David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

What We Must Know in Order to Help Haiti

Question: What cultural misunderstandings must other countries shed before they can truly help Haiti?


Laurent Dubois: I think a couple things. I mean on the historical front I think it’s just vital for people to know that this country you know is born out of a refusal of slavery, right, a refusal of a plantation slavery. This is a country whose workers, whose African slaves produced and enormous amount of wealth for France in particular and other countries as well and who essentially when they freed themselves essentially kind of transformed their country from one that had been producing a lot of wealth into one that didn’t have that same capacity simply because they were slaves. They were the producers of that wealth. When they decided to be human beings, you know free human beings rather than slaves they kind of were forced into a decision. There is a way in which that I think goes through all of Haitian history that kind of desire to refuse a certain kind of form of subjection and enslavement and people are rightly proud of that inheritance, which by the way, had a huge impact. You know it directly lead to the Louisiana Purchase. It kind of improved… It sort of expanded our notion of human rights in radical ways, so there is a kind of you know I think just a sense of the importance of Haitian history so that it’s seen as not as a kind of perpetual… a state of perpetual crisis, but rather also a kind of important historical force. The other really important misconceptions that come up a lot have to do with Haitian voodoo in particular, which you know is often described as a kind of religion that you know makes people that the… I think. David Brooks talked about it making people believe that life is capricious side. I’m not sure exactly the quote, but there is a kind of way in which people view Haitian voodoo, which I think people really need to educate themselves about the religion very carefully because it’s a very important force in Haitian society, and people are rightly sensitive about it being kind of misconstrued. It’s a religion that actually was born in the midst of slave revolution. It’s far from something that teaches people to sort of give up or not struggle. In fact, it’s really a religion linked to both collective and individual struggle and concretely on the ground in Haiti both Protestant organizations, Catholic groups and Voodoo churches are very important social institutions. They provide leadership. They provide community. They provide solace in a time like this, so a real good understanding of the religious landscape that’s sort of taken with an open mind I think will be extremely important for those who are working there.

Recorded on January 20, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen


Laurent Dubois dispels the myths surrounding Haiti’s voodoo religion and other misconceptions that damage foreigners’ relief efforts.

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.

Credit: Shutterstock
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.
Keep reading Show less

Has science made religion useless?

Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.

  • 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
It's often easy to tell when colleagues are struggling with a cold — they sound sick.
Keep reading Show less

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.
Keep reading Show less

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.
Keep reading Show less