The Fountain Magazine http://www.fountainmagazine.com The Fountain en (C) 2012 fountainmagazine.com Tomatoes Might Be a Key to Preventing Skin Cancer - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/tomatoes-might-be-a-key-to-preventing-skin-cancer Tomatoes Might Be a Key to Preventing Skin Cancer
Cooperstone JL et al. Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations. Scientific Reports, July 2017

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. A new study suggests that nutrient rich tomatoes may be an effective tool in the fight against skin cancer. Tomatoes are already known to be a good remedy for sunburn. Dietary carotenoids are pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color. Lycopene, the primary carotenoid in tomatoes, has been shown to be the most effective antioxidant of these pigments. In the study, the researchers fed a group of mice a daily diet made up of 10% tomato powder for 35 weeks. They then exposed these mice to ultraviolet light. In comparison to those mice not given tomato powder, the male mice given tomato powder showed a 50% decrease in skin cancer tumors. Interestingly, there was no significant reduction in tumors for the female mice. This study emphasizes once more the importance of sex when designing preventive strategies for cancer. In addition, lycopene administered from a whole tomato appears more effective in preventing redness after UV exposure than the synthesized supplement, suggesting other unknown compounds in tomatoes may also play a role. Finally, researchers underline the simple fact that foods are not drugs, but they can possibly, over a lifetime of consumption, impact the development of certain diseases.

New wearable sensor worn like a second skin
Miyamoto A et al. Inflammation-free, gas-permeable, lightweight, stretchable on-skin electronics with nanomeshes. Nature Nanotechnology, July 2017.

Wearable electronics are smart electronic devices that are designed to provide humans with digital assistance about everyday tasks. These devices are rapidly increasing, and it is estimated that within five years the...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Taqwa - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/taqwa-what-does-the-taqwa-means Question: What does taqwa mean and what needs to be done to achieve it?

Taqwa is having the due high regard for God Almighty. And those who adopt it as their life philosophy and accordingly adjust their feelings, thoughts, and deeds are called muttaqi. To live a life of sincere taqwa it is important to follow a certain discipline by avoiding extremes in all aspects of one’s life and to maintain a straight path. Putting forth some compelling criteria beyond the prescribed framework and trying to put them into practice may turn one’s life into an unbearable experience.

People should not be forced to practice what is voluntary as if it is compulsory. Instead of forcing people to do things, it is better to give good advice. In the case of a Muslim, for instance, the importance of supererogatory prayers like tahajjud should be emphasized. Muslims should be told that turning towards God, the Creator of the heavens and earth, in the darkness of the night when no one else is around may seriously help the faithful on their spiritual progress. It should be advised that we pray a great deal to the One Who showers us with His blessings – even if we do not deserve them – and enables us to accomplish more than we have the power to accomplish. Such blessings and benevolence require us expressing our gratitude verbally and in attitude. Therefore, it should be considered everyone’s essential duty to emphasize supererogatory prayer for a life of taqwa.

Before giving advice to others, it is important to practice additional prayers oneself; otherwise, your words will ring hollow. One’s own sincere practice makes a big difference, especially when it is to the point of losing one’s pleasure for anything when missing any such prayers.

One of the basics of piety that needs attention is the matter of a believer’s care with re...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Abraham - A Story of True Submission - Hakan Yesilova http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/abraham-a-story-of-true-submission At a time of tension between different religious and cultural voices, Abraham – the patriarch of monotheism – could be a uniting force.

 

Imagine a situation where you have no choice but have to sacrifice your only child – your precious, who came late in your life as a great surprise. 

Or think of yourself rejected by your father and your community because of your out-of-the-box beliefs that challenged theirs, and you have only a few who believe in you.

And just for good measure, add to these the wrath of the ruthless ruler of your land who has declared you his archenemy.

This would be more or less a very brief summary of the story of the great patriarch Abraham, peace be upon him, as told in the holy scriptures. Considered as one of the key figures in the history of monotheism, Abraham holds a very central role in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. Today, his mission is being revitalized through meetings and panels where his legacy is discussed from the perspectives of different traditions, in the hopes of creating friendships across faiths. I had the opportunity of participating in some of these events this past year and, while making new friends, I was also able to see my Abraham in the eyes of friends from other traditions. Despite some of the recent polarization, it is very hope-inspiring to see many American communities striving to consolidate bonds among different groups and treating diversity as a source of richness.

What you will be reading below is an effort to share some reflections on this great man, whose life can by no means be retold within the limited scope of an article.

 

Abraham in the Muslim neighborhood
Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic and Turkish) is a commonplace element of our cultural makeup, as many of our re...]]> 2005-07-29 01:56:49 Protecting Our Privacy – or what is left of it - Veli Keskin http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/protecting-our-privacy-or-what-is-left-of-it 2010-01-14 07:47:45 Take Up the Pen, Not the Sword - Justin Pahl http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/take-up-the-pen-not-the-sword Bradley Steffens’ fine work of historical fiction, “The Prisoner of Al-Hakim,” begins quietly, with two friends sitting in a study, talking about mathematics. One of these friends is Ibn al-Haytham, or Alhasan. History knows him as one of the greatest mathematical minds of the last fifteen hundred years, but when our novel begins, Alhasan is a lowly translator, his reputation in shambles after a failed civic project. Alhasan has no big dreams left. An introvert, he wants, simply, to study Ptolemy and the other great thinkers. He would be happy to pass his days alone in his study. 
Had Alhasan gotten his wish, that book would still have been worth reading. From the very first page Steffens brilliantly brings Alhasan’s internal character to life on the page, sketching a conflicted, fascinating portrait of a reluctant hero. It’s not easy to dramatize the acts of thinking and creating – and harder still to do so in a subtle, elegant style – yet Steffens manages the trick. Watching Alhasan’s mind work is a beautiful process, the prose moving along smoothly, like the gears of a reliable old clock. 
Fate, however, did not grant Ibn al-Haytham his quiet life – or us our quiet book. While walking home from his friend’s study, Alhasan notices a mysterious stranger stalking him through the streets of Basra. His encounter with Al-Ghazi, a brutish emissary from the Fatimid Caliphate, will upend Alhasan’s modest existence, sending him on a journey to Cairo, where Al-Hakim – the Mad Caliph – demands a dam be constructed to block the Nile. Alhasan will be the man to design it and oversee its construction.
After its intimate, scholarly beginning, “The Prisoner of Al-Hakim” feels, for much of its middle section, like the best kind of adventure novel – a road-trip book full of swashbuckling, danger, and indelible scenery. Alhasan and Al-Ghazi make a classic odd couple. One is...]]>
2011-07-04 05:32:23
Minorities Opposing Oppression: Hanukah and Jihad - Allen S. Maller http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/minorities-opposing-oppresion-hanukah-and-jihad All of us need to avoid negativity, especially at times of persecution and oppression. Everyone needs to retain their trust in God and their future.

 

In Arabic, the word Jihad is a noun meaning the activity of "striving and/or persevering.” According to Prophet Muhammad there are two types of Jihad: minor and major. The Prophet referred to this when Muslims were returning from an expedition, which for him was a minor jihad, and that now they had to go through the major jihad. When he was asked what he meant by major jihad, he said it was the spiritual jihad (Radhi, XXIII, 72; Baydawi, II, 97). In another occasion, he said the real mujahid is the one who declares jihad against his/her carnal soul (Tirmidhi, Jihad, 2).

 

Exercising self-control and using willpower and reason to overcome one’s anger and greed is described by Prophet Muhammad as “the major jihad.” The message is clear: overcoming our own feelings of hatred and anger is much more difficult than overcoming our enemies. As Ali ibn Abi Talib said, “Who is the strongest (most powerful) of people? The one who controls his own anger.”

Exactly the same wisdom was expressed by a second century Jewish sage named Ben Zoma: “Who is a hero?” he asked. “One who conquers his own negative impulses.”  

The Jewish celebration of Hanukah is an excellent example of both the minor Jihad of physical warfare and the major Jihad of spiritual self-control and perseverance. Every year in December (starting the evening of December 12th this year), Jewish people throughout the world celebrate the eight-day holiday of Hanukah. If you ask any Jew to tell you how Hanukah began, or why Jews celebrate this festival for eight days, they will relate the following story.

Once a Syrian Greek king polluted the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by erecting a ...]]> 2008-04-09 02:24:38 The Vital Tasks of Trace Elements - Noah Weaver http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-vital-tasks-of-trace-elements Most living things, including the human body, are made up of only 11 elements. We know the major elements, like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, but what about the lesser known trace elements? They, too, have vital tasks. 

Everything living and inanimate in the universe is built of atoms –  that is, the elements. The endless variety of substances in the universe consist of various compounds and mixtures, but they’re all built of only 92 natural elements. This number is much smaller if we deal with living things: only eleven elements (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, potassium and calcium) constitute about 99.9% of all living organisms.
The fact that the same element, although in different forms, has functions both in the living body and in inanimate matter is interesting. For example, an average 70 kg adult body contains 14 kg of carbon (C), which is the main component of both coal and oil. A human body, on average, contains 44 kg of oxygen (O2), the chief instigator of the respiratory system. Hydrogen (H), which is approximately 7 kg of a body, is used today as car fuel.
In a way, then, the human body is a pastiche of elements: it contains 2.1 kg of nitrogen (N2), 1 kg of calcium (Ca), 700 g of phosphorus (P), 170g of potassium (K), 140g of sulphur (S), 70g of chlorine (Cl), 70g of sodium (Na), and 30g of magnesium (Mg). More than 60 other elements are detected in the body in trace quantities, including gold, silver, and even uranium. (Trace quantities means as little as 100 mg – or, as big as four grains of rice.) These are usually ingested accidentally, often in food.
But our bodies need these trace elements. For example, a selenium (Se) deficiency may cause muscle weakness, a chrome deficiency may cause fatigue, and a lithium deficiency may lead to bipolar disorder.
The total percentage of these elements is about eight out of a thou...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 The Faithful - M. Fethullah Gulen http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-faithful-poem-118 I felt Your Infinite Mercy in my soul,
While wrapped all around
With the divine fear’s glowing coal.
As my hopes overflowed my heart
My aspirations faded with Your Majesty.

So many times
I become a Majnun at Your door
And sensed You deep in the heart.
When deceived by the mirage of truth
I lost my sanity,
Lost, away from home.

At times, I am connected to You
With all of my being
As Jacob burned with yearning for Joseph.
I wail and lament with longing,
my fervor invisibly deep.

“Love,” I say, despite the wounds in my spirit.
“Yes,” said I already,
turning to ashes with Your Love
As the memories I conversed with appeared before my eyes
My head was at Your doorstep; Your yoke around my neck.

On the darkest nights, I took refuge in Your light.
My heart was devastated, and my tongue stuttered,
But I always praised only You.
The elixir of love, I’ve found it only in You
And I woke up from the sweetest dream.

My soul weeps and aches with pure enthusiasm
I pray it is not invaded by any other than You.
Oh, that I may not experience longing in the hands of the disloyal
When there is a Faithful Beloved like You
for the forlorn ones like me.

...]]>
2003-11-12 09:02:38
Ightirab - Doubled Separation - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/Ightirab-doubled-separation Ightirab (doubled separation) is a feeling resembling that which arises from falling into error after reform, or night following day, or the darkness of distress that surrounds the heart after exhilaration. Those whom the Messenger praised in His saying, “Glad tidings to the outsiders,” have always had a dread of such a feeling.

Resembling the “separation” described in the previous issue in many ways, doubled separation may arise either from a physical condition or from one’s spiritual state, or from one’s spiritual profundity and knowledge of God. In the third case, it is felt more deeply.

Doubled separation which arises from a physical condition is homesickness, separation from one’s family, relatives, and friends. Particularly when all the means for reunion no longer remain, the spirit sinks into an unbearable feeling of separation. If such a separation is not balanced with belief in God and the Resurrection, it becomes very difficult to endure. If one bears it with belief, one will die a martyr, as stated in the Prophetic Tra­dition, “The death of one away from his home is martyrdom” [1]. If it is not accompanied by heresy and unbelief, according to “Every misfortune brings a reward,” then it is a beneficial gift from God provided it leads to God. According to some, such separation, the pain of which has been softened by belief, is such a sweet suffering that it brings as great a reward as one has the strength to bear. Even though a person may sigh and moan when faced with this pain, the human conscience welcomes it. The follow­ing couplets of a poet express this well:

Those away from home and who see me in this state,
Let them sit by my grave when the time is due.
For only those suffering separation know each other’s state;
they are keepsakes entrusted to one another....]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 One Cup of Tea, Please! - Ali M. Kahveci http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/one-cup-of-tea-please-118 Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Soon, it might be even more popular – because it just might save your life.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away – or so the old adage goes. Can the same be said about tea? A sufficient number of studies confirm that a strong inverse correlation exists between consumption of tea and risk of developing a plethora of cancers; tea is also seemingly effective against other maladies [1-4]. Clinical studies are still underway.
Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis. Nowadays, a myriad of tea options is available – green, black, and oolong. And though tea is now seemingly everywhere, its origin still remain uncertain, a remnant of ancient folklore claimed by both India and China [5].

Tracing the origins of tea
It is often believed in Chinese folklore that Emperor Shen Nong’s servants would serve him hot water. In one instance, tea leaves appeared in the pot of hot water. Presumably from a nearby tree, the leaves greatly pleased the emperor’s taste buds.
A separate story relays the experiences of Siddhartha, Buddhism’s founder, who supposedly tossed his own eyelids onto the earth, witnessing the birth of a tea bush. Though both stories may be apocryphal, Buddhists and the Chinese still value them [5].
Many centuries later, in 479, Turkish merchants began tea negotiations with China. Then, in 593, tea landed in Japan, into the welcoming arms of Buddhist monks. In 1618, green tea finally made the rounds in Europe, imported by the Dutch after their visits to Japan. And in the early part of the 20th century, Sumatra, Indonesia, and even Kenya ...]]> 2017-08-25 08:27:03 The 21st Century: The Holistic Age - Billy von Raven http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-21st-century-the-holistic-age The world is in need of a new enlightenment – a Holistic age that will save it.

 

“The whole society becomes visible to itself as an imperishable living unit. Generations of individuals pass, like anonymous cells from a living body; but the sustaining, timeless form remains.” - Joseph Campbell, ​The Hero With A Thousand Faces

If there is to be a future in which to write a history of the 21st century, a great listening must occur. There must be a re-inhabiting of the Earth where people are participants in its systems. If it happens, this century will then be known as the Holistic Age, an age in which humanity began to recognize its place as a keystone species within the ecosystem, urging responsible action, living, and thought.

This age, if it comes to pass, would be based on an interdisciplinary approach, with a balance of respect for empirical, intuitive, and indigenous knowledge, rather than an emphasis purely on empiricism. The recognition of the sacred in substance would begin to be the basis of social cohesion and practice in all areas. Objectivity, as was shown in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, would be recognized as an approximation. The greater certainty with which one aspect of a particle is known, the less certain another aspect becomes. Science would begin to put back together what it took apart, studying systems rather than parts. A shift in thinking, from objects to relationships, would take place. This reintegration would be total: cultural, spiritual, social, political, and so forth, for each would function only with the health and connection of the other.

I will propose four branches that have advanced the illusion of the split between the human, nature, mind, and heart, and the Holistic Age would begin to heal this split.

For the first time in human history, the dawn of the 21st century saw the planet’s systems ...]]> 2017-08-25 08:27:03 Sea Cucumbers and Their Extraordinary Defense Systems - Rumeysa Yazar http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/see-cucumbers-and-their-extraordinary-defense-system Sea cucumbers are soft-bodied invertebrates from the Holothuroidea class of thorns.  Although they are usually a long cylindrical structure reminiscent of worms, some of them are also spherical.  They are so-named because their shape will remind an observer of a cucumber.  Though they may look strange, they are of great importance to the marine ecosystem, as they form an important part of the base of the marine biomass.  More than 1700 species of sea cucumbers have been identified, and they are common in almost all seas around the world.  The longest of all (Synapta maculata) is three meters, while the smallest has a length of one centimeter.  However, in general they are 3–27 cm long.   
Sea cucumbers consist of three main parts: the body fluid, internal organs, and the body wall. Each part has separate, biologically important compounds.  The most important distinguishing feature of the sea cucumber is the calcareous ring surrounding the pharynx or throat.  This ring is a connection point for the muscles of oral tentacles and the endpoints of longitudinal muscles.
One characteristic that distinguishes the sea cucumber from the other echinoderms is its crown, which consists of 10-30 tentacles around the mouth.  The tentacles can be shaped like fingers, feathers, umbrellas, or shields.  These structures help to sense, touch, and hunt.  Sea cucumbers move slowly and carry plankton, mud, and other organic material, especially diatoms, which they catch in the environment.  90% of sea cucumber species have an inner skeleton of calcium carbonate platelets right under the skin.  This structure consists of reduced calcareous microscopic ossicles and connective tissue. In some species, the ossicles expand to form a flattened, plate-like structure. 
There are two important reasons why the economic value of these creatures is high. One of these is pharmacological properties, especially in America and Asia: tablets acquire...]]>
2017-08-25 08:27:02
I Am An Immigrant - Lawrence Brazier http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/i-am-an-immigrant-jul-aug-118 I really am an immigrant. I am British and I (rather favorably) married an Austrian girl and we have lived in Austria for 36 years. There has been scarcely a hint of Ausländerfeindlichkeit (hostility to foreigners) in all of those years for the simple reason, I suppose, is that I look pretty much the same as any Austrian. I do not stick out, and the color of my skin is the same as any of the local inhabitants. I thus pass, and if putting it that way seems simplistic, even brutal, I beg forgiveness. I have long been aware that I am a privileged immigrant. Whether or not the privilege is justified is open to debate.
Unfortunately, someone who looks differently than a country’s majority often conjures up ideas and notions of something alien. In other words the feeling of them and us is likely to be instantaneous.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, with “fence” being the keyword nowadays. It has, of course, been going on for around three million years. In the beginning, so to speak, humankind enjoyed a planet without borders. Well, perhaps “enjoyed” is not the right word because there was no social net to catch people having a bad day. But as the population exploded, up went the fences. In earlier, possibly nicer times, the nomadic life meant drifting from one grazing possibility to the next. It was all rather idyllic to the intellectual mind but often tricky in reality.
In our troubled times immigration is forced. It was often a matter of choice. People lived in a state of nature from the time of their first appearance. They hunted when they were hungry, slept when they were tired, and when the land was void of fruit and meat, they moved on elsewhere, giving the earth a chance to restore, recover, and renew. This moving on, however, was by no means altruistic. It was a simple search for grass that was greener, a natural urge to sur...]]>
2014-06-06 08:55:33
The Last Elements And The Building Blocks Of The Physical World - Noah Weaver http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-last-elements-and-the-building-blocks-of-the-physical-world Everyone knows the periodic table from high school, but did you know that it was recently completed? The final elements of the table have been discovered.

 

The announcement of the discovery of the last four elements of the periodic table, at the International Association of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on December 30, 2015, was met with enthusiasm all over the world. Of course, the work to find these elements started long ago. This date, however, is the date on which the studies were scientifically registered and officially accepted by the relevant committee.

The periodic table is a grouping of elements (atoms) of similar characteristics. It came about primarily as a result of the work of the Russian chemist Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev (1834-1907). The elements in the table form 18 groups (columns), side by side, and 7 periods (rows), one under the other. To use a metaphor: with this discovery, the last four owners have taken their places in the apartment building of elements, which consists of 118 flats. The new elements have a total of 114 friends, 92 of which are found in nature.

For now, the 113th element is known as (Uut), the 115th element as (Uup), the 117th element as (Uus), and the 118th element as (Uuo); names are still being sought for them. Elements can be named after the team who discovered them, a mythological idea, a mineral, a name of a place, or the name of a famous figure in science history.

Let's get to know the four new elements, which were obtained by the work of Russian, American, and Japanese scientists. These elements are produced in a laboratory, like 22 other artificial elements. They are not found in nature. Though we say they’re artificially produced, they aren’t created from scratch; they’re obtained from the reactions of other elements. In other words, the possibilities of their existence are limited by the properties given to...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 The Travelers of Light - M. Fethullah Gulen http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-travelers-of-light The travelers of light have always endeavored to surpass mere corporeality. Their attitude has always manifested in a determination to bid farewell to ordinary, human feelings. Voicing their heart and soul at all times, they hasten to enjoy the scene of the soul’s horizon. They have always marched toward the source of illuminations.
During an inauspicious period when the masses suffered concentric separations and succumbed to darkness, and when societies were stranded and stunted, their people losing hope as they were diverted from the path, these travelers of light essentially taught all exhausted travelers the qualities and conditions of being privileged as “the best of creation.” They invited the weary to self-respect, rousing the eyes and ears of those who had stopped walking on the path, and promising resurrection to lifeless hearts.
Thanks to their profound disposition and representation, over time, the abyss between the soul’s horizon and humanity became nothing more than a plain. The seemingly insurmountable peaks turned into highways. Each sea of blood and pus became a crystal clear waterfall. The travelers of light led the stricken, hopeless souls towards the horizon of light beams.
The travelers of light were created from dirt and clay, too; however, after spiritual transformations, they took wing in tandem with the creatures of light. They lent their wings to those in their environment so they could soar towards the peaks of “annihilation in God” (fana fillah) and subsistence with God (baqa billah). These are realms with no element or quality. Leaving their corporeal edifice a step behind and finding their metaphysical profundities far better, they ascended toward the realms where angels resound “May God bless you!” (barakallah). They even ventured toward the inexplicable domains far beyond the essence, where they urge, “Ride f...]]>
2003-11-12 09:02:38
Science as a product of Faith - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/science-as-a-product-of-faith In his newly released novel The Prisoner of Al-Hakim, Bradley Steffens tells the story of Alhasan Ibn Al-Haytham, one of the greatest minds in the history of science. Ibn Al-Haytham is known for his pioneering studies in optics, but Steffens appreciates him more for the profound empirical foundations he established for scientific study. Today, his name is recognized almost only among science historians, and Steffens hopes his novel gives Alhasan due credit in his historical novel, which “feels … like the best kind of adventure novel – a road-trip book full of swashbuckling, danger, and indelible scenery.” But Ibn Al-Haytham wasn’t just a scientist; his experimental science was a product of his faith, where in the West there is a schism between science and religion.

History is filled with eras we don’t want to remember. Times of war, bloodshed, violence, persecution… Things we wish would remain deep in the past.

The irony is that the worst times were arguably the times when virtue and good character were best exemplified. Prophet Abraham’s life is just such an example, peace be upon him. Accepted as a patriarch by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the story of Abraham, as told in the Holy Scriptures, could help the faithful of these three religions approach one another as cousins, if not brothers, as opposed to rivals. The faithful would be wise to study his struggle under the persecution of his society and state; his methodology of teaching; his and his family’s ordeals; his emigration; and his commitment to his cause.

In this issue, The Fountain explores what Abraham means to Muslims, Jews, and Christians. A Muslim author, two Jewish Rabbis, and a Christian Reverend reflect how Abraham’s story is understood in their own traditions, as well as how Abraham’s legacy manifests in day-to-day life, prayers, and worship. These reflections on Abraham...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Stem cells as an arthritis vaccine - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/stem-cells-as-an-arthritis-vaccine Stem cells as an arthritis vaccine

Brunger JM et al. Genome Engineering of Stem Cells for Autonomously Regulated,
Closed-Loop Delivery of Biologic Drugs. Stem Cell Reports, April 2017.

Arthritis is an ancient disease that is associated with swelling and inflammation of the joints. It often results in stiffness, pain, and restriction of movement. In most cases of arthritis, the range of necessary treatments is very limited and common pharmaceutical treatments simply relieve the symptoms. However, a new study using stem cell technology may lead to the development of an arthritis vaccine that specifically targets inflammation in joints and stops pain before it even starts. Researchers used CRISPR technology, a revolutionary gene-editing tool, to reprogram mouse stem cells to combat inflammation caused by arthritis. These newly generated stem cells are called SMART (Stem cells Modified for Autonomous Regenerative Therapy). They are designed to develop into cartilage cells that produce anti-inflammatory agents. They also end up replacing damaged cartilage, reducing chronic arthritis-related inflammation. Researchers hope to package these reprogrammed stem cells as a vaccine for arthritis, which would deliver an anti-inflammatory drug to an arthritic joint, but only when needed. Current arthritis medications are given systemically, meaning they have the potential to interfere with other parts of the body. Since SMART cells deliver the medication only to the targeted location, this will significantly reduce the systemic effects.  The question is: will they be effective? In trials, SMART cells were observed to grow into cartilage tissue and even protect against inflammation over the course of a few days in mice.  Further testing is still in its initial phase in mouse models.  These stem cells have been engineered to fight rheumatoid arthritis.

...]]>
2003-11-12 10:03:42
Love and Obedience - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/love-and-obedience Question: “Love should be learned from Satan and obedience from Adam.” What does this statement, which is originally attributed to Hallaj al-Mansur, mean?

Hallaj al-Mansur was inspired by the philosophy of Unity of Being (wahdat al-wujud), which he followed. When looking at his words we can understand love in two ways. First, love is an irrevocable desire for truth and the quest to discover it. Second, love is being preoccupied with someone, expecting favor from them, and not accepting any other rivals for their affection. Selfishness and egoism can easily be sensed in this second type of love.

As a matter of fact, Satan can be said to be superior to humankind in terms of its extensiveness in time and space – at least as far as its nature is allowed to reach. Being so blessed, one could think highly of oneself. Satan thought, “I will not prefer Adam to myself.” If we call this “love,” this is the kind of love Satan possesses.

Instead of such an impaired love, a love that expects reciprocity, we should follow a love of obedience, which takes a person to perfection. This obedience refers to doing everything for the sake of God’s good pleasure and expecting nothing in return. It means remaining remote from worldly grudges, never making one’s relation to God a matter of negotiation with God, and always behaving with submission and surrender.

Hallaj was referring to these considerations, which are by all means restricted by various boundaries, when he said, “Love should be learned from Satan and obedience from Adam.”

Love is associated with one’s weakness and neediness; as such, there are some gateways in its nature that are open to abuse. Perhaps, this was the case with Satan.

Causality
For this reason, it is very important to follow the Prophetic path in regards ...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Technology Inspired by Wheat Stems - Sam Plat http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/technology-inspired-by-wheat-stems Human beings have made significant developments in technology. Better designs are emerging by the day.  The dizzying speed of development hasn’t just brought serious technological progress, but serious competition – which has, in turn, begat even more progress. Old, inefficient models are being replaced by high efficiency, energy-saving designs.  
As part of these new developments, humans are discovering inspiration in the works of art hidden in nature.  Although Biomimetics has recently emerged as a scientific discipline, many researchers are already switching over to it.  Biomimetics is the study of the design available with all its grandeur in nature and searching for ideal solutions to human problems. These solutions are then used to develop new technologies.  Basically, it aims to make progress in technology by imitating the perfection of nature.
Many examples of what has been transferred from living things to technology, in fields as diverse as robotics, optics, new materials, vehicle technology, and so on, are now all around us.  Yet, all engineering designs face a basic challenge: “ensuring the highest endurance with the least amount of material.” Spending less on materials will reduce overall costs, in both the long and short term. Lightweight materials mean saving money on energy over the lifetime of a project.
Thankfully, as Biomimeticians have discovered, nature is designed to be efficient.
Research into wheat stems has shown that they have remarkable characteristics when it comes to strength. Most of us have seen wheat fields waving in a wind strong enough to topple trees.  Despite carrying a relatively heavy ear of grain and being supported by a delicate stem structure, the wheat is able to withstand strong winds. It rarely breaks. 
This kind of strength could be an asset in building skyscrapers. While the ratio of the height of a wheat stalk to the base diameter is 500, ...]]>
2016-10-20 08:00:00
Slender But Strong Dragonflies - Ted Keene http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/slender-but-strong-dragonflies Many scientists have been conducting studies examining the natural world for clues that will hopefully improve human flight engineering. One of the studies they launched explored the miraculous design of dragonflies. Dragonflies are insects of the Odonata order. They’re distinctive from other insects of the same order because of their multifarious eyes, amazingly designed twin pairs of strong, transparent wings, and aerodynamically elongated bodies. The dragonfly’s independently flapping wings and body enable it to make unlimited maneuvers while flying, allowing it to capture prey by appearing stationary. The dragonfly conceals its quick aerial movements by generating a visual illusion – at least, according to scientist Akiko Mizu­tani, of the Centre for Visual Science at the Australian National University, and scientist, Dr Javaan Chahl, of the Defense Science and Technology Organization (www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Feb06).

The dragonfly’s four wings allow it to deploy significant amounts of airflow through these wings, generating the lift necessary to keep itself balanced while striking its prey. This combination of airflow and the complex maneuvers the dragonfly can make have astonished researchers. A dragonfly can make complicated maneuvers even while approaching its prey at a speed of 60 km/h. It can also suspend itself in the air.
According to Akiko Mizutani’s observations, “while chasing its prey, dragonflies shadow their enemies in complex maneuvers that military fighter pilots can only dream of.”2. This statement highlights the fact that dragonflies are one of the most agile and maneuverable insects in the world. Dragonflies were, in fact, designed to be very talented predators that intelligently utilize their agility and speed. 
A dragonfly’s wings enable its speed and agility. All four wings are transparent, very strong, and flexible, and they have wingspans of up...]]> 2017-06-06 07:23:58 Praying with God-consciousness - Mary Lahaj http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/praying-with-god-consciousness At the acute-care, big city hospital where I trained as a Muslim chaplain, I was called to support a family who had been visiting their loved one, when he suddenly died. To personalize the patient, I will call him, “Mr. Griffin.”
When I entered the room, the patient’s wife and adult son were standing in a corner with a nurse, staring at the deceased, wearing grim and shocked faces. It was the oddest thing, because he died while actively getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. His wife looked at me, feeling the need to explain, and said, “He just said he had to go to the bathroom. That was all he said, and he started to get up.”  
One leg was already off the bed, not quite touching the floor. Mr. Griffin was wearing boxer shorts and a tee-shirt. He looked to be in his 50s. The whole length of his body was uncovered, revealing a tall, thin frame. He was lying on his side, on the edge of the bed, with one arm bent at the elbow, hand splayed, as if using it to push off.
Suspended in mid-air, Mr. Griffin was positioned like an action figure, basically half off the bed. I was inclined to run to catch him, before he fell. His facial expression was frozen, but not in surprise. Rather, his eyes were wide open, lips parted, and intent for his destination. But Mr. Griffin had been caught unaware in the act of dying and stopped by the instant of his death.
I asked the nurse to please place the man in a more relaxed position and cover him, while I escorted the family from the room to comfort them.
My grandfather, who lived into his nineties, would always say, “I’m not going to die one second before my time on earth is up.” As a Muslim, he was informed by the Qur’an, which states, not unlike the Bible, that every living thing has an appointed time on earth, known only to the Creator.
The image of Mr. Griffin sometimes visits me when I am praying. Usually, ...]]>
2008-05-29 07:04:47
Ibn Khaldun on Luxury and the Destruction of Civilizations - Alice Bolton http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/ibn-khaldun-on-luxury-and-the-destruction-of-civilizations “At the beginning of the empire, the tax rates were low and the revenues were high. At the end of the empire, the tax rates were high and the revenues were low.”

Former US President Ronald Reagan proudly referred to Ibn Khaldun’s above quote in an article for the International Herald Tribune in 1993 titled, “Excuse me Mr. Clinton, I must have misheard you” (February 21, 1993, p. 4). Reagan did not quote Ibn Khaldun first time in 1993. Actually he quoted him many years earlier, at the beginning of his term in the White House, as a support to his economy politics, so called Reaganomics. Although, some historians [1] saw no connection between Reaganomics and Ibn Khaldun’s theories, Reagan caught people’s attention with his reference to this notable, but mostly forgotten (at least in the West), scholar. The name was foreign to many ears, and for many Americans, it was the first time they had heard of him.

Who was Ibn Khaldun, really? Was he an economist? According to many accounts, he came up with many economic concepts 400 years before Adam Smith. Ibn Khaldun was the inspiration behind the concept popularly known as the “Laffer Curve.” Nevertheless, he was not an economist, per se.

Was he a historian? The famous historian Arnold Toynbee declared that Ibn Khaldun’s book, Muqaddimah, is the greatest book of its kind. But still others contend that he was mainly a philosopher and a political scientist.

Today, the consensus among scholars is that Ibn Khaldun was all of those things, yet today, he is primarily known for being the founder of sociology. In fact, Ibn Khaldun’s own accounts confirm this view. In his ground-breaking book, Muqaddimah, often translated as “Prolegomenon,” he declared that he had established a new science. In his own words:

            “It should be known that the discussi...]]> 2007-12-31 03:52:26 The Ethics of Human Experimentation - Dilara Guvercin http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-ethics-of-human-experimentation Taking risks is an inevitable necessity when trying to achieve a breakthrough in modern science, technology, or human understanding. A moral dilemma, however, emerges when the risks threaten human lives and well-being. One must ask: can the well-being of one human be sacrificed in order to achieve a greater potential benefit for the larger population?

Human clinical trials have occurred throughout history, particularly in the fields of medicine and psychology. When comparing different periods, it is evident that over time, society has set more rigid and condition-based standards on what type of tests can be applied on people, as well as the necessary qualifications of the testers themselves. However, the issue itself has always been controversial, and the standards are constantly changing on the basis of legal, religious, and moral arguments. It is common sense that forcing someone to partake in a clinical study against their will, performing experiments on subjects without their knowledge of it, instigating unnecessary pain and torture, or not allowing someone to withdraw from the experiment, are unacceptable and morally, legally, and religiously unjustifiable. But such easy answers make it seem that there are strict regulations that are implemented when human clinical trials are carried out, and that there is an organized system that determines such issues. The reality is, even these “common sense” ground rules can be compromised in various situations where infringing upon one or more of the rules is pivotal to the success of the experiment.

There is a blatant discrepancy between the protocol that is implemented when handling vulnerable people, such as the mentally disabled, certain prisoners, or children, and those who are actually capable of making conscious decisions for themselves. Vulnerable people can be characterized by their inability to comprehend or, in some cases have a say in, the conditions the...]]> 2017-06-06 07:20:29 Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Madelaine Landry http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place The Biblical book of Exodus tells of being a stranger in a strange land. It has universal resonance. To fully grasp the experience of terra incognita, recall a time you entered a place you’d never before gone. Think back to the inner dialogue that ensued, because it is there, at the intersection of self-awareness and self-talk, that our attitudes, beliefs, and values are formed.  Do I have what it takes to get through this? Undoubtedly, we have often asked ourselves this.

One of my most memorable experiences occurred when I returned to finish my undergrad degree in my late forties. Navigating the language and requirements of the online enrollment process left me feeling powerless, frozen with the inability to comprehend what was expected of me. Without lines to get into, there was no friendly conversation that could help me bluff my way through. By the time I figured out the process, all that remained open for my science elective was one geology lecture course. Why had it not filled up?  Was it the course? The professor? Was I about to sign up for something everyone else was smart enough to walk away from? I know nothing about rocks, nor am I at all sure I want to!  

My fingers hovered above the Enter key; my self-conversation told me I was making a huge mistake. My already shaky confidence ebbed away with every second I hesitated.  My options were limited by my lack of understanding. I felt restrained by my inadequate knowledge of the unfamiliar terrain. Reality can be a frightening destination when its streets are paved with bewilderment, delusion, and fear.

Fortunately, mine was a short-lived panic. The first day of class, I entered an auditorium with 300-plus other students. Three cups of coffee floated in me, a futile attempt to drown my insecurities. I can always leave, I told myself. You cannot be arrested for dropping a course.  ...]]> 2017-06-06 07:13:04 Ghurba (Separation) - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/ghurba-seperation Literally meaning the state of being a foreigner, homelessness, loneliness, separation, and being a stranger in one’s own land, ghurba (separation) has been defined in the language of Sufism as renouncing the world with the charms to which one feels attachment on the way to the All-True, All-Desired and Sought One, or living a life dedicated to the other world though surrounded by this world and its charms. Separation can be viewed as the states in which those who try to improve the world spiritually find themselves. Some of these states, which we can also consider as kinds of separation, are moving from one state to another, turning one’s face from the created to the Creator, and descending from the limitless, heavenly realm to that of the created to guide the created to ascend to the heavenly one.

The following words were reported to have been said by God’s most illustrious Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, the greatest hero in ascension to God and descent amongst the people in order to guide them to God after the completion of his ascension: “The most lovable to God Almighty among His servants are those who are separate.” When asked who such people were, he replied: “Those who are able to keep themselves separate from people for the sake of their religion and live a true, religious life. They will be resurrected together with Jesus, the son of Mary” (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya, Madaricu’s-Salikin, 3: 195). The idea of taking the first step toward the eternal life of the Hereafter alongside our master Jesus is a meaningful way of expressing and understanding the depth of his feeling of separation.

There are Prophetic reports that a person who dies away from home dies a martyr (Abu Ya‘la, al-Musnad, 4:269; Ibn Maja, “Jana’iz,” 61). The separation mentioned in these reports also includes: the separation of God’s saintly se...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Healing through Animals: Zootherapy - Atif Yorulmaz http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/healing-through-animals-zootherapy We have a good deal of literature on herbal medicine, which is even recognized, within a certain frame, in Western medicine. However, most people thinking of herbal medicine think of herbs – perhaps logically! But when we look at the giant pharmacy that is nature, which has been equipped with various cures for human needs, we see that not only herbs, but also animals and minerals, have a role to play. By focusing solely on herbs, we fail to appreciate the world of animals.

History is rich in examples of human health benefitting from animals – this is called zoo-therapy. Hippocrates, who lived during the 5th and 4th centuries BC, used cow’s milk, chicken eggs, mammal horns, and sea sponges for treatments. We know that about a thousand years ago, the Mayans used fly larvae to treat gangrenous wounds. In Mexico, bees, ants, chickens, and other animals have been used to treat different diseases since ancient times. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been recorded that more than 1500 types of animals were used for medical purposes.

In ancient Egypt, historical sources refer to the use of cow’s milk, honey, lizard blood, ox organs, swallow liver, and bat wings, as well as ember and musk essences, to treat ailments and diseases. Likewise, it is reported that in Mesopotamia during the Assyrian and Babylonian periods fish oil, wax and honey, mongoose blood, tortoise shell, goat skin, the dungs of sheep, dear, and birds, and animal fats were all used as medicines or balms.

In the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean regions, 99 substances of animal origin have been used as medicine, from the early Middle Ages up to the present day. In the Islamic world as well, 52 different animal-derived powders and pastes were used from the tenth century until the end of the Ottoman Empire. It is recorded that 77 of those animal-derived products continued to be used in the twentieth century as well (Lev 2006, 2:1-11).

...]]>
2017-06-06 07:04:37
Timbuktu: A Lost Center of Education and Trade - Adam Penale http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/timbuktu-a-lost-center-of-education-and-trade Located in the modern-day West African nation of Mali, the city of Timbuktu was once a bustling Islamic metropolitan center well known to traders and academics throughout Africa and the Middle East. While the city still exists as the capital of the Tombouctou region, it has fallen mightily in terms of size and fame. In this essay, we will explore the emergence and eventual decline of one of the last millennia’s most vibrant educational and economic centers. Its location and importance have been forgotten by mainstream society, as the city has been reduced to a symbol for a far-away land, as stated by Timothy A. Insoll, who said, “Timbuktu is perhaps best known as a metaphor for the most remote and far-flung corner of the globe.”  Historian Elias N. Saad wrote that Timbuktu has achieved high levels of “lore of mystery and enigma” and that its name “now often invokes the image of a remote, inaccessible place which never at all existed.” 
Of course, the city did exist – and it flourished, despite its desert climate and a cultural identity distinct from those of other African metropolises. Yushau Sodiq described Timbuktu as “one of the most radiant seats of culture and civilization in West Africa,” which has now “become a city of sand and dust.”  During its height, “West Africans perceived Timbuktu as the economic and cultural capital equal to Rome, Fez, and Mecca.” 
Located in the lower Sahara desert near the Niger River and founded in the 12th century by the nomadic Tuareg people, the site initially existed as a camp for traders before blossoming as a scholastic hub. By the 14th century it had become an Islamic center of learning, bringing students from across the region to its universities and libraries.  A century later, it would replace Djenné of Niger’s Mopti and Inner Delta region as the epicenter of scholarship in the Muslim world. One c...]]>
2017-06-06 06:48:01
The Gülen Community Who to Believe – Politicians or Actions? - Thomas Michel http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-gulen-community-who-to-believe-politicians-or-actions On July 15, 2016, while President Erdoğan was vacationing in the Mediterranean coastal town of Marmaris, Istanbul and Ankara were shaken by an attempted coup d’état carried out by certain members of the Turkish armed forces. 

About seven years before that, in May 2009, I received an award at the International Turkish Olympiad.  The festival was essentially a cultural event consisting of Turkish songs, dances, and poetry recitals performed by students from Turkish schools around the world.  It took place in a modern convention hall in Ankara with thousands of spectators in attendance.  The event was sponsored and organized by members of the Hizmet movement, a Muslim community inspired by the preaching and writings of Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen.  When I, together with a handful of other recipients, mounted the stage to accept our awards, there to shake our hands was the smiling Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.     

The incident underlines how less than a decade earlier relations between Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (known by its acronym, the AKP) and the Hizmet movement guided by Gülen’s teaching were characterized by cooperation and respect.  Foreign observers in Ankara even referred to Hizmet as “the religious wing of the AKP.”  Although inaccurate even in those days, such a characterization reflected a commonly held view among Turks and others that there was some kind of ideological link between the AKP and the followers of Gülen.

There is no doubt that the Gülen supporters had great influence in Turkey.  They ran the best high schools and college prep institutions, and students from those schools, year after year, obtained the top scores in the standardized college entrance exams.  Hizmet members published Zaman, the most widely circulated and highly regarded newspaper in Turkey, referred to by Erdoğan himself as “the guardian of democracy...]]> 2004-07-23 08:41:45 Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, and Umami - Osman Senkaya http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/sweet-sour-salty-bitter-and-umami We are taught that there are four basic tastes. But what taste best describes chicken soup, mushrooms, or pastrami? An NPR story recently explored how the line between specific tastes is actually quite blurry – and how some tastes don’t fit neatly into any of the four classic definitions:

Auguste Escoffier was not just a chef; in Paris in the late 1800s he was the chef. He had opened the most glamorous, most expensive, most revolutionary restaurant in the city. He had written a cookbook, The Guide Culinaire. And, he also created meals that tasted like no combination of salty, sour, sweet, and bitter; they tasted new. He offered a spectacular new sauce that seemed to deepen and enrich the flavor of everything it touched.

But because it was neither sweet, bitter, sour, salty nor any combination of those four, as far as scientists were concerned, it wasn't real. People may smack their lips, drool, savor, and pay enormous amounts of money to M. Escoffier, but what they tasted wasn't really there. It was all in their heads.

Meanwhile, halfway across the world, a chemist named Kikunae Ikeda was at the very same time enjoying a bowl of dashi, a classic Japanese soup made from seaweed. He too sensed that he tasted something beyond categor[ization]. And it was, thought Ikeda, simply delicious.

But what was it? Being a chemist, Ikeda could find out. He knew what he tasted was, as he wrote, "common to asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat but… not one of the four well-known tastes." Ikeda went into his lab and found the secret ingredient in 1908. He wrote in a journal for the Chemical Society of Tokyo that it was glutamic acid, but he decided to rename it. He called it umami (pronounced "oo-MA-mee"), which means "delicious" or "yummy" in Japanese. Ikeda then crystallized monosodium glutamate (MSG), the chemical ingredient responsible for umami, as a seasoning that would become popular worldwid...]]> 2011-11-03 02:37:13 Another Eclipse Is Over - M. Fethullah Gulen http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/another-eclipse-is-over Never despair, keep your willpower alive
If you can, be a source of hope for all

Our society is currently being challenged by a spiral of problems – problems of a rare kind. We are troubled by countless incitements. We are faced with depravation, contempt for values, decadence that leads to desultoriness, addiction to pomp and vanity, avarice and indulgence in pleasures, worldly ambitions and wishfullness for eternal life in this world, and – to be able to attain these ambitions – Machiavellianism that unscrupulously legitimizes all sorts of means.

While our hearts and souls are paralyzed by these devastating afflictions, there are also many other cases of baseness. They come in the form of outrageous indifference, embarrassing heedlessness, being silent like “a mute devil” in the face of sheer injustice, and closing our ears to the uproars of despots and oppressors and to the cries of innocents and victims. This level of wickedness has been rarely witnessed in history.

Notwithstanding all these concentric deviations, there have been a few dozen devotees of love who have always taken on all the risks and moved forward on their path of resurrection, even at the expense of their own lives and regardless of the bumpy road ahead. These devotees have tied their lives to the wellbeing of others and have always breathed with this lofty ideal. They say as Fuzuli said,

I can only be thankful, if the Beloved asked for my life,
What is its worth anyway, that I wouldn’t forsake it for my Beloved.

They have lived these sentiments joyfully; they rose with hope and moved with disregard for worldly ambitions. As they took refuge in the All-Patient One, they never slowed down while marching on the path of the Prophets, despite all the complicated and insecure directions, unyielding hurdles, and mercile...]]> 2003-11-12 09:02:38 The Rise and Fall of Civilizations - The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/the-rise-and-fall-of-civilizations Many past civilizations believed – and in fact many still believe – that a solar eclipse was an omen of a great event, be it for evil or good.Some believed the eclipse happened because a deity swallowed the sun. Others blamed beasts, wolves, and even frogs for the sun’s temporary vanishing. Babylonians would replace their king after an eclipse, as they thought it was bad for a ruler. In the Shakespearean drama Othello, the eponymous character expected a solar or lunar eclipse after the loss of his wife, Desdemona.

Considering the limited astronomical technology these civilizations had, it would be unfair to expect our ancestors to know that an eclipse was just the moon coming between the Earth and the sun. But for believers, regardless of time or circumstance, nothing happens without a purpose. A celestial event as big as an eclipse can, at the very least, inspire a sense of awe in all of us. We are reminded how easy it is for darkness to descend upon our lives. But we are also aware that just as the eclipse doesn’t last for long, these periods of darkness will also pass. The light will return.

This issue’s lead article uses an eclipse as a metaphor for a reason. For the author, Fethullah Gülen, a real eclipse is not a celestial event, but when we are faced with weaknesses like “contempt for values, addiction to pomp and vanity, avarice and indulgence in pleasures, worldly ambitions and wishfullness for eternal life in this world, Machiavellianism … outrageous indifference, embarrassing heedlessness, being silent like in the face of sheer injustice, and closing our ears to the uproars of despots and oppressors and to the cries of innocents and victims.” Yet Gülen believes that if there are a few souls devoted to lofty ideals, who are patient and seek the Divine good pleasure, then there is always hope; and eclipses, however long they may last, will eventually ...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Schoolgirls Kidnapped in Nigeria! - Sophia Pandya http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/schoolgirls-kidnapped-in-nigeria Introduction

On the night of January 13, 2017, eight people were kidnapped at gun point in the Ogun State of Nigeria,[1] by masked members of a group calling itself “The Delta Militants.” Those kidnapped were students and employees at a private school located near Lagos. These include three female students, aged eleven, fourteen, and fifteen years, who were seized from the girls’ dormitory. The five women included two supervisors, one headmistress, one cook, and a teacher, and all are Nigerian, except for the teacher, who is Turkish. Beaten and threatened with their lives, the victims were released relatively unscathed twelve days later, and all of the girls returned to their school within days, as did their teacher. I was able to meet all of the children and their teacher only a month after their ordeal, during a visit to their school, and over a meal at the teacher’s home.

When the girls sat shyly in front of me, two of them wearing green and pink skirts and the third dressed in grey, purple and white, I took a deep breath, shocked, and thought, “...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 Nobody Can Be Religious for Another Person - I Had to Affirm That for Myself - Ismail Tavaci http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/nobody-can-be-religious-for-another-person-i-had-to-affirm-that-for-myself The Fountain: Do you think religion and belief are still relevant in twenty-first century Western society?

Paul Weller: Certainly in terms of Europe in relation to matters of law and public policy, religion and belief are often focused on. In this context, by “belief” is meant nonreligious beliefs that are founded on ethical systems or presuppositions and are included alongside what is more traditionally understood as “religion.” So certainly, at the level of society, state, and law there is a presence and relevance of religion and belief.

In terms of the reality of religion and belief as lived, clearly in many societies the numbers of people who say that they belong to a particular religion has reduced in the Western world compared to what it was ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. But that of course doesn't always tell you about the nature of their connection to religious tradition. They may have only had a very broad cultural connection rather than one with which they were personally engaged. I think one has to understand what is meant by these terms and how they function in individual lives.

Some tend to call themselves spiritual rather than religious, or faithful in higher values but not in God. Why is religion less appealing to many people, especially the young? 2004-05-11 03:30:30 Religion and Science as One - Lawrence Brazier http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/religion-and-science-as-one “On some evenings we would attend faculty parties,” she said. “It was a heady atmosphere, as we spent time with the world’s intellectual elite. There were scientists of all stripes, mathematicians and physicists, some of them of world renowned. Well, after about fifteen minutes of general chat they all started to talk about God.”

 

“They possibly felt that there was nothing left for them to do, nowhere else to go,” I suggested.

 

“Perhaps that is true,” she said. “After all, they above all others are aware of several unanswered questions. I supposed that for an intellectual, especially a scientist, the unexplained is irresistible.”

 

Home to seven billion people, Earth is one of the smallest planets in our solar system (its circumference is around 40 thousand kilometers at the equator) and its estimated age is about 4.5 billion years. It is the only planet we know of that supports life. In fact, it has so much life, that humans don’t even know how many species of Flora and Fauna call Earth home. Although scientists have identified 2 million species, the National Foundation’s “Tree of Life” has estimated the real number to be anywhere between 5 million to 100 million. Some entomologists are saying that we have only touched the surface of understanding animal life. And yet all these species rely on energy to survive, and a majority of them depend on a circular process of energy supply that starts with plants’ capturing sunlight (photosynthesis) that turn into food and oxygen for other living organisms.

 

However, the sun is not the only way humans can retrieve energy from nature. The use of fossil fuels as an alternative source of energy has been utilized by humans since the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, the use of fossil fuels has contributed to human-made climate change, which threatens all life as we know it. There are a number of effects of climate change, such as melting glaciers, a rise in ocean temperatures, drought and famine, and more frequent extreme weather events. Climate change is one of the greatest ch...]]> Giant Storms: A Mark of Magnificence in the Heavens - Kadir Firtina http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/giant-storms-a-mark-of-magnificence-in-the-heavens When taking a quick glance at the planets in our solar system you might be surprised to discover what rages beneath seemingly calm surfaces. Just as storms happen on Earth, the other planets are also afflicted by storms – only these storms are so strong, they can make a hurricane look like a gentle rain shower. 

A tornado that is bigger than the Earth: The Great Red Spot

The storms of a gas giant like Jupiter, a planet 1300 times bigger than Earth, are very fierce. Scientists who have studied Jupiter discovered that its high rotational rate – a day is only approximately 10 hours – leads to the formation of moving gas zones and east-west air jets. The air currents in these bands wrap the planet like colorful belts and they move in opposite directions at around 600 km per hour. The collision of these horizontal cloud bands leads to giant storms.

The most famous giant storm on Jupiter is the Great Red Spot. This giant anticyclone is three times bigger than the Earth. It rotates counter-clockwise and has existed for 340 years. Since Jupiter is made only of gas, it doesn’t have a physical topography. Therefore, the storm can’t find a place to empty its energy. The winds around the Great Red Spot, which looks like a red oval eye, have a speed of 400 km per hour.

It’s still a matter of debate as to how the Great Red Spot reached such a giant size.  Scientists have argued multiple theories. One theory states that this giant storm has been fed by an internal heat energy and engulfs all the other storms it comes across.  As the hot gases that comprise Jupiter's Hizmet (service, in Turkish) is a faith-inspired social movements with schools and cultural centers around the world. Hizmet’s ideological framework is based on humanism and Islamic sources, and manifests in the form of selfless individuals dedicated to serving humanity. The group’s humanistic qualities stem from universal values such as love, respect, freedom, democracy, and human rights; its Islamic sources are based on Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen’s reinterpretation of the Qur’an and hadith (ijtihad).

Hizmet’s activities can be classified into four categories: business associations, interfaith/intercultural dialogue activities, education,[1] and relief work.[2]  Its interfaith/intercultural dialogue activities provide safe zones w...]]> Dieting While You Are Healthy - Arif Eseroglu http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/dieting-while-you-are-healthy

The first step in preventive medicine is to diet while you are healthy.  If you are already sick, the diet will prevent the sickness from getting worse; it will support the immune system and the medications. A proper diet when you are healthy will make it less likely you will get sick.

 

A proper diet differs from person to person. It’s important to design your diet according to the genetic map of your family and characteristics of your body. By “dieting” I do not mean being undernourished, but eating a healthy balance of nutrients to supply your body’s daily energy needs. Balance is important, for if a person only eats protein, fat, or carbohydrates, after a while, the body’s organs can start to deteriorate.

 

<...]]> Tooth Development: The Remarkable Timing of Events, Molecular and Cellular Interactions - Masud Mahmud Bhaila http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/tooth-development-the-remarkable-timing-of-events-molecular-and-cellular-interactions At around five weeks of development, two U-shaped areas of bands of cells form in the human embryo’s developing mouth. These primary epithelial bands form precisely in the positions of the future upper and lower jaws. Each of these bands then subdivide by proliferating and growing into the underlying tissue (called the mesenchyme). The first of these subdivisions forms the zone where the teeth will form (the dental lamina), while the second, which forms in front of the dental lamina, will form the future vestibule of the mouth (the vestibular lamina).

At this time, within these bands, plate-like structures called placodes, mark the positions of future teeth. Proliferation of cells in these areas continue to grow into the underlying mesenchymal tissue while other cells called ectomesynchymal cells begin to assemble around these swellings of cells.

This sets the stage for the development of the teeth. The process can now be divided into the bud, cap, and bell stages. These three stages only describe the shape of the developing tooth during each stage. An innumerable amount of genes and proteins are involved during each of these stages, some of which are yet to be discovered. During these stages, cells transform into other cells by interacting with each other and by various complex molecular signaling pathways.

An astonishing feature during development, not unique to tooth development, is the predetermination of the fa...]]> Dad and Luna Park - Abdulkadir Korucuk http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/dad-and-luna-park Those were the days when we barely made ends meet. When we went to Luna Park, we watched other people as they rode bumper cars and the Ferris wheel. They laughed and had fun. We would not join them. My father would insist, but we couldn’t; we knew he couldn’t afford much. We enjoyed just being there, and our inexpensive amusement made our dad so pleased that we could see on his face the relief hidden in his soul.

Whenever our father was upset, we would ask him to take us to Luna Park, and he would. We never took any of the rides; not the cars, nor the wheel we adored watching so much. But it would make dad happy again. All the troubles plaguing his mind would be gone. Perhaps he was thinking how funny we were, and as he silently chuckled to himself he was forgetting his distress. Perhaps he was being proud of our rather early display of maturity.

Whenever our father was upset, we would take him to Luna Park, not the other way around.

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