Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Enigma of the Biblical Bath and Volume Measurement during the First Temple


Biblical Bath – Judahite Storage-Jar

During the First Temple era, there was no prearranged or fixed method of liquid volume measurements prevailing in Judah. The biblical bath that had been assumed to be the basic measurement of the system had not been a measurement at all but a popular vessel, the Judahite storage-jar which was also called the lmlk jar. The other two vessels were the nebel and the kad which were used for other purpose.

The log, hin and the issaron, termed as `measurements’ were considered as part of the system of liquid volume measurements and were really vessels which were part of the official Temple cult all through the Second Temple era and were not part of the First Temple administration and economy.

The source of the presumed Judahite First Temple era liquid volume measurement system was the bath, comprising of six  or 72 log which also includes the issaron and classified as one-tenth of a bath, as a liquid volume measurement. Three foremost sources had been utilised for reconstructing this liquid volume measurement system – the biblical text, various vessels exposed during archaeological excavations and the epigraphic finds.

Biblical References Testify Fixed Measurements of Liquid Volume

Out of these three sources, the biblical text is said to be the most important for First Temple reality where several of the scholars had presumed that biblical references tends to testify fixed measurements of liquid volume. On close examination of the text it was disclosed that what the scholars had termed as measurements was in reality, vessels that were part of the official cult of the Temple most of which were utilised during the Second Temple age.

The term `log’ has been cited five times in the Bible, all of which is in the same chapter in Leviticus – 14:10, 12, 15, 21 and 24. The `log’ is not a measurement but an oil vessel which can be lifted for waving in the Temple cult or is used for pouring, Leviticus 15 is dated to the post-exilic age with no evidence of using the log within the administration or economy at the time of the First of the Second Temple age.

The word hin is mentioned in the Bible 22 times and in all cases it is linked with the Temple cult. Just like the `log’, the hin also was not a liquid volume measurement during that period but a vessel.

`Hin’ – Egyptian Loanword for Vessel for Oil/Wine

The name of the vessel, hin could be an Egyptian loanword for a vessel for oil or wine which was utilised for the purpose of the cult. Moreover, the hin does not occur in the Deutronomistic history or in epigraphic sources and hence there is no indication of its use in the administration or the economy of the First or the Second Temple periods.

In addition, there is no mention for understanding the hin as a sixth of a bath on the foundation of the references in Ezekiel mostly since one can only learn from the texts that the hin had been well-known containing vessels for the use of cult, for offering and for creating ointments.

You could also utilise a half hin, or a third hin or a quarter hin. Based on the fact that there is no confirmation of the use of the hin in the administration or economy it could be guessed that it could be a special, possibly a small and open vessel with restricted use in the cult of the Temple.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Does This Picture Show A Man's Soul Leaving His Body?


Image of Fatal Accident – Ignited Assertion of Soul Leaving Body

An image of a fatal crash site has ignited assertions that the soul of the victim can be seen leaving his body. Paramedics together with concerned onlookers were seen standing surrounding the victim after he had been involved in an accident on Tuesday in Kentucky. In this weird image something which tends to be a shadow is seen floating above the state trooper’s hat. Witness Saul Vazquez had taken a photograph from a distance, capturing a strange shadow which seemed to be floating above the body of the victim.

The unidentified man had met with an accident on the Bert T Combs Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky and had been rushed to a nearby hospital following the crash where he had been declared dead due to his injuries. Saul had posted on Facebook stating `I took this picture just few minutes ago from the cab of my truck, it was an mishap between Campton and Stanton on the service road just off the Mountain Parkway, zoom in and pay attention to the shadow just off the top of the state trooper hat. All I say is I hope everyone involved is okay’. Saul had captured the strange moment while passing the site of the accident, in his truck.

Captured a Supernatural Moment

Several had commented that it looked like the man’s soul was leaving his body, after he had posted it on Facebook. One person had mentioned that he thinks there’s a person that passed away, looking down on his own body while another commented that in moments of great hardship, there is spirit of soul and that he’s a believer.

 It is said that whenever people tend to meet up with tragedies, in their own lives or in the lives of others, they frequently tend to make sense of it all. Several are of the opinion that a Kentucky man captured a supernatural moment when he had taken a picture of a deadly motorcycle crash earlier in the week. The images seemed to portray the faint outline of a figure hovering over the accident scene and the man involved in the motorcycle crash had breathed his last at the hospital.

Grey Form Seen Rising Above the Scene

Saul had not immediately responded to CNN’s request but had informed CNN affiliate WLEX that the photo had not been altered. The photograph portrays the scene of the crash with the law administrations and paramedics around the scene of accident. Above them and in the midst of two ambulances, an indistinct grey form is seen rising above the scene.

 Television anchors have speculated that it could be a spirit ascending to the next plane or probably an angel which could have been snapped by a lucky traveller as he drove past. But this photograph does not display a spirit or an angel though what is most possible is an erratically shaped piece of dirt which could have been stuck to the lens or the camera’s internal sensor.It is said that dirt or dust on the sensor of a camera adopts a greyish and uncertain appearance in a photograph

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Josephus Problem


Josephus Problem – Theoretical Problem

The Josephus problem in computer science and mathematics is a theoretical problem associated to a definite counting-out game where people tend to be standing in a circle waiting to be executed. Josephus Flavius was the famous Jewish historian of the first century during the era of the Second Temple destruction. It is said that during the Jewish-Roman war, he together with 41 soldiers had been trapped in a cave and surrounded by the Romans.

According to legend the Jews had decided to form a circle and go around it to kill every third remaining person. The counting started at an indicated point in the circle and continued around the circle in a stated direction wherein after a certain number of people had been skipped, the next person was said to be executed.

 This process was repeated with the ones remaining in the circle beginning with the next person and going in the same direction; skipping the same number of individuals till eventually only a single person was left and was freed. In the Jewish rebellion against Rome, Josephus and his companions had been holding out against the Romans in a cave and with defeat impending, they had decided that like the rebels at Masada, they would die rather than be slaves to the Romans.

Highly Addictive Mystery

They had then planned to arrange them in a circle and one person had been designated as number one which proceeded clockwise killing every seventh person. As per the story, Josephus besides other things was an accomplished mathematician and hence he quickly figured out where he should be, in order to be the last to go.

However when the time came, he joined the Roman side instead of killing himself. The Josephus problem is said to be a highly addictive mystery if ever there seemed to be one. A comparatively well-known arithmetical riddle which tends to crop up frequently in general mathematics as well as in computer science, is part of the family of demolition problems.

The historical dimension of the story tends to pique interest and seems complex in resisting the attraction of obtaining more details on how the hero seemed to save his life during those days.

Medieval Version of Josephus Problem

This historical context enables us to scale the skill of Josephus Flavius in the situation in which he found himself holed in a cave being aware that any flaw would end up in losing his life which is barely favourable to a serene mind in need of solving a cerebral problem which had involved a circle of 41 men.

A Medieval version of the Josephus problem includes 15 Turks together with 15 Christians on board a ship caught in a storm which would sink unless half the passengers were thrown overboard. All 30 of them seemed to stand in a circle and every ninth person is said to be thrown into the sea. In another version the roles of the Turks and the Christian are switched.

In A Foundation for Computer Science, Concrete Mathematics, Graham, Knuth and Patashnik have described and studied a typical variant – Determine where the last survivor tends to stand should there be `n’ people to begin and every second person is removed.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System


The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System is said to be a system under development by the United States Navy for launching carrier-based aircraft from aircraft catapult utilising a linear motor drive rather than the conventional steam piston drive.

It utilises computer controlled, solid-state electrics in propelling an armature down a track. The main benefit of the system is that it enables a more graded acceleration encouraging reduced stress on the airframe of the aircraft. Other benefits comprise of lower system weight together with a probable lower cost as well as reduced maintenance needs. Owing to its flexible architecture, the electromagnetic aircraft launch system has the ability to launch a wide variety of aircraft weights and can also be utilised in various platforms with contradictory project structures.

The design is said to include the capability of launching aircraft which tend to be heavier or lighter than the conservative system could accommodate. Besides this, the system needs much less of fresh water thus reducing the requirements of energy-intensive desalination. The age of steam seems to have ended; at least as far as US aircraft carriers are concerned since at Newport News Virginia, the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) had successfully test fired a revolutionary Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System – EMALS.

Higher Launch Energy/More Reliable/Mechanically Modest

This tends to replace the steam catapults since the 1950s, which had been the standard carrier equipment. The test has made a precise splash since it involved an unmanned dead-weight sledge instead of an aircraft that landed around a hundred yards off the bow of the yet under construction vessel. The so called Ford, the first of her class will be the first US navy ship, carrying the electromagnetic launchers and though it would be utilised on all upcoming carriers it would not be retrofitted to existing vessels.

Being under development for more than 25 years and manufactured by General Atomics, EMALS is said to be the first new carrier project technology in 60 years indevelopmentof real-world application.The EMALS has been designed to substitute the steam-powered launch system which had been the standard on strike carrier for a long period.

As per the Navy, EMALS is said to have the potentials of being utilised by a wide selection of aircraft, is near-silent as well as enjoys smoother acceleration together with a much more consistent launch speed. Moreover it also tends to have higher launch energy, seems to be more reliable, mechanically modest and is easy with regards to maintenance.

Substantial Advantages over Present Launch Systems

EMALS has been tested in the first phase of ACT testing which had ended in 2011 and had included 134 operated launches of aircraft, comprising of the F/A-18E Super Hornet, T-45C Goshawk, C-2A Greyhound, and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye together with the F-35C Lightning II. The second phase had seen the launches of the EA-18G Growler and F/A-18C Hornet. Overall 452 operated launches had been piloted.The substantial advantages over present launch systems provided by EMALS comprise of:

  • Reduced operating and life-cycle cost 
  • Reduced thermal signature 
  • Increased launch working capability for operated, un-operated aircraft 
  • Reduced topside weight 
  • Reduced installed volume

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rediscovering Arabic Science

Arabic Science

Saudi Aramco World Magazine – Fascinating Folder on Arabic Islamic Science

The Saudi Aramco World magazine had published in May-June 2007 a fascinating folder on Arabic Islamic science. The folder comprising of 20 pages has many articles exemplified with rich iconography together with informative explanatory captions. From this all-inclusive coverage a long article on Rediscovering Arabic Science has been republished by Richard Covington, a journalist based in Paris who had collaborated with many newspapers and Medias. He had gone through specialized literature making interviews with historians of Islamic science for the purpose of gaining knowledge on the topic.

His production became quite comprehensive covering all the main phases of the scientific as well as the technological tradition of Islam. Readers will get to enjoy the republishing of this piece of scholarship with evidence in an easy readable style regarding one of the most wonderful pages of the civilization of Islam as well as the richest episodes of the history of science.

On probing a case of rare manuscripts, the dapper Lille University professor launched a mini lecture with the rapt group. Nasir al-Din al-Tulsi, the 13th century Persian astronomer and the author of one of the yellowing Arabic language texts, overturned the geocentric Greek view of the universe.
Arabic Science_4

Medieval Arabs/Muslim Scientists – Ahead of Europe

For most of the westerners, and for several Arabs, the remarkable successes of Arabic language science right from the 8th through the 16th centuries seemed as a surprising detection as though unknown continent had abruptly appeared on the scene. The medieval Arabs as well as Muslim scientists, doctors, scholars and mapmakers were way ahead of Europe in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, optics, cartography, evolutionary theory, physics and chemistry.

Centres for scientific research as well as experimentation occurred across Muslim domains namely in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shiraz, Isfahan, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada and Istanbul. Generations of science historians had once prohibited Islamic accomplishment and one critic, Pierre Duhem; the French physicist had even accused Muslims of attempting to destroy classical science in his 1914-1916 historic analysis – Le Systeme du Monde (The System of the World). Others had declared that the language of the Arab was not suitable for science, opposes Roshdi Rashed, the dean of the Islamic science in France.
Arabic Science_2

Ancient Science Come Back to Europe Through Arabic Translation

Rashed, a former fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, professor emeritus at the University of Paris and editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, commented that `otherwise well-respected scholars like Ernest Renan and Paul Tannery excluded even the possibility of an Arabic contribution to science’.

Arabic Science_1
Most of the ancient science seems to come back to Europe through Arabic translation that was later translated into Latin and other languages. Some important texts such as Ptolemy’s Planisphere, commentary of Galen on Hippocrates’ treatise Airs, Waters, Places and the concluding chapters of the third-century BC mathematician Apollonius’ book on conic sections prevail due to the Arabic translation, since the original Greek manuscripts had all been missing.

However as per astrophysicist Jean Audouze, director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, it is said that the Arabs were not just transmitters of Greek concepts, but were the creators in their own individual right.