Archive for January, 2010

Jan 31 2010

Class size, number of rivals fuels competiveness

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January 29, 2010  Physorg.com

The psychology research examined the factors that go “beyond winning probabilities” in an article for an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. “The motivation to compete increases as the number of competitors decreases,” said psychology researcher Stephen Garcia, describing a pattern he and Avishalom Tor of the University of Haifa call “The N-Effect” to explain the influence the number (N) of competitors can have on competitive behavior.

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Jan 31 2010

Historical roots

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January 30, 2010  The Jerusalem Post

‘At the turn of the 20th century, the Zionist secular movement chose a marginal date, the 15th of Shvat, traditionally named the New Year of the Trees, and converted it into the ‘Festival of Trees’ on which trees were planted by the public,” writes Prof. Idit Pintel-Ginsberg of the University of Haifa, a leading scholar of the folklore of Israel, in the journal Israel Studies.

Since the first waves of Jewish olim to Eretz Yisrael focused on agricultural work and forest planting, Pintel-Ginsberg believed “a distinctive narrative: redeeming the abandoned land and returning it to its former biblical state as the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’” was developed.

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Jan 31 2010

Medicalized Weapons and Modern War

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January-February 2010  Hastings Center Report 40, no. 1 (2010): 34-43

Prof. Michael L. Gross of the School of Political Sciences at the University of Haifa has published an article on the medicalization of weapons to use as nonlethal weapons in assymetric  warfare, and brings into the discussion the role of doctors in the research and development of such weaponry.

“Medicalized” weapons—those that rely on advances in neuroscience, physiology, and pharmacology—offer the prospect of reducing casualties and protecting civilians. They could be especially useful in modern asymmetric wars in which conventional states are pitted against guerrilla or insurgent forces. But may physicians and other medical workers participate in their development? . . . medicalized weapons place medical practitioners in a bind. Ordinarily trained to relieve pain and suffering, they now face calls to help build weapons that cause some measure of harm, even if nonlethal and transient. Do the principles of medical ethics—particularly the axiom “do no harm”—permit medical personnel to build nonlethal weapons?

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Jan 28 2010

‘Medicalized’ Weapons, Fair Trade In Biotechnology And More In The Hastings Center Report

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January 28, 2010  Medical News Today

“Not since international law prohibited the development and use of biological and chemical weapons (in 1972 and 1993, respectively) have medical personnel been so directly involved with the design, manufacture, and testing of a weapon,” writes Michael L. Gross, a professor of political science and chair of the Division of International Relations at the University of Haifa, Israel. “Do the principles of medical ethics - particularly the axiom `do no harm’ - permit medical personnel to build nonlethal weapons?” Gross argues that they do.

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Jan 28 2010

Study: Almond Flowers Produce a Poison Seductive to Bees

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January 27, 2010  Arutz Sheva (INN)

A group of researchers at the Department of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Science Education at the University of Haifa-Oranim set out to investigate why the almond tree produces poison, especially when the purpose of flower nectar is to attract bees, which will pollinate them. They discovered that the lethal substance is actually there to give the lushly-flowered tree an advantage over nearby competitors.

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Jan 28 2010

Climatic changes - Copenhagen

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dr. Dani Tchernov, University of HaifaThe water scarcity that is of particular concern in Israel and the Middle East was discussed in depth at the 2nd University of Haifa Symposium in Copenhagen,  “Climatic Changes - Consequences and Solutions”, that took place on 1-2 December, preluding the UN Climate Change Conference 2009. Speakers at this unique bilateral symposium, orchestrated by the Danish Friends of the University of Haifa, included University of Haifa experts and leading Danish scientists. Continue Reading »

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Jan 28 2010

Israel’s sea level has been rising and falling over last 2,500 years, show scientists

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January 27, 2010  oneindia

In a new study, scientists have shown that the sea level in Israel has been rising and falling over the past 2,500 years, with a one-meter difference between the highest and lowest levels, most of the time below the present-day level. The study was supervised by Dr. Dorit Sivan, Head of the Department of Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa in Israel.

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Jan 28 2010

The almond tree’s secret weapon

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Has the almond tree developed a unique way of drawing potential pollinators? A group of researchers at the Department of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Science Education at the University of Haifa-Oranim speculate that the toxin called amygdalin that is found in almond tree nectar is in fact an evolutionary development intended to give that tree an advantage over others in its surroundings. Continue Reading »

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Jan 27 2010

Health Ministry spots serious problems with school eye tests

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January 27, 2010  Haaretz

A Health Ministry inquiry has found significant flaws in the conduct of eye examinations in schools, Haaretz has learned, with the least reliable examinations found to be those carried out on first- graders.

The research was carried out by a team that included northern district chief physician Dr Michal Cohen Dar and was led by Dr Liora Or, a Health Ministry researcher and a member of the Haifa University School of Public Health. It looked into eye examinations for 751 students in 30 schools in the north, from first to eighth grades. Such examinations are routinely carried out by school nurses.

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Jan 27 2010

Big spider discovered in shrinking habitat

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January 11, 2010  msnbc, Yahoo! NEWS, ABCNYHETER (Norway)

With a lanky legspan of up to nearly a half foot, a newly discovered spider species is the largest among its family of arachnids in the Middle East. The spider, now dubbed Cerbalus aravensis, was discovered in the dunes of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region in Israel by a team of biologists from the University of Haifa-Oranim. The scientists say C. aravensis is nocturnal and mostly active during the hottest months of the year.

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