Thursday, January 06, 2005

 

If I am not for me, who shall be for me? And if I am only for me, who am I?

I've always thought that Jews should extend this familiar saying of Hillel to read, "If we are only for us, then who are we? So it's good to learn about this:
Israeli company offers free tsunami alert system

An Israeli company said on Monday it planned to distribute free to Asian countries hit by last week's tsunami a device it says could save lives by warning holiday-makers directly that a tidal wave is coming. The system developed by Israeli inventor Meir Gitelis uses land and water sensors, smaller than a shoe box and each costing $170, to measure seismic activity and wave motion.

Like other systems already in operation, the sensors can send alerts in seconds by satellite to governments anywhere in the world. Unlike others, this system can also relay warnings directly to private subscribers over cell phones, pagers or dedicated receivers, spreading the message more widely.

Seaside hotels could install a satellite receiver to pick up warnings broadcast over the system seconds after an earthquake that could cause giant waves. Local cell phone or pager networks could do the same and send SMS messages to their subscribers.

"The sensors determine the tremor's intensity as well as the height and speed of the waves above it," said Gitelis, of Avtipus Patents and Inventions Ltd., which specializes in sensors and communications devices. "The system can then analyze all the data and predict if and when a tsunami will come, where it will hit and how big its impact will be," he told Reuters.

"We're not doing this to make money," Gitelis said. "He want to help people. We plan to give our product to poor countries for free and we will not charge the countries that were affected by the disaster in Asia."

Gitelis said his system could be particularly effective in holiday resorts like those devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami, which took an estimated 75 minutes to reach Thailand and much longer to hit Sri Lanka and parts of India. But in areas with poor communications it could still be hard to warn people of the approaching danger.
Let's please God hope that none of these countries rejects Gitelis's donation because it is coming from an Israeli.

(Thanks to Thoughts from a Rabbi for the link. As he writes, "May this act of generosity inspire others.")
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