A Home Away From Home

You lose a piece of yourself when you choose another city, let alone another country, to call home. You lose touch, you miss most of it, you forget.

The Louvre
The Louvre

First, you’re in denial, then you’re depressed… It’s a bit like grief, whether you admit it or not. You grieve your old life, the distance, the feeling of security, and the warmth of your loved ones.

Finally, you muster all the courage you can find, and you take a deep plunge into the unknown. Reality hits you hard, and a few months later, you romantically call it “adventure”.

Such did my adventure begin. Continue reading “A Home Away From Home”

Mouvement de l’ESIB Solidaire, or the Dream of Unity

We had a dream. In September, four of us had a dream. We dreamed that ESIB’s engineering students can put political and religious differences aside and work hand in hand for the benefit of the faculty. We dreamed that March 8 supporters, March 14 supporters, independents and neutrals can all remember the fact that university elections are nothing but academic and should always be that way. We had a dream that many had before us, but felt they were unable to realize. The past September, we wanted to see whether we would be able to make that change in an area that has seen anything but change.

We decided to share our dream with people who would be interested. With every new mind that joined us, our dream got bigger, better, more mature and more ambitious. We could see its potential, we could feel its thrill, and so, we decided to act upon it.

Continue reading “Mouvement de l’ESIB Solidaire, or the Dream of Unity”

What I Learned From My Visit to CERN

On July 25, 2015, I had all the stars lined up in my favor as they say. At least, that’s what it felt like!

On that day, I was fortunate enough to visit the biggest research facility in Europe, also known as the almighty CERN, or the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Located on the Swiss-French border on the outskirts of Geneva, CERN operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

Needless to say that I, the biggest non-initiated particle physics fan in my corner of the world, have been dreaming of this visit for six years. To be precise, ever since I first heard about the Higgs boson, a couple of years prior to its discovery. But we shall talk about that in due time. 
Continue reading “What I Learned From My Visit to CERN”

The Information, by James Gleick: A Review

The books which surprise you the most often are books you have never read about, written by authors you have never heard of, upon which you stumble unsuspectedly. I can recall only one such case prior to the book I am reviewing today: “The Shadow of the Wind”, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, currently my favorite fiction novel.

Indeed, I had never heard of James Gleick or his books when I found a peculiar black-and-white paperback on a dusty shelf during the annual “Braderie du Livre” at the USJ-CSM campus, a book clearance/sale kind-of event. Being a hunter and devourer of books tackling scientific subjects in a literary style, I immediately picked it up and added it to my ever-growing science book collection. This proved to be a good decision.

The book I am talking about is called: “The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood”.  Continue reading “The Information, by James Gleick: A Review”

Who Is Guillaume Canet?

Discovering and watching movies is a hobby of mine. During summer especially, I develop a slight obsession with certain directors, actors, or film genres. I am well past and beyond my Wuxia phase; I have watched every single movie directed by Darren Aronofsky, or featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, Angelina Jolie or Audrey Tautou; my list of classical Hollywood movies is ever receding… and my love for French films will never cease.

Which is why I bring to you today my French discovery of the year, actor and director Guillaume Canet. Continue reading “Who Is Guillaume Canet?”

The Future of Formula Racing

Technology and Formula cars is a match made in heaven, and you need not be an expert to know it: the masterful pairing of the sleek aerodynamic carbon-fiber body and one of the most powerful internal combustion engines in the world is the key ingredient to the beast that is known as Formula One.

But in the present era, sustainability is of concern to the world, and all sectors are searching for ways to go “green”. Always up for the challenge, The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has sanctioned, as of 2012, a new class of auto racing, called Formula E. Continue reading “The Future of Formula Racing”

The Ambiguous Nature of Curiosity

In a world where curiosity is highly esteemed, we can find it quite hard to picture a time when this particular trait was condemned and declared sinful. But hard as it may be, it was! For curiosity is the thirst for knowledge, the pursuit of the forbidden fruit. It is what drove Pandora to open a box she was not supposed to open, thus releasing evil on Earth.

But how could anyone tame the human thirst for knowledge? Continue reading “The Ambiguous Nature of Curiosity”

Discovering Lebanon’s Contemporary Composers – The Music Edition #02

Last Friday, I attended the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra’s classical concert in St Joseph’s Church, Monot, as per usual. I had the utmost pleasure of listening to a live rendition of a classical piece called “Le Vin des Nuages”, composed by Bechara El Khoury, a Lebanese composer – not to be confused with the Lebanese president of the same name!

And it was, truly, a ravishing, stunning piece.

I don’t know why, in this country, we do not hear about our extremely talented musicians and classical composers. I had never heard of Lebanese classical composers before the LPO’s weekly Friday concert! Maybe it is because our people often associate classical music with the death of some politician, i.e. three days of non-stop depressing Bach and Mozart on the local TVs and radios! And they always choose the most depressing ones, don’t they?

Here is a selection of some of the most eminent contemporary Lebanese composers, all of which are highly regarded around the world. You will notice that it is not your fair share of classical and instrumental music. You will feel the innovation, the genius, the sadness, the wonder, the war, the noise, the theatrics and the madness that every single Lebanese possesses in the blood, as part of the heritage our dear country has bestowed upon us. And you will be surprised, this I promise you. Continue reading “Discovering Lebanon’s Contemporary Composers – The Music Edition #02”

The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling: A Review

J. K. Rowling is renowned for her minutiae in creating a fully functioning microcosm: in her novels, each character has a unique personality, distinctive habits and a revelatory past, clinging to his/her every word and action. Places and villages have their own identity and play key roles throughout her stories. It is common knowledge that she has written entire biographies of every single character from her Harry Potter saga, no matter how insignificant to the main story. This, I believe, is the instigator of the distinct touch of realism found in her novels, to which we can all relate, even in the more fantastical settings she has penned.

The Casual Vacancy is one of the most realistic novels I have ever read, non-fiction included. No, it is not Harry Potter. It is not full of magical incantations and fantastical beasts. It is not a suspense/crime novel either. Continue reading “The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling: A Review”