Category Archives: Questions

Question: How will the Gaza crisis end?

How will this current crisis in Gaza end ? I am interested to know what you think.

Israel’s declared goal from this assault was to stop the Hamas rockets coming out of Gaza. However, in a matter of 20 days Israel has killed more than 850 Palestinian adults and 300 children, and has injured more than 5000 people. Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza and the amount of death and destruction it has inflicted on the civilian population has given the Hamas government in Gaza increased sympathy and support. Not only that, but Israel’s brutality and excessive use of force has undermined the voices of moderates, instilled doubt in the Palestinian street about Israel’s true intentions for peace, crippled the credibility of the peace advocates, and diminished the expectations of any peace process. All of this seems to strongly indicate that the end of this current assault will not usher in an era free of rocket attacks.

After all, how can the Palestinian street believe that Israel seriously wants peace if Israel has been stalling the peace process for years and continues to expand illegal settlements and illegal outposts in the West Bank, while at the same time killing more than 1150 Palestinians in an all-out assault on Gaza ?

Israel of course realizes this. Many have argued that the true intention of this assault was to seize the opportunity while George Bush is in the white house and boost the electability of the Kadima party with Tzipi Livni against the right-wing hardliner Netanyahu who advocates for more violence against the Palestinians.

My question is: In your opinion, How do you think this current assault will end ? When will it end ? and what will cause it to end ? What will the end result be ? and How will the situation in Gaza be after it all ends ?

Discussion: Arabic Wikipedia, What do you think we should do ?

As you know, the Arabic version of Wikipedia is struggling in terms of content. Many articles are just small stubs that are infrequently updated and maintained. I understand that most of us use the English Wikipedia because more people globally are maintaining it. However, the Arabic language remains the mother tongue of the vast majority of people living in Arab countries, and not everybody online is comfortable with the English language. Add to that the large number of small school children who can not really benefit from an English Wikipedia as much as they could from an Arabic version. The presence of an Arabic encyclopedia online is imperative, yet Arabic Wikipedia is still struggling.

What do you think should be done to remedy that ? Does the Wiki model or the single-source (Encarta/Britannica) model work best for Arab users ? What are your thoughts on this subject ?

There has been some discussion on Questler (excellent site btw) on this topic. It has been suggested that maybe university professors should encourage their students to submit information to Arabic Wikipedia as part of their “class project”. Another suggestion is to start an online campaign promoted by us Arab bloggers to encourage people to engage more in Arabic Wikipedia. We can also have a “Write to Arabic Wikipedia Day/Week” that is carried out by the community of Arab bloggers (i know that a similar event has been done in the past, but it did not engage bloggers as much and i believe bloggers are more energetic on this regards). This event could also be done in collaboration with Arabic startups like Yamli that will make it easier for people to type Arabic if that is a barrier.

I am interested in discussing this issue with you. What are your thoughts on this ? You can join the discussion either on Questler, or by leaving a comment on this blog.

Scientists create a working “invisibility shield”

Scientists have created material which could cover objects and render them invisible. They have been able to cloak two-dimensional objects before, but now they were able to cloak three-dimensional objects for the first time, bringing them one step closer to actual, working, invisibility cloths. (Read more about it here).

I like how the article tries to dilute the objective of such discovery by saying:

The new work moves scientists a step closer to hiding people and objects from visible light, which could have broad applications, *including military ones*.

I can hardly imagine any uses for such technology except for military ones. Sure, i guess companies could use them to hide ugly fixtures in residential areas, or they could be used in magical and entertainment shows. But, let’s face it, this technology is created for the military.

I feel very uneasy about this advancement. Because what is even worse than an enemy that you can see, is an enemy that you can’t see. So, if this technology fell into the wrong hands, it could really wreak some havoc on the population. Imagine a serial killer roaming the streets invisibly killing people. Imagine a gang of mad men invisibly hiding out and pouncing on innocent civilians to deliver lethal blows! People who are already paranoid will become super-duper ultra paranoid!!

Although this technology is super cool, it could really do a lot of harm if it fell into the wrong hands.Personally i wish it won’t be developed (or at least not commercialized without a good antidote), What do you think ?