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This month’s hot topics and featured sources are:
Veterans Day – Military personnel often need to make life-or-death decisions in the blink of an eye. Now, veterans are using their experiences in the field to aid in research on how difficult choices are made in crisis situations. The research is being conducted by forensic psychologist Neil Shortland, who is using the findings to develop training in decision-making for first-responders and the military. Shortland is the director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Terrorism and Security Studies.
Holiday sales outlook – Will it be boom or bust for retailers in the weeks ahead? From Black Friday and Cyber Monday on through December, experts on e-commerce, retail and branding from UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business can offer insight into which retailers are winning customers’ confidence and which may be in jeopardy if they don’t have a strong holiday season.
The philosophy of “Star Wars” – Movie-goers around the world are eagerly awaiting next month’s release of “The Last Jedi,” the latest installment in the “Star Wars” franchise. Philosophy Prof. NicholasEvans, who counts himself among the legion of “Star Wars” fans, can talk about how the films are more than mere fantasy and are grounded in themes related to political violence, exploring dilemmas such as determining when the use of lethal force is justified and when individuals must be held culpable for their transgressions.
Elton John’s impact – “Diamonds,” a new greatest hits compilation from rock legend Elton John, celebrates his prolific 50-year collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin, an unconventional union – the artists work separately rather than collaborating in person – that has produced more than 30 albums. Alan Williams – a songwriter, bandleader and recording engineer with more than 30 years in the music business who also heads UMass Lowell’s Department of Music – can discuss why the duo’s songs have been so popular, why they endure and how the pair has influenced other musicians and the music industry for decades.