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Archive for October, 2010

De Profundis

De Profundis means from despair: out of the depths of misery or despair…. Its from Psalm 130 (Septuagint numbering: Psalm 129), traditionally referred to as De profundis, after its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential psalms. Composeded Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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The Magic Mozart uw chamber choir w’06
(Video hosted on Youtube.)

e Profundis was written (or possibly arranged as Contrapvnctcs suggests) around the same time as the Requiem, so? it is actually quite a late work. One of the Masonic Motets, hardly ever performed. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17 he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of Mozart’s death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.

Road to Hajj – India

Al Jazeera follows pilgrims from India – home to 12 per cent of the world’s Muslims – as they prepare to undertake the Hajj pilgrimage.

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Road to Hajj – India
On the picture: Holi-festival – Holi, also called the Festival of Colors, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, and many other countries around the world. Holi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (death of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalugna which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) is on 11th March.

(Video hosted on Youtube.)

n a series of special programmes, Al Jazeera follows Muslims from around the world as they embark on the Hajj pilgrimage. The road to Hajj in the Land of the Rising Sun begins with the little known fact that there are ethnic Japanese Muslims. Everyday the call to prayer is made in different corners of the predominantly Buddhist country – unobtrusively within the confines of its 50 or so mosques and approximately 100 musollas or communal prayer rooms. Twenty-six-year-old Kubo-san prays at a small musolla in the agricultural district of Saitama, about two hours outside the capital, Tokyo. Built 15 years ago by Bangladeshi workers, Kubo is the only ethnic Japanese in the congregation. “I was born into a very ordinary Japanese family,” he says. “We did not have a strong sense of religion.” Kubo’s upbringing mirrors that of many Japanese – their attitudes and philosophy towards life shaped by the ancient religion of Shinto. An ancient polytheistic faith, Shinto involves the worship of nature and is unique to Japan. While divination and shamanism is used to gain insights into the unknown, there are no formal scriptures or texts, nor a legacy of priesthood that structures the religion. After the Second World War, Shinto suffered a huge setback when the emperor was forced to denounce his status as a ‘living god’. While many historians would claim that the Japanese people lost their faith after this, recent surveys suggest that at least 85 per cent still profess their belief in both Shintoism and Buddhism.

The Alien Equation

Drake equation

Kevin Fong celebrates the anniversary of one of the most iconic equations ever written. The Drake Equation was created by Frank Drake some half a century ago in a bid to answer one of the most profound questions facing science and humanity: are we alone? Its creation launched a 50 year, genuine scientific endeavour to search for ET, known as SETI: The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. Kevin visits the SETI Institute in Northern California, to meet the great man himself, Frank Drake, and some of his scientific colleagues who have spent most of their working lives hunting for signs of alien life, out there in the cosmic ether.

Drake equation

Drake equation

FROM: BBC…

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Are We Alone?
(Video hosted on Youtube.)

Are we alone in the cosmos? The quest for alien life is a fascinating challenge for 21st-century science. Evidence of any extraterrestrial organisms, even mere bugs or bacteria, would be of huge scientific importance. But what really fuels popular imagination is the prospect of advanced life — the “aliens” familiar from science fiction… Sir Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, FRS (born 23 June 1942 in York) is an English cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004, and President of the Royal Society since 2005.

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