2011-02-19

HIH Michel I of Nowheristan's View on Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia


[Extracted from HIH Press Communiqué on 2/17/2011]

[...] When asked today about the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt he (HIH Michel I) says:” I always knew that overthrowing the regimes is not as difficult as everybody used to think. I hope that good use will be made of the outcome of these revolutions. People should be aware that what is more difficult than a revolution is its aftermath. Each time I am asked about how Nowheristani ideology would translate into reality, I always answer that it is through peaceful revolutions and civil disobedience that the fall of governments will happen like a domino effect. I feel frustrated that the Nowheristani ideology just missed a momentum! Had it been a few years older --or more known and spread-- we could have filled the vacuum left by the fall of the regimes that were overthrown by populations who are fed up with the way their countries and the world are being run today. A new humane, border-free, just, positively expansionistic empire could have risen from the heart of the problematic Middle East.”

Click to visit Nowheristan Official Website.
Stay updated on Twitter : @nowheristan.

2011-02-17

Do We See the Future?

A couple of nights ago, I woke up from a weird dream: I was with a person I knew long time ago, and hadn't spoken in about 7 years; we were talking, catching up on the past - enough details for now ;-). Well, surprisingly, that person started a chat with me exactly the same day! (which i accidentally ignored :-s)...A similar case, also happened to me some 10 days ago, also saw a dream involving an old friend - which also haven't contacted in about 5 years - and received some news concerning that friend, the same day...
Well it could be a mere coincidence, but the thought of sixth sense, and premonition occurred to me, and thought to make some looking up about the subject...
So by the pure definition of the phenomenon, what i have is barely similar... But I knew a person who claimed to have an intense case of precognition. She says that some of her dreams come into reality, to a certain extent of exactitude (the cases i know about are about me, yet never got the warning, she probably wishes my death LOL)... So i discussed the issue with her, well not very seriously but mainly to ask her permission to mention her case; she also recommended to see the movie Premonition, which is based on this case.
More popular examples include many persons who show themselves on TV and make a series of "predictions", and hope to achieve a good score of correct predictions (Yeah, that's how silly I feel this kind of things is). Anyway you can refer to samples of these "predictions" in a previous blog post.
Other popular examples, are religion-based, and claim that such visions are a way of communication from a certain deity - a very sophisticated one apparently who chooses a twisted way to communicate its will to humans (chuckle).
So many levels and cases exist, to a phenomenon, which isn't yet clear - scientifically speaking. The article on Wikipedia, is very interesting but doesn't conclude the case, about a clear explanation, but rather theories and models attempting to draw a correct explanation (the scientific way) . Other references, also face the same issue about this somehow paranormal phenomenon with more subjective (to the author) theories.
To advance my own theory on this: for my case, I like to believe that brains, in their background operations, have recurring cycles of summarizing and recapitulation and compacting of information, such cycles, when they occur during sleep are manifested by dreams, and during awakened state, it's manifested by a thought of some acquaintance, the urge to contact someone we used to know, etc... So these cycles are started synchronously (mutual cycles) when two people meet, and the length of the cycle varies proportionally to factors like the role the person play in the other's life, and the time of absence... So the likelihood that these cycle re-occur at very close periods giving us the feeling that we predicted the event...
As for the other cases, well I would think , for the mild cases, that it's some sort of subconscious projections, of desires or fears, which for the obvious ones, will come true.
Anyhow, foreseeing the future is a very controversial issue, it involves very subjective factors, yet sometimes very spooky and realistic... To me, seeing the future, I don't need that... I live now, and enjoy what I have  (whether good or bad) and every single bit of it.

2011-02-10

Egypt: Can the People Govern?

The People Of Egypt In Tahrir Square

January 25, 2011 - the day when the People of Egypt decided to take their fate with their own hands. The day when a series of uprisings, million-man-gatherings and riots started taking place. The goal? Toppling the regime that has been taking over for the last 30 years. People of all categories are gathering, shouting in one voice that they want Mubarak (or what he stands for) down, that they want freedom and justice and equity in their country.
Ideally, this is a lovely scene, much welcomed and appreciated, and a correct step into freedoms and democracy.
Practically, is the change possible? Are the People allowed to govern? Is the regime substitutable? At what price(s)?
The purity of the revolt, and the fairness of the demands are not enough to let it go very far.
In fact the structure of the revolution itself will hold it back eventually. I mean, the revolution is lead by web activists, and supported by a huge number of followers from all classes, which are not well organized to continue the fight at the high level political talks. Wael Ghonim has emerged as a "motivator" for the revolution, but no clear leadership is found among the protesters. Regardless, these are not really points of failure, but rather points of weakness which could affect the end-result but can eventually be worked out and fixed.
This would let the - rather more organized - ideological groups or political parties (the Muslim Brotherhood for example) to try to take over, and use the momentum of the revolution, to achieve some of their goals to reach power (which may be a useful thing in some aspect, but also destructive to the revolution in many others).
That's concerning the on-ground situation, but let us not forget the major role of international interests
 crossing over Egypt.
Egypt has been for several decades, a major player in the regional politics. Its attitude towards the Israeli entity and the Palestinians conflict was always a card in the negotiations; it had its effects on the nature of governments and political events in Lebanon; alliance with the US; opposed front against the "Axis of evil" and the giant Shi'ite Muslim regime in Iran (in alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia); and many other roles...  International and regional forces, can't easily lose such a strong ally (politically and economically). Yet, it's never a bad idea to pressure Egyptian regime by making a cheap use of the revolution to ask for commitments...
So for these powers, the best solution is a compromise between keeping the format of the regime, and applying changes towards some kind of democracy and freedoms.
So unless the revolution gives clear answers to the major political and economical issues, and defines its leaders (a lot of fine minds are supportive to the revolution, and whom are relied upon to take those initiatives), the only expectation is a middle solution, to keep the ruling system and make some amendments towards  more freedom, in exchange of keeping the global equilibrium.

2011-02-07

Across the desert

Due to work requirements, I spent most of my day today on the road. I moved from Riyadh city to Hofuf  (in Saudi Arabia) in a round trip of almost 650km (in a Hyundai Accent which turned out to be reliable after all...)
I like road trips, in general... Road trips in Saudi, are even more special; I have to pass through the desert to reach remote areas (and of course i get to over speed as much as i like).
Passing through the desert, is always full of unexpected events. For instance today:
  • I got to pass the 160kph mark for the first time in a long period
  • I discovered that the comfort zone of my car is way below that
  • I received pieces of gravel on my windshield and also some bird droppings (ewwww)
  • I ran into more camels than humans on the road (seriously!) - loose camels which could've gone wandering in the middle of the highway
  • A man and his less-than-ten-year-old boy who had parked in the middle of the desert, faced West and started performing their prayer rituals (poor kid...)
  • Cars going on the wrong way and making U-turns suddenly out of the blue...
  • *Update: Found a radio station airing classical chef d'oeuvres!
Beside all that, one thing was constant: the view and the surrounding; asphalt road surrounded by sand dunes, plain sand dunes.


View of the desert on my road
For some reason or an other, something about the desert, with its red sandy dunes, with its vastness and emptiness, with its unexpectedness, with its simple complexity, made me feel like at home. Probably, that's what my mind is nowadays, plain empty complex unexpected.
For some reason or an other, I enjoy going across the desert, I just feel transfered into a different planet, where nothing and no one else exists, just me and my vast desert, enjoying the nothingness, taking a break of everything else, thinking only of going forward, to reach a new destination, beyond the desert, beyond that world...
For some reason or another, time stands still, while passing across the desert, the only thing moving, the shifting sands, transported by the winds of change.

Now that my trip is over and I was back to the world, i can't wait till my next trip, till my next abduction, across the desert...

Joseph

2011-02-04

2012, End of the World, for IPv4

IPv6 logo

Today, the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)  has released the last batch of IPv4 addresses. So today is marked as a Milestone in the Internet History. The beginning of the end of IPv4 - which is expected to definitely happen in 2012 (Update: In fact, major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world united to redefine the global Internet and permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services on 6 June 2012 worldipv6launch.org)

IPv4 addresses are the addresses we commonly know and used nowadays (e.g. 192.168.100.51 255.255.255.0) which are 32-bit addresses and can span a maximum of 4.3 billion addresses, which are apparently running out fast, very fast...

The alternative is IPv6 addressing scheme where a 128-bit-address is used to address a machine. Which obviously spans a larger number of addresses (more than 340 undecillion, i.e. 340 billion billion billion addresses) which should be sufficient for a very very long time. This scheme also uses the hexadecimal notation. (e.g. fe80::21f:3cff:fe5c:1b39/64)

Most of our home computers with modern devices and operating systems, support IPv6. The only change is at the internet providers level, and some enterprises, where they need to upgrade the hardware to support the new scheme.

To check your current IPv4 and IPv6 settings:
Linux:

PC:
Using the "ipconfig /all" tool in the Command Prompt


*UPDATE: Capture on Windows 7 OS





An Interesting review of the issue is available from CNET here

2011-02-03

The Road to Cairo Does NOT Pass by Jnah

Lebanese security arresting a demonstrator
Egypt's situation have been the world's center of attention for the last couple of days. The revolution against the current regime, the clashes between pro and anti government groups, the casualties, the violence, the bloodshed, the cruelty of the regime, the censorship of media and internet, the attacks on journalists, arresting of bloggers and activists... All these have been reported and refuted by the entire world.
In addition, several protests and demonstrations have been organized in several locations and cities around the world, to support the just cause against oppression, and to demand democracy for Egypt. Among these locations is the city of Beirut, the open city for freedom of speech and thought and pacifist activism - to some extent.
Today, a demo have been organized to the Embassy of Egypt in Jnah, Beirut. Such demo is more than supported, and welcomed. But what is refutable is that the demonstrators ended up their day with going into violent clashes with the Lebanese security forces. Such actions don't support the cause of the demonstration, but ruin it. Violent protestors are not worthy of the cause they are protesting against and if they feel so angry and need to go violent why don't they go to Egypt, to defend Tahrir Square physically... But such remote resistance and violence are of no use.

Bassil v/s Al Hassan, The Gasoline Price Fight [Updated]

Prices of Gas Hitting Critical Levels in Lebanon


Away for the blazing events in Egypt, a hot fight has been going on for the last week or so, between 2 ministers in the resigned cabinet of Lebanon. Mr. Gebran Bassil - Minister of Power, representative of the ex-opposition (new majority)- has decided to challenge the authority of Mrs. Rayya Al Hassan - Minister of Finance, representative of the ex-majority.
Bassil issued a decision to decrease the prices of gasoline in Lebanon (of course deducted from the large tax already applied on combustibles) by 3300LBP (almost 2.2USD) through a special interpretation of the law. A staggering trash talk started between the 2 parties, and accusations have been thrown left and right concerning the legality of the action, the timing of it, and many others...
The most recent update in this fight, is the initiative taken by Al Hassan to drop the prices (also by reducing the large tax on combustibles) by 5000LBP (a mere 3.33USD), this time through "legal channels" according to Al Hassan's statement.
Regardless of the political opinions and analysis, about such actions, a positive attitude can be seen here. I mean for the first time ever (probably), 2 opposed political parties in Lebanon, are competing in order to make people's life easier, in a country of political and economical instability.
Let's just hope, that such competitiveness is applied into more fields, and to be of more benefits to the "Great People of Lebanon".

*Update [2011-03-02]:
So basically the fuel tax had been reduced by 5,000LBP using the path originally taken by Bassil, and we expect the price list tomorrow based on that decision... So why the hell did it take so long? And why the two parties got so stubborn and didn't negotiate in a civilized way to loosen the burden of the average class of people? What I don't get is that it seems in our country, the interest of the people is not that urgent, I mean what is the purpose of debt? Isn't one mean to provide better conditions to your people... Well I am sure that our politicians need to set aside their political and authoritarian interests/ambitions and use public positions for public service.