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Tag: Egypt

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The City of the Dead

Although I’m still in India, I’m listing a link here of an article I wrote about Cairo’s amazing cemetery in which zillions of people live…


http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100814/TRAVEL/708139911/1087/LIFE


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Inventions

I have already mentioned in passing a number of Arab inventions from the Golden Age. They include a wide range of medical, chemical and astronomical devices. But there are whole other areas in which the Arabs inventors excelled.

         Arab engineers learned from the Romans, Greeks and from their own scientists, and came up with creations that demonstrated their astonishing ingenuity. Some of these creations improved living conditions, while others were more whimsical.

         Engineers were hugely important. When the tenth century Persian engineer and polymath, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), reached Cairo, the Caliph himself went to the gates to greet him. He had been invited to regulate the flooding on the Nile. It soon dawned on him that he couldn’t solve the problem. The only way to save his neck was to feign madness and live for years under house arrest… biding his time until the Caliph’s own death.



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Chemistry

Modern chemistry may owe more to Islamic science than just about any other area. Its very name of course is derived from al-kemia, the word for alchemy.

Although alchemy was very important, and had come to the Arabs from both India and the Roman Empire, we now understand increasingly how many Arab scientists refuted the belief in transmuting base metals into gold.

Arab breakthroughs in chemistry are plentiful, and were aided by new scientific practice, as we have seen. Tomorrow we’ll look at some of the various that were championed under the Abbasids.




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April 17, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Turn a Rod into a Snake

You will need: one snake


This is arguably the oldest illusion on record, and was performed by Aaron at the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh. It is still performed regularly across the Subcontinent by Godmen. The illusion involves a rod or staff being tossed to the ground, and slowly taking on life, and slithering away as a snake. It’s important to do the trick in dim lighting, preferably towards sunset when the heat of the day has worn off. You take the snake and chill it, while stretching it out between your hands… and as you do this, you press a thumb quite hard on the top of the snake’s head. The serpent, which thinks there is a huge creature standing on it, goes into shock and freezes. As soon as the snake has been exhibited as a rod… quite motionless, you drop it to the ground. Realising that the predator has vanished, and warming up, it slithers away.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.


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April 16, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Make Flowers Bow Down

You will need: Chloroform, spray apparatus


The illusion was very popular with more established Godmen in the 1990s, before it was rumbled in a big way. The illusion is simple: the Godman enters an auditorium and, as he does so, flowers on either side of the dias seem to droop. Little do the audience of devotees know, but the re are tiny nozzles placed amongst the flowers, which spray chloroform. Flora, just as mammals, are affected by the chemical, and go into their own form of collapse.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.


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April 15, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Get Ash From Coins

You at will need: a saturated solution of mercuric chloride up in water, one aluminium coin


While the audience is assembling, dip your finger and thumb into the solution of mercuric chloride as it is part of your miracle process. Ask for a volunteer to come up and to show  you a very low denomination coin (in India these are made from aluminium). Take the coin and rub it with your thumb and forefinger so that the solution of mercuric chloride touches the metal on both sides. Then call for the volunteer to come forward again and place the coin in his palm, tell him to close his palm and wait a little while. As the solution reacts with the aluminium metal, heat is created and a grey ash substance — like holy ash — starts being formed on the surface of the coin. You can wash the coin and the ash was still erupt.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.


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April 14, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Dip Your Finger in Molten Lead

You will need: a crucible, some lead foil


Heat the lead foil over a fire in the crucible. When it is molten, scrape off any residue or impurities. This is important because they can get stuck to the finger during the miracle. When you are ready, and when the lead is completely liquid, dip your finger into the molten metal and withdraw it as deliberately as possible. The lead will only be about 400 degrees celsius, and therefore ought not to burn you.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen. 


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April 13, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Eat Glass

You will need:  one banana, one clear lightbulb


Before your has audience has assembled, eat the banana. Then when the audience is ready, show them the lightbulb, which must be clear glass. The opaque variety contains mercury which is poisonous. Tell the crowd that you are about to eat the lightbulb because you are superhuman. Then, with as much theatrical flair as you can muster, place the lightbulb on a handkerchief and crush it under your foot. When you have done this take a large piece of glass, preferably from the side or the top of the lightbulb, and put it on your tongue. Slowly begin to chew using your molars. Once the glass has been crushed well, you can swallow it. There should be no harm because the glass powder will be embedded in the banana which will be waiting to the glass in your stomach.

NB Godmen’s a miracle such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.



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April 12, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Dip Your Arm in Boiling Oil

You will need: One big pot, lime juice, vegetable oil


Pour the vegetable oil into the pot and pour in the lime juice as well.Put the pot on a fire in front of the audience, and announce to them that you are going to plunge your arm into boiling oil. As the oil heats up the citric acid in the lime juice boils off long before the oil is itself hot enough to boil. As the lime juice sits at the bottom of the pot, it boils up through the oil, giving the illusion that it is the oil that’s boiling. While the oil is still cool enough to do so, immerse your arm into it, while exclaiming to the crowd how incredible it is that you can defy the heat.

NB Godmen’s  miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except a trainee Godmen.



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April 11, 2009 Posted by tahir in Travel

How to Eat Fire

 You will need: a cube of camphor

 

Take the cube of camphor and hold between the thumb and index finger of the left hand, and light it with a match. While the camphor is burning, you can place it on your palm and it will burn without hurting you. Once the audience has seen the fire, and been amazed by it, gently place it on your tongue while keeping your mouth sufficiently open so that the fire can be seen. It is a good idea to do this trick in a darkened room or at night. Once the camphor has become too hot, you can blow out the fire by breathing out, ie extinguishing it with carbon dioxide in the breath. Do not swallow the camphor.

NB Godmen’s miracles such as this should never be attempted by children, or anyone else except trainee Godmen.

 

 

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