Cascade! Fall 2013
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A1248: My cousin, the giant tree sloth: evolution and natural selection
Difficulty: **

Did you know you could be part Neanderthal? And that dinosaurs are still alive, and you might even have one in your home? In this class we'll talk about evolution and natural selection, and how these two simple ideas explain the variety of life around us, from blobfish to you.

A1249: You Say You Want a Revolution: A Historical Look at Music Propelling Politics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alexa Daugherty

From the Rolling Stones to Kendrick Lamar, music has often reflected and helped to shape the political structure from which it originates. In this class, we will analyze lyrics, songs, and artists from an anthropological viewpoint. We will also discuss the idea of a ‘song’ dynamically – as a function of artist, structure, lyrics, and social context, rather than just as a ‘rad’ mp3 file in iTunes.


Prerequisites
An appreciation of music, a willingness to speak openly, maturity, and desire to explore history from a new point of view!

A1254: Intro to Improv
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Harris

We make things up. On the spot. I will prepare. You will not.

Improv comedy is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding forms of performance, and doesn't require nearly the same amount of hand eye coordination as salsa dancing. In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of improv, many of the more common games that improv troops play in performances, and fingers crossed, perform a whole show of your own at the end of the 5 week session. Friends will be made. And fun will be had by the bucketful. That is all.

A1250: Synthetic Biology: Hacking the Genome
Difficulty: **

What do glow-in-the-dark rabbits and drought-resistant corn have in common? Both are the products of human technology, created by altering the genetic material of these organisms. Synthetic biology is the study of how to control the natural mechanisms that determine the characteristics of living things. The potential of synthetic biology is truly thrilling, and it enables us to come up with new perspectives on how to make biological research more efficient and useful to society.

A1247: Crop Circles, the New World Order, and Reptilians: Modern Conspiracy Theories
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Max Worthy

Is big foot stalking us in the woods? Is Kanye part of the Illumaniti? Are we really being abducted from our beds every night and being probed by aliens?

In this class, we'll try and answer those questions by looking at them through rational and critical lenses. We'll attempt to figure out where these seemingly fantastical stories come from. Finally, we'll attempt to understand why we are fascinated by them and believe in them in the first place.

A1246: Why "Story" Is Important
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lex Obasuyi

Ever watch a movie, a TV show, read a book, or even played a video game and thought, "Well...this sucks?" Chances are you have and if that's the case, it was probably because the story wasn't up to par. So, in this class, we'll be exploring why it's important and what role it plays in some of the mediums above, as well as its importance in writing.

A1256: Breadwinners: The Rise of Women
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Natasha Harnwell

Forty years ago, a major car manufacturer did not have a female restroom on the engineering floor because there were no women. Now, an entire engineering division is female. What has changed? What has yet to change? And what are some of the results of those changes? In this class, we will look at the changing role of women in America and around the world. For example, we will talk about the reasons fewer women are getting married and the effects of women becoming primary breadwinners but continuing to earn only 3/4th of what men earn.

A1252: All Around the World: An Introduction to Model United Nations
Difficulty: **

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a far off land, learning about the culture and attempting to understand why it works the way it does? Have you ever wondered why the United States is so involved in the affairs of others, and why other nations affect your daily life? In our class we will study both current international affairs, attempting to reason why the stories we hear in the news affect us, as well as study public speaking and basic diplomacy. Ultimately, we will be assigning each individual a country to represent in a Model United Nations session, where we will take all that we have learned and use it in practice. Hopefully we can learn a bit more about different cultures and in the end, go all around the world together.

A1251: How and Why We Genocide
Difficulty: **

The systematic destruction of a group of people based on ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion: genocide. The term genocide was created to classify the horrors of the holocaust. Once the definition was codified by the United Nations, the world said ‘never again’. Never again would there be a slaughter of men, women, and children on the basis of their identity. However genocide has happened. Again and again. Why?

This class will explore the nature, causes, and consequences of genocides since 1950. We will see that the perpetrators are not evil, the victims are not innocent, and the lines are always blurred. By the end of this you will know how to commit a genocide-- but you will also know how to detect and prevent one.

A1257: Understanding Our Universe: Order, Chaos, and Life
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sachi Hashimoto

We understand the movement of planets; and we understand the particles inside an atom. Why doesn't our knowledge of the laws and mathematics of the universe tell us much about the weather, our friends, and the behaviors of ant colonies? How is it that we can split the atom and launch a rocket to Mars, and yet we still can't define life, or even predict the weather a week from Tuesday?

In this class, we'll talk about what we do understand about our universe, what we don't understand, and why we can't understand everything.

A1255: What does Google know about you?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Glen Wang

Websites like Google, Facebook and Twitter know a lot about you. This is because these sites have a record of everything you do on there, from the photos you look at to the things that you search. This information can reveal a lot about you, and when used together, can reveal a lot about society in general. In this class, we will look at how websites can use your information to find out more about you or to solve bigger social problems. Furthermore, we will discuss if websites should be allowed to use your personal information this way.

A1253: Hip-Hop, Rap and Why it Matters
Difficulty: **

Chicago is a rich home of hip-hop and of music in general, and to an extent, the type of music that individuals listen to helps to shape and confirm views they have about the world. We would like to look into more detail what kind of messages certain kinds of hip hop put forward, and the kind of impact these views can have on society. This would neither be in praise of a criticism of hip hop and rap, but a look at what hip hop and rap as art forms are attempting to communicate-and how such messages vary both across artists and have evolved in the past number of years. We'll watch music videos, listen to music and have discussions about various topics.