Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How the Egyptian society views mental health!!!

In Egyptian society there are an estimated 18 million people, or thirty percent, who suffer from psychological ailments. Three million of these have cases of depression, according to Dr. Ahmed Okasha. Many people have serious psychological problems that require proper diagnosis, treatment and perhaps a pharmaceutical remedy to counter a mental imbalance. However, if I was suffering from depression, I would not visit a psychiatrist or psychologist. Personally, I have the preconception that psychologists offer an expensive therapy that’s presented as an easy solution to very difficult mental problems that can weaken one’s ability to live well. And I also believe that psychiatrists aren’t always working in the best interest of their patients, rather that they cater to a plethora of pharmaceutical industries that curry favor with them in various ways.

Psychologists are paid to listen to patients and to try to help them with their problems by talking. Some psychologists work for the government and others operate privately. It is my thinking that the primary motivation of psychologists is to be paid. So, in one way, it does not benefit psychologists to solve their patients’ problems as efficiently as possible. For this first reason I am skeptical about the benefits of sessions with psychologists. Secondly, I don’t see in what ways a psychologist could help me sort out my hypothetically depressed state of mind better than I could. If anything, I would feel more depressed to be in that situation, sitting in their office and complaining about why I cannot function because I feel the world is not worth living. I imagine the response to my criticisms of life or my own ability to live life would be very annoying, because, being in that narrow frame of mind, I would feel like the doctor could not identify with me. If I were to seek help with my life condition, paying money for it would not be alright with me as it is my opinion that there are others who could do a better job helping me – without asking for money in return. I feel that family, local religious leaders and friends are all much better alternatives for having a therapeutic talk.

Psychiatrists are not only paid by their patients but also have been reported to be paid by pharmaceutical companies to push pills. This is particularly true in developing countries where there is little or no regulation of medical practice, prescribing drugs and dispensing drugs. In these countries, the idea of malpractice lawsuits against doctors is absent. Psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies both benefit from these conditions. If a pharmaceutical company wants to make more profit from their products or to popularize a new drug, there is the possibility that developing countries can be exploited for this reason. And because developing countries, such as Egypt, have a shortage of psychiatrists compared to their population afflicted with mental ailments, chances of the general over-prescribing of drugs is higher. It is apparent from the many scandals that have been exposed in connection to this nefarious relationship that psychiatrists are demanding favors from the drug companies that are providing them with the sometimes unnecessary and even potentially harmful drugs they prescribe.

Most people in Egypt, I believe, would feel the same way about depression but some maybe for different reasons. Although there is generally a skepticism I think they share with me, the actual reason most would also not seek psychological therapy for depression is shame. The majority of people here belong to extended families who all rely on each other. So I believe most would not like to feel that they are admitting to a problem in their life. Rather, they would seek help from religious healers, who have a major role in primary psychiatric work here. They deal with minor psychiatric problems through devices such as amulets and incantation rituals. About 60 percent of out-patients at the university clinic in Cairo serving the poor members of the population have consulted a traditional healer before going to see a psychiatrist, according to Dr. Okasha. While most Egyptians are against this type of psychiatric help for fear of shame and economics, I would not seek psychological help because I don’t think it’s the best way of dealing with depression.

“One in every three Egyptians a psychological case, expert says.” Deutsche Press-Agentur. June 6,1997.
Okasha, Ahmed. “Focus on psychiatry in Egypt.” The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2004. .
Khan, Murad Moosa. “Murky waters: the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatrists in developing countries.” Psychiatric Bulletin. 2006. .

The Future of Social Networks & Agumented reality

Social Networks like (Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster) are the reason behind capturing the attention of millions of users and millions of dollars investments. According to the Social Networking Services (SNS) in their annual 2006 repot stated that, the 10 most popular websites viewed on the internet 40% of them are accounted for social networks like MySpace and Facebook.

The basic functionalities for social networks such as MySpace and Facebook like showing the friends’ lists, messages, walls, events, commenting, and groups help most people to stay connected and be available online most of the time and be able also to upload media stuff.

The main function of the internet is to be a medium for connecting people and using the internet for mailing and by introducing the social networks, we created a virtual online community that can gather and publish information to be spread around the world. The social networks are now moving to be the next market for advertisers and marketers to provide this huge community with online shopping and offer incentives to encourage them.

Social networks are designed to help people to work in groups and get together in common activities and interests. But there are some users who connect to others with no reason other than boosting the number of friends list in their profiles. For me, I think it is meaningless because now people will be connecting to each other with out anything in common.

The primary activity of some people on the social networks is to connect with other people and as a result become boring and meaningless to other people who feel offended by these kinds of activities. These networking sites have different features and functions but they “share common goal which is to create a large community on the internet that share common social interests and relationships.” (John Breslin, Stefan Decker).

The next step in social networks will be something revolutionary like augmented reality in which these networks will be accessible from mobile phones and you will be using them more and more. People are more used to do social things on the internet like playing games or working or talking and in fact more people find it more comfortable to socialize from their bed. Another important thins will surprise the world is that you can search for your friends on these social networks by “location which can decrease the privacy to its minimum levels” (John Breslin, Stefan Decker).

References :
1- John Breslin, Stefan Decker, "The Future of Social Networks on the Internet: The Need for Semantics," IEEE INTERNET COMPUTING, Vol. 11, 06, pp. 86-90, NOV. /DEC., 2007.

2- Michael J. Bugeja, director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication atIowa State University, is author of Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age (Oxford University Press) ,Section: Chronicle, Careers, Volume 52, Issue 21, Page C1

3- Boyd, d. m. & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11.

How to avoid internet censorship?

In many countries, there is this form of internet censorship and it might be in the form of banning online websites or censoring such popular websites as YouTube or Face Book. The definition of internet censorship is that you get the control of allowing access of information on the internet for the public use. The internet control or censorship varies from country to another. Censoring the internet was a starting point for people to look for other resources to get access for restricted sites using such as anonymous proxy servers.

According to Reporters without Borders, Egypt is on the list of 13 enemies of the internet. Egypt practices the most extreme form of internet censorship. Moreover, in other strict countries such as Iran, officials might imprison internet users for accessing blocked websites.

Countries with high internet censorship always claim that they are blocking pornography websites but as a matter of fact they block websites that have opposite political views of the government and they also block religion controversial websites because officials think they are offensive.

Not only governments that block websites, but also many companies censor and watch the internet in the offices and block websites that are not related to the employee’s working environment and that’s part of the IT department at companies.

While most governments and business companies try to restrict the way people use the internet, new techniques are being created to over come these restrictions and be able to access censored websites.

There is this popular software that most of the people use to over come censored website called The Onion Router (TOR) provides to users the option to stay invisible from traffic analysis. The idea of this software is based on changing the Proxy addresses around the world so that we you try to explore censored website, you go through series of connections to reach your website.

Censoring the internet differs in seriousness based on the regulation of country or company. Tight controls over the internet usage took away the user’s privacy rights. These regulations force users to seek help and search for software or website to be able to access censored websites.


In this blog I’m talking about how we can protect our data from hackers.
Let’s start by what do hackers want?

Most hackers are thieves and they may be looking for credit card information or they might want to get access to some sensitive property or some other copyrighted works. They do this because they can use for their own benefits or they just might resale it to other people online. Not only this but also they want to use your own computer to send spam email files to your contacts so that they can manage to hack them too.

The second issues is that how do hackers gain access to your account?

From my experience dealing with computers, I know these names or programs that can seriously damage my computer or make it remotely controlled such as worms, viruses, and Trojan.

Hackers can gain access to my computer by searching for the security holes which they can gain access without problems. These holes are existed in most programs we use for online communications.

Hackers use some hacking programs that are designed to figure out the access of accounts or the passwords. These programs are based on combining numbers and letters until it matches the password and can easily gain access to accounts.

The other thing that is commonly used on the internet is this message that you find on your inbox list which requires to send back your information such as passwords and birth date and some other personal information and hackers fabricates these messages to be sent from the hosting web site server and this is the trick where most people do not pay attention to and send back the information and this makes it for hackers to gain access to thousands of websites and accounts.

The third and final issue is about how to foil a hacker?

People should protect their computers by installing firewalls and anti-virus software programs so that they can keep track of any unexpected virus that could be targeting your own computer.

You can also use external hard drives as they provide automatic back up for information and data saved on them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Egyptian Museums

Egypt is rich with many museums, in fact there are more than 34 museums all over Egypt, and they are divided into:

1- National Museum:

They usually have collections from a specific period, or part of the Ancient Egyptian history

Such as:

* The Egyptian Museum:

In 1834 Mohamed Ali decreed an administration for the antiquities. He also ordered constituting the first museum in Al-Azbaquia. In 1858, August Mariette was in charge of the Egyptian Antiquities Institution and he built a museum in Bulaq, which opened in1863.

In 1891, the antiquities were transferred from Bulaq to the Palace of Giza (Saray El-Giza). In 1902 the present museum was built. It has about 120,000 objects on display, and several hundred thousand are still in the vaults.

* The Coptic Museum
* The Islamic Museum
* The Greco-Roman Museum

2- Local Museum:

They are mostly located in the capital of a local province. They usually have a collection of antiquities that have been found within the borders of the area

Such as:

* Elephantine Island Museum
* Luxor Museum
* Museum of Mellowi
* Menia Museum
* Beni Seuf Museum
* New Valley Museum
* Ismalia Museum:
* Port Said Museum:
* Tanta Museum

3- Contemporary Museums:

They exhibit relics from the era of Mohamed Ali and his family

Such as:

* Mohamed Ali Basha Museum in Shoubra
* Prince Mohamed Ali at Manial palace:
* Museum of Gayer Anderson
* Elguhara Palace Museum
* Royal Chariots Museum at the Citadel
* Royal Chariots Museum at Boulak
* Police Museum
* Royal jewellery Museum at Alexandria

4- Site Museums:

They are usually attached to specific sites, and are small in size. They exhibit the artefacts that have been found around the archaeological site, instead of keeping the finds in a local antiquities store

Such as:

* Tanis Museum (San EL Hagar)
* Karnis Museum (Kom Oushim)
* Solar boat Museum (southern side of Khufu’s Pyramid)

Theme and other miscellaneous Museums:

These museums were built to exhibit a particular type of artefact

Such as:

* The Nubian Museum
* The Maritime Museum
* The Military Museum.
* Agricultural Museum
* Islamic Pottery Museum

The Main Air Pollution in Cairo

There are numerous sources to air pollution in Egypt, as in other countries. However, the formation and levels of dust, small particles and soot are more characteristic in Egypt than presently found in industrialized countries. Some of the sources for these pollutants, such as industries, open-air waste burning and transportation, were also well known problems in most countries only 10 to 20 years ago.

Another important source for particulate matter is the wind blown dust from the arid areas. These particles are, however, to be found in the larger particle fraction. We will show, for instance from data collected at Tabbin in southern Cairo, that the inhalable (thoracic) particles (diameter less than 10 micrometer, PM10 ) are mainly generated from industrial processes.

To illustrate the magnitude of the suspended particulate matter problem, Figure 2 shows the percentage of exceedance of air Quality limit value during the year 2001.

Figure 2: The percentage of Exceedance of PM10 to Air Quality Limit value of Egypt during the year of 2001.

Suspended dust (measured as PM10 and TSP) can be seen to be a major air pollution problem in Egypt. PM10 concentrations can exceed daily average concentrations during 98% of the measurement period. The Exceedances are highest in industrial areas. On the other hand it seems that the natural background of PM10 in Egypt may be close to or around the Air Quality Limit value. These levels can be found also in areas where local anthropogenic sources do not impact the measurements. Further measurements may be used in the future to quantify the relative importance of the different sources relative to a background level that varies dependent upon the area characteristics.

In addition to particles, also SO2 in urban areas and in industrial areas, as well as NO2 and CO in the streets may exceed the Air Quality Limit value.

you can also get more information through Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs