A teenager from Egypt accused of illegally protesting the Egyptian government defected to the US after participating in an international high school science fair held in Los Angeles.
"Abdullah Assem, 17, decided not to board a Cairo-bound plane Sunday for fear he would be arrested upon landing," reports the LA Times
. "For the last four days he has stayed with family friends in Los Angeles County while he seeks asylum in the US." He was one of 1,787 teens who took part in a six-day International Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by Intel at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week.
From Bob Pool at the LAT:
His project, "Eye Detection and Tracking-Based Communication System for Tetraplegia Patients," had qualified for the competition through one of the program's 450 preliminary science fairs. His research involved the use of eyeglasses and motion sensors to enable quadriplegics to use computers.
There's a wonderful article about the young man at madamasr.com, "the first time Assem spoke to the press since making the life-changing decision not to return to Egypt. " Christopher Reeve writes:
Assem said that after his arrest [in Egypt], he spent the first 24 hours in state security detention in downtown Cairo’s Lazoghly. He was handcuffed, blindfolded, and assaulted. One official began to set the boy’s shirt on fire, while it was still covering his torso. Assem jumped up and down until another official doused the flames. He was made it sit in an awkward position on the floor for his interrogation.
Assem made his way from the sofa to the carpeted floor to show me the position he had to maintain. I had to imagine the blindfold and handcuffs.
Officials insulted him. “You are a kaza,” Assem retold, too modest to say the actual curses. One of Assem’s captors, the boy says, caressed his body with a knife, saying, “I can hurt you with this. Stab you here.” The knife’s blade kept moving. “Cut you here.”
Assem was called a terrorist, and told that he had stolen two tanks. The story changed slightly to two police cars. “They found it illogical to say that I stole tanks, so they changed it to cars,” Assem said. He had also been accused of carrying a weapon, perhaps his eye-tracking machine.
After his dark night in Cairo, officials from Assiut took the boy back to Upper Egypt. Still handcuffed, he was transported in the bed of a covered security vehicle, tumbling about like a ragdoll on the five-hour ride.
“I screamed. I cried,” he recalled.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, […]
In a lead editorial in the current Nature, John Wilbanks (formerly head of Science Commons, now “Chief Commons Officer” for Sage Bionetworks) and Eric Topol (professor of genomics at the Scripps Institute) decry the mass privatization of health data by tech startups, who’re using a combination of side-deals with health authorities/insurers and technological lockups to […]
The Wall Street Journal reports that storytellers—people with a natural inclination to craft concise yet compelling narratives without rambling—were found to be hot by science. Feels good to be a writa. The results were the same across all three studies: Women rated men who were good storytellers as more attractive and desirable as potential long-term […]
Learning is a 24/7/365 proposition, and it never ends. And if you’re truly serious about leveling up your skill sets and career prospects, get a subscription to Stone River Academy’s massive course collection. This offer normally is worth over $1,400, but is now available for just $89 in the Boing Boing Store.A respected name in information technology […]
Home audio has taken some big leaps forward in recent years–not just in terms of sound quality, but also in the style department. The FRESHeBAR Leather Soundbar, now 56% off in the Boing Boing Store, is proof.The FRESHeBAR comes packing almost all the options you’d ever need for a home sound system, including Bluetooth streaming capabilities.The unit’s 90 […]
Much of what goes into creating an amazing photo happens in the digital darkroom. Here’s your chance to master all things photo editing: the Ultimate Adobe Photo Editing Bundle, now available in the Boing Boing Store for just $29.99.Across 8 courses and over 41 hours of intensive instruction, you’ll learn the fundamentals of Adobe’s suite of photo […]