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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Dale Jamieson Gets Personal

Question: What did you think of Grizzly Man?

Dale Jamieson: Well, "Grizzly Man" is a really interesting film at multiple levels, I mean. It's first of all a film about Treadwell, who himself is an extremely interesting person who has several different layers and levels of views in his relations to animals and to nature but then it's also a film about Werner Herzog who has his own take, not just on Treadwell, but his own views about nature and about animals. Now Treadwell, on the one hand, is a remarkable person informing the relationships that he did form with grizzly bears. Ecologists and ethnologists will spend decades in the field and really not develop relationships that are as strong and actually as informative as the relationships that Treadwell formed. At the same time, Treadwell, right? It's Treadwell, Treadwell is really one of us in the sense that he's a normal person who is projecting onto the animals, all of his own desires, his failures, his successes, who he wants to be. And so there's a way in which Treadwell doesn't really see the animals, he sees himself as reflected in the animals and that's part of what makes the film interesting. What really makes it interesting is both of those things are going on in Treadwell, both he has a real connection to these animals of the very profound kind and also he's using the animals to see a reflection of himself in the eye of the bear.

Question: Do you obey all the moral conclusions you have reached?

Dale Jamieson: I am very far from being the sort of person I think that I like to be, in many ways. Probably the thing that I do that is the least defensible is I fly too much in airplanes and there will come a time, I suppose, when we'll feel the need to fly less than we do and still feel as though we can accomplish the things that we can accomplish. There'll come a time when airplanes are much more efficient when it comes to producing lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions, there'll come a time when we'll be able to offset those emissions much more effectively than we do now. But alas at the moment, flying airplanes is really one of the least defensible things that we do and it's one of the things that I indulge in quite frequently, alas.

Question: What is the measure of a good life?

Dale Jamieson: Well, one measure of a good life, I think, is to be engaged in projects that one thinks are meaningful and worthwhile. So I would put the emphasis of a good life on activity, on the walk rather than the destination, and I think that most of the things that any of us do that are really valuable and really important are projects that we really shouldn't expect to be completed in our lifetime because if they could completed in our lifetime, they probably wouldn't be so important that we should devote our lives to them.

Recorded on: April 15, 2009

 

The professor on Grizzly Man, moral sincerity and the good life.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
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Has science made religion useless?

Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.

Videos
  • Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
  • This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
  • "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."

Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals

Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Coronavirus
It's often easy to tell when colleagues are struggling with a cold — they sound sick.
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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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Supporting climate science increases skepticism of out-groups

A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?

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Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study has found evidence suggesting that conservative climate skepticism is driven by reactions to liberal support for science.
  • This was determined both by comparing polling data to records of cues given by leaders, and through a survey.
  • The findings could lead to new methods of influencing public opinion.
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