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Ronen Bergman on Inspiration

Question: What insprires you?Ronen Bergman:    Sometimes, I have writing difficulties.  The structure doesn’t work right.  I feel that the plot is not moving right and I’m trying. This is my main goal when writing, after, of course, the first one is to obtain the information to make people talk, and this is the hardest.  Convince someone that can only risk losing his career and his job and his pension to give you documents.  This is the hardest. 

But then, you need to write. And though you already know that, you need to write it in a readable fashion that in spite of mentioning all this, the Arab and Hebrew names and events and dates and hours and weaponry and technical terms, it would be still being read like a thriller. 

And when The Economist was not considered to be a very welcome, warm welcome paper, came with the review of the book [The Secret War With Iran], saying that’s an enthralling read, I thought this is the best compliment I could get. 

When I have difficulties, I stop working.  I stop writing and I go out jogging.  And somehow, miraculously, when I come back, everything is in place.  I know if it’s a manner of inspiration, but the way that I put myself in a sort of meditation while jogging sets my mind and the problem is solved.  And jogging in the park, the Park of Tel Aviv at night, really helps me when solving these sometimes very difficult issues of how to arrange the chapter.

Recorded: Sep 19, 2008

When trying to make foreign policy read like a thriller, Bergman says jogging offers the best way to clear his head.

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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