SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- If what we mean by seeing God is seeing Him through the outer physical eye, it something totally ruled out both by the intellect and Islamic sources.
The intellect: the action of seeing takes place only when things are exposed to light beams and their reflection is captured by the eye. This means that there should firstly be an external thing present and secondly it should be captured by the eye in the field of vision. Based on this we cannot see things which are behind us, whereas God is not a physical entity and He does not have the physical features of a physical being. Therefore He can not be seen with the naked eye.
Islamic sources: There are verses in the Holy Quran and traditions which stipulate the impossibility of seeing God.
a) The Holy Quran says:
1 - O Moses you can never see me.
2 – The eyes cannot see Him.
b) Traditions: "God never appears before the eyes"
But if what we mean by seeing God is seeing Him through an inner witnessing and witnessing the light of the names and attributes of God in the heart, within the limits that human beings have then it is possible. Imam Ali (a) says: "Hearts can perceive Him". In another tradition he says to Za'lab: "Shame on you! Eyes cannot see Him but the hearts can."
 Surah Aaraaf, Verse 143
 Surah Anaam, Verse 103
 Nahjul Balagha sermon: 49
 Nahjul Balagha sermon: 109
 Nahjul Balagha sermon: 179
 Nahjul Balagha sermon: 179
 Mizan Al Hekmat, Vol. 6, P. 190, Hadith: 12095
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Over the last week, several Instagram users began reporting that the photo-sharing app was locking them out of their accounts, and asking them to confirm their identity by showing photo ID.
These incidents, which CNET first covered Tuesday, were reportedly a result of Instagram's new terms of service, which came into effect on Jan. 19.
At first, users were worried that their accounts were hacked. But Talking Points Memo confirmed Friday that the ID requests were actually legitimate, and came from Instagram and Facebook, which now owns the photo-sharing app.
"This is just a general practice for both Facebook and Instagram to request photo IDs for verification purposes depending on what type of violation may have occurred," a Facebook spokesperson told Talking Points Memo. "Unfortunately, I can’t share more with you beyond that as we don’t go into details beyond that."
SEE ALSO: Instagram Is About to Start Sharing Your Data With Facebook
Identification is requested in cases when the social networks suspect that their terms of services have been violated. It aims to confirm who's behind an account, and perhaps to determine whether a user is underage (the minimum age to use both services is 13).
As Instagram doesn't require users to provide their real names, it's unclear why the photo-sharing app would ask for official ID. Facebook, on the other hand, does ask for users' real names. The social-network giant declined to comment on the matter.
Instagram's terms of service give the company the right to "refuse access to the Service to anyone for any reason at any time."-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Anti-racists saw off a National Front-organised protest in Sunderland on Saturday. The fascist National Front was protesting at Sunderland council’s recent decision to grant planning permission for the construction of a new mosque in the Millfield area of the city.
Up to 150 people - local Muslims, trade unionists, Greens and socialists – responded despite less than 48 hours’ notice, gathering to counter the anti-Muslim demonstration.
Anti-racists successfully challenged the fascists’ plans, outnumbering them by three to one, and undermined the limited local support for the NF’s message. We highlighted the NF’s poisonous beliefs via chants of “Nazi scum, off our street” and banners whose slogans included “Get the Nazis out of Sunderland”. After an hour and a half, the NF skulked off.
This latest demonstration follows another equally succesful anti-racist demonstration held in the city last month which discouraged Nick Griffin from attending a BNP-organized protest ostensibly against halal meat.
The protest was also a blow against the Islamophobia sanctioned by successive New Labour and Tory-led governments in their efforts to justify the “war on terror”, which has seen a continuing commitment to wars and occupations and cracking down on civil liberties at home.
In the last few years the “official” Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism of the British state has only been further emphasised in order to divert people’s anger away from austerity. David Cameron's recent remarks on how Muslim's need to embrace democracy and reject extremism (as if all Muslims are terrorists) and his proposal of “halting immigration of Greeks into the UK if they leave the Euro” are just two recent examples of such “acceptable” racism.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —Goldman Sachs is making an unusual loan: $9.6 million to help young men stay out of New York City jail. And they could earn millions on the deal. But it's taxpayers more than shareholders who should be pleased with the plan.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proudly announced a new kind of City spending yesterday. "As the first city in the nation to launch a Social Impact Bond, we are taking our efforts to new levels and we are eager to see the outcome of this groundbreaking initiative,” he said in a statement. As Bloomberg and Goldman go, expect other banks and mayors to follow.
Social impact bonds were invented in the U.K. and have yet to be fully proven but a small handful of states, cities and federal agencies are hot to test the concept.
Here's the idea: take a problem that costs the government money -- in the NYC case, paying to house teen prisoners -- and see if the private sector can create a program to solve it. Measure the results closely. If the plan works, split the savings between the city and the investors who funded the program. If it doesn't work, then investors foot the bill. Taxpayers only pay up if the plan succeeds, and only when it actually saves money. Lefties rejoice at the possibilities because it means more funds for social programs. Conservatives cheer because it reduces wasteful spending and taps the private sector to innovate.
“Right now government is ... paying for programs that work and paying for programs that don’t work" says Antony Bugg Levine of the Nonprofit Finance Fund and author of Impact Investing. "This shifts money to just the programs that do work.”
New York testing the idea on a real problem is big, and if it works, could easily spark replications that could remake municipal finance.
Consider what Goldman Sachs is paying for. The descriptions of the services in this bond will prickle the hairs on conservatives, "recreational activities that reduce idleness." And several line items that could be accurately summarized as "throwing money at criminals."
It is politically difficult to pay for services that go to marginal populations like prisoners, says Bugg Levine. “What the social impact bond does is it transforms the political conversation around that spending." The only way taxpayers pay for a program that helps prisoners learn job skills, is if the program has already worked, and has saved money. “It’s hard for anyone to argue against that,” he says.
In New York, half of the adolescents who pass through city jails, end up back there within a year. Cutting re-incarceration rates by 10 percent could save the city millions on jailing the teens, processing them in court, and of course, it's just better for society to have fewer criminals. That's worth something.
So Goldman's $9.6 million loan will go to the nonprofit group MDRC to pay for a suite of education, job training, and life skills courses for teen offenders. A third party, the Vera Institute for Justice will evaluate the success of the whole program, and if it determines the MDRC interventions reduced re-incarceration by 10 percent or more, Goldman gets its money back. If the rate drops by more than 10 percent, Goldman starts to earn a profit. The better the program works, the more the city pays—up to around a 21% profit.
The only reason this works though, is because Bloomberg Philanthropies wrote a $7.2 million loan guarantee for MDRC. So if none of this works, Mayor Bloomberg's foundation will pay the bulk of the costs, capping the potential loss to Goldman at about 25% This isn't normal for social impact bonds, small as the sample set has been.
That's a better deal than investors in the original U.K. deal get. They can lose all their money, but also potentially double their money, or more. In Massachusetts investors are also facing greater risk. In Minnesota a similar plan is in the works that goes under the name Human Capital Bonds.
That's what Goldman Sachs does though: gets the best deal around. There’s an upside, though, to Goldman Sachs being Goldman Sachs. Antony Bugg Levine points out, “by getting a good deal, Goldman has created a template that will make it more likely that other similarly minded investors will follow.”
So, Massachusetts may have announced a pair of SIBs earlier this week, beating NYC to the punch, but New York's will have more copy cats because it brings in the most notoriously profit-sniffing investment bank into the social impact investing arena. That will make a different class of investor pay attention.
“It's exactly the kind of proof point that everyone is looking for,” said Steve Goldberg, Managing Director of Social Finance US, the domestic wing of the British organization that invented the social impact bond. The U.K. pilot was funded mostly by foundations and high-net worth philanthropists trying to prove the concept could earn a profit.
Goldberg is working with several states on developing their own social impact bonds. Though praising the NYC announcement, he wants to see the fine print before declaring it a triumphant step. “We think that the structure of the NYC project looks encouragingly like a true social impact bond, but we need to learn more about the details.” Things like how success is measured, who audits which books, and how the profits are calculated.
And of course, if it will work. Results are still pending in the U.K. pilot and it will be years before the measurements are in on any social impact bond. In the mean time, cities and states and government agencies will be experimenting with variations on the model for reducing homelessness, improving education and criminal justice. Expect the NYC bond to be a model for many others. —www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Good Business
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — If you think that daytime sky observing is limited to clouds and bird-watching, you might be missing out. Observing space objects in the daytime has its limitations and difficulties, but, as with all skywatching, it also has its rewards. So here is a list of 10 surprising space objects to see in the daytime sky. Aside from the first three listed below, each of these daylight observations is relatively difficult. Plus some of these observations are not possible to predict. With all that said, here they are, in increasing order of difficulty: your top 10 space objects to see in daylight.
Obviously, you can see the sun during the day, but paradoxically, we are told not to do it for fear of harming our eyes. And that is quite right. Gazing at the sun directly can damage your eyes. It comes as a surprise to some folks, then, that there are safe and relatively simply ways of observing the sun safely and inexpensively. In fact, I regularly assign an activity for students to project an image of the sun with no more than a mirror. This is the same kind of thing done whenever there is a solar eclipse or transit. How do you do it? Find out about a sun-observing technique called pinhole projection here.
By the way, the sun is the source of a whole range of atmospheric effects, which are beyond the scope of this post. To learn about things like rainbows and solar haloes, go to Les Cowley’s great website on atmospheric optics.
I don’t have any survey statistics, but I would be willing to bet that at least 75% of the public is unaware that the moon can be seen in the daytime sky. That’s not too hard to understand, since so many people nowadays spend so much time indoors and are unaware of the sky at all. In addition, the moon is not in the daytime sky every day. Like the sun, it is below the horizon half the time, such that about half the month it is in the daytime sky, and the other half in the night sky. Add that to the fact that much of the time the moon is up during the day, it is a thin crescent too close to the sun to be seen easily. It is easy to see why some people are surprised to discover the moon in the daytime sky. But voila. If you look up frequently, you’ll notice it often.
Anyone who is surprised that the moon can be seen in the daytime will be amazed that, under the right conditions, you can see the planet Venus with the sun also in the sky. In fact, many folks are surprised that planets can be seen with the unaided eye at all, much less during the daytime. However, anyone with good eyesight and a little patience can find Venus in the daytime sky, when Venus is well situated for this observation. The planet appears as a tiny white dot, which often seems to “pop” out at you once you find it. Anyone who has seen Venus in a reasonably dark sky knows that it is usually truly brilliant. Observations in the daytime sky are more difficult simply because the surrounding sky is so bright during the day. The contrast between planet and sky is much lower during the day, making the planet hard to see. Imagine how easy it is to see a bright light at the top of a tower at night versus daytime. That’s similar to seeing Venus at night versus day.
Many folks are very surprised that satellites can be seen at all, but these days they are quite common in dark, nighttime skies. Seasoned observers are more surprised when an hour of nighttime observing goes by without seeing at least one! They look like steadily moving “stars” – silent – and very high up. At least one type of satellite (Iridium) can sometimes be seen in the daytime sky, although this is uncommon. These communications satellites have very reflective surfaces and under the right conditions, can reflect enough sunlight to appear as bright dots moving across the sky for a few seconds. These flashes are known as Iridium flares.
Even some seasoned astronomers are surprised to learn that mighty Jupiter can be glimpsed with the unaided eye in a sunlit sky. I do not want to mislead you, as this is not an easy observation. Jupiter is significantly dimmer than Venus, and finding it takes a good bit more effort (not to mention exceptionally good eyesight and excellent atmospheric conditions). The best time is near a “quadrature” when Jupiter is about 90 degrees away from the sun in the sky. This is similar to the arrangement of first quarter and last quarter moon. In fact, it is also very helpful to have a quarter moon nearby as a kind of sky landmark to guide you to Jupiter. The reason you want the planet at about 90 degrees from the sun is that the sky is slightly darker there, due to a phenomenon known as polarization.
Only a relative few observers have caught Jupiter with the unaided eye the daytime, and even fewer have seen Mars. However, it is possible. On occasion Mars can be as bright as Jupiter (or perhaps a tiny tad brighter), and the suggestions for catching it are the same as for Jupiter. Although I personally have not seen Mars in the daytime sky (I’ve seen Jupiter twice), a correspondent in the Middle East has reported to me an apparently genuine observation, and I have no doubt that it can be done.
Stars can be seen in the daytime sky, but this is a bit of a cheat. Stars, along worth the brighter planets already mentioned, can be seen with the unaided human eye in a daytime sky (that is, when the sun is above the horizon) normally only during a total solar eclipse. Such observations are of historical significance, and in fact played a crucial role in one of the first confirmations of Einstein’s theories of relativity. A few observers report that they have seen some bright stars, such as Sirius, with the unaided eye in the daytime sky. If indeed this is possible, it would require exceptional eyesight and exceptional sky conditions. On the other hand, observers with telescopes can see certain bright stars (not to mention the bright planets) on any clear day, although the scientific reasons for doing so are few and far between.
Like the meteors with which they are sometimes confused, bright comets have been documented in the daytime sky. In fact, although not necessarily easy to observe, they are not all that rare. Comet McNaught became visible in daylight skies in 2007, and a bright daytime comet preceded Halley’s Comet in 1910. Daytime comets are perhaps easier than daytime meteors because they sometimes can be predicted a short time ahead.
Rare and unpredictable, very bright meteors are sometimes seen in the daylight sky. One of the most famous incidents occurred over the western part of North America in 1972. It was seen and even filmed by observers from Utah to Alberta. The most recent (as of this writing) was reported over California and Nevada on April 22, 2012. This meteor streaked across the daylight sky, creating a sonic boom that rattled windows. It was seen by thousands. Later, astronomers said the meteor began as a mini-van-sized asteroid, and they located a debris field containing fragments of the meteorite, which is now known as the Sutter’s Mill meteorite.
Last on our list of space objects (sometimes) visible in the daytime sky are supernovae, or exploding stars. Estimates vary as to the expected frequency of supernovae explosions in our Milky Way galaxy from as many as once every 20 years to once every 300 years. We simply do not have enough records of these infrequent phenomena to give much of an average. Many of these would not even be visible from Earth due to intervening gas and dust. In any event, the last supernova bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky was in 1572, and then only barely. The most likely candidate for a supernova explosion visible during daytime is the star Betelgeuse. Unquestionably it will be visible in the day sky when it explodes, but when that will be is still unknown. It could be tonight, but more likely in a few thousand, or tens of thousands, or maybe even a million years from now.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A mother says social networks for families of children with serious chromosomal disorders help broaden the perspective of the quality of their lives, compared to what medical authorities are telling them.
Barbara Farlow co-authored a study in Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics in a unique collaboration with doctors.
Farlow's daughter Annie died with trisomy 13. Children with trisomy 13 and trisomy 18 carry an extra copy or extra parts of chromosome 13 or chromosome 18 respectively.
The conditions are described in the study as "lethal," with a high risk of fetal loss and survival rates beyond one year of six to 12 per cent.
Farlow is also a member of Patients for Patient Safety Canada in Mississauga, Ont.
Annie, Farlow's 10th child, was born in 2005.
"We didn't want our daughter to live on life support or to suffer. But if she had a chance to live comfortably and be happy.… then we were willing and able to care for her, despite her limitations," Farlow said to The Canadian Press.
Before she was three months old, Annie was brought to hospital and stopped breathing. Hospital staff were slow to resuscitate her. Her parents later discovered Annie's medical file had a DNR — do not resuscitate — order on it, even though they hadn't authorized it.
Farlow said the couple was realistic about the condition but wanted to care for Annie as long as possible. Farlow has since spoken out to health professionals about offering similar children more options, an interest that led her to the research project on 18 online communities.
Between October 2010 and January 2011, the researchers sent surveys to parents of children who belong to support groups, inviting them to describe their experiences.
Short and valuable lives
"Although most parents described their children as having significant neurodevelopmental disorders, almost all parents reported a positive view of family life and the quality of life of their child trisomy 13 and trisomy 18," Dr. Anne Janvier of the department of pediatrics and clinical ethics at the University of Montreal and her co-authors concluded.
"These parents overwhelmingly described surviving children as happy and stated they were able to communicate with them to understand their needs. Parents seemed to accept their children's limitations and to celebrate their small achievements. When children died, parents viewed their short lives as being valuable."
At the same time, parents acknowledged significant financial sacrifices and that their children experienced more pain than other children.
Most parents, 63 per cent, said they met with a health care provider who helped them but 37 per cent who chose clinical intervention for their child said they felt judged.
Parents reported being told:
Their child was incompatible with life, 87 per cent.
Would live a life of suffering, 57 per cent.
Would be a vegetable, 50 per cent.
Would live a meaningless life, 50 per cent.
Would ruin their marriage, 23 per cent.
Would ruin their family, 23 per cent.
The most common negative comment made by parents was about health care providers who didn't see their baby as having value, such as referring to a baby as a "lethal Tee-18," or an "it."
Parents whose children survive for at least one year may be more likely to join supportive social networks, the authors noted.
They concluded that new parents who become involved with social networks may adopt views, hopes and expectations that are inconsistent with those of some health care providers.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — We think you’ll all agree that currently existing car headlights are really bad when faced with heavy rain or snow. The light they emit gets reflected from raindrops and snow flakes and obstruct a clear view of the road.
What if we told you that there is already a solution to this problem thanks to the latest invention by some Carnegie Mellon scientists. Using some impressively accurate cameras and super-fast computers they managed to predict the trajectory of each rain drop and stream the light between them.
It may sound mind-blowing but they actually got a working prototype and at about 18 mph, they were able to reduce glare from rain drops by 70% with only a 5% loss of light intensity. Snowflakes are larger and slower and therefore more difficult to track, which means 15% of light is lost and around 60% of the snowflakes are avoided.
Here’s a video that shows the whole thing in action.
It’s certainly impressive, but sadly the invention far from prime time just yet. Even its creators can’t yet give us a time frame as of when it might make it to actual production vehicles.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association)—A map of significant climate events for the United States in June looks almost apocalyptic: hellish heat, ferocious fires and severe storms leaving people injured, homeless and even dead.
Why to expect more weather disasters
That followed a warm winter and early season droughts. News came Monday that the mainland United States experienced its warmest 12 months since the dawn of record-keeping in 1895.
And on Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report calling 2011 a year of extreme weather.
Wildfire victims face second tragedy
Remember Hurricane Irene? Or the floods in Thailand and southern China and the deadly drought in the Horn of Africa? Heavy rains in Brazil caused massive landslides and much of Europe suffered through a sweltering heatwave.
Baby eagle 'Phoenix' survives wildfires Heat Wave: Triple digits Fighting fires: From ground or air Death toll rises in Russian flooding
It's tempting to simplify things and blame it all on global warming.
After all, nine of the top 10 warmest years globally have occurred since 2000, according to NOAA.
But weather can be complicated.
The real challenge is figuring out whether a particular storm or flood was due to climate change or natural variables, said Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.
The NOAA report, for instance, noted some events that were exacerbated by other factors. However, climate change increases global risks, Field said.
"As we change the climate, we're shifting the odds for extreme weather," he said.
Photos: Extreme heat strikes U.S.
It's sort of like upping your chances of a car accident if you're speeding.
The four classes of extremes -- high heat, heavy precipitation and floods, duration and intensity of droughts and extremes related to higher sea levels -- have changed in the last 50 years, Field said.
"Increasingly, we are loading the dice towards these very damaging kinds of extremes," he said.
But that's not to say every weather event is related to warming temperatures.
Southern Greenland, northern Russia, and the eastern two-thirds of North America have felt the greatest warmth in 2012, but many places -- Alaska, Mongolia and most of Australia -- have been cool anomalies.
Russia declares day of mourning for flood victims
The men's final at the Wimbledon tennis tournament Sunday was stopped briefly for rain. Rain, in Britain? Although it has a reputation for sogginess, it's been cooler and wetter than normal for the last few months in the British isles.
America's northwest has also escaped the heat. The state of Washington just marked its seventh coolest June ever.
"When you've got a planet that's nearest warmest levels on record, that doesn't mean every part of the world is going to be the warmest ever," said Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for Weather Underground.
"The U.S. has been unlucky enough to be in that sort of pattern," he said.
Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center, said weather patterns -- including the jet stream or the ocean-atmosphere systems in the Pacific known as El Niño and La Niña -- have a great effect on weather.
In 2011, two back-to-back La Niñas, each characterized by cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern Pacific, affected significant weather events -- including droughts in the southern United States and northern Mexico and in east Africa.
There is debate over how climate change affects such weather patterns but the NOAA-led "state of the climate" report said La Niña-related heat waves are now 20 times more likely to occur than 50 years ago.
Scientists also analyzed the United Kingdom's very warm November 2011 and a very cold December 2010. They said that cold Decembers are now half as likely to occur versus 50 years ago, whereas warm Novembers are now 62 times more likely.
The report pointed out that some weather events, like the Thailand flooding, are influenced by humans in other ways.
Photos: Finding beauty in violent storms
"Although the flooding was unprecedented, the amount of rain that fell in the river 'catchment' area was not very unusual," the report said. "Other factors, such as changes in reservoir policies and increased construction on the flood plain, were found most relevant in setting the scale of the disaster."
The 2012 hurricane season has gotten off to a robust start, though meteorologist Thomas Downs of Expert Weather Investigations attributed that to a cyclical warming of Atlantic waters.
"We've had a tremendous start to the system. We are in the middle of a warm phase," he said.
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was devastating, but it was also the first named storm of that year -- in August.
By contrast, this year, the United States has already lived through four named storms -- two in May and two in June. The last was Tropical Storm Debby, which flooded Florida.
The warmer waters can lead to warmer temperatures on land, Downs said. So can extended drought.
"The biggest thing of this year is the cumulative effect of the last two seasons. Some parts of the United States have been under drought conditions for the past two years," he said, and did not have much rain in April and May. Less solar energy is absorbed by hot, parched land.
"The drought amplifies temperatures -- 90 becomes 100. 100 becomes 105."
"The reality is when you do have extreme weather, it is highlighted," Downs said. "People want to attribute it to one factor or another."
The other reality is that Americans and others will likely be paying a lot more for cereal, sweeteners and meat as the price of corn goes up because of failed crops.
"The crops are hurting," said Chad Hart, a grain market specialist at Iowa State University.
The eastern part of the Corn Belt is especially hard-hit. In states like Iowa, farmers are in the critical stage of corn pollination.
"We need a good inch of moisture this week," Hart said. "And there's no rain in the forecast.
"That means we are looking for a much lower yield for crops we produce in the Midwest."
Northwest heat endangers crops
That means farmers will be devastated and consumers could see higher prices at the grocery store for corn, soy and wheat products, as well as meat from animals raised on corn feed.
They will also be paying more to utility companies for running air-conditioners as the sizzling summer continues.
"In July, August and September, there's an above-average chance of warmer-than-average temperatures," Crouch said.
The hottest year on record for the United States is 1998. Crouch said 2012 is on track to beat it.
Perhaps people should get used to hotter temperatures, experts say, because the trends point that way.
A heatwave that occurred every 20 years will, by the year 2080, occur every one to two years, Field said.
The extreme weather the world is seeing now is a precursor to more, he said. And it paints a picture of what global warming looks like.
"There are a lot of steps that can be taken to prepare people for climate extremes," he said. "It's kind of a situation that warrants very serious thought."
In releasing the state of the climate report Tuesday, Deputy NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said 2011 will be remembered for extreme weather. This year seems to be on the same track.
From now on, she said, every weather event takes place in the context of a changing global environment. — www.shafaqna.com/english/