Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Who says Money does not bring you happiness?

We have been hearing this all our life's, “Money Does NOT bring happiness” and we believed it because it sounded good for us, because we are poor and hearing that’s saying gives us some comfort.
Now according to studies, it seems Money DOES bring happiness. The following was published in the economist

Gallup's pollsters asked a standard question: how satisfied are you with your life, on a scale of nought to ten? In all the rich places (America, Europe, Japan, Saudi Arabia), most people say they are happy. In all the poor ones (mainly in Africa), people say they are not. As Angus Deaton of Princeton University puts it, a map of the results looks like an income plot of the world (see map). There are some exceptions: Georgia and Armenia, though not among the world's poorest states, are among the 20 most miserable. Costa Rica and Venezuela, though middle-income countries, are among the 20 happiest. The Brazilians, pictured above, seem a bit more cheerful than their income level justifies.
But in general, declared levels of happiness are correlated with wealth. The pattern also seems to hold true within countries, as well as between them. Rich Americans are happier than poor ones; rich Brazilians happier than poorer ones


I wanted to see an additional dimension to the study; "the level of corruption in a country". Or we can look it from a different angel, distribution of wealth in a country.
Take Bahrain for example, we are a rich country (even if it’s not shown) but given the level of corruption I feel most people are unhappy.
P.S. Sorry guys, we are too small to show on the map but I guess we are in 4.5-5.5 level.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shift in Bahrain's Political Power?

Something is definitely changing in the Bahrain’s political scene. My reading of the situation is that the government is getting fed up with the Islamists or there is a revolt with in the government against them. First we see the government deciding not to let (extremist) MP Moh’d Khaild to lead prayer. Next, we see Shaikh al-Mahmood questioned and detained for something he said at Friday prayers (which I do not really know what he said). What is more surprising is that we are not seeing a fight back from the Islamist Parliament Block like (AL-Manbar).
"''أما نوابنا وخصوصاً (...) من الكتل الدينية فأقول لهم، انظروا ماذا فعل أخوكم النائب علي سلمان لمصلحة أناس أنتم تعلمون تماماً قضيتهم، لأنه كان يحمل همهم، وأخشى أن يكون نوابنا (...) يحملون هماً غير هم المواطن''
Is there a new understanding? Or some elements of the governments are feeling the threat and trying to limit the Islamist advances?? Is there outside pressure?? Or is there a shift in power at the top of our political scene??
I think the next couple of months will answer a lot of these questions. I just wanted to say; be ready to see some changes but is it for better or worst, I honestly don’t know.
This is what apparently happened with Sh.AlMahmood
Sheikh Ahmad Al Mahmoud had stood up in a mosque Friday scolding Bahrainis for the apparent low turnout at a demonstration last week against territorial claims made by an Iranian newspaper, lawyer Abdullah Hashim said.
“The sheikh blamed the apathy [of Bahrainis] on a drop in their loyalty, saying that it is caused by [the state] not giving people their rights and not improving their living standards,” he said.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Using religion to cover sexual abuse!!

This is today’s headline on Yahoo news and most American media
The nation's largest Catholic archdiocese has settled its abuse cases for $660 million, by far the largest payout in the church's sexual abuse scandal, The Associated Press has learned. The amount, which would average a little more than $1.3 million per plaintiff, exceeded earlier reports that the settlement would be between $600 million and $650 million.
My question is how many Mulla’s did it in Bahrain or even in the Islamic world?? Did any of the victims get some sort of compensation?? Ofcourse NOT !! they couldn’t even talk about it, the victims will live the rest of their lifes with the shames.
I guess we have a lot to learn and a lot of changes must happen. First change is the ability to see people beyond the mask of religion; we should not assume people are good or bad based on how religious they appear, we have to be able to judge people on actions.
The issue also puts doubt in my mind about segregation (males and females), we thought we can use segregation to limit sexual abuse, it seems it had not worked. Maybe segregating people makes them gay?? Any truth to that argument?? I really don’t know but its defiantly something to think about!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Housing Problem

This lady is been protesting for more then 6 days now. She wants a place to live.
This is an extreme case which is not really typical, yet we should not have any of these cases. Bahrain is not that poor!! and this is not the first time we see this.
A typical case will be a Bahraini couple getting BD40,000 to buy a house form the government (Ministry of Housing). A typical livable (not even decent) house costs at least BD80,000. The BD40k comes with several rules, including; the house should not be more then 15 years old (or something like that), you cant buy apartments with it and you cant buy anything in Amwaj, riffa views or any such a development (like you really can with 40K!!) and the house has to be ready (not to be built).
So what does a person do? You say take a bank loan, alright lets try it. The only loan you will get is a personal loan because the house has to be mortgaged by the Ministry of Housing (for the 40k loan), so a typical couple will make around BD800-1200 (combined), 50% of your income is your max installment, now take out two car loans, if you are lucky you will be able to get additional BD10-20k. As a result now you have BD50-60k. The question is what can you buy with that???
There is a suggestion to increase government loan to BD60,000/- , guess what that will do?? Yes, increase property prices even further!! So we will be back to square one!!
Another suggestion is to introduce a law that allows 2nd mortgages, that might help a bit but it will also increase demand and the property prices will increase!!
So what is the solution???
I suggest the following: Ministry of Housing establishes a new real estate company ( a joint venture) with other banks. The new company is to build houses in the range of BD80,000, where ministry of Housing will pay the BD40,000 and the partner in the joint venture will be responsible for the other half. The house will be mortgaged under the new company (not the bank or Ministry of labor). This way the demand for housing will not increase because people get the houses directly (no shopping around is required) and supply of houses will increase. As a result, the property prices (at worst) will stabilize.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Does sweat help in weight loss??

I was going back to work after lunch, around 2 o’clock when I saw a guy jogging in this hot weather at noon. This brought to mind a myth that I always hear, “the more you sweat, the more weight you lose”
People think if you workout in the heat, which will make you sweat more, will give better result as far as weight loss goes.
I never believed that, but it turns out that sweating does reduce weight, BUT only temporary. The weight lost from sweat is just water your body lost (its not melted fat), hint, sweat is not greasy, so what happens is that you get dehydrated and as soon as you start drinking water you will gain the weight back.
This also applies to those belts, sweat suites and saunas.
Q: Are saunas or massages effective for losing weight?
A: No. You might temporarily lose weight in a sauna from water that is lost through perspiration, and a massage can help you relax and feel good, but neither rid you of fat deposits. Do not be fooled by clothes, body wraps, or devices that are advertised to help you lose weight. Most are worthless and some might be dangerous.

I can make the argument that working out in cold weather makes you burn more energy i.e. increasing the fat burned. The sweat is caused by the increase in body heat, which is caused by energy produced by the body. This also means if you sweat in the winter time, your body has produced more energy (burned fat) which has increased your body temperature to sweat levels while facing the cold weather. i imagine that reaching sweat levels in summer time is much easier and requires less energy.
“Wraps have no effect on fat deposits and will not dissolve fat, even temporarily. Fat is not broken down by perspiration (sweat). It is gotten rid of only when fewer calories are consumed than are needed to meet the body's energy requirements."

I know I don’t have many solid sources so I would appreciate it anyone can enlighten us more on the subject before people start dieing from working out under our burning sun.