The doc, the cat, the friend and her lover
By Robin Abrahams
The New York Times science section seems to want to emphasize the softer side of science today. Here's an interesting article on the functions of doctors' masks. Not the germ-prevention functions, the social/theatrical functions--masks, apparently, do for doctors much what mirrored sunglasses do for cops.
Another article talks about the difference between losing a beloved pet and losing a family member or friend. It's not quite as focused as it could be, but it's an interesting meditation nonetheless. Pets, with their love of habit and routine, outline and punctuate our daily rituals in a powerful way. The loss of that emphasis, that color animals provide, can be disorienting--more so than people expect. You drop a piece of food on the floor and call for a dog who is no longer there to come clean it up. Months after your cat has died you still block the door with your body when signing for a package to keep her from running out. This is what mourning for pets is like.
And in other news, social scientists have discovered that "friends with benefits" are friends, with benefits. Glad they cleared that up!