Viking Swords, Walking on The Moon, and More—In The News 10/15/18


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 October 15, 2018, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus

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A Slice of History
An eight-year-old girl found a 1,500-year-old, pre-Viking-era sword while swimming in a lake in Sweden. What was the world like back then? Get to know the peoples living in Scandinavia in its earliest days and through the Viking Age and understand the environment that shaped their culture and decisions.

Hurricane Michael Hits
Hurricane Michael roared through the Panhandle of Florida, leaving disaster zones that, according to some survivors, look like an atomic bomb was dropped. How do hurricanes get so big? Chart the role of the Coriolis force, water temperature, and other factors that must coincide for these storm systems to grow into devastating hurricanes.

Market Jitters Cause Ripples
The Dow and the S&P 500 took some big hits this week, with the riskiest parts of the market—tech stocks—coming under the most fire. Look at the enormous influence of technology on today’s investing, which brings with it a frightening potential for crashes and crises.

The Real “First Man”
Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in First Man which dramatizes the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon (July 20,1969). Delve into the true story of the original space explorers, starting with the moment Apollo 8 ’s astronauts first witnessed earthrise on Christmas Eve, 1968.

Genetics in Giraffes
A new study suggests that the spotted patterns giraffes are known for aren’t random, but are inherited maternally. Trace the work of Gregor Mendel, and how he learned through pea-plant experiments that each parent’s characteristics were “particulate”—that is, chemically independent. His meticulous research was the beginning of modern genetics.

Bankruptcy Fears for Sears
Sears, once the world’s biggest retailer, is working with advisers to possibly file for bankruptcy, after decades of downward-spiraling sales and selling off assets such as real estate and in-house brands. Learn how to understand the four key factors of competition, plus start thinking about the two drivers of profitability: industry structure and competitive advantage.

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.