Science-Inspired Poetry

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Photo by Anton Repponen on Unsplash

On December 26, 2020 — Here at Science & Soul, we invited you to join us for the next 30 days to have a little fun science-inspired haiku (so #sciku?) challenge of sorts.

What’s a #sciku, you ask — According to The Sciku Project, it attempts to describe scientific discoveries in haiku-inspired form. Since many of us are new to haiku and/or poetry, think of this as a series of experiments with words focusing on brevity, the essence of scientific findings, and having some fun.

Haiku is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan consisting of 17 syllables in three phrases in a 5, 7, 5 pattern, and a seasonal reference. Essentially, a Haiku expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible word and a Sciku is a portmanteau word for scientific haiku ( source : Wikipedia and The Sciku…

Collection of Stories with Ideas for living well

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R. Rangan PhD via Canva

Dear Friends,

Thank you for subscribing!

This special holiday edition will find some of our writing from December and highlights from 2020.

These past few months have proven to be quite eventful here at Science & Soul — politically, personally, scientifically, and spiritually. It has been a time for renewed hope and growth while acknowledging collective and systemic pain.

The US is now averaging a daily death toll equivalent to the 9/11 terrorist attacks every single day and with no signs of slowing down any time soon — CDC recommendation suggests that we do not gather outside our immediate family units, but if if you do, do not miss Tara Haelle’s checklist for a harm reduction approach. …

Identify, prepare, and have a backup plan.

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with emotions, particularly with a strong emotion like anger. It comes especially into play when visiting or being near family — Families don’t always get along!

For many of us, spending time with family can be a roller coaster of emotions. While you may feel love and familiarity, there are also often decades-long dynamics between you and your family members that may not be the most healthy. Your family might treat you like the teenager they remember, and you might revert to that role when you’re around your family without even realizing it. …

Tip: Accept change, creatively connect and be intentional

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

2020 has been an exceptional year, to say the least. The year-end holidays are with us, and many of us are wondering what we will do and how they will go.

With COVID-19 cases surging in most parts of the country, we are looking at the prospect of breaking with tradition this year to celebrate in ways that may present some difficult emotional and logistical challenges. Chances are holiday travel is discouraged even unsafe where you are, and your typical holiday traditions need retuning or even reimagining fit for this year.

It can even be tempting to work more as a distraction, especially without the ability to travel. It is even appealing to lament how this holiday season may be more challenging than usual and all that you might be missing out. …

Quick question: Do you like yourself?

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Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

“Of course, I like myself.” While your words might indicate that you like yourself, what do your actions say? — Are you someone who is comfortable in your own skin? Are you happy with your appearance, or are you constantly comparing yourself to others, wishing you could be more like them? When you look in the mirror, what do you see? A superstar, or someone who doesn’t quite live up to your own expectations?

The thing is, our sense of self — our self-esteem is based on how we feel about ourselves, right now at this moment. …


Day 23 Prompt: Statistical research inspired Sciku

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Compare A and B
Statistical and/or Clinical
p-value is key?

In empirical research, scientists often apply various statistical procedures to make sense and draw inferences from their observations and collected data. In trying to follow the experimenter’s presentation, the audience is often presented with a statistical test and the associated P-value.

Most people are likely familiar with the expression, “P<0.05” as a cut-off that indicates “statistical significance,” meaning roughly that “the probability that chance is responsible for the finding is less than 5%” and that “the probability that the finding is a true finding is more than 95%.”

So why 5%? …


Day 22 Prompt: A Neuroscience Research Inspired Sciku

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Photo by Victrola Record Players on Unsplash

a sound of a bell
based on prior perceptions
melody or cacophony?

We depend on our senses to perceive the world and each other. Neuroscience has long studied the question of how faithfully our senses represent the physical reality itself, especially since we know now that our brain is continually generating predictions about what will happen next and filtering our senses to only pay attention to the difference between the predicted vs. actual reality.

A recent study at TU Dresden details how our entire auditory pathway is working on encoding sounds according to prior expectations — in other words, and we hear what at some level we want to hear — I suspect your therapist probably already told you something along those lines — now it seems science is echoing the same! …

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Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

So, about woodworking — I know nothing! Now at this point, if you are wondering what I am doing writing for this esteemed publication — you are not alone — let me start by telling you how this article came to be.

About six months ago, in the throws of dark days of the COVID-19 crisis, which now seems like the better days, a group of friends and I decided to start experimenting with writing for fun on medium — I do not consider myself a writer — I trained as and consider myself a scientist and have always thought that there is a different code about scientific writing— or so I thought! I have since come to think of writing for me is a series of experiments with words. Some would work, and some would leave traces for improvement, and as a trained experimenter — nothing is more delightful than to keep learning new things and finding new friends — so all that to say, this is my attempt at learning and writing about woodworking — thanks for coming along for a ride. …


Day 21 Prompt: A Meditation Research Inspired Sciku

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Photo by Julien de Salaberry on Unsplash

Crisis and distress
support frontline heroes all
train in compassion

In these times, individuals who have continued to work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis deserve a lot of our collective gratitude — it is hard work, and compassion fatigue is understandable even perhaps expected —It can be distressing to witness the pain of family, friends, or even strangers going through a hard time.

While there is no silver bullet to “cure” compassion fatigue, new research is giving some helpful pointers to get started — in fact — a new study suggests that as little as two weeks of intentionally cultivating positive wishes via compassion meditation training could help. …


Day 20 Prompt: A Neuroscience Research Inspired Sciku

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Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

help others in need
without a social judgment
prosocial resonance

Given the events of the past few weeks, it is easy to feel down and question our empathic self — Now, two UCLA scientists are providing some reasons to feel optimistic about our basic empathic human nature — Based on explorations of the brain, they provide evidence that altruism may be more hard-wired in the brain than previously thought.

In other words, we might be intrinsically driven to behave in an altruistic manner — as I understand — altruism here referring to that well-meaning, selfless behavior often, but not always, prompted by feelings of compassion. …


R. Rangan PhD

Mindfulness enthusiast; Storyteller in training and Observer of life’s small details. @drrangan.medium.com/follow

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