News & Information

Education Secretary, Orwell's 1984, Bacteria to Biogas

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Feb 7, 2017
  • 1:41:25

Why is Betsy DeVos Such a Controversial Pick for Education Secretary? Guest: Christopher Loss, PhD, Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University The Senate is expected to vote on Betsy DeVos’ nomination Tuesday and, at the moment, it looks like it’ll be a tie requiring Vice President Mike Pence to cast the deciding vote in her favor. No education secretary nominee has ever faced a vote this close – and no cabinet nominee has ever required the Vice President to break a tie vote.  Why is Betsy DeVos’s nomination to lead the US Department of Education so controversial that educators and parents have flooded social media and jammed the phone lines of Senators?  Wrong Care in the Wrong Places Guest: Jane Bolin, PhD, JD, BSN, Director of the Southwest Rural Health Research Center, Professor of Public Health, Texas A&M Changes implemented under Obamacare helped 13 million Americans to get health insurance who didn’t have it before. But there are still tens of millions more who remain uninsured for a variety of reasons and when they end up in a medical crisis, where do they turn? Often, it’s the ER, because US law says people cannot be turned away from the emergency room for lack of insurance. The problem is that the ER is not always the best place to treat the needs of these individuals. They’d often be better off in a doctor’s office or a clinic, but those places don’t take uninsured patients and aren’t open after-hours. So emergency rooms across the nation become the de facto primary care option for millions of Americans, at great expense to the system.  Disease Spreads When People Mistrust the Government Guest: Robert Blair, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Brown University During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, more than 11,000 people died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As researchers moved in to determine which neighborhoods were hardest hit by Ebola and why, they discovered a pattern: people who didn’t trust the government were less likely to take precautions against the virus in their homes.  George Orwell’s 1984: A Novel for Today? Guest: John Broich, PhD, Associate Professor of History, Case Western Reserve University Since President Trump’s inauguration, the dystopian novel “1984” by George Orwell has remained near the top of the best-seller list on Amazon. Some people may see a connection between the “alternative facts” promoted by Donald Trump’s administration and the work done by the central character in “1984” who scrubs historical records of facts that are damaging to current regime. Would George Orwell recognize the anxieties that abound in the media today about President Trump’s habit of calling reporting he disagrees with “fake news” and making unsubstantiated claims about the size of his inaugural crowd or the level of voter fraud in his election?  The Space Between Us Guest: Rod Gustafson, The Space Between Us came out over the weekend. A film in which a female astronaut who has taken a motherly-likeness to the boy on Mars is urging company officials back on Earth to let him come to Earth.  Bacteria to Biogas Guest: Mike Alder, Director of Tech Transfer Office, BYU; Zachary Aanderude, Professor of microbial and ecosystem ecology, BYU When we think about alternatives to fossil fuel, solar, hydro and wind power come to mind. There’s another sustainable fuel source called biogas, which researchers would like to figure out how to harness because it comes from something we have lots of – garbage.