Friday, 30 April 2010

Ducati 796

Beautiful beyond words...

Please view the video directly on youtube due to formatting reasons...


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Calling all cops

First of all let me congratulate Dubai Police on their excellent results at the Dubai Government Excellence Awards 2010.

If you remember, it wasn't long ago since I last ranted about driving in the UAE and specifically Dubai. Specifically from Sept 2009:

This is when I listed the top 20 things that the stupid/crazy UAE drivers tend to do when behind the wheel of a car.

More recently, from Jan 2010 I wrote this post:

The topic is pretty straight-forward, it's all about lane-discipline.

So after more than a year since my return to Dubai, I'm still suffering from the f***ing idiots on our roads. They come in all shapes and sizes (fat and thin) and (Nissan Armadas to Nissan Sunnies), as well as slow and fast, left and right lanes, up or down a bridge, and driving pretty much in anyway they like.

We unfortunately had an assasination here in Dubai of a Hamas leader, not the most peaceful group, but since when has Dubai become the playground of thugs so openly? Our Police really does an amazing job going after the killers and of course liaising with Interpol etc..

They also do an amazing job keeping us safe in our homes, streets (pedestrian only), offices and airports.. Seriously, I have no criticisms on that front, and can safely say that Dubai probably is one of the safest cities in the world.

Now, my issue is this: The police spends a lot of time, effort and money to do the all the right things but with the wrong priority. Ok, it's great that we're going to go and put the Mossad chief in prison, and to liberate Palestine, and so on, but why not do all that after you've improved the situation on the road.

Sorry, but by giving stupid black points and rediculously expensive fines to motorists left right and centre you are not improving the situation and that cannot be considered good Police work. I'm sorry, but it just is not the case.

Both my parents have got black points on their licenses and they are probably one of the safest drivers that I know. All of this happened in 2010. Their driving attitudes and styles did not increase this year, nor have they had any accidents since they been both driving that was their fault. Dad had an accident where his car was totalled but that was more than 15 years ago by a guy with an Omani car and no license or insurance. So why is the Police penalising people that are at no risk to the public?

As a younger male driver, I am statistically more dangerous, and yet I have less black points than either parent! My felony was to use the 4x4 capabilites of my car and to drive in the sand to avoid the congestion due to a traffic accident ahead, probably caused by bad lane-discipline.

So the issue is this, from the zillions of Dirhams made from fines, why doesn't the Police spend some money to work on lane-discipline? I believe if we observe the right lane discipline we will benifit with:

1- Better safety. If you are slow, stay right, and if you're overtaking then go left. Never leave the lane to your right empty, and if it is then move into it. If everyone knows exactly which lane he/she should be in, then it's only normal for accidents to be reduced.

2- Higher road capacity. When you look at motorways in a civilised driving country like the UK, you'll notice the slow lane has the most wear and tear to it, because it's got the most traffic on it (including trucks). However, here the most utilised lane is the 2nd lane from the fastest, because everyone seems to think it's their lane. If you're a complete idiot, then you'd "park" in the fastest lane and not care about people behind you. This leads to huge inefficiency in the utilisation of the road. My humble estimate is that if we observe proper lane discipline then we can easly increase the road capacity by 30-40% without any changes to the road (thus no cost). All this by changing our driving attitute.

3- Predictability of driving leads to less road rage. Less road rage means less accidents and of course less speeding. But wait a minute, less speeding is bad if you get more than 600 million dirhams annually from fines (zawya) which is approx 15% of the Police's annual budget, and an even higher percentage of its undesclosed revenues.

I can go on and on, but we cannot continue to drive to be an international city with open borders and expect people to want to live here if we cannot get simple things right. Dubai has an amazing will to succeed and can do anything if it puts its mind into things. Who would have thought Dubai can build 3 terminals in less time it takes London to build one (T5 Heathrow = 19 years, wiki)?? Dubai famously built extensively into the sea and built the tallest building in the world. Given the current economic climate, it seems that's a title that Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) will have for a long time to come. Dubai also designed and built a world-class metro system in under 5 years. Other countries take 10-15 years for FAST projects.

Why can't we get our brains together to fix the situation on our roads. After all I believe Dubai's roads are probably the best in the Gulf and the Arab World even, and more fun to drive in that the roads I been on in England for sure, but not Wales!

So please Dubai Police, please, please, do something about lane-discipline!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Etisalat Press

Well well well, the Q1 results for 2010 are out and Etisalat has made just under 2 billion dirhams in profits.
This is an offensively large amount of money especially for a small country (UAE has about 5 million people) that is going through a recession of sorts.

If this performance continues all through the year, and you cut a bit off for inefficiencies and what not, you will get a grand profit of about 7 bn dirhams a year! Just to clarify that's about $2bn! This qualifies Etisalat in my opinion to practically print money for its shareholders. It's a printing press, plain and simple.

To get an idea what this money could do, 7 bn shared over the whole UAE population would mean each one of us gets a handsome 1400 Dhs a year.. this equates to about the price of a good mobile phone. Now since it's only possible for Emaratis to buy Etisalat shares, we can safely assume that only Emaratis will profit from their profit.

So, for every Emarati there are 4 expats, this means that each one of us gets 5600 Dhs.. which could handsomely cover my annual fuel bill for my gas guzzling V8 SUV and bike, and this includes the coming 10-15% hike in prices.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Odd plate out

Can you spot which one is the odd one out?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

To all the petrol heads out there..

... here's a present for me to you!

It takes a while to load in the UAE considering some cable near Malta is twisted...

Might be better to view the video directly from the original site (by double-clicking anywhere on the video, except the play button).


Expensive petrol is cheaper for you

Surely if you're in the UAE, you've been following the petrol price hike here, due this Wednesday of 0.15 Dhs/litre. Personally I think the stupid and inefficient Sharjah toll on trucks at 100 Dhs a go is worse and will affect us more, but that is another matter, especially since increasing taxes during a recession is about the dumbest thing that you can do.

Anyway, so here's how you can save money by buying more expensive petrol.

First of all, in the UAE you have two types of petrol: 95 Octane and 98 Octane.. different companies call them different things, e.g. Eppco/Enoc calls 95 = Special, and 98 = Super.

Octane rating is how much heat you'll get when you burn a unit of fuel, so the higher the number the more efficient the fuel is.
Just to get an idea, back in the days, fuel was at 80 octane, and in most countries 90 or 91 octane is normal. However you can get up to 99 or 100 octane apparently.

So, back to the UAE, a full tank of 95 or 98 weighs exactly the same (as far as your car is concerned), however if we go with my car for example, a full tank of 95 costs about 110 Dhs and 98 at 130 Dhs. However, the more expensive petrol can take you about 25% farther on the same tank than the cheaper one.

This is amazing because it means that you waste less time during your short life to stop and fill up for petrol. You also burn fuel more efficiently. You're also saving the environment by making your engine live longer because it's a more efficient fuel and will limit wear more.

The funny thing is that these bastard petrol companies are smart, they do not say that they are increasing the price by a percentage, but instead they increase it by a fixed amount, which is 0.15DHS FOR BOTH GRADES, which means as a percentage the price hike hurts less when you buy the expensive 98. Hence another reason why you should only buy 98.

Here's my tip on how you can save money by spending more money, however the biggest saving for me is time, coz I hate to wait at petrol stations for my tank to fill up.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sigma of posts equals ten

It's been busy lately, but here is my Sigma of posts.

I will try to keep it brief but these websites have been lurking on my browser for weeks, and here am I sharing them with you.

1- Sabbah History Lesson:

Click this link for a short video on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

2- 21,000,000,000 Dhz is a lot of money:

This is actually very scary... to quote...

"Car crashes are robbing the country of as much as Dh21 billion a year, research has found...The Dh21bn (US$5.7bn) is equivalent to the value of one in eight barrels of oil the UAE exports, or almost half of Dubai’s tourism revenue each year."

3- Court asked to define ‘Israeli’

"A group of Jews and Arabs are fighting in the Israeli courts to be recognised as “Israelis”, a nationality currently denied them, in a case that officials fear may threaten the country’s self-declared status as a Jewish state...Israel refused to recognise an Israeli nationality at the country’s establishment in 1948, making an unusual distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality”. Although all Israelis qualify as “citizens of Israel”, the state is defined as belonging to the “Jewish nation”, meaning not only the 5.6 million Israeli Jews but also more than seven million Jews in the diaspora...The interior ministry has adopted more than 130 possible nationalities for Israeli citizens, most of them defined in religious or ethnic terms, with “Jewish” and “Arab” being the main categories..." Really merits reading!

Image Credit: Carlos Latuff

4- Israeli Arabs urged to try 'reverse discrimination' against Jews:

The title kinda says it all..

5- Bedouin leave city for their desert roots:

"Abandoning this lifestyle, in which English is rarely spoken and neighbours know each other intimately in these wide open spaces, for the city is out of the question, said Mr al Harthi, a Saudi who works as a policeman in Abu Dhabi."

Amazing eh? No jokes about camels please.

6- Publish banned Gaza 'war crimes' report, says Arab Israeli MP:

Again, this is worrying news..

"The investigation by Uri Blau, who has been in hiding since December to avoid arrest, concerned Israeli preparations for the impending assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead. In a highly unusual move, according to reports in the Israeli media, the army ordered the Haaretz newspaper to destroy all copies of an edition that included Mr Blau’s investigation after it had already gone to press and been passed by the military censor. The article was never republished."

Surely, nothing is to be lost since Israel is the region's only democracy.

7- BBC News Audio slideshow: Classic cars in Gaza:

You really have to see and hear this to believe it.. plus what an amazing surname..Mahfouz Caberetti.. which derives from Kibreet or a form of Sulfur I believe..
BBC website, click here

8- Is this where the holy land is headed?

"Jerusalem, April 31, 2027: The final segment from what was known as the Security Wall was torn down yesterday as street signs in the holy city were changed in preparation of the upcoming Unification Day of Israel-Palestine, four years after the Great Middle Eastern war of 2023."

Riveting reading here...

9-Stranded leader runs country by iPad:

A big win for apple.. who by the way have delayed my new laptop by 3 weeks because of the iPad.. I want something with a keyboard that is touch-sensitive, and i can type with my eyes closed, so forget the iPad for now.. but until this.. read on..

"Running a country? There's an app for that.
When Norway's prime minister found himself stuck in New York as a volcanic cloud grounded flights to Europe, he fired up his new Apple iPad and did the job remotely."

10- Don't forget the children of Gaza:

This video makes me doubtful that any good is left on this earth, and specifically in countries like Israel and Egypt.

Notice how the occupiers are referred to by religion and not by nationality.

Really worth a watch, and a sob. The poor sods.

Peace. Salam.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sheikh MBZ and Prez Obama

Cool picture of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (AD Crown Prince) and President Obama in Washington, presumably yesterday 13/4/2010.

From WAM:

Thursday, 8 April 2010

RIP Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed

Death is always painful.

Sadly it seems to strike when we least suspect it.

I won't say much except that it is painful to see a young son of the UAE and of Sheikh Zayed die suddenly like this.

I'm referring to Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed, may his soul rest in peace.

Sadly, this reminds us of events that happened 2 years ago when the UAE lost yet another one of its sons, Sheikh Nasser bin Zayed.

Again, both seemed to have met their maker in aviation-related accidents.

Allah yer7amhum wo inna lillah wa inna ilayhi raji3oon.

The National and Gulf News

PS: please excuse my absence.. i realise i should have written this earlier, but better late than never.

She's got balls, and a finger!

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