NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle.2014-12-21T14:16:47Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/WordPress Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels.com <![CDATA[Crafting the World’s Smallest Bible, Israeli Nanotech Engineers Insert Scripture In Jewelry]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35482 2014-12-21T14:16:47Z 2014-12-21T13:39:42Z

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Sign of the times? The Christian Scripture, which contains 27 different books, is now available on a tiny chip that’s inserted into jewelry, thanks to Israeli nanotechnology. A company called Jerusalem Nano Bible (JNB) recently applied for a Guinness World Record in an attempt to be recognized as the manufacturer of the world’s smallest New Testament.

It all started when Ami Bentov, founder of JNB, saw Israeli President Shimon Peres presenting Pope Benedict XVI with a nano bible five years ago. In 2009, researchers at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) developed a nano Old Testament the size of a grain of sand.

Bentov believes the same technology can serve all religions, but decided to pursue the development of a nano New Testament first, an endeavor that took him several years to complete. According to the company, Bentov’s next step will be embedding The Quran in a nanochip.

Crafting the Worlds Smallest Bible, Israeli Nanotech Engineers Insert Scripture In Jewelry

Sharing a ‘bit’ of peace with the world

A veteran photojournalist, who covered wars and conflicts in the Middle East – many of them revolving around faith – Bentov decided to connect all people to their faiths, right from his office in Israel. “We want to spread good energies of peace from Jerusalem,” says Lee Meyuchas, Deputy Director at JNB. “The unique combination of new Israeli technology and the Holy Scriptures that stem from our region is cherished by believers around the world.”

JNB embeds thousands of written words in tiny silicon wafers. The 450-nanometer letters are engraved in aluminum and the text is covered by a protective silicon layer. JNB’s 3 mm nanochips are manufactured by TowerJazz Semiconductor, another Israeli company, and sold through its offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But not only does JNB create manufacturing jobs, it also employs Israeli jewelers, who embed the minute JNB chip in jewelry pieces such as rings and necklaces, which cost $99. And the company obviously hopes believers will be rushing to buy bible-related presents in the run-up to Christmas.

“Carrying the word of God close to your heart is what believers look for,” Meyuchas explains. “It gives you a sense that there is someone up there, and it better connects you to your faith.”

     SEE ALSO: Netanyahu’s Gift To Obama: Nanotechnology Mounted On Archeology

Faith is in the small things

According to JNB, the chip is a bible book for all practical purposes and can be examined through a special microscope in any nanotechnology lab. What’s inside the chip? While the New Testament is disseminated in multiple languages and versions, JNB chose the original Greek version, the Textus Receptus (Latin: “received text”). This Greek version constituted the translation base for later translations and versions, and is considered the original, most ancient New Testament.

Crafting the Worlds Smallest Bible, Israeli Nanotech Engineers Insert Scripture In Jewelry

How can customers be sure the New Testament is actually inside the necklace they’ve purchased? The product was certified by an expert with what seems to be the most appropriate name – Dr. Jack Pastor. Pastor is the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Humanities at University of Haifa’s Oranim Academic College.

Pastor says that as part of JNB’s effort to be included in the Guinness Book of Records, he was asked “to be an expert witness to the claim that the nanochip produced by TowerJazz contains a complete and accurate text of the Greek New Testament.”

There are roughly 2.4 billion Christians in the world, obviously an enormous potential market for JNB. The question is whether devout believers, who typically wear cross necklaces, will adopt the Bible necklace. Meyuchas believes the necklace could become as sacred as the Jewish mezuzah, which contains verses from the Torah and is affixed to the doorframe in Jewish homes. Says Meyuchas: “We plan to cooperate with churches worldwide.”

Photos courtesy of Jerusalem Nano Bible 

Crafting the Worlds Smallest Bible, Israeli Nanotech Engineers Insert Scripture In Jewelry
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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Dario, The Smartphone Glucometer, Goes Global]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35472 2014-12-21T07:45:42Z 2014-12-21T07:45:42Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

An Israeli medical device is making inroads into the $12 billion diabetes monitoring and insulin delivery market.

There are hundreds of glucose meters on the market – needed by diabetics to measure their blood sugar levels and determine how much insulin they need to administer – but the Dario system is one of just a few that uses smartphones to manage the meter itself.

Dario, The Smartphone Glucometer, Goes GlobalDario, The Smartphone Glucometer, Goes Global

“Diabetics are very community-minded and share information and knowledge in forums via social media and other methods, and we see a lot of photos of people using the system, with very positive reviews about how much more convenient and easy it is than alternative systems,” said Erez Raphael, CEO of Dario maker Labstyle Innovations.

     SEE ALSODario Turns Diabetics’ Smartphones Into Trendy Glucometers

The app automatically downloads information from the meter and uploads the data about the user’s activity and condition to the cloud, where it can be accessed by medical personnel for analysis. It also sends out reminders to users to check their blood, provides graphs and charts about how their blood sugar levels change throughout the day and even keeps track of calories and carbs, offering food suggestions to users based on their current sugar levels.

The recording and analysis is done by the app, which communicates with the pocket-sized Dario meter. The meter connects to smart devices via the headphone socket, and includes a lancet for blood sampling and cartridges containing insulin strips that can be easily popped out and changed.

The metering process takes about six seconds and there are no batteries; the meter gets its power from the iPhone or Android phone it’s connected to.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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NoCamels Team http://www.nocamels.com <![CDATA[EatWith, The Airbnb For Home-Cooked Meals, Bags ProSieben’s €4 Million Prize]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35484 2014-12-18T18:03:28Z 2014-12-18T16:23:54Z

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Companies like AirBnb and Uber have been at the forefront of a whole new way of doing business, known as the “sharing economy”. And investors are paying close attention, encouraging their startups to move away from the “singular” capitalist way of thinking towards something more “collective”.

Gaining traction on this front  is Israeli startup EatWith, which allows strangers to book home-cooked means in people’s homes, kind of like the Airbnb for food. Just last night (Wednesday), EatWith won the ProSieben‘s startup pitch event, hosted by the venture capital arm of the company, 7VPD. At the event that took place in Tel Aviv, EatWith won over an impressive panel of judges including Yahal Zilka of Magma Venture Partners and Micha Kaufmann of Fiverr, bagging a €4 million ($4.9 million) prize in advertising money. ProSieben, one of the leading media companies in Europe and Germany’s largest television network, will now give EatWith the opportunity to spend its prize money on advertisements and promotions on its many TV channels and other media platforms.

     SEE ALSO: Germany’s ProSiebenSat Enters Israeli Startup Market With $8.7M Competition Prize

Regarding EatWith’s win, ProSieben’s liason in Israel, Kevin Baxpehler stated: “EatWith is a fantastic company that has been able to create a whole new dining experience. The startup is successfully scaling its offerings and operations internationally, which makes it a perfect candidate to work with us. The €4 million in TV advertising will have a significant impact for EatWith’s entry in Europe’s largest market, not only driving traffic, hosts and customers to its site, but most importantly building a brand.”

EatWith’s Director of Communication, Naama Shefi commented on the significance of the ProSieben win for the company: “This prize will allow us to bring EatWith to new markets. Because TV airtime is very expensive, startups usually rely on the web as their advertising platform, so we are very excited about this opportunity. We believe that a broad creative campaign will resonate with travelers and locals, and will deliver a strong message about how EatWith is changing the way people eat, travel and make new connections.”

EatWith was founded by Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwartz in 2012 to give travelers the opportunity to experience authentic cuisine and meet interesting locals, but the startup is now increasingly popular with native residents of host cities. The company, which has raised $8 million in a funding round led by Greylock Partners, already has more than 500 active hosts in 160 cities and 30 countries around the world.

EatWith’s vetting process for potential hosts is strict: Before someone can become an official host, the person’s home is checked for cleanliness, safety, food quality etc., and like with Airbnb, guests can leave reviews on the site.

     SEE ALSO: EatWith Will Help You Make Friends And Have A Good Meal Aboard

Anat Topel, who lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been an EatWith hostess since the beginning of 2014, after successfully hosting a demo dinner for EatWith auditors. So far, she has hosted six Shabbat dinners at her home in Tel Aviv for guests from the US and Romania. Topel hosts EatWith guests as part of her family’s routine Shabbat dinners. “None of my guests were Jewish, yet they were all moved by the traditional Shabbat dinner,” Topel says.EatWith, The Airbnb For Home Cooked Meals, Bags ProSiebens €4 Million Prize

Instead of having dinner at their hotel or at a touristy restaurant, “my guests chose to see Israel from the inside,” Topel says and adds: “My guests become part of my family, we’re still in touch.”

A full Shabbat dinner at the Topel residence costs 200 Shekels, but it takes a group of 20-30 guests to actually make it profitable, Topel says. “I love hosting dinner parties and that’s why I joined EatWith – for fun.”

Second prize in the competition was awarded to MediSafe, a data-driven medical management platform, that was awarded €2 million towards advertising on ProSiebenSat’s channels. Third place was awarded to TinyTap, a social platform that allows families and communities to create education games and applications, which received €1 million in advertising funds. ProSiebenSat.1 and its venture capital arm 7VPD just recently entered the Israeli market with hopes to widen their cooperation with Israeli technology companies and to aid growing startup companies in their transition into the vast European market.

Photos: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Gambling Great Eyal Shaked Of 888]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35480 2014-12-18T14:21:24Z 2014-12-18T13:30:30Z

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The owner and shareholder of the successful online gambling corporation, 888 Holdings Ltd, Eyal Shaked is also one of the company’s co-founders. When he’s not enveloped in the world of online gaming, Shaked is a “super angel” investor for early stage to A round startup companies, with a focus on those companies looking to disrupt the world of online gaming and gambling, BI, payment monetization, and marketing. Shaked is the owner of Shaked Ventures and is a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, receiving a degree in information technology and business management.

What is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration is my father, Avi Shaked, who founded 888. He taught me everything I know about the business world and poker. It’s a privilege to be around him since he founded the company. I still seek his advice and consult with him when necessary.

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? Barak Obama, as a leader of the free world and a pretty good basketball player.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Gambling Great Eyal Shaked Of 888

Falafel or shawarma? Definitely Shawarma! Preferably Emil’s or Bambino’s in Haifa. In general, Haifa is the Israeli empire for Shawarma. I would even go on to say that Haifa is the Shawarma capital of the world! I feel lots of other cities have what to learn from Haifa. I like to eat my Shawarma extremely spicy.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Horseback riding (I met my wife when we were competing at Israel’s Youth Equestrian Championship when we were only 16 years old) I have been riding since I was 10 years old. Our dream is to have family horse backriding trips when my kids are a bit older.

What is your favorite Hebrew word? “Rak daka”or “shnia”. Of course, it’s never a second! Every Israeli knows this. I always laugh when I have guests from abroad that get this answer when they’re waiting for something and don’t understand why things don’t actually take a second when someone just said it.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like? 

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Gambling Great Eyal Shaked Of 888

What’s your homepage? www.shakedventures.com  Shaked Ventures is our family investment fund that deals with early stage investment in the gaming domain. We specialize in the range between early investments and VCs that are in a much more mature state. We’re interested in startups making their way through the booming industry of online gaming and gambling.

What’s your hidden talent? I’m a chef. I love to cook new recipes, but not Shawarma. I leave that to the experts. I especially enjoy cooking Italian. I love cooking for others. I make the world’s best lasagna! Trust me.

What is the best place that you’ve ever traveled to? Las Vegas is the best city in the world. Lots of business trips with 888 and leisure travel brought me to this conclusion. Las Vegas has transformed from solely gaming-oriented to entertainment and life-style oriented which makes the city even more appealing. Every time I go to the states I do the best I can to stop in Vegas. I owe it to myself. After all, it’s Vegas baby!

Who was your first celebrity crush? Alyssa Milano. I fell in love with her when she was Tony’s daughter on “Who’s the Boss?” When I was 13 I had a huge crush on her. Now I just like traveling to Milano (the city that is).

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Gambling Great Eyal Shaked Of 888

Milano on “Who’s the Boss?”

What are you totally addicted to? Sushi! I can eat sushi all day everyday! Wherever I travel I choose the best sushi around and have to go there.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? My wife – Daria Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Gambling Great Eyal Shaked Of 888 She could take Wonder Woman any day!

If you weren’t and entrepreneur, you’d be? Professional poker player! I always wanted to participate in the international poker match and I know that one day I will live up to it.

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel Aviv. As someone who has always lived here I love this city the most. I want my kids to grow up in Israel and I just absolutely hate the weather in NY.  Also, it’s closer to Haifa, where my beloved Shawarma is (I really like Shawarma☺)

What were your first steps in the business world? My first steps into the business world were in 1998 when I started working for 888 and helped develop what was later known as Affiliate Networks. When I finished high school, I immediately joined 888 and worked there while I got my BA. My first stop was in the marketing and affiliate department and I grew to learn a lot about business development. In 2002, I was relocated to Gibraltar, which was an amazing experience.

Burger or green juice? Shawarma with Green juice (told you ☺)

 

Photos: The Daily Caller/ FanPix.net

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Children Feel Pleasure At Friends’ Misfortune As Early As Age Two]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35284 2014-12-17T11:11:54Z 2014-12-17T11:11:54Z

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They say there is no pleasure greater than the one that is derived from another person’s misfortune, but at what age do we start developing and expressing this complex emotion?

Until now, researchers believed that children didn’t develop such sophisticated emotions until the age of seven, but a new study conducted at the University of Haifa found evidence of ‘schadenfreude,’ the German word describing the emotion, in children as young as two. “The study strengthened the perception that schadenfreude is an evolutionary mechanism that develops within us as we cope with situations of inequality,” said Prof. Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory, who led the study.

Schadenfreude is our evolutionary way of coping with inequality

In German ‘schadenfreude’ literally means deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others, and it can be rooted in jealousy, competitiveness, or sometimes even hatred. According to one theory, schadenfreude is an evolutionary mechanism that develops as a result of competition over limited resources, for example, the struggle between two siblings over their parents’ attention. This mechanism, which develops at an early age, turns later on into a mechanism that enables us to feel pleasure at another’s misfortune, even when there is no competition for resources.

     SEE ALSO: Computer Program As Effective As Drugs For Children With Anxiety

Though it was believed that children under the age of seven were not emotionally developed enough to have feelings of schadenfreude, Shamay-Tsoory and her team thought that they could prove that such feelings surface much earlier, at the ages of two to three. To do this, the researchers set up 35 separate groups that included a mother, her child, and a friend of the child who is the same age. The groups were subjected to two situations.

Children Feel Pleasure At Friends’ Misfortune As Early As Age Two
The first was an “equal” situation, in which the mother encouraged the children to play together, ignored them for two minutes, and then began to read a book aloud to herself for two minutes. After those two minutes, the mother was told to take a glass of water that was on the table and pour it by “accident” on the book. In the second, “unequal” situation, after the first two minutes the mother took the child that wasn’t hers on her lap and began reading the book aloud to him or her. Here, too, after two minutes, the mother spilled the cup of water on the book.

The researchers found that when the unequal situation was brought to an end, the mother’s own child showed visible signs of happiness, as expressed by jumping up and down, clapping hands, or rolling on the floor. By contrast, when the water was spilled while the mother was reading the book to herself, there were no similar reactions. According to the researchers, the “misfortune” that made the children happy was the fact that their peer had stopped hearing the story, which strengthens the theory that schadenfreude is a social development that is a reaction to inequality.

Jealousy is still stronger than schadenfreude

During the study the researchers also found evidence of jealousy that expressed itself by children trying to force themselves between their mother and the book, or playing with their mother’s hair while the mother was reading the book to their friend. These expressions were stronger than the expressions of schadenfreude, which upholds the findings of previous studies that show jealousy is a stronger emotion than schadenfreude.

     SEE ALSO: Spider-Man Window Cleaners Surprise Children’s Hospital On Purim

Apparently, the emotion of schadenfreude is embedded in children far earlier than previously thought.  “Social comparisons, in which we compare what we have to what others have, as well as emotions of justice, develop at a very early age and constitute positive evolutionary mechanisms to cope with inequitable situations,” said Prof. Shamay-Tsoory. “Because social-comparison reactions are linked to character traits like self-esteem and altruism, it’s possible that people who think less of themselves are more likely to suffer from feelings of schadenfreude.”

This study was conducted by Prof. Shamay-Tsoory of the University of Haifa’s Psychology Department, along with Dorin Ahronberg-Kirschenbaum of the University of Haifa’s School of Education, and Nirit Bauminger-Zviely of Bar Ilan University.

Photo: Schadenfreude

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Laura London, NoCamels <![CDATA[If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, This Israeli-Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35370 2014-12-16T17:05:09Z 2014-12-16T17:05:09Z

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For many living in the vicinity of a nuclear facility, the threat of a leakage, or even an attack is very real. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster of 2011 is a shining example of the damage incurred when little to no measures are taken to protect the public from the grave natural and health effects of radiation exposure.

With that in mind, the StemRad belt was created to protect from life-threatening radiation exposure. Created for first responders to nuclear disasters, the StemRad 360 Gamma belt claims it shields its wearers from the effects of gamma radiation by protecting one of the body’s most vital and sensitive assets—bone marrow.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Tawkon Launches Its Cellular Radiation Detection App In Japan

If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, This Israeli Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure
Radiation protection goes to first responders, first

Recruited employees of the nuclear reactor are usually the first responders to reach the scene of the nuclear catastrophe, and, according to StemRad CEO Oren Milstein, this can number from ten to fifty employees on any given day. However, in more severe events like the leak at Fukushima or the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, first responders receive support from surrounding fire and police stations, raising the number of individuals potentially exposed to radiation to hundreds, if not thousands.

If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, This Israeli Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure

The aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, 2011

In an effort to keep the public safe, these brave men and women can be exposed to high doses of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Whereas alpha and beta radiation can be repelled by normal clothing, gamma radiation causes severe damage to the bone marrow stem cells. Without stem cells, the body fails to produce white and red blood cells and platelets, which in turn can result in severe anemia, leukemia, or acute radiation syndrome. As mentioned above, these are very serious conditions that necessitate immediate bone marrow transplants, otherwise resulting in death.

“If you lack red blood cells you don’t have a way to carry oxygen, if you lack white blood cells you are prone to infections and if you lack platelets then you have internal hemorrhage, bleeding,” Milstein tells NoCamels.

A 33-pound miracle belt?

The StemRad 360 Gamma belt works by shielding the pelvic area that contains 50 percent of all bone marrow with a leaden harness. This means that StemRad obviously cannot provide full-body protection against radiation, which could be a serious draw-back as some of the most radiation-affected areas of the body include the thyroid and liver.

The 33 pound belt (15 kilograms) is made of differently shaped lead plates layered on top of each other, with Teflon tissue between them to stay flexible. The frame is then covered with fire-resistant Kevlar fabric, to ensure full protection against all of the variables in a nuclear disaster. According to the company, the belt protects up to five percent of the bone marrow in a person’s body, which is enough to regenerate a new healthy batch within a month’s time.
If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, This Israeli Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure
Other useful tools in the StemRad radiation belt include a built-in Geiger counter that serves as a real-time gamma radiation monitor, keeping the wearer aware of potential dangers with a chirping signal. In addition, it contains a cumulative dose decimeter card, displaying the scale of rads a person was exposed to allow for adequate medical treatment.

     SEE ALSO: Biodegradable Balloons Isolate Tumors To Reduce Radiation Risks

“It may look simplistic on the outside but the structure inside is three dimensional and very unique. The idea here was to create a product that on the one hand protects but on the other hand is not over-burdened with weight,” said Milstein.


Despite support from three Noble laureates, StemRad still isn’t a sure bet

So far, Milstein’s argument, and the increasing number of countries weary of nuclear disasters like Fukushima, have done their convincing. The company has already sold to its belts in several countries, including Japan, Israel and Russia and it has pending sales in Germany and in the United States. StemRad also has plans to create a protective belt for civilians that will be much lighter and cheaper than the current product, which runs a price in the thousands of dollars. Recently, three Noble Prize laureates joined the company’s impressive scientific advisory board: Roger D. Kornberg, the prominent American biochemist, biophysicist Michael Levitt and Aaron Ciechanover, in addition to the likes of Prof. Richard Champlin, one of only three Westerners to treat radiation victims in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.

Photos: StemRad/ Fukushima

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel Brings Hybrid Solar Power To Off-Grid Locations In Ethiopia]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35308 2014-12-15T09:15:54Z 2014-12-15T09:15:54Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Solar energy is an ideal solution for the power needs of the developing world – except for one problem: It stops working when the sun goes down, at precisely the time power is needed to turn the lights on. The solution, according to Zev Rosenzweig, CEO of Israeli energy technology company AORA, is a hybrid system – one that utilizes solar to the fullest, and supplements it with a “backup” system to keep the power flowing when the sun is not high in the sky, using scant resources, with an operating cost of next to nothing.

It’s perfect for developing countries, said Rosenzweig – and after six years of research and pilot projects, and an investment of $40 million, AORA is ready for prime time, he said.

The company announced Tuesday that it had signed a deal to build one of its Tulip solar-hybrid power plants in Ethiopia. “We are transforming our Green Economy Strategy into action and are pleased to partner with AORA to help achieve our vision,” said Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy for Ethiopia. “AORA’s unique solar-hybrid technology is impressive and well-suited to provide both energy and heat to support local economic development in off-grid rural locations in Ethiopia.”

     SEE ALSOIsraeli Company To Open Solar Power Plant In Spain

“Off-grid rural locations” are exactly the places Rosenzweig wants to see more Tulips installed. “Our hybrid system uses both solar power and biogas to operate a turbine, with the hot air moving the turbine to generate electricity.”

Enhancing the sunlight are a series of mirrors to heat compressed air to over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and drive a turbine. When the sun goes down, the system moves seamlessly from solar to biogas in order to power the turbines, with the biogas derived from animal waste, biodiesel, natural gas – just about any material that can be burned for fuel.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Are We Alone In The Universe? Research Says Chances Of Advanced Alien Life Are Slim]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35411 2014-12-14T15:55:30Z 2014-12-14T15:36:45Z

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According to the mediocrity principle, adapted by such notable scientists as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, it is highly likely that intelligent life exists on other planets because the universe is just too huge. This is the accepted scientific theory that astrophysicists and scientists the world over have adopted as their modus operandi when observing the universe for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

However much as we’d like to think that we are not the only intelligent species in the known universe, this may not be the case. As new research conducted by Hebrew University astrophysicist Prof. Tsvi Piran suggests, due to powerfully destructive gamma ray bursts in certain locations in our galaxy and others, the chances that complex intelligent life, similar or more advanced than our own, exists in the known universe are slim. To put this into perspective, of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the known universe, only about one in ten may be able to support complex life comparable to that on Earth, much less than what was previously thought.

All others are likely too close to these destructive gamma rays, the research found.“The chances of aliens or other intelligent lifeforms is much smaller than we previously thought,” Prof. Tsvi Piran tells NoCamels.

Understanding the chances of gamma ray-induced extinction

Gamma ray bursts are known as the ‘brightest electromagnetic event to occur in the known universe,’ characterized by either small or large flashes of powerful gama ray energy in association with cataclysmic events in space. They were first discovered in the late 1960s in the United States, suspicious of potential attempts by the USSR to conduct secret nuclear tests in space, but have since been confirmed to be naturally-occurring phenomena. And there are two kinds: short gamma ray bursts occur when stars merge with blackholes, and longer, more powerful gamma ray bursts occur when stars burn out, collapse or explode, releasing 100 times the energy as short ones.

It is the effect of these longer, powerful gamma ray bursts on terrestrial events and extraterrestrial possibilities that Prof. Piran and his Spanish colleague Dr. Raul Jimenez sought to examine. Particularly, the researchers wanted to establish the likelihood that a long gamma ray burst could have caused the second-largest extinction event in the Earth’s history, the Ordovician extinction that wiped out about 80 percent of the plant’s species 450-440 million years ago.

     SEE ALSO: Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On Earth

Though gamma ray bursts occur thousands of light years away from the Earth’s surface, the researchers believe that they could still potentially damage our planet (and others), scourging the earth and causing a mass extinction event. “We found that within the last billion years, there is a 50 percent chance that there was an event strong enough to cause an extinction event,” Prof. Piran asserts, “This is the first step in proving that the statistical likelihood that this kind of event could cause a mass extinction.”

Are We Alone In The Universe? Research Says Chances Of Advanced Alien Life Are Slim

Nearly 60 percent of marine life went extinct following the Ordovician extinction.

In short, we’re lucky to be from Earth

Piran and Jimenez also showed that the Earth’s location at the periphery of the galaxy has a lot to do with the sporadic effect of gamma ray bursts throughout its history. According to their research, planets closer to the center of the galaxy are 80-95 percent more likely to experience long gamma ray bursts and therefore extinction, which may explain why we have yet to discover intelligent life on other planets closer to the center of the Milky Way (our home galaxy).

“We tried to answer the question of what happens in other places in the Milky Way and we found that the chances of these kinds of gamma ray burst events are much higher in the center of a galaxy, due to the chemical composition of these planets and their environments. This may be a preliminary explanation for why we have yet to discover complex lifeforms on these planets, because they experience a greater concentration of gamma ray bursts.”

Are We Alone In The Universe? Research Says Chances Of Advanced Alien Life Are Slim

Visualization of gamma ray burst striking a planet

The elemental conditions that foster more common gamma ray bursts are very different from those of Earth, so there’s no need to worry about imminent extinction. Scientists recently revealed data that suggests long gamma ray bursts occur in star-forming regions where there are low levels of ‘metallic’ elements like hydrogen and helium, and according to this data Piran and Jimenez estimated the likelihood of such bursts throughout our galaxy. This is what helped them draw the conclusion that the likelihood of complex, intelligent lifeforms on other planets in the galaxy diminishes in relation to the higher occurrence of gamma ray bursts.

     SEE ALSO: SpaceIL’s Mission To The Moon Says Its Chances Of Winning The GoogleX Prize Are High

“We know today that there are conditions that suit the development of life on other planets in our galaxy, in an other galaxies, but have yet to discover decisive evidence of intelligent life. This research explains that lack of evidence.”

The bane of our existence?

After establishing that the chances for the development of intelligent life on other planets closer to the center of the Milky Way are low, what can be said of the other 99 billion galaxies in the known universe? Despite the fact that there is less data regarding their composition and structure, Piran’s research suggests that the chances of intelligent lifeforms developing there are low, though not completely impossible.

Are We Alone In The Universe? Research Says Chances Of Advanced Alien Life Are Slim

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope finds gamma ray bubbles in the Milky Way

“We aren’t saying that there can’t be life on other planets. What we are saying is that the chances that there is life on other planets in other galaxies is smaller so long as those planets are closer to the center of the galaxy where they are more likely to be affected by gamma ray bursts. We are also saying that the chances that other complex lifeforms could have developed before our own lifecycle is small due to our understanding of the frequency of gamma ray bursts in the past.”

What Piran suggests here is that gamma ray bursts may have been more likely to affect Earth in the past due to different elemental conditions during the planet’s development than those that support life as we know it today. However, following development and due to our distance from the center of the galaxy, the likelihood of such an occurrence today is much lower than in the past, but not equally for all planets in the galaxy, let alone the universe.

Though mankind may like to think of itself as the center of the universe, Piran and Jimenez’s research suggests that it may be just our luck that Earth is located 27,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way, otherwise an imminent gamma ray burst could be the bane of our existence.

Photos: NASA/ Luis Calcada/ Carl Wozniak/ Warwick University

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Yuval Haimovits, NoCamels <![CDATA[App Of The Week: rinbw – Create Your Very Own Video Phonebook]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35391 2014-12-14T11:12:24Z 2014-12-14T11:12:24Z

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App Name: rinbw Available For: iOS Devices Price: Free Developer: Web & Mobile LTD.

The Promise: “rinbw gives you a new way to see the contacts in your phonebook in a 5 second looping video clip”.

Nothing much has changed about mobile phonebooks in the last few years. They look and behave the same on almost every kind of smartphone. You can scroll up and down to view your contact list, search for a particular contact, add your close friends to favorite lists and enrich the experience with personal photos. This was the standard, until now.

Israeli company Web & Mobile is trying to make the ‘regular’ phonebook experience into something more flavorful with rinbw. The company describes it as, “a new app that gives you a new way to see the contacts in your phonebook in a 5 second looping video clip. Now you can see what all your friends are up to by viewing their video status straight from this app.”

App Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video PhonebookApp Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video Phonebook

Our Experience

Using rinbw is fun and easy. The neat, minimalistic but colorful user experience is really intuitive. After launching the app, you are asked to complete a short registration by filling in your phone number and activating the account with a four-digit code – just like with mobile messaging app Whatsapp. Then, the fun part arrives – the app asks you to record a five second video of yourself. You can do something silly, record your surroundings at the moment, or really anything that represents you best. And that’s it, you’ve created your own video status. Now the rinbw app can be used as a secondary contact list, and as you may realize, the ‘secondary’ bit is really the Achilles heel of this app.

App Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video Phonebook

As you know, Apple bans replacing native apps like the contact list. That being said, if you want to enjoy rinbw’s hip new contact list, you’ll have to open it up each time you wish to call someone, what seems to be an overly tedious task. Once you do open the app, the next thing you will most likely say is, ‘Wait, where are all of my contacts?’ To view your contacts and their status videos, they will also have to download and register rinbw on their smartphone, and since it’s a new app, we have to say it’s pretty lonely at the moment.

    SEE ALSOApp Of The Week: ‘Clean’ – The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos

Our Thoughts

The rinbw’s user experience is great, that is when you have friends who are using the app. It’s a fresh new approach to the old-school, standard contact list and phonebook apps. But as long as it acts as a secondary contact list app and you don’t have any contacts using the app, many smartphone users will likely stick with the run-of-the-mill contact list that comes built-in and is easily accessible. Hopefully Apple and other companies will lift the ban on secondary contact list apps so that rinbw users can better enjoy the experience of an integrated video contact list.

The Verdict:

App Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video PhonebookApp Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video PhonebookApp Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video PhonebookApp Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video PhonebookApp Of The Week: rinbw   Create Your Very Own Video Phonebook

You can download the rinbw app here.

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Dyana So, NoCamels <![CDATA[Cyber Security Nation: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34579 2014-12-10T16:07:45Z 2014-12-10T10:40:57Z

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How are imminent, and for some countries already real, cyber security threats being dealt with? For an answer to this question, the world is increasingly turning to Israel.

Israel’s startup spirit and impressive security expertise have made the country a world leader in the cyber security software and services sector. Just today, Israeli security experts found a flaw in China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, which would have allowed attackers to hijack merchants’ shops, change prices, alter shipment details and shut down the shop.

In fact Israel is now the second largest exporter of cyber products and services after the United States, with over 200 companies and dozens of research and development ventures devoted to developing cyber security.

In 2013 alone, Israel had $3 billion worth in cyber security exports, a sum that accounts for five percent of the global internet security market, which totals nearly $60 billion. Lockheed Martin, even estimates that the global cyber market will be valued soon be valued at $100 billion, which is why the American defense giant recently opened an Israeli subsidiary in the southern city of Beer Sheva.

     SEE ALSO: So Much For Alibaba: Israeli Companies Prove ‘Far More’ Successful With IPOs

Cyber Security Nation: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web

But these impressive numbers didn’t accumulate over night; the acceleration of Israel’s cyber security sector is a public and privately driven initiative that has succeeded due to well-harnessed engineering knowledge and the country’s creative entrepreneurial spirit.

A government keen on exporting Israel’s cyber security commodity

“Everybody understands that you buy Swiss watches from Switzerland and information security from Israel,” says Udi Mokady, CEO of CyberArk, the largest cyber security firm in Israel, which protects the accounts of thirty of the world’s Fortune 500 companies and 15 percent of the Global 2000.

Another major factor in Israel’s cyber security prowess is generous government support for both private and public endeavors. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his faith in the successful cooperation between Israel’s private and public, or military-geared, cyber security sectors, asking that they share information and technology to address even the most complex of threats. Recently, Netanyahu established a new national authority for Operative Cyber Defense, of which he stated, “has major significance to the defense of the State of Israel in the future.” What other countries are hoping is that the initiative might have major significance for them too.

Cyber Security Nation: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web

Innovating in cyber security involves a lot of bureaucratic restructuring, a task more difficult for larger countries like the US, but easier for relatively young and small-sized ones like Israel. While issues of cyber security are addressed by one body, the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US, Israel has both public bodies and private companies that are encouraged, and in some cases even forced, to cooperate. As Michael McNerney, cyber security expert and former Cyber Policy Advisor to the US Secretary of Defense, commented to Forbes, “Israel is smart to focus on a collective and participatory approach to online security because the inter-connectedness of online systems and proliferation of mobile devices make every individual a potential point for cyber-breach.”

     SEE ALSO: 10 Israeli Companies At The Cutting Edge Of Life Saving Tech

Another essential contributor to Israel’s success is its plethora of military-trained engineers. Military service in the Israel Defense Forces is mandatory from the age of 18, and many going into the army realize the added value of becoming an engineer sooner rather than later. For this reason, Israel’s Education Ministry has set up after school programs for pupils who want to learn about programming and cyber security in middle and high school. Because of the reverence in Israeli society for the elite IDF intelligence unit 8200, these classes are in high demand. Indeed, many of the founders of cyber security startups originated in the 8200 unit, like Gil Shwed, the founder and CEO of the widely successful multinational cyber security company Checkpoint.

Removing and predicting threats

Israeli cyber security startups are good at cooperating with government agencies, but even better at beating them at their own game. Taught to sniff out hackers’ mistakes, companies like CyActive have developed predictive cyber security software that pinpoints the same damaging code hackers recycle in 94 percent of all malware. Other companies are turning to the cloud to provide security, while still others are concerned with closing off the ease of access the technology of the future will provide.

Cyber Security Nation: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web

Beer Sheva Cyber Park

Many large corporations rely heavily on the Internet to carry out multiple external and internal business operations, meaning that the swift detection of any cyber attack on their systems is crucial in preventing damage. Israeli companies CyberX, ThetaRay, Aorato, Reversing Labs, and Seculert all specialize in anomaly-detection software that utilizes sophisticated cyber-detection strategies to identify the breach. Companies like Votiro and Hexadite provide automatic termination and protection of suspicious activities; Votiro by thoroughly inspecting digital files and removing anything harmful, and Hexadite by immediately investigating the cyber attack while simultaneously notifying the client company of the breach.

     SEE ALSO: Is Israel At Risk Of Losing Its ‘Startup Nation’ Title?

Several Israeli cyber security firms also provide research capabilities into cyber attacks, hackers, and overall trends in cybercrime. Fortscale and SenseCy both help their clients by providing them with informative analytics to better understand the nature of cyber attacks they are vulnerable to. Still others seek to look beyond traditional software protection. BioCatch uses behavioral biometrics technology to study keyboard and mouse behavior on websites for fraudulent behaviors. Argus looks forward to a future of Internet-connected vehicles, but has you covered, ensuring our cars aren’t hijacked by malevolent saboteurs.

“Israel has a great deal to offer in cyber security,” remarked Francis Maude, the UK Minister for the Cabinet Office who is in charge of his country’s cyber defense strategy, to The Jewish Chronicle. “We’ve got a lot to learn from the country.” Meanwhile, the UK and Israel arranged plans to set up a joint academic research fund for cyber security research within the next three years.

The Cyber Security Nation

With a history in manufacturing global cyber products, military training specializing in security against online terrorism, research grappling with new algorithms and understanding the nature of cyber attacks, and the government backing up the country’s presence in the cyber security industry, Israel is positioned to become the leading source for advanced solutions against the shared threat of cyber warfare.

Such a position, however, also poses some problems, namely the issue of trust. The NSA itself protects its own government and military intelligence computer networks with Israeli cyber security, but this raises some eyebrows with some Americans wondering why whether outsourcing cyber security poses a potential threat to national security.

Israel’s dominance in cyber security is fitting, but as the saying goes: with great power comes great responsibility. Israeli government bodies and companies offering their products to international customers may find it difficult to remain neutral in the process. However, if there are two things that Israelis are pros at its technology and security, which may warrant a new title — “The Cyber Security Nation.”

Photos: “Cyber hackers”/ Reuters/ DefenseNews/ JVP/ DLD Magazine

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[From Waste To Wonder: Recycling Sludge Can Mean Big Bucks]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35362 2014-12-11T16:40:29Z 2014-12-10T08:00:16Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

To the untrained eye, it looks like trash, but rest assured, says Israeli environmental start-up Applied Cleantech (ACT), “there’s gold in that garbage.”

In a new crowdfunding effort, the company is seeking to raise millions of dollars to expand its cellulose harvesting activities, creating a $200 billion a year market — more than Google — by converting sewage into an economic asset.

ACT’s Sewage Recycling System (SRS) technology enables water treatment plants to bypass the production of sludge by extracting the solid waste before the recycling process begins. Sludge, that mixture of waste and water that is left over after the usable water has been “mined” from sewage, is useful as fertilizer, or, in some situations, as a fuel source.

     SEE ALSO: TaKuDu: Using The Power Of Math To Solve The World’s Water Leaks

From Waste To Wonder: Recycling Sludge Can Mean Big BucksIn most cases, sludge needs to be disposed of by incineration or dumping in a landfill. Instead, said company CEO Dr. Refael Aharon, ACT’s technology recycles the biosolids in sludge, which constitutes up to 50% of the material, into a product called Recyllose — recycled cellulose.

This is a revolutionary commodity, says Aharon. Recyllose can be used to replace wood or processed plant materials in many products, including plastics, insulation, pulp and paper, construction, biofuel production and more. The system can save wastewater processing plants up to 30% on their operating costs, enable plants to handle 30% more sewage than they normally do, and even provide a source of income for governments and plant operators, who can sell the Recyllose to local manufacturers, pocketing the profit for themselves.

To continue reading this article on the Times of Israel site, click here.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Precise Diagnostic Method May Be Great News For Brains Of Football Players]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35339 2014-12-09T12:44:18Z 2014-12-09T12:30:12Z

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According to data by the National Football League (NFL) up to 30 percent of former major league football players will develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at some point in their lifetime. This means that the men who sprint, tackle and pitch down the field have a chillingly higher risk of developing serious brain disorders in comparison to the general population.

However, a new MRI diagnostic approach developed in Israel may be able to halt some of the significant brain damage before a player experiences one-too-many bad tackles. By identifying damage to the player’s blood-brain barrier (BBB), or the fine line separating the blood of the brain from the fluid in the nervous system, a new study could help players make more educated decisions regarding the future of their football careers.

     SEE ALSO: The Top 10 Israeli Startups Changing The World Of Sports

Precise Diagnostic Method May Be Great News For Brains Of Football PlayersProtecting the blood-brain-barrier

Prof. Alon Friedman, from Ben Gurion University‘s Brain Imaging Research Center, who is behind the study, explains: “Until now, there wasn’t a diagnostic capability to identify mild brain injury early after the trauma. In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the long-term neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts.”

The new diagnosis method uses standard Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the detection and localization of potential blood-brain barrier breakdown in football players, but is able to identify damage at earlier stages than ever before.

“The goal of our study was to use our new method to visualize the extent and location of BBB dysfunction in football players using Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) on a Phillips 3-T Ingenia. Specifically, it generates more detailed brain maps showing brain regions with abnormal vasculature, or a ‘leaky BBB.’”

No two athletes are the same

Study participants included 16 football players from Israel’s professional football team, Black Swarm, as well as 13 track and field athletes from BGU who all underwent the newly developed MRI-based diagnostic. The DCE-MRIs were given between games during the season and revealed significant damage. Forty percent of the examined football players with unreported concussions had evidence of a “leaky BBB” compared to 8.3 percent of the control athletes.

“The group of 29 volunteers was clearly differentiated into an intact-BBB group and a pathological-BBB group,” Friedman explains. “This showed a clear association between football and increased risk for BBB pathology [‘leak’] that we couldn’t see before. In addition, high-BBB permeability was found in six players and in only one athlete from the control group.”

Friedman also explains that not all the players showed that their brain had been affected. This indicates that repeated, mild concussive events might impact some players differently than others. This level of diagnosis of individual players can provide the basis of more rational decision-making on “return to play” for professionals as well as amateurs of any age.Precise Diagnostic Method May Be Great News For Brains Of Football Players

“Generally, players return to the game long before the brain’s physical healing is complete, which could exacerbate the possibility of brain damage later in life,” says Friedman.

The key to a neurodegenerative cure?

A decade of research in the BGU Laboratory for Experimental Neurosurgery has shown that vascular pathology, and specifically dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), plays a key role in brain damage, and may be an underlying cause of neurodegenerative complications, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, following brain injuries.

     SEE ALSO: Study Reveals Oxygen-Rich Air Can Reverse Severe Brain Damage

The BBB is a highly selective permeable membrane that separates circulating blood from extracellular fluid. It protects the brain by preventing many dangerous substances from penetrating, and therefore is not meant to be damaged. Medical researchers, including Friedman’s group at BGU, are working to find ways to find drugs that will target the BBB and facilitate its repair, allowing for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain-related diseases.

Other members of the research team include BGU Ph.D. candidates Itai Weissberg and Ronel Veksler, who developed the new imaging method. Lyn Kamintsky, Rotem Saar-Ashkenazy and Dan Z. Milkovsky conducted the study. Dr. Ilan Shelef, BGU lecturer and a member of the Department of Medical Imaging at Soroka University Medical Center also contributed. The paper, published by researchers at BGU and Soroka University Medical Center.

Photos: CDC/ Brain Injury Institute

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[‘Tech For Good': Meet Israel’s Hub For Social Startups]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35311 2014-12-08T15:28:29Z 2014-12-08T15:28:29Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

There’s high-tech – and then there’s “Tech for Good,” an Israeli organization that promotes technology development to solve social problems. To actualize its goals, the group last week inaugurated The Rally, Israel’s first “social tech” accelerator that, said director Larry Akerman, aims to turn solving social issues like obesity, cyber-bullying, teen pregnancy, and much more from a niche effort by conscientious do-gooders to a mainstream business activity “that can have a widespread impact on society, while providing a good return on investment (ROI) for investors, just like a successful mobile app would.”

“We have a lot of great technology in Israel, but it has not really been applied specifically to addressing social issues,” said Akerman, even if many of the technologies and products developed in Israel – like drip irrigation – have had a major social impact. Many of those technologies have indeed contributed to making life better for billions around the world, but The Rally has something else in mind. “Our accelerator program focuses specifically on technologies to solve social problems, the vast majority of which will probably not be addressed by developers working on their own.”

The Rally wants entrepreneurs to concentrate on solving problems – and the program will show them how to make it worth their while, said Akerman.

Tech For Good: Meet Israels Hub For Social Startups

The Hub-TLV

     SEE ALSOHow The Technology Brings Energy And Hope To The Third World

Located at Hub-TLV, a well-known Tel Aviv accelerator space, The Rally will accept 15 start-ups (applications accepted through December 15) that “imaginatively use technology to tackle social issues,” Akerman said. The program will include lectures and discussions on marketing, presentation skills, how to approach investors, and “selling themselves” – perhaps the most important skill of all – as well as mentoring sessions with industry professionals on how to fine-tune their projects to meet the needs of both those in need, and of investors. Participants will not get a stipend, but they will get introductions to some of the top people in the Israeli business and investment world – and, in addition, said Akerman, The Rally will not be taking equity from participants, at least for this first round of training.

The Rally’s social-tech approach is new in Israel, but similar accelerators have been around for several years in the US and Britain. It’s about time, said Akerman, that Israel had one too, considering the level of innovation here. There are a number of Israeli organizations that have sponsored hackathons or even more extended programs where participants have built apps and products to help those in need, but The Rally is the first social-tech entity to be integrated in the Israeli tech community.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Quiz: Did These Clever Crowdfunding Campaigns Make It?]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35316 2014-12-08T09:14:49Z 2014-12-08T08:57:02Z

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Photo by 401(K) 2012

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Will Israeli Expertise Be Used To Aid Iran As Part Of World Bank Training Program?]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35279 2014-12-07T13:49:52Z 2014-12-07T13:49:52Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli technology could end up in many countries the Jewish state doesn’t currently have diplomatic relations with, as the World Bank adopts Israeli expertise in areas like cyber-security and agricultural technology.

Last weekend, Israel signed a deal to become part of the World Bank’s “Global Practices” program, which seeks to provide client countries with skills and resources to improve their economies – making it easier for them to address poverty and to pay off their loans.

Will Israeli Expertise Be Used To Aid Iran As Part Of World Bank Training Program?

The World Bank Group headquarters building in Washington, D.C.

Under the agreement, which was signed on the Israeli side by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel will develop training courses in coordination with World Bank officials and representatives of client countries. The courses, to be developed and taught in Israel over the next two years, will focus on big data applications and cyber-security, agricultural technology, and water management technology. The Economy Ministry will contribute $500,000 in order to organize and run the courses in Israel.

     SEE MORE: New Facebook App Brings Iranians And Israelis Closer

Israel and the World Bank have been working on this deal for several months, ministry officials said. The agreement was hammered out by World Bank representatives and trade officials working at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

“The World Bank is keen to connect global expertise with clients. Israel is a leader in information technologies and their applications to areas like agriculture, irrigation, and cyber security,” said Pierre Guislain, senior director of the World Bank’s Transport and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Global Practice. “We are very happy that Israel has chosen ICT as the topic for its partnership with the Bank.”

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photo: ShinyThings

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Chocolate Champ: Ika Cohen Wins Gold At World Chocolate Awards For Za’atar-Flavored Truffle]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35293 2014-12-06T15:43:54Z 2014-12-06T15:43:54Z

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Za’atar, that typically Middle Eastern spice sprinkled on everything from pita bread to white cheese, is not what comes to mind when you think of a chocolate competition. Yet at this year’s International Chocolate Awards in London, Tel Aviv chocolatier Ika Cohen took a joint gold medal for her za’atar flavored truffle. Ika’s unexpected chocolate innovation shared first place in the “flavored dark ganaches and truffles” section with wild blueberry chocolates from Denmark.

Chocolate Champ: Ika Cohen Wins Gold At World Chocolate Awards For Za’atar Flavored Truffle

Usually prepared out of ground thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt and sumac; Za’atar is a bright green powder smells and tastes like the last thing you would want to combine with chocolate. However, the za’atar truffle Cohen submitted to the competition impressed the judges enough to stand out among the other 950 contest submissions and was awarded a rare joint first place prize in the truffles category.

     SEE ALSO: A Foodie Feat: ‘Saveur’ Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

Chocolate Champ: Ika Cohen Wins Gold At World Chocolate Awards For Za’atar Flavored Truffle

Za’atar

Cohen herself may have a knack for creating interesting chocolate because she’s actually quite new to the art. Before she founded her popular Tel Aviv chocolate shop, Ika Chocolate in 2011 (whose stock is totally out for anyone interested in buying), she completed her degree at Hebrew University in marine biology. Following a trip in the South Pacific, Cohen fell in love with sweets, and chocolate in particular, deciding to ditch the fish and follow her heart to Paris, where she studied the art of chocolate making under Michel Chaudun and Jacques Genins. After trying her hand at some of Israel’s finest confectionaries, Cohen opened up shop and since has never looked back.

Chocolate Champ: Ika Cohen Wins Gold At World Chocolate Awards For Za’atar Flavored Truffle

Ika Cohen

This isn’t the first time that Cohen has submitted and won at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards; she took a gold medal at the semifinals in May, her lemon praline bonbon was a semifinalist at the 2012 competition, and her Earl-Grey tea-infused chocolate receiving silver at the semifinals that year.

Evidently a woman of many talents, Cohen’s international win proves that even when it comes to chocolate, sweet isn’t always the way to go.

Photos: Ika Chocolate/ brainHQ

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Researchers Analyze DNA Of Primitive Centipedes To Shed Light On Evolution]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35265 2014-12-04T16:33:05Z 2014-12-04T12:01:37Z

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Centipedes, those many-legged venomous creatures that startle us in our homes and gardens, have been genetically sequenced for the first time. An international team of over 100 scientists has now revealed how this humble arthropod’s DNA provides new insight into the diverse forms of life that came to be on our planet.

From the primitive to the complex

Centipedes are members of the arthropod family, a group that combines numerous species including insects, spiders and other animals, characterized by having an external skeleton and a segmented body. Until now, the only class of arthropods whose genome had not been sequenced was the myriapods, which include centipedes and millipedes. For this study, the researchers sequenced the entire genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima, because its primitive features can help us understand more complex insects.

     SEE ALSO: Haifa Researchers Able To Control Insect’s Movements

Researchers Analyze DNA Of Primitive Centipedes To Shed Light On EvolutionAccording to Prof. Ariel Chipman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, senior co-author of the study, the genetic data reveal how creatures transitioned from their original dwelling-place in the sea to living on land.

“The use of different evolutionary solutions to similar problems shows that myriapods and insects adapted to dry land independently of each other,” said Chipman. “For example, comparing the centipede and insect genomes shows that they independently evolved different solutions to the same problem shared by all land-dwelling creatures — that of living in dry air.”

Same, same, but different

According to Chipman, the study found that despite being closely related to insects, the centipede lacks the olfactory gene family used by insects to smell the air, and thus developed its own air-sniffing ability by expanding other gene families not present in insects.

In addition, Chipman said, this specific group of centipedes lives underground and have lost their eyes, together with almost all vision genes and genes involved in the body’s biological clock. They maintain enhanced sensory capabilities enabling them to recognize their environment and capture prey.

Understanding the world around us, and ourselves

In explaining the purpose of the research, Chipman said: “If we have a better understanding of the biological world around us, how it operates, and how it came to be as it is, we will ultimately have a better understanding of ourselves.”

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Experts Called Upon To Help Preserve The Galapagos Islands

Published in the latest edition of PLoS Biology, the research is a collaborative effort by over 100 scientists from 50 institutions. Thousands of hours went into looking at specific genes in the centipede genome, with each researcher examining at a limited set of genes or specific structural characteristics.

While early studies of genomics focused on humans, as sequencing equipment and expertise became more readily available, researchers are now expanding into animals directly relevant to human understanding and well being. In the latest research, genomic sequencing has become more broad-based, investigating the workings of the world around us.

According to Chipman, the research will have applications for other researchers ranging from conservation to dealing with crop pests.

The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences is the largest research institute in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Sciences. Members of the Institute of Life Sciences devote themselves to two parallel and complementary endeavors: advanced scientific research at the forefront of contemporary biological sciences, and broad-range biological education aimed at endowing the students with the knowledge, skills and research tools essential for participating in the continuously changing field of life sciences. The Institute of Life Sciences maintains diverse undergraduate (B.Sc.) and graduate (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) teaching programs.

Photos: Chris Willis/ Tim Melling/ Prof. Chipman

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Germany’s ProSiebenSat Enters Israeli Startup Market With $8.7M Competition Prize]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35250 2014-12-03T14:25:45Z 2014-12-03T11:50:45Z

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If you thought startup competitions were all about the money, you were wrong (well.. kind of). The German mass media giant ProSiebenSat.1 will hold a one-of-a-kind startup competition, 7VPD, this December in Israel where the winners will be rewarded €7 million ($8.7 million) in advertising money. That’s right—instead of cold, hard, cash, ProSieben will dish out television and digital advertising space. But what does funding through advertising even mean and who does it really benefit – the startup or the tycoon? ProSieben’s Israel Director Kevin Baxpehler spoke with NoCamels to explain how this unique funding model works and described the media company’s eagerness to innovate through Israeli companies.

Germanys ProSiebenSat Enters Israeli Startup Market With $8.7M Competition Prize

Into the age of digital advertising

ProSieben itself has been around essentially since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but once it merged with Sat.1 in 2000, the company has grown with impressive speed. Today, according to Baxpehler, the company has a $9-10 billion market cap and reaches almost 95 percent of households in Germany, about 76.5 million people. However, according to Kevin, the company has slowly realized that television advertising will no longer drive the future of the company, which is why it is turning towards digitalization and the innovative companies in that sector.

“The whole story for ProSieben is to find new technology companies that can become core assets to our businesses, helping them with investments, enter the European market, and eventually learn a thing or two from them,” says Baxpehler of the company’s digital arm, which owns, according to his quote, about 50 portfolio companies in the digital space (recently investing in the much-talked about ‘Jawbone’ venture). Within Israel, the company has invested in two local companies, DynamicYield and another as yet undisclosed, since it opened up shop this past April.

     SEE ALSO: Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

But this is only the beginning, according to Baxpehler, who details the exhilaration of ProSieben executives during a recent trip to Israel, “When I brought them to Israel, they fell in love. A literal quote of their’s was, ‘Wow! The startups in Germany have a lot of learning to do,’ which is why, after visiting about four startups, they decided to open an office in Israel.” Now, through the competition and ProSieben’s own endeavors, the company hopes to establish a presence as an investor and business partner within the Israeli startup scene.

An investor seeking a strategic role in the company

In order to raise awareness of ProSieben’s entry into the Israeli market, the company will hold a one-of-a-kind competition, where, as mentioned, the winners will not be awarded with cash, but with money towards advertising. Exclusively to NoCamels, Baxpehler revealed which Israeli startups will be competing for the coveted prize: EatWith, Popeek, Umoove, TinyTap, MediSafe, Minute and Elephone. This is not ProSieben’s usual model of funding, but their take on providing venture capital to innovative startup companies could encourage a number of communications giants to do the same. Through their venture capital arm SevenVentures, ProSieben invests funds (the standard), offers media for equity (or a mixture of the two), and shared revenue options for media campaigns to companies that it wants to learn from, see grow and help enter the European market.

Germanys ProSiebenSat Enters Israeli Startup Market With $8.7M Competition Prize

This year’s 7VPD London contest winners.

According to Baxpehler, “In any company we pursue, we want to have a strategic role in bridging the gaps and helping them enter the European market. Even operationally we are willing to help the startup. That’s very special, in comparison to the more ‘traditional’ investor role.” Baxpehler points out that through ProSieben’s various channels, televised and digital, as well as its associated marketing and gaming institutions, the company is set on seeing startups take off within the German and wider European markets.

Getting back to the competition, Baxpehler specifies that the company will look for promising ‘Business-to-Customer’ startups that have been around for three years or less (and are still in the seed-funding stage). “Within a couple of months, through ProSieben’s advertising capabilities, Germans will know the company’s product and be very well familiarized with it.” Specifically for the competition, ProSieben is looking for early-stage companies with real products and services that can appeal to the wider German population. The winner will be selected by a prestigious panel made up of Yuval Shahar (or ‘Chief Investorpreneur,’ as he likes to call himself), Yahel Zirka, and Liat Aronson, among others.

Germanys ProSiebenSat Enters Israeli Startup Market With $8.7M Competition Prize

ProSieben serves a market of up to 80 million German-speakers.

Why ProSieben wants to help startups crack Europe

So let’s get down to it; why is it so difficult for foreign startups to enter the European market? And why has it taken so long for Europe to launch its own ‘Silicon Valley’ (which we still eagerly await)? A German native himself, Baxpehler had some interesting input on why large companies like ProSieben are only now waking up to the startup surge.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Develops European Startup Alert

“I think that it’s been difficult for startups to enter Europe because the continent is so hard to grasp. There are 27 member countries, hundreds of languages and lots of different tax regulations for every country. This makes entering the market really complicated and location-dependent. This is one of the reasons that ProSieben has decided to make things easier by bringing companies to Germany first, opening the gates to the rest of Europe.”

Germanys ProSiebenSat Enters Israeli Startup Market With $8.7M Competition Prize

Startups are beginning to take off in Europe.

OK, so Europe is a hard nut to crack for startups, but why haven’t we seen the development of a real tech hub in Europe? Baxpehler believes that’s because Europeans are faced with such a large home market, that, unlike Israel, it’s hard for them to see the progress of a small startup moving forward. He states, “Europe is really an emerging market in terms of startups, while Israel is a developed startup nation. The big, traditional companies that control the majority of the European market are looking to be disruptive by introducing new technology in order to remain competitive.”

The 7VPD pitch day to be held this month in Israel (the first time outside of London) seems to be ProSieben’s strategy for getting on top of the Israeli competition, setting up suitable, young B2C startups with an advertising offer they can’t refuse. Hopefully similar endeavors by European institutions are in the cards, and instead of setting their sights on Silicon Valley success, Israeli startups and entrepreneurs will endeavor to the bourgeoning innovation hubs of Europe.

Photos: A flat screen television has a black blank text area with photo images coming out of the side of it/ ProSieben/ courtesy/ ProSiebenSat

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Dyana So, NoCamels <![CDATA[After Thousands Of Years Of Stitching, Israelis Invent New Wound-Closure Method]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35039 2014-12-02T13:53:37Z 2014-12-02T12:43:09Z

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When it comes to treating large, open wounds, not much has changed in the past five thousand years. Just as the ancient Egyptians used needles and thread to patch up their wounded, doctors employ the same stitching ‘technology’ today to prevent infection and facilitate healing. Nonetheless, when a wound is too big, too complex, or when the patient is subject to a higher mortality rate, the average suture procedure just doesn’t do it.

While treating numerous casualties in his capacity as chief of plastic surgery at Israel’s Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, Dr. Moris Topaz realized that sutures could not effectively seal cuts and fasten the skin together for proper healing. According to him, in the majority of cases, surgery was the only viable solution to treat and close complex wounds, which led Dr. Topaz to develop a unique method to secure wound closure, called TopClosure.

     SEE ALSO: Israel Tops List Of Best Destinations For Medical Tourism

An invaluable medical tool already being applied in Israeli hospitals, TopClosure works by first stretching out the skin around the wound to avoid the need for skin grafts, and second by ensuring that the wound scars in an aesthetic and healthy fashion. According to Dr. Topaz, it’s time to bid farewell to skin grafts, surgery and stitches for complex wounds, and to welcome a new method that he hopes will soon become the standard in severe wound treatment.

Reducing tension to facilitate healthier healing

The TopClosure tension-reduction system consists of two main parts: fastening cables and attachable clasps. The cables come in a variety of lengths to accommodate the size of the wound, and each clasp contains an adhesive bottom to mount onto the skin, as well as hole for staples if additional support is needed. The two clasps are placed facing each other on opposing sides of an open wound, much like two supporting ends of a bridge. A cable is strung through the clasps, drawing the skin tissues together until they eventually close. Stitches are then applied over this temporarily facilitated enclosure as the final seal.

“It’s actually a new method of closing wounds,” says Dr. Topaz. “Suturing, for me, is an anachronistic issue – we should not close wounds with sutures; we need to close them with this kind of system.”

Made with a special polymer that’s been tested to be durable and supportive for suture, TopClosure is specifically designed to collapse just before too much tension starts tearing skin tissues, as stitching big wounds may do. Taking into account the bio-mechanical properties of the skin, TopClosure’s system claims to take advantage of the elastic properties of the skin to optimize wound closure, be it naturally or with surgery. According to Dr. Topaz, “[TopClosure] places one-hundred thousand times less tension on the skin than a suture,” he continues, “If I do it with suture, it would be very painful pulling for the patient.”

After Thousands Of Years Of Stitching, Israelis Invent New Wound Closure Method

Part of Topaz’s medical repertoire for years

Indeed, TopClosure’s unique method is likely to improve the current suture practice significantly. The method can be used before surgery to prepare the skin incisions, during surgery to relieve tension on the skin, and after surgery as additional fastening support along with stitches, to speed up the healing process as a whole. A kind of modern tourniquet, TopClosure can and already is being used in field hospitals to temporarily treat soldier’s combat wounds and prevent immediate infection as they await proper medical care.

     SEE ALSO: Amblyz: The Cool Way To Treat ‘Lazy Eye’ In Children

Though Dr. Topaz himself has been using the product already for years, the marketed version of the TopClosure tension-relief system took him and his team about one month to develop as a physical product, but several years for improvements. By documenting every suture surgery he’s performed while using TopClosure, Dr. Topaz has built an extensive record of the different types of wounds, body location, patients, and even situations in which the TopClosure method proved effective, as well as those in which it didn’t.

Although complicated and long suture surgeries will require an ‘invasive’ use of TopClosure, which means using staples to provide additional mounting support for the clasps, the potential scars left behind by staples are minor compared to the deep scarring caused by strained suture pulling and/or skin grafts. Furthermore, infections can still occur around the TopClosure system if the clasps are not closely observed during the healing process.

“The most important thing about TopClosure is its simplicity,” Dr. Topaz said. “Doctors commonly say, ‘Why didn’t we think of this earlier?’ My wish is that it would be exposed to every doctor and every patient as an emerging technology that can be applied anywhere in the world without sophisticated plastic surgery procedures.”

Currently, TopClosure is publishing more updated cases of its use in medical journals. Yet, given the understandably conservative culture of the medical world, it will take time before TopClosure is accepted as a legitimate and commonplace apparatus among surgeons around the world. In the meantime, three different models of TopClosure are available for purchase on the company’s official website.

Photos: Screenshot/ Dr. Topaz

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Ed Frank Of Axis Innovation]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35226 2014-12-03T19:04:12Z 2014-12-02T08:33:28Z

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Ed Frank hails from the United States, but moved to Israel in 1990. He is the founder of Axis Innovation, which brings a unique perspective to growth-stage startups seeking international partners. Serving as an investor, entrepreneur and mentor during his career, Ed has also managed international technology joint ventures, M&A activities and strategic investments.  Axis is connected to tech ecosystems around the world and has hosted investors from more than 50 countries that have led to more than 10 transactions led by Axis and Bootcamp Ventures, which Ed co-founded. 

What or who is your biggest inspiration? Nathan Sharansky, a fighter for democracy, who had a long road from Moscow to prison to being a minister in the Israeli government.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Ed Frank Of Axis Innovation

Nathan Sharansky

What were your first steps in the business world? An entrepreneurs club in college that financed most of my education and summer jobs at IBM’s semiconductor plant in East Fishkill, New York – the world’s largest and most efficient.

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? Jack Ma (founder of Alibaba), who changed the way that China shops and interacts online after several business failures. He created a company with a market cap that recently surpassed Facebook.

Falafel or Shawarma? Falafel. Breakfast of champions – fast, cheap and 1000 calories.

What’s your hidden talent? The ability to encourage people to help achieve their goals.

What is the best place you’ve ever traveled to? Hong Kong, a combination of new and old world, as fastpace as New York, incredibly efficient, exciting, and exotic.

Star Wars or Star Trek?  Star Trek – where the future became the present and 50 years later is still relevant.

What are you totally addicted to? Emails.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Moving to Israel before the Gulf War and staying here for more than 24 years.

If you weren’t an investor, what would you be? A life coach.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Ed Frank Of Axis Innovation

Frank speaking at an Axis event in Nazareth

Tel Aviv or New York? New York. I’m from New York originally, the world’s melting pot with everything you could ever want or people to meet or places to go available 24/7.

What is the best advise you’ve ever received from your parents?  “If one door closes, another one opens” which of course is bound to happen in our personal and business lives many many times.

Burger or green juice? Burger for the carnivores in us.

The Axis Corporate Edition event will take place on Monday, December 15th from 9am – 1pm at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Over 20 corporate investors and agencies will be in attendance, including: Deutsche Telecom, IBM, Intel Capital, Sandisk Ventures, Nokia, Yandex, Singtel, Perion, Orange, MS Ventures, Mail.Ru, Siemens, Mastercard, Elbit, Ford, Microsoft, and more.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

Photos: courtesy/ Twitter/ Axis Tel Aviv

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Yuval Haimovits, NoCamels <![CDATA[App Of The Week: ‘Clean’ – The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35125 2014-12-14T09:30:01Z 2014-12-01T20:15:17Z

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App Name: Clean Available for: iOS Devices Price: Free Developer: Yoovi Labs

The Promise
According to the company: “Too many photos on your phone? ‘Clean’ is simple and sweet. Swipe through your photos, decide which ones to keep, which ones to share, delete the rest. Deleted photos go to the ‘Recently Deleted’ album in your photos app.”

App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos

Our Experience
We take photos with our smartphones all the time. The cute moment when your puppy falls asleep, the amazing rainbow that graced the sky after a rainstorm or just a document to send your boss. Soon enough you’ll figure that your phone is packed with lots of photos, some of them are “Kodak moments”, but most are ripe for the trash bin. Until now, the only way to filter out the unwanted photos was to manually scroll through your photos, selecting the photos you want to delete, one by one. The Clean app creates a new experience out of this mundane task. It’s like Tinder (the dating app), only this time you’re getting rid of unwanted photos that take up tons of space on your phone.

It’s really simple to use – to delete photos you just need to swipe them to the bottom of the screen and to keep photos, swipe them up.

App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos

Our Thoughts
Clean is a really great idea for simplifying the banal task of deleting photos, something we all do. The user experience is simple and easy to understand. One disadvantage, however, is that you can’t go back to delete photos again until you’ve taken new ones. This is totally frustrating if you decide that there are more photos you want to delete from an old batch. Also, it’s not currently available for Android. But altogether this is a good free app that makes something terribly boring just a little easier.

The Verdict
App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos App Of The Week: Clean   The App That Makes It Easy To Delete Old Photos

We give this app 4 camels.

Photo by Andrew Fysh

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Air Pollution App ‘BreezoMeter’ Named In World’s ’20 Hottest Apps’ By CNBC]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35207 2014-11-30T14:48:51Z 2014-11-30T14:47:02Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Chalk up another big win for Israeli air pollution monitor app BreezoMeter. After being named a finalist at the Israel Mobile Summit in June for best app, and beating out apps from developers in Israel and 30 other countries to win the StartUp Open IL Contest in September, BreezoMeter has been named one of the “20 hottest in the world” by American cable news network CNBC, one of a very select group chosen out of over 600 start-up ideas.

CNBC chose the app, the news organization said, because “BreezoMeter is changing the way people interact with the world, by providing them with the resources needed to make informed choices about what environments they inhabit.”

Israeli Air Pollution App BreezoMeter Named In Worlds 20 Hottest Apps By CNBC Israeli Air Pollution App BreezoMeter Named In Worlds 20 Hottest Apps By CNBC

The app, said CNBC, is one of the “big ideas” that are “part of an entrepreneurial revolution that is spreading to nearly every nook and cranny on the planet.”

BreezoMeter’s technology shows how good or poor air quality is in a specific location — like right outside your house. According to Ran Korber, who developed BreezoMeter along with partner Ziv Lautman, the app “takes information from pollution stations and extrapolates it, based on wind direction, speed, and other factors to give an accurate reading of pollution levels even far away from a station.”

     SEE ALSO: Better Air Uses Probiotics To Clean Air We Breathe

Currently in use in several cities in Israel, BreezoMeter looks at your location and determines where the closest stations are in order to make its calculations. The app may take data from three or four nearby stations. BreezoMeter’s algorithms check the information and match it up with weather data (also supplied by the stations), including temperature, wind information, time of day, position of the sun — all factors that can affect the pollution level. BreezoMeter then delivers a localized pollution reading — which, says Korber, “is 99% accurate.”

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Want To Quit Smoking? Omega 3 Supplements May Be The Answer]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35189 2014-11-30T10:54:38Z 2014-11-30T10:50:40Z

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Think you’ve tried everything to quit smoking, but just couldn’t do it? Then you’ll want to read on. According to a new study, taking omega-3 supplements reduces craving for nicotine and even reduces the number of cigarettes you smoke a day.

“The substances and medications used currently to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with. The findings of this study indicated that omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly,” said Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, head of the addictions program at the University of Haifa.

     SEE ALSO: New Brain Stimulation Device Helps Smokers Quit

Want To Quit Smoking? Omega 3 Supplements May Be The Answer

Does ending addiction come down to essential fatty acids?

Chronic exposure to smoke-derived toxins is the primary cause of lung and immune dysfunctions, as well cancer. But researchers have discovered that cigarette smoking is connected not only to cardiovascular problems, immune system dysfunction and cancer, it also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain, especially that of omega-3. What science also learned is that a deficiency in omega-3 interrupts areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction. These areas are essential in reward and decision-making, and are very important in the development and relapse of the addiction and to the inability to stop smoking.

In other words, omega-3 deficiency makes it harder for the smoker’s body to deal with its craving for another cigarette.

“Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in omega-3 is also related to mental health, depression and the ability to cope with pressure and stress. Pressure and stress, in turn, are associated with the urge to smoke. It is also known that stress and tension levels rise among people who quit smoking. Despite all this, the connection between all these factors had not been studied until now,” Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar said.

The study shows encouraging results

The current study surveyed forty-eight smokers aged eighteen to forty-five who smoked at least ten cigarettes a day during the previous year, and an average of fourteen cigarettes a day. They were diagnosed as having a moderate dependency on nicotine. The average age of the participants was twenty-nine and the average age they began smoking was under eighteen.

The participants were divided into two groups: One group received omega-3 capsules; the second group received a placebo. The participants were asked to take five capsules a day for thirty days and aAt no stage in the study were the participants asked to stop smoking.

     SEE ALSO: Omega 3 Reduces Risk Of Alzheimer’s, Research Shows

Want To Quit Smoking? Omega 3 Supplements May Be The Answer

CDC statistics on smoking-related deaths

The levels of nicotine craving and consumption were examined through various aspects related to smoking urges, such as lack of control over tobacco use, anticipation of relief and satisfaction from smoking, and to the number of cigarettes smoked each day. These levels were measured at the beginning of the study, after thirty days (of treatment) and after sixty days (thirty days after stopping to take the capsules). Each time the study participants were tested they abstained from smoking for two hours and were then exposed to smoking-related images in order to stimulate their craving for nicotine.

The findings show that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-percent decrease), despite the fact that they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way. No less important, they showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving. After another thirty days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings increased slightly but still remained significantly lower than their initial level. In other words, the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline level even a month after stopping the omega-3 supplement.

Meanwhile, the group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked per day during the sixty days.

According to Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar, the fact that people who were not interested in quitting smoking showed such a significant change reinforces the assumption that taking omega-3 can help smokers regulate their addiction and reduce their smoking. Further research will indicate whether the supplement is also effective in helping smokers ditch the habit entirely.

Photos: Jacky Smith/ Timothy Allen/ CDC.gov

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWise’s Email Wizard Shai Geva]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35076 2014-11-27T13:41:20Z 2014-11-27T13:39:03Z

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Shai Geva is the co-founder and CEO of MailWise, an email application that simplifies email exchanges into a clear, chat-like format. Geva began his career in the Israeli Defense Force’s elite engineering and intelligence Unit 8200. After his release, Geva spent a few years learning the high tech industry while working as a software engineer at Aternity, particularly how a software company should work. Eager to create his own startup, Geva met computer science Prof. Hanoch Levy, his entrepreneurial vision took off, co-founding MailWise in August 2011.

What is your biggest inspiration? The Roman empire. Because these guys were serious about building stuff.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? I just got married a year ago, what are you trying to get me into?

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? Leonardo da Vinci. I would tell him about the internet, about space flight, about the Khan Academy (an organization providing a free, world-class education via YouTube videos) and show him a smartphone. Then I’d ask “what are you thinking about right now?” and shut up for the rest of the evening.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

Geva and the MailWise team

Falafel or shawarma? Shawarma.

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel-Aviv, Israel is home.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Bouldering (a form of rock-climbing that doesn’t make use of harnesses and ropes). In bouldering, the routes you need to complete are called “problems”. And that’s exactly what they are – problems you need to solve. I’m a problem solver by nature, so that’s the sport for me.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? Peter Pan from Hook (R.I.P Robin Williams).

What’s your hidden talent? Pretending that I had enough sleep.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? Hate to sound cliché, but this is not really a choice. Obviously, I won’t always be a founder of a company, but I will always need to be a key player in a project that tries to get something from “I don’t know if this is possible” to “done”.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

The late Robin Williams as Peter Pan in ‘Hook’.

What’s your homepage? Google.

Star Wars or Star Trek? I’ve actually been trying to finish watching Star Trek’s “The Next Generation” over the last few months (true story). So Star Wars it is.

What are you totally addicted to? Hell Tetris – http://www.kongregate.com/games/banthar/hell-tetris. This question just cost me 30 minutes.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

Hell Tetris

Who was your first celebrity crush? I don’t do celebrity crushes.

What were your first steps in the business world? I quit my job as software engineer to take a few months for learning and experimenting a little with finance, business and marketing. The most fun thing I did at the time – selling Shofars on eBay with my dad.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

Auctioning off shofars is lucrative business

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Why Do Our Brains Age? Scientists Reveal The Real Reason]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35175 2014-11-27T11:29:15Z 2014-11-27T11:29:15Z

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How the brain ages is still largely an open question – in part because this organ is mostly insulated from direct contact with other systems in the body, including the blood and immune systems.

In research that was recently published in “Science,” Weizmann Institute researchers Prof. Michal Schwartz and Dr. Ido Amit  found evidence of a unique “signature” that may be the “missing link” between cognitive decline and aging. Their findings showed that the health of one’s immune system plays an important role in maintaining normal function in the brain, and preventing deteriorating cognition. The scientists believe that this discovery may lead, in the future, to treatments that can slow or reverse cognitive decline in older people.

Factoring in the immune system could explain brain aging

Why Do Our Brains Age? Scientists Reveal The Real Reason

A microscope images of the choroid plexus

Until a decade ago, scientific dogma held that the blood-brain barrier prevents the blood-borne immune cells from attacking and destroying brain tissue. Yet in a long series of studies, Schwartz’s group showed that the immune system actually plays an important role both in healing the brain after injury and in maintaining the brain’s normal functioning. They have found that this brain-immune interaction occurs across a barrier that is actually a unique interface within the brain’s territory.

     SEE ALSO: Study: Common Drug Could Prevent Injury-Related Epilepsy

This interface, known as the choroid plexus, is found in each of the brain’s four ventricles, and it separates the blood from the cerebrospinal fluid, known as brain goo. According to Schwartz, “The choroid plexus acts as a ‘remote control’ for the immune system to affect brain activity. Biochemical ‘danger’ signals released from the brain are sensed through this interface; in turn, blood-borne immune cells assist by communicating with the choroid plexus. This cross-talk is important for preserving cognitive abilities and promoting the generation of new brain cells.”

This finding led Schwartz and her group to suggest that cognitive decline over the years may be connected not only to one’s “chronological age” but also to one’s “immunological age,” that is, changes in immune function over time might contribute to changes in brain function – not necessarily in step with the count of one’s years.

The tell-tale signs of aging aren’t on your face

To test this theory, Schwartz and research students Kuti Baruch and Aleksandra Deczkowska teamed up with Amit and his research group in the Immunology Department. The researchers used next-generation sequencing technology to map changes in gene expression in 11 different organs, including the choroid plexus, in both young and aged mice, to identify and compare pathways involved in the aging process.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Stop The Brain From Aging To Prevent Alzheimer’s

Why Do Our Brains Age? Scientists Reveal The Real Reason

Dr. Michal Schwartz

That is how they identified a strikingly unique “signature of aging” that exists solely in the choroid plexus – not in the other organs. They discovered that one of the main elements of this signature was interferon beta – a protein that the body normally produces to fight viral infection. This protein appears to have a negative effect on the brain: When the researchers injected an antibody that blocks interferon beta activity into the cerebrospinal fluid of the older mice, their cognitive abilities were restored, as was their ability to form new brain cells. The scientists were also able to identify this unique signature in elderly human brains. The scientists hope that this finding may, in the future, help prevent or reverse cognitive decline in old age, by finding ways to rejuvenate the “immunological age” of the brain.

Prof. Michal Schwartz is the incumbent of the Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial Chair of Neuroimmunology and Dr. Ido Amit, of the Immunology Department, is the incumbent of the Alan and Laraine Fischer Career Development Chair at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Photos: Chuck LaChance/ courtesy

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[For Israeli App ‘SleepRate’, A Good Night’s Sleep Is A Matter Of Heart]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35159 2014-11-26T16:20:31Z 2014-11-26T16:15:12Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

In a 24/7 world, sleep is increasingly becoming a luxury, to the great detriment of millions around the world. In the US alone one out of every three people will experience an extended period of insomnia at some point in their lives, impacting their health and costing the economy billions due to lost wages and productivity.

Now, an Israeli start-up called SleepRate has a solution that it says will help people sleep more efficiently and take maximal advantage of the hours they do have to sleep, even if they can’t get the full allotment recommended by experts.

Sleep deprivation is by far the most common ailment affecting Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control – making it nothing short of an “epidemic.” The effects of lack of sleep is far more serious than walking around glassy-eyed, the CDC says. The body will not be denied; individuals who can’t sleep at night will end up falling asleep during the day, often at very inopportune moments. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to what has become a public safety and health crisis.

     SEE ALSOIsraeli Research Finds Parents’ Interrupted Sleep Is The Equivalent Of No Sleep At All

“Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity,” said the CDC. For many of the sleepless, the problem is twofold. Many just can’t spare the seven to eight hours health officials recommend everyone get on a nightly basis. A globalized 24/7 economy requires an always-available workforce, and many workers fear being replaced by a less-expensive but just as skilled colleague on the other side of the world. For them, eight hours of sleep nightly is a faraway dream, to be deferred indefinitely until they reach financial stability – or retirement age.

SleepRate helps those seeking a sleep solution bring the principles of CBT-I into their lives. Key to the system is determining sleep habits to see what behaviors need to be corrected. Using a heart-rate monitor and an iPhone’s sensors and microphone (an Android version is on the way), SleepRate generates data that analyzes heart rate variability to understand how you sleep.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photo by Tony Alter

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35152 2014-11-26T09:07:40Z 2014-11-25T17:02:14Z

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Europe’s largest organization for applied research, the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), will collaborate with the well-known Israeli industrialist and billionaire Stef Wertheimer to gain access to leading Israeli researchers and companies. Based in Munich, Germany, Fraunhofer hopes that the partnership will expose the organization to potential collaborative efforts between innovative Israeli companies and skilled Society researchers.

     SEE ALSO: Report: Israel And EU Sign €80 Million Scientific Research Agreement

Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

Stef Wertheimer

Werthemier and the Israel connection

In order to further cooperation, Fraunhofer and the Lavon industrial park in Israel’s northern Galilee region signed a letter of intent to establish a joint communications platform between Israeli companies in the park and the organization’s scientists and institutions. The connection between the Lavon industrial park and Fraunhofer’s relationship with Wertheimer is not coincidental—the German native is the owner of the Lavon industrial park, as well as four other industrial parks in Israel, that generate up to $1 billion in combined revenue. Both Fraunhofer and Wertheimer hope that this cooperative effort will help launch joint research projects, organize scientist exchanges, and intensify the educational transfer between the institutions.

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft, commented on the agreement in a statement: ”Israel is one of the most innovative countries in the world. As a location for technology-oriented companies, Israel is particularly well-known for its many successful startups. Fraunhofer has had ties with the country for many years.” Regarding the collaboration with Wertheimer, Neugebauer continued, “Our partnership with an industrialist of Stef Wertheimer’s caliber, who is so highly regarded in Israel and Germany, will bring this exchange to a new level.”

Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

The Lavon industrial park

An end to the academic boycott?

The effort to bridge between Israeli and European researchers and innovators made by a worthwhile institution like Fraunhofer may signal the end of a decade of boycotts against Israeli academic institutions. In recent years, Israeli researchers have urged their scientific collages to refuse offers for submissions to European journals, due to what is perceived by many as politically-driven academic bias against Israelis. Yet the latest move by Fraunhofer to draw closer to the Israeli innovation scene (the Society already has a partnership with Hebrew University) may suggest that the European scientific establishment is ready to cooperate again with Israeli brains. But before getting too hopeful, Wertheimer makes clear that the prominent German society won’t be entirely separating science from politics: “good education and good jobs are major contributors to stability in our region, partnerships like this will hopefully give a boost to the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.”

     SEE ALSO: Israel Launches I-CORE For Advanced Biofuel Research

Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested $1 million in Israeli startup ‘Hervana’

Despite the possible implications of such political goals on Fraunhofer funding in Israel, Europe’s leading applied research society enters the market as another foundation importantly changes its funding guidelines. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed reports that beginning in 2015, all funded researchers will have to publish their studies with open access publications, making it possible for anyone to gain access to their work as well as for commercial use of their findings. What may seem like a blessing for science students is a nightmare for many scientists in Israel and the world who value the exclusivity and seriousness of access-controlled scientific publications. Israel in particular has seen many of its researchers turn to the Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest foundations for grants and funding, but due to the changes in policy and now that Fraunhofer is an official option, more Israeli scientists may decide to put their eggs in the European basket.

Photo: Senior male researcher carrying out scientific research in lab/ Jonathan Blum

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[For Babies Allergic To Cow’s Milk, Israelis Develop World’s First Vegetable-Based Formula]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35114 2014-11-25T13:16:39Z 2014-11-25T13:16:39Z

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The optimum nutrition for a baby may come from breast milk, but for many women breastfeeding is not an option. The alternative is commercially prepared infant formulas that have stood the test of time as nutritious alternatives to breast milk. However, as most infant formulas are based on cow’s milk whey and casein as a protein source, many babies develop a variety of symptoms ranging from dermatological and respiratory problems, to gastric distress and other allergic reactions.

     SEE ALSO: Viral Infection During Pregnancy Can Trigger Diabetes In Babies, Study Finds

Now two Israeli baby-food executives and the owners of Heart baby food have come up with the world’s first viable dairy and soy-free solution. Setting out to solve what began as a personal problem, Hamutal Yitzhak and Uriel Kesler teamed up to create a new vegetable-based baby formula called Innovative Dairy Infant formula (INDI) that contains neither cow’s milk nor soy, and still claims to provide all the necessary nutrients.

For Babies Allergic To Cows Milk, Israelis Develop World’s First Vegetable Based FormulaThe secret is in the plant

For babies who are intolerant to both dairy and soy, many stores offer hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed formulas, which break down milk proteins into tiny particles that trick the body into believing it isn’t allergic. Still, only 90 percent of children with cow’s milk allergies, which is about two to three percent of infants, can tolerate these formulas. Soy based formulas may be a solution, but infants who are allergic to milk are commonly also allergic to soy.

As the creators of this first-of-its-kind formula, Kesler tells NoCamels that after his granddaughter was born, he realized that the market lacked real alternatives to soy and milk-based formulas. Often overwhelmed with digestive problems, the only solution for his granddaughter was a hydrolyzed formula with a terrible taste and smell, making feeding time for her, and those around her, a difficult process. That’s when Yitzhak, one of the first experts to warn of the dangers of plastic BPA-filled baby bottles, and Kesler came together to give parents what they deserve— INDI—the world’s first vegetable-based formula.

     SEE ALSO: The Upside of Suburbia: Green Spaces Found To Significantly Increase Child’s Birth Weight

Using the profits that they earned from Heart baby food, Yitzhak and Kesler began research on their new formula at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. They started off experimenting with almonds, but soon discovered that they needed more than just almond paste to fulfill the regulations governing the ratio of protein, fat, carbohydrates and essential amino acids required in infant formula. Through trial and error, they uncovered a secret plant-based component to add to their almond recipe. The rest, as they say, was history!

For those of you eager to know what that secret component is, according to the company, you’ll just have to wait to find out. Yitzhak explains, “We can’t release it yet, until we commercialize the product.”

The veggie-based formulas of the future

Founders Yitzhak and Kesler hope to see their formula hit the market within the next year. They recently completed their first industrial trial in a baby food factory in Germany and are in negotiations with several major companies to acquire additional investments.For Babies Allergic To Cows Milk, Israelis Develop World’s First Vegetable Based Formula

“We still need another year to complete safety tests with the babies to make sure there are no side effects.  We also need to complete our patent registration and then we will be ready to start marketing,” says the team.

Yitzhak and Kesler hope that their new formula will provide parents with a real alternative to milk and soy-based formulas that have been proven to cause allergies and other side effects. Offering a price competitive with other baby formulas, and targeting babies from 0-36 months, they aspire to appeal to the market at large. “We want to have a formula that babies will like. We want to be able to provide a solution to all babies suffering from allergies. We want to solve these problems.”

Photo: Baby drinking formula/ Olga Beauty/ Bottle feeding

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35096 2014-11-24T15:48:20Z 2014-11-24T15:37:53Z

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When the engineering students at England’s prestigious University of Cambridge aren’t using their brains, they are busy capturing the intricate beauty of their work through a lens. As part of the annual photography competition held within the university’s Department of Engineering, Israeli PhD student in Machine Learning, Yarin Gal, took second place for his extrapolated image of Vincent van Gogh’s classic painting “Starry Night.” Sponsored by international optics leader ZEISS, this competition’s images were a beautiful and mysterious sight, to the eye of an untrained engineer that is.

     SEE ALSO: You Won’t Believe What This Is!

Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic

Yarin’s extrapolation of ‘Starry Night’

Though many aren’t aware, van Gogh painted “Starry Night” in 1889 from what he saw from the window of the French insane asylum he admitted himself to after amputating part of his left ear. The painting has since become one of the world’s most famous works of art and Gal wanted to imagine how it would look had van Gogh painted it on a larger canvas. Using an algorithm called PatchMatch that analyzes pattern and style mathematics, Gal expanded the image by extrapolating its contents, envisioning how van Gogh would have viewed the full scenery from the asylum window.

Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic

Aria’s “Asteroidea Electrica”

First place went to Indrat Aria for an image entitled “Asteroidea Electrica,” which at first glance appears to be a colored image of a starfish. However, and not surprisingly, the subject is much more complex than it appears. The image is a “false colored low magnification electron micrograph of free-standing graphene foam,” or the open-cell foam made of single-layer sheets of graphene, commonly used in lithium-ion batteries.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldman’s Surreal Images Bring Dreams To Life

In order to participate in the competition, the images must be related to research or teaching within Cambridge’s Department of Engineering and the submitter must be a member of the department. According to the criteria, images must be “beautiful, fascinating, intriguing, amusing, or possibly all of these things.” As Director of Research for the Department Philip Guildford stated, “We continue to be blown away by the beautiful images produced by our students and researchers for this competition,” continuing, “But more than just pretty pictures, these images also show how engineering is helping to solve problems, big and small, all over the world.”

Check out some of the other photos from the competition:

Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh ClassicIsraeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh ClassicPhotos: Yarin Gal/ Indrat Aria/ Calum Williams, Yunuen Montelongo and Jaime Tenorio-Pear/ Long Teng/ James Griffith/Anthony Rubinstein-Baylis/ Mari Ijäs/ Audrey Hon/ Dhiren Mistry/ Nikhil Tiwale and Stanko Nedic/ Jonathon Parkins

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Despite Bump In US-Israel Relations, Tech Brings Countries Closer, Says Expert]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35119 2014-11-24T15:26:39Z 2014-11-24T15:26:39Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

If politics sometimes divides Israel and the United States, there is a strong force that consistently unites them. The tech relationship between the two countries is as firm as ever, according to Itay Frishman of international law firm Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak (GHK), and that’s good for both sides.

Despite Bump In US Israel Relations, Tech Brings Countries Closer, Says ExpertJust as the US is Israel’s biggest international supporter, providing assistance – diplomatic, military, and otherwise – America is also the biggest overall year-to-year investor in Israel (though China is set to surpass the US in that area this year), with the world’s biggest economy and the most resources. And, it is still the country with the largest and most prosperous market – the best place for an Israeli start-up to sell products or technologies.

     SEE ALSO: Netanyahu’s Gift To Obama: Nanotechnology Mounted On Archaeology

As head of GHK’s high-tech and venture law group, Frishman is one of Israel’s most active deal-making attorneys, in a law firm that is one of the biggest dealmakers in Israel. Among the recent deals GHK has handled: Rakuten’s acquisition of Viber, Yahoo’s acquisition of RayV, AOL’s acquisition of Converto, HiLan’s acquisition of Ness Technologies, along with investments by Goldman Sachs, Bessemer, Norwest Ventures, Samsung Ventures, and others in Israeli firms.

Despite Bump In US Israel Relations, Tech Brings Countries Closer, Says Expert

Itay Frishman

Nowadays, deals between Israeli start-ups and China are all the rage – or seem to be, at least from the headlines. But the US is still ground zero for start-ups looking to make it big. “We have nothing against China, and in fact we do a lot of work there,” Frishman said. “But the US is still the world’s largest economy, and I think for the sake of all of us, things should remain that way.

“Many Israeli start-ups that have technology or an app can only work with a large company in China, which will distribute its tech. But they cannot deal directly with the consumer or end-user – unlike the case in the US, where Israeli companies can sell to anyone,” he added.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photos: Reuters/ GKH Law

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great Outdoors]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35021 2014-11-23T18:32:06Z 2014-11-23T14:58:28Z

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One of the joys of roughing it in nature is the disconnect from today’s constant technology. However, the silent bliss for some is a bothersome inconvenience for others, which is why the creators of a new technology sought out a power solution to strike a balance between the two. Lovers of nature and technology, meet the KaliPAK, the portable renewable energy generator.

     SEE ALSO: Meet Seven Israeli Alternative-Energy Companies With Solutions To Fuel The Future

The brainchild of two years of research and design by the Kalisaya team based in Israel, the idea for the KaliPAK came about as a solution for those places where grid-based electric power doesn’t exist. This doesn’t just mean that campers and trekkers have a way to stay connected; this autonomous and environmentally-friendly power source could even be used to replace diesel generators or as a back-up in the case of natural disasters. Currently, the team of designers, disaster-recovery experts and businesspeople are hoping to raise $250,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter to bring the product to market and aid electrically-challenged communities in Africa in the process.

Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great OutdoorsEnough power to charge a smartphone 100 times over

Calling itself “all the power you need when there is no power around,” KaliPAK can generate up to 600watts/hour, enough to charge a smartphone 100 times over, a laptop 10-15 times and provide 120 hours of light. The pack weighs less than 14 lbs. and can be charged by plugging it into anything from a regular outlet, to a car-lighter socket, or using the four (patent-pending) solar panels contained inside the pack. According to the company, the KaliPAK can be charged to up to about 80 percent of its full power capacity on a sunny day. In addition, the pack comes equipped with all the outlets you may need: two USB ports, two 12V power outlets and a Bluetooth transmitter that will let you know, through the KaliAPP, how much energy you still have, whether you’re correctly aimed at the sun, and provide an emergency switch.

Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great Outdoors

This little power station on-the-go comes with still cooler features for the tech-savy outdoorsman: a waterproof raincoat, a waterproof torch, an AC/DC inverter, one LED lightbulb, cord and carabiner, a car-lighter adapter and a quick-charge USB splitter. Of course, this kind of next-generation gadget doesn’t run cheap, with the mid-range KaliPAK 401 costing at $348 and the full-force 600W generator at $698 and up. As an additional bonus, if the company is able to raise the $250,000 it’s aiming for (it has already raised $35,000 from 100 backers), it will ship one KaliPAK for every 50 produced to a community in need of electricity in Africa via Vital Capital, an impact investment fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

     SEE ALSO: Look Again: This Israeli Kickstarter Campaign Has Less Depth Than You Think

Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great Outdoors

The KaliPAK app

Besides being an incredible outdoors gadget for those who can afford it, the KaliPAK has an inherently positive mission to make power accessible to those who need it most. Whether it be providing accessible energy to a small community in Africa, or immediate power needs after a natural disaster, if it raises the required funds, KaliPAK’s uses are likely only to grow with time.

Photos: Kalisaya

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Tel Aviv Awarded Title Of ‘World’s Smartest City’ At 2014 Smart City Expo]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35085 2014-11-21T12:36:43Z 2014-11-21T12:36:43Z

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The City of Tel Aviv won the award for the ‘World’s Smartest City’ at the Smart City Expo World Congress held this week in Barcelona, Spain. The White City was selected for the prize among 250 competing international cities, including London, Washington D.C., New York, Dubai, Amsterdam and more.

Tel Aviv Awarded Title Of ‘World’s Smartest City’ At 2014 Smart City Expo

Delegation from Tel Aviv accepting the award

Tel Aviv was nominated for the prize due to its provision of an impressive array of technologies to city residents that include: city-wide WiFi access (Tel-Net), location-based smartphone technology to help visitors get around the city, and active measures to engage residents through public round-table policy discussions and a collaborative budget.

     SEE ALSO: A Foodie Feat: ‘Saveur Magazine’ Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

In addition, Tel Aviv provides its residents with a unique service dubbed ‘Digi-Tel,’ allowing them to access services and information via email, text message or a personalized website that can be customized according to location, preferences, marital status and more. As part of the services, Tel Aviv residents can engage in a city-wide application development competition based on open databases, as well as register online for municipal services.

Tel Aviv Awarded Title Of ‘World’s Smartest City’ At 2014 Smart City Expo

Digi-Tel services

In response to the honor bestowed on his city, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai commented: “I am pleased with the recognition the municipality has received for the technological knowledge and creativity it has used to improve public services and make city services more advanced, efficient and transparent.”

In November of last year, the ‘Digi-Tel’ program won the special merit prize at the 2013 Webi Awards, held by the “People and Computers” publication. This and the latest award joins the list of achievements for Tel Aviv as a ‘Startup City,’ which includes its recognition as an international center for innovation and entrepreneurship.

This is the third year of the Smart City Expo is Barcelona, an event that has quickly gained attention as an important milestone for city innovation. Last year, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was the recipient of the first place award.

Photos: Jeremy Woodhouse/ courtesy

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel Sets Up ‘Hospitals of Hope’ To Combat Ebola In Hardest-Hit African Countries]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35064 2014-11-20T07:50:04Z 2014-11-20T07:50:04Z

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Israel’s experience in dealing with emergency situations makes it a valuable asset to the international community during times of crisis. Following urgent pleas from the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the US government, and others, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated NIS 1.2 million (approx. $313,000) to help combat the Ebola virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate. “We perceive these direct requests as testimony to the well-known Israeli willingness of constant assistance in crisis situations,“ said head of MASHAV, Ambassador Gil Haskel.

Israel Sets Up ‘Hospitals of Hope’ To Combat Ebola In Hardest Hit African Countries
MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation has teamed up with SAREL, Israel’s one-stop-shop for medical equipment and emergency supplies, to launch operation “Hospitals of Hope” aimed at providing much-needed equipment to the West African countries hit hardest by the virus, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

     SEE ALSO: How Israel’s Leading Ebola Expert Could Eradicate The Virus

Launched on November 11th, the containers should take 30 to 40 days to reach their destinations. The medical shipments expected to arrive will include mobile clinics with a capacity of 20 beds each, protective gear for healthcare workers, as well as a treatment cart and all the equipment needed to set up the clinics as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the meantime, Israeli NGOs, such as “ISRA-AID” and “Israel Flying Aid” will continue to recruit doctors and assist local medical teams as they begin to operate the clinics.

Israel Sets Up ‘Hospitals of Hope’ To Combat Ebola In Hardest Hit African Countries
The Israeli response to Ebola arrives in two phases

Israel’s immediate response to the Ebola outbreak was to provide the region with basic medical equipment, medication, and protective gear. An early request was made by the UN and US to send Israeli Defense Force field hospitals to the region, but the Ministry of Defense declined. Fear of exposing the Israeli medical teams to infection coupled with the difficulty of providing security for each encampment caused great concern. Instead, a team of doctors was dispatched to peripheral countries to assist in emergency preparedness and prevention, and the Foreign Ministry also upped the level of Israeli aid to the region.

     SEE ALSO: 10 Israeli Companies At The Cutting Edge Of Life-Saving Tech

Now, MASHAV is switching gears and getting ready to initiate their long-term response by building clinics and providing training to the local population.

MASHAV Ambassador Haskel told ISRAEL21c, “We are working together with African countries at their request and in accordance with the situation on the ground. Israel has unique expertise in the medical realm, and we willingly share our knowledge with all nations.”

Photos: European Commissions DG ECHO / MFA

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Team Wins At Int’l BattleHack Competition With App To Call Plan-Free]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35055 2014-11-19T16:49:00Z 2014-11-19T14:15:59Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The next time you’re stuck without cellphone service, you might still be able to make a phone call – if you have a Paypal account.

Taking advantage of a little-known feature in iOS, AirHop lets users “hop” onto another person’s device (if it’s also running the AirHop service) to make a phone call or send a text in exchange for a PayPal-enabled payment.

Paypal was impressed enough with the project to award the Israeli team behind it $100,000 in its just-completed “BattleHack for Good” contest, held at Paypal headquarters in Silicon Valley.

     SEE ALSO: Young Israeli Innovators Win NASA Competition For Great Innovations

“Good” in this case is defined widely. According to the rules, teams had to come up with an app that made a positive social contribution while using APIs from PayPal, which processes online payments, or its credit card acquirer components Braintree or Venmo. As PayPal is a payments business, any app using its technology would most likely be a commercial-oriented one. But the hacker teams pulled through, creating 14 new apps, ranging from helping the visually impaired to creating an open marketplace for education.

Israeli Team Wins At Intl BattleHack Competition With App To Call Plan Free

The winning BattleHack team from Tel Aviv

But it was AirHop, created by Tel Aviv hackers Shai Mishali and Pavel Kaminsky, that was good enough to score the $100,000 PayPal prize. Calling AirHop “extraordinary,” John Lunn, a top PayPal executive and Battlehack judge, said that it was “absolutely disruptive. What [the team from] Tel Aviv built from a technology standpoint was incredible. I’ve never seen it before.”

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35009 2014-11-19T10:58:02Z 2014-11-19T10:58:02Z

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After years of transporting goods across the globe, shipping containers are finally finding new, more permanent homes. In cities across the globe, old storage units are being transformed into low-cost swanky new pads for those eager to simplify their lives, lighten their footprint, and manage their budget. These durable structures, designed to withstand the strongest of elements, have already proven a great alternative to traditional housing in a number of locations. Now Israel, through the grassroots Ayalim Association, is opening container apartments in two locations – Sderot in the south and Lod in the center – to serve the housing needs of the young student population.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Eco-Home Wins Big At International Solar Decathlon In China

Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes
For $160 a month, who wouldn’t want to live in a container?

Two containers are used to construct a full-size apartment, complete with two bedrooms, a living room, small kitchen and bathroom, at a purchasing price of just $4,000. In just six months, construction companies can assemble one container apartment for approximately $40,000, saving between 20 to 50 percent on traditional construction costs. The dorms will initially be able to house up to 86 students when they are completed by this December, and get this, one month’s rent will cost no more than $160 per person!Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes

While Israel is not the first place to realize the value of these chic containers, it is certainly a country that can benefit from their use. The social protests of 2011, that saw almost a million Israelis come out to the streets in protest, succeeded in drawing attention to the high cost of living in the small Middle Eastern country. The shipping containers are seen by many of these students as the only viable alternative, affordable housing solution.

Joining an international trend

Already used in big cities like Amsterdam, home to the biggest container city in the world called Keetwonen, as well as in the US, Europe and Australia, these units have proven a big success among students and young professionals on a budget. For environmentalists, these containers are also an excellent way to give back in terms of recycling as millions of shipping containers are discarded each year. Additionally, these containerized homes can substantially offset an institution’s carbon footprint and reduce the use of natural resources in the construction of new housing units.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Super Architect Moshe Safdie Designs Singapore Airport’s Incredible Bio-Dome

Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes

The Keetwonen in Amsterdam

Students and Israeli residents are already excited about adopting this international trend at home. But the trend has seen such demand, that in order limit the number of applicants, residents must be willing to commit to volunteering in the local community. At once an affordable and environmental option, these housing units strategically placed in the periphery of Israel are also meant to encourage a youthful, creative vibe outside of the big metropolises, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Photos: Temphousing

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Could Strokes Among The Elderly Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? Tel Aviv Researchers Think So]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34903 2014-11-18T12:55:41Z 2014-11-18T12:52:45Z

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Though youth may feel that they have an upper hand on stroke and similar brain incidents in comparison to their older counterparts, new research from Tel Aviv University found differently. According to the research, despite the significant reduction in the overall incidence and death rates from strokes in the United States over the past twenty years, more attention needs to be paid to specific age groups.

     SEE ALSO: Video Games Are A Great Way To Rehabilitate Stroke Victims

According to the study, the decline in stroke risk was concentrated mainly in the over‐65 set, with little progress in reducing the risk of strokes among young people. In contrast, the drop in stroke‐related deaths was primarily found among those under age 65, with mortality rates holding firm in older people.

If the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and other countries progresses as expected, the incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels will rise, and millions will face an increased risk of stroke, says Dr. Koton. “Stroke is not only the number four cause of death in the U.S., but the leading cause of long-term disability in adults. As a result, the prevention of strokes is crucial,” said Dr. Koton.

Could Strokes Among The Elderly Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? Tel Aviv Researchers Think SoAn ounce of prevention

“Since strokes mainly affect older populations, and our population is aging, it is important to learn about changes in stroke incidence and mortality. Our findings are encouraging, but they also suggest that there are specific groups that require more attention. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and controlling cardiovascular risk factors is important for everybody, but apparently there is a need to focus stroke prevention efforts on particular population subgroups.”

The research, conducted by Dr. Silvia Koton of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and a team of international experts, found a 24 percent decline per decade in first‐time strokes and a 20 percent drop per decade in deaths after strokes in the last 24 years.

Extensive study population

The study based its findings on data presented by Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) research, which monitored 15,792 residents between the ages of 45 and 64 in four U.S. communities starting in the late 1980s. In the new study, researchers followed the progress of 14,357 participants who were free of stroke in 1987, with an eye to stroke hospitalizations and deaths between 1987-2011.

     SEE ALSO: Can The Immune System Help Recovery From Stroke?

Extensive information was collected through interviews and physical exams at baseline (1987-1989) and in three follow-up visits (1990-92, 1993-95, and 1996-98). In addition to the check-ups, annual phone interviews were conducted as well as active surveillance of discharges from local hospitals until December 31, 2011.

Could Strokes Among The Elderly Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? Tel Aviv Researchers Think So

Dr. Silvia Koton

“Decreases in stroke incidence and mortality have previously been demonstrated, but empirical data on validated stroke incidence are scarce,” said Dr. Koton. “In the ARIC study, each stroke was confirmed by expert review of medical charts using uniform criteria. In addition, previous reports on long-term trends in stroke incidence by race have not been consistent, with some studies in the U.S. showing decreases in stroke incidence over time only among whites — but not African-Americans. Our study shows that stroke incidence and mortality are decreasing also among African-Americans.”

The researchers hope their findings will provide a basis for future studies that focus on the reasons for age disparities in stroke incidence and subsequent mortality.

The research was conducted by Dr. Silvia Koton of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine as well as a team of international researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Prof. Josef Coresh of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a team of experts at Hopkins, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the University of Arizona.

Photos: Herman Bogaerts

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israel’s New National Library]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34986 2014-11-18T10:57:58Z 2014-11-18T10:57:58Z

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Leading Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron has just revealed its design for the upcoming National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, which will be the largest in Isreal. The 34,000 square-meter structure, located in the same complex as Israel’s parliament, the Israel Museum, the Science Museum and the Hebrew University, was designed together with Israeli architecture firm, Shinar Architects.

Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National Library
According to the Swiss-Israeli team, construction on the complex will begin in 2016 and is set to be completed by 2019. The structure will have a huge oculus opening in its roof, providing for lots of natural day light in the four-story structure. The international firm, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, was chosen for the ambitious project after native Israeli architect Rafi Segal was released from his position due to copyright issues, according to “Dezeen Magazine.”

Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National Library
Aside from its function as Israel’s largest public library, the complex will house research laboratories, offices, educational facilities, a visitor’s center, a multipurpose hall and a climate-controlled archive. Herzog & de Meuron described the building’s design: “The strong, sculptural form of the stone, related to the specific topography and context of the site, is elevated off the ground, and situated above vitrine like elements.”

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Super Architect Moshe Safdie Designs Singapore Airport’s Incredible Bio-Dome

Herzog & de Meuron is an architecture firm famous for the design of London’s Tate Modern, as well as the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games. More recently, the firm has engaged in ‘environmentally-friendly’ projects, like a biologically filtered swimming pool in Switzerland and an open-air gymnasium in Brazil. The firm was chosen to complete the project in April 2013 after Segal was dismissed for potential copyright infringements in his winning design.

Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National LibrarySwiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National Library

Photos: Herzog de Meuron

 

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israelis Create Therapy ‘Bubbles’ In The Heart Of New York City With ‘Talkspace’]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34998 2014-11-17T15:42:13Z 2014-11-17T15:33:05Z

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A city of 8.4 million residents and endless possibilities, it would be an understatement to call living in New York City ‘overwhelming.’ That’s one of the reasons why the Israeli-founded startup Talkspace created a convenient solution for New Yorkers to consult with a psychologist in the heart of the city. At Talkspace’s #PopUpTherapy installation on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, passersby are able to receive a quick, free 15-minute consultation with a therapist, and find out about the startup’s psychology solutions for the modern age.Israelis Create Therapy Bubbles In The Heart Of New York City With Talkspace

Raising awareness, and treatment levels

Israelis Create Therapy Bubbles In The Heart Of New York City With Talkspace

Roni and Oren Frank

Talkspace was founded in 2012 by Israelis Roni and Oren Frankel after one of Roni’s friends committed suicide as a result of years of untreated depression. Armed with a master’s degree in psychology, Roni set out to “democratize psychotherapy,” aware that nearly 60 percent of individuals with a diagnosable mental health disorder never seek treatment. This, Roni points out, is due to the fact that physically showing up at a therapist’s office takes a good deal of emotional strength, something that individuals suffering from depression and other mental conditions may be lacking.

SEE ALSO: Back To The Future: Researchers Create Virtual Time Travel To Treat Memory-Based Trauma

The Talkspace application and therapy platform allows users to receive mental health support from licensed therapists online and via text, in real time. The installation in the heart of New York, #PopUpTherapy, began last Wednesday in order to raise awareness about Talkspace’s services and to make the needs of mental health patients more transparent. That’s why the Talkspace therapist is housed in a transparent bubble, designed by Alon Seifert, in the middle of the urban jungle—to assure New Yorkers and the international viewing public that someone, somewhere is there to hear their problems out.

It all begins with a text

Unlike the run-of-the-mill blood test or psych evaluation you may get as a new patient at a conventional therapist, Talkspace begins with texting. The new user receives a free texting consultation that can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire day, according to Roni. Then one of the 100 licensed therapists employed at Talkspace will assess the new patient’s status and pair him or her with a specialist for their disorder, or just a friendly therapist for them to reach out to. When it comes time to pay for the services, the options are just as flexible. For $49 a month, the user can engage in weekly text or video sessions with their therapist, $25 for monthly and $19 for four times a year. Though Talkspace doesn’t accept traditional medical insurance, it is a lot cheaper than in-person therapy sessions.

And while the idea of texting your therapist may seem unsettling, the accessibility and informality of the digital relationship is already answering the needs of many Talkspace users. According to one, “It’s really like texting. It’s easier to write out my feelings, rather than when you’re sitting in a room with someone and it’s hard to explain things. This gives you time to think about what you want to say, and really think about what they’re saying.”

     SEE ALSO: Abandoned Dogs Help Human Sufferers Overcome Abuse, Grief

Israelis Create Therapy Bubbles In The Heart Of New York City With TalkspaceWith so many traditionally in-person services going online, it was only a matter of time before the Internet got Freudian. A number of online therapy services are popping up, like Blah Therapy, 7 Cups of Tea and more, but Talkspace is the only platform to offer the texting option, and to go out of their way to raise awareness about untreated mental conditions with the #PopUpTherapy installation. This past May, the startup raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Spark Capital and SoftBank and has already begun expansion of its services outside of the US to locations like Turkey, Iran, England, Canada and more.

Photos: courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Bite Into This: BitBite, The Earpiece Sensor That Keeps Track Of Your Eating Habits]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34975 2014-11-16T13:22:22Z 2014-11-16T13:22:22Z

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The most frequently broken promise we make to ourselves may be, ‘This week I will start my diet.’ This is probably because we are constantly surrounded by irresistible temptations, making it hard to change our eating habits. Whatever the reason, there may be a solution to help keep your diet on track. It’s called BitBite and its purpose is to track and analyze how much you eat without interfering in your daily life.

BitBite is a wearable earpiece that contains a microphone, Bluetooth chip and other sensors that track what you eat, how much you eat and even how quickly you eat. All of this information is then transferred over a cloud-based server to an application on the BitBite wearer’s smartphone, providing them with real-time data on their eating habits. Everything from bite frequency to calorie intake is recorded to help wearers make the most of their diet and stay on track. The Israeli team behind the BitBite technology is currently looking to raise $60,000 on Indiegogo, of which they have already raised $41,000.

BitBite may not be a first

The BitBite claims to track what you eat, how many bites you take and how long you chew with a microphone installed within the earpiece. Then, using Bluetooth technology at a distance of up to 60 feet from a smartphone, the information is transferred to the cloud where users can access it later on. If you don’t feel like wearing the earpiece, despite its small size, it can be stored in either a wristband or clip for when you’re ready for a snack. The earpiece’s battery lasts a total of three hours and is charged on a USB device, with a LED light indicator to let you know when it’s fully charged and ready to wear.

     SEE ALSO: SCiO: This Unbelievable Device Will Change The Way We Interact With The World

Bite Into This: BitBite, The Earpiece Sensor That Keeps Track Of Your Eating Habits
Though BitBite’s technology may seem novel, they weren’t the first to come up with it. In a 2008 paper entitled “Eating habits monitoring using wireless wearable in-ear microphone,” engineers from Keio University in Japan outline their technology, “To realize ubiquitous eating habits monitoring, we proposed the use of chewing sound sensed by an in-ear placed wireless wearable microphone.” And, much like BitBite, the technology was developed using a Bluetooth headset, allowing users to track their eating habits.

Bite Into This: BitBite, The Earpiece Sensor That Keeps Track Of Your Eating HabitsIs an earpiece all it takes to keep you on track?

     SEE ALSO: LifeWatch: The Smartphone That Will Keep Track Of Your Health

Still, BitBite made it first to the crowdfunding scene. The first crowdfunders to purchase a BitBite will pay between $109 for the basic kit including BitBite earpiece, charger, app access and a storage clip, and up to $199 for an engraved BitBite skin. The earpiece comes in three different colors: white, black and pink and, according to the company, can be used immediately, from the moment its taken out of the box.

Photos: Indiegogo

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34964 2014-11-13T13:34:15Z 2014-11-13T13:10:27Z

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Moshe Hogeg is the CEO and founder of the real-time visual medial platform Mobli, which has brought you apps like Yo!, the messenger app that went viral, and Mirage, a Snapchat rival. Moshe is also the founder of venture capital firm Singulariteam that has offices around the globe, funding startups like StoreDot and META. Moshe hails from the desert city of Beersheva, Israel, and currently resides in Tel Aviv.

What is your biggest inspiration? Elon Musk, since he’s changing the world on several fronts. I admire his professionalism and versatility. He is extremely sharp in many areas that usually conflict with one another – it is an amazing thing to see.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? Gal Gadot, since she’s more ‘Israeli’ in my eyes. She’s more my taste. Bar Refaeli wears sunglasses and a bikini, Gal Gadot is cool! She drives fast cars and she’s Wonder Woman! With a Sword!

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? I’d love to have dinner with Albert Einstein. He seems like a fascinating person. I would love to discuss philosophy, math, life… Just listen and learn.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg
Falafel or shawarma? Shawarma. I’m a meat lover.

Tel Aviv or New York? I spent three years in New York and now I live in Tel Aviv. Generally, the fact that I left New York to go back to Tel Aviv says I prefer the latter, however, if you have an anchor in New York, it makes doing business in Tel Aviv easier. The two cities are very connected as far as Israeli business goes. I would rather live in Tel Aviv and do business in New York. I had fun living there.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Nothing. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is nothing. I do so much during the week that on the weekends I do nothing. All of my hobbies I do over the week. On weekends I’m a couch potato, with my kid and family.

What’s your homepage? http://www.singulariteam.com/

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg

The Mobli team

What’s your hidden talent? I play piano. I love playing Israeli music.

Star Wars or Star Trek? I’m a Star Trek person. It’s more tech-oriented. It’s still sci-fi, but it has a realistic foundation. It’s closer to our world and it is very inspiring. It feels much closer than Star Wars.

What are you addicted to? My job, soccer and my two-year-old son.

Who was your first celebrity crush? As a kid I was in love with Alyssa Milano from ‘Who’s the Boss?’

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg

Milano on ‘Who’s the Boss’

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? The biggest risk I ever took was becoming an entrepreneur. I’m in the risk-taking business and take risks daily. Looking back… I was an officer in the army with a very clear path – and it’s not like I came from rich family. Leaving that, without knowing where you’re going, was a meaningful decision. It was giving up everything for something unknown.

What were your first steps in the business world? My first steps in the business world were due to my love of soccer. In 2006, there was a game in which Barcelona’s coach wouldn’t let Lionel Messi play, and the fans were outraged. That gave me the idea to create a platform for crowdsourcing coaching. Eventually, that led to a platform called Web2Sport, where the fans could influence coaching decisions for a third-league team in Israel. It was a great platform with a lot of fans, but I made a lot of mistakes building it. But that’s fine, I learned from all of them.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? I find it hard to imagine myself doing anything else… But definitely something creative. Maybe an artist.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? I’m trying to decide between Iron Man, Batman and Spider-Man. I love superheroes. Iron-Man is all science and Spider-Man is all supernatural, while Batman is a little bit of both. Who doesn’t think about building an Iron Man armor? We actually have a robotics company that we keep asking to develop something like that, and we’re also invested in META, that developed Iron-Man-like AR glasses.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents? If there was one mantra that repeated itself it was “there’s no such thing as ‘can’t.’” Kids always say they can’t do things. I was taught that there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’ there’s only ‘I don’t want to.’

What’s your favorite Hebrew word? Yo. Even though that works in almost any language.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On Earth]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34943 2014-11-12T16:39:31Z 2014-11-12T16:03:01Z

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Scientists made history today as the European Space Agency’s Rosetta satellite dropped lander Philae on a moving comet deep in outer space. After decades of research and preparation, scientists hope to find evidence that will reveal what sparked life on Earth. And despite Israel’s small size, the country’s scientific community wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to contribute to an event that could literally change the course of history. Tel Aviv University Professor Akiva Bar-Nun told NoCamels how Israeli research into comets and their composition is aiding scientists in understanding this potentially groundbreaking accomplishment.

Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On EarthThe first comet landing in history

At 6:03 PM Israel time, space aficionados around the world awaited news of the successful landing of lander Philae on the 67P Comet (Tz’riumov-Grsimnko) following a decade-long journey. The lander detached itself from Rosetta at approximately 10:00 AM and traveled 20 kilometers for about seven hours until it landed softly on the comet. Immediately following the landing, Philae will send a signal to Rosetta, which communicates with the scientists back on Earth to let them know that the landing was successful. Because the distance between Earth and the comet is over five hundred million kilometers, it took approximately 28 minutes for the signal to reach Earth.

     SEE ALSO: SpaceIL’s Mission To The Moon Says It Chances Of Winning Google Lunar XPrize Are High

Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On Earth

67P Comet

This isn’t the first time that scientists have tried to make contact with a comet. In January 2005, during alpha mission Deep Impact, a NASA Space probe successfully released an impactor, “the size of a washing machine” onto comet Tempel 1. Through this mission, scientists were able to gather a significant amount of information regarding the composition of comets and their possible contributions to life on this planet. Tel Aviv University significantly contributes to these findings, possessing the only machine in the world that can produce real samples of comet ice. By analyzing the measurements taken during Deep Impact and now by lander Philae, researchers hope that the Rosetta mission will be able to confirm their earth-shattering hypothesis.

35 years in the making, and finally they’ve found the right design

It was over a decade ago that the idea for the Rosetta mission was first conceived. A group of researchers came together from across the US and Europe on a mission to land the first probe on 67P Comet. “The original goal of the mission,” says Prof. Bar- Nun, “was not only to land on this comet, but also to dig into it, to take a sample, put it in a canister, and bring it back to Earth for close study.” The problem was that scientists were unaware of the mechanical strength of the ice, and after speaking with engineers, they realized that gathering a sample would prove difficult and that their design would have to change.

     SEE ALSO: New Antibacterial Material Purifies Water In Space

Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On EarthOften compared to a ‘dirty snowball’, a comet is an icy small body that releases gas or dust. Researchers posit that comets may have originally brought some of the water and organic materials to Earth that sparked complex life here millions of years ago. However, due to the vast distance and lack of knowledge regarding the constitution of comets, the team struggled to design a lander that could effectively collect and preserve the material in its journey back home. Thus, they came up with the idea that rather than physically bringing samples back to Earth, the lander would reach the comet, collect its measurements, and eventually relay the information back to Earth via Rosetta’s satellite.

It’s easy enough to say, but landing on a comet is no easy task. Prof Bar-Nun explains that because there are conditions of zero gravity, the lander won’t just sit on the surface. “The material of the comet is extremely fluffy, like snow that has just fallen on the Earth. This makes it very difficult for the lander to stay grounded,” he says. The comet also contains some very uneven terrain, steep cliffs, and huge boulders. After actively testing many different models and landing mechanisms, researchers are hopeful that this time the landing will yield success. Philae will slowly drop to the surface of the comet and will be anchored down by two harpoons that will fire into the ice.

The search for amino acids – the stuff of life

Once Philae is able to collect enough information, scientists hope to answers to one of the most baffling questions of all time—why does Earth posses complex life? To this goal, understanding the chemical composition of the comet will be of the utmost importance.

Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On Earth

Rosetta’s flight path, 500 million kilometers

“These materials interest us because we know that comets delivered to the early Earth, after its formation, contained about a third of the water and a lot of the organic material which eventually dissolved in the ocean and set the scene for life to emerge on Earth.  These organic materials were essential for the emergence of life and we would like to know what they are,” says Prof. Bar-Nun.

In particular, scientists will be especially delighted if that are able to find “left handed” amino acids in the chemical makeup of the comet. These organic molecules form the basis of life on Earth and interestingly enough, all of the plant and animal proteins on Earth are derived from left-handed amino acids.  Finding them on a comet could explain the existence of complex life on Earth and potentially suggest that similar life could exist on other planets.

Tonight, as over a decade of hard work and diligent research has reached its climax, the project’s scientists anticipate that Philae’s rendezvous with 67P Comet will reveal the secret to Earth’s complex lifeforms.

Photo: ESA

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[FUGU, The Carry-On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34928 2014-11-13T09:39:17Z 2014-11-12T11:21:43Z

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With air travel increasing from 2.2 billion passengers per year to over 3 billion between 2009 and 2014, major airlines are getting in on the affordable air fare “trend”. But when relieving one burden, airlines tend to create another – luggage fees are going through the roof. In fact, if you fly a cheaper charter flight to your destination, it’s likely you’ll have to pay at least $180 per suitcase on top of the price of the plane ticket!

With people struggling to figure out where to fit their possessions when they fly, one company has come up with an interesting solution to the suitcase conundrum. FUGU luggage is an Israeli Kickstarter campaign creating carry-on to full-size expandable luggage that serves many of the needs of the busy traveler on the go. FUGU also offers features like built-in-storage shelves, hangers and even a working table for the kind of people that literally live out of their suitcase. We know a number of people who would fit that description (thought they may not readily admit it), so it’s no wonder that the team has already raised $64,000, well past their $50,000 funding goal, in only a few days.

A solution for the modern international traveler

The project started when product designer and FUGU luggage CEO Isaac Atlas set out on an international business trip with only a carry-on in hand. His wife warned him that, come the end of the trip, he would need a full-sized suitcase to fit his purchases. Upon the day of return, Atlas was forced to admit that his wife was right (yet again), forcing him to buy a larger suitcase. So he created ‘FUGU’, named after the poisonous Japanese puffer fish that expands to three times its size.

     SEE ALSO: Dreaming Of Privacy On Packed Flights? Israeli-Designed ‘B-Tourist’ May Be The Solution

FUGU, The Carry On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!

Fugu founders Daniel Gindis and Isaac Atlas

However, it wasn’t just travel that inspired the design of FUGU luggage, it was something a bit more random. “Initially, Isaac thought of a box to store books in that would be adjustable in size. In order to achieve this, he started playing around with cereal boxes, and when it came time to design FUGU, he remembered this, putting the cereal box pieces together like origami so that the suitcase could expand,” says VP of Business Development Daniel Gindis told NoCamels.

The soon-to-be patent-protected FUGU luggage expands from a 40 by 50 centimeter hard plastic-covered carry-on to a height of 25-70 centimeters with a built-in electric pump. It has four 360 degree ‘omni’ wheels to allow for comfortable travel when the suitcase is pumped up to full size, and a wheeling advantage when its used as a carry-on. In addition, the long handle on the carry-on suitcase folds down to make rolling easier and it’s covered in colorful, light-weight and durable plastic to protect valuables. It also has a built-in table, shelves, and more, making FUGU “the ultimate suitcase,” according to Gindis.

FUGU, The Carry On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!
Freedom of choice for the traveler

Despite our freedom to choose an airline and buy a ticket to nearly any location in the world, there is little freedom of choice in the world of luggage, which is why the FUGU team decided to try something new – a square suitcase. “The big innovation here is that the suitcase is not a rectangle, it’s a square and this came after a realization that we don’t really care what shape our suitcase is when it’s under the plane, but we do when we have to pack and unpack it. That’s when we began to ask why suitcases are designed rectangularly in the first place and to consider non-traditional features that travelers really need,” says Gindis.

     SEE ALSO: The Internet Age Means Flights Are Longer And Airlines Are Greedier, Study Shows

FUGU, The Carry On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!
This brought Gindis to suggest that they should add more features to make the FUGU travel experience complete. From built-in shelves for easy organization, to hangers, to a portable table that makes a great airport workspace, to a removable laptop case and stand, it seems that FUGU has got a lot covered. Gindis told NoCamels that the company plans to release additional features within the next week as part of its ‘stretch goals,’ which may include a temperature-controlled compartment and other optional features that he says makes FUGU “the Mary Poppin’s bag of suitcases.”

At least one notable downside of this product is the price. Due to the air-pumping technology involved, the expensive, light-weight plastic and other unique features, one piece of the expandable luggage and a built-in laptop case costs $245, about the price of a high-end suitcase, and it’s available in five different colors. Another downside could be the weight, though admittedly the extra features only add on about a pound. But the unique innovation and thought that went a product that smartly seeks to adapt to changes in air travel may be worth the extra bucks, and may even save you a few on excess baggage next time you’re at the airport.

Photos: Ariel Zandberg

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[The World’s First ‘Smart Hat’ Sets Bar High For Wearable Sports Technology]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34919 2014-11-12T10:14:36Z 2014-11-11T13:40:14Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

If you’re in the market for smart health gear, you can wait another half year or so for the Apple Watch to go on sale – or you can get a “smart hat” from Israel’s LifeBEAM. Specializing in devices that let users measure heartbeat, number of calories burned, distance covered while running or cycling, and other key metrics runners and cyclists care about, the new LifeBEAM baseball cap takes the place of chest heart monitors, wristbands, pedometers, and other devices.

The Worlds First Smart Hat Sets Bar High For Wearable Sports Technology

And at $99, it’s priced at the very bottom of new health devices, while providing much more information – a value proposition the company is confident will help it sell a lot of hats. There’s also a visor geared towards women, who seem to prefer them over baseball caps, the company says.

The LifeBEAM hat works if you’re interested in a device to keep an eye on your workouts, whether in the gym or on the jogging track. But a baseball cap is not the kind of thing you’d wear around the office – unlike the Apple Watch, which, as company CEO Tim Cook said when he introduced the device last month, will come in several editions, including a “classic” one, featuring a Rolex or Breitling “look of luxury” to it. And, of course, the Apple Watch will have a slew of non-fitness related features.

     SEE ALSOThe Top Ten Wearable Tech Made In Israel

For monitoring workouts and connecting to apps that can analyze fitness data, though, the LifeBEAM hat has everything athletes need. To get the hat working, users just put it on, and the hat begins measuring heart rate, calorie consumption, steps taken, and cadence (walking rate and gait data). The information can be uploaded to smartphone apps on devices with Bluetooth compatibility (iPhones, Android and Windows devices), or to hundreds of other devices such as treadmills/elliptical machines, GPS trackers, and bike computers that use the ANT+ wireless connectivity system.

For most users, the best tech aspect of the hat is likely to be its heart monitor. LifeBEAM placed the sensors – including an optical sensor that monitors pulse — in the back of the hat, measuring the flow of blood via an LED that determines heart rate from the speed at which blood flows through the veins, using a technique called photoplethysmography (PPG), replacing the bulky and clumsy chest-strap monitors most athletes use.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Tricks Of The Mind! Study Shows The Same Food In A Different Place Tastes Different]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34714 2014-11-10T14:54:50Z 2014-11-10T14:41:06Z

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Have you ever wanted to become a more adventurous food aficionado? Picky eaters of the world take note; researchers from the University of Haifa have found that if you try the same “yucky” food in a different location, your brain will be more tolerant of the new attempt.

In a new study led by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum and doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan at the University of Haifa, researchers established for the first time that there is indeed a functional link between the areas of the brain responsible for negative taste memory and those responsible for processing the memory of the time and location of the sensory experience. This link does not exist when we savor and enjoy a new experience with food.

     SEE ALSO: The ‘Memory’ Of Starvation Stays In Your Genes For Three Generations, Tel Aviv Researchers Show

The taste cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for storing memories of new tastes, is found in a rather insulated area of the human brain known as the insular cortex. The area of the brain responsible for formulating memories of time and place is the hippocampus. Until now, experts believed that no direct connection existed between these areas, meaning that taste was not related to the time and place where one experienced it. However, the latest research changes all that, and with it our understanding of eating habits and traumatic food memories.

The Tricks Of The Mind! Study Shows The Same Food In A Different Place Tastes DifferentBad, not good, tastes are more dominant in our memory

To begin their research, scientists chose to study and investigate the taste cortex, responsible for taste memory, as well as three different areas in the hippocampus: CA1, the area responsible for encoding the concept of space; DG, the area responsible for encoding the time relationship between events; and CA3, the area responsible for filling in missing information. To do this, researchers used ordinary mice, as well as mice that were genetically engineered by their Japanese comrades. The genetically engineered mice had normal functioning brains, but lacked plasticity between the three different areas of the hippocampus making it impossible for them to form new memories in that area of the brain.

In the study, the mice were exposed to two new tastes, one mimicking the exposure to toxic food, thus causing stomach pains, and another that didn’t cause that feeling. By analyzing the two groups, it appeared that when the new taste was not accompanied with the association of toxic food, there was no difference between the normal mice and the mice that lacked plasticity.  However, when the taste caused a negative feeling, there was unmistakable involvement in the area of the hippocampus responsible for encoding space.

     SEE ALSO: Your Genes Could Tell You Exactly Which Foods To Eat To Stay Healthy

“The significance of this is that the moment we go back to the same place at which we experienced the taste associated with a bad feeling, subconsciously the negative memory will be much stronger than if we come to taste the same taste in a totally different place,” explained Prof. Rosenblum.

The Tricks Of The Mind! Study Shows The Same Food In A Different Place Tastes Different

Prof. Kobi Rosenblum

Understanding how memories are made

On a larger scale, the findings of this study uncover the complexity of the simple sensory experiences that are etched in our brains and that in most cases we aren’t even aware of. Scientists have found just how closely our senses are connected to memory and cognition. The results of this study have the ability to help explain the brain’s difficulty in producing memories when certain areas of the brain become dysfunctional following an illness or accident.  For example, as we age, we become more forgetful and absent-minded in large part because our brain does not process what we see, hear, and feel as well as it once did. As a result, we struggle to store images of our experiences as clearly, and we have trouble using them and recalling them later.

The more we understand about the encoding of simple sensory experiences in the brain and the link between the feeling, time and place of the experiences, the better we will understand the complex process of creating memories and storing them in our brains.

So, to all the fussy eaters our there, don’t surrender to selectivity just yet! The next time you have an urge to re-try one of those dreaded food items, find a fresh, new place to do it. As this research proves, you can trick your brain into thinking that a once lousy bite is now a scrumptious delight!

The study was conducted by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum and doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan at the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at the University of Haifa, in collaboration with the Riken Institute, the leading brain research institute in Tokyo, Japan.

Photo: Man complaining for the bad food/ Grossed Out/ Gil Nehushtan

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Google Doodle Partners With Israeli Video Startup To Remember 25 Years Since Fall Of Berlin Wall]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34896 2014-11-09T15:53:10Z 2014-11-09T15:43:07Z

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To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Google today decided to make a very special Google Doodle (the Google logo that changes daily). With only a short time to put the Doodle together, and a desire to make it as meaningful as possible, the Google team wanted to make a video compilation showing parts of the Berlin Wall that are currently on display in 17 countries across the world. With little time on their hands, the Google team in Mountain View, California turned to Israeli video production startup VEED.me to get crews filming in all locations.

The Berlin Wall: from divider to a unifier

Only weeks ago, the Google Doodle team set out for a short bike ride from the company’s headquarters to observe a piece of the Berlin Wall outside a local public library. This got the team excited about documenting all of the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, which was once the ultimate symbol of segregation, in an attempt to shed light on the beautiful irony of its division 25 years later. According to the company, “The gratified chunk of concrete, once a literal division, has been transformed into a symbol of unity, a reminder to passersby of the triumph of the collective human spirit.”

     SEE ALSO: Check Out Google’s Awesome New Tel Aviv Offices!

Google Doodle Partners With Israeli Video Startup To Remember 25 Years Since Fall Of Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall- November 9, 1989.

Yet in order to complete the task at hand, the Google Doodle team began thinking of ways to achieve unique footage of each of the Berlin Wall pieces scattered throughout the world. That’s when the Google Doodle team remembered that the Israeli video production platform VEED.me quickly outsources video production according to clients’ needs. “We [the Google team] asked them [VEED.me] to arrange 17 international film crews to document wall segments in 3 continents and within a week (!) we had it all ready.”

Any project is possible with ‘crowdsourced’ footage

VEED.me, a two-year-old Israeli startup, immediately got to work fulfilling Google’s Doodle vision, hiring videographers in Moscow, Hungary and Belgium to document the wall pieces and their unique graffiti. Google then went in and added a few shots of raw footage from that earth-shattering night in November 1989 when the wall of Communism came tumbling down. However, if it weren’t for VEED.me’s unique video production services, what co-founder and CEO Yoav Hornung says specializes in, “crowdsourcing for footage,” Google wouldn’t have been able to present one of its most stunning and moving Doodles yet.

     SEE ALSO: Kaltura: The Israeli Up-And-Comer That Is Revolutionizing Online Video

Google Doodle Partners With Israeli Video Startup To Remember 25 Years Since Fall Of Berlin Wall

Piece of Berlin Wall in Madrid, Spain.

Founded in 2012 by four fresh film school graduates, VEED.me’s platform hopes to make it easier for worthy clients to get the video footage they need by outsourcing projects to a community of over 2,000 videographers throughout the world. Hornung says the startup was founded because “instead of doing what we loved, we were forced to work as waiters and bartenders. We wanted to create a place that would make it easier not only for film makers and videographers like us to find work, but also for businesses to gain access to video production services at affordable prices.”

Creating any kind of video, from commercials to short films, VEED.me gained the attention of AOL’s Nautilus Israel incubator program, as well as UpWest Labs, which invested $20,000 in seed funding in the company nearly a year ago. Maybe with their big break as the Google Doodle video producer, VEED.me will be able to better market their unique video production technology as answering the video needs of none other than the giants of the Internet.

Photos: Screenshot

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Rachel Dinh, NoCamels <![CDATA[Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34866 2014-11-09T12:03:11Z 2014-11-09T12:03:11Z

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The tech community has been buzzing with anticipation ahead of the release of Google’s hottest new venture: Project Ara, a smartphone with customizable hardware. Describing itself as the smartphone “designed exclusively for 6 billion people,” Project Ara is still in it’s early stages, but already has tech buffs the world over excited about the concept. What few know, however, is that Project Ara’s modular smartphone is based on failed Israeli technology.

In 2008, an Israeli startup called Modu developed the first modular smartphones that fit into electronic jackets to become cameras, fitness trackers, music players, etc. The company failed to gain traction in part because of its clunky design, and the limited availability of modules, resulting in the folding of the company soon after it launched. After Modu failed, Google bought its intellectual property patents and is now using this unique Israeli technology to create Project Ara – its very own version of a smartphone with customizable hardware.

Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech

A Project Ara prototype

Making smartphones personal, once and for all

The Ara smartphone, named after tech guru Ara Knaian, has a number of interchangeable segments called modules that snap into place, allowing users to customize their phone according to their personal needs. While the Project Ara team will design necessary components like screens and hard drives packed into small, medium and large frames, they are releasing the Module Development Kit to third part developers who are interested in actively creating their own unique modules for the project.

     SEE ALSO: Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies’ App

Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech

Project Ara

Users can buy modules including sensors (for example, blood sugar monitors), additional storage, more battery capacity, better speakers, and cameras that are snapped into place on the phone with electro-permanent magnets. Even things like pulse oximeter modules that test your blood oxygen levels and incense burners are on the table of options. The real beauty of this concept lies in the infinite possibilities for customization.

“The possibilities are endless,” says the man leading Project Ara Paul Eremenko, “For instance, you could buy a jumbo frame and only use half of the screen, the rest could be used as a keyboard. If on a long trip, you could drop a lot of other modules and replace them with battery modules so you don’t run out of power.”

Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech

Modu’s modular phones from 2008 – inspiration for Project Ara

Will the first personal smartphone also be cheaper?

The phone, which Google is planning to release next year, is expected to start at $50. But with so many options for add-ons and upgrades, the price tag can quickly jump a few levels. The company just announced that the final version of the Spiral 1 prototype has been completed, but still faces challenges with the final development stages.

     SEE ALSO: StoreDot’s Technology Charges A Smartphone In 30 Seconds!

Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech

A prototype for Project Ara

Project Ara is an amazing innovation, but it’s also extremely ambitious. Integrating modular hardware into smartphones has huge potential in the mobile market, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover before we see Ara phones in the hands of 6 billion people. While only time will tell how successful Project Ara will be, it is certain that this advance for the mobile sector wouldn’t be possible without the little Israeli innovation to back it up.

Photos: Dieter Bohn/ Modu

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With ‘Interlude’s’ Interactive Video Superstar Yoni Bloch]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34875 2014-11-06T15:39:19Z 2014-11-06T12:07:09Z

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Yoni Bloch is an Israeli musician and the founder and CEO of Interlude, a company creating interactive, multi-layered videos, founded in 2011. In 2012, Yoni won the Israeli Prime Minister’s innovation award for his work. Prior to founding Interlude, Yoni was a successful rock musician in Israel and published three records. He has produced and recorded tracks for some Israel’s biggest artists, and has composed music for TV, film and theater.

What were your first steps in the business world? When I was 16 I decided to sit in the business class section on my flight to Europe. It was a short flight before they noticed I’m not supposed to sit there but it was business.

What is your biggest inspiration? A girl once told me that if I’m the smartest person in the room – I’m in the wrong room.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Interludes Interactive Video Superstar Yoni Bloch

Who is the once person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? Steve Jobs. I’d really like to meet the man who  single handedly changed the world as we see it. Unfortunately, I missed this opportunity.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? Pet food tester – I want to make sure our animals eat something worthy.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Laying my bed thinking about all the things I should do.

What’s your hidden talent? I am actually a very tall basketball player hidden in a small flimsy body.

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek is much more intelligent, interesting, complex and full of new creative ideas. But I like Star Wars more – because of the music.

What are you addicted to? Dark chocolate – I eat 12-15 pieces a day, every piece with a cup of tea.

Who was your first celebrity crush? Pam from The Office. I always wanted to meet her.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Interludes Interactive Video Superstar Yoni BlochWhat’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? I take risks every day and every risk is bigger than all the previous ones.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? Who are they?

Falafel or shawarma? Definitely shawarma – Maybe with one falafel ball, or two or four and without the shawarma.

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel Aviv, much better coffee.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? Yoda. Good fight to know how to lightsaber with.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Interludes Interactive Video Superstar Yoni Bloch

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents? “Be with someone who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara”. I guess my father always wanted another girl.

Burger or green juice? Green juice. Unless I’m hungry.

What’s your favorite Hebrew word? Nu! It’s a great word that you can translate to “Hurry up!” but it somehow doesn’t have the same urgency.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

Photo: Wikia

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Wix Acquires OpenRest To Give Small Restaurants A Larger Presence]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34826 2014-11-05T11:23:11Z 2014-11-05T12:00:15Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israel-based website building tool provider Wix.com is acquiring OpenRest, another Israeli start-up that specializes in on-line ordering and mobile solutions for restaurants. The acquisition is Wix’s second in an industry-specific vertical in recent months. OpenRest’s technology will be integrated into Wix’s web authoring platform to further expand the company’s already considerable reach, and giving a boost to smaller restaurants looking for ways to attract hungry customers.

With 55 million users, Wix, now a public company, is the first firm to turn web authoring into a routine activity for anyone, even those without technical skills. Wix offers a drag and drop method to build HTML5-based websites. Users can choose among hundreds of templates to build upon, and add basic web interface services as well as advanced apps like music, shopping forms, and social media. Wix operates on a freemium basis, with basic and some advanced services free, and additional services, support, and hosting of sites available for a price.

Wix Acquires OpenRest To Give Small Restaurants A Larger Presence

Example of Wix sites for OpenRest

Among the unique features Wix offers its users is an App Market, which includes specialized modules that users can add to their sites to expand functionality. The apps allow Wix users to integrate features like e-commerce, social networking functionality, marketing, and others into their sites, without having to spend endless hours trying to tweak code in order to get it to work with existing objects and features.

     SEE ALSO: Israelis Turn Their Homes Into Restaurants To Help The Poor

With OpenRest, Wix will be able to add services like order forms, menus, maps, and social media connections that restaurant and cafe owners will be able to integrate into their sites. Those services are aimed at independent restaurants, either single establishments or small chains in limited geographic areas usually owned by locals, who run the chain themselves, which are struggling to survive against major chain restaurants over a shrinking pie of customers. Restaurant patronage has been declining in recent years, especially among underemployed millennials (18-24 year olds) who can’t afford to eat out as much as previous groups of youngsters, like the baby boomers and Gen X’ers.

Many independent restaurants already have websites, but they are unlikely to have their own on-line or mobile menu/reservation/ordering system. For that, they turn to established sites like Grubhub and Seamless, which have apps that provide on-line services for small restaurants. But those apps take a hefty commission, as much as 20% on each order, making the proposition a less than winning one for many small restaurant owners.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photos: Alam/ OpenRest

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[A Foodie Feat: ‘Saveur’ Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34761 2014-11-06T07:34:14Z 2014-11-05T10:44:12Z

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The readers and contributors at the respected international culinary magazine “Saveur” voted Tel Aviv as an ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’ in the category of small international cities for 2014. Together with other cities like Copenhagen in Denmark and San Sebastian in Spain, Tel Aviv shares second place with the cities of Lyon, France and Florence, Italy, among Europe’s culture stars.

A Foodie Feat: Saveur Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

A dish at famed Tel-Aviv restaurant Catit


It’s no wonder that the White City was voted on to the list because, as anyone who has visited Tel Aviv knows, there is much more to this foodie Metropolis than falafel and hummus. Tel Aviv has over 4,500 eating establishments, which amounts to about one restaurant per 1,000 residents, an outstanding number for any country. With top-level restaurants of international standing like RafaelCatit, Herbert SamuelMul Yam and Yaffo Tel Aviv, (to name just a few), the vote of confidence from “Saveur” provides Tel Aviv with well-deserved culinary credit.

     SEE ALSO: Cook Like The Chef Of Your Dreams With Popular App ‘Look & Cook’

A Foodie Feat: Saveur Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

Legendary deserts at Mul Yam

But Jerusalem wasn’t left out of the magazine’s culinary survey either; the city’s Mahne Yehuda market made the ‘recommended’ section of the list, together with the ancient markets of Istanbul and the night markets in Bangkok. Another surprise winner was Israeli airline El-Al for the best in-flight wine selection including top Israeli vineyards like “Ramat HaGolan,” “Recanti,” “Castel and more.

Speaking of alcohol, Tel Aviv’s Imperial Bar was recently rated as one of the ‘Best Bars in the World,’ by “Restaurant & Bar Design,” winning first place on the Asian continent.

A Foodie Feat: Saveur Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

Another dish at Catit

These nods just go to show that whether it be with high-tech or culinary delights, Israelis sure know how to make their way to the top of notable international lists.

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel’s Universal Flu Vaccine Nears Worldwide Patent Approval]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34820 2014-11-04T13:15:56Z 2014-11-04T13:15:56Z

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This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A universal flu vaccine developed by Israel’s BiondVax has been granted patents by both the European Union and Japan, the company announced last Wednesday. BiondVax’s technology had previously received patents in the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, China, Russia and Mexico, and the two new approvals extend its reach dramatically.

With the newest patent approvals, the company said that it can now enter into wide-scale development programs with pharmaceutical companies and governments that will license its technology to develop a one-stop-shop vaccine for influenza.

     SEE ALSO: Super Vaccine To Eradicate The Flu, Including Bird Flu

Ironically, one of the few countries where it has not received a patent is Israel, where the company’s vaccine against all forms of flu — bird, swine, Spanish, Hong Kong, Wisconsin, Brisbane, California, and other well-traveled forms of influenza — was developed. Company officials said that Israeli approval would be forthcoming in the near future.

Studies and clinical trials conducted by the company, hospitals, and universities around the world show that the BiondVax product, Multimeric-001 (M-001), works. BiondVax, established in 2005, licensed the technology from the Weizmann Institute, where it was developed in the mid-90s.

Before BiondVax, researchers developed vaccines for each flu as it popped up. Though it was long known that there were commonalities between strains, mutations made adapting existing vaccines to new strains impractical. As a result, health authorities were not able to properly prepare for flu outbreaks, because it was impossible to know which strain would be “in fashion” in any particular season.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photo: Flu Shot

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