Largely thanks to an embarrassing misstep by Apple.

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Waze. Photo from official website

A few years ago, while covering financial affairs for Israel’s largest news organization, I sat with a former high-ranking Waze employee who told me the story of the company's early days.

“In the beginning, few people understood what we were trying to do,” he said. “Most potential investors asked us ‘why on earth would someone use a navigating system to guide him through a route he takes every day’?”

His tone reflected how difficult these early stages were for them.

Waze was founded in 2007 by Israeli trio, Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar, and Uri Levine. The idea was indeed a bit unusual at the time: a navigation app that uses the power of the crowd. The users are those who draw the maps as they drive the roads. The app gathers all of the active users’ locations via GPS signals and so could help direct them to less crowded routes and balance traffic. It’s a free navigation app that fights traffic. …


Studies reveal the surprising power of the “IKEA Effect” on our brains

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Photo by Semen Borisov on Unsplash

Recently, I met a former head chef at a fancy restaurant who decided, in light of the pandemic, to open a home-cooking business based on deliveries. She offers a variety of middle-eastern food: Shakshuka, arayes, spicy fish, and shawarma — all in DIY boxes. The client receives a box with the basic produce: sauce, spices, eggs, or chicken neatly organized and ready to be mixed, heated, and eaten.

“It’s a win-win”, Shiri Kraus, chef and co-owner of Maghreb told me. “I get to make and sell food. …


Studies from the world leader in Covid-19 vaccination give a reason for cautious optimism

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Photo: Steven Cornfield /Unsplash

The question left unanswered

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine trials were good, extremely good even, but partial. The participants who received the vaccine during the Phase 3 trial were analyzed based on symptoms, or lack thereof, and not regularly checked for the presence of Covid-19.

This left a major question unanswered: Does the vaccine only protect against a severe disease with symptoms, or does it fully protect against the possibility to get infected and as a result prevents those who were vaccinated from infecting others?

Some argued that without this answer, the data is not complete. Experts agreed that further testing is needed. …


A simple injection that could turn into a PR nightmare

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Funko Pop! figure of Queen Elizabeth II

Not Your Average 94-Year-Old

The announcement from Buckingham Palace was short and succinct:

“The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have received Covid-19 vaccinations. The vaccinations were administered by a household doctor at Windsor Castle. The Queen decided to let it be known she had the vaccination to prevent further speculation”.

In any other circumstances, a 94-year-old woman getting a vaccine wouldn’t be newsworthy. However, this is not *just* a vaccine but *the* vaccine the whole world has been waiting for during the past year. …


From British troops to Puerto Rican shooters; The Capitol had seen its share of violence

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The burning of Washington by Paul de Thoyras

1814: The Burning of Washington City

When American forces invaded York, the capital of British-controlled upper Canada, in April 1813, the war between the United States and Great Britain had been fought for almost a year.

Hundreds of American soldiers crossed enemy lines and managed to reach Fort York for a lengthy standoff with the British forces present. On April 27, 1813, right before the British soldiers evacuated the fort, they blew up all of the powder storage, causing a huge explosion killing dozens of American soldiers.

The following day, American soldiers began carrying out a series of destructive acts around the city. They burned government buildings, looted houses, and razed the fort to the ground. …


He can’t, he won’t, and guess what, he didn’t

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Protestor shouting “Trump won the election” from the chair of the speaker. Photo: Igor Bobic, Twitter

For some reason, people are calling and actually expecting President Trump to put a stop to the riots going on on Capitol Hill.

President-Elect Joe Biden said, “I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege”.

Others called the President to do the same.

This is absurd.

Just hours before the mob stormed the Capitol building, President Trump gave yet another inciting speech. ”We will never concede”, the President said, repeating unfounded claims about election fraud, and how the presidency was “stolen”.


Experts are debating the one-dose approach and the decision to mix different vaccines

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Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

Context

The situation in the U.K. is dire. So far, 57,725 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 in one day, a record number since the beginning of the pandemic. There are hundreds of new victims every day; December 30 saw 981 deaths.

“I do cry my way to work at the moment because of just how bad things are to come,” Suzanne Barke, an intensive care unit nurse said.

“Hospitals are running out of oxygen. … NHS staff are at a breaking point. This is not a drill. Please believe us,” Dr. Samantha Batt-Rawdem, a critical care doctor and president of the Doctor’s Association U.K.


Here Are 5 Things It Taught Us

Two women sitting on sofa with 2020 baloons
Two women sitting on sofa with 2020 baloons
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It was a bad year. I wouldn’t go as far as Time magazine and declare it “the worst year ever”, but it was definitely bad. Many people lost loved ones, many people had their lives rocked to their core. Anxiety and fear dominated. Loneliness and isolation became the new norm.

And yet, here we are, we survived. We get to say ‘good riddance’ to the awful year behind us and welcome in anticipation the new year to come.

2020, however, was not a complete waste. …


The inspirational story behind ‘the pilots’ translation’ of “The Hobbit”

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The 10 Israeli POWs celebrating Passover in the Egyptian prison. Photo: National Library of Israel

Captivity

On June 30, 1970, decorated Israeli Air Force pilot, Rami Harpaz, was on route to Egyptian air space where he’ll take part in a raid against enemy missile batteries. One of many for the experienced Harpaz.

These were times of war. Following Israel’s decisive and internationally acclaimed victory in the ‘Six-Day War’ of 1967, the ‘War of Attrition’ began. It was a long-fought, constantly ongoing series of battles between Arab nations, mainly Egypt and Jordan, and Israel. …


The reaction to the new strain of the virus is fuelled by hysteria, fallacy, and separatism

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Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

A Logical Fallacy

It is commonly considered nowadays that the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ probably wasn’t originated in Spain at all. During World War 1, Spain remained neutral and wasn’t subjected to censorship of the press. The local Spanish media was the only one extensively reporting about the pandemic spreading through the country. As it was the only one reporting, the international community mistakenly assumed it was the first one affected. The most severe pandemic in recent history was attributed to Spain by a simple case of fallacy.

On December 14, the British government announced that a new variant of the Covid-19 virus was identified. …

About

Elad Simchayoff

I love writing about what I love. Journalist. Always curious. Israeli born, London based. Father, Husband, and a dog person.

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