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  1. Religious beliefs, practices, and social support facilitate coping with psychologically distressful events and circumstances. However, COVID-19 and governmental mandates for social distancing and isolation make in-person communal forms of religious coping difficult. While some congregations began holding virtual rituals, this was not an option for Amish and conservative Mennonite groups that restrict communication and media technologies as a religious sacrament. Governmental mandates placed a disproportionate burden on these groups whose members could not conduct rituals or interact virtually with other members and family. What religious coping strategies did the Amish and Mennonites use to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic givenmore »their restricted ability to participate in in-person rituals? We collected data from The Budget and The Diary, two Amish and Mennonite correspondence newspapers, which provide information on the experiences of community members. We content analyzed all entries from March 2020 to April 2020 and identified several themes related to religious coping focused on the positive benefits of the pandemic, specifically how it helps and reminds the Amish and Mennonites to refocus on the simple and important things in life, including God, spirituality, family, tradition, gardening, and other at-home hobbies, all of which reflect their religious commitment to a slower pace of life.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2022
  2. Planetary Defense (PD) has become a critical effort of protecting our home planet by discovering potentially hazardous objects (PHOs), simulating the potential impact, and mitigating the threats. Due to the lack of structured architecture and framework, pertinent information about detecting and mitigating near earth object (NEO) threats are still dispersed throughout numerous organizations. Scattered and unorganized information can have a significant impact at the time of crisis, resulting in inefficient processes, and decisions made on incomplete data. This PD Mitigation Gateway (pd.cloud.gmu.edu) is developed and embedded within a framework to integrate the dispersed, diverse information residing at different organizations acrossmore »the world. The gateway offers a home to pertinent PD-related contents and knowledge produced by the NEO mitigation team and the community through (1) a state-of-the-art smart-search discovery engine based on PD knowledge base; (2) a document archiving and understanding mechanism for managing and utilizing the results produced by the PD science community; (3) an evolving PD knowledge base accumulated from existing literature, using natural language processing and machine learning; and (4) a 4D visualization tool that allows the viewers to analyze near-Earth approaches in a three-dimensional environment using dynamic, adjustable PHO parameters to mimic point-of-impact asteroid deflections via space vehicles and particle system simulations. Along with the benefit of accessing dispersed data from a single port, this framework is built to advance discovery, collaboration, innovation, and education across the PD field-of-study, and ultimately decision support.« less