Like Father, Like Son

Have you ever wondered how rainfall makes its way from clouds up in the Sky to the fast-flowing rivers of Earth?

Well, the slope of the Earth surface shapes areas that collect rainfall and direct it to a single point in a river. These areas can be as small as a football field and as large as covering half of the United States. We call them hydrologic catchments, and they are precisely what I want to talk to you about today. But before that, let’s talk about us, Humans. 


In our lifetimes, we experience a wide range of adversities: we get sick, we face emotional shocks and financial difficulties. And whenever we encounter those difficulties, it is always interesting to ask: why some of us are better than others at handling those difficulties? Why some of recover quite quickly while others don’t?

Now hydrologic catchments, as big and massive and different from humans as they are, they also experience adversities. These are in the form of floods, droughts, heatwaves and wildfires. And recent studies showed that just like humans, the response of these systems to adversities can be quite distinct. Some catchments are vulnerable to droughts, some recover quite quickly, others a little bit slower while the rest might not recover at all. It is puzzling and unfortunately we don't fully understand the reasons behind this? Traditionally, environmental scientists have addressed this question by using expensive natural experiments or simplified model representations. 

However, these approaches have their limitations. So, here at Berkeley Lab, my team and I utilize recent advances in data science to address this question by learning from observations. In my research, I analyze a wide range of field measurements using algorithms of data science and machine learning to identify the key factors responsible for the behavior of these systems. By doing so, we are able to help decision makers answer key questions such as: whether to build a dam? add a forest? or deforest a catchment area? How to optimally manage groundwater withdrawal during droughts? And so many other questions.


As the global climate continues to change, threatening our freshwater resources, these are the kind of questions we need to answer in order to make sure that hydrologic catchments always recover following disturbances to cope with future climate and provide us with freshwater for many, many generations to come. 

@2022 Ombadi.

Nice spot to take photos of Los Angeles Skyline

LA downtown has a nice skyline at Sunset. A lot people go to the area at the intersection of Grand Ave. and 3rd/4th street to enjoy Sunset or take photos. It is a nice spot, but sometimes can be very crowded. 

A hidden spot that gives you an equally nice view of LA downtown is located in the 1st street (at the bridge passing above Figueroa St.). I took this photo at Sunset from this hidden spot. It is always empty and parking is never a problem there. Enjoy the view and thank me later.

The extremely talented Sudanese Jazz musician Sharhabil Ahmed

Intro to Sudanese Music

Sudan boasts a tremendously rich musical culture. Situated at the heart of Africa, bridging the Arab World with Sub-Saharan Africa, Sudan occupies a cultural crossroads that gives rise to a distinctive genre of music. In this blog, I will focus solely on the music of Central Sudan, also known as Omdurman music. This genre serves as a unifying force, bringing together Sudanese people. Sudan also has other genres specific to particular regions such as Western, Northern, Eastern, and South Sudan, which I will explore in future blogs. 

Omdurman Music emerged in the early 1900s, characterized by its use of simple musical instruments and a strong emphasis on vocal performance. Often referred to as "Hakiba" music, it is renowned for its lyrical depth and suitability for group/chorus singing. You can listen to an example of this music in an old recording found here:

In the decades following the Hakiba era, Omdurman music underwent a transformation with the introduction of new musical instruments like the violin, guitar, piano, accordion, and others. This era, spanning from the early 1930s to the 1960s, produced some of Sudan's most prominent musicians, including Ibrahim al Kashif, Mohammed Wardi, Mohammed El Amin, and many others. Unlike the preceding Hakiba era, the focus shifted to innovative use of musical instruments, with less emphasis on vocals and group singing. It is challenging to select representative songs from this era due to the abundance of excellent music; however, here are three examples: Mohammed Wardi_El Tayr El Mohajer, Mohammed El Amin_You'll learn, Osman Hussein_Oshrat Elayam.

The mid-1970s marked the beginning of a new era in Omdurman music, often referred to as contemporary Omdurman music. During this time, the style of lyrics took on a unique form, drawing from the tools of modern poetry. Many lyricists from this period came from a background in acting and theater. One of the most influential figures of the 1970s and 80s Omdurman music was the late Mostafa Sid Ahmed. Here is an example of his excellent music: Mostafa Sid Ahmed_The Noble Sadness.