Did you catch a glimpse of the blue moon this past Easter weekend? In this post-long weekend issue, we have an alternative from the doom and gloom of your 24-7 news cycle with positive news from around the globe. We start with traditional healers in Australia’s medical system, a beach in Mumbai going from dump to turtle hatchery in a short time, altruism from an unlikely source in SF, and the winner of the Global Teacher Prize. Listen in to a podcast with the psychologist who consulted for Pixar’s Inside Out and read stories from women diagnosed late with autism. In the digs, a 100-day art project kicks off, and Jane Goodall launches a free course. Enjoy!
◦ selected words
Ngangkari healers, highly regarded in their communities, have brought their 60,000-year-old traditions to Royal Adelaide Hospital and clinics across Australia as a form of complementary alternative medicine. Previously it was a struggle to get Indigenous clients to see a mainstream doctor, but with Ngangkari techniques, including smoking ceremonies, bush medicine and spirit realignment, patients have reported better pain management and improved attendance rates at clinics.
ABC Australia (3min read)
In what the United Nations has called the “world’s largest beach cleanup project”, Versova Beach has been rejuvenated into a pristine coastline when once it was covered in plastics and garbage. Through the efforts of volunteers over the past two years, manually picking up trash and even sleeping overnight to protect the hatchlings as they make their way to the sea, the fishing village off the Arabian Sea last week saw 80 turtles leave their nests.
The Guardian (3min read)
As part of a nationwide clean-energy push, the Netherlands has awarded contracts to a Swedish energy firm to build the first two wind farms in the North Sea, the first such project in the world not subsidized by public funds. Three more wind farms have been awarded since, upping the capacity to 7 gigawatts, enough to power over five million homes. (meta note: this article from MIT’s The Download has a unique TL;DR format).
MIT Technology Review’s The Download (2min read)
San Francisco cryptocurrency startup Ripple announced on an episode of Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” an unprecedented $29M donation to the nonprofit DonorsChoose.org. Many teachers use the site to post requests for music instruments and school supplies, and this donation, the single largest virtual currency gift to a single charity ever, has effectively cleared the crowdfunding platform of every request.
San Francisco Chronicle (4min read)
◦ listen in
While researching the groundbreaking movie Inside Out, giving audiences a unique perspective on emotions, Pixar to UC Berkeley professor and psychologist Dacher Keltner. The Director of Berkeley’s Social Interaction Lab and author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Dacher has dedicated his career to understanding how emotions shape how we interact with the world and each other. In this podcast, he discusses the main drivers of life satisfaction, how to influence your social and work life in positive ways, and the simple steps towards a happier, more meaningful life.
The Knowledge Project by Farnam Street (1hr 19min podcast)
◦ eat well
Dahl is simply a dish prepared with lentils or pulses (a legume’s grain seed). This nourishing vegan recipe takes only half an hour, is packed with plant protein, and uses common spices like curry and turmeric (if you’re without dried coriander, substitute with cumin, fresh cilantro, Italian parsley or basil).
Running on Real Food
◦ read slow
Ever since The Oatmeal and Wait But Why, it seems Web comics are proliferating on the web. And why not, it’s an effective medium for bringing humor to deeper topics. In this adaptation of Seneca’s letter on the subject of travel, from the writer and illustrators at More to That, leverage their signature triangle headed character for reflections on adventure, familiarity, wonderment, and gratitude.
More to That via Medium (16min read)
“I’m Maura Campbell. I was born with the social skills of a used teabag.” Stories from seven women diagnosed with autism late in life, and how the diagnosis changed how they looked at the world and themselves.
BBC Stories (15min read)
◦ current read
Recommended by many sources, not only as a primer on good writing but on life, Anne Lamott shares her struggles as a writer as well as vivid stories from her childhood. Instead of focusing on grammar and structure, Lamott’s direct yet humorous style in offering her thoughts on writing are relevant to anyone putting pen to paper, while the true value is in the bits of philosophy on everyday life sprinkled across the book.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (237p book)
◦ dig this
What I’m digging lately:
- #The100DayProject – The 5th annual challenge kicked off yesterday, but it’s never too late to start! Get creating!
- Global Teacher Prize Winner – Watch the video from 2018 winner Andria Zafirakou, secondary school art teacher at one of the most ethnically diverse inner-city schools in the UK (5min YouTube).
- Jane Goodall’s Free Course – The University of Colorado Boulder is offering Roots & Shoots, a free online course to help grow compassionate young leaders through service.
- $10,000 for WOC Podcasters – Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp is awarding ten women of color a five-day podcasting intensive from experts in the field, expenses paid. Deadline April 10 (U.S. residents only).
- The Tallest Man on Earth EP – In this 5-song EP, the Swedish indie folk artist collaborates with yMusic, a sextet chamber ensemble from NYC. Spotify
◦ humble thought
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
– Anne Lamott
Last week was Spring Break for many schools, so my sister and cousins booked a last-minute trip to Gibsons, with all six kids of their kids in tow. Varying in age from three to seven, it wasn’t the most tranquil three days, but it was memorable for me, and hopefully for them as well.
Spending more time with family was one of my intentions after moving back to the west coast. I’m the first to admit, I’m not the most involved uncle. If measured in total time spent, I’ve failed over the years. To add to that, I lack experience with children, having grown up as typically the youngest in my group with no children around for a couple decades. But I love seeing the world through their eyes and watching them grow and constantly surprise me. Sometimes I forget their age, catching myself talking to them like adults. I often remind myself to not to be so strict and avoid giving lessons all the time and instead simply enjoying their company, while also nudging them to explore the natural world in a gentle way.
One morning the kids were playing downstairs of the immaculate VRBO rental, and I woke up looking out the window to the typically rocky west coast beach across the street. I spotted a pair of fins close to the shore slowly moving through the water from left to right, and shouted down the stairs “Whales!!!”. I was the first to get my shoes on, and the kids dropped their toys and followed suit. As I got closer, a few other people had gathered to watch the strange site. They weren’t whales, but two seals with their oddly long fins pointing straight up in the air, perhaps dancing, with ducks and geese nearby. To my relief, the kids were still happy to see them up close, and the next morning when I saw three deer on the same shoreline, they were just as excited to take a closer look.
It was also fascinating to witness the interplay between the children, and particularly the social dynamics at play. One of my cousins has three perpetually rough-housing boys, my sister has a boy and a girl who get along well, and the other cousin has a very mature girl. I’m happy to report we were successful in feeding them, not losing a single child, and also making it to the very last night before the iPads got pulled out — quite the feat for this device-addicted generation. From their reactions on the short 40-minute ferry ride back to Vancouver, I think this will be as memorable a trip for them as my childhood Spring Break adventures were.
When their eyes finally did turn to the screens, I’d peer over to see the ridiculous YouTube videos that catch their attention, wondering (and judging) those people who choose to make videos targeted at children made for clicks and views only — having no educational value whatsoever. Besides the toy unboxing videos with millions of views, there is some weird shit out there. And it’s really not that bad as far as I can tell. The parents do manage their screen time and the kids do listen. At least they haven’t discovered Fortnite yet.