Lakes on Mars, National Security, and Fighting Alzheimer’s—In The News 7/30/18


In a fast-moving, ever-shifting world, news is continuously breaking. The Great Courses is here to help you understand full story behind the soundbites. Here are a handful of stories from the week of July 30, 2018, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus

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The Red—and Wet—Planet
Scientists believe they’ve discovered a 12-mile lake under Mars’s polar ice cap. So what does this mean for the possibility of life on the Red Planet? Get the intriguing backstory behind the robotic rovers—including the sophisticated Curiosity rover—crawling across the planet in search of microbial Martian life.

Free Speech vs. National Security
With a CNN reporter recently barred from a White House event, the issue of denying access to the press is on everyone’s mind. What should be published? Who should publish it? Trace the recent history of tensions between the news media and government operations, from the Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks.

Presidential Privacy
Federal authorities have seized more than 100 secret recordings by President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. So where does the federal government stand on an individual’s privacy rights? Review the reasons why the Constitution provides less protection against surveillance today than it did back in the 18th century.

All in for the LHC
The Large Hadron Collider, stretching 17 miles around and endorsed by an unprecedented international team of scientists, has recently been endorsed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Take a fascinating look inside the LHC’s construction, capabilities, and amazing promise for the future of physics.

Fighting Back against Alzheimer’s
Can science help slow down the progression of the most prominent disease that causes dementia? That’s the hope of early trials of an experimental new drug, the BAN2401 antibody. To better understand the drug’s scientific potential, explore the history, symptoms, and palliative treatments of Alzheimer’s disease.

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.