3 Good Things: Dreams, vaccines and raves in the rubble of Ukraine

Karlotta Freier / For The Times


What would Freud say?

Science is beginning to make sense of dreams. The content changes predictably during our lifetimes, which provides some clues about their role. Researchers have found that toddlers dream in static images of animals and family life. During and after puberty, fewer animals and more sex — for males, often with a nonspecific, faceless partner. From 14 to 19, males’ dreams become violent and females’ verbally aggressive. In old age, we all tend to see and hear loved ones, both living and dead. It seems like our sleeping brains are doing their best to make sense of this life.

The war on cancer

It’s the vaccines we’ve all been waiting for: not against another flavor of COVID, but against an array of cancers. Thanks to animal studies and early human trials testing vaccinations against certain pancreatic, colon and breast cancers, this idea has moved from “theoretical” to “not yet proven.” Efforts to use our own immune systems against out-of-control cancer cells are three decades old, but until recently seemed doomed. Now there are encouraging reports from multiple fronts.


The war on rubble

Hey, somebody’s got to clean up the mess that Russia is making in Ukraine. And whoever’s cleaning up might as well listen to some music while they work. Enter the “clean-up raves” of Ukraine. A DJ sets up at a bombed-out building, and civic-minded folks gather from near and far. They grab shovels and get to work — not necessarily moving to the beat, but why not?

And one more ...

Think of it as a deleted scene from 1985’s “Back to the Future.” Marty McFly and Doc Brown have traveled 37 years into the future and end up on stage at New York Comic Con. Or maybe Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd just appeared for a fun reunion on Saturday. Whatever you prefer to believe.

A weekly feature aiming to provide some relief from doomscrolling.

May 6, 2022