Monthly Archives: October 2010

One Man’s Journey to the Top

This is the story of an Iraqi-Canadian man who I meet back in the 90s while we were doing our Master’s in Computer Science in Malaysia.  Ahmad Wasfi was known of his love to martial arts but no one expected, not even himself, that one day he will have a passion to hike snow-covered mountains all year round. Especially, when you know he was born and raised in Baghdad were the maximum average temperature is above 100 F (> 40 C) and the lowest temperature reaches no less than 38 F (above zero Celsius).

In 2000, I went back to Jordan and he immigrated to Canada. We lost contact since then. But thanks to social networking websites we meet again on Facebook. He now lives in Vancouver, one of the most beautiful places in the world I was told.

Recently, Vacouver Courier wrote about his success story of becoming a hiker and creating a social network website  (livetrails.com) dedicated to hikers. Check livetrail for the amazing pictures of Canada’s trails and nature.

I am very proud of him. He is doing something he likes. Go Ahmad go!

Here is an excerpt of the article:

image_thumb[7]For some people, a snow-covered gorge bathed by the last fading rays of sunset is a screen saver. For others, it’s a hiking destination.

For Ahmad Wasfi, it’s both.

Wasfi, 38, is the Metro Vancouver creator of livetrails.com, a comprehensive hiking website showcasing more than 2,000 trails–most of them in B.C. "We’re trying to form this community connected by technology to connect to nature," he said.

The free site is part information resource and part social network.

Wasfi said encouraging people to hike is about more than getting out of the house, it’s about learning to value nature. "To protect something, you need to see it first, you need to enjoy it," he said.

The website, which launched in April 2009, has 354 members connected to each other through Facebook. Wasfi said using the social networking site is designed to form a community of people who appreciate and enjoy hiking. 

via [Vancouver Courier]

 

Some pictures from Ahmad’s Facebook photo album:

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Be Impeccable With Your Word

The Four Agreements book is kind of a guide to personal freedom through following four agreements. Many will find these agreements to be something they read or can relate to in their religion. Loving an idea is easy but living up to this idea is difficult. The first agreement of the Four Agreements is:

Be Impeccable With Your Word

The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life… But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.

If I insult you, you will insult me. If I have gratitude for you, you will have gratitude for me. If I’m selfish with you, you will be selfish with me. If I use the word to put a spell on you, you are going to put a spell on me.

In a recent incident in Jordan, the Environment Minister Hazem Malhas resigned for making offensive remarks and using derogatory language against media organizations and individuals working in the field. He even called a TV host a “donkey”. Although, for many people, he had some valid points regarding the status of journalism in Jordan but people distant themselves from his unethical way of conveying a message. Read more about this story in the Black Iris blog.

What you say defines who you are. You can be known as the foul mouth person, the gossiper, or the nice person. Choosing your word will reflect on your behavior. You can almost always associate anger with cussing. Fill your dictionary with good and positive words. Unless you are a teen using the F-word is no longer “cool”. Using derogatory language is not the way to express yourself.

 

Related posts:

The Four Agreements

Horror on Campus Caused by a Tweet

A professor at the Journalism School said today “Rumors have always been the poison of journalism & Twitter can inject that poison directly into a community’s fear."

Today at 1:30 pm someone on our campus tweeted “#911 Corrections: University Hospital is on lockdown; gunman on the loose.” Here is an excerpt from the campus newspaper:

For roughly the next hour and a half, retweets, text messages, phone calls and hurried conversations at MU helped the tweet become a full-fledged rumor. At one point, another terrifying rumor took hold via Twitter: that shots had been fired in Virginia Avenue parking garage.

The fact was, there was no gunman on campus. At noon, University Hospital, and then at 12:30 p.m., Truman Veterans Hospital were locked down as a precaution in connection with the search for a suspect in three homicides in Callaway County. Authorities were concerned the gunman in those cases might try to gain access to University Hospital, where a survivor of one of the shootings was being treated.

The lockdown was announced in a variety of ways, including a campus-wide e-mail, a Twitter message and notifications on the MU Alert page and MU homepage. But the campuswide text alert system was never used.

MU Alert announced the lockdown via Twitter at about 1:30 p.m., almost two hours after the lockdown at University Hospital. At about 3:30 p.m., the MU Alert system delivered a tweet to dispel the unsubstantiated rumors.

It read: “We are releasing information as quickly as possible; it’s important to check facts first. Many rumors that are not true are circulating.”

Hearing that there is a gunman on campus is never a good news. My university has 33,000 students and couple of thousand employees. Add to that the parents, brothers and sisters of those students. You can see the magnitude of what one harmful wrong tweet can do.

Please tweet wisely!

The Four Agreements

In his book “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom”, Don Miguel Ruiz describes our learning behavior when we were kids :

When we went against the rules we were punished; when we went along with the rules we got a reward… We soon develop a need to hook other people’s attention in order to get the reward… We try to please Mom and Dad, we try to please the teachers at school, and so we start acting… Eventually we become someone that we are not.

Then, he explains the effect of what we learned in our adulthood.

To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourself is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.

In the next post, I will talk about these four agreements that suppose to guide us to personal freedom…

The American Right-Wing is No Right

Last week, America’s pinhead Bill O’Reilly said “Muslims killed us on 9/11” while on the TV show “The View”. He followed his remark questioning the hosts’ reaction “Muslims didn’t kill us on 9/11 that’s what you are saying?” This stupid remark led two of the TV program, Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, to walk off while he repeated his Anti-Muslim comment. When he noticed that the entire audience cheered for the two TV hosts’ courageous action he corrected himself by saying “extremists Muslims killed us on 9/11”. But this is not what I want to talk about. He is known to be a pinhead and let’s leave it to that.

 

My concern though is how insulting and bashing Muslims in American’s media is becoming the new trend. No consequences what so ever to any Anti-Muslim hate speech. Compare for example the magnitude of an Anti-Semitism comment to an Anti-Muslim comment. In the world of America, one Anti-Semitism comment will for sure push whoever said the comment down the drain. The latest of course being Helen Thomas and many like her who ruined their carrier because they were accused of being Anti-Semites. Meanwhile, someone who says an Anti-Muslim comment will be offered a job at the expense of insulting over one billion Muslim.

Juan Williams was fired as news analyst with National Public Radio (NPR) after his interview with Bill Oreilly were he said that Muslims in traditional dress boarding planes made him nervous. Here is what happened:

O’Reilly has been looking for support for his own remarks on a recent episode of ABC’s The View in which he directly blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set in the middle of his appearance.

Williams responded: "Look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

via [NPR]

If Juan Williams’ remark was not enough then wait till you read this:

Prominent rightwing figures, from Sarah Palin to radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, rushed to his defense and Fox offered him a three-year $2m (£1.3m) contract.

via [Guardian]

In a must-read article on the Huffington post by the Comedian Dean  Obeidallah he mentioned another recent Anti-Muslim remark on Fox news:

Fox News anchor and radio host Brian Kilmeade continued the campaign of demonizing Muslims by making the ridiculous and factually inaccurate comment: "All terrorists are Muslims."

via [huff]

He then raises the question:

But what happens when you make comments against Muslims or Arabs in America that incite hatred? You get more ratings. You sell more books. You are defended by people who say that you are brave and courageous for standing up to political correctness.

via [huff]

What is the future of this Anti-Muslim trend in America? Is this new trend the winning card for the right wing to win the election? In a campaign ad last month, North Carolina GOP Congressional candidate Renee Ellmers released an attack against her opponent that attempts to link him to the building of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero. Watch how the ad links between Muslims, “victory mosques” and terrorists.

For the sake of humanity and whatever sanity left I do hope to hear someone from the right-wing speaking up against this Anti-Muslim new trend series. One would ponder how come Fox News Channel is the number one highest rated cable news in America?

Petra is one of the world’s greatest attractions

Petra, Jordan is one of the  the world’s greatest must-see attractions according to the Guardian’s readers.

In 1845 John William Burgon took the Newdigate Prize for his poem Petra, referring to Petra, the inaccessible city in the present Jordan, which he had heard described but had never seen [wiki]:

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,

by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,

eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,

where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,

that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,

that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,

which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,

a rose-red city half as old as time.

See this beautiful interactive guide’s view of Petra [audio slideshow]. The pictures below of the rose-red city are from the slideshow:

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via [guardian.co.uk]

 

See other world’s greatest attractions here.

Bald Men Unite!

GQ published a new shiny list. Not about the 100 sexiest, or richest, or most influential but a list of the 100 Most Powerful Bald Men in America.

Behold the Shiny Brilliance of GQ’s 2010 Bald 100!—Our highly scientific ranking of the one hundred most powerful, influential and just plain bad-ass looking bald men in the USA. These are the men who put the balls in bald, and we salute you.

Here are few of those who made it:

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Romany Malco
Child rapper turned actor, most notably as drug dealer to suburban housewives on Weeds.

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Billy Zane
Found fame as "The Phantom" and that other guy in Titanic.

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Jason Statham
The lovable bad boy in Guy Ritchie movies; more comprehensible than Brad Pitt in Snatch. 

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Seal
English R&B singer known for hit single "Kiss from a Rose," and for being married to Heidi Klum by way of some tear in space-time continuum.

image Bruce Willis image The Dalai Lama

image Mike Tyson

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Andre Agassi

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Howie Mandel

image Magic Johnson

via [GQ]

Since no hair to cover our ears we hear better. We know women like men with hair; you don’t have to say it loud. We have feelings you know.

Bald men reading this post, have a shiny clean shave!

Why the Most Sophisticate Airplanes Need a Copilot?

I always thought that the reason there is a copilot in airplanes is to help the pilot reads the gazillion gauges. It turned out helping read the gauges meters wasn’t the main reason why an airplane needs a copilot. Ever thought what will happen to the airplane if the pilot dies and there is no copilot? Read this freaky news:

 

Qatar Airways pilot dies in flight: Assistant pilot takes control after captain dies while flying aircraft from Manila to Doha.

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2010 18:24 GMT

The captain of a Qatar Airways plane has died while flying the aircraft from the Philippines to the Qatari capital, Doha.

The assistant pilot took control of the plane and the flight was then diverted to Kuala Lumpur where it landed at around 11.30am local time, Qatar Airways said on Wednesday.

Reports say the pilot died of a heart attack. But the company did not confirm the cause of death, or if the flight was ever at risk.

Qatar Airways said in a statement that its priority "remains the comfort and safety of its passengers and staff".

Co-pilot intervention

The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported 32 occasions in 2009 when pilots were incapacitated during a flight.

In the preceding year co-pilots had to step in 39 times for a wide variety of reasons, including food poisoning, nausea and fainting.

Although modern passenger aircraft are able to fly themselves during most of a flight, the presence of a co-pilot in the cockpit is essential in case of the captain becoming unwell, or of a particularly dangerous emergency situation.

A plane cannot land without human intervention, as it has to be set at the right speed and the flaps have to be set for the approach.

via [Aljazeera]

I Feel Chilean Today

Today, is a Chile day. If Chile is playing a football game against any country in the world I will definitely root for them. Go Chile, Go!

“Imagine you are at the beach. Good luck brother.” That is the last thing the first brave rescuer heard before going down in a tiny capsule to start the rescue operation.

I am writing this post while watching CNN’s live broadcast of the rescue operation of the 33 miners  trapped under ground for more than two months. It is an extraordinary moment. I can sense the anxiety and hope that fill the air over there. Just imagine the joy of the miners and their families after they are rescued.

A small capsule (see photo below) is used to rescue miners one by one. The capsule will travel 2000 feet (600 m) from the surface to where the miners are. They estimated about one hour time needed to rescue one miner. All speculation till now but the rescue operation will take at least 24 hours.

image Rescue workers practice a dry run with one of the capsules that will be used to rescue the trapped miners.

The rescuers decided that the first miner to be rescued is a healthy one and not one with health problems. I think they did that to see the affect of the tiny capsule on the miners’ mentally and physically. But then who is going to be next and who is going to be last to be rescued? On what basis the selection is determined? I am sure no one wants to be one minute more down there.

For two months the families of the miners decided to camp near their beloved ones. A school even was opened there for the miners’ children.

I hope by tomorrow Chile is going to have a very joyful day.

Go Chile!

image Media trucks crowd the site near where rescuers attempt to save trapped miners more than 2,000 feet below the surface.

image Children play volleyball Sunday outside a makeshift school near Camp Hope near the mine site.

All photos are from CNN. See more here.

مسائل في رد القدر وان القدر قدران

قبل ستة سنوات سمعت من صديق لي ان الدعاء يرد القدر. وكعادتي في التأكد من كل حديث أسمعه اكتشفت ان الحديث (لا يرد القدر إلا الدعاء)  حسن (الدرر السنيه). منذ ستة سنوات ولغاية يومين فقط لم أستطع فهو واستيعاب هذا الحديث. فكيف للقدر أن يُرد أو يتغير اذا كان قد كُتب في اللوح المحفوظ.ـ

الحمدلله وجدت الجواب في كتاب الايمان بالقضاء والقدر لمحمد بن ابراهيم الحمد. انصح كل مسلم بقراءته. الكتاب يجيب عن اسئله مثل:ـ

هل الايمان بالقدر ينافي ان يكون للعبد مشيئة في افعاله الاختياريه؟

متى يسوغ الاحتجاج بالقدر؟

اذا كان الله تعالى علم كل ما هو كائن، وكتب ذلك عنده في كتاب، فما معنى “يمحو الله ما يشاء ويثبت” [البقره، 39]

هل يجب الرضا بكل ما قدره الله؟

وغيرها من المسائل.ـ

قرأت مرة ان الدعاء (اللهم اني لا أسألك رد القضاء، ولكن اسألك اللطف بي) غير وارد عن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا يجوز الدعاء به. هذا الكتاب يُعطي تفسيرا لذلك بما ان القضاء يمكن رده بالدعاء ولهذا وجب علينا ان ندعو بالادعيه الصحيحه المأثوره (وقني شر ما قضيت) أو (اللهم اني اعوذ بك من درك الشقاء وسوء القضاء).ـ

المعلومة الجديدة لي والتي لم أكن اعلم عنها شيئا هي أن القدر قدران:ـ

القدر المثبت، او المطلق، او المبرم:ـ

وهو في ام الكتاب – اللوح المحفوظ – فهذا ثابت لا يتغير، ولا يتبدل.ـ

القدر المعلق، او المقيد:ـ

وهو في كتب الملائكة، فهذا هو الذي يقع فيه المحو والاثبات.ـ

الكتاب يشرح بالتفصيل الفرق بين القدر المثبت والقدر المعلق ولهذا انصح من ارد الاستزاده في هذا الموضوع ان يقرأ الكتاب.ـ