The Fountain Magazine The Fountain en (C) 2012 Science Square - The Fountain Neutralizing the Zika virus
Sapparapu G et al. Neutralizing human antibodies prevent Zika virus replication and fetal disease in mice. Nature, November 2016.

Scientists have identified a human antibody that can reduce Zika infection, giving rise to hopes that a vaccine may be developed. Zika is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, named after the Ugandan forest where it was first isolated from a monkey in 1947. Zika has become a global public health threat over the past decade because of its rapid spread, first to the Asia-Pacific region, and then to the Western hemisphere. Zika is found to cause microcephaly, unusually underdeveloped heads, and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women. In addition, Zika has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death.  Scientists have discovered naturally occurring human antibodies, called ZIKV-117, which reduced the effects of infection in lab mice and their fetuses. The antibodies were found to react with the envelope or "E" protein on the surface of the virus. They then generated a variety of monoclonal antibodies against this envelope protein. This allowed researchers to rapidly generate a large amount of antibodies against specific viral targets. The next set of Zika studies will be performed on primates. If the potency and extent of inhibition holds up, ZIKV-117 could be developed as the first protective antibody treatment for pregnant women at risk of Zika infection.

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Turned Earth’s Surface into Liquid
Morgan JV et al. The formation of peak rings in large impact craters. Science, November 2016.


A recent study of the massive Chicxulub crater in the Gulf of Mexico gives important insights into the formation of planets and life. The crater was formed when ...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Consultation and Sumbission - The Fountain Question: When a consultation committee makes a decision but the decision seems to contradict some of the participants’ minds and opinions, then what would be the best attitude for them to take moving forward?

Submission – to use the dictionary definition – would be fulfilling the rulings, determinations, and decisions of an individual or a council comprised of various individuals who have been endorsed by the general public and are authorized to make decisions on different matters. These can be governmental institutions like the army and the police force, or civil society organizations. However, this does not mean that submission is to the individuals who are involved with the decision-making; especially for civil initiatives, no member has such a right to claim submission to themselves.

However, if the decision handed down is about a nationwide mobilization, then these decisions are crucial for collective success. As such, they should be obeyed. Under those conditions, consultation and submission are like the different faces of the same reality.

As mentioned in the question, matters accepted by a majority of a council may not seem reasonable to everyone and may not be accepted by everyone. To be absolved of responsibility before God, those who are members of the council can articulate the differences in their reasoning, refrain from rashly saying “yes,” and make a note of their opposition to decisions made. Actually, this is the real meaning of consultation. However, if a decision has been made on the issue at hand in spite of the opposition of some, then afterwards the opposing parties should not say a word against the decision and should conform to the decision. This kind of talk is back-biting, especially if the committee is convening to serve a lofty cause. Back-biting is a violation of the rights of a group that is serving the Truth and requires the one who back-bites to as...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Nature Inspired Self Cleaning Surfaces – An Example of Lotus Leaves - Melissa McPen How small is “Nano” scale? For most of us, it is difficult to imagine such a small unit of measurement. To help you imagine how small Nano scale is, here’s a comparison: a single human hair is about 80,000-100,000 nanometers thick.
Nanotechnology is any kind of scientific application that deals with such small materials.  Nanotechnology has become a very important branch of development in the last 30-40 years. As advanced microscopes, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or atomic force microscopy (AFM), became more popular, nanometer scale visualizations become easily accessible in universities and laboratories. This has allowed laboratories to try modifications on different materials or biological samples. Nanotechnology is relevant for every branch of science; however, in this article we will talk about the application of it in materials science, which is the study and design of new materials.
Hydrophobic means water repelling, as the name implies. A super hydrophobic surface means a surface that does not hold any water. On the other hand, super hydrophilic means a surface that loves water, and therefore is completely absorbent (Figure 1).
A material that doesn’t get wet is desirable for many applications. These kinds of materials don’t hold any dirt or mud, and can be especially useful as military clothes or as water repellant glass for the front window of cars, etc. Even though today’s nanotechnology can make the surfaces of materials super hydrophobic, the materials can remain so only for a short period of time. These kinds of modifications either get torn off the surface or lose their hydrophobic properties due to friction, etc. Therefore, water repellant surfaces haven’t become commercially popular – yet.

Figure 1. The surface on the left hand side is a hydrophilic surface meaning, it is highly absorbent. The surface on the right han...]]> 2013-08-28 07:55:06 The Lace Decorating the Beyond - M. Fethullah Gulen On the slopes of emerald hills
Voices and whispers stir our happiness
Heavenly fountains cascade in all corners
At the eternal reunion gates
Every moment, each soul is wrapped in delights

Roses, daisies, dandelions, lilies, all in mesmerizing colors
Dew sparkling on violets, jasmines, and leaves,
Bleary-eyed hyacinths and tulips
Moths flying between light and colors
Appearing on every horizon is the brightest of beauties.

When my heart is filled with the best dreams,
My faith is my honest guide
My prism to see and love everything
Making me feel all the mystery
In every step of the colorful world

As the spirit coils up into the ether
Traces of meanings emerge in my imagination
Silent whispers flow into my heart
In an incomprehensible language, without letters and words
As if the gates to the heavens creak open nearby

At that point humans listen to existence
Hearing the tunes of the Infinite One in their hearts
On the prairies, valleys, and shores every spring
They look for the lost Heavens
Feelings of hope and longing are side by side

They embrace everything on their path
The grass, trees, rocks, earth, all of existence
For them, the light and darkness are the same
They welcome sickness and health with contentment
They are slaves, living like kings

2003-11-12 09:02:38
NOT EVEN WATER! Turkey’s Refugees in America - Sophia Panda Safiye is a teacher who fled Turkey a day before the July 15, 2016, attempted coup. She left to join her husband, who had already left in June and had settled in Seattle. With her eleven year-old daughter in another room, she explained with a pained, intense earnestness, “If we go back to Turkey, he will kill us. He has said, ‘I won’t even give water to the Hizmet volunteers.’ And he actually did cut the water source to some of our schools.” Safiye was referring to Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan, who had already begun to steer his country towards repressive authoritarianism even before July’s attempted coup. He had especially targeted those, like Safiye, involved in the Gülen movement, also known as “Hizmet” (Turkish for “service”). Hizmet is a civil society humanitarian organization inspired by the ideas of Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and mystical Islam, and it is committed to interfaith dialogue. It has opened thousands of cultural centers and science-focused schools in Turkey and around the globe. However, after a rift grew between Erdoǧan and Gülen in 2013, the Turkish president (then Prime Minister) pronounced, without any credible evidence, Hizmet a terrorist organization and launched a witch hunt against those even vaguely associated with the movement.

After the attempted putsch on July 15, 2016, Erdoğan’s government lost no time in blaming Hizmet, even though Gülen himself vehemently denies any involvement, declaring that those actually behind the events “committed treason against the unity of their country” and “caused hundreds of thousands of innocent people to suffer under the government’s oppressive treatment.” Immediately afterwards, Erdoǧan began to accelerate his course of harassment, detaining...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 When Our Brain Asks for Help Remembering - Geffrey Olsen The first time you rode your bicycle, the first day of the school, or the time you ran into an old friend: all these may still be fresh in your memory. Immediately recognizing the faces of your friends is only one of many amazing functions that our brain performs every day. The human brain contains billions of nerve cells (neurons) and just as many connections between the cells, which carry information amongst them. These connections allow our brain to adapt to changing external factors, such as stressors. The scientific definition of “stress” is slightly different than the one we may use to describe a difficult work assignment or a long commute in traffic.

As a phenomenon, stress is a must for humanity’s survival; however, it becomes harmful when encountered excessively. Stress is what makes you run away from a giant bear in the middle of the forest. And it is the same force that drives you to fight when cornered. This fight or flight response primarily involves the sympathetic nervous system, which initiates a chain of reactions in communications between the body and the brain. Within seconds, stress hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine) are released into the bloodstream, which in turn increase heart rate and blood pressure. This response occurs rapidly, though the hormones clear out of the system just as quickly when the threat passes.

What happens if our fight or flight response is constantly triggered? What if stress hormones become a normal part of our bodily system? For instance, you might have taken your first “F” on a calculus test; this is followed by many others later on in the semester. Or you may have wanted to start your day with a fresh cup of coffee; instead, you were stuck in traffic and were late for work, and then forgot to hand in a big report to your boss.

Imagine that these kinds of events are repeated more often than no...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 Through A Mirror Brightly - Tony Mitchell Historians and other students of history will look back at the 21st century and see that it passed through three phases.

The First Period

This first phase saw a rise in conservatism, fueled by quasi-taxpayer revolts and an increasing oligarchical minority seeking to control all aspects of government and business.

As this early period of conservatism rose, it became evident that the desire by many for smaller, more responsive government and less taxes would not be met. Evidence would later surface that the oligarchy, much in the manner of the 19th century “robber barons,” colluded to gather power and wealth for themselves while using the taxpayer’s own  dissatisfaction against them.

Governments became, in fact, larger and more military oriented, subservient to the demands of business and the oligarchy for less and less regulation. With each increment in the reduction of environmental and other regulations came a concurrent reduction in personal liberties.

Believing there was a need for more energy, restrictions against the mining of coal, the drilling for oil and natural gas, and seeking alternative ways to obtain fossil fuels were reduced and/or eliminated. The need for more and more of these fossil fuels led to more global conflicts, as countries sought to find and secure the rapidly diminishing supplies of fossil fuel. This in turn necessitated increased military, defense, and security-based spending. Wars became the norm rather than the exception, which created an age gap, as an entire generation was squandered fighting in these conflicts.

The reduction or removal of environmental-based regulations, long proclaimed by conservatives as barriers to economic growth, led to an increase in air and water pollution levels, and the destruction of natural habitats, which in turn had a devastating impact on the planet in general. The increase in ...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 AFRICAN-AMERICANS, TURKEY, AND HIZMET - Abdullah Aymaz 2007-10-03 07:05:02 Letting Beings Be - Al Freeman There is a growing awareness that the natural world cannot sustain modern civilization in its present form. Humanity must change if the whole chain of life is to continue living on Earth. A plausible solution for the persistent problems caused by modern economic, scientific, and political applications cannot be achieved merely by using better engineering or more advanced technology so long as we are bounded by the limits of our modern philosophical underpinnings. The conflict between man and nature has reached an impasse, and resolution seems impossible within the dominant paradigm; the roots of this stalemate are linked to the very assumptions of the modern worldview. A radical transformation is needed and a very important first step is to discover and reconsider the root causes of our predicament.

This article examines the philosophical underpinnings of modern humanity’s problematic relation with the bio-physical environment. These views, many critics say, suffer from anthropocentrism and dualism. After establishing these problematic viewpoints, I will turn to investigate nondualism, an alternative mode of thinking mostly promoted by religious traditions, which I believe can help us transcend the predicaments of the contemporary man-nature relationship.

Anthropocentrism and dualism
Modern humankind is anthropocentric. The centralization of humanity, accompanied by an ontological hubris, leads to the prioritization of humanity’s needs and pleasures. This justifies the transformation of the Earth into a titanic factory that supplies security and pleasure for humankind whilst destroying the biosphere.

There is another problematic aspect of anthropocentrism as it pertains to ethics in general and environmental ethics in particular. Ethical relativism seems to be the logical conclusion of human-centeredness. When an indi...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 Ghayra ( Endeavor ) - M. Fethullah Gulen Endeavor (ghayra) literally means making every effort of concern, and being alert in striving to preserve chastity, honor, and esteem. It signifies being on the alert in respect of religious prohibitions. God is limitless in His concern for the purity of His servants and is infinitely pleased with the care they show and the endeavors they make in preserving it. For this reason, He has made some things, including indecencies and evil acts in particular, unlawful. So His servants, at least, must respond to His concern by being as careful as possible not to commit such acts. This is endeavor (ghayra); in this lies a person’s honor.
In order to remind us of this point, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said: “Do you wonder at the degree of Sa‘d’s concern? I am more concerned than Sa‘d, and God is more concerned than me.” Concern requires fulfilling with great zeal whatever God likes and orders and being as determined as possible not to commit whatever He dislikes and forbids. It also requires loving from the bottom of one’s heart the Essence, Attributes and Names of the Necessarily Existent Being, and doing one’s utmost so that He may be loved also by others, and preferring relationship with one’s Lord to everything in the world and the Hereafter. In expressing these last two points in particular, the following verse of a saint is highly significant:
I wish all the people of the world love Him Whom I love,
And all that we speak about would be the Beloved.
If the endeavor required is the assumption of a determined attitude not to commit evil and therefore related to God’s absolute dislike of such acts, then this would mean that one must adopt a manner that belongs to God. He who was the voice of truth, upon him be peace and blessings, said: There is no one more concerned than God. It is because of His concern that He...]]>
2003-11-12 09:02:38
The Future of Staying Connected - Mubina Muftc The Web turned 20 in 2011 (the first web page was launched on August 6, 1991). Today, there are 644, 275,754 web pages, according to, and even that is not the most accurate number, considering the dynamics of the web. No one could have predicted back in August 1991, at the beginnings of the Web, the incredible development and crucial impact the World Wide Web would have on late 20th- and 21st-century society, economy, and culture.

However, in just 20 years, the “soul” of the Web has changed: what began as the ultimate democratic tool, the Web is increasingly turning into a “global village” and a limitless market where the consumer is the commodity.

In this essay we will examine how these changes affect our online and real lives, and whether we can glimpse at the future of staying connected.


The Web: 20 years ago and now

In a BBC documentary series, “The Virtual Revolution,” Dr. Aleks Krotoski analyzes the development of the Web and its all-encompassing impact on our lives. She speaks with the prominent and important online social strata: the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, and the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who acknowledges the discrepancy between the intended purpose of the Web and what it represents today.

At its beginnings, the Web was the epitome of democratization: its defiance against authority and tendency to uphold horizontal allegiances, and the fact that it gave voice to everyone and censored no one. Even now these characteristics are closely tied to the definition of the Web; however, we are also witnesses that these democratic hopes are being challenged by the growing influences of giant web companies, such as Google and Amazon, and some governments’ interests at controlling the content thei...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 Is It Possible to Measure Everything? - Dennis Joy Over the centuries, humankind has spent a great deal of effort on measuring almost everything we encounter in our daily lives. Even the earliest societies attempted to express mass, length, and time in terms of numbers. Although the origin of some measurements is not definitively known, the tools used to measure mass, length, and time were among the earliest ones invented.
It was very natural that people focused on these measurements, as they were critical to everyday life. One of the first known attempts to measure length was the Egyptian cubit, developed around 3000 BC, which was based on the human body, one of the best tools then available to humanity. A “cubit” was the length of an arm from the elbow to the fingertips.
Similarly, early civilizations used what they had at their disposal to measure time, which was determined based on the regular movements of the sun. People used sundials, then candle clocks, water clocks, and sandglasses to measure time. As a result of the different methods used, the lengths of generally used time periods varied greatly from place to place – just as the units used to measure mass and length varied, too.
After the world became more interconnected, people needed a universal measure that could mean the same thing from one society to the next. In order to avoid confusion, an international standard unit of measurement, called the metric system, was created by France in 1790.
Latent constructs
During the last two centuries, the focus of measurement has shifted from observable objects to latent constructs such as traits, attitudes, and abilities. Latent constructs are based on certain theories. They can neither be observed nor measured directly. We attempt to measure them through some observable indicators, which are assumed to represent the underlying construct. For instance, the measurement of unobservable personal characteristics...]]>
2017-01-06 11:20:00
A Culture of Peace - Deborah Moldow The 21st century finds humanity at a crossroads. After centuries of material progress have brought undreamed of comforts, and travel and communications opened the world to us, we have reached a perfect storm of unprecedented crises. Every one of the complex systems we have developed – in agriculture, business, finance, education, health care, governance, and more – has reached the end of its paradigm, requiring radical change. On top of that, the climate changes that are coming threaten everything our civilizations have built. The only solution to all of these challenges will be a great shift in human consciousness. The good news is that it is happening before our very eyes.

The United Nations actually has a name for the new consciousness that is emerging across the globe: a culture of peace. There are two main hallmarks of this consciousness. The first is the understanding that we are all members of one human family. All our religions teach us to follow a path of righteousness, defined by caring for one another with generosity, compassion, mercy, and love. In previous times, we have limited the expression of these virtues to those within own tribe while arming ourselves against outsiders. The key realization of the 21st century is that there is no “other.”

Our quickness to judge others according to their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or culture is fast diminishing. We no longer live in isolated pockets of people who look like us. Those who go to school together, work together, and meet as neighbors can’t help but notice our common humanity. And blood feuds, bigotries, and grudges nurtured for generations in closed societies are evaporating in the fresh air of inclusivity. This trend is helping us transcend the ideal of mere tolerance, as we move onto firmer ground of respect, caring, and appreciation.

The 20th century saw the rise of the interfaith movement, an important step in the advanc...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 Mosquitoes for Painless Cure - Kamil Ezgin Microneedles in Medical Treatment – Can Science and Technology Mimic a Mosquito Bite to Cure Diseases?

There are biological barriers that protect the human body from various kinds of detrimental and foreign substances. Although these barriers defend our body, sometimes we need medicine to help us heal faster or to prevent serious diseases. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest in the world. A significant amount of resources is devoted to finding easier, cheaper, and more effective cures for many illnesses.

The drug molecules that are supposed to be curing us also need to overcome our body’s defense mechanisms. Let’s look at some of the body’s defenses and the way drugs overcome them, before we examine an unexpected inspiration for a new method of delivering drugs.  

Our skin is the largest barrier preventing toxic substances from getting inside our bodies.  The intestinal mucosa or the blood-brain barrier is a physiological defense barrier. If a drug molecule can pass through these barriers, the next step to be overcome is the biochemical barrier, where myriad enzymes play a role. Therefore, drug molecules have to be designed with optimal physicochemical properties. These include the proper size, charge, and hydrophilicity (water solubility) to ensure their permeation across our bodies’ biological barriers.       
There are a few types of drug delivery systems. They are oral, pulmonary (via inhalation), intravenous (via injection), and transdermal. All of them have their own advantages and limitations.

For oral applications, a drug molecule needs to traverse the epithelial layer of the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, there are many factors which have to be taken into consideration for enhancing the delivery of molecules through the intestinal mucosal barrier. Many of the newer drugs on the market are composed of peptides and proteins, and they canno...]]> 2010-03-16 03:34:16 Archimedes Universe - Adeel M. Khan Staring upwards at the vast night sky, which is riddled with stars, have you ever wondered just how many stars are up there? And more fundamentally, just how many things – i.e., particles – are up there? For people curious about humanity’s place in the universe, these questions have been asked by ancient thinkers and contemporary scientists, and have even been answered, at least as much as contemporary instruments allow us to answer them.  

In a famous story about Archimedes, the ancient Greek mathematician sets out to calculate the hypothetical number of grains of sand that would fully occupy the known universe. Archimedes wished to know just how large our universe is, as well as how many particles might fill its vastness. Archimedes’ bold attempt at answering this question pioneered two important contributions: first, a numerical system to denote extremely large quantities (which led to modern-day exponents) and second, a guess at how voluminous the universe is and how many particles it might contain. The answer that Archimedes arrived at is that 1063 grains of sand would fill the known universe, which is a 1 followed by 63 zeroes.[1]

This number 1063 is as large in the physical world as it is deceptively compact in its written form. Ultimately however, Archimedes did not have the advantage of modern-day telescopes to verify his answer. Furthermore, he could not answer the natural and more scientifically-challenging follow-up question to his thought experiment: just how many particles make up this universe? In fact, the true number of particles composing the known universe is believed by modern day astronomers and astrophysicists to be over a quadrillion times the value of Archimedes’ number.

But how did scientists arrive at their number? That is, how do we count the particles in the universe? A basic version of the calculation is actually straigh...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 The Strategy Game of Our Immune System - Brian Turk The organs and systems of the human body work together in perfect harmony. If kept in optimal condition, they function for many years. Our body is the perfect environment for life, but not necessarily just for our own cells. There are thousands of different types of microorganisms living mutually with our cells. Unfortunately, not all microorganisms have good intentions. Harmful bacteria and viruses could damage our body without much effort, if it weren’t for one thing: our immune system.

Our immune system handles our body’s security. It’s equipped with the resources necessary to deal with different levels of security threats. This system walls off the body, but also has the equipment to hunt down any intruders. We can think of our immune system as a game of strategy, where defensive and offensive maneuvers are equally important. This game is not a simple, single-session one. It involves constant information gathering, weapon developing, and soldier training. In short, it involves constant change.

The body’s general defense mechanisms, called the innate immune system, can be considered the first line of defense, aimed at preventing bacteria or other pathogens (sickness-inducing factors) from entering the body in the first place. These include the skin (the walls of the castle), as well as mucus, tears, saliva, and acids (the boiling oils of the castle). Vulnerable entry points such as the respiratory system are covered with thick, sticky mucus, which traps pathogens and then disposes of them by way of sneezing or coughing. Other sensitive spots such as the eyes are constantly washed with tears. Tears are produced on top of the eye and drain into the bottom, near the nose, ensuring sterility.

The innate system also uses a mechanism called inflammation to handle pathogens that manage to breach the outer defenses. The main goal of...]]> 2015-05-04 14:40:56 “Let Us Speak with Our Hearts,” We Said - M. Fethullah Gulen There are many concealed paths connecting all of our hearts. As every individual continues on their life journey, they will experience solidarity with other groups or people at surprising times, either intentionally or unintentionally. As humans seek the ultimate truth, there are many various steps, bridges, and detours that must be navigated in order to advance and reach the ultimate goal. People of good character, and souls which are devoted to universal values, advance towards the firmament of their own specific truths without conflict. They rarely experience any obstacles on their journeys. In their world, different skin colors, different shapes and sizes, different cultures, different ideas, and different opinions are merely superficial. In the depths of their souls there is always a silent camaraderie, a balanced dynamism, a poetical motion, and these devoted souls display an enviable example of repose and tranquility. 
We have tried to achieve this vastness in our souls for years. We have always wanted to recognize and accept people – not for the ill-temperedness they display due to certain exterior reasons, but for the spiritual immensity of their inner worlds, their silent spiritedness, their energetic harmony, and their continual openness to self-reform. And it was impossible for us to think otherwise. Such acceptance is required by the superior commands of faith, a testament to its universality. Indeed, while we have always tried to embrace our own faith completely, we have also regarded other religious thoughts and philosophical ideas as a natural part of our life. We have always sought coexistence. Our slogan has always been “accept everyone for who they are, and show respect.” And we have always tried to be faithful to this principle and have never condemned or abused anyone due to differences in religion, faith, sect, or opinion.
Though we have suffered various kinds of abuse, and were subjected t...]]>
2003-11-12 09:02:38
Exhausted, But Moving Forward With Hope - The Fountain Around the world, many people feel exhausted. Americans are exhausted from their elections and revelations of troubling conspiracies. Europeans are grappling with waves of immigrants and unsettling political developments. The Middle East is wracked with war. Immigrants are weary from months and years on the road, as well as enmity and even hate crimes in their new homes. Minorities are still trying to overcome the scourge of racism. Journalists are fighting to maintain the freedom of the press, and women are battling to overcome misogyny. The West struggles for its values, the East wants to maintain its traditions. Secularists battle extremists, religionists try to overcome zealous secularists, and everyone, but especially Islam, is trying to beat back the evils of ISIS.

2016 did not offer much hope that solutions to these many problems and exhaustions are just around the corner.  On the contrary, things seemed to get worse – maybe the worst they’ve been since World War II. Many of us wondered, “When is this going to end?” As the Rev. Deborah Moldow, the World Peace Prayer Society’s Representative to the United Nations, writes in this issue, it seems like “after centuries of material progress have brought undreamed of comforts, and travel and communications opened the world to us, we have reached a perfect storm of unprecedented crises.”

So, what is the way out, if there is any? Rev. Moldow believes one solutions is what the United Nations calls the “culture of peace.” According to her, there are two main hallmarks of this consciousness. The first is the understanding that we are all members of one human family. And the second is the renewal of our sense of deep connection with nature, realizing that our future must include new ways to live in harmony with our environment. Rev. Moldow expounds on these themes in her essay “A Culture of Peace.”

On a similar...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Synthetic 3D-printed bones for reconstructive surgery - The Fountain Synthetic 3D-printed bones for reconstructive surgery

Jakus AE et al. Hyperelastic "bone": A highly versatile, growth factor-free, osteoregenerative, scalable, and surgically friendly biomaterial. Science Translational Medicine. September 2016.

Bone implantation surgery is both challenging for doctors and a painful process for patients, especially children. It usually requires either harvesting existing bone tissue from elsewhere in the body, or using metallic implants. While these approaches may work for adults, they are not a permanent solution when used for growing children. In a recent study, scientists reported a 3D printable ink that forms a synthetic bone implant and induces bone generation and growth. This biomaterial is composed of a mix of 90% hydroxyapatite, a calcium mineral found in human bone, and 10% biodegradable polymer, which is commonly used in medical applications, including sutures. The key feature of this new hyper-elastic biomaterial is its ability to create porous structures where blood vessels and other cells can infiltrate to create a scaffold. Animal studies showed that when stem cells are placed on these scaffolds, they turn into bone cells and initiate the regeneration process. Additional factors can also be easily integrated into the biomaterial, such as antibiotics to prevent post-surgery infections or growth factors to further enhance the regeneration process. The advantage of 3D printing technology will enable doctors to create personalized bone structures with custom shapes and properties for each patient.  In the near future, hospitals with biomaterial and 3D printing facilities may revolutionize the field of craniofacial and orthopedic surgery.


Gene behind “sixth sense” discovered

Chesler AT et al. The Role of PIEZO2 in Human Mechanosensation. The New England Journal of Medicine...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Service in the Face of Obstructions - The Fountain Question: People trying to serve humanity through education, dialogue, and charity are usually facing challenges, antagonism, and defamation from others in different parts of the world; how should these people respond in the face of suck attacks?


Throughout history, people dedicated to service have always faced animosity from those with hatred and envy in their hearts. There have also been many people who, to protect their own interests, attacked the innocent. Such animosity, and even violence, is, unfortunately, a fact of human history. Volunteers on the path of service should not be surprised by it. In spite of all the mistreatment and obstructions they face, these volunteers should keep on their path, moving forward with a pure conscience, ready to embrace all of humankind.

While walking on this path, they may sometimes be betrayed by those from whom they would anticipate fidelity; be deserted by their companions; or even find the most unexpected to be traitors. However, they should not be hindered by such negativities. On the contrary, they should find a new rationale for service, and develop new methods of serving humanity; they should be continually raising the bar with their service.

Flawless dependability
Some religious sources foretell about the “latter times” to be dominated by all sorts of evil. If we are living in these latter times, then they will be characterized by upheaval and turmoil on a large scale. Human virtues will – and already have – suffered. One such virtue is trustworthiness. In a period in which trust is lost and deception is considered to be a merit, humanity will need, and look for, individuals of flawless dependability. At a time when people are desperate to find companions who do not deceive or misguide, individuals striving for the good of humanity should serve as brilliant representatives of trust and dependability. ...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 You - M. Fethullah Gulen A lover who has seen You
Would not look for another.
A loyal one who has befriended You
Would not ask for another.

Once ears have heard You
They are deaf to another.
You sit upon the throne of hearts;
They do not desire another.

Your Name, sweetest on the tongue
Praised in every breath;
Once your love is tasted,
No other honey is needed

Once a soul loves You,
Has come to meet You,
And attained Your privacy,
It needs no more prosperity

The poor are rich with You.
You are the only strength of the weak.
Those praising You with zeal
Will suffer no more

...]]> 2003-11-12 09:02:38 Over-Salinization: The White Death of the Soil - Al Curtis Properly irrigating agricultural land is a delicate balance. More water does not always mean a more abundant harvest. In arid climates, supplying more water than needed causes more trouble instead of more productivity. The principles of balance and efficiency, observed at all levels of the universe, are also apparent in irrigation.

Salt is a critical compound for life. Salt that dissolves in water becomes ionized, and plays a crucial role in maintaining the ionic equilibrium of the human body. It allows the sodium-potassium pump to run. Salt is also necessary for plant and animal life, but the amount of salt must be balanced here, too. When this balance is disrupted, land exposed to excessive salt becomes barren. This is a real risk for arable land. In areas where temperatures are high and there is little precipitation, over-irrigation with the intent of boosting productivity might backfire, causing over-salinization of the land. Over-salinization happens when water travelling underground from the earth’s surface encounters a layer of soil with little permeability. As such, the water starts accumulating on this layer. If the irrigation of such land continues, the level of water accumulated underground rises.

When humidity on the surface of the land decreases due to evaporation and plants consuming water, the accumulated underground water begins travelling upwards to the surface through capillary channels in the soil. This is called “capillary movement.” During this phenomenon, salt already in the soil and in the underground water is also transferred to the upper layers of the soil. Yet, this upward movement of salt in geological structures is not a main determinant of soil salinization; what is critical is the amount of salt in the irrigation water. The rate of salt in irrigation water should not exceed 1000 ppm. Even the Euphrates River, which is considered to be high-quality irrigation water, carries...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 The Age of My Daughter, Manya; or The “Butterfly” Effect - Mariya Tytarenko The century overboard How do I think history will record the 21st century? As we always record the past: in a tangled way, and with mistakes. It will be dictated by a dictator in one country; in another, it will not be recorded at all, since the people there will not know how to write. Elsewhere, the 21st century will be recorded in the language of smiley faces. Or fakes. Or likes. Or by a hypertextual labyrinth, where the 21st century scatters over 1200 months or 36,500 days. But this would be no one’s age. No one’s history. Faceless. Indifferent. Impartial. Fixed in facts, photos, and someone’s quotations.  Fixed in a new TV commercial. In a new GPS maps. In new Wikipedia articles. In new political agreements. In new memorial anniversaries dedicated to future victims of terror. This would be a century filled with the names of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, soccer players, and YouTube stars.

So, it would be a general history and therefore would belong to no one. A century that will pass us by. As if it were a huge ocean liner that passes by a man fallen overboard. I want to see the 21st century – but not from above, or from the waves below; I want to let it pass through us. I myself will not be able to do this. But my daughter will. Thus it will be her age. The 21st will be the century of my daughter, Manya. 

The intersection My Manya was born last year. So she has already missed 15 years of the current century. Not a big deal, for literary and political centuries do not often match flawlessly with calendar ones. I hope she has the longevity genes from her father’s family and will live at least 90 years: like her great-grandmother Ivanka, who is now 91. And although Ivanka has problems with her short-term memory, she is still able to reconstruct the century through which she has lived. I watch my child sitting on her lap. Two c...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 From Finite to Infinity - Samina Farooq Think of all the things you wanted but couldn't have
All the things you could have but didn't want
The bundle of good deeds you amassed
You wished to show them off, but didn't flaunt

You lie not while joking or fighting, but when right
You didn't do good for the temporary reward
You did not submit to false associations or pride
All you sought was the pleasure of your Lord

You were a slave by choice
To a master who deserved the best
Yet He demanded nothing but your heart,
Damaged but repaired with regrets

You didn't sell your soul for a small price
You saved it until the market was high
And you sold it to the best buyer
Whose mercy welcomed you to Paradise

You were pleased with your Lord
And the faith He chose for you
You raced for His forgiveness
Sticking to hard work, submission, and what was true 

You fulfilled your obligations, and were kind, too
You couldn't give much but constantly gave your best
You were grateful to God no matter what
And you kept no grudges in your chest

You devoted your youth to the One
In solitude, you shed all your precious tears
You treated everyone with respect
And as a volunteer, looked after an orphan 

You promoted good and forbade bad
Yet you never judged anyone
You followed a path in your quest for knowledge
But your parents, you never shunned

You restrained your gaze, even locked your tongue

What falls to us is to be respectful of God’s decrees and judgments, to see the troubles and misfortunes that befall us as our just desserts, and to accept them with patience and resignation. In fact, we are supposed to view events in this way and question ourselves in the face of every trouble we experience by saying; “I wonder what kind of a fault I have that God has sent me this trouble?”  This does not signify a rebellious attitude against Divine destiny to insolently say; “I did not commit any wrongs to deserve all this!” As the former signifies viewing events as Divine warnings and straightening oneself out, the latter signifies an implicit rebellion against the decree of Divine destiny in a mood of weariness in order to escape difficulties and troubles. What really matters for a real bel...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Cafe de Mille et Une Nuit - Sermed Ogretim If you would like to understand the three facets of existence and events, and if you are curious about the condition of the human being who is a conscious witness to the continuous formation, transformation and organization of the macro and micro realms, let’s set off on an imaginary journey together.

Here we are, walking at the seaside… On one side, we are watching seagulls soar with the wind; and on the other, we are passing people fishing. We’re struck with this realization: though many people do not have the patience for a few minutes of prayer and contemplation, they can spend hours sitting still while fishing or watching a movie. As we go along, we see a person who is doing certain basic exercises and stretches. He looks concentrated, and rather abstracted from everything around him. He does not look like he needs to lose weight. We approach him to chat for a little while. “You look like you exercise regularly. It is a must for staying healthy, isn’t it?” “I try to do it as much as I can. But not just to stay healthy.”

“For what else?” “Regular exercise keeps the memory strong. Thus, it helps me memorize my prayers. Sports also make the physiological foundation of an innovative mind. To catch original ideas, to make extraordinary observations and assessments, you need sports. Exercise is also an effective medicine for habituation, which can impair a person’s thankfulness towards God and inhibit remembrance of Him. For example, one way to comprehend and feel the meanings of certain attributes of God is to try gymnastics. By trying to stand on a single foot, but always in a different position, you can experience God’s presence as being The Lord, One who perfects, One who adjusts, One who starts and maintains. By engaging in ever more challenging positions and durations, you can observe God as He grows the talent seeds that He planted in your body. Thus, you can better appreciat...]]> 2005-07-28 06:49:56