"This is a story of how the impossible became possible. How, for centuries, scientists were absolutely sure that solids (as well as decorative patterns like tiling and quilts) could only have certain symmetries - such as square, hexagonal and triangular - and that most symmetries, including five-fold symmetry in the plane and icosahedral symmetry in three dimensions (the symmetry of a soccer ball), were strictly forbidden. Then, about twenty years ago, a new kind of pattern, known as a "quasicrystal," was envisaged that shatters the symmetry restrictions and allows for an infinite number of new patterns and structures that had never been seen before, suggesting a whole new class of materials...."
Physicist Paul J. Steinhardt delivers a fascinating lecture
(WMV) on tilings
. However, it turns out science was beaten to the punch: a recent paper
Islamic architecture developed similar tilings centuries earlier.
posted by parudox
on Mar 18, 2007 -
An Islamic History of Europe: (90 minute BBC documentary on Google video.)
Rageh Omaar uncovers the hidden story of Europe's Islamic past and looks back to a golden age when European civilisation was enriched by Islamic learning.
When the Moors Ruled in Europe:(102 minute BBC documentary on Google video.)
A look at the Islamic past of Spain and the influence it has on the present.
posted by Burhanistan
on Mar 3, 2007 -
"Is the Administration’s new policy aiding our enemies in the war on terrorism?" New article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker.
posted by homunculus
on Feb 25, 2007 -
Wake County, NC: Solomon Kamil
invited to speak at a public school in Raleigh tells the students to shun Muslims
"You may be excited that you found the 'tall, dark, and handsome man' you have been looking for. His sweet words and attention may blind you regarding the power, importance, and influence of his culture and Islamic faith."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy
on Feb 22, 2007 -
The Last Jews of Cairo
As soon as we saw the guns, we knew we’d arrived at the synagogue. Egyptian policemen thronged behind barricades, white uniforms in the dusk, handguns at their hips. Above them, on stairs, Special Forces soldiers in black with red armbands held machine guns as easily as we did point-and-shoot cameras.
posted by MDA38
on Feb 13, 2007 -
Russia's discomfort with its Muslim minority
stems from a fear that the higher-than-average fertility of the Muslim population (6-10 children children per woman among Muslims vs 1.5 per woman among non-Muslims) will make the ethnic Russians of eastern-orthodox persuasion a minority within the state. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007
on Jan 8, 2007 -
“Maybe, yes, I am a diva.”
Meet Ali Saleem, known on Pakistani TV as Begum Nawazish Ali, hostess of a popular talk show. Mr. Saleem’s portrayal ... a middle-aged widow who, in glamorous saris and glittery diamonds, invites to her drawing room politicians, movie stars and rights advocates from Pakistan and India.
posted by amberglow
on Jan 3, 2007 -
Thieves, murderers, rapists; and how the Pushtuns' ancient tribal code is fighting for survival against radical Islam. via The Economist. More about Puhktuns and Puhktunistan and some history together with a brief explanation of Afghan ethnic groups. There is an interesting discussion of the main article on Sunni Forum.
posted by adamvasco
on Dec 28, 2006 -
What Makes a Muslim Radical?
Gallup polls 9000 Muslims in 9 countries and separates the Moderates from the Radicals. Most of the results are counter to "Conventional Wisdom". The most important stuff is on the last page of 5
, including the methodology for deciding who was radical and who was moderate (in small print)
. Let's all get out our copies of How to Lie With Statistics
and see if this survey is fatally flawed, shall we?
posted by wendell
on Nov 20, 2006 -
Sheikh Hilali, the mufti of Australia, has raised more than a few eyebrows when he declared that rape-victims are to blame
for tempting men: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park and the cats come and eat it -- whose fault is it? The cats or the uncovered meat?" Needless to say, the mufti doesn't think the cats are to blame. Australians (including their PM) are not amused and call for the mufti to step down
. Even many Islamic women
think it's the mufti, and not the meat, that stinks. Others argue that at least the mufti (quickly christened the "rape cleric
" by some news outlets) will force Muslims to fess up and take a stand
on whether they really think that women are Satan's agents who incite rape with immodest dress.
The Sheikh himself found it wisest to go on a "self-imposed holiday
" to join the Hajj in Mecca, possibly to pray for attire with larger surface area, and left with the disingenuous remark that he might step down
if someone could "prove" what his *real* intentions were when he made his controversial comments.
posted by sour cream
on Oct 28, 2006 -
Both are open 24 hours a day, and serve as a "mecca" to their respective worshipers. One was ordained by Allah as a place of worship on Earth to reflect the house in Jannah called al-Baytu l-Maˤmur. The other was built by the house of Jobs to showcase Macs and iPods. Is Apple's Fifth Avenue Cube
(QTVR) mocking the Kaaba
? Some Islamic website thinks it's a new insult to Islam
posted by jaimev
on Oct 11, 2006 -
The age of horrorism. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Martin Amis analyses - and abhors - the rise of extreme Islamism. In a penetrating and wide-ranging essay he offers a trenchant critique of the grotesque creed and questions the West's faltering response to this eruption of evil.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese
on Sep 19, 2006 -
cancers are so bad that I think I've arrived at the end
of the road. What a pity. I would like to live
not only because I love life so much, but because I'd like to see the result of the trial
. I do think I will be found guilty
posted by felix betachat
on Sep 15, 2006 -
The new GOP buzzword: Fascism.
President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism
." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq. Donald H. Rumsfeld in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City said [of his critics, they are] trying to appease "a new type of fascism."
Before it was
"cut and run
", which was tested using a focus group. On the Senate floor, Sen Hagel earlier decried the tactic: "Focus Group-Tested Buzz Words…Like ‘Cut and Run’…Debase the Seriousness of War." What will they come up with next?
posted by ArunK
on Aug 30, 2006 -
Ayten Ahmet is a 16 year old girl who wants to win the Miss Teen Australia Beauty pageant
[some links here possibly NSFW]. The problem is some of Australia's Muslim leaders, such as Melbourne cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran, have branded her entry into the competition as a "slur on Islam"
. Ayten doesn't know what all the fuss is about, saying
"As long as you present yourself well, respect yourself and respect others, that's what's important. Religion's not an issue." [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000
on Aug 27, 2006 -
is home to the Blue Mosque
and other buildings with their unique blue tiles
which are beautifully shown in photographs
by flickr's horizon
Esfahan is a world heritage site and is home to many examples of traditional Persian Architecture which is made up of eight traditional forms
which taken together form the foundation on which it was based in the same way that music
was once based on a finite number of notes.
posted by adamvasco
on Aug 10, 2006 -
Colors of Islam.
"Islam 1,400 years ago gave women the right to choose her own husband, have her own business and finances, the right to ask for divorce and control her own body."
posted by semmi
on Jul 16, 2006 -
Keep your balls in check: The Saved Sect Website
calls for Muslims to stop supporting The World Cup, as "[...]soccer plants the seeds of nationalism, and is therefore part of a 'colonial crusader scheme' to divide Muslims and cause them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity."
posted by naxosaxur
on Jul 3, 2006 -
"Killing the Buddha
is about finding a way to be religious when we're all so self-conscious and self-absorbed. Knowing more than ever about ourselves and the way the world works, we gain nothing through nostalgia for a time when belief was simple, and even less from insisting that now is such a time. Killing the Buddha
will ask, How can we be religious without leaving part of ourselves at the church or temple door? How can we love God when we know it doesn't matter if we do? Call it God for the godless. Call it the search for a God we can believe in: A God that will not be an embarrassment in twelve-thousand years. A God we can talk about without qualifications." I particularly enjoyed The Temptation of Belief
, by a Buddhist exploring evangelical Christianity, and My Holy Ghost People
, by an unbelieving daughter in a praying-in-tongues family.
posted by heatherann
on Apr 24, 2006 -
Gay and Muslim groups getting together in the UK?
plans are to look at homophobia in the Muslim community and Islamophobia in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community
. The Muslim Council of Britain is also admitting that if you have nothing positive to say keep your mouth shut,
which is a very good first step. Can two groups often on the receiving end of hatred work together ? “British Muslims welcome working with everyone including members of the Lesbian and Gay community against a common enemy, fascism.”
I don't know if they have the likes of Michael Savage
there (or the many many others), who rail against (and call for the death of) both Muslims and gays on the airwaves daily, but it seems hopeful, no?
posted by amberglow
on Apr 19, 2006 -
The Beauty Academy of Kabul
is Liz Mermin's documentary about hairdressers from America teaching young women in Afghanistan how to beautify themselves. Could female self-expression and vanity be an impetus for more pervasive cultural transformation? In a related development, Nike has designed a sporty hijab
for use by Somali volleyball players. Whether it's an improvement over traditional variations
posted by mert
on Mar 20, 2006 -
is an intriguing and rather pretty website detailing contributions of a thousand years. Make sure to see the timeline
sections. Their new "weblog
" seems to be shaping up to be interesting too, have a rummage.
posted by Mossy
on Mar 6, 2006 -
An Australian Government Member of Parliament (MP) will be trying to amend a crucial piece of legislation
which, if the amendment is successful, will make it far harder (if not impossible) for Australian women to gain access to abortion drug RU486
because of fears that making it easier for women to access the drug will lead Australia down a path of Islamisation. "I've actually read in the Daily Telegraph where a certain imam from the Lakemba mosque actually said that Australia is going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years' time. I didn't believe him at the time but when you actually look at the birthrates... we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence."
Liberal MP Danna Vale
said today. Has she been reading Metafilter
posted by Effigy2000
on Feb 13, 2006 -
paved prophets house, put up a parking lot..
“What makes this demolition worse is the fact that the home of the Prophet is to make way for a parking lot, two 50-storey hotel towers and seven 35-storey apartment blocks; a project known as the Jabal Omar Scheme, all within a stone’s throw of the Grand Mosque. Yet despite this outrage, not a single Muslim country, no ayatollah, no mufti, no king, not even a Muslim Canadian imam has dared utter a word in protest. Such is the power of Saudi influence on the Muslim narrative.”
posted by zog
on Feb 11, 2006 -
great picture was taken in the French Pig-Squealing Championships. This
pic was alleged by Danish imams to be offensive to Muslims, and was included in the recent tour of the Middle East. The Brussels Journal
asks some pointed questions. The Beeb
belatedly explains - and (sorta) apologises.
posted by dash_slot-
on Feb 9, 2006 -