Interesting Reads

Screen violence ‘desensitizes teenage brains’


Violent films and video games really do numb the brains of teenagers, with repeated viewings making them less sensitive to aggression, according to a new study.
The researchers used brain scans to show how they become less emotionally responsive to violence the more they see.
They say it is among the first hard physiological evidence for the theory that on-screen violence leads to real-world aggression.

For years campaigners have argued that watching violent films and playing games like Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Modern Warfare makes youngsters more prone to violence. In the Grand Theft Auto series, players become characters who win points for carjacking, killing prostitutes and running over pedestrians.

Summarising his findings, Dr Jordan Grafman, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, US, said: “Exposure to the most violent videos inhibits emotional reactions to similar aggressive videos over time and implies that normal adolescents will feel fewer emotions over time as they are exposed to similar videos.”

He added: “Continued exposure to violent videos will make an adolescent less sensitive to violence, more accepting of violence, and more likely to commit aggressive acts since the emotional component associated with aggression is reduced and normally acts as a brake on aggressive behaviour.”

For the study, Dr Grafman and his team recruited 22 boys aged 14 to 17.

They were asked to watch a series of 60 four-second video clips, arranged randomly in three lots of 20 clips.
The degree of violence and aggression in each scene was low, mild or moderate. There were no extreme scenes.

The boys were asked to rate the aggression of each scene compared to the last by pressing one of two response buttons.
As they watched, their brain activity were monitored using MRI scans.

Electrodes were also attached to their fingers to measure small second-by-second changes in sweat levels – known as skin conductance responses (SCRs) – another indicator of emotional state.

Dr Grafman said: “We found that as the boys were exposed to more violent videos over time, their activation in brain regions concerned with emotional reactivity decreased and that was reflected in the data from the functional MRI and in the skin conductance responses.”

In particular, the area of the brain known as the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC), which is thought to be involved in emotions and emotional responses, became increasingly desensitised over time.

This was most marked after watching the most aggressive clips.
Dr Grafman noted: “No prior study has examined this from the complete perspective we had that included behaviour, brain activation, and SCRs in adolescent brains.”

The study has been published online in the Oxford Journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

But Prof Mark Griffiths, a psychologist at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, said such studies could not prove a causal link between watching violent images and committing real-life violence.

He said: “I don’t think anybody would deny that people do become desensitised to violence. But the real issue is whether that in and of itself causes negative consequences.”

People were not simply slaves to the biological processes of their bodies and brains, he said. How they behaved also depended on a host of psychological and social factors, such as how much violence they experienced as children.

So here's an interesting article that's been 'buzzed' alot.

What I don't get is why, Oh why, would any possibility of other life, deny the existence of a One True Creator? It seems to me that the bigger we realize the world is, the more awe-inspiring Allah and Allah's creation is. (or maybe I'm just naive!)
Hmm, think on this... maybe this is all propaganda to stir readers into believing that somehow, UFO'S and aliens are in contradiction to a Supreme Creator. Anyway, check out the article below!

Did Churchill Order a UFO Cover-Up?

by Mike Krumboltz

There's no doubt that Winston Churchill had his share of secrets. When you're leading a world power during wartime, classified information come with the territory. But did one of his closely held secrets have to do with "little green men"? A new report contends that the English Bulldog may have played a part in a UFO cover-up.

It's a conspiracy theory worthy of the "X-Files," and it goes like this: Churchill, then the prime minister, apparently ordered a cover-up of an encounter between a Royal Air Force bomber and an unidentified flying object during World War II. The reason: Churchill feared that news of the incident would create public panic and a loss of faith in religion.

The Daily Telegraph explains that Churchill is reported to "have made the orders during a secret war meeting with U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower, the then commander of the Allied Forces, at an undisclosed location in America during the latter part of the conflict." He ordered that the information remain secret for a period of 50 years.
Video rewind: UFO sighted over Chinese airport
So, who is claiming that Churchill ordered the cover-up? The U.K.'s National Archives, which hosts the newly released documents, works through how the news came to light.
Apparently, Churchill's order was overheard by one of his bodyguards. The man, also a member of the Royal Air Force, kept the secret to himself for years, but told his daughter at some point, and told his wife on his deathbed in 1973. The man's daughter later told her son (the bodyguard's grandson, for those of you keeping score), and he inquired about the incident with the Ministry of Defense in 1999. That inquiry made it into the files that were made public on Thursday.

According to the report, the crew of the plane did manage to take photographs of the UFO, which "hovered noiselessly" near their plane before zooming away. Alas, the photos, if they do indeed exist, were not released.
Decades later, it's still not known if the UFO was actually a UFO or something more earthbound. Initially, some theorized that the object was a missile. However, a weapons expert, who was present at the infamous meeting, was reported to have remarked that no missile could stop and hover. Such a thing was "totally beyond any imagined capabilities of the time."

Not surprisingly, the report inspired an avalanche of Web searches. Online lookups for "churchill ufo" and "churchill ufo coverup" both shot skyward, posting breakout gains in the Search box. If Churchill did indeed intend for this to be kept quiet, he did a good job for a long time. But now, the UFO is out of the bag... big time.



An interesting and thought provoking article by Sheikh Imran Hosein:

The Feminist Revolution and The Last Age

Qur’an likened the creation of the male and the female to that of the ‘night’ and the ‘day’, implying that they complement each other “… like twin-halves of a whole.” But they are also functionally different; hence a successful and harmonious male-female relationship requires that the ‘day’ (i.e. the male) must function as ‘day’ and not try to become ‘night’, and similarly the ‘night’ (i.e., woman) must function as ‘night’ (which covers and conceals) and not try to become ‘day’. Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ordered, “. . when a girl reaches the age of puberty nothing must be seen of her body except this and this (he pointed to the face and hands).” And so Muslim women have always covered themselves in Hijab—concealing arms, legs, bellies, head, hair, etc., in loose-fitting clothing.

Since women have a basic function of bearing and rearing children it was necessary that they be freed of an obligation to earn their livelihood. Thus the Qur’an obliged men to maintain, as well as to guard and protect them, and, in turn, obliged a woman to be obedient to her husband or guardian. Men and women ought to marry in Allah’s blessed name, and live in accordance with His guidance. Then, says the Qur’an, “… Allah places love and kindness betwix their hearts” in consequence of which they experience Sukun, i.e., peace, contentment and tranquility.

But Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) warned that among the signs of the Last Day was Dajjal the False Messiah or Anti-Christ. “… The last people to follow him would be women”, and his spell over women would be such that “… a man would have to return to his home and tie down (i.e., coercively restrain) his wife, sister and daughter to protect them from being seduced by Dajjal.” This prophecy indicated that women would be deceived and swept off their feet by something that would turn their world upside down. It would appear to be positive, whereas the reality would be destructive. Indeed, it would be in consequence of Dajjal’s attack that the ‘night’ would attempt to become ‘day’.

The Prophet prophesied 1400 years ago that women would “… dress like men”. This is already manifesting in the modern feminist revolution. He also prophesied, “… women would be dressed and yet be naked”, indicating that the feminist revolution would spawn a sexual revolution that would culminate with people committing “… sexual intercourse in public like donkeys.” One has to be absolutely blind not to recognize that this prophecy is today fulfilled. Trinidad’s Carnival, for example, is now dominated by women many of whom are bent on parading their nakedness in a truly pagan public display of flesh and vulgarity. And many there must be who participated in Carnival yesterday, but who today turn away in disgust!

The best secular response to this wanton destruction of every sacred value that binds the sexes together is a public distribution of condoms. The implication of this dramatic and ominous fulfilment of those prophesies is that a society that so corrupts itself eventually self destructs. Neither government nor opposition have a clue of how to prevent such an ignominious end.

“The sun rising from the West”, which is a major sign of the Last Day, appears to represent modern Western civilization's ‘upside down’ world in which, among many other things, women abandon their primary responsibility of rearing children in order to dress like men and go out to work full-time the way men do. The daycare center becomes the new Mummy. The child never forgets, and never forgives this neglect. And so children rebel and become uncontrollable, even for the police. But they also pay back their parents in the same coin by placing them, in their old age, in daycare centers for the aged that are really junkyards of human beings. Truly, modern Western civilization's feminist revolution has succeeded in causing the ‘night’ to become ‘day’ with dire consequences for society. Yet, with a deceptive smile, that false Western sunrise declares to her, “You’ve come a long way baby.”

taken from:

So I found this on one of the blogs I follow and I really enjoyed it. You might like it too...


Emma is a lawyer
And so is Aisha too
Colleagues going into court
At circa half past two

Its 1 O'Clock right now
Aisha prays before the trial
They grab a bite and chat about this and that
Conversing with a smile

Aisha is in full hijab
With a loose all over suit
Emma's in her business wear
With accessories taboot

Emma's really quite bemused
At Aisha's godly ways
She looks Aisha in the eyes
And very firmly says

You're a smart girl Aisha
Why do you wear that across your hair?
Subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair

Take it off my sister
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around

Aisha is amazed
But not the least bit shy
She bravely puts her milkshake down
And gives Emma the reply

My dear sister Emma,
Why do you dress the way you do?
The skirt you're wearing round your waist,
Is it really you?

Now that we've sat down
I see you tug it across your thighs,
Do you feel ashamed?
Aware of prying eyes?

I see the way you're sitting,
Both legs joined at the knees,
Who forces you to sit like that?
Do you feel at ease?

I'll tell you who obliges you,
To dress the way you do,
Gucci, Klein, and St. Laurent
All have designs on you!

In the main, its men my friend,
Who dictate the whims of fashion,
Generating all the garb,
To incite the basest passion

"Sex Sells" there is no doubt
But who buys with such great haste,
The answer is likes like you,
Because they want to be embraced...

They want to be accepted,
On a level playing field
Sure, with brain and intellect
But with body parts revealed

Intelligence and reason
Are useful by and by
But if you want to make a mark
Stay appealing to the eye

You claim your skirt is office-like
A business dress of sorts
Would we not laugh at Mike?
If he turned up in shorts?

His could be the poshest of pants
Pinstripe from Saville Rowe
But walking round like that my friend
He'd really have to go

Why do you douse yourself in creams
To make your skin so milky?
Why do you rip off all your hair
To keep your body silky?

A simple shower's all you need
To stay respectable and clean
The time and money that you spend
Is really quite obscene

Why do you wake up at dawn,
To apply a firm foundation,
Topped with make up and the like,
In one chaotic combination?

And if you should have to leave the house
Devoid of this routine
Why do you feel insecure
That you should not be seen?

Be free my sister Emma
Escape from your deep mire
Don hijab today my friend
And all Islam's attire

Avoid all those sickly stares
Or whistles from afar
Walk down the street with dignity
Take pride in who you are

Strength lies in anonymity
Be a shadow in the crowd
Until you speak and interact
When your voice will carry loud

You're a smart girl Emma
Wear this across your hair
Don't be subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair

To use your very words my friend
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around

Book Review in a flash: Does My head look big in this?

I read a really good book recently. Its called 'Does my head look big in this?' and its written by Randa Abdel Fattah.

Its about a teenage girl (in high school) who suddenly decides to start wearing hijaab. Its humorous and lighthearted and really very interesting... like of the 'cant-put-it-down-' variety. It even has a little romance...

The best part is that its not just a silly teen chick novel. It also poses questions about Islamic identity and Islamic pride. The protagonist is sassy and cool and its interesting to see how she navigates her way through a post 911 western society.

My verdict: go out and get a copy for yourself and then immerse yourself in the world of Amal and her friends and let them keep you company on these cold winter nights!

P.S. You'll enjoy it even if you're well beyond your teenage years.


Ok, so I have to admit that Im going to be really shameless here and promote my sister's book. Im not that bad since it really is an interesting read. And though this really is a display of shameless nepotism, i think you might enjoy it too.

Book review: ‘7 Things To Talk About’

7 things to talk about is a new book by first time author Zarina Hassem. Combining short fictional stories, commentary and discussion, and poetry, this book deals with issues such as Islamic identity and unity and aims to instil readers with the understanding of what it is to be truly Muslim. It manages to effectively convey its messages in a light hearted and sometimes anecdotal manner. Personally, I found myself laughing in reminiscence when reading the story of the Cassim family at suppertime, and nodding in agreement with the story of positive thinking. The various stories provided me with insight into my own life and made me question my own values and ideals.

One of my favourite stories has to be the one about the special bag. When a young boy is given an old and dusty bag, he cannot appreciate the true gift that it is. Later in life, however, he comes to discover the secret and the power of this special bag.

The book effectively manages to maintain a good balance between the fictional stories used and the commentary on not just the stories, but on life in general. It’s easy to understand where the title comes from since the book doesn’t just provide a discourse but also engages the reader in such a manner that just by reading it, you get the sense that you are already talking about it.

Counsellor and Psychologist, Zarina Hassem has spent most of her life learning to deal with people and their emotions. It’s not surprising then that she manages to tap into the depth of human nature, writing about core issues and problems in our society today and intrinsic human values.

Being a South African herself, the book also boasts local flavour; talking about racism and prejudice and allowing one to laugh along at some truly South African anecdotes. It doesn’t just manage to effectively provide many thoughtful questions like whether we can ever be free of racism and prejudice, or whether we can ever attain peace and contentment; but it also, using Qur’aan and Hadith, provides the answers to those questions; the answer that if we live a true and pure Islamic lifestyle, all those issues can easily be resolved.

Like the back cover suggests it truly is important and profound, yet ideal for light reading.
Now Available at the following stores in Johannesburg:
- Al-Huda Bookshop- Mayfair
-Ahlan wa-sahlan- Mayfair
-Nana's Bookstore- Oriental Plaza

Please contact the author ( to obtain copies if you are outside the Johannesburg area.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog