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Saw this on Shaul B’s blog “free thought”.

[Click here to watch, if the video doesn’t show]

Made me think of the old paradoxes connected with free-will, pre-destination, time travel and the like. How far do the consequences go? What would happen if you were to fiddle with natural cause and effect?

More down to earth; how far does your responsibility go to mend the wrongs in the world? Can you at some point just pack your bags and run away? 

In the movie, I see the DJ as scared, even fearing for his sanity if he remains. Others may see him as a coward.

I believe he had two legitimate choices; either to fix everything or to dispair, return reality to its course and walk away. He could not leave the scene half fixed because then others would have suffered from his meddling. Once done he could leave because there is a limit to human capabilities.

A hasid (as a opposed to a zadik) would have stayed and cared for his street corner for the rest of his life.

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Terabyte

With three digital cameras in our household, the hard disk on our home computer is rapidly running out of space.

I was looking online for a new drive yesterday and discovered that 1 and even 2 TB (that’s TB for terabyte or 1000 GB or 1,000,000 MB) drives  are now becoming the standard. I can get myself 1 TB of storage for under NIS 500.

Now I remember the days when I worked at Versaware R.I.P. and we had such large amounts of data that they bought a “teraserver” which was a complete rack containing arrays of disks of 1 TB of storage. It was so big that the server got named T-Rex. Now I can hold two of those in size of a standard hard disk in my PC.

BTW, I have decided to by a smaller disk (500 GB Western Digital Caviar Black) because I reckon that by the time the warantee runs out, I’ll have just about filled it up and upgrading to 1TB will be so cheap that it would be a shame to spend money on it today.

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I got an email last week from a researcher working for the Fritz Bauer Institut in Frankfurt. She is looking for photos of pre-Shoah Jewish life in the area. This is the email I got:

**** Search for private photos from Hesse *****
( the areas around Frankfurt,Darmstadt, Wiesbaden,
Kassel, Fulda, Marburg, Hanau, Giessen, etc.)

This is to announce the development of a new photo web site:

BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST – PHOTOS OF JEWISH EVERYDAY LIFE IN HESSEN

We are appealing for help with our search from private sources for copies of pre WW II photos originating from the Hessian territories (today the State of Hessen).

Please have a new look at your family heirlooms and share your photo treasures with us. All details can be handled according to the wishes of the owner or provider.

Advice for the technical procedures will be given. And please pass this request on to other persons with family ties to Hesse.

Old photos for young Germans

German school books often use (negative) stereotypes of Jews in history to explain victimization over the centuries.

And Holocaust teaching mostly speaks about abstract victims of
persecution or simply of numbers.

To overcome these shortcomings in education, and to allow for empathy and a more personal understanding, teachers and students should be supplied with a different sources as well.

As a contemporary approach, on-line tools are to be developed, a new photo database will be created which will provide images of real people. They will be seen as individuals, with faces and their names, in family settings or small groups, and in their home towns and villages.

Once, before the Nazi period, there was a thriving Jewish population in Hesse. How did Jews live here in over 300 small and medium size villages, towns and cities? This will be shown with photos of individuals, families, and activities in their communal environment.

Pictures of everyday life, religious events, festivities, of business and sports and other forms of public life will be presented. Visual
impressions will be amended by textual descriptions and comments.

This will contribute to a more accurate image of the diversity and also the normality of Jewish existence in the decades before 1933. But the years after the Nazis took over will also be documented. Thus the beginning of the Nazi persecution and its effects on Jewish life can be estimated more accurately. Photos of the emigration and escape are welcome as well.

For technical quality it would be good to have the photos in 300 dpi or 600 dpi (original size) uncompressed.

If your photos are already scanned in a lower dpi version you can send them and I will find out if that also would be okay for the project. That always depends on the original photos.

For each photo I would like to have some short information, if possible of course

  • who is on the photo , year of birth, place of birth if possible
  • if it is a group only the main figures
  • where was it taken? Which city or village
  • was it taken in the house of the family, or in barn or (if possible)
  • when taken – around what year??
  • occasion of taken the photo
  • occupation of the person like cattle trader or so
  • later emigrated from Nazi-Germany to which country
  • later perished in the Holocaust

If your photos are already scanned in a lower dpi version you can send them and I will find out if that also would be okay for the project. That always depends on the original photos.

This is a project of the *** Fritz Bauer Institute *** Education
Department 

www.fritz-bauer-institut.de

The Institute is a Research And Documentation Center For The History And The Impact Of The Holocaust, Education Department, in Frankfurt/Germany

www.fritz-bauer-institut.de/english.htm

For further information please contact Monica Kingreen:

M.Kingreen@fritz-bauer-institut.de or Kingreen@gmx.net
phone +49 (0) 69-798 322 31     fax +49 (0) 69–798 322 41

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That is Hebrew PC-speak for “poor people”. In Hebrew “השכבות החלשות” or “HaShkhavot HaHalashot”. I heard on the radio this morning that the proposed imposition of VAT on fruit and vegetables may cause the weak strata to buy less fresh food. Why not just say “the poor”?

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An article I saw in Technology Review. A researcher named Michel Maharbiz at the University of California, Berkeley has fitted out giant flower beetles like the one on the right with electrodes and a receiver. He can then fly them from a remote control connected to his laptop.

Dr. Haharbiz is very proud of his creations that he sees as having extensive military as well as hiumanitarian uses. The hardware on each beetle costs a mere $5 using off the shelf components that he grafts onto the creature using his expert knowledge of both biology and engineering to successfully mesh an animal’s nervous system.

I was reminded of Ray Kurzweil’s singularity. where he predicts that humans will become indistiguishable from robots within the next 50 years.

I think that this technological advance raises several ethical issues:

  1. The ability to perform ubiquitous and invisible surveillance has just taken a massive leap. While possible evil uses of a new technology has never been a good reason to prevent research, the possibility that every common fly could be spying on you and sending a constant video feed back to base is rather frightening.
  2. While I support the (controlled) use of animals for vital experimentation an I also eat animals, the idea of wiring and radio-controlling an animal for the advance of technology seems wrong to me. True the beetle has no self-consciousness and rudimentary senses, but all the same it doesn’t sound right.

What do you think?

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    Back to “HaTanakh Hayah BeEmet” (התנ”ך היה באמת, דר. ליאורה רביד 2009) which I have commented on several times (here, here and here) over the last couple of weeks. This time Liora Ravid makes the assertion that the term “ויחר אף” means particularly violent anger – which it may but also may not, as I will show.

    She is discussing the birth of Ya’akov’s children and the names given them by their mothers. This she uses to continue to portray Ya’akov in a far more negative light than I believe he deserves as a violent man and a fraudster. As for the fraudster, I do think can be said of him. His name says as much, he deceived his father and got his uppance Midah keNeged Midah from Lavan with Leah and Lavan even explains himself on this point. He then successfully uses his skills against Lavan for the flocks.

    However I don’t see him as a violent man. She takes the names of Leah’s first children (Reuven and Shim’on) to tell a story of domestic violence and the term “sanuah” to mean literally hated as in the modern usage. Joshua Berman maintains in his book that LeEhov in Tanakh means more in terms of faithfulness and preferentialness than love and gives examples both from Tanakh and outside of the verb meaning to be faithful to a covernant. In contrast he maintains that LiSnoh means to be unfaithful and not give special consideration complete with examples. Thus he explains for example Deut 11.1 or 7:13 or 10:13 or more pointedly for us 21:15 that is talking about a man with two wives; one “loved” and the other “hated”. This becomes one given preferential status over the other.

    Liora Ravid goes further to suggest that when Leah says “ראה ה’ בעניי” she is aluding to rape as in what Shekhem will later do to Dinah “ויעניה”. Rather tenuous seeing as marital rape was not a crime, and other uses of the word in Gen 31:42 (Ya’akov describes his hard life looking after the sheep to Lavan) or 41:52 (Yosef calls his son Efrayim “כי הפרני אלוהים בארץ עניי”) which both just mean miserableness.

    And so we get to Gen 30:2 where Ya’akov remonstrates with the childless Rahel “ויחר אף יעקב ברחל”. Ravid asserts that this term is otherwise reserved for God’s destructive wrath like when he wants to wipe out the people altogether. It is true that it can, but it also can mean just plain annoyance. It can mean the whole spectrum of annoyance and anger. Here are the examples that prove my point:

    Ex 4:14 –
    וַיִּחַר-אַף יְהוָה בְּמֹשֶׁה, וַיֹּאמֶר הֲלֹא אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ הַלֵּוִי–יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר הוּא; וְגַם הִנֵּה-הוּא יֹצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ, וְרָאֲךָ וְשָׂמַח בְּלִבּוֹ. God is annoyed at Moshe’s persistent refusal and excuses not to do his mission.

    Num 22:22 –
    וַיִּחַר-אַף אֱלֹהִים, כִּי-הוֹלֵךְ הוּא, וַיִּתְיַצֵּב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ, לְשָׂטָן לוֹ; וְהוּא רֹכֵב עַל-אֲתֹנוֹ, וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּוֹ. God is going to kill Bil’am just remind him what the rules are.

    Num 24:10 –
    וַיִּחַר-אַף בָּלָק אֶל-בִּלְעָם, וַיִּסְפֹּק אֶת-כַּפָּיו; וַיֹּאמֶר בָּלָק אֶל-בִּלְעָם, לָקֹב אֹיְבַי קְרָאתִיךָ, וְהִנֵּה בֵּרַכְתָּ בָרֵךְ, זֶה שָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים. Again Balak isn’t going to kill Bil’am, he is just rather annoyed.

    I agree, these are my only examples out of 28 instances where most are of the “God was really angry and smote them” type, but that’s what tends to happen when the Tanakh explains that God was angry. However it does show that the term”ויחר אף” does not need to mean particularly violent anger. It can just mean regular anger.

    Come to think of it how does the Tanakh say “anger” in other words than”ויחר אף”? Maybe just that people/God who are angry at all in the Tanakh are generally those who are in a position and diposition to cause a great deal of damage? Any suggestions?

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    New look

    As you will notice there is a new look to Rafi’s Studio! I was a bit bored of the old theme and this new one looks a bit more stylish so here goes. Any comments from the readership?

    I have also just completed reorganizing all my categories and recategorizing the 238 posts that make up this blog into a more logical and consistent categorization. I have tried to group categories together so that they also make sense, but some of the categories that I reckon should go together are still hanging around ungrouped. I suppose I’ll have to mull on it… Any ideas?

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