Course Description

Malcolm Gladwell and others have advanced our knowledge by looking at familiar topics in thought-provoking new ways.  In this magazine-format class, each week a different instructor presents a challenging topic, ranging from art to science to current events, usually for about one hour. We leave plenty of time for an active discussion. Instructors also circulate additional resources, such as books, articles or slides, to enable deeper learning. Lecture (plus Questions): Facilitated Discussion.

Changing Lives as a Nonprofit Volunteer (Charlotta (Lotta) Sjoelin). Interior designer Lotta Sjoelin turned a simple to add pillows to a women's shelter in Chapel Hill into A Lotta Love, a Triangle-wide effort to renovate such shelters strengthen efforts to power women and children. Charlotta (Lotta) Sjoelin is the executive director and founder for A Lotta Love. Lotta is Swedish, but has lived all over the world for over 22 years.

North Carolina from Pre-History into History (Beth Timsom). The ground you walk on every day has gone through millions of years of changes, some of them very dramatic. Learn something about the natural history of this state and its original inhabitants up until the time that colonists arrived here from Europe. Beth Timson is a retired college professor, landscape architect, and city planner.

Applied neuroscience to improve human performance (Greg Appelbaum). How can brain science help athletes improve their performance and older adults to slow the decline in memory? As a member of the medical school’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Appelbaum specializes in the brain mechanisms underlying visual cognition, how these capabilities differ among individuals, including Duke athletes, and how they can be improved through behavioral, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation interventions.

North Carolina as the Epicenter of the Arts. Not only has North Carolina produced many renowned writers, actors, musicians and other artists, it is the home of a vibrant arts scene with many national events. This lecture explores the variety of ways the arts impacts North Carolinians and the value of the creative economy as the state grows. Trained as an opera and musical theatre conductor, Jackson Cooper directs the chamber music program at the NC Museum of Art. He is currently working on books on film, opera, and conducting, and teaches courses for OLLI on American cinema.

The World Can Have 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 (Ed Cox). Scientists believe that replacing the use of oil, gas and coal as fuels for electricity with renewable sources (mostly solar and wind) is essential to save the planet from climate change. The instructor's study of NC energy consumption, plus wind and solar data, shows that reaching the 100% goal by 2050 is both possible and affordable-- especially considering the high health and economic costs of fossil fuels (ex: coal ash ponds). After wrapping up a career in medicine, Edwin B. Cox turned to climate change mitigation, earning a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. His master’s project investigated the parameters of 100% renewable energy in North Carolina and projected the results on CO2 mitigation and economics to a global scale.

Caring for the Addicted and Mentally Ill: Failures and Opportunities (Ed Hoefle). When the federal government began closing facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled in the 1960s, it improved the care for some—but also created huge problems of homelessness and the transfer of mentally ill persons to jails and prisons. The class will trace the history of deinstitutionalization and discuss current policy options, ranging from privatization to improving services in state-run programs or licensed nonprofits. Ed Hoefle had a 40-year career in behavioral health and substance abuse services.

Citizen Science (Rosemary Dineen and Valerie Duncan). Have an interest in science and want to participate in scientific research? Your cell phone with its sensors, camera and GPS makes it possible for you to assist the scientific community to measure, record and analyze numerous everyday events. Your data can help real scientists come to real conclusions. Rosemary Dineen is a former pharmaceutical research chemist, teacher of science and mathematics, and director of an environmental testing laboratory who worked closely with EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers and the American Industrial Hygiene Assn. Valerie Duncan is a psychology supplemental instruction leader at Capella University and is researching her doctoral degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Scale: Why Godzilla Was Much Smaller in Real Life! (Alan Vaux). What do a shrew and an elephant, Carrboro and Chicago, your local coffee shop and Walmart have in common? According to Geoffrey West of the inter-disciplinary Santa Fe Institute, they are all complex adaptive systems at the extremes of scale for their class. Offering a general theory, built on astonishing mathematical regularities, he addresses questions such as these: Why are there no Godzilla-sized mammals? Why do people and companies die, but cities don’t? Are diverse features of animals (heart-rate to life-span) and of cities ethnic restaurants, crime, walking pace) lawfully related to their size?

Alan Vaux is a retired university professor, researcher, and administrator. He is still struggling to make sense of the world.

The Battle of Good and Evil: Foundations of Morality (Gordon Pitz). Some 25 years ago, Pat Buchanan declared that a "cultural war" was in progress in this country, a battle between two moral visions for America. There's no evidence that the war has abated. The goal is to explain what this war is about, and show how it is a predictable consequence of human nature. Gordon Pitz is a retired academic. His interests cover most areas of cognitive science, which is a handy label for the interface of psychology, biology, and computer science.

Is Science Always True? (Brent Ross). How do we deal with new ideas that don't conform to accepted beliefs? History is full of examples of persons who were ostracized or even persecuted for advocating what is now widely accepted. (Ex: Galileo) Today some scientists claim there is substantial evidence that phenomena such at telepathy are real. do we regard that? We will look at other examples from the past and present. Brent Ross spent 40+ years in the high technology industry as an engineer and marketing executive, including 26 years with IBM, before retiring in 2013. He remains actively learning through OLLI classes and keeping up with the advances in technology that are changing our daily lives.

For more details and complete instructor bios see the course Web site at https://olli-new-lens.weebly.com/.



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Section Title
A New Lens: A New Way of Looking at Important Topics
9:00AM to 10:30AM
Apr 15, 2019 to May 13, 2019
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Recommended Text:

Earl Abdul Malik Mohammed, Democracy, Islam and Civic Virtue: Muslim American Jihad Against Extremism (9781495809538), $12.

The sessions are on: successful volunteering at a nonprofit; Estonia's "singing revolution" and other forms of rebellion; "follow the money" through NC history; new perspective on Islam; inequality and social mobility.

Changing Lives as a Nonprofit Volunteer (Charlotta (Lotta) Sjoelin); Interior designer Lotta turned a simple request to add sleeping pillows to a women’s shelter in Chapel Hill into A Lotta Love, a Triangle-wide effort to renovate such shelters and strengthen efforts to empower women and children. Lotta’s inspiring story shows others how to make a difference with nonprofits and this population in particular. Charlotta (Lotta) Sjoelin is the executive director and founder for A Lotta Love. Lotta is Swedish, but has lived all over the world for over 22 years. She has a business degree and has worked with marketing and sales in the pharmaceutical business, as a lobbyist and as a business owner in design. The last 12 years she’s been in Chapel Hill.

Perspectives on Social Mobility: Prejudice, Privilege, Policy, & Personal Aptitude (Alan Vaux); Inequality is a source of considerable discord in our society. Key in understanding differences of opinion are views on social mobility. Can people move up the social ladder? Does everyone have equal opportunity? Is the system rigged?  In this session, we will explore several different perspectives on this key issue. Alan is a retired university professor, researcher, and administrator.  His interests include economics, politics, social ecology, and well-being--which all converge in inequality and social mobility.

NC History: Following the Money (Beth Timson); North Carolina was colonized as a profit-making venture, and business is a golden thread to follow through the state's history.  We'll take a look at agriculture and the big three of furniture, textiles, and tobacco. We'll also look at some financial ventures peculiar to North Carolina, including Black Wall Street, moonshine and NASCAR, Cheerwine, and headache powders. Beth is a retired college professor, landscape architect, and city planner.

A New Perspective on Islam (Abdul Waheed); This one session aims to explain the basic tenets of Islam, clear up common misunderstandings (such as sharia, khilafat), and dispel the misconceptions in the news media. We will look at diversity and interfaith relationships (past and present) and discuss the future of Islam in America. Imam has been an active member in the community led by Imam W. Deen Mohammed for 38 years. He has served on the Religious Life staff/Chaplain representing Muslims at Duke University for 18 years. For the last 25 years in Durham, he has been involved with a number of religious, business, and civic organizations and is a sought after speaker on Islam for schools and religious groups.

Estonia’s “Singing Revolution” and Other Forms of Rebellion (Gary Salvner); A few leaders of nonviolent movements are well known—Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, for example.  But we can learn even more about nonviolence by peering through the “new lens” of other examples, most particularly Estonia’s Singing Revolution, acknowledged by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict as one of the most remarkable examples of nonviolent change in human history.  Through their Singing Revolution in the late 1980’s, Estonia rose up as an entire nation to throw off repression by the Soviet Union—all by singing.  And not a single life was lost. Gary is a retired academic with interests in literacy, literature, and social justice.  His PhD is from the University of Michigan.