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Ahmed Alkhateeb

Writing Portfolio

'So what do you write about?" 

Writing to me is the process of taming rebellious stray thoughts only to release them to live in someone else's head. I write about Truth; I write about what it is and how to find it. I write about objective scientific truth and the many personal truths orbiting around it.

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لا مكان للخوف في طفولة الفلسطينيين

  Raseef22, January 2022

جميعنا نتأرجح بين الحياة والموت؛ بين الوجود والنسيان. بالنسبة إلى الكثيرين، يكون هذا التأرجح هادئاً وسلساً كنبض قلبٍ نائم. بينما يكون لآخرين قوياً وشرساً كالريح العاتية تعصف تارةً، وتسكن أخرى. مع كل خطوة كنت أخطوها نحو القمة، كان هذا التأرجح يتسارع، حتى وصل إلى حد التوحد. لم يبقَ شيء غير ذاتي كاملاً، رغماً عن الفراغ

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Scientists Must Combat Scientific Dogmatism

The Scientist Magazine, September 2021

"Science is an iterative process rooted in empiricism, experimentation, and critically, skepticism. Pure scientific research begins with curiosity, not expectations. No result can be expected a priori. Also, the scientific method is more suited to mapping out possibilities than identifying certainties. Once a novel observation is made, a tremendous amount of work is undertaken to contextualize its relative importance. The scientific method is therefore an approach to approximate what the truth is. It rarely provides a definitive clear answer."

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The Five-Star Occupation

Haaretz, January 2020

"In a perfect world, I would have left Checkpoint 300 a harsh review on Google Maps. “Half a star. Poorly designed. Inconsiderate service. No food.” But this is the Occupation after all. There are no suggestion boxes in an occupation. The methods of control are designed with complete disregard to those subjugated - not unlike herding cattle."

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Into Freedom

LA Review of Books, October 2018

"We are all flickering — between being and not-being; between existence and oblivion. For most, this flicker is slow and subtle like the beating of a slumbering heart. For others, it is violent and erratic. Like the wind, it crescendos and ebbs. With every step I took and the higher I got, this flickering got faster and faster, to the point of singularity. Only I remained — whole despite the void."

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Should Staying in Academia Be Considered a Failure?

Scientific American, September 2018

"Ironically, the notion that leaving academic science is a failure is itself unscientific. It lacks a coherent empirical foundation. There is no evidence to suggest that scientists in academia are more successful, more self-fulfilled or even intellectually freer than scientists in the for-profit, non-profit or government sectors. There is a possibility that this unempirical notion is a direct manifestation of academic insecurities: intellectual, existential and, perhaps most importantly, financial."

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NIH Budget Cuts: It's Not Just the Money

Scientific American, June 2017

"If the quality of research output declines, further cuts to the NIH budget will become justified. After all, the rationale behind the substantial investment in biomedical research is based on its potential impact on society and the biotechnology sector. If the return on investment on research crosses into the negative, the government might explore other approaches beside the NIH to spend its annual 30 billion dollar contribution to biomedical research."

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Can Scientific Discovery Be Automated?

The Atlantic Magazine, April 2017

"Human minds simply cannot reconstruct highly complex natural phenomena efficiently enough in the age of big data. A modern Baconian method that incorporates reductionist ideas through data-mining, but then analyses this information through inductive computational models, could transform our understanding of the natural world. [...] It would also provide a much-needed reminder of what science is supposed to be: truth-seeking, anti-authoritarian, and limitlessly free."

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Science Has Outgrown The Human Mind And Its Limited Capacities

Aeon Magazine, April 2017

"The duty of man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads and … attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.
– Ibn al-Haytham (965-1040 CE)"

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If You See Something, Say Something
(It’s Not About What You Think It Is)

Huffington Post, December 2016

"Dealing with complex and widespread problems like Islamophobia or anti-Semitism is not simple. But people of conscience need to stand up and confront them: If not with action, then with words. That is at least a start."

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We Should Not Accept Scientific Results That Have Not Been Repeated

Nautilus Magazine, July 2016

"The first question to ask, in addressing the problem of irreproducibility, is: Why do scientists do science? This question itself is the subject of an entire academic discipline. Sociologists of science have consistently identified “public recognition” as scientists’ primary motivating factor. Of course, other drivers do exist, such as puzzle solving, knowledge building, and financial gain. But recognition seems to represent the common, essential driver."

[A follow-up article was also published]

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Reimagining The Paper

The Scientist Magazine, May 2016

"The fragmentation of the modern paper into its empirical constituents would increase the speed of scientific exchange, increase collective engagement, and introduce a new level of resolution to scholarly information retrieval. It would encourage scientists to publish more reliable data (since every figure would be evaluated independently). The decoupling of logic and observation would also decrease experimenter bias for positive results that fit an overarching hypotheses. Finally, by decreasing the time and effort needed to publish, scientists might be more inclined to publish negative or confirmatory results."

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A Palestinian Walks Into a Synagogue…

Aljazeera America, July 2015

"It is often overlooked that the plight of the Palestinian people, as perceived by the Palestinians, looks eerily similar to the plight of the Jewish people, as perceived by the Jewish people. They are both peoples of the Diaspora. They longed, or are still longing for a piece of the same real estate. They were both persecuted by ultra-nationalistic powers that underestimated humanity’s capacity to survive, even if those powers differ substantially in how and why they acted. As a result, both Palestinians and Jews live with collective existential traumas, which are impossible to ignore or resolve. If anyone could empathize with being a Palestinian, it would probably be someone of a Jewish background."