Skip to main content

Topics for 2010

It's time to pick our topics for 2010!

We're also looking for your opinion on changing the format. It has been suggested that we switch to more of a presentation/discussion format than a strict dialogue format. The presenter could be one of us or a guest speaker. She/He/They would give a 20 - 30 minute presentation and then there would be a group discussion. The topic hosts would still provide some advance readings so people could get up to speed before the discussion, but there would not be the same expectation to prepare as in the past. If you have an opinion on this, please let us know!

To suggest a topic, please comment below.

You can suggest as many topics as your little heart desires until Friday, December 11th.

We'll put them up for a vote and take the top 10 ideas. We'll leave two months open in case some interesting current event comes up and we need to shift things around. If not, we'll fill in with the topics that came in 11th and 12th.

Remember, you don't have to host the topic just because you suggested it, but you do get first dibs.

For consistency and to make it easier for all of us to evaluate the topics, please follow this format:
  • Title
  • 1 - 2 sentence description of a possible approach to the topic (you're not tying it down - the approach will be refined or could significantly change later, but this gives people an idea of what you think it interesting about this topic).
Here's a great example from Tyler, who suggested this earlier this week:
  • Why American's Like Divorce Almost as Much as We Like Marriage
  • I'd like to talk about how we explain a nearly 50% failure rate in a multi-million dollar industry. Or simply explore the question: "Why divorce?!" We've been warned, we know what we're getting in to, why do we keep failing at it?


  1. Why Rape?
    We have seen an increasing use of women's bodies as weapons of war. What is the perceived power in this? I want to explore religious, societal and historical belief of women, that allows and perpetuates this abhorrent weaponization.

  2. Healthcare Reform: What's Wrong and Where Do We Go From Here?

    The U.S. Congress is currently in the midst of debating a massive healthcare reform bill that would make drastic changes to an industry that makes up a huge portion of our national economy. What are the problems with the current system, what are the solutions being proposed by Congress and what are some of the other solutions not being proposed by Congress?

  3. Field trip

    I just thought it would be fun to choose a topic where we could go somewhere prior to the discussion and get a hands-on learning experience. Similar to what we did with our "Art" topic earlier this year.

    Could be combined with another topic. My suggestions included: symphony, opera, theater a museum, or the zoo. Would be open to other possibilities.

  4. Electronic Medical Records: The Computer Will See You Now

    Presidents from George W. Bush to Barak Obama and legislators from Hilary Clinton to Newt Gingrich have championed the advent of electronic medical records as a means of lowering healthcare costs and increasing healthcare quality. What is an electronic medical record and how can they help? What are their shortcomings and downsides?

  5. The Power of Humor
    How humor has been used to persuade, to disarm, and to heal

    Bowling Alone
    Discussion of the breakdown of the American community, based primarily on Robert Putnam's work regarding social capital

    How Did This Get in My House?
    Following production lines for a few representative goods. Maybe a food, a car, an iPod. Something along these lines:

    Half-Baked and Happy?
    Some say that these days most of us don't do things well, and we get away with it. The premium on quality has been sacrificed to the premium on efficiency. We have learned to leverage technology to get significant output from very small effort. Is this true? If so, what is gained and what is lost in a culture where it's so easy to get so much of something for virtually nothing?

  6. From John Hoffmire:

    What works to address poverty internationally and domestically? Why do so many of us feel that poverty will never go away?

  7. The Creative Spark
    Exploring our collective beliefs about the source/nature of creativity and how it serves us...or doesn't. Why the tortured artist? Why the doubts about pursuing creative endeavors?

  8. Just a Story... the death of cultural mythology

    What cultural myths are we, as a civilization, reinterpreting today (through technology, science, history, biology, etc) and how will this dissolving of mythology affect future generations?

  9. The Right Brain Revolution
    How and why the corporate world is moving away from an information based culture to a conceptual one where creativity and aestheticism dominate the landscape.

    Everything was Better Back when Everything was Worse:
    There are pros and cons to living in an age where we have more choices and opportunities than we've ever had before. Does diversity provide us with happiness or are we paralyzed by too many choices?

  10. Does Capitalism Kill Creativity?
    Capitalism is often praised for its ability to spur creativity. Yet how many future Picassos are crunching numbers in the accountant's office? How many Steinbecks are holed up in advertising agencies? Capitalism is directly responsible for helping countries become economic powers in record time. But is there collateral damage when our artists are forced to take jobs they don't love just to put food on the table?

  11. Are We Deleting our History Into Cyberspace?
    Handwritten documents such as personal letters and memos used to form the foundation for historical research. These rich primary sources gave us an intimate glimpse into the most critical conversations of individuals and organizations. However, with the advent of email, many of these important conversations are deleted or left to rot on remote servers, forever inaccessible to researchers or even loved ones who want to write family history. What can we do to solve this problem? Is there a way we can take advantage of this fantastic new communication tool without sacrificing our history?

  12. Is Doubt Necessary for Faith?
    A disturbing trend in our society is that of intelligent people who decide to abandon belief in religion and God. Too often the culprit of such decisions is that the faith communities of which they are a part do not look upon doubt as a virtue, leaving these people to feel as if their is no place for them. What would happen if these faith communities decided to decriminalize doubt? How might a religious community be affected if it began to emphasize doubt as an important, even necessary, component for increasing one's faith?

  13. Thanks Carri for your patience and encouragement. And for facilitating.

    How is healthy food the foundation of a happy life and a healthy society? Or is it?
    Ruminate on and discuss Michael Pollan's writings.

    Do all animals have a right to be happy and fulfilled?
    Explore our relationship with our fellow creatures. How does are treatment of animals effect us and reflect on us?

    A little here, a little there.
    Everyone bring 2 or 3 descriptions of things they have done or do that demonstrate respect and care for the natural world. The hope is that by sharing our experiences we can inspire each other in addition to learning new possibilities or learning what doesn't work. There is also an implicit "why" to each choice or behavior that would be worth exploring as well as the tradeoffs to doing or not doing certain activities. The intent would not be to create guilt, but rather come away with something new and the feeling—"hey I could try doing that."

  14. We could talk about global warming. Is our automobile dependent culture contributing to it? Is it just a natural part of the earth's warming and cooling cycles? Is it just a political tool?
    How can the US enforce better environmental practices on developing countries if we are historically to blame for damages to the environment?
    From Emily Evans

  15. Depression in Utah: I have read recently an article about depression in Utah. Utah ranks the highest of all the states in the United States for the most cases of Major depression. Utah was also in the top 5 for antidepressant prescriptions.
    (Utah also ranked lowest for illegal drug and alcohol use,incedentally)
    What it is about utah that makes more people depressed?
    Is it genetic? Are our expectations about life too high? Is it toxic perfectionism? Some aspect of Utah culture? Or is it that people in other states mask the symptoms of depression with illegal drugs and alcohol?
    By Emily Evans

  16. Definitely excited for 2010 and attending this lovely Think Agains! I'm no longer working Tuesday nights, so let the discussions begin. Oh, and I love all of these topics!


Post a Comment