Posts Tagged ‘technology’
German technology giant Siemens AG has agreed to pay Israel $44 Million to settle a charge that it bribed executives at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to win a bid to supply turbines from 1999 to 2005, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced Monday. The company has also agreed to appoint an external inspector to supervise its business in Israel.
“We are pleased that the Israeli State Authorities chose to have an arrangement that does not include an indictment against Siemens AG recognizing…. that Siemens fully cooperated in the course of the investigation,” Siemens said in an e-mailed statement.
Siemens AG says it plans to continue its business in Israel on a major scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.
Six IEC executives are facing charges in Tel Aviv court for bribery and money laundering. They are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes or, for the discriminating corrupt officials, transfers to their Swiss bank accounts.
Last October a former finance officer for Siemens in Argentina admitted to paying $100 million in bribes to government officials to secure a contract to produce national identity cards.
And prosecutors in Germany are investigating Siemens for allegedly charging $2.2 million for work that was never done at Berlin’s long-delayed new airport.
An Israeli organization focused on creating technology to help the disabled has won a $700,000 grant from Google.
The Internet search engine giant awarded the grant to Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) as part of its “Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities campaign. TOM holds 3-day marathons bringing technologists and engineers together to invent products for people with disabilities.
The group claims to have created 120 product prototypes since 2014, such as a bionic hand and a walker to help disabled people climb stairs.
Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Carmel Medical Center are warning men there is a risk in speaking on cell phones for more than an hour daily.
According to a new study, the sperm count dropped to levels below the fertility rate in men who used their mobile phones for more than an hour a day. The team studied the cell phone usage of men who were referred for semen analysis, and the connection between the two.
Speaking on a cell phone while it is charging, or speaking on the device for more than an hour a day doubled the risk for low sperm count, the study found.
Researchers at the two institutions published the findings Tuesday in the medical journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online. The team was led by Dr. Ariel Zilberlicht of the Carmel Medical Center.
The findings indicated the sperm counts dropped among men who held their cell phones approximately two feet or less from their groins while speaking or charging.
Abnormally low sperm counts were recorded among 47 percent of those who kept their phones in their pants pockets throughout the day, in comparison to only 11 percent of the general male population.
Sperm quality is the determining factor in 40 percent of the cases involving couples struggling with fertility in the Western world, according to the researchers. The quality of sperm among men in Western nations is dropping; these findings increase the concern that galloping technological advances may only be adding to the problem.
Numerous researchers and technicians now recommend consumers turn off their cell phone while charging the device, and use a headset or headphones as much as possible.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will launch a cybertech program for international students this summer in data mining and business intelligence.
University President Prof. Rivka Carmi described the curriculum in her opening remarks Tuesday at the 2016 Cybertech Conference and Exhibition. BGU is the academic sponsor of the event for the third year in a row.
Over the last few years, data mining has become a factor in the competitive environment and is used in organizations from operational decisions to strategic planning.
The summer program in data mining and business intelligence is designed to meet the need for academic training in these fields, Carmi said. The Summer Program in Data Mining and Business Intelligence is to provide both theoretical and practical knowledge, including tools, on data mining.
The program offers two academic courses where students learn the basic tools of data mining and the utilization of machine learning techniques for cyber security. The program includes a mandatory one week internship at BGU’s Cyber Security Research Center. The internship corresponds with the course materials and contributes the practical experience component. In addition, students will take part in professional field trips to leading companies, in order to enhance their understanding of data mining and cyber security.
The program is intended for high achieving students in their final year of undergraduate studies or pursuing graduate studies in Information Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer Science, or Industrial Engineering and Management. Applicants must have a GPA no lower than 82 and be proficient in English.
“The world is increasingly turning to Israel for cyber security, and within Israel, BGU is leading Beer-Sheva to become a major national and international center,” Carmi said.
BGU has gathered partners to create the CyberSpark hub in Beer-Sheva.
Deutsche Telekom, EMC, Lockheed Martin, IBM, PayPal and others will cooperate in launching centers of excellence at the Gav Yam Negev Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) adjacent to the University.
“The Park is a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership arousing international interest because of its rapid growth and achievements,” Carmi said.
Israel’s government is providing financial and logistical support via the Israel National Cyber Bureau. In addition, Israel’s CERT will move to Be’er Sheva in the coming months as well.
In a few years the IDF’s elite technology units will also have their own campus adjacent to the Advanced Technologies Park. Soldiers will earn degrees from BGU and conduct joint research with the University and industry partners.
(JNi.media) Major General Herzl “Hertzi” Halevi, head of Military Intelligence, told a closed lecture on Thursday that Israel and Iran are already engaged in a technological war, in which the Iranians are rapidly reducing Israel’s advantage, Ha’aretz reported Sunday. In regard to the recent wave of terror, Halevi said that if the videos showing stabbing attacks distributed over the social networks existed in 1948, Israel would never have won the War of Independence. He also confided he recently had cancelled a military intelligence operation at the last minute because of a letter he received from a junior officer in Unit 8200, Israel’s cyber spy agency.
Halevi said that the tasks faced by Israel’s Military Intelligence are becoming harder every day. Twenty years ago, he said, when his unit scored a major intelligence coup, “we were fixed for the next five to seven years.” But nowadays, “you may have struggled very hard, invested, put people’s lives at risk, did all kinds of moves, you retrieved something, but at the speed with which our world lives and the speed at which technology is changing,” the expiration time of your discovery is shortened a great deal.
The Military Intelligence chief gave as an example the efforts to gather intelligence on ISIS: “You see those guys from [ISIS] with their djellabas and such, but they are using top technology. This is not homing pigeons, these are the most advanced communication systems with the most complicated encryptions — now go deal with it. And it changes every day.”
Halevi noted that in this new milieu, junior soldiers and officers have more influence on decision making, using as an example a recent anecdote: “We were in a dilemma as to whether or not to carry out an operational maneuver somewhere,” he said. “We were at the moment just before this thing goes up to the Chief of Staff for a decision, and we had to decide — should we or shouldn’t we go ahead with it. Just then one of my officers entered my office and said to me, ‘Listen, I want you to read this, it’s a letter from, a SIGINT (intelligence-gathering by interception of signals) officer from unit 8200.”
Halevi continued: “He is a Major. He writes a letter to the commander of 8200 and to the chief of Military Intelligence, saying, ‘Listen, I think you’re making a mistake.’ It was just five minutes before making the decision. I could have not read it had it come a minute later, after the conversation with the chief of staff. Indeed, this shows the ability of [junior staff] to influence decision making at the most critical moment.”
As to the Iranian threat, the Military Intelligence chief said, “If you ask me whether we will have a war with Iran in the next 10 years, I would give you a surprise answer — we already are at war with Iran. We have a technological war with Iran. Our engineers are fighting the Iranian engineers — today. And it’s going to become more and more significant.”
Halevi said that the technological battle between Israel and Iran is over intelligence gathering on the weapons held by each party and their military capabilities. He was pessimistic regarding the trend of that technological war. “Today we have an advantage,” he said, “but Iran gradually closes the gap. Since 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the number of universities and the number of students in Iran has grown 20 times. Ours have grown by 3 and a half times.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is on his way to Italy, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and also to visit Expo 2015 in Milan.
The expo is the venue for the agricultural and food industry in Europe.
A long list of world leaders have already made their way to the trade show, whose them is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Included among the honored visitors thus far have been Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as the presidents of France, Russia, Austria, Ireland, Mexico and Colombia.
Netanyahu will first visit the pavilion presented by the State of Israel, and then several others, including those representing Italy, the United States and China.
The Israeli pavilion introduces the world to technological developments and innovative systems that Israel uses on a daily basis. The pavilion itself was built with advanced tools based on ‘green technology,’ including energy-saving devices and special water and air equipment.
The pavilion also displays the unique character of the State of Israel, albeit with its special emphasis on advanced agriculture and technology. It presents Israel’s historical and cultural values, and its agricultural heritage from Biblical times to the present.
The entire pavilion is environment-friendly and recyclable without impact on the environment. The vertical Fields of Tomorrow is a demonstration of Israel’s abilities in various areas including the cultivation of rocky land, growth of vegetables in the desert, new methods of irrigation and improvement of seed quality.
The Communications Ministry this week finally distributed 4G frequencies to cellular companies in Israel after months of delays.
Partner Communications (formerly Orange), Pelephone, and HOT Mobile will begin to offer 4G services to their customers within the next few days, according to a release to media.
Golan Telecom and Cellcom are not yet able to offer the advanced 4G network service until they first resolve a joint technical problem, since the two share the same network.
Qualcomm cofounder Prof. Andrew Viterbi said he is donating $50 million to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion.
Viterbi, a native of Italy who grew up in the United States, has donated to Technion in the past, but the new grant makes him the university’s largest private donor.
This is not Viterbi’s first donation to the Technion, but it is his largest.
He co-founded the Qualcomm chip company and invented the Viterbi Algorithm for decoding signals.
Prof. Viterbi’s visisted and lectured at Technion in 1967, when he was on Sabbatical from UCLA, and he was granted an honorary Doctorate in 2000, when also was named a Technion Distinguished Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering.
Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie said:
This is the greatest honor for a professor at the Technion, and has been granted up until now to only six people, three of whom were Nobel Prize winners. The degree enables Viterbi to come to the Technion whenever he wants, and there was a period when he visited here every year.
Viterbi said after announcing the latest donation, “Technion electrical engineering graduates are in large part responsible for creating and sustaining Israel’s high-tech industry, which has been essential for Israel’s economic success.”
Technion graduates have been responsible for founding and managing 1,602 high-tech companies, he added.
The grant will enable Technion to enlarge the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.
Some of the most promising and innovative Israeli agritech startups pitched their technologies yesterday (April 27) at the third International AgriVest Conference held at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
The conference is an initiative of Invest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the Trendlines Group and Trendlines Agtech.
Some 350 business people, entrepreneurs, government officials, scientists and investors from Israel and abroad attended the conference.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Nitza Kardish, CEO of Trendlines Agtech called the AgriVest conference “a unique platform for Israeli startups and entrepreneurs to meet with investors and key people in the global agricultural industry.” Kardish said the gathering provided a place to “reveal the potential of investing in innovative developments.”
Chairman and CEO of the Trendlines Group Steve Rhodes added, “The global growth of investment in agritech 2014 reached a record breaking $2.36 billion raised which is testimony to positive trends in this sphere.”
The highlight of the conference was a competition between 12 Israeli startups out of 40 that applied for the privilege, who presented the newest innovations in Israel’s agricultural technology.
At the event DouxMax was crowned the winner following assessment and grading by the participants.
DouxMax has developed a method to create special, sweeter sugar in an effort to reduce the amount of sugar required in foods.
BioFishency, developers of an all-in-one water treatment system for land-based aquaculture was also awarded a prize for its system to increase the number of fish threefold while reducing water usage.
“AgriVest showcases technologies that will enable us to produce unique foodstuffs, additives, seeds and agricultural products to combat the stress on our dwindling natural resources,” said Gideon Soesman, co-founder and managing partner of GreenSoil Investments.
“Investing in new crops, treatment methods, waste reduction and yield enhancement will provide solutions to the world’s food crisis and can deliver sizable returns to investors.”
The IDF has been carefully analyzing the enormous amount of data collected from the soldiers’ experiences fighting in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, the Mako website reports.
One of the most important lessons learned from the troops’ combat in the enclave was related to the weight of the load ground soldiers carried with them into battle.
Soldiers carry a rocket launcher weighing some 10 kilograms, for example; the Technological Division of the IDF Ground Arm worked together with the security industry to reduce that weight to seven kilos instead.
Negev machine guns, Tavor and M-16 rifles use 5.56 mm caliber ammunition. Each bullet weighs 12 grams; but with new technology, those bullets will weigh 30 percent less. MAG machine guns may be phased out and the lighter Negev machine guns may replace them. Or they may receive lighter ammunition.
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.
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.”
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.
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%).
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.
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.”
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.
I’m on vacation this month, so there won’t be a regular column. Or at least there wasn’t going to be. The questions keep coming in.
I keep losing my stuff. What do I do?
STEP 1: Check your person. (Your person is you. That’s just how people say it. I don’t think you’re expected to carry around a smaller person and go, “Hi, I’m Mordechai, and this is my person.” But if you do, you should probably check him as well.)
STEP 2: Make sure to check the same five places 68 times. Especially if it’s not a likely place for it to be. For example, if you’re looking for your car keys, make sure to keep checking the fridge.
STEP 3: Call for the item. Continuously say things like, “I can’t believe this! Where is it?” Like the item is finally going to break down and tell you.
STEP 4: Calm Down. Whenever I lose something, my wife ends up finding it, and whenever my wife loses something, I end up finding it. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking we should stop hiding each others’ stuff. But it really has more to do with panicking.
STEP 5: Buy a new one. As soon as you open the package, the old one will turn up. Guaranteed. For example, if you lose your car in a parking lot, the best way to find it is to buy a new car. If that doesn’t work, you can use the new car to drive around the parking lot looking for the old one.
On the other hand, maybe the reason we can’t find anything is because we keep buying new things, and everything keeps getting lost under everything else.
Why does everyone around me move so slowly? Especially when I’m in a rush.
This is definitely a problem. These people are everywhere.
For example, there are the people in front of us one the supermarket checkout line, who, even though they’ve been waiting the same 25 minutes you were, don’t even start looking for their supermarket card until they get to the front of the line. Like it’s a total surprise to them that they need a Shoprite card. In Shoprite.
Or how about the person directly in front of you who leaves his cart in line and goes off to do his shopping, even though you got in line behind him in the first place because he had a pretty empty cart? But then he looked back at your cart, and he got some ideas.
“Orange juice! Where’d you find orange juice?”
“Over by the refrigerated juices.”
“Ooooh! I’ll be right back.”
There are also a lot of people in your way on the road. Now I don’t begrudge other people for being on the road. But sometimes I can’t go because the person in front of me is stopped, and has his window rolled down, and is talking to someone who’s sitting in a car facing the other way, who also has his window rolled down, and I want to yell, “Get a cell phone!”
But you know how your mother always told you, “If you do things quickly, you’ll just mess everything up and have to do it over?” Everyone else’s mother told them the same thing, and they’ve taken it to heart.
But of course, on the other hand, there’s a pretty big chance that if you do things slowly, you’ll mess them up anyway. At least if you go faster the first time, you’ll have more time to do it over.
Is it possible I just need a vacation?
That depends. How annoyed do you get by everyday things? For example, I recently came across a poll of the top 20 irritating pieces of technology, and apparently, the invention that annoys us most is car alarms. Of course, the main reason this annoys everyone is that no one knows what their own car alarms sounds like, so when it goes off in middle of the night, they’re just as annoyed as everyone else, and instead of going out and turning it off, they spends hours trying to block it out and to fall asleep. So I’m thinking that maybe we should be able to personalize our car alarms, like ringtones. For example, I would make mine sound like an ice cream truck, so that as soon as a burglar sets it off, everyone will run outside.
Another item on the list was printers. Everyone knows how frustrating printers can be. You have a tray that can hold 100 pieces of paper, but if you put in more than 5, it gets stuck. And sometimes, for no reason at all, it will tell you that you’re low on ink.
Yes, of course proceed! I spend $85 on that cartridge, and the papers are still coming out fine!
But when the printer breaks down, what do you do? It has one button. You press the button, and if that doesn’t work, you press the button again. There’s no way this button is doing anything.
Another item on the list was alarm clocks. Those guys take so much abuse. It’s not their fault it’s 7:00.
But if you’ve gotten to a point where you’re finding technology inconvenient – technology, which is supposed to at least be better than not having technology, — then maybe it’s time for a vacation.
Where do you suggest I go to get away from it all?
If you’re looking to get away from the irritations of technology and people in your way, the best place to go is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. My wife and I took the kids there recently, and it’s an excellent place to go if you want to get lost. For example, one thing we did was walk through a gigantic corn maze. Because getting lost while driving wasn’t enough for us.
We actually spent a lot of our trip lost, because as it turns out, all farms look exactly the same, and there’s no one to ask directions from but the cows on the side of the road. And we even did a lot of the steps of what to do if something’s lost: We called around for the place, we calmed down, we went down the same roads 68 times, but nothing. And the whole time the kids are in the back going, “Look a cow!” “Look! Another cow!”
Our GPS couldn’t find us either. In fact, before we left, I had tried, unsuccessfully, to borrow a better GPS just in case this happened. But then my wife put it in perspective. “Were going to visit the Amish,” she said. “We need a GPS?”
Because yeah, we visited the Amish. The big draw of the Amish, apparently, is that they live without any of the conveniences of modern life, such as cell phones. Except for one Amish guy that I saw while waiting for a buggy ride (mostly what you do with buggy rides is wait for them) in a town called “Ronks”, which, I have to admit, is a fun name for a town. Ronks Ronks Ronks. It sounds like a duck clearing its throat.
I later asked a non-Amish tour guide about it:
TOUR GUIDE: “The Amish don’t use electricity, because they don’t want any wires coming into their house from the outside world.”
ME: “I saw a guy on a cell phone today.”
TOUR GUIDE: “Um… Cell phones don’t have wires.”
But the Amish do have it tough when it comes to parental discipline.
“You kids don’t know how good you have it. When I was your age, we didn’t even have… Wait. You don’t have that either. Well, we had to walk… Well, you have to walk too. Oh, I got one! When I was your age, we didn’t even have covered bridges.”
“Yeah. All our bridges were uncovered.”
“Wow! What did you do?”
So where do they take vacations? Amusement parks, apparently. I see them at every one.
Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Send me a smoke signal. My cell phone’s still missing. Or maybe call it, and I’ll listen for the ring.