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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Andrew Sean Greer: Literary Influences

Andrew Sean Greer: I think certainly Nabokov definitely for my last book, The Confessions of Max Tivoli, it was the major voice that I heard in my head and oddly really old writers like Edith Wharton for this last book, who I turned to a lot just in the storytelling.  Science fiction writers when I was a kid were a big deal.  Isaac Asimov, I was a big fan and Susan Cooper when I was a kid and otherwise I spent so many years reading Proust I can’t believe that wouldn’t have an influence on me and I started it up again because I loved it so much.

Question: Who are your favorite contemporary authors?

Andrew Sean Greer:  My favorite has got to be Michael Chabon because I think he’s just hit it on the nose of everything I love about literary fiction and everything I love about supposedly genre fiction together.  It’s like page-turner where every page is gorgeous.  I love it.

Question: Did your parents pressure you to follow in their footsteps?

Andrew Sean Greer:  I never wanted to be a scientist.  I did, in fact, so badly in chemistry that they were quite appalled.  I wasn’t that bad at it, but, you know, and I had the fun sort of childhood where my parents were the experimental type where like at breakfast my dad would bring out a vial of acid and he would pour it into the sugar and sulfuric acid, when it touches sugar it forms this big column of carbon that smells like raisins and things.  Very dramatic, but it was fun.  That was all fun to me, but somehow wasn’t where my heart was at all.

Greer cites Proust, Nabokov, Asimov

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

Image: metamorworks / Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
  • More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
  • SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
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