Tag Archives: jessica white
President Thomas M. Becker gavels a previous season to a close.

Sacred Song provides fitting sendoff

Two short months ago, excitement, joy and greetings among old friends swirled through the Amphitheater as Institution President Tom Becker tapped the gavel three times to open the 2012 Season.

As the Sunday sun sets and the final note of the Massey Organ fades into the twilight hour, Becker will repeat the tradition in a totally different atmosphere. With three more taps, he will close the season during the final Sacred Song Service at 8 p.m. in the Amp.

“This is like the death of 2012 Chautauqua in a way,” said Jared Jacobsen, organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music. “We have to help people kind of get up to it and then get through it.”

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Neckers explores science-government relationship

German chemist Gerhard Schrader was thrilled with his discovery in 1936: an insecticide able to destroy farm pests and protect crops. Years later, Schrader’s research into nerve agents would be used to murder millions of European Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other innocent civilians. When the Nazi government became involved, the scientific discovery turned into a deadly political weapon.

Government doesn’t always bring out the worst in science, but it greatly influences the real-world effects of hours spent in the laboratory. In recent years, research by American chemist Douglas Neckers has led to the United States military’s development of blood stimulants that look and act like real blood. About 70 percent of deaths in combat are caused by blood loss in the first 30 minutes after injury, Neckers said, so the fake blood tricks the body until that person can get to a clinic.

Neckers, CEO of photochemical science business Spectra Group, Ltd., will discuss the relationship between science and government at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy. His lecture is titled “Curiosity Didn’t Kill This Cat: Why Science Must be an American President’s Imperative.”

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James Robenault

Robenalt, Dean speak on ethical lapses behind Watergate scandal

People hate losing more than they love winning.

It is knowledge that might seem common to competitive types, but it now has a name — prospect theory — and a Nobel Prize to back it. The theory, which describes behavioral economics and found that people dislike losing more than they like winning explains why people lie, cheat, cover up and act irrationally when they are in trouble. See the Monica Lewinsky or Penn State scandals, said Thompson Hine LLP partner James Robenalt, who has studied prospect theory in legal ethics and who now works closely with John Dean — former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon who was called “master manipulator of the cover-up” by the FBI and later became a key prosecution witness.

Robenalt and Dean will discuss the Watergate scandal and ethical obligations of lawyers at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Hall of Philosophy. Their conversation is titled “The Ethics of Clarity: Waking Up From Wrongdoing” and is based on their national tour of lectures on the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in.

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Barrett examines ethics of JFK, LBJ in civil rights era

President John F. Kennedy made a statement in 1961 when he appointed Thurgood Marshall — who later became the first African-American Supreme Court justice — to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a country polarized by racism.

Though racial discrimination in judicial appointments is now a thing of the past, the country is perhaps more polarized than ever before, said law professor John Q. Barrett, and President Barack Obama has the chance to make a similar statement — by appointing gays and lesbians.

Barrett will discuss civil rights, the ethics of Kennedy and Johnson, and modern judicial equality at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Hall of Philosophy. Though he is a renowned teacher and lecturer, Barrett said he has not spoken about that particular topic, and he enjoyed preparing it for Chautauqua. Barrett has lectured at the Institution every summer since 2001.

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Final Tallman mini-concert puts organ on display

For Chautauqua organist Jared Jacobsen’s last Tallman Tracker Organ mini-concert of the season, he will give a musical tour of the instrument.

In a brief performance titled “Tallman Organ 101,” Jacobsen will play songs that highlight each of the organ’s four families of tone: the foundation, church-like sound; the flute sound; the oboe sound; and the string sound. The concert is at 12:15 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ.

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Presidential ethics of nuclear age oversimplified, Nash says

The decision to drop atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, was one of the biggest ethical dilemmas of the mid-1900s — but it wasn’t a real decision at all, said historian Philip Nash. Rather than a choice, it is more accurate to talk about the assumption that the bomb would be dropped.

For a week on “The Ethics of Presidential Power,” President Harry Truman’s “OK” to drop two bombs that killed more than 100,000 people seems like a perfect topic, Nash said. But Truman actually had little involvement in the process and never made a “yes” or “no” decision to use the bombs. Instead, the question was “how” to use them.

Nash, an associate professor of history at Penn State University, will discuss the context surrounding the bombs, the moral considerations that were involved and Truman’s limited voice at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Hall of Philosophy.

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Video: Perseid meteor shower time-lapse

Time-lapse video by staff writer Jessica White.
Meteors fall over Lake Erie near Barcelona, NY, during the annual Perseid meteor shower. Every year during early August, the Earth passes through a trail of dust and ice from the comet Swift-Tuttle, showering the atmosphere for days with thousands of “shooting stars”.

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White explores Lincoln’s faith through 2nd inaugural address in 1865

In a country hot with debate surrounding the economy, health care, war and gay rights, the ethics of presidential power are closely scrutinized — especially in an election year.

During this week’s Interfaith Lecture Series, experts on American leaders will discuss presidential ethics from the Civil War, World War II and the Manhattan Project, Vietnam and civil rights, and Nixon and the Watergate scandal.

Today, professor and presidential biographer Ronald White Jr. will talk about an ethically conscious, faith-oriented side of Abraham Lincoln that many biographers have neglected. His lecture, titled “Lincoln’s Sermon on the Mount: The Second Inaugural Address,” is at 2 p.m. Monday in the Hall of Philosophy.

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