earlier event in his life, he is able to answer that ´Pluto´ is the smallest planet in the solar system.

I was stopped by an astronomical question (see Entry 224).

I note also that, re lights going out in the novel, they did go out, both in the home of the Phone-A-Friend and in the studio, when I appeared as a contestant in 2000 (see Entry 170).

And then right at the book´s end, in the chapter headed The Thirteenth Question, as Ram susses that there are going to be snags apropos his getting the billion rupees he just won, he observes

Houston, I think we have a problem.

The reason that there is a thirteenth question is that the makers of the show have attempted to con the player by first telling him the answer to the twelth and last question, and then making out that it was a dummy question.

I also answered thirteen questions.

In the quizzing community of the UK, those who won 250,000 Pounds on Millionaire are sometimes termed members of the ´Thirteen Club´.
And, as seven people had won 500,000 Pounds on the show prior to my win, and four had legitimately won the million, that made me supposedly the twelth highest prizewinner up to that point.
But, as many entries in this Blog make clear, I believed that Major Charles Ingram had won the million Pounds prize fairly.
So, if Ingram were innocent, then I was actually the Thirteenth highest prize winner ever.

Later in 2006 , of course, I would become formally acknowledged as the Thirteenth highest prize winner when someone else won the Million: INGRAM Wilcox.
And there is also this Apollo link, which brought Jon Ronson to write his piece for The Guardian of April 19th 2003 -

... when Major Charles Ingram, his wife Diana and... Tecwen Whittock, were charged with attempting to cheat... Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?... , my mother called me to say, "You know them! You were at school with... Diana Ingram's brothers, Adrian and Marcus Pollock," she said. "You must remember Diana Pollock..."
The next day it dawned on me that this was an in money couldn't buy...
Still, it was odd. Diana, Adrian and Marcus Pollock attended the same synagogue I did. They were well-to-do in an ordinary way. What happened to them? I did, in fact, have some vague memory, some Pollock-related to-do that rocked the local Jewish community when I was about 10. It was something to do with a car with the number plate APOLLO G and the manufacture of watch straps. But I couldn' remember anything more than that, and neither could my mother. I decided to attend the trial at Southwark crown court.

There are the tie-in links noted here in Entry 213 -
Lawrence Garman... e mail...

-James, I learn that, by way of an extraordinary coincidence that the trial Judge of the millionaire three, Jeffery Rivlin ,is first cousin and close personal friend of none other than Charlie Gale. In fact I recall getting some feedback on this from Charlie the day prior to the verdict, Rgds, L.

Charles Gale was a Londoner we had both known for years....

... On December 3rd 2004, Bob Woffinden visited the Ingrams again in their Wiltshire home. This time Diana´s brother, Adrian Pollock, was also present.Another link to the judge came out, and on December 7th Bob e mailed me, mentioning -It was confirmed (don’t know if you know this) that the Pollock family & the Rivlin family (i.e. the trial judge) used to attend the same synagogue in Cardiff.

e) Q+A is related in the first person.
Despite considerable pressure from myself and Woffinden to be co-authors with him on a book examining his false arrest and conviction, Charles Ingram had rejected the triumvirate and insisted that he alone write the exposition.
This was now, he said, to appear circa September 2008 entitled Major Injustice.
And that would be approximately the release date for the film of Q+A: Slumdog Millionaire.

(In fact his book had not appeared by then, and new legislation brought in in 2009 meant that it would have been difficult for him to have kept any income derived from such a book.)

f) The Goldilocks value
I had chosen the same access code for both my Bank accounts, e.g. my Deutsche Bank and National Westminster cards: 0007.
It was a jokey and easy to recall variant on James Bond´s ID.

When reading the book in late September 2007 I noted that in Chapter Five this same 4 numeral security sequence, 0007, is cited. Here it is the one to be entered in a home to silence an alarm should it accidentally go off.

On March 26th 2007 I commenced internet Banking with Deutsche Bank, and as my password took the usual: 0007.
(Would-be thieves despair: I have since altered all!)

A day or two later, as I was carrying on ploughing through my wife´s Christmas gift copy of Richard Dawkins´ The God Delusion, I came across references to the significance of 0007.

On page 113 begins Chapter Four which Dawkins heads Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.
He gives the sub-heading The Cosmological Anthropic Principle.

On page 141 there is the sub-heading The Anthropic Principle: Cosmological Version.

Here he writes of the "fine tuning" of the universe, i.e. how suited it is for life, but then invokes the celebrated Anthropic Principle as a way of dismissing the argument that these so precise conditions indicate a Divine hand.

"Physicists have calculated that, if the laws and constants of physics had been even slightly different, the universe would have developed in such a way that life would have been impossible...
Martin Rees, in Just Six Numbers, lists six fundamental constants, which are believed to hold all around the universe. Each of these six numbers is finely tuned in the sense that, if it were slightly different, the universe would be comprehensively different and presumably unfriendly to life.

An example of Rees´s six numbers is the magnitude of the so-called ´strong´ force, the force that binds the components of an atomic nucleus: the nuclear force that has to be overcome when one ´splits´ the atom. It is measued as E, the proportion of the mass of a hydrogen nucleus that is converted to energy when hydrogen fuses to form helium. The value of this number in our universe is 0.007, and it looks as though it had to be very close to this value in order for any chemistry (which is a prerequisite for life) to exist."
... ... ...
"If the strong force were too small, say 0.006 instead of 0.007, the universe would contain nothing but hydrogen, and no interesting chemistry could result. If it were too large, say 0.008, all the hydrogen would have fused to make heavier elements. A chemistry without hydrogen would not generate life as we know it. For one thing, there would be no water." The Goldilocks value - 0.007 - is just right for yielding the richness of elements that we need for an interesting and life-supporting chemistry. ....

I may have heard of Rees´ book, but I certainly had not read any of it.
g) There was also a coincidence that links with my screenplay involving the use of something akin to the Phone A Friend lifeline of Millionaire?.
In the penultimate chapter, Ram Mohammed Thomas seeks the answer to this question: -
The character Costard appears in which of Shakespeare´s plays?

The four options are -

a) King Lear b) The Merchant of Venice c) Love´s Labours Lost d) Othello
He is stumped, but then, whilst nervously fumbling in a pocket, chances upon the card of a teacher of English to whom he had given money to pay for a life saving operation for his child.

He calls him and is told the answer must be either King Lear or Love´s Labours Lost, and the latter is advocated.

Ram goes for it and is right.
My screenplay Games of Skill, written in 2003, also contains a similar crucial plot twist in Scene Fifty.
(It may be viewed at the beginning of this Blog.)
There too it is a big money question involving a correct Shakespearian identification and The Merchant Of Venice, although there a quote.
The player, Stan Bassany, finds himself talking to the mafioso whom he must pay off that evening through his wife´s mixing up the cards with the names of the friends he may call.
I sent copies of Games of Skill to various people before Q+A was published.
Charles Ingram, Bob Woffinden and Colin Watkeys were all unable to trace my e mail of it on their computer records.
But Watkeys is prepared to go on record that he definitely remembers the device of the hoodlum´s card being produced by accident in my script when he received it in 2003.
I contacted Watkeys in his role as literay agent, hoping he might want to punt the script.
The theme of The Merchant of Venice deliberately permeates my script in e.g. the names of the characters.
The central figure, Stan Bassany, has a name inspired by Bassanio, the character in Shakespeare´s play who is lent money for the winning of the hand of the fair Portia by the unfortunate merchant, Antonio.
It will be the inability to repay a loan on time that - nearly - costs Antonio his life.
Just as in my script.
I gave the show´s host the surname Court, because of the theme of the reversal of a miscarriage of justice.
And the theme of The Merchant of Venice had already appeared, and will persist, in the name of the Ingrams´ daughter; Portia.
And the very genesis of Games of Skill stemmed from my wife recommending that I write something about my first two (unsuccessful) Millionaire? appearances.
Hence my screenplay.

h) There are also parallels between the escape from threatening criminals in my screenplay, Games of Skill, - which I wrote in 2003 in the unpleasant Spanish urbanisation of Amapolas 3 - and how we would come to escape the real life criminals of Amapolas 3.
We had been subjected to various threats and acts of vandalism, including slashings of the car´s tyres, and were desperate to get away from so vile an environment and neighbours.
Just as in my screenplay, it was a big win on WWTBAM? that did the trick.

i) My first version of my essay defending Charles Ingram, Playing The Game, was posted at , see -

where I pop in with what were my first ever contributions to any thread towards the end of p.4.
Right from this first sally, I was concluding with the codicil that Celador ought to be preparing a different ending for their projected film.

Indeed that final line has persisted through all amendments to the essay.
So you may, if you wish, track the evolution of my arguments and of my essay.
And that this has now, in a very real sense, come to pass in the form of the film Slumdog Millionaire, which commenced shooting in November 2007 funded by Channel 4 and Celador.

This although Celador had by then sold the rights of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

In that film, based on Q+A, the winner of the top prize is accused of cheating but is ultimately exonerated.
The film with the cheat having a happy ending, "a Love Story", as director Danny Boyle describes it,
has, of all parties, Celador partly funding it.

So, ultimately, Celador Films DID make a film about someone accused of cheating his way to the top prize on WWTBAM?, but this time with a happy ending.

Just as I advised them to do in my essay in defence of The Millionaire Three, right from its earliest drafts of October 2003.

And the author of Q+A, Vikas Swarup, said he was inspred by the story of Charles Ingram.
j) The signature which imyaman attached to his forum posts appends the one which begins this Entry.
It seems remarkably apposite.
It reads -

I want to know the number of QA tests done b4 writing the Kharma Sutra
... ... ...

In conclusion, I might note a rounding out of the theme of anti-Darwinism in that I had earlier been in comunication with Colin Watkeys in 1997 in his role as agent for Ken Campbell when trying to get something anti-Darwinian on TV.
Campbell had already presented several offbeat TV science shows, and expressed interest in my idea, but our pitches to TV Channels met with little enthusiasm.


Merkin said...

Do you have anything definitive on the Ingram case? - some sort of summary would do.

Having read Q&A (and being mightily impressed) some further background would be helpful.

A couple of extra bits of coincidence.

I have a very good friend who now lives in South America.

We got friendly though a love of chess, at a low level, over 30 years ago.

At that time we were also fans of Hermann Hesse and his views on 'like minds finding like minds'.

Smaller and smaller circles do not ever surprise me and Q&A struck a chord for that reason.

James said...

See .