Friday, August 21, 2009

Ramadan checklist!

Assalamualaikum

I found this nice comprehensive checklist for Ramadan and thought of sharing it. The whole point of this month is to capitalise on the numerous blessings, and get rid of old, bad habits. There is no better way to start the holy month, by devoting some time to preparing for it, and setting out a schedule that works for you. Insha Allah, I will be talking about my own schedule (which I haven't exactly planned out :S). There are so MANY things to do, and unless one manages time REALLY well, it's not going to happen!

So here it is, a sample for you. You can customise it a/c to your needs. But for me, it works. Just click on the link to go to the source website, and have a look.

Ramadan Self Improvement Checklist

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Invisibility cloak not just in Harry Potter!


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Metamaterial cloak could render buildings 'invisible' to earthquakes

ORTLAND, Ore. — Earthquakes can be made to bypass buildings surrounded by seismic invisibility cloaks, claim researchers at the University of Liverpool.

Just as submarines can be shielded from sonar, airplanes from radar and small areas from probing by laser beams, the very long wavelengths emanating from earthquakes can likewise be redirected around buildings, effectively making them "invisible" to seismic waves.

"Numerical simulations have been carried out for equations of thin plates. However, no experimental validation has been done thus far," said lead researcher Sebastien Guenneau. His team is currently working on a prototype to confirm their theory as well as scaling the approach for other applications.

"The next step in this research is first to experimentally validate the design of the cloak," said Guenneau.

Invisibility cloaks work by harnessing metamaterials--regular patterns of dielectrics that resonate at the cloaking frequency. The technique effectively diverts electromagnetic energy around objects. While the waves appear to be traveling in a straight line without interruption, metamaterials speed up the waves slightly as they are bent around the cloaked object. Hence, seismic waves emerge in-phase on the other side apparently unchanged.

Earthquakes emit body and surface waves. The U.K.-based researchers claim to have designed a cloak using giant-sized metamaterials that dampen the most destructive surface waves that are coupled to pressure and shear-body waves. Using large rings of a flexible metamaterials spaced around building foundations and tuned to the wavelength of the waves to be diverted, the researchers claimed the most destructive surface waves can be diverted around entire buildings.

The project is still in its design stage, with the researchers currently characterizing polymers and other metamaterials for giant ring resonators that could be tuned to a seismic wavelength. According to the group's computer simulations, seismic waves can be diverted with metamaterial rings made from multiple concentric layers separated with an isotropic elastic filler.

The current design uses 10 layers of six different materials that the researchers claim will be easy to manufacture for use in building foundations.

Experimental confirmation of the metamaterials is underway, and the researchers also are experimenting with methods for diverting shock waves around passengers during automobile accidents.
Source: EETimes.com
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Now isn't that the coolest thing (fiction-turning-to-reality) you have ever seen :D. I was wondering though. Will we, common poor people ever get to see this thing in action once it is developed fully. Most probably not :S . So why am I excited? *scowl*

The thing is that technologies like these make my faith stronger by the day. Why, you may ask.

Well, I have always wondered about the technology God Uses to implement His actions. He Wants us to investigate and learn the sciences "to worship Him" .. etc. So how is this invisibility cloak thing related. Um, it's just a thought - may very WELL be wrong. But maybe, just maybe, this is the technological reason why we can't see... angels. Our vision is extremely limited, yes. But what if the things God Wants us not to see, are invisible in the very same way... bending the light that falls on them, so that our eyes are unable to detect (no reflection, no vision right).

Khair, that was just a thought. It would be interesting to possess a metamaterial cap like the picture above :D

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hopeless situation :S


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Yawning I do
Every now and then
Man I'm tired
Why am I still up, then?

A stupid mid-term tomorrow
Stupid me... not the course
Sighing and yawning won't help
I need to stay up all night of course!

But what if I don't, what if I flunk
A nasty possibility
I never though a day would come
Me thinking of THIS... easily?

Five hundred and thirty two
Yepp, the slides I have to do
I guess I'm stuck badly on
Two hundred and seventy two

How the heck did i get to this
Why didn't I plan better for it
Seriously, a bigger moron
Never...ever existed..

Right now as I look at the clock
Two-forty five, it ticks and tocks
Blearily I can only hope
Tomorrow passes with no big shocks!

Copyright Uni Quite-Gloomoony 2009


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Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Independence Day Pakistan!

Assalamualaikum

The day is here. 62 years are over. The nation stands, straight, proud. Proud of its roots, proud of its struggle, and its honest leaders.

But are we really proud of ourselves today? Can we really and truly say with pride, and honour, that yes! We have done our bit for this nation, and tried to help or solve its problems in any way possible. Have we?

That is the main question. The flags are all nice, the songs blaring on loudspeakers kind of ... irritating (if you don't pay attention to sick neighbours, small children etc), jhandian on houses, all great.

BUT. One must make a resolve. Intend to do a few things this year, which would be beneficial for Pakistan in the long run. See, if every Pakistani thinks this way, then why won't a change come?

Here are a few things that can be done:


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1. Make a resolve to NEVER run a red light. If you see a yellow colour, don't speed up. (It's instinctive, I don't know why!). But try. At least this way, you'll be obeying traffic rules, plus you won't be involved in a risk of an accident.


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2. If you see something thrown on the road that can be picked up, and chucked in a nearby bin, pick it up. If it is something you can put in a handy plastic bag (a small one has literally no weight! so u can carry it in your bag you know!), and keep it for throwing it at home. If children in your van throw stuff out, gently tell them not to do so. Remember, when you force kids, they will never listen. But if you strike at their conscience ..(responsible citizens kahani).. they just MIGHT listen.


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3. If you see a beggar begging, and by chance, there is a cloth-selling person nearby, buy two pieces of cloth, hand them over to the beggar, and ask him to clean your car. Pay him.
90% chances he will continue begging. But 10% chance that he might use those cloths and wipe cars at least for that day.


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4. Stop saying these phrases "Pakistan nay humain kia dia hay yarrrr" ... "Iss mulk main kia rakha hay yaarrrr" , "Iss mulk ka kuch nahi bannay walaa yarrrr"... "TABHI to sub yeh mulk chore kar bhagtay hain yarrrr."

Um, these are just a few. There are more we are used to uttering all the time. See. They may very well have a hint of truth in them. BUT. They spread hopelessness, despair.. For a person who is already having a bad day, these statements are suicidal. For a person looking for a job, these are ready-to-kill statements. So .. spread hope. Not false hope, of course. Keep working for the country, but don't highlight its fault so much, as you can brighten up somebody's face with some positive talk!

I'm positively drooping now :P. Will run. Just an observation I'd like to share. While coming back from university to home today, I was interestedly looking at all the Pakistan accessories stalls and listening to patriotic songs blaring out. SO .. :( there were stalls, where I saw one political party's flags waving, instead of Pakistan's. And blaring out was "Saathi" .. the "Song"

And I wondered.. Who is celebrating WHAT today?
*deep sigh*...anyway...


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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Something that makes the heart ... tremble

Background:

I have been having conflicting thoughts a LOT these days. Some things pull me in one direction, others tug at me in completely an opposite direction. This direction-figuring out has been so murky, so indistinct, so painful in fact.

To be really very honest. I don't like my life right now. I hate the fact that I am keeping track of WEEKS, instead of days (or ideally, hours and minutes). It's sad that I haven't (rather, hadn't) read the Holy Quran in AGES. The most that happened was reciting Surah Kahaf on Fridays regularly, that's all. Nothing else. No good books, no Ahadith, nothing. And the sad fact is, that I wasn't like this before. This lifestyle has become mine.. recently. Hence a lot of thought and deliberation was required as to what needs to be done about it, whether something should be done or not, and its been eating at me for some time now.

Today:

I finally sat down with the Holy Quran. I had kept the marker at the Surah I was on, ages ago. I didn't remember which Surah was it. So basically, today's recitation was a random one. But boy.............................. was it a striking coincidence or WHAT that it answered back to my uncertainties...my questions.



This was the Surah (Surah Qaaf), and the Ayahs were 16 to 29. These, I don't know... it may be just me.. but these are the most... scariest, most impactful verses of the Holy Book. You can't just PASS over these verses. You will naturally feel your heart lurching... with fear, trepidation, (maybe happiness if you're a really ideal Muslim)... :S But I can tell you.. they scared the living daylights out of me!

Translation given below: Source: The Noble Quran
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16. And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).

17. (Remember!) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being after he or she has attained the age of puberty), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions) .

18. Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).

19. And the stupor of death will come in truth: "This is what you have been avoiding!"

20. And the Trumpet will be blown, that will be the Day whereof warning (had been given) (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).

21. And every person will come forth along with an (angel) to drive (him), and an (angel) to bear witness.

22. (It will be said to the sinners): "Indeed you were heedless of this, now We have removed your covering, and sharp is your sight this Day!"

23. And his companion (angel) will say: "Here is (this Record) ready with me!"

24. (And it will be said): "Both of you throw (Order from Allah to the two angels) into Hell, every stubborn disbeliever (in the Oneness of Allah, in His Messengers, etc.).

25. "Hinderer of good, transgressor, doubter,

26. "Who set up another ilah (god) with Allah, then (both of you) cast him in the severe torment."

27. His companion (Satan devil)] will say: "Our Lord! I did not push him to transgress, (in disbelief, oppression, and evil deeds) but he was himself in error far astray."

28. Allah will say: "Dispute not in front of Me, I had already, in advance, sent you the threat.

29. The Sentence that comes from Me cannot be changed, and I am not unjust (to the least) to the slaves."

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I never really thought about it. But reading the tafseer made me think. Why indeed are the two angels (recording each and every deed of ours) necessary when Allah (All Seeing, All Encompassing, closer to us than our jugular veins) KNOWS each and everything that went on, each and every action and thought of ours.

And i got the answer. This is so, so that each HUMAN BEING on the Day of Judgement, gets to know EXACTLY what he/she did. Humans are prone to forgetting. I can seriously speak for myself here. Its for US, the whole entire evidence. So that when ultimately, we go to whichever abode is for us .. (I pray its Heaven Insha Allah)... we don't go without evidence. Each piece of recorded evidence is shown to us!

*shudder*...

There is no guarantee of this life. And if all I seem to be doing is rushing by it, without paying attention to the things that are ULTIMATELY going to matter... there is only one way out.

The path/decision is crystal now.

Signing off with a sincere dua'a: May Allah Bless us and provide all the means necessary to enable us to enter Paradise with shining faces. Ameen.


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Friday, August 7, 2009

Lessons...

So the conversation went like this:

Sis: So. Don't tell Dad.
Me: (teasing mood): I'll tell Mom.
Sis: Sure. But not dad.
Me: Okay, I'll tell dad.
Sis: *glaring*.. Look. If you tell dad na. Then I'll tell Mom about "leemoo kee taqat say bhara"...
Me: *stares in astonishment*.. WHAT? And what in heavens do you suppose you'll tell her???
Sis: I'll tell her about part I and part II.. HO.
Me: And you have proof they exist?
Sis: Yeah. Laptop.
Me: *wasn't easy to say* Deleted.
Sis: SO? My word is enough, isn't it?
Me: *again, difficult to admit* Yeah. It very probably is.
Sis: And by the way. I can easily show her the pages!
Me: What pages, now!
Sis: The pages I saw in part I's beginning! Ho. You still have THEM.
Me: Fine. Do whatever the heck you want.
Sis: So are you going to tell Dad? **grinning**

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Feel like this?

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Don't worry. The bottom line is:

Lesson to be learned: Don't tell your sister EVERYTHING that happens in your life!
:P:P

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Drawing inspiration from nature :)


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Drawing inspiration from nature to build a better radio
New radio chip mimics human ear, could enable universal radio
Anne Trafton, News Office
June 3, 2009


MIT engineers have built a fast, ultra-broadband, low-power radio chip, modeled on the human inner ear, that could enable wireless devices capable of receiving cell phone, Internet, radio and television signals.

Rahul Sarpeshkar, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and his graduate student, Soumyajit Mandal, designed the chip to mimic the inner ear, or cochlea. The chip is faster than any human-designed radio-frequency spectrum analyzer and also operates at much lower power.

"The cochlea quickly gets the big picture of what's going on in the sound spectrum," said Sarpeshkar. "The more I started to look at the ear, the more I realized it's like a super radio with 3,500 parallel channels."

Sarpeshkar and his students describe their new chip, which they have dubbed the "radio frequency (RF) cochlea," in a paper to be published in the June issue of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits. They have also filed for a patent to incorporate the RF cochlea in a universal or software radio architecture that is designed to efficiently process a broad spectrum of signals including cellular phone, wireless Internet, FM, and other signals.

Copying the cochlea
The RF cochlea mimics the structure and function of the biological cochlea, which uses fluid mechanics, piezoelectrics and neural signal processing to convert sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain.

As sound waves enter the cochlea, they create mechanical waves in the cochlear membrane and the fluid of the inner ear, activating hair cells (cells that cause electrical signals to be sent to the brain). The cochlea can perceive a 100-fold range of frequencies -- in humans, from 100 to 10,000 Hz. Sarpeshkar used the same design principles in the RF cochlea to create a device that can perceive signals at million-fold higher frequencies, which includes radio signals for most commercial wireless applications.

The device demonstrates what can happen when researchers take inspiration from fields outside their own, says Sarpeshkar.

"Somebody who works in radio would never think of this, and somebody who works in hearing would never think of it, but when you put the two together, each one provides insight into the other," he says. For example, in addition to its use for radio applications, the work provides an analysis of why cochlear spectrum analysis is faster than any known spectrum-analysis algorithm. Thus, it sheds light on the mechanism of hearing as well.

The RF cochlea, embedded on a silicon chip measuring 1.5 mm by 3 mm, works as an analog spectrum analyzer, detecting the composition of any electromagnetic waves within its perception range. Electromagnetic waves travel through electronic inductors and capacitors (analogous to the biological cochlea's fluid and membrane). Electronic transistors play the role of the cochlea's hair cells.

The analog RF cochlea chip is faster than any other RF spectrum analyzer and consumes about 100 times less power than what would be required for direct digitization of the entire bandwidth. That makes it desirable as a component of a universal or "cognitive" radio, which could receive a broad range of frequencies and select which ones to attend to.
Source: MIT News
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Man... :) Isn't that one of the most inspiring things EVER? People ENCOURAGING change of fields, in hope of learning new things? And in the process, it doesn't hurt if you stumble across something new :).

This is something I would REALLY want to do. (sigh). Allah Has Given as SO much, and we're the idiots who don't do the research. Oh well, funding matters too, I know. But the point remains, that this is something which would be DOUBLY satisfying and pleasing for somebody, who believes that every faculty, and every design is God's Creation. This is one way we can actually worship Him. Research into His creation (and what better creation than a human body). And then, use it (as much as our limited knowledge goes) and maybe something innovative like this RF cochlea will result. :) These engineers didn't do it aeween. They must have studied the human ear. And ... nobody told them... :S "You don't have Biology undergraduate degree!"

But it gives me hope.. :) At least reading about it does. So long!


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Distributed thoughts...


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This was written at 2.46 am while desperately trying to study 50+ slides of a distributed computing lecture. I was on slide 24.

Slide 24

Like a crashing wave it hits
Hits you with the realisation
That's all your troubles lie
In something called... distraction

Desperate to concentrate
Struggling to enervate
The forgotten recesses, broken crevices
Of this unruly... brain

Distributed systems are, just that
Distributed, scattered. Orderless
When brain cells begin acting like one
It's time to... digress

Start writing away, fingers flowing
The randomness is mindblowing
Thoughts flit, try to hold on
An experience, quite... harrowing

Funny how one is never
Distracted from say, sleeping
Eating, breathing, What not!
Yeah one more... feeling?

Copyright Uni Gone-loony 2009


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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just something I'd like to share



[94. Surah Al-Sharh : Ayah 7-8]

"So when you are free, nominate. And make your Lord your exclusive object."

I was just wondering what things do I do when I'm free. Free from another set of useless things really. The only exception to that is studies.. and that's just thrice a week..

Umm... I'd list them down:

1. Blogging
2. Reading blogs
3. Playing piano software (But Ive reduced this habit, seriously).
4. Reading useless books (currently: Sandra Brown's God Knows what title..!)
5. Watching Zack and Cody, Cory in the House... er, you get the picture
6. Watching Full House or Two of a Kind on Youtube

:S:S:S

Things I should do to make the Lord exclusive object:

1. Read the Quran
2. Read Islamic-oriented books (there are lighter books too, one can read even when tired)
3. Read and learn some Ahadith
4. Read good, inspiring learning blogs
5. Spend time really constructively, like taking the long-forgotten Arabic class..

*deep sigh*...
So long...!

Hope you, dear readers also analyse how you spend your free time.