December 10, 2023

“El Chapo,” Tax Scams, and More—This Week in the News

Author: The Great Courses
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In a fast-moving, ever-shifting world, news is continuously breaking. The Great Courses is here to help you understand the full story behind the soundbites. Here are a handful of stories for the week of February 4, 2019, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus.

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Jogger Defeats Mountain Lion
After being attacked on a trail, a jogger in Fort Collins, CO killed an 80-pound mountain lion with his bare hands by suffocating it to death. You have the ability to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the face of unexpected danger. Learn how to tap into your own body’s resources and access your inner animal.

“El Chapo,” Convicted
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, known as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker, was convicted of all charges against him. This now-famous criminal could face a life sentence. Dig into the details of criminal law by discovering how criminal law works and what a crime is.  

News Host Washes His Hands of Germs
Pete Hegseth, host for Fox News, claims germs are not a real thing so he has not washed his hands for 10 years. Delve into half-truths about antibiotic resistance and good hygiene.  

National Parks Protection Grows
Senate passes landmark bill expanding and protecting national parks and sets aside more than 1 million acres of new wilderness and conservation areas—including rivers in California and Utah. Both Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley NationalPark will be enlarged. Explore Death Valley and other national parks and monuments in the Great Basin region.  

Flirty Napkins Fail
In a major marketing faux pas, Delta Airlines passed out Diet Coke(r) napkins inviting passengers to share their phone numbers with other passengers they fancied. The stunt did go viral, but for all the wrong reasons—instead passengers took to social media to complain about how creepy it was. Discover how one of the core tenets of successful marketing is understanding your customer

A-Million-Dollar Tax Scam
A Florida man claimed an income of $18,497, with a withholding of $1 million on his W-2 form, resulting in a refund check of $980,000. He put the money in accounts and purchased a Lexus RC350. The IRS did wise up, and the accounts and car were seized. Gain an overview of the U.S. income tax system: how our income is taxed, as well as the myriad credits and deductions that are available.

Fox Terrier Wins Best in Show at Westminster
A wire fox terrier from Brazil named “King” was named Best in Show out of 2,800 dogs who were entered the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Your own best friend may not possess dog-show potential, but basic obedience training has benefits. Get an introduction to the importance of training dogs—both for owners and the dogs themselves—and learn the three key principles of dog training.

Frequent Presidential Candidate Lyndon LaRouche Dies
Lyndon LaRouche died at age 96 on Tuesday, February 12. Although he was known for running for president eight times, he might be better known for some far-left and far-right conspiracy theories that he took public. Grand conspiracies are cognitive traps that result from our attempts to make sense of our complex world. Examine the compelling nature of conspiracy thinking.

Airbus A380 Jet Discontinued
Airbus is retiring the A380 superjumbo jet—a double-deck airplane it invested billions of dollars into while trying to supplant the Boeing 747 wide-body airplane—which never quite took off in sales. The A380 first went into service in 2007 and was lauded by passengers, but airline companies preferred smaller, fuel-efficient jets. Trace the history of jet development and their super-efficient variant used on commercial airliners.

The Curious Life of a Mars Rover
After spending 15 years on Mars—the longest-lasting robot on another planet ever—the rover Curiosity has ceased contact for good. It was designed for 90-days of exploration but remained functional for more than 5,000 Martian days. Having helped design the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, NASA engineer Kobie Boykins reveals what these robots are telling us about the existence of life on the red planet.

We will be diligently monitoring current events and sharing updates on a regular basis, linking the latest headlines to our courses, so you can get the context, history, background, deeper meaning, and—especially—the facts. Our goal is to help our lifelong learners apply the knowledge they gain from our courses to the real world and become better-informed citizen about the present-day issues that concern us all.

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