Sunday, December 18, 2011


I passed by AUB's Online Collaborative on Friday around 7:30 pm. I came a bit late, but it was the only time I could pass by the event. There was a Panel discussion on Social Media for personal use, and it was moderated by Ayman Itani. It fount that it is no surprise for people to have that much power created by social media, in particular blogging. However it was interesting to hear about a couple of success stories related to blogging, it gives you an insight about the evolution of that medium.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Things Work in Different Mediums

A few months back I read a book called "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding" and there as a section about the internet and how communication is shifting from the traditional medium "broadcast and print" to, well, the internet.

I remembered this today while Mr. Nasri Atallah, the author of the blog "Our Man in Beirut" was talking about his blogging experience, how it evolved, and why and how it turned into a book. As you have noticed, his blog talked mainly about Beirut and his perception of it. So why is relevant to the main topic ? Other than the obvious reason that he has experienced success on an online medium and is now trying to shift to a more traditional one, I believe that it is important to see why he did so and to what extent would he have success.

Why the shift ?

Getting published usually in the pre-internet era had to do mostly with credibility when it comes to the author, it was used to build credibility about a certain topic, for when you get published most people would get the sense that you are an expert in that field. However Mr. Atallah got published because he was credible due to his online audience, however it is most likely the shift occurred based on self-esteem or self-actualization needs on the behalf of Mr. Atallah, and I believe he mentioned that motive in an indirect manner while he was talking about the issue. Therefore, the shift from the online medium to the more traditional medium had nothing to do with which is the more successful one in terms of communication.

Will his shift be successful ?

There is no doubt that the man has had a lot of success when it comes to blogging, however I don't believe that his book will have as much success because the audiences are different. Some might argue that the book audience is not so different because the theme "Beirut" is still the same, and that was Mr. Atallah's argument. However, the motives and the consumer behavior of each is very different, people who are more likely to read blogs are less likely to take the initiative to go to a book store, pay and read something which is found online for free. Whereas book readers seek out authors differently and in a more ordered and structured way. Therefore I can't see for the book the same success that the blog has had for different mechanics go into buying or reading each. At best the book will be a collector's item for someone who is passionate about Nasri's blog work, and in case sales spike in the near future, it will be no more than a fad. and one piece of advice to Mr. Atallah, I suggest you stick with the medium that got you where you are, if you stop blogging your following will decrease dramatically, however there is a possibility that my analogy is inaccurate but I still think the reasoning behind it is sound. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

What Goes into Wine Making

The general purpose of the presentation is to inform you about the process of making wine, and what are the variations that go into this process affecting the quality of the wine.

The specific purpose of the presentation is to allow the audience to know how the procedure affects the price of the final product that they buy.

I.                   Why is it important to know about the process of making wine ?
A.    Wine is a symbol of sensuality and sophistication; hence the bottle bought by the consumer is an indicator of their level of sophistication.
B.     In order for someone to be able to differentiate between wines, she or he must know how the final product came to be.
 Now that it is clear why knowing the process of wine is important, you will learn about the general process of making wine.
II.                The General Process of Fermentation:

A.    Mincing the grapes and removing the berry stem, this process is currently automated, however in pre-industrial times wine makers used to use their hands to separate the berry from the berry stem, and their feet to mince the grapes .
B.     After the mincing is done, a catalyst is added to start the fermentation process, this catalyst can either be synthetic or natural (yeast).
C.     Fermentation will occur at a constant temperature interval of 15 to 17 C, and for a period ranging between 10 to 15 days depending on the type of the grape and its sweetness.
D.    Pressing the wine juice to separate the pulp from the liquid comes after fermentation is terminated due to the complete transformation of sugar into alcohol.
E.     Filtering the wine is an important step that ensures the separation of wine for the solid sediments from what was once was grapes.
F.      Store the wine at a constant temperature, preferably below 17 C and above 5 C for a certain period in special type of container to influence the texture of the win.

 Now that you know the general process of fermentation, the factors that affect the quality of wine will be discussed.

III.             Factors that Affect the Quality of the Wine are as follows:

A.    Factors that influence quality during fermentation:
a.       The type of grapes used. Grapes vary in texture, color, sweetness, richness and availability. Therefore different grapes yield different types of wine that vary in quality and appeal to different audiences. Usually the more rare the grape, the more expensive the bottle. Some of the more expensive grapes are “Medoc Haut, Canaiolo Nero, …”
b.      Quality of the catalyst used. Usually it is encouraged to use natural yeast rather than synthetic. Also the purity of the yeast also affect the final product.
c.       The type of container used. This depends mainly on the quantity that the winery wants to produce. Lesser wines are produced in large stainless steel barrels in order to have more control the process, especially the temperature. However more expensive wines are fermented in more sophisticated procedure, like natural rock formations, stone wells, wood…
B.     Post fermentation factors that influence quality:
a.       Type of container used to rest the wine affects the taste and acidity of the wine. There is no debate that the container must be air tight, however, the nature of the container material influence the taste of the wine. Different types of wood give different flavors, and of course, lesser wines are stored in either plastic or aluminum containers.
b.      Type of bottle used in storing the wine affects the wine in terms of thickness and darkness. In other words, the heavier and the darker the glass bottle is the better the wine is preserved.
c.       The type of cork used to close the wine bottle determines how air tight the bottle is, and for how long it will stay this way. Usually natural corks are the best, but they are also the most expensive.
After going through the process of fermentation and its variations that affect the quality of the wine, you must be able to differentiate between low quality wine and high quality wines. Furthermore, you should also be able to know how wines are different and why there are expensive wines and cheap wines.

Works Cited

Oenology. (2011). Retrieved November 13, 2011, from Wikipedia:
Arida, C. (2011, 11 10). Professor of Wine, Spirits, and Cigars. (R. Riachi, Interviewer)
Grape Berry Development. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2011, from Practical Winery and Vinyard Journal:
Riachi, J. (2011, November 12). CEO - Lebanese Beverage Company. (R. Riachi, Interviewer)
Zakka, S. (2011, November 10). Owner - Zakka Mutitech. (R. Riachi, Interviewer)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Secular Lebanon

The general purpose of the presentation is to inform people about secularism and persuade them that secularism is the only means for political and social progress.

The specific purpose of the presentation is to persuade people that secularism must be implemented in Lebanon, because it is the only means for peace, prosperity, and stability in Lebanon.

I.                   The dictionary definition of secularism, atheism and sectarianism will be given during the introduction, and the various repercussion of each school of thought will be previewed.
A.    Secularism is a movement derived from the word secular, which means either of three things according to the online dictionary:
1.      Of or relating to worldly as opposed to sacred things; temporal.
2.      Not concerned with or related to religion.
3.      Not within the control of the Church.
B.     Atheism is a movement derived from the word Atheist, which has the following dictionary definitions:
1.       Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
2.      The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
C.     Sectarianism is also a school of thought, but is derived from the word sectarian, which according to the online dictionary means:
1.      Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
2.      Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
3.      Narrow-minded; parochial.
D.    A preview of what will be discussed in the body will be quickly shown on the PowerPoint presentation aid.

 Now that you know what secularism and sectarianism really means, a detailed comparison between them and their diverse repercussions will be discussed.


II.                The reasons that make the Lebanese refute the idea of secularism and its implementation are various. The following is a list of those reasons:
A.    People are not aware of the difference between secularism and atheism; hence the idea of a secular society becomes blasphemous.
B.     Contrary to the shared myth that Lebanese are highly educated people, they are not. Therefore their ability to interpret politics correctly is hindered, and instead of using reason they use indoctrinated beliefs to back up arguments.
C.     Lack of transparency in the Lebanese society among commoners and politicians alike is an indicator of lack of morality and self-control. Having a secular society requires people to restrict themselves to the laws, which at the moment they are not.
D.    Sectarian people fear the idea of being ruled by the other sect, and therefore believe that if Lebanon becomes a secular nation the majority which is the Shiite will rule all other sect, which in turn is a logical fallacy.

 Now that you know the main reasons why secularism is currently refuted in Lebanon, a Sign Post:preview of what sectarianism has done to Lebanon.

III.             Sectarianism has claimed the lives of millions of people throughout the history of Lebanon, and hindered social, educational, economic, and political growth.
A.    The history of Lebanon is mainly a history of sectarian violence  that has produced the following casualties:
a.       Between 1840 and 1860 sectarian violence between the Druze and the Christians of Mount Lebanon left more than 380 villages destroyed.
b.      1958 Conflict between the Government (Christian) and the Opposition (Sunni and Druze) produced 4000 casualties.
c.       1968, 1975-1990 Civil war between all sects of Lebanon produced 150,000 deaths, 200,000 wounded, 900,000 displaced, and 400,000 missing.
d.      More recently in 2008, civil unrest which started in May 8, and extended till the end of that year resulted in battles between the Sunnis, Shiites, and Druze, which in turn produced 104 casualties and 85 wounded.
B.     Sectarianism’s effect on the economy is very clear, and can be deduced from the negative GDP growth of -57% during the 1975-1990 Civil War and 75,000% devaluation on the Lebanese Lira.

After discussing the effects of sectarianism, the effects of secularism on different cultures including diverse cultures will be discussed.

IV.             The application of secularism on culturally diverse societies in the world and the Middle East.
A.    The UNDP has developed a cool called Human Development Index (HDI) for countries to measure which are the best, and which are the worst countries to live in. The top 10 countries with the highest HDI are all secular nations: Norway, Australia, Netherlands, and U.S.A. New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany, and Sweden.
B.     Turkey which is a conservative country and shares a large amount of cultural identifiers with Lebanon has turned secular more than 80 years ago, and since then it is experiencing steady growth on all levels including HDI.
C.     The USA is one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth, home to more than 30 different religious sects, yet maintains a superpower status and rank 4th on HDI. This was made possible due to the fact that politics is separated from religion.
The sectarian status of Lebanon has defined us as a third world developing nation, which has constant political and economic instability due to sectarian violence. Lebanon is constantly used as a scenario for what can happen when religion mixes with politics. It is time to put our narrow mindedness behind us, and prosper after thousands of years of suffering due to sectarianism.


(1999). Photographs in History (Arabic). In Photographs in History (Arabic) (p. 76). Beirut: Dar Al Nasher.
Atheist. (2011). Retrieved from The Free Online Dictionary by Farlex:
Sectarian. (2011). Retrieved from The Free Online Dictionary by Farlex:
Secular. (2011). Retrieved from The Free Online Dictionary by Farlex:
Life, T. P. (2010). U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Washington: PEW.
Mongabay. (1987, December). Lebanon - The 1958 War. Retrieved from Mongabay:
Sarkis, P. (2011, December 1). History Prof. at LAU. (R. Riachi, Interviewer)
SPILLER, R. J. (1981, January). Not War But Like War. Retrieved from Command and General Staff College:
UNDP. (2010). HDI Report 2010. Retrieved from
Wikipedia. (2011). 1860 Lebanon Conflict. Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Wikipedia. (2011). Lebanon. Retrieved from Wikipedia:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Man in Beirut

Our man in Beirut was in in Secteur 75 tonight for his book signing, and his book was apparently a blog... well a blog in print form rather than online, which is a nice concept. It was no surprise that Mr. Nasri Atallah was over whelmed by happiness cause the dude is loved! The place was packed and a couple of interesting moments happened around 7:00 pm when the electricity went off (not really).

At the end of the day all I have to say is Big Ups Mon and Bouyakasha ;)  

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Night of The Adeaters

(Click on links in blue to see videos)

Yesterday Nov. 6, I went with my girlfriend who also happens to be a graphic designer to "The Night of the Adeaters". I honestly was planning to sit through out all of the 500 ads, but the majority of the idiots that were present there made it unbearable. Now one may understand the thick nature of Lebanese people in a theater, but I think that 2U2C, the company that produced the event is to blame. It was not enough for people to talk and put their feet against the back of your chair, 2U2C had to give them air-horns and hand held strobe lights to give anyone who was actually there for the Ads an epileptic seizure.
Now I left around 11:20 pm from the venue, which means that I watched almost 1 hour and a half of ads, and a lot of them were awesome, especially a couple of Audi ads (I'm biased towards the brand), and some really nice Coke ads. But some were an epic fail, there was one in particular about an African bottled water brand, I think it was called La Fontaine or something like that. It really sucked ass. Or Timol the insecticide ad, them guys really used their imagination in order to suck badly.
At the end of the day, the experience is enlightening, but as long as its produced by 2U2C in the same manner, I ain't goin anotha time ... 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Starbucks CIO

Yesterday, LAU gave it's students the privilege to interview Mr. Gillet  online.

Mr. Gillet is the CIO "Chief Information Officer" for Starbucks, and happens to be Lebanese. I thought that was quite cool, its ironic that a top level exec in a Zionist enterprise is an Arab and a Jallad. Yes the family name Gillet is originally Jallad, which makes more sense, him being a Lebanese and all...

Any how, I honestly enjoyed reading the conversation despite the geeky technical computer language which I understood non of.

But the fact which I liked the most about him is being a gamer. I feel its like an F. U. to all the mediocre people who say that games are an utter waist of time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Journalism Meh

On Monday the 17th of October, we were asked to audit a journalism course which should have been interesting because we were about to experience long distance learning with one of the leading journalists in the world, and he lived in the UK !

The experience was not interesting but the course instructor was, well at least her looks were interesting... A veiled university instructor with facial piercings was not something you see every day.

Back to distance learning, well, it appeared to me like a regular Skype conversation with a middle aged man that was just listening to ideas from university students that are trying too hard...

Conclusion: the experience was Meh, and for those of you that do not know what Meh means, Meh means I could have done without it because it was so uninspiring and lame ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lebanese Blogs: The Good, The Bad, The Average

Image Source:

Blog Baladi

The Good

The Good: Rich in Topics
The Bad: Tacky Layout

What attracts my attention about Blog Baladi is the quantity of different topics it tackles, and they still manage to keep the topics relevant to the Lebanese society and up to date.

Another aspect which I liked about it, is that most of the posts are funny as hell and boldly stated. Oh and before I forget, they also agree that LB Beer tastes like beer Tang, so not only are they funny, they also know what to drink!

What I do not like about the blog is use of the ripped cardboard which complements, well, their name. However, I would have found it more interesting if they used a more modern layout design, it would have created more contrast between the content and the name.

All in all, I really like this blog ...

 Half Eaten Man2ouche

The Average

The Good: Interesting Title
The Bad: Retro Calendar on Side Bar

I guess whomever did this blog was really bored out of his/her mind, how else would someone think about naming something a half eaten man2ouche? However, it is a strategy that works and the proof is that I am talking about the blog now.

On another note, why is there a calendar on the side bar? When I see it in a blog or a site for that matter, I am reminded of Quintin Tarantino's movie "Pulp Fiction"... God it's so retro!

Topics are decent, there are some that are interesting and that are not, either way, you are compelled to check it out, due to the name.

All in all, its Ok

Beirut Drive-By Shooting

The Good

The Good: Lots of Pictures
The Bad: Posts are not labeled

Having a lot of pictures in your blog is a good thing and it works. People would rather check out pictures than reading long posts like this one.

I really like how most of the comments on the ads are spot on, they can't be expressed any better...

However, despite me liking this blog, I really did not like how the posts are not labeled because it has a lot of ads that are different, so people might want to see what's going on or what went on in a specific industry, but they can't ...

All in all, I like it, but please label your posts

Beirut Daily Photo

The Bad

The Good: Nice pictures
The Bad: It's not daily !

What I like about this blog is that it's well organize, although it can be more organized, but still, it Ok

However, what's monumentally annoying is that the title is Beirut Daily Photo and there hasn't been a post since December 2008. It would have been better if they called it Beirut Yearly Photo and spread the existing photos over a decade!

Also, a lot of the photos posted are not taken in Beirut, and the subtitle says "daily photos from BEIRUT .. a way to visit LEBANON where ever u r". So a more proper name for the blog would be Lebanon Daily Photo, that is if it was actually daily.

All in all, I think there's a long way to go in order to make up for the photos not posted

Beirut Beauty... "There Are No Ugly Women... Just Lazy Ones" 

 The Bad

The Good: Nothing
The Bad: Very Random, pointless

To start with, the title of the blog is very sexist and I am a guy who is not that fond of feminists. It's too misogynistic... However, I might be able to relate to what this blogger is trying to say it the content was any relevant, it's not!

You can find a multitude of topics in that blog which are totally unrelated, making this blog a total mumble jumble of crap...

All in all, please deactivate the blog !

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conference: Healing the Wounds of History: Addressing the Roots of Violence

November 11–13, 2011

Lebanese American University
Byblos campus
This conference is proposed jointly by the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) at the University of Oxford and the Guerrand-Herm├Ęs Foundation for Peace (GHFP), in partnership with the Institute of Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation (IDCT) at the Lebanese American University (LAU). It will be hosted by LAU at its Byblos campus. The main aim is to explore the socio-psychological and deeper roots of violence in present-day Lebanon, and to identify new modalities in reconciliation and dialogue, between both individuals and groups.


Vinifest 2011

All wine lovers, fun and culture are invited to share moments of celebration in the Beirut hippodrome from 5 to 8 October, 2011.

Over the years, the event remains true to its reputation by presenting excellent vintages and a wide variety of wines.

Placed under the theme “Heritage and Wines from Lebanon”, VINIFEST invites you to discover the variety of grapes grown or specific to the Lebanese terroirs.
The rich history of Lebanese wine will be enhanced through various exhibitions and screenings during the festival.
vinifest Logo
This event grants Lebanon its real value by placing it as a major producer of wine. It promotes the cultural heritage of Lebanon by encouraging the promotion of wine, economy and agriculture of the country.

Around the glass of the friendship offered by wineries, restaurants, exhibition stands and tasting will be meeting with cultural and musical activities.

Objectives of the festival
Attract the public to come and discover the various sides of vine and wine.
Initiate people of all categories to appreciate wine as a healthy spirit.
Develop the notoriety of the terroir wine and the local productions.
Promote the image of wine and reinforce its positioning.
Share moments of conviviality with the wine professionals.
Promote Lebanese industry.
Promote the country”s economy and agriculture.
Highlight all the quality products that blend with the elegance and refinement of the wine.
For more info: 01-28085 | 03-260986
Ticket Solo: 15000 L.L.
Ticket Duo: 25000 L.L.

Tickets available in all branches of the library Antoine