Mass Shootings in Orlando

A mixture of hatred, radicalism and mental instability

Shia Wisdom

It saddens us that a month doesn’t pass without having to mourn or condemn an act of terror against innocent civilians around the globe. The last string of those cowardly attacks that assumed the lives of many civilians was Orlando FL, in the United States of America, when a man later identified as Omar Mateen opened fire at civilians inside a club and murdered 50 people.

It is heart breaking and astonishing to witness a US born, US raised citizen turn to become such a violent individual, filled with outrageous amount of hatred toward anything that is qualified as “different”. There have been reports of mental instability within the character of Orlando attacker, yet there are facts that need to be stated. Continue reading Mass Shootings in Orlando

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Mars

Source: Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo NASA

New research using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

The downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water. The new findings of hydrated salts on the slopes point to what that relationship may be to these dark features. The hydrated salts would lower the freezing point of a liquid brine, just as salt on roads here on Earth causes ice and snow to melt more rapidly. Scientists say it’s likely a shallow subsurface flow, with enough water wicking to the surface to explain the darkening.

“We found the hydrated salts only when the seasonal features were widest, which suggests that either the dark streaks themselves or a process that forms them is the source of the hydration. In either case, the detection of hydrated salts on these slopes means that water plays a vital role in the formation of these streaks,” said Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, lead author of a report on these findings published September 28 by Nature Geoscience.

Ojha first noticed these puzzling features as a University of Arizona undergraduate student in 2010, using images from the MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). HiRISE observations now have documented RSL at dozens of sites on Mars. The new study pairs HiRISE observations with mineral mapping by MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM).

The spectrometer observations show signatures of hydrated salts at multiple RSL locations, but only when the dark features were relatively wide. When the researchers looked at the same locations and RSL weren’t as extensive, they detected no hydrated salt.

Ojha and his co-authors interpret the spectral signatures as caused by hydrated minerals called perchlorates. The hydrated salts most consistent with the chemical signatures are likely a mixture of magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate and sodium perchlorate. Some perchlorates have been shown to keep liquids from freezing even when conditions are as cold as minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70 Celsius). On Earth, naturally produced perchlorates are concentrated in deserts, and some types of perchlorates can be used as rocket propellant.

Perchlorates have previously been seen on Mars. NASA’s Phoenix lander and Curiosity rover both found them in the planet’s soil, and some scientists believe that the Viking missions in the 1970s measured signatures of these salts. However, this study of RSL detected perchlorates, now in hydrated form, in different areas than those explored by the landers. This also is the first time perchlorates have been identified from orbit.

MRO has been examining Mars since 2006 with its six science instruments.

“The ability of MRO to observe for multiple Mars years with a payload able to see the fine detail of these features has enabled findings such as these: first identifying the puzzling seasonal streaks and now making a big step towards explaining what they are,” said Rich Zurek, MRO project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

For Ojha, the new findings are more proof that the mysterious lines he first saw darkening Martian slopes five years ago are, indeed, present-day water.

“When most people talk about water on Mars, they’re usually talking about ancient water or frozen water,” he said. “Now we know there’s more to the story. This is the first spectral detection that unambiguously supports our liquid water-formation hypotheses for RSL.”

The discovery is the latest of many breakthroughs by NASA’s Mars missions.

“It took multiple spacecraft over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.”

There are eight co-authors of the Nature Geoscience paper, including Mary Beth Wilhelm at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and Georgia Tech; CRISM Principal Investigator Scott Murchie of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland; and HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. Others are at Georgia Tech, the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique in Nantes, France.

Publication: Lujendra Ojha, et al., “Spectral evidence for hydrated salts in recurring slope lineae on Mars,” Nature Geoscience (2015); doi:10.1038/ngeo2546

 

WiFi, Move Over – Here Comes LiFi

This article was first published on https://shar.es/17WEH7.  All rights and claims on this article below to Shiawisdom.com claims no responsibility.

Disney researchers last week demonstrated Linux Light Bulbs — a protocol for a communications system that transmits data using visible light communication, or VLC, technology.

Linux Light Bulbs can communicate with each other and with other VLC devices — such as toys, wearables and clothing — over the Internet Protocol, according to Disney scientists Stefan Schmid, Theodoros Bourchas, Stefan Mangold and Thomas R. Gross, who coauthored a report on their work. In essence, they could establish a LiFi network that would function in much the same way that WiFi works.

Scientists have been experimenting with the concept of using light to channel data transmissions for years. Previously, however, the use of VLC supported simple communication between devices. Linux Light Bulbs may take that process one step further by enabling networking on VLC devices.

However, the throughput is critically small compared to other visible light approaches, and the technology suffers from proximity limitations, noted James T. Heires, a consultant at QSM.

“Visible light technology is viable for the Internet of Things, but only on a limited basis. This is due to the physical limitations of visible light,” he told LinuxInsider. The transmitter and receiver “must be within line of sight of each other.”

How It Works

Modern light-emitting diode light bulbs, or LEDs, can provide a foundation for networking using visible light as a communication medium, according to the Disney researchers’ report.

The team modified common commercial LED light bulbs to send and receive visible light signals. They built a system on a chip, or SoC, running the Linux operating system, a VLC controller module with the protocol software, and an additional power supply for the added electronics.

The key to the project’s success was the Linux software that enabled the signals to work with the Internet Protocol. The VLC-enabled bulbs served as broadcast beacons, which made it possible to detect the location of objects on the network and to communicate with them.

The Linux connection is at the software level. The Linux kernel driver module integrates the VLC protocol’s PHY and MAC layers into the Linux networking stack.

The VLC firmware on a separate microcontroller communicates with the Linux platform over a serial interface, the report notes.

Slow Going

The drawback is the speed. The network’s throughput maxed out at 1 kilobit per second, noted SeshuKiran, founder of XAir.

“A data rate of 1 Kpbs means a maximum 2 to 3 pixels of a good photograph can be transmitted per second,” he told LinuxInsider. “Good luck with an entire photo. For half of an HD photo to go, it will take 10.66 days.”

The technology may not be fast enough to compete with other technologies. WiFi operates around 3 GHz, and invisible light frequency starts at 3 THz. That is some 1,000 times higher than the WiFi frequency.

“Technically, it should [seem] that light has a better promise in delivering data. It is true in theory — but electronics and circuits say otherwise,” said Kiran.

Made for IoT

Developers have proposed a wide range of applications for VLC tech — using LiFi in place of anything currently supported by commercial wireless technologies such as WiFi.

“The Disney effort is fairly limited in terms of performance, but other projects suggest that broadband quality data transfer performance is possible, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“The real issue driving VLC is the pervasiveness of the base technology,” he told LinuxInsider.

Data transfer solutions like Wi-Fi require specialized equipment, installation and maintenance. However, light fixtures are virtually everywhere.

“Since LED represents the future of commercial lighting, developers are suggesting that VLC capabilities could easily be enabled in existing homes and businesses without the need for expensive extraneous systems,” King said.

“On the IoT side, VLC would provide an easy way of connecting endpoint sensors to back-end systems without needing to build expensive, dedicated networks,” he pointed out.

The Disney researchers developed hardware peripherals that effectively turn a consumer LED fixture into a Linux host, including a kernel module that integrates the VLC’s physical and MAC (media access control) protocol layers with a Linux-based networking stack, King added.

Trying Times

Light has been used as a communication medium for decades. Major uses include fiber optics and infrared devices, noted Heires. Auto industry researchers have been investigating the incorporation of VLC tech into headlights and sensors to allow cars to communicate with each other and thus avoid collisions.

“Applications such as using light to extend the range of a WiFi signal are within reason. However, since light does not travel through solid objects, such as walls or floors, light is impractical for applications such as TV control, sensor monitoring or security,” he said.

Brighter Ideas to Come

One of the lowest data rate uses for VLC and the IoT is for automatic door openers equipped with light sensors at the lock. Point your smartphone at the door and flash a modulated-light app with a specific code to open the door.

Such a system would work for homes, hotels, garages and more.

Another use is modulating streetlights to deliver specific information, such as alerts and emergencies, across an entire city.

It also could be used to safeguard top secret communications between coworkers.

“If a light bulb in the garden could deliver commands for the automated sprinkler, … that would be “a definite possibility,” Kiran suggested. “Data rates are not yet crucial there.”

Islam & Technology

 

By: Hussein Al-Rumaithi

The discussion whether science and religion are compatible has been around for decades, as some argue that autocracies have not added anything to science and technology, therefore the nature of religious fundamentals is not compatible with science. However, although this discussion still remains very active, the use and benefiting from science and technology is also the subject of many discussions among religious scholars.

Islam’s view on the notion of using modern technology and science is very similar to other religions, as it promotes the use of any modern means to simplify life for better causes and purposes. However, the difference lays in Islam’s consideration for all aspects affiliated with using technology and science, as these facilities come with various complications and twisting struggles that might challenge the faith of a believer. Therefore, Islamic jurisprudence has weighed in and presented many solutions for the proper use of technology and science, to enable Muslims take advantage of them in the best way possible, which doesn’t jeopardizes compliance with Islamic laws.

Primary purpose of Science and Technology

As majority of scientists argue, the purpose of science and technology is to serve people and make their lives simpler and more efficient, which means any negative and wrong use of science and technology was not originally intended.  However, we have witnessed that individuals and groups have taken advantage of technology and science to slaughter people, eliminate races, and endanger humanity. In addition, the same ‘peaceful’ means of technology have been used for socially-ill purposes, like pornographic sites, intra-marital affairs, brainwashing youths and individuals, hacking and cybercrimes and many other technological actions that harm the society. Therefore, Islam’s goal to interfere with use of technology and science is only for the purpose of bringing sanity, rationality, accordance, ethical conduct, respect and compliance with religious and statuary laws.

Islamic Prospect on use of Technology

Islam views the primary use of technology should be in accordance with the original purpose that was behind the creation and development of technology, which is simplification and accommodation. The notion of simplification and accommodation can be affiliated with any aspect of one’s life, which can be personal, public, religious and ideological. An individual can use technology to generate wealth and revenue through legal and legit means, provide services and information for the public, deliver and present his ideologies and religious values and principle to others. Therefore, for instance something like internet can be used for legit on-line business, public information site or it can be used for cyber financial scams and preaching hate and violence.

The role of religion is to identify the threats and dangers of technology and outlining them to believers to prevent them from ever using technology in a way that makes them legally and jurisprudentially responsible. Islam does not place a limit on using technological means, as far as the use of such methods is for legit and legal purposes, especially if such a notion is used for delivering and presenting the true essence of Islam and its peaceful message. However, once technology is used for personal desires that demolish the characteristics of human being and his/her dignity, Islam intervenes and prohibits such use. Once technology is used to spread hateful and violent ideologies, Islam suggests using the same technology to present the opposite ideology and promote peace and tranquility. Once technology is used for generating illegitimate wealth, Islam intervenes and says the wealth generated through such method is Haram and unlawful. Once technology is used breaching people’s privacy through hacking and infiltration, Islam weighs in and states, individual privacy and personal affairs are not be shared in public, and any harm that might occur from such action should be indemnified and compensated.

However, some might argue that the mentioned laws and Islamic principles about use of technology have been addressed through statuary legal avenues, and nothing new is presented. Nonetheless, it should not be forgotten that Islamic principles and jurisprudential law have laid the ground work for these modern methods centuries ago, which means majority of these Islamic laws are extracted and derived from principles that are over centuries old. In addition, Islamic jurisprudence has presented answers and basic ground work for some of the most sophisticated scientific works in the recent years as well. Cloning, Telecommunication, surveillance, stem cell research, residence in space and other planets, property and ownership in space and other planets, natural resources gathering methods, genetic alteration and many other modern technological and scientific discoveries and advancements are subjected to Islamic laws and jurisprudence. Therefore, any Muslim is able to take advantage of these astonishing superiorities and advancements, if he/she comply with the principles and laws outlined by Islamic jurisprudence.