Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'm wondering who would that person be for me as an Arab? A person so influential that he/she would reshape the world's perception of Arabs... a person that will make believe it when I say:
Proud to be an Arab
Friday, December 29, 2006
So here's the part I don't understand, all this exponential technological advances and mankind hasn't yet created a device that would shoot x-rays or any other kind of rays thru the ground to be able to spot HUGE EMPTY ROOMS that are hidden under a few meters of rock?This just blows my mind!
We do have an International Space Station in Orbit around the Earth!? And yet it takes us 80 years to find an extremely important tomb, in the valley of the Kings and oh by the way did I mention it it was found only 15 meters away from, arguably, the most famous tomb in the world: King Tut's Tomb?!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The funny thing is that I was talking with a few of my friends from work today and they told me that this is very strange. Actually one of them told me that as far as he can remember there was always snow on 24th/25th! So before you jump to blaming Global Warming, check this out. Meanwhile, 1,613.34 miles away (that's not a random number, I'm so bored that I measured that on Google Earth), Cairo is suffering from some surprisingly low temperatures, that is relative tot he average temperature in Cairo around that time!
Seeing that this is obviously a new phenomenon, I'm proposing calling it: The FeshFactor, you know like: The Big Bang or The General Theory of Relativity. The idea is very simple, it's been proven experimentally that I raise the temperature of the city I'm in by an average of 3-5 degrees Celsius. The explanation of how this phenomenon works is lengthy and at times technical, but I'll give you the summary:
My magnetic field, generated by my huge ego, interferes with the Earth's own magnetic field thus causing the slow down of the rotation of the Earth's hot molten core. This usually results in higher temperatures, if you don't believe me check movies like: Day After Tomorrow or The Core (for a lack of a better name).
P.S: I'm happy with my current shrink, so pls spare me the referrals to good shrinks who "helped a very good friend of yours".
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
It's been sitting there,motionless, for basically all your life. Think about it, you were born, went to school, studied, went thru exams, vacations, university, work.. you even got married and got two kids. It was there sitting still in an alien world...isn't that freaky?
Monday, December 25, 2006
Based on my little experience with the Polish Culture I can confidently say that if I go out now and ask 10 random ppl, 10 different questions, 8 of them will start their reply with "it depends". Do you agree?
There was an awkward 5 seconds of silence, only then that I realized that my question -although VERY valid and positioned as more of a funny comment- might be taken as offensive! I was finally relieved when the instructor -she's Polish- started her answer by an agreeing laugh! Only then did I realize that not only was not misunderstood but also I was onto SOMETHING!
Here's why I find this behavior, which I call Itdependence (pronounce it like Independence, then replace the 'n' with 't'), very strange for me. In Egypt if you ask ANYONE about ANYTHING they'd have an opinion. Although this is not necessarily a good thing because sometimes ppl just have an opinion based on little or no data at all, But what I like about non-Itdependence is that it usually results in shorter conversations and I like that.
Let me give you a hypothetical example. You ask someone if renting cars here is expensive, if the person suffers from Itdependence, you're probably going to get a lecture on how smaller cars are less expensive than bigger ones.... oh and local car rental companies will be less expensive...and if you .....bla bla bla.
Ask the same question to someone who doesn't suffer from Itdependence and you're gonna get a straight answer: Yeah, but try this company or that .. they usually have good deals. Problem solved!
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Occasionally I come across stuff that are just pure Gold. I know there's a lot of potential to pick on them in yet another angry post on my blog, but I don't know how. Someone of them make it (I am guessing 1 out every 4 of my 'new' posts have been sitting my draft for sometime) while others don't.
So, since it's a long vacation and I have nothing better to do, I decided to do some serious housekeeping on Blog and I decided to move the 3 drafts that are sitting them out and unleash them upon the world without any further work from my side.
So here's the first of 3:
I read CNET's news regularly to nurture the geek inside of me, so back in August I come across an article that is titled: Intel readies 'Tulsa' Xeon debut CNET News.com (it's still there, it's a boring read, you can check it if you want). So the article talks about this new processor that has some HUGE cache memory on it. Here's the part that amused me:
.......The major use for all that new circuitry is a large amount of cache memory that stores data for faster access than main memory can provide. Tulsa has 16MB of level-three cache, more than any other chip except the top-end "Montecito" Itanium with 24MB.
"A large cache hides a multitude of sins," Gilbert said.......
Okay, maybe it's just me BUT having high paid technology Guru compare MORE onboard processor cache to a "multitude of sins" just tickles my phunny bone.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Okay for you non-nerds out there, before you jump to conclusions on what a sick and twisted bastard I'm because I was "FIFOing" my fridge, let me explain to you what's FIFO and what's my history with it. Okay so FIFO is First In First Out.. I've come across this in many places in life in study you use it in algorithms in Computer Science, in Accounting you use it to estimate the value of your goods ...etc.
So basically, I discovered that without thinking of it, I am ordering the stuff in my fridge in a FIFO manner ...i.e. if I have 2 Oranges from yesterday I move them to a lower shelf and put the fresh ones from today on the top shelf. This way stuff goes in to the top shelf and goes out from the bottom shelf. See, this is not a bad approach if I have a humongous fridge, or if I stock food .. the funny thing (or sad) is that I have a small fridge and usually I have like 5 Oranges there, that will be consumed over the course of 2 days. What I'm trying to say is, I was just doing this for the sake of doing it .. not because it was helping or something :S and that's why I think it's sad.
Any who reminded me of this very interesting Finance guy I used to work with back in Cairo. He used to say: Consistency over Accuracy... and that's basically what I was doing.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Well, I guess the first thing I'd imagien myself doing is that if I feel anyone in the office didn't "show respect" to me, I'll get 5 of my men to beat the crap out of him and then I'll go to him, while he'll lying on the floor barely alive, pat his cheek and say: "It's purely business, it's not personal"... while he nods and struggles to say: "I understand".
Sunday, December 17, 2006
1. I have to take the Trans-Siberian train, which starts in Moscow and ends in Beijing .. a week later I believe.
2. I have to go AROUND THE WORLD! It's just the feeling, that I want to leave one place, head East and ONLY East, till I come back to the same place.
Now seeing I'm in Warsaw, I am seriously considering this option for Summer of 2007. How best to Celebrate 07.07.07 (my birthday btw) than by crossing the international Date Line over the pacific?!
So here's what I'm thinking:
1. Leave Warsaw to Moscow, Board the train, head all the way to Beijing.
2. Hop on a flight from Beijing to San Francisco.
3. Pick-up a car, drive till Chicago.
4. Fly to Warsaw.
In 2 weeks if I may add :S
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
1. I can barely remember the names of my friends, so pls dont waste my precious brain space with your name.
2. If I don't like my food I'll bitch about it, If I'm not bitching then I am enjoying.
3. Don’t interrupting me while I'm enjoying my meal, to ask "Is everything alright".
4. IF you absolutely have to interrupt then understand that the number of interruptions is inversely proportional to the % of tip I'm gonna leave you.
5. When I say "Thank you", I expect "you’re welcome" and not "you’re verry welcome". I just gave you my empty plate, let's be honest here.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
So, I haven’t been blogging recently, thanks to amazing amount of work and travel, but I’m BACK baby! Okay, you know they introduced in the EU this regulation in Airports that you can't have liquids on the plane unless they are less than 100mls a piece and put in a clear plastic bag right? Also stuff you buy from the Duty Free are but in clear plastic bags, if you buy any food from the airport you need to consumer it before boarding the plane ...bla bla bla. So my story begins in Munich (which btw the is BIG-A$$ airport) and I have 2 hours to waste there and I go buy me a 500ml bottle of Coke(tm) and I indulge in my book. As we start boarding I totally forget about the Coke and I just walk in there, with the Coke bottle in my hand, and no one tells me anything. As soon as I am sitting a friend of mine who was traveling with me was like: Are you supposed NOT to take liquids on the plane? So there I image how kool would it be if: a Male, 25 years old, Arab with black hair and bottle of a suspicious black bio-chemical agent stood-up and screamed
I AM GOING TO BLOW THE PLANE UP!
Seriously, would you think it would be too obvious I'm joking or the Arab-Terrorist stereotype is SO string that I can actually hijack the plane, make it land in Honolulu and probably get 3 million USD in my Cayman isles bank account?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
So after waging a full fledged war against their messed-up logic, and let me explain my two key points:
1.The Polish regulations state that for the first year in Poland I don’t get a residency, I am on an extended work visa.
2.These embassies are in Poland and therefore should respect the Polish regulations and help foreigners –like me- issue long-term business visas in their first year.
.....I decided to let it go and be the bigger man, I took the chance that I am back in THE MOTHERLAND and I wanted to issue a few long-term visas to the countries I expect to visit in the next 1-year.
So here’s how the Russian Embassy Mafia operates in Cairo:
First, they ask for an HIV test and they have an exclusive deal with one of the worst labs in Cairo. Just walking inside this lab gives you the feeling that you’ll probably contract HIV. Wait, it’s not over, this “exclusive lab” charges 100$ for a standard HIV test that usually costs 20$! Which makes you wonder if the remaining 80$ somehow finds their way into the pockets of someone @ the Russian embassy.
Second, they don’t allow anyone inside the embassy?! So you need to bribe some middle man 50$ to do this for you!? And based on the guy I was working with 30$ go to the embassy people?!
Finally, even the official fees for a 1-year visa to Russia is 300$?!
I really find it a pity that such corruption exists in an institution that should represent a country.
Monday, November 06, 2006
You know that it’s estimated that 10% of the population has fear of needles? Yes! It’s true… Wikipedia has spoken: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypodermic
And why on Google Earth are we still having painful needles? Aren’t we in like the 21st century?! Shouldn’t we have like solved this problem long ago?
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Well, you need to consider that all my life, my concept of a vacation was to go as far away from El-Cairo as possible. It's not that I hated El-Cairo, but I am person who LOVES change and I've been here most of my life, born, been to school, university and started working here. It's a bit too much :) Also living this long in one place tends to make you overlook the small things that make your life more fun. Be it as nice as being able to spend a little bit of time with your friends & loved ones or as simple as being able to read street names :D (My Polish SUCKS!).
I must run to indulge some more in El-Cairo, my advice to you is to plan your next vacation back to wherever that is home for you, after all, It's the best place to be.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
1. A big-@$$ asteroid is discovered on a collision course with the Earth.
2. Governments get together and agree on a plan to nuke the asteroid in space.
3. The plan works, or not.
4. The earth is saved, or not.
So I was doing some reading and I came across the scientifically more correct version of the story, here goes:
1. Our chances of spotting the asteroid early on (1 year before impact) is less than 0.001%
2. IF we are that lucky, then nuking it won’t help much. Why? It is argued that even if successfully nuked all what will happen is that instead of one BIG asteroid heading our way, 5-7 medium ones will be. Not only this, we get them sprayed with radioactive sauce too, for FREE! yaaay!
3. IF we spot the asteroid 6 months or less before impact. We would be too late to act.
4. REALISTICALLY, in 99.999% of the cases, we will discover it only ONE second before impact.
Now, pause and reflect on that for a second…
Scientists tell us that because asteroids that are capable of destroying life on earth are relatively small (compared to other heavenly bodies: stars, planets …etc) they don’t reflect much light to be visible. The fact is they enter the Earth's atmosphere ONE second before impact and only then do they light up. Let me repeat this, you will only see the asteroid that is going to end life on earth with your naked eye only one second before it happens….. in 99.999% of the time.
See how Hollywood deceived me?! No ground shaking! No bright rock hurling in the sky! Nothing! It’s like being hit by a bullet in the head. You hear a BANG and then you’re gone. I understand why Hollywood added all those scenes, for a movie it’s defiantly more exciting, but realistically if the world is going to end; I like it quick and painless.
But hey that's me, What about you?
Thursday, October 05, 2006
.... but there's a catch, obviously it's way much easier for us to release energy from those heavy/unstable elements than it is to do that from more common/stable elements. But then again, I was surprised to learn that we are about 1% efficient in releasing Nuclear energy now from those heavy elements! So by a simple (and I am almost sure inaccurate) deduction I got my second revelation: What if in the future we find a way to release energy from more stable elements (again assume Iron) in a little bit more efficient way? So the drop in the total amount of energy that can be released is evened out by the more efficiency. And voila you’ve got yourself:
Note: Do you know that an average human being has around 7x10(18) joules of energy? So if I were to feed you to my MtoEtor you will generate an energy equivalent to 30 Uranium bombs in an instant... and you thought those suicide bombers with a belt of TNT explosives wrapped around them were dangerous? Think again!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Did that ever happen to you? You land in a country, spend a couple of days and as you're leaving it you're thinking to yourself "Man... I must come back & live in this country!". Well, so far I've been to almost 40 countries and out of all of those only a handful (I really mean it .. Less than 5) of those intrigued me that much. The last one of those so far was Turkey, when I first arrived in Istanbul back in 2005 I knew I'd be back again to that amazing city. I was lucky enough to go back to my mystic city in less than one year. As I munched my way through sojok (oriental sausages), baklava (oriental deserts) and Turkish coffee (Turkish coffee :D) I tried to understand why am I so hooked on Turkey..... I couldn't figure out .. so I decided to take it to the next level .. so yet again I took my WiFi enabled laptop to the "porcelain throne" and their I had my *ding* moment.
I guess the first thing that drew me to Turkey is the cultural overlap, The Ottoman empire occupied Egypt for hundreds of years and therefore not only is Turkish and Arabic very similar as languages, cuisine is similar, the look and feel of the streets, shops and basically all the aspects are the same. Even tawola (backgammon) is the way to pass time on a cafe! The second thing that I really like is that unlike almost all other Arab/Muslim countries religion (Islam) is not involved into every single aspect of life. In general I am against mixing religion and state either it's Christian or Muslim, becuase I feel it's unfair to minorities (having been part of the Christian minority in Egypt). Third, I believe that's a common attribute to "Mediterranean" countries, people are more warm .. I don't know how to explain this, but being from the same region, I felt it .. ppl are outgoing, they eat late, stay out late, get quickly to know each other and become friends and buddies ... It's amazing.
Finally, the heritage ... I wont lie to you and tell you I'm into artsy fartsy stuff, but I love to be in a place that has a smell of different centuries and Turkey offers this starting from the Biblical civilizations that lived in east Turkey .. where you have Mt. Ararat (arguably where Noah's ark landed) all thru Greek, Roman ... till Ottoman.
I have no doubt I'll go back to Turkey soon, because now it's on the list ;)
For now I'll enjoy the Turkish coffee
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Editorial note: Hey guess what I am writing this post from my WC! Yes I am a proud WiFi owner woho! .....but I guess Munqy was right in his post Survival of the Shittest Humanity's best moments were linked to the "Porcelain thrown" in a way or another. So prepare for the ultimate post, the post that makes all other posts nothing, it is simply the post. (Okay seriously don't have your hopes up, the fact that I am THAT bored that I have my laptop with me in the WC kinda gives an indication of what terrible post this is).
Okay so I am reading in my new favorite book "What If", it's a book about fictional scenarios like: what if Alexander The Great was killed in battle when he was 20 years old before he conquered most of the known world and earned "the Great" title? How would our world be now. It's very interesting book if you are into History, because it aint a fiction it's more of Historical contra factual essays written by Historians.
So I come upon a piece of very disturbing info, do you know that the Mongol Empire which strived in 13th/14th century and considered one of the most barbaric and devastating empires to be formed was THE LARGEST CONTIGUOUS EMPIRE IN HUMAN HISTORY?! You can't imagine my shock really. I read the article and I was in shock they annihilated cities, they didn't sack them, The Greeks or the Romans sacked cities, which means they conquered the city, looted it and put a governor and a tax. But Mongols had a natural hatred towards metropolitan cities because of them being nomads and they initially destroyed cities and leveled them. Not only this they killed most of the population, I read some numbers that are scary, some cities lost 1.7 million people!
Can you imagine this? Arguably one of the most barbaric empires the world has witnessed and it lives and prospers to become the world biggest.
Tells you something about us Humans right? Think about it.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Last weekend, on Saturday I visited the notorious Auschwitz. For those of you who haven't heard of it it's the most preserved Nazi concentration camp in the world. The "final solution" for around 1.5 million Jews was performed on those very same grounds. If you happen to be in Poland I would recommend the visit, it's total experience, starting with entering the camp from the main gates that bear the infamous words "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work makes you Free) all the way to the monument in Auschwitz II dedicated to the memory of all of those who were mercilessly slaughtered there.
I wouldn't bore you with the horrible things there, I would actually pick on a very unusual side of the camp, German Discipline. German Discipline is clear in every inch of the camp, our guide explained that the barracks of the prisoners were actually stables for the horses, so when those stables arrived from Germany, they were constructed according to procedures. And according to procedures in each of the 52 horse-cabins there was a metallic ring to which the horse was to be tight too. After more than 60 years and thousands of prisoners who manned those barracks, the horse rings are still there ... never used though.
An even more surprising example is the Gestapo barracks. The whole camp was under the supervision of the SS. However, one of barracks inside it belonged to the Gestapo and according to procedures: all Gestapo buildings' windows should be enforced by steel bars. It is worth mentioning that the Gestapo barracks is actually INSIDE one of the biggest concentration camps and is basically surrounded by thousands of soldiers, tanks, electric fences and mine fields. Yet, the steel bars were transported from Germany and are still seen today on Barracks 11.
That’s how I found myself drifting during the tour into my own thoughts and mixed feelings about the Nazi’s brutality from one side and their discipline to adhere to procedures word by word, even if they were losing the battle to the Allies already.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
However, when you think of it, the implications of this one is far more interesting. With millions of digital pictures being taken currently and uploaded somewhere on the internet. If this tool really worked, it would be crawling the web -just like Google does for it's normal search- to add more pictures to it's 3D models. One exciting possibility that is shared on the tools website (the URL is below) is basically in the future having the capability to point your camera-enabled phone and snapping a picture of something. Then sending this picture to Photosynth web service and get a reply for what this actually is... amazing?!
I can't wait to put my hands on this tool, for some weird reason I was SURPRISED that this tool came from Microsoft?! For the last like 5 years those kool ideas came either from Google or from a small start-up while Microsoft was busy catching up on Windows, Hotmail, IE, Media player, Office and Search set backs? Is that signaling somehow a change in MS execs strategy? they are done with fighting in well established domains and they are putting their "Google" hat on?Whether that's happening or not .. in the time being I AM DYING to get my hands onto this Photosynth tool to make it crunch my 9GB photo library!
Check Photosynth's website!
Friday, August 25, 2006
* crowd bursts into a sympathetic aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh
No really .. this is SO kool .. I think it's one of those points in the history of science when one popular theory is torn down and another one put in place .... maybe it's not like the time when the world gave up the idea that the sun is orbiting us and FINALLY adopted the theory that we orbit the sun, for sure that was huge. This I believe is not as big, but equally interesting, check the full article .. it's so kool! Here's the link
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we as humans have a good record when it comes to protecting our environment and thus our existence, it's enough to look at how many different species we hunted till extinction, the amount of pollution we pumped into our atmosphere and many, many more examples. So I'll admit that we are selfish by nature YET we are not stupid. And for me, the simple statement that Petrol will run out at someday is equivalent to us saying, yes we humans are dumbest species on Earth as we'll sit there and do nothing while our key source of Energy runs dry.
So, yes, I believe the only dignified way for us to come out of this is simply if Petrol never runs out. Let's look at historically what used to happen we'd over-use one fuel, some other alternatives would come out and then we slowly shift to the new fuels, while keeping the original fuel. We still have coal don't we? and I think Petrol is no exception, on several fronts Nuclear Energy has already replaced Petrol, however our everyday life still heavily depend on Petrol, cars, planes, factories ..etc all still run mainly on Petrol. But there is also hope there, Hybrid cars are become more and more common, with fighter planes and space shuttles already running on Liquid fuels for some time (basically Hydrogen, Oxygen, maybe Nitrogen.. not a rocket scientist! :D)
So you see my point? I refuse to acknowledge the fact that Petrol will run out, because we as humans aren't stupid. When it comes to securing our livelihood we’ve been so far successful, and I'd like to think we'll continue to be so. And for that to happen, Petrol MUST NOT run out.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I must say that Crichton’s latest novel “State of Fear” is an amazing read, that is after you get over Crichton’s trademark information overload : ) At the core of the novel is what every conspiracy theorist likes, the claim that Global Warming which has been established as a fact of life in the recent years is a politically fabricated conspiracy theory. The way Crichton weaves his plot depending of facts, scientific papers and fiction is so gripping it automatically gave me a Da Vinci Code Déjà vu.
I liked how all through the novel Crichton is emphasizing the hidden agendas of different groups be it individuals, governments or environmental groups. Crichton finishes his novel with one of my favorite catch-22 statements of all time:
Everybody has an agenda. Except me
Read the novel!