Monthly Archives: December 2010

My Friend’s Wife Reads his Emails

Last week, I sent an email to a friend asking him a question about a matter we discussed earlier. He didn’t reply back and since it wasn’t urgent I didn’t call him but he did, two days later. He called me from his office to tell me that he just knew from his wife that I sent him an email. His wife has access to his email account. Being single I am not sure how much spouses share about their lives. I know another male friend who shares his email password with his wife. My emails to him are limited now to greetings and whatnot. I don’t send nude pictures of naked female celebrities to my friends but I don’t think everything I send to my friends should be shared with the wives.

As many spouses, my two friends are sharing their email password with their wives on the base that spouses share everything with each other. Understandable yet not all spouses do share their passwords. On the extreme case, there is snooping on the spouse’s email. In the US, a man is facing jail time for snooping into his wife’s email account. The felony charge carries a 5 year sentence. [source]

If the percentage below is accurate then I don’t know what to say.

About 45% of divorce cases involve some snooping — and gathering — of e-mail, Facebook and other online material, Lane said. But he added that those are generally used by the warring parties for civil reasons — not for criminal prosecution. [same source]

From the poll below it seems most Americans think it should be legal to snoop on spouse’s email: [same source]

email_snooping

I am against snooping on spouse’s email but in case one did snoop he or she should not serve jail time. A spouse may get suspicious and be tempted to snoop out of jealousy. It is bad but should not be considered a crime.

But snooping is the extreme so let us talk about normal relationships. Let us assume the normal case were the relationship between the husband and the wife is based on love and trust, no suspicious behaviors or unhealthy jealousy. Should spouses share their email password?

If no, why?

If yes, then I have other questions. To simplify the questions, let us consider the following scenario. Ali is a friend with Omar who is Married to Nadia. Omar and Nadia know each other’s email password. The scenario could be reversed as well, that is two women and one man.

  • Isn’t Ali’s right to be informed that Nadia reads his emails which are sent to Omar only?
  • If Nadia can read Ali’s emails without his knowledge doesn’t this mean that Nadia is invading Ali’s privacy?
  • If Omar and Nadia share their email password, would Nadia feel betrayed if she knew by mistake that Omar has another private email account (and vice versa)? Should Nadia insist to know the password of this new email account?
  • Who usually asks first or more concerned of sharing passwords the husband or the wife?
  • Is there a difference between different cultures regarding sharing passwords? Which culture the spouses share their email password more Arabs or Americans? How about Asians, Europeans and Africans?
  • Could sharing email password lead to jealousy in case a spouse receives an email from an opposite sex?
    One could argue that sharing email password is like sharing the ATM PIN or bank account that is to facilitate things. But in the case of banking no third party is involved like in the emails. So what do you think about sharing email password between spouses, good or bad? What do you think about any of the previous questions?
    I wonder how the future Mrs. Jaraad will think about sharing our email passwords.
Advertisements

The Art of Acting in True Grit

image

The story is about a 14 year old girl who seeks avenge for her father’s murder by hiring a U.S. marshal to find him. True Grit is another Coen brothers movie and is no less of their other two masterpieces, No Country for Old Men and Fargo.

Everything in the movie is executed perfectly but what I liked most was the acting. I actually enjoyed the performance of the actors maybe more imagethan the sequence of the events. Everyone in this movie was real. It is Client Eastwood of Western movies. The movie has two academy winners Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon and an academy nominated Josh Brolin. Nevertheless, the best performance in this movie was by a 13 year old actress Hailee Steinfeld. Her performance is unprecedented although this is her first movie. May be the fact that she was selected among 15,000 girl auditioned for the role is also an indication of her talent.

 

Meet the 2011 academy award winner Hailee Steinfeld: "I’m about to embark on a great adventure. I intend to see Papa’s killer hanged… Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no one. I will avenge Papa’s death." This girl’s performance is just outstanding. Go watch the movie!

 

True_Grit

Click on picture to play trailer on YouTube

Will Eat for Happiness

If I have to choose between buying a piece of cloth or going to a new restaurant, I chose the later. In a year you will forget about your new shirt or pant but you will always remember the place where you ate something new. Wearing a new garment is not an experience as it is for sitting in a nice restaurant trying a new dish that you have never had before. This habit became part of my lifestyle because I chose a new experience that will create a happy memory over a nice compliment on my new shirt or suit that will make me smile momentarily only.

 

image
American: Fuddruckers

image
Hamburger is my favorite American food and they know their beef. At Fuddruckers you can order your burger 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 lb grilled rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done (the way 99% of Arabs eat their meet). I like mine medium to medium-well, a burger has to be juicy.

Although not a Mexican but Taco Bell is one of the most popular Mexican fast food restaurant chain in the US.

My favorite is Chicken Quesadilla.

image

 

I like cooking but I enjoy more cooking something with a different taste or from a different cuisine. For this reason I don’t repeat  cooking the same dish for a long, long time.  My three favorite cuisines are Middle Eastern, Italian and Indian. Three distinctive tastes but they have one thing in common; they take their time when they prepare and cook a dish. They are not your 30 minutes Rachel Ray’s meals. But I am always up to new food experience. Believe it or not but in my first year in Malaysia before I know the language I used to go to a nearby cheap Malay restaurant and order food from the menu  without knowing or asking for the dish’s ingredients. Of course there were good and bad moments but at least I learned different tastes. Beside the chewy octopus I would say it was a good experience. At least I know how octopus tastes now; rubbery.

Here are some of my recent home cooking experiments that I remembered to take picture to. Maybe I should start photo chronicle my cooking success:

image
French Egg Soufflé
image French Egg Soufflé
image
Italian Lasagna
image
I made it today
image
Moroccan Chicken
image
Indian Chicken Tikka

Q&A about the grim status of PhDs

The  Economist answers an intriguing question “Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time?” I summarized the article as Q&A. All the answers are from the article.

Who are the PhD students?

Universities have discovered that PhD students are cheap, highly motivated and disposable labor.

Why universities want more PhD students?

The more bright students stay at universities, the better it is for academics. Postgraduate students bring in grants and beef up their supervisors’ publication records.

Are there enough PhDs?

There is an oversupply of PhDs… The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes… America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships.

Why there are too many foreign-born PhD students?

In some countries, such as Britain and America, poor pay and job prospects are reflected in the number of foreign-born PhD students… Foreign students tend to tolerate poorer working conditions, and the supply of cheap, brilliant, foreign labor also keeps wages down.

How many finish their PhD?

In America only 57% of doctoral students will have a PhD ten years after their first date of enrolment. In the humanities, where most students pay for their own PhDs, the figure is 49%.

Why some PhD students don’t finish their study?

Research at one American university found that those who finish are no cleverer than those who do not. Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.

What happens after earning a PhD?

PhDs in maths and computing, social sciences and languages earn no more than those with master’s degrees. Over all subjects, a PhD commands only a 3% premium over a master’s degree.

There is a glut of postdocs too.

In Canada 80% of postdocs earn $38,600 or less per year before tax—the average salary of a construction worker. The rise of the postdoc has created another obstacle on the way to an academic post. In some areas five years as a postdoc is now a prerequisite for landing a secure full-time job.

One study shows that five years after receiving their degrees, more than 60% of PhDs in Slovakia and more than 45% in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain were still on temporary contracts. Many were postdocs. About one-third of Austria’s PhD graduates take jobs unrelated to their degrees. In Germany 13% of all PhD graduates end up in lowly occupations. In the Netherlands the proportion is 21%.

Keep in mind that these grim numbers about PhDs is in industrial countries where both academic and industrial institutes hire PhDs. In the Arab world, a PhD holder can only work in universities since industrial research institutes barely exist.

image
image
image  

Jordanians Vs. Jordanians?

It has been said that you should define yourself before people give you a name. But, this is not the case for Jordan. According to many Arabs and Arab media Jordan is a tiny British made country existed to serve a purpose. After many decades of independent Jordan go figure what this purpose is. Unfortunately, Jordan is always described as a country divided into two; the Bedouin Jordanian tribes and the Jordanians from the Palestinian origins. This description by non-Jordanian media is due to the failure of our government to address this division. Mistakenly thinking that if a problem is not addressed it will eventually disappear.

In respect to the latest incident that took place after the match between the two rival Jordanian football teams, Al-Faisali and Al-Wehdat, I hope the Jordanian government be more transparent in their analysis of the recent violent incident. If for any reason is because this time the clash wasn’t mainly between the fans of the two teams but between Al-Wehdat fans and the police officers. The reason this time is different is because if the government does nothing it will be accused of oppressing Palestinians instead of reporting the incident as a clash between the police officers and the fans. This of course may lead to even worse consequences.  But since we never address this division,  we will always be Jordanians of Jordanian origins and Jordanians of Palestinian origins.

Knowing that both groups share the same religion, language, ethnicity, color, and geographical area makes one ponders where all this hostility came from and why it still exists even after 62 years when Palestinians were expelled from their homeland.

Jamal Halaby’s article in the AP about this incident has been picked up by The Washington Post and many others even The Kansas City Star. He wrote:

There is a long history of violence between supporters of the two teams, stemming in part from the decades of tension with Jordan’s large Palestinian population, which includes an estimated 1.8 million refugees displaced after Israel’s 1948 creation and their descendants.

He also quoted an American diplomat memo mentioned by one of WikiLeaks’ links:

In a match last year between the same teams, Faisali fans chanted slogans deriding the Palestinian origin of King Abdullah II’s wife, Queen Rania, and their son Crown Prince Hussein – an episode that even got a mention in one of the U.S. diplomatic memos released by the WikiLeaks website. In the document, American diplomats said they were "puzzled" by the king’s failure to respond to the "verbal attack on his family."

The fiasco media war that happened between Egyptians and Algerians over a football game last year was a disgrace for both countries. No Jordanian wants such thing to happen in Jordan between the so called Bedouins and Palestinians, or simply and more accurately one should say among Jordanians.

The repeated violent incidents in Jordan are not limited to Jordanian and Palestinian football fans and it is naive to say that what happened after Al-Wehdat and Al-Faisaly was due to “the deep divisions between the nation’s native Bedouin clans and its Palestinians.” [source] knowing that not all Al-Faisali’s players and fans are native Jordanians.

The culture of group violence in Jordan exists whether we like or not. It exists in university campuses, between two tribes supporting their parliament candidates or to avenge to one of their member’s killing. The government needs to address this issue by forcing the law. Violence in football stadiums is everywhere but in Jordan it is riskier because we still treat others as Jordanians and Palestinians not as just Jordanians.

Palestinians in Jordan are not a minority neither they are of different race or color. They are our sisters and brothers. Without a bond between these two groups Jordan will never be a safe place. Jordan is a country for everyone and should always be this way. Neither Palestinians nor Jordanians should think of each other as two separate entities. We may think of each other as different which is normal but we should not think that we are disconnected.

On a side note, it was hard to see the pictures of those kids got involved in this mishap but what those fathers were thinking when they took their children to this football game. Even without the violence, which is expected after every Al-Wehdat and Al-Faisali match, the cussing in the stadium is so obscene.

Fox News Talks Green and Islam?

Fox News Channel went out of its way and reported something positive about Islam. I haven’t seen any positive, not even neutral, report about Islam on Fox News before. Not only Fox News is number one cable news in the US but they claim the top 10 programs in cable news. So, what ever they say is heard by the majority of Americans.

I am not sure what this new thing is about. I hope to be a trend though; treating Islam as a religion with normal followers not as insane Muslim radicals who want to destroy America.

There are many verses in the Quran and many Hadith from the Sunnah about sharing, not wasting, the treatment of animals and plants, etc. Unfortunately, many Muslims discovered the importance of saving the plant only when the west started talking about it. Of course, it is always good to learn how to save our planet but it would even be better if we learn our religion better and follow its creed.

One Hadith I found intriguing is the one below. It teaches us the importance working hard at any time and the importance of planting.

Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: “إن قامت الساعة وفي يد أحدكم فسيلة فليغرسها”

Translation: “If the end of the world approaches and one of you has a seedling (or plant) in his hand and if he can plant it before the end comes, let him do it.”

Hope to read and watch more positive news about Islam and Muslims on Fox News in the future.

When You Think There is No Way Out

After reading a story or a nonfiction book we develop a perspective of its idea and try to read and interpret between the lines based on our background and experience. Therefore, when we read the same book at different stages in our life we always end up with more questions and thoughts than the previous time we read it. The story of Prophet Yunus or Jonah peace be upon him is one that I have been thinking about a lot, lately.

Prophet Yunus’s story is about a man who after many years of unfruitful hard work of preaching lost hope.  He left his town and the people he lived with for so many years seeking peace of mind. He quitted his job before accomplishing his goal. He felt desperate and left angry of the people who mocked him and his message, mistakenly thinking there is no hope of being with them anymore.

When he saw a small boat ready to sail, he asked if he can go with them. Maybe he knew the boat’s destination or maybe not. But humans are known of not taking their best decisions when they are angry.

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا        [الأنبياء، 87]ـ

And [mention] the man of the fish, when he went off in anger [21, 87]

Just when Yunus peace be upon him thought he is far away from his troubles, and when the boat was in the middle of the sea, a strong storm hit the sea. The angrier the sea was the more confident the sailors were about what action they should take to save the lives of people on board. Even after throwing people’s belongings to lighten the boat, the sailors feared the worst. As a last resort to save the boat from sinking, the sailors decided that they still need to lighten the boat even more by throwing someone overboard. So they decided to cast lots. Everyone on board was asked to pick a stick and the one with the short stick would be thrown of the boat*.

Try to imagine yourself on this boat and that you are going to pick one of these sticks. Can you imagine the fear and state of mind one would have at that moment? How will you react if you are the one with the short stick? What would you do? To make things even worse, casting lots was repeated three times and every time Yunus ends up with the short stick. 

Yunus voluntary jumped of the boat and started his new journey in the middle of the angry sea. Swimming in the sea is one thing but swimming through the high waves is another thing. People usually are drawn in the sea not because they can’t swim but because after a while they get tired. When swimmers get tired they surrender to the sea.

Yunus could have been drawn in the sea or he could have been saved by another boat or even reached the shore by himself. But God had a message and a lesson he wanted to teach us via his prophet.  Just when he thought he hit rock bottom and before he surrendered to the sea, Yunus was saved by a miracle unknown to humans before. He was swallowed unharmed by a big fish or maybe better known as a whale.

Use your five senses to imagine a life inside the whale’s stomach. The feeling of being cramped with dead creatures, the fishy stinky smell, the taste of saltiness. But the most terrifying senses were of course the horrifying sound of whales (here is a sample) in the total darkness. Actually, there are even more senses than these basic five. Being in a place where you could never imagine being in and losing your sense of direction, balance, and time is even an extraordinary dilemma no one is prepared for.

But what distinguishes great men from the rest is how they react to extraordinary situations. Even in the darknesses of the sea (the bottom of the sea, inside the whale, and the darkness of night) and in the most unknown situation Yunus didn’t question God’s will. He didn’t ask God why He did that to him or why He left him alone in such a place. What Yunus peace be upon him said is a lesson that we need to learn.

فَنَادَىٰ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ   [الأنبياء، 87]ـ

And he called out within the darknesses, "There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers."  [21, 87]

When God heard Yunus’ prayer He commanded the whale to eject Yunus onto the shore. Yunus’ prayer saved his life.

فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُنجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ   [الأنبياء، 88]ـ

So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And thus do We save the believers. [21, 88]

Not only Yunus’ life was spared but his people believed in his message. He eventually realized his triumph.

فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ آمَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّا آمَنُوا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْيِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ   [يونس، 98]ـ

Then has there not been a [single] city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and gave them enjoyment for a time.  [10, 98]

The story of Yunus has great lessons to be learned. When you think you hit rock bottom, know for sure that things could get even worse. When you think that you are in the worst situation and there is no way out, know for sure that there is always a way out. How else one could save his life after being swallowed by a whale? Whatever problems you are facing always be sure that your saver is none but Allah. Randomness doesn’t exist in Allah’s creation and will:

إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَاهُ بِقَدَرٍ    [القمر، 49]ـ

Indeed, all things We created with predestination.  [54, 49]

Be resilient. Being resilient means developing an ability to recover from or adjust to hardship. In another word being stress-resistance. I once read that highly resilient people have three features in common, they are optimistic, religious and have role models. Read the stories of the prophets and make them your role models. Their stories are always an inspiration to the mankind.

 


* Drawing sticks was used as an example only. I am not sure of the method used to cast lots in this case.