By: Alex Bellos
To paraphrase Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.
Well, if you like art and interiors, there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and palaces around the world.
Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.
The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.
Islamic design is based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.
Dust off your old geometry set, and let’s see how.
After quitting a comfortable day job, photographer Shane Black spent two months on the road shooting time-lapses of some of America’s most beautiful spots. His “Adventure Is Calling” video is the mesmerizing result, made from about 10,000 of the photos he took.
Catch a glimpse of how it was like to perform Hajj in 1953. Though this was only just over 60 years ago, a lot has changed mainly due to the increase in the number of pilgrims going to perform Hajj.
Many pilgrims would travel to Makkah via a ferry or a ship, in those days commercial air travel was still in its early stages and it was not as widely available as it is today.
For those who could afford it, they would embark on their journey on board small planes from nearby countries.
Like today, coaches and buses would be used to transport pilgrims from place to place.
Fireflies emit light mostly to attract mates, although they also communicate for other reasons as well, such as to defend territory and warn predators away. In some firefly species, only one sex lights up. In most, however, both sexes glow; often the male will fly, while females will wait in trees, shrubs and grasses to spot an attractive male. If she finds one, she’ll signal it with a flash of her own.
– Fireflies eat other fireflies.
– Fireflies have short lifespans (1 year).
– Fireflies are found on almost every continent.
– Fireflies are medically and scientifically useful.
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Peacocks are ground-feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. There are two familiar peacock species. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.