Archive for March, 2013

I was browsing through the New York Times Science section when I came upon this happy headline:

New Jersey eradicates the asian long-horned beetle after an 11-year fight.

But this month, New Jersey declared victory in its war against the Asian long-horned beetle, an invasive, hardwood-eating insect that arrived on the shores of New York City in 1996, most likely on wood pallets. The beetle has since surfaced in a total of five states and, by tunneling through tree trunks, has threatened some of the nation’s most common tree species, including maples, London planes, birches and poplars.


The beetles lay their eggs inside the bark of the tree, and after the eggs hatch, larvae feed on the trunk’s hardwood. “It kills a tree by eating the wood from the inside out,” said Rhonda Santos, a spokeswoman for the federal Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “If you took a cross section of a tree infested by Asian long-horned beetles, it would look like Swiss cheese.”

More than 20,000 trees were removed in New Jersey during the struggle, but — knock on wood — the beetles are now vanquished from the Garden State. “It shows that the program works,” said Paul J. Kurtz, a state entomologist who led the eradication effort. “I’ve been doing this for 11 years nonstop, so it’s a little weird that it’s over. But at the same time, it’s like, ‘Wow, we did it.’ ”

paul-kurtz-nj(Paul J. Kurtz, a state entomologist, led the eradication effort against the Asian long-horned beetle)

Just because New Jersey has conquered the Asian long-horned beetle does not mean that Mr. Kurtz is idle. “If you’re not minding the store,” he said, “someone else could come in.” He was referring to the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect and fast flier that attacks ash trees and is now in 18 states, including Pennsylvania and New York. “It’s inevitable,” he said of the ash borer’s arrival. “We’re surrounded.”

Well done, Mr Kurtz. Well done, New Jersey!



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Hi, guys…

Passover begins tonight (Monday March 25, 2013) at sunset.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Matzah Bakery at the Mea Shearim neighborhood(Baking handmade shmura matza for Passover)

I will be in Toronto for a little over a week.

Have a happy, kosher and joyful Passover.

sedar-table(The Passover seder table)

I’ll should be back Wednesday April 3.

See you then!


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There is a cute shopping area behind the Mamilla Hotel, not far from the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.

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It is a nice mix of old and modern architecture.

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There are a lot of posh, trendy shops there.

last 013(Rolex and Crocs)

last 018(My daughter and Tomer Aharon in front of Abercrombie & Fitch)

There are also more than a few restaurants and cafés.

last 084(Aroma Espresso Bar)

last 083(Roladin Bakery & Café)

What you see as you stroll through the area are a lot of sculptures.

last 014(Ben Gurion standing on his head. Apparently, something he liked to do)

They’re everywhere!

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And they are all for sale!

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You’ll love them.

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Some of the buildings have been reconstructed, stone by stone, all numbered so they could be put back in the same order.

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If you want a really fun time…

last 059(It’s a stone’s throw from the Tower of David)

And you’re ever in Jerusalem and have an hour or so to spend…

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visit Mamilla court…

last 020(Relax! It’s only a sculpture!)

Have a limonana…

last 098(Lemonade with fresh mint leaves)

Maybe some shakshuka…

last 120(Shakshuka – poached or fried egg with tomato sauce, served with tehina)

You’ll be amazed!

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(in a good way)!


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Until last month, I’d never been to a shuk. [1]

???????????????????????????????(One of the many lanes in the shuk in Yaffo [aka Jaffa])

When I was in Israel, I had the opportunity to visit a few and I have to tell you, there is a real appeal to shopping in a shuk.

???????????????????????????????(Entrance to the Iraqi shuk in Jerusalem)

There is also a great shuk in Tel Aviv!

???????????????????????????????(Bagels at the shuk in Tel Aviv!)

And it featured one of my favourite drinks in Israel…

???????????????????????????????(Limonana – lemonade with mint leaves)

Limonana!! Especially when it’s hot out, limonana really makes my day!

???????????????????????????????(Entrance to Machane Yehuda Market – Jerusalem)

My favourite one is the Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem (aka “The Shuk”). [2]

???????????????????????????????(Machane Yehuda Market – Jerusalem)

There is an energy and a vibrancy there that is quite powerful.

machane-yehuda(Machane Yehuda Market – Jerusalem [Image: Wikipedia])

Another good market is the long narrow shuk that runs from the Jaffa Gate to the entrance to the Western Wall.

???????????????????????????????(My daughter’s photo of me & Tomer Aharon at the Old City shuk – Jerusalem)

My dear friend Tracy went to Morocco last year. She says that the shuk in Marrakesh is beyond belief.

Never… EVER… pass up an opportunity to walk through an authentic shuk. It has to be experienced to be believed.


[1] A shuk [souq or souk (Arabic: سوق‎ sūq, also spelled soq, souk, esouk, suk, sooq, souq, or suq)] is an open-air marketplace or commercial quarter in an Arab or Berber city. It entails the concept of a free market where vendors can command the going market price for their products. The term is often used to designate the market in any Arabized or Muslim city, but in modern times it appears in Western cities too.

[2] Mahane Yehuda Market, often referred to as “The Shuk”, is a marketplace in Jerusalem, Israel. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the market’s more than 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

Except where indicated, all images taken by Daniel Ventresca.

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This is a story that’s been bouncing around the past few days…

The geeks and nerdlings over at ScienceDaily.com put us in the picture.

Coffee, Green Tea, May Help Lower Stroke Risk, Research Shows


Green tea and coffee may help lower your risk of having a stroke, especially when both are a regular part of your diet, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks,” said Yoshihiro Kokubo, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.H.A., F.A.C.C., F.E.S.C., lead author of the study at Japan’s National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center. “You may make a small but positive lifestyle change to help lower the risk of stroke by adding daily green tea to your diet.”

Researchers asked 83,269 Japanese adults about their green tea and coffee drinking habits, following them for an average 13 years. They found that the more green tea or coffee people drink, the lower their stroke risks.

  • People who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those who rarely drank it.
  • People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14 percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20 percent lower risk, compared to those who rarely drank it.
  • People who drank at least one cup of coffee or two cups of green tea daily had a 32 percent lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage, compared to those who rarely drank either beverage. (Intracerebral hemorrhage happens when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds inside the brain. About 13 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic.)


Participants in the study were 45 to 74 years old, almost evenly divided in gender, and were free from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

During the 13-years of follow-up, researchers reviewed participants’ hospital medical records and death certificates, collecting data about heart disease, strokes and causes of death. They adjusted their findings to account for age, sex and lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, weight, diet and exercise.

Green tea drinkers in the study were more likely to exercise compared to non-drinkers.

Previous limited research has shown green tea’s link to lower death risks from heart disease, but has only touched on its association with lower stroke risks. Other studies have shown inconsistent connections between coffee and stroke risks.

Initial study results showed that drinking more than two cups of coffee daily was linked to increasing coronary heart disease rates in age- and sex-adjusted analysis. But researchers didn’t find the association after factoring in the effects of cigarette smoking — underscoring smoking’s negative health impact on heart and stroke health.

A typical cup of coffee or tea in Japan was approximately six ounces. “However, our self-reported data may be reasonably accurate, because nationwide annual health screenings produced similar results, and our validation study showed relatively high validity.” Kokubo said. “The regular action of drinking tea, coffee, largely benefits cardiovascular health because it partly keeps blood clots from forming.”

Black iron asian teapot with sprigs of mint for tea

Tea and coffee are the most popular drinks in the world after water, suggesting that these results may apply in America and other countries.

It’s unclear how green tea affects stroke risks. A compound group known as catechins may provide some protection. Catechins have an antioxidant anti-inflammatory effect, increasing plasma antioxidant capacity and anti-thrombogenic effects.

Some chemicals in coffee include chlorogenic acid, thus cutting stroke risks by lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Further research could clarify how the interaction between coffee and green tea might help further lower stroke risks, Kokubo said.


Co-authors are: Isao Saito, M.D., Ph.D.; Kazumasa Yamagishi, M.D., Ph.D.; Hiroshi Yatsuya, M.D., Ph.D.; Junko Ishihara, Ph.D.; Manami Inoue, M.D., Ph.D.; and Shoichiro Tsugane, M.D., Ph.D.

The study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Cancer Research and the Third-Term Comprehensive Ten-Year Strategy for Cancer Control from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.

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Ahu’ula [1]

A river of molten lava pours into the Pacific Ocean

(Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii)

Photographer: G. Brad Lewis

Lava flows into the Pacific Ocean(Photographer: G. Brad Lewis)

Facebook:    www.facebook.com/G.Brad.Lewis

Websites:    www.gbradlewis.com


Image details at: http://www.photobotos.com/hawaii-volcanoes-national-park/


[1] Ahu’ula is a Hawaiian word, meaning “feathered cloak.”

Thanks once again to PhotoBotos.com for this and countless other eye-popping images!

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March 14 (3.14)!


To all my little geeks and nerdlings…


Happy Pi Day!

pi-day-march-14-2015(Two more years!)

The best is yet to come!


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