E-matchmaking is the latest profession for marriages

Updated 12 August 2013
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E-matchmaking is the latest profession for marriages

Khattaba is the Arabic word for a woman marriage match-maker whose job is to bring two people together who want to get married. She is the link between those two people, starting with introductions with the intent of reaching a final agreement.
Prospective grooms are largely responsible for paying for the service. And like most professionals, Khattabas can be sought through social networking websites.
Umm Mohammad is a popular marriage match-maker who has gained the confidence of many prospective brides and groom.
“Because we live in a conservative society, it doesn’t mean we don’t understand the requirements of our young people,” Mohammad said. “And that’s why I have entered this profession.
She said she approaches each potential couple with marriage applications to be filled out. If there is a potential match, the two individuals are introduced to each other and they decide on the marriage. At this point families of the bride and groom get involved.
Mohammad said she opened a Facebook account to further her profession.
“In reality, I can hardly switch on the computer and I was fearful at first when my daughter suggested this it,” she said. “My daughter started to teach me the basics of my account on Facebook, and it’s been three years since I have been dealing with this technology under her supervision.”
She added: “There is less pressure because I don’t need to go outside of the house as it was before and I receive everything on e-mail.”
She said she receives the personal data of the parties wishing for a spouse.
“I don’t think using such social media networking requires a great deal of effort or in being clever to get as much friends and followers as possible,” she said.
Mohammad noted that through social media Through platforms, professional matchmakers are “building a virtual self where messages can be received from both parties specifying exact information about them and what they are looking for in an ideal marriage partner.”
Sa’dah Al-Bashri, a traditional matchmaker, refuses to enter the virtual world. She said it will cause people to lose confidence in the profession and its practitioners. It also will lead to reduced fees for matchmakers.
“Our reputation and contacts are our investment,” Al-Bashri said. “Not all website users are perfect clients. It is better to go directly to the parents of young men and women. If young people are serious about a commitment they wouldn’t use these websites.”
Traditional matchmaking is much easier because enables the matchmaker to describe prospective brides or grooms in detail, which gives the process credibility.
“E-matchmaking is harming the reputation of our profession, and we lost many clients who joined these websites,” Al-Bashri said.
Fees depend on marriages and the social standing of the couple. But the cost to the prospective groom not less than SR 500 as a starting price.
Al-Bashri said websites are not safe, and she prefers the traditional way because it is much more confidential.
Al Anood, member of a Facebook group, doesn’t see any harm in dealing with matchmakers, whether they are traditional or modern, as long as they maintain privacy.
Matchmakers help young men, even though many people reject them. One of her relatives had an unsuccessful experience with e-matchmaking, but there are many successful marriages, she said.
The important thing is to know the suitable matchmaker and the realistic and reasonable qualities of one’s partner.


New 3-D map of Milky Way will ‘revolutionize astronomy’

Updated 25 April 2018
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New 3-D map of Milky Way will ‘revolutionize astronomy’

PARIS: Europe’s Gaia satellite has produced a “stunning” 3-D map, published Wednesday, of more than a billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, complete with their distance from Earth, their color, and their motion through space.
The eagerly-anticipated catalogue was compiled from data gathered by Gaia on some 1.7 billion stars over 22 months in 2014-2016, from its unique vantage point in space about 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Earth.
“The dataset is very rich and we believe it will revolutionize astronomy and our understanding of the Milky Way,” Gaia’s scientific operations manager Uwe Lammers told AFP of the massive data release.
“This catalogue is the most precise, most complete catalogue that has ever been produced. It allows studies which have not been possible before.”
Launched in 2013, Gaia gathers data on about 100,000 stars per minute — some 500 million measurements per day. Its first map was published in September 2016, with about 1.15 billion stars.
An update, released at the ILA international air and space show in Berlin, adds stars and provides more data on each one. Some were measured as many as 70 times.
The map contains 1.7 billion stars “for which we can tell where they are in the sky with very high accuracy, and how bright they are,” said Anthony Brown of the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium.
For 1.3 billion of those, “we know their distance and we know how they move through space.”
There is, furthermore, information on the radial velocities of some seven million stars — indicating the rate at which they are moving toward, or away from, Earth.
With all this data, “we can make a map of the whole night sky,” said Brown, who described the end result as “stunning.”
“You see the whole Milky Way in motion around its axis.”
Gaia also revealed the orbits of some 14,000 “solar system objects” — mapped as an intricate spiderweb of space rocks orbiting the Sun.
“It represents the most accurate survey ever of asteroids in the Solar System,” said Brown. More will be added in future updates.
Information sent to Earth by Gaia is collated by 450 scientists from 20 countries.
One of them, Antonella Vallenari, likened the data release to “opening a chocolate box.”
“It’s very, very exciting,” she said at the launch event in Germany, webcast live.
The full data will be published in a series of scientific papers in a special issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.