This page is intended to provide the reader an insight into the functionality of a perpetually whimsical mind.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Return of Rocky!

Brace yourselves, Rocky has returned, and he's back with a bang!

The Return of Rocky

Alternative link (Larger)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Me in my cricket gear

A few pics from last year's sports event at our University.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Article in the Daily 49er

Hello folks, my article was published in the Daily 49er University newspaper. Please take a moment to read it. Thank you!

The State of Muslims Today

A religion should not be judged by its followers, but by its preaching and its values. In today’s world, people believe Islam preaches violence, intolerance and hatred towards people of other beliefs. I am going to endeavor to rebut their misconceptions through a historical journey of the Islamic empire.

The word Islam has its roots in the word "Salam", which means peace. Once again, a population of 1 Billion plus people can not be bundled up under the title of terrorism, judging by the acts of a small number of people. In order to understand the violent nature of certain Muslims, one must rationally approach the reasoning behind their reactions. One must understand what it is that has separated the so-called "Islamic Nations" from each other, despite the fact that Islam emphasizes heavily on unity.

When Muhammad (PBUH) passed away, the Islamic empire, which was at that point mostly centered around Arabia, began to fall apart. It was the power of his message that kept the Arab tribes together, who for generations associated their religious beliefs with Idols.

At one point after the Prophet's death, the Islamic Empire stretched from Jerusalem to as far as the borders of China, and from the shores of the Iberian Peninsula, down to Egypt. Some of the greatest scientific achievements were made by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars who resided within this very empire. In fact, the Jews achieved their golden era within these very lands. The Jews and Muslims have always had an unannounced friendship, but it has only been in recent times that this bond has been severed, and that too by malignant political propaganda.

The famous explorer Avicenna was actually Muslim, and his name is Ibn Sina. Muslim explorers had landed in America about 500 years before Columbus set his foot on the "New land". The world "Algorithm" is a latinized form of an Islamic scholar named Al-Khawarizmi, from the city of Khawarizm. Algebra is a latinized form of the word: "Al-Kitab Al-Muhtasar fi hisab Al-Gabr wal-Muqabala". The title translates to "The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion (Reduction, in other translations) and Balancing". He is also responsible for either inventing the zero, or bringing out the importance of it to the known world by working on Indian and Hebrew mathematics.

In addition, the father of Chemistry, Gerber was actually Jaber Ibn-Hayyan, who studied between 5 - 7 different fields of study, and propagated the fundamentals of alchemy, pharmacy, philosophy, astronomy and physics to a new level, along with important inventions and discoveries.

The Islamic world was home to some of the greatest philosphers of all time, who studied Greek philosophy in great detail, and advanced it further, always giving the author its credit, something that has not been the case when it comes to Muslims being given the credit for their contributions to the world today. Famous Islamic philosphers include: Ibn Rush (Averroes), Al-Farabi, AlGazel (Al-Ghazali), Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Ibn Arabi, and the list goes on.

One thing that was common to these individuals was that they held their religion in high regard, and always relied to God to guide them. They never crossed the boundaries of morality or religion, and stuck to their paths.

All this, of course, was abolished, and burnt to the ground with the invasion of the Christian crusaders that was sanctioned by the Papacy itself! The Christians were hell-bent on capturing the Hold Land of Jerusalem through a military venture against the Jews and the Muslims in that region. In addition, the hordes of Gengis Khan, which were proceeded further by his grandson, Hulagu khan, who exterminated entire dynasties, states and caliphites. His armies raped, pillaged, and incinerated libraries, places of worship and academic structures to the ground without a shred of mercy.

The greatest capital of culture, literacy, arts, philosophy, etc was obliterated by Hulagu Khan, and later, his people converted to the very same religion whose empire they collapsed.

From that point on the Christian crusaders conquered Islamic lands, followed by the emergence of the colonialists who further carved up the Muslim lands in to different states, which later gained independence, only to be recognized as autonomous nations. This systematic division and the elimination of a glorious empire is what has angered today's scholars and preachers, some of who are not entirely educated in religion itself to comprehend the true message of Islam. The golden era of literacy, discoveries, inventions, and progression was forever halted by the sword of the Mongols and the Christians.

These so-called preachers systematically select portions of the Qur'an that deal with war and defense of one's lands and use them to create a message of death and destruction through aggression, which is tantamount to the message delivered by the Papacy during the Christian crusades. Using the common logic that Islam preaches violence, it can be said that Christianity is a religion of hatred, intolerance and militancy because it was the invasion of the crusades and the bloody Spanish inquisition that is responsible for the state of the Muslims today; and in fact also in a profound way responsible for their violent attitudes today.

Such hasty generalizations and faltered logic are the reason behind today’s misinterpretation of Islam and its message. This generalization of a population of nearly a sixth of the entire world is fundamentally erroneous, and should be abandoned. Unfortunately, the golden ages of education and literacy never blossomed again after the European renaissance of arts, science and culture, which was preceded by the Dark Ages of Europe. It was an era of ignorance, hatred, intolerance, and violence, which seems to have besieged the mentality of many people today.

The Daily 49er link

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dell buying gaming PC maker Alienware

An Alienware Desktop

Image Source: httP://

Austin-based computer giant Dell is acquiring boutique gaming PC maker Alienware for an undisclosed amount, executives at both companies said Wednesday. Alienware of Miami will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, independent of Dell in terms of marketing, product development, manufacturing and technical support. In fact, Alienware Chief Executive Nelson Gonzalez said Dell's name won't appear anywhere on his company's Web site, through which most customers buy Alienware's high-end desktop and notebook PCs.

Likewise, a Dell spokesman said there would be no link to Alienware from Dell's site. The acquisition of Miami-based Alienware by Dell has been rumored for several weeks, and was first speculated upon in a blog entry by Rahul Sood, the founder of Canada-based Voodoo PC, an Alienware competitor.

Gonzalez said Alienware will take advantage of Dell's greater efficiences, allowing it to buy computer parts at very low cost and assemble them quickly. Mark Vena, a former Compaq and Dell executive who became Alienware's vice president of marketing in January, said the time between when an order is placed by an Alienware customer and the PC is built and delivered can be as much as 3-5 weeks. Full Article...

ATI Introduces First 1GB Graphics Accelerator!

Never to be outdone, ATI Technologies has announced the industry’s first one gigabyte (1GB) workstation graphics accelerator, the ATI FireGL V7350, and also a 512MB configuration, the FireGL V7300. Featuring an extremely powerful ultra-threaded parallel processing GPU, and ATI’s industry leading Avivo video and display technology, these new ultra high-end graphics cards have been designed to further extend ATI’s workstation graphics line, promising better performance, more advanced features and higher image quality.

ATI’s Avivo video and display platform brings an increased level of visual fidelity to the professional graphics market with features such as automatic gain control, gamma correction and increased colour bit depth. With a 10-bit per RGB component graphics pipeline, instead of the standard 8-bit, the FireGL’s colour palette increases to over a billion colours. Full Article...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Frank Caliendo - Man with 1000 faces

Frank Caliendo - Amazing Talent

This guy, Frank Caliendo does ABSOLUTELY the best Bush impression I've ever seen. His facial expressions, are amazing! In fact, he also does some fantastic impersonations of Robert De Niro, Sienfeld, Kramer, Jerry, and Al Pacino, Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Scooby Doo, and Shaggy. Take a look at his Bush imitation here:

Bush Impersonation

And this long clip is from his standup DVD set (MUST WATCH):

DVD Clip

Friday, March 17, 2006

Muslim Comedians Galore

Muslim Comedians (Pictured left-to-right):
Preacher Moss, Azeem and Azhar Usman

After reading up a little bit about Shazia's talent for humor, I thought it would be appropriate to bring to everyone's attention, three extremely talented and humorous American Muslim comedians: Azhar Usman, Preacher Moss and Azeem. For stereotypical desi humor, Azhar Usman does a fairly good job at imitating Desi aunties and uncles. On the other hand, Preacher Moss and Azeem are naturally talented stand-up comedians who use the African-American culture within the light of Islam to produce some of the most hilarious scripts ever. You can watch these three perform back-to-back at a Muslim comedy stand-up show called "Allah Made Me Funny". The show is available here:

"Allah made Me Funny"

For more information, please visit their personal Websites:

Azhar Usman


Preacher Moss

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Shazia Mirza - Muslim Comedian

Shazia Mirza
Image Courtesy:

Shazia Mirza, a UK-born Muslim comedian who was nominated by The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy is taking her humor to America. She generally breaks the ice with her sometimes nervous audience with the following statement:

"My name is Shazia Mirza. At least, that's what it says on my pilot's licence."

For more information, please visit the following link. You may visit her personal webpage at:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Scientists generate 3.6 Billion degrees on earth

The Z-Machine is immersed in a solution of
oil and water.

Image Source:

That is true, folks! Scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico have generated 3.6 Billion (Yes, Billion) degrees contained inside a device called a "Z machine". The temperature of the core of the sun is about 15 million degrees, and the temperature generated from a thermonuclear explosion is about 500 million degrees. Read on...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How Islamic inventors changed the world

Hello folks,

I would like to bring to your attention, an article that contains some invaluable information that many around the world may not be aware of; events that affect our daily lives, and yet we are oblivious of their existence. Thanks to my buddy Burro for bringing this article to my attention. Although the article is not a comprehensive outlook on some of the most important inventions in mankind's history credited to Muslims, it does outline some of their important contributions nevertheless. Please take a moment to read the article.

From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them

Published: 11 March 2006

1 The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

2 The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

3 A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe - where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century - and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian rukh, which means chariot.

4 A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

5 Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

6 Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam's foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today - liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

7 The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

8 Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China. But it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders' metal armour and was an effective form of insulation - so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

9 The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe's Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe's castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world's - with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V's castle architect was a Muslim.

10 Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

11 The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

12 The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

13 The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

14 The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi's book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi's discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

15 Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal - soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas - see No 4).

16 Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam's non-representational art. In contrast, Europe's floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were "covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned". Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

17 The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

18 By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth's circumference to be 40,253.4km - less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

19 Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo - a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

20 Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

Also available here.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

My Article on Danish Cartoons Published

Hello folks, my article on the Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad was published in the Daily 49er University publication. Here it is:

In September 2005, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a series of highly provocative caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him — P.B.U.H.), which caused a furor amongst Muslims around the globe. There were massive protests and rallies, some peaceful, some violent, where people took to the streets to demonstrate their discontent with the publication.

Before the issue is addressed, it is imperative to understand first what the word “religion” means to Muslims, in contrast to its perception by people of other faiths.

Islam is more than just a religion in that it is a set of rules outlining the code of life for its followers. Islam sets out certain guidelines, a moral code and the emphasis in the existence of one God. In short, it is “a way of life” for Muslims to abide by, just as the constitution and the judicial laws are for citizens of a nation to respect and follow.

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) is the central figure in Islam, as is Jesus Christ (P.B.U.H.) in Christianity. The difference is Christians consider Jesus (P.B.U.H.) as the son of God, whereas Muslims consider Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) as a simple and modest human being who laid out the foundation of Islam through his generous, modest, peaceful, honest and merciful nature; a paradigm that has been in several volumes, known as the “Ahadith,” or “Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).”

He is also credited for relaying God’s message in the form of what Muslims today regard as their book of guidance, the Quran.
In my personal view, the reactions to the cartoons in certain instances were propelled to an exaggerated state, and violence was most certainly unwarranted. However, it is absolutely rational for Muslims to show their protest using economics, diplomacy and peaceful rallies.

The right to freedom of speech should not be exploited to serve malignant propaganda. There should be a distinguishing line between what should and should not be morally and socially acceptable.

As United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan wisely said, “I also respect the right of freedom of speech. But of course, freedom of speech is never absolute. It entails responsibility and judgment.”

In seven European nations, denying the occurrence of the Holocaust is punishable by law. Any public display or mockery of Jews or the Holocaust is severely reprimanded by the media. In fact, when Prince Harry donned a Nazi costume at a fancy dress party, he was reported to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons.

However, defaming Islam and its distinguished icons unfortunately falls under the umbrella of freedom of speech. Just as the Jews were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust, millions of Muslims died during the invasion of the barbaric crusaders, the invasion of the Mongols and during various wars with European colonialists, defending their religion and their lands.

These people died to defend their faith, their families and a message the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) delivered to them. Do you not believe the dignity of this peace-loving man is valuable to Muslims? Where is the justice, I ask?

I encourage the campus community to actively participate in condemning the printing of such irreverent publications. Let us all join hands and work together toward achieving global peace and tolerance, which is exactly what Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) envisioned for this world.

Mutual respect for other people’s beliefs, values and cultures will go a long way in bridging the gap between the Muslim world and the West.

You can also read the article here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hackers in Control

Witlog, an internet hacker was recently interviewed by Biran Kerbs. He didn't find much about Witlog, the person, but he was able to find much about the "accomplishments" of Witlog the internet hacker. Witlog controls nearly 30,000 Windows operated systems using a worm that he downloaded from a website and modified before launching it in to cyberspace. Read more...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cosmonauts to attempt Golf Record in space

Image Courtesy:

Russian cosmonauts will attempt the longest golf drive from the International Space Station to set a record for the longest drive, with Nasa's consent. Read about it here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bomb Blasts in Karachi

Two bomb blasts rocked the metropolitan city of Karachi only hours before Mr. Bush was due to arrive in Pakistan. Read here and here.