Israeli scientists develop bionic eye for people born blind (& Egyptian bites Israeli)

June 03, 2013

Even more extreme? Saeed Jalili campaigning for the Iranian presidency last week

 

Israeli wrestler Ilana Kartysh. ‘I felt the hatred’

 

* Israeli scientists develop bionic eye for people born blind: A tiny camera receives visual information from the environment and transmits signals to a bionic contact lens.

* Female Israeli wrestler wins gold medal even after Egyptian opponent viciously assaults her, breaks her fingers. “I can’t remember such dirty behavior in sports,” she says.

* Amir Taheri: Iranians may soon regard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s eight-year presidency as “the good old days” – for the man tipped to be imposed as the next president of the Islamic Republic has unveiled a program that could lead to harsher repression at home and more conflict abroad.

* A surprise last-minute candidate, Saeed Jalili is seen as a protégé of “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, who has prevented rival factions from fielding credible candidates in this month’s presidential election.

* In his first major speech as presidential candidate, Jalili said his top priority was to “uproot the Zionist regime [Israel] and destroy capitalist and communist systems.” He added there was “no reason why the Islamic Republic should not lead the world’s Muslims in seeking global power. And if anyone says that we are after creating a great empire, we have no problem with that.”

* Dennis Prager: “Here’s a question for Muslims and leftists who buy this argument about the West killing Muslims in Afghanistan: Who are we fighting in Afghanistan? I thought the Brits and Americans were fighting the Taliban, the people who throw acid in Muslim girls’ faces for attending school, the people who murder nurses who inoculate Muslim children against disease. Now, if fighting the Taliban is to be equated with fighting Muslims, this is a real contradiction of everything much of the Islamic world and virtually all of the left have been contending for years – that the Taliban represent a tiny group of extremists in the Muslim world, and that they have so completely perverted Islam that they cannot even be called Muslims.

“Well, you can’t have it both ways. If killing the Taliban is the same as ‘killing Muslims,’ then you can’t argue that the Taliban don’t represent Islam or Muslims. So, on the issue of the West fighting in Afghanistan, the Muslims and the left need to make up their minds: Is killing the Taliban a service or a disservice to Muslims? This is the first and last question both groups need to answer. Everything else is commentary.”

***

I attach four articles below. Dennis Prager and Amir Taheri are both subscribers to this email list.

* You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. Please also press “Like” on that page.

-- Tom Gross

 

CONTENTS

1. “Israeli scientists develop bionic eye for people born blind” (By Dan Even, Ha’aretz, May 31, 2013)
2. “Israeli wrestler attacked by Egyptian rival” (By Oren Aharoni, Yediot Ahronot, June 2, 2013)
3. “The ‘Muslims-Killed-by-the-West’ Lie” (By Dennis Prager, RealClearPolitics, May 29, 2013)
4. “Iran’s likely next prez: Worse than A’jad” (By Amir Taheri, NY Post , May 31, 2013)


BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY SCIENTISTS MAY HELP THE BLIND TO SEE

Israeli scientists develop bionic eye for people born blind
By Dan Even
Ha’aretz
May 31, 2013

Israeli scientists have developed a technology that may enable people who are blind from birth to see, with the help of a bionic contact lens.

The new technology, developed by a team at Bar-Ilan University, has yet to receive approval for clinical trials, but its feasibility is currently being tested on seeing individuals, with the aid of a model simulating the bionic lens.

The technology consists of a tiny camera that receives visual information from the environment and transmits signals to a bionic contact lens. The lens passes the signals via electrodes to the cornea and from there to sensory brain areas, generating a stimulus that simulates visual information.

“This technology is good news for humanity, especially in bringing sight to people blind from birth without requiring surgery or damaging other vital senses or organs,” says Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, head of Electrical Engineering and Nanophotonics at Bar-Ilan University, who headed the research team.

In recent years, several companies around the world have developed a bionic eye, but all of them rely on a technology which is of little help to those who are congenitally blind. This system, which bypasses the retina, is intended for those who suffer from retinal degeneration. It consists of a tiny camera implanted in the eye that transmits electric signals directly to the sight nerves attached to the retina, bypassing the retina and generating visual stimulation.

In addition, that system is invasive and requires surgery. It also depends on the stimulation of brain areas that process sight, which are developed in childhood. This makes it unsuitable for those who are blind from birth, since those areas of the brain are not developed in congenitally blind people. The U.S. company Second Sight, the German company Retina Implant AG, the Australian company Bionic Vision and the Israeli company Nano Retina all use this technology.

The visual resolution in existing bionic eyes is about 16 pixels, compared to a million (1 mega) pixels in a normal eye. This enables people with bionic eye implants to distinguish between light and darkness and shadows, but not to make out entire objects or letters, or to be independently mobile.

In contrast, the new Israeli technology is non-invasive and is intended to provide sight to the congenitally blind.

“The new technology attempts to deal with the problems of existing bionic eye technologies to enable even people who are blind from birth, in whom the brain region that processes visual information is not developed, to see,” explains Zalevsky.

The bionic lens stimulates the corneal nerves in the eye’s external part, which are connected in the brain to areas that process sensory information.

The technology consists of a tiny camera with an image compressor and an electric signal amplifier located outside the patient’s body and can be attached to his eye glasses or to a cellular device. Super resolution techniques are used “to encode an image of numerous pixels and compress it into few pixels,” explains Zalevsky.

“The encoding enables compressing static visual sights, reducing the pixels yet allowing transmission of visual information similar to a healthy person’s vision,” he says.

The compressed information is transmitted, after being electrically amplified, from the minute camera by wireless technology to a bionic contact lens in the eye. The proposed lens will have some 10,000 tiny electrodes enabling cornea stimulation. “The cornea is the richest eye part in sensory nerves and has tens of thousands of sensory points to which the tiny electrodes on the lens can connect with,” says Zalevsky.

It’s already possible today to place tiny electrodes, even opaque ones from metallic material, on contact lenses that look transparent. The electrodes stimulate the cornea’s sensory points by transmitting tension, without direct contact with the cornea, due to the compressed signal amplification in the external apparatus.

The stimuli are passed from the cornea via the nervous system to various brain regions that process visual information.

“In this way even a person who is blind from birth can see. In blind people, the sensory areas that receive the information from the cornea are developed, like regions enabling them to read Braille with the sense of touch,” says Zalevsky.

He says the new technology is like “a Braille lens that enables blind people to see in a way similar to Braille reading.”

The Bar-Ilan technology has yet to be approved for clinical testing. But in the last few months the system’s feasibility has been tested on 10 seeing subjects with a model simulating the bionic lens, which transmits stimuli to the finger rather than the cornea.

The scientists have taught the testees to decode simple images and then to transmit, with finger signals, images received by an external camera.

At this state the visual stimulus among the subjects enables spatial vision in black, white and gray, in low 100-pixel resolution.

“But the actual lens will consist of 10,000 electrodes that will enable receiving visual images of much higher resolution and perhaps color in the future,” says Zalevsky.

An article about the technology has recently been published in Optical Engineering and the development will be exhibited in the Israel BioMed conference in June.

***

Tom Gross adds: Among past dispatches on Israeli scientific breakthroughs, please see:

The amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see this week (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

 

ISRAELI WRESTLER ATTACKED BY EGYPTIAN RIVAL

Israeli wrestler attacked by Egyptian rival
By Oren Aharoni
Yediot Ahronot (Ynet, Israel)
June 2, 2013

Israeli wrestler Ilana Kartysh won a gold medal Saturday in the Golden Grand Prix tournament in Italy, but her historical achievement was marred by a very unpleasant incident, when she was attacked by her Egyptian rival during the semi-final.

Kartysh, 22, who competed in the 67-kilogram weight category, made it to the semi-final after beating opponents from Hungary and Kazakhstan. There, she experienced a violent incident she won’t be able forget for quite a long time.

In the semi-final, Kartysh met the African champion, Enas Mostafa of Egypt. At the beginning of the match, Mostafa refused to shake hands with her. During the fight, she broke two of the Israeli’s fingers and bit her in the back – causing her to bleed. At the end of the match, unsurprisingly, she refused to shake hands with her again.

“I can’t remember such dirty behavior in sports,” Kartysh told Ynet after the fight. “In wrestling you must shake hands at the beginning of a match and at the end of a match. But not only did she refuse to shake my hand, she even broke my fingers and bit me until I began bleeding.

“On the ground, when she was on top of me, she just bit me. I have her teeth marks on my back, and I began bleeding too,” the Israeli wrestler adds. “Because of her dirty behavior my desire to beat her grew stronger.”

Do you know why she did it?

“From the beginning of the match, when she didn’t come over to shake my hand – I knew something was wrong. I felt some kind of hatred towards me and I don’t know why, maybe it has to do with politics and maybe not, but it’s never happened to me before. She really attacked me.

“I can’t even describe how proud I felt hearing ‘Hatikva’ (Israel’s national anthem) playing in the end.”

Kartysh, who has been trained in recent months by a Canadian coach, one of the best in the field, made it all the way to the final, where she competed against a local participant. She won the last battle as well and stepped on the podium to receive the gold medal, Israel’s first ever in a Golden Grand Prix competition.

 

“THE ‘MUSLIMS-KILLED-BY-THE-WEST’ LIE: YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS”

The ‘Muslims-Killed-by-the-West’ Lie
By Dennis Prager
RealClearPolitics
May 29, 2013

The alleged butcher of the off-duty British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, defended his carving up of a living human being by claiming that he was engaging in “an eye for an eye” because the British army is killing Muslims in Afghanistan.

Normally there is no reason to respond to the justifications offered by terrorists and other murderers of the innocent. But in this case it is important to do so because much of the Muslim world resonates to this argument and because much of the world’s left offers this argument.

This is true even though a large majority of Muslims do not support terror and even though leftists do not support it. Nevertheless, throughout the Muslim and leftist worlds it is believed – and our children are taught this at college – that America, the UK and other countries are targeted by Muslims because we kill Muslims.

The argument is morally perverse and a lie.

First, the U.K. and others are in Afghanistan in order to defend Muslims. Brits and other Westerners are risking their lives, and dying, in that country on behalf of Muslims.

Here’s a question for Muslims and leftists who buy this argument about the West killing Muslims in Afghanistan: Who are we fighting in Afghanistan?

I thought the Brits and Americans were fighting the Taliban, the people who throw acid in Muslim girls’ faces for attending school, the people who murder nurses who inoculate Muslim children against disease. Now, if fighting the Taliban is to be equated with fighting Muslims, this is a real contradiction of everything much of the Islamic world and virtually all of the left have been contending for years – that the Taliban represent a tiny group of extremists in the Muslim world, and that they have so completely perverted Islam that they cannot even be called Muslims.

Well, you can’t have it both ways. If killing the Taliban is the same as “killing Muslims,” then you can’t argue that the Taliban don’t represent Islam or Muslims.

So, on the issue of the West fighting in Afghanistan, the Muslims and the left need to make up their minds: Is killing the Taliban a service or a disservice to Muslims? This is the first and last question both groups need to answer. Everything else is commentary.

Second, if any group here should be entitled to exercise an eye for an eye, wouldn’t it be Christians? It is Christians who are being murdered, and whose communities are being decimated, in the Muslim world. Christians have lived in the Middle East – in places such as Iraq and Egypt – since long before Muhammad was born. It is Christians in Nigeria who are routinely slaughtered by Muslims. And it is Christians in Pakistan who are burned alive in their churches.

And what about the 52 Brits blown up by Muslim terrorists in the U.K. on July 7, 2005? How is it that not one Brit decided to take an eye for an eye against any Muslim?

In the real world – as opposed to the fantasy worlds of the Organization of Islamic States and your local university – it is Christians who are being killed by Muslims, not Muslims who are being killed by Christians.

And there’s a third lie to this claim of Muslims as victims of the West.

Nearly every one of the tens of thousands of Muslims killed in the last few years has been killed by other Muslims – in Syria and Iraq in particular.

There is something of great significance to be learned from this. In the Muslim world today, it is hatred of the West, not love of – or even concern for – fellow Muslims, that animates Muslim atrocities and terror against the West. Just as it is Arab hatred of Israel, rather than Arab love of fellow Arabs that animates the Arab world.

Every Muslim and every Western leftist who perpetrates the lie about the West killing Muslims as the source of Islamist terror abets that terror.

 

IRANIANS MAY SOON REGARD AHMADINEJAD’S EIGHT-YEAR PRESIDENCY AS “THE GOOD OLD DAYS”

Iran’s likely next prez: Worse than A’jad
By Amir Taheri
New York Post
May 31, 2013

Iranians may soon regard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s eight-year presidency as “the good old days” – for the man tipped to be imposed as the next president of the Islamic Republic has unveiled a program that could lead to harsher repression at home and more conflict abroad.

He is Saeed Jalili, who has led the Iranian team in nuclear negotiations with the European Union plus Russia, China and the United States.

A surprise last-minute candidate, Jalili is seen as a protégé of “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, who has prevented rival factions from fielding credible candidates in next month’s presidential election.

Jalili, 47, lost a leg fighting in the Iran-Iraq war. Born in Mashad, Iran’s chief “holy” city, he graduated from a religious university with a PhD in theology. His dissertation was on the Prophet Mohammad’s foreign policy – which, according to Jalili, consisted of preparing jihadists for “destroying the empires of the time” and “opening the path for mankind’s conversion to Islam.”

In his first major speech as presidential candidate, Jalili presented “a massive extension of the realm of Islam” as his top priority. “We are determined to uproot the Zionist regime [Israel] and destroy capitalist and communist systems,” he said. “Our aim is to propagate the Islamic system.”

He also claimed there was “no reason why the Islamic Republic should not lead the world’s Muslims in seeking global power.”

Yet the Islam of which Jalili talks is a special brand. Labeled “pure Mohammadan Islam,” it is based on Shiism plus the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini and “Supreme Guide” Khamenei.

“We are in a position to challenge global powers,” Jalili said. “And if anyone says that we are after creating a great empire, we have no problem with that.”

His analysis is based on the belief that the United States is in “historic retreat” and that other Western democracies lack the will to defy Tehran. Iran’s alliance with Russia will help neutralize the United Nations and prevent it from taking action against Iranian ambitions.

Some in Jalili’s camp also believe that the United States and Western European democracies are heading for internal turmoil symbolized by “the revolt of the poor” and tensions caused by “grievances of Muslim and black minorities.”

This week, his supporters held a special ceremony to honor Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Black Muslim leader Malcolm X. According to RAJA News, an agency run by Jalili’s camp, Shabazz had converted to Shiism and was “murdered by CIA agents” in Mexico on May 9 as he was preparing to travel to the Iranian holy city of Qom to train as a mullah.

While the foreign-policy section of Jalili’s program is devoted to his plan to destroy Israel and the United States, his domestic program could destroy the lives of many Iranians. He promises “no mercy” to those who dare question Khamenei’s leadership, and promises to create “a new economy based on self-sufficiency and resistance.”

“We should not become slaves of consumerism” he says. “If need be, we could seal the oil wells and live a simple life.”

His code word is “khod-kafa’i” (self-sufficiency) with demands that Iranians tighten their belts to cope with UN, US and EU sanctions.

Ruh-Allah Husseinian, a Jalili adviser, goes further by asserting that Iran should devote its energies to “spreading the rule of Islam” rather than “building an economy.” As he said at a rally last week, “The shah could have turned Iran into a second Japan . . . But what would have been the good of that? We made revolution to protect Islam and go to war against the infidel powers . . .

“We cannot devote our attention to economic issues and forget Palestine,” Husseinian said. “The elimination of Israel has been and remains an aim of our revolution as fixed by Imam Khomeini.”

Jalili and his group could best be described as “the North Koreans of Islam.” Their aim is to build a wall around Iran while waging low-intensity terrorist war against real or imagined foes abroad. The result could be greater misery for the Iranian people.

However, Iranians could still fight back to prevent Khamenei from imposing his protégé. A discredited electoral process shouldn’t be allowed to produce a suicidal administration that could make even Ahmadinejad look sane.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.