Saturday, 21 March 2015


She was the principal of the Army Public School and Colleges System, Peshawar, since 2006 and had 20 years of teaching experience. Tahira Qazi was one of the pioneers of the school.
On Tuesday morning, when the news emerged on TV channels that she had been taken hostage along with other staffers, it sent her son and husband into a state of panic.

Even after the hours-long army operation finally ended around 5:30pm, her body couldn’t be retrieved. Reason: it was found in a place littered with IEDs. It took several hours of effort to defuse the bombs and reach her body. The family received the body late at night.

Tahira Qazi had a master’s degree in political science from University of Peshawar.

“She was the mother of three. A daughter and two sons, one of them is physically challenged,” said Imran, a relative while talking to The Express Tribune, adding that she was an aged woman and could easily save her life but she tried to protect the children and was taken hostage by the militants.

She was laid to rest in her ancestral graveyard in Landi Arbab village on the outskirts of the city. Thousands of people attended her funeral.

Babar Bin Atta, one of her students who is now a consultant with WHO, shared his memories:

“In 1994 she became my teacher. She was the English teacher in sixth and seventh grades, through 1994 to 1995. I knew her daughter before I knew Madam Qazi,” he said. “Her daughter Arifa was with me in fourth and fifth grade.”

Recalling his school days, he noted: “The first thing that comes to my mind is that she was very strict and good in English.”

Babar said: “But I do remember, whichever student was good at their studies, she would appreciate them. She never hesitated to tell us if we did well.”

He added: “I clearly recall something she said in class seven. I was known to be very naughty. Once in the class I raised my hand to answer a question. The moment I finished, she said ‘People might say stuff about Babar but I always defend him by saying that whatever else, he is good at his studies’”.

Telling about his teacher’s family, he expressed: “Arifa’s dad, Madam Qazi’s husband, Zafarullah Qazi was an army officer known as Col Qazi. He was a golfer.”

Babar said, “The last I saw her was in 2009 at a golf course. She remembered me. She asked me what I was doing there. I said ‘I am here to play golf’. She said, ‘Oh you have become a big man now’”.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2014

Friday, 20 March 2015

Oldest piece of the Bible ever found?

Oldest piece of the Bible ever found?

So now the writing on the potsherd recently deciphered in Israel has morphed into the “earliest known Hebrew BIBLICAL inscription!” I don’t recall reading anything from the scholar that this inscription represented the earliest scrap of the Bible!  Has something changed, or is this yet another example among many of how playing “Telephone” creates religious artifacts?
“An Israeli researcher has deciphered the earliest known Hebrewbiblical inscription which ‘proved’ that the Bible had been written hundreds of year earlier than thought.”
Did I miss something the first time around? Reading into the article further, we find:
“He said that this inscription is similar in its content to biblical scriptures (Isaiah 1:17, Psalms 72:3, Exodus 23:3, and others), but it is clear that it is not copied from any biblical text.”
Then it is not a “biblical inscription” as reported in the first paragraph! Also, if it only approximates these biblical scriptures but adequately reflects their ideas, it is possible that this writing is a precursor to those scriptures. This notion, of course, would mean that the Bible was writtenafter this potsherd inscription, possibly based upon the latter, certainly indicating that these Old Testament books’ purported authors did not write them.

Sources & Further Reading

Kuril Lake in Kamchatka

At the end of the summer in the lake basin is going to more than 200 brown bears; they are trusting, because under the protection of the South Kamchatka Preserve. Here is easier than anywhere else, it is possible to observe the life of these wonderful animals. Salmon willingly eat normal here otter and fox.

Kuril Lake is located in the extreme south of Kamchatka. It is located in the wild rocky shores with impenetrable thickets of shrubs.
Largest lake Kuril - the second (after Kronotskii) from freshwater lakes of Kamchatka. Lake basin is a volcano-tectonic depression length of 12.5 km and a width of 8 km, formed 8300-8400 years ago in a powerful eruption and the subsequent lowering of the Earth's crust.
The lake is located at around 104 meters above sea level. The maximum depth is 316 m, average - 195 m. As the coastal waters of the reserve shallow (depth contours within 50 m), the bottom of the lake with respect to global sea level is located much lower than in the Okhotsk Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
On the lake are built of lava island: Chayachy, Low, and the Heart Alaid arhepelag Samang. They represent a dome height kotoryh200-300 m.
Kuril Lake gives rise to the river Ozernoi. The largest of the rivers flowing into the lake - Hakytsyn (24 km) and Etamynk (18 km).
In historical times, the lake was well lived-natives. The largest Neolithic settlement-fortress found on Cape Siyushk. Aboriginal population was influenced by the Ainu culture. Found in archaeological ceramics Ainu, Japanese bronze coins.

                                                     Source: Dmitry Moiseenko

Many of the names used for natural sites in the Lake Kuril, linked with the legends recorded SP Krasheninnikov:
"Once in place of the lake rose highest mountain, so high that covered the neighboring hills the sun, thus causing their anger and arousing frequent quarrels. Finally, they are so tired that" high mountain "got up and went into the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, and in its place the lake was formed, in which she left her heart. On the trail left by the mountain and the river flowed to the sea-headed. "
Heart Alaid now called the rocky island in the southern part of the island, is very similar in shape to the heart.
4 km from the source of the river on the right side of the valley it is located on the unique beauty of pumice outcrop called "Kuthiny baht."
                                                     Source: Dmitry Moiseenko

About them SP Krasheninnikov writes: "... 9 miles from the top of the Ozernaya River, and on which side of it - is unknown, it is worth whitish utesnaya mountain, which is not otherwise seem like shuttles, set perpendicular, which for the sake of the Cossacks call it baht stone, and thence the Gentiles tell that God is the creator and Kamchatka Kutkh before his departure lived there for some time, now in stone shuttles Baht or by sea and went to the lake fisheries, and to set out from thence shuttles to classified stone, and so they are in such esteem by them contained that come close to them afraid. "
Kuril Lake in general is characterized by the extensive development of pumice deposits. Their formation is associated with powerful flash silicic volcanism in the Early Holocene time. Power pumice formations reaches 70-110 m.
On the shores of the lake are hot springs. Group outputs water at 45 ° C to - sources "Kuril" - are at the foot of the volcano Elias on the lake in the bay warm environment lava boulders overgrown with birch woodland and elfin wood.
Water column is so great that when winter winds sustained as a result of mixing of water masses in the lake some years not covered by ice or ice loose and unstable.
In the Kuril Lake spawns the largest in Eurasia herd sockeye. The optimal number of manufacturers that provide expanded reproduction herd, estimated at between 1.5-3.5 million. Specimens; In reality, the lake was setting up to 6 million. Producers (1990). Spawning sockeye unusually extended: it continues from July to March. 71% of the spawning areas falls on lake, 26% - on the river, and 3% - key spawning grounds. At the mouth of the river Ozernoi the permanent scientific KamchatNIRO hospital. The abundance of sockeye salmon for such a long time is the most important feature of the natural complex of the lake.
                                          Source: Igor Shpilenok

Sockeye salmon - salmon passage: born and grows in fresh water, then rolls for feeding a generous Pacific Ocean. Kuril Lake - vazhneyschy maternity hospital and a kindergarten. It has long been the Kurile Lake sockeye salmon has the highest number in Asia, only a few years behind Närke Kamchatka River - the largest river of the peninsula. Catch of the Kurile Lake sockeye from the beginning of the XXI century has increased significantly and now accounts for a fifth of the total world catch of this species. What caused the current well-being of the population - it is not entirely clear. Reduction in competition with other species of fish at feeding in the ocean? The warming of the planet, which led to an improvement in conditions for sockeye?
                                                     Source: Igor Shpilenok

On an island in the lake is one of the largest freshwater colonies Pacific gulls of more than 1500 pairs.
In winter, there is going to unparalleled accumulation of large birds of prey: Steller's sea eagles to 300-700, 100-150 white-tailed eagles, golden eagles and 50, known case of aerial bald eagles. Most of them kept on river and key spawning grounds in the area between Hakytsyn - Etamynka and River Marsh. On the open waters of the winter hundreds of Whooper Swans and ducks to 1.5-2 thousand. All of them (even species-vegetarians), as well as small forest birds - Pukhlyak, nuthatch, small spotted woodpecker - in one way or another feed sockeye or its caviar. Winter lake ecosystem Kuril unique.
                                                     Source: Author Unknown

Finally, the basin of the lake is part of a fairly large area in the extreme south of the Kamchatka Peninsula, where the high concentration of passerine birds (especially forest) on autumn migration. The fact that the area is a place prelaunch stop passerines leaving Kamchatka via the Cape Lopatka, because further south there is no stopping conditions for long-term forest birds.
To the north-eastern part of the lake adjacent to the existing stratovolcano Il'inskii impressive regular conical building height of 1578 m. The youngest lava flows of the volcano descend directly into the lake, forming several bays. Western shore of the lake framed by volcanic extrusion - Wild ridge crest with the highest mark of 1080 meters. In calm clear weather like volcanoes in the mirror reflected on the surface of the lake, creating a fantastic beauty of the scenery. Kuril Lake - one of the most beautiful parts of Kamchatka, at any time of the year.


In winter, the area is characterized by very poor and unstable weather conditions. Not a week goes by without the strong winds (do25-30 m / s or more), with the snow thaws, successive severe frosts (up to -20º and more).
The first of the Russian Kuril Lake visited most likely Cossacks led by R. Presnetsovym in 1703 was the first researcher Lake Steller in 1740. The most detailed descriptions of the lake was the first to AN Derzhavin - Member complex Kamchatka expedition FP Ryabushinsky committed to the area two trips (in 1908 and 1909.). The first and most detailed archaeological studies are carried out (in 1911) VI Yokhelson.
Kuril Lake - one of the most beautiful natural sites of Kamchatka outstanding value for scientific, educational and recreational objectives.
The territory of South Kamchatka Federal Preserve as Kronotsky national park is included in the List of Natural Heritage by UNESCO in 1996 as part of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka.

                                         Source: Dmitry Moiseenko


This frog in amber was taken about 230 million years ago. Unbelievable.

Is this the World’s Oldest Bug Trap?

Bugs have been making pests of themselves for plants and people since prehistoric times. Even when the world was young and plants began to emerge out of the primordial ooze, bugs were already there waiting to eat them. The oldest bugs in the world were recently discovered in Italy. Two prehistoric mites and a fly were found entombed in drops of amber, or resin.

It takes thousands, if not millions, of years for resin to become amber. These latest amber-trapped bugs were dated at 230 million years old, which makes amber the planet’s oldest bug trap. Amber also acts as a preservative, enabling scientists to microscopically identify whatever bug is trapped inside. Perfectly preserved insects in amber fetch a high price for collectors, jewelry buffs and museums.
Resin is incredibly sticky, as anyone who has ever leaned against an evergreen knows. When it is inside a tree, we usually refer to this substance as sap. Sap is the plant’s lifeblood because it carries nutrients and water up from the roots and food down from the leaves. Resin is also a tree’s defense against attack by burrowing bugs. If a bug tries to chew its way into a tree, the tree produces copious amounts of resin to “pitch” out the bug and seal off the point of entry. This is one way bugs become encased within drops of resin. Bugs are also attracted to resin drops on the outside of trees. When they approach what appears to be a tantalizing food source they become trapped in the thick, sticky morass.
Humans have long used sticky substances to get rid of pests. Today, environmentally-conscious homeowners are opting for sticky traps for insect pest control. Professional pest control companies may use this type of trap when a chemical control is undesirable. Sticky traps are a perfect choice for gardens, greenhouses and homes as they use a non-toxic glue to attract insect pests. They can be placed both vertically and horizontally and even cut into smaller sections for use in limited spaces.
Amber is an ancient form of insect control. Today, people appreciate it for its beauty and simplicity. The next time you get sap stuck on your hands, be more appreciative of the tree that’s just trying to defend itself against an invasion of ravenous bugs.
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