Tidbits of Truth

A random bit of News Info, The truth about Israel, American politics, & Mideast Foreign Policy... (along with whatever else catches my curiosity).

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11

Top links:

MEMRI: http://www.memri.org/content/en/main.htm
ACT! http://actforamericaeducation.com/
Palestine Facts: http://www.palestinefacts.org/
Shoebat Foundation: http://www.shoebat.com/blog/

Researchers Identify Possible Root Of Allergies

Researchers Identify Possible Root Of Allergies

Aya Ephrati, NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News

Allergies, or hypersensitivities of the immune system are more common now than ever before: according to the Asthma and Allergies Foundation of America, one in five Americans suffers from an allergy. Research from Tel Aviv University, recently published in The Journal of Immunology, looked into finding the root of allergies to develop new treatments.

Allergies range from mild forms, such as hay fever, to more severe sensitivities like nut allergies – that can lead to anaphylactic shock. Current medications like antihistamines treat only the symptoms of an allergic reaction, and only a small subset of the dozens of molecules cells release during an allergic reaction.

Prof. Ronit Sagi-Eisenberg, a cell biologist at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, believes allergy treatment is too limited. She is working with her Ph.D. student, Nurit Pereg-Azouz, to identify the triggers of allergic reactions to find a way to stop a reaction before it begins. The team hopes that their work will help identify proteins that can be targeted by medications without impacting other cells.

Getting to the root

The answer may lie with the Rab family, a group of 60 proteins that are known to regulate the distribution of proteins throughout the body. The researchers found that 30 of these proteins determine how cells react to an allergen. Two of them have been identified for further research as instruments of preventative medication.

Allergic reactions can appear as rashes, respiratory difficulties or swelling, but they are all caused by the same mechanism. When exposed to an allergen, the body activates the immune system. Mast cells, located throughout the body, sense that the immune system has been mistakenly activated – against something that is not bacterial or viral – and release biologically active molecules to create an inflammatory response.

So what causes those cells to react? Prof. Sagi-Eisenberg and her team are working to identify the exact chain of events in an allergic reaction. They looked to the Rab family of proteins as a potential source for answers, screening for the proteins’ involvement in initiating the reaction.

“We genetically manipulated mast cells so that they contained mutated versions of these proteins, which were already active without an allergen,” explained Prof. Sagi-Eisenberg. Relevant proteins caused an allergic reaction. “This new methodology allowed us to screen for the functional impact of each member of this family, determining if they either inhibited or activated the allergic process,” she continued. Further research will be conducted to better understand the function of two proteins flagged as especially involved.

Targeted drugs to prevent allergic reactions

An allergic reaction is the result of a chain of events. Researchers can create drugs targeted to break the chain by identifying crucial links. Steroids are the only available type of drug that effectively prevents mast cells from secreting biologically active agents. But they cause harm to kidneys, bones and the immune system. Patients often suffer more from the treatment than from the allergy itself.

“When the chain of events leading up to an allergic reaction can be understood, drugs can be developed to inhibit the initial reaction,” explained Prof. Sagi-Eisenberg. New medications that target tumor cells, for example, are directed at halting the tumor’s ability to grow by starving it of blood and oxygen. Prof. Sagi-Eisenberg envisions similar medications for allergies: ones that address the source of the reaction instead of the symptoms.

.ORG-Connection: NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations in English. It covers all the latest Israeli innovations in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle.

Turning Algae into Clean Fuel

Algae make a ‘carbon-neutral’ biofuel

Its deserts are hot and dry, and underground aquifers in the south are brackish or saline.

By most standards the deserts in Israel don’t make prime real estate for farmers, but as far as algae are concerned –– minute plants that grow in water and on ponds as scum –– Israel’s conditions are perfect.

And a new company from Tel Aviv called Univerve is working to turn this natural substance into third-generation renewable fuel for today and the future.

High oil prices, and the fact that traditional fossil fuels such as gasoline create dangerous greenhouse gases, have sparked an international movement to create new biofuels from renewable resources.

The US Department of Energy already recognized the potential of algae as feedstock for biofuel back in the 1970s. But until now, no agency or company has been successful at making the algae farming system cost-effective.

One Israeli, Isaac Berzin, who founded GreenFuel in the United States, gave it a try. And the Israeli company Seambiotics is creating neutraceuticals such as omega-3 from algae, but has yet to grow algae-for-fuel into a big business.

Can Univerve grease the wheels toward a new path?

Ohad Zuckerman, the CEO and co-founder of Univerve in 2009, is devising a systems process to commercialize his company. With 20 years’ experience in the seed-breeding industry, Zuckerman believes that by applying the right stressors, the best algae for fuel will emerge.

Pilot project in progress

“We are not working with transgenic crops, but are using traditional selection by putting the algae under stress, and then looking for certain traits, such as the robustness of the strains,” says Zuckerman.

He decided to focus on algae because they do not compete for food resources, land or potable water as do first- and second-generation biofuels such as sugarcane, corn or wood. Using saline-tolerant algae means that algae feedstock plants can be grown in deserts where land is plentiful and not much else will grow. And the system uses only brackish water, which is undesirable for most other purposes.

“We have a pilot plant right now in the Rotem Industrial Park near Dimona,” says Zuckerman. “By the end of 2012 we will have completed the pilot. This year we are doing streamlining, including extraction. By 2014 we will begin construction of the first project in Israel, and we have already started to exchange contracts with the owners of the land. As for projects outside of Israel, we have started working with American companies who have sent us their water for testing, and we are going to conduct the trials.”

US states including California, Arizona and New Mexico would be perfect for algae farms, he says, as well as many areas in Africa, where Univerve has started operations. Israel’s mid-May Agritech international agricultural exhibition provided a venue for Zuckerman to meet with a Nigerian delegation.

Flying by slime?

Univerve is seeking financing of $5 million, some of which will be earmarked for building the first commercial plant. The company’s four-part system will focus on selecting the right strains of algae; effective cultivation and harvesting; and ––with an American partner –– extraction of the oil.

Strategic partners could be companies involved with fuel in any capacity from generation to distribution to refining, as well as aviation, transportation or engineering companies. Aviation is a particularly attractive market for algae-based biofuel, Zuckerman says, because the fuel won’t freeze at extreme temperatures of minus-60 Centigrade (-76 Fahrenheit) high up in the air.

“Aviation companies hedge for the price of oil,” says Zuckerman. “If they work with an algae project they can secure the price and save all the hedging. It’s huge.”

Companies that produce the biofuel would earn carbon credits. While harvested algae, like fossil fuels, release greenhouses gases when burned, the difference is that the algae actually remove carbon dioxide from the air as they grow. Therefore, algae produce a carbon-neutral biofuel.

Legislation in Europe is now requiring aviation companies to offset their fuel use. Biofuel made from algae is a perfect way for aviation companies to achieve this goal, Zuckerman concludes.

By Rivka Borochov

Source: mfa.gov.il

How Does Israel Do It?

This question was asked recently in “The Hindu” – India’s equivalent of the Jerusalem Post – only with a slightly larger circulation. The reasons for the Jewish State’s scientific success are an enigma to most of the world. How do they produce so many Nobel laureates?

Israeli kids don’t start a degree course at eighteen and waste their opportunity having a good time in the university bar. Those who are driving the success of the Jewish State begin university life as mature, proactive individuals in their early twenties already having had leadership and technology training and experience in one of the most challenging organisation in the world – the Israeli Defence Forces. Every week there is at least one major discovery or innovation that emanates from one or other of Israel’s eight top Universities.

Israel’s Technion is, in my opinion, a superb advertisement for the Jewish State…. Finally, this clip highlights how the Technion’s annual “Technobrain” challenge aptly linked modern ingenuity with Israel’s historic past.

We now travel to Israel’s capital, where the Hebrew University of Jerusalem recently unveiled “Innovators Way,” a permanent photo exhibition showcasing 27 university researchers behind the 7000 patents and numerous commercial products that have revolutionized the fields of health, safety, environment, agriculture, computer science and nutrition. Moving onto Tel Aviv, Bar Ilan University welcomed 30 male and female undergraduate science majors from Yeshiva University in New York, who will spend seven weeks of the summer carrying out their research in Bar Ilan’s state-of-the-art laboratories.

It was quite apt therefore that the magazine Scientific American featured 28-year-old Israeli physicist Eldad Kepten in its “30 under 30” list of future possible Nobel Laureates. Kepten obtained his first degree at the Hebrew U and is currently embarking on a PhD at Bar Ilan. His speciality? The stochastic dynamics of chromatin (DNA) in the cellular nucleus with advanced microscopy and single particle tracking. Good luck!

The younger members of Israeli society have also been demonstrating their potential recently. We may not have won any medals at the London Olympics, but at the 2012 Maths Olympiad in Argentina, Israel’s youth team won five medals including three silvers, a bronze and one special citation.

Then at the Physics Olympiad in Estonia, Israeli kids won two silvers and three bronze medals. And at the Chemistry Olympiad in Washington the four-person team took home one silver medal and three bronzes. Also in Washington, six teenagers from Yeroham in the Negev desert won $5,000 in the FLL Global Innovation competition for youth scientists by designing a “stick” that keeps the contents of a picnic basket cool. Breaking the stick causes chemicals to mix and freeze.

When these budding entrepreneurs are ready to put their ideas into commercial ventures they will be helped by equally innovative Government support, such as Tel Aviv’s first of its kind Patents Exhibition. It will place 10,000 Israeli and foreign inventors, investors, patent attorneys, mechanical engineers and computer programmers in the same room in order to turn good ideas into actual products.

So what recent innovations have Israelis been producing? How about perfect chips? Israeli technology is responsible for the Deep Ultra Violet (DUP) lasers that US based Applied Materials Inc will use to speed up the manufacturing of the world’s microprocessors. And Tel Aviv University doctorate student Elad Mentovich has designed a molecular memory transistor called C60, based on carbon molecules that can be as small as one nanometer – far too small to see.

But it was failure to see runway debris that caused the crash of an Air France Concorde in July 2000. This inspired the Israeli company Xsight to develop FODetect, which uses hybrid radar and electro optical technology to detect foreign objects on runways.

But many Israelis (like me) believe that there is yet another factor responsible for the phenomenal success of the Jewish State. How has this tiny country survived against all odds to reach this stage? To win existential wars, avoid world financial chaos, discover vast energy reserves whilst simultaneously developing the ability to build a spacecraft to land on the Moon and detect the first stars formed when the universe was in its infancy?

The answer is out there, if you look for it.

Michael Ordman issues a free weekly newsletter of positive news from Israel 

Israeli Technology: The Bio Hug Vest

The creators of the BioHug Vest, an Israeli technology meant to lower people’s stress levels, presented their innovation at the 2012 International Autism Conference in Jerusalem.

From Israel: New Hope for Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)

Dr. Priel worked for five years on this breakthrough. (Photo courtesy of Ben-Gurion University)

The mice in Prof. Esther Priel’s Ben-Gurion University lab in southern Israel live only four months.

That’s because they are genetically engineered to develop the deadly symptoms of the human disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), a progressive deterioration of the nerve cells responsible for muscle activity.

But it was these very mice — many batches of them over five years of research — that yielded groundbreaking results in the hunt for the secret to lengthening the life of individuals with ALS or any neurodegenerative disease.

Read More

Be a Partner in the Israeli Team’s Race for the Moon!

Team SpaceIL is a non-profit competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize Competition. SpaceIL’s mission is to land the first unmanned Israeli spacecraft on the moon in 2015, securing Israel’s place as the third country in the world to achieve this historic milestone, following the United States and Russia.

Today they need your help!

Team SpaceIL was invited to compete for a spot in the international TED event. Presenting there will allow the team to spread the word about the project, and also help in fulfilling their vision - inspiring kids to be scientists and engineers.

The team already presented in the finals in Amsterdam and now need your vote in order to win.  Help us reach the international TED convention, by pressing “recommend” that’s just under the video in the following link.

http://talentsearch.ted.com/video/Yonatan-Winetraub-Creating-a-mo;TEDAmsterdam

For more information www.spaceil.com or  www.facebook.com/teamspaceil

(Source: jerusalemonline.com)

IDF's New Cellphones: Smarter and Safer

Soldier on phone (file)
Soldier on phone (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The IDF will begin to implement a mammoth technological project Wednesday, as its entire cellphone network is migrated from the current provider, Mirs/Motorola, to Cellcom.

The process will take several months

On Wednesday, the IDF will migrate its entire cellular network to Cellcom. Phone data will be secure.

Herzl Museum Presents: The 1st Interactive Zionist Wall

Herzl Museum reveals the first interactive Zionist wall, meant to educate about Zionism using the most up-to-date technology.

Israeli Company Unveils New Medical Smartphone

Israeli company LifeWatch Technologies unveils the LifeWatch V, a medical smartphone that measures seven medical indexes.

Israel Today:

Southern Israel under heavy fire, 11 wounded

Southern Israel under heavy fire, 11 wounded

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired more than 50 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on Tuesday and into Monday morning. Eleven border policemen were wounded in one of the attacks.

The attacks began during the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and continued with a hail of rocket fire throughout the day. The only casualties reported were from a direct missile strike on a building near the coastal town of Ashkelon, where 11 officers with Israel’s Border Police suffered light-to-moderate shrapnel injuries.

The assault continued on Wednesday morning with more short-range Kassam rocket attacks and at least one medium-range Grad missile attack that targeted the town of Beersheva.

Israeli forces responded with numerous overnight aerial raids on terrorist installations in Gaza. A number of terrorists were reportedly killed in the Israeli reprisals, but army officials cautioned that the situation was likely to get a lot more intense in the coming hours and days.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers have actually claimed responsibility for many of the rocket attacks, a departure from the group’s usual policy of letting smaller allied terror groups take the blame for attacks on southern Israel.

It is likely that Hamas is feeling emboldened by the assumed Muslim Brotherhood victory in Egypt’s presidential election. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and views the rise to power of the latter in neighboring Egypt as the start of a new era of “resistance” against the Zionist regime.

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Israeli miracle in the Colombian desert

Israeli miracle in the Colombian desert

They said it couldn’t be done, but a group of Israeli agricultural experts have succeeded in helping local Colombian farmers grow potatoes in a harsh desert environment.

"From this desert you might receive stones, but not potatoes," that’s what local farmers in Colombia’s northern La Guajira desert said when presented with an Israeli proposal to grow potatoes in the region.

A year later, Israeli know-how and technology has won the day, and produced nothing short of a miracle as local farmers have harvested 11 tons of potatoes from the desert.

La Guajira is a coal-producing region, and the company that processes most of that coal financed the potato project as a world-first experiment to get the tubers to grow in a desert climate. Typically, potatoes only grow in cooler climates where the soil has sufficient moisture. The success in La Guajira is considered a world-first for potato farming in dry, hot climates.

The project was the brain-child of Isaac Gilinski, a Colombian Jewish businessman who is currently serving as Colombia’s ambassador to Israel.

The son of Israeli immigrants, Gilinski knew well of Israel’s agricultural prowess and, with the help of Israeli agricultural expert Avi Nachmias, determined to bring that expertise to his country. Nachmias and others trained local Colombian farmers and helped install an Israeli irrigation system.

Officials from the Israeli Embassy in Bogota who visited the new La Guajira potato farms said, “The locals were in shock over this miracle. The farmers here are very conservative by nature, so it was not easy for them to break old habits and try something new. But from their point of view, this was a tremendous success, since a local potato harvest will create a lot of new income.”

Colombian officials are reportedly eager to repeat what they call the successful Israeli project in other parts of the country.

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