The Friday Feelgood for March 31, 2017

Happy Happy Happy! This week in the Friday Feelgood:

Yesterday in the office everyone was buzzing about this new pneumatic robot hand inspired by octopus tentacles. What!

This week National Geographic brings us an amazing story of dinosaur tracks in Australia. Fearing damage to one of their sacred sites from a planned natural gas plant, members of the Goolarabooloo people contacted researchers at the University of Queensland. The result is an incredible effort to map a trove of dinosaur tracks from over 20 species. Some of the tracks are over a meter long!

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And in still more awesome dino news, a new discovery suggests Tyrannosauri reges (mmhm, that’s a proper plural lol) had sensitive snouts they may have rubbed together during mating! That. Is. Too. Cute!

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What’s making you feel good this week? Let us know in the comments!

SJWs slaying new media!

Around here, SJW isn’t a dirty word. What better to be a warrior for than social justice? Take a look at these SJWs who are slaying it in the world of new media.


Kat Blaque is a fixture of social justice on YouTube, building an audience with her strong views, strong voice and ‘true tea.’

Dylan Marron, who first came to our attention as sexy outsider scientist Carlos on Welcome to Night Vale, has spread his wings and become a badass SJW, with the help of Seriously.TV.

Noted sexy bisexual RJ Aguiar shuts down biphobia and other bullshit on his YouTube channel, TheNotAdam.

Who are your favorite social justice warriors in the new media game? Let us know in the comments!

Mindful Monday for March 27, 2017

Happy Mindful Monday! This week:

Spreading MS awareness through yoga: Fox 2 Detroit speaks with yoga therapist, author and entrepreneur Mindy Eisenberg, director of Yoga Moves MS, who highlights her organizations efforts to help those with MS and similar conditions through yoga practice.

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Dr. Stanley Rodski highlights “colourtation,” a practice named following findings that five minutes a day coloring can have benefits similar to an hour of meditation.

In the ever-developing world of animal yoga, CNN this week highlights cat yoga:

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[Not actual cat yoga. lol]

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Cari Vander Yacht

And finally this week, the New Yorker offers a little satire with Puritan Yoga.

Say hi in the comments, and let us know how you’re being mindful this week!

The Friday Feelgood for March 24, 2017

Boy HOWDY are we glad it’s Friday! In the Feelgood this week:

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John Cho is going to play Bill Eichner’s boyfriend on season 3 of Difficult People, so yay!

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 6.15.52 PM.pngThis great piece from Forward takes down arguments against the NEA precisely by appealing to the “uselessness” of art.

This past week marked the International Day of Happiness, arising from a UN resolution recognizing the importance of happiness and wellbeing.

This week I’m reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, which is making ME pretty happy. What’s making you happy this week? Let us know in the comments!

Newly discovered animals!

Discovery happens all the time, and these incredible creatures are just some of the recent finds!

Live Science has a great feed for animal discoveries – but just a heads up, a shocking number of new animal discoveries are nightmare spiders 😂 😂

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Richard L. Pyle

This newly discovered colorful Hawaiian fishy, Tosanoides obama, received the honor last month of sharing its name with another famous Hawaiian, former President Barack Obama. Adorbs!

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Mauricio Antón

Turns out, 6 million years ago these LITERAL OTTERS THE SIZE OF WOLVES terrorized China. BUT SO ADORABLY! 

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Fan Peng-Fei

Oh my gibbon! Specifically: Skywalker hoolock gibbon! The scientists who named the adorable primate friend say their inspiration came from the Chinese name, which translates to “heaven’s movement,” as well as from the Star Wars fandom. May the gibbon be with me!

What’s your favorite recent discovery? Share it in the comments!

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21 marks World Down Syndrome Day. From Down Syndrome International’s WDSD page:

Down Syndrome International (DSi) encourages our friends all over the world to choose their own activities and events on WDSD to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

The #MyVoiceMyCommunity campaign works to enable people with Down syndrome “to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community.”

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The #LotsOfSocks campaign encourages people to wear brightly colored socks that can kick off a conversation about Down Syndrome. Click the socks to learn more!

In this video, people with Down Syndrome talk to a future parent scared to learn her child has Down Syndrome.


I Won’t Commit is a safe space for you to post about #MyVoiceMyCommunity. Share your personal stories in the comments.

Jack Donaghy: guru?

A lot of people – maybe Americans – seem to view mindfulness a lot like Jack Donaghy:

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Having never meditated before, Jack exhorts himself into an altered state and discovers the answer he seeks just by seeking.

Bad news: it doesn’t work that way.

That part’s probably intuitive, though. It’s funny to us that Jack thinks he can meditate perfectly by saying “meditate perfectly,” because even those who don’t meditate get that that’s probably not how it works.

Today I’d rather talk about the implications of this, though.

Even though a lot of us understand that mindfulness requires practice, diligence, and attention, and even though we know it is a pursuit that some people spend a lifetime engaged in, always growing, nevertheless: we still get pissed off at ourselves when we don’t “meditate perfectly.”

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I submit this comes from applying consumer logic to wellness. In the market, we’re driven to buy things that meet our needs and desires. The acquiring of a thing is equivalent to the enjoyment of a thing.

Mindfulness culture has a strong consumer component, too. You can’t pet a live cat without self-help books, meditation workshops, crystals and soothing candles all clamoring for your money and attention. In our society, you can go to a bookstore and buy enlightenment… right?

The tin never says, “involves lifetime commitment to difficult, arduous practice that will challenge your assumptions about yourself and the world.” The tin always says “be a better mom, lover, and business partner in three hours!”

We’re familiar with “some assembly required,” so we’re often willing to put in those three hours. And when those three hours don’t work out, we might be willing to put in three more hours to have someone tell us why the first three hours were never going to work. Any multiple of three hours later, has anything had an effect?

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So damn, maybe you think. Look what I’ve done. I’ve spent this money, and this time, and I’m still unhappy. I meditated like three times and I still have problems!

THESE CRYSTALS ARE BROKEN!

It sounds funny, but if you’re anything like me, you can really beat yourself up about this.

When you want to buy a TV, you buy a TV. It doesn’t take years to realize the benefits of having bought a television. You plug it in, you get your S.O. to figure out how to connect it to all the other devices, and in half an hour, you’ve got a TV.

It’s just not the same for inner calm. You have to understand that you can meditate and have a panic attack on the same day, and it doesn’t mean that 1) you’re bad at meditation or that 2) meditation isn’t worth it.

You can go to yoga and still end up flipping someone off in traffic. You can drink chamomile every waking minute of every day and still not be able to abide your mother-in-law.

Becoming aware of mindfulness doesn’t make you mindful in the way that buying a TV makes you the owner of a TV. And you didn’t “do it wrong” if you failed to attain nirvana within 12 minutes of deciding to try mindfulness.

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When I was 19, I went with the Jewish outreach organization Chabad House to New Orleans to help clean up after Katrina. I used to tell this story more often (it’s been over a decade since then), but back then I noticed people always asked, “did you build houses/work with Habitat for Humanity?”

We did briefly work with Habitat for Humanity for a day, but in most of New Orleans when I was there, it wasn’t time for that yet. Most of our days were spent tearing down existing structures left standing by the storm but so damaged as to never be livable again.

You can’t build fresh on top of rubble. It’s in the way. It will spoil new plans. And you can’t expect yourself to build a fresh new psyche – in minutes or hours, no less – on top of everything that’s happened to you in your life.

You will have to clear the rubble away. You’ll have to scrub and disinfect and then shower and wake up and do it all tomorrow. You will. But if you stop thinking you can and should do it all in an afternoon, the journey will be that much easier.

The Friday Feelgood for March 17, 2017

Welcome to the Friday Feelgood. It’s Friday and we feel good! This week:

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Artist Theaster Gates by photographed by Gabriella Demczuk for the New York Times.

The New York Times profiles artist Theaster Gates, his new show, “The Minor Arts” at the National Gallery, and the Chicago organization he founded to help transform vacant buildings into aesthetic, affordable living and cultural spaces.

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Julián Faivovicha and Carlos Taboada

Researchers have discovered fluorescent frogs. That’s cool AND alliterative.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

Students at the new Dell Medical School at University of Texas at Austin are receiving training in nontraditional areas like mindfulness and observational skills. Above, students meet in the Blanton Museum of Art as part of a course on empathetic communication.

Essence reports this week that art historian Nana Oforiatta-Ayim is working on an encyclopedia of African art! The project has received funding from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and should yield a digital and maybe eventually physical compendium on African art both historic and modern.

And last but not least, PWR BTTM brings us their newest, Answer My Text…a feeling we’ve all had 😂 😂

What’s making you feel good this week? Let us know in the comments!

Stunning Science Instagrams!

Hello hello!

We thought we’d shake things up this Wednesday with a look at some amazing science accounts on Instagram. Enjoy and be well!


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Astronomy Pictures Daily

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Scientific American

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National Geographic

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Nautilus Magazine

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Science by Guff

Who are your favorite science Instagrammers? Link us in the comments!