Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 11th, 2016

Water quality along Lebanon’s coast after the waste crisis

Ecocentra

An ecoblog on the Middle East

Note: Our waste crisis lasted over 6 months and most the streets in Beirut were strewn and heaped with garbage that fowled the air, brought in mosquitoes and flies in the warmer days, and seeped toxic water to the sea during diluvial days. The crisis is Not over and doomed to be repeat soon.

As the summer heat intensifies, the Lebanese flock to the country’s 225 km coastline.

Rampant pollution all over Lebanon has had deteriorating effects in many locations. This has been exacerbated by the months-long waste crisis which lead to over 4,000 illegal dump sites throughout the country – many of which are located along the coast.

A video taken by a scuba diver emerged a few months ago shows a large amount of waste at the bottom of the sea off the coast of the town of Jiye, a popular beach destination.

sea trash

Source: An Nahar

In October 2015, a sea water monitoring study was undertaken by the National Center for Marine Sciences, a research center under the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Lebanon.

A summary of the results of the Italian-funded study are shown below for some locations:

Area Condition
From the South to Tyre Beach Excellent
Sidon Good
Damour Good
Jiye Acceptable
Ramlet el Baida to Antelias Very polluted (chemical and organic pollutants)
Jounie to Tabarja Very polluted (sewage)
Jbeil and Amchit Very good
Batroun Good
Salaata Bad
Chekka (near factories) Very bad
Ras Chekka Very good
El Terba in Chekka (near factories) Very bad
Anfe Very good
Tripoli Very bad
El minieh and Akkar Good

According to the director of the National Center for Marine Sciences, Lebanon’s sea water is full of chemical and bacterial pollution.

The sources of bacterial pollution are organic waste and sewage.

Lebanon’s wastewater infrastructure is severely underdeveloped and a large portion of the wastewater generated in Lebanon is disposed into the environment without any treatment.

The lack of infrastructure has resulted in more than 53 sewage pipelines going into the sea untreated

In addition, for years, waste has been disposed in uncontrolled dumpsites along the coasts and near rivers, much of which eventually ends up in the sea.

The sources of chemical pollution in Lebanon are factories and power plants that are located adjacent to the coast.

Last year a factory in Batroun was shut down for dumping its waste into the sea. This is not a rare occurrence, and as the table above indicates, sea water near all coastal areas that host industrial areas and factories are highly polluted.

This issue needs to be put on the agenda of policy makers. This is not only an environmental and health issue, the tourism sector and thousands of fishermen along the various coastal cities and towns are economically dependent on the sea and if the situation keeps deteriorating, the country’s coast may no longer be usable.

The current Western civilization assimilated Averroes (Ibn Rushd) lessons and ran with it

Averroes (Ibn Rushd), 12th century rational thinker in Andalusia,  was considered the best translator and interpreter of Aristotle work in the Arabic World and agreed as such by the later European intellectuals.

Around 1196, salafist Islamic movements were on the rise in Morocco and transferred their religious ideology to Andalusia in Spain.

This movement forced the ruler to burn all of Averroes books. A few of his disciples from Europe and Egypt managed to whisk copies to France and Egypt.

The caption says:

1. Religious commerce is the most financially rewarding in countries where ignorance is widespread.

2. If you want to lure an ignorant, just wrap what is wrong in a religious content.

The first lesson was: God cannot give us a brain and contradicted laws in the same time

Second lesson: To be wise is to look at phenomena according to the nature of the demonstration

Third lesson: What the mind agrees on is the good option

Fourth lesson: If the ignorant desists of talking on subject matters they know nothing about, confusion will diminish

Fifth lesson: The wealth of a nation is in the great number of talented workers, artisans, and scientists in all kinds of fields

‎محمد مصطفى‎'s photo.

محمد مصطفىFollow

لما بكى العرب سقوط الأندلس ( 1492م ) قليلون هم من يعلمون، أن سقوطها كان يوم أن أحرق العرب كتب ابن رشد، قبل هذا التاريخ بثلاثة قرون ( 1196م) وكذا لما ابتهج الأوربيون بنهضتهم التى قامت ( فى القرن السادس عشر ) قلة منهم، من أدرك أن نهضتهم قامت، يوم طارت أفكار ابن رشد عبر البحر إليهم ( فى القرن الثالث عشر ) وقد تنبأ حكيم العرب ابن رشد بذلك .. لما رأى تلميذه يبكى، بينما كان العرب يحرقون كتب معلمه، فالتفت له المعلم ـ ابن رشد ـ وقال: إذ كنت تبكى حال المسلمين، فاعلم أن بحار العالم لن تكفيك دموعاً، أما إذا كنت تبكى الكتب المحروقة، فاعلم أن للأفكار أجنحة، وهى تطير لأصحابها .
وقد حدث ما قال حكيم العرب :
سقطت الأندلس يوم أحرقت كتب ابن رشد .. وبدأت نهضة أوروبا يوم وصلتهم أفكار ابن رشد .
فكانت القاعدة الأولى التى حوَّلت الأوربيين صوب النور .. قولته التى حسمت العلاقة مع الدين .
( الله لا يمكن أن يعطينا عقولا .. ويعطينا شرائع مخالفة لها )
وكانت القاعدة الثانية التى جعلت الأوربيين يمخرون عُباب بحر العلم .
قولة ابن رشد ( إن الحكمة هى النظر فى الأشياء بحسب ما تقتضيه طبيعة البرهان )
وكانت القاعدة الثالثة التى جعلت الأوربيين يلتئمون حول مرجعية موحدة :
قولة ابن رشد ( الحَسَن ما حسَّنه العقل .. والقبيح ما قبَّحه العقل )
وكانت القاعدة الرابعة التى أنهت الجدل السوفسطائى لدى الأوربيين :
قولة ابن رشد ( لو سكت من لا يعرف لقل الخلاف )
وكانت القاعدة الخامسة التى جعلت الأوربيين ينهضون اقتصاديا :
قولة ابن رشد ( إن ثروة الأمم بكثرة السكان المحبين للعمل، والمجيدين له المبدعين فيه )
إن قيمة العقل في فكر ابن رشد مركزية وأساسية. والعقل عند ابن رشد هو العقل البرهاني الصارم وليس العقل الجدلي أو الخطابي اللذين قد تلبسا بموروث، أصبح بحد ذاته عائقا للعمل النهضوي والتنويري .. فهل للأمة من ابن رشد جديد .. فإن لم يحن أوانه بعد .. فلتكن أفكاره ملهمةً لنا حتى يوافينا .
محمد مصطفى

I visited my “Motherland” once; (July 28, 2009

I read Ulysses once; it was all ancient Greek.

All languages are suitable for writing poems:

Poems are meant to express the spirit of the Land;

Long before languages were created or codified.

Samuel Butler demonstrated that Ulysses was written by a woman,

A young woman and single; I like that better;

It is more convincing.

Butler confirmed that Ulysses’ trip was around Sicily.

Seven years to tour Sicily is irrelevant.

Years in ancient times were measured by seasons.

The shorter year was winter; the longer one was the extended long dry season.

 

One systematic mind splits the differences in moon rotations.

Another mathematical mind worshiped number three.

His enemy preferred the symmetrical number four.

Years kept shifting in length.

 

It was a time of confusion and rare standards.

It was a time of total freedom of ignorance

Mainly for the “free men”.

Slaves were redundant and obeyed the will of their masters.

They still do on a larger scales, number and ignominy.

The masters are mostly regrouped in “Secret Clubs” of free men;

Sometimes in veto power nations around a United Nation.

 

I visited my “Motherland” once.

I returned to my City-State of Ithaca once.

I had no Penelope there waiting for me:

I would never care for a dumb witch waiting for a war man.

I have never been a war man: I fled the war zone for reasons.

 

I visited my “Motherland” once.

I visited my “Motherland” with my new family.

I called up my exiled friends to join me.

I didn’t care to face little men and little souls;

Petrified and perched on mountain peaks.

Petrified erect statues, line fishing in a dirty dying sea.

 

I toured my motherland solely with my family like a tourist:

Nature and natural phenomena are romantic and truer to my origins.

 

The children loved my motherland;

They had plenty of fun with super energetic and fun children.

They climbed trees, jumped walls and cliffs.

They played war battles with sticks;

On land, seas, and around the galaxies.

Fire crackers a go-go; makeshift guns and swords flailing around.

 

Many wounds and scars to mend;

Barely missing their folks; the tamed ones.

It was a dangerous habit experiencing natural chaos among the kids’ world.

The western mother won’t allow my children this extravagant climate;

They won’t visit my motherland as long as in her protection.

 

I visited my “Motherland” once.

I fled as quickly as the airport was re-opened.

I boarded the ships of my adoptive nation;

Evacuating its citizens from a worn torn dysfunctional society.

 

I visited my “Motherland” once.

Nobody cared to ask me about my life in my “adoptive” society.

They blabbered about stories and anecdotes of the dead and mostly the dying.

They recounted of newer generations, totally irrelevant to me.

Nobody cared to ask how much I suffered and struggled to survive.

Everybody mocked the caring soul who ventured to know the new me.

 

I visited my “Motherland” once.

I am currently living in a standardized society,

Highly organized and administered for just the free people:

Laws tailor-made to oppress the little people

A society every bit the dream of racist Plato in his Republic.

 

I visited with trepidation:

I had been given a medal of honor in my adoptive society.

I kept on my high white horse and barely mingled.

They insisted on raising me on shoulders and necks.

I lamely fought this uncalled for barbaric show of substituted glory.

 

Another medal of honor was attached on my lapel.

The officials never cared to investigate if I was proud of my origin.

I was a sample of men worthy of the motherland’s origin.

 

I visited my “Motherland” once.

I visited with hesitation; I am back almost broke financially.

A life of learning and struggles is irrelevant.

I kept my silence, wrapped in mysteries.

I created my own island.

 

With inexistent public transportations

It is so easy and comfortable creating islands;

Alongside islands of communities.

I returned for good to my island.

 

Many poets toured the world for inspirations.

They returned to keep silent.

The world was too gruesome to laud humanity;

Miserable beings were no inspirations for chants and songs.

Pablo Neruda was also frustrated and lived in solitude abroad.

He clawed to his roots, the toiling and brave workers.

His “Canto general” was a culmination of the spirit recounting its origins;

Of dirt, mud, forests, rivers, sand, wind, wilderness, and the survival of man.

Neruda returned to chant the dignity of South Americana.

 

All languages are suitable for writing poems and the best ones.

It is the spirit of the Land that chants through the soul.

No need to be ashamed of traditions and customs;

All civilizations had almost similar traditions and customs.

Cultures that banished theirs for the sake of modernity

Are not bearable communities for the living.

 

Cultures that banished theirs for the sake of modernity

Transferred them to exclusive clubs, secretive associations,

The guardians of the customs and traditions

To rule, govern, and safeguard the continuity of the “Free elected Men”

Stories we tell ourselves about death

Why is humanity so obsessed with living forever

Philosopher Stephen Cave begins with a dark but compelling question: When did you first realize you were going to die?

And even more interesting: Why do we humans so often resist the inevitability of death?

Cave explores 4 narratives — common across civilizations — that we tell ourselves “in order to help us manage the terror of death.”

Stephen Cave. Philosopher.  He wants to know: Why is humanity so obsessed with living forever? Full bio

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
ted.com|By Stephen Cave

I have a question: Who here remembers when they first realized they were going to die?

0:20 I do. I was a young boy, and my grandfather had just died, and I remember a few days later lying in bed at night trying to make sense of what had happened. What did it mean that he was dead?

Where had he gone? It was like a hole in reality had opened up and swallowed him.

But then the really shocking question occurred to me: If he could die, could it happen to me too?

Could that hole in reality open up and swallow me? Would it open up beneath my bed and swallow me as I slept?

Well, at some point, all children become aware of death. It can happen in different ways, of course, and usually comes in stages.

Our idea of death develops as we grow older. And if you reach back into the dark corners of your memory, you might remember something like what I felt when my grandfather died and when I realized it could happen to me too, that sense that behind all of this the void is waiting.

And this development in childhood reflects the development of our species. Just as there was a point in your development as a child when your sense of self and of time became sophisticated enough for you to realize you were mortal, so at some point in the evolution of our species, some early human’s sense of self and of time became sophisticated enough for them to become the first human to realize, “I’m going to die.” (Animal feel the nearing of death and isolate themselves)

This is, if you like, our curse. It’s the price we pay for being so damn clever.

We have to live in the knowledge that the worst thing that can possibly happen one day surely will, the end of all our projects, our hopes, our dreams, of our individual world. We each live in the shadow of a personal apocalypse.

And that’s frightening. It’s terrifying. And so we look for a way out. And in my case, as I was about five years old, this meant asking my mum. Now when I first started asking what happens when we die, the grown-ups around me at the time answered with a typical English mix of awkwardness and half-hearted Christianity, and the phrase I heard most often was that granddad was now up there looking down on us,” and if I should die too, which wouldn’t happen of course, then I too would go up there, which made death sound a lot like an existential elevator.

Now this didn’t sound very plausible. I used to watch a children’s news program at the time, and this was the era of space exploration. There were always rockets going up into the sky, up into space, going up there. But none of the astronauts when they came back ever mentioned having met my granddad or any other dead people.

But I was scared, and the idea of taking the existential elevator to see my granddad sounded a lot better than being swallowed by the void while I slept. And so I believed it anyway, even though it didn’t make much sense.

This thought process that I went through as a child, and have been through many times since, including as a grown-up, is a product of what psychologists call a bias. Now a bias is a way in which we systematically get things wrong, ways in which we miscalculate, misjudge, distort reality, or see what we want to see, and the bias I’m talking about works like this:

Confront someone with the fact that they are going to die and they will believe just about any story that tells them it isn’t true and they can, instead, live forever, even if it means taking the existential elevator.

Now we can see this as the biggest bias of all. It has been demonstrated in over 400 empirical studies.

Now these studies are ingenious, but they’re simple. They work like this.

You take two groups of people who are similar in all relevant respects, and you remind one group that they’re going to die but not the other, then you compare their behavior.

So you’re observing how it biases behavior when people become aware of their mortality. And every time, you get the same result: People who are made aware of their mortality are more willing to believe stories that tell them they can escape death and live forever.

So here’s an example: One recent study took two groups of agnostics, that is people who are undecided in their religious beliefs. Now, one group was asked to think about being dead. The other group was asked to think about being lonely. They were then asked again about their religious beliefs. Those who had been asked to think about being dead were afterwards twice as likely to express faith in God and Jesus. Twice as likely. Even though the before they were all equally agnostic. But put the fear of death in them, and they run to Jesus.

this shows that reminding people of death biases them to believe, regardless of the evidence, and it works not just for religion, but for any kind of belief system that promises immortality in some form, whether it’s becoming famous or having children or even nationalism, which promises you can live on as part of a greater whole.

This is a bias that has shaped the course of human history.

the theory behind this bias in the over 400 studies is called terror management theory, and the idea is simple. It’s just this.

We develop our worldviews, that is, the stories we tell ourselves about the world and our place in it, in order to help us manage the terror of death. And these immortality stories have thousands of different manifestations, but I believe that behind the apparent diversity there are actually just four basic forms that these immortality stories can take.

And we can see them repeating themselves throughout history, just with slight variations to reflect the vocabulary of the day. Now I’m going to briefly introduce these four basic forms of immortality story, and I want to try to give you some sense of the way in which they’re retold by each culture or generation using the vocabulary of their day.

The first story is the simplest. We want to avoid death, and the dream of doing that in this body in this world forever is the first and simplest kind of immortality story, and it might at first sound implausible, but actually, almost every culture in human history has had some myth or legend of an elixir of life or a fountain of youth or something that promises to keep us going forever.

Ancient Egypt had such myths, ancient Babylon, ancient India. Throughout European history, we find them in the work of the alchemists, and of course we still believe this today, only we tell this story using the vocabulary of science.

So 100 years ago, hormones had just been discovered, and people hoped that hormone treatments were going to cure aging and disease, and now instead we set our hopes on stem cells, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology.

the idea that science can cure death is just one more chapter in the story of the magical elixir, a story that is as old as civilization.

But betting everything on the idea of finding the elixir and staying alive forever is a risky strategy. When we look back through history at all those who have sought an elixir in the past, the one thing they now have in common is that they’re all dead.

So we need a backup plan, and exactly this kind of plan B is what the second kind of immortality story offers, and that’s resurrection.

And it stays with the idea that I am this body, I am this physical organism. It accepts that I’m going to have to die but says, despite that, I can rise up and I can live again. In other words, I can do what Jesus did. Jesus died, he was three days in the [tomb], and then he rose up and lived again.

And the idea that we can all be resurrected to live again is orthodox believe, not just for Christians but also Jews and Muslims.

But our desire to believe this story is so deeply embedded that we are reinventing it again for the scientific age, for example, with the idea of cryonics. That’s the idea that when you die, you can have yourself frozen, and then, at some point when technology has advanced enough, you can be thawed out and repaired and revived and so resurrected.

And so some people believe an omnipotent god will resurrect them to live again, and other people believe an omnipotent scientist will do it.

But for others, the whole idea of resurrection, of climbing out of the grave, it’s just too much like a bad zombie movie. They find the body too messy, too unreliable to guarantee eternal life, and so they set their hopes on the third, more spiritual immortality story, the idea that we can leave our body behind and live on as a soul.

Now, the majority of people on Earth believe they have a soul, and the idea is central to many religions. But even though, in its current form, in its traditional form, the idea of the soul is still hugely popular, nonetheless we are again reinventing it for the digital age, for example with the idea that you can leave your body behind by uploading your mind, your essence, the real you, onto a computer, and so live on as an avatar in the ether.

 there are skeptics who say if we look at the evidence of science, particularly neuroscience, it suggests that your mind, your essence, the real you, is very much dependent on a particular part of your body, that is, your brain.

And such skeptics can find comfort in the fourth kind of immortality story, and that is legacy, the idea that you can live on through the echo you leave in the world, like the great Greek warrior Achilles, who sacrificed his life fighting at Troy so that he might win immortal fame.

And the pursuit of fame is as widespread and popular now as it ever was, and in our digital age, it’s even easier to achieve. You don’t need to be a great warrior like Achilles or a great king or hero. All you need is an Internet connection and a funny cat. (Laughter) But some people prefer to leave a more tangible, biological legacy — children, for example.

Or they like, they hope, to live on as part of some greater whole, a nation or a family or a tribe, their gene pool. But again, there are skeptics who doubt whether legacy really is immortality. Woody Allen, for example, who said, “I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen. I want to live on in my apartment.”

So those are the four basic kinds of immortality stories, and I’ve tried to give just some sense of how they’re retold by each generation with just slight variations to fit the fashions of the day.

And the fact that they recur in this way, in such a similar form but in such different belief systems, suggests, I think, that we should be skeptical of the truth of any particular version of these stories.

The fact that some people believe an omnipotent god will resurrect them to live again and others believe an omnipotent scientist will do it suggests that neither are really believing this on the strength of the evidence.

Rather, we believe these stories because we are biased to believe them, and we are biased to believe them because we are so afraid of death.

So the question is, are we doomed to lead the one life we have in a way that is shaped by fear and denial, or can we overcome this bias?

Well the Greek philosopher Epicurus thought we could. He argued that the fear of death is natural, but it is not rational. “Death,” he said, “is nothing to us, because when we are here, death is not, and when death is here, we are gone.”

Now this is often quoted, but it’s difficult to really grasp, to really internalize, because exactly this idea of being gone is so difficult to imagine. So 2,000 years later, another philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, put it like this: “Death is not an event in life: We do not live to experience death. And so,” he added, “in this sense, life has no end.”

 it was natural for me as a child to fear being swallowed by the void, but it wasn’t rational, because being swallowed by the void is not something that any of us will ever live to experience.

overcoming this bias is not easy because the fear of death is so deeply embedded in us, yet when we see that the fear itself is not rational, and when we bring out into the open the ways in which it can unconsciously bias us, then we can at least start to try to minimize the influence it has on our lives.

14:02  I find it helps to see life as being like a book: Just as a book is bounded by its covers, by beginning and end, so our lives are bounded by birth and death, and even though a book is limited by beginning and end, it can encompass distant landscapes, exotic figures, fantastic adventures.

And even though a book is limited by beginning and end, the characters within it know no horizons. They only know the moments that make up their story, even when the book is closed. And so the characters of a book are not afraid of reaching the last page.

Long John Silver is not afraid of you finishing your copy of “Treasure Island.” And so it should be with us. Imagine the book of your life, its covers, its beginning and end, and your birth and your death. You can only know the moments in between, the moments that make up your life.

It makes no sense for you to fear what is outside of those covers, whether before your birth or after your death. And you needn’t worry how long the book is, or whether it’s a comic strip or an epic. The only thing that matters is that you make it a good story.

Note: On time and death: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/time-for-remembrance-2/


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