Dec. 21 - 27: Refine Topics (or add new ones)
Dec. 28 - 29: Vote on Topics
Dec. 29 -31: Confirm Topic Hosts and assign topics to specific 2011 dates
The topics as they were submitted or discussed in our December Think Again are below. The topics may seem a bit muddled because I took very rough notes during the conversation and tried to include those notes below. Hope it's not too confusing.
Anyone can refine any idea, whether it was originally your idea or not. Just take the topic idea and shape it into something fairly narrow in scope (so it can be covered in a 2-hour session). Post your refined version as a comment. Any of these topics could be approached from different angles, so it's okay if one of the ideas gets "refined" more than once - it will just give us more choices for the vote. For simplicity sake, I recommend this format:
1 - 3 sentence description of the specific question or concept or phenomenon you want us to explore. If you already have some ideas about source materials or a guest expert or other "feature" you want to include, feel free to mention it. If you want to host the topic (i.e. get all the prep materials together and facilitate the discussion), indicate that, too. You do not have to host the topic you suggest.
On the 28th, I will post the new, revised list for voting. If you want a topic to make it into the final vote, make sure you refine it and re-post it. Thanks!
1) Children and population trends. Demographic shifts in the developing world versus industrialized nations.
2) National debt and the deficit. What is the difference? Does it matter as much as people think?
3) Labor Unions. Relevance in today’s economic environment?
4) Tea Parties and Marijuana: Why the right stole the show in 2010.
a. Rick’s tea party friend who could come share perspective
5) Generally, what brings people happiness?
a. What is NOT happiness? Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Bhutan – Gross National Happiness
6) What is social entrepreneurship and does it work?
a. Where a market is applied. Market-driven incentives in healthcare, for example.
7) What determines intelligence and who gets to decide? We could talk about IQ tests, the multicultural dimensions of IQ scores, other models of intelligence, like Musical and Athletic intelligence, etc.
a. For-profit colleges? Explore ideas about intellectual capital. Rick has a book on IQ (talent is overrated). Focus on IQ test. What is it blind to? Attitudes about intelligence.
8) "Numbers in Nature" Mathematical patterns show up all over in nature. It would be interesting to become familiar with some of these patterns and why scientists think this happens.
a. Philosophy of science. Music and math. Dana, Philip, Laura know some people.
9) The Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Builders, Generation X, Generation Y, and the E generation. What differentiates these generations and what aspects of growing up in different times affects us? We could have representatives from each age group give opinions.
a. How advertising/media affects our perspectives, myth-making, the phenomenon of having nostalgia for a time you did not experience
10) Prescription vs. Restriction: The advantages and disadvantages of government regulation.
12) Left-Handers: What is up with them? Left-handed people are disproportionately represented in high-ranking political offices, corporate boardrooms, and in influential art circles. Is this just a strange coincidence or is there more there?
13) Meditation. Buddhism. Mindfulness
14) Is wealth redistribution a good thing? And, if so, what methods of redistribution are best?
a. Earned-income tax credit
15) I would like us to explore the connections between the food we are consuming, how we obtain it, and what it is helping (or not helping) us become physcially, spiritually, and socially.
a. Raw milk - Brian
16) Interpreting the Constitution: Does our current government overreach the powers granted to them therein?
17) Rape as a weapon of war
18) The United States Constitution:is it a Bible or a general guide book? How does the constitution impact our government? What has allowed it to last for over 200 years? (my dad used to work at the National Archives, and I could ask him to moderate)
a. Civil rights law, 10th amendment, immigration and the states vs. federal government
19) One more idea that just came to me as I was working, listening to NPR and then some fun folk music came on. I started moving to the music, tapping my foot, and practically dancing with my butt in my chair. What's with that? What is it about music that makes it a body mover and mood changer? I'd like to know the science behind this.
20) Paradox of sexual freedom. More rights. More pornography.
21) Field Trip ideas (During the discussion, people talked about having prep materials and a short discussion as part of the field trip. Or to study and dialogue about a topic one month and then do a relevant field trip the following month.)
a. Music studio
b. Backstage of a theater or the opera (sets, costumes, lights, etc.)
c. Interactive craft/art creative night
d. Urban design (study up on Greenbelt, Maryland and maybe visit Daybreak or other designed community)
e. Nature hike with an expert
f. Gilgal gardens
g. Hawk watch
h. City dump/recycling or other waste processing facility
j. Masonic temple
k. Factories in North Salt Lake
l. Ben Behunin (potter). He has made his living doing this for the past 15 years. He has just published his third book in a series about a young potter. They are delightful and thought provoking. He has a whimsical home and studio in Sugar House. It would be worth your time to see the studio and the art he creates. It is both irreverent and inspiring. His love for live and art is fun and infectious. Yet he is also very practical. I have heard him speak to a group before and he can share some remarkable insights about following your dreams and passions while staying true to your ideals.