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Mindful : October 2019
TED TALKS DAILY Episode: “Ella Al-Shamahi: The Fascinating (and Dangerous) Places Scientists Aren’t Exploring” PODCAST reviews Delving into our species’ ancient history may let us understand each other more deeply. But what if vital archaeological evidence exists in a no-fly zone? According to Ella Al-Shamahi, an English paleoanthropologist of Arab heritage, science suffers from “a geography problem.” Through the lens of her ordeal in reaching the Yemeni island of Socotra—where she and her team aim to research some of the earliest Homo sapiens to leave present-day Africa—Al-Shamahi talks about the institutional barriers that often prevent Western researchers from studying in regions deemed politically unstable. Some of these places, never theless, offer a great deal to learn about the climate crisis, extinction, and the human journey. Instead of having to completely avoid the unknown, she says, scientists can take measures to greatly mitigate risk when they’re on foreign soil. And by strengthening scientific collaboration across borders, she adds, it becomes more feasible to focus on what we globally share, rather than what seems to divide us. ON THE MEDIA Episode: “Uncomfortably Numb” Journalist and media analyst Brooke Gladstone talks with exper ts about a few current events and questions some of the ways we’re seeking to protect ourselves from grief, helplessness, and fear. First up: By constructing an alternate (if totally out- there) version of reality, conspiracy theorists believe they know the world better than the rest of us. Ironically, for them, their “fantasies” lend “a sense of order” to the chaos. Meanwhile, many climate scientists struggle with being on the front lines of comprehending climate change. Even more than non-scientists, their mental health can suffer from the gravity of what’s happening to the planet. Then, there’s the “Brexit anxiety” that nearly two-thirds of Brits are feeling, and a problem doctors tend to treat as an individual medical issue—never mind that it’s a natural response to the tense political environment. Gladstone ends on the idea that we can counteract numbness by claiming space for ourselves to simply be. It’s in claiming these pockets of freedom that we may discover cracks for the light of change to seep in. (See also How to Do Nothing, reviewed on page 74). 76 mindful October 2019 read, listen, stream