Thinking Time

Food for thought.

“Social media has, in effect, brought back public shaming, the kind of rough justice that occurred before the modern age, or may still occur in places where law enforcement is felt to be ineffective and vigilante groups enforce community norms without any formally constituted legal authority.”

Source: Page 213 of Morality by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

The chapter from which the above quote comes  – The Return of Public Shaming – analyzes the topic with (unsurprisingly) the moral clarity expected of Sacks. Reading the whole book is like watching a top-of-the-range fireworks display of observation, analysis, and moral leadership. Energetically infused perspectives and ideas popping off the page every paragraph or so. Highly recommended.

Past Times

For Brits of a certain age, Ceefax and Teletext were the first hint of what a digitally connected world might look like. Long since overtaken by the internet and mobile phone technology, these services were, in their time, pioneering. Their appeal lingers on for some as reported in this Guardian article:

“If you find news websites too overwhelming, too fast and too full of distractions then this might be the solution: a recreation of the BBC’s Ceefax service featuring up-to-date headlines, an accurate weather map and the latest stock market prices.

Nathan Dane, 20, has spent the last six years building a simulation of the BBC’s defunct text-based information service. It takes in data from the BBC’s existing website and repurposes it in the distinctively blocky font that was ubiquitous on television sets during the 1980s and 1990s.”

You can try the service out for yourself here. (At the time of posting, probably due to the Guardian article, the site was struggling a bit due to overload. So, be patient.)

Unsurprisingly, this is not the first rebirth of Ceefax. See here.



There’s a campaign for a new boardgame about to close on Kickstarter.

Conflict of Wills: Judean Hammer

Judean Hammer is a fast-playing two-player area-control game about guerrilla warfare during the Maccabean Revolt. Take on the role of the Seleucid Greeks or the Maccabean rebels and battle for control of Judea.

I was interested enough to want to back this.

Care to have a guess at one destination this is not shipping to?

No Judean Hammer for me!

It strikes me as somewhat ironical that a game about conflict in Israel cannot be shipped to Israel.

Once upon a time, twice upon a time…

This is the large poster outside a new building development in Ra’anana.

The Hebrew text on the right side translates to:

“Launch of the second boutique building in the heart of Raanana”

My inquisitive nature wants to know where the first is. I guess it’s already built and fully sold.

Meantime, did you notice the glorious strapline (or motto) in (sort of) English:

I suppose I should wonder what happened to “Time one live.” Is it a band? Is it a motto? No, it’s some silly bugger who thinks he knows English.

Really? In a city overflowing with native English speakers, a commercial undertaking doesn’t have the ability to get a simple three word motto right? It’s awful. But it’s far from unusual. By way of protesting, I’m refusing to even look at the show flat. (Ha!)

Windows Baddies

From an article at the Register about Tim Cook and Apple‘s interactions with the media, comes this fascinating tidbit:

Apple’s control isn’t merely felt on its own TV platform, but also how it handles product placement. Kit provided to studios always comes with strings attached, according to Rian Johnson, who directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out.

Fictional bad guys, can’t, for example, use iPhones and MacBooks. During the run of espionage thriller 24, it became immediately apparent who was the antagonist, based on their computer of choice. If they used Windows, they were suspect.

Now you know. If they’re using Windows, they are likely to be baddies!

Youi can read the whole article here.

Dear Haaretz

Do you think you might be able to find a native English speaker somewhere in your establishment? If so, I suggest you go and get them right now and ask them to sort out this rubbish (taken from your landing page).

Analyses? Really?

After all, there is a school of thought which says if you cannot be bothered about accuracy in general, why should anyone trust your news reporting? And there’s another school of thought which says your subscribers, and yes that includes me, deserve better.

Rocket Man

This morning’s targeted killing of Islamic Jihad‘s loose cannon, Baha Abu al-Ata, generated not only the inevitable rocket barrage response, but a flurry of social media funnies.

One wit shared a mock announcement from Tel Aviv Council that the public bomb shelters would be open, with a 20 shekel charge for the first hour, then 7 shekels for every further 15 minutes…

Another asked that since schools and businesses were already closed, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have the next election today?

And then the Times of Israel delivered this journalistic jape:

Sometimes, you just have to laugh!