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Are you an intellectual?

If you answered “no,” I ask you to reconsider. At his commencement address to newly-graduated doctoral students at the University of Florida, National Book Award Winner and History Professor Ibram X Kendi asks us to look at intelligence differently. If you have a desire to know, if you’re open-minded, if you have a tremendous capacity to change your mind, if you are self-reflective and self-critical, and above all, if you’re always willing to face reality, then you’re an intellectual, according to Kendi. At his December 16, 2016 address to the University of Florida’s newly-minted Ph.Ds., Kendi challenges traditional notions of…

How To Navigate The Newsphere

We long for connection, a hunger for awareness of the other. We are evolving through our connections with each other, which are becoming more complex, powerful and sophisticated. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin defined this as the noosphere, the glue that binds us together in a cosmic sense. It is an integral consciousness—the understanding that the human is the “axis and arrow of evolution.” This web of connections is a source of often untapped energy. It is how we grow and change both individually and collectively. Technology helps us grow this global network of complex connections in dynamic and powerful ways.…

Trust In The Slow Work Of God

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955) We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you. your ideas mature gradually – let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as…

People See Through A Racial Lens: Young People Today Are Engaged and Fearless Says ‘60s Activist and SDS Pioneer Tom Hayden

By Christine M. Tracy I interviewed Tom Hayden in March of 2015 when he returned to his home state of Michigan and his alma mater, The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Teach-In To End The Vietnam War. Hayden died Sunday at the age of 76. “In the ‘60s, there was a common reaction to local abuses,” says Tom Hayden, a founder of the SDS and principal author of their political manifesto, the Port Huron Statement. “There was an outbreak of sit-ins at lunch counters that escalated from one town to multiple…

Ride The Wave Of Change Advises International Affairs Expert Robin Wright

Seasoned war reporter rejects the ‘mean world syndrome’  You’ve probably seen Robin Wright on the PBS Newshour, Charlie Rose, or CBS’s Face The Nation. She’s spent most of her life reporting on wars and conflicts: her column, ISIS On The Run, was in the October 17, 2016 New Yorker.   The world-traveling reporter recently returned to her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she was warmly welcomed by a large audience at her alma mater, the University of Michigan. A true Michigander,  Wright paid homage to ‘the maize and the blue’ and told tales from her career-launching job at at the Michigan…

A Basket Out Of Time

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” I texted Brendan minutes before the start of the 2016 NCAA Finals in Houston. “It’s weird. It’s surreal.” Brendan’s answer was a perfect description of the collective energy in the arena that night and the special magic that brought him to that precise moment in time. The basketball angels worked overtime to turn a life-long dream to go to the NCAA Finals into something transcendent;  Brendan was not only witnessing basketball history but realizing a personal dream. Underneath all the plans was a deep desire to see our team, Villanova, win the tournament.…

Geppetto To The Rescue: Automated Fact-Checkers Are The Antidote For Liars

The 2106 election will be the most fact-checked in history, but will people believe the truth even when it’s verified? Much like an army of truth-telling Geppettos, fact-checking journalists are battling the global pandemic of false and misleading claims so easily spread by the ubiquitous use of smart phones and sophisticated social media apps. While…

“Atomizing” The News To Make It Smarter

Let’s blow up the story and create new forms  Politifact Founder and Journalism Professor Bill Adair urged his 2012 Ted talk audience. And that’s exactly what he’s done. Together with with David Caswell, former product manager of Yahoo, Adair is “atmoizing” the news and writing stories for computers to read. They’ve designed a new platform,…

What happens when vast numbers of people focus on the same thing at the same time?

“Our individual minds, though distinct and uniquely ours, may also join with others in a kind of mental symphony that now and then becomes audible against a prevailing background of static,” says Richard Samson, director of the EraNova Institute, whose mission is empowering human development. Using random number generators, scientists from Princeton’s Global Consciousness Project…