A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Hunger is in Your Mind

A long but brilliant article on why the mainstream approach to weight loss is bullshit.

Here’s what happens when you interfere with your hypothalamus – when medical advice collides with psychology. Let’s say you decide to cut back on calories. You eat less for a day. The result? It’s like picking up a stick and poking a tiger. Your hunger mood rises and for the next five days you’re eating bigger meals and more snacks, perhaps only vaguely realising it. People tend to judge how much they’ve eaten partly by how full they feel afterward. But since that feeling of fullness is partly psychological, if your hunger mood is up, you might eat more than usual, feel less full than usual, and so mistakenly think that you’ve cut back. You might feel like you’re making progress. After all, you’re constantly vigilant. Sure, now and then you slip up, but you get yourself right back on track again. You feel good about yourself until you get on a scale and notice that your weight isn’t responding. It might go down one day and then blip up the next two days. Dancing under the surface of consciousness, your hunger mood is warping your perceptions and choices.

[Read Now]

It’s always useful to know what happens beneath all that skin when you’re stretching, and to know which stretches target the tightest spots in your body. [More information]


Another One of Them Trippy Illusions


Which side is it spinning?

Via Kottke

AndFarAway Joins the New Decade, Ten Years Too Late

No, seriously. Look! AndFarAway has a new design!

This is a huge deal because the last time AndFarAway got a facelift was in 2006. That’s TEN WHOLE FREAKIN’ YEARS AGO, before smartphones were around, so my poor blog had no idea what “responsiveness” was. The good news is that it’s now responsive, so it should look good on your mobile. You can also subscribe to new posts. I do need to create a better header, and I promise I will get to that eventually.

The funny thing is that when I was still a student, and although it was SO HARD for me to edit HTML and CSS, I would change the design of AndFarAway at least once a year. Once I was done with school though and made a career out of building the web, I stopped playing with the design of AndFarAway. You know what they say in Arabic… باب النجار مخلع (the carpenter’s door is always broken).

In the spirit of nostalgia, here’s a look at the various facelifts of AndFarAway during the past 12 years:

September 2004:

(the first design ever)

This design marks the very beginning of AndFarAway. I was a 19-year-old kid who had never heard of HTML, CSS, or any other sort of web-related language. I had never used Photoshop before, and I didn’t even know that DreamWeaver existed (RIP). I chose an existing Blogger template, managed to change the original colors of the header after days of fiddling in what was none of my business. It was so tough that I had to find red and pink by randomly changing the color codes on the template and relying on trial and error. Fun.

November 19, 2005:

(the first “launched” redesign)

I launched this design after the first year of my design program came to an end, and I was more familiar with Photoshop. This design was based on a Blogger template, but I changed the colors and added a header I edited myself. I was so proud of myself. Of course, 11 years later I look at this and shake my head at my shitty design skills back then. What kind of crappy typography is that Roba, huh?
Here’s thepost I launched this design with.

July 13th, 2006:

(also marks the move from WordPress to Blogger)

Young and excited I was. A mere eight months after my last redesign, I decided to migrate to WordPress and change the design as well. This one was based on a portfolio project I had done earlier for a web-design class at school. I feel proud of myself looking back at this one now. I had a good eye for webdesign given the useless shit we were taught in school. Thank you, oh beloved Internet, for being my constant savior.

September 2006:

I was really comfortable with this design because it was simple and clean with a lot of white space. I liked it so much I kept it for a good ten years. Ahem. I did at least change the header every couple of years, you better give me that.

header 1

The Word of Fear: “Injimad”

Update: So it turns out that the news about sounding the alarms today isn’t true, and Arabia Weather has retracted. Kudos to the Jordanian government for an amazing job done!

Don’t take this the wrong way. I count my blessings every day that we’ve only used the city alarms to warn people about a thin layer of slush. I’m also really proud of Jordan for being so organized with handling bad weather situations, successfully avoiding accidents and a crisis on the streets. But today’s “Injimad” alarm in central Amman is certainly overdoing it, and may turn the government’s future communication into the-boy-who-cried-wolf. The streets are dry thanks to a sunny, rainless day, so black ice can’t form in the first place. I understand that the government wants everyone to be safe and to avoid disasters, but what about all the people with businesses? What about restaurants, malls, and gyms? What about all the small shops that depend on day-to-day sales? So many people have already been hit hard by the media fiasco surrounding the “blizzard”, and by the fact that consumers were locked up at home all week. For next storms, and I say this as a citizen who really appreciates the government’s amazing efforts to keep everyone safe and sound, we could use a little more detail as to where the risks of black ice could be. Easier said than done, I know, but on days like today, it shouldn’t be too hard. And it will make us happy to oblige for years to come.

Horizontal History

From WaitButWhy, here’s a genius map of “Horizontal History”. It lays down history a little different than we’re used to. I’ve always been fascinated by how disconnected past contemporary events are, so this is really fantastic.


When will winter be over?

I’ve become much better at winter over the years, probably thanks to the fact that I don’t have to brave Jordan University’s lack of indoor heating and long freezing walks between classes. It sucked balls, because most of our classes were the three-hour kind, so once you made it to class wet and freezing, you had to stay wet and freezing for hours. Just the memory makes me shiver. I think we only got lucky once with the heating, when we had a 3-hour design class in the Physics Computer Lab. That lab had functioning radiators, and so many people would spend the class barefoot while drying their drenched shoes and socks beneath the radiators. Good thing no one stank in my department, eh?

How provincial, in retrospect. You’d think I went to university in 18th century Siberia.

zooksie 992

zooksie 495

To infinity and beyond, David Bowie

Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (Five, Four, Three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (Two, One, Liftoff)

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare
This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in the most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here am I sitting in my tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear And I’m floating around my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

You’re making yourself look ridiculous if you’re making this common grammar mistake

It’s not 1966 anymore and typewriters are a thing of the past, so why, oh, why, do I see more and more people adding an ugly space before their punctuation marks?

In English (and Arabic), there is absolutely no need to add a space before a punctuation mark. In fact, you look really dumb when you do that. I repeat. Commas, colons, question marks, exclamation points, periods, and all other punctuation marks are written WITHOUT any space before them, and with ONE space after them.


Thank you.

The Best Indian Restaurant in Amman

I do love making blanket statements about restaurants that do one thing really, really well (for example: Brisket makes the best burgers in Amman). Rest assured that I only make these blanket statements after I’ve tried the same place over and over and over again, and only if I always leave with happy birds in my tummy. Every. Single. Time.

Okay. So, Indian food. Such a tough thing to get right in a country whose idea of “spices” is bland bharat, a safe concoction of black pepper, cinnamon, and nut meg. Indian restaurants in Jordan seem to stick to the “exotic spice” that most Jordanians are used to: kabseh spices. Don’t get me wrong, I love kabseh, but I definitely don’t want my Indian food to all taste like kabseh.


The only exception to the rule is Tandoori Oven, hands down the best Indian restaurant in Amman. While it is not cheap, their food is so good that I’ve never left unhappy about the amount I’ve spent (around 17JDs a person, inclusive of appetizer, main course, and soft drink). They have a wide variety of dishes for you to choose from, and even with the unpleasant decor, it still maintains a nice ambiance. Definitely avoid their stall in the mall though. Hindi is much better at fast-food Indian.

What to try:
My favorite dish there is matar mushroom. I also like their panak paneer.
Where to find: Next to Second Cup Abdoun

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