terça-feira, 30 de setembro de 2008


A pioneer in a “dangerously hot research area,” Drazen Prelec peers into the human brain while it makes decisions. In his corner of the new field of neuroeconomics, Prelec uses a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine to scan minds pondering the pros and cons of purchasing and selling products like Godiva chocolate and flash drives.

Prelec first provides a brief background on the emergence of his discipline, made possible by technological advances in measuring brain activity, and the recent introduction of psychology into economics. The convergence (or perhaps collision) of behavioral approaches and economics has led to a “sustained criticism of the rationality assumption in economics,” says Prelec, most prevalent in game theory. So much current research, he says, “is a series of responses to the incorrect predictions of the rational normative model.”

Some Nobel Prize-winning work has emerged in the past few decades from studying the differences between the way human beings actually behave and the way classic economics suggests. Prelec describes prospect theory, which captures in a formula how there is “something about the way our mind deals with numbers (so that) if you look at positive things, you have one way of looking, and at negative, it’s a different way.”

Using three case studies, Prelec illustrates how “neuroeconomics picks up some of these violations of rationality, trying to understand where in the brain we can get a deep understanding of what’s going on.” In a notable instance, subjects sipped different wines (through a straw) in the fMRI, and were asked to rate them. They were told they were drinking wine that ranged in price from $5 to $90. The “dirty trick was the $5 and $45 wines were the same, as were the $10 and $90 wines.” Not surprisingly, “ratings were massively influenced by price,” so the $90 wine was considered exceptional.

What was surprising, says Prelec, was that “the brain lies also.” An area behind the forehead, the medial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with the perception of value, burst into more activity when the subject experienced the “$90” wine than with the exact same “$10” wine. It seems as if the very idea of quality, or value -- often a marketing ploy -- makes a product like wine more enjoyable.

Drazen Prelec's research deals with the psychology and neuroscience of decision making (behavioral economics and neuroeconomics; risky choice, time discounting, self-control, consumer behavior). Prelec has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1991. He received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology and A.B. in applied mathematics from Harvard University. He was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, and has received a number of distinguished research awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

VIDEO ESSAY: The End Of Free-Market Fundamentalism?

By Nick Penniman on Sep 25, 2008

Amid the chaos and chatter about this week's financial bailout, one clear theme emerged in some quarters: The era of free-market fundamentalism is over. But is it, really?

segunda-feira, 29 de setembro de 2008

"Just How Stupid Are We?" author Rick Shenkman on The Alcove

Recorded in early summer 2008, this is a timely and important conversation with Rick Shenkman. Shenkman is the author of the new book "Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter". He is also the founder and editor of George Mason University's History News Network and an associate professor of History there.

In this interview, Shenkman discusses our need to focus on the electorate's general lack of informed understanding of civics and what is most important in today's political process. The consequences of this have never been more vital.

Just How Stupid Are We?

Mr. Shenkman is an associate professor of history at George Mason University and the editor of the History News Network.

Barbara Ehrenreich: “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream”

The best-selling author discusses going undercover as a middle-aged professional trying to get a white-collar job in corporate America. She finds that the people who are playing by the rules—going to college, being loyal to the to their employer—are too often ending up in financial ruin.

Bill Moyers Journal -- Barbara Enrenreich

PBS Video
August 3, 2007

After studying theoretical physics at Reed College and earning a Ph.D. in cell biology from Rockefeller University, Barbara Ehrenreich joined a small nonprofit in New York City in the late 60's, advocating for better health care for the city's poor.

She began researching and writing investigative stories for the company's monthly bulletin, and as she explains in her biography, "There was no decision to become a writer; that was just something I started doing."

What Ehrenreich calls her "big writing break," was a cover story for MS. MAGAZINE about feminism and heart disease, which lead to steady essay writing and opinion pieces in MS., MOTHER JONES, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, HARPER'S and other magazines.

In 2001, she released perhaps her most influential book, NICKEL AND DIMED: ON (NOT) GETTING BY IN AMERICA, which chronicles the year she spent working low-income jobs and living in low-income housing. She writes:

"We would stop at a convenient store for quote 'lunch' and people just didn't have money in their pockets. By money, I mean, two bucks. That's when I realized that people...were not eating because they couldn't afford to. And I asked this one girl...'How do you get through a whole day without eating?' And she said, 'Oh, I get faint by the end of it, I feel dizzy.' So, that's no good."

Ms. Ehrenreich has since released many additional books including BAIT AND SWITCH: THE (FUTILE) PURSUIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM, based upon her undercover work as a white-collar job seeker, and her latest book, DANCING IN THE STREETS: A HISTORY OF COLLECTIVE JOY, which focuses on our species' desire for collective joy.

Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream

In "Bait and Switch", Barbara Ehrenreich goes back undercover to explore another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with the plausible resume of a professional "in transition," she attempts to land a "middle-class" job. She submits to career coaching, personality testing, and EST-like boot camps, and attends job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and - again and again - rejected.

"Bait and Switch" highlights the people who have done everything right - gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive resumes - yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster. There are few social supports for these newly disposable workers, Ehrenreich discovers, and little security even for those who have jobs. Worst of all, there is no honest reckoning with the inevitable consequences of the harsh new economy; rather, the jobless are persuaded that they have only themselves to blame.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, Harpers, and the Progressive, she is a contributing writer to Time magazine. She lives in Florida.

Music and the Mind

In this edition of "Grey Matters," Aniruddh Patel, of the Neurosciences Institute, discusses what music can teach us about the brain, and what brain science, in turn, can reveal about music.

The Diversity of Development: Embryos and Evolution

How does variation in genes generate the beautiful diversity of animal body shapes that fill the world? UCSD Biologist William McGinnis explains that all animals, whether fish, fowl, or fly, share similar architectural control genes called Homeobox genes. The discovery and study of these genes has led to an understanding of how subtle changes in Homeobox genes can lead to changes in animal form during evolution.

domingo, 28 de setembro de 2008

The Essential Marcuse

Andrew Feenberg discusses his new collection of essays by Herbert Marcuse. The most influential radical philosopher of the 1960s, Marcuse's writings are noteworthy for their uncompromising opposition to both capitalism and communism.

Geothermal Energy: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Your Feet

Right below your feet is a source of renewable energy that is largely untapped. It heats groundwater by conduction and convection as it travels toward the surface of the earth. Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientists Carol Bruton and John Ziagos explain how geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity or heat buildings.

"The Red Cross Report, the Torture Memos, and Political Accountability"

Mark Danner, Professor of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes writer Mark Danner for a discussion of his recent articles in the New York Review of Book on the torture policies of the Bush Administration. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22530 The conversation addresses these topics: how interrogation turned to torture in response to the 911 attacks, the mind set of Cheney and Rumsfeld, the impact of the Church Committee reforms, the political dimensions of uncovering scandal in an empire that is also democracy, the implications of torture for American identity, and the politics and necessity of establishing accountability.

Global Capitalism, Labor Markets, and Inequality

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Harvard labor economist Richard B. Freeman for a discussion of globalization and its complex consequences for inequality in national and global contexts. He analyzes the implications of the feminization of the labor market, the effect of immigration on national job markets, the shift of policy innovation in the U.S. from the federal government to the states, and the benefits of international labor standards.

P. Sainath - Globalizing Inequality - SPECIAL EDITION!

The award-winning development reporter and photojournalist, Palagummi Sainath, is India's foremost chronicler of the impact of Globalization on the country's rural populations. Described by the Nobel Prize-winner, Amartya Sen as "one of the world's greatest experts on famine and hunger," P. Sainath has worked tirelessly to expose the devastation inflicted on rural farmers and the broader population by the so-called neo-liberal economic reforms. He is author of the best seller, Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts, a book credited with significant impact on drought management, medical and development programs in rural India. He is currently working as the rural affairs editor of The Hindu.

This SPECIAL EDITION program includes the complete unedited lecture and the entire question and answer session. The lecture was delivered at the Washington State University campus in Vancouver, Washington. The lecture was sponsored by the Center for Social and Environmental Justice of Washington State University.

Thomas Frank - The Wrecking Crew : How Conservatives Rule


Hailed as a “hunk of dynamite” (Salon) and celebrated for its “satiric wit” (The New York Times Book Review) and “delighted outrage” (The New Republic), The Wrecking Crew supplies the first and—lacking future fact-finding commissions—probably the only full reckoning of what conservatism has wrought.

Casting his eyes from the Bush administration’s final months of plunder to the earliest days of the Republican revolution, Thomas Frank uncovers the deep logic behind the graft and incompetence of conservatives in power. He shows how leaders dedicated to a doctrine of government by entrepreneurship proceeded to sell off the state, channeling the profits to cronies and loyalists. He surveys the federal agencies doomed to failure by the inept and even hostile staff appointed to run them. He charts the practice of wholesale deregulation and the devastating results now clear for all to see. From political scandal to mortgage meltdown, Frank documents the consequences of enshrining the free market as the logic of the state.

As conservatives retreat to lick their wounds and a new administration prepares to undo the years of misgovernment, The Wrecking Crew makes clear the challenges before the nation. A brilliant and audacious stocktaking—now thoroughly revised and updated—this is Frank’s most revelatory work yet.

Source : http://tcfrank.com/books/the-wrecking-crew/

Thomas Frank author of "The Wrecking Crew" on The Alcove

The incomparable Thomas Frank engages in a wide-ranging conversation on The Alcove. The Wall Street Journal columnist and author of both Whats the Matter With Kansas? and his new book The Wrecking Crew discusses the recent election, the economic crisis and the staggering corporate corruption in Washington today.

sábado, 27 de setembro de 2008

John Searle - Freedom and Neurobiology

John Searle visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book " Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power." This event took place on October 30, 2007 as part of the Authors@Google series.

George Lakoff - The Political Mind

The Authors@Google program was pleased to welcome author and professor George Lakoff to Google's New York office to discuss his new book, "The Political Mind".

George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Rockridge Institute, a think tank in Berkeley, CA. He is author of "Don't Think of an Elephant!", "Moral Politics", "Whose Freedom?", and coauthor of "Thinking Points: A Progressive's Handbook", as well as many books and articles on cognitive science and linguistics. In this talk Professor Lakoff speaks about his latest work The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain. In "What's the Matter with Kansas?", Thomas Frank pointed out that a great number of Americans actually vote against their own interests. In "The Political Mind", George Lakoff explains why.

Naomi Wolf: The End of America

Naomi Wolf, the bestselling author of The Beauty Myth, Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change The 21st Century, Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, and others, will discuss and sign her new book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. This book cuts across political parties and ideologies, and warns us - with the straight-to-fellow-citizens urgency of one of Thomas Paine's revolutionary pamphlets - that we have little time to lose if our children are to live in real freedom.
- Tattered Cover

Philip Zimbardo: Why ordinary people do evil ... or do good

Philip Zimbardo knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. In this talk, he shares insights and graphic unseen photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. Then he talks about the flip side: how easy it is to be a hero, and how we can rise to the challenge.

sexta-feira, 26 de setembro de 2008

The Price of Hunger

By Garland McLaurin on Jun 25, 2008

Hunger is a growing crisis in America. With a stagnant economy and rising fuel prices the cost of food is soaring. Congress is reacting, but will their efforts be enough? ANP spends a week with Brian Duss who agrees to take the Food Stamp Challenge and live off a dollar per meal for 7 days.

Pain on Main Street

By Garland McLaurin on Sep 25, 2008

While lawmakers negotiate on Capitol Hill over the $700 billion-taxpayer bailout for banks and lenders on Wall Street, the foreclosure machine continues to crush homeowners caught in the mortgage crisis. Beyond the politics of Washington, one thing seems clear to many homeowners on the verge of foreclosure, there is no significant relief in sight from the government or Wall Street.

“Cash for Trash”: Unwanted “Junk” in Hand, Demonstrators Head to Wall Street to Protest Bailout

Among the more than 100 protests against the $700 bailout plan is a rally today on Wall Street. We speak to Arun Gupta, a reporter/editor at The Indypendent newspaper, whose email to friends and colleagues helped inspire the protest. Participants are planning on bringing their own personal, unwanted “junk” to illustrate what they call the federal bailout of Wall Street’s worthless securities.

quinta-feira, 25 de setembro de 2008

Bill Moyers Journal : William Greider

Bill and author William Greider explore realistic steps to reform Washington's too-intimate relationship with Wall Street.
(Show 250)

terça-feira, 23 de setembro de 2008

Vandana Shiva Lecture

Environmental activist, author, and eco-feminist Vandana Shiva talks about her environmental activism. Rooted in a discussion of environmental struggles in her home country of India, Shiva expands her discussion by placing environmental activism into a larger context of globalization and capitalism. Shiva offers an interesting critique of market defined "sustainability" before moving into a lengthy discussion of corporate attempts, such as those by Monsanto and Coca-Cola to privatize water.

segunda-feira, 22 de setembro de 2008

Authors@Google: Jane Mayer


Jane Mayer in conversation about her new, best-selling book, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals." This event took place at Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters on August 8, 2008 as part of the Authors@Google program.

The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world--decisions that not only violated the Constitution to which White House officials took an oath to uphold, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In gripping detail, acclaimed New Yorker writer and bestselling author, Jane Mayer, relates the impact of these decisions—U.S.-held prisoners, some of them completely innocent, were subjected to treatment more reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition than the twenty-first century.

Jane Mayer is the co-author of two bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books, Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988, and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, the latter of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Mayer was also awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in connection with The Dark Side. She is currently a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting. Before that, she was a senior writer and front-page editor for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Journal's first female White House correspondent.

Bringing Progressive Politics Back To The People

Noted linguist George Lakoff, author of "Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision" joins Bruce Cain of the University of California's Washington Center for a thoughtful discussion on how Republicans routinely beat Democrats in framing political issues in terms that appeal to a wide spectrum of voters.

Whose Freedom? The Battle over America's Most Important Idea

Author George Lakoff discusses his book "Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea" as a part of the Authors@Google series. This event took place Thursday, July 12, 2007 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA

Since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has relentlessly invoked the word "freedom." Al-Qaeda attacked us because "they hate our freedom." The U.S. can strike preemptively because "freedom is on the march." Social security should be privatized in order to protect individual freedoms. The 2005 presidential inaugural speech was a kind of crescendo: the words "freedom," "free," and "liberty," were used forty-nine times in President Bush's twenty-minute speech.

In Whose Freedom?, Lakoff surveys the political landscape and offers an essential map of the Republican battle plan that has captured the hearts and minds of Americans--and shows how progressives can fight to reinvigorate this most beloved of American political ideas.

George Lakoff on Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think

UC Berkeley professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics George Lakoff explores how successful political debates are framed by using language targeted to people's values instead of their support for specific government programs in this public lecture sponsored by the Helen Edison Series at UC San Diego.

domingo, 21 de setembro de 2008

George Lakoff on The Political Mind

The Commonwealth Club of California

UC Berkeley Professor George Lakoff discusses concepts from his new book, The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain.


After winning the 2006 International Emmy Award for his film “Knowledge is the Beginning”, director Paul Smaczny is now filming the new documentary that features ‘El Sistema’ in Venezuela.

The Story
‘El Sistema’ is a network of children’s and youth orchestras, music centres and workshops in Venezuela, in which more than 250,000 children and young people are currently learning to play an instrument.It was set up over thirty years ago by José Antonio Abreu, who was driven by the utopian vision of a better future. In the dangerous and poverty-stricken shanty towns of Caracas, Abreu lifts children out of poverty through music, changing both people and structures. The story, which has all the makings of a fairytale, is the extraordinary account of a vision that has become reality. Several of the system’s young graduates now rank amongst the most coveted young talent in Europe - the most prominent being the 26-year-old conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the double bass player Edicson Ruiz, who at the age of 17 became the youngest musician ever to join the Berlin Philharmonic.
The film ‘El Sistema’ shows how Abreu’s astonishing ideas have led the way out of the vicious circle of poverty - and how the power of music has been able to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people.
The Project
“Originally art was made by a minority for a minority. Then it became art by a minority for the majority, and now we are at the beginning of a new era, where art is intended by the majority for the majority.” José Antonio Abreu
Astonishingly, in Venezuela classical music has been taken from its ivory tower of high culture, and placed in amongst real life. This is the result of a most improbable social project that has come to embrace all of Venezuelan society. 250,000 children and young adults are currently playing a musical instrument, and by 2010 these numbers will have doubled. It’s an astonishing development brought about by one person, first and foremost: José Antonio Abreu.
José Antonio Abreu is a conductor, composer and economist. 30 years ago he developed the idea of combining social work with classical music, in order to offer children from poor neighbourhoods an alternative to life on the streets. More than five million people live in the impromptu neighbourhoods of Caracas alone, half of whom are children. The settlers in these illegal suburbs have left their mark on the cityscape, and reflect the social reality: behind the glass palaces and banks, shacks made of red brick and boards crowd the slopes as far as the eye can see. Everyday life in the ‘barrios’ is marked by violence in the streets, corrupt police and gang warfare. Only a few find their way out of these circumstances: work is hard to come by even with vocational training, and the public schools do not adequately prepare students for university entrance exams. These structures create a system of poverty, social exclusion and poor prospects.

Music Documentary Tocar y Luchar Premiers

at the American Film Institute Festival: AFIFEST

Kingston, New York (PRWEB) October 30, 2006 -- Kingston based Explorart Films and Cinema Sur announced today that the US premier of the memorable documentary Tocar y Luchar (To Play and To Fight) will be held at the 20th annual meeting of AFIFEST, one of the most influential film festivals in the world. The film will screen on Thursday November 9th at 9:30pm and Friday November 10th at 4:30pm at Hollywood's ArcLight Cinema Complex. The film was also selected to participate on the first American Film Institute 20/20 project and will screen at various events throughout the world in 2006 and 2007.

To Play and To Fight presents the captivating story of what is considered by many to be the best youth orchestra network in the world: The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System. Once a modest program designed to expose rural children to the wonders of music, the system has become one of the most important and beautiful m usic phenomena in modern history. Today the system includes thousands of orchestras throughout South America affecting more than 250,000 children. To Play and To Fight presents interviews and performances by many of the world's most renowned musicians including the great tenor Placido Domingo, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Guiseppe Sinopoli, and Eduardo Mata, as they reflect on the impact of such a far-reaching social project. The documentary also presents the inspirational stories of world class musicians who have been trained by the Venezuelan system, including the Berlin Philharmonic's youngest player Edicson Ruiz and world class conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

El Sistema:

Venezuelan Music Education Miracle
WGBH Lectures
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
New England Conservatory
News of the monumental success of El Sistema, Venezuela's 32-year-old program of social action through music, is rapidly spreading throughout the world. Today over 250,000 Venezuelan teenagers and children, most from impoverished backgrounds, are being filled with an "affluence of the spirit" through the intensive study of music and the participation in orchestras and ensembles. No less a figure than Sir Simon Rattle, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, has called El Sistema "the most important thing happening in classical music in the world today".
As part of the NEC-sponsored Boston residency of El Sistema's flagship orchestra, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the symposium, organized by NEC's Center for Music-in-Education, explores the questions on everyone's lips: How did this phenomenon come about? How can we learn from it? How can we apply it in our own country? Join Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu and leading figures in education and culture a they explore the answers.
This panel discussion moderated by Eric Booth, celebrated author on arts in education and founder of the Teaching Artist Journal.

George Lakoff: Whose Freedom?

George Lakoff talks about Whose Freedom: How the Right is Stealing Our Most Precious Idea and What We Can Do About It. An advisor to the Democratic party, Lakoff states that the conservative revolution has remade freedom in its own image and deployed it as a central weapon on the front lines of everything from the war on terror to the battles over religion in the classroom and abortion.
Lakoff is Professor of Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley.
- Book Passage

Dr. Vandana Shiva: Whose Freedom? Which Fredom?

Webcast from June 15, 1998 lecture by Dr. Vandana Shiva at the Vancouver Public Library, "Whose Freedom? Which Fredom? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights vs. the GATTs Treaty of Inhuman Rights"

Vandana Shiva is a world renowned scientist and activist. In partnership with local communities and social movements she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi in 1982 to addess the most significant ecological and social issues of our time. She has achieved international recognition for her contributions to the fields of women and the environment, bio-technology and intellectual property rights as well as ecological issues related to agriculture. Dr. Shiva's Vancouver lecture was sponsored by the Women's Studies Department of Simon Fraser University. It was broadcast in two parts on working TV, as programs number 115 and 116.

Vandana Shiva Decries the “Outsourcing of Pollution to the Third World”

Vandana Shiva on Democracy Now

We speak world-renowned environmental leader and thinker, Vandana Shiva about India and global resource depletion. Shiva says, “India is one of the preferred spots for outsourcing of all the pollution and energy-intensive production of the world. We hear of outsourcing of jobs and informational technology sector. We don’t often enough hear about the outsourcing of pollution to the third world.”
Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental leader and thinker. She is also a physicist and ecologist and the Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is the founder of Navdanya – “nine seeds”, a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds. Dr. Shiva was the 1993 recipient of the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize–the Right Livelihood Award. And she is the author of many books, her latest is “Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace.”

The New Food Wars: Globalization, GMOs & Biofuels

Across the world, food riots are taking place. Scientist and activist Vandana Shiva explores whether the future will be one of food wars or food peace. She argues that the creation of food peace demands a major shift in the way food is produced and distributed, and the way in which we manage and use the soil, water and biodiversity, which makes food production possible. 17th Annual Margolis lecture at UC Irvine.

Health Matters: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

More and more we hear about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, but what does it really mean? Who is affected and how? Jeffrey Matloff, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, and Clay King, Acting Associate Director VA San Diego Healthcare System, discuss PTSD with special emphasis on how our combat military veterans are affected.

Health Matters: What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

What is Social Anxiety Disorder? Is it simply a severe form of shyness? Join Dr. Granet as he talks with leading expert, Dr. Murray Stein, about this disorder that affects approximately 5% of the general population. Find out the symptoms and latest treatments that are available.

Bringing Education into the 21st Century

Innovative educator and social justice advocate Joseph Berney explores his path to stop education from trying to get people to fit into society, and start to get people to change it.

sábado, 20 de setembro de 2008

Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice

Amidst Wall Street Woes, Labor Activist & Writer Bill Fletcher on “Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice

While the press has extensively covered the Wall Street meltdown, little attention has been paid to what this means to the American worker. We speak to longtime labor activist and writer Bill Fletcher, co-author with Fernando Gapasin of the new book Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice. Fletcher is the executive editor of BlackCommentator.com and the former president of TransAfrica Forum.

The Wall Street Journal has called it the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. The Washington Post described Wednesday as one of the most tumultuous days ever for financial markets. A recent Financial Times headline read “Goodbye capitalism American-style.” The events on Wall Street in recent weeks have shocked the financial world. The federal government has used taxpayer money to bailout the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the American Insurance Group.

Meanwhile Lehman Brothers has declared bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch has been bought out by Bank of America and Morgan Stanley in in talks to sell almost half of the company to a state-run Chinese investment fund. And now the the Fed and Congress are working on an unprecedented bailout plan that could result in the most direct commitment of taxpayer funds so far in the financial crisis.

While the press has extensively covered the Wall Street meltdown, little attention has been paid to what this means to the American worker. On Thursday the Federal Reserve announced that American households had lost three trillion dollars over the past nine months. The nation’s unemployment rate has reached 6.1 percent, a five-year high. The unemployment rate for African Americans is now in double digits, at 10.6 percent.

Wages remain stagnant and retirement funds are taking a major hit as stock values plummet. Since President Bush took office the S&P 500 has fallen 14 percent.
We are joined in Washington by longtime labor activist and writer Bill Fletcher. He is co-author with Fernando Gapasin of the new book “Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path Toward Social Justice.” He is the executive editor of BlackCommentator.com and the former President of TransAfrica Forum.

Bill Fletcher, co-author with Fernando Gapasin of the new book Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice. He is the executive editor of BlackCommentator.com and the former president of TransAfrica Forum.

A new direction for labor by two of its leading activist intellectualsThe U.S. trade union movement finds itself today on a global battlefield filled with landmines and littered with the bodies of various social movements and struggles. Candid, incisive, and accessible, Solidarity Divided is a critical examination of labor's current crisis and a plan for a bold new way forward into the twenty-first century. Bill Fletcher and Fernando Gapasin, two longtime union insiders whose experiences as activists of color grant them a unique vantage on the problems now facing U.S. labor, offer a remarkable mix of vivid history and probing analysis. They chart changes in U.S. manufacturing, examine the onslaught of globalization, consider the influence of the environment on labor, and provide the first broad analysis of the fallout from the 2000 and 2004 elections on the U.S. labor movement. Ultimately calling for a wide-ranging reexamination of the ideological and structural underpinnings of today's labor movement, this is essential reading for understanding how the battle for social justice can be fought and won.

Youth and Civic Engagement

This video was added to MIT World on 2008-08-07

Mitchel Resnick SM ‘88, PhD ‘92 Resnick's Media Lab profile

Lance Bennett: Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication and Professor of Political Science, University of Washington Bennett's University of Washington website

Ingeborg Endter SM '00: Outreach Manager, MIT Center for Future Civic Media Endter's MIT website

Alan Khazei: Founder and CEO, Be the Change, Inc. Co-Founder and Former CEO, City Year Khazei entry on Be the Change website

With the right tools and backing, children of the 21st century are set to make their mark on the world. These panelists want to ensure that young people passionately engage with the world, using new media to “shape changes around them,” as Mitchel Resnick puts it.

For Lance Bennett, “the future of democracy seems to be at stake.” Typically, schools fail to teach children politics, and civic education turns kids off. This is happening as modern society “falls apart in important ways,” with social hierarchies and authorities fading in importance, and membership organizations that confer status losing clout. But new forms are emerging such as social networks and participatory media. Young people born into the digital age have a different take on citizenship, and are “predisposed for interacting, sharing knowledge across peer networks,” for creating content and assessing the credibility of people and ideas in an egalitarian, collaborative enterprise.

Civic learning can take place online. Bennett cites Your Revolution on Facebook, an online voting registration tool available in some states. He describes regional teens developing digital media skills to communicate about local issues, learning digital storytelling and advocacy strategies. In Puget Sound Off, Seattle teens use a website to express themselves with art, poetry and music, and discuss important issues like abusive relationships, and misogyny.

In more than 100 Computer Clubhouses in 21 countries around the world, under-served 10 to 18-year-olds work with high end computers, mentored by adults to create, collaborate and enrich their communities in turn. As Ingeborg Endter tells it, they “use equipment without a lot of caveats – ‘No’ is not a word used often in Clubhouses.” A Sao Paolo Clubhouse decided to beautify its neighborhood by painting murals in an alley. In an Arizona Clubhouse, Native American children engaged elders in recording traditional songs, and in Dublin, young people invited candidates for local council offices to come to their Clubhouse to discuss the issues. “They wanted their voices heard by candidates, even if they couldn’t vote, “says Endter.

The co-founder of City Year says it’s time for a “new public philosophy, a new approach to solving problems.” Alan Khazei wants massive citizen engagement via a universal voluntary service program, with lifelong opportunities starting as early as kindergarten. He envisions a new system for social entrepreneurship, so that when a good idea pops up, like Teach for America, it receives the resources to scale up rapidly. And novel public and private partnerships must be forged to enable these new enterprises.

We’ll need the active participation of millions of young people to tackle the gigantic issues defining our times, such as climate change and the war on terrorism, says Khazei. He proposes a Meta action tank, where social entrepreneurs can put ideas into action, engaging “grass tops and grass roots” locally and globally. Through this new type of action, “we can help create an America in which every person holds the highest office in the land, that of citizen.”

Why is there No Class Warfare in the US? American Exceptionalism and Inequality

In this talk, Collins discusses the economic impact of the (then) proposed and (now) passed into law Bush tax cut, and issues around distribution of wealth. United for a Fair Economy is a national non-partisan organization that draws attention to the dangerous consequences of growing income and wealth inequality in the US and inspires action to reduce economic inequality.

Chuck Collins is the co-founder and Program Director of United for a Fair Economy and Responsible Wealth in Boston. He is co-author of several books about economic inequality including Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity. His latest book, co-authored with William Gates, Sr., is Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes (2003). Mr. Collins holds a B.A. in History & Economics from Hampshire College (1984) and an M.B.A. in Community Economic Development from New Hampshire College (1987).

Welcome to the MIT Program on Human Rights and Justice (PHRJ), a collaborative effort between the Center for International Studies and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Established in 2001, the Program on Human Rights and Justice aims to create a cutting-edge inter-disciplinary environment for research, teaching, curricular development and real-world application in human rights, especially relating to the global economy and science and technology. It is the first human rights program in a leading technology school and the first in the world with a specific focus on the human rights aspects of economic, scientific and technological developments. Cross-cultural dimensions of human welfare, security and dignity animate all the activities of the Program..

sexta-feira, 19 de setembro de 2008

Who's Watching The Kids?

There are more than 30 privately run schools for troubled youth operating in the state of Montana. They employ more than 600 people and pump an estimated 4 million into the state income taxes. It's an exploding industry, but strangely, most Montanans have no idea the schools even exist. In this hour-long documentary, Montana PBS explores a lucrative industry praised for its novel approach to reforming youth, yet shrouded in disturbing allegations of abuse and neglect.

During the 2007 Montana Legislature, lawmakers passed a bill requiring alternative schools to be licensed and regulated by the Board of Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Programs (PAARP) under the Department of Labor. But, the new bill gives the PAARP board a deadline of October 2008 to come up with licensing rules. Until that happens, Montana programs will remain unlicensed.

MontanaPBS Investigative Reporter Wins National Award
July 5, 2007 – Anna Rau, a producer and reporter for Montana PBS station KUFM-TV, has won a Cine Golden Eagle Award for her documentary "Who’s Watching the Kids." The program examined the multi-million dollar alternative school industry in Montana, which operates without state license or regulation.

The Cine Golden Eagle is awarded for excellence in documentary and other informational film and video production. Besides Rau, other awardees in the Professional News/Investigative Division included Thirteen/WNET in New York City and ABC News.

"This award speaks to the integrity of Anna’s investigative reporting abilities," said William Marcus, director of The University of Montana’s Broadcast Media Center, which houses KUFM-TV. "This was a contentious subject that required more than 18 months of research and documentation. The aim was to further public discussion about this industry. It did that."

"Who’s Watching the Kids" also was one of 17 U.S. documentaries selected as international finalists in the Input 2007 documentary competition, which recognizes public television work from around the world. Available in more than 150 communities across the state, Montana PBS is a collaborative service of KUFM-TV at UM and KUSM-TV at Montana State University-Bozeman.

quinta-feira, 18 de setembro de 2008

Language and the Mind Revisited - The Rest of the World

Influential linguist and political Activist Noam Chomsky discusses the properties, design and theories of language in this Hitchcock lecture presented at UC Berkeley.

For the past forty years Noam Chomsky's writings on politics and language have established him as a preeminent public intellectual and as one of the most original and wide-ranging political and social critics of our time. Among the seminal figures in linguistic theory over the past century, since the 1960s Chomsky has also secured a place as perhaps the leading dissident voice in the United States.

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT and the author of numerous books including Chomsky vs. Foucault: A Debate on Human Nature, On Language, Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship, and Towards a New Cold War (all published by The New Press). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This event took place on April 22, 2008 at the Google Cambridge office, as a part of the Authors@Google series.

quarta-feira, 17 de setembro de 2008

How The University Works

"The single most important recent advance in our understanding of the structure of higher education." Cary Nelson
How the University Works by Marc Bousquet
This is the seamy underbelly of higher education — a world where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates all work long hours for fast-food wages.
Tenure-track positions are at an all-time low, with adjuncts and graduate students teaching the majority of courses.

Burdened by debt, millions of undergraduates work multiple part-time jobs but quit before they earn a degree.
Meanwhile college presidents and basketball coaches rake in millions, even at schools where fewer than half of students are able to earn a degree in six years.

Assessing the costs of the corporate university at every level, How the University Works is urgent reading for anyone interested in the fate of higher education.

Cary Nelson describes how the shift to a majority contingent faculty is an intellectual sea change for undergraduates as well as faculty themselves.
Working in an airport gift shop, standing in line for free cheese, sharing a bowl of soup for dinner... these are the all-too-typical coping strategies adopted by the working poor among the contingent faculty who are now the overwhelming majority of the professoriate. In part 2 of our interview, Cary Nelson discusses the abjection of the professoriate and the role of the AAUP in pushing back against the callous, systematic exploitation of students and faculty by university management.
Higher ed employment has become a pyramid scheme, explains Michelle Masse, with mostly-male sectors at the top and mostly-female sectors at the bottom. The relationship between "feminization" of the humanities and "masculinization" of administration means we're all in the harem of the dean.
"Wal-mart workers know they're being had," Michelle Masse says. "Academics don't."
She argues that the call to service in higher education has been a vector for cynical exploitation by administrations, but also for willing submission to exploitative demands. This is especially the case for womenn faculty, but also for men in feminized sectors, such as the humanities.
A professor on public assistance. Andy Smith describes his ten years as a contingent faculty member. The vast majority of all college faculty are now hired on a contingent basis.
"I'm 30 years old and I've never made 30 thousand a year." Monica Jacobe, who is about to finish her dissertation in American literature, describes her life as a contingent faculty member. In Part 2, she talks about her prospects for an academic job and the sorry state in which previous generations of faculty and administrations have left the profession.
Getting a Ph.D. is like playing the lottery, explains Monica Jacobe. After a median 10 years of study, and perhaps four or five years of job hunting, 40 percent of language PhDs will not have tenure track jobs anywhere.
California Faculty Association activist Elizabeth Hoffman describes the "permanently temporary" condition that is now the norm for faculty in U.S. higher education.
Activists from Graduate Students United at the Universiy of Chicago explain their collective and personal motivations for unionizing.
Activists from Graduate Students United at the Universiy of Chicago describe their vision for intellectual and workplace democracy in higher ed.
Activists from Graduate Students United at the Universiy of Chicago sing Joe Grim Feinberg's "Ballad of the Marooned Dissertation Writers."
Find more here

We're All Workers - And We're All Intellectuals, Too

Sabbaticals for nurses and accountants? "We're all workers," says Adolph Reed. "We all want the same things." Now that everyone works in the service economy, the blue-collar/white-collar distinctions make very little sense. And recognizing that all intellectuals are workers is a step toward realizing that all workers are intellectuals.

terça-feira, 16 de setembro de 2008

What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are


Liars, Lovers, and Heroes combines cutting-edge findings in neuroscience with examples from history and the headlines to introduce the new science of cultural biology, born of advances in brain imaging, computer modeling, and genetics.

Terrence J. Sejnowski is an HHMI investigator, the Francis Crick Professor, and Director of the Crick-Jacobs Center for Theoretical and Computational Biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He is also a Professor of Biology at UC San Diego.

Books by Terrence Sejnowski:
Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are, 2003 (with Steven R Quartz)

Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

with anthropologist Helen Fisher
June 8, 2006
Based on groundbreaking research, Helen Fisher sheds new light on the mysteries of romantic attraction.
Helen Fisher is an anthropologist who studies the evolution of love, sex, marriage and gender differences in humans. She is a Research Professor and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies at Rutgers University, and a Chief Scientific Advisor to the online dating site Chemistry.com.

Resource: Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition

Teacher Resources
Learner.org for Students
Discovering Psychology

A video instructional series on introductory psychology for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 26 half-hour video programs and coordinated books.
Now on DVD

Highlighting major new developments in the field, this updated edition of Discovering Psychology offers high school and college students, and teachers of psychology at all levels, an overview of historic and current theories of human behavior. Stanford University professor and author Philip Zimbardo narrates as leading researchers, practitioners, and theorists probe the mysteries of the mind and body. Based on extensive investigation and authoritative scholarship, this introductory course in psychology features demonstrations, classic experiments and simulations, current research, documentary footage, and computer animation. This series is also valuable for teachers seeking to review the subject matter.

Produced by WGBH Boston with the American Psychological Association. 1990, 2001.

1. Past, Present, and Promise
This introduction presents psychology as a science at the crossroads of many fields of knowledge, from philosophy and anthropology to biochemistry and artificial intelligence. With Dr. Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard University and Dr. Emanuel Donchin of the University of Illinois. Updated.

2. Understanding Research
This program examines the scientific method and the ways in which data are collected and analyzed — in the lab and in the field — with an emphasis on sharpening critical thinking in the interpretation of research findings. With Dr. Christina Maslach of the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Daryl Bem of Cornell University. Updated.

Watch More: Individual Program Descriptions

Teaching the Second Law

PANELISTS:Joseph Smith, Jr., ScD ‘59: Samuel C. Collins Senior Professor of Mechanical Engineering Smith's MIT website

Howard Butler: Retired Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering, West Virginia University. "Tracing the Second Law " piece in Mechanical Engineering Online

Andrew Foley: Associate Professor, Engineering Department, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Foley's USCG website

Kim Hamad- Schifferli, ‘94: Homer A. Burnell Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Biological Engineering, MIT Hamad-Schifferli's Biological Engineering website

Bernhardt Trout, ‘90, SM ‘90: Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT Trout's MIT Chemical Engineering website

Jeffrey Lewins, SM ‘57, PhD ‘59: Life Fellow, Praelector, Magdalene College, Cambridge University Lewins' Cambridge profile

Enzo Zanchini: Professore Ordinario, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Energetica, Nucleare e del Controllo Ambientale Zanchini's Bologna website

Michael von Spakovsky: Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech von Spakovsky at Virginia Tech

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Perhaps no one comprehends the roots of depravity and cruelty better than Philip Zimbardo. He is renowned for such research as the Stanford Prison Experiment, which demonstrated how, in the right circumstances, ordinary people can swiftly become amoral monsters. Evil is not so much inherent in individuals, Zimbardo showed, but emerges dependably when a sequence of dehumanizing and stressful circumstances unfolds. It is no wonder then, that Zimbardo has lent both his expertise and moral outrage to the case of U.S. reservists who perpetrated the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

Zimbardo’s latest book, The Lucifer Effect, attempts to understand “how good people do evil deeds.” His talk outlines his involvement as expert witness for the defense team of one of the military police officers responsible at Abu Ghraib, and also provides a rich history of psychological research into the kind of behavior transformations evident in Iraq. First, Zimbardo presents a slideshow of Abu Ghraib abominations, including some digital photos that were not widely distributed by the media. Then he digs deep into the archives for a horrifically illustrated tour of experiments that make a persuasive case that certain, predictable situations corrupt people into wielding power in a destructive way.

He describes Stanley Milgram’s 1963 Yale-based research demonstrating that people will behave sadistically when confronted by “an authority in a lab coat.” A vast majority of the subjects delivered what they were told were dangerous electric shocks to a learner in another room, to the point of apparently killing the other person. Researchers skeptical of his results replicated them. This time, professors demanded that students shock real puppies standing on electrified grills. Zimbardo’s own prison experiment turned an ordinary group of young men into power-hungry “guards,” humiliating equally ordinary “prisoners” in the basement of Stanford’s psychology building. The descent into barbarity was so rapid that Zimbardo had to cancel the experiment after a few days.

The recipe for behavior change isn’t complicated. “All evil begins with a big lie,” says Zimbardo, whether it’s a claim to be following the word of God, or the need to stamp out political opposition. A seemingly insignificant step follows, with successive small actions, presented as essential by an apparently just authority figure. The situation presents others complying with the same rules, perhaps protesting, but following along all the same. If the victims are anonymous or dehumanized somehow, all the better. And exiting the situation is extremely difficult.Abu Ghraib fit this type of situation to a T, says Zimbardo. The guards, never trained for their work helping military interrogators, worked 12-hour shifts, 40 days without a break, in chaotic, filthy conditions, facing 1,000 foreign prisoners, and hostile fire from the neighborhood. They operated in extreme stress, under orders to impose fear on their prisoners. Zimbardo believes the outcome was perfectly predictable, and while never absolving these soldiers of personal responsibility, believes justice won’t be done until “the people who created the situation go on trial as well: George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George Bush.”

Phil Zimbardo began at Stanford University in 1968, having taught previously at Yale, NYU, and Columbia University. He continues teaching graduate students at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, and at the Naval Post Graduate School (Monterey).

He has received numerous honors, including most recently, the Havel Foundation Prize for his lifetime of research on the human condition. Among his more than 300 professional publications and 50 books is the oldest current textbook in psychology, Psychology and Life, now in its 18th Edition, and Core Concepts in Psychology, in its 5th Edition.

Zimbardo has also been a social-political activist, challenging U.S. wars in Vietnam and Iraq, as well as the American Correctional System. Zimbardo has served as elected President of the Western Psychological Association (twice), President of the American Psychological Association, the Chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) representing 63 scientific, math and technical associations (with 1.5 million members), and now is Chair of the Western Psychological Foundation.

domingo, 14 de setembro de 2008

The New Bush Inaugural Agenda

Premiered on USTV Media on March 13th, 2005 The program offers a critical point by point analysis of statements made by President Bush in his second inaugural speech, and the underlining meaning and ramifications of those statements. Also included in the program are segments of an insightful and provocative interview with famed writer, playwright and historian Gore Vidal, taken from his interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Vidal illuminates the many contradictions and historical deficiencies inherent in the Bush inaugural declaration.

Legendary Author Gore Vidal on the Bush Presidency, History and the “United States of Amnesia”

With a career spanning more than six decades, Gore Vidal is one of America’s most respected writers and thinkers. He’s authored more than twenty novels and five plays. His latest book is Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir.

Gore Vidal Interview with Alex Jones Infowars

Alex Jones interviews Gore Vidal at the Texas Book Festival October 29, 2006. The Infowars interview includes dicussion of a new 9/11 investigation, the criminal Bush Regime, media complicity (and poor media coverage by the New York Times and other "rags") as well as other topics.

sábado, 13 de setembro de 2008

Phillip Zimbardo: The Lucifer Effect

What makes good people do bad things? How can moral people be seduced to act immorally? Where is the line separating good from evil, and who is in danger of crossing it? Renow-ned social psychologist Philip Zimbardo has the answers, and in The Lucifer Effect he explains how---and the myriad reasons why---we are all susceptible to the lure of "the dark side." Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women.

Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University, is perhaps best known as the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment. For the first time, he tells the full story of this landmark study, in which a group of college-student volunteers was randomly divided into "guards" and "inmates" and then placed in a mock prison environment. Within a week the study was abandoned, as ordinary college students were transformed into either brutal, sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners.

This event took place October 4, 2007 at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA

David Rothkopf: Influence of the World’s Super-Rich

Members of today's "superclass" have achieved unprecedented levels of wealth and power. Each of them is one in a million as they number six thousand on a planet of over six billion.

According to David Rothkopf, globalization expert and author of Superclass: The Global Elite and the World They Are Making, members of the superclass run our governments, our largest corporations, the powerhouses of international finance, the media, world religions, and, from the shadows, the world's most dangerous criminal and terrorist organizations.

Arguing that they control globalization more than anyone else, Rothkopf questions whether their influence feeds the growing economic and social inequity that divides the world?

Furthermore, what happens behind closed-door meetings in Davos or aboard corporate jets at 41,000 feet? Conspiracy or collaboration? Deal-making or idle self-indulgence?

David Rothkopf joins the Council to answer these questions and draw back the curtain on a privileged society that most of us know little about, even though it profoundly affects our everyday lives
- World Affairs Council of Northern California

Joseph Stiglitz: The Economics of Information

Asia Society New York, NY
Feb 5th, 2008

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz ("Globalization and Its Discontents") talks about his new concept of economics, "The Economics of Information," and his latest book, "Making Globalization Work"

Joseph Stiglitz was chief economist at the World Bank until January 2000. Before that he was the chairman of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001. He is currently a finance and economics professor at Columbia University. He is the author of Globalization and Its Discontents and The Roaring Nineties.