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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays (Plus A Mini Update)

As some of you may have noticed, I have been publishing very few articles across several of my blogs.

Due to the busy season I have been scaling back writing online, although I should be back to posting regularly after the holiday season comes to a close.

Until then, I would like to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas, a Happy Channukah or a solemn Festivus (for you Seinfeld fans), and feel free to email/Tweet/scrap me--and above all stay safe!


-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, December 15, 2008

Video: Israel's MagShoe May Make Shoe Bombers Nervous

If there is anything people probably hate about flying, it's probably the long security lines.

While many people do not mind security agents scanning their bodies (or requiring that they walk through a metal detector), taking off one's shoe can be rather irritating (especially if you are running late for a flight).

In order to help speed up the process for most travelers, one company called IDO Security has developed a device that not only thoroughly scans the various sneakers, boots and shoes of travelers, but allows passengers to keep their beloved foot wear on their lower ten digits.

While MagShoe probably should have launched "yesteryear," its presence should help prevent another terrorist attempt at smuggling weapons via their sneakers.

MagShoe is not yet available at every airport (at least not in the US), but this device has the potential of helping airlines remove yet another excuse for people deciding not to fly out for the holidays (or even for business).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Belated: IsraTech Fountain Of Youth? (Video)

(via Israel 21st Century)

It looks like a new piece of technology may have the potential of taking years of ones face.

While the product may not appeal to guys like me (as the most we care about is how hairy our faces our), this device may become a big hit among the ladies (as it may be cheaper than having various surgeries--not to mention less painful).

Readers can find more information regarding this device over at (who seems to be having a discount during this Christmas season).

Finally! European Union To Fully Embrace Israel

Despite some resistance from some regional neighbors, it looks as if the European Union will upgrade its ties with the Jewish state, potentially creating more allies across the Mediterranean "pond."

( The European Union's 27 foreign ministers unanimously approved upgrading relations with Israel on Monday, despite vigorous efforts by the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to thwart the move. [...]

As a result of the upgrade in relations, Israel's foreign minister will start meeting three times a year with all 27 EU foreign ministers. Other ministers will meet once a year with their European counterparts. Israel and the EU will also conduct a strategic dialogue on issues such as the peace process, the Iranian threat, counterterrorism and organized crime. In addition, the EU pledged to help Israel integrate into UN agencies and to include Israeli experts in EU peacekeeping forces.

Since Israel already has strong economic ties with Europe, I am not too surprised to see the EU reaching out to the Jewish state (who has, ironically been seeking to upgrade its status for quite some time).

Even though Israel already has great relations with several nations on the continent (like France, Germany, and the people of Norway), this new agreement should help expose the rest of Europe to Israel's true side (and hopefully dispel any rumors and myths about the Jewish state from the media).

iKosher App: Menorah For My iPhone

After creating a free iPhone app called Shofar, it looks as if RustyBrick has developed another iPhone app called Menorah which helps those who are a little behind on their Hebrew say the appropriate Chanukah prayer (as well as enlighten you as to which candles to light).

For those of you who prefer English, their is a screen for that as well.

Note: Readers can download the app free of charge by clicking on this link (which will redirect you and open up iTunes).

Belated: Vietnam To (Finally) Build An Embassy In Israel

Despite the fact that Israel already has established economic ties with Vietnam, the Asian nation has been extremely cautious about establishing an embassy within the Jewish state--even after Israel built an embassy in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

Now, after decades of waiting, it looks as if Vietnam is going to return the favor.

(Ynet News) During his visit, Abramovich met with his Vietnamese counterpart, as well as the chairperson of the local parliament's foreign affairs committee and senior committee members.

Abramovich later visited Tokyo and Bangkok, where he attended a conference of Israeli ambassadors in eastern Asia and announced Vietnam's plan to open an embassy in Tel Aviv after being wooed by Israel for nearly a decade.

Even though it would be nice if they built the embassy in Jerusalem (as it is Israel's official capital), its good to see Vietnam finally reaching back to the Israeli state after so many years of "playing it safe."

Image Credit: Israel Diplomatic Network

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

IsraMedTech: Carbon Lasers Sealing New Wounds

Often seen as a force of destruction in Hollywood, lasers are often used by the medical community in a range of fields from correcting eyesight to fixing teeth to even cosmetic plastic surgery.

Its no surprise then that doctors have even turned to using lasers (with "a dash" of carbon dioxide) to help seal up wounds as they could help minimize scarring around tissue.

Unfortunately for them, these CO2 lasers were a bit too wild as they either put out too much power (burning the victim) or too little (leaving the wound open for infection).

Fortunately for us, it looks as if Israeli researchers from the Tel Aviv University found a way to control the CO2 lasers, making this technology not only practical but potentially safe as well.

(Israel 21st Century) The scientists, from Tel Aviv University (TAU), have developed a new technique that maintains the heat of the laser at exactly the right temperature for optimal wound healing, allowing surgeons to seal cuts both on our skin and inside our bodies with less scarring, and less exposure to infection.

The new technique, developed by Prof. Abraham Katzir and a team from TAU's Applied Physics Group, is called laser-welding. When the laser begins to overheat and risks burning the tissue, the device reduces laser power, and if the temperature is too low to complete a closure, laser power in increased appropriately. [...]

Katzir is the first researcher to apply the carbon dioxide laser, coupled to optical fibers, for wound closure under a tight temperature control. His innovation is in the use of unique optical fibers made from silver halide developed at the university. The fibers deliver the laser's energy to heat the bonded cut and are used for controlling the temperature. They also make it possible to bond tissues inside the body.
Katzir's "little" invention could have a gigantic impact in the medical field, as Katzir's carbon lasers in a clinical trial proved to be better than the traditional suture as they not only left less scarring, but healed much more quickly.

According to the article the carbon laser is still awaiting approval from the US (via the FDA), although it may unfortunately be a few years before this innovative technology reaches America (not to mention Europe as well).

Image: Carbon laser. Credit: Wikipedia

Israelis Team Up With Palestinians Over Nanotech And Schistosomiasis?

Despite the on going violence between the two neighbors, it looks as if there are a few Israeli's and Palestinians who are willing to cooperate together in order to enhance each others lives--not to mention science as well.

(Globes Online) Two new projects have brought together scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Al-Quds University. Researchers from the two universities have succeeded in developing a method for checking the level of risk in bilharzia, which has been adopted by the World Health Organization and will soon be applied in Nigeria. At the same time, in the field of nanotechnology in which the two universities have been collaborating for a long time, an Israeli-Palestinian-Hungarian joint project has been established, sponsored and funded by the Hungarian Embassy in Israel. [...]

Laszlo Korani, the Economic Attache at the Hungarian Embassy in Tel Aviv, conceived the idea of bringing Hungary into the story. "One of the roles of the embassy is to encourage joint Hungarian-Israeli research. I read the autobiography of Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University, and I then knew that I also wanted to strengthen the connection to his university. It was only natural to build on cooperation that already existed and to add our sponsorship to it."

Bilharzia (also known as Schistosomiasis) is a parasitic disease that can not only damage internal organs but also cause bladder cancer.

The Israeli and Palestinian teams hope to come up with a simple way to test for the presence of this pest in the soil that goes beyond the current use of surveys and questionnaires (which may overlook areas still infected by the parasite).

Hopefully this trend of cooperation between Israel and Palestine continues, as it may help both sides see each other in a more favorable light.

Green Energy: Kenya Goes Geothermal (Thanks To Israel's Ormat)

(Hat Tip: Cleantech Investing in Israel, Image: Ormat Olkaria III geothermal power plant in Kenya)

After being in the news due to past political riots (and family ties to the President Elect), it looks like the nation of Kenya has yet another reason for being in the spotlight--this time for embracing green technology.

(Ormat Press Release) Ormat Technologies, Inc. [...] announced today at an American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) event the completion of phase two construction at the Olkaria III geothermal power plant in Kenya. The power plant has been synchronized to the grid, adding 35 MW of base load capacity to the existing 13 MW plant that has been in continuous operation since 2001 with availability between 97% and 99%.

The expanded power plant will save 120,000 tons of imported oil, mitigate approximately 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year and reduce the average production cost of electricity in Kenya while reducing its dependence on imports.

"Ormat is proud to have built up the plant capacity to the original target of 48 MW," said Lucien Bronicki, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Ormat. "This accomplishment was made possible by Ormat's belief in Kenya's economy combined with the hard work and dedication of our Kenyan employees and colleagues."

This is great news for Kenya, as the African nation already imports about half a million barrels of oil from Sudan a month (which is probably not a good thing due to the genocide happening in the region).

Hopefully Israel (through Ormat) can help build more of these geothermal power plants, as it could help spur the African continent to not only become more energy independent, but set an example for the rest of the continent (if not the world as well).

Kosher Science: Using Cow Protein To Heal Special Wounds

Often seen as an edible source of protein (at least in the form of steaks, hamburgers and Hebrew hotdogs), cows are usually the focus of local butchers, ranchers and grocery stores.

Although these tasty beasts may hold little value to society outside one's stomach, it looks as if some Israeli researches have found a way to use this animals blood protein to help us heal faster.

(Israel 21st Century) Researchers from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, have "spun" together something brand new. They've created a kind of fiber, which can be applied like a dressing, to help a body stitch together wounds.

Based on a protein found in cow's blood, it can be used like a second skin to heal the type of external wounds created after a C-section, and also internally on abdominal wounds and those created during heart operations, says its inventor Prof. Eyal Zussmann, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion. [...]

Zussmann's solution is closely related to the human protein, human serum albumin, an abundant protein in the body. The new material is such a close match that the human body cannot tell the difference between its own and the cow protein, he explains. This means that wounds will heal better, with less inflammation.

The new serum (called bovine serum albumin according to the article) was created by researchers from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology with the help of nanotechnology.

While wounds healing faster may not mean much for a lot of people, this technology could potentially help patients recover much more quickly--which in the end translates into more patients leaving the hospital earlier (not to mention having a less expensive bill).

Note: There is no word on when this will reach Europe or the US, although if anyone has any extra info, feel free to share with all of us in the comment section.

Image Credit: Getty Images, via

Monday, December 08, 2008

Belated: IsraGood Is Still Alive!

It looks like I took a longer break from IsraGood than expected! I'm in the process of starting up a few extra blogs, plus writing up posts for several current ones (that I love).

As far as personal news goes, my Hebrew classes have ended with Hebrew Online, and I will give some feedback on the good, bad, and great things that I experienced in the class (which will hopefully be posted later on this week).

Posting should resume by tomorrow morning, so stay tuned! :-)