A Muslim Astronaut's Dilemma: How to Face Mecca From Space

Wired teases a bit, so that the ending is actually kind of anti-climactic, but it’s a wonderfully geeky puzzle. From ISS, orbiting 220 miles above the surface of the Earth, the qibla (an Arabic word meaning the direction a Muslim should pray toward Mecca) changes from second to second. During some parts of the space station’s orbit, the qibla can move nearly 180 degrees during the course of a single…

Med Examiner Writes of Va. Tech Tragedy

AP | Guardian The morgue scene couldn’t have been more grim: As doctors worked to retrieve evidence from 33 bodies riddled with gunshots, they were unnerved by the ringing of victims’ cell phones, signaling loved ones seeking reassurance they would never get. This haunting detail offers, after several months, a fresh perspective on the VA Tech tragedy.

Man With Rifle Is Arrested on College Campus in Queens – New York Times

NYT: a student helps a security guard tackle a student carrying a rifle: The scene at the university yesterday underlined how campus security has been rethought in this country since April, when a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech. Instead of fleeing out of classrooms and onto the street, students at St. John’s were instructed, via text message to their cellphones, to stay where they were. The messages went…

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Iran's president at Columbia University

Full transcript, the very end of which is Columbia’s Bollinger having the last word: I’m sorry that President Ahmadinejad’s schedule makes it necessary for him to leave before he’s been able to answer many of the questions that we have or even answer some of the ones that we posed to him. (Laughter, applause.) But I think we can all be pleased that his appearance here demonstrates Columbia’s deep commitment…

The New Atlantis – Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism – Christine Rosen

The New Atlantis The structure of social networking sites also encourages the bureaucratization of friendship. Each site has its own terminology, but among the words that users employ most often is “managing.” The Pew survey mentioned earlier found that “teens say social networking sites help them manage their friendships.” There is something Orwellian about the management-speak on social networking sites: “Change My Top Friends,” “View All of My Friends” and,…