Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The point

العنف لا يحلّ المشاكل بل يولِّد عنفاً أشدّ
الامور الاستثنائية لا تعالَج بطرق استثنائية، والخطأ لا يعالَج بالخطأ، ان دستورنا الذي ارتضيناه جميعا فيه العلاج لمشاكلنا وازماتنا، وقد جربناه في الشدة وكان خير نصير لنا

د. أحمد الخطيب

How is it that mistakes are encouraged? How is it that when brothers are beaten, it is fair, and needed? How is it that when the principle that defines this lovely is witnessed, when freedoms are exercised, the darkness of the past invades? Why is it when the courageous stands up, and points at the corrupt, clarifying who's wrong - they get beat up and jailed! And then the violence is blessed! Clapped and cheered! Are we really that split up? Is it frustration turned to hate? Are we blinded by allegiances? Persons and entities - before principles? Mislead? How is it so? Who should I ask? Is it in you? That beating, above the unjust silencing, is OK? Is it in you, that while divergent in ambition, you can justify wrongs? How is it that the fundamental pillars, the roots that define, this bit piece of existence is OK to be dismissed, in a haze of hate! Are we the same?

Questions of the past, sprung again, unfair, unreal, and simply sad.

Why are we here? Instead of the hopeful there. Where the educated build, and the talented encourage?

How is it that the Kuwait of its hopes, and means, and rights, is so?


Now we all have to look back, it's been decades, since our hopeful beautiful rise. Why are we faltering when near goals?

How is that when our fathers gave us individual rights, defined this state, and spurred on a sunny rise, that we almost there can't turn the page?

So close. Almost there.

I hope these sad missteps are just that...hurdles to learn..nothing more.

So, the loveliest of all, I hope to see you healthy and strong. Mine is a simple ambition to see the incredible, loving, and hopeful - the ones unchanged in their quest to be proud of their Kuwait.

Monday, 15 June 2009


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The 4

The beauty of our beast

The resurrection of our hope

When change seemed to exclude us

(For others, and without us)

When we thought our ways were gone

Democracy – really? Here? Us?

Symbolic for sure, but more importantly deserved

Capable, and with purpose

The 4

Now that the message and belief is clear

The 4 with the others, different from the past, and its way

Will you reciprocate?

Treat this dear with love

Will you wise up? Do you care?

Friday, 7 November 2008



This map by The New York Times shows the US voting trend in the elections on Tuesday. The momentum that was created by the Obama campaign when viewed visually like this is very impressive. 

This was a revolution! 

A movement built up from the ashes of discontent and years of disconnect with politics and the status-quo. It is inspiring. How change, while hard to build up the belief in, can happen so massively! It's a testament to how smart the Obama campaign was, and how inspiring his message is. Look at the deep south contract! Look at how the whole population shifted in one direction. That is leadership. That is organization. That is hope. That is a movement. Wow

Monday, 3 November 2008

The Great Wave

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." 

"Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential."

"If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost."

"It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."

"Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction."

"You know, my faith is one that admits some doubt."

"I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war."

"We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States."

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress."

"Where the stakes are the highest, in the war on terror, we cannot possibly succeed without extraordinary international cooperation. Effective international police actions require the highest degree of intelligence sharing, planning and collaborative enforcement."

Thank the heavens he's not another simpleton

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Liverpool FC: Can it become 6 times?

Liverpool FC - History of passion and excellence. Away from dirty tricks off the pitch, and the slimy dives on the pitch. A hope for football. A team to be proud of.

Can it become 6 times European Champions tomorrow? It will be a tough match. Especially with Kaka and Cafu, and dirty Gattuso, within a strong and hungry opposition. However, Liverpool is full of capabilities, with a sharp-minded tactician as a coach. Also, with the undeniable power of the supporters - they will never walk alone.

Both teams met once only at a European level. Just once! That was the last European Championship in 2005, and it was a tough match. Amazingly Liverpool came-back from 3-0 down at half time in hero-style drama. To eventually win with penalties!

Rematch? Or is it another stop in the journey of the better team - full of history of passion and excellence?

Liverpool's famous five

Liverpool's journey - Animated!

Monday, 23 April 2007

Political Responsibility

For a while, I thought that We in Kuwait suffer from political apathy. I thought we didn't care. That everyone wanted to go about their business, as long as their immediate needs are met.

Why not, I presumed. So what, I thought. At the end, all we need is that: A space and time to live comfortably, and hopefully happily.

However, now, I'm more inclined to think that we are less than that absent-minded stereotype. I now think we are actually consumed with politics,but another sort of politics.

The sort of politics that is closer to our culture: We like to talk about people.

We talk about individuals. We talk about them and what they said. We pin our hopes on them, and we follow them almost without question. We risk it all, for the person. Even when dashed, we rise up to live another day to curse another. We idealise, and then forget. Or worse get disappointed, and even hate. Even worse, we listen to the ones who romance a wonderfully blissful false state of being, and think we can become better by emulating a narrated idealised dream.

I wonder if that trait in us is being manipulated. I wonder if how we interact is being sinisterly manufactured.

I doubt it. I don’t subscribe to these grandiose master-planned big-brained with a stroked-cat stereotyped visions.

Although, I believe some people depend on this deficiency in us, and expect it in us. Look back. Read our history. Listen closely to what we say about each other.

So, until the day we wake up, and understand that this blah-noisy words we discuss are fodder for the comfortably-satisfied and the hungry-opportunist, we will never get to fix anything.

No wonder some of us are devoted to religion.

Until we wake up, grow, and mature - this bit piece of a democracy will never be.

Let's talk constructively. Let's talk about issues. Let's propose solutions. Let's debate positions. Let us understand where we stand in this mist of self-imposed confusion. Clarity, direction, a target to aspire to. We need that. We need that sort of idealism.

Nothing more, and definitely nothing less!

So, out of responsibility, and in the spirit of 36, I list:
  • Debate the publication law. We all know that it was a compromise. It was about liberating the right to publish, yet it was cursed with limitations. Well, then let's propose alternatives. So, instead of saying "oh, I hate it!" I, for my self, I think this topic is too fresh, and I still don't know if there are real practical consequences to this law. However, we got to watch out for any consequences. And when and if we cross a threshold, then the legitimacy of this law needs to be reviewed in the court. The issue right now, is that we have censorship within departments of ministries, and that says a lot more than the law itself!
  • Plans. I'd like real plans for what the government is proposing to do for the next stage of development. I read that that is being developed, so let’s hope the government will live up to it, and that our MPs will scrutinise the plans and analyse and validate them. Also, I'd like the "تكتلات" to come up with plans. Public. Meet as you like, but tell us what you want for this country in the years to come
  • I’d like to see our laws enforced on ALL, and when they don't then I'd like to have a free venue for it to be exposed. To understand if there was a need to bend a law, and if so, then it's an opportunity to fix the law. A real venue, not any court, but the court of law
  • I'd like to privatise more of the government services. Wherever and however. I believe that the more we include in a healthy competition, the better we are. Plus, the better we are equipped as a skilled work force for the future
  • Challenge the laws that restrict public expressions. Like festivities and mixing. How did it come to that?! Wake up! This topic has profound implications – it has consequences on morale before morality. Within it there is a real debate about "عادات وتقاليد" which has been abused too frequently to shame us into submission to the ill-informed. Let's understand that tradition is to respect and honour, but also it's to build upon as basis of true development, not to be captive of!
  • Much more…

I'll stop. That sounded like a manifesto! :) All I wanted to say, is that, before we start to talk about a person: for praise or hate. And before we complain about how things are. Let's understand what we want. We got hijacked by a principled+opportunist gang – cause they knew clearly what they wanted.

We have no right to complain, unless we come up with brave solutions and publicly propose, and stand by them. Why are we on the defence? Why are we in a corner?! What is democracy for, when we are silent!

I wonder

Sunday, 22 April 2007

عمار يا بلادي
يسألوني عنك يا ديرتي
والله أحس أني ضايع
أشوف الحال وبالأرض أشوف مشاريع
تزيدني ضياع
يا ديريتي العزيزة
يا الغالية
يسؤلون عنج، وشلون صرتي
عمار يالعزيزة
ضايع، وما اقدر اتذكر الفريج
بس اشوف شكلج تغير
إنشا الله للاحسن
يحبونج كثييرين
ويتنافسون باسمك
انت العزيزة دائما
الله يحفضك

Sunday, 1 April 2007


للدفاع عن حرية الرأي وحق التعبير اللذان كفلهما الدستور وجسدتهما بوضوح المادة 36

زور موقع مادة 36 وقع على عريضة التأييد

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Richard III - An Arab Tragedy

Richard III, as an Arab – in Arabic. An adaptation. No, an extrapolation. An extension, and a statement about how we can be seen to be: Negative, and without room for hope. A slap. A scream. Felt and heard at the heart of Shakespeare's legacy. Juxtaposed in harmony. Executed by competence. Enriched by creativity. It melts pride into doubts and questions. It challenges, provokes, insults, and attacks.

It opened with Margret stating (in a generic badawi dialect - ...انا مارقرت):
I am Margret. You needn’t be concerned about me. We lost. It is your right to ignore me. I would ignore myself if my history let me. I don’t want your loans, your gifts, your reconstruction grants. I don’t want your pity: we lost. All I ask from you is not to question my thirst for revenge: it is not because I am Arab – I have a degree. And anyway, my name is not Margaret. But our history is so awful, even the victors have changed their names.
And so started the discontent of Sulayman Al-Bassam’s (سليمان البسام) take on Richard III. I thought that we walked in prepared, but our defenses were conquered within a few minutes. The intimate stage left no room for distractions. The amazing cast delivered with power, and engaged even at moments of stereotyped melodrama. The creative script transformed Richard III into current reality, and maintained attention. The live musicians, with authentic Kuwaiti/Arabic instruments (mirwas, taar, oud - consulted by سليمان القصار) mixed by an audio wizard (Lewis Gibson), amplified the mood and engulfed. An ominous set of monitors in a dark corner of the set reminded all of the time this play was set. The actors, dressed in costumes, designed by Abdulla Al-Awadi (عبدالله العوضي), also snapped us into believing this time-shift. From Margret’s (Amal Omarn - أمل عمران) dark trailing gown, to the ridiculous poodle-shaped hand bag worn with pride by nouveaux-riche Lady Anne (Nadine Joma’a - نادين جمعة).

I was entranced, but kept taking the slaps. Eyes widened, and jaw dropped at some scenes – most of them delivered strong by Fayez Kazak (فايز كازاك) as Emir Gloucester, and then convincingly as Richard III. I felt for the downfall of Carole Abboud’s (كارول عبود) Queen Elizabeth. Jassim Al-Nabhan (جاسم النبهان), added grace as Emir Clarence, then as Stanley, in a ridiculously funny scene set in a TV studio, where Richard acts coy about his ascension. I cracked in laughter when Monadhil Daood (مناضل داوود) came out as an ailing King Edward IV from a time of simplicity, when dates were an answer to all ills. The versatile Bashar Abdullah (بشار عبدالله) and Faisal Al-Ameeri (فيصل الاميري) kept things rolling with dynamism.

We were lucky to have seen this production in Startford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. At a follow-on discussion, Jassim Al-Nabhan was emotional when he told the audience how appreciative he was to be there in the autumn of his career – at a place that honours the tradition of theatre.

So, where will this talent go next? They said to a few festivals – Amsterdam, Japan, maybe Qatar. When asked why not Kuwait. Sulayman said it’s because of infrastructure, not politics. Will it be recorded? Maybe. He thought it might be a good way to reach more people. I think the play would lose a lot of its engagement if not watched live. I hope they do get it to Kuwait, and to even more places. I’m proud of their achievement, and impressed by their creativity and passion.

So, to Sulayman, Georgina Van Welie (producer), Sandra Al-Saleh (assistant director), and the great cast and team, thanks! And a special thank-you to Abdulla Al-Awadi who took great care of us! We had an amazing time! I wish you all the very best, and hope to see you again soon.

More info: Royal Shakepeare Company, Al-Bassam Theatre
If this sounded like a promotion for the play, well then perhaps it is. I would love for more people to know about this. I stayed away from stating the substance of the play - waring tribes, and how Richard is helped by the West. I won't, because I want you to experiance it.
They are an amazing cast and team working with material that is original and fresh, so I wish more can witness them in action. Kuwaiti, Arab, or any: this is a play to experiance as a human being. Very current, and provoking.
Look for them.
Pictures (from the programme): Nawaf Al-Ali Photography

self-labeled Rude

So, I've done it again. I disappeared. It’s a thing I do. I wonder why. More than wonder, I thought about it.

It is rude.

Especially, when I discover that someone has asked about me. So, I thought about it, it’s a pattern that I need to control, but still I decided to look up what is rude anyway?

I found this about rude:
1. discourteous or impolite, esp. in a deliberate way: a rude reply.
2. without culture, learning, or refinement: rude, illiterate peasants.
3. rough in manners or behavior; unmannerly; uncouth.
4. rough, harsh, or ungentle: rude hands.
5. roughly wrought, built, or formed; of a crude construction or kind: a rude cottage.
6. not properly or fully developed; raw; unevolved: a rude first stage of development.
7. harsh to the ear: rude sounds.
8. without artistic elegance; of a primitive simplicity: a rude design.
9. violent or tempestuous, as the waves.
10. robust, sturdy, or vigorous: rude strength.
11. approximate or tentative: a rude first calculation of costs.

So, I thought I’d measure myself against those definitions. Was I rude:
1. Not really, it wasn’t immediate, I hid, so there was esp. no reply
2. I hope not – what a vague definition though!
3. Rough? Hmmm. Still not really. Manners? What are those really?
4. Rude hands?? What?
5. No
6. Hmmm
7. No
8. N/A
9. No no. Waves though? Hmmm, interesting
10. Umm, still no, sounds attractive though
11. Oh yeah, no

So, I translated with google what is rude in Arabic: Rude was “وقح”, ouch!

That’s even more harsh!

Funny, how a translation reveals more than a definition.

So, I TRIED to looked up “وقح”. (That is always an adventure!)
ليش معاجمنا العربية صعبة لهالدرجة

I got lost as usual. Witness when I tried to make sense of it. If you can, then please enlighten me. There is beautiful-sounding poetry I’d like to understand better.

Anyway, I gave up, and looked into my used-to-be-trusted pocket edition (yeah right, what pocket is that? Anyway, what kind of any language dictionary would fit in a pocket) المصباح المنير

كتاب الواو ص247
لقيت الصفحة
(الواو مع الباء وما يثلثهماا
بييه! وما يثلثهما!اييي تعال أساس الكلمة

انزين، و ق ح هل هو أساس؟ ليش لا؟ مثل، هو وقح هذا الكتاب
اتصير، ليش لأ

(الواو مع القاف وما يثلثهما! لقيتها

وقح: حدد لها وقتا ثم قيل لكل شيء محدود موقوت و مُوقت

(الوقاحة) بالفتح، قلة الحياء. وقد وقُح بالضم وقاحة وقحة بكسر القاف فهو وقِح
ياه! قلة الحياء؟
بس هذا التفسير؟ لان التكملة تتكلم عن الفرس و الشحم. والله! إقراء المعجم.للأسف العربية سوف تنتهي إذا المعاجم ما تتطور!

So, “وقح” didn’t get me anywhere. قلة الحياء is so general, that it’s not worth exploration, so it doesn’t help me.

I’m lost. Was I sort of rude?? قلة الحياء, yes. So what, though?

I think “So, what?” is the root, what is the consequence. So, when is consequence of an action (or inaction in this case) demands a reaction? Perhaps never, but without care and understanding, it gets to be neglect.

If there is expectation, then there is always an obligation to respond.

So, perhaps I wasn’t rude, but I was neglectful [no I will not go through definitions again]. Neglecting things can sometimes be dismissed. The consequences of such neglect are usually rectifiable.

However neglecting communication with someone at any level: parent, sibling, friend, or even an online friend (as dilli once wrote about), is still neglect. Now that I wondered enough, I understand, that it’s not even neglect.

It’s about expectations, which lies comfortably under the banner of respect.

So, to you who asked, or expected a response. This post is for you, as my apology. I ask you to allow me, because I don’t do my hidings out of intent, I hibernate cause I do, but with you in mind, I come out to try to say something that I wish you could like.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

اختراعات كويتية

This week, the launch of Google Patents created a rush of people who want discover what famous people might have invented. Like for example:

Michael Jackson has a patent for “anti-gravity” boots, which he used in the Smooth Criminal video.

Jamie Lee Curtis invented a nappy containing a sanitary wipe within a pocket.

So, what about Kuwaiti inventors?
Not surprisingly, I found many technical inventions related to the oil industry. Also, many inventions from KISR (معهد الكويت للأبحاث). All the best to them and their efforts, but their inventions were not as interesting as MJ’s boots!

However, I also found a few interesting Kuwaiti inventors.

مخترعين كويتيين

أستاذ الكيمياء الحيوية في جامعة الكويت، د. جاسم الحسن، سجل طريقة لإنتاج مرهم للشفاء، من السمك

علي التركي، اخترع محول كهربائي للمبة، لكي يستطيع الشخص ان يستخدم لمبة ذات قوة منخفضة في مقبس (شالكلمة، مقبس؟؟) ذو قوة عالية

ولكن المخترع الكويتي الي عنده أكبر عدد من براءات الاختراع هو صباح ناصر الصباح. فقد صمم طائرة بحيث تكون قمرة القيادة في الخلف، ليستمتع الركاب بنافذة
أمامية بانورامية

وعنده فكرة للحفاضات، فسجل فكرة جهاز منبه ينذر عند ابتلال الحفاضات

وعجلة تستوعب الصدامات

وهيكل لحماية قاذفة الصواريخ! هممم

جامعة الكويت

السؤال المهم هو أين إنتاج جامعة الكويت؟ فغير التدريس، أين نتائج الأبحاث؟ هل هو اعتماد على إنتاج معهد الأبحاث فقط؟ أين إنتاج أساتذة الجامعة، و طلابها؟ بعد مرور 40 سنة من إنشاء الجامعة

Sunday, 31 December 2006

2006: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

بغيناها 5 وصارت 5. و بدأت مسيرة الإصلاح. افرحي يا كويت بشبابك

The Democrats are back. A hope for a better American influence on the World. And a wish that the American people can see the hope that Barack Obama is preaching. Give him some of your time, and read his profound hopeful vision. We can learn from his hope for the betterment of our region, and for Kuwait.

Fernando Alonso. Control, discipline, a proof of human abilities – body and mind. Man and machine in harmony. Technology in its most beautiful and most astonishing.

Steven Gerrard. An MBE well deserved. Liverpool, champions of Europe…again!

The Bad
وداعا يا شيخ التواضع. دورك كان شاق، السياسة سبقتك، ولكن تركتنا أحسن من ما كنا. فرحمة عليك

لو يكون حب الناس للبنان سلاحا لما يتجرأ أي كان أن يمس هذه البلاد

ننتظرك يا عراق

وأنت أيضا يا فلسطين
يا حماس، انتهينا من عرفات و مماطلاته، انتخبك شعب يريد الاصلاح والسلام،فلا تتكبر

يا أخي فكونا. ديرتنا غالية، وما نتحمل لعباتك. افهم دينك، ورغب الناس فيه، لا تضطهدنا فيه وتفرق بينا. لو انك تحب الكويت جان ملتفت لقضيا الاصلاح، البدون، الاقتصاد، الشباب، البنية التحتية،وخططنا المنسية

وينكم يا اجداد! شوفوا التعديات على مبادئ نضالكم

لا ننسى ولن نسمح. اليوم لك، بس المستقبل لنا

The Ugly dead.

He was responsible for the torture and death of millions. A tyrant that ruled by fear, pillaged countries, and took lives without a blink for humanity.

I won’t dignify him with a picture or name.

To hoping for a better year
Less war, more talk
Less fear, more peace

2007, how will it be

عيدكم مبارك
Happy New Year

Sunday, 17 December 2006

TIME Person of the Year

It is apt that in the year that bloggers in Kuwait changed the ways of politics,
TIME chose
YOU to be the person of the year 2006.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Internet Memetics and Chubby Cheeks

It never seizes to amaze me how the Internet has helped snowball strange quirky incidents into larger and far-reaching events.

On the news today there was a report about a kid in China. His name is Qian. He’s a 19 year old gas station attendant…who happens to be chubby…with really chubby cheeks. One day, his picture made it to the Internet.

Ahhh...Look at those cheeks!

However, soon after his picture was posted to the net, people started to use his picture to parody famous posters of movies and pieces of art. Nicknaming him “Little Fatty

At first he was hurt and offended, but this quickly made him an internet-cult hero. The media chased him down, and made him famous. He said,
"Now my feeling has changed. If you always feel depressed, then you feel uncomfortable. Now I can view this event with a calm mind, and I feel released"

He even started a website to discuss weight issues and share health tips. On the website he hosts a gallery of the pictures he’s been used in.

Star Wars Kid
Qian's story is similar to the Star Wars kid, who was taped imitating a Star Wars character.

The owner of the video posted it on the Internet. People picked it up and added visual and sound effects, cloned the kid, and put him in the Matrix.

It is estimated that the videos have been viewed 900 million times!

However, unlike “Little Fatty,” Star Wars kid (Ghyslain Raza) wasn’t happy due to the embarrassment it caused. His family sued his school-friends for $250,000 dollars! The case was then settled out of court.

Which raises interesting copyright and privacy issues, but that's another discussion.

Back in 1976, the evolutionist Richard Dawkins coined the term meme, to describe a unit of cultural information that transfers from one mind to another. He gave examples of memes such as music, phrases, fashion trends, etc.

Similar to genes, these memes evolve by natural selection as they transfer from one mind to another. These memes get chosen, dropped, modified, specialised, or enhanced. Eventually these memes survive through mutations and transfers.

Some call these Internet events, Internet memes. Units of cultural information that survive and get transmitted from one mind to another. Through viral emails, blogs, etc. As they transfer, these units get altered, making them mutate into a form that reaches even more minds and survive in their new mutated state.

Similar to this year’s نبيها 5 campaign. The grass-roots movement that the Kuwaiti bloggers started was sparked as meme. On the blogs, the meme transferred from one person to another. Each suggestion was an evolution of the original. The choices for the colour were debated. The orange survived. The meme grew and was transferred. It was able to jump further from the limited blog population through SMSs, emails, and word of mouth. Till it snowballed into a political campaign that brought down the government and forced a political change.

Commerical Success
As always, some have found commercial benefit from this. The Internet enabled a very low-cost idea grow into something that would've been impossible to achieve a few years ago.

OK Go is a band that had an OK career. However, they released a low-budget video on the internet for “A Million Ways,” in which they dance to the song. They then invited fans to audition the dance online for a chance to get on stage and dance live with them on tour.

That sparked a wave of entries. Including this one from Turkey, this great one about a day in the life of some fans, an on ice interpretation, and even a LEGO version.

The band then continued and did this video of "Here it Goes Again" with them dancing on treadmills. The video has been viewed 8.9 millon times, and was just nominated for a Grammy. They also got more replies, and the LEGO is back.

One Red Paperclip
Kyle MacDonald is a Canadian blogger who decided to go on a quest to trade-up one red paper clip for a house!

His first trade-up in 2005 was to swap his red paperclip for a pen. He then traded that pen for a doorknob. With the help of promotion and attention, he was able to trade-up to an actual house within 1 year.

Million Dollar Homepage
Alex Tew had a ridiculously simple idea. He decided to sell pixels of a web page to customers wanting to promote their own webpages. So, he started to sell bits of his 1000 x 1000 pixel page for $1 per pixel. Through word of mouth, it reached the attention of some well-known blogs, and then eventually the media. After just a month, Alex reportedly made $152,900.

He auctioned his last 1000 pixels on eBay, the winning bid was $38,100. He has now started a new page to sell more pixels. This time, to attract visitors to visit and click, he is offering a million dollar prize to a randomly chosen visitor.

Crazy stuff.

I’m not sure if the above was new to you or not, but I hope you enjoyed the cyberspace journey.

Now, you are carrying those memes.

I wonder if they will survive through you, mutate, or end.

Saturday, 23 September 2006

The View from Above

صور من الأقمار الصناعية

مجلس الوزراء الكويتي (إذا ماني غلطان)، جامعة الكويت (الشويخ) بس شنهي المساحة المدفونة شمال الموقع؟

Click here for the map

الحرم الشريف، مكة

قبة الصخرة وجنوبها المسجد الأقصى

طائرة على سطح عمارة في نيو يورك!

Click here for the map

Fun to fly around:

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Can liberalism be the new Evil?

Will liberalism unite the "faithful" and bridge the gaps between the religions? In a way where the believers unite to reject the liberal mind?

Is that possible? Is that a threat?

Can a world exist where believers in human rights, and freedom of expression, and with them the masses of agnostics and atheists, can ever make peace with the faithful that reject them?

Are religions too conservative, that they cannot keep up with the human condition?

Questions have been floating around, but never addressed. There was a time when people were isolated enough for those questions to lay dormant. Keep to yourself, play the social game, and all would be OK. It’s not like that anymore.

If you are reading this, you probably don’t know me, yet you hear a voice. A point of view. No matter who I am. You take it as a view. If you share that view, you'll reach out. So will I. The days of burned books, or restricted talk is over. We cannot be in denial. We have to face each other.

Can religions catch up with what’s going on?

They say that by coping with the enlightenment movement, the Christian church saved itself. Now some call and even demand for Islam to embrace modernity and social change through its own enlightenment. They are hoping for an eventual cessation of recent violent expressions that seem to plaque the public view of Islam.

So many questions? Where to begin? Where are we going?
Do we need a new prophet? A miracle to shock us? An alien to remind us of our humanity?

Is there a point to all these questions when there are needing populations all around us? The one in the cardboard box on the sidewalk. The hungry from an environment we are abusing. The sick from a disease that can be cured. So many, of us, with simple problems, that can be solved now.

Yet we fight for property and dare I say greed. Perhaps it’s just fear. We exaggerate words into conflict. We fall into little tiny fractures of our own definition. Your are so. She is so. He did so because he is such.

Changing the world is simple. How come we are not doing it?

I hope these days of fear which breed violence, will move us all and make us scream that we had enough. Will these days make us see how we have been hijacked by one idiot to another. Pointless and draining. This situation molds us into something we would never want to be.

Where to go from here?

Sunday, 27 August 2006


It seems it was ages ago when the US presidential elections produced George Bush as president for the United States. Back in 2000 the fact that Bush was a bit of a dimwit didn’t bother the slimmest majority that elected him, mostly because of the smart political play that Karl Rove played to move the Republican vote and to ensure that the Florida recount comes out in Bush's favour.

Back in 2000, Bush's ignorance of foreign policy and his inexperience with the countries of the world never bothered the American electorate, but after 9/11 everything changed. That day the consequences of an unbalanced US foreign policy went back home to bite the hand that fed its growth. US foreign policy went up in priorities, and the world got stuck with America’s poor choice of president.

I was reminded of this when I heard an interview on the radio about Bush’s experience with the world before he was president. Someone being interviewed said that Bush never visited any country outside of the United States except for one, and that was Israel!

So, I wanted to verify that and found this answer on Google Answers (which by the way is a great reference).

Anyway to summarise, the AP reported in December 2000 that,
“Bush's foreign travels have been limited to three visits to Mexico, two trips to Israel, a three-day Thanksgiving visit in Rome with one of his daughters in 1998 and a six-week excursion to China with his parents in 1975 when his father was the U.S. envoy to Beijing.”
The Mexico visits were just short trips across the border from Texas. Apparently, as governor he had some shallow “diplomatic experience” with Mexico, which at the time of the campaign had impressed Condoleezza Rice immenesly! In China, according to the New York Times, he was "trying to date Chinese women (unsuccessfully) during a visit to Beijing in 1975."

So, what was the Israel trip about?

As governor of Texas, Bush was invited in 1998 by Isreal's prime minister Netanyahu to visit Israel.

Looking through the internet, I found this. A speech he made after that rare visit outside the United States, attributed to then-governor Bush's press office.

It honestly reads like a “what did I do during my summer break” school essay. It was about his trip to Italy, then to a two-hour visit to Egypt to have dinner with Mubarak, then to Israel to “listen and learn.”

His visit was one-sided, and never mentions the Palestinians. Even when he visited the Golan Heights, his words were about a lady born in Texas that responded to a nationalistic call to move to Israel. She moved from Texas to live in the Golan Heights, which are Syrian lands occupied by Israel. Yet, that never registers in his mind. Why would it?

He goes on to gloat that he saw democracy, and that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Israel - a democratic country? Israel, the country with ghettos for the indigenous people that aren’t allowed to trade or move. A democratic country where an Arab-Israeli is valued less then a Jewish-Israeli. He never saw that. Why would he?

Towards the end of the speech, the purpose of his visit as Governor of Texas becomes clear. It’s money. He says, “we've got over $600 million of trade with Israel now.” I bet he also got some guarantees of support for his presidential campaign.

So, why troll through this? Why look back at things 6 years ago? Who cares? Well, we all should.

A mistake like Bush should not happen again. With the way his administration has involved America in the world, no one like Bush should ever be elected again. If America wants to involve itself in the world, then it needs to be represented with leaders that are capable of communicating with the world. Through diplomacy, negotiations, and understanding. America should endeavour to build bridges, instead of flattening lands to reconstruct. America should converse to share values, instead of shooting bullets to change minds.

No more cowboys.

As the US mid-term election campaigns start to whirl and post-Bush America start to be shaped, the subject of foreign policy and foreign affairs competency has to be an important metric by which candidates are measured. This is what the world needs, and demands, from America now. Before America’s interventionist attitude further polarises the world, and draw us all into an age of furthermore fear and violence.

No more simpletons.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Music Surgey

Don’t you hate it when you want to listen to some music, but you can’t find exactly what you want? Or perhaps you’re just sick of an album or a playlist that you keep listening to. Do you go through an IPod, click click clicking…up and down…wondering hmmm…how come you can't find something to listen to, when there is so much music!

I think it’s a problem with the way we still think about music. We are boxed into a set tracks of an album. So, we created collections. Burned/taped them and shared them. Wow, what an idea, which now is really old, and replicating it into playlists is both a chore and still restrictive.

Even with suggestions from a friend, staff at a store, or websites, playlists are still restrictive, and there is a lot of wasted efforts with them.

Anyway, enough with the negatives.

Have you heard about Pandora (see right column)? It’s the first application from the Music Genome Project. Basically, they are a group of music enthusiast that came up with a great idea to create a classification system for music.

They thought of breaking down music to its constituent parts. Similar to DNA and its constituent genes. They claim that they came up with hundreds of these parts to analyse music.

Similar to the Human Genome Project, they started to create a database over the past 6 years of thousands of tracks and their attributes.

Now, they released a dynamic and learning application that acts like a streaming radio station.

With a very simple and straightforward design, you just type in a track or an artist, and it will dynamically create a music station based on these music "genes." Later on, you can keep adding suggestions, and even give each track a thumbs up/down to let the station focus on your mood.

Give it a try! Pandora. Or try the stations I created and shared on the right column.

There is a free option, which restricts the times you skip music.

Enjoy :)