Shimon Peres on leaving office

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Rest in peace. Read the rest

Shimon Peres, former Israeli PM who worked for peace, has died at 93 after a stroke

Shimon Peres, 2014 REUTERS

One of the great political leaders of Israel, Nobel peace prize laureate Shimon Peres, has died. He was 93 years old. He suffered a stroke two weeks ago.

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The democratization of censorship: when anyone can kill as site as effectively as a government can

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On the eve of the Stuxnet attacks, half a decade ago, I found myself discussing what it all meant with William Gibson (I'd just interviewed him on stage in London), and I said, "I think the most significant thing about any of these sophisticated, government-backed attacks is that they will eventually turn into a cheap and easy weapon that technically unskilled people can deploy for petty grievances." We haven't quite got there yet with Stuxnet, but there's a whole class of "advanced persistent threat" techniques that are now in the hands of fringey criminals who deploy them at the smallest provocation. Read the rest

Fansmitter: malware that exfiltrates data from airgapped computers by varying the sound of their fans

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In a new paper, researchers from Ben-Gurion University demonstrate a fiendishly clever procedure for getting data off of airgapped computers that have had their speakers removed to prevent acoustic data-transmission: instead of playing sound through the target computer's speakers, they attack its fans, varying their speeds to produce subtle sounds that humans can barely notice, but which nearby devices can pick up through their microphones. Read the rest

Judenstaat: an alternate history in which a Jewish state is created in east Germany in 1948

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Theodor Herzl's seminal 1896 essay Der Judenstaat called for the creation of Jewish state as an answer to the ancient evil of antisemitism; its legacy, Zionism, underpinned the creation of Israel; in Judenstaat, Simone Zelitch's beautifully told, thoughtful and disturbing alternate history, the Jewish state is created in Saxony, not Palestine, and takes the place of East Germany. Read the rest

Apple rejects game about Palestine because political messages disqualify games from consideration

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Liyla and the Shadows of War (Google Play link) is a game about a child's struggles living in the Gaza strip, and Apple says it is ineligible for consideration for inclusion in the Ios App Store because it would be "more appropriate to categorize your app in News or Reference for example." Read the rest

Changing Minds: NPR series on people who’ve rethought convictions in an era of polarization and extremism

[Reuters]

Boing Boing pal Isabel Lara writes to give us a heads up about a new NPR series, “Changing Minds.” NPR launched the project this week and it looks at stories of people who’ve changed their positions in what has become a cultural moment of partisan polarization and extremism. The stories so far focus on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

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Israeli company's product can (allegedly) pwn any nearby mobile phone

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The Interapp from Tel Aviv's Rayzone Group is an intrusion appliance that uses a cache of zero-day exploits against common mobile phone OSes and is marketed as having the capability to infect and take over any nearby phone whose wifi is turned on. Read the rest

Hamas claims Israel is using dolphins as spies

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According to an article in the Palestinian daily al-Quds, Israel has "recruited a watery pet, the dolphin, known for his friendship with humans, to use for operations to kill Qassam Brigade Naval Commandos." Read the rest

Smoke, Slingshots, and Spongebob: the Middle East crisis in photos

Startling shots from Gaza, Israel, and elsewhere depict despair and outrage at a seemingly-intractable crisis.

Netanyahu briefly follows Persian sex site on Twitter

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, briefly followed an Iranian "sex feed" over the weekend. At the time, reports Ilan Ben Zion, @PersianHotBook had only 15 followers—and it soon lost its latest fan.

The apparent Twitter faux pas was the second for Netanyahu among Iranians in a little over a week, after he was roundly mocked on social media for telling BBC Persian that Iranians should overthrow their government so they can be free to wear jeans. That comment was followed on Twitter by a groundswell of pictures of ordinary Iranians showing off their denim duds.

The Likud Central Committee said that it runs the account, that it suffered a "malfunction," and that it is investigating the "malfunction." Read the rest

In Israel, new insights on the science of medical Marijuana

A great piece in the NYT by Isabel Kershner on Tikkun Olam, a commercial medical marijuana plantation in Israel. The name is "a reference to the Jewish concept of repairing or healing the world," and while marijuana is illegal in this country, some of the most interesting scientific research into its healing properties is happening here. The last graf is the most amazing. (Thanks, Stoningham!) Read the rest

For the children of Gaza and Israel

The Velveteen Rabbi wrote a beautiful piece, in the form of a psalm, for The Children of Abraham / Ibrahim. Snip: "For every toddler in his mother's arms / behind rubble of concrete and rebar / For every child who's learned to distinguish / "our" bombs from "their" bombs by sound..." (via @ethanz) Read the rest

Medical marijuana in Israel

"I've been a Holocaust child all my life. I'm now 80 and I'm still a Holocaust child, but I'm finally able to better cope." A Buchenwald survivor who uses cannabis for PTSD in a nursing home in Israel, in USA Today. Read the rest

Stone tools with plastic handles

Israeli designers Ami Drach and Dov Ganchrow presented their modern stone and flint tools at the Budapest Design Week. The pair combined hand-chipped blades and axes with modern high-impact plastic handles, to make tools that are beautiful and functional. I'd love to have one of those knives around the office. Designboom has more pics, and commentary:

the set is a result of an experimental exploration of the realm of tool making. where stone and flint tools have been the means of our ancestors' survival for over a million years, they magnify our bodily (teeth, fingernails, fists etc.) capabilities of cutting and chopping, sawing and pounding. through a method of three-dimensionally scanning and printing, the ancient artifacts are digitally outfitted with custom-designed handles, encapsulating the rugged forms in a perfectly enclosed case. by juxtaposing the polarities of the manufacturing processes in computer generated forms, an intersection of material technologies and functionality coincide on a tangible scale.

modern stone + flint tools by ami drach + dov ganchrow (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Mitt Romney does not understand how one creates a "dirty bomb"

Mother Jones today published a second part of the video secretly recorded at a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Boca Raton. The first bombshell will forever be known as "47 percent," but the portion getting attention today focuses on a response the Republican presidential candidate gave to a question about the Israel/Palestine peace process. The tl;dr there: he doesn't believe it'll happen, and intends to "kick the ball down the road" and let the next administration deal with it, or something like that.

But here's a derpworthy moment in the video that may be of interest to science fans, and people who have actually done some reporting on how so-called "dirty bombs" work.

Here's a transcript for the relevant portion of the video:

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Swiss Army Knife with animals instead of blades

Third year design student David Suhami made the "Animal Pocket Knife" for a studio course at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv. As he explained to Designboom, "the piece is made for adults who still enjoy playing with small objects. it combines the idea of a swiss army knife and a jungle safari in africa. the prototype is made from stainless steel to represent the current technology while the handles are made from fine tabebuia wood to symbolize the traditional craft."

Hell, I'd buy one and fidget for days with it.

david suhami: animal pocket knife (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

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