A truly excellent, and well-done documentary. The early Islamic &
Arabic language contributions to the modern world's understanding of the
sciences is one of my favorite topics included in the study of the
Middle East and of the Arabic language in general.
How Islamic scientists and mathematicians
contributed to modern day usage of numbers; the decimal point; the
early rise of Baghdad as a cultural center; Islamic political expansion;
the purpose of gaining knowledge; Arabic as the common language of the
early scientific revolution; the purpose of Arabic vowels; Arabic
calligraphy; The Translation Movement where new books were said to have
been paid for with their weight in gold; Islamic medicine and its
contributions to modern medicine - Galen and the humors, Greek, Indian
and Chinese medicine, traditional medicine; The Nur Al-Din hospital;
early Islamic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs; the majlis
discussions and debates; Al-Khawarizmi and the combination of Greek
mathematical visualizations with Indian mathematic symbols to create
Algebra; the contribution of Algebra to everything that has followed in history; how early Islamic synthesis of worldwide ideas of science proved that science transcends political boundaries and religious affiliations.
The scientific renaissance of the medieval Islamic world; the sciences and governing an empire; Medina Al-Zahra' outside Cordoba in Spain; the Nile-o-meter - keeping track of the Nile's yearly floods and using this information for taxation; Al-Ma'mun, map-making, and how mathematics contributed to a better understanding of the circumference of the earth - Al-Biruni and the combination of algebraic and geometric principles to estimate the size of the world; the scientific method and experimentation; the effects of the interaction between crafting traditions and trade with the sophisticated scholarship in the medieval Islamic world; carrier pigeons and their use in trade; mass production; useful alchemy and its eventual development into modern chemistry: industrial-scale soap manufacturing - alkaline substances - glass-making - metallurgy - perfume markets and distillation - weaponry based on petroleum and an improvement on Greek fire - the periodic table - the first classification based on observation vs. philosophy; physics (the science of change): the useable combination of mathematical forms and experimental observation to form a philosophical understanding of real-world change; Ibn Al-Haytham and the scientific method - the modern science of optics - the modern understanding of light and vision - the beginning of understanding physics in a mathematical context and the providing of repeatable experiments - a first explanation of reflection and refraction - the camera obscura - an estimation deduced from these ideas of the thickness of the earth's atmosphere based on the refraction of the sun's rays at twilight.
All of the vocabulary and phrases below come from the article linked above. I'm still working on the best ways to translate a few of the phrases in this one.
اللعبة بسيطة - إن كل اوامر القصف والهجوم كانت تحوم في الهواء - وكل طائر يمر عبر المحيط تدخل بياناته في هذا الشيء
The game is simple All of the bombing and attack orders were floating in the air and every pilot that flies across the ocean enters his (flight) data in this thing.
بهذه السطور تُختصر حقيقة حرب عاشت فصولها البشرية كما عاشتها أوروبا
وبريطانيافي صراعها الدامي ضد النازيةإبان الحرب العالمية الثانية
With these lines the reality of the human chapters, as they were being lived out in Europe and Britain during their bloody battle against the Nazis in WWII are summed up.
تجد نفسه أرضا وبشرا وسماءً تحت رحمة رسائل مُشفرّة تصدرها آلة الحرب
النازية فتقصف ساعة تشاء وتهاجم ساعة تشاءوتخرب وتدمر وسط هلع القادة
الإنجلي وسعيهم للحاق بهذا الغول الذي دمّر بلادهم
London found itself, its lands, its people, and its skies at the mercy of encrypted messages which were sent out by the Nazi war machine, as it was bombing, attacking devastating and destroying at will, In the midst of this chaos, was the English command's quest to deal with this ghoul that was destroying their country.
Another memorable article I was reminded of was Tales of the Trash, By Peter Hessler, published in The New Yorker last year. Tales of the Trash focuses on one of the zebaleen in particular, (Sayyid Ahmed) and the observations he is able to make about individuals on his route, and the extrapolations he is able to make about Egyptian society as a whole, based on things discovered in the trash.