Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Indian Appeal

I sometimes think  maybe I was born in India in my former life, as I'm very fond of India-made
,products such as fabrics, kitchenware, household stuff, soaps, herbs, handwork etc...  I even don't have to check the label to know whether an item is made in India or not. That says a great deal.

The import from India is quite limited , but I've got items accumulated over the years, so I'm "well-equipped", so to speak, especially in the textile department. I love their fluffy skirts in summer, and their cotton tops during the whole year. Such delicacy of design, color and shape! Their cotton, silk, and rayon fabrics are natural and of finest quality.

I used to wash my hands and face with 'medimix' bar of soap,
(Ayurveda based with 18 herbs among its ingredients), but since I can't get hold of the mini version, I turned to other options. I do take some interest in the old India Ayurvedic medicine system as it has many benefits, advocating good natural health  practices such as meditation, yoga, herb extracts.

I'm not familiar though with people of indian descent. I suppose they are good-natured, and I know they are very gifted. Zubin Mehta, for example, is one of the leading orchestral conductors in the world. He was appointed musical advisor to the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969, and in 1981 became its Music Director for life.

Strange, but the almost daily mention of the covid -19 indian variant seems to affect me personally. It interferes with my good opinion on things originating from India. (by the way, the virus is 'back in town', probably never left). 

The indian variant Delta is said to help  antibodies evade and bond more easily to the lung cells. Great efforts are made at the Ben Gurion airport to prevent 'import" of the variant by tourists.  May God help!  We can help as well by working on strengthening our immunity, and wearing masks.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Gem


 I usually lose things, rarely find things. That's why I remember well the only time when I found something beautiful.

It was about 15 years ago. I left a place with my eyes in tears. (that's  another story). While walking on the pavement, I saw through the tears a glitter. It looked like a  zirconia (white, colorless gem) fallen from a ring. It was evening, there was nobody around, the street seemed deserted, so  I picked it up and brought it home.

I opened my jewelry box and fitted the found squarely shaped gem in a  gold setting, and there it stayed; never wore it until recently. Why? I wouldn't have felt comfortable to wear something that had belonged to someone else who unfortunately lost it.

Recently I've decided to put the ring on my finger. A friend suggested that I have the gem checked at a jeweler; 'maybe it's a diamond', he said. I don't think so;  the area where I found it was not one where people wear and lose diamonds.  Besides, I'm pleased with it as it is. I don't care about its market value, and I don't intend to spend money to have it checked by a professional. 

I  like to recall this story.  It was as if God wished to wipe away my tears by making me find the gem. And then, at home to find the perfect setting for it was unbelievable! as if the setting was just waiting  for it. (The gold of the setting is not the usual yellow, but more like the silver color - it's called white gold, methinks, and is perfect match).

Last week the world was informed that the third largest diamond (over 1000 carat) was found in Botswana. Good for Botswana, good for the world! That's good news if we consider the other news that make up our daily life: violence, climate change, covid variants, economy decline.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Geniuses Among Us


A young Intel. officer, a software genius,  was recently found dead in his prison cell. The details were banned from publication.  According to the media  he was a phenomenon in the field of computer from an  early age. 

One of the speculations is that his abilities have aroused the envy / anger of his superiors, his activity got suppressed. As a result, he  planned revenge that would
  have harmed  them, and the country. Perhaps he has even managed to carry out some of these plans.  Anyway, he was arrested and jailed. Now he's dead (rip).

Besides the obvious tragedy of the loss of a young bright man,  and the mystery (yet to be uncovered) וmposed on the case ׂׂ -  the event brings to mind the  concept of  'genius' (a person of extraordinary talent) and the list of geniuses among us - past and present.

There is a nice, little  poem  with the name 'The geniuses among us'  by Marilyn L Taylor, Wisconsin poet laureate. She calls them 'high perennials above all the rest of us',  'bright testimonials to the scale of human possibility.' These people, according to her poem - 'take us by surprise every generation , with unprecedented notions and visions'.

So far, the  great minds of  the past ( like Einstein) and present  (like Bill Gates) - have submitted the fruits of their genius, to the country, to the world, for the benefit of mankind. (As a matter of fact, not every invention was for the benefit of the world - the atomic bomb, for instance. R. Oppenheimer was "the father" of the Nuke.).

But times are changing. Perhaps these geniuses are beginning  to feel underappreciated,  even bullied. There's danger in this as the next stage could be something like: "either I rule or I destroy."  Words like 'majority', 'democracy' might mean nothing to these bright people as the above notions already mean quite  little to the average individual.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Politics of Food

Much has been said and written about pharmaceutical companies and their tendency to fund  only research  that could fill their pockets, and make people totally dependent on their products ."The Pharmaceutical industry does not create cures, they create customers" (seen on FB). 

Food companies are not far behind. Moreover, the food industry exerts its influence to prevent publication of research that could directly affect its profits, such as serious scientific finds on ultra processed food (junk food, fast food).

I've recently read  about a biochemist at the Agriculture Faculty in Jerusalem, prof. Ephrat Oren, who tried to publish the results of a long- term research based  on rats and humans,  dealing with the effect of junk food on children's growth  (obesity and bone disorder mainly). 

It got rejected by all relevant publications. She suspected it had to do with 'politics of food', so she arranged a meeting with another scientist, prof. Robert Lustig of California university in USA,  known as an expert in 'food politics'. 

After checking her work for several weeks, he said to her - 'that's explosive material you have here'. (He was probably referring, among other things, to  her suggestions on the need to lay heavy taxes on ultra processed food, and put restrictions on ads. regarding that kind of food).

He advised her to try and rewrite the article, giving it some sort of  dry- facts 'facelift' .  She followed his advice;  the article  was accepted  and published at the end of 2020, in the prestigious 'Nature' medical journal under the subject of Bone Research.


Politics in its various forms, is the source of much evil. Most of us people, know that, but seem to be quite helpless about it.

Parents could do a lot about ultra processed food, but they are too weak and too busy to resist buying for their kids sweet corn flakes for breakfast, pizza, hamburger for the rest of the day. And so, this kind of food stays triumphant and might definitely harm children's growth in ways we are not even aware of, until later in life.

 * - web pictures.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

DNA and more


Ancestry com. (popular in North America) and My Heritage - with a smaller data (popular in Europe), started as small companies helping people build their family trees, and offering genealogy info on migration.

Next, they entered the DNA industry offering genetic testing kits and analysis. ( Ancestry uses saliva sample, My Heritage - cheek swab). That's quite a fascinating industry! They offer paternity tests, ethnicity tests, health screening tests, and more.

In Israel, My Heritage and its partner Billion Graves (collecting cemetery data) are the dominant genealogical companies. 

I have some experience with Ancestry com.  In 2006, I was trying to locate my grandfather's family descendants in the USA. I started with almost nothing,  but I managed to do a good job using data from various sources, mainly Ellis  Island  and Ancestry com. records.

I have no experience yet with My Heritage, but I often find myself asking questions about its partner , Billion Graves. I suspect the latter buys all the data regarding  cemeteries and graves from the relevant state offices, and  monopolizes the rights . Unlike in the past, when you could easily find  online info, now, you have to subscribe to them, if you wish to get it.

At first, I said to myself, oh, well, it seems  they offer work, employ ׂׂyoung people (probably students), and send them to  cemeteries to take pictures of the headstones. That's an easy, convenient job for them. 

Lately, I'm not quite sure about that. The company has remote control equipment,  and uses various gadgets; the people with the camera could well be volunteers, not paid workers (the fine weather here during most of the year, draws people outdoors, and even cemeteries are an option for volunteering or other sort of activity).

I'll have to do some research. Not that it will help me or others much.  We have to face it : we live in a capitalist society, in which the State gives away its resources placing them in private hands - cemeteries and their dead inhabitants included.  Sad.