A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: August 2014

Best burger in Amman?

The search for Amman’s best burger has started.

What is your favorite burger place in Amman? Vote today!

Best burger in Amman? free polls

How did I come up with this list?
I asked this same question on Facebook. All burger places with three or more mentions were added to this list.

What happens next?
I will personally review the top three, and the winner will be the one that has most people votes + best review.

Are you a rational person? Here’s a checklist to remind you to be

You know, it’s actually really difficult to be rational. I am always conscious of my brain trying to be stupid. I learned that in my first year in art school. It took me a year of yelling at my brain to STOP SEEING THINGS WRONG. Our preconceptions often screw with the way we perceive objects, leading us to distort them when we put pencil to paper. It’s even worse with thoughts, ideas, and concepts.

Your brain is stupid. And this is why this rationality checklist is really useful. In its simplicity, it’s a bit surprising. Go through this list and ask yourself “When did I last use this habit?”

This list is from They provide examples in the link for each item that I did not include in list below for the sake of brevity.

1. When I see something odd – something that doesn’t fit with what I’d ordinarily expect, given my other beliefs – I successfully notice, promote it to conscious attention and think “I notice that I am confused”

2. When somebody says something that isn’t clear, I notice and ask for examples.

3. I notice when my mind is arguing for a side (instead of evaluating which side to choose), and flag this as an error mode.

4. I notice my mind flinching away from a thought; and when I notice, I flag that area as requiring more deliberate exploration.

5. I consciously attempt to welcome bad news, or at least not push it away.

6. I notice when I’m not being curious.

7. I look for the actual, historical causes of my beliefs, emotions, and habits; and when doing so, I can suppress my mind’s search for justifications, or set aside justifications that weren’t the actual, historical causes of my thoughts.

8. I try to think of a concrete example that I can use to follow abstract arguments or proof steps.

9. When I’m trying to distinguish between two (or more) hypotheses using a piece of evidence, I visualize the world where hypothesis #1 holds, and try to consider the prior probability I’d have assigned to the evidence in that world, then visualize the world where hypothesis #2 holds; and see if the evidence seems more likely or more specifically predicted in one world than the other (Historical example: During the Amanda Knox murder case, after many hours of police interrogation, Amanda Knox turned some cartwheels in her cell. The prosecutor argued that she was celebrating the murder. Would you, confronted with this argument, try to come up with a way to make the same evidence fit her innocence? Or would you first try visualizing an innocent detainee, then a guilty detainee, to ask with what frequency you think such people turn cartwheels during detention, to see if the likelihoods were skewed in one direction or the other?)

10. I try to consciously assess prior probabilities and compare them to the apparent strength of evidence.

11. When I encounter evidence that’s insufficient to make me “change my mind” (substantially change beliefs/policies), but is still more likely to occur in world X than world Y, I try to update my probabilities at least a little.

12. Handling inner conflicts; when different parts of you are pulling in different directions, you want different things that seem incompatible; responses to stress.

13. I notice when I and my brain seem to believe different things (a belief-vs-anticipation divergence), and when this happens I pause and ask which of us is right.

14. When facing a difficult decision, I try to reframe it in a way that will reduce, or at least switch around, the biases that might be influencing it.

15. When facing a difficult decision, I check which considerations are consequentialist – which considerations are actually about future consequences.

16. I try to find a concrete prediction that the different beliefs, or different people, definitely disagree about, just to make sure the disagreement is real/empirical.

17. I try to come up with an experimental test, whose possible results would either satisfy me (if it’s an internal argument) or that my friends can agree on (if it’s a group discussion).

18. If I find my thoughts circling around a particular word, I try to taboo the word, i.e., think without using that word or any of its synonyms or equivalent concepts. (E.g. wondering whether you’re “smart enough”, whether your partner is “inconsiderate”, or if you’re “trying to do the right thing”.)

19. I consciously think about information-value when deciding whether to try something new, or investigate something that I’m doubtful about.

20. I quantify consequences—how often, how long, how intense.

21. I notice when something is negatively reinforcing a behavior I want to repeat.

22. I talk to my friends or deliberately use other social commitment mechanisms on myself.

23. To establish a new habit, I reward my inner pigeon for executing the habit.

24. I try not to treat myself as if I have magic free will; I try to set up influences (habits, situations, etc.) on the way I behave, not just rely on my will to make it so.

25. I use the outside view on myself.

Freddie Goes Opera

Here’s what it feels like to really, really love a font

For starters, if you really love fonts, you won’t be using the word “fonts” at all. You will use the word “typeface”, which is much more dignified, and well, correct. Calling a typeface a font is like saying “Internet Explorer” when you want to refer to the World Wide Web.

A font — like an mp3 — is what you use. A typeface — like a song — is what you see. This matters. You’ll really appreciate the linguistics, if you really love typefaces.

You’ll also appreciate the details. Oh, the details! They are what make typefaces so beautiful. Some typefaces have counters more beautiful than Zooey Deschanel’s eyes, and others have finials that make your heart melt. You enlarge these typefaces on your screen, appreciating each ear and hairline. You obsess over the ligatures and the tails.

The smallest details make you squeal with delight, because you know it’s these details that will make a typeface render optimally on your screen, or help maintain each letter’s identity when printed on paper. You’ll type “AV” and “f)” and admire the genius of a well-kerned typeface. After all, the theory of visual chaos and randomness holds true with typefaces too. Nothing is ever really random, and simply drawing letters that are mathematically correct yields results that look wrong. So everything is a careful experiment in faking randomness and that just dazzles you. It takes your breath away. It makes your heart shiver slightly.

Typefaces are like movies, in a way. There are some classics that you might not love, but that you know are important, so you appreciate them. You know that Bembo is a 1929 revival of an old-style humanist typeface cut by Francesco Griffo around 1495. It’s a good book face, and that’s really cool. Even cooler is how the 19th century changed typefaces too, where newspaper fonts had lengthened serifs to prevent damage during the printing process (and that’s why we have slab seris like Clarendon).

You love typefaces so much they make you feel things. You can recognize the ones you love from miles away. They are a celebration of detail, functionality, and legibility. All in the smallest, most invisible visual element.

That’s why you get so excited when you stumble upon a new amazing typeface. It feels like Christmas! You instantly download it, lovingly storing it with the rest of your font collection, saved in alphabetical order. You design a few quick things, just for fun. You check it out when it’s really large and really small.

And you excitedly wait for a new project to test it out on.

Usually though, when the project comes, you end up resorting to your favorite typefaces. Your friends laugh when they see you use DIN. But Roba, they say, DIN doesn’t work so well in this project!

Shut up, you say. DIN always works. DIN is my best friend. DIN always looks perfect.

And you want to hug DIN and tell it you love it. It was the first typeface you ever fell in love with. You’ve fallen in love with others over the years too, of course. But it was your first love, when you were young and had just stumbled upon the crazy world of typography.

And that’s what it feels like to really, really love something as invisible as typography.

It feels like… a lot.

You can just forget everything happening around you

Look into this hypnotizing GIF and forget journalists being beheaded so close to home. Look into this and forget about how your fellow Jordanians are going ape-shit over a pajama party. IT’S JUST A GODDAMN PAJAMA PARTY YOU STUPID MORONS. Who cares if people want to do that? Look at this and forget about how extremist assholes are screwing families overs by the thousands.


Via BoingBoing

Magenta is not a color

Fascinating explanation of magenta, which like black, turns out to be absence of light.

Colour Mixing: The Mystery of Magenta from The Royal Institution on Vimeo.

Will we ever visit other stars?

Sadly, the answer is probably not.

The World Coming to an End

It seems like the world is coming to an end. That makes me reluctant to write about anything else. But I don’t want to observe the world coming to an end either.

On July

July of birthdays, when will Ramadan take over June instead?








Pictorial Archive of Life

2007: On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2008: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | On August On September | On October | On November

2009: On July  | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2010: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | A Captioned July An UnCaptioned August  | On September  | On October | On November | On December

2011: On January  |  On February   |   On March   |  On April  |  On May  |   On July

2012: On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2013: On January | On Februaury | On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2014: On January | On Februaury | On March | On April | On May | On June | On July

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