Science in the shadows

Two headlines caught my attention this morning at the beginning of what promises to be a totally routine week after the wonderful, long weekend of Shavuot holiday.

Israel to ally with Arab neighbours around Red Sea in bid to save world’s corals“ Was one headline.

The second one, I did not fully understand. Clear was only, that the article was also about science, in this case, archaeology. However, this one did not talk about cooperation, but rather the opposite.

Reading the two pieces draws a fascinating picture of what is going on aside from – but always in the shadow of religiously infected politics.

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Shalva Band – the True Stars of the Eurovision

They received a minutes-long standing ovation. They had the entire audience up on their feet. TV-viewers all over the world were driven to tears, and everyone knows their name now: The Shalva Band.

This group of young musicians has captured the hearts of every Israeli and touched even the toughest of critics. Shalva have become true superstars, uniting all of Israel as their fans.

What lies behind their success, and where did their story begin? Great success is often born out of tragedy. It seems the Shalva band on the Eurovision stage leads more than one tragic story to a happy ending and to amazing new beginnings.

Their full name is The Shalva Center House Band. Jerusalem residents may know the Shalva Center, others may guess. It is a center that provides services for children with disabilities and support for their families.  Ahhhh, some will say, now I understand! But wait, you have not heard the real story just yet.

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Disproportionate use of innovation

Ever since I finished reading ‚Sapiens, a brief history of humankind‘ a month ago, I am bookless.

Yuval Harari’s book had been incredibly inspiring. It gave me enormous food for thought and incentive for discussions with friends and colleagues.

In my search for the next awesome piece to read and get inspired, I came across some recommendations that blew my mind in a different way.

It’s hard to believe that I could get so excited about technology. But then, it isn’t so much the technology that did it, but the thinking behind it. The level of resourceful creativity, which the human mind is capable of, is dazzling. The results that come of it, when people are determined, are fascinating.

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Content Marketing Lessons from a Village Veggie Shop

It was the middle of the week, and the veggies I bought on Friday had already gone bad. Very annoying!

It usually happened when I shopped at the regular supermarket. The veggies ended up in the trash, and I found myself driving down to the nearby Arab village, where the stores never seem to close. There are several greengroceries as well as some minimarkets in Abu Ghosh. I didn’t shop there regularly because I found them to be messy and dirty. I needed to double check the expiry dates on every item.

It took me a while to notice there was one exception. Fruit which I bought at the smallest, but also the cleanest veggie store stayed fresh for an entire week. This little place off the main road seemed to have better quality than any other store.

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70 Things I Love About Israel

This post was inspired by an article in HaAretz on occasion of Israels 70th independence day. One of the papers well-known correspondents was challenged to find 70 things he loves about Israel. He listed 67, claiming he couldn’t come up with more and it had been hard to find these.

The list included some peculiar entries like the Gaza strip and places with sad childhood memories. I guess that’s what happens when you try to make your emotions adjust to your political views.

I decided to find my own 70 things worthy of being loved (and putting politics aside). Wasn’t hard at all. I could have gone on but will leave some for the next independence celebrations.

So here’s my very personal list of 70 things I love about Israel (not necessarily in that order).

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Blockchain – what’s next?

“Do you have a new hobby?” Asked some of my most loyal followers after I posted the last two articles. And if anyone is wondering, yes it is still me, Ruth, writing.

I tell you a secret: it’s pure curiosity!

All I really wanted, was to understand why Google and Facebook are not supportive of cryptocurrency. While researching I learned that there was a whole world of values, ideologies, technologies and innovations behind it.

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How Blockchain hooks up with Healthcare

Remember where my last post left off? The whole Bitcoin-mania of the last months has stirred my curiosity about blockchain technology.

As I am not a technical person, for me it is more of a gut feeling, that we“ll be hearing a lot about blockchain in the near future.

Sure enough, a day later I came across this article and was fascinated with the possibilities this technology opens. I would not have guessed that out of everything the healthcare industry would benefit.

But first of, here’s an explanation of blockchain in the words of someone, who understands it a lot better than me. When disconnecting it from digital money in my mind, it all becomes more obvious.

„…imagine it as a shared book of records, or in more technical terms, a distributed database that’s designed in such a smart way that whatever is added to this database, that is immutable. As if it is carved into stone. Any change becomes immediately evident. Moreover, there is no central authority to decide what’s right or wrong. No bank, no regulator, no oversight. The participants need to signify they accept a shared consensus.“ (Ivo Lohmus from the Estonian company Guardtime, developing K.S.I. blockchain technology).

I find it exciting and encouraging, what can be done with it. Read for yourselves and let me know if you share my enthusiasm: