Posted by Ryan Torok
Melanie, our multimedia reporter, and I went to see Julie Spira. She’s a cyber-dating expert (still searching for her own love) and author of “The Perils of Cyber Dating.” The book suggests that while online dating occasionally leads to awful experiences, keep the hope alive: Love can be found online.
In a video, edited by Melanie, which you can watch below, Spira offers tips on how to date online, successfully. I’ll let the video speak for itself. For now I’m interested in getting over-analytical about something Spira said during the interview.
Spira, who has been using online-dating websites for over twenty years, has this huge web presence. She uses online tools like Facebook and Twitter to promote an online company, cyberdatingexpert.com.
Melanie said it best in a recent Gchat conversation: “Spira has embraced and turned to the internet for her 2nd life.”
Hmm… Spira did say that the people who aren’t using Facebook, Twitter and posting videos of themselves on YouTube, are “missing out.”
Reinforcing that we have cool jobs, Melanie and I, during work hours, talked more about this. We did it over Gchat, while sitting at our cubicles, which are only a few feet away from each other. These are a couple of words Melanie introduced to me.
1. Luddite - “People who will live their life on a daily basis,” said Melanie. “They won’t search through Craigslist for housing or jobs. They won’t seek possibilities via the internet. They don’t think about where they could be, or what else they could be doing. They think about the here and now.”
Apparently, Melanie had dated a guy like this. He actually sounded like a bit of a jackass.
2. FOMO – This is an acronym that Melanie came up with. It stands for “fear of missing out.” She offered the idea that people spend all day online out of fear of what they might be missing on – because the internet is a means for them to actively seek, albeit voyeuristically, further possibilities of what their life could be (vacations, friends, connections, images, job listings…).
FOMO is also a reason I feel compelled on a Friday night, even if I am exhausted, to leave the house and go out for the evening. Moreover, FOMO might compel someone to use an online dating site, feeling that they are missing out on their match if they don’t search through the internet.
Below is an excerpt from the conversation:
melanie: maybe we are fascinated by [Spira’s] inculcation into technology. there was something about her charisma.
[I didn’t say this in the conversation, but “inculcation” is quite the vocabulary word. I certainly didn’t know what it means. Way to go, Mel!]
ryan: i wish julie would find somebody and get married
ryan: somebody she DIDNT meet online
ryan: that would be ironic i think
melanie: i think ultimately that while the internet represents a means to actively pursuing more possibilities, it is ultimately disappointing
ryan: as is life
But, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with Julie’s online dating tips [insert cheesy grin; hold camera steady]. Watch below:
12.28.11 at 1:38 am | A member of the paparazzi, Adam’s a freelancer. . .
12.19.11 at 6:01 pm | Last weekend, I met Elaine and Lee, an older. . .
12.16.11 at 11:54 am | I woke up this morning to a text message from my. . .
10.19.11 at 5:22 am | Eli Lipmen, communications strategist for the. . .
10.15.11 at 6:21 pm | Yesterday, I was at Occupy L.A., asking people. . .
10.14.11 at 3:04 am | Brain cancer survivor Judi Kaufman has suffered. . .
2.19.11 at 4:38 am | Who would’ve thought? The new Radiohead album,. . . (5)
4.26.10 at 1:21 pm | After a panel session featuring Ellis (“Less. . . (3)
6.5.11 at 5:12 pm | “Why Jews Laugh at Themselves,” an article in. . . (3)
March 16, 2010 | 8:18 am
Posted by Ryan Torok
Television and radio host Glenn Beck, earlier this month, decreed that social justice doesn’t belong in religion, but Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, the dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University (AJU), suggested that the issue is more complex.
Social justice has to be based on the democratic engagement of the community, as opposed to a rabbi [or clergyman] imposing a social justice issue on his or her community, said Artson, at the Westside Jewish Community Center on March 15.
Beck spoke against religiously affiliated social justice movements on his radio show. “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site,” Beck said. “If you find it, run as fast as you can.” He added that they are code words for communism and Nazism.
Artson spoke at a panel that followed a collaborative learning session between Hebrew Union College (HUC) and AJU rabbinical students. The topic was the Old Testament’s justification for agricultural justice. During the Q-and-A, a student asked the panel (which also featured Rabbi Richard Levy of HUC) its take on Beck’s comments.
Artson’s analysis comes on the heels of online debate. A blogger for nonprofit online news publication Mother Jones criticized Beck for his view and his syntax: Adam Weinstein, in post “Glenn Beck: God Hates Justice,” referred to Beck’s statements as “incoherent bauble.”
Below, find MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s broadcast of Beck’s remark.
March 8, 2010 | 7:14 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
I was lost in a maze of crepe stands, nut vendors, smoothie bars and actual bars at the farmer’s market at the Grove. I’d been stood up by a girl, a 40-year old voiceover actress actually, who I was supposed to meet to see a band of klezmer, punk gypsies that were supposed to be playing in the middle of the Sunday morning craziness but were nowhere to be found (I found out later that I wasn’t stood up at all but had gone to the wrong farmer’s market—oops), but I met these people, the Kaufmans, who were munching on crepes. They let me put my coffee down on their table while I fished around for a pen and pad in my Jansport backpack, and then the Mrs. of the marital equation, Sherry Kaufman, a makeup artist, educated yours truly about the origins of the farmer’s market I’d mistakenly gone to. Life was pretty good.
I asked Mrs. Kaufman if she reads the Jewish Journal.
“It’s Purim today. Did you know that?” I asked.
Part deux: Not For Those Who Don’t Know Matt
I left the market of the farmers, drove to my dad’s apartment and picked up my sister’s dog…
...and went to the Purim carnival at Temple Emanuel, where I met up with my friend Matt and his girlfriend near the dunk tank. All around us, kid-sized Spidermans, clowns, baseball players and hippies ran around the closed off street, which was off of Burton Way, and sprayed each other with silly string—it was late in the day, the ride were being shut down—the moon bounce had already been deflated to a giant blob—and so the kids had to find a way to amuse themselves. Silly string is as good as anything. I asked Matt, who was never the strongest Jewish studies student in high school, to explain the Purim story. He actually did a pretty decent job. The video is below and it’s over three-minutes long, which doesn’t seem bad to me, but Matt’s my friend. For those who don’t know Matt, the video could probably be shorter.
March 2, 2010 | 2:26 pm
Posted by Ryan Torok
Explaining why Israel enjoys global prominence in the healthcare business even though it’s a tiny country is a daunting task. Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s book, “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle,” attempts to. It spotlights the tech-savvy, ambition, resourcefulness and chutzpah of Israeli entrepreneurs and acknowledges the successes of some Israeli healthcare startups.
For instance, Senor and Singer mention the Pill Cam, the first pill with a camera inside (so that patients can swallow the pill rather than face invasive surgery).
But the book’s focus is broad.
Fortunately, David Fischel and Brian Neman, two L.A. locals in their early twenties, have experience with Israeli healthcare startup companies.
In 2007, while Fischel studied at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv for a master’s degree in business, he worked for SCP Vitalife, a healthcare venture capital fund. One of Vitalife’s prominent investments, Argo Medical Technologies, has been developing a medical device to help paraplegics walk.
Last summer, Neman worked as an intern with Oramed, an Israeli biotech company in Jerusalem. The company is on the brink of revolutionizing Diabetes treatment.
RT: First of all, what are the differences between biotechology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices?
Fischel: Biotech drugs are typically proteins and antibodies. Pharmaceuticals are chemical substances—they have molecular interactions with our bodies. Medical devices are tools—they are physical objects such as catheters and imaging devices. Israel is a powerhouse in medical devices.
RT: Why do you think that is?
F: Well, whether your company specializes in pharmaceuticals, biotech or medical devices, there is a path you have to take. If you’re doing pharm or biotech, you have to find the chemical entity or the protein you think that’s going to affect the body positively. You have to develop it, test it on animals and patients, do clinical trials, and then you need to get regulatory approval. For a drug it’s much harder than what is required for developing medical devices. It takes a lot more time and money to market a drug. For a device, it usually takes a shorter amount of time.
It’s also partially because it requires less time and less money. In small countries with limited sources you can create value [quicker] with a device than with a drug. If you need hundreds of millions to develop a drug, it’s tough in a small country like Israel.
Lastly, medical devices fit with the Israeli mentality. Israelis like something that’s quick, gets off the ground, [something] you can see tangentially the results of in shorter periods of time and you can see money in [in] a shorter period of time. In the short term, you can see results.
It also fits with the strength of Israeli education, which is much more based in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering than purely biotech. In medical devices, you don’t need that much of a medical background. If you look at a surgery, you might have an idea for how it could be done better. You don’t need the chemical background that you would need for biotech.
RT: Brian, how did you become interested in biotech?
Neman: There is potential to positively impact a lot of lives. That is really important to me. I add a value to that no matter what my salary is. And Israel is the best place to do it. Why do I say that? Relationships. You see Hadassah hospital and Tel Aviv Medical Center with
Oramed [the company that Neman worked for]. The Israeli universities and companies have very strong relationships and on top of that there is an extremely strong relationship between the government and industry in Israel. It’s absolutely unparalleled. The army also pushes these innovations and is often the first to try them.
Oramed is a blossoming company because of those relationships. It’s sad to see that companies in the U.S. don’t use that synergistic relationship like companies in Israel [do]. Oramed gets a very good sum of money from the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) [at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor in Israel]. Someone in a government position there knows that there is value in scientific technology. The government in Israel is pretty pleased with innovation.
RT: Can you say more about how the Israeli army relates to these startups?
N: Startups have four or five employees. Any start up in general has four or five employees. That team building comes from the army. The army is built of small teams of four or five guys getting together in self-managed teams [“Start-up Nation” says more on this].
RT: Does the U.S. view Israeli startups as competition?
N: Not really. Israel realizes that its talent and real strength lies in the development and technology. You see startup companies left and right in Israel that have the confidence to say an American company is going to buy them out. I don’t know the future plans of Oramed, but for the most part, Teva and only a few others have turned into worldwide companies. Teva is the largest generic pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world.
From what I’ve seen, the plan is to develop the technology, show that it is feasible and dump it off to an American company. A lot of companies in general develop these technologies and have no plans to commercialize them on a large scale. You’re not going to see a lot of Israeli startups doing advertising and distribution in the U.S. They call Israel the “Start-up Nation” because there are a lot of startups. These companies don’t go on to be like Teva, to have a worldwide presence, to have a worldwide regard. They allow an American company to do a merger and acquisitions.
Fischel works for his family’s healthcare hedge fund, the L.A.-based Dafna Capital Management. The fund invests primarily in biotech and medical devices. Fischel focuses on medical devices.
Neman is currently in graduate school at U.S.C., working toward a master’s degree in healthcare administration.