SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Remember the Thonet bicycle concept, and how we weren't sure if the seat-tube-less design would be possible to execute in steambent wood? Seeing as there's still no word on whether it will become a reality, Japanese design student Yojiro Oshima has done them one better with a prototype of his unconventional bicycle concept. For his degree project at Musahino Art University's Craft & Industrial Design Department, he has designed and built a Y-Foil/Softride-style frame by hand (it wasn't based on a chair per se, but I'm seeing a little Wegner myself).
The designer recently sent the project to James Thomas of BicycleDesign.net, where Oshima notes: "This proposal is about the shape of the frame and the handle mainly which doesn't concern what material it's made out of. The maximum comfort can be put into practice by wood." Thus, the frame concept also echoes that of the previously-seen (steel) Van Hulsteijn, which is currently in production.
Regarding the construction and other carpentry/bike nerd concerns, Oshima adds,
It is all hand made. The down tube and seat tube are hollowed with plenty of thickness left not to disturb the surface when planed too much. As a result, it weights about 14kg in total. The thickness is uncertain though, I guess it's about 6-12mm. It is bonded the half and half into one.
I was also curious to learn that the trispoke-style wheels were originally known as "baton" wheels—the renderings of the Thonet concept has a set of HED's top-of-the-line carbon fiber version—and that the clover-like construction is intended to "soften the ride." Similarly, the cantilevered saddle intended for comfort, while the short stays speak to performance by "assuring the stiffness."-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Britain's government has said it will stop all aid to India in 2015 and slash its remaining handouts, bowing to domestic pressure over its foreign development budget at a time of austerity.
Justine Greening, the international development secretary, said on Friday that the move, which will save Britain around $320m from 2013 to 2015, recognises India's "changing place in the world".
Prime Minister David Cameron has faced growing opposition at home to the aid commitment to India, with commentators often pointing out that Britain's booming former colony is able to fund its own space programme.
After visiting India this week with Foreign Secretary William Hague, Greening said that the relationship with India would now focus on "trade not aid".
"India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up with 21st century India," Greening said.
'Aid is the past'
Conservative Cameron's coalition government is trying to save money as part of its efforts to reduce a record deficit.
" It's time to recognise India's changing place in the world."
- Justine Greening, International Development Minister
British aid to India was reduced last year as part of widespread austerity measures, but still committed London to spending $445m a year until 2015.
Total spending between 2013 and 2015 will now be $318m less than had been planned previously, although Britain would complete all of its aid programmes in India, Greening said.
The Department of International Development confirmed in a statement: "Justine Greening will not sign off any new programmes, and financial aid programmes to the country will end completely in 2015."
Cameron has rejected growing pressure from politicians in his centre-right party to scrap his pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.
But while he has previously defended aid to India on the basis that tens of millions of Indians live in poverty, an end to the payments has been on the cards for sometime.
Britain was stung in February when New Delhi announced a big contract to buy French warplanes instead of the UK-backed Eurofighter Typhoon.
That came despite intense efforts to expand trade with India, with Cameron leading a huge business delegation to India in one of his first trips after taking office in 2010.
The same year, however, Britain suffered another snub when India's then-finance minister Pranab Mukherjee - now the president - reportedly dismissed the aid from Britain as a "peanut".
On Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid had signalled the country would soon stop receiving aid from Britain after holding talks with Hague.
"Aid is the past and trade is the future, so we are looking to the future," Khurshid told journalists in New Delhi after meetings with Hague.
"We discussed a lot of trade, investment and cooperation issues and I think that is how we see our relationship grow."
Aid groups however said the decision to cut the aid was premature.
Phil Bloomer of Oxfam said the agency was concerned that completely withdrawing British aid to India by 2015 was "too hasty".
"Despite the fact India is a country of growing wealth it is also a hugely divided country with extreme levels of poverty and inequality," he said. "The scale of the challenge remains huge."— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — On Wednesday morning in San Francisco, Apple will unveil its highly anticipated sixth-generation iPhone, putting an end to the rumors, leaks and speculation that have populated tech blogs for the past several months. The new phone has special significance to Apple culture—it was the last project Steve Jobs worked on from inception to completion before his death nearly a year ago.
The stakes are high. Analysts are predicting that a hit iPhone could result in a whopping 10 million devices being sold in the first week after the release date, which is expected to be Friday, September 21. Some four million iPhone 4S’s were sold last year during its debut weekend.
Is it taller? Does it operate faster? Is it thinner? Find all the answers to your questions about the new iPhone with our special section, giving you the best coverage from industry leaders like Engadget, the Verge, TechCrunch, CNET and GigaOM.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Can we make sense of the world without belief? This is the central question behind the faith and science dichotomy, and one that informs how an individual chooses to relate to the world. Contrasting mythic and scientific explanations of reality, we could say that at the extreme, religious myths attempt to explain the unknown with the unknowable, while science attempts to explain the unknown with the knowable. Much of the tension springs from the belief that there are two mutually inconsistent realities, one within this world (and thus knowable) and one without (and thus unknowable).
Perhaps surprisingly, both scientist and faithful believe, even if the nature of the belief is completely different for each.
In the sciences, this is most obvious when there is an attempt to extrapolate a theory or model beyond its tested limits, as in 'gravity works the same way across the entire universe,' or 'the theory of evolution by natural selection applies to all forms of life, including extraterrestrial ones.' The scientist feels justified in doing so, given the accumulated power of her theories to explain so much of the world. We can even say, with slight impropriety, that her belief is empirically validated.
Without this kind of belief in the power of extrapolation, science would not move forward. As David Deutsch wrote in The Beginning of Infinity, "The real source of our theories is conjecture, and the real source of our knowledge is conjecture alternating with criticism."
Here is an example. Newton's theory of universal gravitation, as explained in Book III of his masterful Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, the Principia, should really have been called a theory of solar system gravitation, since by the late 17th century no tests were conceivable beyond its confines. Yet, Newton called Book III The System of the World, assuming that his description of gravitational attraction as a force proportional to the quantity of mass in two bodies and decreasing with the square of the distance between them would extend to the whole world, that is, the cosmos: "if it is universally established by experiments and astronomical observations that all bodies on or near the earth gravitate toward the earth, and do so in the proportion of matter in each body ... it will have to be concluded ... that all bodies gravitate toward one another."
Later, in a letter to the Cambridge theologian Richard Bentley, dated December 10, 1692, Newton used his extrapolation on the nature of the gravitational force to justify why the universe should be infinite. If gravity acted equally across a spatially finite universe, Bentley wondered, why wouldn't all matter be concentrated in a huge ball at the center? Newton agreed that this would indeed be the case if the universe were finite in extent. However, he went on, "if the matter was evenly diffused through an infinite space, it would never convene into one mass but some of it convene into one mass and some into another so as to make an infinite number of great masses scattered at great distances from one to another throughout all that infinite space." Newton's belief in the universal nature of gravity was strong enough to let him speculate confidently about the spatial extent of the cosmos as a whole. Einstein did something very similar, but we will have to leave it for another time.
In order to move forward, a scientist must have the courage to take the risk of being wrong. You stick your neck out so that you can perhaps see a bit farther than the others.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Blink and you’ll miss it. Don’t blink, and you’ll still miss it.
Imagine a device capable of delivering more power than all of the world’s electric plants. But this is not a prop for the next James Bond movie. A new laser at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was put through its paces July 20, delivering pulses with a petawatt of power once per second. A petawatt is 1015 watts, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 watts—about 400 times as much as the combined instantaneous output of all the world’s electric plants.
How is that even possible? Well, the pulses at the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) are both exceedingly powerful and exceedingly short. Each petawatt burst lasts just 40 femtoseconds, or 0.00000000000004 second. Since it fires just one brief pulse per second, the laser’s average power is only about 40 watts—the same as an incandescent bulb in a reading lamp.
BELLA’s laser is not the first to pack so much power—a laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, just an hour’s drive inland from Berkeley, reached 1.25 petawatts in the 1990s. And the University of Texas at Austin has its own high-power laser, which hit the 1.1-petawatt mark in 2008. But the Berkeley laser is the first to deliver petawatt pulses with such frequency, the lab says. At full power, for comparison, the Texas Petawatt Laser can fire one shot per hour.
The Department of Energy plans to use the powerful laser to drive a very compact particle accelerator via a process called laser wakefield acceleration, boosting electrons to high energies for use in colliders or for imaging or medical applications. Electron beams are already in use to produce bright pulses of x-rays for high-speed imaging. An intense laser pulse can ionize the atoms in a gas, separating electrons from protons to produce a plasma. And laser-carved waves in the plasma [blue in image at right] sweep up electrons [green], accelerating them outward at nearly the speed of light.
BELLA director Wim Leemans says that the project’s first experiments will seek to accelerate beams of electrons to energies of 10 billion electron-volts (or 10 GeV) by firing the laser through a plasma-based apparatus about one meter long. The laser apparatus itself is quite a bit larger, filling a good-size room [see top photo]. For comparison, the recently repurposed Stanford Linear Accelerator Center produced electron beams of 50 GeV from an accelerator 3.2 kilometers in length.—www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Scientific American
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — There was a consensus on the issue of Palestine that the Israeli occupation on the land of Palestine and places of worship especially the Al-Quds could only be set free through armed struggle (JIHAD).
The consensus was manifested during the All Party Conference (APC) held under the aegis of Jamaat-e Islami Karachi chapter at the Idara-e Noor-e Haq.
The APC was presided over by the JI Azad Kashmere Ameer Abdul Rasheed Turabi.
Speaking on the occasion, Turabi said that it was the armed struggle of Islamic groups in Palestine especially the Hizb Allah, Hammas and others that the issue of Palestine emerged as the international issue.
While giving his ultimate remarks on suggestions and recommendations about the way of resolving the issue of Palestine and riddance of the Israeli occupation, he vowed that only JIHAD was the way to liberate the land of Palestine and Al-Quds.
He lauded JI for playing its role for raising voice and causing different political parties to stand united on international issues particularly those that pertained to the Muslims across the world.
Speaking on the occasion, JI Karachi chapter Ameer Muhammad Hussain Mahenti said that Palestine was the land of birth of several Messengers of Allah the Almighty.
The Israeli occupation over the land of Palestine led to genocide of the Palestinian Muslims and they were the Palestinians that constituted the largest number of the immigrants a cross the world only because of the barbaric cruelty of the Israeli troops.
Moatmar Alama-e Islami Leader Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat in his address said that the state of Israel was recognized by Russia and other countries of the West amid a debate on the state of Israel.
The Israeli delegate had suddenly announced that the state of Israel was established and it was recognized immediately without voting on the subject matter.
He also criticized the role of rulers of the 57 Muslim countries and Organisation of Islamic Conference for becoming subject to the dictation of the United States.
He said that the United Nations had passed 81 resolution son Palestine but the Israel had acted upon none of them, which was a big question on the UNO.
Al-Quds Association of Lebanon Leader Dr Haider in his address said that the issue of Palestine was an international issue that called for immediate attention.
He said that on more than 30 locations, the Israeli government had with force eliminated the signs of Islamic sacred importance. The Israeli government had with force deprived the Palestinians of their rights of potable water, food resources, health and education facilities and the Palestinians have been thrown into camp-life.
Incharge of Political Science department of University of Lebanon and incharge of political wing of Hizb Allah of Lebanon D Ahmed Malli in his address said that the Pakistani nation had always supported the cause of liberation of the Palestine.
He urged upon the political parties of Pakistan and the Pakistani people that they should press the Pakistani government for raising voice against the tyranny of the Israeli forces onto the innocent Palestinians and for the resolution of the issue of Palestine.
He expressed hope that the APC would adopt a concrete line of action toward the speedy resolution of the issue of Palestine.
Mahfouz Yar Khan of Awami Muslim League in his address said that the issue of Palestine could only be resolved by way of Islamic JIHAD.
Addressing the APC, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Saleem Zia Awan Advocate said that JIHAD was the only way to liberate the occupied land of Palestine for which, he assured, the PML-N leadership was fully prepared and supports the way of JIHAD.
Spokesperson of Palestine Foundation, Sabir Karbalai in his address said that the issue of Palestine should not be confined to the issue of the Palestinians but it should be taken as the international issue of human rights.
Dr Muhammad Siddique Rathor of JUP, Muzaffar Ahmed Hashmi of Palestine Foundation, Nusrat Mirza of Muslim Rabita (Coordination) Council, Alhaj Muhammad Rafi, Mufti Usman Yar Khan of JUP, Dr Alauddin of Muslim League Sher-e Bengal, Muhammad Aslam Ghori, Maulana Muhammad Yar Khan of Ansar Al Ummah also addressed the APC and condemned Israel, USA, Britain for killings of Palestinians,
Israeli occupation and vowed to support the way of JIHAD for the liberation of the occupied land of Palestine.
JI Leader Muslim Pervez tabled a resolution on the issue of Palestine demanding immediate resolution of the issue was passed unanimously. Another resolution was also passed on the condemnation of government of Myanmar over genocide of Burmese Muslim.—www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Taghrib News
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Iraq says it wants back all the archeological treasures, stolen by US forces in 2003, but Washington has offered to return only half.
Iraq rejected the offer made by the United States to bring back half of the Iraqi Jewish Archive, previously transferred from Baghdad to the United States during the US-led invasion of the country, insisting that Baghdad had to restore the whole archive, Iraqi newspaper al-Sabah reported on Sunday.
The archive includes centuries-old Torah scrolls and plenty of other documents in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Iraqi Tourism and Archaeology Minister Liwaa Smaisim reiterated that "it (the Iraqi Jewish Archive) is part of the Iraqi heritage," the ministry’s media office chief Hakim al-Shammari quoted him as saying.
On June 11, Smaisim said that the US had transferred the archive to Israel in addition to about 1,000 Iraqi antiquities.
The information angered archeologists and officials who accuse Washington of looting Iraq's cultural heritage, and dissuaded Iraqi authorities from continuing cultural cooperation with the US.
"The ministry recently suspended cooperation with the American universities and their excavation missions in the country," the Iraqi minister added. —www.shafaqna.com/english