Friday, October 08, 2010

Air quality

Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) has this Air Quality Monitoring program. I've been seeing a truck parked between the girls hostels and faculty apartments at LUMS for several days. A couple of days ago, it moved to a different place on campus, between REDC and the physical plant.
The quality being monitored is neither "space" nor "upper atmosphere." I wonder how they can justify the millions spent on that truck. Maybe they have more of those. I'm glad they're doing it, but I wonder if it will result in some positive impact. It makes no sense, however. I'd be happier if the EPA or some such agency were doing this work, and SUPARCO were concentrating on what their real job is.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

German muslims

I agree with the German premier on this. What she and most others don't know is that according to Islamic sharia, obeying the law of the land is part of one's faith. And unfortunately, most muslims don't appreciate this either.
So, muslims in Germany should follow the law of the land. If they find it in contradiction with Islam, then they can either legally influence rationalization of the laws or migrate somewhere else.


The whole point behind accountability or any law for that matter is to maintain a balance in society. That is the whole point that our premier forgets when he wants us to leave Mush to himself. That is the point that he forgot when he let him go. They had other stabilizations in mind. Society can go to hell.
Sure, try all the past culprits. By all means. And not just the corrupt, the killers, too. But here's one example that we could have set. Here's one example that would've set the stage for accountability in days to come. Here's one example that would've deterred the worst of plunderers, and yet, we should leave him to himself. To borrow from "Scent of a Woman"
What a shame! What kind of a show are you guys puttin' on here today....

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I wanted to post one more photograph from the Namal trip mentioned in my earlier post. This is relevant because Mr. Umar Suleman (extreme left) was not visible in any of the photographs I had uploaded earlier on. The reason was obvious. He had taken all of the photographs that I had uploaded in the said post, himself.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Reality or perception

I was thinking last night. What is reality? Whatever is "really" happening anywhere in the universe has only one reality, right? And yet, different people will perceive the same situation differently. They will debate over it and give convincing arguments about it. Are they all correct? Are their multiple realities? It can't be, unless their are simultaneous overlapping, yet parallel universes, each with it's own reality.
ARGGGGHHHH, I'm confusing you, right? Let's take an example. Two cars collide on a Pakistani street, something really common. One incident, one reality. The two drivers will disagree and present their own version of reality. But there is only one "true" reality. One side note: both drivers could be arguing for a false version of the reality.
Why does this happen? Bias! All of us have our biases, no matter how neutral we may claim to be. Our biases make us perceive reality differently. Enough philosophy. Let's leave it at that.

Mobile Internet and the trouble with filtering

You might recall some recent attempts at Internet filtering in Pakistan. You might also have heard that some users reported were still able to access the blocked websites even though PTA had ordered ISPs to modify their access control to restrict access to these sites. You might also recall the complaints that Blackberry users made about Blackberry browsing not available at all. Why did that happen?
Well, Blackberry devices use what is known as Blackberry Internet Services (BIS). The device does not fetch the Internet resources using the service provider's network (such as Telenor or Mobilink). It sends the request to RIM's (the company that designs and makes Blackberry devices) servers. These servers fetch the resources for the device, does any preprocessing that may be required and compresses the response before sending it back to the device. Everything travels on the Internet, sure, but you can't do anything about it, because the requests are not destined to any "blocked" website. All you can do is block all access to RIM's servers, resulting in a complete blackout of Blackberry Internet access.
A similar approach is taken by the Opera Mini web browser, which is resident on most cellular phones. The Opera Mini web browser sends web requests to Opera's servers, which fetch the resources, preprocesses and compresses the resources before sending them down to the cellular phone. Again, can't do much about filtering such web requests, unless you block access to Opera's servers altogether, which would mean total blackout for Opera Mini's users.