Thursday, December 30, 2004
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
26 December: Quake Day or Chrismass Day?
December 26, 2003: Bam's earthquake in the southeastern Iran was the cause of killing of 41'000 people.
December 26, 2004: Earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a tsunami that has caused death of more than 50'000 (after 2 days) people in about 12 countries. Power of this earthquake was about 1 milloin times greater than the Bam's earthquake (9 Richter vs. about 6 Richter).
While humankind is a great need for basic things, especially after the disasterous Asian quake and tsunami, billions of dollars are spent for wars for the benefits of a few people, to make them satisfied. The world is so unbalanced, it is harmful for both sides, the rich people and the poor people. An unbalanced world is like a cancerous body, the person finally dies from this cancerous unbalancing.
Here is the 80-page detailed pre-plans by right-wing politicians in the Atlantic Monthly to attack Iran in 6 months. It seems that right-wing without noticing about the result of what is happening in Iraq, is preparing for another war. I personally don't like hardliners governing in Iran, but Iraq's situation is worse.
Are US public ready for another war?!
52% addicted to Internet
I am 52% addicted to the internet according to the loosly-taken test here. I think I was more addicted like 3-4 years ago. During the last two years, I tried hard to decrease my addiction.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Don't know how to tie a krawatte? see here.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Self Expression in Persian Blog
A recent brief article in Guardian explains about how blog revolutionized the self-expression in Iranian youth. The estimated 65-75000 active blogs written in Persian (Farsi) can be seen more importantly when compared with neighbouring countries such as Iraq that has less than 50 known bloggers.
Speech and Video Search
The yahoo vidoe search , looks for video files on the web. Tired of "reading" in the web? The Speegle is a search engine that reads out the results. Maybe it's helpful when you are tired of looking into the monitor or have got eye problem. I just don't know why it has one female voice and two male's. Isn't true that population of male and female users are the same? Any feminist to sue the company?! For more info, see here.
Media: Key Point to Fail Evil Policy
For the success of any evil policy three components are needed:
Group A: The Evil itself: The smart persons who are in the center of decisions and making life miserable.
Group B: The financially-dependent-on-evil people: These people are dependent financially on group A, so they support them as long as the financial connection does exist.
Group C: The stupid people around evil: Who are used by the evil people as kind of shield. These people usually are very superficial, emotional, illogical, and fanatic.
In Iran, the center of hardliners, are really smart and dangerous (group A), there are some supporters for this group, which is at most about 15% of the population of the country, among which mostly are in group C, some people who are very superficial, illogical and fanatic, called Ansar-Hezbollah. On the other hand, most of the high-governmental managers are among group B.
In the US, you can easily see the same kind of pattern. How this pattern of policy can be disabled?
Group A is in the center, and group B surrounds it. Group C, like a circle surrounds both of them. Each of these groups have to be treated in different way. If you fight with people in group C, you are just loosing your time and energy. They are not evil, but just superficial, you just have to increase their knowledge in any method possible. When the group C starts to drop out from the circle, then A and B will be nakedly showing their real character. At this moment they can easily be overcome.
It means that the key point is increasing knowledge and introducing truth. Here the power of media can be shown. If mainstream of the media is under control of group A and B, work will be harder. In that case, the power of small media will be more important to burden the truth.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Yalda Night and Christmas
Last night, December 19th was the longest night of the year, happens to be the night between the seasons fall and winter, after which, nights are shorter and days are longer. Based on this fact, this night is celebrated in old Persian culture since +3000 years ago as a sign of light in the life. The night is called Yalda Night, a word coming from Assyrian roots.
Some historians say that at the first century AD when the Roman Empire accepted Christianity as the official religion, they considered the same night, Yalda Night, by effects from their neighbor, Persian Empire, as the time that light (Jesus) came to the human life. Later the day changed about a week ahead and went to December 26th.
I was looking into a 30-minute paid infomercial by Kevin Trudeau in TV about his book “Natural Cures: They Don't Want You to Know About”. He was talking about the unfortunate money-based relationship between Food Industry, Drug Industry, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and FTC , on how they want to push people, from natural food to chemical drugs based on their financial benefits.
I am not here to judge about his claims which I think is close to the truth. But something is very obvious for me that the foods and healthy system both have serious problems. About 70% of Americans are overweighed … about 40% of American have obesity.
I really feel unsafe about my health and what I can trust to eat.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Oil, Democracy: Struggle
Iran is the OPEC's second largest oil producer and holds 10% of the world's proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. It also has the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia.
Should an Iranian be happy? .... Let's briefly look into this chronology:
January 1906: There was first semi-revolutionary demand for people's right in kingdom government of Iran, which was kind of successful and led to a mixture of elected parliament along with non-elected leader (the king that time). This situation lasted essentially with lots of ups and downs till today. Most of the time non-elected part had some superiority on elected part.
1908: Discovery of oil in Iran after seven years of search, then founding Anglo-Persian oil company by Britain with >80% of benefit for Britain. Since then, oil became a very important issue there.
1951: An elected government came to the power with real democratic power. He nationalized oil through a successfully lawful process in World Court against Britain.
1953: The second coup against the elected government led by Britain and US brought the king back into the power along with oil for Britain.
1970’s: OPEC was founded. Oil price increased too much
1979: Revolution in Iran: The king again escaped from the country. Iran held oil for a while, oil price went up again.
1980-88: War between Iran and Iraq
1990-91: Persian Gulf War (south and south west Iran): Because Iraq had occupied oil reservoirs of the country of Kuwait
Late 1990's: Discovery of huge reservoirs of oil in Caspian sea area (north of Iran). The most economic pathway to transfer this oil to the industrial countries besides pathway through Iran was through Afghanistan.
2001: War in Afghanistan (east of Iran)
2003: War in Iraq (west of Iran) .......and the story goes on ...
So as you can see, oil has become a very unfortunate reservoir for Iranian people, because always there was kind of conflict (coup, war, revolution, ...) that was somehow related to oil/big oil company's need which finally prevented politically open society.
History shows that the tendency for having a real democracy has been in people, and lots of them had been killed, arrested or... Since 1906, but there was a very small bit of progress over a century!
I am sure that if there was no oil in Iran, democracy would be established a long long time ago. Oil has just helped the anti-democracy dictatorships (from super religious to anti-religious) stay in the power.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Movies and Real Life?
Over 90% or so of the movies that I have seen in the last few years have had one or more of these components as basis:
1. Violence: Either modern type or old cowboy type violence that makes a virtual excitement. They make you feel unsecured, under pressure, pessimistic, and etc.
2. Superstitions: There are lots of movies that are based on superstitions such vampires, etc. The tendency to create such things is amazing. I really don’t see any benefit for anybody watching these types of movies. No wonder why there are a lot of ridiculous things that people believe that don’t make any sense.
3. Sexual relationship: Sexual relationship with different degrees is a non-separable part of lots of movies. Is it true that in the real life, we just fall in love in a minute?
4. Heroic based: In almost all movies that have such kind of contests, there is a person(s) who is the good character, and always, without exception is the winner. The funny thing is that he/she has to be alone, and all power and goodness is near him/her. Is it the same in the real life? No wonder American were not successful in somewhere like Iraq, that there is real life with its complexity, not some heroic based movie.
Why there is not much movies about the real life? People’s real life is so much different from what we see in the movies. Aren’t they important? No wonder why Charles Chaplin was not welcomed in US, and even was banned to come to US. He was truly paying attention to the real society very deeply.
I should add that I think even financially the film makers would make lots of money if they pay attention to the people’s real life. Just see how successful the Cosby show was in the 80’s.
Increasing Expenses !
I now can't imagine how people were living just 3-4 years ago due to dramatic increase in life expenses. University's tutions have been increased about 25-30% during the last 2-3 years. All rents, gas price, food stuff ... all have been increased so much compared to 4 years ago. Just a small candy had been increased 150% from last week.
I have just heard about the golden years during Clinton administration. It's like a dream for me: easily finding job, being able to pay your initial needs. I don't really know how long this situation could last. I'm frustrated. Am I living in a first-world country?
Monday, December 13, 2004
Common in Iran and Israel !
Could you imagine that the president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, and Iranian reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, both are from a city, Yazd, in the center of Iran! I wonder if they have been playmates when they were kids!! Even Katsav can still speak Persian, language of Iran.
It seems really funny to me that in the Cabinet of Israel, there are two members who are born in Iran, while two countries seem to be so against each other.
By the way, Jewish people have a really respective view and good memory about Persia, old name of Iran before 1935. Persia and Persian Empire was a country that helped their people during the ancient religous anti-Jews conflicts.
Indeed, Jewish people had been living in Iran in peace because of Cyrus Charter of Human Rights, the first known charter of human right in about 540 BC. The document had been hailed as the first charter of human rights in 1971 and the United Nations published translation of it in all the official U.N. languages.
Democracy in Middle East: 50 Years Ago
Always there are something in history that could change it a lot. Those points are considered historically critical. I believe one of them was 1953 coup led by US and Britain against democratic government of Mossadegh in Iran .
Iran in the early 1950's was about to start a democractic society from inside that could and would be developped to the middle east region. The thing that now Bush administration is kind of trying to do. But ....
There was a very unfortunate coup led by US (under republican Eisenhower) and Britain to crack this new democratic government down and bring the kingdom of Pahlavi back into the power.
The lack of political freedom under Pahlavi kingdom, made the 1979 revolution against Shah. But the political freedom wasn't gained due to a lot of reasons, and there are still struggle about it.
Here you can find a rock opera show about this historic event by Michael Minn at the 2004 NY International Fringe Festival.
Friday, December 10, 2004
New service of Google suggests the words along with your typing. It also shows the approximate number of previous searches through Google. It's a fun thing to do and find out what words are how popular. I figured out that my name had been searched about 6400 times!
There is a conference about Internet and Society at Harvard, entitled "Votes, Bits, and Bytes" on December 9th-11th. One of the panelist is Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean. Another panelist for the panel of "new form of citizenship" is Hoder, one of the earliest Persian bloggers who caused a wave of blogging among Iranians.
Here is an article (PDF fromat), published in December issue of American Anthropologist, written by Alireza Doostdar. In Free Thoughts, you can also find some online articles written by some young Iranian intellectuals in English about issues related to Iran.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Is it time for a big theorist to come?
I was reading an article about future research area. These two usually has helped one another. Science brings new ideas, new way of abstract thinking, which helps technology to be more diverse. On the other hand, technology makes an environment for scientist’s mind to be grown and explore new area of unknowns.
Imagine progress in basic science in 17th and 18th century. It helped applied scientists to invent lots of stuff. Again there was a wave of big theorists in the first mid-20th century which followed in the second mid-20th century by the era of space and computer.
It seems for me that science and technology dynamically moving along with interaction with each other. When sometimes one is slow, we should wait for a while for the other one to come to help it.
Sometimes I think that we are living in a time that there is no ‘big minds’ who can think abstractly very powerful, like what Einstein could do. There are lots of researches in the area of finding function of mind, brain modeling. It really seems that there is a lack of big theorists in these fields.
Although I don’t believe that dynamical moving of science and technology is not something periodical, but more chaotic, I still agree that they follow some kind of generic pattern (sort of chaos in a general order).
Sunday, December 05, 2004
I remember one of my friends who had ability to see the words with different colors. Later I found out that there is a gene related to this characteristics. Does anybody have any idea, about this gene, or the rate of people who have this characteristics?
Small but Effective Media
Blogs are totally small but effective and non-biased media, because they are non-centric. Here I am going to discuss about two examples of that. Almost all Iranian people don’t like to be considered Arabs. I had seen that lots of other nations think that Iran is one of the Arabic countries. Indeed historically Iranians are from Aryan race that made old Persia.
If I am to rank Iranian public’s interest in Arabs compared to Americans, in the scale of 1 for lowest to 5 for highest, I shall say 5 for Americans, and 1 for Arabs.
Issue-1: Clinton was and still is very popular among Iranians. Even Bush’s team – with lots of similarities with hardliners in Iran – has almost the highest popularities among Iranians compared to other nations. There was a language-based survey done in BBC before US election asking people about in which candidates they favor. Surprisingly it showed that Persian-speaking people are the most favorable nation to Bush (Compared to Arabic, English, Spanish, Russian, Urdu, Hindi, Portuguese and Chinese).
When 9/11 happened, (1) Iranian young people were among the first nations that came to the streets carrying candles in Tehran to show their condolence to Americans. (2) Additionally, one Iranian student who was living as immigrant (student visa) in NYC, just left his classes and joined to help needy people around WTC that later brought for him a special thank from the authority. (3) It had been found from the black box of the airplane which was crashed in Pennsylvania on the day of 9/11 that its pilot had a fight with terrorists on not obeying them to lead airplane to Camp David. The pilot was an Iranian-American which was immigrated to the US.
Issue-2: The most recent conflict between Iranian public and Arabs happened around 2 weeks ago about a historic name, Persian Gulf, a body of water located between Iran and Arab countries in the south of Iran. The starting point of that was among weblogs and the news spread out rapidly. The US National Geography Society (NGS) had considered Arabic Gulf as the second name for Persian Gulf in his 8th edition of World Atlas. And even they named some Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf with some Arabic names.
The wave of anti-Arabism started from Iranian blogs and rapidly spread out in the blogosphere. I should say that there are about 200’000 Persian blogs (Iran’s population is about 65 millions) among which 65’000 are actively and regularly updated. In fact it has made Persian as the 3rd language in the web after English and Portuguese. One blogger had suggested a Google bombing for the name Arabian Gulf. Simply go to Google and search for Arabian Gulf. The first link will be this one , which became the first link by helping Iranian blogs. The page simply says there is no Arabic Gulf and the right name is Persian Gulf and recommends reader to refer to some historic books.
These two issues are just small ones about how the reality is different from what media shows us. When I came to the US, there were a lot of my friends whose view was totally changed from thinking me as a terrorist guy to one of the best persons among their friends.Even I remeber somebody once had asked me seriously if I have ever killed anybody!! No kidding! I later found out the Michael Moore’s TV nation is really a good and simple answer to all this.
The helpful thing about blogs is that they provide a space to prevent the deviated- and biased- media.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
What really makes some people be closed minded? Is it by genetic, environment-based issue, a mixture of both, or something else?
I believe that if a person can think dynamically, then his/her mind is mature. Let’s explain by one example. One of the things in science that one should deal with is the fact that everything is not completely true. In the first view, it might seem very easy, but it is not. You should be able to learn deeply along with having in mind that all the things that seem so concrete, are wrong. It’s like a paradox. I think the basic things for being open minded is the fact that they can think dynamically.
Thinking dynamically is hard because all of us are with some psychological background that we sometimes don’t even know what they are. So it’s not easy to get rid of these biased thoughts in our mind. Like before Copernique’s time, it was hard to believe that earth is not in a flat form, simply because of its concrete psychological background in people’s thoughts. There are lots of other examples in the context of religion that most of people who believe in them, can not think into something different, simply because of the very concrete background in their mind.
Dynamic thinking is something that is a required thing to move from reality to truth, otherwise we are just fooling ourselves that we know the truth.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
I think finding scientific article in Google Scholar is a good thing but needs to be improved a lot. I checked some articles related to my research that was not easy to find, for some of them, it could find, but some it couldn't. Anyway I believe that the search research is getting into a very interesting stage in information technology.