Over the millenia, humans have collected and catalogued the accumulated knowledge of civilization in libraries. These knowledge depots are of the utmost importance for us to learn about the preceding generations. How they lived, what they ate, why did they go to war, and against whom, what poetry, songs and music did they have, what did they wear, what their dwellings looked like, and much more.
Egypt consumes 19 billion cigarettes a year.
Alexandria is the first Egyptian city to ban smoking in government buildings.
The cynic in me sees grumpy government employees getting more grumpy, and not being on their desk for smoke breaks.
But overall, this is long overdue. As someone who can't stand tobacco smoke, I hope this is enforced for the better health of everyone.
As a child, I used to spend summer with family in Agami, west of Alexandria. The blue water of the Mediterranean, and the white sand were a major part of the activities there.
On some summers, we would see an invasion of large blue jellyfish with purple fringes, probably Pelagia noctiluca. These caused a lot of pain that lasted for hours.
Several years ago, my two eldest daughters were subjected to the same torture. We were watching a Balans بلنص (traditional fishing boat in Alexandria) hauling in its catch to the shore, as often is the case. As the net was taken out of the water, the girls ran between the net and the surf. The net was dripping a lot of water, and since there were lots of jellyfish in it, the water was like a caustic fire. That resulted in a lot of crying and tears.
Here is a satellite map of sea level rises by a hypothetical 7 meters, using Google Maps with overlays of elevation data from NASA.
The Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is an arctic whale, very similar to the Beluga whale. Both have the same body shape, the "melon" at the front of the head, a finless back. The differences are mainly in the coloring, whereas adult belugas are white, the narwhals are mottled.
The most striking feature lacking from the beluga though is the tusk that male narwhals sport. It originates from the upper part of the left jaw into a spiral helix that can be up to 3 meters long.
In medieval times, narwhal tusks were sold as unicorn horns, fetching their weight in gold. It seems that the spiral tusk were the origin of the unicorn myth, not unlike how dinosaur fossils gave rise to dragon myths around the world.
Yesterday, I had an interesting and moving encounter with street kids in Alexandria, Egypt.
This topic and many like it can cause over-sensitive Egyptians to be offended. I should make it clear that it is not my intention to offend anyone, but rather document a problem that exists. I should also mention that the problem exists in most countries on the world. Their problem and plight has been publicized for only a few countries though, Brazil being the most covered in international media, followed by Haiti. Even Canada has some street teens (not really kids though) that have been on TV documentaries a few times.
In Brazil, some members of the police force have been targeting street kids with extra judicial killings.
Back to Alexandria: this is not the first time I have seen street kids. About a decade of more ago, I saw a bunch of really young ones (10 or less) sleeping at tram stations. They were smoking cigarette butts they collect of the streets, discarded by others. When I talked to one of them saying that he should not be smoking, he pointed to my daughter, who was just a few years old, and said : "She also smokes cigarettes!"
The following is a list of satellite images available online for Alexandria, Egypt.
Sometimes, it is the most unlikely thing that brings back memories. An article that came across my screen the other day caused me to reminisce about many things.
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Walid ibn Khalaf al-Tartushi أبو بكر محمد بن الوليد بن خلف الطرطوشي (b. 451 A.H./1059 C.E. - d. 520 A.H/1127 C.E.) was a famous jurist originally from Tortosa طرطوشة, in Muslim Spain.
This is a collection of links on the web containing photos, images, and pictures from Alexandria, Egypt: