AIF Blog

April 14, 2015
 By Catherine Lutz, guest blogger As the gun debate intensifies and becomes more and more partisan and polarized, lost in the noise are voices like Dick Metcalf, a historian, writer, and lifetime gun owner who believes strongly in the Second Amendment and regulated armament. At the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, Metcalf discussed how his views on firearms training got him terminated from Guns and Ammo magazine, a...
April 03, 2015
 From student loan interest rate hikes to colleges savings to the recent freeze on maximum Federal Pell Grant, the issues surrounding access and affordability go far deeper than the increasing price tag of a college degree. Sandy Baum, David Leonhardt, Anthony P. Carnevale, and Michael McPherson, discussed college affordability with the Aspen Institute's Josh Wyner at the Festival. (Watch full session here.) And...
March 20, 2015
 A panel of international experts at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival was asked to predict the most dangerous place in the world in 2024. Here’s what they came up with: Former deputy secretary of state James Steinberg picked the South and East China Sea, where a long-simmering dispute between China and Japan over a few tiny uninhabited islands may be approaching the boiling point.  It’s about a lot more than the...
March 18, 2015
 Neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen has been breaking new ground with her research into the brain and creativity for decades. Author of one of the first studies on the connection between creativity and mental illness, Andreasen’s most recent study delves intensively into the brains of some of today’s most famous scientists and artists, including Pulitzer Prize winners and six Nobel laureates, to better understand what...
March 13, 2015
 On March 7, 1965, 25-year-old John Lewis was beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Trained in nonviolent protest, the young civil rights leader was at the head of a peaceful march advocating for voting rights for blacks when law enforcement officials brutally attacked the 600 activists with weapons and tear gas.  Fifty years later, Lewis, the only “Big Six” civil rights leader still alive...
March 11, 2015
The US Justice Department’s recent findings of widespread racial discrimination in Ferguson, Missouri’s police force and court system may seem like a straightforward condemnation of deeply embedded racist practices, but the department’s same-day announcement that it would not bring civil rights charges against the white officer who killed Michael Brown shows how nuanced and complex the issue of racism can be. These...
March 09, 2015
An accident leads a life-long workaholic to examine what’s important in her life.The Aspen Ideas Festival teamed up with "The Moth" to produce a Main Stage event as part of 2014's Art of Storytelling track. Three Festival speakers, including Arianna Huffington, worked with Moth producers to refine their stories for a live audience.Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media...
February 26, 2015
To hear Beau Willimon's full interview with Katie Couric at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, check out Aspen Ideas To Go podcast.Since the premiere of “House of Cards” two years ago, playwright and screenwriter Beau Willimon has created a show that has gone above and beyond expectations as Netflix’s first original series. From the gritty plot twists and the despicable yet strangely captivating characters, Willimon’s...
February 16, 2015
We need to chill out about privacy related to technology, argues Stewart Baker, former general counsel of the NSA and self-described chief privacy skeptic. Privacy is a product of its time and circumstances, and due to ever-evolving technology, people eventually get used to what once seemed so intrusive — such as taking one’s photo or running algorithms on customers' e-mail to better target advertising. At the 2014...
February 15, 2015
 Historian David Rubenstein compares two of the most iconic presidential speeches ever given: the Gettysburg Address and John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address.Rubenstein contends that people who care about speeches should think about what makes for a great speech, how it inspires, and what makes the public want to listen to it. He sets fourth six characteristics, including the eloquence of the language, the orator's...

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