Sunday, 22 November 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
– Wed May 20, 3:51 pm ET
Once again it appears that a Mars hoax that has widely circulated through the Internet since its first appearance during the summer of 2004 has begun to circulate yet again. It comes in the form of an e-mail message titled "Mars Spectacular," which originated from an unknown source.
In turn, this message has gotten passed on to others who couldn't resist forwarding it to their entire address book.
The e-mail declares that on the night of Aug. 27, the planet Mars will come closer to Earth than it has in the past 60,000 years, thereby offering spectacular views of the Red Planet. The commentary even proclaims, with liberal use of exclamation marks, that Mars will appear as bright as (or as large as) the full moon.
The problem is that "Aug. 27" is actually Aug. 27, 2003. Mars made a historically close pass by Earth that night (34.6 million miles, or 55.7 million km). The Hubble Space Telescope used the opportunity to make a great photo of Mars. But even then, to the naked eye Mars appeared as nothing more than an extremely bright yellowish-orange star, not at all like the full moon.
This year, Mars is actually much dimmer and far-less conspicuous than in 2003.
You can find Mars in the early morning sky right now, however, located not far from the dazzling planet, Venus. This week, the moon serves as a guide to spotting the red planet -- and you can easily compare them to see just how different they appear in size.
"In the past, the rapid spread of this information was like some sort of brain info-virus, and led to at least one daily newspaper comic that showed Mars crashing into a home while the husband and wife were indoors, debating how close the planet will come," said Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium.
In terms of actual size, Mars (approximately 4,213 miles, or 6,780 km. in diameter) is almost twice the size of our moon (about 2,160 miles, or 3,475 km). But the great distance between Mars and Earth never allows it to appear anywhere near as large as the moon in our sky.
The average distance of the moon from Earth is 238,000 miles (382,900 km). So for Mars to appear to loom as large as the Moon does from Earth, it would have to be about twice the Moon's distance, or roughly 476,000 miles (766,000 km.).
In fact, right now the red planet remains is 189 million miles (304 million km) from Earth.
So, plain and simple, if you have already received this infamous Mars E-mail -- or eventually receive it this summer -- be advised that it is totally bogus.
Or Tyson suggests: "Now it's time for you to send this antidote to all the infected people in your address book!"
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
It had been widely believed that deadly bacteria in the carnivorous lizard's mouth helped kill its prey.
But magnetic resonance imagery has for the first time uncovered venom glands containing a shock-inducing poison which increases blood flow and decreases blood pressure, scientists say.
Lead researcher Bryan Fry said three-dimensional computer imaging comparing the Komodo's bite with that of Australia's saltwater crocodile showed it used a "grip and rip" pulling manoeuvre to tear deep wounds, similar to a shark or sabre cat.
Fry surgically removed a venom gland from a terminally ill Komodo at Singapore Zoo for the study, and said it contained a highly toxic poison which would induce potent stomach cramps, hypothermia and a drop in blood pressure.
The venom also blocked the blood's clotting ability, he said.
"Such a fall in blood pressure would be debilitating in conjunction with blood loss and would render the envenomed prey unable to escape," he said.
"These results are congruent with the observed unusual quietness and apparent rapid shock of prey items."
Komodos are the world's heaviest lizard, typically weighing 70 kilograms (150 pounds) and growing up to three metres (10 feet) in length.
They are native to several Indonesian islands and are considered a vulnerable species, with only a few thousand left in the world.
They live on a diet of large mammals, reptiles and birds but have been known to attack humans.
An Indonesian fisherman was in March mauled to death by a Komodo dragon after he ventured into a remote island sanctuary for the giant killer lizards.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
3. Other symptoms may include:
- aching muscles
- sore throat
- runny nose
- loss of appetite.
4. The incubation period
1 to 4 days, though for most people it will be two to three days
5. The infectious period
People are most infectious soon after they develop symptoms. They can continue to spread the virus, for example in coughs and sneezes, for up to five days (seven days in children). People become less infectious as their symptoms subside, and once symptoms are gone,they are considered no longer infectious to others.
6. Prudent Practice :
A) Where social interactions and attendance areunavoidable, considerations might be given toasking the individual with symptoms consistent toFlu to adopt practices that reduce the risk ofinfecting others
B) individuals with signs of flu or cough should beencouraged to wear face masks
Last but not least , as a precaution, if your organization had staff who travelled to Mexico in the last 2 (two) weeks, and more recently US, your co-operation is appreciated in informing the relevant authority. This is to ensure that relevant authority can respond promptly and appropriately, thereby reducing the risk of healthy /susceptible people succumbing or being infected by the flu virus.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Sunday, 25 January 2009
"Things are made clear through their opposites"........proverb
"Nothing makes Truth stand out more clearly than Falsehood!" I embraced Islam 6 months after I arrived in the US, thanks to my encounter with Christianity!
I was born in India and grew up among people who worshipped many gods and goddesses- the Hindus. At every street and corner in India, you will find temples housing idols of wood, stone, ivory, even gold and silver.
I do not come from a Hindu family. My parents do not believe in God. They are atheists. They taught me there was no such thing as God. As a child, I believed whatever my parents told me. I looked up to them and believed they knew everything. I thought they were perfect. As I grew older however, I realized that my parents did not know everything. They were certainly not perfect. And they made mistakes.
At some point, several questions about life began to arise in my mind. I'm sure these questions arise in the minds of most people at some time or other:
What is the meaning and purpose of life?
Why is man faced with the predicament to choose between good and evil?
Why do people die?
What happens after death?
My parents did not have the answers to these questions.
I began to think independently and eventually, after deep contemplation and reflection I came to the conclusion that God did exist! In fact, God was the only reality!
There is order and perfection in nature which cannot possibly be the result of chance. There can be no design without a Designer, and no creation without a Creator. We human beings are products of creation, not chance, accident or evolution.
It was obvious to me that there was only one Creator. There could not be more than one since that would cause a division or split in power and consequently result in chaos and disorder. Isn't there a saying that goes, "Too many cooks spoil the broth"? or See the quote from Quran:
"If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allâh, there would have been ruin in both! But glory to Allâh, the Rabb of the Throne: (High is He) above what they attribute to Him." (21: 22)
So, I began to believe in God. I also believed in accountability for my actions. Our actions are the only things we can control. Nothing else besides that lies in our power. Since God created us with the freedom to choose between right and wrong, it was evident to me that it mattered a lot what I chose to do or how I chose to act. Deep down inside I knew that one day I would have to give an account for all my deeds. God has all power, and He has the ability to reward and to punish. So I greatly feared God.
I believed in God, but I did not have a religion. I used to think it didn't matter what religion a person belonged to as long as that person was good. Now, there is something seriously wrong with that kind of thinking. Anyway, I had no understanding then, and all I cared about was finding a God-fearing man to be my husband. Being a monotheist, I was willing to marry a Christian, a Muslim or a Bahai.
I met my husband under the most peculiar circumstances. He was a Christian. And he was from America. We had known each other for only three days. But he proposed to me. I thought he was very honest and had his heart full of the fear of God. We got married. Two weeks later, he had to go back to the US. He couldn't take me with him. It was a year and a half before I got my visa to go to the US.
America is very different from India. It took me a while to adjust to the American lifestyle. My husband was a very devout Christian. He was a member of the Worldwide Church of God. He read the Bible regularly, frequently, almost fanatically! He used to observe the Sabbath and attended the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I went to church with him several times. I also read the Bible and found a lot of things in there that supported what I believed about God. I liked the proverb "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom". I met many nice people at church. I even made some very good friends. I was particularly attached to an elderly couple. I was pretty happy with the way things were going........until I went to California to visit my in-laws.
It was when I was travelling in the metro train, on my way to Los Angeles, that some people entered the train and passed slips of paper to the passengers. I looked at the piece of paper in my hand and read it with utter disbelief. I have carefully preserved that piece of paper. This is what it said:
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
The answer to this question is, absolutely nothing! The only requirement is to believe what God has said in His word, and He says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved". Only believe? Yes, that's all! Believe means to trust completely in what God has said concerning salvation. What do we have to believe? That Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day. Christ died to give us eternal life. If you desire to have eternal life make the following prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and that I have a need to be forgiven. I now receive Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for having forgiven my sins. In Jesus name. Amen. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, (Jesus) to them gave He (God) power (authority) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.
This little slip of paper changed my entire life! My heart was screaming that this simply could not be true! It was so evidently false that I was surprised that anyone actually believed in it! This was the beginning of my first real acquaintance with modern Christianity.
I was completely overwhelmed with amazement to learn some of the fantastic beliefs of modern Christians. The following is a list of beliefs which made absolutely no sense to me:
1. That Jesus is God.
2. That Jesus is Lord and our Savior, who came down to earth in the form of man to die for our sins.
3. That God is three in one.......a concept called the Trinity.
None of the above beliefs are supported by the Bible! Jesus never claimed to be God. He never said that he had come to die for our sins. And you can scour the Bible from cover to cover. You will not find the word Trinity in it!.
Several questions arose in my mind about the above mentioned beliefs.
Why would God personally need to come down to earth if He has all power?
If He wants to get something done, all He needs to do is say the word and it is done! Jesus was a man. If he was God, then how could he die? Can God die? Furthermore, if Jesus was really God in the flesh, who did he pray to? Did he pray to himself?! If Jesus is God, how can we even think of God subjecting Himself to the temptation of the devil? How can the devil offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world, if everything in the heavens and earth all belong to God? Besides, wasn't it God who created the devil?! If the Trinity is indeed an important article of faith, why does not Jesus preach this
It doesn't take a lot of intelligence to understand that the Creator cannot become His creation, or part of His creation. Even if God could become His creation, why would He want to do that?!! And if it is true that God became Jesus and did indeed die for our sins (which sounds like a very drastic step to me), then the world as we know it today should be free of sin. If it is not free of sin, then what was the point in dying for our sins? What did it accomplish?!
I was staring at first-class Falsehood. I knew it was false right to the very core.
You will not find a single flaw in God's creation. It is perfect. It is God who has given us the power of reason and common sense. Would God ask us to believe in anything that didn't make sense? Truth must make sense. When a detective wants to find the truth, he looks for clues, examines the evidence and uses his power of reasoning. People employ this method for all matters, except in the field of religion! This is where they abandon their reason and believe blindly in whatever they are taught!
I wondered how people could actually believe that Jesus died for their sins! I want to ask this question to you. If you were sitting for an important exam, would you believe anyone who said that you had to do absolutely nothing in order to pass that exam?! Would you believe anyone who said all you had to do was believe that your teacher himself would study for the exam and do all the hard work for you? All you needed to do was believe and that's it!??
Well, you could believe and believe all you want, but when the results of the exam are announced, you will discover that you've got zero! Not only that, when your teacher learns that you had been entertaining the funny thought that he was going to do the studying for you, he would probably expel you from school and send you to the lunatic asylum to have your head examined!
In India, with its many temples, I knew people were worshipping falsehood. Hinduism, with its many gods and goddesses never made any sense to me. I always used to wonder how the Hindus knew what their gods and goddesses looked like. In America, I discovered the situation was more or less the same. The only difference was, at every street and corner, you did not find a temple, you found a church! Christianity as it is practised in America didn't make sense to me either! People drew pictures of Jesus as if they knew what he looked like. I'm sure the real Jesus never looked a bit the way they depict him!
I confronted my husband with my questions about Christian beliefs. He had no answers. I also asked my Christian friends. They did give me some answers, but their answers were so preposterous that I soon gave up asking them! Want to know what they told me? Frankly, I'm just dying to tell you about it!
This is what they had to say:
"No evil or sin can stand before a Perfect God. Even what to us is just the tiniest of wrong is totally intolerable to His perfection. All it takes is one sinful act. Look at Adam and Eve. They committed only one act, and a very small one at that, but that act allowed sin to enter this world. They knew that the consequences of that one act was death, but God made a promise to them that there was a way they could be redeemed from those consequences. It is that promise that the prophets wrote about. It is that promise and its fulfilment that is the underlining theme throughout the rest of the Bible. The message is that not only were the Jewish leaders who crucified Christ evil, but so were David, Lot and the others. That also includes you and me. Even the smallest evil makes us deserving of death. Just as there was nothing Adam and Eve could to do undo what they had done, there is nothing we can do to undo the evil we have done. But the same promise God made to Adam and Eve He makes to us. He only asks us to accept that promise."
How could anyone believe in such a theory!? But that is precisely what my good Christian "friends" believed. According to them, all evil, all sin is the same in the eyes of God. So the penalty for a man who steals a loaf of bread is the same as the penalty for a man who goes out and murders ten people! What kind of justice is that?! I'm thankful the law and order system in America does not treat all crime with the death penalty! Is justice here on earth better than God's justice?
And what utter rubbish to even think that we are all deserving of death for the small sins that we commit and that we can be saved simply by believing that God died for our sins!!
Whether we believe or we don't believe, it still doesn't save us from Death, does it?!
If we commit a sin, it is not because of Adam and Eve! We commit a sin when we choose to do wrong or evil of our own free will. We alone are responsible for our actions. For the mistake I make, nobody else can be held accountable. That would simply not be justice! Therefore, even if somebody were to come up to me and say he or she was willing to take the burden of my sin, I would not agree to it! Since it is I who committed the sin, it is I alone who must face the consequences of that act! It just does not make sense that we should consciously make mistakes and commit sins and all kinds of crimes and put the whole burden on somebody who is totally innocent. There is no law and order system in this world where Tom commits a murder and instead of Tom, Dick is hanged for it!! If such a thing were to be done, this whole world would be upside down!
I went to the library and began to look for answers. I began to study Islam, the other monotheistic religion. I read the Qur'an. I didn't need to look any further. I found the answers to all my questions there!
The Qur'an is very clear in its message:
1. That God (Allah) is one.
2. That He is eternal and does not die.
3. That He does not beget nor is He begotten.
4. That there is none like unto Him.
5. That every soul will be have to give account for its deeds on the Day of Judgment.
6. That no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another.
7. That Jesus was one of the messengers of God.
8. That those who believed in the Truth and did good will be rewarded with paradise.
9. That those who disbelieved and rejected the Truth will be flung into hellfire.
10. That there is no other god but Allah. He is the Lord of all the Worlds, the Creator, the All Knowing, the All Hearing.
All the questions I had about Christian beliefs were answered. I learnt the following things from the Qur'an:
1. Jesus was not God. Neither was he son of God.
2. He was not crucified.
3. He did not die for our sins.
4. There is no such thing as the trinity.
5. All of the above is blasphemy.
6. Finally he is one of the mighteous Prophets of Allah and a word of God.
In fact, I found all answers to other questions about life and death in the Qur'an. The Qur'an is the Word of Allah. There is no doubt about it. I investigated the source of the Qur'an. I studied the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I was moved to tears reading his story.
There is no place for blind faith in Islam. God asks us to use our powers of reasoning and common sense to arrive at the Truth.
I had found the Truth. The only thing I needed to do was embrace Islam by declaring that there was no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad was the Messenger of Allah.
I could think of nothing else. I talked to my husband about Islam. We argued almost everyday about religion. My husband held even more closely to the Bible, telling me that he could not deny Christ. He didn't take me seriously at all. He told me I could believe whatever I wanted. He had no objection if I wanted to embrace Islam.
However, there was a problem. I discovered that if I were to embrace Islam by saying the Shahadah (the muslim declaration of faith), my marriage to my husband would automatically be dissolved. A muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-muslim or disbeliever. In Islam, a woman must obey her husband. The husband is the head of the house and the leader. So, if the husband is a Christian, how can a muslim woman obey him?! Islam cannot occupy a secondary position in the house. Truth, not Falsehood must
have the upper hand!
I had to make a choice. Either I embraced Islam (the Truth), or I continued to live with my husband like a Christian. I loved my husband dearly. I had left my country to come and live with him, and he mattered to me more than anything else in the whole world. However, I could not live with Falsehood. I knew it would be very difficult for me to practice Islam in such circumstances. So, I made up my mind to leave my husband.
It broke my heart to think about leaving him. I cried non-stop. But I was firm on my decision. I had no idea what was going to happen after I left him. I left it all in Allah's Hands. I told my husband about what I was going to do. It was only when he heard what I said, that he began to take me seriously. He decided to investigate Islam. He asked me to give him some time to learn about this new religion.
At that time, the first thought in my husband's head was that he did not want to lose me. He probably thought I was nuts then. But he continued to study and read about Islam. All his life, he had been a Christian and whatever Islam taught was very new and strange to him.
On the 6th of October, 2000, I and my husband both embraced Islam. However, my husband still did not understand a lot of things. He didn't know what was going on in his life, and probably thought his whole life had turned upside down. He embraced Islam because he didn't want to lose me. He did read the Qur'an sometimes, but he read his Bible more. I didn't care what he did. I was happy that I didn't have to leave my husband, and was confident that Allah would guide him eventually.
All praises are due to Allah! My husband was in the Navy, and he had to go out to sea for 6 months. During this time, he got the opportunity to read the Qur'an from the first page to the last. He e-mailed me one day, and told me that he had been doing nothing but reading the Qur'an. He simply could not put it down! Finally, he told me that he was convinced it was the Word of God. He was now overcome with a great desire to make a declaration of his faith. When his ship reached Australia, he immediately went to the nearest mosque and told the brothers there that he wanted to say the Shahadah. The brothers told him he had already said the Shahadah with me, so he had no need to do it again. My husband then explained to them that at that time, he had no understanding. He did it for me. This time, he wanted to do it for himself. I shed tears of joy when he wrote to me and told me he said the Shahadah there in that mosque in Australia.
Of all the billions of people in this world, we are indeed thankful and utterly grateful that Allah chose to guide us to the Truth. It is the greatest honour anyone can have.