Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Jordanian-Syrian Border

Anyone who has traveled to Lebanon or Syria by land, will tell you how sucky the way back is. It used to take one hr extra on our side of the border to come back, now it takes at least two. The reason being the extra security and procedures. This is fine with me, the country is supposedly under threat, and no one really wants "terrorists" coming from outside the country. What I have a problem with is the waiting for more than two hours. If the procedures are going to continue like this, and I think they will, two things need to be done: First, increase the number of personnel to do all the procedures. Second, increase the number of search lanes.

In an ideal situation, the time spent on our side of the border on the way back should not exceed 30min. This is what the government should pick as its target, and work from there.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A New(Old) Arabic

I was very surprised to know that for 700 hundred years, an Arabic language variant existed without most people's knowledge. It is called Cypriot Maronite Arabic. It is a spoken language and is a combo of Arabic and Greek. And the main reason most people do not know about it is that it is spoken in the northern part of Cyprus by only 130 people or so. As can be guessed from the name, all the speakers are Maronite, who 700 years ago emigrated from Lebanon to the northern part of Cyprus.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

What is wrong with the critics

I always suspected that the average person enjoys movies more than the average critic, but I never had proof, until today that is.

I decided to go to and compare scores of 20 movies of all genres. I compared the average critics score and the average viewers score. The scores varied by up to 300%. But I finally had confirmation; the viewers gave scores to the movies that were on average 20% higher than the critic's.

These results are not surprising, the critics simply look for what is wrong in a movie. The average viewer does not.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Female friends

A few years ago, I noticed that women usually have friends who are almost equaly tall. I did not notice that that is case for men. Of course, I could be wrong. Hope some day, someone would look into this.

A Conundrum

There seems to be no solution to this problem, at least not that I know of :

Women usually want guys who are taller than them by more than a couple of inches( 5 cm), while guys prefer women who are as tall as they are or possibly no shorter than a couple of inches from their own height. The reasons are obvious, but there seems to be no solution since on average women are more than a couple of inches shorter than guys (The difference between the average male and the average female is around 5 inches or 12 cm)

X-Men 3

I did go last night to see X-men 3 at the cinema. First of all, I really do not see why this had to be final installment of X-men, they could have gone for 4 or even 5 parts. They still could. Now regarding the movie itself, the action was really kick ass, but the movie otherwise is somewhat forgettable, I think I liked the 1st two parts slightly more. This part seems to be having something missing. All in all I give it a B or B+. This is consistent with what most people feel about it.


Jordan Economy, part 2

Visiting customers in the industry, and going to restaurants, hotels, and cafes, I am exposed to both the industrial sector and tourisms, so I can claim that I know what I am talking about. The main problem in Jordan is than people do not want to work; a ministry of labor report two weeks ago confirms this. The number of unemployed is around 250000, and the number of foreign labor is also 250000. This is a real joke. In theory, Jordan can have 0% unemployment. Maybe in practice, it can go down to slightly less than 10% (around 15% actual)which would be really good for an Arab country.

I have really no solution for this problem; I really do not know how to make the Jordanian people want to work, or accept menial jobs instead of no jobs. Maybe having mandatory military service would help, not the previously used 2 yrs version, which I bet sucked big time, and cost the government too much, but a 90 days version. Suggesting this is a bit hypocritical on my part, because I would not even do military service for money.

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Jordan Economy

I decided to share some of my thoughts on the Jordanian economy. I have been thinking for the last two years, or maybe even more, that despite the good growth rate in the economy (almost twice the population growth rate,) that Jordanian economy is not out of the woods yet and it will not be for a while. What most people are not noticing is that Jordan seems to be putting the few eggs that it has in one basket. Actually when I say Jordan here, most people think it is the government, when in actuality it is not. Jordan suffers among other things from form what I would call "Mobile shop syndrome" Or "Shawerma place Syndrome" One person opens up a mobile shop and 10 seconds later everyone else opens a Mobil shop next to him.

Now the hottest bandwagon that everyone seems to be jumping on is real estate. That is all nice, but I really do not see what value real estate adds in the long run.

Now regarding the Jordanian industry where I have most of my day to day observations, this is truely where all the eggs are in one basket. And the government is not the one to blame here. For some odd reason, just like mobile shops, everyone wants to open a factory to sell stuff to Iraq, from plastic products to pharmaceuticals. But as usual people have very short attention spans and even shorter memories. I do remember how after the first gulf war, most factories exporting to Iraq almost went bankrupt. This is a fact most people forget. I understand that it is easier to export to Iraq, as other bordering markets are virtually closed( Israel, Syria, KSA) for various reasons. But from what I have seen, Iraq is a viable market maybe for a maximum of 3-4 years. So in the mean time, the industry needs to start thinking differently, it needs to be less traditional, and think about a way to sell outside the Arab region, to sell a large set of products, not only textiles, pharmaceuticals, but other things too.

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The other day, I discoved that there is a country called Benin in Africa. If you are thinking that if you already do not know about it, then it is not important, you are damn right. But you can look it up on the web.
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