2011-01-31

Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion


Last September, after finishing my post-operation (knee surgery) rest period, and while roaming in the airport duty free shops, I stumbled upon a book with a very surprising title: "The God Delusion".

I admit it, although my religious believes are very shaky, and I like to think of myself as an Agnostic, yet such title awed me. Probably I was thinking: how could such book be available in Lebanon (although a free country but i guess we still have a barrier concerning the religious issues) ? should I buy it? would it cause me a problem if I brought it up with me back to Saudi Arabia (a very tight religious country) ?

In the end, I decided to get the book, and apparently I didn't run into trouble because of it (chuckle).

Anyhow, I dedicated some time to research about the author Richard Dawkins, apparently a prominent evolutionist biologist, with radical opinion concerning theology, religion, morals and atheism.

The book 'The God Delusion' is a followup to a documentary by Dawkins to the British TV.

I recommend as a startup, to watch the 2 episodes of the documentary before digging into the book's details.

The Root Of All Evil? Part 1/2
The Root Of All Evil? Part 2/2

 In general, the book is an attempt from Dawkins to draw conclusively that it can be proved that the existence of a deity isn't necessary. The Author addresses the problem using a very logical method. Starting with a showcase of religious currents evolutions, the arguments with and against the existence of God, cause of morals and if they are related to religious beliefs, the need to raise awareness concerning Natural selection and evolution, and the "childhood abuse" by religions (not precisely the physical one, but rather the cultural and psychological ones).

Professor Dawkins' aggressiveness, great knowledge and eloquence make this book one of the must-reads for everyone, and as Julian Barnes' reviewed the book:
'Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion should be read by everyone from atheist to monk. If it's merciless rationalism doesn't enrage you at some point, you probably aren't alive.'

2011-01-30

Americans Seriously Need Geography Lessons

I leave you with the following screenshot from FOX News and learn where Egypt is situated!


WTF! Probably Mubarak moved it there! LOL

*Update: The actual location of Egypt:


2011-01-29

Political Turmoil in Egypt from Another Perspective: Predictions

It's been very common in Lebanon for the past decade that on New Year's Eve, some people who allegedly can see through the future make predictions for the next period of 12-18months (according to their own words.

I personally don't like such acts, but, and to be completely honest, curiosity does drive me, after hearing friends and colleagues discussing it, to check it online and read it. And as the events pass by during the year, I like to see if those events were even mentioned by these "Predictors" and what words they used to describe them.

Below are extracts from predictions of 3 major stars in this domain (Michel Hayek, Mike Feghaly and Leila Abdullatif) which could, in my opinion, be related to the ongoing protests and uprising in Egypt:

1. Michel Hayek:


- زعامة الممثل المصري عادل إمام برسم التهديد.
(Leadership of the Egyptian actor Adel Imam draw the threat.)
- بروز تصاعدي لشخصية حكومية مصرية بأسلوب يحظى بتأييد الرأي العام .
(Ascending emergence of an egyptian government figure in a manner supported by public opinion.)
- يعود محمد البرادعي من معركته باكراً .
(Mohamed ElBaradei, is due from the battle early)
- فرق عسكرية مصرية بحال استنفار للإمساك بأمور مهددة بالفلتان .
(Egyptian military in alert to control things threatening to go chaotic.)


2. Mike Fegaly:

تغيير انظمة عربية وعالمية كبرى
(Change of major Arab and international regimes)



3. Leila Abdullatif

- مظاهرات ضد الفقر والجوع
(Protests against Poverty and Hunger)
- جمال مبارك: أعمال شغب في مصر تنتهي بوصوله للرئاسة
(Jamal Mubarak: Uprising in Egypt ending with his arrival to Presidency)

Source: http://news.nawaret.com/%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%82%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D8%B7%D9%8A%D9%81-%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-2011

No matter how interesting these "predictions" seem to be, they are completely irrational, and to me they are total speculations. People don't need to know the future, that's the beauty of living! And our daily acts define our future outcome.

2011-01-24

The Miqati Cabinet Prospects

It's most likely that as of tomorrow, Mr. Najib Miqati will be assigned Prime Minister of Lebanon. This assignment, backed by the so-called "Opposition" team (constituted of Hezbollah, Amal Movement, Free Patriotic Movement, and Other allies) with the joint efforts of MP Walid Junblatt, and refuted by the governing ex-majority "Lebanon First" bloc led by current PM Mr. Saad Hariri - also candidate to the office, faces many challenges before his cabinet is formed.

Mr. Miqati's first challenge is to calm Muslim Sunni voices who consider his assignment as a marginalization to the Sunni majority (The PM office in Lebanon is assigned to the Muslim Sunni sect), especially that he's backed by the Muslim Shiite majority representatives, in a period where the whole region is constantly on the verge of Sunni-Shiite confrontations.

The second challenge is in creating a moderate agenda to his cabinet-to-be especially concerning Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Opinions towards the STL and its indictment have been (allegedly) the main cause for resignation of the minority representatives in the previous cabinet.

The third challenge would be economy and security issues, where Miqati is expected to keep the stability established during the last couple of years.

But all those challenges, are directly tied to the relation of the future PM with the Hariri team: A compromise should be made between excluding this team and providing an acceptable political agenda by both the Hariri team and the new majority, or else he is doomed to fail.

Is Miqati the man who can face those challenges, and create that political dynamism? Or let me rephrase, is he the man allowed to do that?

2011-01-22

The Smartphone Addiction Era

With the current rapid advances in the technology, especially in the smartphones domain, a lot of applications and uses for these phones require of us to be more attached and needy to our "smart" phones. From social media updates, to geolocation sharing and GPS, chat, gaming, music and videos, camera, the trivial basic "calling" function, alarm, etc...

Yesterday, I was having plans to go out with some friends over lunch, accidentally i forgot  my mobile phone (by the way it's a Blackberry) at home, charging. Well you can tell I survived without it, but i kinda felt out of balance and disconnected without it; I mean, i am used to check updates regularly (every couple of minutes!!), I check the clock regularly (rude it may be, but it's just because i don't like to wear a watch, and I easily lose track of time), I chat with online friends... Anyway, half of our discussion over the lunch was about that smartphones are getting more addictive in our current times, and many examples were happening right before our eyes (I even had to ask a friend to stop looking at his! I probably felt jealous :-p).

This really made me think, is my relationship with my mobile phone crossing the edge of addiction? And in a more general manner, are we living in the Smartphone Addiction Era? What should we do to stop this addiction? Should we take regular weekly breaks from technology?