Tuesday, June 8, 2010

627)Marvels Of God's Creation:Pigeons Usually Let Best Navigator Take The Lead But Other Birds Sometimes Get A Chance As Well;Quotes From Blogpost 400

I thank my lucky stars for the daily presence of Philosophical Ismailism in my life; its origins go back to the Ikhwan Al Safa(750CE); it came into full bloom and fruition during the Fatimid era(909CE-1174CE); it even more relevant today after 400 years of empirical western scientific discovery because it allows us to see the marvels of God's creation in their proper perspective. My deepest gratitude goes to Ismaili cosmologists An Nasafi, Al Sijistani, Nasir Khusraw, Al Kirmani, Al Tusi among others. They nurtured and strengthened the development of Philosophical Ismailism under the benevolent guidance of the Imams of their time.

Quotes and Excerpts:
"...As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas – and in outer space. We reach back over hundreds of millions of years in time. Extra-ordinary fossilised geological specimens seize our imagination – palm leaves, amethyst flowers, hedgehog quartz, sea lilies, chrysanthemum and a rich panoply of shells. Indeed, these wonders are found beneath the very soil on which we tread – in every corner of the world – and they connect us with far distant epochs and environments.
And the more we discover, the more we know, the more we penetrate just below the surface of our normal lives – the more our imagination staggers. Just think for example what might lie below the surfaces of celestial bodies all across the far flung reaches of our universe. What we feel, even as we learn, is an ever-renewed sense of wonder, indeed, a powerful sense of awe – and of Divine inspiration"(Aga Khan IV, Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, Ottawa, Canada, December 6th 2008)
For the full version of this quote see:

"In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God"(Aga Khan IV, July 23rd 2008, Lisbon, Portugal)

"......The Quran tells us that signs of Allah’s Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation - in the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the clouds and the seas, the winds and the waters...."(Aga Khan IV, Kampala, Uganda, August 22 2007)

"....in Islam, but particularly Shia Islam, the role of the intellect is part of faith. That intellect is what seperates man from the rest of the physical world in which he lives.....This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives. Of that I am certain"(Aga Khan IV, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, August 17th 2007)

“Muslims believe in an all-encompassing unit of man and nature. To them there is no fundamental division between the spiritual and the material while the whole world, whether it be the earth, sea or air, or the living creatures that inhabit them, is an expression of God’s creation.”(Aga Khan IV, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, 13 April 1984)

"Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order."(Aga Khan III, April 4th 1952, Karachi, Pakistan)

"O brother! You asked: What is the [meaning of] `alam [world] and what is that entity to which this name applies? How should we describe the world in its entirety? And how many worlds are there? Explain so that we may recognize. Know, O brother, that the name `alam is derived from [the word] `ilm(knowledge), because the traces of knowledge are evident in [all] parts of the physical world. Thus, we say that the very constitution (nihad) of the world is based on a profound wisdom"(Nasir Khusraw, 11th century Fatimid Ismaili cosmologist-philosopher-poet, from his book "Knowledge and Liberation")

"One hour of contemplation on the works of the Creator is better than a thousand hours of prayer"(Prophet Muhammad, circa 632CE)


Pigeons usually let best navigator take the lead

But other birds sometimes get a turn at the helm

By Rachel Ehrenberg

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

EnlargeFollow mePigeon flocks have leaders and followers, an analysis of data recorded by GPS devices in bird-borne backpacks reveals.Zsuzsa Ákos

View a video of the pigeons being tracked via GPS.

Even the bird-brained can follow a leader. When pigeons fly in flocks, each bird falls behind another with better navigational skill, and the savviest among them leads the flock, scientists report in the April 8 Nature.

The research suggests hierarchies can serve peaceful purposes in the animal kingdom, where dominance by brute force is often the rule. “A pecking order tends to be just that — a pecking order,” says Iain Couzin of Princeton University, an expert in collective behavior who was not involved in the research.

The research also suggests that for pigeons, dominance isn’t set in stone. While one bird often emerged as the leader, other birds also stepped up. This flexibility in leadership had previously been seen only in some small groups of fish.

From schools to packs to swarms to flocks, collective behavior is widespread among animals. But in many cases, the important interactions are with nearest neighbors, and control of the group’s movement is distributed among members rather than hierarchical.

Biological physicist Tamás Vicsek of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and his colleagues studied flight dynamics in homing pigeons, which fly in flocks but conveniently return to their roosts. The researchers outfitted 13 pigeons with tiny backpacks carrying GPS devices that measured shifts in birds’ flight direction five times per second. Flocks of eight to 10 birds flew with the devices during homing flights (a roughly 14-kilometer trip back to the roost) and spontaneous “free” flights near home. Each bird also flew solo flights of about 15 kilometers each.

Analysis of GPS logs showed that for each excursion, the flock had one leader followed by at least three or four other birds. Each of these followers was in turn followed by other birds in the flock. Comparing the solo flight paths to the group flights showed that the birds with the best navigational skills led the flock.

While flocks have hierarchies, they’re not dictatorships, notes Vicsek. One bird led eight of the 13 flights, while other birds took the lead on the rest of the trips. Vicsek likens the dynamics to a group of peers deciding where to eat dinner. “Maybe someone knows the area restaurants best, or there is a person who’s a gourmand — or maybe they are the most outspoken,” he says. This one person might pick the place to eat for several nights, although another person might chime in now and then. And then there is the person with no say, whom everyone knows has terrible taste in food.

“These pigeons know each other. They know which is the smartest. The fastest bird will even follow the slower one who knows the way home the best,” say Vicsek. Videos of the birds’ positions during flight showed that if the best navigator moves a little to the left, it takes about a third of a second for other birds to do the same. But if the least savvy bird makes a move “the others don’t care,” Vicsek says.

Pigeons’ brains may be wired for follow-the-leader, comments behavioral neuroscientist Lucia Jacobs of the University of California, Berkeley. When the left eye sees something, for example, it sends all the visual information to the right brain hemisphere, and vice versa. This “extreme lateralization” may play a role in organizing flocks, the new work suggests. A pigeon following another was most likely to be flying on its partner’s right, seeing this leader with its left eye. “It’s very cool,” Jacobs says.

Picture: Pigeons flocks have followers and leaders, reveals an analysis of data recorded by GPS devices in the birds’ backpacks. While the flock member designated as red isn’t the fastest bird, his movements guide the flock on a homing flight.
Credit: M. Nagy, Zsuzsa Ákos, D. Bíró & T. Vicsek


Easy Nash http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/science_and_religion_in_islam_the_link/ http://gonashgo.blogspot.com/2009/08/500blogpost-five-hundred-is-blogpost.html http://gonashgo.blogspot.com/2009/03/453a-blog-constructed-within.html

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)