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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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In This Age of Global Divide, Art Is the Best Unifying Force We Have

The power of art to unite us across political divides is paramount, despite a tendency of artists to be leftists. Victoria Coates, art historian and foreign policy advisor to Ted Cruz's 2016 Presidential Campaign, explains.

Victoria Coates: I blame the perception of art being liberal on [Pablo] Picasso because he was a card-carrying communist. It's interesting the artist who painted the great anti-fascist picture saw absolutely nothing wrong with totalitarian communism. And certainly most artists tend to be a liberal. I don't think though that that means that Republicans or conservatives can't appreciate art and that also that there aren't artists who can be conservative. That might be the sort of tendency, but I don't think it's exclusive. And I also think art, particularly the kind of art that's in David's Sling, is a real uniting force. I mean I don't care if you are Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz; I think you both can come together to appreciate an achievement like Michelangelo's David. That shouldn't be a difficult or a divisive thing; it should be a uniting thing. Whether we want to be or not, we are engaged in a civilizational struggle with forces that are extremely hostile to what we would consider to be the Western tradition, although now it is a global tradition with the inclusion of states like Japan and Israel. This is something we should all come together to support and celebrate and so art can be, I think, a wonderful vehicle for that kind of unity.

What's the one thing Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders can agree on? According to Victoria Coates, art historian and foreign policy advisor to Ted Cruz's 2016 Presidential Campaign, it should be an appreciation of art. The nature of art is to bridge gaps, she says, whether they are made by time, space, or political persuasion. In an era of divisive politics and global struggles against anti-cultural forces like ISIS, we need art that expresses the essential human experience more than ever.

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?

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
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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