History in Pictures

An image is worth a thousand words. We have seen images through media, history books, articles and magazines representing events that mark a significant point in history. They are portals of life in the past, and they demonstrate the power and capabilities human beings posses. The following images are aggregated through the contribution of the members of the forum “Reddit,” an online community that generates internet media.
WARNING: Some images are not safe for work, and may contain gore, images of death, or violence.

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field

(Image above)

The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) is an image of a small region of space in the constellation Fornax, composited from Hubble Space Telescope data accumulated over a period from September 24, 2003, through to January 16, 2004. It is the deepest image of the universe ever taken, looking back approximately 13 billion years (between 400 and 800 million years after the Big Bang), and it will be used to search for galaxies that existed at that time.

Omayra Sanchez

One of the 25,000 victims of the Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) volcano which erupted on November 14, 1985. The 13-year old had been trapped in water and concrete for 3 days, and this photo was taken shortly before she died. Footage of Omayra Sanchez speaking to a news reporter: YouTube

Jesse Owens

In 1936, Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Summer Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes that German athletes would dominate the games with victories (the German athletes achieved a “top of the table” medal haul). Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of “Aryan racial superiority” and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior. Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals. It is important to point out that African-Americans were also discriminated against during that period in the United States.

Thich Quang Duc

Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Đức was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Roman Catholic government led by Ngô Đình Diệm. Đức’s last words before his self-immolation were documented in a letter he had left:

“Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngô Đình Diệm to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism”

Venezuela: Siege of Puerto Cabello

In 1962, Puerto Cabello was the site of an uprising by pro-Fidel Castro naval officers, marines, and members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation. Although loyalist naval forces were able to quickly take back the base and arrest the rebels, they were unable to prevent the marines from occupying the city and arming pro-Castro forces. Despite ambushes and bloody house-to-house fighting, loyal National Guard and mechanized regular forces were able to retake Puerto Cabello. The image was taken by Hector Rondon, a 1963 Pulitzer Prize Winner, photographer of Caracas, for the Venezuelan newspaper, La Republica, for his remarkable picture of a priest holding a wounded soldier in the 1962 Venezuelan insurrection: Aid From The Padre. The photograph was distributed by the Associated Press.

Egyptian Uprising

Egypt uprising initiated due to the Arab Spring in Tunisia, where different Arab countries rose up against their leaders demanding justice and democracy. The Egyptian Uprising lead to many deaths by the forces of ex-President Hossni Mobarak. In this image, a group of Christians joined hands and faced out surrounding hundreds of Muslims protesters left vulnerable as they knelt in prayer. The photos were taken in Cairo by Nevin Zaki. She shared the images over Twitter, writing, ‘Bear in mind that this pic was taken a month after z Alexandria bombing where many Christians died in vain. Yet we all stood by each other.’ The suicide bombing, shortly after the New Year’s Day, killed 23 Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million population.

Pele and Bobby Moore

This is the iconic moment where Brazil’s Pelé and England’s Bobby Moore swapped shirts following their classic encounter at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Brazil won 1-0 with a great goal from Jairzinho, but the game also featured the Gordon Banks save and the Bobby Moore tackle. The shirt swapping between two great players, both of them already World Cup winners (and Pelé on his way to a third medal) was a sign of mutual respect and is thought to have popularized the concept of shirt-swapping. It wasn’t the first time players had exchanged jerseys at full-time but the above moment is probably the reason shirt-swapping happens so regularly in modern football.

Ting Tsu-Chi and His Mother

Former colleagues were quoted in local media reports as saying they were not surprised to learn that the man in the picture was Ting as he was known for being filial. He even passed on a promotion because he would have had to relocate to Taipei City and so be unable to look after his mother. Ting, who filed for early retirement in 2007 to take better care of his mother, on Monday expressed gratitude for the expression of public concern, while declining to accept the praise voiced in the media. “I am not as filial and honorable as described in the news reports, and I’m sorry for taking up so much media coverage over the past few days,” said Ting, whose father passed away in 2007.

Sunday Eclipse

Sunday was inspiring. Few of my friends and I headed to Mountain View Shoreline Park to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, the delicate breeze and the beautiful sunlight; a sunlight that held a magical feeling to it because of the eclipse. After munching on jalapeño chips and hummus and enjoying cool fresh drinks, Rania shared news from her university. Our conversation covered different matters, relating to psychedelic drugs, rhetorical meaning of rape in fictional novels, society, technology and media, and empowerment and positive reinforcement.


The conversation about media, society and empowerment really meant a lot to me. It is evident within our society that the majority of the populous are being influenced and intimidated by the power of media. Influencing through encouraging the notion of what beauty is, how we are expected to lead our lives in the society, and defining gender roles. However, the media is not the only one to blame, but there is also the role of the parents in how they raise their children. Given our group came from Asian/Eastern culture, we all recounted the stories of our friends, or from our own family, of the pressures we faced in achieving specific goals to gain the respect of the parents.

Such expectations are very narrow and limited that it blocks the child from observing the other things that matter as well to be a productive and useful member of the society. Therefore, while the parents are busy focusing on specific agendas, the child or youth seeks the information for other matters in life through their environment; which includes media, their friends, neighborhood and culture. Most, if not always, the child or youth will not consult on matters that are not part of the parent’s agenda fearing judgement.

In our conversation, we concluded that empowerment is a powerful tool that can help inspire and uplift the youth. Consider how much pressure the young adult or youth would feel through the empowerment and encouragement of their parents. However, we were all well aware that sugar-coating is not empowerment. Through empowerment, there is a feeling of being welcomed, and also openness to share and consult on different subjects while pursuing/having a goal or purpose; providing room for creativity, moderation and learning.

The Process of Individual Growth

During our conversation, I recalled something that Rania has told me in the past regarding how one should face challenges and difficulties. To put it into context, media is a powerful force; it can manipulate and influence us if we are not careful (not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but there are good and useful programs on TV/Radio that can benefit us, but there are also those that arouse the feeling of hatred, lust or envy).

Step -1 – Defeat

If progress were to be series of steps, to be influenced would be step “-1.” This can include falling into the mode of gossip, imitating fashion trends blindly, admiring the fall of other people and absorbing the negative qualities represented in the media.

Step 0 – Acknowledge

The next step is acknowledging what is influencing or manipulating you. In this step, you figure out that the reason you bought those jeans was because it looks super great on that actress, or the reason why you speak the way you do is because a comedian pointed it, or you finally figure out why you have a headache because the series is just being super intense. However, acknowledging is not sufficient, as you are still being influenced; however, you admit to what you are being influenced with. The next step is the most challenging one, a step one has to sacrifice a bit of their ego.

Step 1 – Control

At this stage, one shuts down the source of manipulation or negative influence. However, there is a danger in this stage as one can fall into the pit of bias as they are completely shutting a matter from their life. Therefore, observing the channel of influence from different dimensions helps in identifying the greater picture behind the purpose and value of the source. To convince oneself to detach and distance themselves from a source to which they are used to is difficult. One will feel that they are losing something or feel left out if they don’t catch up. But as mentioned before, when one realizes the value of what is being controlled and determining whether it provides any positive value to their personal growth and environment, then they’ll make such judgement a bit more easily.

Step 2 – Inspire

The final stage is sharing your perspective with others and learning how to identify more channels that influence our lives. One observes that learning is a cycle that continues forever and gains more wisdom and a broader perspective on matters, helping them to make better and more valued decisions.

The sunset and our crying stomach’s ended our conversation. But I wish to have everyone present in such conversations 🙂

Simple Science Tricks – Tension Boat

The Titanic can be considered a Tension Boat

The title may be misleading; one might think it is a very painful cruise ship vacation experience. However, today’s experiment will focus on surface tension of water and how we can use this property to propel objects on water. Surface tension can be seen everywhere in nature. Some examples include:

  • Water beads on waxy sufaces, like tree leafs or windows that are super clean. Water adheres weakly to wax and strongly to itself. Which leads to the phenomena of water drops coming together and forming a large drop on these surfaces
  • Separation of water and oil is caused by a tension in the surface between not-similar (or dissimilar) liquids. Normally, this is called Interface Physics, but its the same thing

A tension boat is basically a boat that utilizes the property of surface tension of water to propel itself in water. You might think that you can gain infinite propulsion force by placing ships in the ocean with enough material to harness this force and have green energy. But, it’s much more difficult than that, and I don’t think carrying gallons of soap and ocean water would work that easily.

What is Surface Tension

The straight up definition: The cohesive, or attractive, forces between liquid molecules causes surface tension.

Let’s consider the following image of a water molecule:

MEGA MASSIVE Water Molecule

As you can see, the water molecule consists of three atoms; two Hydrogen atoms (represented as white and positive) and an Oxygen atom (represented as red and negative). The “charges” you see on the molecules are due to the bonding between the Oxygen and Hydrogen atoms.

When Hydrogen gives away (shares out) their electron, it becomes positive (it hates being negative; imagine Hydrogen as someone high on life). On the other hand, Oxygen is like negative nancy or debbie downer, always negative and LOVES to get (or borrow) electrons.

Based on this property, it creates a “polar” molecule, which basically means that the molecule is like a magnet. A super super super super super super super super small magnet. And like any other magnets we nearly swallowed as a child in the world, they attract each other. Negatives attract the positives, and vice versa, and then you get like a chain of water molecules together. Therefore, in a glass of water, you have a party going on with the water molecules!

Water Molecules Partying to LMFAO!

As you can see in the party, the water molecules in the glass (or middle of the glass) are attracted from all sides and are influenced or “pushed” by other water molecules. However, for the water molecules on the surface, since they are not attracted from all sides (their top being open to air), they form a stronger attraction with their water molecule buddies around them. Because of this stronger attraction to the molecules to the sides of the water molecule, the surface of the water acts like an elastic surface!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we have suface tension!

The Experiment


Make a small boat out of cardboard, place in water, add a drop of soap at the back-end of the boat, and watch that thing go!

What you need:

  • Water
  • Cardboard box
  • Soap or Detergent
  • Scissors
  • A clean kitchen sink, or round cake pan


  1. Cut the cardboard with scissors in one of the following shapes (You can make your own boat, just notice the back-end of the boat having an internal dent)
  2. Place the cardboard slowly on the surface of water (whether in the sink or round cake pan)
  3. Sing a Pirate Song!
  4. Add a drop or two of soap on the backend of the boat. Slightly dab the soap on the back
  5. See that bugger go!

What’s Going On?

So, you know about surface tension at this stage, and you noticed before you dabbed the boat with soap that the boat was still (unless your sink or whatever you used is so dirty and your boat went berserk, you dirty person you!).

The reason why the boat is still when placed in water is because the surface tension on the surface of water is acting on “all-directions” on the boat.

Let’s examine the property of soap. Soaps are compounds which are made by heating fats or oils, from animal or vegetable sources, with lye. A typical soap molecule has the formula:

Of course, unless you are an Organic Chemistry fan, you’ll be like “WOAH!” But to simplify all that stuff on top, we will make it look like this:

Looks like an electrocuted sperm...

Soap belongs to a class of chemicals known as surfactants, from surface active agents. As yours parents said, soap have some special properties which make them very useful for cleaning and forming bubbles and foam. In particular, the long hydrocarbon (All that C’s and H’s on top) ends of the molecules are very nonpolar and do not form bonds to water molecules. This end is hydrophobic (water fearing). On the other hand, the ends are very soluble in water and form rather strong bonds with the very polar water molecules. Those are hydrophilic (water lovin’).

When soap is placed at the end of the boat, the soap molecules order themselves in the position that will distort the surface tension of the water. The water molecules on the surface of the pool of water will lose their adhesiveness to each other because of the hydrophilic part of the soap. On the other end, water molecules are distancing themselves from the tail of the soap molecule. This can be shown in the following graph:

Soap molecules hatin' on water

Based on such interaction, aggregate effect of all forces will be “frontward” rather than “all-direction.” Such effect creates propulsion. Thus, you are capable of making the most awesome soap propelled speed boat!


Bill Nye The Science Guy Being Epic!

Bill Nye The Science Guy and Surface Tension

Education Under Fire

Within the Baha’i community in the United States, we are encouraged by our National Spiritual Assembly to promote and bring awareness to a campaign called Education Under Fire (EUF). The campaign addresses the Iranian government’s denial of the right to education for ideological and religious reasons; which includes the Baha’is in Iran being denied their rights to education.

Historical Background

The Baha’is are among the largest religious minorities in Iran, constituting over 300,000 – 350,000 believers (International Religious Freedom Report – 2009). The Baha’is in Iran have been persecuted by the Iranian government ever since its inception during the 1800’s. Among the accusations they receive from the Iranian government include espionage against the Iranian government, apostates from Islam that undermines the security of Iran, supporters of the West and Israel, and treason. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, many Baha’is were executed and assassinated for their beliefs through the order of the King of Iran, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar and other clergy men in the country.

To explain the cause of such prosecutions and attacks lie on the Teachings and Writings of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith. Friedrich W. Affolter in “War Crimes, Genocide, & Crimes against Humanity” writes:

Bahá’u’lláh’s writings deal with a variety of themes that challenge long-cherished doctrines of Shí‘i‐Islam. In addition to making the ‘heretic’[sic] claim of being a ‘Manifestation of God,’ he suggested that school curricula should include ‘Western Sciences,’ that the nation states (Muslim and non-Muslim) should establish a world federal government, and that men and women were equal. Bahá’u’lláh also wrote that in this time and age, priests were no longer necessary for religious guidance. Humanity, he argued, had reached an age of maturity where it was incumbent upon every individual to search for God and truth independently. These principles did not only call into question the need for a priesthood, but also the entire Shí‘i ecclesiastical structure and the vast system of endowments, benefices and fees that sustained it. No surprise then that in the following decades until the overthrow of the Qájár dynasty in 1925, it was the mullas who instigated attacks against the Bahá’ís in cities or villages where the clerical establishment was particularly influential.

Present Iran and the Baha’is

Fast forward to 1979, after the Shah left Iran on January 16, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returned on February 1, 1979 and started the process of creating a new government. During an interview before returning to Iran with Professor James Cockroft, Khomeini stated that Bahá’ís would not have religious freedom:

Cockroft: Will there be either religious or political freedom for the Bahá’ís under the Islamic government?
Khomeini: They are a political faction; they are harmful. They will not be accepted.
Cockroft: How about their freedom of religion– religious practice?
Khomeini: No.

The answer was hard and clear. Since 1979 until present, the Baha’is in Iran face great difficulties and pressure against the tyrannical members of the government of Iran. Among the greatest outcries included the incident in Yazd (2004-2005), when the Baha’i community in Iran wrote a bold letter to the government of Iran, addressed to President Khatami, seeking an end to Baha’i-focused human rights and religious freedom abuses. The letter was attached with a document from the government of Iran that authorized law enforcement institutions to monitor and track all information relevant to the Baha’is in Iran (October 2009, 2005 Letter). The response by the Iranian government was barbaric and shameful. According to the Department of State, they described the situation as follows:

In 2004, for the first time, the Baha’i community wrote an open letter to the Government of the Islamic Republic, addressed to President Khatami, seeking an end to Baha’i-focused human rights and religious freedom abuses. Numerous anecdotal reports indicated a marked increase in government persecution of Baha’is after this letter. Much of this anti-Baha’i activity focused on Yazd, presumably due to Yazdi Baha’is having presented Yazd intelligence-security officials with a copy of the letter.

In late 2004 and January 2005, nine Baha’is in Yazd were arrested and briefly detained, and their homes searched and some possessions confiscated. On January 14, 2005, authorities summoned, questioned, and released another Yazd Baha’i, and four days later on January 18, four individuals came to his home and beat him with batons, inflicting severe injuries to his face, back, and arms. The same individuals, equipped with batons and communication devices, also attacked the home of another Baha’i later that day. On that same day, these same persons went to the home of a third Baha’i and attacked him with batons, causing serious head wounds. This third Baha’i was attacked again on January 25; on January 27 his shop was set on fire.

In February 2005, the Baha’i cemetery in Yazd was destroyed, with cars driven over the graves, tombstones smashed, and the remains of the interred left exposed. Two days later, a gravestone was removed and left in front of a Baha’is home, along with a threatening letter. The Baha’i community filed a complaint with authorities at the national level, but no action was taken. These events coincided with the launch of a campaign of defamation against the Baha’i faith in government-controlled media.

The following are the images of the incidents:

Yazd Graveyard

Yazd Graveyard II

Education and Baha’is in Iran

Due to religious prosecution and abuse of freedom by the government of Iran, the Baha’is were denied access to exams that allow them to enter into universities. Some of the Baha’i youth and children in Iran are also denied access to education at their local schools. Given such conditions, the Baha’is of Iran sought an alternative means to education and established their own educational curriculum and program. Among such programs include BIHE, or Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, which aims in providing the Baha’is in Iran an opportunity to gain higher education. Despite the efforts by the Baha’is to lead a fruitful and positive life, the Iranian government were aware of such matter and initiated series of raids, arrests and attacks against facilities and individuals that supported or managed the BIHE program (Report of arrests of BIHE professors/instructors).

This is where Education Under Fire comes in. The program alone cannot help on influencing the government of Iran nor bring the needed comfort for the Baha’is of Iran. However, it brings awareness. It’s aim is to point to a reality that is not striking Baha’is alone, but other religious minorities in both Iran and other parts of the world. The initiative bore wonderful fruits of progress. Through the earliest days of the development of the initiative, a student from Harvard Graduate School of Education used this opportunity to shed light into the reality and difficulties that the Baha’is in Iran faced. As a result of EUF’s visit to the campus, Harvard Graduate School of Education formally agreed to accept BIHE credits! Other institutions followed suit (such as Boston University and Stanford University), too. In addition, the Dean of HGSE wrote a letter registering her disapproval to Iran’s ambassador to the UN.

Education Under Fire is the least we can do for those who are deprived of their right to education and freedom, yet it’s a potential medium to generate momentum for something great and bigger.

Learn more:
Education Under Fire
United States Department of State – Search Result on Baha’is

Simple Science Tricks – Non-Newtonian Fluid

What is a Non-Newtonian Fluid?

A non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid whose viscosity is variable based on applied stress, or force. Contrast with Newtonian fluids like water, whose behavior can be described exclusively by temperature and pressure (water at -32F/0C turned into ice, or water can be heated over it’s boiling point under high temperature), not the forces acting on it from second to second. Non-Newtonian fluids are fascinating substances that can be used to help us understand physics in more detail, in an exciting, hands-on way.

If you punch a bucket full of a shear thickening non-Newtonian fluid, the stress introduced by the incoming force causes the atoms in the fluid to rearrange such that it behaves like a solid. Your hand will not go through.

If you shove your hand into the fluid slowly, however, it will penetrate successfully. If you pull your hand out abruptly, it will again behave like a solid, and you can literally pull a bucket of the fluid out of its container in this way. You can try and walk on a non-Newtonian fluid if you stomp as best as you could on the surface.

A shear thinning non-Newtonian fluid behaves in the opposite way; where the application of force will make the solution act more as a liquid. In this type, the fluid becomes thinner, rather than thicker, when stress is applied. Also called pseudoplastic, examples of this type of non-Newtonian fluid include ketchup, toothpaste, and paint. The effect doesn’t usually last for long in either type, continuing only as long as the stress is applied. A good example is shaking the shaving cream can so the cream can be released from the can.

A practical application for shear thickening non-Newtonian fluids may be in body armor of the future. Since such fluids are usually flexible, they would allow soldiers to move freely when not under attack. But if confronted with a speeding bullet, they would quickly harder, performing like traditional armor. More research is necessary to see if non-Newtonian fluids are suitable for the military, but until then, it’s sure fun to play with.

The Experiment


Mix corn starch and water to create a non-Newtonian fluid. When left alone it will act like a liquid but when acted upon by a force it will react like a solid. If you hold it in your hand it will run through your fingers but if you punch the fluid it will harden

What you need:

  • Corn Starch (About as much water as you are using)
  • Water
  • Containers
  • Stirring rod (or anything to stir with)
  • Ice
  • Freezer
  • Microwave


Put water in a big bowl/container you adding corn starch until the water becomes extremely tough to stir. It has also been described as a syrupy texture, but you should be able to feel a difference. If you are not sure, you can test it by applying pressure with the poke of your finger or a spoon. You will feel and initial resistance by the fluid and then it will slowly release.

Experiment 1: Texture is Dependent on Ingredient

You will notice if you leave the fluid unattended for a spell, it will separate into two parts and solid will be on the bottom of the container. Simply mix it up once again to regain the non-Newtonian fluid texture.

As you poke and prod at the mixture, you can see and feel (if you use your hands) the mixture turning solid into liquid or vice versa. Get hands on! The texture is great to feel and will keep you occupied for hours on end!

After messing around for a bit, add more corn starch. This results in a more solidified liquid and you can better feel the reactions.

Experiment 2: Heat and non-Newtonian Fluid

The first additional experiment that was tested was by microwaving part of the fluid. I put it in the microwave for roughly 45 seconds on half power (5, in my case). This resulted in what looked like an egg-shaped object, with a yellow center and a white outer ring.

Experiment 3: Cold Temperature and non-Newtonian Fluid

In this experiment, I put a cup of the non-Newtonian fluid into a freezer to see the effects. After leaving it in there, it was examined later. It had some cool line patterns on the surface like it was exerting tension or something of the like.

Additional Random Experiments

Place the non-Newtonian fluid on a speaker that is protected by a layer of plastic. Play different sound frequencies and enjoy the patterns made by the fluid.

“After playing with my mixture a while, I started adding a lot more water then immediately microwaving it. Its almost like ballistics gel now.”

“blow bubles in it with a straw! they aren’t normal”

Credits and Sources

WiseGeek – What is a Non-Newtonian Fluid?

Instructables – How To Make Non-Newtonian Fluid Experiment