Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour 2009: A Billion to Go Dark Saturday?

Ker Than for National Geographic News March 26, 2009

Starting in New Zealand's remote Chatham Islands, thousands of cities, towns, and landmarks around the world will start to go dark for Earth Hour on Saturday evening. Up to a billion people worldwide are expected to participate in this global voluntary blackout by switching off their lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time. The movement, sponsored by the conservation nonprofit WWF, is designed as a symbolic gesture in support of action against global warming. Now in its third year, Earth Hour has been attracting some high-profile advocates. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently pledged his support for Earth Hour, saying it has the potential to be "the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted." Secretary-General Ban urged people to participate as a way of letting politicians know that they expect progress at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, when world leaders will meet to draft a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. Other big names endorsing Earth Hour 2009include actors Edward Norton and Cate Blanchett, musicians Alanis Morissette and Big Kenny, and the band Coldplay.

Landmarks at Night

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 with about two million participants. By 2008 the event had spread to nearly 400 participating cities in 35 countries and 50 million participants. (See before-and-after pictures of Earth Hour 2008.) As of press time, more than 2,800 cities, towns, and villages in 84 countries worldwide are expected to take part in Earth Hour 2009. World landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Las Vegas strip, the Eiffel Tower, Rio de Janiero's statue of "Christ the Redeemer," Athens's Acropolis, Egypt's Great Pyramids, and Rome's Colosseum will also slip temporarily into darkness. "Sometimes it takes a while for a good idea to get out there, and this year we're really hitting our stride," said WWF spokesperson Leslie Aun.

Earth Hour: Energy Saver?

While Earth Hour is important as a symbolic gesture, it would be even more valuable if the energy savings of the event were known, said Mary-Elena Carr, associate director of the Columbia Climate Center in New York City. "The issue is whether it goes beyond a 'really cool' event and leads to anything tangible," Carr said. "If there was an idea of how much energy was being saved, people could take measures to lower their energy use in a systematic and practical way." Unlike in previous years, WWF is not releasing energy-savings estimates for this year's Earth Hour. "We think the value of Earth Hour is the lights going off," WWF's Aun said, "not the energy savings."

I'm in...Are you?!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I’m feeling good or at least I was…

Yesterday, I had the final exam for level 2 of the German course I’ve been taking. I got ‘A’ just like the 1st level. It really felt good, thought it is not a big achievement (you know what; it’s a big achievement. It’s just this silly voice inside my head that underestimate everything I do lately and keeps telling me that no matter what I do, it’s not enough. I just hope for this voice to shut up and only talk whenever I’m really not doing a good job). I woke up today in a really good mood and so I started listening to all the optimistic songs of mounir that would help keep the mood going. I though of making a play list of all such songs so that it’d be ready whenever they are need, which happens a lot lately :( I thought of “اخرج من البيبان، الحزن قام حفر عفر، افتح قلبك، ألف لأ ولأ، الفرصة، الفرحة”. I succeeded in keeping the good mood till the middle of the day, when things at work started to pull me gradually out of it, but I’m not going to talk about this…at least not day.

As you can see, I didn’t quit and I’m spending my days at work as some sort of punishment. I couldn’t take the decision and resign. I’m just waiting and hoping for some miraculous event to happen such that voila…I’m out of the office. I thought of doing something silly so that I might get fired but I didn’t find it a good idea and unfortunately also unlikely to happen. I don’t want to stay in my current work and at the same time I can’t switch to a new work right now because I need more time for myself and moving into a new job needs more time and effort dedicated so that I can prove myself in the new workplace. This is of course in case I found another job, because as a result of the global economic problem, people are just being fired not hired!

Always try to keep in a good mood, Tschüss! (Bye bye in German)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Face Recognition and a general information test

This photo was sent on my email today. The sender asked me to recognize the characters in the photo. He said that if I could recognize 45 characters, then I'm very intellectual; 35 a good intellectual; 25 not so bad; 15 need to know more etc. I found it a nice challenge and thanks God I managed to cross the 45 limit. So, why don't you give it a try?

P.S. Right-click on the picture and choose open in a new tap or window, to get a better, enlarged view of the picture.