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”

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”

What You’re Missing Out On Every Friday Night!

Oh yes, you are missing out big time!

Almost every Friday, at 8:30 PM, a one-of-a-kind concert takes place in St Joseph Church in Monot. The prestigious Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, lead by the most prominent conductors of the world, offers each week a program comprising 3 to 4 classical pieces: from the masters, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky, to contemporary Lebanese musicians and composers such as Zad Moultaka, Charbel Rouhana and Omar Rahbani.

I reckon not everybody is familiar with the world of classical music, but let me assure you, you will never regret attending a concert of such scale. Allow me tell you about the concert I just got back from. Continue reading “What You’re Missing Out On Every Friday Night!”