Just ten days after the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer arrived in Jerusalem to discuss a memorandum of understanding between his company and Israel’s Finance Ministry to form a strategic partnership to develop and promote technology.
Steinitz and Ballmer heaped praise on each other’s endeavors during the Monday meeting. Ballmer was set to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later in the day.
In September, Microsoft completed its Israeli innovation center in Ra’anana, one of its 31 centers worldwide.
Computer giant Intel has announced that it will invest five million dollars (NIS 20 million) into Israeli high schools over the next four years, to provide advanced science, technology, engineering and math education to students in the “startup nation”.
The investment will initially be applied in 25 schools in southern Israel along with a budgeted NIS 50 million from the Ministry of Education to more than double the number of students graduating with science and technology diplomas.
During the six years between middle school and the completion of their high school educations, 4,000 students will receive guidance from representatives of Intel, who will encourage them to develop their skills in social media, gaming, video, and other areas of high-tech.
The program is expected to eventually include 200 schools.
A country and a people can be measured in its breadth and its depth. A government can either choose breadth of control or depth of control—but it cannot have both.
Breadth of control allows for governing a large area, but with only limited control and influence over those who live there. Depth of control allows for extensive control over the lives of a population, but such control requires government infrastructure of equal depth that is difficult to sustain or project over a large territory. One is a mile wide and an inch deep. The other is a mile deep and an inch wide.
Governments that choose breadth of control are able to govern a large territory with a light touch, but breadth of control depends on a population that governs itself through a national identity rooted in an ethical, religious or tribal code. When a government attempts to replace this code with its own control, then it trades breadth of control for depth of control.
Depth of control can only be extended over a limited area. When governments invest in depth of control, then they tighten control over a handful of urban centers clotted with massive bureaucracies that carefully regulate the lives of its middle class while the rest of the country begins going its own way unknown to the ruling class. These decadent systems lose touch with the outskirts and with their own lower classes and remain unaware even as their empire crumbles.
Modern government is fixated on depth of control over people. It plots to control every aspect of their lives with the goal of creating a completely harmonious whole. Technology has fed the illusion that such control has become more feasible than ever allowing for the rise of truly scientific government. This illusion is destroying the nation-states of modern civilization by overburdening them with massive governments flailing for control and destroying their economies in order to achieve that control.
Bureaucracy is the sticking point of depth of control. Each level of control requires more staff to implement that control. The more aspects of private life that government seeks to make public, the more men and women sitting behind desks are needed to formulate the rules, promulgate them, process them and enforce them.
The nationalization of private life runs into the same problem of all nationalization and collectivization. Large operations tend toward greater degrees of inefficiency due to the diffusion of responsibility and accountability. Large systems respond to inefficiency by creating more redundant structures which only increase the inefficiency.
Bureaucracies cope with all problems by adding new layers of paperwork without recognizing that paperwork is itself the problem. The world outside comes to be modeled through paper so that rather than interacting with problems, the system interacts with a paperwork model of the real world that is detached from the real world and requires ever increasing resource of paperwork handlers to maintain.
Governments begin by seeking depth of control and end by losing control over the depths of their own bureaucracy which not only becomes incapable of managing an entire control, but develops its own agenda and becomes a political rival of the politicians who serve as the conduit of their rulership and also the void into which all their ideas, both good and bad, fall into and vanish without a trace.
Depth of control is implemented through the proliferation of laws, regulations, mandates and codes, but the proliferation of laws is also the proliferation of lawlessness. The more laws exist, the more they are broken and the more the system must struggle to restore credibility with constant crackdowns or sink into a state of complete lawlessness.
A system that strives for depth of control is always running the Red Queen’s Race, passing more laws and declaring more wars on obstructive social problems just to stay in place without ever solving anything. The problems become institutionalized and unsolvable because the institutionalization of a problem creates a bureaucratic mandate for the survival of the institutions dedicated to solving the problem and the institutions dedicated to solving the problem seek to survive by not solving the problem.
Like a war, depth of control takes on its own momentum and comes to exist for the sake of existing. Even though the various social wars can never be won, the ruling class and the middle class are obligated to believe that victory is at hand. The working class and the lower class, as well as the lower middle class, who are usually the targets of government problem solving, are usually well aware that the problems are unsolvable. Their obstinacy acts as a kind of passive aggressive insurgency against the problem solvers.
I wish I could say that I am perplexed by what happened at a wedding hall in Jerusalem last week. Because that would be the normal response by someone who had heard that a Rosh Yeshiva disqualified an individual designated as a witness to sign a Kesuva (the Halachic marriage contract).
It would be shocking to most people that a witness was disqualified because he owned an iPhone But the way things are going now, I am not shocked or even perplexed by it at all. From YWN:
As the kesuva was being written, Rabbi Yosef Ze’ev Feinstein, Rosh Yeshivas ‘עמלהשל תורה’, the mesader kedushin, asked to meet the Eidim (witnesses). He asked them to see their cell phones. One pulled out a kosher phone. The second an iPhone. The latter was disqualified as a witness.
There are many Halachic reasons to disqualify a witness. But owning an iPhone is not one of them. And yet this Rosh Yeshiva decided that owning an iPhone is so bad that it is enough to… not only disqualify someone from being a witness, but enough to embarrass him in doing so in front of those who designated him as such and those who watched this happen.
This is the state of the extremism that runs rampant in certain Charedi circles in Israel I guess. While I don’t think anyone has yet been disqualified as a witness in America for owning an iPhone, it can’t be that far off. In the never ending chase to be seen as the frummest (more observant), what happens in Israel… doesn’t stay in Israel.
There is always someone here who will take up the cause and be the first to be the “Frummest”! It happened with the devaluing of Limudei Chol (secular education) and it will easily happen to iPhone owners.
I know all their arguments. The internet is pure evil – worse than anyone can imagine! If you have any device that can access it… YOU are evil! Especially if it is a hand held device where one can hide access and pretend to be “holy”.
And now, post Internet Asifa, one is in direct violation of the edict against the internet imposed by someone who many consider the Posek HaDor. An edict about which a key speaker said that violating a public Psak by such a Posek causes one to lose their place in Olam Haba. This was not contradicted by any of the many rabbinic leaders who attended that Asifa.
So this poor ex-witness who very likely does not use his iPhone for illicit purposes has not only lost his status as a Kosher witness, he may very well have lost his portion in the world to come too. Nebech!
But… perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the Rosh Yeshiva was doing us all a favor. This witness will now realize the evil of his ways; throw away his iPhone; and do Teshuva. And the rest of us will now take heed of how terrible owning an iPhone is.
I’m sure glad to know that the worst thing anyone can do is own any device that can access the internet. (I will now forever spit every time I say the word “internet”.)
I hope Rabbi Nechmya Weberman is paying attention. He can rest easy now knowing that compared to owning an iPhone, sexually molesting numerous young women – teens and pre-teens – who came to him for guidance and “therapy” wasn’t so bad. At least not compared to owning an iPhone.
I’m sure if he were one of the witnesses at that wedding he would have passed with flying colors. I hope the judge in his case takes note of the fact that Rabbi Weberman does not own an I phone. And never would! Chas V’Shalom! If not I hope his character witness point that out. I can almost guarantee there will be numerous character witnesses at his trial testifying to what a Tzadik he is.
Good to know where the Torah world’s priorities are heading.
Israeli scientific breakthroughs are restoring freedom and ease to the lives of millions of patients throughout the world.
A breakthrough medical smartphone devised by an Israeli company will not only enable patients to consolidate ongoing medical tests and diagnostics in one handy place, but will also provide them the freedom of travel and ease of use lost with conventional medical monitoring.
LifeWatch Technologies , based in Rehovot, has introduced the new LifeWatch V Android-based phone, the first of its kind smartphone device to measure blood glucose levels, oxygen saturation, blood glucose levels, stress levels, heart rate, and body temperature, as well as chart diet, provide reminders to take medications, and even measure daily activity through embedded sensors. Data and results are provided to the user and to third parties such as healthcare providers or caretakers, via email or text message. The device wirelessly interacts with a remote cloud-based environment, enabling users to take advantage of related complementary medical and wellness-related services. And it makes and receives regular phone calls. Medical information will also be sent to one of LifeWatch’s US emergency call centers – one for each time zone – with a center currently in development in Israel.
CEO Dr. Yacov Geva told Israeli science and technology website Israel21c that the device is particularly useful in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, and said he thinks it is particularly appropriate for children, because it will not only enable parents to monitor health data while permitting children to conduct normal lives at school and elsewhere away from home, but will allow parents to keep an eye on the regularity of testing so they can provide reminders if they see a test is being missed during the day.
The stainless steel-framed phones will be manufactured by TechFaith Wireless Communication Technoogy of China according to Israeli specs and industrial design, and will provide interface options in Hebrew, English, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese. The device will cost between $500 and $700 a unit, and will likely be on the market next year, pending approval in the EU and the US.
New technology may be developed to assist the speech of those unable to communicate due to paralysis or disability, thanks to a joint study between scientists at Haifa’s Technion and UCLA who have uncovered how brain cells encode the pronunciation of vowels in speech.
Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study showed that different parts of the brain are engaged in the pronunciation of different vowel sounds.
The study was conducted by Professor Shy Shoham and Dr. Ariel Tankus of the biomedical engineering faculty at Haifa’s Technion and Professor Itzhak Fried of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, in partnership with the neurosurgery department at the University of California at Los Angeles.
The study was based on knowledge about the brain’s predictable responses to bodily movements, and followed 11 American epileptics whose conditions could not be controlled with medication.
Data was gathered when the patients, who suffered from damaged portions of the brain, had electrodes implanted in their brains to measure neuron activity as they spoke.
The team studied how and where the neurons encoded vowel articulation, and learned that the two parts of the brain associated with the saying of vowels respond in different ways and to different vowels.
The scientists lauded the discovery as a potential starting point for developing neuro-prosthetic devices or brain-machine interfaces to decode the brain’s firing pattern for speech.
Providing freedom from severe clinical depression which has not responded to medication or therapy, the doctors at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem are performing a radical experimental procedure involving a “brain pacemaker”, which will provide Deep Brain Stimulation via electrodes implanted in the patients’ brains. Four Israeli patients are taking part in the trial, and another six are being recruited.
The treatment is covered in Israel by medical insurance, with patients being eligible only after failing at least three different drug treatments and electro-convulsive therapy.
The new device will deliver electric currents to areas of cranial overactivity to help regulate the mood.
So far, the treatment has achieved a 70 percent success rate.
Yishai is joined by Kevin Bermeister, a technology innovator and one of the founders of Skype. Together, they talk about the urban design of Jerusalem and how city planners have had to find a balance between the ancient and modern cities, including how Bermeister’s organization, Jerusalem 5800, has created the first consolidated master plan for the city. Specifics including how members of the project, including those that represent government and non-government entities, envision Jerusalem in the future are discussed. The segment ends with how rapidly technology is changing and how this will affect the world in the future.
A US Jury found Samsung guilty of patent infringement of key features of Apple’s iOS, iPhone and iPad. The jury awarded Apple over $1 Billion dollars for damages ($1,049,393,540 to be exact). While in the issue of Samsung’s claims against Apple, Samsung was awarded nothing.
The Jury deliberated for less than three days on and decided that Samsung infringed on six out Apple’s seven patent claims, while Apple had infinged on none of Samsung’s five patent claims.
Apple is now seeking an injunction against Samung, while Samsung will be appealing the ruling.
Apple and Samsung both released statements in response to the court’s decision:
We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.
Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.