Good News Friday

Time for another dose of Good News to counter all the bad stuff that’s out there.

My first item is actually from last week (h/t Debby Z and others) but I was waiting till the video had English subtitles installed before I posted it.

The story is about a social experiment testing Israelis’ kindness and honesty towards a blind man – and the Israelis passed the test iwth flying colours! 100% of people refused to cheat him:

A video of the experiment, posted on Facebook by pro-Israel group StandWithUs, shows the man posing as a blind student asking strangers to break a 20-shekel bill, which was actually a 100 shekel note. In the footage, every single person he stopped on the street — including some who approached to ask if he needed help — pointed out that the bill he was holding was, in fact, a 100 shekel bill. One man even gave him an additional 20 shekels.

Other passersby behaved in exactly the same way when the same experiment was conducted with a 200-shekel bill.

StandWithUs said the concept for the test was borrowed from an American TV show, in which an actor pretended to be blind and asked strangers to break a $5 bill, which was actually $100. Unlike in Israel, many Americans took advantage of the situation.

What can I add to this story? Much as we are maligned around the world, and much as we love maligning ourselves (Jewish guilt is a very strong emotional force) we are at heart good, honest and kind people. If only Israelis would put these attributes to use when standing in a queue or driving.   😛

Another fantastic proof – if proof were really needed – of what a wonderful, liberal and tolerant society Israel is was provided via Eliana Rudee’s Facebook post: (h/t Lynda and others): [I will quote the post and the picture rather than linking the post directly here because this sometimes causes problems for some readers]:

This is a very special picture and one that I believe perfectly encapsulates Israel. The doctors: Israeli on the left and Palestinian on the right. The woman being comforted in the back is from Uganda. Her son has just been wheeled out of heart surgery at the children’s wing of Wolfson Hospital in Holon. When I saw him coming out of surgery, I got goosebumps as the little guy was rolled out on his stretcher with machinery way bigger than he. On the right, an Arab family having their child treated as well. Just down the hall was a teenage boy from Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan, where many ISIS refugees live in camps. This moment happened because of Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli organization that provides free heart surgeries for children in underdeveloped countries. This organization trains doctors and brings children and their families here for surgery without discrimination of who the child is or where he or she is from. This Israeli organization is the real UN.

Eliana is 100% right that the Israeli organization Save a Child’s Heart is the true UN, or at least the true spirit of the UN as it was intended when it was established. Kol hakavod to all the Israeli organizers, doctors, nurses and the entire team who carry out such vitally important work, and yet receive almost no acknowledgment from the wider world.

And since we’re on the them of Israel’s medical advances, here is another brilliant invention: Intelligent socks that, paired with smartphones, can save diabetics’ feet:

Roughly 130 million diabetics around the globe suffer from diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage associated with the development of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes. Resulting from anatomical deformation, excessive pressure and poor blood supply, it often damages nerves in patients’ legs and feet.

Diabetic neuropathy is also the leading cause of amputation, which leaves many diabetics handicapped, and is costing the US economy alone more than $10 billion annually. Diabetic patients are encouraged to get regular checkups to monitor for the increased pressure and ulceration that can eventually require amputation. However, ulcers are only diagnosed after they occur, meaning that patients require healing time, which dramatically increases healthcare costs.

But now, an Israeli team of scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is working on a unique solution to solve this problem.

SenseGo socks to prevent diabetic ulcers

“This is a significant medical problem that affects the lives of millions. We thought there must be a way to avoid these wounds altogether,” Danny Bavli, the group’s lead engineer, said in a statement.

To address this challenge, Bavli partnered with Sagi Frishman and Dr. David Morgenstern, a leading orthopedic surgeon at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center. Together with members of the Hebrew University’s BioDesign group, they developed SenseGO, a machine-washable sock containing dozens of micro-fabricated pressure sensors.

With SenseGO, changes in pressure due to incorrect posture, anatomical deformation or ill-fitting shoes are registered using electrical signals that are relayed to a smartphone app, which in turn informs the patient of developing risks.

According to Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, BioDesign’s program director, “this is a classic mobile health approach. By giving patients and their families the tools they need to prevent the development of ulcers, we can dramatically reduce healthcare costs related to diabetes.”

This is quite incredible when you think about it, that an item of clothing can be embedded with electronic sensors to warn of danger. My only question is whether these “intelligent” socks are intelligent enough both to walk to the washing machine on their own, and more importantly – not to lose their partners!  😛

Seriously, kol hakavod to engineer Danny Bavli, Sagi Frishman and Dr. David Morrgenstern and the rest of the team for this ingenious development which can potentially save hundreds of lives and limbs.

And one final Israeli hi-tech solution to a very common problem: the sky’s the limit for parking your car:

Recognizing that not everyone is going to give up their vehicle and take a train or bus, Israeli firm Unitronics has been developing an automated parking system to remedy the situation – providing builders with the ability to fit more cars in less space, saving them time and money, and saving the parking structure’s neighbors from excess pollution.

According to Yair Goldberg, CEO of Unitronics Systems, the company is well-equipped to deploy the novel – and much-needed – solution. “We bring decades of experience in the automated solutions industry, bringing an industrial, compact and cost-efficient approach to residential auto parking,” he said.

With limited space, the only sensible way to build an above-ground parking structure is up. But, you can only go so high; nobody is going to drive up to the 50th floor to look for a space.

No person, that is – but a machine, like the one developed by Tel Aviv-based Unitronics Systems, doesn’t care if it has to cart a car to the first, 10th, or 100th floor of a parking structure. And while the company has yet to build a 100-story parking structure using its automated “untouched by human hands” parking system, the sky is the limit for the company’s Automated Vehicle Storage and Retrieval System (AVSRS) system.

In recent years, Unitronics has found an innovative use for its technology – developing automated parking systems, and last week the company opened its third such facility in the US. Located in Hoboken, New Jersey, the parking structure packs 373 cars into four stories instead of the usual 10 that would be required with a “manual” parking facility, saving the developers money and enabling them to use the saved space for activities that will make them more money than parking.

When a driver pulls into the parking structure, they park their car and walk away, with a system of automated robots, elevators and platforms, controlled by customized software taking over and moving the vehicle to a free space. Since no one is driving around looking for a spot, every square inch of the structure can be utilized to store cars. The vehicle stays where it is until the driver returns and pays for the time they parked. The system reads their ticket and quickly finds the vehicle, which is then sent back down to the parking structure’s exit.

According to Unitronics, customers get their car back in about two minutes (it takes the same amount of time to store a vehicle, as well).

There’s no human involvement in the process at all; no surly parking lot managers, no competing drivers who try to jostle ahead for a better space and no attendants to tip. The whole system can be run by a single manager, who is never seen but is available to help out (reached by pressing the little speaker button in the payment machine) in case someone loses their ticket, or to deal with other issues.

What a brilliant idea! Kol hakavod to Unitronics on their ingenuity and thinking outside the box. My one question: since you’re an Israeli company, when are you bringing your parking solution to Israel?

And to conclude today’s installment, here is the attorney and pro-Israel activist Advocate Alan Dershowitz in a brilliant rebuttal of anti-Israel lies and smears:

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

And with this stirring thoughts, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

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6 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    What brilliant ideas.I really like the parking lot idea,as I am hopeless at parking!
    Shabbat Shalom

  2. Fay says:

    “If only Israelis would put these attributes to use when standing in a queue or driving” LOL hahaha!!! As a first time visitor to Israel last year both these things scared the living daylights out of me. From the three lanes of cars on a two lane road, to the taxi driver who had a video monitor in front of his gear box and was watching a TV program as he drove us to our destination, to the hoards of people who would push in front of us and yell at the cash register while we were waiting patiently to pay for our purchases.

    • anneinpt says:

      Yes, patience is not an Israeli virtue, for better and (mainly) for worse. I’ve gotten so used to it that I barely notice it any more. But believe it or not things are miles better today than they used to be 20-30 years ago!

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        Come now, Anne, patience. Remember “miracles we can do; the impossible takes a little longer”: numerous Israeli spokespersons.

        Evidence?: just investigate Share Tzedek Hospital, Jerusalem (I’m biased, Ros has just become a volunteer at the UK fund-raising arm – but it will serve very well as an example).

        The fact that Israel is still here is evidence enough of the first part of the statement above. The impossible (peace, perhaps) just takes a bit longer.

        • anneinpt says:

          LOL, you’re right about Israeli patience. But even so… although things are so much better than they used to be.

          Re Shaare Zedek – I worked there for 3 years! from 1977-1980, in the Commissioning Unit as secretary to the Chief Engineer. We had an office on the building site of the new hospital and it was a very exciting time to see the hospital go up in front of our eyes. It was a great privilege to work there and gave me a very soft landing on my aliya.

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