August 13, 2006

A Shitty Little Country?

This just arrived in one of my inboxes and I thought I’d share it, though it will be some time before I’m done checking each of the stats — perhaps someone(s) more familiar with some of the technology references can point me in the right direction there, but if this is all, or even mostly true, the French Ambassador to England definitely exemplifies the French and illustrates why socialist France is such a miserable economic has-been failure.

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The
average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of
dates a year.

* Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short
enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

* Israel the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the
world’s population, can lay claim to the following:

· The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

· Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

* The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.

* Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor
were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

* The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

* Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

* Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

* The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

* Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S., Russia and China). In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel’s air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16’s.
This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U. S.

* Israel ’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined .

* Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers
per capita.

* According to industry officials! , Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

* Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people –as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups,! Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world — apart from the Silicon Valley, U. S.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U. S.

Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largestnumber of biotech startups.

Twenty-four per cent of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.

Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world’s second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day — and saved three victims from the rubble.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship — and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.

Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union)

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as “conflict free.”

* Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.

* Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

* Medicine… Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

Israel’s Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill. Used to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders .

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure. The new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnose heart’s mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

* Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well.

A new acne treatment developed i! n Israel , the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct — all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to devvelop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California’s Mojave desert.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.



H/T Brenda

by @ 2:55 pm. Filed under Whew!

January 5, 2006

Better Late Than Never

The folks up on The Hill have finally come up with some legislation to protect consumers, to some degree, against identity theft.

A bipartisan coalition of Senate Commerce Committee leaders today introduced comprehensive legislation (The Identity Theft Protection Act, S. 1408) that protects consumers from identity theft. The bill sets national standards for notifying consumers of data breaches, requires businesses to improve their safeguards for sensitive consumer information, gives consumers the right to freeze their credit reports to thwart identity theft, and limits the solicitation of Social Security numbers.

Speaking for myself, I always understood that Social Security numbers were intended to exist only as proprietary information shared by those issued the numbers, employers(to confirm work eligibility and report employee earnings to the Government), and the Government itself as a tax identification number or for law enforcement I.D. purposes.

Yet it seems that everybody and their brother require your SSN to run credit checks and open non-financial accounts of various kinds, and we all know they keep them on file. There’s a sort of information gluttony afoot in this age of the Internet — all manner of companies want to compile and retain every last scrap of personal information on everyone they become involved with for one reason or another.

We also know that many of these concerns, for reasons of the cheaps “cost efficiency”, don’t believe in investing in expensive security measures to adequately protect all this personal data they accumulate.

Hence, we occasionally read about some company’s computer files being raped by hackers, the thefts as often as not going undiscovered until a few days after the fact, giving the thieves time to use the information they’ve gleaned before anybody closes the proverbial barn door.

For example, a law was passed not long ago that after a company uses the 3 or 4 digit confirmation code from the back of your credit or debit card, they are required to delete it from your file. I see this as a requirement whose compliance would be something rather difficult to enforce unless the Government hacked into the computers of every company in the United States that accepts purchases on-line or over the telephone, and you can just imagine the hullabaloo that would cause in a country rife with leftist organizations who don’t even believe the Government should be permitted to listen in on the telephone conversations of terrorists who are plotting to murder large quantities of American citizens.

So how can such laws be enforced? The only method that would work with any measure of success would be an aggressive random spot checking system with severe penalties for discovered noncompliance.

This new bill is a tripartison — that’s right, tripartisan effort{3 Democrats, 2 Republicans and John McCain, whom I see as falling under the heading of Name-Only Republican}.

Misgivings about effective implementation aside, I believe the bill is a good one and would like to see it pass. If every company and organization that requires storage of people’s personal information acknowledged their responsibility to secure it at any cost, even if it meant upping their prices for goods and services a little bit, such measures would not be necessary, but this is not the case and many of these concerns provide, without any local alternatives, products that are requisite to basic survival, such as gas and electric.

Why in the hell should a gas company have to have my social security number on file, right?

by @ 12:09 am. Filed under Whew!

January 2, 2006

Explosives Recovered

Back in late December I posted about this, and am profoundly relieved that the perpetrators of the large explosives theft have been caught, the stolen materials recovered.

Three charged with stealing explosives at N.M. bunker
The suspects weren’t trained in handling the dangerous stolen property, say federal agents who tracked them down.

The explosives were specialized, powerful and dangerous in the possession of untrained handlers.

That’s exactly the situation federal agents say they came upon when they tracked down a sloppy band of thieves who broke into bunkers belonging to a nationally recognized New Mexico explosives expert.

The ATF, the same folks who unnecessarily brought us Waco and Ruby Ridge, says that there was no connection between the people who stole the explosives and any terrorist organizations, and that the theft was a “crime of opportunity.” According to the author of the linked article on the arrests and recovery, Alicia Caldwell, the feds said they don’t believe the perps even knew what they had.


I sincerely hope that the investigation doesn’t stop there.

“Duh, yeah, we ripped off all that plastique, ossifer, and coincidentally, outta’ sheer dumb luck, we also grabbed all the DetCord we could find, but we didn’t know it was C-4 and DetCord, duh…”

If I was somewhat hard on theft victim Chris Cherry for his inexcusably negligent lack of security that facilitated the ease of the theft in my previous post on same, I can only be doubly enraged now.

On Dec. 18, Cherry, who works for the Sandia National Laboratories and trains military and law- enforcement personnel in bomb disarmament, reported the theft. He is the head of Cherry Engineering, and the stolen materials were the property of his firm and not affiliated with his work for the government, according to an arrest affidavit unsealed Tuesday.

{Above emphasis added mine}.

The man is an explosives expert who trains military and law enforcement personnel

If anybody should know the magnitude of the potential danger to citizens that could result from the theft of such a quantity of explosives, it is Cherry, that stupid son-of-a-bitch, and his failure to implement adequate security procedures to safeguard those materials is way beyond inexcusable.

If he is permitted to store any more explosives, the government officials who allow it should be fired without pensions and charged with criminal negligence, charges that Chris Cherry should even now be facing.


by @ 3:04 am. Filed under Whew!