RFK Jr. utilizes Holocaust analogy in speech to DC anti-vaccine rally and On Turning 70 and Missed Opportunities By Karen Kaplan and Size matters more than we think, Israeli study concludes and Latest technology for Fireworks Display for Counting Down 2021 into 2022 in Beijing, China.
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Latest technology for Fireworks Display for Counting Down 2021 into 2022 in Beijing, China.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Size matters more than we think, Israeli study concludes
A new study by Bar-Ilan University researchers suggests a practical way to help older adults make stronger memories.
By DEBBIE MOHNBLATT/THE MEDIA LINE
A new study led by Dr. Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, a senior lecturer in Bar-Ilan University's School of Optometry and Vision Science and Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, concludes that in the formation of visual memories, size counts.
Gilaie-Dotan led the research team that conducted the study, which sought to determine whether large images were better remembered than small ones during natural daily behavior. Though it may seem obvious that they would be, Gilaie-Dotan explained to The Media Line that in memory research, it was popularly assumed that size would not influence the memories one creates about items, since we usually understand what appears in an image, whether it is large or small.
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But the new study, whose results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirmed that humans do tend to remember bigger items better than smaller ones.
Around three years ago, a team led by her and including two of her doctoral students, Shaimaa Masarwa and Olga Kreichman, decided to conduct a pioneer study to definitively answer the question of whether size mattered to memory formation.
One hundred and eighty-two subjects participated in seven different experiments in which they were exposed to various images without knowing that a memory task would come after. Later, their memory of the items was tested.
Dr. Sharon Gilaie-Dotan (credit: ADI GILAIE-DOTAN)
Gilaie-Dotan said these experiments were designed to examine and control for many possible factors that could explain the result. The team found that larger images were indeed better remembered. "Again and again, we found that size was a dominant factor," she said.
Gilaie-Dotan explained one possible reason that may stand behind this phenomenon: "We assumed that it happens because in the initial stages of processing a visual image, a bigger image occupies a bigger area on the retina, and this is also reflected in the regions of the brain that process the information that is available on the retina." In other words, a bigger image activates more neurons in the brain which can begin a whole series of changes in the way we process that visual information and create memories.
Professor Daniel Levy, a human memory specialist at Reichman University in Herzliya, explained to The Media Line that a possible alternative reason for the human brain better remembering larger objects could be that we just pay more attention to bigger items. Despite that, he added that during the research, this factor was considered, and the assumption was tested and discarded.
In some tests, the subjects were exposed to blurry big images together with sharp smaller ones, and, Gilaie-Dotan said, "the bigger items were still remembered better even though they were fuzzy," which discredited the possible alternate explanation.
These findings, Gilaie-Dotan explained, may have influences on different fields. "It may have implications on both education and developmental aspects. Even in older adults, where vision starts to deteriorate. So, it may be important to consider the possibility that the size of visual information may assist the processing or the quality of processing of that same information."
Levy pointed out that for most people, vision tends to deteriorate with time, and based on this study's result, he explained, "it could be that if older people were given an opportunity to see things at a larger resolution, that wouldn't only make it easier for them to see, but maybe it would even help them remember better."
Regardless, Gilaie-Dotan clarified that for now, this is just speculation, and future studies must test it to understand whether age influences the results. "The study was carried out on subjects between the ages of 18 and 40, which is the range of ages of fully developed vision before it starts deteriorating. We only tested normative adults with healthy vision," she said.
Based on the results, Gilaie-Dotan said a whole new series of questions was opened and that more studies on the subject were being or would be conducted soon. "We already have some follow-up studies taking place in different stages," she said. "There is an endless number of studies that I want to carry out as a result of this particular study."
The study is just the first of many in the field that could, after a series of follow-up investigations, become a game-changer in the field, helping to improve memory-building for older adults and potentially having many other applications that have yet to be discovered.
RFK Jr. utilizes Holocaust analogy in speech to DC anti-vaccine rally
Comments by son of assassinated US attorney general are slammed by Auschwitz Memorial, which calls them 'a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay'
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (C) departs after speaking at the Lincoln Memorial to a "Defeat the Mandates" rally in Washington, DC, on January 23, 2022.(Stefani Reynolds / AFP)
JTA — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. compared what he sees as threats to human life from 5G, vaccine passports and "low-orbit satellites" to the threat the Nazis posed to Jews during the Holocaust.
"Even in Hitler's Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you can hide in the attic like Anne Frank did… Today the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run, none of us can hide," Kennedy said during his speech to an anti-vaccination rally in Washington, DC, Sunday.
Kennedy went on to list perceived threats from "low-orbit satellites," 5G, and vaccine passports and named Bill Gates among those posing a threat to privacy and human autonomy. A video clip of Kennedy's speech was shared to Twitter by NBC reporter Ben Collins.
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The son of the assassinated liberal icon Robert Kennedy and the nephew of slain US president John Kennedy has been a vocal anti-vaxxer for years, peddling conspiracy theories and claiming that vaccines cause diseases like autism in children. Kennedy was kicked off of Instagram last year after he shared misinformation about vaccines on the platform.
The consensus in the scientific community rejects any link between vaccines and autism and maintains that side effects of vaccines are minimal.
I awoke one recent morning with a sense of dis-ease. No, not "disease"—for there was nothing physically wrong with me, thank G‑d. Yet I felt uncomfortable. Dis-ease. It was an emotional hangover from the thoughts running through my head as I fell asleep the night before.
I'll be 70 years old in just a few
I had always figured that I would become a mother
months. It says in Psalm 90: "The days of our lives number seventy years, and if in great vigor, eighty." Seventy is considered a full life. Anything more is a bonus. I lay in the dark and asked myself how full my life has really been. I recalled a life where I was thrust through one door after another, year after year, each door another event, another phase. But as I went through each door, a myriad of other possible doors—of other paths to take—closed. And so, those last waking thoughts were of the many doors I'd never opened.
I had always figured that I would become a mother, but a series of health issues ended that dream. Now, I watch from the sidelines as my friends celebrate milestones with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I was a good student and always thought I'd wind up in academia in some ivy-covered building at a prestigious university. I'd be adored by my students, revered by my colleagues and publish one paper after another. Instead, I met my husband on the first day of college, got married and never even made it to graduate school. He became a small-business owner, and I became his sidekick. He used to joke that I did all the jobs you couldn't pay someone to do, and I'd laugh and agree. But when we moved a few blocks from Northwestern University, I'd often walk around the campus, look at those ivy-covered halls and feel a twinge for the road not taken.
I'd even imagined my retirement. The reward for all those years of work was supposed to be the two of us traveling the world together. Oceans traversed, mountains climbed, cities explored. Instead, my husband died at 59, and my role as a wife and professional sidekick ended in a heartbeat. Even that door was slammed in my face.
I got up, poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down at the dining table to mope. With my first sip, I looked up and saw the painting on the nearest wall. It's a portrait of the Rebbe, who also lived a life where many doors were left unopened. Neither of us had children. Both of us had an interest in math and science (he studied engineering, I studied math), yet neither of us pursued a profession in those areas. We both went in directions we hadn't originally predicted. But that's where the similarities ended: He became the Rebbe, while I've lived a mundane life, never achieving any of my dreams. Was there anything I could learn from him about the significance of turning 70?
The number 70, as a multiple of seven, connotes rest and completion. We observe Shabbat, the seventh day, as the culmination of our week—a time to rest, reflect and then move forward. It is that concept—that endings are springboards to move us forward—that the Rebbe used to commemorate his own 70th birthday. He did not believe that people should retire at an arbitrary age to live a life of leisure. He believed that whatever we may lose in physical ability is more than compensated by the wisdom that only experience can give us. "Indeed," said the Rebbe with a smile, "a twenty-year-old can dance the night away while his grandmother tires after a few minutes. But man was not created to dance for hours on end.Man was created to make life on earth purer, brighter and holier than it was before he came on the scene."1
The Rebbe was telling us that what
Every person has something of value to offer
matters isn't what the world has given us, but rather, what we give back to the world. Every person has something of value to offer. There are no wrong doors, not if you choose to learn and grow from every experience. With this epiphany, I stopped thinking about the doors I never opened and focused instead on the ones I did.
I realized that from working with customers, I learned to make the most of these short interactions and leave them with a positive impression of me and our business. From all the professional correspondence I produced over the years, I learned how to write clearly and persuasively. Like every small business owner, I learned how to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the economy, and how to solve all the daily problems that arose. And I learned not to be shy when we were owed money, but how never to humiliate those who owed us.
Since I retired, I've worked as a Jewish volunteer at local hospitals, where my experience with customers enabled me to have brief, positive interactions with hundreds of people. All those years of professional writing gave me skills that I'm using in writing articles. And all that asking customers for payment has helped me every time I'm asked to make fundraising calls for my favorite charities.
Life is an unfathomable mixture of free will and hashgacha pratit. Are we pushing ourselves through a door, or being guided by an invisible hand? Did all those doors just happen to present themselves or were they placed there at precisely the right time?
Perhaps, it's not either-or.
The Rebbe, in just a few words, put it all in perspective for me. More important than wondering "What if?" about the past is asking, "What now?" about the future. As long as we live, we can be productive, and it's our mission to use all our resources, at every age, to make the world a brighter place.
By Karen KaplanMore by this author Karen Kaplan, a native Chicagoan, lives in Evanston, IL, where she actively volunteers in the community. Art by Sefira Lightstone. Our in-house artist, she is an editorial illustrator who creates art to empower the Jewish collective online. Past clients have included the Forward, Mosaic Mag, and the Jewish Press. You can follow more of her work on her personal instagram account where she focuses on activism @sefiracreative.