Rick’s Picks

Rick’s Picks is a collection of things that I’ve really liked, and you may, too. They can be inspiring, entertaining, fun, and sometimes wacky.

Worth Noting

Articles:

Resources for Climate Action:

Organizations Worth Supporting:

Resources for Equity and Social Justice:

Humor:

Videos

Like everybody else, my tastes are a little – ah – eclectic. See if you like these.

Science News

These are some of the latest Science Picks from my weekly Just One Thing newsletter. For a full archive of Science News, go here.

  • Satellite data indicate that land is sinking faster than sea level is rising in many coastal cities throughout the world. Groundwater extraction is likely the main cause.
  • Researchers have shown that some fish (cichlids and stingrays) are good at math. These species were able to perform simple addition and subtraction of the number 1, in the range up to 5.
  • A single Homo Sapiens tooth found in a cave in southern France pushes back the earliest date of humans in Europe by 10,000 years (to 52,000 BCE), suggesting they lived there at the same time as Neanderthals.
  • New research shows how a temporary increase in dopamine levels in the basolateral amygdala, a brain region associated with emotion, initiates the transition from REM sleep to another non-REM sleep.
  • Biologists have discovered the largest bacterium ever found living in Caribbean mangroves, with a single cell measuring 2 cm long and a huge genome encased inside a membrane, like in the human body.
  • Over 100 children were recruited in a study that revealed how they viewed behaviors appropriate in their most bonded relationships. It turns out that infants commonly use saliva sharing as a cue that two people are not just cooperative, but that their relationship is intimate.
  • ‘Telepresence robots’ are being trialed by a research team at University of California, Davis to provide classroom access to children with serious medical conditions who can’t attend school.
  • Neurologists use brain-mapping studies to examine the links between seizures and memory loss. Because learning and seizures activate the same brain circuits in the hippocampus and cortex, seizures can disrupt the memory consolidation process by taking over the circuit.
  • new comparison of direct measurements of sea level rise shows that global mean sea level has risen by more than an inch (3 cm) per decade since precise satellite measurements began in the 1990s.
  • Scientists announced new findings about the “Great Oxidation Event” – when Earth’s oxygen first increased in the atmosphere that became the precursor to complex life. The results will help scientists search for evidence of life on other worlds.
  • recent study demonstrates how the brain has neurons that fire specifically during certain mathematical operations, some for addition and others for subtraction.
  • A discovery of the oldest hominin fossil suggests that when humans ventured out of Africa over 1 million years ago, they did so in waves of slow-moving migration, expanding into new territory each season.

Newsletter Picks

These “Rick’s Picks” are from my MindFull of Good newsletter (launched in 2020):

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

Rick Hanson, PhD is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and New York Times best-selling author. His books have been published in 29 languages and include NeurodharmaResilient, Hardwiring HappinessBuddha’s BrainJust One Thing, and Mother Nurture – with 900,000 copies in English alone. His free newsletters have 215,000 subscribers and his online programs have scholarships available for those with financial need. He’s lectured at NASA, Google, Oxford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. An expert on positive neuroplasticity, his work has been featured on the BBC, CBS, NPR, and other major media. He began meditating in 1974 and is the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. He and his wife live in northern California and have two adult children. He loves wilderness and taking a break from emails.

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