Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Education in Jordan

Maybe a couple of months ago, I was reading an article in Jordan Business Magazine about why Jordan should try to go for educational tourism instead of medical or regular tourism. According to the article, students spend 4 years to get their education; therefore, they end up spending significantly more than what people would spend on either medical tourism or regular tourism.

I have no problem with this logic and it does make a lot of sense. My problem, however, is that education in Jordan is still basically crap when compared with the rest of the world.

I spoke to someone who works as a lab teacher in a private university, and he told me horror stories about the quality of education here. For example, one private university kicked out a few students without good reason and they were reinstated by the higher education board.

Public education is not much better either. The fact still remains that not a single university in Jordan, public or otherwise, made it to the top 500 Universities in the world list. Just check the link:

This is a very sorry state of affairs. If you look at how full of our selves we are about education in Jordan, you would think that half of our universities are in the aforesaid list. But the truth is that not a single one is and we just like to delude ourselves.

I am not sure what the minister of higher education does. But I think someone should tell him about this list and our none-existing presence in it and see what he has to say.

One, final thing, I was very happy to see the University of Cairo making the list. It is probably the only Arab University in the list. Egyptians, keep up the good work.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Manholes in Jordan

I stumbled on this website which has pics of manholes in Japan:

It got me thinking, wouldn't it be cool if manholes in Jordan were also pieces of art?

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Most Popular Websites in Jordan

Using, I found the 10 most popular websites in Jordan, here goes the list:

#2 MSN
#5 Windows live

This list is interesting on many levels, just compare it with the list for the UK

#2 Yahoo
#3 EBay
#5 MSN
#6 BBC
#7 Myspace
#8 Amazon
#9 YouTube
#10 Windows live

The most striking difference between the two lists is that it would seem that people in Jordan have missed out a bit on the Myspace phenomena and are using instead the half as popular Hi5. In a way, it is nice to know that online "dating" is very popular in Jordan, but I think it is better to follow the rest of the world and use Myspace.

The other thing that was also missing in Jordan's top list is YouTube, it is not very popular in jordan to make it to the top 10 list.

Online shopping and selling is not very popular in Jordan for various reasons, it was very logical to see Amazon and Ebay not making the Jordanian top 10 list. Maybe in a couple of years they would. Assuming I stay in Jordan, I would be looking forward for the day when Amazon has a huge warehouse with books and other goodies somewhere in the middle east.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Voting Out

I was a bit shocked when I heard about the fist fight between the journalists and members of the house of representatives. If things were up to me I would call for early parliamentary elections to kick out most of these good for nothing representatives.

Yes, that is correct. Just yesterday, in my Anti 4x4 blog post, I wrote: " I am not sure what the representatives in the lower house are busy with, but I have no doubt in my mind that whatever new law they are working on, it will not add much value to the lives of us "average" citizens." Well, today, during an interview with AL-Jazeera, the head of the Journalists association talked about the fact that most people are not happy with the representatives in the lower house.

As a partial solution, maybe we should have parliamentary elections every two years instead of four, that should put some heat on the lower house to perform in accordance with what the people want. This is sort of what they have in the US, and they call it mid term elections.

Unfortunately, this is somewhat hard to achieve since it would probably require a constitutional amendment. And as far as I know constitutional amendments are very hard to come by.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Star Bucks Sucks

Back in 1995-1999, star bucks coffee was sort of OK, even good sometimes(depending on the blend). But things changed and Star Bucks became the Vole(M$) of Coffee houses(Maybe it always was). Trying to shove crappy products down our throats for a really expensive price.

On my last trip to the US back in June, I could not even finish a Star Bucks coffee. And when people talked about how great Star Bucks coffee was, I always wanted to punch them in the face.

In my heart of hearts, I always knew that Star Bucks coffee sucked. But what made me an expert? Are all these people who worship at the altar of Star Bucks wrong? Yes, I did try over a 150 different coffee brews in 5 states in the US and in 5 countries in the European continent, but does that make me a coffee expert? Could it be that my personal taste is just different from the masses who know better?

Well, I finally found expert confirmation for what I knew all along. In blind tests Star Bucks coffee looses all the time. Star Bucks coffee only tastes good because of the power of the brand. Just check out the links:

Star Bucks only made it to the list with a single entry and it got a stupid score of 90% which just barely qualified it for this list. Some of Star Bucks' other blends have a horrendous score of just 78. Even the coffee that I used to make at home would probably get a better score than that.

So Star Bucks Lovers, enjoy your "under-brewed and very unremarkable. Stale" coffee.

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Anti 4 x 4

I stumbled on a UK based anti Urban 4x4 website. It got me thinking, we need to be "anti" urban 4x4 too. Hell, we need to be "anti" any car that has an engine bigger than 2.0 ltrs.

Why? Because these cars are great polluters and guzzle up fuel like there is no tomorrow. They produce twice the emissions of the regular 1.4-2.0 ltr cars and therefore harm the environment twice as much.

So why doesn't the government do something about it? Why does doesn't the government have any fuel consumption, or EU like emissions requirements for new cars? Come to think about why doesn't the government have any regulations of value when it come to cars?

Previously, I talked about the child seat issue. We have no regulations for that. Car safety is not an issue for the government, so we have no regulations to deal with mandatory air bags, promotion of dry air/nitrogen tire filling, or a minimum safety when it comes to car crash tests. I am not sure what the representatives in the lower house are busy with, but I have no doubt in my mind that whatever new law they are working on, it will not add much value to the lives of us "average" citizens.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Stumble Upon

I did mention this in an earlier post, it is called Stumble Upon. I had a couple of weeks to use it now, so I have a lot more to say about it now than I did before.

Stumble Upon is a website/service/toolbar that recommends websites for you based on what you like. How does it do that? Two ways, the first one is during the initial registration where you indicate your areas of interest. The second way is while you surf the internet, if you like a site you go to your Firefox/Explorer toolbar and press "I like it."

Now the stumbling part. You open up a blank browser window and you go to your toolbar and you press "Stumble." It randomly opens up a website that is related to stuff that you already like, no matter what it is.

While my description does sound a bit geeky, it is really very simple. Stumble upon took me to websites that I never expected to exist and some of them were really cool. It is a totally different way of experiencing the internet, very different from experiencing the web through Google by actively searching for websites and very much like the shuffle feature on Apple's iPod, you never know what website will show up next.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Marriage Age

I was happy to know that the average marriage age for women in Jordan went up to 27. I hope that it will go up to something like 29 or 30. Women need to work more before they get married and Jordan really needs to put the breaks on population growth.

I did not get the chance to check the main reason for the increase in the average marriage age, but I am willing to bet that the cause is more economic than it is social. Yes I think that more people are dating today and more women are working and slightly delaying marriage, but the economic situation probably did cause more men to delay marriage until they can secure the ridiculous financial requirements of marriage in Jordan.

One step that the government should take to help reduce the population growth rate is to increase the legal marriage age to something like 21. I am sure many people would want to hang me over such a suggestion, but if the government assumes that people will listen to what the TV advertising says and use birth control, that will not work.

I am willing to bet that at least one quarter of Jordanian men will not stop impregnating their women until they get a male child. There is nothing any TV advertising or other mass media campaign can to do change the mind of such people. A possible tactic the government could use is to tax people who have more than 2-3 children. Of course this should not be applied retroactively. And if that does not work, the government should put these people in jail for acting so irresponisbley.

I know these suggestions are very radical and fascist on my part, but it can take tens of years for social habits to change on their own, especially in a country like Jordan. By then the Jordanian population would have doubled or tripled and it would be too late

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