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Bryan Cranston
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Carl Sagan's most important lesson about science

The thing that Carl Sagan did better than anybody else was connecting to the science through emotion and stories, says NASA's Michelle Thaller.

Michelle Thaller: So when I was growing up as a young girl—in Wisconsin actually—I was ten years old when Carl Sagan’s show Cosmos came on public broadcasting. And as a ten year old kind of living in rural Wisconsin I had never really met an astronomer. That’s not someone you routinely meet.

Whenever people tell me, you know, you don’t really seem like an astronomer. The wonderful next thing to ask is, “How many astronomers do you know?”

So my vision of what an astronomer was was this man on this television show, on public television, Carl Sagan.

And the thing that Carl did better than anybody else I’d ever seen was this emotional connection to the science. He loved to tell stories. He would tell stories about the history but also it was from him that I learned where all of the atoms in my body come from. The fact that they were all formed in stars. And when Carl talks about that on the show I mean we sort of made a joke that there are these things called “Carl moments” where Carl sort of gazes dramatically off into space and the camera sort of close up, you know, close up on his face. And you can see him sort of emoting at how wonderful this is.

And these days, you know, decades later those scenes seem a little bit silly and a little bit contrived. But as a child I was taken along for this incredible emotional journey. Carl was a real rock star. He had this charisma and people would just listen to what he was saying and they would love to follow along with his stories. And that became to me the image of what a scientist was, what an astronomer was, was somebody that could tell the stories of the universe.

So I never ended up meeting Carl. I always wanted to. He unfortunately died very young, he died in his early 60s and I was a graduate student at the time. I always figured I would see him at some astronomy conference, I’d somehow, you know, wander past him at one of these scientific meetings and tell him how much that his show had meant to me. But I never got that chance.

I never left though that idea, that what a scientist really does is tell stories. It’s about the narrative and it’s about the emotions. And Carl did that better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

The thing that Carl Sagan did better than anybody else was connecting to the science through emotion and stories, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. Watching him when growing up formed Thaller's vision of what an astronomer could be and inspired her for the rest of her life.

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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How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

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