Since we moved the clocks back last week, Shabbat now begins at 4.30 in the afternoon! This is why this Good News Friday post is going up earlier than I used to post.
Let’s start with some news from Israel’s hi-tech field, one of my favourite topics. The following story (via Reality) is a fantastic breakthrough for AIDS patients: Israeli researchers have identified a protein that could eliminate the HIV virus:
Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have identified a protein called Gammora that they say can reduce HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, in infected patients by 97 percent.
… Loyter and Friedler, who are working with the Zion Pharmaceutical Company, left Gammora in vials containing blood from HIV infected patients at the Kaplan Center for eight days allowing the virus to proliferate. And the result? A 97 percent decrease in the HIV virus in those vials.
“Medications that are on the market are able to reduce and prevent HIV from becoming AIDS. They can suppress it, but they can’t get rid of it fully,” Hagai Ayad, the spokesman for the Israeli AIDS Task Force, told The Media Line. “Here comes a new method, which apparently might create an opportunity to find a full cure for HIV and AIDS.”
Gammora provides the possibility of completely ridding a once-HIV positive patient from the virus for good. Something that has never been done before.
Kol hakavod to Professors Abraham Loyter and Assaf Friedler,and all the research team at the Hebrew University for developing this possible cure for such a deadly disease. May they continue to great success.
From the sublime to the (almost) ridiculous, Israeli scientists have created a clean energy alternative from… spinach! I kid you not! 😀
We always knew spinach was a great source of energy for our bodies. Now it seems the nutritious leafy green can also provide energy for other purposes.
Using a simple membrane extract from spinach leaves, researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa invented a bio-photo-electro-chemical (BPEC) cell that produces electricity and hydrogen from water using sunlight.
The unique combination of a man-made BPEC cell and plant membranes, which naturally absorb sunlight and convert it highly efficiently into a flow of electrons for storable chemical energy, paves the way for new clean technologies from renewable sources.
This feat was a multidisciplinary effort.
“The study is unique in that it combines leading experts from three different faculties: biology, chemistry, and materials engineering,” said Prof. Avner Rothschild of the department of material science and engineering.
The study was conducted by Technion doctoral students Roy I. Pinhassi, Dan Kallmann, and Gadiel Saper, under the guidance of Rothschild, Prof. Noam Adir of the chemistry department, and Prof. Gadi Schuster of the biology department.
“The combination of natural (leaves) and artificial (photovoltaic cell and electronic components), and the need to make these components communicate with each other, are complex engineering challenges that required us to join forces,” said Rothschild.
The findings were published in the online journal Nature Communications.
However, unlike the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels—which emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and pollute the environment—the product of hydrogen combustion is clean water.
Therefore, the Israeli-innovated cell is a closed cycle that begins with water and ends with water, allowing the conversion and storage of solar energy in hydrogen gas. The researchers believe it could be a clean and sustainable alternative fuel.
“These results demonstrate the promise of combining natural photosynthetic membranes and manmade photovoltaic cells in order to convert solar power into hydrogen fuel,” the researchers wrote in their report.
What an incredible discovery! We can all be like Popeye, eating spinach to be strong, and at the same time we can generate clean energy! A huge kol hakavod to the multi-disciplinary Technion researchers who came up with this innovative development.
And since we’re on the subject of clean energy, an Israeli firm says it has developed a super-efficient engine which would save on fossil fuels:
The invention from Israeli-based Aquarius Engines is currently being discussed by France’s Peugeot, the firm said.
Aquarius says the cost of the engine will be as low as $100 (92 euros).
According to the firm, the engine can allow cars to travel more than 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) on a single tank of fuel, more than double current distances.
Such efficiency is vital as countries seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions — a main cause of climate change. Car engines are a major source of CO2 emissions.
Aquarius’s technology works by stripping back the traditional engine under the bonnet. It replaces the combustion engine with its multiple pistons thrusting up and down with a single piston that goes side-to-side.
It has fewer than 20 parts and a single action, the company said.
In tests by the German engineering company FEV, the Aquarius engine’s efficiency was more than double that of traditional engines.
“It is the highest efficiency you will probably meet,” co-founder Gal Fridman told AFP at the company’s offices near the Israeli commercial capital of Tel Aviv.
“It has the lowest emissions and the highest power-to-weight ratio.”
A Peugeot spokesman said: “We are discussing with them, as with many other start-ups, without obligation or a specific project.”
Once again, an ingenious Israeli invention has been developed to benefit teh whole world. What an enormous boon this would be to every single country, both in the monetary saving and the fuel efficiency which would help reduce pollution and the use of fossil fuels.
Let’s hope this brilliant engine succeeds in its trials and becomes commercially viable. Kol hakavod to Shaul Yakobi and Gal Fridman on their creativeness and entrepeneurship. May they enjoy the greatest success.
With all these shining examples of Israeli brain-power and ingenuity, is it any wonder that trade between the UK and Israel is rising every higher? Watch this clip from question time in Parliament yesterday via Sussex Friends of Israel:
Questions today in Parliament to Mark Garnier MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary Department for International Trade on improving trade with Israel and on strengthening the UK’s trade relationship with Israel as a result of the decision to leave the EU..
So much for all the gloom and doom about British hostility to Israel.
And speaking of Britain, the last word for this week goes to the most famous British politician of all, Winston Churchill. Since the Palestinians have decided to have yet another go at reversing history, and want to sue Britain for the “crime” of the Balfour Declaration, whose 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration fell this week, on 2nd November, here is a timely reminder of Churchill’s support:
Wishing you all Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom!