Mstdfr (Arabic: مستدفر) is a Middle Eastern geeky podcast spoken in "Arablish". Every week, Ammar and Rami host different regional guests to talk about various topics including: current affairs, culture, technology, media, challenges facing the new Arab generation, and everything in between.
In this episode we kick off trying to answer the question ‘what is an Arab’ and Arab identity. The discussion automagically veers to the “genie” on Twitter. Ammar then quizzes our local theoretical physicist Reem on the science behind the flux capacitor from Back To The Future. Reem then tells us about her work at CERN and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC.) Which leads to particle physics, positrons, anti-matter and a lot of other mind-numbing physical concepts that Reem did a marvelous job explaining and graciously dealt with our stupid questions and Ammar’s lame jokes.
Today’s topic generally is not viewed as a geeky topic, our challenge was to geek out on it. We talk sports. We get into a heated debate on the ‘national choice’ issue that many North African soccer players face during their careers. What makes Zidane, Benzema, Nasri et al choose France over Algeria or vice versa to represent on the international football stage?
The guys start off the day by discussing dumb questions that don’t deserve answers. However, seeing dumb questions in retrospect makes Omair and Faisal think differently. Science gets explained in lay men’s terms. Even better, super hero science, human tetrachromats (see show notes), outer space, and existentialism has its 15 minutes of fame.
Today’s conversation brings us to a few pet peeves in Saudi etiquette – serving things with your left hand and taking things personally. We then find out the MSTDFR origin story after realizing there aren’t a lot of podcasts like us. “IT guy” Ali turns out to be a prankster, and shares an adventure with us and highlighting the phenomenon of people teaming up with him. He gives good tips on how to come clean to the pranked.
Today we talk about art and personal passions. Fayiz Melibary starts by telling us the story of Elon Musk. Then we talk about Huda Baydoon and her artistic contribution to Banksy’s Dismaland. Then we ask the question whether photography an art or not, which gets us into war photography and Kevin Carter’s 1993 notorious photo.
Today we host Abdulhameed Sabban (aka Tudi) a comic book aficionado and expert. We start discussing the DC superhero universe and explore the parallels between Superman and the story of the prophet Moses. We then analyze the Fox vs. Marvel war and the reasons behind the bad blood between the two companies.
Ammar and Rami go at it debating whether management as a profession in itself as important as it is made out to be or craftsmen can/should be able to learn managing their enterprises. Then they delve deeper into the Saudi job market as an institution and analyze it and discuss what is holding it back.
Rami shares with us his geeky yet mischievous wifi tethering hotspot name. The MSDTFR gang discusses being multicultural, conformity in Saudi Arabia vs. USA. Ammar then segues us into TV and media consumption with children. We discussed Naqatube, the video website preferred by Muslim conservatives. Rami rants about Internet censorship in Saudi Arabia and it’s adverse effect on making parents passive with their children’s internet consumption.
Omair tells us of the story of how Hashim grilled him in an engineering job interview. Rami asks what would be the most watched video if Youtube existed in 1900. We discuss the misuse of the word ‘literally’ and how the word has been redefined in the English language.