Jordan’s magical red dessert is short on plastic bags, throwaway bottles, and paper litter. Begs the question, does raw nature shame us into better environmental behavior? If so, a stay in Wadi Rum nature reserve should be a national obligation.
Head to the heart of any Middle Eastern city and find a vibrant commercial hub, usually in the shadow of a major mosque – the bazaar. An Iranian bazaar with incredible history (Marco Polo shopped there!) may now win the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
It’s a fact that Disneyland fits inside Disney World’s parking lot. Now double up Disney World and you almost match the planned footprint of Dubaiworld. That’s unimaginable, and sure to haunt my dreams.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz wrote, “Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” A group of women in the mountains of Afghanistan, who likely never read his strip, don’t agree.
Kuwaiti graphic designer Mohammad Sharaf serves up powerful pictures based on current events, salted with modern Middle Eastern humor and instantly provocative.
The online ‘zine Foreign Policy posted its “worst countries for journalism” with the Middle East grabbing three of the Top Ten slots. As we scour the media, we already see how this fares for environmental reporting which is practically non-existent in the Middle East.
The nominees for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were recently announced: 20 candidates – half hailing from the Middle East – all vying for a million dollar prize.
Sporadic street violence, economic distress and political polarization were mostly put on ice this past Sunday as Egyptians of all classes and religions held picnics, took boat rides on the Nile and celebrated Sham el-Nessim, a holiday whose roots most believe date back to this land’s ancient inhabitants. The event features a stinky fish.
A tiny collective of rural women at the southern tip of the Dead Sea in Safi is creating art that’s omni-sustainable. Since 1999, with catalytic infusions from a remarkable Canadian painter, this Jordanian sisterhood has been crafting unusual “eco” fabric items bespoke to their salty seaside village.
A quiet little how-to book has been translated into Hebrew offering basic sex education to Israel’s Orthodox Jews.
Health experts have long advocated drinking tea instead of coffee, and the Middle East is awash in both, but modern food technology is heating up health concerns over this ancient brew.
A Chinese airline attracted a media mess after announcing plans to dress its cabin crew as maids and butlers. Low-cost carrier Spring Airlines unveiled the uniforms as part of a special promotion posted on its corporate Facebook page, according to Shanghai Daily. The airline posted, “We’re mixing up our flights with some fun on-board themes – [...]
As hummus, a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, gains popularity among Americans seeking healthful snacks, tobacco farmers open their fields to chick peas and Pepsico undertakes to develop new hummus food science with an Israeli company, Strauss. Both businesses see massive potential in developing American chick pea strains for a number of good reasons, some perhaps less good. [...]
Using only upcycled objects, French artist Bernard Pras reinterprets iconic images through the art of anamorphosis. Relying on old trash gathered near his installation sites, Bernard Pras from France assembles clothes and rags, wood, old record albums, dishes, broken toys (and anything else he can grab) to re-interpret pop-culture images. It’s far from ad hoc: [...]
Turkey’s booming aviation industry is planning new development that will wipe out over half a million old-growth trees. Istanbul aims to build its third airport on nearly a square kilometer of previously pristine forest in the northern, European part of the city, on Lake Terkos near the Black Sea. With six runways and an annual [...]
Random dumping and burning of plastic garbage, which constitutes a fifth of the Kingdom’s solid waste, are negatively affecting the environment and public health, said a Jordanian official. Good morning, Jordan! Glad to see you waking up to your plastic addiction and outrageously dirty dumping disorder. Plastics, widely introduced to world markets in the 1960′s, have [...]
As America hunts for clues on the Boston Bomber suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Laurie goes on with life and looks to the follies of communication in the Middle East. Communication is key to everything. Every driver knows that intersections are risky, but the crossroad of language and culture is especially prone to accidents. Need proof? I pick [...]
Built at the lowest elevation on earth, and less than a year old, this jewel-box of a museum showcases the Dead Sea region’s rich past. After Israel, no nation has as many Biblical sites as Jordan. The Dead Sea gets several mentions in the Bible, and it’s where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Jesus [...]
Israeli archaeologists are baffled by a giant cone-shaped structure submerged beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Twice the diameter of Stonehenge and weighing more than ten elephants, a mysterious cone-shaped structure on the bottom of the Sea of Galilee is challenging archaeologists to determine its purpose and age. The mound was first detected [...]
Dubai police have announced the latest acquisition to their fleet of cop cars: a 700 horsepower Lamborghini Aventador. Unlike scofflaws in Saudi Arabia who risk a trip to “chop-chop square”, criminals in Dubai’ may now face a white-knuckle ride in one of the world’s fastest and most expensive cars. The supercar, which can reach speeds [...]
Paris marathon organizers plan on ripping off its runners! Energy-harvesting tiles placed along an 80 foot section of the Champs Elysee will capture energy from the pounding feet of 40,000 racers. The technology developed by Pavegen offers a tangible way for people to engage with renewable energy generation. The flexible tiles made from recycled truck tires [...]
Eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control. No brainer. But do we need a digital fork to help adhere to that maxim? Goofing around online, I spot a cool-looking kitchen gadget: a fork that could be a love-child of IKEA and Apple. I click on the video and nearly spit out [...]
Angelina Jolie funds girls’ schools in Afghanistan with the proceeds of her luxury jewelry line. Hollywood actress and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), Angelina Jolie is building girls-only primary schools throughout the country. One particular school, which opened last November, educates about 300 girls and is located outside Kabul in [...]
How can nakedness used to raise environmental awareness be artful and “good”, yet nakedness in the name of feminism is scandalous porn? Twenty-first century, my foot. Make that my bare foot. Amina Tyler, a 19-year old Tunisian, recently posted topless photos of herself on Facebook. The first image shows Amina kicking back with a book and [...]
An Iranian confectioner packed five tons of ice cream into a a single container to scoop a new world record in desserts. When you’ve just clinched the title as “monster rat” breeding grounds, why not sweeten your international appeal with the world’s biggest tub of ice cream? Last week in Tehran, Iranian dairy company Choopan popped [...]
Irish artist David Thomas Smith weaves thousands of Google Maps screen grabs into intricate designs mimicking Persian rugs. Look closer, and these symmetrical compositions reveal global landscapes transformed by mankind. Imagine a carpet made up of aerial satellite images of modern infrastructure: concrete roads and rooftops replacing fiber weft and warp. See this artist’s “rug” [...]
Want to go from one high fashion look to a completely different one without getting undressed? Hussein Chalayan is a high-end transformer clothing designer. Turkish Cypriot Hussein Chalayan’s double-duty dresses are sensual and slightly sustainable: two-in-one haute couture arrives in a single shipment. London-based designer Chalayan unveiled a line of tranformative clothing in the runways of [...]
Miriam has been covering a series of sustainable meal recipes from the Middle East region, from countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran to help people reconnect with their local food (click the countries to get some great local recipes). We know that food industry is shaping the future of our bodies and our planet, [...]
Gabriele Galimberti’s“Toy Stories” documents the world’s children posed with their favorite toys. Everyone remembers their most prized possessions. Mine were an Etch-a-Sketch, some wads of Silly Putty, and an endless supply of Crayola crayons: surely you can rattle off yours? Galimberti, an Italian photographer who specializes in serials, all variations on a single theme, said [...]
A new book holds your hand and walks you through the stuff you already sort of know: 7 simple steps to bring you back to food basics. Once a week, a small group of arty pals convene after work to play with papier-mâché, share a simple meal and unwind. It’s wonderful. With our hands busy, [...]
Super-sized rats infesting Tehran are so huge that a special team of sharpshooters using night-vision-equipped rifles have been tasked with extermination. It sounds like a sci-fi B movie, but the problem is real. Rats have long plagued Iran, and the problem worsens when springtime arrives: melting mountain snows flood the critters’ nests, and millions are [...]
Springtime in Jordan brings ferocious sandstorms and a nose-clogging meteorological phenom called “khamsin”. Grab your Michael Jackson face masks and the decongestant of your choice, close the windows tight and stockpile tissues. The dry, dusty winds of khamsin are blowing across the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa and right into your sinus canals. That image [...]
Saudi Arabia announced its Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper aiming for a new world height record of over 1 kilometer high in the sky. Boys, boys, boys, when will you learn that size doesn’t matter as much as performance? Next Azerbaijan broadcast plans to top that with their own mile-high cloud-puncher. Then Pakistan upstaged both with [...]
A new Amman clothing retailer is hitting all the green lights on the fashion runway: Yours & Mine makes sustainability chic, selling locally sourced, recycled garments in a virtual store. I’ve been stylin’ used clothes for decades: it’s old hat in New York City to personalize your wardrobe with key finds from an Army & [...]
Everything old is new again in Abu Dhabi’s Central Market “The Souk” where developers are inspired by the emirate’s not-so-distant past. Kinda crazy that the 1970′s can be viewed as olden times, but in the rapidly developing United Arab Emirates, thirty years represent radical transformation. Nestled in the base of the Emirate’s new World Trade Center [...]
If new anti-smoking images slapped on Jordan’s smokes don’t help puffers kick the habit, maybe Jordan should look Down Under for greater motivation: Beginning this year, as part of Jordan’s obligations to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the Ministry of Health asked cigarette companies to feature graphic anti-smoking images on cigarette [...]
Can executions be green? Laurie answers this tongue in cheek. Tardy executioners have prompted Saudi Arabia to re-evaluate their centuries-old practice of public beheadings.The use of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is based on a hardline interpretation of Sharia (Islamic) law. The practice attracts international scorn because of the wide array of crimes which garner [...]
Coffee has a secret life beyond your kitchen filter. Give new life to the mountains of used grinds we toss out every week. I built a fertilizer-maker in my garden with the help of foodie friends, then we tucked into some coffee for their lecture on Composting 101. I’m a clueless composter, but I make such [...]
The European Commission (EC) approved a pork-based feedstock for farm-raised fish. Next year, your mullet and trout might contain chicken and pork. Horsemeat in burgers, meatballs and frozen lasagna is startling, but while these products include a “secret ingredient”, they remain as advertised: meat-based foods. But what happens when the fish on your dish also [...]
Hamas in Gaza does not want pretty women running in the streets. UN cancels the marathon that had almost 400 women registered for participation. While Israel gears up for its 42k marathon next week, the United Nations cancels Gaza marathon after Hamas rulers ban women from participating. The ban is the latest attempt by the Palestinian [...]