Category Archives: Everything else

“A Cosmic Reality Check” by Khaled Rajeh

Sandwiched between Hydra-Centaurus and Pavo-Indus, the Virgo Supercluster, one of several lobes of one of several million larger superclusters in the observable universe, spans around 110 million light-years in diameter.

On the outskirts of this supercluster, in a short filament extending from the Fornax to the Virgo Cluster, lies the Local Group, whose volume is very approximately one seven-thousandth that of the Virgo Supercluster.

Accounting for a mere one fifteen-millionth of the Local Group’s size, the Milky Way contains 200-400 billion identifiable stars and over 100 billion planets within the 100,000-120,000 light-years of its boundaries.

Orbiting this galaxy’s center once every 220-250 million years, at around 828,000 km/h, is a relatively infinitesimal yellow star.

Held in this star’s gravitational field, and about 1,300,000 times less voluminous, is a gas covered blue-green planet whose superior carbon-based life forms still largely believe that this whole universe was specifically designed for the sole purpose of having them in it.

“A Foreigner’s Guide To Lebanese Traffic Laws” by Khaled Rajeh

To a foreigner, an ordinary Lebanese road might often seem like an entirely disarrayed muddle of addling disruption and unadulterated havoc; but to a native that has spent enough time on the road to acquire a thorough understanding of the widely criticized Lebanese traffic laws, it always does.

I have therefore devised–after extremely meticulous scrutiny of traffic flow–a brief list that might be of help to any newcomers/tourists in Lebanon:

  • All lane markings, traffic signs, and traffic lights are purely ornamental and should not restrict your sense of adventure. If you, however, do happen to stop at a red light for any reason whatsoever, nearby drivers are never reluctant to publicly express their disfavor toward you.
  • Contrary to popular belief, our road surfaces are actually strategically designed to keep you soundly watchful at all times. A lapse of concentration might lead to fairly damaged suspensions and/or cervical vertebrae. Also, our drainage wells are constructed for the sole purpose of encouraging staying indoors on rainy days, so you won’t catch a cold.
  • Never fully expect to drive to a desired destination without inadvertently passing through your initial location multiple times.
  • One of the most commonly practiced extreme sports in Lebanon is road-crossing. If you happen to spot a pedestrian crossing a road, accelerating towards him/her at full speed, to augment the overall thrill of the experience, is highly appreciated.
  • Never fully expect to drive to a desired destination without repeatedly stopping to ask for directions that may often lead you to your initial location.
  • There are currently eight “Lebanon’s number one” radio stations on air. When in the right place, during the right weather conditions, with the right radio system and the odds in your favor, there is a slight possibility that you might just be able to listen to one of them.
  • Never fully expect to drive to a desired destination.
  • You are entitled, as a driver within Lebanese borders, to occupy two parking spaces. In the absence of parking spaces, you may park on a sidewalk. If the sidewalk is already occupied, feel free to park in the middle of the road. The Lebanese are free spirited, inventive, and appreciative of diverse viewpoints; there are no limitations as to how/where you can drive/park.