Nergis Mavalvala: The Karachiite who went on to detect Einstein’s gravitational waves

The article rightly lauds the achievements and key role of the Karachi native Nergis Mavalvala in providing validation for a key aspect of Einstein's theory of relativity.  
Regretably there are so many talented people floundering in Pakistan  because of the failing educational system.    

Nasik Elahi

145 Writers Boycott PEN Courage Award To Charlie Hebdo

PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award was given to Charlie Hebdo instead of Snowden and Greenberg on disclosing NASA activities. The protesting writers wrote the following letter. The boycott started with six writes but has reached to about 145 by end of April. ( F. Sheikh )

Dear colleague,

If you are in sympathy with the following statement from some of your fellow members of PEN, please reply, and your name will be added to the list of signatories.

Thank you.

April 26, 2015

In March it was announced that the PEN Literary Gala, to be held May 5th 2015, would honor the magazine Charlie Hebdo with the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award in response to the January 7 attacks that claimed the lives of many members of its editorial staff.

It is clear and inarguable that the murder of a dozen people in the Charlie Hebdo offices is sickening and tragic. What is neither clear nor inarguable is the decision to confer an award for courageous freedom of expression on Charlie Hebdo, or what criteria, exactly, were used to make that decision.

We do not believe in censoring expression. An expression of views, however disagreeable, is certainly not to be answered by violence or murder.

However, there is a critical difference between staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons were characterized as satire and “equal opportunity offense,” and the magazine seems to be entirely sincere in its anarchic expressions of disdain toward organized religion. But in an unequal society, equal opportunity offense does not have an equal effect.

Power and prestige are elements that must be recognized in considering almost any form of discourse, including satire. The inequities between the person holding the pen and the subject fixed on paper by that pen cannot, and must not, be ignored.

To the section of the French population that is already marginalized, embattled, and victimized, a population that is shaped by the legacy of France’s various colonial enterprises, and that contains a large percentage of devout Muslims, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet must be seen as being intended to cause further humiliation and suffering.

Our concern is that, by bestowing the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award on Charlie Hebdo, PEN is not simply conveying support for freedom of expression, but also valorizing selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world.

In our view, PEN America could have chosen to confer its PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award upon any of a number of journalists and whistleblowers who have risked, and sometimes lost, their freedom (and even their lives) in service of the greater good.

PEN is an essential organization in the global battle for freedom of expression. It is therefore disheartening to see that PEN America has chosen to honor the work and mission of Charlie Hebdo above those who not only exemplify the principles of free expression, but whose courage, even when provocative and discomfiting, has also been pointedly exercised for the good of humanity.

We the undersigned, as writers, thinkers, and members of PEN, therefore respectfully wish to disassociate ourselves from PEN America’s decision to give the 2015 Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo.

 Click link below to read interesting inside story.

The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein online

The Digital Einstein Papers is an exciting new free, open-access website that puts The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein online for the very first time, bringing the writings of the twentieth century’s most influential scientist to a wider audience than ever before. This unique, authoritative resource provides full public access to the complete transcribed, annotated, and translated contents of each print volume of The Collected Papers. The volumes are published by Princeton University Press, sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and supported by the California Institute of Technology. The Digital Einstein—launched in December 2014 with the contents of Volumes 1–13 of The Collected Papers, covering the first forty-four years of Einstein’s life, up to and including the award of the Nobel prize in physics and his long voyage to the Far East. The contents of each new volume will be added to the website approximately eighteen months after print publication. Eventually, the website will provide access to all of Einstein’s writings and correspondence accompanied by scholarly annotation and apparatus, which are expected to fill thirty volumes.

The Digital Einstein Papers features advanced search technology and allows users to easily navigate between the original languages in which the texts were written and their English translation, as well as extensive explanatory footnotes and introductory essays. The website also contains links to the Einstein Archives Online, where there are thousands of high-quality digital images of Einstein’s writings.

The Digital Einstein Papers:

  • Is an exciting new free, open-access website that puts The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein online for the very first time
  • Launched in December 2014 with the complete contents of Volumes 1–13 of The Collected Papers
  • Includes scientific writings and correspondence, nonscientific writings, family letters, notebooks, lectures, and travel diaries Features advanced search technology and easy navigation
  • Contains links to the Einstein Archives Online—
  • Is built on an innovative digital publishing platform from Tizra, ensuring long-term reliability and up-to-date technology

More about The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein:

The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science. Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in Einstein’s personal collection, and 15,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Project, The Collected Papers provides the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein’s first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament. When completed, the series will contain more than 14,000 documents as full text and will fill thirty volumes.

Posted by F. Sheikh


64 Public Figures, 7 Nobel Laureates, Call for Arms Embargo on Israel

64 Public Figures, 7 Nobel Laureates, Call for Arms Embargo on Israel

Tutu, Chomsky, Waters, Pappe, others accuse country of  ‘war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.’

[Published in Haaretz July 20, 2014]

July 20, 2014 “ICH” – “Haaretz” – – – Sixty-four public figures, including seven Nobel Peace Prize winners, have called for an international arms embargo on Israel for its “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity” in Gaza. The statement came in a letter published in Britain’s The Guardian on Friday.

“Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world,” read the statement.

“We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid,” the letter concluded.

Among the signators were Nobel peace laureates Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Jody Williams, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Mairead Maguire and Rigoberto Menchu.

Also signing were academics Noam Chomsky and Rashid Khalidi, filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno, writers Alice Walker and Caryl Churchill, and journalists John Pilger and Chris Hedges. Two Israelis, academics Ilan Pappe and Nurit Peled, signed the letter as well.

Posted by F. Sheikh