Sunday, December 30, 2007

New efficient bulb sees the light

Perhaps the days of currently used "humble light-bulb" will go the ways of dodo. Glasgow University scientists along with scientists from the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde, found a cheaper and efficient way of "making microscopic holes in the surface of LEDs to increase the level of light they give off.

This is a process known as nano-imprint lithography.

Dr Faiz Rahman, who is leading the project, said: "As yet, LEDs have not been introduced as the standard lighting in homes because the process of making the holes is very time consuming and expensive.

"However, we believe we have found a way of imprinting the holes into billions of LEDs at a far greater speed, but at a much lower cost."

New efficient bulb sees the light

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto's Assassination: A Tragedy Born of Military Despotism and Anarchy

Tariq Ali says, "It is assumed that the killers were jihadi fanatics. This may well be true, but were they acting on their own?" -- would it ever be known who were behind these fanatics who killed Benazir Bhutto? Or would it be like another "lone gunman" theory?

Another article in The Guardian observes aptly, "Even if a militant group did dispatch the bomber, were they operating alone or as pawns of more powerful figures? Even today, the one other infamous assassination in Pakistan's history, the killing of Zia in August 1988, remains the unsolved subject of many a conspiracy theory." Why call it "conspiracy theory" when even the "non-conspiracy" theory couldn't solve similar other murders, assassinations of political leaders and even mass murders of innocent civilians either remain unsolved or white-washed "investigation" staged by stooges. This morning, a political leader was assassinated in Pakistan, but the patterns of these killings are eerily familiar.

From The Economist the following salient points, though considered allegations, perhaps retain the key: "Miss Bhutto’s killer is alleged to have approached to within 20 yards of her car, carrying a gun, dressed in a police uniform. At the least, such a lapse in the security afforded to Mr Musharraf and his supporters would be unimaginable."

In all the outside appearance, Benazir's assassination means an "obstacle" removed for Musharraf, but did it really? The Washington Post article says, "Bhutto's assassination leaves Pakistan's future -- and Musharraf's -- in doubt, some experts said. "U.S. policy is in tatters. The administration was relying on Benazir Bhutto's participation in elections to legitimate Musharraf's continued power as president," said Barnett R. Rubin of New York University. "Now Musharraf is finished."

Author Ahmed Rashid observes, "Bhutto was killed leaving a political rally in Rawalpindi, just two miles from where her father, prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was hanged by another military dictator 30 years ago. The tragedy of the Bhutto family -- her brothers also were killed, one poisoned, one shot, and her husband spent seven years in prison -- has become part of the saga and struggle by Pakistanis to create a viable democratic, modern state."

Teresita C. Schaffer draws attention to "tragedy" of Pakistani political leadership, "the tragedy of Pakistan is that the PPP and other major parties are family fiefdoms, built on personal loyalty, with no record of developing new leaders or permitting opposition within the ranks. This structure strengthens the tendency to view political office as a possession. Corruption and unaccountability are natural byproducts. Talented second-tier party members had no prospect of emerging from Bhutto's shadow."

Columnist David Ignatius comments on political engineering, "Bhutto's death is a brutal demonstration of the difficulty for outsiders in understanding -- let alone tinkering with -- a country such as Pakistan. The Bush administration attempted a bit of political engineering when it tried to broker an alliance between Musharraf and Bhutto and sought to position her as the country's next prime minister. Yesterday's events were a reminder that global politics is not Prospero's island, where we can conjure up the outcomes we want. In places such as Pakistan, where we can't be sure where events are heading, the wisest course for the United States is the cautious one of trying to identify and protect American interests. Pakistanis will decide how and when their country makes its accommodation with the modern world.

New York Times' editorial describes Benazir and her father in contemporary Pakistani political context, "Ms. Bhutto and her father and political mentor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, were democratic, but imperfect political leaders — imperious, indifferent to human rights and, in her case, tainted by serious charges of corruption. The father was deposed by a military coup and then hanged. The daughter was twice elected and twice deposed. But both had one undeniable asset: electoral legitimacy — legitimacy that the generals and the Islamic extremists could only seek to destroy or, in Mr. Musharraf’s case, hope to borrow."

The Independent comments on Musharraf's desperation, "These will be perilous days for Pakistan. The return to civilian rule and the parliamentary elections, now less than two weeks away, are both surely threatened. Mr Musharraf's position is as shaky as it has been since he seized power. His call for calm "so that the nefarious designs of terrorists can be defeated" smacked of desperation, the national security card ever the last resort of the weak leader. And even if, as is probable, he had no part whatever in her death, there will be many among her supporters who will believe he did."

Pakistan is a place where conspiracies are played out too often, writes Andrew Buncombe in The Independent, "Should some official version of events be provided by the government, few in Pakistan will believe it. In a country which has experienced military coups, the suspicious death of one of its military leaders and the execution of another president and in which both the military and the shadowy intelligence services retain the dominant influence, people will be ready to believe any manner of fanciful ideas about who was behind Ms Bhutto's death. Pakistan is, after all, the place where conspiracies are played out all too often."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Another year nearing its end. 2007 on earth, the lives of many, happiness and sorrow, greed and stupendous philanthropy, the good and the bad, and the middle who are no where in the intensive political spectrum of polarized cacophony. Another year gone by. Some wishes unfulfilled, more memorable moments deposited in memory banks, and the departed, suddenly mortality's crude appearance, literally in a heartbeat, reminding the fragility of everything we see, feel and appreciate. Life is indeed finite, perhaps too short for many, even the centurian may tell you the same.

Regardless of which faith, religion or non-religion one may have, or desperately trying to clinging to that soothing feeling of definiteness, the feeling of purpose, and destination, though surrounding are the irrefutable facts of scientific paradigm where faithfuls' yearning and prayer evaporate from simmering empirical evidential logic.

Perhaps this is the one life to live. Or perhaps infinite many to live after this finite one. But in this world, in this time, what we have, every moments, is precious, not in economic scale, but in the scale of infinite dreams.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NYC hails Muslim 'Good Samaritan'

Words are abound that in the time of absolute distress a man's real character and his integrity or lack of integrity comes out like a shining light or a shadow of darkness. Hassan Askari, a Muslim student from Bangladesh origin put his own life at stake fighting for three Jewish folks whom he didn't know before. "His intervention left him with a possible broken nose, a stitched lip, bruises and two black eyes."

Unlike the other hate spewing extremists, like most other peace loving human being, Askari stepped forward in the midst of violent assault when others in that crowded train in New York looked the other way while three Jewish boys were assaulted with anti-semitic taunts, and physical abuses. For Askari, looking other way was not an option, since, "I felt I could not just stand there and watch these people being beaten up without doing anything to help. I believe we are all members of one family, and my religion teaches me always to come to the aid of my fellow man in distress."

While describing Askari's Good Samaritan action, Marc Scheier, who is a Jewish rabbis said, "Mr Askari - like the Good Samaritan - was the only person brave enough to intervene. The symbolism of his action at Christmas time is striking - a foreign Muslim coming to the aid of three Jews in an act of kindness and cooperation. People often forget that Judaism and Islam aren't so far apart as the radicals from both sides would have us believe. We are both Abrahamic religions and in many respects share a common faith."

The same is true for another great Abrahamic religion, Christianity, where Jesus' philosophy was based on love, not vengeance. If one explores non-Abrahamic religions, in their true essence, like Hinduism, Buddhism and other great religions, even people who may not subscribe to any organized religion or prescribed deities, the vibrant pulse of humanity drum rolls in every beat from red purplish heart. Occasional heroism like Askari's valor uplifts the sound of beats to its niche, even if only momentarily.

Link to BBC:
NYC hails Muslim 'Good Samaritan'

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Subzero Thrill - a Poem

Subzero Thrill

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
December 4, 2007

Open your eyes
slowly, lift two lids
covering restless pupils

What you can see
right there
out in the cold
in fragmented snow
while the northernly wind
slices through woolly jackets
and chilled bones
a shadow from the past
lurking in frosty joy
thrilled for subzero flakes
as if cold is gold
hunting in glorious pits.

Shrinking days recedes
from elongated nights
tipping helter-skelter
a man in fright

Wintry Snow - a Poem

Wintry Snow - a Poem

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
November 30, 2007

As far as one can see
wintry snow and wind gusty
swirling granulated rocks
light, flimsy, mashed blocks
of miserable coldness
What happened to sun
the freshness?

Clumsy roads like slippery queen
tightened lips, moist and clean
holding back unknown mystery
from the world of screaming feisty