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Gebran Bassil busted in New York

Men will always be men, but that’s definitely not valid when you’re representing Lebanon at the United Nations in New York and meeting with the Emirati minister of foreign affairs!

This video below shows Gibran Bassil asking one of his assistants about some woman called “Caroline”, then when the Emirati minister seemed surprised about his question, he responds with a hand gesture that he was asking because she’s so hot and wishes she was present with them in the meeting!

Quite embarrassing I say!

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Almaza trolls Apple by copying Heineken

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I know Almaza is actually owned by Heineken, but it is still uncool.

Check here to see how other brands took a jab at Apple for the iPhone 6 Plus bendgate.

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Marrouche Hamra closed down for bankruptcy

marrouche hamra

According to this photo by Amer Tabsh, Marrouche Hamra has been sealed with red wax today following a court order after going bankrupt.

The place has been serving one of the best chicken garlic sandwiches in Beirut for ages now and I just can’t understand how did it go bankrupt… I mean people remained loyal to Marrouche over time even though sandwiches were selling for a relatively high price (7,000L.L) because they were really tasty, yet for some reason it ended up getting sealed with red wax!

I really hope it re-opens again because Sidany Street in Hamra will never be the same without Marrouche, at least to me!

Update:

It turns out Marrouche’s owner, Maher Marrouche, is facing financial difficulties which somehow led to the closure of the restaurant.

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Stunning Milky Way time-lapse video from Lebanon

This is one awesome compilation of Milky Way time-lapse videos taken at several location in Lebanon and Wadi Rum in Jordan. They were all shot and edited by fellow blogger Moophz.

Aside from stargazing, Moophz has a very interesting computer security blog, and you can also follow him on twitter.

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Some fact checking never hurts

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Some news editor at elnashra.com must have stumbled upon this old satire article about human meat that has been found in one of McDonald’s meat factories in Oklahoma and decided to make a story out of it!

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This isn’t the first time a Lebanese news outlet mistakes satirical news for real, but I can’t believe editors still do this with Google being one click away from them. A simple search reveals that this story actually first originated from the fake news website Huzlers.com and then started making rounds on social media websites.

Some fact and source checking never hurt!

On a side note, my favorite burger at McDonald’s has been the “Big Tasty” for a while now!

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Race accident almost turned tragic in Ehden

I’m not sure when exactly did this race take place but the driver was definitely lucky to come out on his feet!

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NSFW – Cursing man surprises MTV Lebanon anchor

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I really don’t know much about the issue that got this man mad but he’s just hilarious!!

Thanks Hani

 

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A.R. Hallab challenges three restaurants in the #IceBucketChallenge

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Ice bucket challenge videos have been taking the internet by storm over the past weeks and it was only about time until Lebanese people start doing it. Not necessarily to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) but mostly just for the fun of it!

Along with the individuals who participated in this viral campaign, celebrities and companies are now challenging each other! In the video below, Kasr El Helou (Abdul Rahman Hallab) are challenging Crepaway, Zaatar W Zeit, and Roadster Diner to do the same. And I guess it’ll be quite fun to see those restaurants replying with similar videos.

On the other hand, Najwa Karam challenged Ragheb Alama, Ahlam, and Elissa to throw ice buckets on themselves too!

However, as much as I find these videos fun and effective at raising awareness for ALS, I also wish the Lebanese people would also put the same energy to raise much needed funds for local organizations here like the Lebanese Red Cross and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon.

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MIT 35 Innovators under 35: Fadel Adib and Ayah Bdeir from Lebanon on the list

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The MIT Technology Review recently released their list of 35 Innovators under 35, which is an annual lineup that highlights young professional who are reshaping the way their respective fields think with their research.

The awesome thing about it this year is that it featured two innovators from Lebanon! The first is Fadel Adib from Tripoli who invented a way to track people moving around in other rooms using WiFi.

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“I was born in Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1989. At the time, there was much political violence. The Lebanese civil war ended a year later. Unfortunately, the postwar stability did not last long. When I went to the American University of Beirut, I remember we used to have assassinations or bombings almost every week. When I came to MIT as a PhD student in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, the first thing that shocked me was that I could focus all the time on research.

“In one of our projects, we were just making our Wi-Fi faster by maximizing throughput between nodes. Every once in a while, the system would get messed up, and we would stop getting good results. We realized that there was some person walking in the hallway, and that person’s walking was basically changing the channel.

“If I shine a wireless signal at the wall, a huge amount of this signal is going to reflect off the wall. A tiny part of that signal will traverse the wall, reflect off anything that’s behind it, and then come back. We realized that we can sense motion using these wireless signals, and that’s how we started working on seeing through walls.

“You can track people as they move. You can monitor multiple people’s heart rates and breathing. Retail stores that want to understand how people are moving in their stores can track when a person reaches out for a product, looks at it, and puts it back. The police could track if there’s a person behind a wall. One of the applications we’re thinking of: can you monitor the heart rate of a fetus in the mother’s womb without touching the body in any way?

“When I went home to Lebanon and I was talking to my grandmother about it, she was like, ‘So, for example, can I put it over here in my living room, and if I fall in the bedroom or in the bathroom, it’s going to going to detect my fall and send an SMS to one of my children? Please, make this a product and put it here.”

And the second is Lebanese Canadian Ayah Bdeir who graduated from AUB and started littleBits, an open source library of modular electronics that snap together with magnets.

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Growing up in Beirut, Ayah Bdeir was taught that art and engineering occupied separate realms. “In Lebanon, as in most of the world, there is little blurring of the boundaries between the professions: doctor, teacher, scientist, and designer exist in separate silos,” she says. The company she founded in 2011, called LittleBits Electronics, goes against that idea by making technology accessible across all disciplines and ages. It sells a library of modular electronic units that can be easily connected for projects as diverse as a sound machine, a night light, or a lifelike robotic hand.

LittleBits makes roughly 50 different modules, which cost up to $40 each or come in kits of $99 and up. Each module is a thin rectangle measuring between one and four inches in length and containing complex hidden circuitry. Blue modules provide power. Pink ones allow for inputs, like switches, microphones, and motion sensors. Green ones are for outputs like lights, motors, and speakers. Orange ones provide wires or logic functions. Bdeir designed all the modules so they fit together magnetically, ensuring that users join circuits correctly.

Her New York–based company has sold hundreds of thousands of units in about 80 countries, and Bdeir takes pride in the fact that the product appeals to girls and boys, children and adults, designers and engineers. “A screwdriver is a screwdriver for everybody,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who you are or how you use it. Every person will find what they want.”

You can check the complete list of innovators here. In the previous years, people who made it really big like the founders of Google and Facebook were featured on it.]

Update:

Thanks to Haya for bringing up to my attention that there’s a third Lebanese on the list. It’s Rand Hindi the founder of Snips, a firm that is specialized in predictive technologies. I apologize for missing him!

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Rand Hindi once put on more than 70 pounds just to see if data could help him take the weight off. He tracked every aspect of his life—what he ate and drank, how long he slept—and fed the results into software that determined which behaviors were bad for him. Sure enough, after heeding the software’s advice, he lost the weight.

Now what Hindi wants to reduce is the “friction” of urban life. In 2012 he founded a Paris-based company called Snips, which analyzes data in hopes of making city living more efficient. For example, Snips partnered with France’s national railway to create an app that predicts up to three days in advance how crowded different trains will be. By mining such sources as weather information, historical passenger counts, and real-time check-ins from users of the app, it can advise people to stay away from particular stations or guide them to trains with more seats available. Now Snips is developing ways to use an urbanite’s context—location, weather, interests—and deliver useful information before he or she even asks for it.

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So why did mobile prices suddenly increase?!

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If you have been following smartphone prices in Lebanon over the past couple of weeks then you might have noticed the weird increase on all handsets.

For some unknown reason, prices have increased by around 10% in the latest price list published by Amhaz (Stars Communications) and are now similar to the prices during the period when the government cracked down on smugglers by requiring IMEI registration. The table below shows the difference between the prices on August 6th and 18th for some selected devices.

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I’m not sure whether this has anything to do to with the U.S. sanctions Amhaz was hit by a while ago or it is actually due to some extra control exercised by the Lebanese government on smugglers to make them pay the due taxes, but it’s definitely weird since nothing about this matter was mentioned in the media.

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