The connection therapist Naomi Feil has with this 87-year-old Alzheimer's patient Gladys is astonishing. Hold on for 4:19, when Naomi sings an old spiritual song. Gladys' response touches my heart.
Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!
However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!
Eye strain from staring at devices is a widespread issue. Most people work, play, and maintain relationships through screens, which averages out to 6 hours and 35 minutes per day (and that’s in addition to work or school)! That translates to 46 hours and 5 minutes per week, or 2,402 hours and 55 minutes per year.2
With numbers like these, attention to eye health is more important now than ever; our dependence on technology certainly isn’t going anywhere. And just like innovation brought us technology, innovation also holds the key to combating the effects it has on our bodies. Here are some key suggestions from eye care professionals to help reduce common symptoms of digital eye strain. Spoiler alert: none of them involve wearing glasses!
Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
You can find some relief by taking a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s easy to remember because we all want 20/20 vision, and it’s a good excuse to look out the window.
Adjust your workspace screen to be slightly below eye level and about an arm’s length away.
This simple tweak to your work area can really improve your posture, as well as the amount of strain on your eyes. A win-win!
Adjust the brightness of your device.
Brightness levels also play into how hard our eyes have to work. Our screen brightness should match our surroundings, especially during the evening hours.
Say hello to Biofinity Energys® contact lenses!
These contact lenses are specifically made to address eye dryness and tiredness caused by digital devices. Digital Zone Optics® lens design and Aquaform® Technology are two innovations that when combined help with the tiredness and dryness that can be caused by digital eye fatigue.
Additionally, Biofinity Energys® monthly replacement contact lenses are designed to help our eyes better adapt for a more comfortable wearing experience3. This part is tricky because contacts can be hard to adjust to, and trust me—no one wants what feels like gritty sandpaper in there. Comfort is key!
If you’re sick of wearing glasses all the time and feel ready to do something new, visit biofinityenergys.com to learn more and to get your free trial certificate.
Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.
Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.
In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.
Later, she looks through them and sees what is happening around her. Morris-Cafiero finds that people are often looking at her body, or commenting on it with their gaze or body language, at times even appearing to mock her.
"I then examine the images to see if any of the passersby had a critical or questioning element in their face or body language."
"I consider my photographs a social experiment and I reverse the gaze back on to the stranger and place the viewer in the position of being a witness to a moment in time. The project is a performative form of street photography," she writes.
Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. and abroad.
Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero filmed people's reactions to her
She also published her book, The Watchers, which shows her photo collection and includes comments made to her about her body from passerby.
You can see that even people in positions of authority, like this police officer, feel comfortable mocking her just for being out in public.
Though she's not looking at the people around her, Morris-Cafiero's photographs capture a split second in time that really crystalizes how people relate to one another on the street and the judgment she receives from strangers.
In galleries, with the words beside them, the photos are even more pointed. She also includes the positive words she receives from people who have experienced discrimination for their size or any other aspect to their body that is consistently bothered by the dominant culture.
Though we all theoretically know that people, women in particular, are discriminated against for their size, seeing it captured in photographs is gut-wrenching:
The project has gone viral as people identify with Morris-Cafiero's experience, which means a lot of people relate to being stared at and commented on by folks who should mind their own business. Does that include you? You can check out more of her incredible work here.
He did what was right and was rewarded.
Joseph Cook, 37, is a popular metal detectorist on social media where he shares videos of the many treasures he finds on Florida beaches. But what’s even more engaging than his finds is the incredible excitement he brings to the hobby. It’s like watching Steve Irwin, but with a Florida accent.
Not only is his attitude infectious but he also makes a point of doing good when he finds lost items. He wears a necklace around his neck with multiple rings that he’s found to remind him of his mission to return lost treasures.
Recently, he told SWNS that he dug up "the biggest diamond I ever found” on the beach. "When I first found it I thought it would just be a nickel, but then I dug it up and it was just this big old diamond and platinum ring," he said.
Even though the diamond ring appeared to be valuable, he had no intentions of keeping or selling the sparkler. He got right to work posting about it on social media and contacted 100 jewelry stores in the area asking if anyone came in asking for a lost ring.
He kept the ring in his scooter until he had it appraised by a local jeweler and found it was worth about $40,000. "Honestly, I had no clue it was even worth that much. I literally put it in my scooter, I thought maybe a grand, two grand or something," Cook told Fox News Business. "It was in my scooter for a week until I took it to a jewelry store to get them to look at it."
Two weeks after finding the ring, Cook received some calls from an unknown number and thought it might be the ring’s owner. The calls were from a husband who claimed it was his wife’s lost engagement ring. His jeweler told him that someone had found a similar ring to the one they had lost.
The man sent Cook pictures to prove his claim was legitimate.
"They were pretty happy. The wife was on a FaceTime call, and she just said, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it,’ and then she just started crying," Cook told The New York Post. Three weeks later, he met up with the couple to return the ring.
Based on a quote from the alleged owner of the ring, it went through a lot before it was found by Cook.
"I am still in shock that my engagement ring spent several months in the ocean, churned up by a hurricane and found by YOU!" the ring's alleged owner, Tiffany Howard, wrote on Instagram. "Even more shocking is your persistence in finding me to return it!"
"I really wasn't disappointed that I had to return it," Cook said. "Karma's always good, every time I return an item, I find something better, so I'm happy I could give it back."
Cook’s good deed was a tremendous act of generosity. He could have easily pocketed the ring, pawned it and made himself a nice chunk of change. But instead, he decided to use his treasure-hunting talents for good and he did all that he could to track down the ring’s owner.
When asked if he received a reward he said, "I got nothing."
However, Cook’s belief in metal detecting karma paid off right after he returned the treasure to its rightful owners when he found another diamond ring on the beach. "Karma is real," he wrote on Instagram.
Melissa Highsmith never even knew her real family was searching for her.
In 1971, Melissa Highsmith was kidnapped from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. Her disappearance has been one of the oldest missing person cases in America. Now, she gets to celebrate a long-awaited reunion with her family in what she calls a “Christmas miracle.”
As ABC affiliate WFAA reported, Melissa’s mother, Alta (who now goes by Alta Apantenco) had put out an ad for a babysitter to watch over her then 21-month-old while she was at work. A white gloved, well-dressed woman going by the name of Ruth Johnson responded to the call, but she was no babysitter. After Johnson picked up baby Melissa from Apantenco’s roommate, the two were never seen again.
As any parents would do in this situation, the Highsmiths worked tirelessly to find their little girl, involving the Fort Worth police and even the FBI. Sadly, it was all to no avail. The only glimmer of hope remaining was that there was no evidence of harm, so maybe, just maybe, their Melissa was being well taken care of. And for 51 years, the family held onto that possibility.
Meanwhile, Melissa—who never remembered being kidnapped—led a hard life with the woman who claimed to be her mother. "I didn't feel loved as a child. It was abusive, and I ran away at 15 years old. I went to the streets. I did what I had to do to get by... I worked the streets," she shared in a one-on-one interview with WFAA.
Then in September, everything would change. After receiving a failed tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Melissa had been sighted, her father Jeffrie Highsmith (now divorced from Apantenco) decided to try his luck with DNA testing. DNA testing service 23andMe came back with a match linking him to Highworth. Their son Jeff (Melissa’s brother) then found her on Facebook and reached out.
Even though Melissa was skeptical, she was shown a baby picture by the Higworths which she admitted looked like her “twin.” According to Good Morning America, Melissa had a special birthmark and celebrated a birthday very close to the child taken all those years ago.
Any remaining shadows of doubt immediately disappeared when Melissa confronted the woman she thought was her mother. "The person that raised me, I asked her is there anything you need to tell me and it was confirmed that she knew that I was baby Melissa so that just made it real," she told FOX 25.
Mother & daughter reunited after 51 YEARS!— Malini Basu (@MaliniBasu_) November 28, 2022
Melissa was kidnapped when she was 21months old from their Ft Worth apt.
They both gave up on hope. Melissa: “I ran away at 15, & worked the streets.”
Family says 23andMe, DNA Genetic Testing matched them, living 20min away.@wfaapic.twitter.com/Vsz9437pRf
In perhaps the strangest twist of fate, Melissa and her family had been so close, yet so far this entire time—living less than 20 minutes apart.
That discovery is not without its bittersweetness, but so far the family is focusing on making up for lost time and celebrating their reunion.
"I’m just elated, I can't describe my feelings. I'm so happy to see my daughter that I didn't think I would ever see again," Apantenco told WFAA. "I feel like I am dreaming and I keep having to pinch myself to make sure I'm awake," Melissa added.
On their shared Facebook Group page the family wrote, “the joy is palpable amongst all family members” adding that finding Melissa “was purely because of DNA, not because of any police / FBI involvement, podcast involvement, or even our family’s own private investigations or speculations.” They are not alone. Previously a man kidnapped in 1964 found his real family using different ancestry services. There are still miles to go in terms of diversifying DNA databases, but DNA testing has taken on an increasingly significant role in finding missing persons over the years, and continues to be a game changer.
As for the newly reunited Highsmith family, the plan is to simply take things day by day. According to WFAA, Melissa has officially adopted her birth name (she had previously gone by “Melanie”), and is even planning on remarrying her current husband so that her father can walk down the aisle. These are sure to be hard won memories the entire family will cherish forever.
Before it was corrupted by Hitler, the swastika was a sacred symbol of good fortune.
Odds are, seeing a swastika invokes only the most unsavory images of hatred, fascism and flagrant racism—both of Nazis and death camps from WWII, and, sadly, of white supremacy groups of today. There's good reason that many note it as a physical manifestation of evil.
However, even if it isn’t widely talked about, it’s no secret that this symbol once had a far more sacred and benevolent meaning among the cultures that actually created it a millennia ago. And as the diaspora of minority faiths continues to diversify the West, these cultures are speaking out in an effort to reclaim the swastika’s original intent. It’s a conversation worth having.
The word “swastika”—or “svastika,” more accurately—comes from Sanskrit, meaning “good fortune” or “wellbeing,” and has been a benevolent staple of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions since ancient times. In Hindu religions, it is associated with Lord Ganesh, the deity who removes all obstacles, and is prominently seen throughout India and Indonesia as families gather to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights.
It’s also not uncommon to see it marked on a Buddhist temple under the name “manji” or throughout China under the name “wan”—both having auspicious connotations. In Jain faith, a swastika represents the four types of birth that an embodied soul might attain until liberation: heavenly, human, animal, or hellish.
Though Asia has the most long-lasting relationship with the swastika, its influence has appeared throughout Eastern Europe, Rome, northern Africa, South, Central and early North America under different names. For example, Indigenous tribes like the Navajo, Hopi and Passamaquoddy call the symbol ‘whirling logs’, again denoting luck and protection.
So positive was the swastika that up until the rise of Nazi Germany, the West wholeheartedly adopted the motif for advertising—it could be found on Coca-Cola memorabilia, beer cans, even on Boy and Girl scout badges. It was always a symbol for peace. That is, until it was stolen, reversed and appropriated to enact unspeakable cruelty.
For many who practice these minority faiths in America, using a swastika in religious practice is met with protests demanding removal, or even defaced property after people assume they are seeing neo-Nazi propaganda. It’s understandable that those whose religions actually created the symbol would find these assumptions unfair, along with the notion that this well intentioned practice should be compromised due to it being associated with heinous acts in only a very recent chapter in the symbols enduring legacy. After all, wouldn’t that be another unjust casualty in a needless war?
On the other hand, there’s no denying that for many, the swastika remains to be a painful symbol of trauma, with no hope of rehabilitation. As New York-based Steven Heller, a design historian and author whose grandfather perished during the Holocaust, said in his book, “Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption?”: “A rose by any other name is a rose. In the end it’s how a symbol affects you visually and emotionally. For many, it creates a visceral impact and that’s a fact.” And with the rise of white nationalists and Holocaust denial, it feels particularly important to remain sensitive and validate the history of those affected by Hitler’s horrors.
One potential solution might be using intentional semantics. Hitler only called the symbol a hakenkreuz, or “hooked cross,” and that was the word used in US newspapers up until the early 1930s—ten years after the symbol was introduced as a Nazi emblem. Differentiating Hitler’s red, white and black hakenkreuz from the colorful, sacred swastika’s of faith groups could help shift the language and understanding around it.
Even more to the heart of the matter, perhaps this allowance for distinction—and therefore, nuance—invites a deeper understanding between both sides heavily affected by the symbol. For example, Greta Elbogen, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who lost family members at Auschwitz, found great healing after learning abut the swastika’s original meaning. She told AP News that “hearing that the swastika is beautiful and sacred to so many people is a blessing. It’s time to let go of the past and look to the future.”
Obviously, there’s no easy fix here. Each perspective has a compelling reason to feel the way they do, and a lot of it comes from a valid desire to not see their history erased. The real obstacle is being able to have these types of conversations which honor both concerns without demonizing. As the perverted use of the swastika has shown us, extreme bias breeds hate, and hate is dangerous. The key to moving forward, it feels pretty safe to say, will be compassion.