The Shmooze

Ashkenazi Stem Cells: Key to Longevity?

By Michael Kaminer

We personally think it’s the power of complaining.

But to learn why some Ashkenazim live so long, researchers at Cornell University are about to start studying the stem cells of about a dozen older Jews.

According to the New York Post — in a story headlined “Bouncing bubbes of New York” — many Ashkenazi Jews “live to 100 without disease despite smoking, drinking and eating fatty foods.”

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Rangers' Jewish GM Is Conquering the Major Leagues, But Not as a Batter

By Ron Dicker

The Texas Rangers’ Jewish general manager, Jon Daniels, idolized the Mets while growing up in Queens, but he always assumed his future wouldn’t include being a star ballplayer for the team. It became that much more apparent when he tried out for the freshman baseball team at Hunter College High School in Manhattan. As he said in an interview with Fast Company magazine, “I could throw, and I wasn’t afraid to take a beating, but I couldn’t hit for shit.”

But he has conquered the Major Leagues as a front-office wiz kid. In 2005, at age 28, he took over the wheeling-and-dealing of the Rangers to become the youngest general manager in history. Five years later, the Rangers are appearing in the American League Championship Series for the first time, playing the New York Yankees starting tonight for the right to advance to the World Series.

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Sarcasm Software Is Dead Serious

By Nathan Jeffay

If there’s one thing that Israelis don’t get, it’s sarcasm. Try being sarcastic, whether in English or in Hebrew, and more often than not it falls flat, sometimes leading to embarrassing misunderstandings.

Ironic, then, that Israeli academics have just made a breakthrough that will help the world know when somebody is being sarcastic. Hebrew University researchers have just developed an algorithm that can analyze text and determine whether the writer is being serious or sarcastic.

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