Thursday, October 29, 2009

Robot fish makes waves at Bath

Researchers at the University of Bath have used nature for inspiration in designing a new type of swimming robot which could bring a breakthrough in submersible technology. 

Conventional submarine robots are powered by propellers that are heavy, inefficient and can get tangled in weeds.

In contrast ‘Gymnobot’, created by researchers from the Ocean Technologies Lab in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, is powered by a fin that runs the length of the underside of its rigid body; this undulates to make a wave in the water which propels the robot forwards.

The design, inspired by the Amazonian knifefish, is thought to be more energy efficient than conventional propellers and allows the robot to navigate shallow water near the sea shore.

Gymnobot could be used to film and study the diverse marine life near the seashore, where conventional submersible robots would have difficulty manoeuvring due to the shallow water with its complex rocky environment and plants that can tangle a propeller.

Dr William Megill, Lecturer in Biomimetics at the University of Bath, explained: “The knifefish has a ventral fin that runs the length of its body and makes a wave in the water that enables it to easily swim backwards or forwards in the water.

“Gymnobot mimics this fin and creates a wave in the water that drives it forwards. This form of propulsion is potentially much more efficient than a conventional propeller and is easier to control in shallow water near the shore.”

Keri Collins, a postgraduate student who developed the Gymnobot as part of her PhD, added: “We hope to observe how the water flows around the fin in later stages of the project. In particular we want to look at the creation and development of vortices around the fin.

“Some fish create vortices when flicking their tails one way but then destroy them when their tails flick back the other way. By destroying the vortex they are effectively re-using the energy in that swirling bit of water. The less energy left in the wake when the fish has passed, the less energy is wasted.

“It will be particularly interesting to see how thrust is affected by changing the wave of the fin from a constant amplitude to one that is tapered at one end.”

The lab was recently awarded a major grant to work on another project with six other European institutions to create a similar robot that reacts to water flow and is able to swim against currents.

In addition to studying biodiversity near the shore and in fast-flowing rivers, robots like Gymnobot could also be used for detecting pollution in the environment or for inspecting structures such as oil rigs.

The project was funded by BMT Defence Services and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.



13. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny? (Surah Rahman)

I wish we had the sense to study nature, the way it should be studied, and made use of it, like they do. Why don't we have this kind of research work here? Don't we know how much emphasis is placed on "contemplation on the creations of the heavens and the earth?"

190. Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.

191. Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): "Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.

May Allah enable us to be like those mentioned above! That is the true purpose and reward of research :S

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

But whyyyy!

I know I haven't been doing anything on blog except gushing over my bhanja, ranting about my experience with him, and listing his attributes etc, I don't think I have whined about the little whiner up till now. So if you're sick of reading about baby baby baby, I'm being kind enough to warn you from now only :D

So like, why don't they sleeeeep? I mean, don't they KNOW the night is meant for sleeping?!?!?! Yeh kia baat hui that okay, we're going to stay awake, now YOU ALL also stay awake with me! Yeh kahan kee policy hay!

*all feathers ruffled*

Last night was a horror! The bundle of toothpicks slept from 12 to 3 ... and I couldn't ! *scowl*...because I usually sleep after 3. Just as I was about to fall asleep, there was a loud wail. Sighing, I got up and went to him. And we tried everything... he didn't stop. We watched the sun come up, wearily. He didn't stop. The cleaning staff came in, he didn't stop. It was 7.00 am when the RMO was called, and asked keh bhui, problem kia hay bachay kee.. why in heck won't he stop crying..

Aww.. :( I felt so guilty for having the angry thought process I described above.. she demonstrated easily what the kid's problem was. She gave him a finger to suck, and he sucked and sucked and sucked, and stayed quiet. She told us, "Look. This finger has nothing on it, he isn't getting anything out of it, but he is SO hungry, SO hungry, that he is content to sucking even a finger, to somehow get a feeling that he is being nourished. Just get him a size 0 bottle already and don't starve him. Look at his sizee!!"

Sigh. TB went out to get the bottles. We made the formula. It was I think 8.30 or so, when it was discovered that the poor scrawny wawny has 101 degree fever. No wonder he was trembling... Bechara. But after sucking the formula feed, he remained quiet, and ultimately, I think at 11 am, he fell asleep.

Oh Lord. 3 am, to 11 am... can you imagine? (Well, parents can...SURE). But hello!

Anyway :D... now he was supposed to go home today. Sis the priss got out his romper which read "Daddy loves me" and I put it on him. Lol... *gufffaw*. I was like "Sis, no offence. But your kid is an insult to a romper." It was hanging on him :D A romper only looks okay on a well-sized kiddo. Eh Eh eh.

For the beejits (eejits about babies), a romper looks like this:

Image source is already mentioned :D

Khair, all wrapped up in a nice new blue sheet, a blue cap on his head sis the priss held him, while I snapped pictures :D. Cutie was actually sleeping with both hands beneath his chin! What a pose. Masha Allah.

Sis: Uni Khala.. You got everything you wanted
Me: scowling (hey, I was really sleepy) ... and how?
Sis: You wanted a bhanja all along
Me: *melts*.. Oh yeah! I did
Sis: We were all expecting a girl, and somehow, the lil kid turned out to be a boy!
(man when he reads this someday, I hope he doesn't feel bad, like I do when it is mentioned that after sis the priss, they were expecting a brother) :D
Me: Oh yeah :D
Sis: Didn't you want the kid to turn up in this world after your midterms?
Me: *grinning from ear to ear* (all annoyance gone): Oh heck yes!
Sis: Even AFTER the midterms, didn't you send a virtual appeal to the kid to stay put till the end of another week because you had extra classes and stuff?
Me: Eh eh eh eh eh. Oh yeah, I did.
Sis: So here you go, he actually waited till your class was over on Saturday!

:D *all smiles* :D


So what if i had to stay awake for the bundle of spindles huh. In a few weeks, he will be older :S Changed. A few years down the line, he will be trudging off to school, with a bag huger than him, having homework, exams.. what not, Insha Allah. This time isn't going to come again ... But its fun while its lasting :):):)

PS: I didn't know this post was going to end on a cheerful note :S.. Oh well, let's leave the title as it is.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I hope for the day...

It's been crazy. And no surprises there. It was expected to be crazy. But somehow, I hadn't imagined it to be THIS crazy. (How many times did I use the word crazy?) :P

The fact is, that I hadn't imagined that 3 day-old human beings have any sense. Other than sucking and crying etc. But another fact is, that they have senses that we can never imagine, or percieve, unless we see it with our own eyes.

Example # 01:
Kid was howling. I was holding him, rocking him, trying to get him to burp, and somehow calm down. Nothing was working. It was 5 am I guess. I have lost track of the clock now. Sigh. A little while later, when he didn't stop the yells, TB got up...came over...held out his arms. I looked at the trembling, beet red little pixie, with his wide open mouth, and handed him silently to his dad with a look that said "Nothing has worked, what will YOU do?"


Five minutes later, TB was talking softly to the baby, and he wa s listening... quietly.

*scowls a lil* .. not that I was mad about it, thank the Lord he stopped wailing, but TB's self-satisfied smirk was enough to miff me... "You should have understood, he just wanted his daddy!" ... huh!

Example # 02
The poor scrawny thing had to have blood drawn, for a blood test. The test showed that his jaundice is quite bad. So he had to undergo phototherapy. They put him in an incubator like thing... and I was by his side. He was (no surprise) crying his head off. I told the nurse "If you put his finger in his mouth, he will stop"..
She took his left hand, stuck it in his mouth, and glared at me reproachingly, when he just cried and cried and cried.

"No, it can't be true. He can't be this particular.." (I thought)
But he can.. he's my sis's kid. The sis who had cried when a toddler, when the cup from which she used to drink was placed with the handle on the left (she was used to the handle being on the right...)...*snorts*
"Er, I think you need to give him the index finger of his right hand" I said
Her look said "Yea right!" but she did give him his index finger of his right hand...

There was silence in the nursery. I tried not to grin.

I hope for the day, when parents realise how MUCH their kids need them, JUST by the fact that they, as little babies, recognize their touch, and respond to it... And never abandon their kids, for any reason.
Looking at this tiny helpless being, I can't imagine HOW people just leave their own kids -- I hope for the day that parents somehow get this realisation, and bring up the child themselves, with love and care.

I hope for the day when the mother doens't feel the need to leave her baby at the mercy of Ayahs and Dais, and maids, and go away from home, for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it is necessary for her to earn the living. That's a different story. I am talking about those myriad moms who actually put their babies in nurseries of their own workplaces, and then take them home when they're dead tired, too tireed to spend time with them. A career is ...
that important?

I really hope for the day, when people realise the value of life, and when this baby grows up, he sees a world that is somehow, better than what we are seeing today. Only today, a horrific incident happened in Islamabad. I hope for the day, when this kid works to save and preserve the lives of others, rather than ruining it.

My duaás are with the sufferers of today's tragedy. May Allah Make us realise our duty in this trial-ridden times, which are becoming worse by the day, and please, give us Taufeeq to work for justice in the world.

So long.

PS: Sorry for making it long. Please remember the bundle of spindles in prayers, his jaundice should get better in a few days Insha Allah :S:S

Monday, October 19, 2009

And we finally greet the new arrival :D

Whatever I'm about to describe, may be as redundant and commonplace as the alphabet. But for me, it was a novel experience. And one that made me a Khala for the firsttt timeeeee :D:D:D:D:D

After days and days and days of waiting, I was finally at a point where it was informed that Sis the Priss would have to undergo an emergency C section... so i should come to the hospital immediatly. :S Petrified, I rushed from class on Saturday night, to hospital, only to see her being wheeled to the operation theatre. That's all I saw. Her face was WHITE. Her eyes were SCARED. I know her, I have scared her all my er, bachpan life, I could tell. She was beyond terrified.

They were in SUCH a hurry (I couldn't fathom why), that in around 10 minutes, the operation had begun. Apa was inside, that was such a relief. Anyway, that hour from 9.15 to 10.15 pm was the worst ever I have ever ever spent. The worst. I have never beem THIS scared (like I am when results are to be announced of anything :P)... this nervous, plus the added feeling that I should have been informed earlier! (:@)

Khair hay. Somehow, that time passed. The only one who was pacing more than me, was TB. Aw :D .. his face!! Man. **grins merrily**. Now i can grin, at that time, the only thing I could do was pace, scowl at TB when he would instruct ME to "calm downnnnn!" (HO!), and pray.

Finally, the nurses went in with the hospital bag. We could only guess what stage was the operation on. I could only think of Sis the priss being subjected to needles and what not (she's nervous in that sense :D), and pray for her nerves. 5-10 minutes after the bag went in, we heard a loud...

waiiillllll :D:D:D:D:D

Man. Can't describe that moment. It was beyond amazing :D .. it was as if, there is LIFE out there ...instead of death and destruction. AT that moment, all that mattered was the wail!

And Phuppa remarked after seeing our excited faces with amusement.."Y'know? This is the ONLY time parents are actually GLAD at the baby's cry." :D

Er, the wail didn't really stop. It went on and on. Ahem... kaafi hogya! Apa's text message came from the theatre. Two words. "Baby boy" :D:D:D:D:D (Oh boy oh boy, are we gonna do rock climbing or WHAT!)

The nurse finally came out with a bundle in her arms. We rushed at her, but she shooed us away (scowl). The kiddo had to be put in nursery. Dad gave adhaan in his ears, we were waiting anxiously to see him properly.

At long last, sis the priss was wheeled to her private room, and the baby's aunt (phuppo) carried him in. SubhanAllah... he's such an adorable tiny winy babyyyyyy :D
And to date, I have never seen a newborn, this weak! (Allah make him healthier soon please), and with eyes that really gaze at you, rather than just remain shut, or look elsewhere..randomly. He really stares. And scowls.. (takes after his dad at this one!) :P

Enough of descriptions. The cutie viewtie remained quiet till late night. When everybody left, and only me, sis the priss, mum and TB were left, let out wail after wail after wail. And wouldn't stop. God, he just wouldn't STOP. We tried everything..Everything!

*scowling*.. the lil angelic faced pixie somehow never even got sleepy!. Tauba. We were up the whole entire night. Yesterday night was a little better. Muhtaram slept from 5 am to 8 am :P.. (what a long sleep we had ...gladly). But till 5? Uni Khala was the one patting him on the pack, roaming the room, giving him honey dipped finger to suck...(awww, the feeling!!!), and er, changing his clothes that need to be changed...(yuckiee).

*wide yawn*. The best part of the day was, when Mum remarked to sis the priss "Uni knows better how to handle the lil one." eh eh eh eh eh.. :D Now isn't that sweet. Nothing learned. All instinctive. *wider yawn*.. Oh well, I may not be a natural in object oriented programming.... but in this thing.. no lessons needed...(eyes nearly closed)
.. Me off. Hope I get some hours of sleep.. :o

Hope he takes a leaf out of this baby's notebook, and sleeps like this tonight... *sigh*

Have to write posts these days. Want the bundle of spindles to read these someday:P...and thank Uni Khala for giving up her sleep for him!

So long!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Really important reminder

Do we ever think this way before doing anything in life? If we start doing so, automatically our lives will become... cleaner. And ultimately, we'd succeed (happiness and sukun in this world) and amazing rewards in the Hereafter.

Sometimes, the Hereafter (sorry Allah Taála), seems so FAR away from me, my life.. this world's problems, my own silly problems, people's comments, my studies, what not. The accountability doesn't seem very near .. And therein lies my biggest mistake. Even if the Qiyamat (Day of Judgement) is a million years away (even million light years away), my own end of the world time is like.... unknown. That end time isn't going to go in millions, not hundreds, and I doubt even decades. Allah Knows best of course, but the point is, that THAT end time is like..... it! I'm done. Time's up..! Accountability time :S

Because the first question answer section, begins in the grave.

Hope this post serves as a huge reminder, first to me, and then of course, to you readers.

Darn is it really that deep?
*blinks back tears*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spontaneous and honest

There are some things people say to you, that are so honest, so honest, SO honest, that you are caught between trying to decide whether to appreciate their honesty, or mind their bluntness :). I am still in doubt as to how honest a person really should be with others. It is said, that a little dishonesty is allowed in special cases.

But what about TOO much of honesty?

This one time, a relative (very very old lady, who is hard of hearing, and is a sweet thing :)) came over. We had an iftar party at home, and after iftar, and salat-ul-maghrib, I made tea.
:D Now I don't mean to boast or anything, but I really thought tea was one of the few things I do know how to make (without seeing a recipe!), and it usually turns out pretty much okay (if I may say so).

Lol. That tea, when served to the lady... she drank it. And then looked at me:

Her: Yeh tum nay banaaii hai (have you made this tea?)
Me: Jee. (expecting a compliment :$)
Her: Aisee chaii to mainay kabhi nahi peii (I have never drunk this kind of tea before)
Me: Reallyyy? (allll smiles -- people rarely say something positive about edible items in which I have had a hand in making)
Her: Han to aur kia. Yeh koi chaii hay? (Yes of course, Is this what you call tea?)
Me: *gaping* .. (my smile froze in place) :D. Chotpo gaped behind the lady.
She: Pasand nahi aayee humain.. Na cheeni, naa doodh, na patti! (I didn't like it. It doesn't have the right amount of any ingredient!)
Me: Errr... (didn't know what to say).. sorry? Aur bana doon? (Sorry. Shall I make some more?)
She: Aray nahi bhui!! (oh no, thanks) :D :D

It's kinda funny, come to think of it. But at that time, I had been a little stung. Of course, it should be realised that when people cross a certain age, they expect certain things to be exactly what they are -- without any change. Any change accompanies with it, irritatedness, blunt comments etc. The youngsters should learn to ignore the oldsters' comments and smile away. Hard, but effective.

Oh lol lol...I just found the perfect picture to go with this post ..:D

Monday, October 12, 2009

So dark is the world ...

With shouts and cries
Moans and sighs
The curses we hurl
So dark is the world

Forced tranquility and peace
Not a word of tease
No wisdom, no pearl
So dark is the world

Fear creeps through
Exhaustion seeps through
My conscience, a dreary swirl
So dark is the world

The country's highest command
Surrounded, killed on demand
Who is to pay, media whirls
So dark is the world

We all spiral out of control
Going where, nobody told
All I know is, our conscience has curled
So dark is the world...

Copyright Uni Dark-oony 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Egypt's top cleric bans face veil in some schools

Egypt's top Islamic cleric has barred students from wearing face veils in classrooms and dormitories of Sunni Islam's premier institute of learning, al-Azhar.

The decision announced Thursday by Sheik of al-Azhar Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi appears to be part of a government campaign to crack down on overt manifestations of ultraconservative Islam in Egypt.

While a vast majority of Egyptian women wear headscarves, few wear the niqab, a veil which covers the face. The niqab is common in Saudi Arabia, which practices the more conservative form of Wahhabi Islam, and the trend seems to gaining ground in Egypt.

Tantawi came under fire from opponents who say his decision is unconstitutional.

Now there was another news story that said that in females-only classrooms and dorms, the niqaab has been banned. The question that arises here is, why would females wear niqaabs in classrooms and dorms (women ones?)

The only logical explanation I can think of, is that its similar to our school, which was a girls' school. Now since it was a girls' school per se, nobody needed to wear hijab. But hey, the peons were male, some teachers were male, chawkidar etc. The peons were allowed to come inside the "girls only" classoron and deliver messages to teachers etc. So in all sincerity of purpose, it became quite important for gilrs to wear hijab (who wear them outside). And similarly, if somebody wore niqab outside, then logically, that person would also wear it inside.

The issue is the banning one -- a Muslim country manages to implement something the non Muslim ones haven't done up till now. Even France, where hijab is banned in state schools, doesn't outrightly ban niqab.

It's not too long where, when a Muslim will need to practise religion properly, (or, with freedom), they will try migrating to non Muslim ones. A shame, if there ever was one.

So long .. **gloomily**

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Simple Approach to complete the Quran once a Month

Again, my source is this amazing blog, called Salaat Time’s Daily Islam -- Ayaat from the Quran, Hadith or Islamic Commentar.

Allah’s Messenger (May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection) said: “The most blessed of deeds is that which is done consistently, even if it is a minute one.” (Sahih Bukhari)

The Quran is made up of thirty parts, like the month. One should read one part of the Quran every day so that it can be completed in its entirety in one month. Furthermore, each part consists of twenty pages. If one were to read four pages during the daily obligatory prayers, it would facilitate the completion of one part every day. See, brother Muslim, how much good escapes us because we do not know how to organize our lives? When you practice this habit with regularity, you will not only be one of the guided ones, but you will also find profound pleasure and fulfillment in a consistent act of worship. You will also see the benefit and reward in a small act done continuously, as opposed to much done at irregular intervals.

Gems and Jewels
Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid
Publisher: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam
ISBN: 9960-897-59-1
Page 43


I should really speak for myself here. When I calculate the time I spend online (on social networks, random browsing, reading other people's blog posts that aren't very beneficial in general), it really strikes me how MUCH time is spent on these activities. And yet, the feeling is that if salah is made too long, I have to do this, I have to do that...

If the tafseer looks too long, I leave it for "tomorrow", thinking that I don't have time right now.. And this is how "constructively" my time goes by.

Food for thought?

Yes, I spend time on food too :(
Do you know what I just spent half an hour on??
*quite guilty now*

Watching a kid called Afsha Musani... :(.. She was so adorable :(
Khair.. But the fact is, that it is NOT useful!!!!

Salam to all.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The most difficult deeds :S

Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Among deeds, there are four that are most difficult to adorn oneself with: 1) Forgiveness when angry; 2) Generosity in hard times; 3) Chastity when alone; and 4) Speaking the truth to the one that fears it.”

Gems and Jewels
Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid
Publisher: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam
ISBN: 9960-897-59-1
Page 119

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Punch 'em good!

Take a look :). Innovation kept simple, and sweet.

The Punch Camera is just like any other digital camera, but with a twist. You can still load your photos onto a computer via USB, but the Punch also has a series of pins that you can use to literally punch a rasterized image onto a piece of paper. You lose a lot of definition and color, but there's an undeniable charm to the finished result.

"This is a camera which was inspired by the loss of tangible memories," writes designer Matty Martin of his concept. "It is meant to connect both physical and digital while minimizing excess materials and the hardships in sharing images… The Punch aligns a set of pins and then uses the force of the user to perforate a regular piece of paper. "

Source: Dvice