It’s that time of year when our weeks are cut short or interrupted by festivals, and we get mixed up over which day it is. The day after Rosh Hashana (Wednesday) felt like Sunday because it was the day after a Shabbat-like festival, and yet the next day was Thursday! The graphic below (translation in the caption) describes what it feels like. Most discombobulating 🙂
In any event that brings us to this week’s Good News Friday post even though I’m sure it’s only Wednesday 😀
My first item is from my old favourite, the biomed industry. Israeli scientists announced a possible breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimers (h/t Zvi):
Scientists from Tel Aviv University believe they have made a breakthrough that could help treat Alzheimer’s disease, the university said Wednesday.
Researchers lead by Professor Daniel M. Michaelson managed to change the nature of the APOE gene in mice, which has been associated with the debilitating, neuro-degenerative disease.
APOE4 is a very important and understudied target,” Michaelson said, but noted that this was only one dimension of attempts to find a cure for the disease. “Is there really a magic bullet? One treatment that covers all aspects of Alzheimer’s? Not likely,” he said.
The researchers found in the course of administering treatment that mice, which prior to the treatment exhibited disoriented behavior and seemed lost, were able following treatment to locate a submerged island in the middle of an artificial pond.
Halevai (if only) this will prove the beginning of a cure to this dreadful disease. Having experienced this illness “up close and personal” in a family member, a cure cannot come fast enough. Kol hakavod to Prof. Michaelson and all the other researchers involved. May their work continue to prove successful for the benefit of millions of sufferers and their families worldwide.
Since we’re talking about technology, here’s another item. Intel Israel announced the world’s smartest office building – right here in Petach Tikva!
The world’s smartest office building is being built in Petah Tikva, according to (and belonging to) Israel’s largest high-tech company, Intel Israel. The new 34,000-square-meter complex is expected to house 2,500 development personnel.
Intel Israel recently laid the cornerstone for its new campus, which is based on IoT technology.
“The new building will bring together employees currently working in 13 buildings, and will enhance cooperation between the different groups,” Maxine Fassberg, Intel Israel CEO and Intel Group vice president, said in a statement. “The construction of this campus emphasizes the importance of our presence in Israel and reflects our values: innovation, technology and green construction. We have found real partners in the Petah Tikva Municipality, who have helped us realize this vision.”
Employees who choose to disclose personal information, will enable the smart building to help save energy and water, and fine-tune machine learning. The smart building will learn every employee’s habits from preferred working environment to what kind of coffee he or she likes.
In this day and age of privacy and online security concerns, I very much like the idea that employees can choose whether to disclose personal information. And if this disclosure helps preserve the environment and save energy, so much the better.
Kol hakavod to the architects and to Intel Israel – and to Petach Tikva (Yay! We’re on the map! Again! ☺. Let no one ever again say nothing ever happens in Petach Tikva!)
And on the subject of my dear old home town, it looks like the praise heaped on the municipality by Intel’s CEO is well-justified. A few weeks ago the Petach Tikva mayor, Itzik Braverman, decided to surprise the locals by hiding in the back of a cab to get their impressions and listen to complaints and requests (via Gillian):
Itzik Braverman seems to take his role as mayor for the people quite literally.
In September, the Petah Tikva public administrator decided to connect with residents by riding in a taxi for a day and asking real passengers their opinions on the city.
“I decided to surprise riders hailing a taxi,” Braverman, 58, wrote in a Facebook post. “I was a passenger in the back seat of a cab and rode in the taxi as the driver picked up people. The passengers were surprised to see me. We spoke, I listened to their wishes and complaints, and I heard good feedback about some of the changes in the city since I took office.”
Kol hakavod to Mayor Braverman, who must have known that this was a risky venture. I wonder how many other city mayors would be as brave. Nevertheless it appears that many residents are happy with his service so far, despite the complaints and suggestions. Now all we need is for the mayor to take heed of the complaints and suggestions!
Jumping to another theme altogether, here is a great #BDS Fail (via Brian Goldfarb): The online holiday rental site Airbnb banished an Amsterdam host who refused service to Israelis:
The company said it removed the Amsterdam-based host named “Maria” from the website after she rejected a request by four Israeli tourists with the following explanation: “I support the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and will therefore not accept guests of Israeli citizenship until there has been a significant change in the question of Palestine. So unless you are well documented activists who work for a peaceful solution to the problem (for whom I will be very happy to make an exception) you will have to look elsewhere.”
An Airbnb representative told The Algemeiner that, “Discrimination like this has no place on the Airbnb platform and our policies prohibit hosts from declining a guest because of who they are, where they come from, how they worship or whom they love,” adding that the company “acted to permanently ban this host from our community approximately two hours after we learned of this incident.”
I am delighted to see the swift and decisive response of Airbnb. Of course it should go without saying that this would be the natural response of any unbiased rental company, but in today’s climate it is not a given at all. Kol hakavod to Airbnb, and to the Israeli vacationers who did not take the rejection lying down.
And now, one more item to soothe our souls before the beginning of this Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This is a beautiful video (link here) with glorious aerial views of Israel (via Reality and RRW):
Enjoy! Shabbat Shalom everyone!