Fadel Adib’s Wi-Vi (Wifi Tracker) And Ayah Bdeir’s Littlebits

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[YouTube]

As you all know, two Lebanese have made their way to the “35 innovators under 35″ list issued by MIT to hightlight the most promising inventors of the years. The first one is Ayah Bdeir who founded Littlebits back in 2011 and has been named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business and one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream. She’s been also ranked the 9th sexiest startup CEO alive.

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The second Lebanese is Fadel Adib who’s originally from Tripoli. Adib has invented a technology for detecting the motion of people through walls by detecting WIFI signals. I think it’s a very interesting idea with a lot of potential.

One thing that caught my attention was how Adib felt shocked that he was able to focus all the time on research during his MIT years, unlike in Lebanon where he had to cope with explosions and violence during his AUB years. I think this pretty much sums up why so many Lebanese choose to leave the country to show their true potential and excel.

“In one of our projects, we were just making our Wi-Fi faster by maximizing throughput between nodes. Every once in a while, the system would get messed up, and we would stop getting good results. We realized that there was some person walking in the hallway, and that person’s walking was basically changing the channel.

“If I shine a wireless signal at the wall, a huge amount of this signal is going to reflect off the wall. A tiny part of that signal will traverse the wall, reflect off anything that’s behind it, and then come back. We realized that we can sense motion using these wireless signals, and that’s how we started working on seeing through walls.

“You can track people as they move. You can monitor multiple people’s heart rates and breathing. Retail stores that want to understand how people are moving in their stores can track when a person reaches out for a product, looks at it, and puts it back. The police could track if there’s a person behind a wall. One of the applications we’re thinking of: can you monitor the heart rate of a fetus in the mother’s womb without touching the body in any way?

“When I went home to Lebanon and I was talking to my grandmother about it, she was like, ‘So, for example, can I put it over here in my living room, and if I fall in the bedroom or in the bathroom, it’s going to going to detect my fall and send an SMS to one of my children? Please, make this a product and put it here.’”

A Faux Pas From Ashraf Rifi

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isis flag A “Safe” ISIS Flag to burn – via BeirutSpring

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi has requested today to legally pursue a group of Lebanese who were seen burning a flag for the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) in Sassine’s Square, Achrafieh. I’ve never expected Rifi to come up with a statement. If anything, those who are raising this ISIS flag in Achrafieh, Tripoli and anywhere else in Lebanon should be the ones pursued legally and arrested.

Speaking of sedition, what is the purpose of raising an ISIS flag in Sassine Square?

Amal, A Movie By Yasmine Ghorayeb On Domestic Violence and Marital Rape

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Domestic violence and marital rape are still unfortunately very common in Lebanon and there are still no laws to properly protect women from abusive and possessive husbands. It’s hard to believe but a woman was killed each month in Lebanon as a result of domestic violence between 2010 and 2014.

Amal tells the story of a young woman who wants to escape her abusing and insanely possessive husband, only to find out that her freedom carries a very high price. Yasmine wants her movie to be “a tribute to all these women, young or old, battered or raped, physically beaten up or psychologically humiliated” and is hoping that it will contribute to making a change somehow.

The screenplay was developed at the Cinephilia Productions Screenwriting Lab for Shorts in 2013 and was awarded the Best Screenplay Award by a Jury selection committee in New York, representing Beirut, so it deserves our support whether by spreading the word or funding it.

You can show your support [Here].


[Vimeo]

Beirut is Amazing City Greening Plan

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The “Beirut Is Amazing” project was launched a couple of years ago in an attempt to green up the capital. The plan is to improve and increase green spaces and provide Lebanese with more accessible and attracting streets.

Nadim AbouRizk, Vice President of Beirut’s Municipal council, has been sharing pictures of what Beirut looks like now and how it’s expected to look after the project is implemented. As you can see, the transformation looks amazing but I don’t know if this will ever be implemented, specially that the Sodeco – Mathaf road is one of the busiest roads in Beirut. Did they consider the amount of traffic closing down this road will generate? What are the alternative routes available?

I’d love to know more about this initiative if anyone has more information.

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Lebanon To Toughen Regulations On Unofficial Beauty Clinics

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It’s about time the authorities decide to close down these beauty “mini-markets” spread around the country. I’ve heard of so many cases where patients sustained serious injuries in these parlors or even died in some case.

In response to the phenomenon, the Cabinet and the Health Ministry have recently put forward a draft law to be voted on by Parliament that addresses the issue.

The head of Parliament’s Committee of Public Health, Future MP Atef Majdalani, said: “There is a need to draw a line between the regular beauty parlors, which basically deal with hairdressing and manicures, and beauty centers that carry out hair implants and beautification with Botox.” [Link]

U.S Military Assistance To The Lebanese Army

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480 anti-tank guided missiles, more than 1500 M16-A4 rifles and mortars were delivered yesterday to the Lebanese Army in the presence of US Ambassador David Hale. The Ambassador seemed pretty confident that this is exactly what the Lebanese Army needs at the moment and said:

“To those who say American assistance to the Army is not sophisticated enough, my answer is: go ask a soldier in Arsal, or in Riyaq, or at the headquarters in Yarze, or at the countless other places where the army works to keep all Lebanese safe and secure. The answer you will get from that soldier is that he needs exactly what we are providing today and in the weeks to come,” Hale said.

I’m sure we need M16 rifles and mortars but why do we need anti-tank guided missiles against terrorists in Arsal? I don’t know much about military operations but I am pretty sure the army needs more tanks, armored fighting vehicles and advanced artillery. In all cases, let’s wait and see what the French will deliver to the army that is worth $1BN dollars.

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PS: Pictures from LebaneseSpecialForces

Michael Kors Opens Its First Store In Beirut

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I’ve seen the brand in malls like ABC but this is the first standalone store in the country. Michael Kors is now open on Fakhry Bey Street in the Beirut Souks area.

I checked the official Michael Kors website and the Beirut store is still not added.

American fashion brand Michael Kors hosted a party Tuesday night for the opening of its first store in Lebanon. Dozens of women wandered through the shop at the opening event, ogling walls of the brand’s popular solid-color handbags – or carrying their own – and eyeing cases of watches and eyewear.

Michael Kors, who built the iconic, eponymous company selling men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, called Lebanon the perfect choice for a new store. [DailyStar]

Rayane Moussallem’s Great Documentary On The Intervention Of Politics and Religion In Lebanese Sports

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[YouTube]

I really applaud Rayane for compiling all these events and speeches and coming up with this great documentary. Politics and religion are ruining sports in this country and we are all to blame for that. I’ve been raising this issue forever and asking to keep politics and religion away from basketball and football in Lebanon but as long as we have a corrupt system and powerless federations, then there’s no hope in any change.

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Children Selling Flowers In Kaslik

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I don’t know what’s the deal with kids selling flowers in Kaslik, but I spotted one of them sitting at Starbucks and texting on her phone all the time, while another one refused a nicely wrapped cookie that I had just bought from Starbucks. I don’t know what’s up with these kids, and what they’re doing on the street but I am not giving them anything anymore.