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/.