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Rescuing History

Crumbling with age, attacked by insects and at risk from climate and other damage, historic records of Africans in the Americas were at risk of being lost entirely. Professor of History Jane Landers and a team of international scholars set out to digitally preserve the oldest black and Indian records in the hemisphere. Since the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies project began, materials from Cuba, Brazil and Colombia have been preserved for researchers in digital form. Landers continues to direct the project, with the digital files stored at Vanderbilt’s Jean and Alexander Heard Library.

What if Darwinism and Religion Got Along?

Did life begin in the Garden of Eden, as the Bible says, or in a prehistoric primordial swamp? Can you believe in creation and Darwin? In his new book, Creation and Evolution, Lenn Goodman, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, says the two viewpoints are not mutually exclusive. Fundamentalism—on both ends of the spectrum—can present a misleading point of view, he believes. “Thinking that way can obscure the real biblical message and also distort the deepest insights and richest findings of Darwinian science,” Goodman says.

Trash Talk

Tell the truth—do you recycle plastic water bottles or toss them in the trash? Does your state have a law mandating recycling? Such laws greatly increase recycling, according to a national study by W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics and Management.

“What was really surprising is that recycling laws and bottle deposits have a dramatic impact when they are effective. A person who formerly recycled zero to two bottles out of 10 will jump to recycling 8 to 10 bottles out of 10 when these policies take effect,” Viscusi says.

photo credit: ©Stockphoto.com/Beata Becla

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