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Hooman Majd Offers a Primer on Iran

Question: Is there universal health coverage in Iran?Majd:    Most people are either privately insured or have government insurance.  You can have government insurance and if you’re not insured at all, there are free hospitals and there are charity hospitals as well.  So there is and there isn’t.  I mean, if you have a major operation, you could potentially have a problem if don’t you go to the… you know, if you don’t have insurance and there are people who don’t have insurance but you can get insurance from the government and it’s not expensive compared to the United States.  It’s not quite socialist like… it’s not a socialist model and it’s not quite like Northern European countries where there’s this universal healthcare paid for by the taxes but it’s also not like America where you really are, you know, in trouble if you don’t have insurance of any kind.

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Question: How much does Internet censorship curtail information?Majd:    It’s exactly like China.  They used the same software, American software which was used by the Iranian authorities.  It’s very odd though because when I’m in Iran, I always find this really strange, I mean, you’ll go on… I can go to the New York Times site, for example, when I’m in Tehran and read the news, I can’t go on the New York Post then I go to the Jerusalem Post which is very anti-Iranian as an Israeli newspaper and that’s not blocked, you go on Haaretz which is a left-wing Israeli paper which is less anti-Iran, that’s not blocked either. 

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Question: How do Iranians view Americans?

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Majd: Most of the Iranian people I would say if you want to talk about an average Iranian would like there to be a relationship with America based on mutual respect that also doesn’t mean that Iran will become subservient to America or has to do what America says everytime.  The sense of being a weak power is kind of now gone, Iran doesn’t have that sense, the Iranian people doesn’t have that sense anymore, they don’t want to be subservient to a foreign power, it’s really something that makes them uncomfortable and given what they’ve gone through for the last 30 years and being able to survive on their own as an independent nation, it’s a very strong sense now among the Iranian people that we don’t need to be subservient to other countries.  So as long as America doesn’t dictate to Iran what to do, how to vote at the UN, how to do this, whether to do this or not do that.  I think Iranians would love to see a relationship, the vast majority of them.  Every poll that’s been taken, an unofficial poll in Iran has indicated that and I think it’s true in my own experience talking to, you know, the average Iranian on the street, you know, in homes, from the upper class, to the working class, there hasn’t been a single person who said, “Oh no, we can’t let the Americans back into this country because they’re evil.”  I never heard that, it’s quite the opposite, “No, we would like to have relations but they have to understand that they have to respect us, they have to understand who we are.

Hooman Majd reveals some facts about the Islamic republic that could surprise Americans.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • 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.
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R.P. Eddy wrote about a coming pandemic in 2017. Why didn't we listen?

In his book with Richard Clarke, "Warnings," Eddy made clear this was inevitable.

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Coronavirus
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Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

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  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
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  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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New study explores how to navigate 'desire discrepancies' in long term relationships

With the most common form of female sexual dysfunction impacting 1 in 10 women, this important study dives into how to keep a relationship going despite having different needs and wants in the bedroom.

NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study highlights the difficulties faced by women who struggle with decreased sexual desire, and explains how to navigate desire discrepancies in long-term relationships.
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  • Finding other ways to promote intimacy in your relationship is one of the keys to ensuring happiness on both sides.

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