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In the Name of God بسم الله
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About this blog

I started writing stories for my niece Sakina when she was about 6 or 7 years old. They've always been short enough to fit inside a birthday card. The photo that illustrates the blog is a cake she baked for one of my birthdays.

Entries in this blog

Relationships and robots

In the shadowy conference room of the Athena Institute, a right-wing think tank in the heart of Washington, D.C., key policymakers and intellectuals gathered around a gleaming mahogany table. Dr. Helen Mercer, the chairwoman, wasted no time addressing the stark issue at hand. “The crisis is clear,” she announced. “Birth rates in the West are in freefall, primarily because many are choosing AI companions over human partners. Our data shows a troubling trend: these robots are not just partner

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Futures

What do we do?

[I co-wrote this with chatgpt4]   In a softly lit, high-ceilinged room, a group of civil servants gathered around a large oval table. The air was thick with tension, a palpable sense of unease hovering over them. At the head of the table, Marianne, the committee chair, cleared her throat. "The reality is unavoidable," she began, her voice steady yet tinged with concern. "With the rise of artificial intelligence, we're facing unprecedented job losses across multiple industries." He

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Futures

Twenty Years On Shiachat!

Looks like I've been here a while ... Twenty years ago today! I think I joined up after returning from Hajj, I should have done it beforehand I guess. It's been fun in the main, but gotten quieter over the years. Still, it has also served as a diary and a place to keep thoughts and ideas. I can understand why some people leave after a while - it's often the same issues that keep cropping up. It helps to have as bad a memory as mine - so things seem newer than they really are. And what

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Landmark

Anna Pavlovna's tea party

This story is about a tea party, but actually it isn't about the party. It isn't about the party that Anna Pavlovna holds, the one that many people know about but about whose subsequent events they remain unfamiliar. In fact if I wanted to I could try really hard and remind myself of the time I attended, but as I said that's not really the purpose of this story. You see Sakina many people arrive at Anna Pavlovna's party with high hopes and expectations. They have a self-image of their

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

Cuddles

OK, this was actually written for Zehra, but Sakina does have a role. This is one of my DIY birthday cards. You can get bubble-jet printer paper that prints both sides. Even better one side is semi-glossy and the other one is matt.    

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

Lost and found. Forever?

I had a thoughtful afternoon in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens some years ago and was inspired to write this.  One day, many hundreds of years ago, there was a storm in the Mediterranean Sea. And it was no different to all the other storms that happened before or after, but this storm must have been a special storm because it sank a special ship.  The ship itself was no different from the many other ships that have sailed before or after this event, but this one was speci

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

Punctuated sunrise [10,000th post]

It's taken me nearly 15 years to get to 10,000 posts, so I thought I'd post something special. I remember the cold. I think it was the first time in my life that keeping warm was a struggle. Shafts of cold air channelled in through a train not designed to keep it out. Arriving at Amritsar station, there was some relief. I remember the shouts of ‘garam chai’ (hot tea) rising above the cacophony of engines, whistles, and general yells. This trip was the first time that I was allowed to drink

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

Hottentots and Octonauts

[Octonauts is a television programme for children on the BBC] “Abbas are you still watching Hottentots?” asked Abbas’s Dad coming into the kitchen “But Baba, my breakfast isn’t finished yet!” said Abbas, pointing to the few scraps of omelette left on his plate. “It’ll soon be lunchtime, so I am taking away laptoppy and you can finish breakfast all by yourself,” said Baba, “and remember to bring the battery-start with you.” “Baba, why do you call Octonauts Hottentots?” asked A

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

The tale of Swampy, Rocky and Dusty

Once upon a time there were three little islands, separated by thousands of miles. One was called Swampy, because for most of its history it had been a swamp. The other was called Rocky because there was a big hill across most of it and Dusty was surrounded by sand. As you can probably tell, there was not really much on Swampy, Rocky or Dusty to excite people and not many animals went there either. But all three lay just on the edge of large continents and all the other lands and islands

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

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