سالگرہ مبارک عنبر

عنبر کو بلاگ پر تین دن تاخیر سے سالگرہ کی مبارک دینے کی کوئی سزا تو نہیں ہے؟

کیا آپ اپنی شریک حیات کو سالگرہ مبارک تین دن دیر سے کہہ سکتے ہیں؟ نہیں اصل میں نہیں صرف بلاگ پر۔ مگر میرے پاس بہت معقول بہانہ ہے۔ اصل میں تو میں نے عنبر کو سالگرہ والے دن ہی صبح دفتر فون کر کے مبارکباد دے دی تھی۔ ساتھ اسے یہ بھی بتا دیا کہ فلو نے مجھے تنگ کر رکھا ہے اسلئے ہو سکے تو جلد گھر آ جانا۔ سو عنبر دوپہر سے پہلے گھر آ گئی اور باقی دن گھر سے کام کیا جبکہ میں سوتا رہا۔ سالگرہ کا سارا پروگرام ادھار پر رکھ دیا کہ ٹھیک ہونے کے بعد۔

آپ پوچھیں گے کہ میں نے عنبر کو کیا تحفہ دیا۔ کیا دے سکتا تھا بندہ جراثیم کے سوا۔ جی جناب جمعرات کو ہم دونوں کا فلو نے ناک میں دم کر رکھا تھا اور مشیل babysitter کے پاس تھی۔

لگتا ہے عنبر کی سالگرہ کا دن آجکل گردش میں ہے۔ پچھلے سال ہم اس دن خالی اپارٹمنٹ میں بیٹھے تھے کیونکہ دو دن بعد ہم نئی جرزی چھوڑ کر اٹلانٹا آ رہے تھے۔

Blog Quake Day

It is Earthquake relief day through blogs. Please help in the relief efforts in South Asia as millions require our assistance.

Earthquake Relief Day

Desi Pundit (hat tip: Chapati Mystery) has called for organizing a day on October 26 for raising awareness to help the quake victims in South Asia.

More than 50,000 people died in the October 8 earthquake and millions were displaced. As winter approaches the mountainous area, these people need all kinds of help, including food and shelter.

Please donate to a charity of your choice for the relief effort. Your help will be appreciated.

You can also donate to Chapati Mystery’s personal drive or even buy a T-shirt from him with the profits going to the quake relief.

Personally, I donated to the Edhi Foundation. They don’t have an online presence, but the proceeds of Chapati Mystery’s personal drive will be given to them and Association for the Development of Pakistan also have an Edhi Foundation fund (along with others). If you are in the US, you can mail Edhi Foundation a check (which is what we did) at:

Earthquake Relief in Pakistan
Bilqis Edhi Relief Foundation
4207 National St
Corona, NY 11368-2444

They are a registered charity with a Tax ID of 11-345067. Their phone number is (718) 639-5120.

For more information about the quake and relief efforts, check out:

Please help spread the word!

Technorati tag:

Ocoee Whitewater Rafting

My umpteenth trip whitewater rafting was a lot of fun. We rafted the upper and middle Ocoee. Here are some photographs.

About four months ago, a friend and I went whitewater rafting in the Ocoee river in Tennessee. We had done the middle portion of the river before, so we decided to do both the upper (a part of which was used for the Olympics) and the middle Ocoee. Double the time in the river, double the fun! I asked Amber if she wanted to go, but while she likes paddling on a regular river, she’s afraid of whitewater. And Michelle is still too young.

Rafting the Ocoee
Whitewater rafting
Enjoying the whitewater
Having fun in Ocoee River
Ocoee River, Tennessee
Rapids are great
 

Our rafting guide was a crazy old fellow who was a lot of fun and who purposely flipped our raft at one point. Floating in the river was nice, but the girls on our raft were not amused. The girls were from Mississippi and had the Southern accents that you don’t hear at all in Atlanta. During our conversation, the topic of agnosticism came up and one of the girls equated that with atheism. It was interesting to see her expression at the mention of agnostics/atheists. I guess there aren’t that many in the rural South.

How Much is Your Blog Worth?

A quiz telling you the worth of your blog.

Hey, my weblog is worth something (hat tip: Al-Muhajabah):

My blog is worth $41,775.96.
How much is your blog worth?

According to current estimates, my blog will earn that much money (gross income) through Google ads in a little more than a century.

Blue

A good movie, part of a trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski, about a woman who withdraws from the world after the accidental death of her husband and daughter. My rating: 7/10.

Blue is part of a trilogy by director Krzysztof Kieslowski with the other movies being White and Red (I guess that would make them the colors of the French flag.)

The director seems to be going for the French motto of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” with the trilogy with this movie being about “liberty”. I didn’t exactly think it as appropriate as the director did, I guess.

The movie is about a woman (Juliette Binoche) who loses her husband and daughter in an accident and tries to withdraw from the world. Juliette Binoche is, as always, good.

Overall, the movie is good. I would give it a rating of 7/10.

Kashmir Earthquake Donations

Chapati Mystery is soliciting donations for Edhi Foundation.

There have been many updates to my previous post about the earthquake. I have added some information about where you can donate for the relief efforts and some information sources as well.

Now Manan of Chapati Mystery is collecting donations online to send to the Edhi Foundation (my charity of choice).

I created a paypal account to solicit donations on behalf of Edhi Foundation.

[…] I will keep the drive open for 2 weeks. 100% of your donation will go straight to the victims of the Earthquake. I will scan and put-up the paypal check when I receive it. I will scan and put up the wire-transfer receipt when I send it on. I am not a charitable organization so this won’t be a tax-deduction. I will mail a small token of my thanks to anyone who donates over $15 dollars. Please include your mailing address in that case.

[…] Please, please, Donate.

Remember that you do NOT need to be a paypal member to donate and that they take all major credit cards etc.

There is great need for your donations as more than 2 million people have been affected by the earthquake..

More Quiz Fun

It’s a new batch of online quizzes: A quiz about my politics, another on religion (am I a Muslim or an agnostic?), another on how I’ll die and cocktails of my name and nickname.

Let’s start with a politics quiz via Gene Expression.

You are a Social Liberal (71% permissive)
and an…
Economic Liberal (35% permissive)

You are best described as a: Democrat

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Via Jehanzaib Ashraf comes a quiz on religion:

You scored as Islam. Your beliefs are most similar to those of Islam. Do more research on Islam and possibly consider taking the shahadah and officially becoming a Muslim, if you aren’t already.

Despite the actions of some – who go against the teachings of Islam – Islam is a religion of peace; the word “islam” means “peace through submission to God.” “Muslim” means “one who submits to God.” Islam is the third of the three Abrahamic faiths, and it shares much with Judaism in Christianity; its differences are the acceptance of Muhammad as the last and final prophet, and the oneness of God – in other words, that Jesus, though he was a revered prophet, was not in fact God, and only one God exists. Apparently the Taliban could not read (though their name means “students”), because the Qur’an states that men and women are equal as believers, and that all believers should be educated and seek knowledge. Modesty in dress and behavior is required in Islam for both men and women to preserve the values of society and move the emphasis from superificial appearance to intelligence, knowledge, and God.

Islam 79%
agnosticism 71%
atheism 58%
Satanism 54%
Buddhism 46%
Judaism 38%
Christianity 25%
Paganism 17%
Hinduism 13%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version) created with QuizFarm.com

These results are somewhat different from the Beliefnet quiz I took some time ago. If this quiz is to be believed, I am not wrong in my usual claim that I am 60% Muslim (to be pedantic, my claim is of being 60% monotheist, the Muslim proportion might be lower), 40% agnostic.

Via Cafe Khamosh comes a quiz giving me bad news:

You scored as Bomb. Your death will be by bombing. You will probably be an innocent bystander, not doing anything wrong and not a person who was targeted at, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bomb 73%
Natural Causes 67%
Suicide 53%
Drowning 53%
Gunshot 40%
Cut Throat 40%
Disappear 33%
Disease 33%
Eaten 33%
Stabbed 27%
Poison 20%
Accident 20%
Suffocated 20%

How Will You Die?? created with QuizFarm.com

Needless to say, I would rather not die from a bomb or drown.

Via Ayesha comes this personal cocktail of my name:

How to make a Zakaria

Ingredients:
1 part anger
5 parts self-sufficiency
1 part empathy

Method: Add to a cocktail shaker and mix vigorously. Add a little caring if desired!

Personality cocktail from Go-Quiz.com

Let’s try my nickname:

How to make a Zack

Ingredients:
5 parts friendliness
5 parts silliness
5 parts leadership

Method: Combine in a tall glass half filled with crushed ice. Add a little cocktail umbrella and a dash of sadness

Personality cocktail from Go-Quiz.com

I am not sure which one I like better. What do you think?

“Bomb” Scare

There was a small explosion at Georgia Tech today. Two other explosive devices were also found. My guess is it was some sort of prank.

According to an email I just received from the Georgia Tech administration, there was a “bomb” scare here today.

The Georgia Tech Police and the Atlanta Police Department disposed of three explosive devices found on the Georgia Tech campus this morning.

Around 8:45AM a facilities worker found the devices between the Glenn and Cloudman residence halls on the southeast side of campus. One of the devices exploded when it was discovered, and the Facilities worker was taken to Health Services complaining of ringing in his ears.

Campus Police were immediately notified, and the two residence halls were evacuated as a safety precaution.

The Atlanta Police and Fire Departments were called in to assess and contain the situation.

The Atlanta Police Department bomb squad detonated the devices shortly before noon and students were allowed to re-enter the residence halls.

Note that the explosion resulted only in “ringing in the ears of the custodian” who found it. So it wasn’t exactly much of a bomb.

Here is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.

Georgia Tech evacuated two dormitories Monday morning after a water bottle filled with an unidentified liquid exploded in a campus courtyard, slightly injuring a custodial worker.

The bottle was one of three explosive devices found in a plastic garbage bag on campus.

Tech spokeswoman Amelia Gambino said a facilities maintenance worker picked up one of the bottles while collecting trash before 9 a.m.

“There was a loud explosion, like a cherry bomb going off,” Gambino said.

The maintenance worker was taken to a local clinic for evaluation after complaining of ringing in his ears. An Atlanta Police bomb squad detonated the two other devices.

Approximately 100 students were evacuated, Gambino said.

The school email also had this note:

In the news, you will hear the phrase “terroristic act,” and in keeping with Georgia Code, any explosive device left in a public area fits this definition. Although the Atlanta Police Department has said they will investigate the bombing as if it were a terrorist act, it does not mean that it was in fact a terrorist act.

I was at home today with Michelle, so can’t offer any information from the campus. Also, this part of campus is quite far from where I usually go. However, it looks to me more like a prank than anything else.

Earthquake in Pakistan

There was a devastating earthquake in the northern parts of Pakistan and India about 24 hours ago. The epicenter of the 7.6 intensity earthquake was about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Islamabad. Latest numbers are more than “18,000 killed and 40,000 wounded.

There was a devastating earthquake in the northern parts of Pakistan and India about 24 hours ago. The epicenter of the 7.6 intensity earthquake was about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Islamabad. Latest numbers are more than 18,000 killed and 40,000 wounded.

Pakistan says more than 18,000 have been killed by Saturday’s powerful earthquake that also hit northern India and Afghanistan.

The 7.6-magnitude quake, with an epicentre 80km (50 miles) north-east of Islamabad, flattened entire villages.

Another 40,000 people are believed to be injured, said military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan.

[…] The earthquake, which hit at 0350GMT on Saturday, was felt as far away as the Afghan capital, Kabul, and India’s capital, Delhi. Several aftershocks followed. It is thought to be the strongest earthquake to hit the region in a century.

In one incident, around 250 children were said to have died when two schools collapsed in the North-West Frontier Province’s Mansehra district. About 200 soldiers are also thought to have been killed by landslides and falling debris.

[…] The earthquake’s epicentre was close to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Rescue teams have reportedly been airlifted into the city.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said almost 50% of all homes in the area had been destroyed.

Landslides have blocked all access roads to the city, where there is no electricity and telephones.

[…] Indian officials reported nearly 300 deaths in Indian-administered Kashmir, among them 15 soldiers.

The town of Uri, close to the Line of Control that separates divided Kashmir, was worst hit, with 104 dead.

South Asia quake blog is following developments there (hat tip: Chapati Mystery).

I have family and relatives in and around Islamabad. Fortunately, everyone seems to be okay.

UPDATE: Please consider donating to help the large number of victims of this earthquake. Here are some links:

There are also links on the Wikipedia page for the quake and at the South Asia Quake Help Blog.

UPDATE II: Following the news online, BBC looks to have the best coverage. You can also read BBC Urdu.

UPDATE III: My preferred charity in the list above is the Edhi Foundation. We finally got through to their New York office today (I guess they were closed over the weekend). If you are in the US, you can mail them a check at:

Earthquake Relief in Pakistan
Bilqis Edhi Relief Foundation
4207 National St
Corona, NY 11368-2444

They are a registered charity with a Tax ID of 11-345067. Their phone number is (718) 639-5120.

UPDATE IV: If you have Google Earth, you can download this placement map (and another) which show the epicenter, subduction zone, etc.

UPDATE V: E Mullah has Edhi Foundation’s New York bank information so that you can wire transfer any donations.

Environmental Footprint

Results of a quiz about my ecological footprint. Turns out if everyone consumed as much as I do, we would need more than 3 planets.

Via Kianoush, I found this quiz which tells you your environmental footprint. Here are my results:

 

Category Acres
Food 4.9
Mobility 1.7
Shelter 4.0
Goods/Services 4.0
Total Footprint 15.0

In comparison, the average ecological footprint in your country is 24 acres per person.

Worldwide, there exist 4.5 biologically productive acres per person.

If everyone lived like you, we would need 3.3 planets.

Great, I consume too much! So what should I do? If I reduce my meat intake from daily to a vegan diet, it would reduce my footprint by 3 acres. But is that true? I would need a lot more food as well as not get enough of all the food types I need. Plus a vegan diet is definitely not healthy for children.

Or I can reduce my footprint by 2 acres by not eating processed, packaged and not locally grown (from more than 200 miles away) food. Ah, the organic movement! While I consider myself an environmentalist and like the sustainable aspect of organic food, today’s organic food movement is nothing but feel good for the rich. It is expensive food grown using practices that cannot be duplicated across the world without famine or an economic collapse. Also, if we really need to go back to nature, we could return to subsistence agriculture or the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and lead miserable, short lives (especially for the agriculturalists). What is actually needed is sustainable agriculture combined with high yields so that we can grow enough food without impacting the environment so much. Can someone please enlighten me on organic food? And the big SUVs in the parking lots of Whole Foods?

Just my air travel (25 hours per year) adds 3 acres to the footprint. I guess traveling is out then or may be I can bike to Europe and Pakistan!

If I do everything reasonable I can think of, I still go down to only 2.4 planets.

Category Acres
Food 3.7
Mobility 0.7
Shelter 3.5
Goods/Services 3.0
Total Footprint 11.0

In fact, I’ll have to give up flying anywhere, give up almost all meat (not even once or twice a week), not drive anywhere in my car, and live in the smallest apt I can find to go below 4.5 acres. My guess is that the quiz is a bit of the alarming kind.