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Week of June 28, 2015

Segment 1: A Concussion Stole My Life

In 1999, Clark Elliott suffered a concussion when his car was rear-ended. Overnight his life changed from that of a professor with a research career in artificial intelligence to a humbled man struggling to get through a single day. At times he couldn’t walk across a room, or even name his five children. Doctors told him he would never fully recover.  After eight years, the cognitive demands of his job, and of being a single parent, finally became more than he could manage. By chance, he crossed paths with two Chicago-area research-clinicians—one an optometrist emphasizing neurodevelopmental techniques, the other a cognitive psychologist—working on the leading edge of brain plasticity. Within weeks the ghost of who he had been started to re-emerge. The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back.

"You know outside we look pretty much the same, and if we're not taxing our brains, we can even interact in a pretty normal way. But inside, in so many hundreds of small ways, we have just been completely changed."

-Clark Elliott

Segment 2: This is Your Brain on the Internet

Is the Internet making us stupid? Author Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains asks that question. He investigates the brain's plasticity and how we may be losing our ability to think deeply. He looks at how being constantly bombarded with information impacts our memory and our ability to learn.

"The more I looked at the science of the brain and even the history of technology, the more reasons I found to be really concerned."

-Nicholas Carr

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Week of June 21, 2015

Segment 1: The Holocaust - A Personal Story

On May 13, 1939, the luxury liner SS St. Louis sailed away from Germany, bound for Havana, Cuba. On board were more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany. After being denied landing rights in Havana, the refugees were turned away by the US and Canada and forced to sail back to Europe.  Two of those refugees were Alex Goldschmidt, 60, and his 17-year-old son Helmut. After their trans-Atlantic voyage, they landed in France where they spent three years in one French camp after another before being shipped to their deaths at Auschwitz in 1942.  Nearly 70 years later, Martin Goldsmith, Alex's grandson and Helmut's nephew, retraced their sad journey.  Martin spent six weeks on the road and covered more than 5,700 miles, setting foot on the earth Alex and Helmut trod during their final days. Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance is Martin's eyewitness report.

"A rhetorical question I would ask myself - How could I be happy? How do I deserve happiness? Do I deserve happiness, when my grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz? Even though he was murdered ten years before I was born."

-Martin Goldsmith

Segment 2: Lone Wolf Terrorism

A new era in terrorism is emerging and the lone wolf is at the forefront. With incidents happening in the United States and abroad, lone wolves have demonstrated that they can be as dangerous as organized terrorist groups. Author and terrorism analyst Jeffrey Simon, Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat discusses who these terrorists are and what can be done about them.

"We're definitely going to still have the organized groups, we're going to have the cells. But, we're going to see a continual increase in these lone wolf attacks - including more attacks by women."

-Jeffrey Simon
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