The Future of Catholicism

8232By putting compassion ahead of doctrinal enforcement, Pope Francis I promises nothing less than a wholesale transformation of the Roman Catholic Church. But, for all of the hope and excitement that he has inspired, is this anything more than just a passing phase? (Francis, after all, will be 80 years old in December. He also has just one functioning lung and is three years into a papacy that he himself has said will probably last no longer than five.) In this month’s edition of “Up Next,” host Marty Lasden examines Francis’s likely legacy, and what that legacy portends for the church as a whole, with Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest who also happens to be one of this country’s most respected church journalists. In fact, back in 2014 President Obama appointed him to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan policy group for which he now serves as its chair. However, for all of the accolades that Reese has received over the years, his career has not been without controversy. And in 2005 one major controversy came to a head when the Vatican’s head enforcer—a cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger who later became Pope Benedict XVI—forced Reese to resign as the editor-in-chief of a Jesuit magazine called “America” for publishing too many articles that dared to question church policy. “In my soul,” says Reese, “I didn’t think there was a conflict [between being a good journalist and being an obedient priest]. “But other people thought there was a conflict. And that’s why I got fired.” Of course, all of that happened well before Francis came along.

Watch The Future of Catholicism — Up Next: Perspectives on the Future of Everything


The Fate of the GOP

8232In a country that’s not only becoming less white, but also more urban and secular, does the Republican Party have a future? On this month’s edition of Up Next: Perspectives on the Future of Everything, host Marty Lasden examines the GOP’s prospects with history professor Donald T. Critchlow, author of Future Right: Forging a New Republican Majority.

Being the academic that he is, Critchlow is not what you’d call a typical Republican. Nor for that matter is he an evangelical Christian. But he does insist that his party can and should have a bright future—demographic trends notwithstanding. “The assumption that demographics favor Democrats as the party of the future is wrong,” he writes. “The Democratic base, an uneasy coalition of women, minorities, and young voters, is vulnerable to a Republican takeover.”

Of course, it’s hard to talk about the Republican Party these days without mentioning a certain New York billionaire who made his fortune in real estate before morphing into a “reality” TV star. But as with all of Lasden’s “Up Next” interviews (“The Future of Being Dead,” “The Future of Making Babies,” and “The Future of Space Exploration” included), this one takes us well beyond the news chatter of the day. Among the questions he raises: Can the Republican Party effectively reach out beyond its base at this point without alienating that base? How difficult would it be for a pro-family Republican to say that businesses should be required to provide paid parental leave to their workers? Does Donald Trump’s nomination, in an odd sort of way, signal the waning influence of religion in American politics? And if, in November, Republicans lose by a landslide, which wing of the party is best positioned to pick up the pieces?

With the 2016 presidential election rapidly approaching, this is one “Up Next” episode you don’t want to miss.


Election 2016


It’s been a grueling campaign season but we are finally heading into the last days of this remarkable and highly contentious 2016 election. We’ve careened from record crowds in the primaries, to seemingly daily gaffes and scandals, to the pageantry of the conventions and the spectacle of the debates. Now, the vote count is about to start.

Take a break from the daily headlines and join us as we present thoughtful experts contemplating the effect this election will have on the future and meet some of the young people that are working from the inside to affect change.

Explore the following programs:


The Computer Science Channel Launches

8232UCTV and the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department at UC San Diego have launched The Computer Science Channel.”Our faculty are directing research that is transforming the world in a variety of ways and have made us one of the top research departments worldwide,” says CSE Chair Dean Tullsen, who welcomes users to the channel. Adds Tullsen: “This channel is bringing stories about how computer science is revolutionizing many industries and disciplines, from computer graphics to computational biology.” The Computer Science Channel aims to connect viewers to the world of computing and its impact on the world around us. New content produced for the Channel in a partnership between CSE and UCTV will also begin airing on UCTV and UCSD-TV in the near future.

New video features debuting on the channel in October include a series called Bits & Bytes, a collection of short features. “Teaching Computer Science Online” looks at UC San Diego computer scientists who are in the vanguard of a new movement to offer high-level computer science courses (known as massive open online courses, or MOOCs) to meet some of the pent-up demand for high-level computer science education around the world. Bits & Bytes also features “The Quadcopter Class” in which students build tiny quadcopter drones as a capstone project, and gain experience in conceiving, designing, building and programming a remote-controlled quadcopter.

The Computer Science Channel also documents where some of the department’s students go after graduation. For the October launch, the Alumni Profiles section poses the question: How does a single mom on her own, far from home, achieve success in the world of computer science? In her own words, CSE alumna Anu Mupparthi (B.S. ’08, M.S. ’11) describes the special roles the department and the field of computer science played in her development from single-parent computer novice to software engineer at Google Photos.

The joint CSE and UCTV channel also features Computing Primetime, about how computer science is interacting with and transforming many other disciplines and sectors. Among the episodes now available on The Computer Science Channel are:

    “Decoding the Microbiome”, a conversation between CSE professors Larry Smarr and Rob Knight about the role that computing, cyberinfrastructure and gene sequencing play in helping better understand the role the microbiome plays in human health. (Smarr also directs Calit2, while Knight directs the new Center for Microbiome Innovation.);

    “Visual Computing”, about the new, interdisciplinary Center for Visual Computing with its director, CSE Prof. Ravi Ramamoorthi, CSE lecturer Jurgen Schulze, and Cognitive Science professor Zhuowen Tu;

    “Computer Engineering for Exploration”, a discussion between CSE Prof. Ryan Kastner and Qualcomm Institute research scientist Albert Lin; and

    “Cyber Security: Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, in which former CSE Chair Rajesh Gupta talks with two of UC San Diego’s top cyber security experts, CSE professors Stefan Savage and Hovav Shacham.

Another section of the Channel is dedicated to Computing around UC, featuring video segments and programs related to computer science and produced at any of the 10 University of California campuses. The initial programming includes pieces about two UC San Diego researchers: the aforementioned Rob Knight of CSE and Pediatrics, who won the 2015 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science; and Jacqueline Kerr, a researcher in the Qualcomm Institute’s Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems. Kerr’s presentation focuses on what wearable cameras and GPS can tell us about human behavior.