Channel 10 Presents: A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma

After solving the Riddle of the Sphinx, there really aren’t that many riddles left to solve. The only one I can think of has to do with Israel Channel 10’s weather map and its representation of famous Israeli landmarks: Mount Hermon has a snowman, Haifa has the Baha’i Shrine, Tel-Aviv has the Azrieli skyscrapers and Jerusalem the Knesset.
Which leads us to the Beersheba conundrum: behind the inevitable camel, there is a complex of buildings which resembles nothing I have ever seen in the city, and certainly nothing that is as easily recognizable as the others mentioned.

Now, this may not be as important to solve as the Iranian nuclear race – but unlike Ahmadinejad, this one is within our reach:
Israel's Channel 10 Weather Map

Israel's Channel 10 Weather Map

Time to Celebrate All the Colors of the Rainbow

Looks like Tel-Aviv Pride 2009 tomorrow will be a full day of activities, including the traditional parade, a beach party, and a mega-wedding event. Here’s Miri with the details (Hebrew):

If you don’t want to sweat in Tel-Aviv tomorrow, there are still a few things you can do in order to be a better ally to your gay friends:
Read about Israel’s gay rights movement or watch a documentary about it.
Log-off and check out The 4th Annual Tel-Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, or log-on and watch a film online.

If you are fortunate enough to be Gay, Jewish and 18-26 years old you can visit Israel for free with Taglit-Birthright Israel’s 10 day tour, either on a rainbow trip – or on a regular trip.

Happy Pride! changes its logoUpdate: Nana10, one of Israel’s leading websites, gets extra points for temporarily changing its logo for the occasion, but gets some of the points taken back for an article which juxtaposed gays and pedophiles – even if it was meant to be lighthearted and funny.

My Father is Palestinian From Northern Palestine

I am starting to get more and more uncomfortable with the messages I get from the US President I helped elect. First it was the Cairo speech in which the word ‘Palestine‘ was used in a way that insinuates the discussed state already exists. Apparently the only eyebrows that were raised were mine and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow‘s.

But now the White House has put out a video celebrating Muslim Americans who serve in the U.S. Government. That was all fine and dandy, until I got to the part about Lema Bashir whose father is apparently “Palestinian from Northern Palestine“. Neither the White House nor the State Department thought the wording was inappropriate – on the contrary, courtesy of the State Department who translated this video into 10 languages, you can now choose the captioning to be insulted in:

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Northern Palestine?! Where the hell is that?

Hagigit Interviews with Hebrew University Student Paper

The current issue of Pi’ HaAton, the weekly paper of the Hebrew University’s student union, features a two-page interview with Hagigit, the artists collective I co-founded. The article, written by Oze Rosenberg, elaborates on our vision of bringing art to the people, instead of persuading people to visit the art. This is our second interview and the first one in print media:
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The Craziest F@#king Thing I’ve Ever Seen (Okay, This Week)

I am having a philosophical discussion with a friend about what is and what isn’t worth writing about. Although I publish a comprehensive article now and then, I do not find it necessary to express my opinion every time and on every issue. I contend that in this day and age, pointing to things is service in itself – especially nowadays when things move so fast, and you need them to accumulate and percolate before you can be articulate.

I just watched this new video by Israeli singer Lior Narkis and all I can do is point to it and say: Hey people, watch this! You don’t need to know Hebrew or even like this kind of music in order to fathom the ideas expressed in it. As far as I know this is not a spoof, but the official video for Narkis’ song Metuka (sweetie). If every scale needs to be calibrated, I assume this is an unintentional calibration of the misogyny scale (Damnit, I let my initial reaction slip…)

Gaining Better Understanding of This Digital Age

A few years ago when I first saw someone watching a video on YouTube, I dismissed the phenomenon, thinking it would never catch on as who would ever want to watch videos in a tiny box sized 425 by 350 pixels. I have learned my lesson well, and recognizes my lack of imagination when it comes to new technologies. That is why when these days people ask me ‘So why do we need Twitter?’, I simply answer ‘We just don’t know yet’.

Following are two video lectures by people who explain things well. We spend so much time on YouTube, passively watching videos or actively creating content, that spending an hour in order to gain better understanding of it all should not sound like a lot.
The first video is by Professor Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist who studied indigenous cultures and now explores the effects of social media and digital technology on society. Although the lecture is one hour long, I have already watched it three times in the past year:

The second video is by Professor Lawrence Lessig, one of the foremost authorities on copyright issues. In order to reconcile creative freedom with marketplace competition he founded Creative Commons as an alternative choice for the default ‘all rights reserved’. This is a twenty minutes video discussing how creativity is being strangled by the law:

We have to recognize [our kids] are different from us. We made mixed tapes; they remix music. We watched TV; they make TV. It is technology that has made them different, and as we see what this technology can do we need to recognize you can’t kill the instinct the technology produces; we can only criminalize it. We can’t stop our kids from using it; we can only drive it underground. We can’t make our kids passive again; we can only make them, quote, “pirates”. And is that good?
We live in this weird time, it’s kind of age of prohibitions, where in many areas of our life, we live life constantly against the law. Ordinary people live life against the law, and that’s what we are doing to our kids. They live life knowing they live it against the law. That realization is extraordinarily corrosive, extraordinarily corrupting. And in a democracy we ought to be able to do better.
  – – Professor Lawrence Lessig, TED conference 2007

Israeli Television Starts Broadcasting Fox News in Hebrew

[singlepic id=214 w=320 h=240 float=right]On yesterday’s Friday at Five program on Israel Channel 1, the chyron read “The age of Hussein Obama“. Broadcast one day after the Cairo speech, the usage of the American President’s middle name is an obvious attempt to say ‘He sides with them now’. Taken straight out of a Fox News’ textbook, referring to the leader of the free world by the name ‘Hussein’ has gained popularity in recent weeks within the office of the Israeli prime-minister, as Ben Caspit reports in Maariv. Since the Israel Broadcast Authority is controlled by the PM office, the phrase has naturally trickled down to the mainstream media, if you can still call Channel 1 that.

Knesset Member Daniel Ben Simon was a guest on that show and pointed out on the air that the graphics should be fixed, to which hosts Kineret Barashi and Uri Levi played dumb saying that Obama himself uses his middle name. MK Ben Simon tried to explain that no one calls the previous president Walker Bush, but the hosts just smiled derisively. Here is the short exchange:

I find this derogatory use of the word ‘Hussein’ despicable, Islamophobic and somewhat childish: when the US president says things we like, we call him Baruch Obama – and when he says things we don’t like, he’s Hussein Obama?

Inside The Obama White House

Just finished watching NBC News’ two hour special Inside The Obama White House. Including the Cairo speech, that makes for 3 hours of Obama-time in less than 24 hours. If you are a sucker for the White House like me, you absolutely have to watch this. Brian Williams‘ report is extensive, insightful and successful in cramming 150 hours of footage from 32 video cameras into one concise piece. To my surprise, Rahm Emanuel is not the only Israeli angle of this broadcast, as the soundtrack includes samples of Oren Lavie‘s hit ‘Her Morning Elegance’.

You can watch the entire broadcast online. Here is a quick taste: