sexta-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2009

Robert Jensen:

The American Dream dead?

Facing the reality of poverty resulting from Capitalism, exploding the myth tying capitalism to democracyPresented at Community Church, NYC, October 19, 2008
Robert Jensen is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and director of the Senior Fellows Honors Program of the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jensen joined the UT faculty in 1992 after completing his Ph.D. in media ethics and law in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a professional journalist for a decade. At UT, Jensen teaches courses in media law, ethics, and politics.

In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical approaches to media and power. Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men’s violence, and he also has addressed questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism.

In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the country.

Jensen’s latest book, All My Bones Shake, will be published in 2009 by Soft Skull Press. He also is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2001); co-author with Gail Dines and Ann Russo of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (Routledge, 1998); and co-editor with David S. Allen of Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression (New York University Press, 1995).

Jensen also is the co-writer/producer of an educational slide show in PowerPoint about pornography, “Who wants to be a porn star? Sex and violence in today’s pornography industry.” Information about the show is available at or by writing to

Jensen can be reached at and his articles can be found online at

Click here for Jensen's speaking schedule.
Click here for Jensen's listing in the UT Experts Guide.
Click here for Jensen's complete curriculum vitae.
Click here for a radio interview about Jensen's pornography research, a video interview about media and the "war on terrorism," and a print interview about his general political activities.

Richard D. Wolff:

Capitalism hits the fan: a socialist solution

Richard Wolff is professor of economics at UMass Amherst. He talks about the underlying cause of the current capitalist crisis (NOT "financial'' crisis) and capitalism in general. Socialism and workers' democracy is presented as the alternative. The talk was presented by the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and the journal Rethinking Marxism in early October 2008.

The Real News

Discussing the roots of the economic crisis, economist and author Richard Wolff says, "we took on a level of debt that no working class in any country at any time in the history of this planet had ever did before, and the result is that you build an economy on a house of credit cards." He continues to say that, "the fundamental issue is that we've run out of ways to keep this going, the wages are not going up and the credit is now tapped out."

quinta-feira, 26 de fevereiro de 2009

"The Troubling Economics and Politics of Today's Global Financial System:

Diagnosis and Suggestions for a Replacement"
Full Presentation (1 hr 11 mins)

Thomas Palley holds a B.A. degree from Oxford University, and a M.A. degree in International Relations and Ph.D. in Economics, both from Yale University. He has published in numerous academic journals, and written for The Atlantic Monthly, American Prospect and Nation magazines.

He was formerly Chief Economist of the US–China Economic and Security Review Commission. Prior to joining the Commission, he was Director of the Open Society Institute's Globalization Reform Project, and before that he was Assistant Director of Public Policy at the AFL-CIO.

He has written extensively on matters of macroeconomic theory and policy, international finance and trade, economic development, and labor markets.

CIGIonline - IGLOO
Lecture Videos - IGLOO

The Real News Network

Obama speaks to Congress
Palley: Obama’s speech didn't mention unions nor tackle the structural problems within the US economy

Discussing President Obama’s Address to the Joint Session of Congress, Thomas Palley, economist, and author says “we’ve heard nothing about trade, we’ve heard nothing about globalization... worker rights and labor markets, we’ve heard nothing about corporate power. You’re seeing here the absence of issues that deal with the structural problems… in the US economy.”

quarta-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2009


Lectures Video Archive

Leading neuroscientists gathered at this C250 symposium to discuss the accomplishments and limitations of reductionist and holistic approaches to examining the nervous system and mental functions.

Historically, neural scientists have taken one of two somewhat parallel approaches to the complex problem of understanding the biological mechanisms that account for mental activity. The first, or molecular model, analyzes the nervous system in terms of its elementary components, by examining one molecule, cell, or circuit at a time. The second, or cognitive model, focuses on mental functions in human beings and animals in an attempt to relate behavior to higher-order features of large systems of neurons.

The symposium "Brain and Mind," at Miller Theatre May 13 and 14, helped outline the accomplishments and limitations of these two approaches in attempts to delineate the problems that still confront neural science. Organized by Tom Jessell, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and Joanna Rubinstein, senior associate dean for institutional and global initiatives at Columbia University Medical Center, the symposium featured a number of distinguished faculty members, including Eric Kandel, Columbia's Nobel Prize–winning neurophysiologist, as well as visiting scholars from the National Institutes of Health, Rockefeller University, King's College London, Caltech, MIT, and elsewhere.

The course of the program, according to Rubinstein, was to "turn from reductionist to holistic approaches," looking first at what is known about cells and neural networks before addressing research into perceptions and behaviors. Participating scholars discussed current understandings and answers to key questions: How do the actions of individual neurons shape the function of neural populations? What is the underlying logic of signaling in complex neural circuits? How do dynamic mechanisms modify the processing of this information? And ultimately, how does the activity of neural ensembles generate cognitive and emotional behavior?

They also confronted some of the enduring mysteries regarding the biology of mental functioning: How does signaling activity in different regions of the visual system permit us to perceive discrete objects in the visual world? How do we recognize a face? How do we become aware of that perception? How do we reconstruct that face at will, in our imagination, at a later time and in the absence of ongoing visual input? What are the biological underpinnings of our acts of will?

Inequality Soup Pot

The Sound of Wealth Inequality

Working Group on Extreme Inequality began coming together in 2007. Many of the organizations involved in the Working Group had, over the years, been active in organizing against poverty and economic insecurity. That effort had helped us understand that the fight against inequality, to make significant headway, has to both raise the floor and challenge the concentrated wealth and power that increasingly sit at the top of our economic ladder.

Our Working Group is a coalition-in-formation. Based at the Institute for Policy Studies, were reaching out to different constituencies, generating educational materials, and promoting public policies to slim grand accumulations of private wealth.

Mobilization. Were engaging labor, religious, civic, and business groups concerned about poverty and unequal opportunity in dialogue about the importance of confronting the dangers that concentrated wealth and power increasingly engender.

Education. Were talking with the wider public about these dangers — and the need for public policies that encourage the dispersal of wealth. Through research, reports, publications, media work, public forums, and popular education workshops, were reaching broad and diverse audiences.

Advocacy. Were building support for public policies that can address the concentration of wealth and, at the same time, raise badly needed revenue for social investments that foster real economic opportunity. We host legislative forums, provide support for Congressional hearings, and publish fact sheets and other informational materials.

terça-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2009

Brain Plasticity during Learning and Memory

Caltech Today Streaming Theater

By Erin M. Schuman

Synapses, the points of contact and communication between neurons, can vary in their size, strength and number. These differences in synapses and their ability to change throughout the lifetime of the animal contributes to our ability to learn and remember. We are interested in how synapses are modified at the cellular and molecular level. We are also interested in how neuronal circuits change when synapses change their properties. We conduct all of our studies in the hippocampus, a structure known to be important for memory in both humans and animals. We use molecular biology, electrophysiology and imaging to address the questions detailed below. A major focus of the lab concerns the cell biological mechanisms that govern modifications at individual synaptic sites. In particular, we are interested in the idea that dendritic protein synthesis and degradation may contribute to synaptic plasticity. We are also interested in mRNA and protein trafficking during synaptic plasticity. We are also examining the role of the cadherins family of cell adhesion molecules in synaptic plasticity. Several labs have shown that cadherins are localized to synapses in the hippocampus. Earlier, we demonstrated that function-blocking cadherin antibodies or peptides can prevent long-term potentiation, without interfering with basal synaptic transmission. We hypothesize that cadherin bonds may be sensitive to local fluxes in extracellular calcium imposed by action potential activity. We are now examining the molecular mechanisms by which cadherins influence synaptic strength and the involvement of cadherins in the formation and maintenance of synapses, using fluorescence resonance energy transfer and endocytosis assays.

segunda-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2009

Integrating Neuroscience Knowledge:

Brain Research in the Digital Age

Mark H. Ellisman
University of San Diego, USA

Abstract: A grand goal in neuroscience research is to understand how the interplay of structural, chemical and electrical signals in nervous tissue gives rise to behavior. We are rapidly approaching this horizon as neuroscientists make use of an increasingly powerful arsenal of instruments and tools for obtaining data, from the level of molecules to nervous systems, and engage in the arduous and challenging process of adapting and assembling neuroscience data at all scales of resolution and across disciplines into computerized databases. A consolidated strategy for integrating neuroscience data has been to provide a multi-scale structural or spatial scaffold on which existing and accruing elements of neuroscience knowledge can be located and relationships explored from any network-linked computer. Similarly, efforts to integrate multi-scale microscopy data from different imaging methods using a common spatial framework are hampered by incomplete descriptions of the microanatomy of nervous systems. While some spatial and temporal scales are well studied and described, there are many domains where current methods have provided only sparse descriptions. Multi-scale imaging activities currently providing data to populate this brain information scaffold will be highlighted, with particular reference to those emerging with capabilities to facilitate mapping at a resolution of one nm to 10's of µm - a dimensional range that encompasses macromolecular complexes, organelles, and multi-component structures such as synapses and cellular interactions in the context of the complex organization of the brain. This effort also provides multi-scale structural frameworks for construction of models being used to test hypotheses not amenable to direct experimental analysis using software tools that allow for computational simulation of microphysiological properties of nervous systems.

Darwin's Legacy | Lecture 1

Introductory lecture
by William Durham for the Stanford Continuing Studies course on Darwin's Legacy (DAR 200).

Professor Durham provides an overview of the course; Professor Robert Siegel touches upon "Darwin's Own Evolution;" Professor Durham returns for a talk on "Darwin's Data;" and the lecture concludes with a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Lynn Rothschild.

domingo, 22 de fevereiro de 2009

The Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience

of Categorization, Novelty-Detection and the Neural Representation of Similarity


Neurocomputational models provide fundamental insights towards understanding the human brain circuits for learning new associations and organizing our world into appropriate categories. In this talk Iwill review the information-processing functions of four interacting brain systems for learning and categorization:

(1) the basal ganglia which incrementally adjusts choice behaviors using environmental feedback about the consequences of our actions,

(2) the hippocampus which supports learning in other brain regions through the creation of new stimulus representations (and, hence, new similarity relationships) that reflect important statistical regularities in the environment,

(3) the medial septum which works in a feedback-loop with the hippocampus, using novelty-detection to alter the rate at which stimulus representations are updated through experience,

(4) the frontal lobes which provide for selective attention and executive control of learning and memory. The computational models to be described have been evaluated through a variety of empirical methodoligies including human functional brain imaging, studies of patients with localized brain damage due to injury or early-stage neurodegenerative diseases, behavioral genetic studies of naturally-occuring individual variability, as well as comparative lesion and genetic studies with rodents. Our applications of these models to engineering and computer science including automated anomaly detection systems for mechanical fault diagnosis on US Navy helicopters and submarines as well more recent contributions to the DoD's DARPA program for Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures(BICA).

Mark Gluck Professor of Neuroscience, Center for Molecular & Behavioral NeuroscienceRutgers University - Newark Co-Director, Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers-Newark Publisher, Memory Loss and the Brain. He works at the interface between neuroscience, psychology, and computer science studying the neural bases of learning and memory. His research spans numerous methodologies including neurocomputational modeling, clinical studies of brain-damaged patients, functional and structural brain imaging, behavioral genetics, and comparative studies of rodent and human learning. He is the co-author of Gateway to Memory: An Introduction to Neural Network Models of the Hippocampus and Memory (MIT Press, 2001) as well as a new undergraduate textbook Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior (Worth Publishers, 2008). He has edited several other books including Neuroscience and Connectionist Theory (1990), Model Systems and the Neurobiology of Associative Learning: A Festschrift for Richard F. Thompson (2001), and Memory and Mind: A Festschrift for Gordan H. Bower (2007), as well as over 80 scientific journal articles and book chapters. His awards include the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Society and the Young Investigator Award for Cognitive and Neural Sciences from the Office of Naval Research. In 1996, he was awarded a NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Bill Clinton. For more information, see

sexta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2009

Uncovering the Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

"It is a fact that persons who are ready to admit possession of a stigma (in many cases because it is known about or immediately apparent) may nonetheless make a great effort to keep the stigma from looming large. . . . this process will be referred to as covering."
Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (1963).

Yale Law School professor Kenji Yoshino explores the pressure in American society to hide our authentic selves. In discussing issues from book Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, Yoshino will lecture on topics such as what role does the legal system have in ensuring civil rights for those who do not fit in, and how can we create an authentically diverse society?

Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law, and formerly the the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School. A Harvard graduate, Yoshino's interests lie Constitutional law and civil liberties. In addition to his book, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, Yoshino has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Advocate, among others.

quinta-feira, 19 de fevereiro de 2009

The Ethical Brain

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Video Archives: Lecture Series on Law, Health & the Life Sciences

Professor Gazzaniga's work focuses on how the brain works and produces ideas, including morals. Gazzaniga has brought his work on brain function to many people through his numerous books and his participation in several public television specials. He also sits on the President's Council on Bioethics. Professor Gazzaniga's lecture on "The Ethical Brain" will explain how neuroscience contributes to our understanding of everyday ethical issues, such as whether an embryo has the moral status of a human being. He will argue that neuroscience has little to say about concepts such as free will and personal responsibility. However, cognitive neuroscience does suggest how brain research will instruct us on universal morals possessed by all members of our species. This fundamental development will find cognitive neuroscience becoming central to the modern world's view of ethical universals.

TED Prize Winner 2009

Help me bring music to kids worldwide

Jose Antonio Abreu is the charismatic founder of a youth orchestra system that has transformed thousands of kids' lives in Venezuela. Here he shares his amazing story and unveils a TED Prize wish that could have a big impact in the US and beyond.

The gulf between the rich and the poor in Venezuela is one of the worst in the world. Jose Antonio Abreu, an economist, musician, and reformer, founded El Sistema ("the system") in 1975 to help Venezuelan kids take part in classical music. After 30 years (and 10 political administrations), El Sistema is a nationwide organization of 102 youth orchestras, 55 children's orchestras, and 270 music centers -- and close to 250,000 young musicians.

El Sistema uses music education to help kids from impoverished circumstances achieve their full potential and learn values that favor their growth. The talented musicians have become a source of national pride. Several El Sistema students have gone on to major international careers, including Gustavo Dudamel, soon to be the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the bassist Edicson Ruiz, who at 17 became the youngest musician ever to join the Berlin Philharmonic.

There is a simple concept behind Abreu's work: for him an orchestra is first and foremost about together­ness, a place where children learn to listen to each other and to respect one another.

"Music has to be recognized as an ... agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values -- solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings."
- José Antonio Abreu

quarta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2009

Accounting for a Small Planet

Ecological Footprint documentary film with Mathis Wackernagel

One Planet Budgeting:

making sustainability real with the ecological footprint

Are we running out of planet? Was Malthus wrong? Do economies self-correct or self-destruct when operating as if resources are limitless? Can everyone on this planet live like a Chinese? A Costa Rican? A Canadian? Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint, explores these questions, and showcases applications from around the world with government agencies, NGOs, businesses, cities, highlighting how this tool helps make development sustainable. Since the 1980s, humanity's demand on ecological resources has exceeded what the Earth can renew. We are in a state of ecological overshoot, on an unsustainable path. We can reverse this trend by managing both supply and demand. The Ecological Footprint is a practical, scientific tool designed to do just that. Developed over the last 15 years, this tool compares human demand on ecological resources with the planet's capacity to renew them and is being used by hundreds of governments, businesses, and NGOs around the globe. Global Footprint Network's mission is to support a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint and making the reality of planetary limits relevant to decision-makers throughout the world. Together with its over 50 partner organizations around the world, Global Footprint Network continuously strengthens and improves the Ecological Footprint by coordinating research, developing methodological standards, and providing robust national resource accounts.

terça-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2009

Gresham Lecture: Other Britains:

One size doesn’t fit all
Professor Rodney Barker

Not all political thinking is about either individual liberty and as little government as possible, or a responsible, or leadership, or housekeeping style of government. Alternative forms of government, society and politics: small groups, communities, localities, and voluntary associations. The varied forms of pluralism: socialist, communist, conservative and liberal.

Introduction To Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics is the study of the allocation of available resources among alternative desirable ends within and between generations. Economics should be science based and value driven, but unfortunately much of what passes for economic theory today is faith based and ideology driven. Economic ideologues generally favor one approach to allocation, such as capitalism or socialism, for any economic problem. Ecological Economics takes a more scientific approach, assessing the desirable ends of economic activity, the nature of the available resources required to achieve those ends, existing institutions, and characteristics of human behavior before deciding how to allocate resources.

Ecological economics differs from conventional economics in the following ways:
  • Ecological Economics views the human system as a subset of the sustaining and containing global ecosystem.
  • Ecological Economics upholds that the global ecosystem obeys the physical laws of thermodynamics (which physicists refer to as the supreme laws of nature) as well as the laws of ecology.
  • Ecological Economics recognizes that the global ecological-economic system is highly complex, non-linear and continually evolving and that simple answers or models to difficult questions rarely exist.
  • Ecological Economics requires a systems approach toward economic theory and decision making in order to provide a meaningful process to address modern economic challenges and opportunities.

Videos : Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics FAQs.

segunda-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2009

Global Marshall Plan III:

New Sources of Finance

James Bernard Quilligan of the Center for Global Negotiations interviews Frithjof Finkbeiner of the incredible Global Marshall Plan initiative about the vision of new opportunities for just and equitable financing of global human development - promoting prosperity for all people.

From Butterflies to Humans

HHMI 2005 Holiday Lectures (realplayer)

The story of animal evolution is marked by key innovations such as limbs for walking on land, wings for flight, and color patterns for advertising or concealment. How do new traits arise? How has the great diversity of butterflies, fish, mammals, and other animals evolved? The invention of insect wings and the evolution of their color patterns are beautiful models of the origin of novelty and the evolution of diversity. This lecture explores how new patterns evolve when "old" genes learn new tricks.

Old genes learning new tricks also applies to our own species and the evolution of traits that distinguish us from earlier hominids and other apes: our big brain, bipedal locomotion, and speech and language. The complete picture of human evolution involves new information emerging from the fossil record, genetics, comparative physiology, and developmental biology. Despite immense advances in evidence and understanding, there remains a societal struggle with the acceptance of our biological history and the evolutionary process, the roots of which are discussed in this lecture.
HHMI's BioInteractive - Evolution Lectures

Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads

Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Sean B. Carroll

The Darwinian revolution was the first revolution in biology. This lecture traces the discovery of evolution through Charles Darwin's long voyage, many discoveries, and prodigious writings. It is a dramatic story of how a medical school dropout and future clergyman transformed our picture of nature and our place in it. Darwin developed two great ideas in The Origin of Species that have shaped 150 years of evolutionary biology: the descent of species from common ancestors and their modification through natural selection. Darwin also introduced the concept of the "fittest," but how are the fittest made?
The second revolution in biology was triggered by discoveries in genetics. Genetic variation, selection, and time combine to fuel the evolutionary process. The action of selection is now visible in DNA, both in preventing injurious changes and in favoring advantageous changes in traits.
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Evolution—Constant Change and Common Threads

domingo, 15 de fevereiro de 2009

World Stories:

Global Marshall Plan I: Meeting the Millennium Development Goals
James Bernard Quilligan, of the Center for Global Negotiations interviews Frithjof Finkbeiner of the Global Marshall Plan initiative, a stunning vision of how to meet the needs of all humanity globally - starting with the Millennium Development Goals.

Part II describes the Global Marshall Plan initiative's approach for establishing and meeting global environmental targets through an Eco-Social Marketplace.

Global Marshall Plan:

Announcement of the Convention on the Global Commons

Seeking International Economic Consensus

An unprecedented move to create global consensus on reforming the international economy was announced at an August press conference in San Francisco. James B. Quilligan, managing director of the Centre for Global Negotiations, detailed steps toward worldwide participation in the creation of a global action plan, called ‘Convention on the Global Commons’.

Organizers plan to launch a multi-stakeholder consultation process in 2008-2009. This will involve an interactive website – – enabling the global public to contribute to a plan that proposes ways of reforming the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund – even the United Nations – to more effectively address world poverty and the global environmental crisis.

Members of thousands of civil society organizations are expected to add their voices to the final product, along with members of business and government, the scientific and religious communities and the media. Organizers expect the plan to be ratified at a major conference of international representatives in early 2010. The Convention on the Global Commons will then be executed through coordinated worldwide activities, in accordance with agreed upon implementation and communication strategies.

The Global Marshall Plan Initiative, a consortium of civic groups in Europe, will serve as Secretariat of the Convention on the Global Commons. The Centre for Global Negotiations, based in the United States and Canada, will assist in providing technical support. Many other international organizations are also involved in the project. One aim of the Convention on the Global Commons is to create a tax on international transactions that will fund sustainable development.

Another aim is to reform the rules and institutions of the international economy so that developing countries can share more equally in the benefits of globalization. The central concern of the initiative is to create a more just and sustainable economic system by curbing the adverse aspects of globalization that arise from the unregulated activities of market forces. By joining together an engaged partnership for sustainable development with an equitable multilateral policy framework, the Convention on the Global Commons is also expected to overcome conflicts in international political relations that occur through bilateral government policies.

A series of press conferences will be held across the world on December 6, 2007, inviting all members of the international community – citizens, business leaders and government officials alike – to participate in the consultation process. The multi-stakeholder dialogue leading to the global convention has been seen by some groups as a prototype for a future world democratic referendum.

Super Rich: The Greed Game

Global Financial Crisis

As the credit crunch bites and a global economic crisis threatens, Robert Peston reveals how the super-rich have made their fortunes, and the rest of us are picking up the bill.

sexta-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2009

"The Power of Nightmares:

The Rise of the Politics of Fear"

Three one-hour films, consisting mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis's narration.

The films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and suggesting a strong connection between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries — and particularly American Neo-Conservatives — in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.

"The Power of Nightmares" has been praised by film critics in both Britain and the United States and have also been the subject of various critiques and criticisms from conservatives and progressives. The first episode explains the origins of Islamism and Neo-Conservatism. It shows Egyptian civil servant Sayyid Qutb, the founder of Islamism, visiting America to learn about the education system, but becoming disgusted with what he saw as a corruption of morals and virtues in western society through individualism. At the same time in the United States, a group of disillusioned liberals, including Irving Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz, look to the political thinking of Leo Strauss after the general failure of President Johnson's "Great Society". They come to the conclusion that the emphasis on individual liberty was the undoing of the plan. They envisioned restructuring America by uniting the American people against a common evil, and set about creating a mythical enemy.
BBC Documentaries

Rebooting the Global Economy

Joseph Stiglitz: Think of the bailout as a giant garbage dump, offering taxpayer cash for banks' trash.
Bad Bank is 'Cash for Trash'
G20 Major Step Forward, But Still Flawed

quinta-feira, 12 de fevereiro de 2009

WE - A documentary featuring the words of Arundhati Roy

WE is a fast-paced 64 minute documentary that covers the world politics of power, war, corporations, deception and exploitation.

It visualizes the words of Arundhati Roy, specifically her famous Come September speech, where she spoke on such things as the war on terror, corporate globalization, justice and the growing civil unrest.

It's witty, moving, alarming and quite a lesson in modern history.

We is almost in the style of a continuous music video. The music used sets the pace and serves as wonderful background for the words of Ms. Roy and images of humanity in the world we live all in today.

quarta-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2009

A War on Science (documentary)

When Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution nearly 150 years ago, he shattered the dominant belief of his day – that humans were the product of divine creation. Through his observations of nature, Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection. This caused uproar. After all, if the story of creation could be doubted, so too could the existence of the creator. Ever since its proposal, this cornerstone of biology has sustained wave after wave of attack. Now some scientists fear it is facing the most formidable challenge yet: a controversial new theory called intelligent design.

terça-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2009

Honey Bee Pollination Crisis

Professor Claire Kremen at the Commonwealth Club

Monoculture farming leaves us highly dependent on honey bees, whose pollination affects 75 percent of fruits and vegetables and 30 percent of all food production. However, managed hives are being wiped out by colony collapse disorder at an alarming rate.

Professor Claire Kremen discusses how wild bees can boost the effectiveness of managed hives and play a critical role in pollinating the crops that keep California's economy humming.

Claire Kremen is a conservation biologist whose applied research advances the fields of ecology, biodiversity, and agriculture. As a leader of a conservation planning initiative in Madagascar, Kremen has used adaptive management and predictive mapping to design and establish protected and multiple-use areas in Masoala National Park, Madagascar’s largest nature reserve. Her current work in Madagascar includes forecasting deforestation and its impact on species distribution and development of a web-based repository that will provide researchers with up-to-date biodiversity data and analytical tools needed for conservation planning and monitoring. In other research in the U.S., at the intersection of agriculture and biodiversity, Kremen explores the behavior of diverse native pollinators (primarily bees) and the environments that sustain them. By analyzing the behavior patterns of bees, Kremen investigates an often overlooked but critical component of the global food web, as more than half of all flowering agricultural crops involve natural pollinators. She measures several key variables, including geographic distribution of natural habitats, the diversity of insect pollinators, and the delivery of pollination services. Claire Kremen received a B.Sc. (1982) from Stanford University and a Ph.D. (1987) from Duke University. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. From 2001 to 2005, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

segunda-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2009

The Genius of Charles Darwin

Episode One

In the first part of the series, Richard Dawkins retraces Darwin's journey as a scientist. He re-examines the rich evidence of the natural world – iguanas on the Galapagos islands, giant fossilised sloths in the Americas and even pigeons back home in England – which opened Darwin's eyes to the extraordinary truth that all living things must be related and had evolved from a common ancestor.

Darwin knew his espousal of evolution would cause outrage, challenging, as it did, the prevailing religious view of the world and our place in it. But, as Dawkins explains, it was really his theory of natural selection that undermined the notion of a benevolent God who designed all creatures great and small. Returning to his own birthplace, Kenya, Dawkins considers the brutal realities of the struggle for existence for wild animals on the plains of Africa. Here, he argues, we see the ongoing process sex, suffering and death, that drives evolution onward as the fittest survive to reproduce and the weakest perish without offspring.

And humans are not immune to the nightmarish Darwinian process. Dawkins travels to the slums of Nairobi where hundreds die of AIDs each year. Here he meets prostitutes who seem to have acquired a genetic immunity to the HIV virus. This resistance, it seems, can be inherited and so, over time, will become more prevalent, shaping the community here. "This," Dawkins tells us, "is the unstoppable force of natural selection".

Finally Dawkins visits a state of the art laboratory in America where scientists can now compare the genetic code of all living things, finally vindicating Darwin's theories once and for all. "He showed us that the world is beautiful and inspiring without a God. He revealed to us the glory of life and revealed who we really are and where we've come from".

But back in Britain can Dawkins convince a year 11 science class that evolution is the truth? Fearing that "a few hours in the science lab is no substitute for a lifetime of religious indoctrination" he takes the teenagers to Dorset's Jurassic Coast to examine fossil evidence for themselves. But will this win over this sceptical audience?

Malcolm Gladwell at City Arts & Lectures

Readers of Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker articles, reviews, and profiles know him to be an author of wide-ranging curiosity about the world and the way it works.

His choice of subject matter ranges from the psychology of athletes in pressure situations to the salesman who masterminded the popularity of the George Foreman Grill.

What sets Gladwell's writing apart is his use of research in fields such as epidemiology, behavioral psychology, and other social sciences.

His ability to incorporate ideas from these fields in a manner that is both relevant and understandable makes Gladwell a unique, cutting-edge journalist.

Malcolm Gladwell's first book, the best-selling The Tipping Point, examines the ways small ideas can spread in epidemic fashion when they reach a critical mass.

His second book, the equally popular Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, explores the power of the trained mind to make split-second decisions.

In his most recent work, Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell explores what makes the most famous and successful individuals different.

Throughout the book, Gladwell's intelligence and fresh perspective synthesize divergent ideas in order to make a broader point about the way our culture works.

domingo, 8 de fevereiro de 2009


Charles Darwin

Imagine that you could visit with Charles Darwin as he remembers his youth. Perhaps you could learn what early experiences sharpened his power of observation and contributed to his unique perspective of the world. Join Dr. Charles Urbanowicz as he portrays the fascinating and very human Charley Darwin in the first program of the series Charles Darwin: Reflections: The Beginning.

Darwin Video #2: Charles Darwin: - Part One: The Voyage
Sail along with Charley Darwin on the first half of his historic journey around the world aboard the HMS Beagle. In this second video in the series, Charley Darwin (Professor Charles Urbanowicz ) travels from England to unexplored reaches of South America and along the way he confronts slavery, rides with gauchos, experiences gunboat diplomacy, encounters a future dictator of Argentina, explores uncharted rivers, and discovers dinosaur bones.

The second half of the historic journey of the HMS Beagle finds Charles Darwin exploring more of South America and several islands in the Pacific. In this episode, Charley Darwin (Professor Charles Urbanowicz) views several active volcanoes, experiences an earthquake, treks to the Andes, explores the Galapagos Islands, and then heads for home.

Within a few years of his return to England, Charles Darwin happily settled into marriage, moved to a quiet house in the country, and begun a routine of research and writing which would occupy the rest of his life. In this episode discover why Darwin (Professor Charles Urbanowicz) waited over 20 years to publish his groundbreaking work Origin of Species ,and learn how ill health, family tragedies, friends, respected colleagues and ardent supporters shaped his life and career.

Wired to be Good:

20th Annual Benjamin Ide Wheeler Society Tea

What the new science of social intelligence tells us about human goodness.

Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology, is a social psychologist who focuses on the prosocial emotions, such as love, sympathy and gratitude, and processes such as teasing and flirtation that enhance bonds. He has conducted empirical studies in three areas of inquiry. A first looks at the determinant and effects of power, hierarchy and social class. A second in concerned with the morality of everyday life, and how we negotiate moral truths in teasing, gossip, and other reputational matters. A third and primary focus in on the biological and evolutionary basis of the benevolent affects, including compassion, awe, love, gratitude, and laughter and modesty. Professor Keltner is Co-Director The Greater Good Science Center

Born to Be Good

Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and director of the Greater Good Science Center, demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are "nasty, brutish, and short" - we are in fact born to be good.

He investigates an old mystery of human evolution: why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action are the fabric of cooperative societies?

Born to Be Good is a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life and how the path to happiness goes through human emotions that connect people to one another.

Michael Lewis is without peer in his understanding of market forces and human foibles. He is now our jungle guide through five of the most violent and costly upheavals in recent financial history: the crash of '87, the Russian default (and the subsequent collapse of Long-Term Capital Management), the Asian currency crisis of 1999, the Internet bubble, and the current sub-prime mortgage (and more) disaster.

With his trademark humor, Lewis paints the moods and market factors and, with the luxury of hindsight, analyzes what actually happened and what we should have learned from experience.

sábado, 7 de fevereiro de 2009

Two years recession, or ten years of hell?

F William Engdahl: US economy has been hollowed out over the last 15 years and debt load is staggering

Two years recession, or ten years of hell? Part 1
In this first segment of the interview, Paul Jay discusses how the global economic crisis will impact Europe with author and political economist William Engdahl. Engdahl says Italy is experiencing the worst economic crisis it has seen in 30 years, and the British economy is “falling off a cliff.” He says the European situation is “differentiated,” that “it’s a little bit different from what’s going on in North America, especially in the United States.” In Europe, he explains, “it is more an indirect knock-on effect of the United States financial meltdown.” He says the question now is whether the European Union is going to try and decouple its dependency on the US dollar and begin to form regional currency blocks like many nations around the world are starting to do.

Two years recession, or ten years of hell? Pt.2
To understand the significance of this moment to the U.S. and European economy, Paul Jay continues this discussion with F. William Engdahl, political economist and author. Putting the conversation in context, Engdahl explains that, “the deindustrialization of America in the 1970s and 1980s was replaced by the growth of Wall Street and the major banks.” He continues in England, the entire industrial economy, with the exception of a few tiny pockets of the defense industry, has really become “a hollowed out wreck. It’s really a service economy now.” As far as the emerging demand by protesters in Europe for the nationalization of banks, Engdahl says, “it’s a very real possibility.”

F William Engdahl is an economist and author and the writer of the best selling book "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order." Mr Engdhahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. Mr. Engdahl contributes regularly to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Asia, Inc, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine; Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland respectively. He is based in Germany.

sexta-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2009

Vandana Shiva in Conversation

Before becoming an international environmental activist, Vandana Shiva was one of India's most reputed physicists, with a master's degree in the philosophy of science and a Ph.D. in particle physics.
Since the 1980s, Shiva has championed the anti-globalization movement and is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization. Her research and resultant advocacy explores the applicability of traditional Vedic knowledge and ecology to alleviate poverty in developing countries.
She is the founder and director of the Navdanya: Research Foundation for Science,Technology and Ecology, an organization whose research has validated the ecological value of traditional farming and whose efforts have been instrumental in fighting destructive building projects in India.
Shiva has also been active in repositioning women in the debate on development, for which she received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the "Alternative Nobel Peace Prize."
Shiva has authored over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals and books include Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest, Monocultures of the Mind, and Water Wars.
Her many awards include the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Program and the U.N.'s Earth Day International Award for her commitment to the preservation of the planet - City Arts & Lectures

quinta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2009

Vandana Shiva Lecture

at MSU - Video : MediaMouse

In this 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.

Vandana Shiva Lecture (Google)

South End Press Vandana Shiva

The Bases Are Loaded:

US Permanent Military Presence in Iraq

Will the U.S. ever leave Iraq? Official policy promises an eventual departure, while warning of the dire consequences of a "premature" withdrawal. But while Washington equivocates, facts on the ground tell another story. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, and author Chalmers Johnson, are discovering that military bases in Iraq are being consolidated from over a hundred to a handful of "megabases" with lavish amenities. Much of what is taking place is obscured by denials and quibbles over the definition of "permanent." The Bases Are Loaded covers a wide range of topics. Gary Hart, James Goldsborough, Nadia Keilani, Raed Jarrar, Bruce Finley Kam Zarrabi and Mark Rudd all add their observations about the extent and purpose of the bases in Iraq.

Alternate Focus Home


How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped By Aliens

Susan A. Clancy is a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Harvard University and a Visiting Professor at INCAE, the Central American Institute for Business Administration.

They are tiny. They are tall. They are gray. They are green. They survey our world with enormous glowing eyes. To conduct their shocking experiments, they creep in at night to carry humans off to their spaceships. Yet there is no evidence that they exist at all. So how could anyone believe he or she was abducted by aliens? Or want to believe it?

To answer these questions, psychologist Susan Clancy interviewed and evaluated "abductees" -- old and young, male and female, religious and agnostic. She listened closely to their stories -- how they struggled to explain something strange in their remembered experience, how abduction seemed plausible, and how, having suspected abduction, they began to recollect it, aided by suggestion and hypnosis.

Clancy argues that abductees are sane and intelligent people who have unwittingly created vivid false memories from a toxic mix of nightmares, culturally available texts (abduction reports began only after stories of extraterrestrials appeared in films and on TV), and a powerful drive for meaning that science is unable to satisfy. For them, otherworldly terror can become a transforming, even inspiring experience. "Being abducted," writes Clancy, "may be a baptism in the new religion of this millennium." This book is not only a subtle exploration of the workings of memory, but a sensitive inquiry into the nature of belief.

quarta-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2009

Chalmers Johnson:

”The Last Days of the American Republic.”

The largest element in our budget of discretionary spending goes for national security. We are spending today more on national defense, so-called really on war, than all the other nations on earth combined. That’s an astonishing figure. Its also amazing to see that perhaps, 20,000 insurgents in Iraq have fought to a standstill 130,000 of the most-highly trained, heavily equipped troops on earth.
Q & A Archives

Conversations with History

YouTube Video
Conversation host Harry Kreisler welcomes Chalmers Johnson for a discussion of his new book, Nemesis. In the interview, Johnson, an Emeritus Professor of the University of California, analyzes the impact of the American empire on democracy at home. Comparing the United States to Rome and Great Britain, he argues that a combination of military Keynesianism, the Bush administration's attempt to implement a unitary presidency, and the failed checks on executive ambition point to political and economic bankruptcy.

terça-feira, 3 de fevereiro de 2009

Authors@Google : David Danzig, Primetime Torture


David Danzig of Human Rights First visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss Primetime Torture. Primetime Torture addresses negative fallout from the way that torture is presented on U.S. TV shows like "24", "LOST", "The Wire," "Sleeper Cell" etc.

David works closely with military officials to develop educational tools to ensure that junior soldiers know that what they see on TV is meant to be entertainment and not replicated in the field. David also works closely with writers, producers, studio executives and others in Hollywood to begin a conversation about ways that torture and interrogation might be portrayed on TV that do not have negative repercussions and still hold the viewers interest.

This event took place on February 29, 2008 as part of the Authors@Google series.

“Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic”

Chalmers Johnson on DemocracyNow

In his new book, CIA analyst, distinguished scholar, and best-selling author Chalmers Johnson argues that US military and economic overreach may actually lead to the nation’s collapse as a constitutional republic. It’s the last volume in his Blowback trilogy, following the best-selling “Blowback” and “The Sorrows of Empire.” In those two, Johnson argued American clandestine and military activity has led to un-intended, but direct disaster here in the United States.

Childhood at Risk:

Chemicals in Our Environment, Children and Cancer

UCSF environmental health scientist Tracey Woodruff explores how environmental contaminants affect the health of children and the risk of cancer.

Tracey Woodruff, is an expert on the impact of chemicals on reproductive health in both men and women. Her research focuses on health effects from air pollution, children’s health risks and science policy issues. She is the director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, which is part of UCSF’s National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. She came to UCSF from the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation in the federal Environmental Protection Agency, where she was a senior scientist, policy analyst and epidemiological expert on particulate matter and ozone standards.

segunda-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2009

The Nature and Nurture of Human Intelligence

Hosted by BU Women in Science and Engineering

Joshua Aronson, an associate professor of applied psychology at New York University, talks about the impact of stereotypes on how we perform on a day-to-day basis and on tests, and on how we learn. Introduced by Dean of Arts and Sciences Virginia Sapiro, he discusses the implications of experiencing stereotype threat, which, although generally referring in the United States to blacks and Latinos and to women, can include any ethnic group and even such things as age. In other words, everyone is vulnerable to stereotype threat, and he gives as an example “the feeling that you are dumb in math because you are a woman.” He suggests ways that we can better nurture intelligence. Aronson says studies show that the test score gap between young black and white children is very small, but widens as they spend more time in school, “undergoing the intervention designed to help them get smarter.” He warns of increasing rates of high school dropouts: 30 percent of students in the United States drop out of school; that increases to 50 percent for blacks and Latinos.

Part of the blame for that, Aronson says, is the anti-intellectual culture of America. He says Americans are reading at lower rates than ever before and have a smaller vocabulary than they did 30 years ago. Whites get second chances, he says, but blacks who get caught up in the anti-intellectualism do not get second chances. He argues that we have misunderstood the nature of intelligence for a long time and would benefit from rethinking our definitions of intelligence.

He goes on to give concrete examples from many different studies showing that stereotyping affects performance and ways these effects can be ameliorated.

About the speaker:
Joshua Aronson, an associate professor of applied psychology at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, is internationally known for his research on "stereotype threat" and minority student achievement, research that offers a strong challenge to traditional, genetic explanations of why African-Americans and Latinos perform less well on tests of intelligence than their white counterparts and why women trail men in hard math and science. Aronson earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of California and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University. He has received numerous awards and grants for his research, including Early Career awards from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the National Science Foundation and the G. Stanley Hall Award from the American Psychological Association. He was the founding director of the Center for Research on Culture, Development, and Education at New York University.

Cooperation and Collective Behavior:

From Bacteria to the Global Commons

Hosted by Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future

Simon A. Levin, George M. Moffett Professor of Biology and director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University, draws upon biological, ecological, and economic models of collective behavior to argue for international cooperation in the first of this year’s two Pardee Distinguished Lectures. While traditional models of individual decision-making deem cooperative actions irrational, he argues, altruistic behaviors are common throughout the natural world — and may hold the key to solving the environmental crises that both rich and poor societies now face.

We live, Levin says, in a world of “complex adaptive systems,” where millions of small-scale interactions among individuals over time create larger patterns of behaviors, norms, and collective actions. In many cases, however, we still think and act as individuals, without regard for how our actions affect the larger community: for example, a person may forgo a vaccination to avoid risks, but by doing so could put himself and others at risk for the disease. Groups and even nations behave the same way, he argues, which is why environmental crises such as the collapse of North American fisheries or the failure to slow global warming exist. But while we often think cooperation will hurt us, Levin says, group behavior and altruism are pervasive in nature. From bees and wasps to plaque-creating bacteria and slime molds, many species — including our own — are hardwired to cooperate. He explores scientific and economic studies of why groups form, how leaders are chosen, and why cooperation works, concluding, “Global warming will require cooperation more than anything else … so that we can achieve a sustainable future for our children and our grandchildren.”

About the Speaker:
Simon A. Levin is the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology and director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University, where he founded the Princeton Environmental Institute. He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He edited the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, I-V (2000) and the forthcoming The Princeton Guide to Ecology (2009). Levin is a former president of the Ecological Society of America, which awarded him its MacArthur Award in 1988 and a Distinguished Service Citation in 1998. He has received the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences (2004), the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (2005), and the American Institute of Biological Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award (2007) for his contributions to computational and theoretical biology and ecology. He will serve as a Resources for the Future University Fellow through 2011. He holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.