Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur


A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.


A new school of Islam based on ijtihad, the concept of critical thinking, rejecting extremism and fundamentalism?

Posted 21-Jan-2015 at 05:40 AM (05:40) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Jan-2015 at 07:00 AM (07:00) by Gurdur

At the end of an article on the loose collection of those who try silencing anyone who challenges extremism, Asra Q. Nomani (@AsraNomani), an author and former Wall-Street-Journal reporter, proposed founding a new school of Islam based on ijtihad, the concept of critical thinking. Her article is here; she further gave a link to a new net site for this project, where another basic principle for this proposed new school of Islamic thought and law is given as adaab, good manners. Unfortunately, I...
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The Pakistan situation after the #PeshawarAttack

Posted 17-Dec-2014 at 07:02 PM (19:02) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 17-Dec-2014 at 07:29 PM (19:29) by Gurdur

Nothing points to the moral and practical insanity widespread in Pakistan more than the example of the Afghanistan Taliban condemning the Pakistan Taliban for the murder of over 141 innocents, mostly children. One gang of murderers condemning another gang of murderers for murder. In the context of the latest Peshawar attack, also pointing to that moral and practical insanity are the examples of some demanding CNN stop creating a "false image of Pakistan", because those people forget Malala Yousafzai,...
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An #ff for @RazaRumi - journalism, literature and culture in Pakistan

Posted 20-May-2014 at 12:44 AM (00:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Dec-2014 at 03:47 PM (15:47) by Gurdur

Raza Rumi is one of the courageous journalists in Pakistan who risks being murdered daily. He is also an editor and networker who has helped a good many other journalists and activists in Pakistan, and he has stood up at all times in the defence of minorities inside Pakistan, whether Ahmadis, Christians or whomever. Through his writing and his use of social media, he has consistantly promoted others and their own efforts. others such as Sana Saleem, and he has consistantly promoted Pakistani culture,...
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Weird: John Horgan contra drones.

Posted 30-Oct-2012 at 03:17 PM (15:17) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Oct-2012 at 05:46 PM (17:46) by Gurdur

In a blog post on the renowned Scientific American site, John Horgan (@Horganism) takes aim at drones, but unscientifically so. Right on the eve of the national election for the presidency, his blog post starts off with his stating that a lot of his liberal friends are "disappointed" with President Obama. Then Horgan zeroes in on drones and their use by the USA in Pakistan and the Yemen.

His entire argument is slapdash. He points to problems the Pakistani democracy has with legitimization...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Paying for getting the truth to you - how so many reporters get killed. Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik are the latest

Posted 22-Feb-2012 at 02:31 PM (14:31) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 22-Feb-2012 at 07:33 PM (19:33) by Gurdur

It often costs to get the truth out to you, and that cost is often a reporter's life. Today it's reported that Marie Colvin, an American who was currently working as a reporter for the British Sunday Times, and Rémi Ochlik, a French photographer, were killed in Syria. They appear to have been directly targeted and there are fears for other journalists in the area. This is only a week after Anthony Shadid, working for the New York Times, died in Turkey of an asthma attack brought on by stress and...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Pakistan's Express Tribune forced by protest to remove article by Saba Khalid mocking mental illness

Posted 18-Feb-2012 at 05:07 PM (17:07) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 01:18 AM (01:18) by Gurdur

Yesterday an op-ed article by Saba Khalid appeared in Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper, which is published in partnership with the famous International Herald Tribune, and is owned by the Lakson Group of companies. The article by Saba Khalid was titled "Celebs with mental disorders: Lock up the crazy"; while the online version has now been taken down, you can still for a short while find the Google Cache copy of the original page here. I also include a screen-capture pic of part of the article...
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The (a)theology of being blown up; atheists in foxholes

Posted 20-Sep-2011 at 06:09 PM (18:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Sep-2011 at 09:24 PM (21:24) by Gurdur

Owing to comments on a previous blog post of mine, I started thinking about comparisons between being burnt badly and being blown up. Having had both happen to me, being blown up is definitely better than being burnt badly, as long as you survive, lose no limbs or hearing permanently, and don't get burnt too much. Being blown up is over in a flash, leaving you to recover (I once knew a bloke, a fellow worker in a mine, who was blown 100 yards through a tunnel by an explosion, like a pea in a shooter...
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9/11 - the USA and beyond, as in Pakistan

Posted 11-Sep-2011 at 07:38 PM (19:38) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 11-Sep-2011 at 07:44 PM (19:44) by Gurdur

9/11 was marked today in the USA by a minutes' silence and, in New York City, sirens, and a remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero. Pakistan managed to officially send its support through its Foreign Ministry to the USA, also pointing out that Pakistan itself remains very much a victim of Islamist terrorism. And so it does; in the years between 2001 and now, Pakistan has suffered over 10,000 dead in that struggle.

And only a short while back the son of Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, was kidnapped in Pakistan;...
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More diversity contacts and blogs relevant to atheism, religion & feminism

Posted 08-Aug-2011 at 05:49 PM (17:49) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Aug-2011 at 06:09 PM (18:09) by Gurdur

I recently did a post in which I mentioned low down in the post some diversity blogs. I'm going to repeat that here and add to that, with special emphasis on women atheist bloggers, in relation to bottom-up rather than top-down planning of atheist conferences, and in relation to interaction with other aspects such as feminism, sexism, science-blogging, interfaith dialogue, etc.. Please bear in mind the following are mainly restricted to those in the USA who have been ignored by others. These are...
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The very first Pakistan Social Media Summit meets up in Karachi

Posted 12-Jun-2011 at 10:58 AM (10:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 12-Jun-2011 at 11:22 AM (11:22) by Gurdur

Apparently (organized on fairly short notice?) there has just met this weekend the very first Pakistan Social Media Summit (PKSMS), in Karachi, with the likes of the bloggers @sanasaleem, @RazaRumi (both regularly mentioned in my blog) and many others. It would have been really great to have gone to that, but I found out about it far too late, i.e., on Friday, which is definitely late.

You can read the tweetstream concerning the Pakistan Social Media Summit by searching with the hashtag #PKSMS....
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Investigative reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad tortured and murdered in Pakistan

Posted 01-Jun-2011 at 03:04 AM (03:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 01-Jun-2011 at 05:58 PM (17:58) by Gurdur

Another Pakistani investigative reporter, Syed Saleem Shahzad, who worked in Pakistan for a news service based in Hong Kong, has been murdered, and his body shows signs of having been beaten and possibly tortured in other ways. Syed Saleem Shahzad had very recently done a news story investigating into why Al-Qaeda had attacked a Pakistani naval base in Karachi on the 22nd of May; he wrote that it happened because negotiations between Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy had broken down, the negotiations...
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March in Egypt today; events in the Yemen and Pakistan, and a Doomsday/Rapture parody

Posted 27-May-2011 at 04:50 PM (16:50) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-May-2011 at 05:00 PM (17:00) by Gurdur

Not only am I (apocalyptically) flooded in what I need to blog about, having been knocked out of commission for over three weeks, but also very current events are having tsunami-like proportions for me, since I still cannot work fast or much (and I'm currently writing two long and difficult other blog posts I need to finish). So very quickly, a few things:

Another big demonstration today in Tahrir square, Cairo, Egypt, this time because of all the things the protestors have noticed...
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The events in Pakistan - the terrorist attacks in Karachi, and the fall-out from probes into the ISI

Posted 23-May-2011 at 08:25 PM (20:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 26-May-2011 at 12:21 PM (12:21) by Gurdur

So there was a terrorist attack on a Pakistan Navy base last night in Karachi, and the Pakistani Taliban took the credit for the attack, though other groups may have been involved. A long prolonged firefight followed, some of the terrorist attackers seem to have escaped capture, and at least 10 Pakistani military were killed in the firefight or otherwise by the terrorists in their attack....
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The death of Osama Bin Laden, and the awesome power of Twitter and social media

Posted 02-May-2011 at 05:54 PM (17:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2011 at 03:42 PM (15:42) by Gurdur

So in an operation very near to Islamabad, Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden has been killed by USA forces. There is a Guardian report on it all here. The first reaction from official Pakistani sources close to the Pakistani military and ISI seems to have been almost panic, a denial that they knew of the operation at all; possibly this was a calculated denial, an attempt to deflect any anger inside Pakistan and Afghanistan. Certainly most in Pakistan were caught by surprise.

Twitter once...
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 28 April 2011

Posted 28-Apr-2011 at 05:43 PM (17:43) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

This is late - but since there will be no weekly round-up from me this coming weekend, as I will be in New York (if you're wondering where I will be, I will be at this; I'm taking citizen journalism and developing myself at it very seriously indeed. If you're interested, I shall be tweeting from there, hashtag #ASJA2011. I will also be blogging when I can). The weekend after, I will try to do a round-up, but no promises; a week after that and regular service (such as it is) will resume.
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 17/18 April 2011

Posted 20-Apr-2011 at 03:25 AM (03:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 22-Apr-2011 at 12:18 AM (00:18) by Gurdur

Yes, it's late. What else did you expect? But in my defence, I'm drowning in work. However, here it is! The blogs round-up from around the net, and including a couple of mass media reports. You can read my previous blogs round-ups listed here.

Science, ecology: blog post of the week goes to Dr. Carin Bondar, who (guest-)blogged on silviculture as applied to coral reefs. A good excuse to pepper this page with coral reef photos from the web; I do have photos of my own, but no time to...
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Jeff Bercovici, his personal grudges, citizen journalism, social media: Journalism 2.0 and the deaths in Afghanistan

Posted 08-Apr-2011 at 06:26 PM (18:26) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 08-Apr-2011 at 07:38 PM (19:38) by Gurdur

Very recently, as you know, UN and support staff were murdered in Mazar-e Sharif. Further demonstrations and riots have followed in that part of the world, all allegedly in response to the theatrical burning of the Qur'an by Pastor Terry Jones. "When Journalism 2.0 Kills" was how Jeff Bercovici, a columnist, described it, in his headline on his blog post made on the Forbes site. In that post, he used the deaths of UN staff and others to first blame, rightly or wrongly, a 21-year-old student who...
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One fast one for RevSimmy and all: Festival of the Trees again!

Posted 03-Apr-2011 at 07:49 PM (19:49) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Just a very quick note, but a good one, for RevSimmy and all: the inter-blog Festival Of The Trees has happened again (FOTT 58). Many thanks to @GrrlScientist for the alert and to the blog Festival of the Trees for the further link.

You will find the whole Festival Of The Trees 58 blog carnival at this link here, and it is really worth looking at it; some links to great blog posts there.

And below, just because, no connection, courtesy of Wired and of HuffPo, a photo...
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Women and diversity in science and tech

Posted 29-Mar-2011 at 03:06 PM (15:06) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 29-Mar-2011 at 03:21 PM (15:21) by Gurdur

I am now at least 5 days behind in my blogging schedule, and it's getting worse. Here is a very quick post, which is of information I ripped out of another blog post I am writing at the moment, so as to decrease the incredible length of that other blog post, and just to get this bit out. And this is important stuff, so please pardon the incompleteness and sheer lack of polish on this blog post of mine.

Women and diversity in science and tech is a very essential area to bring to attention....
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 27/28 March 2011

Posted 29-Mar-2011 at 01:04 AM (01:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 29-Mar-2011 at 12:04 PM (12:04) by Gurdur

My weekly blogs round-up, on science and society and, well, everything. This time round including as much info as possible so you can see how to garner info yourself, giving Twitter handles and so on, and a fair few press reports.

Science, nature conservation, ecology:
Some good news at very long last (with thanks, h/t to @geostuff for the alert): "Tiger Numbers Increase in India". And while on the animal/nature conservation front, the Scientific American blogs have a guest post up...
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