Spencer’s Picks: Overcoming Pandemic Fatigue; Art, Science & Suggested Solutions; The Happiness of a Dog

Dr. Spencer Thomas atop the Uffizi in Florence, Italy

Photo of Dr. Spencer Thomas atop the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. Photo by Katheryn Laible

 

As usual, when he’s not scrying into the mysteries of metals at the atomic level, or pondering puzzles of more efficient means of tapping energy, Dr. Thomas is bringing some light into our life. Here are a few of the things he’s brought to our attention:

Now that we’re about a month into the college semester with social distancing and remote learning, a lot of people I know are feeling a bit of a drag. You are not alone: Lonliness at Pandemic U: 14 tips for college students and their parents

Along similar themes, but more for everyone:: Your Surge Capacity is Depleted. This is Why You Feel Awful (and a couple good things you can do about it)

One thing that’s helpful is — to help! Here is a heartwarming and inspiring story from one of my very favorite professors from back in my undergrad time at Stony Brook. Bente Videbaek is an amazing person who has been working hard to make sure people have masks Facebook Page: “Humans of Mather Hospital”

When you feel a bit grounded and ready to stare some of the bigger challenges facing humanity in the face: Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. One of the speakers, Dr. Rose Mutiso, is a friend of mine – we were graduate students together. She’s the incredible CEO of the Mawazo Institute, which supports women scientists and leaders throughout East Africa. She has also spoken at TED and written in Scientific American about the challenges that people in Africa face building digital and clean-energy infrastructure.

One for the Coltrane fans out there: The most feared song in jazz, explained. It’s not too hard for a layman to follow this breakdown of “Giant Steps,” even as it’s still among the most challenging things a musician may face

Finally, no big point here, but a bit of joy for you since we could all use it: The happiness of this dog after they put prostheses on

Spencer Thomas received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. After some time at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, we are DELIGHTED to welcome him back to Long Island as a researcher at Stony Brook University. He also happens to be Katie’s brother. For a time, Spencer studied metals at the atomic level; the way atoms are arranged in a material can change its properties; one can take ordinary metals make them stronger, more flexible, corrosion resistant, even radiation resistant. We’re still endeavoring to understand what he’s doing now well enough to explain it so simply.

Spencer believes that no matter who you are, good communication can put scientific concepts within reach. The modern world demands scientific literacy and it is the responsibility of scientists to make that possible.

First — Puppies!!!

Image provided by the Guide Dog Foundation

If there’s one silver lining, it’s that the dogs of the world have not only been cleared of their own virus scare, they also suddenly have their people home a lot more!

Of course, some very special canines get to stay with their people wherever they go. We were going to share our adventures learning about the incredible service dogs at the Guide Dog Foundation, and Americas Vet Dogs, but realize they are probably occupied with more important things this month than helping us edit a long-form article.

So…soon…

Meanwhile, we invite you to please support the valuable work of the Guide Dog Foundation, and Americas Vet Dogs and to check out their newsletter and testimonials. The stories are incredibly uplifting and heartwarming. Check ’em out here and here

NOTE! There may be special ways folks can help them navigate the current situation soon. Watch their websites and social media as well as our Facebook Page for details!!!

Who Saved Whom? We’re Never Quite Certain, But We Sure Are Grateful for These Animal Rescue Folks!!!

Interested in honoring Betty White with a donation? A friend with lots of experience here helped assemble this list of local Animal Rescue organizations. Let us know of more!

Continue reading

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian: Harnessing the Healing Power of Horses

The overwhelming sense we had when visiting Pal-O-Mine Equestrian was peace. Peace, love and deep, deep commitment to serving the folks of diverse needs who come to learn and receive therapy. They say the word “miracle” comes up a lot here. We’re not surprised.

Continue reading