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Science and Islam: A History
Science and Islam: A History
by Ehsan Masood
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Summary of Summary of Commentary of Commentary, 15 Feb. 2010
One of the main reasons of "Closing the Great Door of Islam" was the Islamic scholars' concerns of what would happen with the great knowledge gained through scientific discoveries and transformation throughout the Islamic world... They discovered (just like other early cultures before them - the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Greeks) that tweaking science deeper and deeper inwardly brought the science of Islam into a shape of an inverted Pyramid that simply was repetition of what already had been discovered and established, and feared (rightfully) that Commentary of Commentary on the Original Underlaying Knowledge was not only repetitious but dangerous as well for it could be misused/misinterpreted in the hands of wrongful leaders...

This particular booklet - for it is too brief a volume to bear an all-encompassing title of "Science and Islam" - simply is evidence to the contemporary high-speed, generalized, no-time-to-step-back-and-study flow of generalized learning (fast food culture=fast learning=junk) that sweeps over crucial historical events and details for the Arab Conquests had contributed to the development of Islamic Science partly due to robbing and/or assimilating other local cultures... The author at this poinbt also fails to analyse the common outlines between early Christian and Islamic sciences... Before Copernicus and the Islamic Scientists and the Greeks there was an early Armenian mathematician and astronomer - Anania Shirakatsi - whose teachings were/are greatly respected by the Islamic Scientific world for his discoveries about the planetary movements and about the actual shape of the world that had helped to shape the knowledge and subsequently the power of pre-Christian region of the Greater Middle East... In several parts of the book, the author mentions of Turkey within a period of time when there was no country of Turkey in the region... Nwhere does he mention the contribution of the Aramaics, Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians, Alawis, the great Sceintists of North Caucasus (where there are still practices of Islam as a social religion AND as a teaching of cosmic sciences).

The author raises awareness of contribution of Islamic Sciences to the development of the Western civilization from the Middle Ages onwards and tries to strike a chord of partnership (or a room for it) within the context of contemporary debates on the subject of Europe and Islam today... Yet, in a great Western tradition, he refuses to analyse the past in its depth and establishes a forefront for a future by outlining a shortsighted overview of the present... The core of all the ancient teachings is that the notion of time is inseperable, everything is of spherical/circular nature (what goes around, comes around) and trying to teach of Islam and Science in such a rudely generalized manner, chunking history up into past and present, East and West is of no relation to Islamic Science itself.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2015 5:04 PM BST


The Secret History of the World
The Secret History of the World
by Jonathan Black
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to esoteric evolution (101), 21 Nov. 2009
Tempted by an all-inviting table of contents, I dwelved into page after page after page on history of evolution of human thought, complete with descriptions of ancient Greek, Egyptian, Chinese philosophies, through the middle ages and finalized with a pinch of hints on quantum physics and current direction of this very evolution, amidst the ongoing discussions on cosmological events waiting us during the coming decade.

The keyword being 'description', the author fails to bring a unique, individual analyses that would compile all the notions he writes on into a structured and well communicated narrative. In terms of referred bibliography and resources one can go and search for after finishing the book, the author has rather succesfuly pointed any reader to the right sources, thus my two stars go to that factor.

In light of the massive ongoing (re)awakening in today's world, I'd additionally avoid placing "secret" in the title. It'd be worth of "secret" had it referred to semi-conspirological and semi-cosmological debates on ETs(starting from ancient Egypt), the reptilian DNA interspersed with the human spiritual DNA, e.g. the usual approach in esotericism, whereby science-fiction IS science. No mentioning of clairevoyance and lineage to ancestral relations by the likes of Nicola Tesla or Edgar Casey.

Another major shortcoming was the lack of use of non-English literature as reference (I suppose due to the author's lack of knowledge of foreign languages). This is an apparent failure, especially when it comes to the development of Russian and Eurasian esotericism. After all when one is writing of the WORLD's esoteric evolution, Eurasia IS within that world. He hasn't mentioned a single line on the development of esotericism in the regions such as Caucasus, certain areas of Central Asia, always resorting to mentioning the oh-so-fashionable-by-Western-authors quote on "ancient Eastern" or "ancient Asian" or "Babelonians, S(h)umerians". The people living in these areas still today carry on much of those "ancient" traditions at an unconscious level because practicing and living with it at a conscious level has cost them their lives throughout the world wars. Needless to say, that not mentioning the theosophical movement initiated by Blavatskaya, or the keys to eternal wisdom/consciousness taught by Gurdjiev, is more than a shortcoming.

In the light of above, I'd title this book "History of Esoteric Evolution of the World from a Western Perspective". There is more to esotericism than German philosophers and English translations of ancient Greek and Indian texts, especially considering the fact that any true, practicing esoterisist on average masters 5 languages, both in Latin and non-Latin alphabets.


Autism 2e: Medical and Educational Aspects
Autism 2e: Medical and Educational Aspects
by Theo Peeters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £43.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Ancient" wisdom: a definite toss-away, 15 May 2009
As a parent of a child with ASD, this book was one of 6 others I purchased on the subject. Having read them all, I've tossed the three of them as being impractical and too dry in spirit. This book is a definite toss. It seems the author was restrained with the academic urge of being expressedly "objective", a concept that if stretched too far may end being so detached and impersonal to the reader. In that sense it is a nearly perfect textbook for students. But any author on the subject of Autism ought to realise that due to the scarse research and resources, the readers' range for their piece of literature defeinitely is beyond students. For after finishing the book, I suddenly understood where the dryness and self-assured stamina of several useless therapists we met come from. These days the majority of cases of autism is diagnosed at an early age. The book, to the contrary, seems to be more well-suited for those who've discovered they're autistic at a later stage in their lives. When a therapist works with a child, there should be as much subjective-professional instincts at work, as objective educational foundation. The book only excells in the latter. Furthermore, there's a lot of debate in recent conferences (usually atended both by parents and therapists) on the structured education on autism in universities, whereby graduates end up working very hard on placing each case in a box. And guess what, it seems the medical community has run out of boxes, for more and more leading therapists absolutely insist on "thinking outside of the box" approaches because each and every case is individual and diverse in its negatives and positives.

The book also misses out on the intuitiveness and the "feelings" concept of a person with autism. It's a crucial point because this is the one arrear that if "click"-ed correctly, can change the development onto a more positive realm. With our child we've been to therapists who bravely claimed "He'll never walk correctly", "He'll never talk", "He'll never be able to be in a group of peers". Later on, we discovered that this was the "old school" of preofessionals, mostly educated by books such as this one. Gladly, we found the "thinking outside of box" therapists and our child now walks, talks and has above average intelligence.

In short, it's time these authors review their work and pull their older editions off the shelves. This book is not worth for its value and the one thing I'd definitely change about it is foremostly the colors on the cover of it - mostly black with scarily huge white typoids on it. The last time I had to read a book with a similar cover was when writing a thesis on the crime of genocide. So, dear publishers, autism not being such a threatening and scary thing, by all means try to match the cover with the subject it covers. Otherwise, it's plain offensive.


Best of Glykeria
Best of Glykeria

5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Hellenic Voice (Khria - voice color), 15 May 2009
This review is from: Best of Glykeria (Audio CD)
Along with Haris Alexiou and Eleni Vitali, Glykeria is a living classic of the best of traditional Greek music. Her rare voice reflects the spirit of emotional optimism that Greeks ahve come to carry throughout their history. This CD combines mostly traditional tunes that interpreted by her - find a new color and new dimensions, powerful enough to bring a wave of redefinition, re-birth. Nevertheless, she has some pop ballads that are less known outside of Greece, whereby the diffusion of modern life onto the busy streets of Athens and Thessaloniki, seems to be questioned in all its countercolors with what the Greek spirit (h psikhi ton ellinon)stands for. For me, the best song in this album is "Sth Magemenh Arapia" (In Magical Arabia)... - seemingly the best musical tribute to the one thousand and one nights in all their exoteric and esoteric colours. Her voice itself being magical/absolutely enchanting, you may end up replaying it for one thousand and one times...Enjoy...


We
We
by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Integral inside an Integral inside an Integral, 20 Feb. 2009
This review is from: We (Paperback)
Zamyatin's WE is the most important literary work on the future and the present and the past of the humanity. His work goes beyond the common conundrum on a collective, monotonous society. How it strives for a perfection in unity and seemingly achieves it and yet, has its proud citizens fallen into an apathy of search of the "corrcet" form of freedom.

The main hero is a brillinat mastermind of a scientist that has invested his very much so reasonable life to the service of the City State - the Integral - for its betterment, roughly speaking going from perfection to super-perfection. His scientific gist is to produce the one precise time and space breaking machine that will transport the society onto a state nearly divine and pure (for that's the aim of any state/law system)...The plot of the novel can be fully expressed with one question: Does the aim really justify the means? ...

From thenon the storyline revolves around not the existence of freedoms and rights themselves but rather the forms and mechanisms of their practice...The integral is to put time/space deadlines in a perfectly formatted manner on THE WAY to think, to be when exercising basic freedoms.

As a catalyst of the perfect integral, Zamyatin brings a parallel world into the story - a world of green, far-stretching-into-the-horizon forests and rivers and a society that lives there seemingly happily ever after, who have it all, including the luxury of spending their time to use their freedom anyway they wish.

The link between these two worlds is an Alice-in-the-Wonderland style vertycal corridor accessible from inside the scientist's non-state-appointed girlfriend's bedroom. Hi state-appointed-and-approved partner is merely in his life for reproductive purposes, whereas the girlfriend character is rather free-willed and a genius when it comes to understanding the scientist's most devoured thoughts, e.g. mathematical equations and theories on integrals.

While the two struggle to convert each other, their passion dies sometime in-between his loyalty to the Wise Man leading the City State and her urge of administering the free-living parallel society.

Zamyatin's tale is merely an expression of the struggle of two constant powers. Contrary to many sci-fi novels, he avoids labeling the struggle as "Good vs Bad" or "East vs West"...His writing is nearly a call of decency to every individual: when pointing at a king and shouting "the Emperor has no clothes", every individual has to be able to see that they, too, "have no clothes", for they were the ones electing the very same people they're chanting again...In short - there IS NO Them...The individuals, the families, the cities, the countries, the world, the universe, the universes - it's all pur and simply "WE". What makes We a WE is when every "ME" is "me" - a non-labelled, non-dependant element whose existence is built on one and only God-given freedom - the CHOICE...

Literally, enjoy reading every single line of this book... If after reading it, you encounter a difficulty to open and enjoy another book just as much, do not wonder why, go back to Zamyatin - the ultimate timeless classic (or choose not to).


Yoga For Kids: Fun and Easy Stretching Exercises for Children Aged Three to Eleven Years
Yoga For Kids: Fun and Easy Stretching Exercises for Children Aged Three to Eleven Years
by Bel Gibbs
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Activity Books Ever!, 20 Dec. 2008
This illustrated edition of "Yoga for Kids" is the best guide for teaching healthy physical activities to children starting from as early as three year old. The book concentrates on nearly 30 basic yoga positions and while the explanations on the exercises are very comprehensive and a parent can easily both join in and guide their child, the illustrations help the children to initiate and start exercising on their own. Additionally, it has the logical structure of any given decent professional yoga course where the warm-up exercises lead to several standing and sitting positions, increasing the intensity, followed by relaxation. It's all made even more fun when the book correctly advises the parents to supply with several masks and fun costumes for classic yoga positions, such as the cow's head or the crocodile, the flying dragon, the tapping elephnt etc.

WHile I strongly recommend this book to all the parents, I secretly (well, not so:) wish that kindergarden and school teachers, too, initiate such activities along with their curricula.


Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £15.23

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duality of Feminine Positivism in Times of Socialist Realism, 16 Dec. 2008
Moscow inded does not believe in tears and the film duly transcends the message in tune with times when the rest of the developed world was growing through everchanging concepts of feminism, driven by industrial and technologic advance. The Oscar thus is not just to pay a tribute of a surprisingly undercensored release of a socialist life to a capitalist west, but rather put the concept of human development at a mere human level, mirroring that no matter what social circumstances, women and men seemingly come from different planets.

A tale of three 20-somethings drawn to big city lights and careers that aim at landing them the perfect man does not fall short of parallel concept-line of the now-days international hit "Sex and the City". Contrary to the review below, their wardrobes are fully charged with fashionable dresses, their hair thoroughly accessorised and "garnished" wth shoes and purses. There's a certain for of socialist materialism to several of the characters. Nevertheless, the film never surpasses the actual thresholds of lifestyle common in the Soviets. It does deserve a credit for building three stories of three girls whereby the social hierarchy of the time is drawn vividly: a non-educated girl with no scientific title would be a "no-no" in the traditionalist land of the Russian motehr-in-law whose son is a notorious cameraman that dares to claim the advance of television would eventually cause a halt to the public interest in other media tools.

Three ladies venture us through the dating games and masterful man-hunting strategies and despite successes and failures they never separate and their special bond is the strongest survivor throughout the movie. They never seize to help one another at most critical points in their lives.

The culmination of the story is when one of them gets to make a sweet revenge 20 years after being dumped by an arrogant man she'd fallen for. She's eversince has been the prototype of a successfull career woman who having experienced the hardships of late working nights, studies through university while being a single mother, smoothly manages to land atop the glass cealing, only to be challenged for earning more than the love of his life. All the storylines are true and actual even to this date and they do apply internationally. The directing and the script are achieved at a superior level. No wonder, most of the lines have become punchlines, immersed into current day conversational Russian.

I recommend it to all those interested in the best of foreign films.


Business Romance / Sluzhebny roman
Business Romance / Sluzhebny roman
Dvd ~ Alisa Frejndlikh
Offered by Elena's DVD
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ouvy xranjashchie liubov' nevedomye sily...Nothing keeps us safe from love, so to say..., 24 July 2008
Sluzhebny Roman is by far the best romantic comedy ever written, only challenged by other works of El'dar Ryazanov. Business Romance, an English title, falls short of transmittig all the vibes of an everyday life in the Soviets of 80s. It is a most realistic take on what's good about that society with all its honorable values, all pure, all depoliticized - sort of an antidote to "The Life of the Others".

In two full cinematographic episodes, we walk through the busy, lovely streets of Moscow in four seasons all captured in powerful flashbacks that kept many from leaving Russia during the harsh transition years. It's all paired with the poems of Ryazanov himself and other notorious authors of the time...The famous lines that have shaped entire generations' form of romance (that's how powerful this film is) - "don't part from those you love"; "nature has no bad weather, each and every weather is a blessing"; "you can cross the world over just to find the one you love"; "there was one role in our drama, in our couple there was just me, in our suffering there was my pain, oh so much pain, so much, so much"...

A single father (played by Miagkov) who works for the one and leading state agency for the Union's statistics, is in an urging need for a promotion. Being a careererist was equal to being a complete loser, thus he has great difficulty to outshine his other (mainly feminine) colleagues. The Director of Agency (played by Freindlikh) is a tough lady who rarely mingles with any of her colleagues, except for her secretary (Akhijakova) who's got more talent in retail of smuggled Western fashion items (the famous "a blouse from Pierre Carden, fifty roubles"). He gets drunk at a party to get the courage to talk to her, she of course dismisses him and he throws words of basic truth to her face calling her "dry, tough, inhumane, high maintenance".

And that's how all gets started. Not having had someone special for quiet a long time, they both are incredibly uncomfortable to just exchange words of affection. Thus, the director's magic has been magnified by the top talents of the cinema, who transcend precise feelings through apparent body language, the quick gazes, the irony, sarcasm...

Another untmost special thing about this movie is that all the songs are performed by Freindlikh and Miagkov themselves. And once you get hooked up with the plot (I can't tell it all), you'll tirelessly and with the exact same enthusiasm will want to watch it again and again. A definite classic and a wonderful collection item, I'd recommend you to get a copy even if you don't speak any Russian. It has a magnetic force - in a true Soviet era sarcasm, had I been a neanderthal, I'd ask to be buried with this film in my grave.

P.S.
If you're wondering how a neanderthal could get a DVD, well just watch "Ivan Ivanych changes his profession".


Festive Cuisine: 200 Detailed Recipes for 19 Festive Menus
Festive Cuisine: 200 Detailed Recipes for 19 Festive Menus
by Vepha Alexiadou
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of contemporary Greek cuisine, from 'runway' to your oven, onto your table, 15 July 2008
Vefa Alexiadou is without a doubt the Martha Stewart of Greece. Her 40 year long experience in professional cuisine has nevertheless none of the snobbery of hard-to-achieve-perfection of chefs with similar resumé. Hers is a guidance, unintimidating, clear, mainly due to her choice of fresh, non-fabricated ingredients. I own 8 cookbooks written by her. Every receipe I used, be that an appetizer, a main dish or a pastry, all came out perfect, nothing burned, nothing was wasted and there were no complicated ingredients that would've usualy make you rune from supermarkets to overpriced "gourmand boutiques".

Her "Festive Cuisine" offers menues fit for every taste/preference. You'll find variations of light/heavy in every menu. Traditionally Greek at roots, the recipes are complete with practical advice on presentation; from mini foil-made Christmas trees covered with appetizers, suitable for a hearthy family meal and sweet and salty appetizers, lined like soldiers, served in classic cocktail trays.

My all-time favourites from this book are the oven-baked pork (my apologies to vegetarians) and her signature Vasilopita (the New Year's Eve cake, the one where you hide the lucky coin). Just to give you some hints, the former is marinated with spices two days ahead of cooking, the placed in a tray and covered in pinapple and grapefruit juices, the surface is cut in diamond shapes, each decorated with a garifalo (for the heavenly aroma), then it's baked for four hours, starting from 180 degrees, eventually increased to 250 degrees. It's the ultimate centerpiece that won't make you cover your culinary inhibitions with a floral bouquet that prevents your guests from eye-to-eye (and thus heart-to-heart) communication.

Her vasilopita?...Mmm...let's just say, there's Greek yogurt (for this you may run to a "gourmand boutique", depending what country you're living in), cognac, egg whites, self-raising flour. For the past two years, I've been adding a little (well, 100gr) of grinded wallnuts to it and it's truely heavenly. Tried and tested, this book will never grow dust, awaiting spring cleaning in your kitchen. Read, cook, eat, enjoy and never feel bad for indulging. For those of you who happen to be travelling to Greece, ask for signature Vefa Alexiadou store in downtown Athens and browse through the culinary items she has authored; from measuring cups to patisserie forms suitable for baking wedding cakes.


The Great Wall of China: And Other Short Works (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Great Wall of China: And Other Short Works (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Jorge Luis Borges
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Everyday Occurrence, 13 July 2008
This particular edition of Kafka's unfinished works is just as breathtaking as his complete novels and world-known works. Yet, this little volume is the one that has the power to captivate the reader at an intrinsically personal level, ample with spiritual connotations. This is particularly the case with the two brief chapters compiling his aphorisms. Albeit "The Great Wall of China" being the one story that has monopolized the heading of the book, the content and the life-shifting power of his unfinished stories would better fit under the title of another, a smaller story - "An Everyday Occurrence"...As you'll see from the cover The Sunday Times has reviewed this collection of Kafka's works as definitive "of the soul of modern man".

He is known as a harsh observer of the world of the 20th century. Nevertheless, every piece of story and advise he has for us, transcends wisdoms from ancient worlds and/or call for fundamentally religious values. The merge of both distinctive worlds is thus delivered in a conundrum of contemporary art objects that masterfully transcend a subconsciously elegant truth, such as: "Everyone is kind to A., rather in the way that one tries to protect an excellent billiard-table even from good players, until such time as the great player arrives, who carefully examines the surface, will tolerate no premature blemish, but then, when he begins play himself, lets himself go with ruthless fury". To me it resonates a masterful painting and this tiny volume contains at least 200 of them.

It's a definite buy. The only reason I gave a 4 star for it is because I found the editor's preface too concise. Authored by Malcolm Pasley, an Oxford Emeritus Fellow, known as the most notorious of Kafka editors, the passage should have paid an extended tribute to Kafka's unfinished works.


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