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Archive for February, 2006

Hassan II Mosque

Maza in front of the Hassan II Mosque

ast year we travelled through Morocco. We landed with our plane in Casablanca. In this city the Hassan II mosque is situated. It was designed by the French architect Michel Pinceau and is the second largest in the world (after the Shah Faisal Mosque near Islamabad). It is sited on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers. A further 80,000 can be accommodated in the mosque’s coutyard. Its minaret is also the world’s tallest at 210m. Work on the mosque was commenced in 1980, and was intended to be completed for the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II, in 1989. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. It was built on a reclaimed embankment, inspired by the verse of the Koran that states ‘the throne of God was built on the water’. It is the only mosque in Morocco open to non-Muslims, for a fee. A mosque is a place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith. Muslims all over the world often refer to the mosque by its name in Arabic, masjid (pl. masajid) (Arabic: ????—). It is important to note that mosque in English encompasses both masjid and j?mi`, the latter referring to bigger mosques, minarets usually being used as a distinguisher.

Play video made while visiting the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca : Video Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca

osques were known to the English-speaking world well before the word to describe them was established. The Mezquita of Cordoba was one of the first mosques to attract Western attention; it’s name is simply one of many possible European transliterations for the Arabic masjid, or place of kneeling (in ritual prayer). However, in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, variations of the word began to be used. Moseak, muskey, moschy, and mos’keh were just some of the variations that came into use until it was decided that mosquee, imitating Middle French, Italian, and Old Spanish, would become the standard [1]. In the early eighteenth century, the modern spelling became the most popular and standard spelling of the word. The Arabic word for mosque, masjid, means temple in the language. This comes from the Arabic root sajad which means to prostrate (from the prostrations performed during Islamic prayers). Chinese Muslims refer to mosques in Chinese as roughly “pure conversion (Islamic) temples” (Chinese: ???; Hanyu Pinyin: q?ngzh?nsì).

Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco
Hassan II mosque - Casablanca - Morocco

Tibetan meditation

ear reader. As promised in my comment on the article Zuozheng He I had to write something about original Chinese music. My choice has fallen on Tibetan Meditational music. This music is pure sound that is relaxing, meditative and transportive. The sounds of my choice is beautiful and faithful and is superb for relaxation, massage & bodywork, deep sound meditation, yoga relaxation and sleep inducement. It is an amazing sound of vibrations and perfect for deeply letting go. So here is one of my favourite performers of Tibetan music. Phil Thornton is not from Chinese origin but that did not stopped him making loveley meditational music. The compositions are sacred. They are significant parts of lengthy, colorful, elaborate healing ceremonies which attempt, through music and symbol, to magically open up consciousness to our inherent “Buddha Nature” of peace and compassionate wisdom……the healing rituals performed by the Shartse monks tap into the power of imagination, involving meditation and visualizations in which the divine forces of the inner and sprit worlds are invoked to transform pain and suffering.” For those who want to listen to the full album mail your adress to tibet @ mazalien . nl and I will send you a copy. (This also concerns you Parvez!)

Tibetan Meditation
Tibetan meditation

fter working on the album ‘Initiation’ with Steven Cragg, Phil Thornton was inspired by the musical possibilities that were opening up. As they were both keen to try a full scale collaboration and he had acquired a Tibetan horn this became a natural starting point. In the end the album was 2 years in the making! No stone was left unturned in finding the right path for the music to follow. PhilI has a particular passion for albums with a ‘journey’ theme and this album remains a firm favourite. A distant temple bell sounds, as the unmistakable tones of the ancient tradition of meditational chant resonate, creating an ambience of meditative calm. Inspired by the very distinctive culture and music of Tibet, Phil Thornton has created an exceptional album that captures the very essence of Tibetan music. As you listen to the sounds of overtone chanting, Tibetan Singing Bowls, The Ragdung, Cymbals, Gongs and the Tibetan Thighbone, take time to reflect, explore and discover your soul.

Phil Thornton
Tibetan Meditation
New World Music

Tibetan meditation – track listing
1 Meditation (4:58)
2 Welcome Return (9:31)
3 View from the Pass (5:23)
4 Mandala: Ascent (6:24)
5 Temple Valley (7:45)
6 Mandala: Equilibrium (4:01)
7 Lotus Dance (9:55)
8 Chant of Souls (8:37)
9 Resolution (8:48)

Tibetan meditation - Phil Thornton
Tibetan meditation - Phil Thornton
Tibetan meditation - Phil Thornton
Tibetan meditation - Phil Thornton

Tibetan meditation – album credits
Grant Young Fretless Bass
David Roberts Arranger
Mike Rogers Tibetan Thighbone
Al Jenkins Engineer
Harvey Summers Sound Design
Hanna Burchell Cymbals, Singing Bowls, Gong
Phil Thornton Keyboards, Singing Bowls, Temple Bells, Bamboo Flute, Percussion Programming, Producer

Listen to nr one : Meditation :


Listen to nr seven : Lotus dance :


Tibetan Horn
Tebetan Horn

kaleidescope of incredible musical invention that compels the listener along an inner and outer journey of spiritual awakening and attainment, across the ‘roof of the world’ – the Himalayan ‘abode of the snows’. From the primal initiations of Shamanic and Buddhist rites, be guided to the inaccessible summits, plateaus and glaciers of mountain Ashrams, following the ravines down to the sub-tropical jungles and holy lands of India. An authentic, outstanding experience of pure artistry, insight and deep, universal harmony. A keen sorcerer of sonic visions, Phil Thornton has written and produced over 20 solo albums – with sales of 1,200,000+ world wide – since beginning his musical odyssey in the early ’80s with the group ‘Expandis’ (a unique artists collective best known for their innovative use of electronic sound).

Album Details

Released 1993 by New World Music.

Bon – a clash of cymbals
Through The ‘Valley Of The Flowers’ (2:10)
Bon – reprise (1:20)
Solitude In Focus (3:23)
The Way (10:32)
a) Pilgrimage
b) Union
Prayer On The Wind (3:49)
Rivers Of Ice (10:17)
The Cave Of Amarmath (1:14)
Falling Into The River of Exile (10:47)
a) Deliverance
b) Rain Forest
c) Indus
d) Source

Phil Thornton – Recorders, moog, keyboards, chimes, ambient sounds, programming and digital compilation.
Steven Cragg – Dong Chen (on Tibetan Horn), crystal bowls, didgeridoo,talking drum, rainmaker, gong, temple and finger bells, percussion, chimes, ambient sounds, programming and digital compilation.
David Voase – Tabla (on Rivers Of Ice)
Composed, produced and engineered by Phil Thornton and Steven Cragg.

Chinese Bamboo Flute Music

Bamboo flute

s requested by Parvez in his comment on Zuozheng He and as an contrast on the Tibetan Meditational Music, the sound of an Chinese bambo flute is quite different. Traditional Chinese musical instruments comprise a wide range of string instruments (both bowed and plucked), wind instruments, and percussion instruments. Traditionally, they were also classified according to the materials used in their construction. Chinese flutes are either played solo, or collectively in large orchestras (as in the former imperial court) or in smaller ensembles (in teahouses or public gatherings). Normally, there is no conductor in traditional Chinese music, or use of musical scores or tablature whilst in performance. Music was generally learned orally and memorized by the musician(s) beforehand, then played without aid, meaning totally accuracy and teamwork is required. But nowadays, music scores can be used, or a conductor if the number of musicians is large enough for that need. There are different kind of flutes :

Di Zi (??) – Transverse bamboo flute with buzzing membrane

The Di Zi (??, pinyin dí zi), is a unique kind of Chinese transverse flute. It is also known as the Dizi, or simply the Di, and has varieties including the Qudi and Bangdi. It is sometimes also known as the hengdi.The di zi is a major Chinese musical instrument, popular not only in Chinese Folk Music, Chinese Operas and Chinese Orchestras, but also used in music exported to the west. The di zi has a deep, rich history, and a lasting appeal. Traditionally, the di zi has also been popular among the Chinese common people, since it is simple to make, easy to carry, and of course, beautiful when played.

Xiao (?) – End-blown flute

The xi?o (? or ?; also spelled hsiao) is a Chinese vertical end-blown flute. It is generally made of bamboo. It is also sometimes called dongxiao or dong xiao (?? or ??), dong meaning “hole.” The qin xiao is a version of the xiao which is narrower and generally in F-key, used to accompany the guqin. The Japanese shakuhachi and hocchiku, and the Korean danso (also spelled tanso), are descended from the xiao.

Paixiao (Traditional Chinese: ??; Simplified Chinese: ??) – Pan pipes

The paixiao (traditional: ??; simplified: ??; pinyin: páixi?o; also pái xi?o, pai-hsiao) is an ancient Chinese wind instrument, a form of pan pipes. It is no longer used, having died out in ancient times, although in the 20th century it was reconstructed.

Chi (?)

This is a very ancient Chinese flute.

Xindi (??)

This flute is a modern transverse flute with as many as 21 holes.

Dongdi (??)
“Dong” means hole in chinese. The modern type is often made from a nine joint black bamboo, has six finger holes, five at the front and one at the rear, and 2-4 air holes at the lower end.

Koudi (??) – Very small transverse bamboo flute
The koudi (Chinese: ??; also spelled kou di) is a very small Chinese flute made from bamboo. It was invented in the 20th century.

Listen to Jie Bing Chen from the album Spirtit on two strings with the song On the way home :


Listen to Jie Bing Chen from the album Spirit on two strings with the song Eve’s Night:


The Drake Equation

Dr. F. Drake

ETI (pronounced [‘s?ti], to rhyme with “Betty”) stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Interstellar travel allowing direct discovery and contact with intelligent aliens is a common theme in science fiction stories, but so far the obstacles to such journeys have been insurmountable. An alternative approach to achieving such a “first contact” is to survey the sky in hopes of finding transmissions from a civilization on a distant planet. However, such an effort has many obstacles.

r. Frank Drake is the Director of the SETI Institute’s Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and also serves on the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute as Chairman Emeritus. In 1960, as a staff member of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, he conducted the first radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences where he chaired the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Research Council (1989-92). Frank also served as President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He was a Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University (1964-84) and served as the Director of the Arecibo Observatory. He is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California at Santa Cruz where he also served as Dean of Natural Sciences (1984-88). In his spare time Frank enjoys cutting gem stones and growing orchids. Frank has three grown sons and two daughters in college. Both daughters are superb ballet dancers.

The Drake equation (also known as the Green Bank equation or the Sagan equation) is a famous result in the speculative fields of xenobiology, astrosociobiology and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This equation was devised by Dr. Frank Drake in the 1960s in an attempt to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy with which we might come in contact. The main purpose of the equation is to allow scientists to quantify the uncertainty of the factors which determine the number of extraterrestrial civilizations. The Drake equation is closely related to the Fermi paradox. It was cited by Gene Roddenberry as supporting the multiplicity of starfaring civilizations shown in Star Trek, the television show he created.

The Drake equation states that:

Drake equotation


N = The number of civilizations in The Milky Way Galaxy whose radio emissions are detectable.

R* = The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.

f p = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.

n e = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.

fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.

f i = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.

f c = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.

L = The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

[audio:http://www.mazalien.nl/weblog/media/shostak.mp3] Listen to Seth Shostak ; Seti Institute – 20 years of looking for Life, november 21, 2005.

[audio:http://www.mazalien.nl/weblog/media/shostak1.mp3] Listen to Seth Shostak ; Will ET send snail mail? september 26, 2004.

ETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.
Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver’s electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power. Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.

New Cosmic Object

multinational team of astronomers has discovered an entirely new kind of cosmic object. The small, highly compressed neutron stars, named Rotating Radio Transients (RRATs), are likely related to pulsars. Neutron stars are the staggeringly dense cores of massive stars left behind after supernova explosions. The objects contain one and a half times the mass of our own sun packed into a space the size of a large city. “These [new objects] are basically a new type of neutron star, but we’re not exactly sure how they fit together with the other types,” said astronomer Ingrid Stairs, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “They are clearly related to radio pulsars somehow, but we’ll need more research [to understand the relation].”

ulsars are neutron stars that spin about once a second and are often described as cosmic lighthouses. Their magnetic poles emit electromagnetic radio waves, so each time a pulsar spins, it sends out a radio blip. But the RRATs’ short, intermittent bursts are less frequent, spaced from four minutes to three hours apart. “They’re kind of like a flickering lighthouse, one where the power is going out on a regular basis,” Stairs explained. “So instead of a blip every time it spins, there is one every few minutes or every few hours.” The RRAT radio waves were spotted using Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope. The find is reported in this week’s issue of the journal Nature. The objects could otherwise be normal pulsars that are less able to emit radio waves because of age, a different magnetic field structure, or some other unknown reason.

New Objects May Be Plentiful

leven RRATs have been identified so far, but researchers suggest that the new objects may far outnumber conventional radio pulsars. “These things were very difficult to pin down,” said Dick Manchester, a member of the research team and a scientist with the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. “For each object, we’ve been detecting radio emission for less than one second a day.” Because the new objects are usually silent, the odds of spotting one are low. The identification of 11 RRATs therefore suggests that many more—perhaps several hundred thousand—are silently spinning in the galaxy. Scientists are particularly interested in neutron stars because they offer a look at super high-density matter. “Pulsars in many ways are the most extreme objects out there, next to black holes,” Stairs, of the University of British Columbia, said. “They have extreme conditions that you could never produce in a lab.”

Source : Nasa.

Happy birthday Hanny

Happy Birthday Hanny






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