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David Goggins
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Bryan Cranston
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Bombs Aren’t Working. Spies Aren’t Working. How Do You Stop Islamic Extremism?

Shifts away from Islamism require grassroots, ground-up approaches to change.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Today I read a report by the United Nations saying the spread of Islamic extremism across the world, and especially the countries that seem, you know, so many people of different nationalities seem to be going to the Islamic state or Al Qaeda or — that is on the rise and there's this helplessness. And we've tried military means; we're still trying them. We've tried counter surveillance means. And those means they answer certain problems, but there's not ideological confrontation.

I don't think that the answer lies in some top-down solution. I think the answer lies in figuring out who are the people who will most benefit from the change and what is it that they will, you know, what are the tools? How can we reveal these tools of manipulation to them and how can we get them best to unite?

Within this mass of humanity, we were subscribed to Islam, there's something simmering. There are changes. People are being pinched in many different ways. If you're a woman, you're sexually harassed. You're subjected to honor killings. You're subjected to a force marriage. There's suffering. Your children are denied education. If you're a little boy you, are subjected to a whole host of cruelties. You're probably taken advantage of, sexually abused. There's all of these going. There's people are thinking; they're getting together and the means are there. The Internet, if you can read and write, but before the Internet there was audio and radio and video and all that.

If you look at a mass of one-fifth of humanity, 1.5, 1.6 billion people and you think I'm going to look for some leader up there who's going to manipulate them all like puppets, which is what we have been doing the last however many hundred years, and we are now coming to the conclusion it doesn't work that way, but at the same time we find ourselves through technology that there is a bottom-up variant. Do you remember Occupy Wall Street? It came out of nothing. The Ferguson, Baltimore demonstrations. All of us, as far as we know, it was a bottom-up event, something bad happens and then poof, the masses are out there demanding their heads. But there's something simmering in there.

The top-down approach to combating Islamic extremism is not working. Organizations such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as Islamic State and Boko Haram, are enjoying a dangerous level of popularity. Cultural change cannot be forced upon a people; it must materialize from within. True and meaningful reform can only begin on the grassroots level. To defeat radical Islam, populism must succeed where war and espionage have failed.

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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