Posted by Sam Gliksman
One of the major features of modern, “web 2.0” internet technologies is the ability for anyone to publish material that can quickly be disseminated across the world. This has been utilized by politicians attempting to widen their election campaigns, companies trying to establish new brands ... and terrorists seeking to spread their hateful messages. Despite efforts to block offensive material, leading video website YouTube has fast become a focal point for terrorist groups pursuing new viral mechanisms for distributing their propaganda across the internet. Youtube has recently responded to numerous government requests to remove videos of radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki urging Muslims to take up arms against the United States. Despite their efforts however, many videos remain available and even more terrorist propaganda is constantly being posted.
A simple search for prominent Al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki on YouTube will reveal dozens of video clips, many of which preach hatred towards the USA and all non-believers in Islam. According to the FastCompany website, these range from sermons on the Biblical/Qu’ranic figure of Lot (which quickly turns into an anti-homosexuality rant) to lectures on Muslim history to rants against the Freemasons to far more political content.
Until recently, most terrorist organizations maintained their own websites and posted propaganda there. However, Jihadists now view YouTube as a key strategic means for distributing their propaganda to wide mainstream audiences that may never visit their sites. YouTube has very clear policy that allows the posting of religious material but forbids any content that would be regarded as an incitement to violence. Peppering sites such as YouTube with a constant stream of new video makes it difficult for YouTube to flag and delete objectionable content. Often it will take months for an offensive video to be removed from the site. It is also common for any visitors that flag offensive content to be bombarded with abusive and violent responses from jihadist supporters.
Many jihadist groups post their videos in a number of different languages such as Arabic, English, French and Russian in an effort to broaden their reach and influence. And the range of groups using YouTube stretch way beyong Al-Qaeda.
Read the full story on the FastCompany website
11.12.10 at 11:14 am | Despite efforts to block offensive material,. . .
8.31.10 at 3:23 pm | Troubled celebs featured in call for mobile fast. . .
6.3.10 at 10:18 am | Yahoo! Weather users must now choose between West. . .
5.14.10 at 10:26 am | Supermodel Bar Refaeli gets busted at Tel Aviv's. . .
4.14.10 at 12:27 pm | Tablet computer will be confiscated at. . .
3.23.10 at 4:50 pm | California growers use Israeli technique to. . .
6.3.10 at 10:18 am | Yahoo! Weather users must now choose between West. . . (3)
10.7.09 at 5:34 am | Wiezmann professor awarded Nobel Prize in. . . (3)
2.23.10 at 9:18 am | Searches for "Judaism is" return offensive. . . (3)
August 31, 2010 | 3:23 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
A new campaign is inviting you to add mobile tech to your Yom Kippur fast.
Eric Yaverbaum and Mark DiMassimo—two marketing CEOs who have worked hard to convince you to log on, click here, call now, surf, search, pay bills in your underwear, trade from the beach, etc.—are hoping to make Yom Kippur a “No-Device Day” for people of all faiths.
In June, Yaverbaum and DiMassino launched their first campaign via Offlining, Inc., asking dads to unplug on Father’s Day. The group reports that more than 10,000 have signed a pledge for No Device Dinners with their families.
Borrowing inspiration from William Bernbach’s Levy’s Rye Bread ad campaign, which features the tag line “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s,” the new Yom Kippur campaign from Offlining, Inc., includes ads – as well as e-cards—that contain celebrities known for problems tied to their reliance on mobile devices:
• Tiger Woods: “You don’t have to be Jewish to atone for your texts on Yom Kippur.”
• Lindsay Lohan: “You don’t have to be Jewish to make amends for your tweets on Yom Kippur.”
• Mel Gibson: “You don’t have to be Jewish to give up drunk dialing for Yom Kippur.”
June 3, 2010 | 10:18 am
Posted by Adam Wills
I’ve heard of microclimates, but this is ridiculous. The Yahoo! Weather app, which comes pre-installed on the iPhone and iPod Touch, divided Jerusalem earlier this week, but the feeds for both West and East Jerusalem are coming from the same, united weather station.
More from Jewlicious:
A few days ago I noticed that the weather for Jerusalem on my iPhone’s ubiquitous [Yahoo! Weather app] stopped updating. Assuming it was some kind of network glitch, I didn’t pay it much attention, especially since I uh… live in Jerusalem and know what the weather is. This time of year? HOT, with mercifully cool evenings.
Well, it turns out that Yahoo, who runs the app with information gathered by Weather.com, suddenly changed its reporting. Now if you want the weather for Jerusalem, you have two choices – East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem. On the Yahoo weather page East Jerusalem’s weather is in Palestinian Occupied Territories >West Bank >Jerusalem and West Jerusalem’s weather is in Weather >Israel >Yerushalayim >Jerusalem. Now Gaza may or may not be considered “Occupied Territories” but if you want Gaza weather, you’d be out of luck.
OK, ok I get it. Yahoo decided to change its classification system to something that reflects a dominant international consensus on the status of Jerusalem. Fine. I don’t agree of course, but I get it. What I don’t get is that if you look closely, the location information for both East and West Jerusalem on the app is exactly the same – H: 83° L:61°.
Uhm, can you say fail?
May 14, 2010 | 10:26 am
Posted by Jay Firestone
Supermodel Bar Refaeli gets busted at Tel Aviv’s airport for bringing an iPad. If you remember, a few weeks ago, Israel had lifted its ban on the iPad (officials initially were worried the wifi would interfere with the Israeli network). Though, apparently in this situation, Refaeli just failed to declare it at customs.
Maybe they should just ban Refaeli instead...We’d love to have here ‘round the clock.
From Huffington Post:
A famous Israeli export is in trouble for her import.
Supermodel Bar Refaeli was caught at Tel Aviv’s international airport this week trying to bring in her newly purchased iPad without declaring it at customs. Items brought into Israel worth more than around $200 are subject to duties.
Refaeli told Israel’s Channel 10 TV that she had an iPad in a suitcase that was lost in transit. She said she didn’t declare the iPad upon entrance to Israel for a brief commercial appearance.
Read the full story at HuffingtonPost.com.
April 14, 2010 | 12:27 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Israel’s Communications Ministry banned the import of Apple’s iPad yesterday following a tiff between its minister and engineering staff, and custom officials are now directed to confiscate the tablet computer. Ten iPads have been seized already at Ben-Gurion International, according to the airport’s head of customs, and those unlucky owners are being charged a daily storage rate.
Ministry officials say the reason for the ban is tied to the iPad’s WiFi modem, which they worry will interfere with the Israeli network, according to Haaretz:
The decision follows the refusal of the ministry’s engineering staff to compromise on testing the device’s suitability and compliance with Israeli wireless networks.
It seems however that the engineers made their decision without notifying Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon in advance—and caused an uproar within the ministry.
For now, the ministry has not given the device categorical approval required for wireless devices; and ministry officials say its wireless technology is not compatible with Israeli standards.
“The iPad device sold exclusively today in the United States operates at broadcast power levels [over its WiFi modem] compatible with American standards,” explained the officials. “As the Israeli regulations in the area of WiFi are similar to European standards, which are different from American standards, which permit broadcasting at lower power, therefore the broadcast levels of the device prevent approving its use in Israel,” said the officials.
The ministry has requested all the relevant information on the iPad from Apple’s Israeli distributor, iDigital, so as to approve importing iPads.
The iPad runs on the iPhone OS, which doesn’t support Adobe Flash without a workaround, so portions of the Web (from movie sites to online gaming) won’t be available to iPad users. And according to Jobs, the device will run “almost all” of the iPhone apps—iPod Touch users will be happy to lend a sympathetic shoulder. Also like the Touch, iPad doesn’t feature a camera, much less a Webcam, video output, USB or firewire ports. And forget multitasking—running two or more apps at the same time—which we take for granted now on desktops and laptops.
As far as what’s under the hood, iPad is powered by a custom silicon chip called the A4 (1Ghz) and includes WiFi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, compass, speaker, microphone, dock connector and 10-hour battery. Although the iPad isn’t designed to be a phone, Skype via WiFi will likely be an option. One thing Apple got right with the iPad was offering a peripheral keyboard dock in addition to its virtual keyboard. “If you’ve got to write ‘War and Peace,’ just plug your iPad in,” Jobs said.
March 23, 2010 | 4:50 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Kendall Jackson is turning to an Israeli company, PIP (Pulsating Irrigation Products), to protect its 14,000 acres of vines from frost. The counterintuitive technique—employed by other vintners and vineyards in Sonoma and Napa—coats the growing grape bud with a fine layer of ice, much like an igloo, Karin Kloosterman reports for Israel 21c.
...A coating of ice can shield young buds on a grape vine very nicely from temperatures that fall below zero. And it’s far more effective than other conventional solutions, which rely on giant fan heaters to keep the grapes warm.
One of the difficulties of frost protection like this, however, is flow and water pressure. When it comes to a frost warning, grape growers have to act fast. They know a coating of ice on the vines can help mitigate damage, but if they turn on their irrigation systems at one go, they are unlikely to have enough water pressure for the whole vineyard, explains Roee Ruttenberg, PIP’s CEO. As a result they tend to separate parts of irrigation system, turning on sections one at a time.
“[By doing this] you risk losing a large chunk of your harvest,” warns Ruttenberg. “When you are talking about grapes for wine, that can amount to millions of dollars.”
The advantage of the PIP Pulsator 200 irrigation system, one of a number of PIP solutions in agriculture, is that it allows irrigation devices to operate at a very low flow, (0.02 liters per hour), explains Ruttenberg. He claims it is the lowest pulse of water of any drip irrigation system on the market today. “The flow is so low, when temperatures drop to freezing, the entire system is turned on and creates ice over the vineyards,” he says.
The PIP frost protection solution can be added to existing irrigation systems and switched on the moment a farmer receives notice of a frost warning. A PIP device, each of which costs $5, is installed every six meters of vine. It is already being sold throughout California and Chile.
February 23, 2010 | 9:18 am
Posted by Sam Gliksman
There is a note on the notice-board at my workplace that accuses Google of being racist. Whenever you start typing in the Google search box an auto-complete feature drops down and suggests a list of related search terms. The notice-board note displays a screen shot of the search suggestions listed when you type “Judaism is” or Christianity is” into the Google search box. The suggestions are clearly racist and include terms such as “Judaism is false” and “Judaism is a “gutter religion”. In fact, the results are even worse if you type “Holocaust is” into the search box (”...is a hoax” for one). So is Google actually racist as the note suggests?.
The list of search “suggestions” is derived from an algorithmic analysis of the overall volume of searches related to a specific term. Does that imply then that the most popular search related to Judaism is “Judaism is a gutter religion”? No it doesn’t, although some would like you to believe that it is searched most often. Search suggestions can be manipulated - and there are those that would like to steer anyone with an interest in Judaism or Christianity to a certain set of skewed search results.
This is an example of the type of simple cyber attacks that have become very commonplace. Cyber terrorists realize that they can manipulate search engines by planting and spreading viruses that send large volumes of specific searches to Google servers, thereby making them “popular”. Google has very little to do with the compilation of the search suggestion lists. Having said that, I should however note that while Google is not directly responsible for any particular suggestion, it’s completely within their ability to remove offensive search suggestion and they should be pressured to do so. You may remember a controversy a couple of years ago related to the search term “holocaust”. The first site that was listed was a holocaust denial website. Google refused to alter the search results claiming that it would not get involved in “political” debates. After much pressure Google finally relented and removed the offensive listing.
One final footnote. Several weeks ago when testing the “Judaism is” search term in Google I also tried checking for “Islam is”. While searches for Judaism and Christianity returned offensive suggestions, searching for Islam did not - pointing an accusatory finger at the source of the cyber attacks. However if you try searching “Islam is” today, you’ll now find a similar list of offensive search terms. I’ll leave the moral judgements up to you.
February 5, 2010 | 1:24 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Technion—Israel Institute of Technology selected Shuji Nakamura, a UCSB engineering professor whose work was key in the production of white LED lighting, for the 2009 Harvey Prize, an award named for the late L.A. benefactor Leo M. Harvey.
Nakamura is a professor of materials in the College of Engineering at UCSB, where he also is co-director of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center. He is internationally known for his invention of revolutionary new light sources: blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes and the blue laser diode. He and a UCSB team also developed the world’s first nonpolar blue-violet laser diodes.
According to the prize announcement issued by the Technion, Nakamura was chosen for the Harvey Prize for “his seminal contributions to light sources based on nitride containing III-V semiconductors. Professor Nakamura pioneered the research that led to the first semiconductor laser producing blue emission, which increases significantly the density of optical storage devices. His work on nitride containing light emitting diodes led eventually to the white light LED, which totally revolutionized lighting concepts. These white light LEDs will dominate light-producing systems, as they are significantly more efficient than conventional incandescent light bulbs, ensuring huge reductions in energy consumption.”
The Harvey Prize, which includes a $75,000 cash stipend, recognizes individuals who have made great contributions to science and technology and human health as well as individuals who have advanced the cause of peace in the Middle East. The other 2009 winner is Sir David Baulcombe, a botanist and research professor at the University of Cambridge in Britain.