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Main: AndFarAway.net

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Percentage of Adult Smokers in the Middle East

Above are the statistics of total adult smokers of tobacco, rated through percentage of total adult smokers. It says:

1. Yemen 44.50%
2. Turkey 44.00%
3. Lebanon 40.50%
4. Jordan 29.00%
5. Israel 28.50%
6. Cyprus 23.10%
7. Iraq 22.50%
8. Qatar 18.80%
9. Kuwait 15.60%
10. Bahrain 14.60%
11. Oman 8.50%

As for approximate average number of cigarettes smoked per adult per year:

1. Kuwait 3,062
2. Turkey 2,394
3. Bahrain 2,179
4. Israel 2,162
5. Jordan 1,832
6. Iraq 1,430

I really hate smoking. This one of the issues that we really need to try to solve.

[Source: World Health Organization, via NationMaster.com]

And to Avoid Rudeness in Emergencies...

I really, really hate it when I'm with someone and they start talking on the phone. I just think its the pinnacle of rudeness, although I know that you can't really not answer your phone when it rings...
"Mass Distraction" is a project that tackles and tries to solve this problem.
The project included 3 jackets that challenge the experience of balancing your attention between the friend right next to you and the person calling your mobile phone.

Article as quoted from Cool Hunting, "The three jackets: Hood Jacket, Coin Jacket and Game Jacket each force an awareness of both the caller and the person in your physical presence.

The Hood Jacket In this jacket there is a mobile phone. In order to answer the phone, close the hood completely. The phone call continues, if you don't try to open the hood.

The Coin Jacket In this jacket there is a mobile phone. In order to answer the phone, insert a coin in the upper-left pocket. The phone call continues, if you don't stop to put the coin in the pocket.

The Game Jacket In this jacket there is a mobile phone and a videogame. In order to answer the phone, hand the game to your friend. The phone call lasts as long as he keeps on playing."

[via the delicious Cool Hunting]

Star Academy Sing "I Will Survive" in Arabic!

Oh, my God!
Aretha Franklin's "I Will Survive" is one of my all-time favorite songs, and I never thought that it could be good in Arabic as well. I was really, really pleased when I heard the Arabic version of "I Will Survive", called "Helweh Il Hayat", sung by the cast of Star Academy. It's actually a job well done! I also love how they added an Arabic flair to the music.
Bahaa' has an amazing voice, most suitable for such a strong song.
To listen to "Helweh Il-Hayah", go here. To view the rest of the songs sung by Star Academy, and to have the option to download this song, go here.

Awsome Street Art

[via AraBlog]

Talk about gorgeous! I do wish someone would undertake such a project to beautify Amman's unhospitable asphalts. It's also a print that I can finally use those lino pads for!

Main: AndFarAway.net

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Jewels of the Universe

Wow. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I'm not a huge fan of astronomy, but these photographs are just mind-blowing. Courtesy of Stefan Seip, IT consultant by day and intrepid astronomy photog by night.
I have always lived in huge, over-populated cities, so I consider myself lucky when I get a glimpse of a few stars at night. Once when I was a kid, we were coming back from Petra a little past midnight, and the stars filled the sky. It was the first and last time I ever see a real night sky.

To look at the rest of the amazing photographs, go to
this website.

Belts or a Piece of Art?

This is such a creative idea! I think that these belts, when worn as a separate item with jeans or whatever, would look really funky and unique. These belts also look amazing together as one item, its a piece of art. It's an extremely innovative approach to selling limited items. I'm sure each costs a fortune though.

How Much is Inside?

Ok, here's a popular everyday tactic at the local supermarket: "Value for money", which is a formula pertaining to quality, quantity, and price. After you compare quality and prices, you turn to the quantity. Which product has more?
How Much is Inside will help you answer that question. It's a halarious website where a lot of everyday products are tested for quantity.
My favorite experiment was with a Sharpie, as I'm obsessed with Sharpies. The project was to lable as many CD's as possible with one Sharpie. The result was really impressive:

They labeled 968 CDs with one Sharpie marker. That estimated length of a line that one Sharpie would make is 1,800 feet. The pile of CD's was 54?" tall (138 cm).
Now, thats value for money!

To view the whole experiment, go here.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Nokia's Latest Toy- A Kaleidoscope!

Nokia announced the Kaleidoscope product almost a year ago, and according to Josh Rubin at Cool Hunting, they should be shipping out soon.
According to Nokia, "This device lets you upload digital images and carry them like a photo album or mini-gallery. Only one person can see the screen at a time, so you can share an inspiration or experience with a friend or colleague in confidence.
A full-color display, infrared transmission, and chic metallic looks make this a fantastic device both for leisure and professional use."

In this age of extreme technology, I find this idea extremely appealing. You get to enjoy the technology, and enjoy childhood memories while doing so.
It would also be really nice if they provide retro covers along.

Hotmail Fees for Outlook Access

"This change will begin 27 September for new users and become effective for all users worldwide in 2005 after extensive communications to our existing users.
Microsoft says it decided to start charging for the service as it was being abused by senders of spam.
In the past, people could download e-mail from Hotmail into Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express for free.
But now only people who had paid an annual subscription fee will be able to access their messages without opening a browser window.
Users who want to use Outlook to pick up their Hotmail messages will have to pay $19.95 (£11) for an annual subscription to Hotmail Plus or the $99.95 (£55) a year for MSN Premium.
But subscribers who are already using the technology to download their messages will be able to carry on using the service for free until April. "

[Via Sabbah's Blog]

More reasons to hate Hotmail! I can't believe them sometimes!

SMS Sent to the Sky

"Amodal Suspension" is an interactive installation where people could send short text messages to each other using a cell phone or web browser. So far, that's quite normal. The twist however, lays in the fact that rather than being sent directly, the messages are encoded as unique sequences of flashes and sent to the sky!
The signaling works in a way that is similar to Morse code(intensity of lights represent different text characters.) Each message, once encoded, is “suspended” in the sky of Yamaguchi. An email is sent to the intended recipient to notify him or her that “a message was waiting for them in the sky of Yamaguchi”.
How interesting.
To view Amodal Suspension Live Video, go
here. To send a message to someone in the sky of Yamaguchi, go here.
This maybe old news as "Amodal Suspension" opened on November 1st, 2003 with messages sent by astronauts Pedro Duque and Mamoru Mohri, but it's still worth a post.

Innovation in News Presenting

Newsmap uses a new visual technique to present news. It shows relationships between headlines and patterns that would be unnoticable in the regular news presenting format. It also takes its data from Google News news aggregator, so you know where the information is coming from.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Monday, September 27, 2004


Here's a close up. Can anyone make out what it says?

My vacation is winding down, and I guess I was trying to emotionally prepare myself for the new year by trying to get my creativity thumping after 4 months (yes, four, I didn't take any summer courses) of having it lay dormant.
I started this habit of writing what I feel in this way when I was at highschool. It's actually extremely efficient, because it's impossible for someone else to read, it takes so long that by the time you're done you feel so relaxed, and it looks kinda cute.
I did this piece today, I have such bad allergies that I can't really go out. See, Sami, I'm not really fadyeh, I have an excuse! :P

Punk Sneakers (Vans)

I have a serious obsession with sneakers, and this bunch is fit to be obsessed with. I guess they are way too punky to be worn in real life, but they're so cool and beautifully different. I think my favorite is the checkered one, it should look quite unique with jeans.

Hotmail Sucks!

Ok, I officially hate Hotmail. I thought they were supposed to update all their accounts by the beginning of September!
I mean seriously, I've had Gmail for about a month now, and I already have 7 MB in it. I've had Hotmail since 1998 and I have to be so careful with what I have in it so that it doesn't reject emails!
The only thing that Google has to do to completely get us off the hook with MSN is a messenger service. I like MSN Messenger a lot more than Yahoo Messenger, ICQ and all the other softwares around. Of course, the best chatting software will always be the one and only IRC, but that's not too practical anymore as I use chatting as a way of communication with my friends who live away rather than meeting new people.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Headphones Beanie

This would be really cool for univeristy when its really cold during the freezing winter. This headphone beanie, which keeps your head warm and full of tunes, needs to just be plugged in to whatever music player you have. What a cool gadget to own.
Designed by Burton, and can be found at their website for $39.95.

The 10 Songs everyoneShould Know

My friend and I were discussing the 10 songs that everybody ought to know by heart, love, or at least hear. This list in not listed by rank.

1) Hotel California - The Eagles
2) Don't Speak - No Doubt
3) The Unforgiven - Metallica
4) Unbreak My Heart - Toni Braxton (should win an award titled Song That Helps Most When Frustrated)
5) Wonderwall - Oasis
6) I Will Survive
7) Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
8) Bohemian Raphsody - Queen
9) Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
10) Shine - Collective Soul

What's in a name?

Several years ago, I came upon a philosophy called The Kabalarian Philosophy. The Kabalarian philosophy states that a person's name is very important. According to them, the brain is not the source of the mind, but the physical instrument of the mind. When name is attached to an individual, the mental characteristics of an individual can be read from the numerical formula representing the person's name.
I don't really know about the truth that this philosophy holds, but I do think that, maybe by coincidence, my name report holds some truth.

"Description of Your First Name of: Roba
Although the name Roba creates an interest in the deeper aspects of life, we emphasize that it causes an emotional intensity that is hard to control. This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the heart, lungs, bronchial area, and nervous system.
Your first name of Roba has given you inspirational, idealistic, and dramatic qualities. You have a clever, deep mind and the talent to excel in highly inspirational lines of endeavour as a dramatist, musician, writer, or artist. You can be lifted by beauty in all forms and are at the most creative when inspired. Your expressive, affectionate nature responds quickly through your feelings, but you must guard against being possessive and jealous.

Now, as to the truth in my name report, I do consider myself a very intense person, and that usually really stresses me out, because I get extremely obsessive about everything I do. I have a hell of a time with allergies and asthma, so the health weaknesses part is to some extent, the truth. I'm also extremely idealistic(comes with my obsessive/perfectionist nature), and I'm getting a B.A. done in Fine Arts and Design, so the next two statements are correct. As for the last statement, I am very expressive(which doesn't work in Jordan where everyone expects to be flattered, regardless), but I don't consider myself possessive or jealous.
So I'd say that my name report was correct in 89% of its contents.

To check out your own name report, go to their website at

Kabalarians.com. It's pretty cool, I'd think they have every name on earth.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Shards of Narsil

Oh, wow. How hot is this sword? I want it!!! Too bad it's "Sorry, Completely Sold Out and Discontinued."
In case anyone doesn't recognize this gorgeous piece of art, it's The Shards of Narsil from The Lord of the Rings. That would look splendid over a fireplace!
Check out
iloveswords.com for a close up and details on this gorgeous baby.

Parasailing Heaven

Did you ever do something that made you feel so completely numb with peace? For me, it was parasailing.
It's an out-of-this-world feeling, you feel so calm and peaceful, as if you're a bird soaring. Everything in your mind disappears, and the only thing you can think about is the beautiful sea beneath you, the gorgeous sun, and air coating your body. It's as if nothing exists in this world for a few precious minutes. All this is even becomes more appealing because when you're done, the cool wind in your face leaves you feeling so refreshed and renewed. It's truly an amazing experience.
I expected it to boost the adrenaline in my blood, but it did the opposite. I really think that everyone should try to go parasailing at least once in their lives, I promise you won't regret it.
This picture is of me parasailing last month in Turkey.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Friday, September 24, 2004

FBI Composes a New Way of Tracking Terrorists

Hehe, this link is really silly, but it's funny in an ironic way nonetheless. It reminds me of the post on Subzero Blue about Cat Stevens. They really are becoming over-paranoid.

3D Display Cube

3D Display Cube by James Clar

I think this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It's definitly a breakthrough. I don't know why I imagine future travelling to be something along the lines of this.
The 3D Display Cube exhibits data spatially in a way that is closer to how we actually envision objects. Designed for a course called The World, Pixel by Pixel, James Clar's cube is made of 1,000 LEDs soldered onto a 10-inch freestanding matrix. Each individually controlled LED acts as one pixel and can be refreshed at a rate of more than 60 frames per second, creating a low-resolution 3D television. Video and audio data enter the cube through a serial input device and are transformed into a dynamic light sculpture.
To view the rest of the article, go to I.D. Magazine.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Home at Last

My new car is finally home! Isn't she gorgeous? :)

Arabs and Internet: Ever Wondered?

Everyone goes through a chatting online phase, right? Well, I went through mine in 1999, and I remember I used to go into chatrooms and reply Saudi Arabia as to where my location was. People would tell me that they thought Saudi Arabia was a desert, with no computers or internet connections. One of the most interesting questions people asked me was, "How do you use the bathroom? Do you have bathrooms?"My friends and I used that question for endless hours of laughter.
Of course though, things have changed since then, and people all over the world are becoming more geographically aware(although recently, when my friend, who goes to school in Boston, replied "Saudi Arabia" to "Where are you from?", she was asked "Is that in Northern Boston?") Along side the international awareness, Arabs are becoming more aquainted with the World Wide Web. For example, before 1998, the internet was not available in Saudi Arabia, and in order to access it, you had to subscribe through neighboring Bahrain.
Anyway, I'm pleased to say, that according to Global Online Marketing, the number of Internet users in the Arab world will reach 25 million by the end of 2005. By the end of this year, over 8.2 million people in the Arab regionwill have Internet access.
The average user is highly educated: 60% are university graduates,19% completed further masteral and doctoral degrees. The remaining21% hadcompleted at least secondary schooling. Finally, only a harrowing 19% of internet browsers in Arab world are female.

Seven Steps to a Healthy PC

I thought this article at Entrepreneur.com was really useful, especially for someone like me, who's terrible when it comes to the health issues pertaining to anything and anyone.

1. Delete your deleted items. If you use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express as your e-mail program, you have two folders called "Sent Items" and "Deleted Items." You should go through these files every week, save the ones you absolutely need, and delete the rest.

2. Toss your cookies. Your PC keeps copies of every Web page you've ever viewed in a "Temporary Internet Files" folder, while a separate "Cookies" folder contains programs that help marketers track you down. You don't need these files, and they can take up an awful lot of space. Delete them weekly.

3. Delete your "Temp" files. These are files that end in ".tmp" that Gerstein says can easily be found by searching your computer for "*.tmp." Also delete them weekly.

4. Reboot your computer frequently. Most people start their PCs in the morning and keep them on all day (and sometimes all night). Rebooting your PC at the beginning and in the middle of the day will recover system resources so the computer will work more efficiently.

5. Defrag, defrag, defrag. When your PC puts stuff onto the hard drive, it does it in random sequence. As a result, you often end up with little bits and pieces of programs scattered throughout your computer's hard drive. While usually harmless, these bits and pieces can be trouble. Your PC has a "defrag" program that organizes all these pieces of data.

6. Run Scandisk. You should run Windows' "ScanDisk" program at least once a month.

7. Dust. Finally, you should eliminate as much dust as possible from your computer. At least twice a year, you should:
dust and vacuum your computer keyboard and monitor;
remove the trackball from your mouse and blow out any dust; and
open the computer case and lightly vacuum out the dirt and dust that's accumulated in the innards.
Dirt and dust tend to make the computer's temperature rise, which can damage the processor. Dirt can also create short circuits, especially in the power supply.

Jordanian Comedy?

I was watching a talent show on MBC, called Star Search, and I was deeply impressed by this young Jordanian, Randa Karadsheh. Her acting is excellent, she's really funny, and her plots are deep, tackling problems faced in the Arab world. Her confidence also makes her very charming. It's really not common to see Jordanian youth perform so splendidly on stage.
The first time I saw her was a few months back on Star Search, and she had a small comical skit on Jordanian traditions. I saw her again a couple of weeks ago on the same program, and her comical skit was about the different requirements different Arab cultures request in a woman who wants to work. Today, her skit was about the Arab notion of marriage.
In Jordan, and in the Arab world in general, comedy is more lame than funny. Our actors usually also offer more dramatic facial expressions than real acting.
I strongly encourage female participation in such fields, especially by talented girls. Cheers to Randa.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Matchbox Twenty Done With Tweaking "Beige"

Yes! Matchbox Twenty are releasing their new album soon! Naturally, they're one of my all-time favorite bands, and I'm really excited about this.
"Executives at Atlantic Records announced Monday that multi-platinum recording artist Matchbox Twenty, which set sales records in 2000 for its mega-hit release Mad Season, has finally finished watering down tracks on its long-awaited new album Beige....The band will introduce the album's first single next week on MTV's hugely popular, entirely insipid show Total Request Live."
[via The Onion]

How to Fold a Shirt - The Unconventional Way

You thought you knew how to fold a shirt? Well, take a look at this.

And if National Flags Have Grades...

This websiteactually grades national flags according to aesthetic values, like colors, layout, etc. It's really fascinating, makes me wonder who designed each flag.
I'm impressed that the Jordanian flag got a B, because I don't think that red and green match. Anyway, this site is worth checking out.

Insomnia, anyone?

I always have a terrible time sleeping, and spend most of my nights surfing the net hoping to be lulled to sleep by boring websites. Unfortunately, I always manage to find interesting websites that aid not.
While I was surfing, I came upon GoToSleep. The graphics are really adorable, and you can even download your own screensaver. I'm not sure if it really does help insomnia, so whoever experiments with it, please do share!

Lovely Rita Shelving

I think this shelf would look really hot on any wall. I can imagine that it will look like a work of art when its loaded with books.
It can be used as a single shelf or can be repeated endlessly by combining a number of them, becoming a bookcase of the desired length. Its special shape also allows two different figures to be placed on the wall, according to the direction of fixing.

Lovely Rita by Ron Arad at Kartell.

Nancy Ajram

Did anyone notice that Nancy Ajrams latest video clip, "Ma Feye 3eesh Ila Ma3ak" also known as "Lawn E3yoonak", is actually a continuation of "Yay"'s video clip?
In "Yay, Sehr Eyono", we see that she has a huge school-girl crush on a certain man, and we see an array of characters struggle to bring them together. In "Ma Feye 3eesh Ila Ma3ak", Nancy is getting married to her crush, and the array of characters are the guests. We see the hairdresser, her mother, her friend, the little girl, etcetra. I think this is a really adorable idea, I'm sure the praise goes to Nadine Labki, the director. She has constantly wow-ed me with her very well directed videos, whether for Star Academy Arabia, Carol Samaha, or Nancy Ajram.
I'm really happy to see Arab women in fields like directing. Keep it up, Nadine.
To watch Nancy's videos, click here.

Dark City

I just watched a movie called Dark City. I found it silly, over dramatic, and terribly directed. The actual story plot is almost interesting though. It's along the lines of The Matrix, but I give it credit because it was released a year before The Matrix.
Plot Outline: A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun and run by beings with telekinetic powers who seek the souls of humans.
IMdb User Rating: 7.6/10.
My Rating: 4/10.

For a different opinion, check out Roger Ebert.

A Deeper Look at What We're Eating

Prepare to be grossed out!
Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans according to the FDA(U. S. Food and Drug Administration). In other words, what we aren't aware we're eating:

1) Ground Cinammon is allowed to have an average of 400 or more insect fragments per 50 gram.
2)Chocolate, in average, has 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams.
3)My beloved canned corn can contain insect larvae or cast skins.

For more cringe-causing laws, go to

Dantesque Pavement Art

I think this is really interesting. The artist is amazing! He/she was actually able to portray dimensions by the use of perspective and shading in a way I never thought possible. Can you imagine that this is actually painted across the side walk? It seem to be reaching out and trying to grab reality. This kind of art is called Dantesque Pavement Art. I can't find the name of the artist anywhere though.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

IMDB is one of my all-time favorite websites. It's an excellent way to keep up with the entertainment industry, especially when I consider myself a relatively entertainment-challenged individual.
One of the most interesting features of this site though is its "Top Movies" section. I love seeing the Top-Grossing List of All Time(Worldwide), especially when 4 of my favorite movies are in the top 10.

Here are the top 10:

1. Titanic (1997) (Honestly, I never liked this movie. It's too long, too emotional, and lacking a real story)
2. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (My favorite all-time movie! I'm willing to watch it a thousand times. My favorite scenes are the war scenes.)
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) (Good movie, I love J.K.Rowling, she's so damn creative!)
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) (Alright, worth watching once or twice.)
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) (Another one of my favorites).
6. Jurassic Park (1993) (I have a phobia towards dinosaurs).
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) (More creativity to charm, but my favorite Harry Potter movie is the third installment, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban").
8. Finding Nemo (2003) (Adorable)
9. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)(Another all-time favorite, of course)
10. Shrek 2 (2004) (This movie was alright... It was Really charming and unbelievably creative, especially with all the fairy tales embedded and the good animation. Yet, the story line was so pointless and empty, and I found that it encouraged stereotypes).

All in all, I think Peter Jackson did an amazing, definitely deserving to be on that list, job. If only he does Anne Rices Vampire Chronicles next!
It's also interesting to note that most of these movies were made after the year 2000.

New Radio Channel!

Finally, a Jordanian radio channel worth listening to! Mood FM launched sometime last month, and it's actually a treat listening to the oldies they serve. I'm getting quite sick of the so-called music playing on Radio Jordan and Fan FM. I also can't stand their annoying hosts who talk like they have gum in their mouth...
Check out Jordan's radio stations here.

Darat al Funon

Images of Darat al Funun(click to enlarge) :


Main: AndFarAway.net

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

New Car!

Today, I payed the final installment of my brand new Mitsubishi Lancer 2005. I should have the keys by Thursday, but I will have to go through so many annoying legal procedures to get the keys... I Hate legal procedures, especially in Jordan, where everything is so tedious.
Oh, well, worth my new car :) It's metallic baby blue if anyone is wondering.

What happened to the 90's?

A week ago, I needed to see which day of the week July 30, 1992 was. So I used my handy Nokia cellphone, as it has become my bestfriend over the years. I was really upset when i found out that my cell's calendar only had the years After 2000!
What happened to my beloved 90's?


Amman in Pictures

These are pictures of the old quarters in Amman, Jordan. This area is called Al-Abdali. Amman is famous for its mountains and ethnic diversity.

View of Al Abdali

I love old houses!