Oxygen doesn't grow on trees.

Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Spring is Coming

I’m hearing of more and more people starting up new businesses with cool, innovative ideas. Spring season in the Start-up Nation is coming.

The differences from the years 2000 and 2008, I think, are:

  1. Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Headstart)
  2. Affordable IT Infrastructure (AWSGoogle)
  3. Affordable and idiot-proof (read: hackable by software engineers) hardware platforms (Raspberry Pi, Arduino) and sensors (Oculus Rift)
  4. Affordable Manufacturing (3D Printing, CNCPCB)
  5. New, disruptive, open-source software and hardware technologies (Bitcoin, DIY 3D Printing, Flying Machines)

Don’t let the Waze deal fool or blind you – most chances are: you will fail.
But you might just be one of the lucky ones. Starting up is less riskier than ever before. If you’re committing to be the Pig, and you have a solid business model, I say go for it!

PRO TIP: Put your ego aside, and build a team of superstars who complement each other, a team of people who know one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

Rabbi X-Ray’s Sister…

Soon: Rabbi X-Ray’s sister, MRI

7 Years Without Alon

Seven years ago today, my cousin Alon was murdered by a suicide bomber on a bus, on his way to Nazareth.
I translated an article, from about a week after the terror attack, written by Natan Zahavi, a good friend of the family.

The Saint

Natan Zahavi says goodbye to Alon Goldenberg, his best friend’s son, who was killed in a terror attack in Wadi Ara

Natan Zahavi, 26/03/02

Wherever he went, people stopped and stared. “God, he looks like Jesus”, they said. Alon Goldenberg, 27 and a half, was murdered on the way to the courthouse in Nazareth because of some shitty offence (with a maximum fine of 200 shekels, in the worst case). 1.98 meters, weighing 83 kilos, a muscular body without a drop of fat, sun-burnt blonde dreadlocks, a tiny ginger beard, green-blue eyes. A good person who never wronged anyone in his life, said the hippie kids when they surrounded his fresh grave and sang for him. Son of the sea, surfer, Yogi, traveler, photographer, a starting philosopher, a human being that seemed like he didn’t belong in this filthy world of ours, went up to the heavens in a fiery explosion because of a programmed suicide bomber sent by a maniac neighbor, those referred to as our cousins; yet another victim of the endless struggle between the damned descendants of Abraham.

Last Tuesday, Alon was busy building wooden facilities in the Nitzanim Youth Village in southern Israel. He went home to his parents’ house in Tel-Aviv, spent the evening with his father, Shlomo “Gulli the fisherman” Goldenberg, his mother Batya, and his younger brother, Dror. “Dad, do you need the car tomorrow?” he asked. “Yes”, answered Gulli, “I have some stuff to do in the Port and some other places”. “OK”, said Alon, “I’ll take the first bus at 5:30 AM”. For about a year he had this case pending, started by the stupidity of a policeman who didn’t adhere to the Police Commissioner’s guidelines about some minor offences that shouldn’t be dealt with by the system. It went on and on and the hearing was delayed again and again, and ended with the bus exploding on the way to Nazareth.


In the hands of Prof. Hiss

On Wednesday, March 20th 2002, Alon left his parents house in Dizengoff Street to the central bus station. The time was 5:00 AM. Armed with a mini-disc, a copy of Carlos Castaneda’s “The Active Side of Infinity”, a cell phone, and a desire to get rid of this stupid trial that got in the way of building the Youth Village in Nitzanim. At around 7:15 AM, the first reports about a terrorist attack on a bus in Wadi Ara with multiple casualties started coming in. Gulli the fisherman heard about it while being in the Port of Jaffa. I heard about it at home. Gulli called and told me Alon was on his way to Nazareth on the first bus and that he had a bad feeling about this.

We waited for more details. I drove to the radio station, to get ready to do my live show, and the information that started pouring in was worrying. Casualties, tens of wounded. Emergency phone numbers were announced. The hospitals didn’t have someone wounded by the name of Alon Goldenberg. I asked a friend of mine, a lawyer, to check if Alon arrived at the courthouse in Nazareth. They went from room to room, announced his name on the PA, but there was no sign of Alon. I called friends in Magen David Adom, in ZAKA (Disaster Victim Identification) – no sign of Alon anywhere.

At 10:45 AM I announce on the radio that I cannot do the show, I’m going to Gulli. We were trying to find a sign of life from any possible direction. Nada. At some point in time, we decided to go to the Pathologic Institution in Abu Kabir: Gulli, Dror (the brother) and I. The tension was cutting through the air; tears started forming in the edges of the eyes, pressure in the chest. A phone call I received bared no good news. One of the bodies is an apparent match: 1.98 m, blonde dreadlocks, tattoo on the right arm…

On March 8th 2002, three days after the terror attack in the Seafood Market, two weeks prior to the terror attack on the bus in Wadi Ara, I’ve published the following segment: “… tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow there will be new ‘media heroes’, tomorrow there will be new parents burying their children, new orphans, crying girlfriends, tear shedding men, the radio will play ‘Tears of Angels’ and ‘I don’t have another country’, the same politicians will star on the TV and radio, ZAKA will send a new harvest of human flesh to Abu Kabir, and all of us, on borrowed time, will wait our turn to be in the hands of Prof. Hiss.

On the midday of March 20th 2002, I’m feeling the touch of the hands of Prof. Hiss, in the death waiting room at the Pathologic Institution, where we sat and cried. Gulli and Dror went to say goodbye to Alon in the morgue, while I said mine in a hidden corner in the back yard, so that no one would see my sea of tears.

Kutiman: Thru-You(Tube)

Update: Check out Researching ThruYOU for downloads and information about Kutiman’s YouTube remix project

Yesterday, when I first set my eyes and ears on what Ophir Kutiel (aka Kutiman) did, my mind was immediately blown away by the freshness, the untamed talent and the attention to details. Did it really take him only two months to produce?!

The minimalist site, thru-you.com (which is down, again), designed by Bacon Oppenheim (who also did the amazing innovid site), gave the perfect feeling. The music and visuals sent shivers down my spine and gave me goose bumps (especially the final part of I’m New).

I found myself feeling the same feelings of astonishment when I first listened to DJ Shadow’s Brainfreeze, or during Coldcut’s live performance in Tel-Aviv. I immediately started downloading the MP3 tracks – I had to “own” a copy… Then I went over some of the original videos, which were used as samples in the tracks, and started having YouTube conversations with some of the surprised talents, who seemed extremely flattered (as they should!). Then I emailed Kutiman (and got a very warm response from his agent), and started sending every one I know to the site… which was already down. I’m still wondering why they chose to stream the video from their servers, instead of using YouTube’s most powerful feature – embed. Since I didn’t want people not to be able to experience it, I set up a very minimalist “unofficial mirror” site, containing the MP3 files and the YouTube videos downwithutube put online (great thinking, and kudos for including all the links to the originals!).

Kuti, if you’re listening, you are a genius, and I think you’ve just started a revolution (just an example: see what Kevin Rochowski wrote here. He immediately went to the iTunes store and purchased Kutiman’s debut album). I am new.

P.S. You can follow @kutiman and tell him how much you loved his project. Also, I wonder what Colbert is going to have say about it.

Update: I’ve just added the full list of credits/samples to the mirror site, thanks to progosk and Andy Baio.

Update #2: I’ve made the credits/samples list more usable, and I’ve officially changed the title to Researching ThruYOU. I am interested in collecting information about the featured musicians and how this project affects their lives. Please post a comment or edit this wikipedia page

“Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West”

I have some troubling thoughts after seeing the movie “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West“:

  1. It got me thinking about meme evolution and about Hawks vs. Doves (Game Theory) I learned about in Richard Dawkins‘ book “The Selfish Gene“.
  2. In a way, this is a struggle, and only one lifestyle can prevail – the Western, modern, free, skeptic way of life, or the ultra-conservative, religious way. However, the clashes between these opposite forces are important and natural factors in any social change.
  3. Which one will win? Which will be more “adaptive”? Will the aggressive one win?
  4. A quote from the movie still troubles me. A translation of the word Jihad supposedly means “inner-struggle“. So does “Mein Kampf“.
  5. Another troubling quote: “Zionists [are] the spoiled offspring of the entity“. Their God (“entity”) means a world of difference from what I see in my mind when I think about God. And it’s supposed to be the same god.
  6. The question “Why do they hate us” leads us to blame ourselves. They must be suffering if they are so frustrated, otherwise, why would they spend that much energy, instead of just live and enjoy life? We must have done something to them! This is a very logical thought, which is very widespread in the Academia and with Leftists – but could it be that there is another explanation?
  7. Additional quote: “If you want to get people to fight, you have to make them think that there is a threat and that they are in danger.” People who are angry become hateful. This enables them to fight.
  8. When they say “Death to America“, what they’re actually saying is “Death to Change”, or “Death to Modernism”.
  9. People who try to see themselves from their perspective, like the extreme leftists, are acting dumb, thinking their “minds” are alike. The language, ideas and culture is so different, they think in different terms. It’s very politically correct to try to put ourselves in their shoes, but this thought experiment can be very very wrong.
  10. Additional quote: “Every one [in the West] is ignorant. Someone always says ‘this is just an extremist group’, and the speaker feels not politically correct for the generalization“.
  11. People around me seem to idolize Democracy, forgetting it’s not perfect. It has merely “done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government” (Will DurantThe Lessons of History). It is especially not designed to withstand advanced, post-modern attacks against it.
  12. Yet again, we are “strangling ourselves with our Political Correctness”, which reminds me to re-read Gadi Taub‘s “A Dispirited Rebellion” (המרד השפוף). How come there is no Gadi Taub page in the English Wikipedia?
  13. In order to create a clear-cut between friend and foe, the movie claims, there must have been a global, unifying event which would unite the world – Muslims and non-Muslims. This clear-cut was made, in their eyes, with the events of 9/11. For us, it’s still very very hard to determine who’s a friend and who’s a foe, because there are too many options. It’s not as clear-cut. This enables combatants to live among civilians and infiltration. This made me think about a Computer Anti-Virus analogy – but in the West’s case, the detection of viruses is very very difficult.
  14. The movie talks quite a lot about this struggle as a continuation of Nazism. I’m afraid it’s a lot worse. This is DISTRIBUTED NAZISM.
  15. A very painful claim that is made in the movie is about the extremists’ crime against their children. The worst form of child-abuse is education to hatred. We all see, and ignore, what goes on in the Palestinian, Iranian and the rest of the Arab/Muslim world’s media. Blood, gore, body parts – and this is what their children are exposed to. And this is not only the extremists here, this is the mainstream.

These are just several points, off my head. I would love to read your comments and discuss this with anyone. I’m afraid that as time passes, it’s going to be to late to stop World War 3, if it isn’t already.