Thursday, March 30, 2006

Off topic > Quotes Not of the day...

Below are some quotes that i truly believe in and when applicable try to achieve...

On vision: "If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him." Seneca, Roman Philosopher

On friendship: "He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere." Ali ibn-Abi-Talib

On History: "History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. "
Napoleon Bonaparte

On education: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle

On experience: "Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't" Pete Seeger

On giving: "Charity begins at home. " Terence

On mathematician: "I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning". Plato

On the French: "The French complain of everything, and always" Napoleon Bonaparte

On performance: "Never promise more than you can perform" Publilius Syrus

On attitude: "Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer" Muhammad Ali

On kindness: "Do not consider any act of kindness insignificant, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face" The prophet Muhammad , peace be upon him.

On strength: "The strong man is not the good wrestler; the strong man is only the one who controls himself when he is angry". The prophet Muhammad , peace be upon him.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Off topic > Viva Republica Tunisiana

Today is Tunisia's day, the independence Day. Today I’m exceptionally proud to witness all the growth and development Tunisia has sustained during the last 50 yrs.

However, being as jealous and as perfectionist as I am, I hope that we can bank on those achievements and accelerate the pace of development, for the benefit of our people...

Colleagues from the blogsphere have marked this day by depicting the history behind this event. I'll try to take this further by writing up on the future and how we can better foster a path to sustained growth in a very tough and challenging world.

I shall start by:

* Calling on Tunisians from the inside to effectively contribute to the economy (see my post Tunisia vs. Taiwan), that is: consume Tunisian goods, reduce dependency on foreign goods, stop or at least reduce the 'show off / frime' mentality and buy only what you need. Promote and work in the community, think more about others instead of being focused on the 'me' and 'me only'

* Invest in intangible goods, in ventures, in innovation, in ideas; think 100 yrs ahead like others nations do, think about the future generation and what you can offer them.

* Build your savings, manage your budget carefully, and don’t go overboard. Savings are a measure for healthy economy and are used to promote large scale projects that help everybody at the end.

* Care about the environment, commute whenever possible even if your comfort takes a hit from time to time, recycle and keep it green and last but not the least WALK a lot! It keeps you healthy and the environment clean from emissions.

* Stop talking too much and start listening instead, listen to advice, to other people's experience, to the elderly, learn and keep learning...that's how Islamic pioneers prospered by understanding the Greek concepts and putting them into practice.

* For the Tunisians aboard, your efforts should be double those from within because you have better access to knowledge, to money and to people. The key word here is INVEST IN TUNISIA by all means possible, such as real-estate, innovation, partnership, lectures at your native university or school, vacationing if you can. Being a Star Tunisian abroad and promoting Tunisia's picture does not help anymore (that was the old days when Tunisia was unknown), now reality has changed, Tunisia needs your money, your brain and your contacts.

* For the families, teach your kids and your surroundings the core values of the Tunisian culture and traditions, tell them about the blood and sacrifices made by Tunisia's founders, teach them the vertues of giving, caring and sharing.

And last but not the least, WORK HARD all the time, this is your duty to you civil society.

Tahya Tounis!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Technology > The year is 2014, the age of Googlezon has begun

In the year 2014 the New York times has gone offline

The Fourth Estate's fortunes have waned

What happened to the news?

and what is EPIC

Click here

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Climate > 1st episode: Winter

Slush, snow, snow squalls, freezing rain, drizzles, ice pellets, wind-chill, extreme wind-chill, ice, black ice, blizzards, flash freeze, and whiteout.

You probably never heard these words before, except for snow and ice. Well these buzz words represent true weather patterns that makes up the Great Canadian Winder. If you treat them with respect you can live through winter without headaches, otherwise you will die.

For an explanation of each word, check out this glossary at The Weather Network

Driving on Canadian roads in Canadian winter is one hell of an experience, not only it’s dangerous but it’s rewarding especially if you manage to get around it pretty well.

First, your Car

  • The car needs to be ‘winterized’ around November, meaning you have to upgrade your engine oil (no matter what oil you had before) it needs to withstand temperature below zero, well far below zero, like -30 or below.
  • You need winter tires, 4 winter tires that is, not traction tires, and preferably good winter tires coz your life would pretty much depend on them.
  • Then you need to put a winter anti-freeze, that is the liquid that keeps your heater and radiator working, it need to withstand -30 at least.
  • Then comes the all-mighty battery, it needs to be charged to 100% to first allow ignition then later move the engine parts that are in quasi frozen state.
  • Optionally, you may want to take off those 500$ dollar a piece alloy rims before they rust or get damaged by salt.
  • Last but not the least; you need to put an anti-freeze windshield washer, coz the regular one will freeze right from the nozzle when you ask for it from inside of your car. Wipers need to be replaced by heavy teflon wipers that can handle snow, coz during winter, it’s snow or ice that falls from the sky not rain

Second, your driving habits

  • Speeding is no go, I mean REALLY NO GO !!! Normally, on a 100km highway, you would do 120? 140 if you push it (I’m not crazy driver and I’d leave the 500$ tickets and license suspension for those doing 160 and 180). In winter conditions however, if the limit is 100, then it means 80km or less. And if you’re hit with a sudden whiteout, your changes of dying near the 90% mark.
  • Stopping distance become SO LOOOONG and you CAN NOT DO A DAMN THING ABOUT IT. Even if you have ESP, ABS, AWD, and all those gizmos, it will take as twice as much to stop.
  • Normal braking won’t work either, especially on black ice (ice that you can not see). The only way to stop is using soft gear downgrade. if you drive an automatic, then you may pray :-)
  • Visiblity is hampered most of the times. First your external visors are either frozen, or extrememly dirty that you wont see anything from near or far. Your vision is constantly interrupted with wipers working hard to clean the windshield. if it's a sunny outside (means cold day usually), then chances are the sun beams reflected against perfect white sheets of snow will turn you blind when you need yours eyes the most.

Third, the toad conditions

No matter how the city treats the roads, be it salting or sanding, you will be driving on a sheet of ice and snow most of the time, especially in and off highway ramps, and no matter how much control or how skilled you are, you’ll ultimately end up in minor or major accident one way or the other. Needless to say, that an accident in north america will cost your insurance premium to go up 2 to 10 folds (thousands of dollars we’re taking per year) besides the cost of repairing your car. (85-100$ / hour of labor including diagnostics)

So for those who complain about driving when Tunis is flooded once in a blue moon, please chill out, your chances of survival are much higher there...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Behavior > 1st episode: Stop Smoking

Every time I go to Tunisia in the summer, I get hit with a thick cloud of smoke right from the exit door of the airplane. You would think that with jet-fuel still burning in reservoirs, people would be smart and turn off their lighters or burry their cigarette, hell no!!!

By the time you clear customs and exit the passenger area, your lungs are filled with poison, combined with heat and smog from the outside; your chances to an asthma attack grow like never before.

In North-America, entire cities are going smoke-free, and sooner, selected cities in Canada will ban open-air smoking all together unless smokers sit within a certain distance from non smokers. This is truly CIVILIZATION!!!

I don’t mind living, working and dealing with smokers, as long as they go KABOUM themselves ONLY without taking down with them second hand smokers or a generation of kids.

Smokers, why don’t you get it? Studies after studies have shown that lung cancer is a direct consequence of heavy, light and second hand smoking. Why do you keep polluting the air around? Give me one damn benefit of smoking, and I’ll turn smoker next day.

Why do people have to die, and bankrupt their public health system and their families because of some stupid trend? I can understand old generation smokers, they didn’t have a clue about death rates / side effects related to smoking, besides, during the 40-50s smoking was considered trendy, hot and cool. But nowadays? What’s hot about it? Why youngsters and young adults still do it despite all the awareness, the knowledge and all the talk around it?

Going back to Tunisia, I think it’s time to start banning (and enforcing) smoking in public and covered areas, yet I’m not sure if that will ever happen since most of the future generation, for instance future lawmakers, are smokers themselves :-(

Last year, I went to this ‘soit-disant’ hot café somewhere in El Manar neighborhood. I can not even remember the name of the café, coz they were like 100s of them, one next to the other, serving the same thing, and featuring the same clientele. Aside from the stereotypes that I was quick to develop by looking at the crowds, I was appalled by the number of smokers, ALL of them were smokers, i swear ALL of them.

I’ve been labeled few times as intolerant because of my stance on cigarettes. To those, I say please understand (so tempted to say 'go to hell') that my health and the health of my family comes before your high-society branded and gestured cigarette.

Smokers, please think about it again!!! If not for yourself, think out of respect of those surrounding you, if you don’t have respect for the others, then you’re probably a liability to society and should not be dealt with.

Worth mentioning however that some smokers did catch up with some good manners lately and now they do ask for permission prior to igniting that piece of crap, so there is hope !!!