H1N1: Respawn

10 08 2009

Amazing what a couple of well-placed headlines and the bottomless-gossip-pit of school staff rooms can do. With the arrival of August and the return of snot-nosed children to school, the seemingly common statement of “… she caught it from school …” has taken a very different meaning. Debates are raging in the management circles of almost every school as to actions to be taken with regards to the H1N1 threat and reopening rules.

As being proclaimed (pretty unnecessarily loudly, I’d say), the Indian Schools are not going to be closed/remain closed any more than their original vacation schedules. The local schools are not even taking note of the issue, as all is well as per govt. releases. The Pakistani Schools have reopened with the kiddies (primary sections) remaining closed. Elsewhere, peace reigns.

The cesspool of H1N1 that kids threaten to be is being tried to be allayed by an excess of MoH posters all around school buildings, distribution of facemasks and mandatory requirements of forced absences for ill students. Alternately, we can just keeps our kids clean, yeah right!

Be prepared to see overly concerned parents queuing in private hospitals for runny noses, a case of the sniffles and ailments as tinny as an overly red nose. Also, feel free to see and report mask faced people at City Center which is going to be a usual assortment of overly-cautious touch-me-nots, kids being forced by parents to wear ’em, people who wear them just ‘coz  and the sub-group that wants this opportunity to hide their faces and make catcalls.

Found this nice infographic. click to enlarge (3.6 MB)

AntigenicShift_HiRes

Stay Safe.

-FK





Rembrandt Visits Oman

29 07 2009

Gulf News has an article titled “Rembrandt show to draw Omanis and Dutch closer”. Basically, it is about a month-long (Ramadhan long) exhibition of Rembrandt’s original paintings at the Grand Hyatt from 10 am to 12 midnight, non-stop.

Expect more of such images, Its titled The Jewish Bride

Expect more of such images, It's titled "The Jewish Bride"

“A hundred original works of Dutch artist Rembrandt will be displayed for the first time anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa (Mena) region when the Grand Hyatt Muscat hosts an exhibition during Ramadan.

“Rembrandt’s original paintings and etchings have travelled world over but this is the first time they are being brought to the Middle East,” the Dutch ambassador to Oman, Stefan van Wersch, said.”

It opens on the 19th of August.

“Al Salmi Library, a family enterprise, is bearing the cost of the Rembrandt exhibition. The total expenses involve 600,000 Omani riyals (Dh5.7 million) plus the insurance cost.

“They are obviously insured and would be well guarded during the month-long exhibition,” said Shaikh Abdullah Al Salami, chairman of Al Salmi Library.

“It is being held for the first time in the region and only in Muscat.”

“The Grand Hyatt Muscat would be transformed completely to look like a Dutch palace,” revealed Ashok

This is not what it looks - The Return of the Prodigial Son

This is not what it looks - "The Return of the Prodigial Son"

Suvarna, CEO of NPA Events, who are managing the exhibition.
The Royal Oman Police will take over security of the exhibits once concerned agencies from the Netherlands hand it over for the exhibition in Muscat.

Entry for the show will be free from 10am to midnight during Ramadan.”

Now since Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salmi has mentioned twice about the security measures and about the paintings’ insurance, it seems security was a hurdle in bringing the multi-multi-million dollar paintings to the region.

This all shall be followed by a reciprocal 7-month event in Amsterdam, featuring something of Oman. Wonder how they pulled ‘that’ off!!

NSFW - I don't think this one'll be there (click to enlarge) - "Bath Seba"

Now since the age of consent in Denmark hovers around the 15-year-old mark, and hash is almost-legal, I’m sure bringing Omanis and the Dutch closer will be all for the good! Atleast no one will be ‘robbed‘ in Thai hotels, that’ll happen in Dutch hotels!

I’m sure the “unclothed art is art, totally fit for viewing” theory shall be useless here, so I think the exhibition shall be kiddo-safe, however I have no idea on how to keep an exhibition safe from a kiddo. And I don’t think a Rembrandt exhibition is the place for a kiddo, especially if they’ve decked out the hotel “in the style of a Dutch Palace”. What does that mean? Is the Dutch foortbaarl team going to be there? I’m sure they live in a castle!

-TFK





Omanmobile.com

23 07 2009

Something fishy is going on. I could call it something sharky, but then that’d be bad humor (for those who understand it).

Apparently, Oman Mobile’s 2ndary domain name is having some, umm, err, technical issues. Seems a group of dudes/gals has pwned them and taken over the http://www.omanmobile.com/ domain with a customized page.

My last visit to the .com comain was a good 3/4 months ago. I’ve a bookmark on the http://www.omanmobile.om/en page, and go there directly. At the time of my visit (and as per my coworkers), the .com domain was redirecting to the .om domain fine until 3-4 days ago. And now this.

A quick search of Google’s cache shows that their cache has the hacked page (if it is indeed a genuine hack, as it seems). The cache was updated 22nd July. Dunno if oman mobile are doing something to get it back, or what is delaying them.

Pending fixing of the issue by them, this is what the wessite looks like right now:

As usual, Google Translate has tonnes of gibberish Engrish:

Civil ropes::.
.:: .:: والجندي في الساحة ::. The soldier on the ground::.
.:: والتهكير للعباقرة .:: The genius of Althecer ::. ::.
.:: تباً للعالم أجمع .:: Woe to the world ::. ::.
.:: مجرمون بلا جريمه وذنبنا كلمة .:: Crime and criminals without a word surely we ::. ::.
.:: ( HACKER .:: (HACKER ) ) ::. ::.
.:: دع التفكير . . . . وتمتع بالدلآآآآآخه .:: Let the thought…. And enjoy Baldlaaaaakh ::. ::.
.:: وراء كل غضبة هكر دمعة ضحيه ::. .:: Behind all the tears of outrage هكر victim::.
ولا تنسى هذا المثل : : Do not forget this example::
.:: .:: عيش نذل تموت مرتآآآآآآآآح ::. Live Rascally Mrtaaaaaaaah die::.
.:: إننا ل ا ندعي الذكاء ولكن نسعى لتحطيم الأذكياء ::. .:: We are for a claim, but we are intelligent and smart to break::.
.:: نعشق الموت لكي لا تعشقنا الحياة ::. .:: Love death so as not to Tahqna life::.
.:: فدخلنا مدارس الهكر لنعاقب الحقرآآآآآء ::. .:: Vdechlna الهكر schools to punish Alhakraaaaae::.
.:: .:: للتهور جنوون وللقياده فنوون ولتهكير فريقٌ مجنوون Jnoon of recklessly and for the leadership team Vnwon and Thecer Mjnoon ::. ::.
.:: الــيــوم يــومـــك يــا بــطــل ::. .:: Today the day you, hero::.

HaCkEd By : HaCkEd By:
& &
Fbi تحياتي Fbi Greetings

بو نورة نــاصر فــــلاح Bo Nora Nasser Al Falah
xiv@hotm4il.com xiv@hotm4il.com
Mr.FBi Mr.FBi
FBi@hotmail.it FBi@hotmail.it


Any one knows what’s going on??

-FK





Leftist Laughs

24 06 2009

… and then there were leftist cartoons…

Can cartoons be leftist? Well, they sure can, as Barry has shown. And not that only, the satirical content, whilst not so hidden as to be subtly satirical, is out there and brazenly displayed for everyone to see.

The US is promoting democracy in more places than that…

-FK





10 Grand – Below the belt!

18 06 2009

Thanks to Queen of Tarts for sending this. Now, I’m starting off with a disclaimer that this stinks. In fact, I’m all ready to dismiss it as outlandish, but then again, the URL seems legit, & Mozilla had a scheme somewhat like this sometime ago, albeit without the cash. So typical of Microsoft to ripoff someone else’s idea.

SMIS0308_IE8_twitter_bg_cpd

The idea is that Microshort has created a page somewhere on the interwebs that is IE viewable only. And whoever finds

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

that page gets to win 10,000 US$. They claim that page is non-Firefox viewable, however, I’ll have to recheck that one.

The original announcement is spotted at Microsort Australia. Then there’s a Twitter page (and user @Tengrand_IE8) which shall start posting clues everyday from the 19th of June onwards. Another website is linked too, but it is down (or mebbe just for me @ work).

Now I want to know what type of pages are visible in IE8 and not in FF3. How is FF3.5 team going to be able to resist adding features to their browser to make it open anything on the web. Ofcourse, the winning page can always detect the browser type and then render some alternate elements to be displayed. But then again, I use IE Tab, (which is awesome btw) and User agent switching plugin which defeats the whole purpose of this idea, right? Hehhe!

And what if we do a V for Vendetta and flood the Intertubes with the winning page? And how does Microsock hope to use this tactic to make IE8 actually work properly!???!!

As usual, the shenanigans start. here, here, here and here.

So, someone from Oman finding it?

-FK

Update: Microshlong is really desparate for IE8.

Update #2: The whole thing works with User Agent Switch. The ThisMachine diagnostic website reads FF3 as IE8, fully and properly. Ironically, when I tried it using IE8, they told me I was using IE7. Now THAT’s Ironic!!!!!!

Using FF3: Click to see

Using FF3: Click to enlarge

Using IE8: click to enlarge

Using IE8: click to enlarge





(Ir+Om)an

17 06 2009

Iran, Oman & the Kish Gas Field

Yup, it’s official. Following my previous posts there was a pending visit, I was waiting for our Deputy Prime Minister to visit but it seems as if I have been upstaged by the govt. and now it is His Majesty himself who is going to pay the newly crowned Iranian President a visit. While this is significant on many levels, it is a bold statement by His Majesty to be the first head of state to visit the Iranian President after his elections. Whilst partial recount is underway, we really don’t know the state of Moosavi supporters’ unrest by the 28th. But it figures that the state police in Iran will have squashed all opposition to make it peaceful enough for our delegation to visit.

And the enoturage is impressive too. ToO states:

His Majesty the Sultan will be accompanied by a high level delegation comprising

Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, minister of the Diwan of Royal Court,

Gen. Ali bin Majid Al Ma’amari, Royal Office minister;

Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, minister responsible for foreign affairs;

Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, minister of national economy and deputy chairman of the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council;

Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al Rowas, His Majesty the Sultan’s adviser for cultural affairs,

Dr Ali bin Mohammed bin Moosa, minister of health;

Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, commerce and industry minister;

Lt.-General Malik bin Sulaiman Al Ma’amari, inspector-general of police and customs,

Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Romhi, minister of oil and gas,

Sheikh Yahya bin Abdullah Al Fannah Al Araimi, the Sultanate’s ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Nice! That’s 7 ministers, 10 portfolios and 13 heads of profiles and 1 Head of State. Seems like Oman will get a corner of the international media for this event, since all spotlights are pointing there already. Oman will be like a minor character in a play suddenly sharing the stage with the main female lead who has been hogging the stage. Now whether this character uses this opportunity to do something screenworthy and make her presence felt or will just pass on the glass of water, play his minor part and exit left, is yet to be seen. Hoping it is the former, expected to be the latter.

But then again, expect important development to happen on the Gas Sharing thingies floating around. With the ongoing gas field deals, the joint gas and energy company setup, tourism and infrastructure deals setup, I want to think that nuclear issues are also going to be discussed, however I don’t think that is going to be announced anywhere.

Well, let’s see.

-FK





Railway – More Oil – More Undersea Land

31 05 2009

MUSCAT – Gulf Arab finance ministers have asked Price Waterhouse Coopers to study how the region should share common customs revenues, the last step in implementing a regional customs union, officials said on Saturday.

Whilst this is a long-pending issue (it was decided in principle in 2003), but the load unbalance in terms of incoming ports and goods dissipation due to inland transport means that some formula has to be worked out to maintain who gets how much of the customs earnings. The obvious way is to note the custom levied per item, the final listed destination of the item and then pay that amount to that country annually/whatever. This would not only promote a common interface port, or the biggest ports (UAE, Sohar), but also reduce good-travel-costs within the GCC, due to decreased/no within-GCC customs.

Furthermore,

GCC finance ministers also discussed a common railway grid on Saturday, Hinai said without giving 
further details. One of the proposals presented to the ministers was to extend the GCC railway to the Yemen’s border, according to a document obtained by Reuters.

Gulf Arab states have been considering setting up a joint company to build a railway costing more than $14 billion linking the nations.

The 1,940-kilometre (1,205 mile) railway, which is envisaged to be operational by 2016, would allow diesel-powered trains operating at speeds of up to 200 kilometres an hour to carry passengers and freight between GCC countries, which are in the process of forming a regional economic bloc.

Cool… we shall implement a railway in 2016, which is already about 200 years behind the countries that matter, and to lay it on even more, they’re going to be ‘diesel’ trains! Woohoo!! We’re the richest economic bloc in the world, we’ve got the biggest natural resources reserves ever, we’re getting the world’s most delayed railway project, & we’re running diesel engines in the same area as the world’s greenest planned city (in Abu Dhabi). Nice!

Oman will raise its crude oil production to up to 830,000 barrels per day by the end of this year, oil minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy said on Saturday.

Nice.. more oil means more revenue right.

Al Rumhy said Opec’s recent decision not to change oil output was a “good one” and crude oil prices at $55-$70 a barrel were “reasonable”.

Nice, Nice. OPEC cuts output, which increases prices. Oman, not being a member of OPEC, boosts production. Since prices are already high, Oman sells oil at higher rates! Yippee!!

Oman has spent heavily on a variety of long-term programmes to enhance oil recovery from aging fields.

The efforts appear to have begun paying off with Omani output rising last year for the first time since 
peaking in 2001. Analysts feel that the quality and price of Oman’s benchmark crude oil would deteriorate as it steps up efforts to raise output from ageing fields.

Yup. Wonder what the next plan is?

And lastly,

MUSCAT — The Sultanate has submitted its request for expanding its continental shelf boundaries beyond the economic zone at the UN Maritime Office.

What? What does that even mean?

Oman wants to preserve its natural resources on the seabed and soil within the continental shelf zone below the neighbouring high seas opposite its shores, said Salim bin Abdullah Al Alwi, head of the Continental Shelf and Maritime Affairs Office at the Foreign Ministry.

It will be be followed by sea seismic surveys to support its right for the demarcation of its continental shelf boundaries.

The move will bring huge economic benefits in terms of exploiting the non-living resources such as minerals and oil.

Accordint to Article 76 of the UN Convention on Maritime Law for 1982, the continental shelf is beneath the deluged land extending 350 nautic miles from the baseline to overseas.

Ahh!

The continental shelf is the physically demarcated rock shelf which is the slope that rises and rises and leaves the water and starts becoming the land of the country. A few hundred miles into the sea, the rocky bed either shelves off (cliffs and such) or its physical thingies change (constitution, slope, rock-type) marking a transition from the continental shelf to the sea-bed.

So this baseline is considered a part of the country’s land for all intents and purposes (let’s put a post office there). The Maritime Law provides for 350 miles beyond this as part of the country itself, thus giving Oman ownership of all the fishes and sand and the goody goody things also, like the oil and the copper and the what-not.

Let’s make an underwater restaurant!

-FK