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.

  • Out of the thousands of species that have been listed by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, only 54 have recovered to the point where they no longer need protection. A new study examines why the Act is “too little too late” in helping vulnerable species.
  • The nature of consciousness is one of science’s most perplexing mysteries. Where does it arise? What is its purpose? What are its full capacities? This study seeks to answer some of those persistent questions.
  • Climate spiral visualizations are widely used among scientists to  show monthly global temperature anomalies. This GISTEMP v4 version estimates global surface temperature change between the years 1880-2021.
  • The speed of Earth’s spin fluctuates, but over its long history, it’s slowing. Still, on June 29, Earth recorded its shortest day since scientists began using atomic clocks to measure its rotational speed.
  • The James Webb telescope is expanding our minds and our universe (or at least our understanding of it)! In this video, Bill Nye unpacks what astronomy is learning, including explaining images of the Carina Nebula, Southern Ring Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet and more.
  • If you think the pandemic is over, that any infection after vaccination will be mild, any reinfections asymptomatic or like a cold, or that variant-specific vaccines will deliver us from the pandemic – think again. This immunologist’s experience with Covid suggests otherwise.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope, launched on Christmas Day last year, is extending our reach into deep space beyond what its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, could see. Check out these first amazing images, which are updated regularly.
  • A research team used memory reconsolidation to neutralize an existing fear, with the aim to override or disrupt the fearful memory by activating a positive one. Learn about their success here.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that the true death toll of the Covid pandemic stands around 15 million, which takes into account excess deaths and under-reporting in some countries.
  • Fear is a major motivator in human action and fearful experiences can condition our responses for years. A team of neuroscientists have studied the formation of fear memories in the emotional hub of the brain – the amygdala — and think they have a mechanism.
  • The Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine crunches the current data on the Covid pandemic to estimate your risk that the person breathing next to you in a restaurant is infectious with Covid – and what you can do to protect yourself.
  • Is it possible for 99% of the world’s population to be in sunlight at the same time? This was claimed to happen on July 8 and this article fact-checked that possibility.

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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