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.

Movies:

TV series:

Music:

Feel Good Videos:

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.

  • Seeing the big picture view is useful not only in science, but also in your personal life and relationships. Researchers from John Hopkins University have created a tool to help: an interactive map that lets you scroll to the edge of the observable universe.
  • I love science fiction. But what about other science buffs? While there’s evidence that reading sci-fi helps to inspire interest in science, this fun article shows how sci-fi influenced over 80% of astronomers to take up their profession.
  • Do plants breath? New research showing a highly magnified image of plant stomata suggests they do, in eerily similar ways to mammals.
  • Images of Mars’ uncanny beauty – a Christmas present from the Curiosity Rover.
  • An astonishing 90% of U.S. counties have experienced a climate disaster in the last ten years. In 2021 the U.S. experienced 20 billion-dollar climate disasters with over 600 fatalities. See the maps here.
  • Researchers studying the retinal movements of spiders during sleep found they coincided with body movements associated with REM sleep in other animals – which begs the question of whether jumping spiders may be experiencing visual dreams.
  • Studies into the origins of life in our own galaxy conjecture that the reason we haven’t found intelligent civilizations is because these populations may not have survived the Great Filter – and that humanity may be facing its own Great Filter.
  • Planet Earth’s human population hit 7 billion in late 2011. According to United Nations projections, humanity hit 8 billion this week. This report estimates the Earth’s carrying capacity ranges from 500 million to 1 sextillion—and examines the impact of huge population growth on quality of life.
  • 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.

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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