Art Imitates Life at the Battlestar Galactica U.N. Summit

This week television series Battlestar Galactica travelled to where few shows have gone before—a United Nations summit.

Sound surreal?  You can watch the full 2-hour summit here and see just how real science fiction can get.  Sponsored by the U.N’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative, the event juxtaposed scenes from the series with testimony from U.N. representatives who have faced the reality of human rights violations across the globe and discussion with the show’s producers and actors. Stand out moments include when Mary McDonnell speaks on the challenges of portraying a female president whose dispersion of power necessarily reflects the tensions women face today in assuming historically masculine roles. Likewise, Edward James Olmos’ soon to be famous speech on race followed by his invocation of the show’s anthem “So Say We All!” seems to erase the boundaries between Olmos the actor and the powerful Admiral Adama he plays on the series.


It’s exactly this breakdown between fiction and reality that becomes so compelling throughout the summit.  While the social utopianism of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek or the clear moral dichotomies of George Lucas’s Star Wars often seem more escapist than realist, Battlestar Galactica creators Ronald Moore and David Eick have once and for all made the case for realism in science fiction—in escaping, we return to the real issues that we can least afford to escape from. We can have our cake and eat it too.   

By partnering with a television show that brings reality to serious issues that may otherwise seem worlds apart for those living in developed nations, the U.N. has latched onto a strategy that might just work to compel community dialogue and action. And come on, Edward James Olmos at the U.N. chanting “So Say We All”?  That’s just cool.    

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
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  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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