AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Cosmic Awe: Why is it Dark at Night?

A very beautiful and mind-numbingly wondrous explanation of why the sky is dark at night:

How to Defrost Your Windshield (According to Science)

Thankfully, winter’s almost over, but knowing how to quickly defrost your windshield is always a useful trick. I tried it and it actually works.

In a nutshell:
1. Blast the heater
2. Blast the AC
3. Turn OFF the air circulation
4. Crack open the windows a bit.

Brink of Crisis

Dear world… For heaven’s sake, I’m really too young to go through the SECOND financial crisis of my career life. Wait another decade, at least! 

From the internet: Cloud and data analytics stocks extend losses after bloodbath: http://flip.it/QtrFG

The Fermi Paradox is Not Fermi’s, Nor a Paradox

A little interesting article for those who care about stuff like the Fermi Paradox:

There is no logical contradiction between the statement “E.T. might exist elsewhere” and the statement “E.T. is not here” because nobody knows that travel between the stars is possible in the first place.

Read it now

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]

Yoga9-10-1024x576

Another One of Them Trippy Illusions

spinning-optical-illusion

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.

Horizontal-History-Generations-4

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