28 August 2008

now my free will is taking the blow

Many scientists and philosophers are convinced that free will doesn’t exist at all. According to these skeptics, everything that happens is determined by what happened before—our actions are inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action—and this fact makes it impossible for anyone to do anything that is truly free. This kind of anti-free will stance stretches back to 18th century philosophy, but the idea has recently been getting much more exposure through popular science books and magazine articles. Should we worry? If people come to believe that they don’t have free will, what will the consequences be for moral responsibility?
My free will, my poor poor free will, my pride and joy, now they tell me to abandon even this sweet illusion!

27 August 2008

honorable white minister enchanted by our women

charming honorable white minister is pleased with our women?! joyful honorable minister does us the honor of flirting with our women?!
... be happy honorable white man ...
we know that every time one of you honorable white men is unhappy, many of us suffer the consequences ...

Gaza Siege Cracked [Cartoon]

Image credit where credit and gratitude are due and they are due to Latuff.

26 August 2008

Lebanon: migrant domestic workers die at a rate of more than one per week

"Kamala Nagari, a Nepalese national who injured herself on February 20, 2008 while trying to escape, told Human Rights Watch from her hospital bed:

“I was locked in for two days, and they [the employers] did not give me food and water. Then after two days, I wanted to run away. The apartment was on the fifth floor. I tried to go down using cable wires running along the wall of building. The cable broke, and I do not remember what happened afterwards.”"
"Since January 2007, at least 95 migrant domestic workers have died in Lebanon. Of these 95 deaths, 40 are classified by the embassies of the migrants as suicide, while 24 others were caused by workers falling from high buildings, often while trying to escape their employers. By contrast, only 14 domestic workers died because of diseases or health issues. (For basic details of cases compiled by Human Rights Watch, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/pub/2008/women/Lebanon.MDW.Annex.082608.pdf.)"

"“Domestic workers are dying in Lebanon at a rate of more than one per week,” said Nadim Houry, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “All those involved – from the Lebanese authorities, to the workers’ embassies, to the employment agencies, to the employers – need to ask themselves what is driving these women to kill themselves or risk their lives trying to escape from high buildings.”" >>> for the rest of the report go to HRW

16 August 2008

Robot with biological brain

Although the invisibility cloak may still be in the realm of the nano scale (billionths of a meter) and has not yet been developed to normal human perception size, the mechanical robot with the biological brain is here. This robot is a step towards the sci-fi images that you may be envisioning. Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons.

The robot, named Gordon, represents a remarkable bridging of the gap between biology and technology (bionics). Gordon’s brain is made up of some 300,000 neurons taken from the neural cortex of a rat fetus, which are contained in multi electrode array that packs 60 electrodes to pick up the signals generated by the cells and control the robot.

Research and work are now directed towards getting the robot to learn from its experience. Researchers aim at witnessing how memories manifest themselves in the brain when the robot revisits familiar places.

"This new research is tremendously exciting as firstly the biological brain controls its own moving robot body, and secondly it will enable us to investigate how the brain learns and memorizes its experiences," said the university's Kevin Warwick of the School of Systems Engineering. "This research will move our understanding forward of how brains work, and could have a profound effect on many areas of science and medicine."

Watch the video below (almost a min) of the rat-brain robot in action:

14 August 2008

mourning good question

Here it is, posed by EDB:

Yesterday morning, 14 people were killed and a further 35 wounded in a bus bombing in downtown Tripoli. In response, Prime Minister Saniora called for "one hour" of mourning today. What happened to the three-day mourning period for every two-bit politician?
And here's the terrorist attack.

10 August 2008

Darwish was put under house arrest for years

"this man--this poet--was put under house arrest by the Israeli military occupation for close to a decade and only because he wrote poetry that offended Israeli occupiers of Palestine. Just think about that. This is why the question should always be: not why would anybody support Israel, but why would any humane person not to be opposed to the very existence of such a state. This is a state that puts a poet who never carried a gun under house arrest."

how we used theater to conquer 33 days of barbarism

"This clip is an excerpt from the film "33 Days" by Mai Masri.
This edited clip follows a theater director who devotes his strength and time to the Lebanese children affected by the massive Israeli bombing that took place on Lebanon's city's and suburbs."

Mahmoud Darwish: ايها المارّون

08 August 2008

"Mossad kills 350 Iraqi nuclear scientist"

Dar Babl published, two days ago, a synopsis of a report, which it claimed was sent to President Bush by the State Department (foreign affairs), stating that the Mossad (Israel's Intelligence Institute) has killed 350 Iraqi nuclear scientist in addition to more than 200 university professors from different scientific specialties. It stated that this was done with the help of the American occupation forces. According to the report, these killings were done after the American forces failed in their attempts to recruit these scientists to work in and for the USA. According to Dar Babl, this measure, which targets about 1000 scientists, was taken because Israel believes that the scientists pose a threat to its security if they remain alive.

Update: A commentator brought my attention to this article (En), published May 2006, with the same information. (Thanks).

Dedicated to Lebanese Ultra Nationalists

This is a very beautiful song. Its lyrics are written by Said Akel, music composed by the Rahbani Brothers and performed by Fayrouz. All three are depicted by Lebanese nationalists as symbols and proof of the "uniqueness of the Lebanese race".
I dedicate this song to all my ultra-nationalist Lebanese friends.
Fayrouz sings to the glory of Syria, whose existence marked the end of history's dark ages as well as to the vital bonds between Lebanon and Syria. Enjoy.

شام يا ذا السيف
شعر: سعيد عقل
غناء: فيروز
ألحان: الأخوين رحباني

شامُ يا ذا السَّـيفُ لم يَغِبِ
يا كَـلامَ المجدِ في الكُتُبِ

قبلَكِ التّاريـخُ في ظُلمـةٍ
بعدَكِ استولى على الشُّهُبِ

لي ربيـعٌ فيـكِ خبَّأتُـهُ
مِـلءَ دُنيا قلبـيَ التّعِـبِ

يومَ عَينَاها بِسـاطُ السَّما
والرِّمَاحُ السودُ في الهُدُبِ

تلتوي خَصـراً فأومي إلى
نغمـةِ النّـايِ ألا انتَحِبي

أنا في ظِـلِّكَ يا هُدبَـها
أحسُـبُ الأنجُـمَ في لُعَبي

طابتِ الذكرى فَمَنْ رَاجِعٌ
بي كما العودُ إلى الطربِ؟

شـامُ أهلوكِ إذا همْ على
نُـوَبٍ ، ٍقلبي على نُـوبِ

أنا أحـبابيَ شِـعري لهمْ
مثلما سَـيفي وسَـيفُ أبي

أنا صَـوتي مِنكَ يا بَرَدَى
مثلما نَبعُـك مِـن سُـحُبي

ثلـجُ حَرْمُـونَ غَذَانا مَعاً
شامِخاً كالعِـزِّ في القُـبَبِ

وَحَّـدَ الدُنيا غَـداً جَبَـلٌ
لاعِـبٌ بالرّيـحِ والحِقَـبِ

Sami El Haj recounts time spent at Guantánamo

"His account is crucial. Like the other detainees, also wrongly labelled as “terrorists”, Sami El Haj was never tried and was never informed of the charges against him. Which demonstrates that President Bush, and the journalists who supported his theories, must have invented the “Islamic terrorists”. Human beings like Sami El Haj could never have been arrested or remained hostages of this barbarism, for the simple reason that they are Muslims, without the complicity of European governments and those Islamophobic propagandists under the orders of Tel Aviv and Washington who, for decades, have been disinforming public opinion and influencing the powers that be with their lies."

"They beat us up. They taunted us with racist insults. They locked us in cold rooms, below zero, with one cold meal a day. They hung us up by our hands. They deprived us of sleep, and when we started to fall asleep, they beat us on the head. They showed us films of the most horrendous torture sessions. They showed us photographs of torture victims – dead, swollen, covered in blood. They kept us under constant threat of being moved elsewhere to be tortured even more. They doused us with cold water. They forced us to do the military salute to the American national anthem. They forced us to wear women’s clothes. They forced us to look at pornographic images. They threatened us with rape. They would strip us naked and make us walk like donkeys, ordering us around. They made us sit down and stand up five hundred times in a row. They humiliated the detainees by wrapping them up in the Israeli and American flags, which was their way of telling us that we were imprisoned because of a religious war."

06 August 2008

bulldozing the "moral superiority of Israel"

The bulldozer as a destructive and even lethal weapon was not invented by the Palestinians. They are merely imitating an Israeli "fashion" that is as old as the state, or at least as old as the occupation. Let us forget for a moment the 416 villages Israel wiped off the face of the earth in 1948...

In 2004, for example, 10,704 Palestinians were made homeless after the IDF destroyed 1,404 homes, mostly in Gaza, due to "operational needs." In the Jenin refugee camp, Israel destroyed 560 homes; the legendary bulldozer driver "Kurdi" told how he would swig whiskey as he "turned Jenin into a soccer field." ...

Do not say that our bulldozers only destroy but do not kill. Who killed peace activist Rachel Corrie ... And what about the Shubi family in the Nablus casbah - a grandfather, two aunts, a mother and two children - crushed under bulldozers? And who killed Jamal Faid, a handicapped man from the Jenin camp, whose wheelchair only was found under the ruins of his house, with his body never recovered? Was that not bulldozer terror?

another one on the "moral superiority of Israel"

Spy or die:

Seriously ill Palestinian patients are being pressured to collaborate with Israeli intelligence by informing on militant and other activities in return for being allowed out of Gaza for medical treatment a report says today. full report at the Independent

on the "moral superiority of Israel"

"An Israeli child from a far-right settler group in the West Bank city of Hebron hurls a stone up the stairs of a Palestinian family close to their settlement and shouts: "I will exterminate you." Another spits towards the same family.

Another settler woman pushes her face up to a window and snarls: "Whore!"

They are shocking images. There is footage of beatings, their aftermath, and the indifference of Israel's security forces to serious human rights abuses. There is footage too of those same security forces humiliating Palestinians – and most seriously – committing abuses themselves." - the rest at the Guardian

here goes nothing


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