In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 1, 2014 / 1 Nissan, 5774

Does Facebook acquisition doom real reality?

By Rex Huppke

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Future history books will note that March 25, 2014, was a bad day for human legs. It was a bad day for the outdoors, a bad day for bicycles and an utterly abysmal day for cafes, bars and other places where people meet in person.

It was the day Facebook -- the social media giant that has already digitized a good part of our social interaction -- acquired Oculus VR, which sounds like a malevolent, world-destroying Transformer but is actually considerably more frightening.

The "VR" in the company's name stands for "virtual reality." Oculus has been busy working on a gaming device called the Oculus Rift headset, which, according to a blog post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, puts the user in "a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away."

Let's pause a moment to acknowledge that in any post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie worth its salt, something called "the Oculus Rift headset" would be the reason for the apocalypse or, at the very least, its pre-apocalypse creation would mark the moment things took a serious turn for the worse.

Back to Mr. Zuckerberg: "The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you're actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it's different from anything they've ever experienced in their lives."

I'd like to believe that's because the people who would willingly don an Oculus Rift headset have lives that haven't extended far beyond their parents' living rooms, but I doubt that's the case. Rather, I think the virtual world inside this odd headgear holds some alluring advantages over actual reality, and that's how Facebook plans to slurp us all up and plunk us down like meat sacks on our couches, with little need to ever get up again.

After detailing the device's gaming capabilities, Zuckerberg wrote: "But this is just the start." (Cue maniacal laughter and jarring thunderclaps.)

"After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home. ... Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures."

The problem with imagining all those things in real life has always been that achieving them requires getting up and exerting energy. You have to interact with actual humans -- and we all know how insufferable they can be -- and endure the inconveniences of travel, goal setting and goal realization.

Who has time for that these days?

With Oculus-equipped Facebook, you can have life delivered like a pizza, right to your own personal isolation zone.

While I do find this all mildly terrifying -- will we all wind up Oculus-ized out of existence? -- I can certainly see the advantages of being not just "on Facebook" but "in Facebook." And I have some plans for the first time I strap on my virtual reality helmet and dive into the digitized world of social media.

First, I'm going to stop at the weapons shop (I assume there will be a weapons shop; this was created by gamers, after all) and buy a big Thor-like hammer to carry around. Then I'm going to stomp off to my friends' Facebook walls and use the hammer to smash the radicchio out of all the stupid pictures of food they've posted.

After that, I'll find all the people who were popular in high school, virtually approach them and laugh in their cyberfaces because they're now bald or overweight or divorced or otherwise worse off than me. I'll also swing around my big food-whackin' hammer, just to show off a little. Suckers.

I'll track down every so-called friend who ever pestered me with a Facebook game invitation and have my killer robot dog (did I mention that I also bought a killer robot dog?) e-pee on their status updates. Then I'll walk past the virtual strip club -- again, you know the gamers are putting a strip club in there -- and not stop because I promised the virtual version of my wife I wouldn't and her killer robot dog is meaner than mine.

Finally, I'll take off my Oculus Facebook Helmet, look around the living room and see that my real-life kids are yelling at each other and my real-life wife is asking me to clean up the real-life dog puke on the carpet.

Then I'll suddenly remember I forgot to feed my killer robot dog.

Helmet on -- problems solved.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Rex Huppke is a columnist for The Chicago Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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