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Travel deep inside a redwood tree leaf

Travel down into a small flat redwood tree leaf through a stoma, a tiny opening in its surface. This animation from the California Academy of Sciences takes us on a scientifically accurate journey into a palisade cell, and then into a chloroplast, slowing down time to see photosynthesis on a molecular level. This annotated version of the video provides more information:


Next: How Do Trees Transport Water from Roots to Leaves? And The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other.

The post Travel deep inside a redwood tree leaf appeared first on The Kid Should See This.

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The record-setting Queen of Limbo

Shemika Campbell hails from a long line of limbo. Both her mother and her grandmother were limbo dancers, carrying on the traditionally Trinidadian form of dance. Shemika is keeping up the family legacy, taking limbo to a whole new low. She has set three Guinness World Records, including the record for lowest limbo at only 8.5 inches [21.59 centimeters]. Now, she’s traveling the world, spreading the culture of her native Trinidad and Tobago

File this Great Big Story video under: Practice and dance traditions. Here’s another video of Campbell carrying drinks as she limbos under a SUV:


Follow these with more from Trinidad: Moko Jumbie On 9-Foot Stilts.

The post The record-setting Queen of Limbo appeared first on The Kid Should See This.

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Podcast Episode 228: The Children’s Champion

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:251012_Janusz_Korczak_monument_at_Jewish_Cemetery_in_Warsaw_-_05.jpg
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Polish educator Janusz Korczak set out to remake the world just as it was falling apart. In the 1930s his Warsaw orphanage was an enlightened society run by the children themselves, but he struggled to keep that ideal alive as Europe descended into darkness. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll tell the story of the children’s champion and his sacrifices for the orphans he loved.

We’ll also visit an incoherent space station and puzzle over why one woman needs two cars.

Intro:

Elbert Hubbard and his wife decided on a final gesture aboard the sinking Lusitania.

E.E. Cummings dedicated his 1935 collection of poetry to the 14 publishing houses that rejected it.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Janusz_Korczak.PNG

Sources for our story on Janusz Korczak:

Betty Jean Lifton, The King of Children, 1988.

Adir Cohen, The Gate of Light, 1994.

E.P. Kulawiec, ed., The Warsaw Ghetto Memoirs of Janusz Korczak, 1979.

Marc Silverman, A Pedagogy of Humanist Moral Education: The Educational Thought of Janusz Korczak, 2017.

Susan J. Berger, “The Children’s Advocate: Janusz Korczak,” American Educational History Journal 33:2 (2006), 137-142.

Robert Leiter, “For the Sake of Children,” Jewish Exponent, April 6, 2000, 59.

Liba H. Engel, “Does School Reform Have Legs? The Flourishing of Janusz Korczak’s Pedagogy in Modern Israel,” Educational Forum 68:2 (Winter 2004), 170-179.

Reinhold Boschki, “Re-Reading Martin Buber and Janusz Korczak: Fresh Impulses Toward a Relational Approach to Religious Education,” Religious Education 100:2 (Spring 2005), 114-126.

Liba H. Engel, “Experiments in Democratic Education: Dewey’s Lab School and Korczak’s Children’s Republic,” Social Studies 99:3 (May/June 2008), 117-121.

Robert Leiter, “‘Who Is That Man?’ In the End, He Was the Comforter of Lost Children,” Jewish Exponent, June 10, 2004, 32.

Daniel Feldman, “Honoring the Child’s Right to Respect: Janusz Korczak as Holocaust Educator,” The Lion and the Unicorn 40:2 (April 2016), 129-143.

Martha J. Ignaszewski, Kevin Lichtenstein, and Maya Ignaszewski, “Dr. Janusz Korczak and His Legacy,” British Columbia Medical Journal 55:2 (March 2013), 108-110.

Gabriel Eichsteller, “Janusz Korczak — His Legacy and Its Relevance for Children’s Rights Today,” International Journal of Children’s Rights 17:3 (July 2009), 377-391.

Sara Efrat Efron, “Moral Education Between Hope and Hopelessness: The Legacy of Janusz Korczak,” Curriculum Inquiry 38:1 (January 2008), 39-62.

Aleksander Lewin and Agnieszka Bolczynska, “Janusz Korczak Is Greater Than His Legend: The Saint of All Creeds,” Dialogue & Universalism 11:9/10 (2001), 75.

Marie Syrkin, “The Saint in the Ghetto,” New Republic 198:23 (June 6, 1988), 44.

Yerachmiel Weingarten, “Janusz Korczak — Living Legend of Warsaw,” Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Dec. 8, 1944.

Vivian Eden, “Korczak Controversy,” Jerusalem Post, April 14, 1989, 7.

Amy O’Brian, “Exhibit Honours Hero of the Holocaust,” Vancouver Sun, Oct. 21, 2002, B2.

Eva Hoffman, “My Hero: Janusz Korczak,” Guardian, April 8, 2011.

James MacDonald, “Himmler Program Kills Polish Jews,” New York Times, Nov. 25, 1942.

Gabrielle Glaser, “Warsaw Journal; Where Children Are Taught Survival,” New York Times, May 30, 1992.

Vincent Canby, “Of a Saintly Jewish Doctor in Poland Who Died at Treblinka,” New York Times, April 12, 1991.

Betty Jean Lifton, “Wajda’s ‘Korczak’; Human Values, Inhuman Time,” New York Times, May 5, 1991.

Stephen Engelberg, “Wajda’s ‘Korczak’ Sets Loose the Furies,” New York Times, April 14, 1991.

Carolyn A. Murphy, “The King of Children,” New York Times, Aug. 21, 1988.

Geoffrey Wolff, “A Saint’s Life in Warsaw,” New York Times, July 31, 1988.

Betty Jean Lifton, “Shepherd of the Ghetto Orphans,” New York Times, April 20, 1980.

James Feron, “Awarding of a West German Peace Prize Stirs Memories of a Wartime Martyr of the Warsaw Ghetto,” New York Times, Oct. 1, 1972.

“Parenting Advice From a Polish Holocaust Hero,” Weekend All Things Considered, NPR, March 3, 2007.

Listener mail:

Annalee Newitz, “Movie Written by Algorithm Turns Out to Be Hilarious and Intense,” Ars Technica, June 9, 2016.

Dyllan Furness, “‘Sunspring’ Is an Absurd Sci-Fi Short Film Written By AI, Starring Thomas Middleditch,” Digital Trends, June 10, 2016.

Jacob Brogan, “An Artificial Intelligence Scripted This Short Film, But Humans Are Still the Real Stars,” Slate, June 9, 2016.

Amanda Kooser, “AI-Written Film ‘Sunspring’ a Surreal Delight, Upchucked Eyeball Included,” CNET, June 13, 2016.

“HAL 90210,” “This Is What Happens When an AI-Written Screenplay Is Made Into a Film,” Guardian, June 10, 2016.

Max Woolf, “I trained an (actual) AI on the titles of BuzzFeed YouTube videos and it generated some *interesting* results,” Twitter, Nov. 19, 2018.

This week’s lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener B Vann.

You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss.

Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet — you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we’ve set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website.

Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

from Futility Closet https://www.futilitycloset.com/2018/12/10/podcast-episode-228-the-childrens-champion/

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10 characteristics of self-actualized people

10 characteristics of self-actualized people

  • Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs” describes different levels of human motivation.
  • A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
  • The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.

None

Are you a self-actualized person? The American psychologist Abraham Maslow famously proposed in 1954 the “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” which theorized that psychological health culminated in self-actualization. Maslow saw that as being able to fulfill your potential, becoming your true self.

Now the psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, from Columbia University, published a study that updates Maslow’s work with modern statistical methods and proposes 10 specific characteristics that are shared by self-actualized people.

The pyramid of human needs devised by Maslow was based on the idea that human motivations follow a prioritizing pattern. The 5-level hierarchy of needs goes from purely “physiological” towards “love”, and “esteem,” with each stage needing to be satisfied before moving on to the next.

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Maslow’s ideas are regarded as humanistic psychology, arising in part as a reaction to Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism. This line of thought sees individuals as inherently striving towards self-actualization, where their capabilities and creativity are fully expressed. This point of view also regards all people as inherently good and more than the sum of their parts.

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Kaufman updated Maslow’s methods and language and utilized surveys of over 500 people on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to zero in on 10 characteristics that each made a distinct contribution towards self-actualization.

Here they are:

  1. Continued Freshness of Appreciation
  2. Acceptance
  3. Authenticity
  4. Equanimity
  5. Purpose
  6. Efficient Perception of Reality
  7. Humanitarianism
  8. Peak Experiences
  9. Good Moral Intuition
  10. Creative Spirit

None

“Taken together, this total pattern of data supports Maslow’s contention that self-actualised individuals are more motivated by growth and exploration than by fulfilling deficiencies in basic needs,” Kaufman writes.

Another significant takeaway from the study is that people who reach self-actualization ultimately appear to be on the path towards self-transcendence. This observation confirms Maslow’s extension of his own theory in later years with concrete data. The more self-actualized you are, the more one with the world you feel.

If you’d like to know what each concept means in depth, take a look at this breakdown from the study:

None

None

To take the test of self-actualization yourself, go to Barry Scott Kaufman’s website. And if you find yourself not scoring as high as you would like, Kaufman thinks you can develop such characteristics by changing your habits.

“A good way to start with that,” Kaufman told the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. “is by first identifying where you stand on those characteristics and assessing your weakest links. Capitalize on your highest characteristics but also don’t forget to intentionally be mindful about what might be blocking your self-actualization. … Identify your patterns and make a concerted effort to change. I do think it’s possible with conscientiousness and willpower.”

Check out the psychologist’s new study “Self-Actualizing People in the 21st Century: Integration With Contemporary Theory and Research on Personality and Well-Being” in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

10 characteristics of self-actualized people

Learn

10 characteristics of self-actualized people

10 characteristics of self-actualized people

  • Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs” describes different levels of human motivation.
  • A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
  • The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.

None

Are you a self-actualized person? The American psychologist Abraham Maslow famously proposed in 1954 the “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” which theorized that psychological health culminated in self-actualization. Maslow saw that as being able to fulfill your potential, becoming your true self.

Now the psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, from Columbia University, published a study that updates Maslow’s work with modern statistical methods and proposes 10 specific characteristics that are shared by self-actualized people.

The pyramid of human needs devised by Maslow was based on the idea that human motivations follow a prioritizing pattern. The 5-level hierarchy of needs goes from purely “physiological” towards “love”, and “esteem,” with each stage needing to be satisfied before moving on to the next.

None

Maslow’s ideas are regarded as humanistic psychology, arising in part as a reaction to Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism. This line of thought sees individuals as inherently striving towards self-actualization, where their capabilities and creativity are fully expressed. This point of view also regards all people as inherently good and more than the sum of their parts.

None

None

Kaufman updated Maslow’s methods and language and utilized surveys of over 500 people on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to zero in on 10 characteristics that each made a distinct contribution towards self-actualization.

Here they are:

  1. Continued Freshness of Appreciation
  2. Acceptance
  3. Authenticity
  4. Equanimity
  5. Purpose
  6. Efficient Perception of Reality
  7. Humanitarianism
  8. Peak Experiences
  9. Good Moral Intuition
  10. Creative Spirit

None

“Taken together, this total pattern of data supports Maslow’s contention that self-actualised individuals are more motivated by growth and exploration than by fulfilling deficiencies in basic needs,” Kaufman writes.

Another significant takeaway from the study is that people who reach self-actualization ultimately appear to be on the path towards self-transcendence. This observation confirms Maslow’s extension of his own theory in later years with concrete data. The more self-actualized you are, the more one with the world you feel.

If you’d like to know what each concept means in depth, take a look at this breakdown from the study:

None

None

To take the test of self-actualization yourself, go to Barry Scott Kaufman’s website. And if you find yourself not scoring as high as you would like, Kaufman thinks you can develop such characteristics by changing your habits.

“A good way to start with that,” Kaufman told the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. “is by first identifying where you stand on those characteristics and assessing your weakest links. Capitalize on your highest characteristics but also don’t forget to intentionally be mindful about what might be blocking your self-actualization. … Identify your patterns and make a concerted effort to change. I do think it’s possible with conscientiousness and willpower.”

Check out the psychologist’s new study “Self-Actualizing People in the 21st Century: Integration With Contemporary Theory and Research on Personality and Well-Being” in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

10 characteristics of self-actualized people

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How sexual fantasies affect your relationship

How sexual fantasies affect your relationship

  • There are two main types of sexual fantasies.
  • One of them is more harmful to the a relationship or marriage than the other (by a lot).
  • Sexually fantasizing about somebody else, though, neither hurts a relationship nor helps it; instead, it has the same mental impact as random daydreaming.

None

The beginning of a relationship is exciting. You get to learn more about a beautiful person who wants to learn more about you at the same time. You both get the opportunity to make an increasingly deep connection with one another. But relationships can’t stay in this exciting phase forever. Eventually, things slow down, less effort is put in, and interest might start to wane. However, it may be possible to restore excitement and interest in a long-term relationship.

Gurit Birnbaum and colleagues conducted a four-part study that examined how sexual fantasies affect relationships. Specifically, they looked at two types of sexual fantasies: dyadic fantasies—those that involve the other partner in the relationship—and extradyadic fantasies—fantasies that focus on some other person outside of the relationship. They found that by fantasizing about our significant others, we desire them more and behave in ways that strengthen the relationship.

Study structure

This study examined the impact of dyadic and extradyadic fantasy through four stages, each using a different sample than the last. In the first stage, 40 couples were brought to a laboratory, were randomly instructed to fantasize about either their partner or someone else, and then describe their fantasy in narrative form to a researcher. I’m sure that sounds sexy to somebody.

Soon after, they were provided with a questionnaire designed to measure their desire to have sex with their partner and to make their partner happy. Those who had dyadic fantasies reported being more motivated to have sex with their partner and to engage in relationship-promoting behavior.

Because these groups were randomly assigned to fantasize either about their partner or somebody else, it can be said that dyadic fantasizing was the cause of the increased desire. It may be true that people in healthy relationships tend to fantasize about their partners more often than not, but this stage showed that merely fantasizing about one’s partner causes the relationship to improve, regardless of whether it was healthy to begin with. It’s important to note that a “healthy” relationship in this context is one where the couple has sexual desire and demonstrates relationship-promoting behavior to one another; sexual fantasizing probably can’t help a toxic or abusive relationship.

The second stage was similar to the first but was tweaked to clarify the impact of extradyadic fantasizing on the participants’ desires. In addition to sexual fantasies, some participants were asked to fantasize about nonsexual activities with either their partner or someone else. After filling in the questionnaire, the groups that had nonsexual fantasies rated their sexual desire and motivation to behave in relationship-promoting ways as highly as those who had extradyadic fantasies. Essentially, this means that sexually fantasizing about somebody else neither hurts a relationship nor helps it; instead, it has the same impact as random daydreaming.

Can they help a relationship? 

The problem with the first two stages was that they took place in the highly romantic setting of a laboratory. I’ve been told that nearly all relationships take place outside of laboratory conditions. To get a more realistic picture of how fantasies affect relationships, stages three and four were carried out in the real world.

In these last two stages, the participants filled out a diary of their sexual fantasies immediately after they occurred. Every evening, they filled out a questionnaire that measured whether they behaved in a way that would improve their relationship (i.e. “I told my partner I loved him or her”) or in a way that would damage their relationship (i.e., “I criticized my partner”). The fourth stage also posed questions on how the participants perceived the quality of their relationship on a five-point scale.

By analyzing the diary entries, the researchers could compare how dyadic and extradyadic fantasies affected the relationship. The results showed that dyadic fantasies made one more likely to behave in a way that strengthens the relationship and to perceive the relationship more positively.

Conclusion

One crucial detail in this study was that dyadic fantasies increased desire even when the fantasies were not spontaneous. Most of us fantasize about our partners whenever we feel like, not at the prompting of researchers. But those spontaneous fantasies eventually go away, and sexual desire for your partner can diminish over time.

This study found that “artificial” dyadic sexual fantasies increases desire in a relationship, which means that they can be intentionally used to improve a relationship. In fact, evidence suggests that “fantasies training” (essentially, guiding partners to generate sexual imagery) promotes a healthy relationship. Sexually fantasizing about your partner—even if done intentionally—makes them seem more appealing, and this motivates you to build a happier and healthier relationship.

How sexual fantasies affect your relationship

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The scientific reason you want to squeeze cute things

The scientific reason you want to squeeze cute things

  • Researchers appear to have found a neural basis for “cute aggression.”
  • Cute aggression is what happens when you say something like, ‘It’s so cute I want to crush it!’
  • But it’s also a complex response that likely serves to regulate strong emotions and allow caretaking of the young to occur.

None

If you’ve ever seen someone approach a puppy or small child, lean in and say, “Oh, I just want to squeeze that” while using a tone that suggests that said ‘squeeze’ might not be as harmless an action as it may sound; if you’ve ever logged onto Dogspotting on Facebook and shouted out loud at the first doggo to grace your screen, then you’ll have witnessed what psychologists at Yale once dubbed “cute aggression.”

“Cute aggression” is a superficial display of aggression typically uttered in response to young children and young, attractive animals. It’s also an example of what would be called ‘dimorphous expression,’ which is a name given to what happens when someone expresses one emotion while feeling another, i.e., “cute” + “aggression.” “Cute aggression” is a documented psychological phenomenon, but a recent study from UC Riverside suggests — and this is what’s new — that there may be a neurological basis for the phenomenon as well.

The research was led by Katherine Stavropoulos, an assistant professor of special education at the UC Riverside. For the study she ran, she recruited 54 participants between 18 and 40, outfitted them with electrodes, and then exposed them to pictures of cute babies, non-cute babies, cute baby animals, and less cute baby animals. Participants then had to rate how much they agreed with certain statements — i.e., “It’s so cute I want to squeeze it!” — on a scale.

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The results showed that participants expressed higher levels of “cute aggression” when confronted with pictures of cute animals. There was no clear pattern observed when the same participants were exposed to photos of cute and non-cute babies, even though studies in the past have found a litany of connections between cute babies and something else, i.e., cute babies and the activation of baby schema (‘baby schema’ being the name given to the cute features of a baby that activate care-taking feelings in someone else), cute babies and the social engagement it may spur in others, and more.

But, neurologically, Stavropoulous noted, “there was an especially strong correlation between ratings of cute aggression experienced toward cute animals and the reward response in the brain toward cute animals.” What’s more, it appears that the brain plays a role in bringing us towards a state of balance, as Stavropoulous went on to note that:

“Our study seems to underscore the idea that cute aggression is the brain’s way of ‘bringing us back down’ by mediating our feelings of being overwhelmed.”

There was also a strong correlation between feelings of ‘cute aggression’ and the feelings associated with care-taking.

In short, the study seems to offer evidence to affirm something resembling the following: you see a cute animal. You see a cute baby. Your brain rewards you so much that you feel overwhelmed. You express the opposite of that emotion to bring yourself back into balance. This leaves you in a more effective place to take care of a small animal or child.

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But one question remains: how can you know that you’re sufficiently calm, cool, and in control enough to act as the excellent caretaker you know you are? There’s only one way to be sure — to be absolutely certain — and that’s to click on the video above. After all, you can never be too careful.

The scientific reason you want to squeeze cute things

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Scientists create 10-minute test that can detect cancer anywhere in the body

Scientists create 10-minute test that can detect cancer anywhere in the body

  • Australian researchers find 3D nanostructures that are unique to cancer cells.
  • These markers can be identified using technology that may be available on cell phones.
  • Human clinical trials are next for the team.

None

Australian researchers claim in a new study that they developed a 10-minute test that’s capable of finding cancer cells at any location in the body. If further testing achieves the same results, this accomplishment could be a real breakthrough in fighting cancer.

The potential for quick diagnoses could help detect and treat cancer early, potentially helping the outcomes for millions of people. The test works by looking for a unique DNA nanostructure that seems to be common to all types cancers. What’s especially remarkable is that the variability of cancers makes finding one simple signature shared by them all very complicated.

The study carried out by researchers Dr Abu Sina, Dr Laura Carrascosa and Professor Matt Trau from the University of Queensland, looked for common markers in cancers that would be different from healthy cells.

“This unique nano-scaled DNA signature appeared in every type of breast cancer we examined, and in other forms of cancer including prostate, colorectal and lymphoma,” said Dr. Sina. “The levels and patterns of tiny molecules called methyl groups that decorate DNA are altered dramatically by cancer – these methyl groups are key for cells to control which genes are turned on and off.”

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Dr. Carrascosa explained that the team made a tool that can look at what changes happen over the entire genome level of cells. In particular, what they noticed is that methyl groups in a healthy cell can be found across the whole genome while in cancer cells the genomes “are essentially barren except for intense clusters of methyl groups at very specific locations.”

The team found that when clusters of methyl groups are placed in a solution, the cancer DNA fragments folded into unusual three-dimensional nanostructures. What’s more – these could be made to separate if stuck to gold and other solid surfaces. This breakthrough led to the development of a test using gold nanoparticles that can change color to show if the cancer DNA is present.

Dr. Tau from the team said “this led to the creation of inexpensive and portable detection devices that could eventually be used as a diagnostic tool, possibly with a mobile phone.”

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This tech has proven to be 90% accurate when used on a group that included 200 human cancer samples and normal DNA. The diseases detected included breast, prostate, bowel and lymphoma cancers.

The researchers are urging caution, saying they don’t know yet if what they created is “the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics.” Other scientists have also expressed some skepticism, pointing to the fact this type of testing can produce false positives, leading to more expensive testing. The test is also unable to show how severe the extent of the disease is.

Despite the reservations and competitors, like a recent initiative from Johns Hopkins University to create a quick $500 blood test, the Australian researchers are optimistic that their find of “an incredibly simple universal marker of cancer” can result in “an accessible and inexpensive technology that doesn’t require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing,” Professor Trau shared.

Such technology could be particularly useful in rural or underdeveloped areas, where additional medical resources are not available. It can also be useful in monitoring for re-appearances of cancers.

Clinical trials on humans are next for the team.

Check out their new study in Nature Communications magazine.

Scientists create 10-minute test that can detect cancer anywhere in the body

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Why you should tolerate intolerable ideas

Why you should tolerate intolerable ideas

  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen argues that without freedom of expression we don’t have freedom of speech.
  • With some major college campuses disavowing “dangerous ideas” from certain speakers on campus, this can lead to a slippery slope wherein ideas—and even ways of life—can be marginalized entirely.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.


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Why you should tolerate intolerable ideas