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In the Name of God بسم الله


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    I am here. Reflecting on memories, appreciating what Jesus has done for me.
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    Geology, Paleontology, Genetics, Biblical studies. I'm a scientist.

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  1. It's just a historical fact. I'm certainly not endorsing flat earth beliefs haha. But, it's fair to say that practically every ancient culture believed earth was flat. And I'm not condemning anyone. It's just the way it was back then. Ancient Egyptians have narratives about the sky goddess nut with the stars set in her body. Ancient mesopotamians had the disk earth surrounded by waters in the form of a river. And these are depicted in their artwork of ancient near east cosmology. In Mesopotamian narratives, the sea dragon tiamat had her body ripped in half to create the solid sky over the flat land etc. And again I'm not condemning anyone. It's just an observation and it's a reality of historical cultures that essentially everyone viewed earth as flat. Syriac Christians had views of windows of the sky dome that the sun would pass through. Semitic Jews believed that the sky could be broken with axes to release the waters above. The dead sea scrolls even describe a sea above the sky. Native Americans and aboriginals have stories about climbing through the dome to reach heaven on the other side, and throwing spears at it with ropes attached, to climb the rope to reach heaven. The Bible is an obvious one with the windows of heaven opening and closing causing Noah's flood. Ancient Jews also, when a meteor fell from the sky, they thought it was a piece of the "heavens" ie, the solid dome raqia in which God dwelled above, so they would collect iron from meteorites as it was viewed as a divine material that fell from the heavens, and was evidence of the solid dome above. I'd recommend Paul Seely, and his article titled "the firmament and the waters above" for additional details. No condemnation here, nor am I saying that earth is flat. I'm just describing this well known fact of history. Literally every ancient culture had flat earth narratives or depictions of art. It's called "ancient near east cosmology", you can look it up. And of course Islam had some influences from it's neighbors. Hence why we have an odd story about the sun setting into a pool of water. Context matters (even if some people find this information offensive).
  2. I'm guessing this topic is already been covered but there's a document titled: Heavenly cords and prophetic authority in the Quran and it's late Antique Context by Kevin Van Bladel. This document notes comparisons between Surah 18 and the Alexander Legend, contemporary Syriac literature, which describes Alexander the Great traveling north south east and west following pathways of a celestial route of a sort, the heavenly cords, and eventually reaching a point at the edge of the earth in which the sun sets in a pool of water, as described in Surah 18:86. The implications being that the original Alexander Legend followed ancient near east cosmology in which earth was flat and surrounded by a cosmic ocean, which is very commonly described in ancient literature of Mesopotamia, Israel, Egypt, caanan, and of essentially every culture of every continent in the early centuries of history. Alexander the great was following the heavenly cords to reach the barrier of the raqia so that he could pass through it to reach heaven on the other side. Flat earth or ancient near east cosmology, or influences of it, can be observed in nearly every document of antiquity. It's just kind of an interesting fact of history that nearly every culture believed earth was flat in the oldest of cultural writings. Just figured I'd share here.
  3. Stop threatening nukes? I wasn't aware that Ukraine had any. And Zelenski is Jewish, he's not a Nazi. It seems as though some have forgotten that Russia is a master of propaganda. All this other stuff about collecting Chinese DNA and COVID being manufactured is all a bunch of fringe conspiracy nonsense. Bottom line, Russia can leave whenever they'd like to. Nobody is holding the invading force hostage.
  4. Last I checked, the Russian military had the option to leave Ukraine. Seems kind of silly to suggest that the length of this war is somehow being dictated by Ukraine or anyone but Russia. Its like blaming the Taliban for the USs extended stay in Afghanistan. The US had the opportunity to simply leave the whole time. So we couldn't really blame the Taliban for dragging out the war, nor could we blame any nation that provided weapons or support to the Taliban. The same goes for Iraqis fighting US forces. The choice is ultimately in the hands of the invading nation as to when the war comes to an end. And that's what everyone in the west is waiting on. Nobody wants Russia in Ukraine. Nobody wants to play games with energy resources and natural gas supplies. But Russia has chosen this fight. Also, last I heard Russia was amassing more troops to bolster their invading force, meaning that they clearly aren't interested in letting this war end. So all this about blaming Ukraine or the west for prolonging the invasion is a bunch of nonsense. Russias army can pack their bags and leave whenever they choose. Otherwise I agree that the situation looks bleak.
  5. I'm surprised this topic isn't getting more attention. Only seems to be getting worse. If Russia can claim food resources of Ukraine, it could leverage more influence over African nations. When inflation goes up in the US, people have the painstaking decision of having to choose between Netflix or Hulu, and which one to cut in hard times. In poorer nations, people starve to death or run out of water. Based on how quiet this thread has been, I'd guess we are all westerners here. But that's the problem really. Nations of wealth tend to be oblivious to real global issues, until it is in our backyard. But by the time it reaches our backyard, will it be too late? How many people will suffer before we respond?
  6. Have I ever lived in a poor neighborhood? Yes, I have, section 8, poorest of the poor (at least in northern states, poverty in the deep south is very different). As a kid, I grew up listening to gunshots in the night, joking that they were celebratory fireworks. And let me tell ya, nothing breeds hate, distrust and fear, more than an empty stomach (figuratively and literally). At least in my experience. Poverty will drive people to lie, to steal, to seek relief through drugs, organized crime, petty crimes of theft etc. I can't even trust my own family because I know they're hungry and would take advantage of me at any turn. I know this because it's already happened, numerous times. She asked if I've lived in a poor neighborhood. You don't even want to know the heinous things I've seen in the hood. Now, I'm sure some people are like a phoenix who rise to the occasion. But I've seen many broken in spirit, and they will destroy their neighbor, it that's what it takes to put food on the table. Poverty may not be the only source of gun violence. But when you grow up in a desperate environment. Maybe you are hungry, the store has food and you need it, you might just take that chance. Maybe someone stole from you, you want to pay them a visit. You're suffering in poverty and maybe you want some drugs to release that pain. You lash out in violence, perhaps even at times, as a desperate call for help. I would say, there must be a link between poverty and gun violence. Maybe not for all people, but I don't think there is any question that the two are linked. This reminds me of Tupac Shakurs old song, well that's the way it is. It's right there as soon as he opens: "I see no changes, wake up in the morning and I ask myself Is life worth livin'? Should I blast myself? I'm tired of bein' poor and, even worse, I'm black My stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch" Tupac of course had a vision, sought to bring people together, but he was also grappling with this reality of desperation infused with violence. "And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have to do" "And as long as I stay black, I gotta stay strapped And I never get to lay back "You gotta learn to hold your own They get jealous when they see you with your mobile phone" 'Cause I always got to worry 'bout the payback" "Sellin' crack to the kids, "I gotta get paid" Well hey, well that's the way it is" The song is all about a feelings of distrust, struggles with things like systemic racism, pain with struggles of poverty and how it correlates with stealing purses, selling drugs to kids to survive, doing crimes that have to be done to survive, staying strapped because people will come for payback. Gangs thrive in ghettos where people feel desperate for family, for financial success, for protection etc. Its a song that I would say encompasses this discussion relatively well.
  7. What does poverty do but cause fear and disconnect communities? Most fun violence, as far as I am aware, occurs in inner city ghettos. So it seems sensible to consider poverty as a major factor. What do you think this fear and disconnect stems from?
  8. I would guess that most weapon related violence is driven by poverty and population growth. Things that are going to be near impossible to fully eliminate anytime in the near future.
  9. More on the blockade: https://www.reuters.com/world/panama-says-three-ships-hit-black-sea-since-start-ukraine-war-2022-03-16/ https://www.foodbusinessafrica.com/russian-forces-stop-ukrainian-grain-ships-from-departing-the-black-sea/ Noriel Arauz, the administrator for the Panamanian Maritime Authority, added that three Panamanian-flagged ships have come under Russian fire since the invasion of Ukraine started. One of the ships sank and two others were damaged, while no one was injured. World leaders are calling this a ‘deliberate attack’ on the global food supply chain. It has raised fears of political instability and shortages unless grain and other essential agricultural products are allowed to flow freely from Ukraine. https://www.politico.eu/article/how-to-end-russia-black-sea-blockade-nato-ukraine-trade/ Russia’s blockade is contributing to a global food crisis of potentially catastrophic proportions. “Failure to open those ports in Odesa region will be a declaration of war on global food security,” David Beasley, head of the World Food Program, recently told the U.N. Security Council. “This is not just about Ukraine, this is about the poorest of the poor around the world who are on the brink of starvation as we speak.”
  10. https://www.reuters.com/world/exclusive-photos-show-russian-attacks-ukraine-grain-storage-us-official-2022-04-01/ Comments from the UN world food program: https://youtu.be/U2Ch3vaGoTo https://www.spglobal.com/commodityinsights/en/market-insights/latest-news/agriculture/051322-russia-talks-of-record-wheat-crop-while-world-mulls-output-fall "Russia could be on course for a record wheat crop this year, strengthening the role of the world's biggest wheat exporter at a time when its invasion of Ukraine may help to trigger the first decline in global production since 2018-19. The Russian government's official numbers include the territory of Crimea, unlike the USDA's. The Ukrainian government's statistics also exclude Crimea and the conflict zones in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk." S&P Global, aka Russia annexed Crimea and is now profiting with increased wheat yields from the land it has taken. And you know who's going to win out in all of this? The other major wheat supplier in the world who controls major reserves of wheat. Russia of course. Limit supply, drive up the price and value, capitalize on wheat revenue. Just like they're doing with natural gas. It is a smart way to utilize their resources to influence the world. It's a smart way to counter effects of sanctions and it's a smart move to use them to barter with western nations over sanctions. Relieve Russia of sanctions and your people will have bread and home heating. But it's also dangerous of course. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-says-russia-stole-several-hundred-thousand-tonnes-grain-2022-04-30/ Russia was also recorded with satellite imagery exporting wheat from Crimea, considered stolen wheat. In addition to attacks on wheat storage supplies: https://www.reuters.com/world/exclusive-photos-show-russian-attacks-ukraine-grain-storage-us-official-2022-04-01/ Aka, driving up the price and profiting on limited supply.
  11. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russia-ukraine-war-putin-grain-shipments-macron-scholz-black-sea-ports-rcna30964 https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/putin-says-hes-willing-discuss-resuming-ukrainian-grain-shipments-2022-05-28/ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday told the leaders of France and Germany Moscow is ready to look for ways to ship grain stuck in Ukrainian ports but demanded the West lift sanctions. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/05/28/putin-macron-scholz-discuss-ukraine-arms-grain-supplies-a77829 https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/putin-willing-to-discuss-resuming-ukrainian-grain-shipments-from-black-sea-ports-kremlin-101653745382755-amp.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/05/24/naval-blockade-food-supply-ukraine-russia/ https://indianexpress.com/article/world/russia-ukraine-war-live-updates-putin-zelenskyy-7936669/ https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3671216/macron-scholz-urge-putin-accept-direct-exchange-zelenskiy https://www.world-grain.com/articles/16958-report-turkey-seeks-deal-to-allow-ukrainian-grain-exports https://seanews.ru/en/2022/03/15/en-russia-suspends-grain-and-sugar-export/ https://www.rferl.org/a/war-ukraine-global-food-shortage/31872861.html#:~:text=In March%2C Russia temporarily banned,to its Central Asian neighbors. Many sources suggest that Russia has banned wheat exports. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/25/time-running-out-for-ukraine-grain-exports-from-besieged-seaports https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/14/ukraine-ports-grain-global-hunger/ https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-war-russia-blocks-ships-carrying-grain-exports/a-61165985 https://www.reuters.com/business/russia-may-suspend-grain-exports-until-june-30-interfax-2022-03-14/ https://www.world-grain.com/articles/16623-russia-temporarily-bans-grain-exports https://www.fao.org/giews/food-prices/food-policies/detail/en/c/1477294/ https://www.feedandgrain.com/news/russia-blocks-ships-carrying-grain-exports https://fortune.com/2022/05/10/ukraine-wheat-exports-russian-black-sea-port-blockade/ https://www.euronews.com/2022/05/27/ukraine-crisis-russia-grain -Turkey making efforts to open an export corridor. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/05/26/russia-ready-to-help-overcome-food-crisis-if-west-lifts-sanctions-putin-a77818 "Vladimir Putin emphasizes that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizer, subject to the lifting of politically motivated restrictions by the West," the Kremlin said in a statement following the call. International organizations wouldn't be attempting to negotiate with Russia to allow exports if they weren't impeding them. Seems silly to me to think that Russia wouldn't be responsible despite their ships having control of the black sea. Much like Russia's ban on natural gas heating and oil to opposing countries, it's simply using food as an additional weapon to manipulate Ukraine. And quite frankly, none of this would be happening if not for the invasion of Ukraine to begin with. Sometimes the greatest solution to world hunger starts by not using military might to invade your neighbors with brute force and explosives to annex their territory and take hold of their resources. Which is, to be fair, an issue the US needs to learn as well with respect to nations such as Syria and Iraq.
  12. How could anyone argue that western support isn't meant to support Ukraine when western support allowed Ukraines central government to survive the Russian offensive at Kyiv? I know I'm not the only one who saw those series of Russian defeats followed by their retreat back to Belarus. Then more recently we've seen Russia's military pushed out of Ukraine from the Kharkiv region as well. And we also can't argue that it takes several months of training for their military to use the weapons provided because of course there is active footage of use of western provided weapons in these ongoing battles. Such as, the highly effective javelins: https://youtu.be/S9CW6fYbT6Y https://youtu.be/4g68MmLrGvM Or various artillery systems: And various types of drones, such as those provided by turkey.
  13. https://www.wfp.org/funding/2020 https://www.wfp.org/
  14. I Imagine the good Russia could have done in terms of eradicating world hunger and thirst, had it not invaded and seized/blocked Ukraines natural resources and wheat export facilities.
  15. Here in the US, we are experiencing larger than normal wildfire's and droughts in the west, and in the east, we are receiving less and less snow year after year and more and more rain, suggesting a climate shift to more tropics in the new England area and more desertification in the west. Use of fossil fuels without capturing of carbon emissions waste is only going to further exacerbate these issues worldwide. So I think it's interesting, the more dire the situation, the more people fight for natural resources, the more we fight for natural reaources, the more the situation is exacerbated. More wealthy countries like those in the EU, seem to be making wise steps to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable and clean independent energy in an effort to mitigate economic dependency and to slow down these patterns of climate change. But less wealthy countries are essentially left to fend for themselves. Left out to the wolves, and placed in a situation of increasingly dire dependency on resource rich countries and left in a situation where they must depend on others for what they need to survive against changing climate patters. And what that means is that, there will be more and more dependence on Russia, or China, by African and Middle Eastern nations. And I wouldn't think of that as being a good thing at all because of course, just like any other nation, major powers put their own needs first. This is a serious issue in wealthy countries, climate change. But it's even more extreme and serious in these economically fragile countries. It begs this question though, if climate change is breaking these poorer nations down, it's tough to simultaneously hear about figures like Imran Khan trying to make deals with Russia for more cheaper natural gas, as if increasing use of fossil fuels is somehow the solution to warmer climate. Is clean or renewable energy an option for these nations? It's unclear to me.
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