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Ronen Bergman on Tzipi Livni

Question: Who is Tzipi Livni?Ronen Bergman:   She is the daughter of someone who used to belong to the right-wing underground that fought British mandate during the ‘30s and the ‘40s, and she was basically born into the right-wing Likud Party.  She was trained to be a Mossad agent and she quit Mossad because of being courageous, I must say, in the early ‘80s. 

She was demanded to sign an agreement or a commitment not to get pregnant within 5 years.  And they said, basically, we are going to invest this time in you only if you guarantee us that you’re going to be free for operations for at least 5 years. And she said, I’m not going to get pregnant but yet I think that this is inappropriate to have this piece of paper signed. And she quit Mossad because of that. 

But the fact that she crossed the training means that she has a very strong capability of working under pressure, holding false identities, manipulating people as well.  Anyway, many things that a politician wants to or needs to survive in the various aggressive Israeli political agreements. 

After finishing law, she joined the Likud Party and she was promoted to be a Minister. Then when Ariel Sharon quit Likud as the Prime Minister, and established a new party called Kadima, he took Livni with him and she received quite a lot of warm welcome from different fields of the Israeli public, and was appointed as Foreign Minister. 

And when [Ehud] Olmert got so deeply involved with corruption and fraud, just forced him to resign, she was elected as the number one in her party, and therefore, presumably, is going to select the next government. 

She is holding a right-wing moderate line and I would not be surprised if she would be willing to retreat from the Golan Heights, giving them back to Syria in order to achieve peace treaty with Syria. And also make some significant compromises with the Palestinians to try and achieve some sort of sustainable agreement with them.

Recorded: Sep 19, 2008

Journalist Ronen Bergman on the acting Israeli prime minister.

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
  • In their 2017 book, "Warnings," R.P. Eddy and Richard Clarke warned about a coming pandemic.
  • "You never get credit for correctly predicting an outbreak," says science journalist Laurie Garrett in the book.
  • In this interview with Big Think, R.P. Eddy explains why people don't listen to warnings—and how to try to get them to listen.
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Creativity: The science behind the madness

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

Videos
  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • 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.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • 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.

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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.
  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is one of the most common forms of female sexual dysfunction, impacting an estimated 1 in 10 women.
  • Finding other ways to promote intimacy in your relationship is one of the keys to ensuring happiness on both sides.

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