Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Needs a bit of Science Jolt

Coin of Abbasid CaliphateHave you ever wondered how are the ancient mosques (over 500 years old and more) pointing in the right direction? That is, towards Makkah. I mean, how did the ancient Islamic scholars figure out the direction of the Kaaba without having access to any modern instruments like GPS, or even advance mathematics like Calculus?

Have you ever wondered, how did a Muzzin called the faithful to prayer five times a day without the use of a clock? Some would argue the stars helped him, but then how was he so precise for Salat time on a cloudy night (or day for that matter)? How were they able to account for changing of the day and night and the length of daylight?

Did you know that the first Scientist to figure out Earth’s circumference to within 1% of accuracy (of what we know today) was no other than Al-Beruni, the muslim mathematician in Baghdad. And he did it in 900AD!
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Why do we gain weight during Ramadan?

ramadan-iftarEver wonder why do we gain weight during the holy month of Ramadan? We fast. From Fajr till Maghrib. Thats a whopping 15 hours (your local time may vary) of no food or drink under the blazing July Sun. But instead of making us thinner and fitter, we end up with an even wider waistline than before. Makes no sense!

Or does it.

The real problem is not what we eat. But how much we eat. And by God, we eat a lot after dutifully abstaining during the hot summer day. Just visit your nearest Iftar party in a typical Lahori restaurant; we literally invade the buffet trays as if we are famished for days.

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Cricket Champions Trophy – Pakistan the favorites?

ICC Champions TrophyAnother major ICC tournament is up for grabs and yet again, Pakistan is ranked among the favorites to lift it.

Since crashing out of the World Cup 2007 in the first round, Pakistan has shown remarkable consistency by reaching at least the semi-final stages of all the six major ICC tournaments to date. On their way, they were able to make it to the final of two (winning one of them, World T20 2009 in England) and semi-finalist in the other four. This is remarkable, considering they are the only team to have played so many semi-finals or finals so far. The other team that comes close is Sri Lanka with 5 such appearances since 2007 World Cup Final. However, Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has not won anything yet, even though they were in the finals four times.

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Load-Shedding & Electricity Production Figures are Fudged

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Government of Pakistan claims that the demand for electricity in the country is 24,000MW and the shortfall is 5,000MW. Fair enough.

But then, we see 20 hours of load-shedding in rural areas and 12-14 hours in urban centers in a day. The amount of load-shedding and the amount of shortfall do not add up. So let’s do some simple math to figure out what is going on.

Let’s assume that 30% of the total population of the country lives in urban centers like Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, etc. While 70% of the population lives in rural towns and villages (Toba Tek Singh, Mardan etc).

Now if Urban centers on average receive 10 hours of electricity in a day. That’s about 42% of the time with electricity and 58% without electricity in a 24 hour period.

Using the same logic, the rural centers receive no more than 4 hours of electricity in a day. So that’s about 17% of the 24 hours that they have electricity while a whopping 83% of the time there is none.

Now let’s add the two sums up. The 30% of Urban as a percentage of total (urban + rural) will add up to only 12% of the time that the urban centers get electricity. While the 70% of the rural as a percentage of the total country will be no more than 13% of the electricity.

So by adding 12%+13% we get 25% of the total time the nation has electricity at any given time.

So if the total requirement is 24,000 MW, then 25% of that would be no more than 6,000MW. Hence, the total production in the country is 6,000MW while the shortfall is 18,000MW.

It is now evident that the government’s estimates of shortfall and production are wrong. Either the people who are calculating these numbers are incompetent or the numbers are being deliberately fudged.

The Politician Flavor of the Month

tahir ul qadriIt is no surprise to see Dr. Tahir ul Qadri trying to crawl back into the hearts of Pakistanis with a new fervor but carrying the same old message. And it is typical of Pakistanis to watch his antics with awe and laugh at his actions. Yes, some of us will follow him whole heartedly, and join his futile attempts at whatever he proposes. I for one pity those followers.

To me he is just another Politician. No different from others. Just the flavor of the month. He will be forgotten with the same speed at which he is now being remembered.

I am quite surprised at his audacious questions that he asks his fellow politicians. He has committed the same crimes as others. He talks about transparency but he himself has an interesting past. He cries for Pakistan but lives in Canada. Rather, he is a citizen of Canada. He talks about openness but I would like to know who pays his bills for such a massive advertising campaign which is in millions of dollars. So what is the difference between Qadri and other politician? What has he done in the past (other than emigrate out of the country when the going was tough) that merits him to be above the rest?

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Pakistan in 1950s

Encyclopedia Britannica Archive

It is amazing to see how Pakistan has evolved since its independence in 1947 on one side and not at all in some aspects. We are still a rural and agrarian economy with 70% of our population living outside the cities. Literacy levels are better since 1950s but are still dismal as compared to international rankings.

Look at the video closely and you will notice that some of the tools used by artisans and farmers are no different from a thousands years or more. Yet, the artisans are extremely skilled and tend to work really efficiently with their bare hands. No electricity, no politics and no obstacle stops them. These are the people who actually helped create Pakistan for us to live in peacefully. It is our job now to take the nation to the next level.
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Tour with Pakistan Cricket as a Fan

Pakistan Cricket TeamThis year (2012), Pakistan has almost exclusively played in the neighborhood. Most of their matches (barring a few) have been played England in UAE (Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Asia Cup in Bangla Desh and bilateral series in Sri Lanka. Later this year, they will take on Australia in UAE, T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and a bilateral series with India in India.

At the same time, it is disheartening to see half empty stadiums and just a few scattered Pakistan cricket fans supporting our team against the best in the world.

Would it not be great if Pakistan Cricket Board announced a tour package for the fans. A package that includes basic amenities like:

  • Visa for the country where the games are played
  • Travel tickets through the air lines (preferably a local like PIA, Air Blue or Shaheen Air)
  • Hotel options where we can choose to stay
  • Tickets to the games (we can choose how many we want to see)
  • Pick and Drop from the airport. It could be cheaper if fans band together in one bus.
  • Local sight seeing and shopping options. Places like Sri Lanka, Dubai do offer great opportunities
  • And a chance to have a dinner (paid of course) with the team during the tour

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