Ask A Question

On 12/15/2014, the Editor of the Month asked the following 4 questions.

I agree with Marwan Majzoob that it is important discussion and in order
to make discussion more fruitful, I hope we avoid personal jabs. In order
to keep discussion focused, I have posed few questions. I would appreciate
the response.

1-Question for Marwan Majzoob; What do you think why the Renaissance was
limited to Western hemisphere and bypassed not just Muslim lands but much
of the rest of the world also?

2- Question for Babar Mustafa (A) Let us assume ruthless force is the
answer to enforce separation of State and Church. What are the chances of
getting another Ataturk in rest of Muslim lands, when history tells us
that most of the time selfish dictators grab power for personal interests
and it nourishes further extremism? (B) What is wrong with following the
example of Tunisia, Indonesia etc who have found their own unique way to
separate  state and religion and move forward?

3-Qusetion for Zaki Sabih; What do you think USA will accomplish in its
fight with ISIS and what is the right course in ISIS and Syria problem.

4- Question for-Aziz Amin- Do you think Secularism and separation of State
and Church will be the answer to Muslim’s current plight.

All participants, especially Noor Salik, Mirza Ashraf,Wequar Azeem,  Shoeb
Amin, Suhail Rizvi, Nasik, Aijaz, Mumtaz, Mian Aslam  can jump in and take
a shot at any question. Please avoid personal jabs. Thanks

Subsequently, the thread was closed by the editors.
These questions are important questions.
Will it be possible that these questions are posted  in ASK A QUESTION category?


Tunisia Wins Again! NYT

Few weeks ago Tunisia’s secular party, Nidaa Tounes, defeated Islamist Party, Ennahda , in Parliamentary elections. Few days ago secular candidate won Presidential elction. The power has been peacefully transferred from the Islamist party to secular party. The solution to deal with islamist parties ,who want to bring Sharia Laws ,is to defeat them in the polls and not shut them out of the process by force. Following is editorial from NYT. ( F. Sheikh)

With the election of its first freely chosen president, Tunisia has taken another important step on its post-Arab Spring transition toward democracy. Although the country faces many difficult challenges, it remains a symbol of hope and sanity in a region consumed by chaos and dominated by authoritarian governments.

The winner, Beji Caid Essebsi, is an 88-year-old former government official and leader of the secular, anti-Islamist party Nidaa Tounes. Mr. Essebsi received 55.68 percent of the vote, while Moncef Marzouki, the interim president, received 44.32 percent.

Mr. Essebsi served as interior minister under Tunisia’s repressive first president, Habib Bourguiba, and as speaker of Parliament under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted in the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. During the campaign, he promoted himself as an establishment figure whose experience could help ensure Tunisia’s security. Mr. Marzouki, a former human rights advocate, embodied the ideals and fervor of the revolution.

After the results were announced on Monday, Mr. Marzouki conceded defeat, and Mr. Essebsi made a speech in which he thanked his rival and promised to “work together without excluding anyone.” Mr. Essebsi also praised the people who took part and died in the 2011 revolution. The importance of such gestures cannot be underestimated; in many countries, stolen ballots, bitterly contested outcomes and hostility toward political adversaries are all too common.

American officials and experts who know Mr. Essebsi expect him to be an inclusive leader who will work to advance liberal goals like women’s rights and education.

While he will have to satisfy his secular, Western-oriented supporters, one of Mr. Essebsi’s biggest challenges will be cooperating with Ennahda, the country’s Islamist party, which has worked hard to prove that Islam and democracy can coexist.


10 Top Science Longreads Of 2014 ; Ed Yong

Every year, I pick my favourite science features—or ‘longreads’, as they have been rebranded as—from the previous 12 months. It’s always hard. Despite much hand-wringing about how the internet is killing journalism/reading/attention/civilisation, I see a constant stream of great long pieces, written by writers who are at the top of their game, and published by organisations willing to pay well. So, without further ado, here are my favourite dozen from the year, and a dozen more runners-up. In no particular order:


1) One of a Kind, by Seth Mnookin, for The New Yorker. A magnificently told, and often heartbreaking, story about a family trying to solve their son’s unique genetic mystery.

“That fall, Bertrand was rushed to the emergency room after suffering a series of life-threatening seizures. When the technicians tried to start an I.V., they found Bertrand’s veins so scarred from months of blood draws that they were unable to insert a needle. Later that evening, when Cristina was alone with Matt, she broke down in tears. “What have we done to our child?” she said. “How many things can we put him through?” As one obscure genetic condition after another was ruled out, the Mights began to wonder whether they would ever learn the cause of their son’s agony. What if Bertrand was suffering from a disorder that was not just extremely rare but entirely unknown to science?”

2) How “Titanic” is helping a South Pacific tribe understand why their island is disappearing, by Brooke Jarvis, for Matter. In this beautiful, moving piece, Jarvis meets the people most affected by climate change.

“A large, brown bone washed against my calf. At first I thought it belonged to some sort of marine mammal, maybe a dugong, and picked it up. But then I saw what was clearly a human jaw, five teeth still embedded in the bone, in the water next to me. I stared at the bone in my hand, shocked to realize that I was gripping a person’s femur. Once I started to see them, it seemed there were bones everywhere. Vertebrae swirled around my feet.”

3) Arrested development, by Virginia Hughes, for Mosaic. This is an amazing story about girls who seem stuck in permanent infancy, and a scientist’s quixotic (and possibly futile) quest to study them. It’s a textbook example of covering uncertain science, with a protagonist who is fascinatingly painted but never glorified as an iconoclast. “Science is often too slow, and life too fast.”

“Walker, now 74, believes that the key to ending ageing may lie in a rare disease that doesn’t even have a real name, “syndrome X”. He has identified four girls with this condition, marked by what seems to be a permanent state of infancy, a dramatic developmental arrest. He suspects that the disease is caused by a glitch somewhere in the girls’ DNA. His quest for immortality depends on finding it.”

4) How mistakes can save lives: one man’s mission to revolutionise the NHS, by Ian Leslie, for New Statesman. An utterly compelling story of the cost of medical mistakes, and how we might fix them.

“Martin Bromiley is a modest man with an immodest ambition: to change the way medicine is practised in the UK… Bromiley doesn’t fit with our preconceived ideas of a natural leader. He speaks with a soft voice. He doesn’t command your attention, though you find yourself giving it. Neither is he a doctor, or a health professional of any kind. Bromiley is an airline pilot. He is also a family man, with a terrible story to tell.”

5) Reared by puppets, by Lizzie Wade, for Aeon. A fantastic piece about the stewards of condor—people who are saving endangered birds using hand puppets—and whether their approach causes more problems than it solves. (Aeon)

“The condors wouldn’t leave Les Reid alone. In the late 1990s, a pack of them regularly showed up at his house in Pine Mountain Club, California, a small community northwest of Los Angeles. They clambered around on his roof, making a racket. They perched, one by one, on his large patio umbrella, seeming to enjoy the slow slide down its slippery surface and onto the deck below. Once, Reid, a former member of the Sierra Club’s board of directors, came home to find that eight young condors had ripped a hole in his screen door and were enthusiastically tearing apart his mattress. When he’d walked in on them, one of the birds had a pair of his underwear dangling from its beak.”

 Posted by F. Sheikh


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