Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pickled Eggs, Anyone?

I haven't tasted pickled eggs yet, but I have a very strong feeling that the first time I do they'll taste horribly bad. When I say horribly bad I mean two orders of magnitude more horrible than eating a piece of your own liver. Which has been rotting in the sun for 12 hours. And a dog peed on it 4 hours ago.

So today as I was having my breakfast, that surprisingly didn't even include eggs in any shape or form, I wondered how would be the experience of eating my first pickled egg? Is it possible it could be as horrible as I think? And if it was, will I be happy with my newly acquired skill of predicting the taste of a food? Or would I be traumatised by the thought that a rotten piece of my liver that has been peed on would have probably tasted much better than what I just ate? What if I actually liked it? How would I be able to look myself in the eye everyday and tell myself that I can't possibly eat a rotten piece of my liver? I misjudged pickled eggs, didn't I?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Evolutionary Fesh

"Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered"

I'm a fanatic evolutionist, I believe life, intelligent or not, exists elsewhere in the universe. So it's no surprise that I usually get into hot debates with people, educated people, about evolution and sadly they almost always voice pathetic objections to the theory of evolution, here are the top two:

1. Evolution is at odds with religion.
I respect people choosing to believe that the world was created as explained in the Holy Books: in 7 days with humans created directly by God. What I don't respect is people claiming that the theory of evolution is wrong because it claims that we evolved without having God in the picture. Evolution is just the tip of our understanding of how we got here. Our current scientific understanding begins with a single moment, the moment of the Big Bang. There's no time before it and there is no explanation of how this moment came to be, sounds familiar? Yes, that's the creation moment according to science. Science and Religion do not disagree on whether there was a creation moment or not, they simply differ on when it was! Agree with whichever version you like, but don't dismiss science as Godless.

2. If it is true, why are we not evolving anymore?
The short answer is that we are evolving, just slowly. You need to factor in that based on fossil evidence humans started evolving from chimpanzees around 5-8 million years ago. Mind you that currently the difference in DNA sequence between a chimpanzee and a human is ONLY 5%. Think about that, it took 5 million years for 5% change in DNA. So of course you can't spot OUR evolution because our total documented history is little less than 10,000 years. But to answer your question in insects like the fruit fly, where the average generation lifetime is a lot shorter, evolution has been spotted in various lab experiments. Google it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Return of Das Iron Fesh!

I've been off my weight training for a while now mainly because of back trouble. But I'm back baby! Last Friday I marched into the gym with my work-out playlist ready on my uberPod and all!

Of course I spent yesterday, sore like hell, in bed. But I'm off to the gym again now... woho! Oh and I revisited my new year's resolutions and I'm doing quite well on 4 out of the 7. Another woho!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

An Old Friend

Today I caught up with an old friend. I always enjoy talking with him, he is everything that I am not, yet on some level we are similar. We talked about a lot of things, I updated him with my news and he did the same. I hogged the conversation more and subconsciously tried to impress a person I admire and look up to. When we were almost done he shared with me one piece of advise, he said: Remember you can revisit your choices as you want, but never regret them.

It's amazing how an old friend not only can see right through you but also can give you the advise you need the most. I needed this advice badly and he knew that. I'm the kind of person who regularly revisits his choices and always obsesses about 'what if?'. I try to quantify costs of my wrong choices believing that by doing so I am learning from my mistakes. While in fact I am regretting something that I can not change, something that I should learn from rather than regret. It's amazing how stating the obvious can make you stop. And think.

Thanks old friend.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Game Sa3ayda

I used to play Estimation alot back during school and university days. It's a card game for four players and the objective is that each player estimates exactly how many hands they'll get depending on their cards. The interesting thing is that you lose if you get more or less hands, the only way to win is that you get exactly the number of hands you asked for. And since there are 13 hands in total, the sum of the hands that the four players will estimate can't be 13. This rule is there to ensure that at least one out of the four players will lose. Every couple of weeks or so we'd get a game that we called 'Game Sa3ayda' (loosely translated: Fool's Game). This game meant that all four players lost, so some ended up with more hands they asked for and some got less.

I'm no expert on global economy but couldn't help but notice the resemblance. Consumers are screwed, companies are screwed, big banks are screwed, governments are screwed, the American economy is screwed and the European and Asian stock markets are in the red? Is there anyone gaining anything from this? I can understand that one country would have a recession and its currency and economy will plummet. But how could we have designed such an elaborate global economic model that simply allows everyone to lose? That's one hell of a Game Sa3ayda.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Leave It Alone...

I'm appalled by all the assaults on the Olympic torch during its relay in the name of human rights in China and/or Tibet. Though the Olympic games is an international apolitical forum, it was used in the past to make political statement in much more appropriate ways. Athletes and governments have historically boycotted games and of course there is the infamous Black Power salute of the '68 games that continues to be a moving memorial to the civil rights movement.

So why violently attack the torch bearers and try to extinguish the torch? Isn't it ironic that those violent acts are committed in the name of Tibet, a notoriously peaceful nation? With the world as messed up as it is today, do we really need to sabotage one of the few last reasons to celebrate humanity?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Challenge of Communication

I'm not one of them anal folks who constipate when they read a grammatically incorrect sentence or a misspelled word..

*Mean look at Munqy.

That's because I suck at both spelling and grammar and more importantly I value 'the big picture'. I don't mind a misspelled word here or there if I can clearly understand the writer's intentions. The language, to me, is only a means of conveying the more valuable concepts and opinions. I do cringe though when people just pee all over 'the big picture' and here's a good example, the English is a bit Frozen Wastelandees but bare with me:

[...] is the company caring about the environment every day. Every day for our sheet of papers dies many trees. Due to this fact we would like to recommend you how to economize this losses in better solution of printing your documents. Step 1: First, before printing think about the trees, Step 2: [...] Step 3: [...] Step 4: If it is possible use douplex printing. Additionally, less printed papers- lower costs and less paper on your desks and in your bag.

The 'big picture' here is that now we have double-sided (duplex) printing at the office and we should use it. But the message does everything to lose the reader on an idea that practically sells itself, for example:
  • Starting with the guilt trip about how for our paper many trees die is too cliche. Those who care are already not wasting paper and those who don't won't read this line and have an epiphany, quite their jobs and join Greenpeace.
  • Moving from a pointless rambling introduction to bullet-point is great. Having the first bullet being 'think about the trees before you print' is...err.. Goto 10?
  • Keeping your main point (duplex printing) to the last point doesn't make sense. Everyone is busy (or acts like it) so hiding your main point wouldn't help.
  • Finally, keeping probably the biggest advantage of duplex printing (less paper on your desk and in your bag) as the last line in your 1-page message... hmm... Goto 30?
Communications, especially in The Corporate Dens of Evil, should cut to the chase. This message could have the same effect if not better if it were sent like this:

All, now we have duplex printing (i.e. double-sided printing). It's fast, it's simple and it does not waste paper. That means less mess on your desk, less weight in your bag and less damage to the environment. Please use it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Band's Visit

I watched 'The Band's Visit' yesterday and was extremely impressed. The anti-Israeli propaganda is alive and well in Egypt with Israelis, who have to be named David or Cohen, always portrayed as evil. And although I haven't watched Israeli movies, I assumed it would also be littered with anti-Arab messages.

The Band's Visit, an Israeli movie about an Egyptian musical band that travels to Israel, was a pleasant surprise to me as didn't go down the path of the cliche mutual hatred or the cheesy political symbolism like most movies, of the same kind, usually do. On the other hand, the movie is a take on what's common between a typical person from Egypt and another from Israel. I remember reading about a speech by a US president, probably Reagan, during the Cold War where he talked about how if a US citizen and a Soviet one met, they'd find a lot more in common between them. Watching this movie gave me the same feeling. It's a pity that very few people in Egypt, and the Arab world, would see it thought. As you might have guessed it's not showing anywhere I know of in the Arab world.

I just hate it when a much-needed step, however small it may be, towards mutual understanding is ignored like that.

P.S: Kudos to Dipty for recommending

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Random Fesh

I've been tagged by Munqy and Nora to do this 10 random things you might not know about me. Here goes:

1. I don't appreciate hand-shaking for the sake of hand-shaking. If we are friends and I saw you yesterday, I wouldn't want to shake your hand when I meet you today. The concept of hand-shaking should be restricted to formal introductions. Oh and to top it off, I'm highly untouchy-unfeely.

2. I have the weirdest turn-on: dark pants that have thin white stripes. They drive me crazy regardless of whether the chickita wearing them is hot or not.

3. You know those drying machines in public toilets that have a roll of cloth and you're supposed to pull them, dry your hand and then leave them to be automatically rolled back in? I'm positive there is something sinister about them, don't know what it is, but I assure you I'm onto them.

4. I have an evil uberPod that regularly taunts me by its sarcastic music choice.

5. I FIFO everything in my kitchen: water bottles, fruits, yogurt...etc anything has to be consumed in the order it was purchased.

6. I have a tendency to 'fight the system' when I'm treated unfairly. I do that even if I don't have the slightest chance to win, it's not wining that matters to me, it's causing the most harm as I go down that does. Some say I'm stubborn others say I'm plain stupid. I like to think I'm a pain in the ass if treated unfairly.

7. I worship the number 7 and 2007 was MY YEAR.

8. I once peed on someone, and no she wasn't bitten by a jelly fish.

9. I consider Mojito a gay drink.

10. I have watched every episode of Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama and South Park at least twice.

Next I tag Dipty and Eureka.