Trouble in Baluchistan

There have been problems in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan recently. I haven’t been following the news closely. But Chapati Mystery has a good overview of the history of Baluch grievances as well as info about the current troubles. Definitely worth reading.

Avari-Nameh also has a post on the topic.

KO also promises to write about Baluchistan. His posts are always informative and full of intelligent analysis. I am looking forward to his post.

While we are on the topic of Baluchistan, here is KO’s travel log of a road trip from Karachi to Quetta and the corresponding photographs.

UPDATE: Danial has a post as well.

Brass Crescent Awards Voting

The nomination stage is over and it’s voting time.

And it seems you like me, really like me since I have been nominated in so many categories:

So what are you waiting for? Go vote for me.


Brass Crescent Award Nominee

Discussion thread

Polls close January 14th.

New Look, XHTML 1.1 and MathML

You might have noticed the new look of this weblog. It all started due to Asif and Jacques Distler. Asif just started using

LaTeX

formulae on his weblog and Jacques has been doing so for quite a while. Asif is using a WordPress plugin to convert

LaTeX

equations into images while Jacques converts them (or rather itex) to MathML. I am trying to follow Jacques.

The first step needed was to make my pages valid XHTML 1.1. Previously, my site was valid XHTML 1 Transitional. This required changes in my templates. The old MT 2.6 templates I was using were up to no good. Therefore, I took the new MT 3.o default templates and modified them to my own tastes. Even then, I needed to make some changes in the templates and my entries to make them all pass XHTML 1.1 validity tests.

Right now, all the weblog pages other than the individual entry archives are valid XHTML 1.1. The individual entry pages need some more work because the comment forms need to be changed and the comments themselves are very invalid and require a lot of work. I’ll be slowly fixing that over the next few days or months.

Following Jacques’s advice, I also had to serve my pages as application/xhtml+xml instead of text/html. Actually, this needs to be done only for those browsers which can handle MathML, the rest can be fed text/html. Right now, I am only serving my blog home page as application/xhtml+xml using the Accept header. But later on, I’ll move to Jacques’s scheme.

One of the problems with serving application/xhtml+xml is that the browser does not show anything if the code is not valid. Therefore, it is extremely important to validate all your pages. This could cause problems with comments since commenters can’t be trusted to use only valid XHTML 1.1. I might later try Jacques’s idea of forcing comment previews and validation. But for now, I’ll have to fix them manually myself.

I have tested the new templates in Firefox 1.0 and Internet Explorer 6.0 on my Windows XP machine. The pages looked OK in both. If you find any problems viewing any of the blog pages or the layout doesn’t seem right, please let me know.

I have installed the itex2MML plugin for Movable Type to create MathML content.

And now for some math tests. If you are using a Mozilla browser (use Firefox please, it’s a much better browser), you’ll need to install Math fonts. If you are using Internet Explorer (why?), you can install the MathPlayer plugin.

As I am lazy, I am using the LaTeX (or

LaTeX

) code from a few tests by Jacques and Asif.

First, an integral expression from Asif.

(1)

0 sin 2 xx 3 /2 e xdx

And here is a passage to test arrays.

Establishing driving point impedances works on the principle of simple R-L-C networks, where

Z L=L.didt

,

Z C=1 /Cidt

. Driving point impedances and admittances (in terms of effort and flow) are given as:

(2)

e(s)=Z(s)~f(s),and f(s)=Y(s)~e(s)

In the case when we have a 2-port and we have effort of one port and flow of other as inputs and vice versa, then the transfer function of this hybrid formulation can be written as:

(3)

(e 1 (s) f 2 (s))=(h 11 (s) h 12 (s) h 21 (s) h 22 (s))(e 2 (s) f 1 (s))

or

(4)

(f 1 (s) e 2 (s))=(g 11 (s) g 12 (s) g 21 (s) g 22 (s))(f 2 (s) e 1 (s))

Now let us test inline and display equations in a blockquote from a post by Jacques.

This is a test of the new itex2MML+parbreaks filter. Here is an inline equation:

2 sin(x)cos(x)=sin(2 x)

.

And here is a display equation

(5)

0 e x 2 dx=π2

And here is some more prose.

Please note that these equations will be properly rendered only on the main page right now and not work on any of the archives (monthly, category and individual entry). I’ll fix that in time though.

Also, unlike Jacques and Asif, I am not allowing Math in the comments, at least until I figure out and implement forced preview and validation.

Finally, I probably have broken my RSS/Atom feeds and accessibilty. I’ll look into that next.

New Year Resolutions

Pregnancy is, indeed, a great fattener. More so for the guy than the woman, if I may say so. The year 2004 (at least the first half) wasn’t good for me health-wise. I had some minor surgery in March which put me out of the gym for a few weeks. Then I started commuting too frequently between Jersey and Atlanta as we were expecting a baby. This also meant eating a lot more fast food and joining Amber in her pregnancy-induced eating binges. Amber gained 32 lbs during her pregnancy but she was underweight (102 lbs, 5'1") to start with and lost most of the weight gain within a few weeks after giving birth due to natural processes. My task was harder. So I started exercising and kept daily records of my weight, body fat percentage, waist size and rest heart rate. The graphs below show the 7-day moving averages of these quantities.

New Year Fitness Resolutions

My new year resolution is to get to the bottom horizontal line in these graphs this year and then keep them there.

Some notes regarding measurements:

  1. I used 7-day moving averages as daily data is very noisy.
  2. All measurements were done in the morning, usually an hour after I wake up but before I have eaten anything. (The first thing I do every morning is feed Michelle a bottle of milk.)
  3. The weight and body fat were measured using Tanita BF680 scale.
  4. Body fat measurement varies quite a bit depending on hydration level etc. So it is important to measure it in the morning.
  5. The waist size in the graph is that measured with a measuring tape. Trouser sizes can be deceiving as they can be 1-2 inches (or even more sometimes) smaller than your actual waist.
  6. I measured the rest heart rate with my Timex watch + GPS + Heart rate monitor.
  7. I sat down for 5 minutes and then measured the heart rate for 5 minutes while still sitting.

POSTSCRIPT: Note that even at the worst, my BMI was 24.3 kg/m2 which put me at the 38th percentile among men of my age and height. Now my BMI is 22.8 and I am at the 23rd percentile. This means that 77% of American men aged 34 years and 6 feet tall weigh more than I do. So weight hasn’t been a problem for me. It is the body fat and especially the fact that almost all of it accumulates on my waist.

What Muslim Stereotype Are You?

You are a Progressive

You are a PROGRESSIVE Muslim. You could be from any sect, religious or not, and may have leftist/activist tendencies. Anything goes with you. Everyone else is some sort of fanatic.

What Muslim stereotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Sister Soljah, whom we had the pleasure to meet last weekend.

The quiz was created by Sister Scorpion.

پاسپورٹ اور مذہب

پاکستان کی مذہبی جماعتیں آجکل اس بات پر جذباتی ہو گئی ہیں کہ پاکستانی پاسپورٹ سے مذہب کا کالم نکالا جا رہا ہے۔

پاکستان کی مذہبی جماعتیں آجکل اس بات پر جذباتی ہو گئی ہیں کہ پاکستانی پاسپورٹ سے مذہب کا کالم نکالا جا رہا ہے۔ بی بی سی اس بارے میں لکھتا ہے۔

پاکستان میں مختلف مذہبی و سیاسی جماعتیں نئے پاسپورٹ میں مذہب کے خانے کو خارج کئے جانے کے فیصلے کے خلاف جمعہ کو یوم احتجاج منا رہی ہیں۔

مساجد میں جمعہ کے اجتماعات میں حکومت کے اس فیصلے کو تنقید کانشانہ بنایا جائے گا اور مختلف مقامات پر احتجاجی مظاہرے بھی کیے جائیں گے۔

حکومت نے چند مہینے پہلے نئے پاسپورٹ جاری کرنے کا سلسلے شروع کیا جو مشین کے ذریعے پڑھے جا سکتے ہیں۔ ان پاسپورٹوں میں لوگوں سے ان کے مذہب کے بارے میں نہیں پوچھا گیا۔

مذہبی جماعتوں نے اس حکومتی فیصلے کو ملک کو ’لادینی ریاست بنانے کی ایک کوشش‘ قرار دیا ہے۔

جماعت اسلامی کے ترجمان امیر العظیم نے کہا ہے کہ ملک بھر میں ایم ایم اے کے قائدین احتجاجی مظاہروں میں شرکت کریں گے اور خطاب بھی کریں گے۔

یوم احتجاج منانے کا فیصلہ ایک ہفتے قبل اسلام آباد میں ہونے والی آل پارٹیز ختم نبوت کانفرنس میں کیا گیا تھا اور اس کا اعلان قائد حزب اختلاف اور چھ دینی جماعتوں کے اتحاد متحدہ مجلس عمل کے صدر قاضی حسین احمد نے ایک مشترکہ پریس کانفرنس میں کیا تھا۔

اس اجلاس میں مختلف سیاسی جماعتوں کے علاوہ مسلم لیگ(ن) کے رہنماؤں نے بھی شرکت کی تھی۔

اس اجلاس میں کہاگیا تھا کہ پاسپورٹ سے مذہب کا خانہ جماعت احمدیہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد کے دباؤ پر خارج کیا گیا ہے۔

پاکستان کی قانون ساز اسمبلی نے تیس سال پہلے جماعت احمدیہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد کو غیرمسلم قرار دیدیا تھا۔

جماعت احمدیہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے افراد کو اس بات پر اعتراض ہے کہ انہیں غیر مسلم قرار دیا جاتا ہے۔

مبصرین کا کہنا ہے پاسپورٹ میں مذہب کے خانے کی صورت میں جماعت احمدیہ کے لوگوں کو واضح طور پر غیر مسلم لکھا جاسکتا ہے اور ان کی بطور غیر مسلم شناخت واضح ہو سکتی ہے۔

اس سلسلے میں حزب اختلاف کی ایک بڑی سیاسی جماعت پیپلز پارٹی نے اس حکومتی فیصلے کی حمایت کی ہے اور وہ دعوت کے باجود آل پارٹیز ختم نبوت کانفرنس میں شریک نہیں ہوئی تھی اور پیپلز پارٹی کے ترجمان نے باقاعدہ اعلان کیا تھا کہ ان کی جماعت پاسپورٹ سے مذہب کے خانے کے ختم کیے جانے کے حق میں ہے۔

دوسری طرف حکمران مسلم لیگ کے صدر چودھری شجاعت حسین یہ بیان جاری کر چکے ہیں کہ پاسپورٹ میں مذہب کے خانے کا موجود رہنا ضروری ہے۔

نیا پاسپورٹ ICAO کی تجاویز کے مطابق تیار کیا جا رہا ہے۔ لہذا اس میں مذہب کا خانہ نہیں ہے۔ میری سمجھ میں نہیں آتا کہ پاسپورٹ میں مذہب لکھنے کی کیا ضرورت ہے۔ پاسپورٹ کا مقصد بیرون ملک سفر ہے۔ دوسرے ملکوں کو کیا پرواہ کہ کوئی پاکستانی مسلمان ہے کہ نہیں۔ کچھ مذہبی سیاستدانوں کا کہنا ہے کہ نئے پاسپورٹ کے نتیجے میں احمدی سعودی عرب حج یا عمرہ کرنے جا سکیں گے۔ مگر یہ تو سعودی حکومت فیصلہ کرتی ہے کہ کون ان کے ملک میں داخل ہو سکتا ہے۔ پاکستانی پاسپورٹ کا اس سے کیا تعلق؟ ایک اور بات واضح ہے کہ پاکستان کے اسلامی سیاستدانوں میں احمدیوں کے خلاف کھلا تعصب پایا جاتا ہے۔

اگر پاکستان مذہبی اقلیتوں کے ساتھ برا سلوک کرنا بھی چاہتا ہے تو اس کے لئے شناختی کارڈ موجود ہے پاسپورٹ استعمال کرنے کی کیا ضرورت ہے؟ میری نظر میں تو اقلیتوں کے ساتھ کسی بھی قسم کا برا رویہ بالکل غلط ہے اور پاسپورٹ یا شناختی کارڈ میں مذہب کے خانے کی کوئی ضرورت نہیں۔

POSTSCRIPT: For those who can’t read Urdu, this post is about the stupid protests over the removal of the “religion” column from the Pakistani passport. Here is a BBC News article about it in English.

Fafblog is the King!

Fafnir comes up with a list of things he will not do the next time he lives through 2004. Here are a few choice ones:

Things I will not do the next time I live through 2004

  • vote for a constitutional amendment before I know whose rights it strips away
  • forget whether torture is “good” or “bad” during a presidential election
  • reelect George Bush, then patiently wait for him to radically change his foreign and domestic policy
  • open my eyes at any time; the scary part does not end

As The Poor Man would say, Fafblog is “teh funny.” See for example, the post on blog triumphalism.