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Still Chugging Along

Volcanoes are erupting in The Philippines, but on-fire Australia received some welcome rain. The Iran war cries have been called off and The Donald’s military powers are about to be hamstrung by the Senate. Meanwhile, his impeachment trial is starting, and we’re all on Twitter for a front-row seat.

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Thank You, Science

Three vaccines in play is something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas

This is an extract from our bi-weekly newsletter, What Could Go Right? Sign up to receive it here.

Thanksgiving—the holiday of gratitude. There’s an argument to be made that now more than ever we should draw on our reserves of gratitude to get us through a dark COVID winter. But many of us are tapped out. Depending on your mental state, calls for gratitude right now can be really annoying.

While we promise we won’t force-feed you any “the power of gratitude” stuff, it’s worth asking if we’ve been paying enough attention to everything that has gone right recently on the COVID vaccination front. It really is nourishing to read about the incredible power of science that is saving all of our butts from the fate of a life forever spent on Zoom. And because two of the vaccines represent scientific breakthroughs, the benefits won’t be limited to this pandemic.

The new technology that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use leads the body’s cells to manufacture its own vaccine, an is-this-really-real development that “opens up an entirely new approach to treating disease,” as TPN Member Safi Bahcall writes in his latest newsletter. His write-up is a quick, informative, accessible read that contextualizes this achievement in scientific history and also touches on Dr. Kariko, the scientist behind it all who kept pushing through 25 years of failure. If you want the in-depth version, try Stat News’ “The Story of mRNA: How a Once Dismissed Idea Became a Leading Technology in the Covid Vaccine Race.”

Or, all of that in a Tweet:

If you do so happen to want to kick your gratitude into high gear, have you heard of Japanese naikan therapy

From us: Speaking of science, check out our founder, Zachary Karabell, asking TPN Member Fareed Zakaria why there haven’t been many, if any, “inside the lab” television specials on the vaccine in their discussion on moving forward in a pandemic age.

If American politics can be fairly described as a holy war, then lessons from interfaith cooperation can help. We hosted our first event, Healing the Nation, a discussion about spiritually-based solutions to curing our country’s divisions, last week. Missed it? You can watch the recording here.

Read the entirety of this week’s newsletter here.

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas is the Executive Director of The Progress Network. An editor and writer specializing in nonprofit media, she was formerly Executive Editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and is the editor of two books from Wisdom Publications.