2020 looked different.

The Life Cycle app by Sleep Cycle AB (available on iOS) allows you to track your activities by using your geographical location. When used in conjunction with the the Health app and the more popular Sleep Cycle app (also on iOS), you can get a pretty good picture of your average day.

I have had this setup for the past 4 years (2017– present) and as such, I thought it would be interesting to share some of this data, with a special emphasis on contrasting 2020 with the previous years. …

We often believe in ideas because of the utility we derive from them, not because of their inherent truth. And yet we seldom apply this same standard in religion, even though many religious adherents report an abundance of benefit — ranging from social belonging to individual satisfaction, to healthier eating habits and mental wellbeing.

Many modern scientific theories, such as Einstein’s Theory of Gravity and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, have provided us with numerous benefits. However, the principle of falsifiability teaches us that theories can never be proven correct, but only verified to be not incorrect thus far. After all…

Compartmentalization was a good strategy in the past. It allowed us to examine reality with different lenses, grasping one truthism per lens. However, applying such a reductionist approach in technology has made us blind to just how blurry the lines are between technologies. This made the concepts of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, for example, to be distinct in our minds. However, much overlap exists between these technologies and they may even complement one another perfectly. In fact, most technologies may be combined in one way or another, although it is true that some more readily lend themselves to…

We often fall prey to the routine of this world, busying ourselves with what we deem so important so as to allow it to distract us from our purpose. Al-Rahman’s mercy is all-encompassing and as a result, He often sends us subliminal reminders of our dependence on Him.

The sneeze, then, can be seen as an acute reminder of Allah at a particular time. …

The modern world is defined by the rise of technology. In such a world, a dichotomy exists between those who are familiar with technology and those who are not.

Likewise, the integration of technology in all other fields has resulted in an increased amount of specialization supposedly required to navigate such complexity. Careers in which practitioners traditionally only required relatively primitive tools such as the stethoscope or scalpel now require mastery of complex equipment such as ECG or the Da Vinci brand laparoscopic robots. As such, we find ourselves spending longer in school in pursuit of vocational skills, or in…

How do we respond to new information?

For instance, if I were to tell you that a person is timid, has a vast book collection, and reads a lot, and then ask you whether this person is more likely to be a teacher or a librarian, which would you pick?

Most, I gather, would pick librarian; the characteristics given seem to be more aligned with those who take part in that occupation. However, statistically speaking, there are many more teachers for every librarian. In fact, the American Library Association cites 166,164 librarians in the United States as of 2014 and…

To the City of Peace,

May God’s Peace and Blessings be upon you.

Baghdad, the City of Peace, during the Islamic Golden Age. [1001 Inventions Ltd]

I am a stranger to your lands.

I was neither shaped with your soil,

Nor cradled between your rivers,

Nor taught within your madrasahs,

Nor am I a holder of your passport,

Nor eloquent in your tongue.

Yet my lineage shapes your soil, 6 foot deep

Yet, you cradled an entire Civilization

Yet, you educated the Golden Age

Yet, I subscribe to the unbound Book

And I read it with your tongue.

It teaches me, as it once taught you


God will not change the condition…

We have grown so accustomed to the grading system that many of us don’t even know that this isn’t how it has always been, nor is it how it must be. Grades were originally used to inform other institutions about the quality of an institution’s students, not to provide feedback to students (Schinsky and Tanner 2014). Their purpose is not in line with that of education: they shift the emphasis from developing the next visionaries into training people to follow commands.

Pass/Fail grading scheme

There are a plethora of problems with the current grading system that are solved by the pass-fail system. For…

You can think much faster than you can speak. This is a well-known phenomenon and is the reason why speed readers are often recommended to not verbalize what they’re reading, for example. It makes sense since speaking implies the need to formulate ideas, reflect on them, and contemplate how to express them in a way most conducive to the understanding of a particular audience. Even when we just regurgitate memorized information or read written text, the physical muscle movements required to deliver coherent speech are much slower than the neuronal action potentials required for thought.

Speed augmentation. Photo by Aurélien Dockwiller on Unsplash.

Nowadays, however, much of the…

The rise of the West has popularized democracy as a political system. The democratic process calls for citizens to elect representatives to deliberate on legislature. A constitutional democracy is a type of democracy wherein the authority of representatives is limited under a constitution in order to protect certain human rights. There are many reasons for why Muslim-majority countries have been slow in adapting this model. Some of these include a colonialist legacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict that resulted in a resentment of the West and Western ideas, oil wealth that negates the pressure of representation that is coupled to taxation…

Sharif Natheir

MSc. (C) in Experimental Surgery (surgical innovation), McGill | Data analyst, Harvard | Interested in the applications of data science (AI/ML) in healthcare.

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