Another Nelsonian eye from the BBC and the Guardian (updated)

In the light of this story not being deemed fit for proper coverage by the Guardian or BBC, here’s another rough and ready calculator I created for the benefit of their less experienced staff and future recruits:


The first calculator poster is here.

[Update: the Guardian finally stepped up to the plate. See here. And the BBc has now covered the story, as local news. Wow. I think the Media Coverage Calculator still stands.]


Prediction time (updated)

The Jewish Chronicle has more on the Oxford Union Labor Club’s antisemitism:

Labour Students, the umbrella group for the party’s student movements, said it was “deeply troubled” by the episode.
“We unequivocally condemn any form of antisemitism. We are taking these allegations very seriously and will do whatever is necessary to ensure every Labour club is a safe space for Jewish students.”

Let me translate:

Labour Students, the umbrella group for the party’s student movements, said it was “deeply embarrassed” by the episode making it into the mainstream media.
“We unequivocally condemn any form of antisemitism that other people practice. We are taking these allegations very seriously and will do whatever is necessary to pretend we care. We will ensure every Labour club is a safe space for Jewish students who are antisemitic or anti-Zionist, or both.”

In short, I predict they will do nothing substantial. They may sweep it under the carpet, if they can be bothered.

Incidentally, it’s a shame nobody put the remaining chair person, Noni Csogor, on the spot. Read the JC report, and tell me you don’t smell a whiff of hypocrisy emanating from the chair.

Finally, it’s noteworthy that neither the BBC nor the Guardian have covered this. Haaretz has, which means we know they both know about it! To be fair, there is a link at the BBC site to the Haaretz story. Not quite the full attention it deserves, but at least it is something I suppose.

[Update: the Guardian finally stepped up to the plate. See here. I’m not changing my prediction, though.]


Turning left isn’t right

This morning’s drive to work was less than routine. I was in the outside lane, driving south on Highway Four, when I noticed a car ahead of me in the same lane. Stopped. Dead. Indicating left. This lunatic did a u-turn across the central reservation (where there is a narrow break) to head back up the opposite direction. First, he had to wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic. Dangerous? You couldn’t make it up. As I sometimes tell people about driving in Israel, you have to expect the unexpected.


Just how bad is antisemitism in Britain?

From Guy Fawkes‘ blog:

The chairman of Oxford University Labour club has resigned in protest at anti-Semitic and terror sympathising members of the organisation. Alex Chalmers claims “the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews”:

Not entirely surprising.  As the blog suggests, this would appear to be somewhat connected to a certain Corbyn effect: follow the leader.

You could argue this is student politics, and it’s insignificant in real life. I would argue the contrary. We know how much the Oxbridge graduates become the establishment, shaping society and its opinions from within. So, if this is mainstream student behavior today, it is likely to be mainstream political behavior in the future – to the extent that it is not already. In other words, things are not going to get better. So, what is the right approach for the Jewish community in the face of this hostile environment? That’s a tough challenge.

Read it all here.


Australian with eyes and ears wide open

I don’t know Rowan Dean, but apparently he was on a recent Australian Labor Party excursion to Israel, to see both sides of the conflict. It appears Mr Dean kept his eyes and ears wide open, and was prepared to report fully on his experiences:

Dear Mr Fooley (or may I call you Luke?*)

Just got back from my Labor Parliamentary Excursion, dividing my time equally between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as you requested. What a trip! My feet hardly touched the ground!

Monday: Arrived at Lod Airport, after circling around to avoid being blasted out of the sky by IS, Hamas, Hezbollah, and a bunch of other peace-loving friends of the Palestinian Arab People’s Struggle to Wipe The Perfidious Jew Off The Face Off The Earth Praise Be To Allah. Grabbed some duty-frees and headed into downtown Tel Aviv. Looks just like Surfers Paradise meets Surry Hills. Cool hipsters and hot chicks everywhere. Grabbed a quick beer and a burger, bought some fab new apps and software and …

Oops! Time to go to Palestine Authority. Drove into downtown Ramallah. Looks like Mogadishu meets the Mudgee tip. Litter everywhere. Armed guards and machine gun-wielding Mafiosi types wandering around everywhere, too. Try to grab a quick beer, but, er …

(*Luke Fooley is the head of the Australian Labor party.)

Read the whole piece, here. You are unlikely to see it at Haaretz, the BBC or the Guardian.

Thanks to Hannah for the tip.


Saving lives

Say it quietly, but say it: in Israel, you are more at risk of personal injury from a car accident (or being smashed into as a pedestrian) than you are from meeting a terrorist with a knife.

The general standard of driving is not good. The road infrastructure – especially when it comes to junctions, crossings, and so on – is not good. The legal process of dealing with traffic offenses is not good. The enforcement of whatever traffic laws there are, is not good.

There are bad drivers in all places, even Scotland. (!) But a key difference is that in the UK, for example, bad driving is scorned, derided, criticized, condemned, and not socially acceptable. The people who do it are seen for what they are, and what they are is reckless, selfish, dangerous, and thoughtless. No such stigma seems to exist in Israel.

There are initiatives to improve the situation, but it’s going to be a long, hard, and difficult struggle while the bulk of society just does not care.

Until then, unfortunately, fatal disasters like last night’s collision on Highway 1 are inevitable. We are so blessed and lucky that there are not more. Somebody is looking after us. But we should be looking after ourselves.


Five for Friday

Sculpture at Jewish Refugee Museum, Shanghai - June 2009

Sculpture at Jewish Refugee Museum, Shanghai – June 2009

This was deadline week, thus adding a little extra to the sharp contrast between the working week and the weekend. Despite being a bit on the exhausted side from too many long days, and too little sleep, I still managed to get up and go to the gym this morning. Twice this week! I am almost getting value from my membership fees. Maybe that’s why I was feeling a bit righteous as I tucked in to my breakfast. Now, if I can only keep up a decent routine…

Talking about routine, here are the regular weekly selection of links. I hope you get something out of them:

Shabbat Shalom!




Wonder of the adventure and the duel


This week, Sheer, Susan, and I played Dominion: Adventures. This is a Dominion set from which we have only used a few of the available cards, so each experience is still new and fresh.

The mechanics include Duration cards whose effects last from turn to turn, and other cards whose effect triggers after you play it in an earlier turn, and call it in a subsequent turn. Some of the effects seem more interesting than useful, but that probably just means I have not spotted the right combination. And there are cards that seem too powerful. (That means I have not worked out how to combat them…)

We played one game with a recommended set featuring just the cards from Adventures, and although it was close, Sheer won. He followed that up with a win in a two player game against me, using the base set and Adventures.

Then he and I switched to 7 Wonders: Duel. Sheer won the first game with a military victory, using a clever maneuver with his Wonder that I completely overlooked. I got my revenge in the next game with a decent points win.

Four games in the night meant I was well satisfied. More please!



Amazon prepares for zombie plague

Source: WikiMedia. How to Survive a Zombie Attack, by Acey Duecy.

Source: WikiMedia. How to Survive a Zombie Attack, by Acey Duecy.

Somebody at Amazon has a sense of humor. I have proof: here is section 57.10 of the service terms for its beta release of Lumberyard, a free game engine and development tool:

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

You can see the whole document, here.

First seen at the Register.


Does anti-Israel bias start at Ben Gurion Airport?

“On the other hand, Israel has terrible PR. The Israeli government does not defend itself very well against media bias in times of war or when facing criticism. The spokespeople for this or that politician are not the friendliest. Almost every member of the Israeli bureaucracy is more or less rude to journalists. Let’s also not forget the treatment of journalists and diplomats at Ben-Gurion Airport. Jewish or non-Jewish, if you don’t hold an Israeli passport, you may be treated like a potential threat to the state. One shouldn’t underestimate the effect this has on how journalists see Israel.
I once had lunch in Jerusalem with an accomplished member of the foreign press. I asked her about her personal experiences as a journalist. She had been in the region for about a year. She told me that when she arrived, Israelis were not very friendly to her, but Palestinians were. This was a strong factor in her tendency to write articles that were anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. In fact, during that conversation she spoke at length about Palestinian hospitality and how it was a major factor in her impression of the conflict. Arabs have a well-earned reputation for amazing hospitality.”

From a must read (well written, sensible, intelligent, and enlightening) article by Zenobia Ravji, a journalist based in Israel, at the Tower, here. In case you cannot be bothered, here’s another extract to tempt you:

“Over time, I came to realize that to be considered a successful journalist by the Western media, a journalist must stick to an acceptable script. In the Middle East, this means portraying Israel and the Jews as the bad guys, and the Palestinians and the PA as the good guys. If you don’t do this, you are professionally ostracized.

I know that journalism has changed with the advent of the internet and the power of social media. But the reality is that foreign correspondents have also changed their ways. I saw journalists depict the easiest stories to tell without digging any deeper into the facts behind the conflict. There were various reasons for this—lack of time, money, and resources; ignorance and pressure from editors. These editors sometimes act as experts on the region from their comfortable offices in New York.

Beyond this, however, I found that some stories carried with them an inherent dislike for the Jewish state and the Jewish people. I’m not speaking about most of the Western media. But a few conversations with journalists do come to mind in which it was obvious that the motivation for their stories was anti-Semitism. What’s scary is that these stories inevitably play a major role in shaping foreign policy toward Israel.
Of course, every news outlet, newspaper, or magazine has an agenda. There is no such thing as an unbiased journalist. We bring our experiences, interactions with people, and our emotions to bear on every story and situation. This is inevitable. Biases will always exist. But we still have a responsibility to uncover and portray the truth to the best of our ability. Admitting to our biases does not mean we should submit to them.”

First seen at Daphne Anson‘s blog.