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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Spider’s Web

Title: Spider’s Web
Author: Agatha Christie
Main Characters: Clarissa Hailsham–Brown, Henry Hailsham–Brown, Hugo Birch, Sir Rowland Delahaye, Jermy Warrender, Pippa, Eglin, Miss Peake (Mrs. Brown), Oliver Costello, Miranda, Inspector Lord, Constable Jones, Sir John, Mr. Jones (Kalendorff).
Description of one of the main characters: Sir Rowland Delahaye is a distinguished looking man in his early fifties with a charming and cultivated manner. He is highly intelligent. He helps the policemen find out what the truth is.
Whom I like and why: I like Clarissa Hailsham–Brown. She is very imaginative. She does not sulk saying that it’s boring. She makes her environment cheerful and enjoyable. She is very good at creating stories and situations.
Whom I dislike and why: I dislike Jermy Warrender. He is the one who murdred Oliver Costello and Mr. Sellon. He also tries to kill Pippa and Clarissa but the police catch him before he could.
Setting/theme of the story: Clarissa lives in Copplestone Court with her husband, Henry Hailsham-Brown and her step daughter, Pippa. After living in London she is actually bored to be in the countryside. But she always thinks of situations like “what if I find a dead body in the library?” and also tries to think out that she would do in those situations. One day while she is cleaning up the hall, as a main visitor was joining her husband shortly, she finds a dead body behind the sofa. Not knowing what to do and with the help of Uncle Roly (Sir Rowland Delahaye), Hugo Birch and Jermy, she transfers it to a secret passage. They find the dead body to be Oliver Costello’s. Suddenly the police arrive saying that they had got information about a dead body in Copplestone Court. They discover the dead body in the secret passage and start investigating. Clarissia lies to the police, though she did not commit the murder. At last, they all find out that Jermy was the culprit. Clarissa finds out this when Jermy tries to kill Pippa as Pippa had seen Jermy kill Oliver by hitting Oliver with his golf culb. They also find out that Miss Peeke is actually Mrs. Brown. All ends well.
Part I Enjoyed The Most: I enjoyed the part when Clarissa and the three men hide the corpse of Oliver Costello in the secret passage.
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Critical Thinking #8

In the 8th class of the critical thinking course we learnt about evidence. We learnt that  stronger the evidence, more confident the conclusion. There are two types of evidence.
 PRIMARY EVIDENCE – what people see (eye witness), hear (ear witness), etc. They give first hand information.
We also saw what circumstancial evidence is. Circumstantial evidence consists of facts, or circumstances.
We got to know the important part played by corroboration.
Corroboration means agreement. It helps in evaluating evidence.

We also took a look at the credibility, plausibility and reasonable doubt of an evidence.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Critical Thinking #7

English: inductive and deductive reasoning
English: inductive and deductive reasoning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We discussed about the types of logic in the seventh class of the course. Our teacher said that there are two types of logic– inductive logic and deductive logic.

Deductive logic is always valid. It can either be sound or unsound.
Example for a valid but unsound deductive argument :
R1 : All birds can fly.R2 : Penguin is a bird.C : Peguins can fly.
Example for valid and sound deductive logic:
Nothing that is cheap is good.Therefore, nothing that is good is cheap.
Maths is full of deductive logic. In deductive logic one can be always sure that there is 100% validity.

Inductive logic is stating examples and then generalizing it.
Example for inductive logic:
R1: Satellite picture show a cold front moving eastwards across the Canadian coastline 
R2: It moves with a trough of low pressure along its leading edge. 
R3: It will meet up with a large mass of rotaing wind moving across the Atlantic to scooping down from the easterly-winds sweeping down from the artic.
C: Consequently violent stroms can be expected to develop in the north Atlantic in next 24 hours.
Here, we are stating examples and then concluding. We do not know if its 100% valid in inductive logic, though it may be sound.

We learnt the difference between the two.
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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cat Among The Pigeons

Cat Among the Pigeons
Cat Among the Pigeons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Title: Cat Among the Pigeons
Author: Agatha Chirstie
Main Characters: Miss Vanisttart, Miss Bulstrode, Miss Chadwick, Miss Rich, Ann Shapland (Angelica de Toredo), Miss Johnson, Miss Rowan, Miss Blake, Adam Goodman (Ronnie), Colonel Pikeaway, Derek, Inspetor Kelsey, Prince Ali Yusuf, Bob Rawlinson, Mrs. Upjohn, Julia Upjohn and Joan Sutcliffe (Mrs. Sutcliffe), Jennifer Sutcliffe, Briggs, Mr. Robinson, M. Hercule Poirot, Shaista and Madmoiselle Blanche.
Description of one of the main characters : Mrs. Upjohn is the mother of Julia Upjohn. She is an extremely intelligent and clever woman. She has been a secret agent herself and has worked for the 'Intelligence'. She has the talent to identify criminals in a crowd. She is a very strange woman. She exhibits her strangeness by travelling to Anatolia from England in a bus. She is not very rich. She is a cheerful person. She is a keen observer and a quick learner. 
Whom I like and why: I like Julia Upjohn very much. She is just as smart and clever as her mother, Mrs. Upjohn. She has alot of common sense and presence of mind when it comes to a problem. Though everybody knew, including Inspector Kelsey, that somebody tried to exchange Jennnifer's bat and that the first murder happened at the sports pavilion, nobody could put two and two together and arrive at the conclusion, that there must be something hidden in Jennifer’s tennis racquet which was kept in the sport's pavillion, except Julia Upjohn. She is the one of to discover the lost jewels of Prince Ali Yusuf and bring it to the notice of M. Hercule Poirot. These support the fact that Julia Upjohn is the only person, excluding M. Poirot, who pushed the cases of the murders and burglary forward.
Whom I Dislike and Why: I dislike Inspector Kelsey. He is of no use. Although he was telling others that he was trying to solve the mysterious cases, he did nothing but roam around the school questioning everyone uselessly. Only after M. Poirot entered the scene, the cases got cleared up one by one in Poirot’s own way.
Setting/Theme of the story: Prince Ali Yusuf, sensing that he would soon die, entrusts a bag full of precious jewel stones, which the Sheiks have had for centuries, to his personal pilot and best friend, Bob Rowlinson, asking him to somehow transport it to a new and safe place. Bob Rowlinson after racking his brains on how to send it safely somewhere, decides that London is the safest place for it as no one would suspect. Without his sister’s knowledge, he packs it in her bag and sends his sister, Mrs. Sutcliffe, off to London. During the revolution, when Ali Yousuf, the Prince of Ramat, tries to escape with Bob Rawlinson, they hit the mountains of Ramat. The plane crashes and they die. Mrs. Sutcliff hears the news and gets highly upset. She decides to send Jennifer, her daughter, to Meadowbank, a residential school, after a theft attempt in her house.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pikeaway sends a lad named Ronnie to Meadowbawk as Princess Shaita, the neice of Emir Ibrahim and the cousin of late Prince Ali Yusuf, comes to studyat Meadowbank. Ronnie comes with the name of Adam Goodman. He employs himself as the assistant gardener of Meadowbank. 

The summer term begins normally at Meadowbank. There are two new teachers in Meadowbank - Mademoiselle Blanche, a french teacher and Mrs. Springer, the sports incharge. One day, Mrs. Springer gets murdered in the sports pavilion. The police investigate and Inspector Kelsey takes up the ease. During the 1st week and when all the girls could go out with their parents, the Emir plans to pick up Princess Shaista. Shaista get into her Royal Car and speeds off. But later did Meadowbank discover that, that car was not Emir Ibrahim’s and that Shaista has been kidnapped. Most of the parents, afraid to leave their children in Meadowbank any further, take them home. Mrs. Sutcliffe picks up Jennifer. Just before that, Jennifer plays tennis. Jennifer's old racquet did not have correct balance and it, as a whole, was a little misshaped. Knowing this, a woman comes with a new bat, stating that it is a gift from Jennifer’s Aunt, and exchanges the new bat for the old one. Fortunately Jennifer and Julia, who were best friends, had swapped their bats. So, the woman had actually taken off Julia’s bat and Julia still had Jennifer’s. Then after a few weeks Miss Vanisttart gets murdered in the sports pavilion. All of them are puzzled. Why the SPORTS PAVILIAN again? Inspector Kelsey doesn’t understand anything. Smart Julia finds out that there must be something valuable in one of the tennis rackets. She remembered that somebody tried to rob Jennifer’s tennis bat. So, she concludes that there must be something in Jennifer’s tennis racket which was kept in the sport's pavilion. She removes the bottom of the grip of the raquet and finds rich jewels. Realising that she would be the next victim for the murder if she does not go to a private detective she goes to M. Hercule Poirot and hands over the jewels to him, who deposits them safely in a bank.

After a few days Mademoiselle Blanche gets murdered in her room. Miss.Chadwick dies of shock seeing Meadowbank at this state. After all this, Poirot solves these mysterious crimes in his own mysterious way. He finds out that Ann Shapland was the culprit and that she was none other than Angelica de Toreda, a person who has committed many other crimes. Miss.Bulstrode thanks Poirot for solving the cases. She appoints Miss Rich as the next headmistress. 
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Critical Thinking #6

photo credit: http://bit.ly/1cCeT3v
In the sixth class of the critical thinking course, we dealt with assumptions and fallacies. Like the clearly stated reasons, there are also implied reasons which are as important in an argument. They are called assumptions.
Assumptions that have to be made for an argument to work are sometimes called ‘underlying assumptions’. They can also be the missing premise in an argument. It is a premise because it is needed to support the argument. Assumptions can either be opinions or facts.
We also learnt about common fallacies in an argument. Arguments that are unsound are said to contain flaws in the reasoning.
Eg: Beeta passed all her exams without doing any work, so anyone taking exam should stop studying.
This example contains a flaw that makes the conclusion unreliable.
This kind of fallacy is called “generalization”, where we generalize from the particular. Another common type of fallacy is 'composition fallacy'.

Some of the common flaws are :
Ø Arguing from a particular case to a general conclusion
Ø Relying heavily on anecdotal evidence, or past experience
Ø Mistaking a correlation for a cause

There  are many, many more fallacies. We could discuss only this much in one class.