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Big Think Interview With Lizz Winstead
Question: What was the initial idea for "The Daily Show?"
Lizz Winstead: Well, I started out as a stand up who did political material and it had been...I'd done a couple of one-woman shows that had been based on sort of the evolution of 24-hour news and media and during the First Gulf War it occurred to me that CNN had been spending more and more money on graphics and less and less money on research and it was like, well, that's kind of a sounding alarm that I think through comedy I kind of want to do through my stand up to talk about that. And then it became...there was things like there was always children disappearing on the news and like we never got their big story and so I've been talking about these in my one-woman shows and my stand up and then Comedy Central knew my standup and I've done specials for them and stuff...and so then they said, "Would you like to come and create a show that responds to the world on a daily basis.? " And I said, "Yeah." But I said I...one of my big sticking points is that it's not just the politicians and the news-makers, it's the media itself that's as big as pa player in the landscape. So, if you want to do it where we actually become a media outlet and become them and show how sort of remiss they are in reporting the facts and getting it wrong as well as taking on the powerful, I'm all for it. And they said, "That's a great idea." And so Madeleine Smithberg and I created this machine that is now "The Daily Show."
Question: What did Jon Stewart bring to the show?
Lizz Winstead: Well I think there was several different...As we were developing the show, there was also two different camps as we were on the air about people that wanted to focus on pop culture and people who wanted to focus on politics and what was going to be engaging and I was sort of fighting for politics, and the people who were fighting for pop culture so we had this meld of politics and pop culture and when John came onboard, John was really, "Let's take on the people that are the big giant offenders and hypocrites which are corporations and the media and politicians," so that when the show really started going for sort of a really healthy big targets of big bullies, that's really when it started to shine and John is somebody who really knows that game and through humor, you know, he always says the show is funny first and then, you know, the points come through second. And so, he really knows and understands that picking on the big targets and pointing out their hypocrisy is definitely the best way to go when it comes to political satire.
Question: Did the Bush administration make the "The Daily Show?"
Lizz Winstead: Well I think there's...The political climate, I mean...When it was being developed and it was the last years of Clinton, you know, remember that Clinton wasn't always just Monica. You know, there was welfare reform, there was all sorts of stuff that happened, those elections were also really great. So the show built itself on that and then when the Bush administration took off, yeah. I mean, it's sort of incredible how it felt like we hired them so we could have material. Like, there really wasn't an election. We just paid off America to vote for George Bush so that we could have a show.
Question: Was the McCain-Palin ticket a peak moment for political satire?
Lizz Winstead: Well I think you're forgetting the whole part of the political landscape which was the Bush administration, you had 10 Republican candidates, only three of them believe in evolution. You had Mitt Romney, you had Mike Huckabee, you had Hillary, you had Bill Clinton running off the rails. You had this power struggle between the first viable female candidate for president and the first viable African-American candidate and then you had John McCain on his own being a complete...He was like Yosemite Sam. Then Sarah Palin happened. So, there was a wealth of material and also, don't forget we had wire tapping. We had crazy, you know, attorneys who were, you know, political appointees from Pat Robertson University, we had Katrina, you know. There was so much going on before the election, into the election, the candidates themselves and John Edwards don't forget that, you know, Palin didn't come till September of 2007 and so...or 2008 I'm sorry. So, there was...That was, I mean, I have to say I don't...Tina Fey was probably sitting in her underwear eating cheerios on that morning when they stood on the stage in Minnesota and I'm sure she spat whatever was out in her mouth and said, "Oh my God, the dumbest woman in the world looks just like me. Ka-Ching!"
Question: Is it harder to make Obama jokes?
Lizz Winstead: I am someone who...I just finished doing a one-woman show about Obama's first 100 days and it was not hard at all...because Obama ...You know, Obama is hope and change and he is historic but he is a politician. He came up from the machine. You know, he's not Gandhi, he is a centrist, he is inconsistent, you know. I think for me progressives glommed on so much on Obama. He never claimed he was a progressive and so there is a lot of humor in mind in what people expected Obama to be because they didn't even read his books or look at how he legislated and he has had hysterical moments. You know, he is not an idiot like Bush so I think you have to be smarter in your politics which means your audience hopefully is smarter and paying more attention but, you know, you have a treasury. Our economy is falling apart and there's one guy that works at the treasury, Tim Gartner and they can't find anyone else to fill the jobs because all of those people have committed crimes. So, there's that, there's Larry Summers, you know, there's Obama expanding the wire tapping program. There's the closing of Gitmo. There's Dick Cheney, unavoidable for comment, you know, espousing his bizarre belief system, you know, there's torture memos. So, there has been...There hasn't been a beat, a moment that has fallen off where like, "Oh, what are we going to talk about?" It is seamlessly transition from Bush into Obama in just a very different way of looking at things.
Question: What topics do you enjoy satirizing?
Lizz Winstead: In general...The media is always a source. It sort of my raison d' etre, you know, I absorb print media, I absorb TV media. At the moment the "Morning Joe" program I am completely obsessed with because I watch Joe Scarborough bully Mika Brzezinski and it feels like she has Stockholm syndrome. It feels like everyone on that show is so unhealthily co-dependent on each other that it's like watching one of those weird Ibsen family dramas play out in front of you, except with some current events in it.
Question: Has the role of comedy changed?
Lizz Winstead: I think that the people who have been doing political satire, or the people I've talked to, have really felt like it used to be them again. The media was the watch dog for those, you know, the government and corporate America and when the media sort of felt like it was in bed and they were lazy or in bed with their, you know, advertisers I think comics naturally started feeling the role of sort of being the watchdog of the watchdog, you know. Political satire and comedy-we just started asking the questions that journalists weren't asking anymore through humor, through sort of hopefully righteous anger but also just asking questions that our audience wanted to hear and so we were doing basically a service. We just kept do what we were doing but then it just transitioned into like, "Find out what's going on." Or if we're just going to be lied to from right, left and center, to provide a haven where at least people can come together and not feel crazy, feel like, hey I'm in a group of people who have understand that everyone is spinning us and somebody is onstage pointing that out through humor, at least I can breathe a sigh that I'm not insane when I hear the cacophony of lies.
Question: Is comedy a tool for social activism?
Lizz Winstead: I think comedy can be a tool for social activism. I think that when you point out hypocrisy, again because the media often doesn't, you know-the follow-up question should just be put in the Smithsonian as a relic of media because there are no follow ups anymore. People do not have enough historical knowledge to say, "Wait, you're lying." If you don't have enough, you know, knowledge on the environment to say, "Wait, scientists say there is global warming, it's real." So, a lot of information sort of floats out there like...like a thick muggy day and nobody weeds through it and cuts through the muck and says, "Here is the truth." And I think that pointing that out through humor can be a tool to have people say, "Wow. I should be asking questions and I'm laughing." And, I think that's what's fun is that you can ask questions your self on stage to humor and then that means the audience kind of scratches its head and says, "You're right!" and as you watch videos on the web on "The Daily Show," Colbert and Bill Maher, you will see them lay out a case and make it funny through video, through things that are out there. If somebody says one thing one day and something else the next day and, you know, we have this amazing medium with which we can put it out there.
Question: Is the mainstream media taking the hint?
Lizz Winstead: Well yeah, sure. You know, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann, you know, 's there's a trifecta on MSNBC that is trying to get to the bottom of the story and look between the lines of the story and, you know, I did a radio show with Rachel Maddow for a year and together it was sort of like I was the color commentator and she was the person that was bringing all of these stories that were buried in independent media or that were not covered at all, and we will get experts and she would drill at home and then I would sort of provide the humor and outrage of the listener. I was learning it for the first time along with Rachel and it was really helpful. I mean, I guess and I hope that they continue to do that. My fear is that if new shows, you know, keep reading the chatter about how most people get...kids get their news from "The Daily Show" which I don't believe is true. I think young people get their news and then they go to "The Daily Show" for response because you wouldn't like "The Daily Show" if you didn't know it was going out in the news. So, it's kind of false premise. But, I hope they don't start feeling like because "The Daily Show" is a successful place for people to go and sort of have a catharsis that they become that. I hope they still become interesting, compelling and using humor certainly, voices of reason and not comedians.
Question: Does Jon Stewart have more influence than broadcast journalists?
Lizz Winstead: I would say John Stewart probably does have more influence. A) because you can count on one hand the number of actual broadcast journalists on television. Let's not...Let's not call them broadcast journalists when 80% of them are commentators. You know, how many broadcast journalists are on Fox? How many broadcast journalists who went to journalism school were investigative reporters, worked at newspapers, have Pulitzers or Peabodys for digging into a story and making it great? There is very, very few. So, if you're going to have a landscape of people commentating, John Stewart actually culls the materials and looks at things and presents it in a funny way but nonetheless, there is truth there. He is not making up news to make a joke. He is taking the reality of the news and spinning the hypocrisy in it and using humor here doing it. So yeah, that person is going to definitely be more influential I think than somebody who's just some ex-congressman who's literally wondering aloud on television, bloviating their opinions that are based on newspaper things that you've read, I've read. I mean, that's what's crazy, is that they say things- I learn nothing because I already read that. In fact, we watch new shows and they read you the paper. It's like really is this what broadcast news has come to is they read the paper and then tell you what's in the paper? And so if newspapers are crumbling, what will become of broadcast news? It's a very interesting dilemma that I think they're going to find themselves in.
Question: Why are people attentive to alarmist commentators?
Lizz Winstead: Well, like to call them the "fright wing" and, you now, when you scare people and you indulge their fears that's an easy emotion to live with. You're validated in your fear of race, your fear of terrorists, your fear of anything. It almost is like what Glenn Beck does, which I think is the most frightening thing, is that he is basically telling his viewers that they have no control and that they should be afraid and that...is this really scary false premise because if you're human being and you feel like everything is happening to you, you want someone to take care of you and that was one thing I was fascinated with the Bush administration was if you look at the history of what George Bush told America it was, "Look I'm going to take care of everything. You can stay on the couch and you can jut be against abortion and hate the gays and hate stem cell research and before this war, I'm not going to ask you to fight, and so you can have a set of values that allows you to still sit in your recliner and be judgmental. Whereas it's actually more interesting is you watch the elevation of lefty blogs and progressive pundits, they're asking you to participate. And when people start participating what they find out is they are part of the community, they want to help other people, they see that if they actually get off the couch and start reading and listening and taking a stand and getting into their neighborhoods, they can actually accomplish something in a neighborhood scale and they see how that transforms incredibly. And using the internet as a tool has been just an unbelievable boon for the proactive.
Question: How has YouTube changed comedy?
Lizz Winstead: Well you know, sometimes I feel a little bit with YouTube, it's like...You know when you go to a discount store like Marshall's or TJ Maxx and you know that there's one Prada suit in all of those racks of crap. It's how dedicated are you to weeding through the bull to actually find the one or two amazing items that are there and I think that, well, YouTube has become a...certainly a place where you can find amazing pieces of satire and comedy, I think that really good stuff gets lost there because you'll see that there are places like Barely Political and Huffington Post where...if you notice a destination on the web now for satire you'll go there, rather than try to scour through...I mean, if I were to Google, you know, political satire, I mean...like YouTube a search of satirical videos I mean, holy moly, you know, it's providing a place for a lot of people to put them up. It's not really helping to weed out which ones are sort of making a point, which ones are just funny and stuff like that.
It gives people an outlet to do stuff which I like. I think the one thing that I find incredibly awesome about the internet is that it kind of weeds out the complainers. Because now you have a tool and a device with which you can learn to shoot and learn to edit and write material and start your own webpage and put your stuff up and send it out to the world. And if you want to really dig around you can find a website to...you can contact and say, "Hey, I'm doing these videos that I think would be right for your site." So, it's really getting the activists who are thinking about getting their message out, it gives them an opportunity...because for years we as filmmakers and writers and producers and actors had to wait for some network or some casting director to give us a forum. And now, we don't have to do that anymore. So people are still complaining then they're not really utilizing all that's available for them.
Question: Are men funnier than women?
Lizz Winstead: Are you Christopher Hitchens? Of course not. Of course men aren't funnier than women. I don't even understand really...funny. Here's the deal about funny. I just had a huge fight on my Facebook page with a guy who said, "You're not funny Lizz Winstead." And I was like, "Well, you're not funny either." And then I realize that I went to his little Facebook page and I saw that it was a comic that goes on the road and...Funny is subjective. Funny is like, you know, sushi. Do you like sushi or do you not like sushi and then what kinds of sushi do you like? If someone is making a living doing comedy, then people think they're funny. I might not find them funny but others do. So, for anyone to make any broad statement about what's funny, what isn't funny, people who say there's lines that you can cross in comedy are people who are destroying the creative process. There's never a line in comedy. You never know what a line is because someone may cross it consistently for the way one person looks at humor and that same routine may never cross a line. So, I just...Boundaries and what's funny I just feel like it's all so subjective that I always say if you don't think I'm funny please tell your like-minded friends that I'm not funny because then I will not have to worry about them coming to my show feeling like they've wasted their money and they hated it you know. And if you do think I'm funny then please tell people because then everyone can have a good time.
Question: Why is there a perception that men are funnier?
Lizz Winstead: Well I think for Christopher Hudgins it's that he...It just feels so weirdly...I mean, it's weird. I did a panel with him this summer and he couldn't have been more cordial to me...after he'd written that thing and they were going to bring it up and talk about it and they never did and I was more than willing to do that. I think it's...It comes from an ignorance that if you aren't open to allowing someone to make you laugh, if you've never seen a woman be funny then you're just a sexist asshole. Like, it's crazy. If one woman has made you laugh ever in the history of your life that means women are funny. Like... And so I don't know where it comes from. It comes from deep...If you say that then you women. I think that then you are not open to hearing what women have to say and you're probably not funny and you're probably threatened by women who can command attention in a room, work it, make people laugh because you can't...I mean, that's the only explanation I can think of is that you just hate women.
Question: Is it easier for men to be crude?
Lizz Winstead: No. I think there's bad dirty jokes and there's good dirty jokes and if you execute it, the dirty joke poorly, it's cringe-worthy. If it's funny, it's funny. I think that Sara Silverman and, you know, various other women, Wanda Sykes who I think is great, Roseanne who has amazing...some really good like, you know, blue material. I do some dirty jokes and I've never had a problem, those women don't have problems. It's all in the execution.
Recorded on: May 27, 2009
Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?
- Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
- It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
- COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
What conditions of the new normal were already appreciated widely?<p>First, we understand that higher education is unique among industries. Some industries are governed by markets. Others are run by governments. Most operate under the influence of both markets and governments. And then there's higher education. Higher education as an "industry" involves public, private, and for-profit universities operating at small, medium, large, and now massive scales. Some higher education industry actors are intense specialists; others are adept generalists. Some are fantastically wealthy; others are tragically poor. Some are embedded in large cities; others are carefully situated near farms and frontiers.</p> <p>These differences demonstrate just some of the complexities that shape higher education. Still, we understand that change in the industry is underway, and we must be active in directing it. Yet because of higher education's unique (and sometimes vexing) operational and structural conditions, many of the lessons from change management and the science of industrial transformation are only applicable in limited or highly modified ways. For evidence of this, one can look at various perspectives, including those that we have offered, on such topics as <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/rethinking-higher-education/lessons-disruption" target="_blank">disruption</a>, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/education/learning/education-technology.html" target="_blank">technology management</a>, and so-called "<a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/Excerpt_IHESpecialReport_Growing-Role-of-Mergers-in-Higher-Ed.pdf" target="_blank">mergers and acquisitions</a>" in higher education. In each of these spaces, the "market forces" and "market rules" for higher education are different than they are in business, or even in government. This has always been the case and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p> <p>Second, with so much excitement about innovation in higher education, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that students are—and should remain—the core cause for innovation. Higher education's capacity to absorb new ideas is strong. But the ideas that endure are those designed to benefit students, and therefore society. This is important to remember because not all innovations are designed with students in mind. The recent history of innovation in higher education includes several cautionary tales of what can happen when institutional interests—or worse, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/02/09/apollos-new-owners-seek-fresh-start-beleaguered-company" target="_blank">shareholder</a> interests—are placed above student well-being.</p>
Photo: Getty Images<p>Third, it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficulties for colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person <a href="https://link-springer-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/article/10.1007/s10639-019-10027-z" target="_blank">instruction</a>.</p><p>Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale.</p><p>As a bonus, and it is no small thing given that they are the core cause for innovation, students embrace and enjoy digital instruction. It is their preference to learn in a format that leverages technology. This should not be a surprise; it is now how we live in all facets of life.</p><p>Still, we have only barely begun to conceive of the impact digital education will have. For example, emerging virtual and augmented reality technologies that facilitate interactive, hands-on learning will transform the way that learners acquire and apply new knowledge. Technology-enabled learning cannot replace the traditional college experience or ensure the survival of any specific college, but it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale. This has always been the case, and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p>
What conditions of the new normal were emerging suspicions?<p>Our collective thinking about the role of institutional or university-to-university collaboration and networking has benefitted from a new clarity in light of COVID-19. We now recognize more than ever that colleges and universities must work together to ensure that the American higher education system is resilient and sufficiently robust to meet the needs of students and their families.</p> <p>In recent weeks, various commentators have suggested that higher education will face a wave of institutional <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/scott-galloway-predicts-colleges-will-close-due-to-pandemic-2020-5" target="_blank">closures</a> and consolidations and that large institutions with significant online instruction capacity will become dominant.</p> <p>While ASU is the largest public university in the United States by enrollment and among the most well-equipped in online education, we strongly oppose "let them fail" mindsets. The strength of American higher education relies on its institutional diversity, and on the ability of colleges and universities to meet the needs of their local communities and educate local students. The needs of learners are highly individualized, demanding a wide range of options to accommodate the aspirations and learning styles of every kind of student. Education will become less relevant and meaningful to students, and less responsive to local needs, if institutions of higher learning are allowed to fail. </p> <p>Preventing this outcome demands that colleges and universities work together to establish greater capacity for remote, distributed education. This will help institutions with fewer resources adapt to our new normal and continue to fulfill their mission of serving students, their families, and their communities. Many had suspected that collaboration and networking were preferable over letting vulnerable colleges fail. COVID-19's new normal seems to be confirming this.</p>
President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during the Arizona State University graduation ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium May 13, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. Over 65,000 people attended the graduation.
Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images<p>A second condition of the new normal that many had suspected to be true in recent years is the limited role that any one university or type of university can play as an exemplar to universities more broadly. For decades, the evolution of higher education has been shaped by the widespread imitation of a small number of elite universities. Most public research universities could benefit from replicating Berkeley or Michigan. Most small private colleges did well by replicating Williams or Swarthmore. And all universities paid close attention to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, and Yale. It is not an exaggeration to say that the logic of replication has guided the evolution of higher education for centuries, both in the US and abroad.</p><p>Only recently have we been able to move beyond replication to new strategies of change, and COVID-19 has confirmed the legitimacy of doing so. For example, cases such as <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/03/10/harvard-moves-classes-online-advises-students-stay-home-after-spring-break-response-covid-19/" target="_blank">Harvard's</a> eviction of students over the course of less than one week or <a href="https://www.nhregister.com/news/coronavirus/article/Mayor-New-Haven-asks-for-coronavirus-help-Yale-15162606.php" target="_blank">Yale's apparent reluctance</a> to work with the city of New Haven, highlight that even higher education's legacy gold standards have limits and weaknesses. We are hopeful that the new normal will include a more active and earnest recognition that we need many types of universities. We think the new normal invites us to rethink the very nature of "gold standards" for higher education.</p>
A graduate student protests MIT's rejection of some evacuation exemption requests.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images<p>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we had started to suspect and now understand that America's colleges and universities are among the many institutions of democracy and civil society that are, by their very design, incapable of being sufficiently responsive to the full spectrum of modern challenges and opportunities they face. Far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted. And without new designs, we can expect postsecondary success for these same students to be as elusive in the new normal, as it was in the <a href="http://pellinstitute.org/indicators/reports_2019.shtml" target="_blank">old normal</a>. This is not just because some universities fail to sufficiently recognize and engage the promise of diversity, this is because few universities have been designed from the outset to effectively serve the unique needs of lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color.</p>
Where can the new normal take us?<p>As colleges and universities face the difficult realities of adapting to COVID-19, they also face an opportunity to rethink their operations and designs in order to respond to social needs with greater agility, adopt technology that enables education to be delivered at scale, and collaborate with each other in order to maintain the dynamism and resilience of the American higher education system.</p> <p>COVID-19 raises questions about the relevance, the quality, and the accessibility of higher education—and these are the same challenges higher education has been grappling with for years. </p> <p>ASU has been able to rapidly adapt to the present circumstances because we have spent nearly two decades not just anticipating but <em>driving</em> innovation in higher education. We have adopted a <a href="https://www.asu.edu/about/charter-mission-and-values" target="_blank">charter</a> that formalizes our definition of success in terms of "who we include and how they succeed" rather than "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/17/forget-varsity-blues-madness-lets-talk-about-students-who-cant-afford-college/" target="_blank">who we exclude</a>." We adopted an entrepreneurial <a href="https://president.asu.edu/read/higher-logic" target="_blank">operating model</a> that moves at the speed of technological and social change. We have launched initiatives such as <a href="https://www.instride.com/how-it-works/" target="_blank">InStride</a>, a platform for delivering continuing education to learners already in the workforce. We developed our own robust technological capabilities in ASU <a href="https://edplus.asu.edu/" target="_blank">EdPlus</a>, a hub for research and development in digital learning that, even before the current crisis, allowed us to serve more than 45,000 fully online students. We have also created partnerships with other forward-thinking institutions in order to mutually strengthen our capabilities for educational accessibility and quality; this includes our role in co-founding the <a href="https://theuia.org/" target="_blank">University Innovation Alliance</a>, a consortium of 11 public research universities that share data and resources to serve students at scale. </p> <p>For ASU, and universities like ASU, the "new normal" of a post-COVID world looks surprisingly like the world we already knew was necessary. Our record breaking summer 2020 <a href="https://asunow.asu.edu/20200519-sun-devil-life-summer-enrollment-sets-asu-record" target="_blank">enrollment</a> speaks to this. What COVID demonstrates is that we were already headed in the right direction and necessitates that we continue forward with new intensity and, we hope, with more partners. In fact, rather than "new normal" we might just say, it's "go time." </p>
Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?
Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.
- Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
- "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
- In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.