web analytics
March 1, 2015 / 10 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

US Dept of Defense Trains Teachers in 3-D Printing

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Defense is teaching America’s teachers how to use 3-D technology to “print” solid objects, according to a report on NJTV.

The workshops are led by engineers who teach the teachers to use Mak-Bot printers with various materials, each relevant to the object being created by the 3-D printer. The purpose of the program, according to the report, is to ensure the next generation will be educated properly in the technology, which is already available.

The medical field is also experimenting with 3-D printing for the creation of human tissue and organs in life-saving transplant surgeries and other situations.

Jerusalem Says ‘No’ to Oil Shale Pilot – Is There A Future Elsewhere in Israel?

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Israeli society is debating whether to allow industrialists to dip into its Middle Eastern treasure chest for the oil shale that lies beneath the holy land, while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) waits in the wings for the outcome.

Oil shale is most commonly defined as sedimentary rock containing organic matter rich in hydrogen, known as Kerogen. When the rock is heated, the organic matter decomposes and releases petroleum-like liquids. In other words, black gold.

Industrialists and business investors say the move would bring energy independence to the Jewish State, which made its debut last week as an energy exporter with a deal to send natural gas to Jordan.

Environmentalists insist it would create an ecological disaster from which the nation’s delicate nature reserves might never recover.

A pilot project would determine whether the benefit outweighs the risk, or vice versa.

But last week, a committee voted in Jerusalem to block a pilot project in south-central Israel to check it out. An exploration that began in 2011 estimated that approximately 40 billion barrels of oil are sitting below the surface of the Ela Valley at a depth of approximately 200 to 400 meters.

After having started an initial exploration several years ago — one that was frozen in 2011 — the Jerusalem-based Israel Energy Initiatives firm wanted to move to a pilot project to determine its viability. The plan involved extracting a total of 500 barrels of oil — about two barrels per day — to see if the site was commercially viable.

The process that would be used involves a new technology never before used anywhere else in the world. It’s not “fracking,” which involves drilling for liquid oil.

This involves converting the very rock itself into oil – a form of hydrocarbons — known as “oil shale.” There is a massive amount of it in Israel, apparently, if one can figure out how to extract it and it seems that IEI chief scientist Harold Vinegar has managed to do it. The company’s former Minister of National Infrastructure and now IEI CEO, Effie Eitam, is also very involved.

In order to bring up oil shale, one drills heating wells into the rock, gradually heating it to 300 degrees centigrade over a period of nine months, which then separates and lifts the oil and leaves the rock below.

IEI said the process would not damage the ecosystem in the 238-square kilometer Shfela basin area.

About 200 meters of rock separates the layer of shale rock from the aquifer in the region, according to IEI, which insists drilling will not penetrate this layer. As a result, the company says, the aquifer will not be harmed. Israel’s Water Authority hydrologists agreed.

But environmentalists disagree.

Adam Teva V’Din – the Israel Union for Environmental Defense — argued in a 2010 lawsuit that the company’s plans did not have enough environmental protections in place. Regulations tightened in 2012 by the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry still did not cover the company’s plans – so Adam Teva V’Din filed another lawsuit.

Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel also threw its support to the opposition, adding that the company’s plans seemed to be “shrouded in secrecy.”

Last week, the Jerusalem District Committee for Planning and Building voted 10-1 to reject the Jerusalem-based Israel Energy Initiatives’ project to drill for oil shale in the Shfela basin. There were two abstentions in the 10-hour committee meeting vote, which was a continuation of August’s unresolved nine-hour discussion.

Had the exploration gone forward, IEI CEO Relik Shafir told The Jerusalem Post in an interview this summer, the project had the potential to bring Israel “energy independence and a commercial value … to the tune of at least NIS 10 billion a year.”

4G Mobile Network Coming to Israel

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Communications Ministry has issued a tender for the operation of fourth-generation – 4G – LTE mobile phone networks in Israel.

A 4G network, which has been operational in the United States for several years, allows users to work with the Internet at speeds three to five times the current rate.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told journalists in a statement, “Fourth generation services will make possible advanced services and applications at high speeds. The new network will propel Israel forward while delivering innovative services.”

The tender issued by the ministry notes “The bands will be awarded to the highest bids with a minimal bid of NIS10 million for each of the 8 available 5MHZ frequency bands. New and small operators may receive up to 50% discount, 10% discount for each 1% addition to their market share, obtained over the next 5 years.”

Five companies currently operate 3G networks — which are much slower — but 4G networks involve wider frequencies and they are expensive to develop. Israel cannot support five of those, so companies will have to share.

Israel’s three largest mobile firms – Cellcom Israel, Partner Communications (Orange) and Bezeq (Pelephone) – all offer 3G and have been fighting a price war over the past two years. But there are two new competitors in the market – Golan Telecom and Hot Mobile – which both own their own infrastructure and are rapidly moving up to take a share of the Israeli customer base.

Two months ago, Partner signed a deal to share a network with Hot, which is owned by Altice, a French cable group. Cellcom, meanwhile, announced a similar arrangement with Golan. Both are already developing 4G networks, which will cost approximately $100 million to create.

At present, the country with the fastest Internet speed is New Zealand, which runs a network with 25.8 megabits per second. According to the global Net Index, Israel is currently ranked 63rd in mobile speed, at only 5.6 megabits per second.

Israel, China Ministers Meet, Plan Hi-Tech Collaboration

Friday, July 4th, 2014

As part of ongoing efforts to advance economic ties between Israel and China, an inter-ministerial task force led by Israel’s National Economic Council along with a team from the Israeli Ministry of Economy headed by Chief Scientist Avi Hasson is meeting with Chinese counterparts from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to create opportunities for collaboration between Israeli and Chinese companies.

The Chinese delegation, headed by Mr. Ren Zhiwu – Deputy Director-General of the Hi-Tech Industry Department of the NDRC – arrived in Israel this week for the first working meeting with the Israeli group. It is the first time that the Chinese delegation has come to Israel.

The Chinese delegation is made up of 7 officials from the NDRC along with a business contingent of 33 representatives from leading Chinese firms in such fields as biomed and venture capital, as well as representatives of several Chinese high-tech/industrial parks chosen by the NDRC to engage in joint ventures with Israel.

“The meetings between Israeli and Chinese companies within this framework will bring true commercial results,” said Chief Scientist Hasson. “It is doubtful if these would have been achieved without cooperation between the two countries on an official level.”

At a joint seminar during the meetings, potential models for cooperation with Israel from the viewpoint of the NDRC were presented – models which can assist Israeli companies in need of support and guidance in their effort to penetrate Chinese markets, including incubators and centers of excellence in China.

Representatives from Chinese companies engaged in investing, R&D and technological parks, along with representatives of Israeli companies, presented various models to help Israeli firms enter the Chinese market.

Roey Fisher, Deputy Director of the Foreign Trade Administration in the Ministry of Economy, moderated the discussion about the industrial parks in China, saying, “The basis for good cooperation is better mutual understanding. Thus it is important that both sides present their needs to each other in order to create successful matchmaking and long term mutual projects.”

Following the seminar, Professor Eugene Kandel, Head of the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister’s Office of Israel, hosted a reception in which both the Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce participated.

According to The Foreign Trade Administration, China is Israel’s second largest trade partner, reaching a total of $10.8 billion in trade volume. In 2013, Israel’s exports to China totaled $2.88 billion (an increase of 0.22% compared to 2012); imports from China to Israel in the same year totaled $7.99 billion (an increase of 0.7% compared to 2012). The leading sectors of exports to China include: electronic components (40%), chemicals (17%), diamonds (11%), medical devices (7%), mechanical and electronic equipment (6%), and communication equipment (4%). The leading sectors of imports from China include machines and industrial equipment (36%), textiles (1.9%), metals (9.4%) and chemicals (8.8%).

Walking A Mile With Their Cell Phones

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I think I’m finally beginning to understand.

For a few years now we have been hearing about “Half Shabbos,” a phenomenon in which our youth engage in forbidden technology-related activities on Shabbos, such as texting and Internet surfing. Various reasons have been offered by educators and other pundits to explain the phenomenon and a number of suggestions have been made about how best to address it. (I, too, wrote on this topic, including an op-ed in these pages in June 2011 titled “From Half to Full.”)

I wrote about the subject with a certain uneasiness; something kept gnawing at me, telling me I did not really understand the dilemma about which I claimed expertise. While I felt confident that my logic was sound and my strategies were useful, I still could not really place myself in young people’s shoes and comprehend what drove them to engage in such activity.

I was no digital native (when I was young we still had corner phone booths) and never had experienced technology from that vantage point. I may have stayed in bed up late at night listening to the radio, but I never had the regular experience of communicating with classmates or others at 2 a.m.

But all of that changed for me during my recent professional transition to executive and educational coaching and consulting. Sure, as head of school (my previous post) I had to be an active user of e-mail, SMS and other communication portals. My phone was positioned reliably on my hip and would be taken out countless times daily as I engaged with various constituents. Still, I was largely content to put my smartphone away for Shabbos, if only because it gave me a day of respite from the 24/6 nature of school leadership. (Technically, it was 24/7 if you count Kiddush at shul and other communal functions, but at least there I could respond in real time to a real person, not an avatar.)

As I moved into my new line of work I began to use social media in a way I never had previously. I had a largely unused Facebook account and was not “on” LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. Nor had I ever uploaded a video to YouTube. Now, I have accounts with each of the aforementioned and use them often as a means of sharing content, developing my brand and engaging with present and potential clients.

Part of the reason for this is, as noted above, to get my name “out there” and develop credibility. However, I feel that much of this urge to post regularly emerges from the “when in Rome” mentality that affects so many of us. If every “thought leader” out there is posting to his or her Twitter account umpteen times daily, what would it say about me if mine was largely inactive? How would it look if I did not continually have relevant, fresh content to share?

Following this recent experience, I feel I now better understand our children’s struggles. For many of them, technology is not just another activity that is forbidden on Shabbos, such as writing, cooking and the like. It is a way of life, a part of their existence so deep and entrenched that it is extremely difficult to abstain from for even one day a week.

The dependency is so strong that if there aren’t strict rules in place as there are in many schools (where phones are banned entirely or must be checked in to the office at the beginning of the day and kept there until dismissal), our children will invariably succumb to the pull of their technology, especially if their friends are “on.” After all, nobody wants to come across as less socially adept or relevant, even for a brief period. This is particularly true for teenagers.

Intel’s Multi-Billion Dollar Upgrade to Kiryat Gat Plant

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The Intel Corporation has announced a multi-billion dollar upgrade to its plant in Kiryat Gat.

The investment plan, worth approximately $5-6 billion, includes a deal between the company and the state that includes a government grant to the firm of some NIS 750 million ($216,706,500).

The grant comes in return for a commitment to invest five percent of the funds into the Israeli economy, according to an announcement by an Intel statement.

“This investment plan is the result of the process we’ve been working on for several years,” commented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“Israel is the focus of global technology and the investment generates profits, both for investors and for the citizens of the State of Israel. I call on other international companies to increase their investment in Israel, and those who have not yet taken advantage of the benefits offered by the Israeli economy to come and invest here,” he said.

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, called the announcement “the best gift we could ask for, for Israel’s 66th Independence Day.”

Tribalism, Post-Tribalism and Counter-Tribalism

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Man begins with the tribe. The tribe is his earliest civilization. It is enduring because it is based on blood. The ties of blood may hinder its growth, the accretion of tradition holds it to past wisdom while barring the way to learning new things, but it provides its culture with a physical culture.

The modern world embraced post-tribalism, the transcendence of tribe, to produce more complicated, but also more fragile cultures. And then eventually post-tribalism became counter-tribalism.

Our America is tribal, post-tribal and counter-tribal. It is a strange and unstable mix of all these things.

The post-tribal could be summed up by the melting pot, a modernist idea of a cultural empire, the E pluribus unum of a society in which culture could be entirely detached from tribe, manufactured, replicated and imposed in mechanical fashion. The counter-tribal and the tribal however are best summed up by multiculturalism which combines both selectively.

Modernism was post-tribal. It believed that advancement lay with abandoning the tribe. Post-modernism however is counter-tribal. It doesn’t just seek to leave the tribe behind, but to destroy the very notion of one’s own tribe as the source of evil, while welcoming the tribalism of the oppressed.

The post-tribal and counter-tribals both felt that the rejection of one’s own tribe was a cultural victory. But where the modernists thought that tribe itself was the evil, the post-modernists think that it is only their tribe that is the evil. The modernists had no more use for the tribalism of any culture than that of their own. The post-modernists however believe that the tribalism of oppressor cultures is evil, but that of oppressed cultures is good. And so they replace their own tribalism and post-tribalism with a manufactured tribalism of the oppressed consisting of fake African proverbs and “Other” mentors.

Counter-tribalism is obsessed with the “Other”. It regards the interaction with the “Other” as the most socially and spiritually significant activity of a society. Counter-tribalists instinctively understand diversity as a higher good in a way that they cannot express to outsiders. They may cloak it in post-tribal rhetoric, but the emotion underneath is the counter-tribal rejection of one’s own identity in search of a deeper authenticity, of the noble savage within.

For the modernists, tribalism was savage and that was a bad thing. For the post-modernists, the savage was a good thing. The savage was natural and real. He was a part of the world of tribe and blood. A world that they believed that we had lost touch with. It was the civilized man and his modernism that was evil. It was the tribalism of wealth and technology that they fought against.

The modernists believed that culture was mechanical, that it could be taken apart and put back together, that fantastic new things could be added, the boundaries pushed into infinity in the exploration of the human spirit. The post-modernists knew better. Culture was human noise. Boundaries defined culture. When they were broken, there was only the fascinating explosion of anarchy and private language. Communications broke down and elites took over. They stepped outside those boundaries and lost the ability to create culture, instead they went seeking for the roots of human culture, for the tribal and the primitive, hoping to become ignorant savages again.

The modern left has become a curious amalgam of the modern, the post-modern and the savage. There you have a Richard Dawkins knocking Muslims for their lack of Nobel prizes and then side by side is the post-modern sneering at the idea that being celebrated by the Eurocentric culture and its fetishization of technology matters compared to the rich cultural heritage of Islam and the savage on Twitter demanding Dawkins’ head.

The same scenes play out on daily commutes in modern cities, where Bloombergian post-tribal social planners exist side by side with Occupier counter-tribals and violent tribal gangs acting as flash mobs in the interplay of liberalism, the left and the failed societies left behind by the systems of the left.

Muslim immigration is a distinctly counter-tribal project. The European tensions over it among its elites, as opposed to the street protesters who make up groups such as the EDL, is a conflict between the post-tribals who envisioned the European Union and the counter-tribals who view it as a refugee camp that will melt down the last of Europe’s cultures and traditions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/sultan-knish/tribalism-post-tribalism-and-counter-tribalism/2013/08/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: