Some anxieties are essential, and for millennia they kept our ancestors alive. But there's another type of anxiety that we can actually do away with—and it's defeated via hope.
In this refreshing take on the utility of hope, Princeton research scholar Victoria McGeer explains that there's a difference between blind hope and practical hope. The latter means taking a clear-eyed view of potential disappointment, knowing that there may be failure, and then putting your anxieties offline by trusting in the elements that are beyond your control. Trust is a critical feature of human social life, and we're often obligated to trust in uncertain circumstances: trust your kids, trust that stranger, trust your neighbor. Hope, when done properly, can fortify trust, reduce anxiety, and actually give you the tools to cope with disappointment. This video was filmed as part of the Los Angeles Hope Festival, a collaboration between Big Think and Hope & Optimism.
Despite decades of research, there is no reliable vaccine for malaria. Dr. Philip Eckhoff lays out the strategies and collaborations required to eradicate this disease and the half a million lives it takes each year.
Philip Eckhoff is a
Hertz Foundation Fellow
and recipient of the prestigious Hertz Foundation Grant for graduate study in the applications of the physical, biological and engineering sciences. Eckhoff is Principal Investigator of the disease modeling team at Intellectual Ventures. In this video, he explains what is involved in total global eradication of malaria and how interdisciplinary collaboration is the key to out-thinking and out-maneuvering this disease. With the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, he pursued a PhD in applied and computational mathematics at Princeton University, receiving his degree in doctorate in 2009.
The Hertz Foundation mission is to provide unique financial and fellowship support to the nation's most remarkable PhD students in the hard sciences. Hertz Fellowships are among the most prestigious in the world, and the foundation has invested over $200 million in Hertz Fellows since 1963 (present value) and supported over 1,100 brilliant and creative young scientists, who have gone on to become Nobel laureates, high-ranking military personnel, astronauts, inventors, Silicon Valley leaders, and tenured university professors. For more information, visit hertzfoundation.org.
Princeton professor Sean Wilentz explains why America has such a staunch two-party system, which was never part of the Framers' plan.
If you ask one of America’s most prominent historians about the two-party system in US politics you can expect to go from zero to enlightened in just over two minutes. Thank you, Sean Wilentz.
The framers of the US Constitution did not envision or plan for America to have political parties; they didn’t like the idea of ideological clans, believing them to be divisive and damaging to the commonwealth that they were building. But not for lack of irony, the very system these framers designed was fertile soil for partisan groups to arise.
Political controversy in the 1790s, just a few years after the Constitution was signed, saw the emergence of two groups, the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party, who disagreed on the federal government powers of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. They managed to iron out their differences however, and party politics ended for a sweet decade in 1816, a period that became known as the Era of Good Feelings – no, really.
Needless to say, the good feelings have since evaporated. And although we have cooperation across the aisle and bipartisan efforts on some issues (such as unlikely allies Cory Booker and Newt Gingrich on prison reform), the two-party sentiment is stronger than ever in US politics. Third parties come and go, but they risk splitting the vote and fracturing the thin unity that spans the left-right spectrum of politicians and voters, so they tend to bubble up and recede – but not without shaping the political agenda and forcing the major parties to refine their stance on important issues.
Sean Wilentz's most recent book is 360 Sound:The Columbia Records Story.