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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jw5MOT-M0s&NR=1 (a personal favorite:)

Bone-appetite…


This post is the first in a series of posts marking interesting occurrences in the Quran. Note: the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammed (PBUH) over 23 years, so this math is not only extraordinary, but also painstakingly hard to do while being extremely poetic. Enjoy:)

1. If you add up the number of verses in the Quran, you get 6236. You also get 6236 when you add the evens sums of: verses in each chapter of the Quran plus the chapter number (Ex: chapter 114 has 6 verses, so the sum is 120, which is even, so it can be added to the other even sums to get 6236).

2. If you add up the number of chapters of the Quran (1+2+3+4+5+6…+113+114) you’ll get 6555 (easy way to do this is 114*115/2). You also get 6555 when you add the odds sums of: verses in each chapter of the Quran plus the chapter number (Ex: chapter 110 has 3 verses, so the sum is 113, which is odd, so it can be added to the other even sums to get 6236).

3. Water is mentioned 32 times in the Quran. Land is mentioned 13 times. The ratio of 32:13 is the ratio of water to land on earth. That would make the water percentage of the earth 71.11111111111… percent. According to google (try it :) that percentage is arround 71 percent, with some sources citing 71.11 percent, but I still need to find an exact reliable source :(.

4. Day is mentioned 365 times in the Quran.

5. Month is mentioned 12 times.

6. Moon is mentioned 28 times (lunar month is 28.5 days).

7. Prayer is mentioned 5 times (Muslims pray 5 times a day).

(see this link for more ratios… andthis link)

8. The Quran regularly cites the Earth’s seven layers, and the sky’s seven layers (for Earth: Crust, four layers of Mantle: [Lithosphere(also part of crust)], Asthenosphere, Lower Mantle, D” Layer, outer core, inner core)(for sky: Troposphere, Ozonosphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere, Exosphere, Lonosphere)
P.S. The Magnetosphere is outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

9. Human being is used 65 times in the Quran, while words used to describe human development (EX: Embryo) also add up to 65.

10. The Quran has many many many situations where being a multiple of 19 is a mathematical index. The first verse is 19 letters long. 19*6 is 114, the number of suras and times Bismillah is used. There are 19 suras (or chapters) from the missing Bismillah in Sura 9 to the extra Bismillah in Sura 27………………………………. (the list is pretty long, but you can see the above link which has most of them (pretty long read though) :)

(to be continued, please add comments)


List of funniest videos:

more are coming…



Yanxia Cui displays the Study of nanostrip antennas for broadband light absorption, a joint project between the U of I and Zhejiang University in China.
Photos by Mohammad Jaber


This chart displays how a projector image can create a 3D object.


This chart simply displays how the SERS scaffold process works.

So many different research fields incorporate nanotechnology into their products that it’s hard to showcase every aspect of nanotechnology. But since 2003, the U of I has tried to tackle that challenge.

On May 6 and May 7, UIUC hosted the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology Annual Nanotechnology Workshop at both the NCSA and MNTL buildings.

According to the program, the keynote speech, Current state and the future of nanotechnology, at the 2010 workshop was given by Mihail Roco, Senior Advisor on Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation.

Also UI Chancellor Robert Easter gave welcome remarks. The plenary session was chaired by Rashid Bashir, Director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL), so the event is pretty prestegious.

This year’s workshop showcased UIUC nanotechnology research in manufacturing, medicine, agriculture, environment, electronics, photonics, and computational technology.

Over the years, these CNST workshops have been attended regularly by Uni students and instructors. Some of these students have gone on to undertake interesting but challenging projects on nanotechnology with CNST-affiliated faculty members, so this event isn’t new for Uni.

On May 6, I went to NCSA during lunch for a poster session. Apart from being offered a nice unexpected lunch, I saw an example of how simple nanotechnology could be.

While SERS scaffold molding might sound like a flashy process, it’s pretty basic. One starts out with a silicon wafer with nanoscale teeth like those on a gear. After placing a liquid UV epoxy on the wafer, light can harden it into a replica. Then, one places a PET base over the epoxy and remove the silicon wafer to have a cheap hard copy of the wafer that when coated with silver can work as part of a nanophotonic biosensor.

Unfortunately, not everything is so simple. After school, I returned to NSCA to view more posters. Some where hard to grasp, like the study of Metallic Broadband Quantum Light Absorption. But with the help of Yanxia Cui, who was involved in the study, I could conceptualize the project.

By slicing semiconducting metals into broad but thin strips, light that makes contact with those strips converts to either heat or electricity. But with current solar panels, it can be inefficient, since imperfections on the metal surface might reflect light if the surface isn’t pointing directly toward the light source.

Strips flattened to 10 nanometers could absorb light regardless of where it came from, thus making future solar panels and other devices efficient.

While solar energy might seem within reach, a 3D printer sounds farsighted. But my calculus class actually used one on Campus, and there was an exhibit explaining the process.

We were able to create any functions we wanted, and by bounding a region between two functions and rotating that region around the y-axis, we created a virtual solid.

The printer slices this solid perpendicular to the y axis at small y increments, making the object a bunch of stacked washers. A projector can shine light in the shape of these washers onto a base immersed in slowly photoreactant liquid polyester for 7 to 10 seconds.

After lowering the base in the liquid, new liquid will cover the hard polyester, and the next slice can be shined onto the base of the material. Eventually, the original solid will be crafted on the polyester, and the object can be removed from the polyester and dried.

After school, I returned to NCSA and a demo of NCSA’s project studying of genomes. Bisically, it related different changes in where a gene location in chromosomes for different related species to try to find which genes might cause certain diseses.

On May 7, the poster sessions had ended, and I went with juniors Ziran Shang and Allen Miller to MNTL to listen to four lectures. After a lot of pizza and water went around, we listened to various speakers talk in depth about their projects.

While the first two speeches were technical and hard to understand, the third speech by Uni parent Lizanne DeStefano on nanotechnology awareness was informative and logical.

The premise was that nanotechnology is mostly unknown in education, so the U of I needs to communicate with K-12 Teachers to introduce nanothechnology to their students, as well as stress the importance of proficiency in math and science. The first step is for university students in different fields to learn how to communicate with each other, for nanotechnology spans from agriculture to medicine.

DeStefano identified good college courses through the “EVEN” approach, where good courses display a variety of high quality scientific information. By increasing these courses and majors, universities encourage more students to enter nanotechnology and more businesses will employ nanotechnologists to improve their products.

The last speaker, Irfan Ahmad, 2010 workshop co-Chair, an agricultural engineer and a nanotechnologist, presented some examples of his colleagues and his own research. He related a few projects starting from UIUC; which have made tremendous impact on society, such as Nick Holonyak’s LEDs, and semiconductors.

Irfan also related ongoing projects such as nanophotonic biosensors, scaffold technologies for bone and tissue regrowth, nanomedicine for cancer research, nanotubes for bigger, better soybeans, and studying of crop pathogens by using nanoscale systems, and lab-on-chip technologies.

During the concluding session dean of engineering Ilesanmi Adesida gave best poster awards to graduate students for their work on nanomedicine, nanoelectronics and photonics. Adesida also took pictures with Ziran, Allen, and me.

By the end of the Workshop, I had experienced many new aspects of Nanotechnology I hadn’t really seen before. During my sophomore year, I had done research in agricultural nanotechnology for Chemistry A, but I’ve come to realize that to be a good nanotechnologist, one needs to immerse oneself in a variety of ideas and just be creative.


At 6 a.m. I dress, take a shower, eat breakfast and board the 100 North Yellow bus. It’s like any regular school day, except it’s Saturday. Where was I going… I was going to the old Hobby Lobby to volunteer for Million Meals for Haiti the biggest volunteer event in all of Champaign history.

Million Meals was part of the yearly Day of interfaith youth service, in which groups from different faiths work together to benefit the community. This year marked my third day of service.

The salvation army jumped at the opportunity to fund the event, while Kansas based food distributor, Numana provided the food. The meals, according to Numana, include rice, soy and dried vegetables and are fortified with vitamins and flavoring.

Interfaith in action, which organized the Day of intefaith youth service, estimated that they needed 8,000 volunteers to reach their goal of a million meals.

Several businesses, university groups, religious organizations, and individuals spread the word either orally or through fliers for he event. Uni’s Life Club joined in on the action.

“Kelly Beryl (Erin’s mom) sent an email out to LIFE Club asking if we would be interested in doing this, and we all thought it was a good idea, so LIFE Club members that were available went out and signed up for different shifts. We also decided that we would donate the club’s money from pizza sales to Salvation Army since they’re also a Christian-based organization,” said junior and president of Life Club, Nancy Tang.

With all the publicity, by the time I had arrived at eight a.m., the Hobby Lobby was teaming with life. At the entrance, everyone waited in line for five to ten minutes to enter the building, after which a red shirted volunteer would hand out a salvation army wristband. We would go through another line to wash our hands, after which everyone would form groups of twelve led by another red shirt. A red shirt is a special volunteer who works a four hour shift as opposed to the two hour ship most volunteers worked.

One by one, we moved to a table in groups of twelve, after which everyone donned gloves, a hair net, and an apron. Each person was assigned a specialized role at their table, and the packaging worked as an assembly line.

First, a volunteer placed a Numana bag under a funnel. A waiting volunteer then placed rice into that funnel, while other volunteers inserted seasoning, beans, and vegetables. Two volunteers worked to either add or take away some rice to keep the bags at a constant weight, after which two volunteers would seal the plastic bags. Ultimately, I worked as a bag flattener, while two other volunteers boxed the meals for shipping.

The boxes needed a lot of tape to prevent ripping while being air dropped by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. Each box contained 44 six serving bags. Each of the approximately 45 tables in the first shift was able to pump out around 10 boxes, amounting to over 120,000 packed meals.

The first early morning shift was unbelievably successful. By the end of Saturday, 880,000 meals were prepared. The event was well organized that only the first Sunday shift remained. By 2:30 p.m. the volunteers had accomplished the goal of one million meals for Haiti.

In retrospect, I felt that this volunteer event was the most useful cause I’ve worked for. Due to the great coordination of the event, I participated in the preparation of almost 2000 meals that will nourish Haitians in need.

I learned that a creative high goal that a small organization strives for can reach an epic scale volunteer effort.

But the most important thing for Haiti in the long run is for it to get back on its heels. This will require more creative volunteer efforts, education, and investment on everyone’s behalf. So my message to you is simple: brainstorm, focus upon a goal, then work to achieve it.



Photo by OakleyOriginals(click to enlarge) This is a locust.

Ever since the early 1900s, locust outbreaks throughout Australia have grown in intensity and frequency. At times there were huge outbreaks costing many millions of dollars worth of damage, but there was always a background consistent population of locusts just waiting to devastate any given piece of farmland.

Even earlier this year, a locust outbreak covered 190000 square miles, which is almost the size of Spain. It affected parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. So this problem was quite significant.

So how are Australians dealing with it. Some may try to run over locusts with their cars, while others might even try hitting locusts with a cricket bat. But the most efficient way, in my opinion, is to harvest and eat them.

Locusts are composed of mainly protein, 62 percent protein, and they are the only type of insect that I as a Muslim am allowed to eat. You could cook it in many ways: stir fry, roasted or boiled.

But the most ingenious way, as one cafe in Victoria State Australia put it, was to add them as a topping on pizza. Mayor Glenn Milne of Mildura, Victoria started the idea by trapping locusts in a garbage bag and then adding them to pizza.

As simple an idea as it is, I’ve never heard of anyone else adding these little buggers on pizza. I mean I’ve heard of the inadvertent insect pizza or even the zophobas worms pizza, but even when I do research on locust pizza, I can’t find any sources.

But whether on pizza or just regular food, capitalizing on locust outbreaks may be a new Australian agricultural industry. Bon appetit!



Photos by Muhammed Odeh (click to enlarge) This shows a basic paintball gun, with the yellow team’s flag tied to the paintball carrier.


This picture shows the group from MAS with which I went to Saltfork.


I am shown wearing the protective mask necessary for paintballing. I also have a jacket on, which really reduced the effect of the paintball hitting my upper body.


There were large mounds and other protective features from which players could defend their base.


When on the offensive, trees could provide places from which to shoot.

On a recent Saturday, I packed all the winter clothes I needed: gloves, a jacket, a few pants. But it was perfectly warm outside. So why the heavy apparel? I was going paintballing for the first time in my life.

Every Saturday, I meet with a group called MAS Connect, including a few of my Muslim friends. So we were scheduled to go paintballing at the Saltfork Premier paintball park in Sydney, about 10 minutes west of Urbana.

We arrived at the park at 2 p.m., and I noticed that many of my friends, most of them paintball veterans, were wearing short-sleeve shirts and shorts. In contrast, I was a penguin.

We each paid $25 to get our guns and a few extra paintballs, and then we had an orientation. There was a safe area near the cars where no one could shoot their gun. Whenever not in the safe area, each person had to also have a protective mask on.

Now familiar with the rules, we were each handed paintball guns with covers to place around the muzzle. We turned off the safety and shot a few practice rounds. Then we started a game of elimination.

There were two teams, the yellow and the red. Each went to opposite parts of the forest, just beyond the range of our guns. At the bellow of the horn, we charged forward, sprinting from ditch to tree to find a nice defensible protection from which to hit people.

There wasn’t much gunfire in the first minute, but afterward, paintballs could be heard from all directions. I hid behind a tree and shot from far range, hitting three people until a paintball hit the tree and sprayed some paint on my jacket.

Luckily for me, since I was wearing the jacket, I didn’t have to deal with bruises. But one of my friends wasn’t so lucky. He was in short sleeves and was hit from behind from 10 feet with a paintball that ripped off the skin where it hit. Afterward we refilled our guns with air and paintballs.

Ten minutes later we played a huge 40-minute game of “capture the flag.” If we were ever hit, we had to run back to our base at the farthest end of the field and start again. The team that raised the most flags in the middle of the field for the longest time would win.

Many paintballers joined us with automatic paintball guns, machine guns, and even a grenade launcher. My team, consisting of less experienced players, was able to outsprint our opponents to the middle and raise our flag, but we weren’t able to hold those flags for half of the game.

That second half of the game took what felt like forever. Everywhere I went, I was quickly hit by the red team. By the end I felt like if I just popped my head a little above the ground, I would quickly be hit. I tried crawling through the leaves to the other side, but was shot by an enemy camouflaged sniper, whom I noticed after it was too late.

I came to SaltFork expecting to use paintball guns that were long ranged and like sniper guns, but while paintballing, I learned that one had to get to a close range to do any major affect. It was WWII style close combat, and by the time I finished, I felt like jumping whenever someone clapped.

By this time we had finished, and one thing that I had learned was that if you want to familiarize yourself with the feeling of a warzone, practicing regularly at Saltfork is the way to go.


This Saturday I woke up feeling pretty bad. A few of my friends wanted to go to the Engineering Open House on Campus, and I managed to find some way to get dragged into it. I felt that it would be some drab academic material that would bore me to death.

So at around 11:00 we went walking around campus, and while we were walking down Mathews street, we saw people dropping cups from the second story of the Transportation Building. So we hurried into the building and up the stairs to find a buzzing line of people collecting materials to build a cushioning system to stop eggs from hitting the ground.

The rules were simple. Each group had 10 virtual dollars to buy either string, tape, newspaper, cotton-balls, ballons, or rubberbands. Everybody had to be creative in building their contraption. Some groups had balloons strung together to slowing down the falling egg. My favorite devise was just a cone of newspaper that was supposed to absorb the shock of the egg hitting the ground. But my group focused on a simple parachute, that worked really well, for our egg survived un-scathed.

Afterwards my group went to DCL. I saw an exibit with a microscope, so I decided to see what was magnified. There was an array of cells that I saw were adult mice stem cells. I learned that given certain chemicals, each stem cell could turn into a specialized type of cell, like bone or fat cells. I also found out that these cells needed very regulated conditions to survive, for many cells where shriviling up under the miscroscope.

We continued on to Siebel, where there was a virtual rality light sabre duel. I got a green “lightsabre” and an orange labcoat, while my opponent was in a different room, with a green labcoat and red lightsabre. There was a video that combined both of us in an image, and photo receptors that recorded when a lightsabre made contact with the similar color labcoat on the screen.

The experience was disorienting, since I didn’t know exactly where my opponent was supposed to be, so I lost. There was also a few second delay between my actions and what the screen showed, but the experience was pretty special.

My friends decided to go to the Hydrosystems Laboratory, so off we went. Inside, we competed to build boats from aluminum foil. I made a big boat, compared to my friends, which turned out to be a big mistake. My boat draged along the botton, while my friends small boats seem to cruise without difficulty.

At the other end of the building was a mixture of sans and water with a water punp simulationg water flow. We experienced how water can flow underneath the soil, erode the soil, and flow faster in narrower areas.

By the end of the Engineering Open House, I had learned that engineering wasn’t boring accademics, but could be fun and interesting. The hands-on exibits, such as the egg drop, and boat racing required creativity, and it was nice to watch my egg land safely, and the boat race was exciting. All in all, I intend to spend more time at the Engineering Open House next year.


In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves, decided that since American classrooms failed to teach students of African American history in American schools, that there should be a week devoted to the understanding of Black History.

That week has since turned into a month, each and every February of each month.

This year, I learned quite a few things about Black History that I’d like to share:

While Martin Luther King Jr. played an important role in this movement, he was one of many major influential movers and shakers in this movement. King was mostly influential in the South, while people like Elijah Muhammad explained the phenomenon of Northern Black attitude to King, while also being a major decision maker in Northern Black communities.

Malcolm X was also played an important role in organizing Northern black communities, providing northern blacks with the feeling that they weren’t powerless to white power, but could unite to resist discrimination.


One day while showering, I made a lucky discovery. I found that when I shampooed my hair with regular shampoo, then conditioner, I could follow up using intensive care shampoo to treat dandruff better than any anti-dandruff shampoo could on its own.

For as long as I remember, I’ve been trying to deal with my dandruff problem. I tried many different anti-dandruff shampoos, and while some of them might have partially removed dandruff from my hair, the dandruff always came back. It could reappear as soon as I dried my hair. But until now, I’ve tried to keep this problem unknown to as many people as possible.

I am only one of several Uni students with dandruff problems, so I hope this information helps.

I started treating my dandruff by cutting my hair to low levels, but that only helped a little bit. Whenever I sweat a lot, I would find a new layer of dead skin.

To combat this, I focused on shampooing my hair more vigorously and more often. I would use a shampoo like Head & Shoulders three or four times, and the result was better, but the dandruff still didn’t completely go away. I then tried using a mixture of shampoos, and I did research on what causes dandruff.

I found that dandruff isn’t due to a lack of shampooing, but rather it is caused by a more rapid shedding of skin on an individual than normal. This could be due to dry skin, exposing one’s head to extreme temperatures, and bodily reactions to the food one eats.

Most dandruff shampoos work by reducing the rate at which the body sheds skin. But in my case, the shampoo wasn’t effective. I learned that for the shampoo to be effective, I should have it thoroughly distributed it throughout my hair for five minutes. Now I knew how to control my dandruff, but how could I get rid of the currently existing flakes?

I knew that shampoos could get dirt out of my hair, but would have very little effect on the firmly rooted flakes of dandruff. I also knew that conditioners would make my hair softer and smoother. Intensive care shampoos were different in that they fixed bent, rough hairs, and made them smoother and more organized. So by combining all three agents — regular shampoo, conditioner, intensive care shampoo — I would have smooth, cleaner hair devoid of dirt to hold back any flakes. The straighter, smoother hair would allow the dandruff to leave my hair with greater ease.

I also learned that washing my hair in lukewarm water would reduce any unnecessary loss of scalp skin that a hot bath would have destroyed. I still have a few problems with dandruff, but they have been improving, and at this rate, they will hopefully just go away.

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