By Nicholas Bush and Allie Lewis

On Friday night, scientist and TV personality Bill Nye kicked off the weekend with a discussion moderated by Judith Swift, director of the Coastal Institute, with topics ranging from climate change to the ethics of genetically modifying human traits.

The discussion centered around the future of the world in response to the growing threat of climate change. Nye explained that Iowa gets 25 percent of their electricity and Texas gets around 10 percent of their electricity from renewable wind energy. Nye sparked hope in the audience by saying that he believes the world can help stop climate change and that by switching to renewable energy would reduce the number of conflicts the world engages in fighting over energy.

Nye described his interactions with climate change deniers. Nye offered to bet a prominent climate change denier $10,000 that 2016 would be one of the warmest years on record and that the next decade will be the hottest decade on record. Nye claims that no one has taken him up on his bet.

The discussion moved to the idea of human progress. Nye described his observation that people are living longer and will continue to live longer as long as the quality of life remains good. This, however, brings up the problem of dealing with an expanding global population. Nye advocates for moving toward using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to combat the growing food scarcity.

“Even farming is not natural,” Nye said in response to the criticism that GMOs are not natural. He described that some of the biggest threats to humans are germs, parasites and pests which can eat up to one-third of crops before humans are able to. GMOs offer a unique solution to stop these unwanted guests from shrinking the food supply.

Nye continued the night by talking about his criticism of the growing interest in the colonization of other planets, including Mars and the moon.

“[Mars] is fantastically cold, there is hardly any liquid water and you can’t breathe,” Nye said. “Mars is not like [Earth], you will die.”

Nye explained that there are even places on Earth humans cannot colonize, let alone planets inhabitual to life, like a science base station in Antarctica. Nye explained that people, “don’t go there to raise families,” and that there are no schools or any other possibilities for long-term life for a reason.

Nye then expanded his remarks by talking about the possibility of life on other planets. He detailed how he cannot believe that there is not something else alive given how vast the universe is.

Nye concluded the evening by reminding the audience that they have to, “be optimistic or nothing’s going to get done…URI let’s go, get ‘er done!”


On Saturday night, Whoopie Goldberg opened up with audiences on a multitude of subjects from the failures of communication between parents and their children, advocating for marijuana use, dating in the 21st century and her own personal life.

She warned audience members early on of the language she planned to use that evening, but rather than take offence, members from the audience cheered.

“I do use words that some people think are ‘bad,’” Goldberg said. “I happen to think there are worse words that people use, than the words that I use. I do not like the word ‘stupid,’ because you cannot use the word stupid with a smile – ever! But you can say fuck with a smile.”

Some members of the audience did choose to leave halfway through the show, however, after Goldberg shared some of her opinions on the current political climate. Goldberg took no offense, even waving goodbye to an entire row of people as they walked away.

Goldberg, as a New Yorker, said she rejects the idea that the Northeast and the West Coast are in a “bubble.”

“We’re not in a bubble,” Goldberg said. “A bubble is when you only see you. That’s what’s the bubble. And then the bubble pops and you move to wherever that little town was to the big city and meet new people and see new things.”

Goldberg was not only generous with her time, allowing for dozens of questions for the audience, but she also posed for photos with fans, hugged children, advised struggling artists and even gave the shoes off her feet to one audience member.

After admiring her shoes all night, Pat Hogan, who’s sister is currently a freshman at URI, decided to ask Goldberg about her Adidas Yeezy V2 sneakers. The resale value easily surpasses $700, according to Hogan, but he said he never plans to sell them.

If the shock that Goldberg took the shoes off her feet wasn’t already enough, Hogan said he was amazed that the size 10 shoes fit him.

“I’m speechless,” Hogan said.

His sister, Julia Hogan, said she watches Goldberg regularly on “The View,” and that her family had been looking forward to the show since the summer. If it hadn’t of been for Julia’s encouragement, however, Hogan said he would never of gotten out of his seat.

Even though he had no idea if the shoes would fit when he took them, the offer was too good to refuse.