Archive for September, 2010

Arguile Cafes vs. Salim Slam Tunnel

Sitting in a place that serves Arguileh (waterpipe) is like sitting in Salim Slem Tunnel. Literally!

Tunnel Air Quality

The National Tobacco Control Program recently carried out an Air Quality test inside Salim Slem Tunnel to measure the level of pollution emitted by car exhausts during the busiest time of day. The machine used (called SidePak) manages to capture ultra fine particles. These tiny particles go deep into the lungs and are easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

According to the World Health Organization, humans should be exposed to 25 ìg/m³ (25 particles per million) of these particles or less, to be considered in a safe and healthy environment. One would expect that the notorious tunnel would host ‘off the chart’ measurements. The test result proved this case when it recorded a 429 ìg/m³ which falls into the “Hazardous levels” according to the WHO.

The surprise came after comparing this result with tests previously done in 15 restaurants that served Arguileh, in which the measurements averaged at 376 ìg/m³. Well into the “Hazardous” range, the average air quality result for these restaurants was very close to that of Salim Slem tunnel. Six of these restaurants even had higher levels than Salim Slem, with one reaching a maximum of 723 ìg/m³!

The difference between the two locations, is that in a restaurant that serves Arguileh, you sit for hours, while it takes less than a minute to pass through Salim Slem Tunnel (most of the time with windows closed). Read the rest of this entry »

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Despicable Me spoofs

While watching the very entertaining Despicable Me, a lot of characters seemed familiar, and  looked like or acted like other ones. Here is the list of the déjà-vu(s) I had:

Mr. Perkins, the president of the Bank of Evil in Despicable Me (left) looks a lot like the Pointy-haired boss of Dilbert (right)

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Smirnoff Ice is made of Carrots!

Or was it potatoes? Tomatoes? Ginger rhizomes?

Nobody knows. Unlike other beverages, a bottle of Smirnoff Ice doesn’t list the ingredients, and the official website doesn’t provide any additional data neither.

It was my understanding that food labels are required to list all ingredients, in order of decreasing weight. (See the label on an Almaza bottle below)

This leaves Smirnoff vulnerable to rumors.

Conveniently,  the trend now is to accuse people and companies randomly on blogs, having as only proof a vague lack of denial from the accused parties.

In case you haven’t read them, here are  the latest news:

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Spotlight on Success Stories

One cannot deny that starting a business is indeed a journey, and the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition is definitely a milestone for every entrepreneur taking part in this journey. Nonetheless, though it is clearly delineated annually with a beginning and an end, a launching and a closing event, it is by no means the beginning of a business or its end.  Businesses may have begun prior to the Competition and should most definitely continue after it.  This newsletter sheds the light on 5 businesses that took part in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 Competitions and have had successful journeys since then. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Nash of Arabia: Google works with the CIA!

6000 miles East of New Jersey, the John Nash of Arabia uncovered from Jordan recently a dangerous truth: Google works hand in hand with the CIA:

ومع رفض التأكيد يعني أنه هو تأكيد بأن لمخابرات أمريكا ولوج ورفض الرد حول جهاز الموساد هو تأكيد بأن له ولوج لبريد عرب كرنش لأن جوجل تستطيع أن تنفي أو تقول لا يوجد لهم ولوج

In short, here is what happened (in the founder’s words):

The founder of ArabCrunch asked Google if the CIA or Mossad have access to their emails on Gmail; Google refused to confirm, which is a confirmation that Google works with the CIA!

He later mentions that he prefers to give his life away, rather than reveal the sources of his articles… ouf!

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Enhance your public speaking skills with Toastmasters

Do you want to become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience? It’s much easier than you think: join Toastmasters!

I am member of my local Toastmasters chapter, and have benefited tremendously from my experience in the last year. It helps me give more effective presentations at work and be more at ease in big social gatherings.

I was curious to survey the clubs in the Arab region (I had already heard of a club in BAU in Tripoli and another in AUB in Beirut via YouTube a few months ago). I found that there are no less than 315 Toastmasters clubs in the Arab countries, the oldest being in Manama in Bahrain (established in 1964!), they’re distributed as follows. Click to see the club locations and schedules:

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