Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Quantum Effect of Polls

If you ask 10,000 people who they are going to vote for, and 6000 say Blue, and 4000 say Red, then within a very small margin of error, you can predict that out of a million voters, around 600,000 will vote Blue, and 400,000 will vote Red.

Donald Trump's unexpected victory is the fourth time we have recently seen the pollsters and political commentators get it absolutely wrong.

The Brexit shock, the British National Elections Tory trouncing of Labour, and  Netanyahu's victory in the last Israeli election, were similarly against every poll prediction and the pontifications of every credible political commentator.

What is apparently at stake is not just the credibility of polls, or of political commentators, but the very basis of statistics. If political polls are worthless, then perhaps their mathematical basis is also bunk?

Or, as Churchill would have it - "there's lies, damned lies, and statistics".

However, these same statistical theories used by the pollsters are also the basis of medical testing, economics, quality control and life insurance. Our 21st Century life is, without exaggeration, based on the scientific truth of statistics.

In this context, I propose that the pollsters should consider the Quantum Zeno effect. Also known as the Turing paradox.

At the quantum level, there is a phenomena  in which an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay One can "freeze" the evolution of the system by measuring it frequently enough in its known initial state." (Wikipedia).

In other words, the mere observation of the unstable particle changes its behaviour.

I suggest that there is a similar effect, the Quantum Zeno effect of polls and commentators.

In the example I gave above, of 60% say they will vote Blue, and 40% say they will vote Red, there needs to be research done into the effect of that prediction on people's behaviour.

How would you vote, if I were to tell you 60% have said they will vote Blue, and 40% said they will vote Red?

I am willing to bet that people will NOT respond in exactly the same ratio of 60:40.

Rather, human nature will come into play and some people will go with the majority (if so many people say their voting Red, then I'm going with them too) while others will favour the underdog (I naturally cheer on David, not Goliath).

This, I suggest, is what has been going on in these three important national votes.

Beyond the regular statistics which apply to quality control of Coke bottles, and life insurance premiums,  when you're measuring human behaviour and there is a feedback-loop (you tell them loudly about how other people have responded), additional factors come into play.

In other words, what the polls & pundits publicly predict actually influences the election outcome itself.

That's the unchartered fourth dimension of these polling statistics and predictions.

I vote for the Quantum Zeno effect of polls.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Response to UNESCO: Jews on Temple Mount

Image result for Jews on Temple Mount

UNESCO's outrageous revisionist proclamations, denying the historical link between Jews and Temple Mount, cries out for an appropriate response.

Israeli Governments since 1967 have claimed Israel's rights to sovereignty on the Mount, but have then consistently refused to implement these same rights. Indeed, the current regulations forbidding Jewish prayer or ceremony on the Temple Mount, and the hostile & suspicious reception dealt out to Jewish visitors by the Israeli security forces, play directly into the hands of UNESCO and other re-writers of history.

If we the Jews do not exhibit and implement our deepest bonds to Temple Mount, why should the gentiles care any more for this connection than we do?

Instead of actively discouraging Jews from going up to Temple Mount, the Israeli Government should be encouraging, educating, promoting, and protecting a massive Jewish presence there.

Today, only a few thousand highly committed Jews venture onto the Mount each year.

However, if the top of the Mount were to be visited by Jews the same way the (less sacred) Western Wall is, with a million or more Jewish visitors each year, UNESCO's absurd declaration becomes entirely irrelevant.  

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Barry Chamish (OBM) & Me

There is a saying that a man holding a hammer is looking for a nail.

I was saddened to hear that Barry Chamish died this week, at 64.

I had a brief encounter with Barry probably around 1999, shortly after the publication of Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin? (1998).

I admired Barry's courage in publicising his detailed theories about the Rabin murder, at a time when the left wing purge and harassment of the right wing was in its hey-day.

I invited Barry to my home in the still-young Ramat Beit Shemesh, and held a parlour meeting for the public to hear his presentation.

We (literally) had a packed house with (I guess) nearly 100 people crammed into my salon.

Barry arrived extremely late.

This was in the days before cellphone were ubiquitous, and so we only heard the reason for his mysterious delay after Barry arrived, flustered and upset, at our house.

Barry had arrived by taxi, which he ordered after dumping his car at a gas station somewhere on the Route 38.

The reason he had dumped his (rather old) car, was that his axle had split in two. This was potentially extremely dangerous and Barry considered himself lucky to have escaped from the incident alive.  

Barry joined the dots of this massive mechanical failure of his car, and told us his axle had clearly been tampered with that 'someone' had attempted to kill him.

After this dramatic introduction, and a stiff drink to calm him, Barry proceeded with his fascinating presentation of Who Murdered Rabin, with video of the assassination and his own frame-by-frame commentary.

I have no idea if there had been an assassination attempt on Barry Chamish's life that night, or if his car had simply suffered an unfortunate mechanical failure.

However, it says a lot about the man, and about his work, that there was credible ambiguity.

Barry sought out such ambiguities, and read them as conspiracies and devious plots. Not just about
Rabin, but about UFO's and broader Israeli and Middle East politics.

He was a man holding a hammer, looking for nails.

In the case of Rabin, I think Barry was close to the mark, if not spot on.

I am not the only one who suspects that the official narrative of that tragic night of Rabin's murder, is false.

Over 40% of Israeli apparently believe likewise.

And this includes Rabin's family, such as Dalia who I heard in an Army Radio interview this past November (the time of the Rabin memorial) state how she has unanswered fundamental questions about the official version of events, which she knows to be untrue.

Note; Dalia Rabin was Deputy Defense Minister under Arik Sharon - and had access to information way beyond a regular person's security clearance. She also was a personal witness, together with her mother, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination...

After Barry left our home, we remained in contact for a few years, and I even gave him some assistance with aspects of his Rabin investigation - I introduced Barry to the alleged 'real assassin' of Yitzhak Rabin, who was then residing in Netanya.

In the years which followed, Barry became emotionally broken, feeling his work was unappreciated, and he left Israel to return to the USA. He remarried there, I believe to a non-Jewish woman.

Although it would be natural to speculate "Who Murdered Barry Chamish?" - I frankly do not think he presented a serious enough risk to the establishment he despised so much, that "they" would launch a mission to kill him.

But, who knows?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Under the Radar in China

Chabad regularly astound me with their remarkable mission to provide Jewish services absolutely wherever Jews may be present on the globe.

I had the privilege and pleasure of visiting Chabad in China recently, during a business trip.

The rabbi there explained how they operate - in a grey area, under the radar.

On the one hand, China's constitution upholds freedom of religion.

On the other hand, there are just five religious organizations which are officially recognised; these are (see Wikipedia)  the Buddhist Association of China, Chinese Taoist Association, Islamic Association of China, Three-Self Patriotic Movement (ie Protestantism) and Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

Judaism, with a tiny minority following in this vast country, understandably, is off the list of five.

Therefore, by the letter of the law, any Jewish organized religious activity is officially banned.

This is why the Chabad locations are outwardly discrete - no signage, banners, outsized Chanukiot, nothing...Just another villa on the row.

The unofficial deal with the authorities is that Chabad solely provide services to foreigners. There is no missionising to Chinese nationals.

As long as Chabad keep to this rule, the authorities do not interfere.

On occasion, they receive interested approaches by Chinese nationals, and they politely turn them away.

In still-communist China, you can't be too careful.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

End of Cheap Made In China?

Me in Shanghai, with a backdrop of some of the world's tallest buildings
I spent the past week in China, traveling for business in Shanghai and Chongqing.

It is my second visit, the previous being about a year ago.

Both times I was struck by the counter-intuitional lack of bargains available in the shops in China.

The first visit, I came with a wish-list of gadgets requested by members of my family.

I returned with some not-cheap phones, tablets, bluetooth speakers etc.

The bill was not dissimilar to what one might pay after some bargain-hunting in Israel and on the internet.  Furthermore, there were problems using this equipment in Hebrew and in Israel.

This time, I didn't take a shopping list.

Indeed a Chabad Rabbi in Shanghai told me that he doesn't buy anything anymore in China - but rather stocks-up on everything he needs on his occasional visits to the USA. He told me that, even if the goods are made in China, their quality and price will be better in the USA.

Further investigation and observation showed that the cost of Chinese labour is increasing, as the salaries and standard of living increases. New fancy cars clog the city streets, apartments in sought-after locations are among the most expensive in the world, and therefore goods produced in China are no longer particularly cheap.

Apparently the main sources of textiles and low-cost clothes are no longer China, but developing countries like Indonesia. Other manufacturing will also flow out of China also.

The trend is similar to the in and then out-flow of manufacturing to Jaspan, and to Hong Kong several decades ago.

The exceptions are likely to be electronics manufacturing, where the capital invested in China will anchor much of the production to this country also in the medium term.

As the economy further develops, China will need to carve itself out a reputation and capability for quality, not necessarily the cheap quantity, of development and productions.

"Made in China" will then read rather like "Made in Germany" does today.

Thursday, 28 July 2016


I have recently returned from a trip to visit my family in England.

They are still all a-chatter about Brexit, and the consequences.

Following Britain's lead, I propose that Netanyahu also calls a referendum in Israel.

The question should be:

Should Israel remain in the Middle East? 

Otherwise known at MExit.

If MExit carries the day, as I'm confident it will, Israel will remove itself from our current nightmare neighbors of Lebanon, Syria (RIP), Jordan, Egypt, and Gaza.

Quite where we, or our current neighbors, will relocate, will be thrashed out following a MExit majority.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Four Children Died in Israel This Year - Forgotten in the Car - Get This Gadgtet

Yet another baby died yesterday in an oven-hot car.

This time it was the baby's grandmother; a social worker. Totally regular, level minded lady. No different from me and you. Simply forgot.

According to Israel's child safety organization (I heard the interview on the radio this morning), these incidents tend to happen when people break their routine. In the case of the grandmother, she wasn't used to routinely picking up and dropping off this baby. It is natural and powerful that our minds go into auto-pilot, which is usually fine. But not when there's an added non-routine factor - in this case a baby on your back seat.

There is potentially life-saving gadget is available in Beit Shemesh from Keren Yosef and also from Yad Sarah throughout Israel.

See the attached video.

There are also apps, tips (like leaving your cellphone on the baby's seat) and gadgets (pressure cushion activated etc).

The time to act is NOW, rather than simply returning to each of our routines.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Hilarious speech by Ugandan President at Israel Entebbe Raid commemorati...

The above video is the highlights/lowlights of President Museveni, Ugandan President's madcap speech during the 40th Anniversary ceremony at Entebbe Airport, in the presence of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The full rambling and unique speech is here, for those with patience (25 mins) and an enduring sense of the absurd:

Friday, 8 July 2016

Israel's Soft Opponents Evaporating

Israel has 'hard' enemies who spare no resources to attack Israel physically, and in any other way. These include Hamas, The Palestinian Authority, Iran, and most Arab States (aside from Egypt and Jordan)., and the BDS Movement.

Israel also has soft opponents - who habitually and unfairly criticise and undermine Israel's actions, within a context of respectability.
These 'soft opponents' include the UN, EU, Barak Obama, and much of the world's press.

The EU launched it's latest offensive on Israel in their Middle East Peace Initiative, on 3rd June, following and supporting France's own initiative, and assembled 28 foreign ministers, but not Israel, to give their backing to an International Conference. This conference is highly likely to be anti-Israeli from-birth and is looking to impose a 'settlement' on Israel. This initiative has been strongly criticised by the Israeli Government.

Another soft opponent of Israel is Tony Blair, who was officially the Quartet (UN, EU, USA and Russia) emissary to the Middle East.

In the past couple of weeks, both of these 'soft opponents' have been effectively neutralised.

The British mega-surprise Brexit vote, just a week following their Foreign Ministers' meeting about the Middle East, has thrown the EU into disarray - and they surely now have bigger and more immediate issues to focus their attention than their Middle East Conference.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair has been the subject of a major report about Britain's conduct of the Iraq War, 13 years ago. Blair has been totally blasted by the report, which highlights his incompetence and duplicity in commencing the war, the war itself and the total lack of preparation for post-war Iraq.

In the report, Tony Blair's war initiative is held responsible for much of the turmoil and bloodshed in Iraq ever since and in the establishment and success of ISIS.

The cost has been literally millions of lives, uncountable wounded and disruption on a catastrophic scale.

Exit Blair.

As for soft-opponent Obama - his scheduled departure from the world stage is coming up in a few months.

Not so fond farewell from Israel.