Kuwait Students Snatch Top Places in Smart Brain Contest

Post by Mark

kids

A group of talented students of Kuwait’s Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity (SAGC) has offered an impressive performance and the grabbed the top positions in the International Mental Math Championship, held in Thailand.

In a press statement, the SAGC reported that the Kuwaiti students have won the first place in the group category.

They have also performed well in the individuals categories wining the first and second places in level No. 1. The Kuwaiti students have snatched the first places in levels 3 and 4 and the fourth place in level No. 5.
Over 1465 students from across the world have partaken in the competition which started Sunday. The students were challenged by complicated math equations.

Smart Brain is part of the global Smart Brain Franchise, which spans over 20 countries and teaches over 275,000 children every year.

It seeks to bring the internationally renowned Abacus Mental Arithmetic and Whole Brain Development Program to every child, thereby instilling a powerful learning tool that will aid the child in overall learning abilities such as reading comprehension, math, memory recall and concentration. [Source]

I hadn’t heard of Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity until this article. I took a look at their website (which is a mess) and they offer after school activities to help the needs of talented and creative students who aren’t having their abilities challenged with the regular school curriculum. I don’t know if this is strictly for Kuwaitis or also expats but it’s still pretty interesting nevertheless and impressive that we have it. [Link]


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Review: The Micro 3D Printer

Post by Mark

m3d-1

3D printers are a lot more common and accessible nowadays and I’m fascinated with the technology. As a huge Star Trek (TNG) nerd, a 3D printer to me is the first step towards a Replicator, a device that prints out whatever you want from food to gadgets. 3D printers are still a long way off to becoming a fully functioning Replicator, but we’re on the right track and they’re becoming more mainstream and affordable which brings me to the Micro 3D (M3D) printer. The local M3D dealer sent me a Micro 3D printer to review and I’ve been playing around with it for a few weeks now and figured it was about time I write about it.

m3d-2

The Micro 3D printer started off as a kickstarter project back in 2014, their goal was originally to get $50,000 worth of pledges but eventually ended up getting $3,401,361. It was a huge success and a year later they started shipping them out. So what is a 3D printer? It’s basically like your regular printer except instead of printing ink on paper, it uses plastic ink (filaments) to print out three dimensional objects. Over the course of the period I’ve had the printer I’ve printed random stuff like iPhone cable protectors (pictured below), a AA battery case, a Nintendo 3DS cartridge box, a small toy robot, a wrench for my Dremel (because I lost my original one) and a bunch of other random stuff. Even a new adapter for my Dyson vacuum cleaner.

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Now all the items I printed were already 3D modeled since I don’t know how to use 3D software myself. The website with the largest library of 3D models is probably thingiverse.com. You can find anything you want there from car parts to the latest optical illusion that went viral last week. You just download the 3D model, load it up in your printer software and click print. Need a new iPhone cover? Just print one yourself, need a privacy shield for your iMac camera? Print one. A Pokemon ball? Print one. And if you do know how to use 3D software, then you could basically create anything you want.

The Micro 3D printer is a very compact device that doesn’t look intimidating at all. It comes in various colors and will sit nicely on any desk. There are no buttons on it, everything is controlled using the software so it has a very clean simple look to it. There is even an internal filament holder so that the ink stays hidden in the device but you could also mount the ink externally. One of the first things I printed was an external ink holder from the M3D website and it made swapping inks more practical. When it comes to the inks there are tons of colors to choose from and there are even two types, regular PLA ink and what M3D calls, the Tough Ink. I tried both types and prefer the Tough Ink since unlike the regular PLA, the Tough Ink has a rubber like feel to it and is flexible. Here is a video comparing the two [Video]. The disadvantage of Tough Ink is that it’s more expensive and a roll doesn’t last as long.

m3d-4

Over the few weeks I had the printer I did run into a bunch of issues, most of which aren’t printer specific. When your laser printer at home has a problem, it’s most likely a printer jam or you’ve run out of toner. With 3D printers there is so much more that can go wrong, for example here is a 3D printer troubleshooting page to give you an idea of all the various issues you might run into [Link]. Even something so minute as the room temperature can have an affect on the printing. It was frustrating at times but when you get everything working properly again you get a sense of reward, like you just cracked the Enigma code. Another issue is the amount of time it takes to print stuff out. The quickest thing I’ve printed took maybe 50 minutes while the longest took around 10 hours. I basically print stuff and go to sleep or leave the house. I’m not sure how much faster or slower other 3D printers are but it’s still something I wanted to point out in case you’re expecting to print stuff in a few minutes.

3D printers are still in their infancy but if you want to dabble in it then the M3D printer is a great way to start. The M3D printer costs KD155 while the regular PLA ink costs KD6 and the Tough Ink costs KD9. It’s one of the most affordable 3D printers on the market and I believe the most affordable one you can buy in Kuwait. It’s such a strange feeling to click print, go to sleep and then wake up to find a new object in your house that wasn’t there the night before. You’re essentially printing objects out of thin air and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this technology will evolve in the future.

If you’re interested in the M3D printer, the local dealer have a special deal right now for my readers, if you add the printer to your shopping cart and with it two regular PLA inks, use the promo code “248am” on check out and you’ll get the filaments for free. Here is the product page [Link]

Update: Here is a link to my collection of various 3D items that I’m interested in or already printed on [Thingiverse]


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Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Causeway on Track for Completion by 2018

Post by Mark


[YouTube]

The Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Causeway, a key project on the state national development plan, will be among the longest bridge worldwide. It is one track for completion in November 2018. The project, also known as the Subbiyah Causeway, aims to link south and north Kuwait, as well as coping with the increasing traffic jam over the coming three decades.

It consists of two parts: the Main Causeway that will link Kuwait City to the Subbiyah New Town area to the north, stretching 37.5 km, starting from the Ghazali Road intersection and ending at the Subbiyah highway. About 27km of it is a marine bridge structure. The second bridge, Doha Link, will be 12.4 km and will pass through the Kuwait Bay area towards the west, linking the Shuwaikh Port with the Doha motorway.

Up to 59 percent of the Main Causeway has been achieved, and 30 percent in the Doha Link, Assistant Undersecretary for Road Engineering at the Ministry of Public Works Eng. Ahmad Al­Hessan told KUNA. He added that the Doha link aims to end traffic jams in Shuwaikh, and on the Ghazali Road resulting from the trucks using the Port. The Sheikh Jaber Al­Ahmad Causeway also includes two artificial islands, the first to be built on a total area of 300,000 square meters near Kuwait city, and the second near Subbiyah New Town.

They will have government buildings, a marina and green spaces in addition to areas for future investment projects. [Source]

bridge

I’ve been watching their progress for awhile now since I can see a large chunk of the project from outside my window and they’ve been moving along pretty quickly. You can even see the bridge in earth view on [Google Maps].

Thanks Ricardas


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In Focus: Super Shop

Post by Mark

supershop1

I’ve been doing a bit of work on my Datsun and one thing I needed to get was a new carburetor. My car had a small single barrel carb and I needed to get a larger 4 barrel Holley or Edelbrock so I did a google search and found out about a shop called ProRPM. I passed by them but they turned out to be a tiny store and I couldn’t find what I wanted. When I told my mechanic I was having difficulty finding the part, he told me about a place called Super Shop. Not only did I find what I was looking for there but the price was also pretty similar to the price on Amazon. So I went around and took note of all the different brands they carried in case someone in the future is googles like I did. These are the brands I saw in their shop:

AFE
ARP
Auto meter
B&M
BBK
Comp Cam’s
Cometic
Edelbrock
Eibach
Fel-pro
Holley
K&N
Magna Fuel
Manley
Mcleed
Moroso
MSD
RPC
Wix

supershop2

So if you’re looking for any of these brands for your car then this is the place to check out first. Their instagram account is @supershop_kw and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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What Interests Me

Post by Mark

fire

On my way to lunch I spotted a building under construction on fire in Salmiya. I didn’t head towards it or even take a photo, I was just so disinterested. Around an hour later a friend of mine sent me a video of the fire and I started to question if this is possibly an interesting post for the blog that I am missing out on. I was leaving lunch by then so I headed back towards the burning building. There were a ton of fire trucks, a guy on a stretcher being lifted into an ambulance and a crowd gathered watching. Most of the roads around the building which is on Salem Mubarek Street were also blocked off and yet I still wasn’t interested. I snapped my one picture and drove home.

8 years ago I’d be all over this fire so I could post about it on the blog. I would have parked me car, gone down and tried to take as many interesting photos as possible, maybe ask someone how the fire started.. you know like a wannabe reporter. But now I just don’t think a fire in a random building is interesting content anymore. Accident photos, fires, its more kuwaituptodate style of posts than mine, not unless it’s some important structure burning like the airport or something. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve gotten too picky with what I post and if thats a bad thing for the blog. I don’t think it is.

I’m thinking out loud here so bear with me. The blog has always been about curated content, actually maybe that’s not entirely accurate but it has evolved to being about curated content and the curation process has always revolved around me. It’s what I think is interesting at this very moment and usually related to my personal life experiences. So today I’m interested in Matcha, so I’ll post about Matcha, tomorrow I might be interested in I don’t know, staplers, so I’ll post about staplers. If a fire in a building doesn’t interest me then I think it’s fine I don’t post about it. It’s not like in the old days, I don’t feel the need anymore to post everything since there are tons of other places to get content today. I think what makes my blog content unique to other sources is the utter randomness of the topics, all of which in one way or another relate to me.

So there you have it, I think I needed to write this down for me more than for you. But basically I’m going to continue just posting about stuff that matters to me and not what I think might matter to other people. Like it’s always been.


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TV Shows To Watch

Post by Mark

unreal

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about TV shows but since I’m watching a few really good ones at the moment I figured it was time I do. This isn’t a large list, it just a small one of shows I want to highlight.

UnREAL
The first show I would recommend is UnREAL. I binge watched the whole first season earlier this year in one go on the plane when I was on my way to Vegas and the second season is currently running now. The show takes place on the set of a reality dating show and gives you an insight on all the manipulation that takes place behind the scenes. It’s heartless, brutal and I love it. My favorite show on TV right now.

Billions
First season is already out and I binge watched half of it yesterday. The show stars Damian Lewis (from Homeland) as a billionaire hedge fund king and the extraordinary actor, Paul Giamatti as a U.S. Attorney who’s trying to take him down. It’s really entertain from the get-go with great acting by the two.

The Night Of
Only one episode of this new HBO show is out but I’m already hooked. It’s a crime drama that follows a Paskistani-American student who ends up in a middle of a murder investigation. I love crime dramas, especially ones that don’t try to solve a crime per episode. Speaking of which if you haven’t already, watch The Killing, the first season is probably the best thing you could ever watch on TV.

One to look out for…

Vice Principals
This show comes out today so I haven’t watched it yet but it stars Danny McBride (Kenny Powers) so it should (hopefully) be funny.

Finally…

Kill Tony
Ok this isn’t a TV show, it’s a podcast but instead of making a separate post for it I’ll just mention it here. Kill Tony is I guess a reality show comedy. The show is run by the hilarious comedian Tony Hinchcliffe and the audience members are all striving stand up comedians. Tony randomly selects a name of an audience member from a hat and they have to come up and do stand up for 60 seconds. Although many of the stand ups aren’t funny the show is actually incredibly funny since Tony and his guest celebrity comedians tend to roast the stand ups (while also giving them feedback and tips on how to improve).

Have a show you’re currently watching and like? Share it in the comments.


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Matcha Tea in Kuwait

Post by Mark

matcha

Last week a friend of mine asked me where they could find ceremonial grade Matcha and I didn’t know. Since I like to know everything I decided to find out. After checking out different supermarkets the only place I found ceremonial grade Matcha was at Wholesome Foods and SaveCo. But, for some odd reason, they were selling it for more than double the price it costs on Amazon. The price on Amazon was KD8 but SaveCo and Wholesome Foods were selling it for KD16.8. If I ordered it from Amazon and shipped it to Kuwait myself, I’d end up paying round KD11 with shipping so no way I was gonna pay KD16.8 for it.

So I kept looking and eventually found ceremonial grade Matcha at Teavana and they were selling it for the same price as Amazon. KD8 for the 40g can and KD13 for the 80g can. So if you’re looking for Matcha tea, Teavana is the place. And SaveCo, you guys really need to rethink how you price some of your products.

If you don’t know what Matcha is or its benefits, click [Here]


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Kuwait First in the Gulf Region to set a Minimum Wage for Maids

Post by Mark

maid

Kuwait has become the first state in the Gulf region to set a minimum wage for its estimated 600,000 domestic workers, most of whom are overseas workers from Asia.

The minimum wage is set at 60 dinars (roughly $200 USD) a month, according to a decree issued by Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah.
Al Jazeera reported that the decree also promised other rights, including a weekly day off, guaranteed overtime pay, 12-hour working days with rest periods, 30 days of paid leave annually and an end-of-service benefit when the contract ends.

Kuwait becomes the first Gulf country to regulate the domestic work industry through legislation. Over 2.4 million domestic workers serve homes across the Gulf, and with the exception of those in Kuwait, they are not protected by labor legislation. [Full Article]

This news broke before the weekend but I didn’t want to post it until I got a bit more information. I was confused because from what I was aware of, the minimum wage in Kuwait was KD60 anyway so I didn’t understand why this was news now. But, according to Fajer the lawyer, it turns out the KD60 minimum wage was for the private sector workers and that domestic workers didn’t fall under that category. Now they do.


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Kuwait Issues Pokemon Warning

Post by Mark

Kuwait is saying “no” to “Pokemon Go” in certain places. The tiny oil-rich emirate’s Interior Ministry issued a statement Friday warning users of the smash mobile phone application from taking pictures of any vital government, military or security location.

It also warned users not to pounce on Pikachus or chase Charmanders at mosques, shopping centers, malls and oil installations.

Lt. Gen. Sulaiman al-Fahad at the ministry said: “No excuses will be accepted by anyone claiming ignorance of the law.”

Though “Pokemon Go” hasn’t officially come to nations in the Persian Gulf, many have downloaded the app. Authorities in the United Arab Emirates also have warned users to be careful while chasing digital critters in the augmented reality game. [Source]

I can understand why they’re warning users not to play Pokemon in sensitive government and military locations but malls??

via Nibaq


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Careem Taxis Now Cheaper

Post by Mark

careem

Careem is a taxi app similar to Uber but one that actually works in Kuwait. Some of the features of the app include:

– Ability to add a credit card to your account and use it to pay for your rides
– The rides are metered
– Track your ride in real time
– You can pre-book a cab in advance

I’ve never used them but the biggest complaint I had heard about them was that they were expensive. They must have heard those complaints because they’ve now reduced their prices by 30% in addition to the fact they now accept cash payments.

Their app is available for both Android and iOS devices and if you want to find out more you can visit their website [Here]

Update: Careem just contacted me to let me know they created the promo code “248AM”. If you use this promo code in their app then you get 50% off you first “Economy Ride” journey. The promo code is valid until July 31 and applies to cash and credit card bookings.


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