Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NorthWest Trek

Sorry for the slow pace of posts... I find it difficult to post regularly, especially when I'm on the road! I just spent a few days in Seattle, running a program for Congregation Ezra B'Sarroth. While I was there, I took the opportunity to visit NorthWest Trek. It's a fabulous place, essentially similar to the San Diego Wild Animal Park but focusing on native North West wildlife. The carnivores/predators are in spacious, beautifully scenic enclosures around which one walks on a path. These exhibits include bear, wolves, foxes, eagles, wolverines, etc. Then there is a 50 minute tram ride around the larger reserves, which contain bison, elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Check out this picture of a bison which was walking alongside the tram!

If you're ever in the northwestern US, I highly recommend a visit to North West Trek!


Anonymous said...

Can you adress the questions on Previous Post they seem Quite Intrgining. The Sfas emes this weeks Parsha Speaks of Tzvi and Ayal

Anonymous said...

Oh MAN! I missed you by just DAYS. I just moved to NY this past week. My chevrusa goes to Ezra B'Saroth.

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Here’s an article by Elizabeth Mitchell, Science reporter, BBC News . A Mussar Haskeil follows, by Barzilai.

Have you ever noticed that herds of grazing animals all face the same way?
Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.
Wild deer also display this behaviour - a phenomenon that has apparently gone unnoticed by herdsmen and hunters for thousands of years.
In the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say the Earth's magnetic fields may influence the behaviour of these animals.
The Earth can be viewed as a huge magnet, with magnetic north and south situated close to the geographical poles.
Many species - including birds and salmon - are known to use the Earth's magnetic fields in migration, rather like a natural GPS.
A few studies have shown that some mammals - including bats - also use a "magnetic compass" to help their sense of direction.
Dr Sabine Begall, from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, has mainly studied the magnetic sense of mole rats - African animals that live in underground tunnels.
"We were wondering if larger animals also have this magnetic sense," she told BBC News.
Dr Begall and colleagues first decided to study the natural behaviour of domestic cattle.
The researchers surveyed Google Earth images of 8,510 grazing and resting cattle in 308 pasture plains across the globe.
"Sometimes it took hours and hours to find some pictures with good resolution," said Dr Begall.
The scientists were unable to distinguish between the head and rear of the cattle, but could tell that the animals tended to face either north or south.
Their study ruled out the possibility that the Sun position or wind direction were major influences on the orientation of the cattle.
Dr Begall said: "In Africa and South America, the cattle (were) shifted slightly to a more north-eastern-south-western direction.
"But it is known that the Earth's magnetic field is much weaker there," she explained.
The researchers also recorded the body positions of 2,974 wild deer in 277 locations across the Czech Republic.
Their fieldwork revealed that the majority of grazing and resting deer face northward. About one-third of the deer faced southward.
"That might be some kind of anti-predatory behaviour," speculated Dr Begall.
Willy Miller - a Scottish cattle farmer - remarked: "I've never noticed that my cows all face the same way."
Cows are social animals: "[They] all sit down before it rains [and] huddle together in a circle formation during blizzards. But from a cow's point of view, that's just sensible," he told BBC News.
Professor John Phillips, a sensory biologist from Virginia Tech University, US, commented that this sixth magnetic sense might be "virtually ubiquitous in the animal kingdom".
He added: "We need to think about some really fundamental things that this sensory ability provides in animals."
The challenge remains for scientists to explain how the animals behave in this way - and if Scottish cattle are the exception to the rule!

So, just interesting, another fact of little relevance. Mah Rabu Ma’asecha Hashem!

But, then you see the other half of the information, from http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080826/od_nm/magnetism_mammals_odd_dc

Although not seen before in large mammals, birds, turtles and salmon are known to use the Earth's magnetic field to guide their migrations, while rodents and one bat species have been found to possess an internal magnetic compass.
The researchers noted that humans and even whales are suspected of having an innate magnetic compass.
Some studies suggest humans who sleep in an East-West position have far shorter rapid eye movement or REM sleep cycles, in which dreams occur, compared with North-South sleepers who got more REM sleep.
"Our results call for an in-depth study of this phenomenon and challenge neuroscientists, biochemists and physicists to study the proximate mechanisms and biological significance of magnetic alignment," Begall and colleagues wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

We all know about the halacha in Orach Chaim 3:6 that one should not place his marital bed in an east-west axis. But, I think many of us really don’t care about this, and apply the well-worn hetteirim of inertia and willful ignorance, or say, well, there’s a Zohar (brought in the MB) that might mean that you davka should put your bed mizrach ma’arav, so I can’t go wrong whatever I do. All of a sudden you do like the Zohar? You prefer not to think about the Gaon that says that’s not what the Zohar means, that the Zohar means exactly what the Mechaber says.
But then, you read about the scientific findings that sleeping in an east-west axis may be less restful, and suddenly you start seriously thinking about moving your bed around. So what position, exactly, do Chazal occupy in your life?

Anonymous said...

אריה שאג, מי לא יירא(Amos:3,8)-The Lions Roars who will not tremble?:אריה
אלול ,ראש השנה,יום כיפור, הושנה
רבא-all the days of judgment ,yet we dont.