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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Symmetricom Announces First IEEE 1588 Network Grandmaster Clock

Symmetricom has announced its XLi IEEE 1588 Grandmaster Clock with GPS (Global Positioning System) reference. IEEE 1588 is a new protocol that enables very accurate synchronization over Ethernet LANs and for the first time, offers users the ability to synchronize clocks within better than one hundred nanoseconds accuracy, with only a network connection.

Symmetricom's first deployment of the IEEE 1588 protocol is in its versatile XLi GPS Time and Frequency System.

"Symmetricom is the first to offer an IEEE 1588 based solution for time and frequency synchronization applications, and in doing so, will provide customer guidance in 1588 acceptance and verification testing, adoption and deployments during the infancy of this technology," commented Paul Skoog, product marketing manager at Symmetricom.

"The coupling of the IEEE 1588 protocol with hardware time stamping is a breakthrough technology that will reshape synchronization applications going forward, and is the next-generation protocol in time transfer and synchronization."

IEEE 1588 enables sub-microsecond time-of-day synchronization between clocks over standard Ethernet LAN infrastructure. Previously 1 to 10 microsecond time of day synchronization was the de facto standard using IRIG-B with dedicated coaxial cabling and 1 to 10 milliseconds was the typical synchronization accuracy using Ethernet and the Network Time Protocol (NTP).

High accuracy time distributed over standard Ethernet LAN infrastructure offers compelling benefits in the areas of cable infrastructure costs savings

(i. e. no parallel timing and data networks); improved accuracy for distributed measurements and processes; improved control system techniques; and leveraging the innovation/investment wave of network centric technology and solutions.

As an increasing number of applications integrate Ethernet and the benefits of speed, flexibility and connectivity are exploited, IEEE 1588 is expected to be adopted as an enabling technology across numerous applications because it will change the way problems are solved.

The standard is already being deployed in applications in industrial automation, turbine control systems and submarine sonar systems. As this trend continues and performance requirements become more stringent, demand for more precise timing and synchronization via Ethernet is also expected to increase.

The Boeing Company is the first customer to deploy the XLi IEEE 1588 Grandmaster clock. It will be implemented in the new 787 network based flight test data system. Boeing chose the XLi due to its modularity and Symmetricom's commitment to Boeing to deliver IEEE 1588 functionality.

"The XLi IEEE 1588 Grandmaster Clock from Symmetricom, with its ultra-precise time and frequency synchronization capabilities over local area networks (LANs), is a welcome addition to data acquisition networks," stated Sunderraju Ramachandran, program manager at Frost and Sullivan, a leading market research company. "With an initial introduction to the IEEE 1588 technology community, it should be well received by the test & measurement, military, aerospace, industrial automation and networked sensor markets."

Symmetricom's new XLi IEEE 1588 Grandmaster clock was displayed at the 2005 IEEE 1588 Conference sponsored by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Instrumentation and Measurement Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on October 10-12, 2005 in Winterthur, Switzerland.

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NASA With Microsoft for Space Shuttle in 3-D

NASA and Microsoft have joined forces to give computer users a three-dimensional look of the space shuttle Endeavour as it is primed for a planned Wednesday launch.

Interactive views of Endeavour, its Pad 39A launch site in Florida and of the orbiter as it was assembled for its planned Aug. 8 launch were stitched together from hundreds of NASA photographs using Photosynth, a new imaging software created by Microsoft Live Labs.

"This collaboration with Microsoft gives the public a new way to explore and participate in America's space program," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations, in a statement. "We are looking into ways of using this new technology to support future missions."

Created by the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and the University of Washington, the Photosynth software is designed to assemble between hundreds and thousands of digital images into a three-dimensional (3-D) scene of a subject. NASA's Photosynth image collections were created under a collaborative effort between the agency's Kennedy Space Center spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and Microsoft's Live Labs.

"With Photosynth, we take pictures of an environment and knit them together into an experience that people can move through like a 3-D video game," Microsoft Live Labs architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas. "NASA provided us with some outstanding images and the result is an experience that will wow anyone wanting to get a closer look at the Endeavour and its travels."

In addition to views of Endeavour, NASA's Photosynth collection includes views of the Atlantis orbiter after its jumbo jet piggyback ride back to KSC following its June 22 landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, the space agency said.

"We see potential to use Photosynth for a variety of future mission activities, from inspecting the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope to viewing landing sites on the moon and Mars," said Chris Kemp, director of Strategic Business Development at Ames.

NASA's space shuttle Endeavour is poised to launch towards the International Space Station at 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT) on Aug. 8 to haul cargo, spare parts and a new piece of starboard-side truss to the orbital laboratory.

Veteran shuttle flyer Scott Kelly is commanding Endeavour's seven-astronaut STS-118 crew. The mission also marks the first flight of educator-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan. The former McCall, Idaho schoolteacher was originally selected in 1985 to serve as NASA's backup Teacher in Space to New Hampshire high school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who died aboard the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986.

Endeavour's up-to-14-day mission will mark NASA's second of up to four planned shuttle flights dedicated to space station construction this year.

More News on Photosynth
Photosynth uses hundreds of standard digital camera images to construct a three-dimensional view of an environment or "synth". These synths can be explored much like a video game, allowing you to explore, zoom into tiny details, and see where the photographer was standing (or flying) when they took the pictures.

Current collections include:

The interior and surrounding area of the Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest one-story building in the world, used for housing external fuel tanks and flight hardware, and the location of the Orbiter stacking with the solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank to prepare for the space shuttle launch.
Endeavour on the launch pad including amazing detail shots taken from a helicopter
The previous flight STS-117 Shuttle Atlantis returning from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility.

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A small sheet of paper could pave the way for a new generation of environmentally friendly energy sources.

A battery that resembles a small sheet of paper could pave the way for a new generation of extremely flexible, cheap, and environmentally friendly energy sources.
A traditional battery has three key elements: an electrolyte solution made up of positive and negative ions, two electrodes made of different materials between which the ions flow, and a separator membrane through which positive and negative ions pass in opposite directions. Attempts to make batteries less bulky and more flexible have met with limited success, largely because of the challenges of combining these elements into thinner materials. A team of scientists headed by chemist Robert Linhardt, materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, and engineer Omkaram Nalamasu of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, wondered whether paper might be the answer.

To make the new battery, the researchers dissolved cellulose, a plant material used to make paper, in a liquid salt solution. They then added microscopic carbon nanotubes and let the mixture dry. Those steps yielded a thin film that resembled a piece of paper, which was white on one side and black with nanotubes on the other. To complete the battery, the team soaked the cellulose with a lithium hexafluorophosphate solution and covered the white side of the film with lithium metal. The carbon nanotubes served as one electrode and the lithium metal the other. The solution provided the electrolyte, and the cellulose worked as the spacer.

Each gram of paper produces about 10 milliamps of current at 2 volts, and the researchers were able to use the batteries to power a fan and LED light. Stacking multiple sheets increases the power, the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Unlike other flexible batteries, the paper battery is completely integrated, says Linhardt.

The battery has other advantages. It works in temperatures as high as 150°C and as low as -70°C, it retains the flexibility of paper, and, because it's made from 90% cellulose, it's cheap to manufacture. Its low toxicity also makes it an attractive power source for medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, Linhardt says.

The initial results are "very encouraging," says electrical engineer Sandipan Pramanik of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. In addition to medical applications, he thinks the technology will provide a better way to charge cell phones and laptops. Before that happens, however, Pramanik says engineers will have to find a way to manufacture the paper batteries on a large scale.

How batteries work

How a Battery Works

A battery stores electricity for future use. It develops voltage from the chemical reaction produced when two unlike materials, such as the positive and negative plates, are immersed in the electrolyte, a solution of sulfuric acid and water. In a typical lead-acid battery, the voltage is approximately 2 volts per cell, for a total of 12 volts. Electricity flows from the battery as soon as there is a circuit between the positive and negative terminals. This happens when any load that needs electricity, such as the radio, is connected to the battery.

learn how a battery works from BCI

Most people don't realize that a lead-acid battery operates in a constant process of charge and discharge. When a battery is connected to a load that needs electricity, such as the starter in your car, current flows from the battery. The battery begins to be discharged.

In the reverse process, a battery becomes charged when current flows back into it, restoring the chemical difference between the plates. This happens when you're driving without any accessories and the alternator puts current back into the battery.

As a battery discharges, the lead plates become more chemically alike, the acid becomes weaker, and the voltage drops. Eventually the battery is so discharged that it can no longer deliver electricity at a useful voltage.

You can recharge a discharged battery by feeding electrical current back into it. A full charge restores the chemical difference between the plates and leaves the battery ready to deliver its full power.

This unique process of discharge and charge in the lead-acid battery means that energy can be discharged and restored over and over again. This is what's known as the cycling ability in a battery.

If the battery won't start your car, you usually refer to it as "dead," even though that's not technically correct. A battery that's merely discharged - from leaving your headlights on or from a damaged alternator -- can be recharged to its full capacity. But a battery that's at the end of its service life can't be recharged enough to restore it to a useful power level. Then it truly is dead, and must be replaced.

If the battery is discharged and not dead, you can jump-start it from another fully charged battery. About 30 minutes of driving should allow the alternator to fully charge the battery. But if the alternator or another part of the electrical system in your car is damaged, the battery will not recharge and a mechanic or service station also will not be able to recharge it. So if your battery keeps discharging, have your electrical system checked before you replace it. What looks like a bad battery could be an electrical system problem. If you have a bad component in the electrical system, it will keep draining a new battery, and you'll be stranded again and again

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Microsoft(hotmail) is on the way of google and yahoo

Microsoft is increasing the storage limit for its Web-based e-mail service, surpassing competitor Google's limit but far short of Yahoo's unlimited storage.

The limit for a free Windows Live Hotmail account will increase from 2GB to 5GB. The change will be rolled out to users over the next few weeks along with a series of other upgrades, wrote Ellie Powers-Boyle, a Microsoft program manager, on a company blog.

Google offers around 2.8GB of storage space for a free account. Last week, Google began selling storage space that can be used for either its Gmail or Picasa photo sharing services for $20 a year for another 6GB as well as more expensive plans.

Under the new changes, Microsoft will let users store 10GB of e-mail data for a $14.99 annual subscription. Those subscribers will also get a new feature: the ability to forward e-mail from their Hotmail account to a Gmail or other e-mail account.

Unfortunately, users of the free service will only be able to forward e-mail from one Hotmail account to another Hotmail account, essentially blocking them from a quick migration to another free e-mail service.

Another new Hotmail option is the ability to shut off the "Today" feature, which shows top news and features stories on Microsoft's MSN portal. It appears after a user logs into their Hotmail account.

Microsoft is also changing some of Hotmail's security features. One new feature is a link, "Report phishing," that alerts Microsoft to a possible scam Web site linked to an e-mail.

Powers-Boyle also wrote that Microsoft is trying to make Hotmail run faster. The company will also increase the amount of time that messages are stored in the junk and deleted items folders before being automatically flushed, although no specific time period was given.

Other improvements include: Better performance for Hebrew and Arabic writers, a feature that stops the duplication of contact information, and the ability to set an automated response.

Inside News

Hotmail increases storage space
Hotmail is boosting the amount of storage space for users of both its free and paid e-mail service. From July the basic Hotmail allowance will be boosted to 250MB and paying customers will get two gigabytes.
The move is widely seen as a response to Google's GMail service which gives all users a gigabyte of storage to keep all their messages.

With the announcement, Hotmail becomes one of a growing pool of e-mail firms offering users huge amounts of storage.

Currently, paying customers of Microsoft's Hotmail get at least 10MB of storage space and those who use it for free have 2MB for their old messages.

Boosting storage limits means Hotmail must revamp its charging system which is based around a "pay more to store more" system.

The new service with the boosted storage will be called Hotmail Plus and will cost $19.95 per year. Users who currently pay more for storage will be moved across to this service.

Users of Hotmail Plus will also be able to send messages with attachments up to 20MB in size.

In a related announcement Microsoft said that it will also start using anti-virus software to spot infected e-mails sent to or from its web-based mail service.

Microsoft's announcement is only the latest response to Google's creation of its GMail service that gives all users a gigabyte of storage and encourages people to keep, rather than delete, old e-mail messages.

Soon after Google's announcement in April Yahoo said it would start offering 100MB to non-paying users and two gigabytes to paying customers. It too changed its charging system and rolled many add-on services into a single subscription package.

Mac users are not losing out either. Spymac is offering users of its Wheel service 1GB of storage space for $39 per year.

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YouTube wants to question comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert , which is considering as part of its defense

YouTube wants to question comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert , which is considering as part of its defense against claims that it illegally airs Internet snippets of sports and entertainment videos.

The request, which surfaced Tuesday in court documents, was made last week to the judge presiding over lawsuits brought against YouTube by Viacom International Inc., England's top soccer league The Football Association Premier League Ltd. and indie music publisher Bourne Co
The lawsuits claim, in essence, that YouTube profits from massive copyright infringement of television programs and feature films. The documents seeking the depositions pertained only to the Viacom lawsuit.

YouTube says it needs depositions from more than 30 people to fight legal challenges that "threaten to silence communications by hundreds of millions of people across the globe who exchange information, news and entertainment" through its Internet product.

YouTube, owned by Google Inc., said it plans to show that it respects the importance of intellectual property rights by proving it goes well beyond what is required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law gives Web hosts protection from copyright lawsuits so long as they comply with requests to remove unauthorized material.

YouTube has said it cooperates with holders of copyrights and immediately complies with requests to have unauthorized material removed from the site.

The company said it also intends to show that the plaintiffs themselves had put their own works on YouTube or permitted others to do the same.

The company did not say exactly what it intended to gain from questioning Stewart and Colbert.

Colbert hosts "The Colbert Report," a spin-off of "The Daily Show," which is hosted by Stewart.

Viacom spokesman Jeremy Zweig said the company had no comment on the court document.

YouTube began two years ago, when one of its two California founders sought a way to send videos of his children to relatives on the East Coast.

Viacom sought $1 billion in damages for what it said was unauthorized viewing of programs from MTV, Comedy Central and other networks, such as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
In their lawsuit, the soccer league and indie music publisher sought unspecified damages and any profits YouTube made as a result of the sharing of copyrighted videos. The lawsuits were combined before a single judge for trial purposes.

Inside News

On March 13, 2007, Viacom sued YouTube and its owner, Google, for damages in excess of $1 billion for alleged infringement of Viacom's copyrights. Viacom is the media giant that owns television programming networks and shows, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and child favorite SpongeBob SquarePants, along with movie studios including DreamWorks and Paramount.

Viacom claims that YouTube has actively infringed Viacom's copyrighted works by publicly performing more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of copyrighted programming owned by Viacom, which have been viewed 1.5 billion times. Viacom claims that this is only a small percentage of the infringing material on YouTube's site because YouTube's tagging system does not permit an easy search for copyrighted material. Viacom also claims that YouTube directly infringes on copyright by facilitating copies of copyrighted material that will be embedded in Web sites across the Net. Although YouTube reported that it has the technology to filter copyright-infringing material, Viacom claims that it has done nothing to prevent or curtail this massive infringement.

Content providers once wondered whether it was worth suing a startup such as YouTube. Since Google's $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in October 2006, the answer to that question was easy with a defendant with such deep pockets.

The resolution of this issue is not just relevant for the large content-hosting sites such as YouTube, but the outcome could rewrite the rules and be relevant for virtually every company subscribing to Information Today, since virtually all of these companies are creating content, hosting others' content, or doing both.

What makes this case so interesting is the timing: when increasing pressure and sentiment appear to favor protecting content owners whose content is posted on the sites of others, without giving the content owners any cut in revenues. So, in early March, the in-house attorney at Microsoft who oversees copyright law attacked Google, claiming that "companies [such as Google] that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people's content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue and IPOs." The question also remains whether the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the main law protecting YouTube, has been distorted by being overly protective of hosting sites. The original intent was to protect sites that hosted content and acted in an "automatic" and "passive" nature. But is that really what YouTube is doing?

On the other hand, the precedents under the DMCA to date have been generally quite protective of service providers such as YouTube. And the legitimate question here is whether it is fair and appropriate to require site owners to filter and actively monitor their sites-to determine which content is infringing, and, sometimes more importantly, even if the content is infringing, whether the content should be taken down. Monitored sites might even perversely lose their safe harbors under the DMCA because they will be seen as no longer dealing in content of others but having determined themselves what can be posted.

Legislative Background

Central to Viacom's claim is how the court will interpret provisions of the DMCA, a 1998 statute that balances the needs of content owners, such as Viacom, with those of Internet service providers, including sites such as YouTube, which host content uploaded by users. The DMCA is supposed to provide immunity from claims of monetary damages to service providers who engage in "passive," "automatic" actions initiated by users. The DMCA ensures that Internet service providers do not need to monitor their sites for infringing material. Rather, it established a notice-and-takedown procedure: If a copyright owner complains about an alleged infringement, the site enjoys a "safe harbor" from monetary damages if it takes down the infringing material and complies with the other requirements of the statute, as described below.

Sailing into the Safe Harbor

To benefit from the safe harbor, a site must do the following:

• Adopt a copyright policy requiring termination of repeat copyright infringers in appropriate circumstances
• Implement that policy in a reasonable manner
• Inform its subscribers of that policy

These matters are the type our firm regularly advises clients on, particularly the questions as to how to implement such a policy legally. From YouTube's Web site Terms of Use, its filing with the U.S. Copyright Office, and its stated implementation, YouTube seems to meet the necessary preconditions to be eligible for the safe harbor.

Sites such as YouTube are not entitled to the safe harbor, however, if they are "aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent" or if they "receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity."

How to Lose DMCA Safe Harbor Protection

There are several ways to lose safe harbor protection. Here are some of the key points:

Awareness of Infringing Activity. Viacom raises the question of whether YouTube was aware of such widespread infringement so it is no longer able to benefit from the safe harbor.

Actual Knowledge. The threshold question is whether YouTube had "actual knowledge" of infringements. Since sites are not required to monitor their own sites for infringements, and a simple "general awareness" that there is infringing material on a site is not sufficient to constitute "actual knowledge," it appears that YouTube would not be deemed to have "actual knowledge" of infringements.

Apparent Knowledge. Cases interpreting the DMCA have been very protective of Web sites. For example, in the case of Hendrickson v. eBay, Inc., 165 F. Supp. 2d 1082 (C.D. Cal. 2001), the owner of the film documentary Manson sued eBay for offering to sell copies of his movie. The court held that eBay was entitled to the safe harbor protection.

Similarly, in CoStar Group v. LoopNet, a 4th Circuit case from 2004, the court held that a Web site was not liable for infringing photos of real estate posted to its site from users. In Corbis v. Amazon, where a zShop had posted infringing photos, the court said that to demonstrate "apparent knowledge," the copyright holder had to show that the Web site was "clearly a pirate site." A site would meet this definition if the URL and header information used terms that show that the purpose is clearly illegal. In YouTube's case, it entered into licensing agreements with many significant owners of content, such as CBS, NBC, the BBC, and Universal Music Group. Accordingly, as the percentage of its infringing content goes down, its argument improves that it is not "clearly a pirate site."

The DMCA's legislative history says that a site will not benefit from the safe harbor if it turns a "blind eye to red flags" that infringing activity is taking place. Because of the mass of infringing videos on YouTube's site, here's the question: Should YouTube have seen the red flag? The legislative history does not indicate how big or red that flag must be, and no case has addressed this issue. This may be the first to do so.

Financial Benefit. The DMCA also provides that YouTube will not benefit from the safe harbor if it "receives a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity." The legislative history would seem to provide arguments for both sides. YouTube's position is strengthened since the Senate Report on the DMCA states that no direct financial benefit exists in the case where "the infringer makes the same kind of payment as non-infringing users of the provider's service." Nevertheless, Viacom could argue from the legislative history that courts are supposed to apply a "common-sense, fact-based approach and not a formalistic one." In that case, Viacom could argue that the value of the YouTube service lies in providing access to infringing material, so it does receive a direct financial benefit from the infringement.

In practice, some courts may be influenced by the amount of infringing activity on a site. In the 2001 case of Adobe Systems v. Canus Productions, for example, the court held that the operator of a computer fair was not liable to Adobe because only about 100 copies of the infringing software were being sold and that this was not a major attraction for the 15,000 people who attended.

Similarly, in the CoStar v. LoopNet case, the court held that the direct financial benefit test was not met. In that case, a plaintiff claimed that 300 of the 33,000 photographs of commercial real estate infringed its copyrights. That case also said importantly that there was no direct financial benefit because the site did not charge to upload infringing material. However, in the 2001 Circuit Court decision in A&M Records v. Napster, the amount of infringing music on the site was a major factor holding the site liable for vicarious copyright infringement. Accordingly, an important question will be whether the court addresses the relevance of a significant amount of infringing material on the YouTube site.

Perhaps the most important case is the one now on appeal. In Perfect 10 v. Google, plaintiff Perfect 10 sued Google over thumbnail images of its photos of nude women that were viewable by an image search. Although the court held that Google was not vicariously liable for copyright infringement, it held that Google directly financially benefited from infringing photos because Google's ad revenue increased every time the images were viewed. The court did not require the plaintiff to prove that the images were a significant "draw" to attract people to the image search site. This is different from the cases above (CoStar v. LoopNet and Adobe v. Canus), where the court assessed the importance and quantity of the infringing material.

So a key legal question will be this: Will the court import the Perfect 10 v. Google vicarious infringement test of
"direct financial benefit" to the DMCA? This is a test that would be easy for Viacom to meet and would strip away YouTube's DMCA safe harbor. My own view is that the Perfect 10 v. Google test would make too many sites liable under the DMCA and is too low a threshold to eliminate the safe harbor. I believe that it is not the correct approach to meet the legislative goals of the DMCA, which permit sites to host content posted by third parties.

This case may also address two other critical questions under the DMCA:

Requirement to Monitor? Is YouTube required to monitor its site for copyright infringing material if it has the technology to do so? This would upend the basic assumption of the DMCA that site owners are not required to censor, filter, or preview material. It would be surprising if the court required active monitoring. YouTube reported that it would only use copyright-protection measures for parties that entered into a licensing arrangement with it. Although courts, such as in the Grokster case, have been reluctant to require companies to design their products to minimize infringement, the question is whether YouTube, which has this technology and knows of infringing activity on its site, is required to apply this technology. This could have an impact on whether sites must actively monitor their activity. It would be surprising if a court required YouTube to monitor its site actively.

Specificity of DMCA Notice. How specific do the notices of infringing material need to be? Can Viacom, for example, say to YouTube, "All clips from MTV are infringing. You go find and take down those clips!"? Or does Viacom need to provide the URL to each infringing file? Although this sounds like a technical question, it has a meaningful, practical influence on whether a site must proactively monitor its own site for recurring infringements.

Applying the Grokster 'Active Inducement' Theory

Another big issue for YouTube is how the court will apply the new "active inducement for copyright infringement" theory articulated in the 2005 Supreme Court decision of MGM Studios v. Grokster. In that case, the Supreme Court held Grokster liable for distributing peer-to-peer software because its business model was premised on infringement-it benefited from the high-volume use of infringing software.

The question is whether the court will similarly say that YouTube is liable for actively inducing infringement because it benefits from ad revenue that is directly tied to the quantity of infringing material. Viacom's complaint also focused heavily on YouTube's active strategy of permitting videos to be embedded in sites throughout the Net and not just on In so doing, Viacom claims that YouTube has taken an active part in directly infringing Viacom's copyright.

The Next Steps

Many commentators believe that Viacom sued YouTube to obtain negotiating leverage to get a better licensing deal with YouTube. Others believe that it simply tried to gain publicity, and particularly to draw marketing attention to its deal with Joost, billed as "a new way of watching TV on the internet." Because of the powerful arguments that Viacom has-due mainly to the widespread distribution of infringing material on YouTube's site-and the strong defenses that YouTube can raise-due mainly to the structural protection of the DMCA that provides a safe harbor for sites such as YouTube-this could lead to an important legal precedent to influence whether user-posting sites continue to expand rapidly.

In my view, the case will probably settle rather than go to final judgment. Both sides have too much to lose with an unfavorable court decision. While the facts are difficult for YouTube, the law (particularly the DMCA) is in its favor, making the outcome of this case quite difficult to predict.

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THE Introspective ,Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement

Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong.

This article grew out of the Max von Laue Lecture that I delivered earlier this year to celebrate that eminent physicist and man of strong social conscience. When Adolf Hitler was on the ascendancy, Laue was one of the very few German physicists of stature who dared to defend Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity. It therefore seems appropriate that a matter concerning science and civilization should be my concern here.

The question I want to pose-perhaps as much to myself as to anyone else-is this: With well over a billion Muslims and extensive material resources, why is the Islamic world disengaged from science and the process of creating new knowledge? To be definite, I am here using the 57 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as a proxy for the Islamic world.

It was not always this way. Islam's magnificent Golden Age in the 9th-13th centuries brought about major advances in mathematics, science, and medicine. The Arabic language held sway in an age that created algebra, elucidated principles of optics, established the body's circulation of blood, named stars, and created universities. But with the end of that period, science in the Islamic world essentially collapsed. No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Muslim world for well over seven centuries now. That arrested scientific development is one important element-although by no means the only one-that contributes to the present marginalization of Muslims and a growing sense of injustice and victimhood.

Such negative feelings must be checked before the gulf widens further. A bloody clash of civilizations, should it actually transpire, will surely rank along with the two other most dangerous challenges to life on our planet-climate change and nuclear proliferation.

First encounters
Islam's encounter with science has had happy and unhappy periods. There was no science in Arab culture in the initial period of Islam, around 610 AD. But as Islam established itself politically and militarily, its territory expanded. In the mid-eighth century, Muslim conquerors came upon the ancient treasures of Greek learning. Translations from Greek into Arabic were ordered by liberal and enlightened caliphs, who filled their courts in Baghdad with visiting scholars from near and far. Politics was dominated by the rationalist Mutazilites, who sought to combine faith and reason in opposition to their rivals, the dogmatic Asharites. A generally tolerant and pluralistic Islamic culture allowed Muslims, Christians, and Jews to create new works of art and science together. But over time, the theological tensions between liberal and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam-such as on the issue of free will versus predestination-became intense and turned bloody. A resurgent religious orthodoxy eventually inflicted a crushing defeat on the Mutazilites. Thereafter, the open-minded pursuits of philosophy, mathematics, and science were increasingly relegated to the margins of Islam.1

Figure 1
A long period of darkness followed, punctuated by occasional brilliant spots. In the 16th century, the Turkish Ottomans established an extensive empire with the help of military technology. But there was little enthusiasm for science and new knowledge (see figure 1). In the 19th century, the European Enlightenment inspired a wave of modernist Islamic reformers: Mohammed Abduh of Egypt, his follower Rashid Rida from Syria, and their counterparts on the Indian subcontinent, such as Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Jamaluddin Afghani, exhorted their fellow Muslims to accept ideas of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution. Their theological position can be roughly paraphrased as, "The Qur'an tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go." That echoed Galileo earlier in Europe.

The 20th century witnessed the end of European colonial rule and the emergence of several new independent Muslim states, all initially under secular national leaderships. A spurt toward modernization and the acquisition of technology followed. Many expected that a Muslim scientific renaissance would ensue. Clearly, it did not.

What ails science in the Muslim world?

Figure 2
Muslim leaders today, realizing that military power and economic growth flow from technology, frequently call for speedy scientific development and a knowledge-based society. Often that call is rhetorical, but in some Muslim countries-Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Nigeria among others-official patronage and funding for science and education have grown sharply in recent years. Enlightened individual rulers, including Sultan ibn Muhammad Al-Qasimi of Sharjah, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, and others have put aside some of their vast personal wealth for such causes (see figure 2 and the news story on page 33). No Muslim leader has publicly called for separating science from religion.

Is boosting resource allocations enough to energize science, or are more fundamental changes required? Scholars of the 19th century, such as the pioneering sociologist Max Weber, claimed that Islam lacks an "idea system" critical for sustaining a scientific culture based on innovation, new experiences, quantification, and empirical verification. Fatalism and an orientation toward the past, they said, makes progress difficult and even undesirable.

In the current epoch of growing antagonism between the Islamic and the Western worlds, most Muslims reject such charges with angry indignation. They feel those accusations add yet another excuse for the West to justify its ongoing cultural and military assaults on Muslim populations. Muslims bristle at any hint that Islam and science may be at odds, or that some underlying conflict between Islam and science may account for the slowness of progress. The Qur'an, being the unaltered word of God, cannot be at fault: Muslims believe that if there is a problem, it must come from their inability to properly interpret and implement the Qur'an's divine instructions.

In defending the compatibility of science and Islam, Muslims argue that Islam had sustained a vibrant intellectual culture throughout the European Dark Ages and thus, by extension, is also capable of a modern scientific culture. The Pakistani physics Nobel Prize winner, Abdus Salam, would stress to audiences that one-eighth of the Qur'an is a call for Muslims to seek Allah's signs in the universe and hence that science is a spiritual as well as a temporal duty for Muslims. Perhaps the most widely used argument one hears is that the Prophet Muhammad had exhorted his followers to "seek knowledge even if it is in China," which implies that a Muslim is duty-bound to search for secular knowledge.

Such arguments have been and will continue to be much debated, but they will not be pursued further here. Instead, let us seek to understand the state of science in the contemporary Islamic world. First, to the degree that available data allows, I will quantitatively assess the current state of science in Muslim countries. Then I will look at prevalent Muslim attitudes toward science, technology, and modernity, with an eye toward identifying specific cultural and social practices that work against progress. Finally, we can turn to the fundamental question: What will it take to bring science back into the Islamic world?

Measuring Muslim scientific progress
The metrics of scientific progress are neither precise nor unique. Science permeates our lives in myriad ways, means different things to different people, and has changed its content and scope drastically over the course of history. In addition, the paucity of reliable and current data makes the task of assessing scientific progress in Muslim countries still harder.

I will use the following reasonable set of four metrics:

The quantity of scientific output, weighted by some reasonable measure of relevance and importance;
The role played by science and technology in the national economies, funding for S&T, and the size of the national scientific enterprises;
The extent and quality of higher education; and
The degree to which science is present or absent in popular culture.
Scientific output
A useful, if imperfect, indicator of scientific output is the number of published scientific research papers, together with the citations to them. Table 1 shows the output of the seven most scientifically productive Muslim countries for physics papers, over the period from 1 January 1997 to 28 February 2007, together with the total number of publications in all scientific fields. A comparison with Brazil, India, China, and the US reveals significantly smaller numbers. A study by academics at the International Islamic University Malaysia2 showed that OIC countries have 8.5 scientists, engineers, and technicians per 1000 population, compared with a world average of 40.7, and 139.3 for countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (For more on the OECD, see Forty-six Muslim countries contributed 1.17% of the world's science literature, whereas 1.66% came from India alone and 1.48% from Spain. Twenty Arab countries contributed 0.55%, compared with 0.89% by Israel alone. The US NSF records that of the 28 lowest producers of scientific articles in 2003, half belong to the OIC.3

The situation may be even grimmer than the publication numbers or perhaps even the citation counts suggest. Assessing the scientific worth of publications-never an easy task-is complicated further by the rapid appearance of new international scientific journals that publish low-quality work. Many have poor editorial policies and refereeing procedures. Scientists in many developing countries, who are under pressure to publish, or who are attracted by strong government incentives, choose to follow the path of least resistance paved for them by the increasingly commercialized policies of journals. Prospective authors know that editors need to produce a journal of a certain thickness every month. In addition to considerable anecdotal evidence for these practices, there have been a few systematic studies. For example,4 chemistry publications by Iranian scientists tripled in five years, from 1040 in 1998 to 3277 in 2003. Many scientific papers that were claimed as original by their Iranian chemist authors, and that had been published in internationally peer-reviewed journals, had actually been published twice and sometimes thrice with identical or nearly identical contents by the same authors. Others were plagiarized papers that could have been easily detected by any reasonably careful referee.

The situation regarding patents is also discouraging: The OIC countries produce negligibly few. According to official statistics, Pakistan has produced only eight patents in the past 43 years.

Islamic countries show a great diversity of cultures and levels of modernization and a correspondingly large spread in scientific productivity. Among the larger countries-in both population and political importance-Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Pakistan are the most scientifically developed. Among the smaller countries, such as the central Asian republics, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan rank considerably above Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Malaysia-a rather atypical Muslim country with a 40% non-Muslim minority-is much smaller than neighboring Indonesia but is nevertheless more productive. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and other states that have many foreign scientists are scientifically far ahead of other Arab states.

National scientific enterprises
Conventional wisdom suggests that bigger science budgets indicate, or will induce, greater scientific activity. On average, the 57 OIC states spend an estimated 0.3% of their gross national product on research and development, which is far below the global average of 2.4%. But the trend toward higher spending is unambiguous. Rulers in the UAE and Qatar are building several new universities with manpower imported from the West for both construction and staffing. In June 2006, Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo announced he will plow $5 billion of oil money into R&D. Iran increased its R&D spending dramatically, from a pittance in 1988 at the end of the Iraq-Iran war, to a current level of 0.4% of its gross domestic product. Saudi Arabia announced that it spent 26% of its development budget on science and education in 2006, and sent 5000 students to US universities on full scholarships. Pakistan set a world record by increasing funding for higher education and science by an immense 800% over the past five years.

But bigger budgets by themselves are not a panacea. The capacity to put those funds to good use is crucial. One determining factor is the number of available scientists, engineers, and technicians. Those numbers are low for OIC countries, averaging around 400-500 per million people, while developed countries typically lie in the range of 3500-5000 per million. Even more important are the quality and level of professionalism, which are less easily quantifiable. But increasing funding without adequately addressing such crucial concerns can lead to a null correlation between scientific funding and performance.

The role played by science in creating high technology is an important science indicator. Comparing table 1 with table 2 shows there is little correlation between academic research papers and the role of S&T in the national economies of the seven listed countries. The anomalous position of Malaysia in table 2 has its explanation in the large direct investment made by multinational companies and in having trading partners that are overwhelmingly non-OIC countries.

Figure 3
Although not apparent in table 2, there are scientific areas in which research has paid off in the Islamic world. Agricultural research-which is relatively simple science-provides one case in point. Pakistan has good results, for example, with new varieties of cotton, wheat, rice, and tea. Defense technology is another area in which many developing countries have invested, as they aim to both lessen their dependence on international arms suppliers and promote domestic capabilities. Pakistan manufactures nuclear weapons and intermediate-range missiles. There is now also a burgeoning, increasingly export-oriented Pakistani arms industry (figure 3) that turns out a large range of weapons from grenades to tanks, night-vision devices to laser-guided weapons, and small submarines to training aircraft. Export earnings exceed $150 million yearly. Although much of the production is a triumph of reverse engineering rather than original research and development, there is clearly sufficient understanding of the requisite scientific principles and a capacity to exercise technical and managerial judgment as well. Iran has followed Pakistan's example.

Higher education
According to a recent survey, among the 57 member states of the OIC, there are approximately 1800 universities.5 Of those, only 312 publish journal articles. A ranking of the 50 most published among them yields these numbers: 26 are in Turkey, 9 in Iran, 3 each in Malaysia and Egypt, 2 in Pakistan, and 1 in each of Uganda, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Azerbaijan. For the top 20 universities, the average yearly production of journal articles was about 1500, a small but reasonable number. However, the average citation per article is less than 1.0 (the survey report does not state whether self-citations were excluded). There are fewer data available for comparing against universities worldwide. Two Malaysian undergraduate institutions were in the top-200 list of the Times Higher Education Supplement in 2006 (available at No OIC university made the top-500 "Academic Ranking of World Universities" compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (see This state of affairs led the director general of the OIC to issue an appeal for at least 20 OIC universities to be sufficiently elevated in quality to make the top-500 list. No action plan was specified, nor was the term "quality" defined.

An institution's quality is fundamental, but how is it to be defined? Providing more infrastructure and facilities is important but not key. Most universities in Islamic countries have a starkly inferior quality of teaching and learning, a tenuous connection to job skills, and research that is low in both quality and quantity. Poor teaching owes more to inappropriate attitudes than to material resources. Generally, obedience and rote learning are stressed, and the authority of the teacher is rarely challenged. Debate, analysis, and class discussions are infrequent.

Academic and cultural freedoms on campuses are highly restricted in most Muslim countries. At Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, where I teach, the constraints are similar to those existing in most other Pakistani public-sector institutions. This university serves the typical middle-class Pakistani student and, according to the survey referred to earlier,5 ranks number two among OIC universities. Here, as in other Pakistani public universities, films, drama, and music are frowned on, and sometimes even physical attacks by student vigilantes who believe that such pursuits violate Islamic norms take place. The campus has three mosques with a fourth one planned, but no bookstore. No Pakistani university, including QAU, allowed Abdus Salam to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his role in formulating the standard model of particle physics. The Ahmedi sect to which he belonged, and which had earlier been considered to be Muslim, was officially declared heretical in 1974 by the Pakistani government.

Figure 4
As intolerance and militancy sweep across the Muslim world, personal and academic freedoms diminish with the rising pressure to conform. In Pakistani universities, the veil is now ubiquitous, and the last few unveiled women students are under intense pressure to cover up. The head of the government-funded mosque-cum-seminary (figure 4) in the heart of Islamabad, the nation's capital, issued the following chilling warning to my university's female students and faculty on his FM radio channel on 12 April 2007:

The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-i-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. . . . Sportswomen are spreading nudity. I warn the sportswomen of Islamabad to stop participating in sports. . . . Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the hereafter for such women.6

The imposition of the veil makes a difference. My colleagues and I share a common observation that over time most students-particularly veiled females-have largely lapsed into becoming silent note-takers, are increasingly timid, and are less inclined to ask questions or take part in discussions. This lack of self-expression and confidence leads to most Pakistani university students, including those in their mid- or late-twenties, referring to themselves as boys and girls rather than as men and women.

Science and religion still at odds
Science is under pressure globally, and from every religion. As science becomes an increasingly dominant part of human culture, its achievements inspire both awe and fear. Creationism and intelligent design, curbs on genetic research, pseudoscience, parapsychology, belief in UFOs, and so on are some of its manifestations in the West. Religious conservatives in the US have rallied against the teaching of Darwinian evolution. Extreme Hindu groups such as the Vishnu Hindu Parishad, which has called for ethnic cleansing of Christians and Muslims, have promoted various "temple miracles," including one in which an elephant-like God miraculously came alive and started drinking milk. Some extremist Jewish groups also derive additional political strength from antiscience movements. For example, certain American cattle tycoons have for years been working with Israeli counterparts to try to breed a pure red heifer in Israel, which, by their interpretation of chapter 19 of the Book of Numbers, will signal the coming of the building of the Third Temple,7 an event that would ignite the Middle East.

In the Islamic world, opposition to science in the public arena takes additional forms. Antiscience materials have an immense presence on the internet, with thousands of elaborately designed Islamic websites, some with view counters running into the hundreds of thousands. A typical and frequently visited one has the following banner: "Recently discovered astounding scientific facts, accurately described in the Muslim Holy Book and by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 14 centuries ago." Here one will find that everything from quantum mechanics to black holes and genes was anticipated 1400 years ago.

Science, in the view of fundamentalists, is principally seen as valuable for establishing yet more proofs of God, proving the truth of Islam and the Qur'an, and showing that modern science would have been impossible but for Muslim discoveries. Antiquity alone seems to matter. One gets the impression that history's clock broke down somewhere during the 14th century and that plans for repair are, at best, vague. In that all-too-prevalent view, science is not about critical thought and awareness, creative uncertainties, or ceaseless explorations. Missing are websites or discussion groups dealing with the philosophical implications from the Islamic point of view of the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos theory, superstrings, stem cells, and other contemporary science issues.

Similarly, in the mass media of Muslim countries, discussions on "Islam and science" are common and welcomed only to the extent that belief in the status quo is reaffirmed rather than challenged. When the 2005 earthquake struck Pakistan, killing more than 90 000 people, no major scientist in the country publicly challenged the belief, freely propagated through the mass media, that the quake was God's punishment for sinful behavior. Mullahs ridiculed the notion that science could provide an explanation; they incited their followers into smashing television sets, which had provoked Allah's anger and hence the earthquake. As several class discussions showed, an overwhelming majority of my university's science students accepted various divine-wrath explanations.

Why the slow development?
Although the relatively slow pace of scientific development in Muslim countries cannot be disputed, many explanations can and some common ones are plain wrong.

For example, it is a myth that women in Muslim countries are largely excluded from higher education. In fact, the numbers are similar to those in many Western countries: The percentage of women in the university student body is 35% in Egypt, 67% in Kuwait, 27% in Saudi Arabia, and 41% in Pakistan, for just a few examples. In the physical sciences and engineering, the proportion of women enrolled is roughly similar to that in the US. However, restrictions on the freedom of women leave them with far fewer choices, both in their personal lives and for professional advancement after graduation, relative to their male counterparts.

The near-absence of democracy in Muslim countries is also not an especially important reason for slow scientific development. It is certainly true that authoritarian regimes generally deny freedom of inquiry or dissent, cripple professional societies, intimidate universities, and limit contacts with the outside world. But no Muslim government today, even if dictatorial or imperfectly democratic, remotely approximates the terror of Hitler or Joseph Stalin-regimes in which science survived and could even advance.

Another myth is that the Muslim world rejects new technology. It does not. In earlier times, the orthodoxy had resisted new inventions such as the printing press, loudspeaker, and penicillin, but such rejection has all but vanished. The ubiquitous cell phone, that ultimate space-age device, epitomizes the surprisingly quick absorption of black-box technology into Islamic culture. For example, while driving in Islamabad, it would occasion no surprise if you were to receive an urgent SMS (short message service) requesting immediate prayers for helping Pakistan's cricket team win a match. Popular new Islamic cell-phone models now provide the exact GPS-based direction for Muslims to face while praying, certified translations of the Qur'an, and step-by-step instructions for performing the pilgrimages of Haj and Umrah. Digital Qur'ans are already popular, and prayer rugs with microchips (for counting bend-downs during prayers) have made their debut.

Some relatively more plausible reasons for the slow scientific development of Muslim countries have been offered. First, even though a handful of rich oil-producing Muslim countries have extravagant incomes, most are fairly poor and in the same boat as other developing countries. Indeed, the OIC average for per capita income is significantly less than the global average. Second, the inadequacy of traditional Islamic languages-Arabic, Persian, Urdu-is an important contributory reason. About 80% of the world's scientific literature appears first in English, and few traditional languages in the developing world have adequately adapted to new linguistic demands. With the exceptions of Iran and Turkey, translation rates are small. According to a 2002 United Nations report written by Arab intellectuals and released in Cairo, Egypt, "The entire Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one-fifth the number that Greece translates." The report adds that in the 1000 years since the reign of the caliph Maa'moun, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in just one year.8

It's the thought that counts
But the still deeper reasons are attitudinal, not material. At the base lies the yet unresolved tension between traditional and modern modes of thought and social behavior.

That assertion needs explanation. No grand dispute, such as between Galileo and Pope Urban VIII, is holding back the clock. Bread-and-butter science and technology requires learning complicated but mundane rules and procedures that place no strain on any reasonable individual's belief system. A bridge engineer, robotics expert, or microbiologist can certainly be a perfectly successful professional without pondering profound mysteries of the universe. Truly fundamental and ideology-laden issues confront only that tiny minority of scientists who grapple with cosmology, indeterminacy in quantum mechanical and chaotic systems, neuroscience, human evolution, and other such deep topics. Therefore, one could conclude that developing science is only a matter of setting up enough schools, universities, libraries, and laboratories, and purchasing the latest scientific tools and equipment.

But the above reasoning is superficial and misleading. Science is fundamentally an idea-system that has grown around a sort of skeleton wire frame-the scientific method. The deliberately cultivated scientific habit of mind is mandatory for successful work in all science and related fields where critical judgment is essential. Scientific progress constantly demands that facts and hypotheses be checked and rechecked, and is unmindful of authority. But there lies the problem: The scientific method is alien to traditional, unreformed religious thought. Only the exceptional individual is able to exercise such a mindset in a society in which absolute authority comes from above, questions are asked only with difficulty, the penalties for disbelief are severe, the intellect is denigrated, and a certainty exists that all answers are already known and must only be discovered.

Science finds every soil barren in which miracles are taken literally and seriously and revelation is considered to provide authentic knowledge of the physical world. If the scientific method is trashed, no amount of resources or loud declarations of intent to develop science can compensate. In those circumstances, scientific research becomes, at best, a kind of cataloging or "butterfly-collecting" activity. It cannot be a creative process of genuine inquiry in which bold hypotheses are made and checked.

Religious fundamentalism is always bad news for science. But what explains its meteoric rise in Islam over the past half century? In the mid-1950s all Muslim leaders were secular, and secularism in Islam was growing. What changed? Here the West must accept its share of responsibility for reversing the trend. Iran under Mohammed Mossadeq, Indonesia under Ahmed Sukarno, and Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser are examples of secular but nationalist governments that wanted to protect their national wealth. Western imperial greed, however, subverted and overthrew them. At the same time, conservative oil-rich Arab states-such as Saudi Arabia-that exported extreme versions of Islam were US clients. The fundamentalist Hamas organization was helped by Israel in its fight against the secular Palestine Liberation Organization as part of a deliberate Israeli strategy in the 1980s. Perhaps most important, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US Central Intelligence Agency armed the fiercest and most ideologically charged Islamic fighters and brought them from distant Muslim countries into Afghanistan, thus helping to create an extensive globalized jihad network. Today, as secularism continues to retreat, Islamic fundamentalism fills the vacuum.

How science can return to the Islamic world
In the 1980s an imagined "Islamic science" was posed as an alternative to "Western science." The notion was widely propagated and received support from governments in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere. Muslim ideologues in the US, such as Ismail Faruqi and Syed Hossein Nasr, announced that a new science was about to be built on lofty moral principles such as tawheed (unity of God), ibadah (worship), khilafah (trusteeship), and rejection of zulm (tyranny), and that revelation rather than reason would be the ultimate guide to valid knowledge. Others took as literal statements of scientific fact verses from the Qur'an that related to descriptions of the physical world. Those attempts led to many elaborate and expensive Islamic science conferences around the world. Some scholars calculated the temperature of Hell, others the chemical composition of heavenly djinnis. None produced a new machine or instrument, conducted an experiment, or even formulated a single testable hypothesis.

A more pragmatic approach, which seeks promotion of regular science rather than Islamic science, is pursued by institutional bodies such as COMSTECH (Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation), which was established by the OIC's Islamic Summit in 1981. It joined the IAS (Islamic Academy of Sciences) and ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in serving the "ummah" (the global Muslim community). But a visit to the websites of those organizations reveals that over two decades, the combined sum of their activities amounts to sporadically held conferences on disparate subjects, a handful of research and travel grants, and small sums for repair of equipment and spare parts.

One almost despairs. Will science never return to the Islamic world? Shall the world always be split between those who have science and those who do not, with all the attendant consequences?

Bleak as the present looks, that outcome does not have to prevail. History has no final word, and Muslims do have a chance. One need only remember how the Anglo-American elite perceived the Jews as they entered the US at the opening of the 20th century. Academics such as Henry Herbert Goddard, the well-known eugenicist, described Jews in 1913 as "a hopelessly backward people, largely incapable of adjusting to the new demands of advanced capitalist societies." His research found that 83% of Jews were "morons"-a term he popularized to describe the feeble-minded-and he went on to suggest that they should be used for tasks requiring an "immense amount of drudgery." That ludicrous bigotry warrants no further discussion, beyond noting that the powerful have always created false images of the weak.

Progress will require behavioral changes. If Muslim societies are to develop technology instead of just using it, the ruthlessly competitive global marketplace will insist on not only high skill levels but also intense social work habits. The latter are not easily reconcilable with religious demands made on a fully observant Muslim's time, energy, and mental concentration: The faithful must participate in five daily congregational prayers, endure a month of fasting that taxes the body, recite daily from the Qur'an, and more. Although such duties orient believers admirably well toward success in the life hereafter, they make worldly success less likely. A more balanced approach will be needed.

Science can prosper among Muslims once again, but only with a willingness to accept certain basic philosophical and attitudinal changes-a Weltanschauung that shrugs off the dead hand of tradition, rejects fatalism and absolute belief in authority, accepts the legitimacy of temporal laws, values intellectual rigor and scientific honesty, and respects cultural and personal freedoms. The struggle to usher in science will have to go side-by-side with a much wider campaign to elbow out rigid orthodoxy and bring in modern thought, arts, philosophy, democracy, and pluralism.

Respected voices among believing Muslims see no incompatibility between the above requirements and true Islam as they understand it. For example, Abdolkarim Soroush, described as Islam's Martin Luther, was handpicked by Ayatollah Khomeini to lead the reform of Iran's universities in the early 1980s. His efforts led to the introduction of modern analytical philosophers such as Karl Popper and Bertrand Russell into the curricula of Iranian universities. Another influential modern reformer is Abdelwahab Meddeb, a Tunisian who grew up in France. Meddeb argues that as early as the middle of the eighth century, Islam had produced the premises of the Enlightenment, and that between 750 and 1050, Muslim authors made use of an astounding freedom of thought in their approach to religious belief. In their analyses, says Meddeb, they bowed to the primacy of reason, honoring one of the basic principles of the Enlightenment.

In the quest for modernity and science, internal struggles continue within the Islamic world. Progressive Muslim forces have recently been weakened, but not extinguished, as a consequence of the confrontation between Muslims and the West. On an ever-shrinking globe, there can be no winners in that conflict: It is time to calm the waters. We must learn to drop the pursuit of narrow nationalist and religious agendas, both in the West and among Muslims. In the long run, political boundaries should and can be treated as artificial and temporary, as shown by the successful creation of the European Union. Just as important, the practice of religion must be a matter of choice for the individual, not enforced by the state. This leaves secular humanism, based on common sense and the principles of logic and reason, as our only reasonable choice for governance and progress. Being scientists, we understand this easily. The task is to persuade those who do not.

Pervez Hoodbhoy is chair and professor in the department of physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he has taught for 34 years.

1. P. Hoodbhoy, Islam and Science-Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality, Zed Books, London (1991).
2. M. A. Anwar, A. B. Abu Bakar, Scientometrics 40, 23 (1997).
3. For additional statistics, see the special issue "Islam and Science," Nature 444, 19 (2006).
4. M. Yalpani, A. Heydari, Chem. Biodivers. 2, 730 (2005).
5. Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries, Academic Rankings of Universities in the OIC Countries (April 2007), available at [LINK].
6. The News, Islamabad, 24 April 2007, available at [LINK].
7. For more information on the red heifer venture, see [LINK].
8. N. Fergany et al., Arab Human Development Report 2002, United Nations Development Programme, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, New York (2002), available at [LINK].

Technorati :

Shuttle Docks With Space Station

Inching its way into position, Space Shuttle Endeavour made a smooth docking with the International Space Station Friday afternoon, just one step on a complex mission to finish assembling the station by 2010.
"Capture confirmed," the shuttle crew reported as the docking rings of the two ships locked together at 2:02 p.m. EDT.

"Welcome onboard," said the station's commander, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, in accented English.

A couple of hours later the seven shuttle astronauts floated through the docking adapter into the station, hugging and posing for pictures with its three crew members. Two of them, Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, have been on orbit since April. American astronaut Clay Anderson has been on the station since the last shuttle flight two months ago.

The astronauts made the docking look routine, though mating two large vehicles in orbit is still anything but. The shuttle and the space station were orbiting Earth at more than 17,000 miles an hour, 214 miles above the South Pacific when they came together.

Before docking, the shuttle's commander, Scott Kelly, put the Endeavour through a slow back flip, so that the space station crew could photograph the wings and underside of Endeavour for any signs of damage that may have happened during launch. Such maneuvers have been a matter of course since the loss of the shuttle Columbia in 2003.

The back flip took about nine minutes, and while the shuttle rotated, the three station crew members shot digital still pictures of the shuttle's heat shield tiles with telephoto lenses.

"Station, Endeavour, start photos," called the shuttle astronauts.
Then, a minute later, "That's the end of the official photos. The rest are for fun." The astronauts later downloaded 296 pictures to the ground for engineers to inspect.
According to the flight plan, the shuttle astronauts will now spend about one week -- more, if needed -- installing new components of the space station. They will extend the long truss that holds the station's solar panels, and add a rack for storing equipment outside the station. They will also replace a large gyroscope that keeps the station oriented as it circles the earth.

Three spacewalks are planned, and a fourth is possible. Previous shuttle flights have been limited by the amount of hydrogen and oxygen the ship could carry to generate power, but Endeavour is configured, for the first time, to draw electricity from the space station's solar panels.

If the system works as hoped, NASA will extend Endeavour's flight from 11 days to 14 days, allowing the shuttle to remain docked at the station for a record 10 days.
The attention-getter on the shuttle's seven member crew is Barbara Morgan, an astronaut who is also the first teacher in space. Morgan, who taught elementary school in Idaho, was the backup to Christa McAuliffe, who died with six other astronauts when the shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986.

Morgan returned to Idaho, but stayed in touch with NASA and joined the astronaut corps in 1998. She is finally flying after a two-decade wait

Technorati :

Electric fields have potential as a cancer treatment

Electric fields have potential as a cancer treatment

Healthy cells have regulating mechanisms that generally limit how rapidly they can divide. Skin cells, for example, normally divide about once every 30 days, but they can divide faster in response to a wound that needs healing. Cancer, however, is characterized by cell division that has gone out of control. In cancer cells, the mechanisms that regulate division break down, and the cells spend less time in the quiescent state and more time dividing.

Many chemotherapy drugs work by interfering with the cell-division cycle. The drugs reach healthy cells and cancer cells alike, but they do most of their damage to the cancer cells. Unfortunately, some types of healthy cells divide as rapidly as cancer cells and are badly damaged as well. Such cells are found in bone marrow, the lining of the digestive tract, and hair follicles, so chemotherapy patients often lose their hair and are susceptible to infection. The damage to healthy cells limits the drug dose that a patient can tolerate and therefore limits the treatment's effectiveness.

Yoram Palti, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in

, and his colleagues have demonstrated another way to disrupt cell division: alternating electric fields with intensities of just 1-2 V/cm. The fields they use, with frequencies in the hundreds of kilohertz, were previously thought to do nothing significant to living cells other than heating them. But Palti and colleagues have conducted a small clinical trial showing that the fields have an effect in slowing the growth of tumors.1

Proposed mechanisms

Figure 1

In studies of tumor cells in vitro, Palti and colleagues observed two distinct effects, both of which depend on the direction of cell division with respect to the applied field.2 First, they found that cells in the electric field take longer than usual to divide, as shown in figure 1a. Second, they found that dividing cells sometimes disintegrate just before the division process is complete, as shown in figure 1, panels b and c. They offer an explanation for each effect.

The researchers suggest that cell division is slowed because the electric field hinders the formation and function of the mitotic spindle, the structure that guides the newly replicated chromosomes as they separate into the two daughter cells. The mitotic spindle is made up of microtubules, formed by the polymerization of dimers of the protein tubulin. (Microtubules and other cellular structures are illustrated in PHYSICS TODAY, September 2006, page 80.) The tubulin dimers and polymers have large dipole moments, so they are affected by the electric field. But most other biochemical processes also involve polar molecules and structures, and small oscillating electric forces don't appear to have much of an effect on them. The difference, says Palti, is that when the tubulin dimers assemble into the mitotic spindle, they all line up in the same direction. If that direction happens to be orthogonal to the direction of the electric field, the microtubules are less likely to function normally.

Figure 2

The proposed mechanism for the destruction of dividing cells stems from the distribution of the electric field in each cell. The cell membrane, a lipid bilayer, acts as a capacitor with high impedance at the frequencies used, so the electric field doesn't readily penetrate the cell membrane. In a quiescent cell, the electric field inside the cell (shown in figure 2a) is much smaller than the field outside the cell and is largely uniform. But in the late stages of cell division, a higher-field region forms at the bottleneck point, or furrow, between the two newly forming cells, as shown in figure 2b. The nonuniform electric field generates a so-called dielectrophoretic force that draws polarizable molecules and structures in the direction of the higher-field region. The researchers calculate that the force, which can be as large as 60 pN, is enough to cause the organelles to pile up at the furrow within a few minutes.

Just how that pileup destroys the cell is still largely a matter of speculation, but Palti and his colleagues have a few ideas. "The organelles are attached to a cytoskeleton," Palti says. "They're not just floating around in the cytoplasm," so maybe the dielectrophoretic force rips them from that connective structure and kills the cell. Also, the pinching-off mechanism, by which the furrow closes and one cell becomes two, is a sensitive process that could be disrupted by the presence of molecules and organelles that are supposed to be elsewhere in the cell.

Palti's 100-kHz fields are not the only form of electrical stimulation that can hinder cell division. Luca Cucullo, Damir Janigro, and their colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic have found that low-intensity alternating current with a much lower frequency-about 50 Hz-can keep some types of cells from dividing.3They don't yet know exactly how the process works, but their experiments suggest that the mechanism involves a particular protein that forms pores in the cell membrane to transport potassium ions into the cell. Cells whose division was halted by electric current contained more than the usual amount of the protein. And when the stimulated cells were exposed to cesium or barium, which block the potassium-transport pores, they divided at the same rate as unstimulated cells.

Clinical trial

Palti and colleagues had extensively studied the effects of the electric fields on tumor cells in vitro and in laboratory mice and rats when in 2003 they began their first clinical trial on human patients. They used their electric fields to treat glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain tumor with a very low survival rate. When the tumor is treated by surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, it nearly always progresses, or starts to grow again. The tumor usually kills the patient, often by the buildup of intracranial pressure that results from the tumor's sheer size.

Figure 3

The researchers recruited 10 patients for their trial. All had recurrent GBM, meaning that their tumors had been treated by other methods and had begun to grow again. The patients were fitted with electrodes, as shown in figure 3, that applied a 200-kHz electric field to their brains. At one-second intervals, the field orientation switched between front to back and side to side, so that the field would have the greatest effect on tumor cells dividing in all directions. Patients wore the electrodes 18 hours per day for up to 18 months.

Healthy cells in an adult brain don't divide, so there was little danger that the electric field would damage the normal tissue surrounding the tumor. In fact, because of the way applied fields are distributed in the body, the researchers are confident that when they apply their treatment to tumors in other parts of the body, the fields will do little damage to the bone marrow or the digestive tract. The field strength that could be used was limited not by toxicity to healthy tissues but by thermal effects in the skin: The field intensity was automatically lowered if the skin was heated enough to be in danger of thermal damage. The patients didn't lose their hair, but they had to keep their heads shaved in order for the electrodes to make good contact.

Because their small trial had no control group, the researchers compared their device's performance with historical data from other studies of GBM patients. Palti's trial found a median time to progression of 26 weeks and a median survival time of 62 weeks, whereas studies of recurrent GBM treated by other means found a time to progression of about 10 weeks and a survival time of about 30 weeks. Two years after their treatment began, 3 of the 10 patients in Palti's trial were still alive, and two were progression free.

To better evaluate their treatment's effectiveness, Palti and colleagues are currently working on a controlled study in which patients are randomly assigned to receive either the electric-field treatment or a chemotherapy regimen. They are also looking into combining the electric-field treatment with low-dose chemotherapy.

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