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Author Kevin Young says P.T. Barnum didn’t invent the hoax, but he came close to perfecting it. The author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News says Barnum provided people with a good show. But Young says some the acts are troubling “when you look at his shows up close.” Note: This interview was originally published in January. 

Young will speak at Western Michigan University Thursday March 28th at 7:00p.m. in room 2452 of Knauss Hall. His appearance is sponsored by the University Center for the Humanities and Western’s English Department. The event was scheduled for January, but was rescheduled due to weather. Young says hoaxes are not about the thin line between fiction and fact. Instead, he says they are about the deep divisions between people.


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The Founder of the Dangerous Speech Project says it’s fear, not hatred, that often inspires acts of violence. Susan Benesch studies the type of speech that causes people to commit, or condone violence. Benesch will deliver the annual Winnie Veenstra Peace Lecture at Western Michigan University. Her address called Social Media and Mass Violence begins at 6:00p.m. Monday March 25th in the Bernhard Center. 

Benesch says dangerous speech can lead to violence when people are afraid. The fear may be of another racial group or of immigrants. She says political leaders can inspire violence with dangerous speech. Benesch says it can also be a celebrity or religious figure.


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Western Michigan University Biological Sciences professor Tiffany Schriever says she and a group of students walk the trails down to wetlands from spring to fall. They use nets and water chemistry equipment to test the waters near the Great Lakes coastline.

Schriever will be among the presenters at Western Michigan University’s Spring Convocation on Tuesday, March 26th at the Fetzer Center. She says they have found great diversity in wetlands, even those that are relatively close together.

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Black women are the fastest growing group of business owners, says a new report. From 2007 to 2018, black female-led businesses grew by 164 percent as compared to 58 percent overall for all women businesses for the same period. The Kalamazoo area is also seeing a spike. It's leading to the creation of new groups, workshops and conferences to provide opportunities for skill-building, support and financing for black and other women entrepreneurs of color. 


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Learn how free showings of the award-winning romantic comedy "Keep the Change" about a couple with autism is being used by Disability Network Southwest Michigan as part of a lunchtime discussion and film series to encourage more inclusive environments. Screenings are in Kalamazoo (March 18), Battle Creek (March 26), and St. Joseph (March 27). All showtimes are 11:30 a.m.


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