Shared by Tahir Mahmood

People are often curious about my role as a female teacher and speaker in the male-dominated field of “traditional Islam.” [3] “What does a woman scholar-in-residence do?” I am often asked. To the non-Muslim questioner, my role is seen as a bit of a curiosity, especially given the stock, standard media image of the oppressed Muslim woman. To the Muslim questioner, the question goes deeper. For some women, I am a potential role model for their daughters and a mentor to them. For some men, I represent the rare woman in the circles associated with traditional Islam who is willing to speak in public. I am simultaneously called upon to speak for the women in the audience, while defending the Shar’i (Islamic legal) basis for my presence on stage. Event organizers, typically quite gracious, believe that I contribute to the diverse perspectives they hope to offer to audience members. Often the only woman in a lineup that is otherwise exclusively male, I represent, supposedly, a continuation of the tradition of the scholarly Muslim woman.

For more of this article use the following link

Editor: The comments after the article are very interesting.

The Simple Logical Puzzle That Shows How Illogical People Are

Interesting puzzle to solve and see how logical your answer is. Write your answer and logic in reply comments. See article below puzzle ( f. sheikh)

In the 1960s, the English psychologist Peter Wason devised an experiment that would revolutionize his field. This clever puzzle, known as the “Wason selection task,” is oftenclaimed to be “the single most investigated experimental paradigm in the psychology of reasoning,” in the words of one textbook author.

Wason was a funny and clever man and an idiosyncratic thinker. His great insight was to treat reasoning as an enigma, something to scrutinize both critically and playfully. He told his colleagues, for instance, that he would familiarize himself with their work only after doing his own experiments, so as not to bias his own mind. He also said that before running experiments, researchers—quixotically—should never really know exactly why they were doing them. “The purpose of his experiments was not usually to test a hypothesis or theory, but rather to explore the nature of thinking,” a pair of his students wrote in Wason’s obituary. (He died in 2003.) “His aim was to reveal a surprising phenomenon—to show that thinking was not what psychologists including himself had taken it to be.”

The groundbreaking nature of Wason’s selection task may have been a result of his unconventional style. In one version of the task, one subject (always one—he spurned testing subjects in groups) is presented with four cards lying flat on a table, each with a single-digit number on one face and one of two colors on the other. Let’s imagine that you’re Wason’s subject. The first and second cards you see are a five and an eight; the third and fourth cards are blue and green, respectively. Wason liked to chat with his subjects, but he probably didn’t tell them that this logical puzzle was “deceptively easy,”which was how he described it in the paper he would later write, in 1968.

Wason tells you that if a card shows an even number on one face, then its opposite face is blue. Which cards must you turn over in order to test the truth of his proposition, without turning over any unnecessary cards? 

If you got it wrong, keep your spirits up: More than 90 percent of Wason’s subjects erred, too, and in quite a systematic way; the mistakes they made followed a pattern. “I feel very unhappy about my original choice,” a subject once told Wason, “but yes, I would still choose the same ones if I had to do the task again.” In that 1968 paper, titled “Reasoning about a Rule,” he wrote that these were “disquieting” results. The reigning assumption was that humans naturally reasoned analytically, but here was Wason’s subject admitting that, if given the choice, he’d be irrational again. It made Wason wonder: Is it the logical structure of the rules that make the puzzle difficult, or are people tripped up merely by the words with which the puzzle is expressed?

In 1982, a pair of psychologists from the University of Florida, Richard Griggs and James Cox, lent strong support to the idea that the puzzle is hard because of its wording. They reframed the Wason selection task, asking their subjects in one experiment to imagine themselves as police officers in a bar looking for underage drinkers. In this case, rather than the rule being abstract, as with the numbers and colors in the above example, the rule here is utterly social: If a person is drinking beer, then that person must be over 21. Seventy-five percent of subjects nailed the puzzle when it was presented in this way—revealing what researchers now call a “content effect.” How you dress up the task, in other words, determines its difficulty, despite the fact that it involves the same basic challenge: to see if a rule—if P then Q—has been violated. But why should words matter when it’s the same logical structure that’s always underlying them?

Read full article;

Memorial Day-“The letters told an exquisite story—— whose lives were defined and then crushed by the war.”

It was not until three years after her mother died in 1990 that DeRonda Elliott opened the suitcase containing the letters her parents exchanged during World War II.

Despite her mother’s urging, she had never been able to bring herself to read them. It was her parents’ private story. Her father, Frank, had been killed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and afterward her mother seldom spoke of him.

When Elliott, a retired nurse from Durham, N.C., finally examined the correspondence in 1993, she was overwhelmed. The letters told an exquisite story of a romantic young couple whose lives were defined and then crushed by the war.

The letters were so moving that many were later published in American Heritage magazine. President Bill Clinton quoted from one in a speech on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994.

Twenty years later, it seemed fitting to present some of them again as they were printed in American Heritage.

Frank M. Elliott, 23, who had left Georgetown University to join the Army in 1943, wrote from England. His letters are in italic. Pauline “Polly” Elliott, 24, wrote from their home in New Castle, Pa. Their daughter, DeRonda “Dee,” was a toddler.

31 days to D-Day

May 6, 1944

Dearest Darling,

All day I have been fighting the feeling which has been dominating me of late. I keep continually thinking of home and longing for home in the worst way. All your letters of how beautiful my daughter is becoming by the day. The realization that I am missing all these months and years of her formative growth is actually gnawing at my heart. . . .

I love you, Frank

posted by f.sheikh

Did Technological Revolution Delivered Any Economic Benefits?

Interesting article by Economics Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman, who thinks that it is more of overhype and feel good gadgets than noteworthy real economic gains.(f.sheikh)

Everyone knows that we live in an era of incredibly rapid technological change, which is changing everything. But what if what everyone knows is wrong? And I’m not being wildly contrarian here. A growing number of economists, looking at the data on productivity and incomes, are wondering if the technological revolution has been greatly overhyped — and some technologists share their concern.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the techno-revolution. We did not, it turned out, get a sustained return to rapid economic progress. Instead, it was more of a one-time spurt, which sputtered out around a decade ago. Since then, we’ve been living in an era of iPhones and iPads and iDontKnows, but even if you adjust for the effects of financial crisis, growth and trends in income have reverted to the sluggishness that characterized the 1970s and 1980s.

In other words, at this point, the whole digital era, spanning more than four decades, is looking like a disappointment. New technologies have yielded great headlines, but modest economic results. Why?

One possibility is that the numbers are missing the reality, especially the benefits of new products and services. I get a lot of pleasure from technology that lets me watch streamed performances by my favorite musicians, but that doesn’t get counted in G.D.P. Still, new technology is supposed to serve businesses as well as consumers, and should be boosting the production of traditional as well as new goods. The big productivity gains of the period from 1995 to 2005 came largely in things like inventory control, and showed up as much or more in nontechnology businesses like retail as in high-technology industries themselves. Nothing like that is happening now.

Another possibility is that new technologies are more fun than fundamental. Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal, famously remarked that we wanted flying cars but got 140 characters instead. And he’s not alone in suggesting that information technology that excites the Twittering classes may not be a big deal for the economy as a whole.

 Click below to read full article;