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Showing posts from July, 2010

Seven people hold keys to restart the Internet

POPSCI : You may have heard the rumor that swirled briefly last month about an Internet “kill switch” that could power down the Web in the case of a critical cyber attack. Those rumors turned out to be largely overblown, but it turns out there are now seven individuals out there holding keys to the Internet . In the aftermath of a cataclysmic cyber attack, these members of a “chain of trust” will be responsible for rebooting the Web. The Keys to the Internet  Each smart card contains a portions of the DNSSEC root key, which would be necessary to reboot the Internet as we know it if connections were severed to stem a cyber attack. The seven members of this holy order of cyber security hail from around the world and recently received their keys while locked deep in a U.S. bunker. But the team isn’t military in nature. The Internet safety program is overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit watchdog group that has access to a secur

Valet Parking for a hospital?

Photo: Mind Soup© I encountered the funniest thing today. While walking alongside the American University Hospital with my friend, I was joking how hospitals don't have valet parking. That didn't last long. A few seconds later, we see a sign for VALET PARKING on the side of the road. Well it might be a good idea for the emergency division where people don't have the time to find a parking, but to think about it clearly, are we really that lazy? Lazy to the extent of having someone park the car at a hospital? And its not cheap either. Personally, I believe that our culture should depend more on one's self. This type of laziness is what is holding us back from actually achieving something. It is enough that we are bringing maids to our homes to cook the meals and raise up the children, but this? How low can we get? Next thing you know, people will start hiring professionals to help them go to the bathroom or shower. What do you guys think?

7 Things I did not know last week

Population Forecast up to 2050 1- The world currently has 6.9 billion people. It is projected to hit 10 billion people in the year 2050! (right) 2- Parents in Denmark must choose from a list of 7,000 pre-approved names for their babies! 3- The FDA allows an average of 30 insect fragments and one or more rodent hairs per 100 grams of peanut butter. 4- Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy  and that comics of him were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear trousers. 5- In Moscow, weathermen can be fined for inaccurate weather forecasting. 6- You can cure a stomach ache if you lie on your left side for 5 minutes. The stomach is on the left side, the oesophagus enters it on the right and therefore gas bubbles can rise and allow you to burp. 7- A sharon fruit  (Kharma in Arabic) is a persimmon that has been artificially ripened. No, I had no idea what a persimmon was either.

India unveils a $35 tablet computer

MIND SOUP :  India's Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal unveiled on Thursday a prototype tablet computer which is expected to revolutionize the computer industry. Indian minister holding the device. (Photo Credits: AFP) Five years in development, this prototype was produced by a student project with a bill of material adding up to $47, a price that the minister wants to bring down to $35. This device may have primitive features, but for a price like that, it promises to increase the competition on computer production between the major companies. This prototype promises a Linux -based operating system with an internet browser, PDF reader, wi-fi, 2GB RAM, USB slots, video conferencing, Open Office (the free version of Microsoft 's Office) and multimedia content viewers and interfaces. However, this device does not include a hard disk or a storage system. Files will be stored on removable memory cards, just like mobile phones and digital camera. "

Fairuz to be banned from singing in Lebanon?

Fairuz MIND SOUP : News of Fairuz, the famous Lebanese legend, being banned from singing in Lebanese territory has emerged to the news scene recently, and it has been discussed on several sites and blogs. As the usual hype surrounding celebrities is filing the place, it seems that many fans of Fairuz are angry and disappointed about such news, and instinctively taking her side. However, what they don't know or don't care about is that Fairuz is violating Lebanese law by signing songs from plays that are copyrighted, without sharing the profits with the rightful owners. The Rahbani sons have launched a lawsuit against Nohad Haddad (Fairuz) because she is unwilling to share the profits of her concerts (that she sings copyrighted songs from plays) with the copyright holders. In a press release issued by the Rahbani sons on Wednesday, they claimed that Fairuz is trying to "delete the Rahbani brothers (Mansour and Assi) from the music scene." The brothers deni

Malaysian clerics warn Muslims from wearing 'Devil Promoting' Man Utd jerseys

AFP:  Manchester United 's fans in Malaysia erupted in astonishment and anger on social media Thursday after clerics warned Muslims against wearing the team's famous jersey with its "devil" emblem. Manchester United and the rest of the English Premier League are hugely popular in Muslim-majority Malaysia, where conservative religious leaders said the jersey was un-Islamic and should be banned. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were flooded with comments from fans in the Southeast Asian nation. "Maybe the religious leaders are just fans of Liverpool?" quipped one supporter on Twitter. "Why this become an issue after Manchester United has won the title for 11 times? They haven't been watching the matches all this while?" said Sharifah Shahidah, a die-hard Manchester United fan of two-decades standing. "What am I gonna do with all my Man Utd jerseys? And my sons' jerseys?" Sharifah, a Muslim mother of two a

Hamas Bans Women from Smoking Water Pipes in Cafes

NAHARNET/AP: Gaza's Hamas rulers have banned women from smoking water pipes in cafes, calling it a practice that destroys marriages and sullies the image of the Palestinian people. The ban marks the Islamist militant group's latest effort to impose their Islamic lifestyle in the seaside strip on an often resistant public. While Islamic law does not technically ban women from smoking the traditional tobacco-infused pipes, tradition frowns upon the habit. Hamas frequently mixes its strict interpretation of Islamic law with conservative Gaza tradition, and over the weekend, the two dovetailed to produce the smoking ban. "It is inappropriate for a woman to sit cross-legged and smoke in public. It harms the image of our people," Ihab Ghussein, Hamas interior ministry spokesman, said in a statement released Sunday. "Many women who smoke in public were divorced when their husbands saw them, or found out about them," said Hamas police spokesman, Ayman Batn

Byblos Festival: Mashrou3 Leila Concert Review

DAILY STAR : Mashrou3 Leila's concert spoke for a generation Lebanon’s indie-favorites are not afraid to confront social and political issues in their music Analysts might have missed it, but anyone who went to see Mashrou3 Leila’s concert at the Byblos Festival on Friday could not fail to observe that a new divide of sorts has come to separate the Lebanese – a cultural isolation between generations. Hamed Sinno, the band’s lead singer, could not keep himself from shouting “We’re in Byblos!” throughout the show, leading some to wonder whether he was reassuring his audience, his band or himself that this was truly happening. Mashrou3 Leila’s meteoric rise to notoriety, culminating in this festival booking, does not stem simply from its unique fusion of musical elements. When the band set out to conquer the Lebanese indie scene in 2008, it brought with it a solid fan base recruited from their fellow students at the American University of Beirut . Through word o

French tycoon to pay fines for veiled women

GUARDIAN : A French property tycoon enraged at his government's plans to ban women from wearing the full veil in public has promised a fund of €1 million ($1.4 million) to help any Muslim who is fined for wearing the niqab in the street. Rachid Nekkaz, a businessman of Algerian origin who ran a short-lived campaign in the 2007 presidential elections, has already put €200,000 into a bank account aimed at bailing out women who fall foul of the new law. He said the ban, which was approved by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and goes to the Senate in September, is ''anti-constitutional'' and could put France on a slippery slope towards greater intolerance. While he has no problem with an idea mooted by MPs of banning the full veil in state areas such as town halls and post offices, he is vehemently against a law that applies to women simply walking down the street. ''I am very, very sensitive to when people start playing around with instituti

Sniffing insulin may help memory lost to Alzheimer's

REUTERS : Squirting insulin up the noses of patients with early forms of Alzheimer's disease showed signs of improving their memory, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. Patients who got the treatment for four months showed improvements in tests of memory recall that lasted for two months. "We believe our results are very promising and they warrant future trials," said Dr. Suzanne Craft of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington in Seattle , who presented her findings at a meeting of the Alzheimer's Association in Honolulu. Alzheimer's disease is a fatal and incurable deterioration of the brain that affects 26 million people globally. It is the most common form of dementia . Several studies have suggested that people with Alzheimer's have reduced levels of insulin in the brain, even in the earliest stages. Insulin is important for communication between brain cells and is needed for brain function.

Global Warming is Real: Data Shows June 2010 Hottest Ever Recorded

As if we need further confirmation. Last month was the hottest June ever recorded worldwide and the fourth consecutive month that the combined global land and sea temperature records have been broken, according to the US government’s climate data centre. The figures released last night by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggest that 2010 is now on course to be the warmest year since records began in 1880. The trend to a warmer world is now incontrovertible. According to NOAA, June was the 304th consecutive month with a combined global land and surface temperature above the 20th-century average. The last month with below-average temperatures was February 1985. Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last 15 years with the previous warmest first half of a year in 1998. { via }

How Miss Lebanon was supposed to be chosen

(photo from Dexcomics by Hatem Hamaoui) Well, this would have worked just fine; if octopuses weren't attracted to silicon! I guess that Paul the Octopus could have chosen a better decision than the panel of judges who were there. Most of them were business people or other non-related figures who really had no knowledge of beauty. Such decisions should be made by experts, such as people with the knowledge of the female body, artists, etc... Tallness is not the only criteria of a Miss Lebanon.

Eggs came after chickens... and that's a fact!

METRO : It’s an age-old puzzle that’s stumped generations of scientists. But now they believe they have cracked the conundrum of what came first: the chicken or the egg. British researchers say the chicken must have come first as the formation of eggs is only possible thanks to a protein found in the chicken’s ovaries. ‘It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,’ said Dr Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University , who worked with counterparts at Warwick University. ‘The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,’ he added. The protein – called ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) – acts as a catalyst to speed up the development of the shell. Scientists used a super computer called HECToR, based in Edinburgh , to ‘zoom in’ on the formation of an egg. It showed OC-17 was crucial in kick-start

A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming Lebanese

OUR MAN IN BEIRUT : Ladies and gentlemen, following this exclusive online guide is a sure-fire way to be mistaken for a Lebanese. Driving: The driver's seat must be in an uncomfortable and impractical reclined position at all times. No more than one hands shall be on the wheel at any time. The other hand should be on the window frame. Alternatively it may be located on the gear-shift or your girlfriend's leg. Profuse use of horn is encouraged. Religious symbols are to be attached to dashboard at will. Clothes: Shirts are never to be tucked in. A minimum of three buttons must be undone to reveal chest hair and optional gold medallion. Brand names are to be exposed on every visible area of clothing. Technology: Ownership of mobile phones released more than two months ago are a big no-no. Be sure to keep your phone visible at all times. Keep it in your hand and place it on the table during diner or coffee. Fiddle around with the menu at all times, to seem like you are alw

The race 'question' in Lebanon

Below is an opinion piece written by a good friend of mine, Doaa, who is Sudanese. She talks about the problem of racism in Lebanon, and how the Sudanese are treated. MIND SOUP : Recently, a group of Sudanese living in Lebanon - legally or illegally - held a fundraising event in one of the areas in Beirut in order to raise money for two Sudanese cancer patients who are in dire need for the money. Unfortunately, the gathering was busted by the Amn El-3am or police and the Sudanese were accused of various things. The highlight of this story is not what they where doing or where they were but rather it was the way they were treated by the police. They were verbally and physically assaulted not to mention humiliated and belittled. I am a Sudanese living and studying in Lebanon; I am fortunate to be studying at AUB as it shields me from a lot of the aggression and even racist remarks I sometime get walking down the streets in various neighborhoods in Beirut. I get surprised looks when p

Funny Lebanese Tendencies

Zara - Now on Sale So the world cup is over, what happens to the car? "Use of the elevator is prohibited for going up/down one floor" "Get Married for LL39000" = $26 Lebanese Flag during one of the World Cup 2010 games in South Africa

iPhone 4 needs special treatment to work properly

MIND SOUP : Apparently, Apple doesn't think very highly of its customers. According to The Independent, the iPhone 4 that was released in the UK ten days ago has a major fault. The phone that costs £599 (around 900 US dollars) has to be handled very delicately as not to touch the aerial which is embedded inside the casing. Angry costumers were told to pay an extra £25 ($37.5) for a rubber bumper which presumably solves this problem. Apple has reportedly told its employees not to promise the costumers free rubber bumpers even though the flaw in the phone is the company's fault. In a leaked memo, Apple says "We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON'T promise a free bumper to customers." The memo also instructs staff to tell costumers not to cover the lower left hand corner of the phone and explain to the customers that "the phone's wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped." The Independent stated that "the co

Robert Fisk: CNN was wrong about Ayatollah Fadlallah

The following is a repost of Fisk's article from The Independent  on Sunday. He is talking about the incidents of CNN senior editor Octavia Nasr and the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy . I might have guessed it. CNN has fired one of its senior Middle East editors, Octavia Nasr, for publishing a twitter – or twatter in this case, I suppose – extolling Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of Lebanon, calling him "one of Hizbollah's giants whom I respect a lot". Well, he wasn't Hizbollah's man, but no matter. He was definitely a giant. A man of immense learning and jurisprudence, a believer in women's rights, a hater of "honour crimes", a critic of the theocratic system of government in Iran, a ... Well, I'd better be careful because I might get a phone call from Parisa Khosravi, who goes by the title of CNN's "senior vice president" – what these boss types do or what they get paid for their gutless deci

Cringing As Lebanon Elects A New Miss

Below is a post from a new blog on the Lebanese scene: TnT: A Blog About Life and Everything in Between . Two of my great friends ( Tom and Tal ) are united to bring you posts about "the sports, the thriller novels, the songs, the lyrics, the village, the city, computers, the environment, chances, differences, fates, people, and everything in between." So head on over there and show them some support! (This post is obviously written by Tal and not Tom :P) Last night [Friday], I was lured into watching the elections of Miss Lebanon 2010 because there were no football matches being broadcast and no newly downloaded episodes of Glee on my laptop. But the main reason I tuned in was out of pure intrigue. The newly crowned Miss, Rahaf Abdallah, and I are both alumnae of the same high school and naturally, former classmates and teachers took their Facebook accounts to show their support and encouragement once news broke out that she would be participating in this year’s pageant.

Comic of the Day: Paul the Octopus

Today's comic is drawn by Sareen Akharjalian, a great cartoonist and comic artist. You can check out her blog Ink on the Side for more of her comics.

LeBron James is "taking his talents" to Miami

MIND SOUP : "The Decision" has finally been made: LeBron James is joining D-Wade and CB4 in Miami! On July 8th at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, LeBron James announced on an ESPN special that he will join his fellow Olympic '08 teammates Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat . The ESPN special, titled "The Decision", was a one hour special held in Greenwich, CT where its proceedings will go back to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Akron, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, and New York. James and Bosh, both brought in through sign-and-trade deals with their former clubs, took a 15 million dollar discount by signing $110.1 million over 6 years. Wade took the larger discount and signed a $107.5 million over 6 years as well with clauses that they can return to being free agents in 2014 and have player options for the 2015-2016 season. LeBron James has switched his jersey number from #23 to #6 in tribute to Michael Jordan , while Chris Bosh switched from #4 to #1. Wade want

Paul the Octupus: Spain for World Cup 2010

MIND SOUP : In a televised live appearance on the German television, Paul the octupus predicted that Spain will win the World Cup finale which is scheduled on Sunday night. Netherlands fans started getting edgy, especially after seven correct predictions made by the lower invertebrate earlier this season, latest of which was the defeat of Germany to Spain on Wednesday. (Reuters) "That was fast -- it looks like a clear-cut victory for Spain," said Tanja Munzig, spokeswoman for Sea Life in Oberhausen. She was surprised by his speed in picking Spain. For some matches it took Paul 70 minutes to decide. Also, according the Associate Press , Paul has predicted that Germany will win over Uruguay for third place. (Reuters) Meanwhile, other animals are predicting the outcome of the final World Cup game too. "A parakeet, long tailed parrot, named 'Mani' has also been forecasting match results. Mani has become the talk of the town after predicting that the Neth

Freedom of Speech denied again

MIND SOUP : A couple of days ago, the news of Octavia Nasr being fired from CNN envaded the Lebanese and Middle Eastern media. It may has come as a shock to the society, yet this denial of free speech has been demonstrated very widely across various prestigious institutions in the region and world-wide. To re-cap, Nasr who held the position of senior Middle East editor at CNN was laid off earlier this week after 20 years of work because she praised the late Hezbollah Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah on twitter. "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot," she posted Sunday morning. This tweet was immediately picked up by Israeli supporters and Nasr was criticized and attacked for sympathizing with Fadlallah. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in the US demanded that Nasr "apologize to all victims of Hezbollah terrorism whose loved ones don't share her sadness over the passing of one of Hezbol

Rami Chemali from Star Academy 7 dead at 23

CLICK HERE FOR A RECENT UPDATE ABOUT RAMI'S DEATH! MIND SOUP : Rami Chemali, the Lebanese star and Star Academy 7 participant, has passed away today at the age of 23 in a car crash in Cairo when vising his fellow Star Academy friend Mahmoud Shukri who is currently under intensive care. Shukri, an Egyptian, who was seated next to Chemali was also severely wounded in the accident . According to an eyewitness the accident occurred due to excessive speed. A car with 3 young people crashed into the car that was driven by Chemali, which resulted in the killing of Chemali and the 3 young Egyptians. May his soul rest in peace, and we pray to God to bring good health for Mahmoud. Below is the report televised by LBC on its evening news on Thursday. UPDATE: Below is the funeral video of Rami Chemali

Smoking is banned in Lebanon's International Airport

MIND SOUP : The general manager of Rafik Hariri's International Airport Daniel al-Haybi announced Thursday that smoking has been banned throughout the airport, except in designated areas. He said that strict measures will be taken in case of breaking the laws, and in collaboration with the airport's security personnel. The ban comes after Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud has visited the Airport on Wednesday and expressed his discontent over the failure of implementing a smoking ban in the lobbies, especially after he had previously  made several calls requesting so. Several Arab countries, most recently Syria ( related article ), have adopted laws prohibiting smoking in public areas. Lebanon still has a lot to improve regarding health and environment, but at least we are going along the right direction. With over 70% of the population who smoke (according to several statistic sources), these laws will be harder and harder to implement, especially in the public sector. Many

Comic of the Day

This is why engineers are cool. [ via ]

Preserving dignity through diminishing drama

My reader's probably know that I have been a staff writer (on-again off-again) during the past year for Outlook, AUB 's "official" student newspaper. I am very pleased to announced that today afternoon, and after giving it much thought and discussions with very close friends, I have resigned from Outlook. Originally, I had a more criticizing, straight to the point and possibly harsher resignation letter, but due to the requests and recommendations from highly influential people, I decided to go with a more "professional" approach. I didn't want to get in trouble for 'pointing the countless flaws' of the new editor-in-chief [who may or may not be related to powerful figures at AUB]. After all, I don't want to get stuck (again) in AUB's secret intelligence tangled web and get fired tyrannically from something totally unrelated ( reminder ). So below is my simple resignation letter addressed to Outlook's board and staff: Dear Ou

Bye Bye Zein Al Atat

MIND SOUP : I am very sure that a lot of you agree with me that the most annoying thing on Lebanese television is these stupid little commercial programs where a supposedly modernized "doctor" is trying to sell the viewers a bunch of herbs that can mysteriously get rid of most diseases, weight loss or whatever disorder the audience might be interested in. What's more annoying is that you not only find them on one television channel, but on several (such as Aljadid - previously "New TV", NBN or what I like to call "Nabih Berri Network", Manar TV, and even Tele Liban, among others) Well, guess what? According to the Daily Star , the Lebanese government (more specifically the General Directorate of General Security) has declared on Monday that advertisements for such medical herbs are now prohibited by law. The directorate based its decision on Law number 90 of June 3, 2010, which prohibited media outlets from advertising for medical herbs and othe