31 May 2008

Isolated from the World

In today's world, it feels like everyone is connected. Television, books, magazines and newspapers tell us about things that are happening on the other side of the world. Radio speaks to us, letting us know about other parts of our town, country, region or planet. The Internet has made it natural for us to go out there and get in touch with anyone we wish to, freely, or get information on other countries, other people, other habits and customs.

Even if we did not have direct access to these resources, as some poorer families in less developed countries might, some of them are still available. Not necessarily the more developed technological ones, but lets say radio, or even books and magazines. Everyone around the world knows about them, and has a familiarity with the existence of different people around the globe, each with different habits, customs, foods, and so on. Stories and news tell us, and so we know.

Planet Earth has become a small place. No matter where you are on the world, you can somehow get information, or get in touch with the rest of the planet. Right?

Wrong. Imagine a civilization of people completely separated, completely isolated from the rest of the world? People who have never ever heard of newspapers and books, and can't even comprehend the concept of television and the internet? People who have no idea what electricity is. People who lived their lives in isolated communities, so out of touch with the rest of the world that their lifestyles actually resemble those of people who lived thousands of years ago?

Hard to believe? Take a look; these photos were taken by plane of a tribe hidden deep in the Amazon jungle:

The sight spotted was of strong & healthy 'warriors', as well as women and children, living in man-made huts. The plane passed by a second time after spotting them, but by then most of the women and children had ran away, while those who remained had painted their bodies, and started firing their weapons (bows & arrows) at the plane:

Hard to believe that in a world so interconnected, there lies a completely different world hidden in between it. The thickness and deepness of the Amazon jungle has obviously restricted them from being able to freely discover outside their isolated area, and so no modern-human contact has ever been made, probably for hundereds and thousands of years. These tribes obviously have no idea of the existence of all that you and I take for granted each day. Electricity, modern medicine, technology, McDonalds, and so on and so on. Seems that the concept of a plane is also foreign to them; probably accepting it as some sort of flying genie or monster.

Even with a discovery like this, you obviously cannot take them out of their current habitat, as it would not be possible for them to cope with a change to the modern world (read; brain meltdown). It feels very 'Lord of the Flies'esque, and would actually be easier to comprehend if it was a sick and twisted experiment by some mad scientist who placed them there from birth to see how they would cope.

But wow. It's still got me thinking, wondering. How do these people think? What sort of mindsets do they have? Are their actions still based on prime instinct? What sort of philosophies and ideas have they developed? Languages?

It's totally fascinating just thinking about it, so I wonder what it would be like to actually get in touch with these people for real. I'm sure whatever it is that they present, it could feel like something out of a complete other world...

BBC World Article Link

29 May 2008

Mastering the Internet

An advert for Mastering the Internet.

A video from back in 1997; ie, the internet fever had just started going around (lol)

oh god... what's wrong with this guy? amazingly confident for someone who can't act for jack...

and i love how he answered "whats the capital of Dallas" with 72 degrees. And it only took 10 minutes!

27 May 2008

Can't make that final jump.

You take risks, risks that are uncomprehendable to most people, but you take them; you know this is what you want to do, that you don't want to be living like everyone else believes everyone should live. You drag your way through one situation after another with difficulty, since you're alone and no one understands what you're trying to achieve.

But you're making it, you're reaching your goal, you're getting there, slowly. You line up the targets, one by one, carefully placing everything in the right order. You feel good, this feels right. You keep working at it, building your creation.

Now you're almost done, there's just one more tiny jump to take, the one that will tell you if all this effort, all this work, all this time, is actually going to pay off. But you can't. You hesitate, you procastinate, you find something else to keep you busy. You tell yourself tomorrow is the day to take the jump. When tommorow comes, you convince yourself that it's the day after. And so you go on...

What is it? Is it the fear that all this might not work?

26 May 2008

Funny what Technology has Created...

In 1948, George Orwell wrote a book; the book was called 1984, and it basically looked a few decades into the future, to a time when totalitarian governments started monitoring people, placing huge two-way TV screens in the streets and in their houses, and informants everywhere else, to make sure everyone conforms to a specific system of doing things, and to 'worship' authority. A total system of censorship, no one could speak bad of the government, and images, posters, books and publications were all edited to appear in a certain way. Surveillance was supreme, to ensure everyone adapted and followed the system.

The book was a huge hit around the world, and was even considered as one of the top 100 English books of all time. As the year 1984 got closer, people started getting more and more worried of the 'prophecy' coming true. The year 1984 however, came to be and passed, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Perhaps Orwell just got the date wrong. Take a look at this:

UK Plans To Store Details of Every Phone Call, Email and Web Page Visited by British Citizens
May 20, 2008

The Home Office will create a database to store the details of every phone call made, every email sent and every web page visited by British citizens in the previous year under plans currently under discussion, it has emerged.

The Government wants to create the system to fight terrorism and crime. The police and security services believe it will make it easier to access important data as communications become more complex.

Telecoms firms and internet service providers (ISPs) have already been approached by the Home Office, which would be given customer records if the plans were realized.

Link to Article

Scary stuff; in a world where everyone's personal privacy is being invaded, and where your government can know everything there is to know about you at any time, what freedoms does that leave us with? And this is the UK; for so long we have actually looked at them as a beacon of light in comparison to our human rights issues in this country, but somehow their modern living standards are being contested. Perhaps the UK is becoming the surveillance society George predicted; besides their new legistlation, they currently have over 4.2 million CCTV camera's sprinkled around the country. That's one for every 14 people, and so whether you like it or not, you're almost always being watched.

Let's see how this plays out over the next few weeks.

25 May 2008

Difference between watching regular TV & HD TV

It's just a better way of watching more garbage.

22 May 2008

US Presidential Campaign News in 2010

Well, seems like Hillary Clinton STILL hasn't given up, even though it's very damn bleedin' obvious that she's out of the game! Sure, technically she still has a chance, but right now that's about the same chance that the earth will open up and start spitting diamonds to everyone. Sure, it could happen, it just most probably won't.

Anyway, she will not give up, will she? It's been pretty obvious a few weeks ago that she should step down, and even though most of the democrats around her have acknowledged that Obama is their candidate, somehow stubborn ol' Hillary is still at it! I can picture her a few years from now, after the votes have come in, the president selected (not her), starts going about his business in the white house, and she would probably still be campaigning then.

Indiana Jones Review (Kingdom of Crystal Skulls)

Wow! Yup, a good 2 decades after the last installment of Indiana Jones, he's back! We (Middle-East) managed to get the movie in theatres before the US, so here's the first official non-biased review.

Indiana is back, and up to his regular doings; running around caves and graves, beating up bad guys, jumping from one thrilling stunt to another, and giving us a good laugh in between. He doesn't disappoint either; even with Harrison Ford at 64 years old, Indiana doesn't really look that much older than in his last movie, and he can still perform his good ol' action sequences.

Although not exactly an oscar winning story line, the movie is good fun to watch. The fighting and chase sequences are thrilling, and there's enough good old Indiana-esque humor to keep everyone smiling in between. I won't spoil the plot much, but it's set a good 10 years or so after the last movie, and the Soviets have captured Indiana, hoping he will lead them to a secret that could help them control the world (cheesy script, but it makes a fun story). From there onwards, Indiana reunites with old buddies, survives gunshots, giant ferocious ants, huge waterfalls, and even a nuclear bomb (don't ask, just buy a ticket and go watch the thing). There's also a whip, a snake, Indiana's famous hat (that he never lets go of, no matter what), an epic ending, and a few suprises in between.

The whole thing looks like it was filmed in the 80's, which is great in a world dominated by obvious CGI and digitial filming; it gives the whole movie a nostalgic feel, and though more advanced technologies are obviously used, they don't get in the way of that. Even the sound effects, which are overly exagerated (a small slap sounds like a rocket being launched) is just very typical Indy, and it's nice to see things are still the same.

Gripes; the first five minutes of the movie look like they were filmed in a studio (very very fake sunset), and the lighting is a bit too much. But that's it. Everything else just faded into nothing as we enjoyed the rest of the movie; overall, it's a very fun film, and a definite must-see if you're an Indiana fan.

8 / 10

(9/10 if you're already an Indiana fan)

20 May 2008

More HDTV than you can handle?

Did anyone recently buy a HD TV? 1080p? Happy with your purchase? Think you have a top of the line TV right now?

Think again; Samsung has just introduced a spankin' new 82" 2160p TV, making your regular HD feel like a crappy black & white TV in comparison. Well, not really, but you get the point;

This big brand new mutha was shown in SID 2008, and offers 3820x2160, which is four times the resolution of current HDTV's; this means you can see every single pore and sweat gland of your favourite actors as you watch the next episode of whatever show you enjoy watching.

I really don't know why anyone would need one of these, but hell, I want one. Although not officially priced yet, estimates put this at a little over a hundred thousand dollars.

My birthday is soon guys; start saving up!

Link to original Article

19 May 2008


11:00pm, May 6 till 5:00pm, May 19. That's how long it takes for Batelco to reconnect a line they accidentally disconnected.

16 May 2008

Can I have more salt on this wound please?

Oh Batelco.... When is it going to end?

If you haven't read my last post, Batelco disconnected my home phone line because they had issues with burnt cables, then gave me a different number by accident. So far, it's been 11 days without internet or my original phone number (read last post for the frustrating details).

I'm getting really annoyed now; i've probably called their 'report faults' line a good 30 times already this week, to which the answer to my query about when the line is going to be back is always "definately tommorow" or even "later today".

Still nothing.

I think they've started screening my number now, because as I got in the car today morning and dialled their number, I waited. "Customer services agents are busy. Please hold".

And waited, and waited.

And waited....

A good five minutes later, I figured there is probably some sort of loop in the connection that I got lost in, so I hung up and dialled again.

Same "busy" message. Same waiting. More waiting. More. More. I drove down the road and left the phone on speaker, then all of a sudden I realized;

Oh crap, it's been 10 minutes? Am I in another blackhole loop or something? Or do they just not want to answer me? I waited...

Ok this is getting ridiculous... 16 minutes already, when are they planning on picking up?

Ah yes. 20:20. As in, 20/20 vision. Or perfect vision. Or so bloody clear to see that they do NOT give a damn about you.

I reached my destination and parked the car, and it's been 25 minutes already. I didn't hang up, but let it run. It finally did disconnect when I went into an elevator, and by then it had reached a good 29 minutes. Half a frickin' hour. What are those 'customer service' guys doing there?!!?!?

Anyway, I called back a good half an hour later and I was kept waiting for 5 minutes, but I just got ticked off and hung up.

When I called in the evening, the customer service guy picked up and said it would be fixed tommorow.

Tommorow?! It's been 11 days you guys have been saying that! WTF? To which he gave me the 'real answer'. Turns out almost 100,000 phone numbers have been switched, and there are only two guys on the job of undoing the huge mess, and since each two numbers need a good few minutes to undo, it's going to take a while.

Yep. Do the math; One Hundrend Thousand numbers mixed up. Two Guys on the job.

No wonder Batelco is rolling in millions of dinars of profits. They don't actually spend money hiring anyone!

13 May 2008

Go Kill Yourselves.

Seriously you Batelco guys, go take that telecommunications license you have and burn it, or stuff it up your ass. You guys are a bunch of useless pricks.

Picture this, a week ago, my internet connection suddenly stops working. Fair enough, Batelco have a knack for doing this anyway. But it turns out that it's not just my connection, my actual telephone line is disconnected. Hmm.. There's no dial tone when I pick up the phone, and even when I dial my number from another phone, it gives me a disconnected message.


I called them, and they had no idea what was up, but they said they would investigate. A day later, still nothing so I call them up. No idea, but they said they would investigate. I called them the third day again, and they said, ok, we have a few blown fuses (or something) and we need to replace them.

Great, took you 3 days to figure that out.

Next day, still no dial tone, so I called them up, and they say they're "working on it".

Two more days of calling up and complaining to which I finally got a dial tone! Yupee!!! Took 5 days, but the case is over, right?


Someway, somehow, they managed to give me a totally different number :S

That means, when I call anywhere from my phone, I get a totally different number than my original one, it's not even from the same area code. And no, the internet still doesn't work.

It's been another 3 days and i'm calling EVERY FRICKIN' DAY and they still have no idea how to fix it... What the hell am I supposed to do? I'm stuck with a million tasks to do and no internet...

Frickin Batelco. Go kill yourselves.

9 May 2008

When Humans control the Weather

My friend just got back from Dubai last night, and was telling me about a freak thunderstorm in Dubai. Not a very long one, but one that mysteriously appeared on a very hot, dry and sunny afternoon. The weather cooled down considerably and some rain fell. A few minutes later, it was all gone and things were back to normal.

When you see something like this, you know the world is coming to an end; Why was it raining in May? And thunderstorms? This was a first for Dubai...

Well, that was Dubai's first experiment in 'artificial rain'. Yes, you heard right. Scientists used a complex process to spread seeding salts onto moist clouds, creating some sort of process to trigger rainfall.

If this isn't a sign that our final hour is nigh, I don't know what is. Humans are now controlling the weather. That's just very, very scary news.

Cloud seeding experiment has thundering success

By Aftab Kazmi, Bureau Chief
May 08, 2008
Al Ain: Tuesday's thunderstorm in the western and southern parts of the emirates was a result of a cloud seeding (artificial rain) test conducted by the weather authorities.

The storm produced intermittent rain in parts of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It was a surprising phenomenon in the late-spring month of May for the public and some weathermen.

An official of the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) on Wednesday confirmed the centre had carried out cloud seeding tests on clouds that came in from southern Saudi Arabia.

Residents and weathermen were baffled by the occurrence of thunderstorms in May.

"I was amazed to hear about a thunderstorm," said a weatherman requesting anonymity.

He said it was an unusual development of CB clouds, the clouds that generate thunderstorms, as most converge over the UAE in the winter, he added.

Abdullah Ahmad Al Mandoos, Executive Director of NCMS, said the cloud seeding test was successful and more experiments would be conducted in the next three months but depending on the weather conditions.

The NCMS director said Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, has played a vital role in the project and has provided a plane and other facilities for its implementation.

Link to GulfNews Article

6 May 2008

It's a very clever concept...

...one that's been used over and over again especially in this region, and it was one that helped build our countries really fast. How does it work?

You start off without much in hand, financially, to build anything. But you have an idea.

You work on the idea; after all, thinking is free. You morph it and shape it into something that will attract people to invest in it. You build up on it, polish up the rough edges and make it look all nice and shiny,

You then sell the idea.

People buy, and you suddenly recieve an over-flow of money, without actually having to give anyone anything. Your idea is expensive to build, however, so you use that money to build it. You spend, growing your idea, and now that it's starting to materialize, other investors see the opportunity you've managed to create. They send more money your way, and so it goes.

You finish your project. You've managed to create something huge from nothing, managed to create a good return for your investors, and you've still ended up with quite a big profit.

It's a very clever concept.

Idiot Thieves

I love stories of idiots; they always brighten up my day.

Let's say you're dating a girl, and you decide to steal a blank cheque from her mom. Now let's say you forge the signatures and all to try and get some money out of her bank account, what sort of amount would you write down?



Nope. This dude decides to push the limit to see how much he can get:

A man has been accused of attempting to pass a $360 billion check, which he claims was given to him by his girlfriend’s mother to start a record business, Fort Worth police said.

Charles Ray Fuller, 21, of Crowley, was arrested on April 22 on an accusation of forgery, police said.

Police responded to a report of a man attempting to pass the check about 4 p.m. that day at the Chase bank in the 8600 block of South Hulen Street, Fort Worth police Lt. Paul Henderson said.

The personal check was not made out to Mr. Fuller and when the bank contacted the check owner, the woman said she did not write a check for $360 billion.

Mr. Fuller was also accused of unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of marijuana, Lt. Henderson said. He may also face a theft charge in Crowley.

No, Mr. Fuller, a 360 billion dollar cheque doesn't look or sound suspcious at all. Needless to say that, had the bank actually honored the cheque, our friend Fuller would have automatically become 6 times richer than the richest man on Earth today. Also makes you wonder if he asked for the full amount in cash.

3 May 2008

Manama, Sin City of the Middle East

Here's to our MP's and everyone else trying to ban Haifa Wahbi thinking THAT will solve all our morality issues. A big slap in the face for you, Manama has been ranked as the NUMBER EIGHT sin city in the world.

Yup, that's just a few spots after Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Pattaya. Now, try telling me whether or not we should have issues with erotic dancers.


2 May 2008

Islamists, Erotic Singers, and our MP's

I wasn't even going to go into the whole Haifa Wahbi issue, since I believed the whole fuss raised about her was, to say the least, ludicrous. But when I posted "feels like a war zone" and just mentioned the fact that I thought our MP's were being really, very silly by trying to ban the concert, I get our dear Mr. Anon arguing at how he didn't like what I said.

Well, the truth is, the are unfortunately a number of people who are with our MP's on this, and who believe banning a singer was the right thing to do. This isn't a reply to you, Anon, but it's a reply to all Islamists who believe our country should turn into a mini Saudi Arabia, all those who believe our MP's have a job to enforce their religious extremist beliefs on us, and is a direct message to all our MP's to stop their stupid antics and do the job they were hired to do.

Anon, you mentioned that Bahrain is supposed to be an 'Islamic Country'. Well allow me to say that really has no relevance; countries don't go to heaven or hell, countries don't get judged under of the eyes of God. People do. It doesn't matter how 'Islamic' you try to make a country, it won't affect the people in it; the good people will be good, and the bad people will be bad, regardless of where they live.

Let me give you an example; our extremly Islamic neighbor, Saudi Arabia. If you want to discuss islamic countries, I don't think you have a more apparent one than that. No offence to our brothers from across the causeway, but lets take a look at some of their people; sneaking out to other countries to look for drinks, alcohol, and all forms of sin. And I don't mean just in Bahrain; somehow our Islamic Saudi brothers have gotten a reputation for throwing their money at all sorts of fun activities banned in their country, from Bahrain to Dubai, Beirut to Geneva.

You see, banning something doesn't stop people from doing it; in fact, it makes some rebel and want to do it even more. The Haifa Wahbi concert would not have happened if there was no one to buy the tickets, and if banned, people would have found another erotic singer to entertain them elsewhere. After all, Bahrain has multiple nightspots with acts a hundred times more erotic than anything Haifa is capable of even displaying, with a happy ending in your hotel room if you pay enough. Don't tell me banning Haifa from singing is the solution to make our society more pious, hell, it's not even a start. Banning anything is not a solution, for people will find their way around any ban. Going back to Saudi, you think alcohol doesn't exist inside the country? You think there aren't crazy parties there with the most outrageous behaviour? You think drugs aren't available? Well let me tell you that you would be shocked to know some of the things i've seen first hand inside Saudi, and it beats anything you've seen in any bar or nightclub.

The best example of a Muslim i've ever seen was not on this side of the World; I was in downtown Washington DC late on a weekend night. Nightclubs blasting music next to me, groups of drunk people walking past me, and random drug junkies getting high in a dark corner. I was waiting for the bus, and I heard someone talking about Islam. I turned to see a black man, wearing shabby and worn clothes, preaching to a homeless person about Islam. You could see the shine in his eyes as he spoke, and talked about his religion of choice with passion, bringing another person to believe. He noticed me listening and spoke to me; "Salam Alaikum.. You're a Muslim brother aren't you?" he asked. I nodded, to which he continued "I could tell from the way you were listening", and we struck a conversation that lasted for a good hour or two.

There you have it.. Those from the most religious country let loose and gone wild, while a person in a country that strongly discriminates against Islam, standing strong and preaching his religion. Don't tell me banning the temptations of life are the solution; Islam, and any religion infact, are to be followed in the mind and heart, not based on your surroundings. You don't hide temptations and then claim you're a good Muslim when there's nothing around you to lure you to the dark side.. A good Muslim resists no matter what.

Now lets jump back to our MP's. Trying to ban a singer? Bahrain has ISSUES, guys! From unemployment problems, to housing, to corruption, to figuring out who stole what from where.. We didn't hire you to do religion, we hired you to do politics. But you guys focus on a bloody singer, and you're giving me Islam as an excuse? Islam is about behaviour, actions, and what's inside your heart first before anything else. Things banned are only a small part of it, but you've turned it into a HUGE issue. When you guys sit in a parliament session swearing at each other, that's not Islamic. When you guys skip a session to fulfil your own agendas while the people who trusted and elected you wait, that's not Islamic. Hell, when you try to do a job you're unqualifed for, sitting on your butts earning a salary that you don't deserve, that's not Islamic. So get off our backs and start doing your jobs, or resign and let someone whose qualified to create progress do them.

1 May 2008

Feels Like a War Zone (2)

From the previous post.

Just some photo randomness:

Not that pretty is she? I don't see
what the fuss is all about...

Armored Police cars everywhere

Helicopters surveying the area

I saw this smog appearing and got the hell outta there...
Any idea what it was?

Police blocking off the roads

People getting pissed off
(after waiting for like 20 minutes in one place)