Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Yesh Gvul Needs You!

This came in yesterday:

Dear friend,
Well-known left-wing columnist Haim Baram recently published the following comments about Yesh Gvul and our efforts to promote a criminal investigation of IDF deputy commander-in-chief Dan Halutz:
Yesh Gvul is the most important organisation in the Israeli peace camp, the pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire going before all the others. I agree with YG activists that there is no prospect of Halutz being dismissed.... But the purifying sacred labours of Yesh Gvul enable all Israeli humanists - and there are many - to sense that they are living in their own country, and that they have allies. (Kol Ha'Ir, 26/11)
Thanks Haim, it's always a pleasure to read compliments, but fine words don't pay the grocery bill, nor do they cover legal costs !
We are keeping up our legal efforts for a criminal investigation of Dan Halutz, over his approval, as air-force commander, of the dropping of a 1-ton bomb on a residential home in Gaza, causing the deaths of 14 non-combattants (along with the professed target, Hamas militant Saleh Sh'hadeh). Our petition to the Supreme Court to this end is pending. Under consideration is a further petition against the appointment of Halutz to his present post (in effect, demanding his suspension). We insist that Halutz face criminal proceedings, and if the Israeli judicial system is not up to the task, we will seek ways of bringing the case to other courts.
Attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard do their utmost to lighten the burden, these legal actions require considerable financial outlay, and our money is running out !
To make sure our campaign against war crimes does not grind to a halt due to a lack of resources, we are launching an emergency appeal. We call on you, and the friends who have supported us this far - please give to the best of your ability !
Cheques to: Yesh Gvul, PO Box 6953, Jerusalem 91068, Israel
Bank transfers: Yesh Gvul, Acct. no 366614, Bank Hapoalim, King George St. branch (690) Swiftcode: POALILIT
USA: tax-free donations to Refuser Solidarity Network, P.O. Box 53474 Washington DC
20009-9474 (Please write “Yesh Gvul” on the memo line!)Credit card donations-through and the "donate now" section.
Peretz Kidron - Ram Rahat

Yesh Gvul supported me during the months of my diliberation , and of course during my imprisonment. They've been supporting refusniks ever since the Lebanon war.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Chava Alberstein cries in the morning

We went to hear her yesterday at the Barbican. The flyer said she's refused to sing in Israel for the last three years. She told us how her mother would not allow them to sing of laugh in the morning. Her belief was that "if you laugh in the morning, you will cry at night". So now, she says, I cry in the morning so I can sing for you at night.

One of the songs she performed goes something like:

Every man has a shadow
But the white man has a shadow even in the dark
When the white man stops for a quick lunch with his friends
His shadow washes his dishes

I haven't visited Shovrim Shtika site for a while. If you've never been there, go now. On top of the pictures from the exhibition, they have started translating testimonies to English.

I just read a commentary in Ha'aretz the other day, suggesting that the recent dissent against IDF practices started with this initiative. It all comes down to a mother asking her officer son: "boy, did you that kind of thing?"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

peace at last

I was doing a Masters in Philosophy of Science at Cambridge. I studied
with Stephen Hawking and people like that, and I had an old cosmology
text. I realized that I can estimate the amount of energy that's
available in the universe, and I know that if I look in this book it
will tell me how to count the number of bits that could be registered,
so I thought I would look and see. If you wanted to build the most
powerful computer you could, you can't do better than including
everything in the universe that's potentially available. In particular,
if you want to know when Moore's Law, this fantastic exponential
doubling of the power of computers every couple of years, must end, it
would have to be before every single piece of energy and matter in the
universe is used to perform a computation. Actually, just to telegraph
the answer, Moore's Law has to end in about 600 years, without doubt.
Sadly, by that time the whole universe will be running Windows 2540, or
something like that. 99.99% of the energy of the universe will have been
listed by Microsoft by that point, and they'll want more! They really
will have to start writing efficient software, by gum. They can't rely
on Moore's Law to save their butts any longer.

Sorry Everybody

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Images inspired by Perry Hoberman

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Real THR34T KR3W: The Story of Hacker Connor Hansen

Amazing hacker jargon. Couldn't understand 80% of it, but a great read nevertheless.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

oh, by the way, I need to appologize to my faithful readers. I've replaced the haloscan comments with the indigenous blogger once, and in the process lost all your words of wisdom. sorry.
If nothing else, at least:

FOSS = M$ 4LE$$

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

:: All for Peace Radio ::

The Palestinian organization Biladi - The Jerusalem Times and the Israeli organization The Jewish-Arab Centre for Peace, Givat Haviva, which are partners in the youth magazine Crossing Borders and maintain a long-standing, good and egalitarian working relationship, propose to create a joint radio station broadcasting in Hebrew, Arabic and English, which aimed at a wide audience amongst both people and provides messages of peace, cooperation, mutual understanding, coexistence and hope.
Nice, but so far their transmitter is stuck at the Israeli customs.
Political harassment? I think not. Just good old bureaucratic sludge.
But you can hear them on-line.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Re: Re-4: Website Feedback

Dear Isolese,

I advise my contacts not to use internet explorer, and so do several
distinguished computer security agencies. I also advise buisnesses to
keep their web sites standard compliant, and not try to enforce a
technological religion on their clients.

By the way, I tried your site with IE, and it didn't work either.


Yishay Mor wrote:

>Dear Yishay,
>We advise our customers to use internet explorer when visiting our website. W
>Kind Regards
>Abel & Cole

Re: סר×?× ×?ת

Gil asked (and I translated) :
Do you support the right of soldiers to refuse to evacuate settlements? If so, there's thousands considering refusal. If memory serves, you advocated the right of a soldier to refuse an order he morale objects.

Oh, very simple.

I support the right of non-violent resistance, even in the form of civil disobedience, as long as the following conditions are held:
0. The act is non-violent, passive, and clearly defined ("I refuse to do X, under Y circumstances, because of Z).
1. It is an individual act, by which I mean that the resister had taken the time to consider his / her act thoroughly, reflected on its implications, studied the political philosophy involved, and balanced the good achieved by the act with the harm it causes.
2. The resister takes full responsibility for his / her actions, and accepts their consequences.

Yigal Amir, for instance, satisfies conditions 1 and 2, but not 0, which is the most fundamental.
Rabbis Shapira, Tau et al. are violating condition 1, and should be prosecuted for incitement to mutiny. Anyone who follows their call without considering it carefully and taking responsibility should be court-martialed for mutiny.

But then, its also complicated. Comparing anti-occupation refusal to pro-occupation refusal is like comparing self-defence homicide to first-degree murder. I refused because I believed that my act was an extreme measure required to protect the existence of Israel as a just, democratic state. They refuse to help Israel become such a state. Since the discussion here is out of the bounds of the law, it is purely moral. In that sense, I can object to their refusal on moral grounds, on the premise of my fundamental moral objection to the occupation and the settlements.

Breaking News

Our correspondent M.B.S reports:

A tragic fire on Sunday morning, October 10, 2004, destroyed the
personal library of President George W. Bush.

Both of his books have been lost.

A presidential spokesman said the President is devastated, as he had not
yet finished colouring the second one.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I'm not dead II, or the double edge of spam filters

Its really impossible to use email these days without a spam filter. The problem is, the mail I send to my friends is sometimes filtered out. No, I'm not trying to sell \/1agra. Just that when I'm not in the office, I have to use an alternative mail server, and so my address is unknown to the filter.

The catch is, if I can't get through, I can't tell my friends to change their filter settings to let me in. I mean, and subject line I can think of to try and fool the filters, the damn spammers have already thought of before me. duh!

So, in case you're expecting an email and wondering why you haven't heard form me, please scan your spam folder for ymor at or yishay dot mor at virgin dot net or yishaym at yahoo dot com.

And if you're a spammer, don't bother to harvest these - I have a filter configured to reject any mail from an unknown address.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A must have for fans of Anthony Giddens.

Fans of Foucault, Butler and McRobbie are also welcome.

Monday, October 04, 2004

The inhabitants of the village of Budrus have been struggling consistently against the Separation Fence since December 2003. Theirs is a popular struggle, encompassing all the villagers, men and women, young and old, of all political affiliations. they have chosen the path of non-violent resistance, with remarkable persistence and resolution, despite the violent reactions of the army. As a result, they acquired significant achievements, and the course of the Fence was almost completely moved to the 1948 border line. The present discord is about 2 fields which the state of Israel wants to confiscate for the construction of the Fence. Our partnership with the people of Budrus started with a joint demonstration last March. Since then our ties have grown tighter.
Its just a Tomer thing, no real need for alarm

I know this doesn't mean anything for most of humanity, but I still think this phrase should be immortalized.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Oh, and by the way, I'm not dead. Its just my IM link that is. For some strange reason, since my trip to Lisbon last week, I just can't connect to any IM. Tried everything - fondling the XP personal firewall settings, running heavy duty diagnostic tools (by the way, hcp://system/netdiag/dglogs.htm is not a bad start). Nothing. Can't connect, and don't get any error msg. I feel so isolated!!
Ha'aretz reports:

Courage to refuse have been nominated for the nobel peace prize by two former winners: 1996 prize winner Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, a bishop from East Timor who led the struggle against Indonesian rule, and 1992 winner Rigoberto Menchu, who led a struggle for native Indian rights against an oppressive Guatemalan regime.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

After serving between 553 and 693 days in military and civilian prisons, the five draft resisters, Haggai Matar, Noam Bahat, Adam Maor, Shimri Zameret and Matan Kaminer have been officially informed that they are hereby released from the ranks of the army.

You can use the e-mail addresses at to congradulate them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The essence of british cusine -
Take a good idea from somewhere you colonized and make it into a gu.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I guess some blogs do have an audience greater than 3.
In just under 100 hours, we have smashed through our one million download campaign--with 6 days still to go! This is the fastest adoption rate we have ever experienced, higher than every previous Firefox release. But it's not time to relax our efforts. How soon can we break through 2 million? We'll have more information on a new campaign on Monday.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The BBC reports:
Some 30% of people have their best ideas in bed compared to just 11% who have them at their desk, according to research by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).
The conclussion? According to the researchers, install beds in offices.
er, sorry, but maybe people are tyring to tell you something - like that their work is so dead boring, they are more creative sleeping?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

What do you get if you run windows on a mobile device? A mobile virus.
Bloody Vikings! You can't have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam.

(I just learned the origins of spam).
For a few years now, political pundits have been talking about how we can't gut our civil liberties in order to beat the terrorists. There's another danger afoot. It's time for critics to start speaking up against gutting our notions of good art in order to beat Bush.

Charles Taylor, In a Salon review of Spike Lee's She Hate Me.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Aug. 28th is Software Freedom Day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Onion reports:

Kerry unveils one-point plan for better America

WICHITA, KS—Delivering the central speech of his 10-day "Solution For America" bus campaign tour Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry outlined his one-point plan for a better America: the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

and a good plan it is!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

According to the NY Times, IBM plans to contribute its Cloudscape code to Apache. Cloudscape is a pure Java DB. Apache is an open-source foundation.

Another nice example of open-source gaining grounds in the commercial world. Although I must say I find IBM's valuation of the code at $85 million a bit, ur, creative. was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information (such as the New York Times).

They also have a few other nice Mozilla extensions.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

HASHD aims at developing civil society in Palestine through supporting a popular grassroots campaign for peace and democracy. HASHD focuses on empowering the people by initiating a common vision for a future peace. [...] A future Palestinian state, living alongside its Israeli neighbor, needs to be envisioned and built by its people.

We have a creature living with us. Been here for a fortnight or so. It lives in the fridge door. Every time I open it, it purs Fuweeeed me.

The name's starter. Sourdough starter.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Bruce Sterling's Hacker crackdown came up over coffee. While looking for it, I stumbled across Sterling's blog, which led me to LA GRANDE DANSE MACABRE DES HOMMES ET DES FEMMES.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Join the March along the fence
The ISM movement (The International Solidarity Movement) is calling Israelis and Internationals to join a joint three week march along the route of the walls and fences starting from the north to east Jerusalem.
The march will begin on Friday the 30th of July in Zbuba. Its length is around 10 to 12 kilometers a day for a total of 200 kilometers.
For more details about joining one of the march days from Israel contact Raz: 050-7946044


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Some Sh!£head hacked my Wiki. I never had anything interesting there. Just the odd note I took, bookmarks and such. The reason I never bothered to put any protection on it was:
a. As I said, it not that thrilling. Didn't expect too much trafic.
b. What's the challange in hacking a Wiki? And a personal one with no exposure?

Well, aparently, when you're not smart enough to do any serious hacking, you settle for whatever you can get.
A theme of the nineteenth-century rhetoric of technology was that

technology would annihilate time and space. It did. And so today, "we are
learning what it means to have no time and no place" (Albert Borgmann)
Bembo's zoo. Oh sooo cool.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

This just came in the mail:

In a demonstration of strength in the belief that “there is someone on the other side to talk to” more than 220 teachers and educators from Israel and from Palestine met this past week for an encounter and teacher training seminar. These teachers are taking part in the Peace Education Program of IPCRI – the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information ( which is being run in more than 50 high schools in Israel and more than 30 in the West Bank.

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter 'cause there's

Something inside so strong
Labi Siffre,
Something Inside So Strong

I.'s class sang this song at their leavers assembly. I was moved to tears. I wish I'll see the day its translated to Hebrew & Arabic and sung back home.

Labi Siffre says a lot of other stuff on his site which I wish he didn't, but that doesn't make this song lessworthy.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Forget Butler. Read the SWISH report.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I bought a T-shirt at the Marxism2004 conference. Well, not really. They've put up a booth with promotional material outside the IOE. I passed it on my way from the nursery to the office, and decided to stop for some entertainment.

The outfit looks like a goods stand at a rock gig. Complete with socialist worker party mugs, lighters and pens. CDs labeled stop the war fundraiser ft. Ms Dynamite, Billy Bragg and Asian Dub (I bought one, a real bargain for a fiver). And of course, loads of T-s. Most of them where so in your face, I couldn't ware them even as a joke. Finally I found one - its got a rough photo of Malcolm X, holding a rifle. The inscription reads By any means necessary.

The guy at the counter said, in heavy Glasgonian, Wer reealy pushin the sob scib sauns this weeek. You gait yr free copy an also a compeemantry socialist party girl magazeene. I said his methods don't seam very marxist to me, to which he answared by quoting my new T.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Diane sent me a link to Lev Manovich's "DATABASE AS A SYMBOLIC FORM" on Cristine Wang's on-line exhibition Defining Lines: . As usual, I read around. As usual, I wish I had the time to really look into this stuff.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The rich get faster cars, the poor get less rice.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

    Wash with warm water.
    Use mild soap.
    Dry flat.
    Do not use bleach.
    Do not dry in the dryer.
    Do not iron.
    We are sorry that Our President is an idiot.
    We did not vote for him.

Tim Bihn laptop bags.

About time

Internet Explorer has been officially declared a virus. Windows in general has been declared a carrier.

"the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), the official U.S. body responsible for defending against online threats. The group on Friday advised security administrators to consider moving to a non-Microsoft browser among six possible responses."

"There are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies relating to" IE, the advisory stated. "It is possible to reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different Web browser, especially when browsing untrusted sites."

The advisory noted that Internet Explorer has had a great many security problems in several of its key technologies, such as Active X scripting, its zone model for security and JavaScript. However, the group pointed out that turning off certain features in IE increases the security.

"Using another Web browser is just one possibility," said Art Manion, Internet security analyst with the CERT Coordination Center, which administers US-CERT. "We don't recommend any product over another product. On the other hand, it is naive to say that that consideration should not play into your security model."

CERT also noted that people who opt for non-IE browsers but who continue to run the Windows operating system are still at risk because of the degree to which the OS itself relies on IE functionality.,39002192,39185013,00.htm

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

H. and the kids went to Inverness market, to buy some fruit and veg's. As they occasionally do, they asked the dealer for cooking instructions. He gave them a recipe for a fresh broadbeans salad, which would seam to be anything but English. Yum.


My Mejadra recipe is featured on the front page of Wikibooks:Cookbook!

I'll supress the slight irony in the back of my head, and cherish the moment.
The last post reminded me of -

IDF questions reservists who organized Hebron photo exhibit

By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel Defense Forces Military Police on Wednesday interrogated three reserve soldiers who had organized a Tel Aviv photo exhibit documenting their compulsory military service in Hebron, on suspicion they had abused Palestinians, looted and destroyed property

When: Friday July 9th, 2004, from 19.00 onwards

Where: The Courtroom, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS
Near Brick Lane and the Whitechapel Art Gallery (Aldgate East tube)

How much? Free, but bring your chequebook. We are suggesting a donation
of at least 24 pounds sterling.

What's happening?: Drinks, food donated by *Story organic deli, celebrity
speakers to be announced, music, performance, exclusive footage of Steve
Kurtz speaking at London's Natural History Museum and many other
entertainments. If you are interested in art and the freedom of knowledge
this is the time to lend your support.

For numbers, please let us know if you are planning to come:
020 7375 3690 or

High Court rules out 30km stretch in separation fence route

Ha'aretz, 30/06/2004

So, not a perfect democracy, but still as close as you can get in the mid-east.

Monday, June 28, 2004

On Sunday, 20 June, Daniel Tsal was jailed for the 4th time for refusing to take part in the Occupation.

Letters of support can be sent to:

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

"I'm trying to get in touch with my feminine side, but she's not returning my calls"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Mozila is soooo coooool! (I know, I'm a geek, can't help it..)

Friday, June 11, 2004

If you still drink Coka-Cola, here's yet another reason to stop.
I was looking for a link for the events in Az awyya, and found:

Women And Girls Lead Blocking of Bulldozers in Az Zawiya village today.

I also came across the Masha Camp blog, which is affiliated with the Stop the wall campaign.

whispers speak louder than stones.
Marbel asked if I've heard about the "Breaking Silence" exhibition. She pointed me to the piece in the Guardian.

So many people simply don't know what goes on. I don't think you can actually convey the tragic absurdity of it to someone who hadn't been there. That's why it always infuriates me when soldiers' actions are judged by supermarket standards. On the other hand, it amazes me how people can live 5km from the wall and ignore the things that are done in there name. I guess its a survival strategy, but its a short-term one. Maybe if people see this exhibition (or this site*) something will finally click.

* - Daber is a site which is devoted to publishing Israeli soldiers' stories from there service in the occupied territories. Its is all Hebrew, and maybe it should stay that way (or, translated to Arabic at most).

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Shaken, not stirred

I fell off my bike today. Well, more like flew off. And to be honest, I had it coming.

You know those speed bumps? The huge ones that scrape the bottom of fancy sports cars (ha ha)? Well, some time ago I discovered this biking technique, where instead of slowing down you speed up when you approach one, and then just when the front wheel goes over it - you give the handlebar a good jerk. The results are amazing but - kids - don't try this at home.

Over the last couple of months I've been perfecting my speed-bump-flying art. Today I was cycling with Seb, on our way to work, when along comes a speed bump. Seb, being sane, slows down. At which point I bypassed him, pedaling as hard as my feet would go, and muttered: "Hey, here's something you can do with these bumps", jerk on the handlebar and fly like a bird.

It was a perfect takeoff. I think its time to start working on my landing technique.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

By the way, why is it that the Wikibooks sudenly look so much like Plone?
As my humble contribution to Pim's Around the world in a bowl of rice, I posted my Mejadrah on Wikibooks:cookbook.

As usual, I missed the dealine, but might get in on account of the editor's kind heart.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Neal's yard dairy. Borough market, Saterday afternoon, April 2004

Monday, May 03, 2004

On the train back from Berkhamsted, Itamar asked me for my notebook and a pen. He wrote down a quick summary of the day, to help him write a full account at a later time. It goes:
enter forest
walk on
more deers

I would add only one thing: rain.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Freak-out protection

I have added the following line to the template I use for my PhD. I placed it in the center of the page header.
T H I S     I S     N O T     T H E     T R A C T A T U S

Monday, April 26, 2004

Yesterday I had a chat with my sister about identity. What does being Israeli mean to us? What does being Jewish?
She said (more or less) that she feels her image of herself as a Zionist has been robbed by the meaning the word has taken.
I said (more or less) that for me, actively opposing what Zionism has become is my Zionism. Paradoxical? well, that's life.

I woke up today, and after an hour or so I noticed that I'm constantly humming mellow, somber, old-fashioned Israeli songs. Natan Yonathan, Shalom Hanoch, Arik Einstein, Coffee with Berta.

Ah, yes, I thought. Of course. Memorial day. .
Two new refusniks on memorial day.
I remember kites.

I was a 19 year old infantry soldier, on a watch tower in Gibalia, in the first intifada.
It was a bright summer day. I was standing clad in my protective vest, armour and helmet. Gun in hand, looking at the refugee camp around me. The Gaza skyline stretched to the sea, and above it hexagon white kites. I thought of Albert Camus. I thought of a Saturday walk with my father, I'm 7 or 8, and he takes a pen knife out of his pocket to cut some reads. Later, at home, he will split them and dry them and show my how to tie three sections together to construct a kite frame.
I want to take my armour off. Take off my jacket. My uniform. I want to run barefoot in the sands, and fly a kite.
You can beat a stone, you can beat a gun. You can't beat a kite.

Dedicated with admiration to the brave non-violent protestors in Bidu, Beit Surik, and elsewhere.
Today is the national memorial day in Israel. I prefer to interpret it as a memorial day for all those killed in war. A day for reflecting on why war still is, and what can we do to stop it.
Gila Svirsky writes:


I just spoke to Molly Malekar on her way to Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital in
Jerusalem, and here is what she reported:

"We were about 60 women, only women: roughly 1/3 Israeli, 1/3
Palestinian, and 1/3 internationals. We gathered at Bidu to protest the
construction of the wall in this village. It was a quiet march, with
women carrying signs and walking toward the area where soldiers were
guarding the construction of the fence. At a distance of about 10
(30 feet) from them, we stopped walking because the soldiers turned to
point their rifles directly at us. I called out to them in Hebrew, "Don't
shoot, we're not armed, this is a nonviolent demonstration." Suddenly
there was an onslaught of teargas and stun grenades, falling all around
us, completely out of proportion to the quiet, nonprovocative nature of
our action. The grenades fell right there at our feet and we were
choking, unable to breathe. Most dispersed and ran back. Soldiers
charged toward us and fell upon the women, grabbing some whom they
arrested. By then, there was no demonstration at all, nothing to
disperse. Most of the women had run back, trying to recover from the
gas, but I remained as I wanted to talk to the soldiers to prevent the
arrest of the four women. Suddenly out of nowhere four horses
with border police mounted on them. I started to run away, but one of
them ridden by a girl soldier caught up with me and she struck me on
head with a baton. I fell, and then a second horse charged toward me
I felt more blows on my head and back. There was no provocation
whatsoever at any point while this was happening."

Friday, April 23, 2004

Please tell these assholes what you think of them.
Is nuclear whistleblower Vanunu a hero or a traitor? fine, I have my opinion, but its a legit question.
but asking What should be done with Vanunu? and giving an option of kill him? Is that your version of being the watchdog of democracy?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Shortly after his release, Mordechai Vanunu walked to a kiosk and asked for "100 gram gari'inim schorim" (100 gram sunflower seeds).

"I knew we couldn't trust you" said the dealer, and cuffed him.

Well, in Hebrew it sounds better.
Pembrokeshire. St. Govan's haven. More to come.

Gali, Itamar & Hadas have been blogged. I mean, for the first time - blogged by someone other than myself. As Pim says, M.Ducasse, watch out! (Or did you mean Alain Ducasse?

I promise to write a bit about this wonderful evening myself. I just want to upload the images first.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Maybe today I'll listen to Resonance 104.4 FM.

Monday, April 19, 2004

"TheOpenCD is a collection of high quality Free and Open Source Software. The programs run in Windows and cover the most common tasks such as word processing, presentations, e-mail, web browsing, web design, and image manipulation. We include only the highest quality programs, which have been carefully tested for stability and which we consider appropriate for a wide audience."

Sunday, April 18, 2004

My latest contribution to the future of the human race: WikiNation

Friday, April 16, 2004

Pim is coming to town. We're chatting now about going to Borough Market.
Hiba says:

People have become numb on both sides and they feel like their neighbors have become their enemies. It is horrible that innocent people are dying in both Palestine and Israel, and God willing (Inshallah) this terrible fighting will end soon. Arabs and Jews need to realize that we have more in common than we do differences. I'm sick about hearing whats wrong with the Middle East. We should show the world what is beautiful about the part of the world we come from, and that should start with peace.

Well, this you might find more related to the experiences with your 19 month old toddler.

I's having congestion problems for over a month now. Stuffed nose, which leads to blocked ears, which leads to us waking up at 2am to the sound of soul-chilling shrieks of pain. You know the drill..

A couple of days ago we were having dinner with Seb and Ana, and eventual got to the issue of common child ails. It started as "well, I don't believe any of this homeopathic mumble jumble. But you know, there's one think that works" and turned into a 2 hour exchange of folk-medicine knowledge.

So, that night I. went to bed with a hot water bottle under his head. The next morning we put him on a no-dairy diet.

We have slept the night through, without being waked once, for two days in a row. Man it feels gooooood!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Tahini? T'hina? T'xina? Let your voice be heard!
Michael just pointed me to Just the kind of background music I need now. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The BBC magazine ran a story about the refusing to kill event I participated in. Well, they got me wrong. I said the day I woke up in prison I was a free man, not the day I was released (which would be obvious).

But the reason you should read that piece is the story of Elsa. After hearing her, I was ashamed to open my mouth.
Next year, I think I'll add an orange to my seder plate. Funny I learnt about this from Pim (and thanks!)

Saturday, April 03, 2004

We're off to Pembrokeshire. Doing the Seder in a Caravan with the Portnoys and a couple of Puffins.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I'm reading this paper, never mind which, and it goes on and on about this great theory, and how the world will be better if we all pick it up, etc. This led me to develop a theory of my own, in philosophy and sociology of science. My theory involves classifying scientific theories on the basis of their degree of PATOI, which stands for Providing Acronyms for Trivial and Obvious Ideas. A "soft PATOI" theory is one that, after scattering a lot of verbal smoke, actually emerges with some new and useful ideas. A "pure PATOI" theory is content with simply being PATOI. And there's oh, so many of those.

Example of a PATOI theory?
"PATOI is a SDCF (Self Descriptive Conceptual Framework)".

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

And here it is. My first recipe on WikiBooks:Cookbook.

No, this is not going to be a foodblog. This is just a tribute to Pim.
I have just spent two days with decent and intelligent people, Palestinians and Israelis, who because of the stupidity of their leaders and the shameful folly of my government are living a life I would not wish on a dog.

Gary Kamiya, Salon.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

From now on, if I post any recipes, I'll do it on the WikiBooks CookBook.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Itamar's topic for this term was "famous people". One of the people they learnt about is Bob Marley. Since I couldn't get a CD in any of the shops on Inverness st., I downloaded some tracks and burned one for him. So, now the dude's floating around the house singin' don't worry, 'bout a thing. I just hope he doesn't try to go for dreadlocks.
New word: Toothing.

Friday, March 19, 2004

In a perfect world, the President of the US of A would be a -


But surely, you guys can do better than G.W. Bush, no?


In a perfect world, the dude could be a white protestant male and it wouldn't make a difference.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Here's my notes for tonight's PayDay event

    In a way, I do not fit the title of this evening. I have been a soldier and commander in combat units of the Israeli army for 15 years - 3.5 years of regular army, and the rest in reserve army. Being a reserve infantry soldier means you get called to serve for about a month each year. 9 out of 10 times, this means enforcing Israeli rule in the occupied territories. I have always opposed the occupation, and fought against it. At the same time, I have always considered it my duty to perform whatever service I was called to. I still do, but my calling has changed.

    My refusal is an act of civil disobedience. It is conditional on circumstances, time and place. It is a complex position, and to explain it, I would need to explain how I view the current state of the conflict. To do that, I would have to start at the beginning – about 150 years ago. Obviously, a tough task for an 8 minute talk. Instead, I will try to share my personal experiences with you. I hope that these will provoke your questions.

    There are 4 refuser groups in Israel, with nearly 1,500 members, men and women, officers, soldiers, elite fighters, draftees and veterans. Since the outbreak of the second Intifada hundreds have been imprisoned for refusal, for terms ranging from 14 to 500 days. Each of these men and women walked his own, untrod trail. I cannot speak for all of them. I can say that my own decision was not driven by the fear that I, or my fellow commanders, might commit crimes. I have done things which you might question, but I have no remorse. I have complete confidence in my commanders and peers that they do only what they believe is necessary to protect lives, and they do it with the utmost decency.

    The problem is the occupation itself. As long as it exists, the things we have do to protect lives will be cruel and unjust. A state of the oppression is destructive, physically and morally, both to the oppressed and to the oppressor. I see the relations between me and mygovernmentt as a “civil contract”: I do what is necessary in the circumstances, the state does what is necessary to change them. Loosing the belief that governmentent is doing its best to end the occupation meant loosing the moral justification for my participation in it.

    But first, the news.

    After 4 years of struggle, 1.5 of them in prison, Yoni Ben Artzi has finally been exempted from Military service. Half a year before his projected draft date, Yoni notified the army that his conviction in pacifism does not permit him to serve. To this day, the army has refused to respect his declaration. The letter he had received a fortnight ago states that he is released on account of – check this out – lack of motivation. I defy anyone to claim that the IDF lacks a sense of Humor.

    Currently imprisoned for refusal are: Haggai Matar, Adam Maor, Noam Bahat, Matan Kaminer, Shimri Zameret, Inbar Gelbert, Maor Persai and Uri Fein. The first 5 are unconditional conscientious objectors. They have already server between 360 and 500 days in prison, and have recently been sentenced to another year. Inbal is a young woman who has accumulated over 40 days in prison for refusing draft. Maor and Uri are conditional refusers like me; they are serving their second term in prison. Liora Millo is expected to join them any day. LioraÂ’s appeal to the conscientious objectors committee has been rejected on account of her being a conditional refuser. She has already served 14 days in prison, and her case is currently held before the Supreme Court.

    These men and woman need your support. I’m sure you will all sign the petitions, donate, lobby etc. I wanted to ask you to do one small thing tonight: write one of them a letter, tell him or her that your heart is with them. I know it meant a lot to me, I’m sure it does to them.

    Now to my story.

    On 20 March, 2002 I was sentenced to 28 days in military prison for refusing to serve in the occupied territories.

    As I’ve mentioned, I had served for 3.5 years in regular army and another 12 in reserve, as a soldier and commander in combat units. A large part of my service had been in the Gaza and West Bank areas. About three years ago my regiment participated in the siege of Kalkilia. It was probably then that my stance began to shift. Several events that occurred in the following months persuaded me to do what many of my friends do: evade service. The next time I was called, I organized a "business trip" abroad.

    However, after my return I realized that what we often call "grey refusal" is not the right way for me. It is not my habit to lie to friends, and my army mates are among my best friends.

    It was at that point that I started seriously considering refusal. I knew that it was a matter of 6-12 months before I am called to service again, and that most chances are that my unit will again be sent to the occupied territories. But the way to refusal is long. There were 5 great mountains I had to surmount.

    The first, perhaps most banal, is mt. norm. Though I had my wild years (long hair, mind altering substances and all) most of my life has been conducted in the heart of "normality". I have been living happily with the same woman since the age of 21. This woman happens to be the mother of my two children, and my wife as well. I work an ordinary job, drive an ordinary car, see ordinary movies. It's surprising how hard it is to step out of this golden cage and do something quite extraordinary.

    The second summit to traverse is that of mt. "what will they say". Your friends, family, co-workers, the grocer. Mind you, I come from a country were the bus driver tells you its time for a haircut. ItÂ’s also a very patriotic country. People live in constant sense of threat, and the notion of one's obligation to defend his country is commonplace.

    The next big rock one hits is economic. Quite simply, refusing cost me a month's salary. Having a wife and two children to provide for, that is not something to take lightly. Furthermore, it could count for unjustified absence - in which case it is a legal clause for termination of contract.

    But all these are mere hills when you reach mt. loyalty. I'm not talking about love for your king and country. I'm not talking about obligation to the democratic system and its laws. Those exist, but I cannot believe anyone who says he is willing to kill himself, or others, for those noble causes. For most men, the only power strong enough to make them rise to battle is seeing their mates alongside. In refusing to serve I was deserting - not the army, but my friends. Friends who have walked shoulder to shoulder with me up some very dark paths. Friends who have stood back to back with me in some very tight spots. Friends who I would protect with my life, and they would protect mine with theirs. They were going to the hell of Gaza, and I to the safety of prison. What if one of my mates gets the bullet that had my name written on it?

    It took me nearly half a year, but in the end I ascended the summits of all these mountains, and reached the plateau beyond. At that point I called my company commander and asked if I could pay him a visit. I came to his home one day, just as his young son was on his way to bed. We talked - about work, studies, education, football. And then I told him that I will not join the regiment in our planned service in Gaza. For two hours he tried to convince me to change my mind. I'll never forget his words: "I'll always love and appreciate you as a person, but I think you are doing a despicable deed, pretty damn close to treason".

    After that he arranged for me to meet my battalion commander. Again, I spent a long evening with him. He raised some very hard questions - most of them I have been through, but some were new. "Most officers and commanders in the battalion are as left wing as you are. They all think the occupation is atrocious, hopeless and wrong. Still, they believe that their effect is greater in being there, and assuring decent human conduct. What influence do you think your refusal will have? Who will be impressed by it? On the other hand, in a few years we will be called to forcibly remove settlements. What will you say to right-wing soldiers that will refuse then?"

    I told him that the most I can promise is to go home and think about his words. And I did. It was then that I found myself at the feet of the most treacherous mountain of them all: mt. doubt. how can I know that I am doing the right thing? What if history will prove me wrong? What if no one will notice? What if it is true that we are facing a nation who's only desire is our destruction? What if, given enough time, I would see things differently?

    There is only one way over this peak: you don't know what's right. You feel it.

    For me the way to go about it was to ask myself, what would I be comfortable explaining to my 5 year old son. I realized that I have no problem telling him that I'm going to prison for refusal. I will have a hard time expelling some of the things I did in the occupied territories.

    After three days I called my commanders and told them that my decision is firm. We agreed on the screenplay from there on: I would report with my battalion as usual, do the short training with everyone, and when the busses load for Gaza, I will stand trial.

    On 20 March, 2002 my battalion commander court-martialled me for inappropriate conduct. He found me guilty, and sentenced me to 28 days in prison. On the 21st I woke up in military prison 6, and I knew I was a free man - free as I have never been before.

Monday, March 08, 2004

If you're in the Bay area, you can catch Eyal at Berkeley on March 10th.
Heard Eyal Weizman talk about politics and planning in Israel at the Jewish book week last night (along with Zvi Efrat, Ilan Troen). Fascinating.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Peretz Kidron will be in London to launch his book REFUSENIK!. He'll be accompanied by Eilat Maoz from the Shministim.

You can also catch them at Ilford 11/3, Leicester 13/3, London SOAS 15/3, York Univ. 16/3, Durham Univ. 16/3, Dundee 17/3, Glasgow 17/3, St. Andrew 18/3, Manchester 20/3, Brighton 21/3, Cardiff 22/3, Bercon 23/3, Birmingham 24/3.

Contact Ilana Bakal:

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Bruce Sterling, greenhouse effect, dead media. MirrorShades looks like a nice place to spenda lazy Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Itamar concert is featured in the Camden New Journal.

Urban voices are raised in an epic song of love… and hates

SINGERS, songwriters and musicians wowed an audience with their musical impression of life in Gospel Oak at a concert.
Hundreds of parents and friends packed Talacre Sports Centre in Kentish Town last Wednesday evening to hear the 300-voice choir of primary school pupils – some as young as five – and residents perform an epic song written as part of a community project dubbed Urban Voices.

He's the cool dude in the striped shirt.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Arik Diamant, the chairman of Refusing for Israel (aka Ometz leSarev) has a piece in today's Ha'aretz, titled Immoral ethical codes
Giorgio asked me to speak at an evening titled Refusing to kill. At first I hesitated. But then I decided its a chance to mention the five, so I said yes.

The time out blurb says

Friday 12 March 7pm, Godwin & Crowndale Community Hall,
Crowndale Road, NW1, tube Mornington Crescent: Refusing to Kill - An
evening with refuseniks from Eritrea, World War 2, Gulf War 1 & 2, Israel.
Organized by Payday, a network of men working with the Global Women's
Strike. Tel 020 7209 4751

If you come, say hi.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Now, about this civilian prison thing. I understand the boys were accused of corrupting the youth. Well, < href="">Socrates had to drink hemlock for that.

But seriously. Military prison is not my favorite holiday destination, but you survive it. The discipline is strict, which is precisely why you don't get stabbed in your bed or raped in the showers. Civilian prison is quite a different ball game. Military prison inmates are mostly guys who had their hat on the wrong way and happened to meet their commander just after he'd had a row with his girlfriend. Civilian prison inmates are mostly criminals.

When I was there, some of the prison staff weren't too happy about us refusniks. We were somewhat more educated, more opinionated, and didn't really take the prison game too seriously. Others found us very convenient. We had these odd habits, like cleaning up our cells voluntarily and reading books. At some point we organized a prison university. Once a day someone would give a lecture on some topic he was informed in. I gave one on game theory, another guy talked about the history of black Jazz. Yet another told us about the Reserve police battalion 101. Like I said, corrupting the youth.

I don't really know what the 5 were doing, but transfer to a civilian prison seems a bit too vindictive.
Dutchmarbel (sorry - no idea where your site is) says he wishes he (she?) could do more for the refusniks than " hang up a poster, write letters, have a banner on my website and tell others..."

Well, the quickest, easiest and one of the most important things to do is tell the boys your heart is with them. Just mail them

Of course they don't have email access in prison, but it will be delivered.

One of the things that helped me most when I did my time was the support I received from all over the world. Its not easy to keep your conviction and strength in these conditions. Its much harder doing a whole year in a civilian prison. Just let them know there sacrifice is not in vain.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Just got this in my mail:

UPDATE - Israeli COs now in Civilian Jail - in separate cells, 7 prisoners in each cell built for 4 prisoners - so that some sleep on the floor. Held in the cells 23 hours out of each 24 hours.

On Sunday 24.2.04 the five conscientious objectors were transferred to the civilian prison service to serve the rest of their sentence. The army, in its determination to rid itself of the COs by passing them to the civilian service opened a campaign of harassment and witch-hunting that started at the Tuesday (17.2.04) hearing of the committee on prisoner transfers (from army to civilian jails). At this hearing Colonel Ochana, Deputy Commander of the Israeli military Police Corps, described the five as "well poisoners" . Had Colonel Ochana bothered to attend history classes he would have learned that the origin of the anti-Semitic expression "well poisoner" was in the middle ages during the period of the Black Death plague. At that time Jews were accused of spreading the plague as part of a "Jewish Conspiracy" by poisoning European water sources. On the grounds of these accusations tens of thousands of Jews were butchered or were burnt at the stake. Very few anti-Semites would dare to use such this expression today.

On the other hand, had Colonel Ochana learnt history he would not have been so eager to pursue the conscientious objectors as he did.

Have to run to pick Gali from the nursery now, so I'll have to comment some other time. In the meanwhile, see How You Can Help.
So I listed myself on LinkedIn. Now, being listed with 1 contact makes you feel quite sorry for yourself, so I immediately imported my contact lists, and started infecting my friends with these new social disease. Then I notice that Oz Shelach is already listed. I say Hey, wassup? he says, cool you wanted anything? I admit that no, I was just fooling around with this new toy, and what's the story with MOVERS NEEDED? Oh, just helping a friend get his political-artistic word around. have a look.

So now I know why I do this. To get in touch with people who are already on my mailing list, but I didn't have anything special to say to them.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

If you ever need to run a birthday event in London, go to the British Museum. No, they won't do it for you, but you'll have great fun doing it yourself. (They even have a dungeon were you can have the crisps & cake at the end)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Spot the differences


Can't get a better example of Israeli cooking: an inseparable mix of North African, East European and Palestinian. I like these guys.
Cappuccino man with a paper cup
Drunk with his can of cider
I pass them on my bike
Camden, 9am

Friday, January 30, 2004

When you're down, and lonely, etc. Come to Google language tools.

Google translations is one of my favorite passtimes. Never fails to dispel the blues.

Übersetzungen Google ist eins meiner Lieblingspasstimes. Kann nie das Blau zerstreuen nicht.

Translations Google is one my Lieblingspasstimes. Cannot never the blue zerstreuen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Say you're 17, into web design, and your name is Mike Rowe. What would you call your site? Er, think again.

Just had an idea for a killer web initiative. A site called (I wanted, but its taken). You log in & see a blank screen, or perhaps psychedelic patterns. You close your eyes, concentrate on the image of the screen imprinted in your mind, and sense which of your friends is logged on. Then you can call them up for a telepathic chat.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I googlewacked!! I googlewacked!! yeah! gaser gook.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Actually, I'm very happy about Bush's Mars initiative. See, if the Americans are busy conquering other planets, maybe they'll give this a few years of peace and quiet?
Great. Now we officially have a military hunta.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Cool tool of the month: the Google DeskBar

Monday, January 12, 2004

Quite a different blog.
I call him the major. Every morning (for the last year or so) I take Gali on my bike to her nursery. On our way, we short cut through Chester Terrace. Every day when we pass through (unless we're 8 minutes late or more), we see him. All clad in tweed and tie, pipe between his teeth, cleaning his silver BMV. Caressing her lush German body with a soapy chamois. Every day. Shine or snow.

Today, for the first time, we nodded good morning at each other.
A new era has dawned.

Yesterday Itamar & I went got a bike for Hadas. There was one I borrowed from Tamar when I was here getting organized, and left it locked in Noam's yard. Its been there ever since (about 1.5 yrs). Lillian told me that occasionally one of the neighbors would wonder about it, and she'd say: "yes. What do we do about that bike there? I wonder who left it..."

So we took Itamar's bike on the 31 bus and went to see what can be done about it. Oh, did I mention the key was lost, about a week after I locked it there? And it had one of those D-locks, which are supposed to be unbreakable.

I won't post the details here (although the baddies probably know them) but it took us exactly 2.5 minutes to break it. I'll never trust a D-lock again.

Then we sprayed some cyclers' snake oil (aka WD40) and puffed the tires up, had some tea, and cycled home together. Now we can start doing family cycle trips. Can't wait (although Hadas is a bit cautious about it, saying she has to see if the bike fits her first).

By the way, I just checked. The distance is roughly 4.something KM. Not bad for a 7 year old!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Normally, I delete chain letters as soon as they land in my inbox. I find them offensive to my religeous beliefs. But this one is different.

It's fun. Read, or don't. Play along, or don't. I'd love to hear from folks.


here's what you're supposed to do...and try not to be LAME and spoil the
fun! Just give in. Copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste into a
new e-mail that you can send. Change all of the answers so that they apply
to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know *INCLUDING* the
person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little
known facts about your friends. It is fun and easy!!!!

1. First Name: Yishay
2. Were you named after anyone? No. Its a biblical name (aka Jessie, father of king David), but I don't think that counts.
3. Do you wish on stars? No.
4. Which finger is your favourite? middle.
5. When did you last cry? Today. Not a major downpour, but still..
6. Do you like your handwriting? Yes
7. What is your favourite lunch meat? cold beef roast
8. Any bad habits? Smoking, drinking, staying up latter then I should, picking between the toes of my feet when no one is watching (yuck!)
9. What's in your CD player right now? Nothing. too late, everyone sleeping.
10. Do you believe in soul mates? Yes. I have at least 3.
11. Are you a daredevil? Yes, but a scared-shitless kind of daredevil.
12. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell? Really! What kind of person do you think I am? Oh, did you hear about...
13. Do looks matter? Would it be worth the bother of getting around this world if not?
14. Have you ever misused a word and it sounded absolutely stupid? Today, or just this week?
15. Do you think there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? No, but I remember seeing a golden rainbow after smoking some good pot.
16. Do fish have feelings? Probably not, and if so - only before you eat them.
17. Are you trendy? I'm a whole fringin' sub-culture.
18. How do you release anger? You don't want to know. (Seriously, its not that bad. I usually talk my head off for 5 minutes and forget about it)
19. Where are your second homes? I'm still looking for my first.
20. Do you trust others easily? Yes.
21. What was your favourite toy as a child? Erector. Do they still make that?
22. What class in school do you think is totally useless? The teaching class.
23. Do you have a journal? No.
24. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Only when it's necessary.
25. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? God. I need a dictionary for that one. Hang on. Ur, yup. About 20 years ago. Does that make me old?
26. What do you look for in a boy/girl? A person.
27. What are your nicknames? Yish.
28. Would you ever bungee jump? No.
29. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? I wear boots. But on the rare occasions that I wear trainers, yes.
30. Do you think that you are strong? Yes.
31. What's your favourite ice cream flavour? Perline.
32. What's your favourite colour? No such thing.
33. What is your least favourite food? Standard English / American bread.
34. How many wisdom teeth do you have? 2 (I think)
35. Are you in love with anyone? 3 people.
36. How many people have a crush on you right now? The same 3, I hope.
37. Who do you miss most right now? My sister.
38. Do you want everyone you send this to, to send it back? Of course!
39. What are you wearing? Black trousers. Dark blue T.
40. What are you listening to right now? The tick of the kitchen clock.
41. What are the last 4 digits of your home phone number? 2441
42. What was the last thing you ate? One-sided chocolate coated hob-nobs. 2 of them.
43. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Either black or white. Not sure.
44. How is the weather right now? London.
45. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone? My sister.
46. First thing you notice about the opposite sex? Eyes.
48. How are you today? Better now. Was too tired earlier, and didn't like it. Looks like tomorrow will be just as bad.
49. Favourite Drink? Context dependant.
50. Favourite alcoholic drink? Irish single malt.
51. Favourite sports? Cycling.
52. Hair colour? Blackish brown.
53. Eye colour? Green - grey.
54. Do you wear contacts? No
55. Siblings and their ages: Nilly, 32. Gidi, 27.
56. What is your favourite month? November.
57. Favourite food? Fresh baked bread and olive oil
58. Last movies you watched? Cold mountain, Love actually, Kill Bill.
59. Favourite day of the year? April 7th.
60. Are you too shy to ask someone out? No, but I have no intentions.
61. Scary movies or happy endings? Any, as long as they're not dumb.
62. Summer or winter? Winter.
63. Hugs or kisses? All that and more.
64. Relationships or one-night stands? Relationships, preferably life long.
65. Do you want your friends to write back? sure
66. Who is most likely to respond? Pim.
67. Who is least likely to respond? Gidi (just to spite him).
69. What books are you reading? Ana Isabel's thesis, "Apprenticeship in thinking" / Rogoff, and the fatal eggs.
70. Favourite Song? "Ve'Aich Shelo" Ariel Zilber. Its not the real name, but I forgot it.
71. Favourite board game? Go, but I don't remember the rules.
72. What did you watch on TV last night? Last 10 minutes of the evening news, 5 out of which were commercials.
73. Favourite smells? Bread baking. Wet soil. And a few that are too intimate to mention here.
74. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? "oh no, not again" (not, but I like the quote anyway).

Spent a good part of this Friday evening trying to make sense of our bank accounts. Then, for recreation, I had a look at my mail. I found one msg from Michael, joyfully notifying me that

A publicity-shy Russian researcher who labours in near seclusion may have solved one of the oldest and most obscure problems in mathematics, the Poincare Conjecture.
Answering the question may help scientists better understand the shape of the universe. Beyond that, it may have no application whatsoever to everyday life.


So, must look that one up, right? Well. Here it is, strait from wikipedia:
    Every simply connected compact 3-manifold without boundary is homeomorphic to a 3-sphere.

believe me, my bank accounts are harder.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Oops. I had a bug in my blog template. The archives were MIA. Any no one complained. I wonder...
The mailing list of the Keshet democratic school hosted a heated thread about how democratic the school should be. Um. Interesting, don't get a lot of discussion on how tyrannical the system should be in tyrannical systems. Never mind.

Every time I find myself witnessing such an argument, I remember my man Winston

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

I think that is true for education as much as it is true for governance. I actually think that if you reject it in education, you have a hard job justifying it elsewhere.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

As my (two) faithful readers have surely, noticed, I've been fooling around with blogccessories. I figured, if I'm blogging, might as well do it properly.
A couple of night ago we went to see Cold Mountain at the Screen on the Hill* in Belsize park. Truly moving, extremely well done. Although, when I told Sophie it has beautiful scenes, and beautifully characters, she said there's no way you'll see someone attractive in the Appalachians. I wouldn't know.

Anyway, it really is well done, but I got pretty depressed on the way back. I wonder. This whole war thing is so pointless, useless, wrong. The movie does get this message across. Is it because I come from a place where the issue is not, er, theoretic, that I took it so hard?

We walked back, over the hill (Primrose, that is). I thought how totally shitty it is that in so many places in the world people are still getting killed or maimed for nothing one way or another. Then I thought, hey, one of those places is mine. Looking over the London skyline, I wondered why I can't call this place mine.

I guess because it isn't. Never will be. Don't really want it to be. I guess that means I'm fucked.

*: There web site is so crapy, I refuse to link to it.
Duh. Again.

About a year ago I was chatting with Mark about the possibilities of photo-messaging phones, and I had this idea, about posting to a blog directly from your mobile.

and here it is.

Only, of course, it's someone else's.

So, since I never bother to do anything with my insights anyway, here's my plan: any killer idea I have, I'll post here. If you read it, do it, and get rich - send me some chocolates (or a porch, or something..)

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Jen and I finally got IM-ing, which is a bit embarrassing for two geeks like us (embarrassing that it took us so long). And in 5 minutes I learnt quite a bit about American politics. Apparently, just as depressing as ours. But what's more important, is that Jen has a Blog, and so does John, and they have (no surprise here) the most wonderful wedding album (I wouldn't have linked to it had there not been a link on Jen's blog).
Have you singed the petition?

Animal stories

In Tanzania, they're using rats to sniff out mines. Apparently, the rats have a much better attitude then dogs, and are also more intelligent. Well, better then the story about the The CIA-s Kitty Cat spies. Apparently, our leaders of the world spent 2M$ over several years implanting bugs in a cat's body. They used the tail for aerial.

The 2M$ agent kitty was run over by a taxi on its way to its first mission.

Kinda reminds you of the story about the American spy in Siberia...

Are they for real?

Our group is made up of many people, Jordanians, Palestinians, Indians, Americans, Russians and Israelis. Some of us are Jewish, some Christians, some Hindus and other of us are Muslim.

Believe it or not, we all love and respect each other.

We all work and play together. Our families on many occasions eat at the same dinner table. We trust each other and are very close friends with each other. As a group, the most important thing in our life is our children, our families and love ones and of course our friends. calls it The enigma of Earth Station 5.

Even The Economist mentions them.

Monday, January 05, 2004

More than 8000 people have signed a petition calling for the release of the convicted refusniks.. Sorry, Hebrew only, but I just had to have a link to the left bank.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Took the kids brass rubbing at St. Martins in the field. So English. Yet, I must admit, in the end I found myself fervourosly exposing the hidden charm and chaste of lady something, armed with a hard piece of gold colored wax.

After we accomplished our artistic missions, we had lunch at the Crypt Cafe. One of my favorites in London. Quite a bizarre place. The food looks very chick, and is probably quite tasty. We settled for our home-made sandwiches, and a cup of hot chocolate / cappuccino.
About vantage points. I tried to resist snapping back, but what can I do? Its my nature...

You know, sometimes, if you have your nose stuck against a wall (excuse the pitifully pun), you can't really see much beyond it.
So Naive, so simple, so beautiful.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Zero tolerance

Hoaxes, Urban legends, Chain letters and Spam are among the persistent ills of the internet. Recently I have been receiving quite a bit of this "genre". In some occasions, I have responded somewhat bluntly. My apologies if I have hurt someone's feelings.

However, my concern with this kind of communication goes beyond plain irritation. As annoying as these mails are, in my eyes they signify a much deeper problem.

I think we all agree that participating in a democratic society requires accepting responsibility for your actions and words. When sharing information with the community, this means that you have reasonable basis to believe that this information is indeed true. Suppose I would call a few of my friends and tell them that I heard that so-and-so has been involved in criminal activity, and therefor should not be trusted with community funds. You would expect me to have hard evidence for this fact, or else would consider my actions severely unacceptable. Now, suppose that when considering several sites for our school, I circulated a rumour that a particular site is located above a unique geological formation, which guarantees us an oil well in our back yard, which would fund our school for the next 100 years. In this case, not only would you see my conduct as inappropriate, you would also politely suggest that I seek urgent help.

Why is it, that when we go into "cyber space", we let down all social and cognitive defences?
Do you really think that there are computer viruses which, when you say cheese, jump out of your computer and bite your nose?
Do you really think that Bill Gates has pledged to send you 240,00$ if you will but a sock on your ear?
And do you really think your kindergarten friend knows about a "serious deadly internet worm that spreads faster then light" but Ha'aretz, NY Times, and all the anti-virus companies haven't heard of?

Now, I know what some would respond: "What's the harm? I sent you some information. You judge it, and if you don't believe it, hit the delete key." Well, the same argument goes for all the "real world" examples I gave. Would you accept it there? Probably not. Because in the real world, if you say something, YOU are responsible for your words, not the receiver. Well, its time to realize - this is the real world too. The same norms apply here. The only difference is that verifying is much, much easier. Usually, a 5 minute trip to google or wikipedia would do*. Which means that you have absolutely no excuse for spreading disinformation and other junk.

*: If you read Hebrew, Hanan Cohen's site is a useful place to go as well.

Last night Hadas & me went to see the new year born on Primrose hill. The site was amazing. Like a disney version of the opening scene of Blade Runner. The sky was clouded, and beneath our feet the city lights sprawled endlessly. The whole cityscape was sizzling and crackling in bursts of blue, red, green and white. Occasionally a rocket would go whining over our heads and explode in a spray of colours and smoke. In the distance the London eye was throbbing like a fluorescent heart, until at midnight it too exploded with interleaved circles of white fire, the size of a small hurricane. All around us were hundreds of people sipping champagne in delicate flutes, ignoring the biting wind, singing and snapping photos with their mobile phones.