Dr Aafia and Mohammed Bin Qasim

A camel caravan commemorated the occassion of Mohammed Bin Qasim’s arrival in Daybul (near present day Karachi) to rescue a Muslim woman from captivity in 711 AD. This event ultimately led to the beginning of Arab rule in Sindh and beyond.

Photo Coutesy: The News

Daily Express


Saudi Arabians Will Soon Need A License To Blog

According to The Media Note, Saudi Information and Culture Ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman Al-Hazza announced last night Saudi time that all Saudi Arabian web publishers and online media, including blogs and forums, will need to be officially registered with the government.

Al-Hazza claimed that the measure will cut down on libel and defamation and is not intended to limit freedom of speech.

However Saudi Arabia has a checkered history when it comes to Internet censorship, and old media is currently very regulated. The government heavily controls the few newspapers in operation and traditional journalists can be detained if they cross the line.

While the Saudi government has arrested bloggers critical of Saudi life and censored activist Twitter pages in the past, this is the first attempt at regulating online media as a whole. As blogging becomes more popular, Saudi Arabian authorities are starting to treat it with the same caution and restriction applied to traditional media in the country.

Of course this has gotten many bloggers upset, and people have taken to Twitter to protest, with the hashtag #haza3, which refers to the Ministry official’s last name. Public protesting is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

The regulation has not yet gone into effect and this story is still developing so stay close for updates.

Hostel Life: What I hate

Shifting back to ” The Islamia University of Bahawalpur”Hostel after long summer vacations on coming Monday.I enjoyed hostel life for 2 years.There are somethings which I hate in Hostel,describing below.

The Warden: I wonder if while hiring hostel wardens, the administration specifically looks for bitter, old, and mostly hard persons who will make sure that life is unbearably hard for students at the The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Hostel. They inculcate a sense of fear among those destined to be at their mercy. With a paper and pen ready, they are constantly waiting to pounce on their victims just so they can attach another notice on the board of disorderly conduct.

The Washrooms: It is an absolute pain walking into a wet washroom. The pain scale shoots to 10 when the washroom is both wet and littered with hair. Mind-boggling. Vomit-inspiring.

The Mess: Ever wondered why the hostel just cannot have a proper cafeteria.The meal that is cooked at mess would have a bad taste and very expensive in cost. Have you tried to figure out what it will take for authorities to manage Mess at hostel properly.

The Roommate: When you join a hostel first, you are either stuck with two or three boys(in case of small room) or five to six(if you entertained with a big room). It is only a few years later that you may actually a space on your own. However, before that happens, for some odd reason you are always stuck with people you are not compatible with at all. They will happily sleep at 10 p.m sharp requiring you to switch the lights off without any regard for the fact that you have to study. They refuse to use a pair of headphones. They insist on eating their meals in the bedroom leaving a perpetual stench. Unless you put your foot down, the tirade of shamelessness goes on.

The absence of hot water and heaters during winters: There is never enough warm water in the winters. If, unfortunately, your hostel happens to be in Murree; life is definitely difficult during winters. Heaters were obviously not allowed in the rooms lest the students leave them on which is, indeed, sensible. Yet it still sucks to be shivering all winter.

The Backbiting: While I have come across some of the best people at Hostel, there is no dearth of those who will make sure they report everything whether it is true or false to the wretched warden. If they can’t get hold of the warden, they will make it their business to talk about you behind your back to everyone who is ready to listen.

Bunk beds: I don’t think this one needs explanation.

The no-television policy: As if  life at the hostel isn’t dreary enough, there are these rules which forbid you from any fun activity whatsoever. Watching TV beyond the specified hours earns you bad points. Blaring music was obviously not allowed and rightfully so, I would add reluctantly. Sundays were worth waiting for.

The Goodbyes: No matter how hard it is living with a bunch of strangers for years, it is painful to say goodbye. Life at University Hostel is full of memories cherished to be forever – minus the encounters with the warden or someone else!

Why We Sleep….?

We spend a third of our lives asleep, but sleep researchers still don’t know why. Some researchers regard sleep as one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of science, even though all animals do it in one form or another.

“Theories range from brain ‘maintenance’–including memory consolidation and pruning–to reversing damage from oxidative stress suffered while awake, to promoting longevity,” says a statement released this week by the University of California in Los Angeles. “None of these theories are well established, and many are mutually exclusive.”

A new analysis by Jerome Siegel, UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Sleep Research at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the Sepulveda Veterans Affairs Medical Center, has concluded that sleep’s primary function is to increase animals’ efficiency and minimize their risk by regulating the duration and timing of their behavior, the UCLA statement said.

“Sleep has normally been viewed as something negative for survival because sleeping animals may be vulnerable to predation and they can’t perform the behaviors that ensure survival,” Siegel said. These behaviors include eating, procreating, caring for family members, monitoring the environment for danger and scouting for prey.

“So it’s been thought that sleep must serve some as-yet unidentified physiological or neural function that can’t be accomplished when animals are awake,” he said.

But after monitoring the sleep times of a broad range of animals–from the platypus and the walrus to the echidna–the team led by Siegel concluded that sleep itself is highly adaptive, “much like the inactive states seen in a wide range of species, starting with plants and simple microorganisms.”

“These species have dormant states as opposed to sleep–even though in many cases they do not have nervous systems,” UCLA noted.

That challenges the idea that sleep is for the brain, Siegel said.

“We see sleep as lying on a continuum that ranges from these dormant states like torpor and hibernation, on to periods of continuous activity without any sleep, such as during migration, where birds can fly for days on end without stopping,” he said.

Hibernation is one example of an activity that regulates behavior for survival. A small animal can’t migrate to a warmer climate in winter, Siegel said. “So it hibernates, effectively cutting its energy consumption and thus its need for food, remaining secure from predators by burrowing underground.”

Sleep duration, then, is determined in each species by the time requirements of eating, the cost-benefit relations between activity and risk, migration needs, care of young, and other factors, the research team said.

“However, unlike hibernation and torpor,” Siegel said, “sleep is rapidly reversible–that is, animals can wake up quickly, a unique mammalian adaptation that allows for a relatively quick response to sensory signals.”

Humans fit into this analysis as well.

What is most remarkable about sleep, according to Siegel, is not the unresponsiveness or vulnerability it creates but rather the ability to reduce body and brain metabolism while still allowing a high level of responsiveness to the environment.

“The often cited example is that of a parent arousing at a baby’s whimper but sleeping through a thunderstorm. That dramatizes the ability of the sleeping human brain to continuously process sensory signals and trigger complete awakening to significant stimuli within a few hundred milliseconds.”

In humans, the brain constitutes, on average, just 2 percent of total body weight but consumes 20 percent of the energy used during quiet waking, so these savings have considerable adaptive significance, UCLA said.

“Besides conserving energy, sleep also invokes survival benefits for humans.”

Besides conserving energy, sleep also invokes survival benefits for humans, including, according to Siegel, “a reduced risk of injury, reduced resource consumption and, from an evolutionary standpoint, reduced risk of detection by predators.”

“This Darwinian perspective can explain age-related changes in human sleep patterns as well,” he said.

“We sleep more deeply when we are young, because we have a high metabolic rate that is greatly reduced during sleep, but also because there are people to protect us.

“Our sleep patterns change when we are older, though, because that metabolic rate reduces and we are now the ones doing the alerting and protecting from dangers.”

Dear September, Please be good to me.

and i go back after an year. and after a view ...

Image via Wikipedia

I woke up this morning and apparently it’s September. Instead of wondering how that is possible, I have to admit that I’m just glad that August is over. This past month was a rough one for me with many bad days and few good ones. As the saying goes, you have to put up the rain in order to enjoy the rainbowso September, you better be bringing me a lot of sunshine and rainbows. I think I’ve earned it with all of the rain I’ve put up with these past few weeks.

In the past three hours,I have two wonderful, pick-me-up conversations: one with my mom and one with my brother.

Vacation is one of the reasons why I’m anticipating September to be much better for me.

This morning a thought entered my mind as I was getting ready to pop my daily routine: Maybe I’m supposed to feel this way. I’m a single twenty-one year old, why shouldn’t I feel lost? Confused? Unsure of who I am and what I want?

University opens doors for me to explore new horizons and uncover (new) layers of knowledge. It lets me learn new interests, new hobbies, new likes, new dislikes. Here  I learnt who I am and who I want to be.  I, myself, fell somewhere in the middle as I gave in to some of the temptations to find myself lost with a diploma.

But as much as I open up about my frustrations and anxieties, I’ll tell you one thing: I’ll never give up. I wish there were easy answers to the questions running around in my head. I know that I’ll get there, I’m just not sure when nor how. But I promise you, and I promise myself that I will.

I’ve this song in my head all day, hearing it by a female singer (for some reason). Have a Little Faith in Me (by Jewel) I need to have more faith in the people who love and support me. I need to have more faith that everything happens for a reason. And most importantly, I need to have more faith in myself.