Monthly Archives: August 2009

A new eco-friendly waste sorting tubes

Sweden has the coolest eco-friendly garbage disposal. Pneumatic (or vacuum) tubes are used to suck trash at 70 km/h. It can’t get cleaner than that. Swedish environmental technology firm Envac is the inventor of these waste sorting units. Does this mean it will be the end of garbage bins (see here), one hope so.


Read more …


A new email scam

I received an email from a friend of mine who just went to England to pursue his graduate studies. The email below was very strange because it looks somehow it is a scam but since you receive this from a friend you have to double check with this 1% doubt you have, hoping he is safe and not having problems. Luckily, this email turned to be a scam and nothing bad happened to my friend.

Now, the reason this scam is dangerous is because it is not like the other obvious Nigerian scams asking you to help them transfer millions of dollars to your bank account. The hacker in this case made you believe that your friend is in trouble and you have to help him. Specially, in this case were my friend was intending to go to UK. Here is the email I received verbatim:

Subject: Please help me…………

I am in a hurry writing you this message i am sorry i didn’t inform you about my urgent trip to London, i don’t have much time on the pc here,so i have to brief you my present situation which requires your urgent response actually, I had a trip to London but unfortunately for me all my money got stolen at the hotel where i lodged due to a robbery incident that happened in the hotel.I had been so restless since last night cos i have been without any money moreover the Hotel’s telephone lines here got dissconnected by the robbers and they are trying to get them fixed back i have access to only emails at the library because my mobile cant work here so i didnt bring it along,please i want you to help me with money so please can you send me 1500pounds so when i return back i would refund it back to you as soon as i get home,I am so confused right now and dont know what to do,Please you can have it sent through Western Union Money Transfer so will get it  immediately its sent but let me know if you can help me then i will make findings.please let me hear from you below is the address and name where you can send the money to today please.Its really urgent for me as i dont know what to do right now than to leave here soonest you send it to me and i’ll pay you back immediately i get home..Thanks alot for your kindness,

Name…(my friend’s full name)
Address….49 Gloucester Place, Marble Arch.
City… London
Zip Code… W1U 8JE
Country… United Kingdom

Aliens in District 9

This South African movie, District 9, is not your typical science fiction aliens movie, it is about human behavior towards the others, about racism and coexistence. “The title of the movie is a reference to District Six, a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town, South Africa. The district was declared a “whites only” area by the apartheid government in 1966, and the population of 60,000 forcibly relocated to Cape Flats, 25 kilometers away.” [Wikipedia] DISTRICT 9 depicts a fictional world where extraterrestrials have become refugees in South Africa.

The movie is ranked 29 in top 250 movies list. This movie worth your money. The directing of the movie is especial good. Overall this movie rocks! Watch District 9 trailer

My first plumbing work

bidetBefore you leave Jordan be informed that some countries don’t use bidet. The US is one of those countries [1]. While visiting Houston I found the cool and warm water bidet DIY-102. Since there is a huge Arab and Muslim community in Houston this bidet is a fast seller in the Arab shops. Although, I am very happy to finally got this thing I am proud that I installed it by myself. I saved at least $60 the amount charged by a plumber for a one hour work. My gratitude to the French for inventing the bidet [2].

bidet DIY-102: $70

installation: free

going green and clean: priceless

[1] Some countries are especially known for having bidets: South Korea, Japan, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, India, and the Middle East. [wikipedia & wikihow]

American English for Arabs – 2

I changed this series title from Jordanians to Arabs because of the globalization mania. The difficulty of speaking good English is not the same with all Arabic speaking people. The North Africans, except the Egyptians and the Libyans, speak fluent English after only few months in the United States. Their French-based learning has a lot to do with their fast ability to speak fluent English, since they already know how to accurately pronounce Latin alphabets. The Egyptians on the other hand are may be the worst when it comes to pronunciation (Egyptian friends and readers, I still love you the most!). This is not my own observation, it is something many Egyptians admit and confirm. In between the two, North Africans and the Egyptians are the Arabian Gulf (aka by non-Arabs the Persian Gulf) and the Sham countries (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine). The majority of the Arabian Gulf students who study in the US are undergraduates. Those students spend one year or more, before starting school, learning English in the United States by professionals. So, their English is roughly very good compared to the other Middle-Eastern Arabs. In general, those undergraduates learn better English than graduate students* because of the more exposure with the Americans. Graduate students in the US are usually foreigners so the chance, for the Arab graduate students, to learn good English is almost null. Specially, in some majors like Engineering were most of the students are either Chinese or Indians.

The table below lists some of the mistakes Arabs do when pronouncing some words. Some of these words if pronounced incorrectly might be confused with vulgar words.

Don’t Say



Can’t Can not might be confused with an obscene word that means the female genital organ. A Libyan friend wanted to say “You can’t …”  for his female English teacher but instead he said “You c_nt …”. True story.
Deck of cards Cards might be confused with a vulgar word for a male genital organ.
Let us set on the deck, or I have a deck … Patio (pronounced padio by the way) or terrace might be confused with a vulgar word for a male genital organ.
I am better now I am fine.
I am okay.
I am good.
This happens usually when a doctor asks his Arab patient how is he doing. So he answers I am bitter now instead of I am better now.
Coke Pepsi or Soda.
If you only drink coke and the the waiter or waitress told you they only have Coke then say ok without repeating the word (i.e., coke). Restaurants in the US either serve Coke or Pepsi. So this trick is guaranteed to work.
might be confused with a male chicken but worse could also be confused with a vulgar word for a male genital organ. A Jordanian friend in a restaurant asked for a co_k instead of a Coke. True story.
Version Edition 5.
This usually happen when someone say I have this software version 5, for example.
might be confused with virgin. You don’t want to say I like virgin 9 or 13.

* In general, in the United States you hardly see undergraduate students from Arab countries other than the Arabian-Gulf. The other Arab students such as Jordanians, Lebanese, and Egyptians are enrolled in the graduate programs only.

American English for Jordanians – 1

End of the summer semester 2009

I might be more excited to finish this semester than my students. The past two months were really very overwhelming; glued in front of my computer preparing for class, lab, grading, and replying to students’ emails. All these daily tasks made my day full of work.

Anyway, yesterday, I finished grading. Today, I submitted students’ grades and cheered for the end of the semester. Tomorrow, I am traveling to Houston for a week. Hopefully, I will visit the Galveston for the second time. It is a nice city located on the Gulf Coast of Texas.