Anti-Wahhabism spreading in Muslim world

There are clear sensitivities against Wahhabis from Muslims outside Shiite Islam due to Wahhabis’ bad reputation following the rise of radical jihadi currents such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) that have adopted Wahhabism as their principal influence.

An Islamic conference was held Aug. 25-27 in Chechnya’s capital, Grozny, and senior Sunni scholars from various Sunni schools attended. The meeting was sponsored by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. The conference aimed at introducing “Sunni identity” and determining its adherents.

The closing statement limited the Sunni community to “Ash’aris, Maturidis by belief, followers of the four jurisprudential schools of Sunnism (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali) and followers of pure Sufism in terms of ethics and chastity. Any other sects are not included in the Sunni community.” This clearly indicates that, in the participants’ view, Wahhabism is not considered part of Sunni Islam, but rather an emerging innovation (Bid’ah) in Islam.

The closing statement also restricted the big Islamic schools to deep-rooted religious institutions in “Al-Azhar University (Cairo, Egypt), University of Al-Quaraouiyine (Fez, Morocco), Al-Zaytoonah University (Tunisia) and Hadhramaut University (Yemen).” The statement did not mention Islamic centers and religious institutions in Saudi Arabia.

via Anti-Wahhabism spreading in Muslim world

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Elon Musk: Yep, We’ve Ordered Extreme Disaster, We Must Go To War On Climate Change

The thing is, we’re massively behind schedule. We needed to shift dramatically 5 years ago … or 15 years ago. We didn’t. We are going in the right direction, theoretically, but it’s like we’re in a race with Usain Bolt and we have a broken ankle or two. The market is still heavily biased toward fossil fuels due to inadequate pricing (distortions in the market known as massive, we-are-totally-screwing-ourselves, wake-the-f***-up externalities). We are giving fossil fuels trillions of idiotic, insane dollars in subsidies every year. And it seems we are just genuinely slower to figure things out than a Golden Retriever puppy.

via Elon Musk: Yep, We've Ordered Extreme Disaster, We Must Go To War On Climate Change

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Are Shipping Containers the Future of Farming? – WSJ

Great for a colony on Mars – or in your basement:

led_farmingINSIDE THE CAVERNOUS INTERIOR of a former Boston-area taxi depot—walls covered in graffiti, pools of water on the concrete floors—three gleaming green-and-white containers sit side by side. The steel boxes are former “reefers”—refrigerated shipping containers used to transport cold goods. Bone-chilling rain is falling outside, but inside the 320-square-foot boxes, it’s a relatively balmy 63 degrees, and the humid air is heavy with the earthy smell of greens. Filling each box are 256 neat vertical towers of plants, bathed in a noonday-intense pink light.

The crops being cultivated here—lettuce, herbs and other leafy greens—are not what we’ve come to expect from this kind of operation. But the company behind this agricultural innovation owes a large debt to America’s pot farmers. Freight Farms was founded in 2010, its existence predicated on a bet that LEDs would soon become efficient enough for farming as if the sun had disappeared—without breaking the bank. Co-founder Brad McNamara puts it this way: “Traditional research said, yeah, LEDs are good, but the more important research was that they were improving at a Moore’s-Law rate.” Moore’s Law, used to describe the exponential increase in computing power over the past 50 years, can be applied to LEDs thanks in part to the needs—and considerable resources—of marijuana growers.

In addition to 128 LED strips, each “farm” has a water circulation system, 8 gallon-size tanks of liquid fertilizer and a propane tank for producing supplemental CO2—all running on as little as 10 gallons of water and 80 kWh of energy per day. Under the right conditions, a grower can go from seeds to sellable produce within six weeks. According to data pooled by the company, an average Freight Farms box can produce 48,568 marketable mini-heads of lettuce a year—the growing power of two acres of farmland.

Freight Farms is part of a rapidly expanding field: Food and agricultural technology startups received $4.6 billion in investment in 2015, almost double the $2.36 billion that poured into the sector in 2014, according to a report from agriculture investment platform AgFunder. Companies like John Deere and Monsanto have long invested in new technology for conventional farming, but we’re now seeing a disruption of farming itself.


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Fear and Loathing in Saudi Arabia | Foreign Policy

Then there are Saudi fears about the oil market. Everyone seems to believe that the Saudis are purposely not cutting back production to kill off North American shale producers. But that is absolutely not what the Saudis are saying, either in private or public. Instead, they are saying that they can no longer control the oil market because there are too many other sources and all of the OPEC countries cheat like crazy whenever Riyadh tries to orchestrate a production cut. This has happened to them repeatedly over the past 20 to 30 years. They try to cut production to prevent oil prices from dropping, and the rest of OPEC takes advantage of it to pump as much as they can, contrary to what they promised and agreed to. The result is that there is no overall supply curtailment and the Saudis lose market share. This time around, they have stated that they cannot realistically control the OPEC oil supply, so they are not going to try to do so. Instead, they are going to fight for market share. But doing so means having to win a race to the bottom, with the result that their oil revenues are plummeting.

via Fear and Loathing in Saudi Arabia | Foreign Policy

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Buggy Subway: A Metaphor for the 2016 Election?

Straphangers go berserk after woman tosses bugs in subway car


Buy my bugs.


Then buy my worms.

Yuck. We don’t want either of them.

You have to choose, one or the other.


Agh! They’re all over the place.

Stop the train!

Oh the humanity! We’re trapped in the mess we created..

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This 28-Year-Old Is Running For Congress To Try To Destroy U.S.-Saudi Relations

“I’ve met a lot of voters sick of both parties and entrenched interests … they look at Obama and Paul Ryan having the same position on Saudi Arabia,” he said. “You don’t have a lot of lawmakers honest with their constituents about it.”

There’s “a notion that voters are stupid,” the candidate continued. “Voters are generally aware. It would be disingenuous to say they know the details … but they’re generically aware that Saudi Arabia often acts adverse to our interests.”

Beinstein traces his own fixation on the kingdom to May 2015, when he first read journalist Gerald Posner’s Secrets of the Kingdom, an indictment of the U.S.-Saudi partnership that explores hundreds of alleged Saudi misdeeds, including ties to 9/11. That was before Beinstein even considered a political career.

Now, his “number one desire” if he makes it to Congress is to win a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He would use the perch to implement a three-pronged plan: add Saudi Arabia to the list of state sponsors of terror; subject it to sanctions that would help break economic ties between the kingdom and the U.S.; and freeze the assets of Saudis found to have any links to terror.

Beinstein says he expects bipartisan support for that policy. He pointed to Democrats like former Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.) who have raised questions about Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11 and the broader War on Terror.

The libertarian Beinstein is not much of a party man in any case

via This 28-Year-Old Is Running For Congress To Try To Destroy U.S.-Saudi Relations

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No Saudi Money for American Mosques :: Middle East Forum

The Saudis have been arrogantly indiscreet about spending to promote Wahhabism. For example, a 2005 Freedom House report reviewed some of the extremist literature provided to the public by Saudi-funded institutions and concluded that it poses “a grave threat to non-Muslims and to the Muslim community itself.” The monarchy has also given multiple and generous grants to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most aggressive and effective Islamist organization in the United States.

This discrepancy, a version of which exists in every Western country, demands a solution. Some Western governments have taken ad hoc, provisional steps to address it.

• In 2007, the Australian government turned down a Saudi request to send funds to the Islamic Society of South Australia to help build a new mosque. “Obviously we don’t want to see any extremist organisation penetrate into Australia,” explained then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Eight years later, Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks affirmed the kingdom’s intense interest in influencing Islamic politics in Australia.

• In 2008, the Saudis offered to finance construction of a mosque and Islamic cultural center in Moscow, prompting three Russian Orthodox groups to write an open letter to then-King Abdullah suggesting that his kingdom lift its ban on churches.

• In 2010, Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre turned down Saudi funding for a mosque on the grounds that the Saudi kingdom lacks religious freedom.

via No Saudi Money for American Mosques :: Middle East Forum

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