Thursday, August 30, 2001

I have a new big thing in my life that I have to attand to. I will not update this blog for a while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Last night I have been to the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat. One of the sponsors of the fesival is Maariv, one of the three major daily newspapers in Israel. They have erected a large screen showing the front page of their website. While standing in line for a jazz concert, I read about more killings. I didn't want to but it was shoved down my brain.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

We are now on vacation at Kibbutz Lotan. My wife and I spent 10 years of our life to build this place and then 5 years ago we left. We are not sorry for the time we have lived here. Look at the map and see that's almost as south in Israel as you can get. It's in the desert and all the Violence is far away up in the north. It feels so isolated in here. The most exciting thing going on here right now is the date harvesting. The dates had ripened more quickly than expected and everybody give their share at taking them down from the trees so they will be best for the market.
Tourism in Israel drops 52 percent. I wonder why don't they come...
Not even a drop. Some two hundred thousand Palestinians living in 218 West Bank villages are not connected to a water network, and therefore have no running water.
Killing people is not a game. Or maybe...

Ender Wiggins is the 11 years old hero of the book "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. He is trained to be the chief commander of the Human fleet that will fight the Buggers, the aliens. In the last stage of his training, he thinks he is playing a simulation game on the computer but actually he is the commander of a real fleet, that completely destroys the real home planet of the Buggers.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

"Ender, for the past few months you have been the battle commander of our fleets. This was the Third Invasion. There were no games, the battles were real, and the only enemy you fought was the buggers. You won every battle, and today you finally fought them at their home world, where the queen was, all the queens from all their colonies, they all were there and you destroyed them completely. They'll never attack us again. You did it. You."

Real. Not a game. Ender's mind was too tired to cope with it all. They weren't just points of light in the air, they were real ships that he had fought with and real ships he had destroyed. And a real world that he had blasted into oblivion. He walked through the crowd, dodging their congratulations, ignoring their hands, their words, their rejoicing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Arafat and the Anatomy of a Revolt Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat bears much of the responsibility for this precarious state of affairs, though not for the reasons cited by official Israeli sources. Contrary to the Israeli account, his behaviour since the start of the intifada has reflected not the existence of a prior strategy based on the use of force, but the absence of any strategy. His political management has been marked by a high degree of improvisation and short-termism, confirming the absence of an original strategy and of a clear purpose, whether preconceived or otherwise. There has also been minimal Palestinian understanding of how particular modes of political and military behaviour might lead to specific end-results, whether tactical or strategic, reflecting untested and confused assumptions about their impact on the intended Israeli target.
The path to brutality. The horrifying events of the second intifada are gradually erasing the distinction between the permissible and the forbidden, between good and bad.
Prof. Edward Sa'id writes: "With Arafat and Company in command, there is no hope. What is the man doing, grotesquely fetching up in the Vatican and Lagos and other miscellaneous places, pleading without dignity or even intelligence for imaginary observers, Arab aid, international support, instead of staying with his people, trying to aid them with medical supplies, morale-boosting measures and real leadership? What we need is a unified leadership of people who are on the ground, who are actually doing the resisting, who are really with and of their people, not the fat, cigar-chomping bureaucrats who want their business deals preserved and their VIP passes renewed, and who have lost all trace of decency or credibility."
Famous Jews of the Internet, first in a series.
Derek Powazek, the renown storyteller and web designer, creator of Kvetch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Israeli sceintists created a computer program that learns and "talks" like a 18 months old child. When he was "born," he was hardwired with nothing more than the letters of the alphabet and a preference for rewards -- a positive outcome -- over punishments -- a negative one. Now he fools linguistics experts to believe he is a real child. [Flutterby]

Did you hear? A car bomb in Jerusalem! No one got hurt. When's the next one?
More black humor. [thanks Barak]
Black humor ahead. There is a well known saying: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Yesterday I have heard the addendum: "What does kill you makes your mother stronger".
Report: half of unemployed need more than 3 months to find job. I know it is hard. I am out of a job myself.
Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister, had baught land in the most expensive neighborhood in Israel in order to build his home there. Israel is now in a state of economic depression. Defending his decision in the press, Barak said that he is now a private citisen and he can do as he wish. It's just shows that his decisions as a "private citizen" are not much better than his decisions as Prime Minister.
Tonight I helped designing stickers for a demonstration against commercialization of schools in Israel. The officials call it a "Charter School" but actually, "a privately operated school holds a charter that allows it to receive full public funding without being subject to many of the regulations and decisions that apply to public schools." Read more about it in this report from Canada : Ten Problems with Charter Schools.

Monday, August 20, 2001

Seven boys (ages 8-13) are now playing D&D on my porch. They use all their knowledge from computer games and fantasy books. The oldest is the Dungeon Master. They are quite and happy. They don't fight or argue.
Education Minister Limor Livnat plans to include loyalty to the state as one of the criteria for budget preferences.
When we went for our family holiday, a few days ago, we drove through a big junction near the city of Haifa called the Checkpost junction. I asked my kids if they knew why it is called like that but they had no idea. It is called like that because when the British occupied Palestine (until '48), the Police have put a road block on this central junction and the name stayed. Today, the Hebrew word for Checkpost (Makhsom) is a legitimate part of Palestinian Arabic.
Three dead people. Nobody killed them but Violence itself.
Microsoft had forgotten that Israel is also in the Middle East. They explain how to create HTML with Middle Eastern content. Who is missing? Right, Hebrew. Take a look.
Given Imaging from Yoqneam are making a "swallowable video capsule for use in diagnosing disorders in the small intestine". Get it? You swallow a capsule (it goes out the natural way) and your doctor can see what's inside you. I think it's amazing.
Every blog begins with a test.