Video: Think Like A Martian – The Feynman Series

Travel: Jabel Shams – Oman 2013

Oman is a special place, a natural wonderland for the outdoor enthusiast. There are so many spots untouched and yet to be explored in this mysterious land. One of them was Jabel Shams, the highest peak in Oman, topping out at 3075 meters high. It is a relentless and grueling hike up, that can be done in one or two days depending on your pace. The views are magnificent and the silence captivating.

Video: Michael Shermer – Why People Believe Weird Things

Video: Carl Sagan

Articles: A Neuroscientist’s Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious

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The Billboard: Khaldoun Alnaqeeb


Music: Antonio Vivaldi – “Summer” From Four Seasons

Articles: Where to Go to Avoid Crowds

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Video: The Science of Happiness – A Study of Cute Aggression

The Billboard: Bill Nye


Video: 4 Minutes That Will Change Your Life

Watching this video made me want to write about a topic very dear to my heart; animals and animal rights. I have 4 reasons why animals are important in our lives:

1- Animals are part of our ecosystem cycle. Simply put, if we don’t respect their co-existence or protect them and their habitats from the possiblity of man made extinction, then the whole food chain cycle will be disrupted.  Animals of all kinds, including primates, will directly suffer the consequences of our actions.

2- Animals have elevated senses.  We as humans have super senses, but even our eyes, ears and sense of smell are of no match to those of the animals. Further, the evolution of the animal is linked directly to the Earth and the historical changes of our planet through time.  For example, sharks use the electromagnetic field from the earth’s north and south poles to detect their direction using electrical wave lengths. Elephants can communicate through the vibrations from their foot steps. They can, in fact, communicate with a herd of elephants 10km away just by sensations on their feet! Bears hibernate the whole winter, slowing the heart rate down to one beat per minute, saving energy throughout the whole winter season. Bats use ultrasound wavelengths to detect prey in the dark. Some scientist believe the nocturnal bat inhabited the nightlife to avoid the dinosaurs who hunted during the day.  Survival intinct.  Alligators are cold blooded, not producing any heat and saving energy for months without the need of sunlight. There are many more examples of the greatness of the animal kingdom that we can learn from and adapt to our technologies.

3- Humans evolved only 200,000 years ago unlike animals and insects who were present on earth since its creation almost 3 billion years ago.  Some animals have survived for millions of eons and are still alive such as alligators, ants, beetles and bees.

4-The myth that animals do not have brains and that is why they do not have a spoken language, which makes humans superior to every living thing. Well, first of all, animals do have brains and they do have language, but their language is different. They did not evolve with tubes to talk, but instead communicate through sound effects, as seen commonly with all birds and not so commonly with the meerkat.  Scientists can determine from each sound pitch if they are afraid, hungry, happy or sad. Therefore, animals do have emotions and of course brains!

I can go on forever here, but all I can say is, please, appreciate nature with its beauty from the animal kingdom, and that includes all plants and insects. Without them we wouldn’t be who we are now.

Books: What Do Women Want? – Daniel Bergner

Upon Stephen Hawking turning 70, he had this to say about women: “They are a complete mystery to me.”  With no answers coming from Mr. Hawking, what can be interpreted from the many studies on women conducted over the years, and to increase the degree of difficulty, specifically relating to the female sexual desire. We know that men have their own ‘desire pill,’ Viagra, as a physical and psychological aid to the gentleman’s libido.  Women have no such pill.  It is not because women are less sexual to warrant a boost in their desire for lust, but instead the reason may lie in the fact that women’s desire has been under-researched and overlooked.  This book is a compilation of the efforts made to better understand female desire.  Meredith Chivers looked to remedy this, and was one of the first women to study the female sexual desire, shedding light on this controversial ‘non-scientific’ topic back in the 90’s. Her experiments showed very interesting results, and techniques used to measure the arousal level for heterosexual women was by showing them images of straight sex, gay sex, lesbian sex and monkey sex and gauging and recording the resulting impulses. Interestingly enough, heterosexual women were aroused by all the above, unlike the rest of their counterparts; i.e. heterosexual men, and homosexual men and women. Her work is mentioned regularly in this book, along with others who paid particular interest in this field.  Marta Meana was another who presented an interesting theory regarding the female desire, and it was with the narcism approach.  Women want to feel wanted, and “being desired is the real orgasm.” The book touches on monogamy, providing case studies arguing that humans are not necesarily monogamous by nature and that this is a myth, compounded by years of social and cultural pressure. One of the myths is that women are more monogamous than men, but that as well may not carry too much truth in it either.  There are in effect many arguments that may change the way we look at the female desire, or better yet, change the perception of it.  I, for example, think a breakdown between a man and woman in a relationship comes from women losing their desire and not necesarily just the men.  I would say ‘if only,’ women have the freedom to express their sexuality and avoid the trap of strictly pleasing the men, by putting an end to the discrepancy between the male and female sexual desire, we might all just relax a bit and live in less sexually frustrated societies.  This book makes you wonder with all the education it provides, and I myself as a woman ask, what do we really want?  Hope you are listening Mr. Hawking.



This is a discussion between the author, Daniel Bergner and other sexologists regarding the female desire, if you feel you want to have more information

Articles: About Thinking – Questioning Everything With A Hopeful Skeptic

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Articles: Why Does The Universe Appear Fine Tuned For Life?

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The Billboard: Faith


Articles: 10 Ways The Internet Is Destroying You

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Video: The Fine Art of Not Knowing

Books: I Wonder – Annaka Harris

I feel every parent should read this book to their kids. To hold a certain belief is like saying you know everything, but admitting that you are not absolutely certain about anything and you are willing to learn, search and change what you believe in, is something, in my opinion, is sacred.


Interest: Consensus? Science Talks Event

I was very excited to attend this event in London on November 16th 2013.  To my surprise, Consensus? Science Talks was organized to raise awareness for Alfred Russel Wallace, the man who for years, in parallel with Charles Darwin, approached thoughts and observations that would lead to the breakthroughs on the theory of evolution.  I did not really know anything about Wallace or how he contributed, in writing and research before and with Darwin prior to the event, but from the quality of the speakers and a full auditoreum, I understood that this might be a case of Wallace slipping through on deserved credit in the annals of historical records.  This was confirmed when we were informed that the proceeds of this event were to be for the newly erected statue of Wallace outside London’s Natural History Museum.  Each speaker spoke about how Wallace influenced them in their own particular way. Bill Bailey, Patron of the Wallace Fund and comedian, spoke about The Making of a Jungle Hero, a documentary by the BBC of Wallace’s exploits in the Indonesian archipelago and his fervor for collecting samples. Richard Fortey, a paleontologist, spoke about the evidence in fossils and the DNA of evolution long after the death of the two great men. Richard Wiseman presented the psychological take of the sciences, and perception, for even a scientist like Wallace believed in superstition and ghosts.  Jonny Berliner, sang songs about Wallace, dark matter, DNA and a classic eighties rendition power ballad dedicated to Faraday . He was, in my opinion, the star of the event. Very smart and witty, scientific, and a talented musician. Richard Dawkins emphasized education, and how evolution is the new classics and how it should be tought in universities as a major department because evolution is in everything; examples of which were given for economics, literature, ideas, politics, environment and other compnents of any syllabus.  It was a long day and after the lectures, Entangled Bank organized an intimate dinner party at the Linnean Society of London which I had purchased tickets for.  I did not make the dinner.  I think not going was the biggest regret I will have in my life, but I was so tired and my body took a hold of me. Ghadah, , your business cards were too precious for me to give away anyways :), but I promise I will use them next time when I attend future events like these.

Articles: 10 Amazing Women Who Led Rebellions

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