Friday, December 23, 2005

Article: Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants

Wow, you can really expect anything from Bush and his comrades. I would never have known about this US News and World Report article, if it werent for my friends over at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR is pretty good with their lobbying tactics and activism efforts, but it's gonna take a lot more than just emails to get the word out about how demeaning these searches for "nuclear radiation" are. And as usual, it's always the Muslims. The article even mentions some high level spokesman who says they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity. But then why are mosques being screened?

This is beyond my intelligence. Im interested in knowing what becomes of this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Article: UN Foundation establishes Earthquake Response Fund

This is really phenomenal news. There are very few organizations out there that are actually keeping the momentum strong and striving to accomplish something in the still devastated region. I'm glad the United Nations Foundation has taken the lead.

While many are still reeling from the aftermath of the Southeast Asian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake is too recent for anyone to forget. The media is doing a great disservice by not covering any aspect of it: the celebrities making visits, the heroic stories of survivors and the progress being made in relief efforts. None of it seems worthy of news coverage...

Free Carnegie Council Dove Poster

The Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA) based in New York City is offering a beautiful 18" x 24" poster of a dove - for free!

Click here for more information...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Article: Morris-area Muslims say trust still remains elusive

I found this article on a yahoo group messageboard titled "NYC Muslim Dialogue". It's been eye-opening for me, because I could relate to the man who is mentioned in the first few paragraphs. I am Muslim, slightly observant, own a copy of the Quran, have several books on Islam, and am in my mid-twenties. For those of you have been keeping up with post 9/11 US foreign policy, you may have realized I am a prime target from the FBI and/or CIA for pretty much anything from discrimination to detention to torture.

The young man who is mentioned in the article, is also very much like me for another reason: we both have facial hair. Well, I used to have it. I shaved it off this past weekend. Dont get me wrong; it's not because of all this horrible stuff going on including hate crimes or discrimination or anything. I wasnt scared at all. Purely preferential, just the way I intended on keeping it. But I did begin to notice people around me very carefully. Some were visibly disturbed and really didnt treat me like they would any other person on the street. Others thought I resembled Ashton Kutcher and thought I was jumping on the Hollywood facial hair bandwagon. In reality, all I needed was a change and for a few weeks, I loved it!

I might try it again after a few months, but articles like these will remind me that when I try "experimenting" in the future, I have to be careful; there are people watching me who once may have been friends, but have quickly turned into foes...

New York City has a transit strike - now what?

It's been a nice day. After several weeks, i've finally gotten some exercise. Since there was no subway or bus service, I walked from 59th and 2nd to 34th and 5th to drop off a final paper due for a class. It's not the walk that was so bad - it's the fact that New York will have to get used to this until the strike is over; God knows when that happens.

It didnt hit home until I read this article from the Washington Post and it's true - people have found ways of surviving. Though things were different at school, where almost everyone tele-commuted, New Yorkers are riding bikes, taking cabs, some are even walking great distances to do whatever it is they have to. Traffic is a mess, but isn't New York traffic always a mess? Well, now it's just a tad bit worse. And it's cold outside.

I, for one, needed the exercise, but did the rest of the city need it too? Perhaps, to keep warm.

But it makes me think: where do we - or I - go from here? I am done with this semester of school, so i'd really like to have some fun. Hang out with friends, catch a movie, eat out - anything! But alas, I can do almost nothing.

Except blogging, that is...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stress during the Holidays - paradoxical, right?

The Holiday season should be totally relaxing and stress free, because it's one of the few times we get a chance to spend time with loved ones, be they family or friends.

It came as a surprise to me, then, when I saw Google Blog's latest entry being related to stress in the holiday season. How odd is that! Why would anyone possibly stress when there's so much to be happy about? But alas, the complexities of human relationships...

After going through the blog, I even began to think whether some of the authors of the blog may have been long lost relatives of mine. That's how closely our thinking matches.

The author of the stress entry, Dr. Razavi mentions some great ways to reduce stress, including the following:
  • Make a list and priotitize. It's OK if the holiday cards don't go out until 1/2...07.
  • Exercise. No, it's not the answer to everything, but it has been shown to decrease the stress hormones.
  • Take a vacation (break with tradition! A year-end getaway might help limit stress). If not a vacation, at least take a stroll, or take deep breaths while counting to 10.
  • Hugging for 20 seconds has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
I havent been exercising at all lately, which is a big reason why I am getting so lethargic. And havent really been hugging so enthusiastically either. Maybe should try that too. :)
And God knows how badly I need a vacation! Maybe that's why He answered my prayers and is "hopefully" sending me to Pakistan for my cousin's wedding.

Anyway, it is suffice to say that stress should not be an issue for any holiday. Let's take things slow and let loose - for a bit...Life's too short to let stress become a permanent grinch...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Google Earth and Pakistani earthquake relief efforts

I am amazed at how great an invention Google Earth is. In the comfort of my own home, I can travel the world, see places i've never seen before and possibly even be spied on by the FBI or CIA - how amazing!

I check the Google Blog occasionally and found a recent posting titled "In the material world" to be quite interesting. I will not pass any judgments about this new Google endeavor, but what Andy Ku mentions in the body of the posting is quite interesting. To quote:

One sales guy, David MacDonald, emailed this to the entire UK office:

“Yesterday whilst on the Google Space stand at Heathrow T1 I was approached by somebody who asked me if I worked for Google, as soon as I confirmed he smiled. He went on to explain that he had been in Pakistan as part of an International Disaster Response Team to help in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. They had been desperate to use what resources / maps they could find and that Google had been invaluable in helping. It turned out they had used Google Earth to trace the geography of the landscape, locate villages and roads.

He was so happy to see me and to show his appreciation, I really felt humbled and proud.”
How awesome is that! I'm wondering why anyone hasnt mentioned Google Earth in their writings about relief efforts. Just goes to show that Google really doesnt sleep...always on to something bigger and better...

"Most Wanted" Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005

It's amazing to see what a lot of power and a little bit of globalization can do for multi-national companies (MNCs). Brought to my attention via my friends at the Global Policy Forum but the material is actually from Global Exchange.