A “Living” Cure for Cancer and More—In The News 9/17/18


In a fast-moving, ever-shifting world, news is continuously breaking. The Great Courses is here to help you understand the full story behind the soundbites. Here are a handful of stories from the week of September 17, 2018, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus

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Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall
Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday, causing power outages, mass flooding, and even fatalities. How do hurricanes get so big? Start off the coast of West Africa to see how this region is the perfect breeding ground for low-pressure disturbances. Chart the role of the Coriolis force, water temperature, and other factors that must coincide for these systems to grow into hurricanes that can threaten the United States.

Explosions in Boston
Dozens of natural gas explosions rocked the northern region of Boston, likely because of old and leak-prone pipes. Learn how fossil fuels are extracted from the Earth and how new technologies have revolutionized the industry, while also considering the dangers and environmental drawbacks of these endeavors.

A “Living” Cure for Cancer
CAR T-cell therapy, described as “a living drug”—a treatment made from a patient’s own cells—has been approved by the FDA to treat some children and young adults with leukemia and some adults with lymphoma. Explore avenues of treatment at the frontiers of science, including how a patient’s own immune system can be harnessed in cancer therapy.

Classified Documents and Governmental Tampering
A bloc of House conservatives continues to push President Trump to declassify documents related to the FBI’s use of a confidential intelligence source during the Russia probe. Investigate the techniques by which governments infiltrate each other, ponder the ethics of these actions, and think through the appropriate responses.

Rocky Retreat
A section of limestone broke off the cliffside of Shipwreck Beach—part of a remote cove in western Greece—injuring seven people and bringing the dangers of mass wasting back to the forefront of thought. Learn about the process of mass wasting and where to observe it and see why flows, slides, and falls account for the most dramatic forms of mass wasting.

Cybersecurity Threats Surrounding Elections
An executive order was recently put forth by President Trump that automatically imposes sanctions against a person or group that interferes or attempts to interfere in the U.S. election process, with a hope of curbing cybersecurity breaches such as the phishing attacks that impacted the 2016 election. Define a cyber act of war and determine whether a country can effectively respond to a cyber-attack, and if so, when and how it’s possible.

We will be diligently monitoring current events and sharing updates on a regular basis, linking the latest headlines to our courses, so you can get the context, history, background, deeper meaning, and—especially—the facts. Our goal is to help our lifelong learners apply the knowledge they gain from our courses to the real world and become better-informed citizen about the present-day issues that concern us all.