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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Israeli Research Tech Helps Doctors Fight HIV

(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)

Probably one of the most feared diseases on our planet, HIV is a virus that has very few rivals in todays modern world.

In order to combat this ever adapting Borg like virus, researchers from the IBM Haifa Research Lab in Israel were asked to help Europe perfect EuResist, in an attempt at finding new ways to help doctors fight this disease.

(Israel 21st Century) With EuResist, this interaction is done through the web, where physicians can input a patient's information and status and then get a summary of what is known about this specific virus stage along with a prediction of what treatment has a good chance of helping the patient.

For example, a doctor in Bolivia - who may not have expertise in AIDS treatment or access to recent research - can use the knowledge accumulated in the EuResist system to treat patients. "This access to shared knowledge greatly increases our chances of fighting AIDS and can provide a vital contribution to world healthcare," continues Zazzi.

HRB's contributions to the project from Israel are two fold. The Healthcare and Life Science group has implemented a standardized biomedical information technology that processes and correlates clinical and genomic data from various data sources. And The lab's Machine Learning group has developed a sophisticated model and training engine that helps predicts drug resistance.

Hopefully this community effort will help humanity develop a cure for this horrible disease, as well as aid doctors in third world nations unfamiliar with treating it. By helping medical professionals "put their heads together," Israel is giving those afflicted with this disease a fighting chance at a brighter future.

Israel's eXelate Introduces Delayed Ads For Publishers?

It looks as if a new Israeli company called eXelate may have found a unique way for bloggers, publishers to earn extra revenue without taking up any ad space (at least for the most part).

(TechCrunch) Here's how it works: An ad network participating in eXelate's exchange purchases from publishers the right to place Delayed-Ad cookies on users with vertical-specific interests (travel, automotive, etc.). When such users later visit publisher sites that fall under the realm of the ad network, they are shown targeted ads relevant to the interest-specific site they received their Delayed-Ad cookie on. Hence, "Delayed-Ad."

Is this basically a twist on behavioral targeting and retargeting? Generally speaking yes, except that eXelate restricts itself from building user profiles like traditional behavioral ad networks such as TACODA. Nor does it retarget traffic within the ad networks employing its system.

News sites and bloggers may find eXelate to be a breath of fresh air, as it may allow them to generate the necessary funds without the need to locate space to keep their websites running.

Although eXelate is still new to the web ads arena, it may not be too surprising a year from now to find this young contender either thriving in a world dominated by the big three (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) or acquired by one of them.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Israel To Moldova: Aid Is On The Way

(Image Credit: Greenwich Meantime)

Moldova, a nation located next to Romania and Ukraine, has recently been experiencing a severe drought.

In order to help their European friend survive throughout this trying time, Israel has decided to help out Moldova by donating medical supplies.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dispatched a special shipment of medical aid to Moldova. The aid package, which included medical equipment and drugs, was transported by the Moldovan airline and received by the central government hospital in Kishinev.

The shipment of special medical aid was dispatched on Tuesday, October 23, at the request of the Moldovan Minister of Health. The request was subsequent to the Moldovan government's publicized request for aid to help combat the severe draught that has afflicted the country.

The aid package was donated by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health and by Hadassah-Ein Karem Hospital

Despite being located on a different continent, Israel's generosity towards those suffering knows no bounds, as they have previously helped out what some would consider their mortal enemies.

Hopefully these supplies will help ease the burden of the Moldovan government, as well as demonstrate a side of Israel few often get to hear about in the media.

Dozens Of Nations Rally For Missing IDF Troops

It looks as if sympathy for missing IDF troops is not just limited in America, Israel and France.

Rallies for Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser, and Gilad Shalit have been forming across the planet in almost four dozen nations, in an attempt to raise awareness about the fate of the missing soldiers.

(Ynet News) Tens of thousands will hold simultaneous marches for release of captive Israeli soldiers. In New York students will protest in front of UN headquarters, in Uruguay the demonstration will head for the Iranian embassy [...]

The initiative will reach its apex on Tuesday evening at 21:00 (in Israel) when rallies will be held simultaneously in over 45 countries in a show of solidarity with the kidnapped Israeli soldiers and their families.

The first rally was kick started in Jerusalem with 3,000 young people participating to make their voices heard.

Unlike many nations where the memory of missing soldiers often fades with time, Israel seems to keep the images of their own in the public limelight, which speaks great volumes about the Israeli culture there.

Hopefully these men are found not only very soon, but safely as well.

Note: Here is a song created by Yair Gordon (from South Africa) in memory of prayer for and solidarity with the missing troops.

powered by ODEO

Note: Lyrics to this song can be found over at:

Update (10/30): Fixed error with audio, as well as changed a few words to highlight this authors (and many others) belief that the missing soldiers are still alive. Thanks Yair!

Turning Garbage Dumps Into Israeli Theme Parks?

(Hat Tip:, Image Credit: Rina Castelnuovo via New York Times)

The Israeli government seems intent upon turning the garbage dump of Hiriya (which is located outside of Tel Aviv) into a future theme park for kids.

While recycling a land fill is a great way to teach the next generation about taking care of the planet, what makes the story interesting is the fact that they are naming it after Ariel Sharon.

(New York Times) But on Oct. 28, in the hazy light of afternoon, Israel's president, prime minister, senior politicians, mayors and business leaders plan to gather on this flat-topped brown mound, known as Hiriya, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, just by Ben-Gurion International Airport, and name it the Ariel Sharon Park. [...]

The Hiriya dump, closed nine years ago, will serve as the centerpiece for what is to become a vast 2,000-acre urban wilderness. The monumental dirt mountain, which sits at the intersection of some of Israel's busiest highways, will be transformed into a beauty spot designed by a German landscape architect, Prof. Peter Latz.

Before he was elected Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon fought around that area during the Israel Independence War. The land always had a special meaning to him, and later on in life he fought against having the area developed by the real estate industry.

Later on it was transformed into a dump, which was an eyesore for the city. Now that the city is recycling this landfill, designers hope to turn this dump into a worldwide attraction, with the intent upon educating kids about taking care of the future.

US Pentagon: Israel To Have Stealth Planes By 2012

The US Pentagon has decided to speed up shipment of the much anticipated Joint Strike Fighter towards Israel, who originally was suppose to receive it by 2014. While an earlier shipment is delicious in itself, the icing of the cake is that Israel will be allowed to "slightly tweak" the craft to its own preferences.

(Israel Insider) "This plane can fly into downtown Teheran without anyone even knowing about it since it can't be detected on radar," the Jerusalem Post quoted a senior Israeli defense official as saying. [...]

The defense minister also managed to persuade the Americans to allow Israel to install its own unique technology in the aircraft, which had been a major point of dispute between the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon, defense officials said.

According to the article, Israel would receive every third jet which would enable the Jewish state to maintain enough of these aircraft to easily defend its own borders.

New Deal To Encourage Chinese Tourists To Visit Israel

Israel may soon have a new flood of visitors from the east exploring the tiny country!

(Israel National News) Officials in Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s office said Saturday that Livni plans to sign an important tourism agreement during her trip to China. The agreement will make it easier for Chinese tour groups to visit Israel, they said.

Although China and Israel already have warm relations, this new agreement will hopefully give the general population of China a glimpse of what Israeli's are like in general, as well encourage Jews living in China to eventually make Aliyah.

Note: Yes, Chinese Jews do exist (an item people in America may find surprising). In fact, one of them recently was promoted to Admiral.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Israeli Med: A New Way To Fight Osteoporosis And Menopause?

It looks as if Israeli researchers have discovered a new way to fight Menopause (which can lead towards Osteoporosis) in women, without the use of hormone drugs.

(Israel 21st Century) Se-cure's flagship product Femarelle, which is now available in 15 countries around the world, is derived through a unique enzymatic procedure that creates a specific biochemical composition proven to combine the treatment of menopausal symptom relief and bone loss.

"Femarelle activates the estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent osteoporosis, but it won't activate the estrogen where it's not wanted, like in the breasts or the uterus," Yoles told ISRAEL21c.

He explained that for such a therapy to be safe, it must be selective - affecting estrogen receptors only in specific sites without affecting tissues where any change can have dangerous consequences. Which is exactly what Femarelle does - acting as a novel Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) drug.

Previous (and current) treatments of Menopause involved using hormone drugs, which can produce harmful side affects such as blood clots which can potentially lead to strokes.

Se-cure seeks to avoid this with their product Femarelle, which may be able to effectively help women reduce the affects of menopause upon their bodies.

Disclaimer: As I am not a doctor, and it is highly recommended that you consult your physician's advice before considering this product.

Geek Alert: Israel's Wix May Make Building Flash Sites Easy

While there are many sites out there that help non-geeks create web pages, most of them come with either a pretty cookie cutter look that you can not customize (at least fairly well), or tools that would inspire you to hire out a coder.

It looks as if a new Israeli company is moving to change all of that, by creating user-friendly tools to not only build an impressive web page code free, but integrate flash within it as well.

(TechCrunch) Israel-based is a new entrant that is entering into private beta now. It claims to allow users to create Flash-based websites without any programing skills, and publish those sites anywhere on the web. The output can also be widgetized and published on social networks.

What makes this site really interesting is the fact that users can create flash based web pages, which according to Wix will be search engine friendly (i.e. search engines will be able to read the content of the site, which can be difficult in flash).

Wix is still in beta, and unless you are currently a user you will need an invite in order to enjoy the fun.

Note: I have already signed up for an invite, as this may simply my attempts at building a business site using flash, which is a web weakness of mine.

Video: Ethiopian Israelis!

(Hat Tip:

Here is a video highlighting the journey of Ethiopian Israeli's leaving their birthplace in order to make Aliyah (or migrate towards the holy land).

Related Entries:

Israel Only Has One "Green" Kibbutz?

(Note: I was always under the impression that all Kibbutz's were "green" already, but apparently it seems as if I am in error.)

Several Israeli professionals are combining their skills and knowledge in order to see whether or not a "green" Kibbutz can become an enduring reality.

(Israel Ministry of the Environment) Kibbutz Ein Harod Ihud, located in northern Israel with a view of the eastern Jezreel Valley and Gilboa ridge, is Israel's only "Green Kibbutz." The philosophy of a "green kibbutz" was approved by the kibbutz authorities and a team has been set up, with the participation of professionals in such areas as engineering, economics, electricity, water, heating and business consultation, to help transform theory into practice.

The group is aggressively pursuing ways to not only reduce energy and recycle items, but in some cases (like metal), sell the goods to the highest bidder.

It will be interesting to see the results of the study, which could help inspire Israeli's (and people in general) on useful ways to keep our planet healthy.

Update: Inserted extra link.

Fashion: Israeli "Rough Chic" Bags Invade The US

(Image Credit: TES, via Israel 21st Century)

While there are many types of bags attracting the attention of women shoppers, it looks as if one designer's unique approach is catching the attention of everyone.

But what separates this bag from most the competition is that chooses a simple design, over its fancier rivals.

(Israel 21st Century) Thirty-nine-year-old Epstein-Segal calls it 'rough chic', and it's a style that she adopts personally. No fancy complicated garments for her, she dresses in simple, unpretentious clothes - black -shirt and jeans, a -colored belt and dark masculine shoes.

"I don't like pretentious or over-styled bags," she explains. "My bags are more primitive and basic in design. I like to emphasize the leather. It's very important to me. The bags are feminine, but have a rougher style. It's another sort of chic."

Tali Epstein-Segal's company, or TES has been doing very well not only in the US and Israel, but Turkey as well.

TES is considering expanding into France, as well as designing bags for men (hopefully she is thinking about business style bags or backpacks as "man bags" are not that popular in the US).

Clean Up The World Day, Israel

Yesterday was Clean Up the World day, and in the holy land Israel fulfilled its part by organizing the youth (and others) to help keep the beautiful beaches trash free.

(Israel Ministry of the Environment) Thousands of schoolchildren from schools in such coastal cities as Herzliya, Haifa, Netanya and Ashdod, as well as members of youth groups and soldiers, will come together to clean up undeclared beaches in their cities (beaches which are open to the public but do not have lifeguard facilities). Cleanups will take place throughout the day and will be accompanied by information activities on the subject of coastal cleanliness and preservation.

Since children will (for better or worse) inherit the planet from their parents, getting them involved is a great way to teach them about taking care of the environment.

Note: I am unsure how many other countries participated in this event, although as far as I can tell only Australia and America were involved in this.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Future: Israeli Doctors Could "Personalize" MS Treatments

It looks as if new findings by Israeli doctors may enable them to "personalize" treatments to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

(Israel National News) Prof. Doron Lancet of Weizmann's Department of Molecular Genetics says, "We analyzed the DNA sequences in 27 candidate genes from each patient participating in the trial, and we identified two genes with a high potential for determining the response to Copaxone. In the future, it may be possible to use this method to scan the genome of MS sufferers, to predict the response levels in advance, and to optimize the dosage and treatment protocol to suit each patient personally."

This is great news for patients, who previously had to undergo "trial and error" in order for doctors to determine the correct level of dosage. Hopefully this will help medical researchers prescribed the correct amount of medicine for their patients, in order to aid in our search for a cure against this horrible disease.

What Would A Kosher Vending Machine Look Like?

(Hat Tip: IsraelPlug)

After discovering the frustration of the lack of anything decent to eat at airports (that was probably tasty and kosher), two men decided to solve their problem by coming up with a kosher vending machine.

(New York Times) Earlier this month, the nation's first glatt kosher vending machine that can shoot out a hot knish was installed at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. The machine also crisps up kosher mozzarella sticks, cheese pizza and onion rings. And in a few weeks, freshly grilled hot dogs in warm buns will be for sale there, too. Not from the same machine, of course. That wouldn't be kosher.

The vending machines are called Hot Nosh 24/6. "To make it a little Jewish sounding we called it nosh, and we added the 24/6 to give a little cuteness to it," said Doron Fetman, who with his partner, Alan Cohnen, created Kosher Vending Industries.

Although Kosher Vending Industries is marketing itself mostly to those upholding the Jewish diet, they may find themselves open to a wider market than they realize.

With the US trying to find ways to substitute junk food from its school system, Cohnen's and Fetman's "little" machine may a tasty alternative to the fattening foods served to America's children.

Since When Did The French Support IDF Captives?

In a surprising move for a nation known for its sharp tongue against Israel, it looks as if the nation of France has inaugurated a site dedicated to the missing IDF soldiers--an event that has touched the lives of the families seeking the return of their loved ones.

(Ynet News) "In our previous meeting with Paris' mayor, we asked to display photos of our sons near city hall. The mayor was very attentive and promised to do something, and today he delivered," Noam Shalit said. "The photos have not been displayed near city hall, but they are located in a park where thousands of people and families visit every weekend."

"This is a significant gesture for us and it should not be taken for granted," Shalit added. "Gilad is indeed a French national, but Eldad and Udi are not, and what was done today touched us greatly."

This monument will hopefully enlighten French citizens on the situation regarding the missing solders, as well as help build sympathy for their whereabouts in the middle east.

Note: To my knowledge, France has close relations with many Arabian nations, and this move may be a sign that France is interested in helping Israel recover its missing soldiers.

Can Kosher Science Bring About The Borg?

While Borg, a cybernetic organism that exists in the fantasy realm of Star Trek may be half a century away, new research in Israel may bring this technology a little bit closer to reality.

(Israel 21st Century) For a group of researchers at Hebrew University, though, one novel approach to the measurement of brain activity has suggested how one day a metal-and-plastic limb might operate just as effectively as its flesh-and-blood prototype - and, in the process, teach us more about how the brain interacts with the body. [...]

The approach involves measuring the activity of all nerve cells located at an intermediate distance (100-200 micrometers) from a recording electrode. In this way, multiple independent readings can be obtained from many adjacent points - a crucial step in the determination of highly accurate measurements. Such accuracy might allow for a future robotic limb able to precisely obey its user's neuronal commands, or a device implanted in a paralysed limb which artificially stimulates existing muscles to move in a natural manner.

Israeli scientists have already begun testing this method with monkeys, with many of the tests proving to be 90-99% successful. Although more research is needed in order to perfect this, the "cybernetic" technology should at least help patients in need of prosthetic limbs.

$8.5 Million Donated To Israel By Christians

In a gesture of solidarity, evangelical Christians from the United States have donated $8.5 million (or approximately 34 million shekels) to help encourage Jews to commit Aliyah (or emigrate) towards Israel.

(Israel National News) An evangelical Christian group led by Rev. John Hagee raised $8.5 million for Israeli causes at a fundraising event earlier this week. Six million dollars will be donated to groups that encourage Jews to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel, while the rest will be donated to a variety of other causes, including funds to support Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.

Hagee is the founder and national chairman of the Christians United for Israel group, which is an organization seeking to promote Israel politically, financially and spiritually. They are one of the largest political grass roots organizations in the US, and perhaps one of the most influential as well.

This donation will help to send a strong signal to those eager to divide Jerusalem, something Hagee sees as "very unkosher."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Israeli Science: Green Tea Is Good For The Brain?

(Image: Dr. Silvia Mandal, Credit: Israel 21st Century)

For those of you who actually enjoy drinking the green stuff, fans of green tea may have another reason to celebrate an extra cup or two.

A key ingredient in green tea may not only help keep ones mind healthy, but also may help repair any damages as well.

(Israel 21st Century) But, according to Dr. Silvia Mandel of the Technion's Eve Topf Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the study she led was one of the first to show how the main antioxidant polyphenol of green tea extract, EGCG, actually works when it gets access into the brain. Mandel presented her findings last month in Washington DC to a rapt audience of colleagues at the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health. [...]

"We induced Parkinson's in mice and waited until the damage was evident. Then we began to administer the EGCG to the animals. The results showed that the EGCG not only prevented further deterioration, but it helped to regenerate the already damaged neurons in the brain. This phenomenon is called neurorescue or neurorestoration, and we're the first to show that green tea is effective in doing this. In the past, it was thought that once brain cells were damaged, there was no way to repair them. The major question is whether these promising results are reproducible in humans [Mandal said]."

If Mandal's research is proved to be sound for humans, then we may see green tea become a popular past time throughout the western world (as many people in the east already drink green tea according to the article).

Who would have ever thought that some of the world's most notorious diseases (at least in the West) had a chance of becoming easily vanquished by a popular drink?

Red Sea To Inherit Artificial Coral Reefs

(Image: Eilat coral reefs, Credit:

With the Red Sea reefs in danger due to snorkeling tourists, Israeli scientists have come up with a unique way at preserving their existing reefs without scaring away water loving travelers.

(Ha'aretz) "People and coral don't really go together," Nadav Shashar, a marine ecologist at Israel's Ben Gurion University told Reuters. "What we are trying to do is give an alternative option. Go and see the artificial
habitat - if you damage it we can replace it." [...]

At the moment the concrete blocks look stark. But Israeli and Jordanian researchers are growing rare species of coral in nurseries and hope to create a flourishing community within 2-5 years - a feat that might take up to 100 years in the wild. Once the coral is ready, divers "plant" it into holes drilled into the concrete blocks.

The scientists argue that the artificial reefs made out of concrete will be much friendlier towards the environment than shipwrecks, and they hope that it will attract the same level of tourism as the natural reefs in the ocean.

If successful, we could see a duplication of this worldwide by various countries.

Note: I wonder if they are growing the coral reefs with the help of these individuals?

Israeli Football To Kick Off In November

(Image Credit: Israel Football League)

Although the American style sport is not (yet) as popular as its Baseball counterpart, it looks as if the Israel Football League will soon be ready for the lime light next month.

But what makes this team different from the Israel Baseball League is the fact that these boys are home grown.

(Jerusalem Post) Steve Leibowitz, founder of the league, explains that development of the Israel Football League (IFL) derived from National Football League games which are screened regularly in Israel. Young Israelis who had caught the "football bug" were playing in local parks without equipment, without padding and without experience, says Leibowitz, an American immigrant who has been living in Israel for decades and who has previously introduced a touch football league to young atheletes. [...]

The IFL hosts a range of talent and ability, and no member of the team receives compensation for his participation.

"Just about everyone suiting up for the IFL lives in Israel on a permanent basis. We're talking about a player base that's homegrown," said Amkraut.

It will be interesting to see how the new Israel league performs in Israel, as this will give many the legal opportunity to "tackle thy neighbor" in a full contact sport. The league already has three teams established, who hail from Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Kiryat Ono respectively.

Hopefully they will put some video's of the games on their site (or perhaps on Joost) as it would give many American Jews a way to watch their games in the US (and perhaps convince them to eventually make Aliyah).

Update: Added image credit.

Israel's YES: Can You Handle Free TV For A Month?

After users of YES started complaining about satellite interference, the company is deciding whether or not to compensate its customers by giving them free TV for a month.

(Ha'aretz) The Yes satellite television company is considering opening up all its channels to all its customers for a month, as part of its compensation for the signal disruptions many viewers have been suffering since September 6.

Yes will be paying each of the production companies in charge of the niche channels hundreds of thousands of shekels in exchange for their consent to give the public free access: Normally the production companies would be receiving the money directly from viewers, albeit through Yes' channels. Company CEO Ron Eilon, shown above, is also giving all Yes customers free access to 18 DVDbox movies, leading some to grouse they couldn't see the things because of the signal disruptions.

Despite the fact that the interference was not the companies fault, this seems like a fair way to compensate its customers who had to pay for the month of rude interruptions.

Note: The signal was eventually narrowed down to a UNIFIL Dutch boat, whose radar was just a "little too strong."

WATEC 2007: Where Israeli Water Tech Shines

When it comes to water technology, there is no other nation that comes close to the Jewish state.

Hailed by some as the water tech capital of the world (if not the "Silicon Valley" of water technology), Israel will be highlighting some of the best companies when it comes to preserving life's most precious liquid.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs) WATEC 2007, to be held in Israel from October 30 - November 1, 2007, is intended to display such technologies, emphasizing those developed in Israel, and to allow anyone interested to learn more about innovation, creativity and experience in solving environmental problems, in rich and poor countries alike. [...]

As the saying goes: "Necessity is the mother of invention." Since Israel's early days, the country's water sector has been forced to provide its citizenry with advanced solutions. Situated in one of the world's most arid regions, it was Israel that pioneered and lead the concepts of national water management, drip irrigation, recycling and purifying wastewater, water desalination and in the field of alternative energy- geothermal power technologies.

Israeli water expertise could potentially go a long way in saving lives around the world, not to mention making it easier for soldiers and hikers to drink from polluted streams with simple filtering devices.

Water technology is an already booming industry in Israel, who expects to export up to $1 billion worth by the end of the year.

Israel's Lextran: Reducing Air Pollution

Lextran, a subsidiary of Ludan Engineering, is in the process of creating technology that will make it cheaper for power stations to reduce the emissions of certain gases.

(Globes Online) Lextran is developing a low-operational cost installation for reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide to the atmosphere by power stations. The company claims that the technology handles both emissions simultaneously in a single process, whereas competing technologies require different technologies and facilities for the different gases in order to comply with environmental standards.

Ludan says that Lextran’s single technology for both nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide cut set-up costs by 40% and operating and maintenance costs by 50%. The company added that Lextran uses a proprietary catalyst in its system.

By making it easier for companies to reduce emissions, Lextran is insuring a cleaner world in the future. Hopefully more technologies like this will be developed in the future, as we can ill-afford to screw up our planet, regardless of how much money is generated in the present.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Video: Israel Anti-Missile Defense Shield By 2009

In order to protect its citizens from the "various presents" from the sky being sent over by its "lovable" neighbors, the government of Israel has been developing an anti-missile shield with the help of the US.

(Israel Times) Ehud Barak and General Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi announced before the Knesset this week that the anti-missile and anti-rocket grid should be 90 percent efficient before 2009. [...]

Iron Dome and Arrow are the name of the defense mecanism to protect Israel from incoming ballistics. Both systems are jointly developed by Israel and the U.S. The Arrow 2 system intercepts large ballistic missiles thanks to anti-missile stations spread accross the territory. The Iron Dome system is based on Tactical High-Energy Laser using deuterium fluoride laser (chemical laser) technologies to destroy the incoming targets.

This live demonstration will hopefully relieve some of the fears of those living in Israel, as they have more important things to think about such as making solar homes affordable, fixing Glaucoma eyes, creating Terabyte DVD's, improving Google, building flying cars, rediscovering holy anti-viruses, powering the world through fungus,...

Need A Lung Disease Expert? Visit Israel!

For patients suffering from lung disease, finding a medical expert to talk to is usually a good first stop.

But if you wanted to speak to the leading authority on the issue, you may have to book a flight to the holy land. Either that or hunt down Dr. Naftali Kaminski's phone number in Israel.

(Jerusalem Post) [T]oday Kaminski is a world expert in IPF - a disease that inflames and scars air sacs deep within the lungs, making the lung tissues stiff and limiting their ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. According to Kaminski's research, more than 100,000 people worldwide are affected with IPF. Although smoking and exposure to dust increases a person's risk, the disease's exact causes are unclear. [...]

"I started relatively early applying genomic techniques to pulmonary fibrosis. 'Genomic techniques' mean that instead of looking at a single gene, you look at all the genes of the genome, which allows you to identify many more targets. It doesn't only depend on intuition or fantasies - or scientific knowledge for that matter - but on your ability to analyze new chunks of data. You can look at 25,000 genes, do experiments, and come up with key regulatory molecules and pathways and so on," he said.

Ironically Kaminski never specialized in this specific field, and after doubts from colleagues he decided to attack the complexities of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (aka IPF) differently.

Kaminski's approach to IFP is helping (not to mention inspiring) researchers understand on how this disease operates, which will hopefully translate to finding ways to detect (and ultimately treat IFP earlier.

Joost: Israel's Aniboom Now Has Its Own Channel

One of the hottest websites online has a new addition to its arsenal of entertainment. Joost, a media company that is a cross between TiVO and a regular television network, has recently given Aniboom its very own channel online.

(TechCrunch) Israeli-startup AniBoom just went live with an animation channel on Joost to launch, the peer-to-peer Internet TV service. AniBoom is an animation site with 30,000 videos, contributed from about 3,000 animators around the world. AniBoom, which competes with MyToons, currently splits advertising revenues with animators who contribute to the site, and holds an annual $50,000 contest to attract the best animations. Now the best of those will be featured on the Joost channel as well (with ad revenues being split three ways amongst AniBoom, Joost, and the animators).

This partnership will definitely help out Aniboom, whose purpose is to help some of the best animators achieve recognition in the real world, something that's probably easier said than done.

Note: More information about Joost's latest addition of Aniboom can be found over here.

Israeli Doctors Heart Iraqi Kids

While it is expected for doctors of any nation to tend to their own citizens with the utmost compassion, these doctors are raising the bar by tending towards Iraqi children suffering from heart disease.

(Israel National News) Israeli doctors screened 40 Iraqi children suffering from heart disease this week - a rare instance of direct cooperation between the Jewish state and Iraq. [...]

Dr. Tzion Houri, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, said he thought "ties and friendship" were being built through his work in Jordan with the Iraqi children. "Our only previous exchanges with the Iraqis were the Scud missiles," he said, referring to the missiles Iraq, under former dictator Saddam Hussein, fired on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.

Israeli doctors seem to be making a pattern of helping Iraqi's lately, even when things must be done in secret.

Hopefully these doctors actions will go a long way towards creating ties between the two lands, as it would be great for Israel to have an Arabian friend in the middle east.

Israel's Integrating With eBay?

It looks as if the company that made online shopping as easy as buttering bread (well, almost as easy) may be looking at leveraging Israel's

(Globes Online) eBay Inc. [...] is expanding its activity in Israel by deepening its joint activity with and opening a development center. CEO Joshua Silverman says that the new center will develop eBay's sorting and cataloguing technologies. He is visiting Israel for the annual meeting of's websites worldwide. [...]

Silverman says that time was needed to realize the synergy between and eBay. "We've now chosen the areas that can be leveraged, and we're thinking about the integration. I'm proud that we're doing things this way. We defined the core businesses where can contribute to eBay. is still the leading price comparison website, and we're the world's leading e-commerce site. We believe that we can increase the number of customers who find suitable products through better sorting and cataloguing. Excellence in sorting and cataloguing is an important part of our work and Israel will be the technology center in this field." is one of the few survivors from the dot com era that knocked the stuffing out of a few too many companies. After surviving the meltdown, the company arose out of the ashes and according to Globes, went public on NASDAQ.

eBay purchased the company later on and the rest is now history. It will be interesting to see how eBay uses their Israeli friends, and whether or not they will be able to compete with their arch rivals, Froogle Google Product Search.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Israeli Sticker To Determine Food's Freshness?

(Hat Tip: Israel National News, Image Credit: FreshPoint)

Ever notice that after paying for your goods in the grocery store you come across an item whose expiration date expired yesterday? Unfortunately for you the time stamp was faded, making it harder to tell which products were fresh, and which ones "almost fresh."

Those days may soon be numbered as a new color coded sticker may make it easier to tell you not only how fresh a food (or item) is, but whether or not its being stored in its "favorite climate."

(Globes Online) Israeli start-up Freshpoint Quality Assurance Ltd. has patented a sticker for food products that changes color when the sell-by date is reached or in response to a change in the optimal storage temperature. The company's Time Temperature Indicators enable consumers to monitor food products and decide whether they are fit for consumption.

The company manufactures its stickers in collaboration with a leading international chemicals company under the brand name "OnVu". The sticker's ink changes color over time and in response to temperature.

The sticker seems to have already hit European and American markets, as well as those in the far east. If word about this catches on in the US, it may not be too surprising to see Freshpoint and Onvu's sticker on everything from crackers to grapes to blood red meat.

It would not only help eliminate "bad food" from grocery store aisles, but inform people that leaving orange juice out on the counter not a bright idea after all.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Alzheimer's Disease: Can Computers Provide Early Warning?

(Image Credit: NexSig)

With Alzheimer's disease affecting many adults over the age of sixty, researchers have been struggling to develop a way to detect this disease early on.

Despite the best efforts of doctors, many patients discover they have the disease when certain treatments for it are already too little, too late.

Now it looks as if a new software program developed by Israelis may help doctors determine whether or not their patients suffer from Alzheimer's disease early on, helping to give patients a fighting chance.

(Israel 21st Century) NexSig's neuropsychological software, NexAde, does not require any human intervention. Patients sit down in front of a computer and go through a 20-40 minute program of validated neuropsychological tests, such as color and shape matching and memory tests, which have been used by doctors for decades.

The software is designed to enable elderly people with no computer experience to undergo the cognitive tests without a test administrator being present. The early detection test adapts itself to the person using it and studies not just the responses, but also the subject's pattern of behavior - such as mistakes or hesitations - measuring and analyzing in real-time biometric signals. The results are then sent to NexSig for analysis.

Instead of researchers having various reports from different doctors with different styles in an attempt to diagnose the same disease, NexSig will provide a standard evaluation that will be fairly consistent.

NexSig's innovative software will not only help doctors better examine their patients, but will hopefully save them time as well.

Paper Or Plastic: Future Israeli Money May Feel Funny

In an attempt to keep the 20 shekel bills from wearing out from every day use, the Israeli government has decided to switch from using paper to something a bit more artificial.

(Ha'aretz) Twenty-shekel bills will soon be printed on long-lasting plastic to reduce the wear and tear on the heavily used banknote. We will also see a new two-shekel coin soon, by the end of 2007, the Bank of Israel says. [...]

The regular rise in cash in circulation stems from greater demand for cash transactions, as well as growth in both the population and economy. The use of ATM machines also continued to climb in 2006, and the banks introduced new machines to accept cash deposits automatically.

Although many governments prefer to use either metallic coins or cotton/paper bills, it looks like Israel is experimenting with plastic.

Not too sure how the public will respond to the change, although the plastic bills should survive a lot longer if they are ever lost in the washing machine.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Science Helps Unite Israelis And Palestinians

(Hat Tip:

(Image: Mukhles Sowwan, seated, with research team members at the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory at Al-Quds University. Credit: Rina Castelnuovo of the New York Times)

With all of the "love" happening between Israel and the West Bank lately, here is something you may not hear about in the news--at least on cable and satellite.

A doctor by the name of Mukhles Sowwan at the Al-Quds University (in East Jerusalem) created the Nanotechnology Research Laboratory, the first of its kind in the West Bank and perhaps the Arab world at large.

Unfortunately for Sowwan, support for this lab was rather lacking in his area, and if it were not for the efforts of an Israeli scientist, this lab would not be in the position where it is today.

(New York Times) The lab pursues ground-breaking research under conditions that would bewilder most American and European technologists. But although Dr. Sowwan is its guiding spirit, it would not exist except for the generosity of European donors, the stubborn internationalism of a United Nations organization and the help of Dr. Sowwan's mentor, who happens to be an Israeli physicist at Hebrew University in West Jerusalem. [...]

"When he applied, it was a most difficult time," says Dr. Porath, who has a doctorate in physics. The general violence and unrest that have troubled the region since late 2000 had only recently begun, he explained. "There were even people in my group who were hesitant about his coming. I said, 'I don't want to attack people. I refuse to. And if he's any good, he's welcome.' It worked. We became friends."

Cooperation like this goes to show that Israeli's and Palestinians can work together on projects for the common good of humanity. Hopefully we will be able to see more joint projects like these, as it provides an excellent opportunity for both sides to see each other in a light that is often blurred by the main stream news.

Mini-Israeli Robot Provides "GPS" For The Brain?

(Image Credit: Learning Resources)

It looks like medical researchers from Israel have developed a mini-robot that will not only help doctors operating on the human mind (a VERY delicate procedure) know exactly where they are within their patients brain.

(Israel 21st Century) The robot itself (encased in a sterile blue plastic wrap) weighs in at only 230 grams. For keyhole surgery of the skull, it was fitted with a rigid arm (150 grams) that can guide a needle, probe or catheter to the exact spot that the surgeon wants to target.

Targeting is the key word here, Joskowicz told ISRAEL21c. "Most neurosurgical gestures involve targeting. Every millimeter counts, because you work close to nerve roots. You can compare the novel neuro-surgical robot to a GPS. We invented a method to superimpose an MRI or CT image of the patient's brain over an image of the current surgical situation.

According to the article, a simple 2 millimeter mistake by a doctor could result in a patient losing their eyesight, memory, the ability to move their body or even death.

Having this robot tag along will give doctors an extra set of eyes, which should make it easier for them to treat their patients without the worry of getting sued for "minor mistakes."

AT&T Enters Israeli Market, Gobbles Up Interwise

It looks as if the telecom giant AT&T will be entering the Israeli market for the first time evah! (note: what took them so long?)

AT&T is making its presence known by buying out Interwise, an Israeli company responsible for web conferencing--which for you non geeks out there means they help businesses talk, train, record meetings, etc. in cyberspace.

(Globes Online) After a long period without news of sales of Israeli high-tech companies, a major exit was announced today. Telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), through one of its subsidiaries, is buying IP network conferencing solutions company Interwise of Israel for $121 million. The acquisition, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, brings AT&T into the Israeli market for the first time. Interwise will continue to operate, as AT&T's local development center within AT&T Global Business Services, which serves the largest enterprises around the world and is led by Group President Ronald E. Spears.

According to globes, AT&T is planning on keeping the management as well as the 140 staff members which is definitely good news as most buy outs often translate into corporate layoffs.

AT&T is planning on turning Interwise into its Israeli R&D center, and the company should provide some interesting competition against Google which is already invading AT&T's space (within the internet industry) in the US.