While going around the Jewish Ghetto in Berlin I make a video directed to non Jews in which I explain what I think Judaism both from the point of view of Jews and those who hate us. In doing this I get into a topic that is well explained in Wikipedia, that of secular Jewish culture.
And here are some pictures I took in Berlin
Unlike most, I don’t think that the worst is yet to come in Japan. Based on what I have read, I believe that what we have seen so far is likely going to be most, or all, the damage there is going to come out of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident combination. And that is a already a lot. With maybe 15K people dead, half a million homeless, $200bn in damage, I don’t understand why the media focuses so much on a potential major nuclear accident with casualties in Tokyo, something that I can’t see how it would happen. There’s enough non nuclear tragedy to focus on and to help with right now than to make people panic over a highly unlikely event.
I am an entrepreneur, and a big part of my life is assessing risk. After obsessing with the Japanese problem (I have dear Japanese friends, Fon has employees in Japan, and Japan is our second most important market at Fon) my own impression is that we have a 20% chance of Fukushima being a Chernobyl. A significant but not overwhelmingly high chance. And even if the worst happens and it is a Chernobyl, because Fukushima faces the ocean, the prevailing winds are westerly and it is surrounded by mountains, I just can’t see how Tokyo (or any major city) would be affected by the nuclear accident. In the case of Chernobyl, Kiev, a major city that is half the distance to the accident than Fukushima is to Tokyo, was not affected. Kiev went on with its life after Chernobyl.
And then there is the anti nuclear panic that we are seeing these days. People around the world are very concerned about nuclear power and I can understand the psychology of this. People fear what they fear, not what is more likely to kill them. People fear planes more than cars, and flying is safer than driving. Coconuts kill more people every year than sharks, and I don’t see people reacting to coconuts as they react to sharks. Going back to nuclear, it is hard to argue that Fukushima is representative of the nuclear power plants of today. The Fukushima nuclear plant was built in the 60s. It is so old that it should have been decommissioned last month and somehow it got an extension to operate. The regulators who approved this are probably feeling horrible right now. But if there’s anything Fukushima should teach us, it should be not to avoid nuclear energy, but to be more careful with nuclear, to understand the risks. Nuclear energy is dangerous, but it is clearly not as dangerous as driving a car for example, and nobody is advocating an end to the car industry. We drive because we love the convenience and we try to minimize risks, and the same should be true of the nuclear industry. Nuclear energy is cheap and climate neutral. But it is risky, and to build nuclear plants in seismic faults, as it is done for example in Japan and California, is a questionable practice. Fukushima shows us that all our precautions were not enough. What I hope that comes out of this nuclear accident is: no major radiation leaks a la Chernobyl (i.e. that the 20% does NOT happen), a reassessment of the industry practices and safer plant design. I also hope that this leads to more investment in solar and wind, alternatives that while not as efficient are certainly safer and simple. And of course more energy conservation in general. In the meantime my heart is with those heroes who are fighting the nuclear accident right now at the risk of their own lives.
Lastly I would like to say that I know that this article may come back and haunt me if in the next hours we do have a major escalation of events in Fukushima and Tokyo has to be evacuated. But I am not saying here that is impossible that this happens. I just think that at a time in which media goes on and on about how dangerous the situation is, I felt I had to argue why they may be exaggerating.
Even though there is a civil war going on in Libya and global powers are divided on a course of action, there seems to be remarkable agreement that whatever is going on in Libya is, for everyone who has something to say about it, “unacceptable”.
-and the Russians are calling outside meddling in Libya unacceptable.
-Lastly, possible GOP presidential rival of Haley Barbour called the price of gasoline resulting from the Libya conflict unacceptable.
Now my question is, if what’s going on in Libya is so unacceptable to everybody. Why is it still going on?
Added a day later, Iran gets into the game calling foreign soldier intervention in Bahrain “unacceptable”
Fon’s WiFi network is by far the largest in Japan with over a million hotspots of which over half a million are on at any one time. Normally the Fon network is free to those who share WiFi (known as Foneros) and other users pay. Given the current emergency in Japan, and the failure of some mobile networks as a result of the earthquake, Fon has decided to open our network to all of those in Japan. The software changes required are being worked on at our headquarters in Madrid and will be ready in an estimated 3 hours or around 6pm Spanish time. Japan is 7 hours ahead of us so it will be around 1am in Japan when all our hotspots are open to the general public. We hope those stranded or in need find the Fon network useful. We also encourage owners of Fon WiFi routers who may not have their Fon WiFi routers (Foneras) connected to connect them to help anyone who may need connectivity. All this is being done in collaboration with our friends at Softbank who currently distribute Foneras in Japan. We would like to send our condolences to the families of those who died in this sad tragedy and wish all in Japan a quick recovery from this natural disaster.
Update: Work done in Madrid, the Fon WiFi network in Japan is now open for all to use until the emergency is over. I would like to thank our colleagues at Softbank, our engineers in Spain and above all the Japanese foneros who make this possible.
- Fon Makes Entire Wi-Fi Network Free In Japan (gigaom.com)
- Japan Gets Free Wi-Fi From FON Until Quake Emergency Ends (nytimes.com)
- Fon ended 2010 with 3.35 million WiFi hotspots, €28 million in revenues (eu.techcrunch.com)
- I started Fon because I wanted WiFi everywhere. I recommend that your next start up solves a problem that is dear to you.
- The Stop sign system is a waste of energy. They should replace Stop signs for Yield signs.
- Twitter should allow you to hyperlink, it would look better and save characters.
- Small victory in the world of the intercontinental traveler, an empty seat next to me.
- If you want to understand Wikileaks 250K cables at a personal level think what would happen if all your emails were visible to everyone
- As a father of four I can tell you that there is nothing genetic about sharing. The younger, the more selfish 🙂
- Fashion can be interesting but expensive clothes rarely are
- Having oil makes countries dumb
- It is absurd to speak about gender equality, genders are by nature different. Feminist objective should be “equal pay for equal work.”
- Twitter is like a classroom, of all the people you follow there are always a few who raising their hands all the time
- Frequently people ask me to invest but even more frequently they ask me if I have key managers to recommend. People are more important than money
- I know people who never update their software and somehow, they seem very happy
- Religion is a proof that absurdity is more comforting than ignorance.
- Unread messages should self destruct after a week and sender notified.
- One of the key uses of Skype for me is that green check showing me whether I have connectivity or not.
- There is a fine line between experience and prejudice
- Europe must introduce the concept of personal bankruptcy if it wants people to take the business risks that innovation requires.
- Entrepreneurs who are afraid of VCs taking over their company forget that VCs are VCs because they cant be entrepreneurs.
- As much as you may like your smartphone or iPad, dont you love it when you go back to your laptop?
- 3G is great (when you can’t find WiFi)
- A weakness of democracy is that it takes very different skills to get elected than to govern.
- Made in USA sells in USA, made in Japan sells in Japan, made in Germany sells in Germany, made in Spain does not sell in Spain, why?
In this video you see my son Tom and I conducting a simple, yet important experiment, that allows you to approximate the speed of light only using a microwave oven and cheese. How? Well the speed of light is equal to the frequency times the wavelength. And a microwave oven comes with an indication in the back that shows the frequency. Ours is 2450 MHz. So then all you need to do is to melt cheese in a plate and with a simple ruler measure the distances between the first two areas in the cheese that start melting. In order to do this it is important that you prevent the platter of the microwave from turning. For other details just watch the video.
Wael Ghonim over video at #TED. Before the Egyptian revolution everyone was scared except a few and those were beaten up. We are not happy when we see some Egyptians eating trash while others steal millions. The Egyptian uprising started with a Facebook page honoring man tortured and killed by Mubarak. First demonstration was thousands of people in Alexandria, a silent stand. The regime attacked them regardless of how peaceful they were. But people kept protesting, and Tunisia came. Wael was detained for 12 days, blindfolded, handcuffed, he says he does not want to talk about how he was treated. I assume he was tortured. Then he was let go and when he did he saw a changed world. When he saw that he wrote “we are going to win because we don’t understand politics”. We are going to win because we are willing to stand up for our dreams. Egyptians felt freedom approaching. The power of the people is much stronger than people in power.
First Sal Khan’s bio according to Wikipedia. Then his product, the Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a collection of 2100 videos that Sal Khan started while in his spare time when he was working for a hedge fund. Sal comes across as a very intelligent, well educated, funny educator. The ultimate educator, the teacher we all want to have. And over a million do. Because over a million watch his academy on Youtube. And so should you.
- Yes, The Khan Academy IS the Future of Education (video) (singularityhub.com)
- How Bill Gates’ Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education (fastcompany.com)
- 10 Excellent Ideas for Using Khan Academy in Schools (freetech4teachers.com)
At first he shows a picture of polio patients in iron lungs. Speaks about the polio vaccine. The last polio case was in 1980 in USA. Polio still exists in some parts of Africa, India, Pakistan and Afganistan. And in 2 countries that had not had polio for a long time polio came back. In Russia they got polio again. But epidemics is being controlled. We need to completely erradicate polio. Polio can only survive in people so we have to make people polio free. We are doing a global partnership to erradicate polio. Disease erradication os the venture capital of public health, great risks but great rewards. Smallpox erradication was an incredibly successful investment, it pays off every 26 days again and again. Same would be true with polio. But the polio vaccine is very fragile and deteriorates in warm climate. And as opposed to smallpox that is so easy to see because of the rash, polio does not show itself when it first strikes, you can’t see the enemy.
To erradicate polio we have to create a 20 million people social movement. They are vaccinating half a billion children every year. It is oral and easy to administer but the problem is to reach all children of the world in the worst places and conditions. They have to operate in war conditions. This is foreign aid at its most heroic. Rotary international is doing this, with over i million volunteers. Results are good.
Polyo Type 2 has been totally eradicated. There’s been 99% reduction 1000 kids in the whole world now, a lot but nothing compared to 20 years ago. But even with 1000 now if we don’t eradicate the disease in 2030 we will have 300K kids again with polio again. A new polio vaccine was developed, old one was 50 years old. New vaccine is much better. Northern India is the perfect storm when it comes to polio. Sanitation is terrible. But with the new vaccine not a single got polio.