Smile Politely

Speakers in C-U: Apr. 26—May 2

WHAT: “An Economic Perspective on Fuel Economy Policy,” Dr. James Sallee, University of Chicago

WHEN: Tuesday, April 26 @ 12 noon

WHERE: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, One E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign

From the event description: “Consumers inflict a variety of externalities on others when they drive automobiles, ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to increased congestion. Economic theory offers simple solutions to correct such market failures, namely taxation of fuel and driving. In contrast, actual policies aimed at these social concerns generally focus on fuel economy of new automobiles, not fuel consumption or driving. Targeting fuel economy has important differences from the theoretical ideal and creates various unintended consequences. This talk explores these unintended consequences, with a particular focus on how automakers respond to the details of fuel economy policy in ways that cause inefficiency.”


WHAT: “The Science of Speed: Why Driving Fast is Hard,” Professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, The University of Texas, Dallas

WHEN: Wednesday, April 27 @ 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: 141 Loomis Lab, 1110 West Green Street, Urbana

From the event description: “Every February, almost a quarter of a million people gather in Florida to witness the culmination of months of intensive research at the forefront of aerodynamics, materials science, and vehicle dynamics. Its not a space shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral. This crowd is seventy-five miles to the north in Daytona Beach, enjoying the unique combination of science and sheer guts it takes to pilot a racecar at 200 mph around the thirty-one-degree banked turns of Daytona International Speedway. Race teams employ physicists and engineers to find ways to make cars go faster within the confines of the sanctioning bodies ever-changing rules. Even within those constraints, new materials, new types of fuel, and new propulsion designs often appear on a racetrack before they appear on local highways.”


WHAT: “Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan,” Brett Walker, Regents Professor, Montana State University

WHEN: Wednesday, April 27 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: 3rd Floor, Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois, Urbana

From the event announcement: “Professor Walker will explore the relationship between the causes of colossal toxic pollution and the manner in which pain caused by industrial disease casts a dark shadow on Japanese modernity and insults and sickens porous human bodies. Through the lens of a “hybrid causations” model, Walker examines startling case studies of disease outbreaks and industrial toxins that know no boundaries, from Japanese B encephalitis to cadmium poisoning from zinc and lead mining. Walker demonstrates a deep understanding of how the Japanese archipelago has become industrialized over the last two hundred years and with it the bodies that inhabit the archipelago.”


WHAT: “Fighting for the Future of Food: Activists Versus Agribusiness in the Struggle Over Biotechnology,” Rachel Schurman, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

WHEN: Friday, April 29 @ 3 p.m.

WHERE: Room 223 Temple Hoyne Buell Hall, 611 Loredo Taft Drive, Champaign


WHAT: Marsha Ternus, former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court

WHEN: Monday, May 2 @ 12 noon

WHERE: Illinois Law School Auditorium, 504 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Champaign

Marsha Ternus, former Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court who was one of three Iowa justices not retained by voters following their ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Iowa, will be speaking in Champaign-Urbana twice.

On Sunday, May 1, Justice Ternus will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the American Civil Liberties Union of Champaign County at Milo’s restaurant in Urbana. Brunch at 11:30 and speech at 12:30. $25 per person and reservations required. Go to to register.



You live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that’s the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti. It’s free, you know. Plus, sometimes there’s free food, too!

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you’d like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Tuesdays when classes are in session.

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