Sunday, 13 December 2009

Moronic search terms

The Ruh of Brown Folks has a great blog post about some of the moronic searches and searches and keywords that have brought people to their blog.
The problem/beauty of the internet is that any idiotic, moronic question that should never been asked out loud, can easily be typed into a search engine. And something... something... will inevitably show up.
Here are some of the keyword searches bringing people to this blog (and may they bring many more!)...
  • Who is K-Von dating?
  • utube iran comedy - The right place, but very lazy!
  • translate juan to farsi script
  • saudi babes youtube - Good luck
  • nono are you stay
  • lentil kibbeh
  • islamic religion shi'ite jokes
  • is patrick monahan of  puerto rican descent - No
  • bald iranian comedian - Omid Djalili

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Help Michael J. Totten write his book

Maybe you've read Michael J. Totten's blog? Now you can help support him as he writes a book.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Two blogs I've been reading


Group blog about the Middle East and Islam. There's a great blog post about the long-running role of women in Iranian political activism.

Brian's Coffeehouse

An interesting blog that has been dealing with Iran. Bookish in places it also contains this great quote about the election unrest in Iran:

[A comment by Rafsanjani] also contributes to a weakening of the aura surrounding the office of the Supreme Leader, and sends a strong signal that the Green Wave is not over, even if it's path to victory is not yet apparent.

The quote is probably even more relevant re-reading it months after the election. Change is still coming to Iran.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Iran tech support

I am constantly surprised by the technical skill levels of ordinary Iranians. Necessity is the mother of innovation, as they say, but it's always reassuring to find that people want to get online and bypass government filtering.

The Haystack network is a new way for Iranians to enjoy their online activities unhindered. It's the kind of things your friends in Iran can make use of.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Tehran: Another side

Here's the trailer for documentary that aims to show another side of Tehran. This is not the Friday prayers crowd, but young people trying find their way in the world.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Life as a Basiji

Around election time in Iran lots was made of the life, values and motivations of basij members. Some were recent additions to the force who, despite their actions, were unprepared for what unfolded. Others were happy to crack a few skulls:

"The revolution and Islam need me. I will give my life in a heartbeat if the regime asks me," Mr. Moradani said in an interview earlier this year at a shop in central Tehran, where he sells Islamic and revolutionary paraphernalia, including key chains, T-shirts and CDs. "Our society is now at the verge of sin and filled with antirevolutionary people."

The founder of Ansar-e Hezbollah weighed in with his views too.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tehran - the boring and the mundane in photos

Mightier Than has two galleries of everyday photos from Tehran. They include the boring and the mundane, the usual and the occasional - sights from around a city of more than 7 million people.

Iran was already a misunderstood place before this election captured the world’s attention, and as much as the world has now learned about Iran from witnessing these past few weeks, the experience might still lead to an even greater misunderstanding unless we take the time to look deeper. Lost behind the chants of inspiring crowds, the images of bloodied faces, or the grainy chaotic videos, is an Iran much of the world has likely never made the effort to notice.

Highlights include:

  • a night-time view of Melli tower
  • an aerial view of housing
  • fast food restaurants
  • a bowling alley
  • an ATM
  • snow on a car
  • people on the Metro

A great selection of photos that show there is more to Iran than conflict, demonstrations and protests.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Choga Zanbil - ziggaurat in Iran

Chogha Zanbil (چُغازَنبیل) is an ancient Elamite ziggaurat complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran. I stumbled across this great set of photographs of the fascinating site on Flickr.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Iranians are the world's worst drivers

Iran has the highest mortality rate due to road traffic in the world. As a pedestrian, passenger or driver you are more likely to die if you're involved in a road traffic accident in Iran than anywhere else.

The map below shows Iran being 10 points higher than Iraq and Angola, almost 30 points higher than Niger and almost 60 points higher than the USA.

Chart showing: Mortality caused by Road Traffic Injury by Country

This high mortality rate could be caused by a range of factors:

Some of those are probably contributing factors. But the main cause has to be Iran's driving culture and Iranians' bad driving. Driving in Iran is marked by a selfishness that is rarely seen publicly elsewhere in Iranian culture. Not everyone is a technically bad driver, but even good drivers in Iran have bad habits and are forced into dangerous manouveres by the actions of other road users.

With the evidence above and personal experience, I will say it clearly: Iran has the world's worst drivers. They kill themselves, their families, their friends, their colleagues and they kill pedestrians and other drivers.

Iranians crash into each other and just carry on driving. They don't bother exchanging numbers or getting witness contact information. Nobody gives way to let user drivers into the flow of traffic, so they have to squeeze their cars into tiny gaps. They don't wear seatbelts. They have no lane discipline so on a 3 lane expressway you find cars drifting all over the road. On Vali Asr Avenue in Tehran you find cars five-abreast on a three-lane road as everyone pushes forward an inch at a time, constantly changing lanes and surging forward three metres only to brake sharply behind the car in front or career into the back of them.

Things Iranians can do to reduce their number of road deaths

As many Iranians don't know what it is like to drive in another country, here are some steps Iran could take to reduce the number of road deaths.

  1. WEAR SEATBELTS - This is essential as Iranians refuse to wear them. It should be illegal to drive without wearing one. Taxi drivers are supposed to wear them, but they only pull them across their chests when they see traffic police. All Iranians should encourage their families, friends, colleagues, etc. to wear them. "We only drive slowly" is not an valid excuse.
  2. Stop motorbikes driving down streets the wrong way, on pavements and through the bazaars, stop them weaving through traffic in front of cars.
  3. If you miss the exit on an expressway, do not reverse back along the road (sometimes for 2 or 3kms!) carry on and take the next exit. Do not overtake other cars whilst reversing.
  4. Lane discipline - stay in your lane, don't just drift around the road. Don't keep switching lanes. Don't have more cars across the roads than there are lanes.
  5. Don't drive the wrong way up a one-way street.
  6. Stop talking on mobile phones or sending text messages whilst driving and riding motorcycles.
  7. All motorcyclists should wear helmets. Fleece headbands do not provide sufficient protection.

All simple steps that can help improve Iran's driving culture and, most importantly, save lives on the road.

Photo: Philipp C Jahn on Flickr.