December 2007


Sacred-Texts.com has always been one of my favourite resource sites on the net. Especially, for the last 5 years, I have regularly checked what they had new on their collection and most of times I come up with very valuable titles I downloaded, which helped me well on my works and researches. The site does a very remarkable, priceless job for those who are deeply interested in philosophy, ancient texts, world culture and history.

Now, a new title on their collection, added just a few days ago: De Lacy O’Leary‘s “Arabic Thoughts and Its Place in History“. An 85-year-old work but I think it’s still very important for understanding the transformation in Medieval world. Islam has been one of the three very intolerant religions, along with Judaism and Christianity, but there had been a time in history that it served to preserve, develop and transfer the ancient wisdom, classical thought and pre-Christian universal philosophies to the West. With its self-explanatory title, O’Leary’s book suggests the link between the “wake up” in the Western World and this preservation/development of classical thought in Islamic world. Particularly, during Abbasid Khalifat in Iraq (9th and 10th centuries) and with the contribution of Sufis and the Mutazilat sect. Well worth reading.

clipped from www.sacred-texts.com

Prayer in the Mosque, Jean-Leon Gerome [19th c.] (Public Domain Image)

The transmission of ancient Greek philosophy to the forerunners of
the Renaissance was through the Islamic world.
This book details each of the steps along that path, identifying the
Syriac writers of the late classical period as introducing
Hellenic philosophy into the Middle East.
The book details the growth of Islam, including the major branches
such as the Shia, Sunni, and Sufi, and many minor as well, and their
relation to the schools of Islamic philosophy.
From the Baghdad of the Arabian Nights, we pass to Islamic Spain, where
Arabic philosophy was increased by both Muslim and Jewish scholars.
Finally, we see how Plato and Aristotle were re-introduced into Europe through
Christian scholars, and became one of the precursors of the
Italian Renaissance. The equivalent of a college-level course on the history of Islamic thought,
this book is essential background reading if you want to understand this topic.
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Now I suspect if it’s really pollution which killed the fish or if there’s something “geological” happening around the Assam riverbed. If the latter is true, then it means there is a serious trouble which can trigger a scary seismical event near Brahmaputra and Assam.
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Dead Brahmaputra fish

Pollution may be responsible (Pics: Subhamoy Bhattacharjee)

Thousands of dead fish have been washed ashore in a river in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam river since early this week.

They were discovered on the banks of the Brahmaputra river in the state capital, Guwahati.
An equal number of sick fish were found in the same place, officials said. They blamed rising pollution levels.
An investigation has been ordered by the Assam government, said C.K.Bhuiyan, senior district official in Guwahati.
Earlier in the year, the Assam Pollution Control Board (APCB) told all the oil refineries in the state to achieve “zero pollution” levels by 31 December, otherwise they would be threatened with closure.

Man holding dead Brahmaputra fish
The Guwahati refinery was found to be the worst polluting refinery and was perhaps the only one in Assam not to have yet complied, pollution control board officials said.
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Since 1998, our view on Mars have been changing very fast: from a “dead planet” with “nothing interesting at all” to an exciting world that hides the mysteries of life in it.This sounds intriguing to me:

If microbes survive deep below Mars, they could be transported to the surface by water gushing up from deep underground.

Keep an eye on Mars; it seems we’ll get a series of “shocking news” very soon.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

White tips may be areas of freshly exposed ice

A probable active glacier has been identified for the first time on Mars.

The icy feature has been spotted in images from the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Mars Express spacecraft.
Ancient glaciers, many millions of years old, have been seen before on the Red Planet, but these ones may only be several thousand years old.
The young glacier appears in the Deuteronilus Mensae region between Mars’ rugged southern highlands and the flat northern lowlands.
“If it was an image of Earth, I would say ‘glacier’ right away,” Dr Gerhard Neukum, chief scientist on the spacecraft’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) told BBC News.
“We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice.
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clipcast.jpg

As many of you know, on Wednesday, the 12th of December, Clipmarks opened a new phase on information management / sharing with its 3.0 version. There are lots of new things, not just about the look and feel of the site but also the functionality and usage of the clipping tools. Without doubt, the most remarkable of them is the brand new ClipCast. This new feature allows clippers to add almost anything they want at Clipmarks site, to their blogs, iGoogle and NetVibes pages, Facebook or MySpace. I said “anything” and I mean it: You can add a ClipCast of your own clips, the stuff your favorite clippers posted or tag specific posts. With adding simple bit of code on your page, you have a continuously updating ClipCast on your web site, blog or any other custom page. An eye-catching gadget which presents the material you choose in a slide show format, with many customization options.

Now, let’s get to the point: It would be great if we could add it to our WordPress hosted blogs too but as you all know, WP does not allow custom codes on hosted blogs (very reasonable security policy.) On the other hand, you can add a bunch of specific widgets you find in the “widgets gallery” to your WordPress blog. So, if we manage to make our voices heard loudly enough, I’m sure Matt Mullenweg and his colleagues would gladly help us on this, by adding ClipCast to WordPress widgets gallery for our convenience (like they did for Flickr, VodPod etc.)

As a Clipmarks member WordPress blogger, I’m taking the first step now, by requesting help:

“Matt, would you please add a ClipCast widget to WordPress widgets gallery? We clipper bloggers will appreciate it very much. Thanks in advance.”

Here comes a new study from British scientists confirming well with many previous reports that suggested a very serious warming trend. “The 11 warmest years in this set have all occurred within the last 13 years,” concludes the climatologists from UK’s Hadley Centre and University of Anglia. “Climate alarmism” or the shouting voice of Mother Nature? You decide it.
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Man in fountain. Image: AP

In Spain’s 2007 heatwave, people cooled off as best they could

2007 has been one of the warmest years since 1850, despite the cooling influence of La Nina conditions.

The UK’s Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia conclude that globally, this year ranks as the seventh warmest.
The 11 warmest years in this set have all occurred within the last 13 years. For the northern hemisphere alone, 2007 was the second warmest recorded.

The findings come as politicians at the UN climate summit try to agree a path leading to cuts in carbon emissions.

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