QAnon, The Death Penalty, and Dippin’ Dots—In The News 8/6/18


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 August 6, 2018, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus

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QAnon—Conspiracy Conundrums
While we often just roll our eyes at outlandish conspiracy theories, “Q” is making waves across the worldwide web. Claiming to possess a top-level security clearance, the person or persons behind “Q” claims to have evidence of a global criminal conspiracy—a line of accusations that can get downright dangerous. Examine both the compelling nature of conspiracy thinking and ways to determine which theories are true and which are just elaborate lies.

Fired Up
In the past few years, California has seen fires that are unprecedented in both scope and the damage they bring. The current Carr Fire is so hot that it’s creating its own weather system and has ravaged over 112,000 acres. Explore what’s going on in the atmosphere to create an environment that is conducive to this destruction.

An Apple a Day
Apple has become the first-ever company to reach a market valuation of one trillion dollars. How did a company founded 42 years ago in a Santa Clara Valley garage reach this remarkable achievement? Apple’s meteoric rise to the top of the market can be traced through the five essential strategic forces in building a business.

It’s All Relative
The effects of general relativity as predicted by Albert Einstein have been confirmed as researchers viewed a star race past the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. Delve into the theory that the curvature in space-time is not caused by gravity, but rather that it is gravity—the startling idea that was the essence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

The Death Penalty
Pope Francis has declared the death penalty wrong in all cases and stated that the Catholic Church will work towards its abolition, bringing the debate about capital punishment back into mainstream media. Does the death penalty violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment?” Investigate the nature of capital punishment, the moral arguments for and against it, and whether or not the practice accomplishes its intended purposes.

I Scream
Dippin’ Dots™, Dragon’s Breath, and hundreds of “do-it-yourself” YouTube videos have resulted in liquid nitrogen treats becoming extremely popular with kids. It’s fun and delicious science you can try at home! Except…recent findings have found that this food fad has some dangerous risks for children who have asthma. Uncover what causes and triggers asthma—an immune system overreaction to harmless foreign substances.

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.