terça-feira, 31 de março de 2009

Chalmers Johnson:

Democracy & Empire

The essence of civilization is the social contract, the commitment to beneficial relationships between all members of the community.

When that concept overrides, or is overridden by limited special interests, society suffers and civilization becomes less civil.

The rights of the individual and the preservation of Society must be continuously balanced to assure mutual benefit.

Edging toward Equity

Cornell Department of City and Regional Planning

Manuel Pastor, Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies and Director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community, University of California, Santa Cruz

Watch Video (RealPlayer)

Recent years have seen the emergence of a movement for "regional equity" - that is, an attempt to change the metropolitan practices that some contend contribute to concentrated poverty, economic stagnation, and other social ills. The number of adherents seems to be growing rapidly, as reflected in a burst of academic research, the development of new policy intermediaries, and the roll-out of new strategies by social justice and community-based organizations. However, much of the nascent theory and practice is being challenged by a range of critics, including those who see the regional stress as de-emphasizing the power of local organizing and development, those who worry that the regionalism tent is too big to truly yield a social justice focus, and those who wonder how such a region-based approach can scale up to national change. Dr. Pastor will explore both the emerging debates and possible coalitions to see whether this emerging regional equity perspective could really add up to a shift in politics and paradigms.

domingo, 29 de março de 2009

Philip Zimbardo: The Time Paradox


What if your attitudes toward time could explain why you are chronically late, why you're likely to fight for rainforest preservation, or why you might be predisposed to addictions?

Philip Zimbardo, renowned for his notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiments, will discuss how internal time perspectives determine every single one of our thoughts, feelings and actions.

He even makes the case that attitudes toward time can influence national destinies.

The Time Paradox
The Lucifer Effect
Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition

Jefferson's Taper:

How America's Revolutionaries Imagined our Cultural Commons

A Lecture by Lewis Hyde

The framers of the U.S. Constitution inherited conflicting ways of thinking about cultural creations. In one tradition, scientific inventions and literary works were thought to be private properties belonging to those who created them. In another tradition, they were understood to be no kind of property at all, but instead something closer to air or water or fire – useful to everyone but owned by no one.

Lewis Hyde’s talk will describe how America’s revolutionaries resolved this tension, hoping to establish a ‘Republic of Knowledge’ to complement the political republic that the Constitution sought to bring to life.

Lewis Hyde is a cultural critic with a particular interest in the social life of the imagination. His 1983 book, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, is an inquiry into the place of artists in a highly commercial society. His more recent book, Trickster Makes this World (1998), is a portrait of the kind of disruptive imagination that promises to keep any culture lively and flexible. Hyde is currently the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College, and a Fellow at the Berkman Center on Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School.

PERI - Political Economy Research Institute

Forum on Social Wealth

>>Forum Lectures Archive

Our common wealth is endangered. The earth's natural ecosystems, the social fabric of our families and communities, and the creativity and information that constitute our culture - all are fundamentally different from private wealth. None of these was created by businesses or governments, and none can be effectively governed as private property. Yet today we have no coherent framework for valuing and understanding these types of social wealth.

The Forum on Social Wealth aims to fashion a new "cognitive frame" that recognizes how families, local communities, online networks, ecological systems and other non-market entities "produce value," not just in an economic sense, but in ways that matter socially, morally, and personally.

sábado, 28 de março de 2009

The Global Recession:

an opportunity to create a sustainable and desirable future

Dr. Robert Costanza of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics gave a talk at Wellington's Victoria University on the best response to the ecological and financial crises that are unfolding. Costanza was invited by the NZ Green Party to speak prior to their weekend Policy Conference.

Sustaining Our Commonwealth

of Nature and Knowledge

A Lecture by Herman Daly

One of the world's most notable environmental thinkers, Herman E. Daly is currently Professor at the University of Maryland in the School of Public Affairs. His numerous works include:
Steady-State Economics: Second Edition with New Essays
Daly is also a co-founder of the journal Ecological Economics and serves on its editorial board.

Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark

This is Your Brain on Politics

Beatrice Golomb is Associate Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego, best known for her work on Gulf War Illness (she has testified before Congress, her RAND reports have changed US policy, and she served as Scientific Director and Chief Scientist for the Department of Veterans Affairs Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses). She also heads the UC San Diego Statin Study group. Her work has engendered broad media interest, from The New York Times to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

sexta-feira, 27 de março de 2009

A Market-Based Mindset

American News Project

ANP caught up with Charlie Cray is a policy analyst and the director of the Center for Corporate Policy. He is the former director of the campaign for corporate reform at Citizen Works, and former associate editor of Multinational Monitor magazine. He worked for Greenpeace USA between 1988 and 1999.

quinta-feira, 26 de março de 2009

Fair Trade for All:

How Trade Can Promote Development

In his new book, Joseph Stiglitz (and co-author Andrew Charlton) elaborate on the details of what a truly ideal development round would look like for the world economy, with specific attention to how less developed countries have been disadvantaged in the negotiating process.

Bill Moyers Journal

Bill Moyers sits down with socialist historian Mike Davis for his critique of the government's response to the economic crisis and how he thinks it compares to Roosevelt's New Deal.

We need more protests. We need more noise in the street. At the end of the day, political parties tend to legislate what social movements and social voices have already achieved in the factories or the streets or in the civil rights demonstration.

Mike Davis is a writer and historian, who currently teaches creative writing at University of California, Riverside.

Mike Davis not shy about his political allegiance — he calls himself "an old-school socialist." Known to many for his best-selling histories of Los Angeles and Southern California, CITY OF QUARTZ and ECOLOGY OF FEAR, Davis is a former meat cutter and long haul truck driver who now teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. With the media buzzing over socialism within the Beltway, Bill Moyers talked with Davis about the government's response to the economic crisis and the role of radicalism in American history.

The American Way of War:

Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril

Election Day is two weeks away, and this year may see one of the highest voter turnouts in US history. But filmmaker and author Eugene Jarecki argues that while voting is essential, it is not enough. He writes, “Unless we see our vote as part of a commitment to involve ourselves consistently and unrelentingly in the political process, our vote is wasted. This is because the forces that have led us to this economic, military, and political precipice exert such awesome power over the mechanics of Washington that no single candidate or group of legislators, whatever their intentions, can possibly go up against them unless armed with an irrepressible public mandate.”

The Real News Network

The American Way of War

Obama should save the banks, not the bankers

The Real News Network

Tom Ferguson: Stimulus package is dangerously small; plan for toxic assets shovels money to bankers

Thomas Ferguson is a political scientist and author who studies and writes on politics and economics, often within an historical perspective. He is a Political Science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also a a contributing editor of The Nation. He is also the author of several books, the recent of which is Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political System

quarta-feira, 25 de março de 2009

The Science and Fiction of Autism

Distinguished Lecturer Series: UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute

Laura Schreibman, Distinguished Professor in the Psychology Department and Director of the Autism Research Program
University of California, San Diego

One of the country’s leading experts in behavioral treatments and approaches for autism, Laura Schreibman is a respected researcher in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and a licensed psychologist. She is one of the developers of Pivotal Response Training, a naturalistic intervention that has been shown to be effective for increasing communication, play, imitation, joint attention and social skills in children with this debilitating disorder. A professor at the University of California, San Diego since 1984, Schreibman is also director of the UCSD Autism Research Program, which is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and focused on the experimental analysis and treatment of autism. She is author of The Science and Fiction of Autism, a book published in November 2005 that provides information and arguments to deal with the onslaught of good, bad, deficient and irrelevant ideas about this mysterious disease.

VIEWPOINT: The Populist Moment

American News Project

on Mar 25, 2009

Everyone agrees: The populist fires are burning. But what's next? Bob Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, thinks our historic moment could push Obama farther to the left. But only if the forces of the left start pushing.


The UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) is an international, multidisciplinary research organization, committed to excellence, collaboration and hope, striving to understand the causes and develop better treatments and ultimately cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. Standing shoulder to shoulder, families, scientists, physicians, educators, and administrators are working together to unlock the mysteries of the mind.

the first Vienna Conference on Consciousness 2007

Dissecting Consciousness with Four Questions

An Interdisciplinary Conference at the
University of Vienna on Science and Art

Watch: video recordings

We are conscious and unconscious in sleep and wakefulness. Here we think and dream, create and interpret.Is the concept of consciousness a substrate to help us understand these processes in biology, psychology, medicine,philosophy and art?This conference shall address these issues by dissectingconsciousness with four questions about:the neurobiology of the phenomenon with regard to content and expression;its relationship with unconsciousness and self;its contribution to art and creativity, and finally its expression in health and disease.
Vienna Conference on Consciousness 2008

terça-feira, 24 de março de 2009

The Magic of Consciousness

Porous Sovereignty

Walled Democracy

Wendy Brown is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of numerous influential books, including Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Empire and Identity (2006), Politics Out of History (2001), and States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (1995). Known for her subtle and sophisticated interpretations of political theory and practice, her work elucidates the contemporary knots tying subordination and freedom, exclusion and equality, markets and democracy, state institutions and social movements.

In her Katz lecture, Brown will address the curious phenomenon that finds nation-states building physical walls at their borders. In an ostensibly connected global world, such walls raise a series of questions. What is the relationship between these walls and the erosion of national sovereignty by transnational forces? Do the walls assert sovereignty or confess its failures? What is the relationship of economy and security at the site of walls? And what transformation in democracy do the new walls herald?

Emotion, Feeling, and Social Behavior:

The Brain Perspective

“Neither anguish nor the elation that love or art can bring about are devalued by understanding some of the myriad biological processes that make them what they are… Our sense of wonder should increase before the intricate mechanisms that make such magic possible.”

Antonio Damasio’s trilogy, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (1994), The Feeling of What Happens (1999) and Looking for Spinoza (2003), inspired the theme for the 2003 UW Summer Arts Festival, Spheres. Delving into activity in the anterior portion of the cerebral hemi”spheres,” Damasio’s research “… brings us closer to understanding the delicate interaction between affect, consciousness, and memory - the processes that both keep us alive and make life worth living” (Harcourt Books).

Brain Education Conference at the UN

Education for a culture of peace

Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and director of Brain and Creativity Institute at College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, University of Southern California.
YouTube - Authors@Google

John Searle visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book " Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power."
John Searle, Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley

“The Zombie Ideas Have Won”–Paul Krugman

on $1 Trillion Geithner Plan to Buy Toxic Bank Assets

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is preparing to unveil a plan today to purchase as much as $1 trillion in troubled mortgages and other assets from banks. The government is reaching out to hedge funds, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds to help buy the toxic assets. The Obama administration has described the plan as a public-private partnership, but most of the actual money will be put up by the government.

We (Democracy Now!) speak with Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, and a columnist at the New York Times. His latest book is The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008.

segunda-feira, 23 de março de 2009

Kenan Distinguished Lecture in Ethics

Privitazation and the Common Good

Martha Minow, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Senior Fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows, discussed what happens when private companies, nonprofit agencies, and religious groups manage what government used to—in education, criminal justice, legal services, and welfare programs.

Minow has been called “one of our nation’s wisest and most engaging public philosophers.” Her work focuses on the treatment of women, children, persons with disabilities, and members of ethnic, racial, or religious minorities. She is the author of Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law (1990), Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics, and the Law (1997), and Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence (1998) and Just Schools: Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference (2008). Minow was a member of the International Independent Commission on Kosovo.

The Politics and Psychology of the New World Order

Kenan Institute for Ethics
Jonathan Glover, Professor of Ethics at King’s College, University of London, and Director of the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, examined the political choices and psychological traps humanity must navigate in the twenty-first century.

Glover is the author of several books on ethics, including the recent Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, an exploration of human capacities and resources for good and evil, and Causing Death and Saving Lives. He chaired a European Commission Working Party on Assisted Reproduction that produced Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies: The Glover Report. He has edited Utilitarianism and its Critics and (with Martha Nussbaum) Women, Culture, and Development.

Dr. Glover gained a reputation as an outstanding lecturer and tutor during his many years at Oxford University, where he was a Fellow of New College. In 2003 he presented the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Princeton University on the topic “Towards Humanism in Psychiatry.” The Tanner Lectureship recognizes “uncommon achievement and outstanding abilities in the field of human values.”

Among his interests are questions raised by the Human Genome Project. A video produced in 1982 by the BBC, “Brave New Babies?,” features Dr. Glover as he introduces and examines issues related to new techniques in genetic engineering. He work currently focuses on the philosophy of mental illness and ethical issues in psychiatry, in particular the nature of psychopathology.

The 2004 Kenan Distinguished Lecture in Ethics was cosponsored by the Center for International Studies, the Center for the Study of Medical Ethics & Humanities, the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy’s Center for Genome ethics, Law, and Policy, and the Office of the President.

domingo, 22 de março de 2009

Understanding Language

YouTube - Grey Matters

Why are humans the only species to have language? Is there something special about our brains? Are there genes that have evolved for language? In this talk, Jeff Elman, UCSD professor of cognitive science and co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, discusses some of the exciting new research that helps us understand what it is about human language that is so different from other animals' communication systems, and what about our biology might make language possible.

sábado, 21 de março de 2009

Evolution, Culture and Truth


Daniel C. Dennett, philosophy professor and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, offers a unique perspective on the role of philosophy in the cognitive and behavioral sciences. Dennett is known for his research on the mind and consciousness, relating philosophy to the scientific study of the brain, evolution and artificial intelligence.
Lifeboat Foundation Bios: Professor Daniel C. Dennett

NIPS Conferences

NIPS Foundation

The Foundation: The Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Foundation is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to foster the exchange of research on neural information processing systems in their biological, technological, mathematical, and theoretical aspects. Neural information processing is a field which benefits from a combined view of biological, physical, mathematical, and computational sciences.The primary focus of the NIPS Foundation is the presentation of a continuing series of professional meetings known as the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference, held over the years at various locations in the United States and Canada.

How the Brain Decides:

Uncovering the Secrets of Cognition

Event overview:
The brain acquires information from the environment through the senses. Unlike simpler animals that react immediately to such information, or not at all, our sophisticated brains allow us to ponder and cogitate. Higher brain function has imbued a capacity to interpret information in order to assess its significance in light of other knowledge, and to decide what to do about it. Thus, the process of decision-making offers a window on complex mental functions. Neuroscientists are beginning to understand the brain mechanisms that underlie the formation of a decision from the evidence received through the senses. I will describe recent discoveries that we have made using a combination of behavioral, electrophysiological and computational techniques. Interestingly, the neural computations that underlie decision-making were anticipated during WWII by Alan Turing and Abraham Wald. Turing applied this tool to break the German navy's Enigma cipher, while Wald invented the field of sequential analysis. Besides mathematical elegance and winning wars, our experiments suggest that this computational strategy may lie at the core of higher brain function. The principles of normal brain function revealed by the study of decision-making expose a path to new treatments for neurological disorders affecting our most cherished cognitive abilities.
NIPS Conferences: The Neurobiology of Decision Making

Decisions, Responsiblity and the Brain

View streaming video Lecture

Guest Lecturer:
Patricia Smith Churchland
Philosophy Department
University of California at San Diego
La Jolla, California

Event overview:
As we come to understand the role of genes in neuronal wiring, and neuronal wiring in the production of behavior, we are newly confronted with questions about choice and responsibility. Although questions concerning what free choice really amounts to have long been at the center of philosophical reflection, new discoveries, especially from neuropharmacology and neuropsychology, have lent them a special and very practical urgency. In the courts, in the education of children, and in general in daily life, we assume that some decisions are freely made and that agents should be held accountable for those decisions. On the other hand, we see the range of allowable excuses from responsibility broadening as we begin to understand the role of certain neuropathologies in aberrant behavior. These developments take place against the public policy debate concerning the right balance between considerations of public safety, justice, fairness, and individual freedom. From the perspective of neurophilosophy, I shall address some of the broad questions in this arena, including the theological and metaphysical contention that free choice is uncaused choice, and the proposal that pragmatic and scientific considerations can yield the best working basis for assignment of responsibility.

sexta-feira, 20 de março de 2009

Predictably Irrational:

The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Dan Ariely is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT, where he holds a joint appointment between MIT's Media Laboratory and the Sloan School of Management. He is also a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and a visiting professor at Duke University. Ariely wrote this book while he was a fellow at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton.

In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities. Not only do we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day, but we make the same types of mistakes, Ariely discovers. We consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. We fail to understand the profound effects of our emotions on what we want, and we overvalue what we already own. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.

Capitol Hill: Parties All the Time

ANP senior producer Harry Hanbury set out to visit every Congressional fundraising party on Capitol Hill in a single day. He met a cast of characters in the process, encountered more worthless spin than could fit into a one-hour press conference, and ended up wondering if fundraising -- not legislating -- was the true work of Washington.

Reflection on a Crisis

A Conversation in Munich

Speakers: Daniel Kahneman & Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Moderator: John Brockman

View the complete 1-hour HD streaming video of the Edge event that took place at Hubert Burda Media's Digital Life Design Conference (DLD) in Munich on January 27th as the greatest living psychologist and the foremost scholar of extreme events discuss hindsight biases, the illusion of patterns, perception of risk, and denial.

Daniel Kahneman is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Princeton University, and Professor of Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering work integrating insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, essayist and former mathematical trader, is Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of Fooled by Randomness and the international bestseller The Black Swan.
FORA.tv Reflect on Crisis
An EDGE @ DLD Event
Reflection on a Crisis DLD09

quinta-feira, 19 de março de 2009

Why Doesn't the Public Trust Scientists?


Baroness Onora O'Neill challenges the current approaches to accountability and explores the public's perception of scientists.

What makes a good auditor?

Trust, trustworthiness and audit

Born in Northern Ireland, Onora O’Neill was educated in both the UK and Germany before going on to study philosophy, psychology and physiology at Oxford University. Her doctorate was completed at Harvard University, after which she taught at Barnard College, the women's college at Columbia University, New York.

In 1977 she returned to the UK to work at the University of Essex where she became Professor of Philosophy before leaving in 1992 to take on the post of Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge University.

She has chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission, and she is currently chair of the Nuffield Foundation. She has been President of the Aristotelian Society, and a member of the Animal Procedures (Scientific) Committee. In 1999 she was made a life peer as Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve, and sits as a crossbencher.

She has written widely on political philosophy and ethics, international justice, bioethics and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant6. In 2002 she addressed the issue of trust in the BBC’s Reith Lectures. In an exclusive article for Open2, she explains her view of trust7.

Wired to get wound up!

Why emotions are so hard to control

Professor Joseph E LeDoux, New York University, Professor Keith Kendrick, Head of Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge and former Gresham Professor of Physic and Professor Raj Persaud, Visiting Gresham Professor of Psychiatry.

Welcome to Your Brain

Thirteen Forum Lecture

Visionary film and theater director Julie Taymor joins Sam Wang, associate professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, and Sandra Aamodt, editor-in-chief of Nature Neuroscience, in an exploration of the workings of our brains to mark the publication of Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life, by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang. This event was presented as part of the Brainwave Festival held by the Rubin Museum of Art, dedicated to the art of the Himalayas.

Fear Itself

Thirteen Forum Lecture

Choed teacher Tsultrim Allione meets with New York University neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux to discuss the sources of fear and to explore how Buddhist practice seeks to master these deep-seated emotions. This event was presented as part of the Brainwave Festival held by the Rubin Museum of Art, dedicated to the art of the Himalayas.
LeDoux Lab Home Page
Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety

quarta-feira, 18 de março de 2009

Earth Focus Interview: David Suzuki

Link TV Video Player

Brief Biography
David T. Suzuki PhD, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster.

David has received consistently high acclaim for his 30 years of award-winning work in broadcasting, explaining the complexities of science in a compelling, easily understood way. He is well known to millions as the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's popular science television series, The Nature of Things.

His eight part series, A Planet for the Taking won an award from the United Nations. His eight-part PBS series The Secret of Life was praised internationally, as was his five-part series The Brain for the Discovery Channel. For CBC Radio he founded the long running radio series, Quirks and Quarks and has presented two influential documentary series on the environment, From Naked Ape to Superspecies and It's a Matter of Survival.

Link TV Earth Focus

Senses and Sensitivity

Presented by HHMI investigators A. James Hudspeth, Ph.D., M.D., and Jeremy H. Nathans, M.D., Ph.D.

View the webcast video only without the index. Choose your connection speed below. Requires RealPlayer.

  • Lecture One—Sensory Transduction: Getting the Message, by A. James Hudspeth, Ph.D., M.D. 56k modem or Cable/DSL/T1

  • Lecture Two—The Science of Sight: Getting the Picture, by Jeremy Nathans, M.D., Ph.D. 56k modem or Cable/DSL/T1

  • Lecture Three—The Science of Sound: How Hearing Happens, by A. James Hudspeth Ph.D., M.D. 56k modem or Cable/DSL/T1

  • Lecture Four—Neural Processing: Making Sense of Sensory Information, by Jeremy Nathans M.D., Ph.D. 56k modem or Cable/DSL/T1

Bio-Alive Biology and Life Science Video Share

HHMI's BioInteractive - Lecture Series and Informal Talks

CCR President Michael Ratner Talks

about Prosecutions of Bush Officials on Democracy Now!

Lawmakers Debate Establishing “Truth Commission” on Bush Admin Torture, Rendition and Domestic Spying

On Capitol Hill, debate has begun over forming a truth commission to shed light on the Bush administration’s secret polices on detention, interrogation and domestic spying. A hearing on the issue was held Wednesday, two days after the Obama administration released a series of once-secret Bush administration Justice Department memos that authorized President Bush to deploy the military to carry out raids inside the United States. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! speaks to human rights attorney Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

terça-feira, 17 de março de 2009

2006 Ellis Grollman Lecture

View Grollman Lecture here.
Real Player is required.

Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, spoke to students and faculty at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy's 2006 Ellis Grollman Lecture in Pharmaceutical Sciences May 10 and presented new images of the drug-addicted brain.

Volkow discussed how addiction is a disorder that involves complex interactions among a wide array of biological and environmental variables, and how new research has demonstrated the neurochemical and functional changes that occur in the brains of addicts.

Studies have shown that drugs to boost dopamine levels make people euphoric, but in the long run, repeated drug use reduces the ability of the dopamine pleasure center to produce euphoric or good feelings. Dysfunction in inhibitory control systems, by decreasing the addict's ability to refrain from seeking and consuming drugs, ultimately results in the compulsive drug intake that characterizes the disease of drug addiction. The discovery of such disruptions in the fine balance that normally exists between brain circuits may help researchers to develop more successful treatments for addiction.

Following the lecture, Volkow talked to news reporters about the recent statements by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and local sportscaster Keith Mills that they have become addicted to prescription pain killers. She said those cases are far from typical, but the problem of addiction to prescribed pain killing drugs is growing nationally.

Volkow also spoke to many faculty members and students at the School of Pharmacy to learn about research at the School. She was especially interested in the development of new opiate pain killers that do not possess the potential for addiction. Jia Bei Wang, MD, PhD, is studying how receptors respond after chronic treatment with opioids such as morphine or oxycodone, in order to model the dependent state, and how Andrew Coop, PhD, is designing new analogs of morphine in which dependence does not develop. Both projects have the long-term goal of creating new therapeutic drugs for the treatment of pain, but without the addiction liability of current treatments.

Speaking to The Baltimore Examiner newspaper, Volkow said people with dominant, outgoing, successful personalities actually have brains wired in such a way that makes them less likely to enjoy drugs and become addicted to them. "Some genes may protect you. Some may make you vulnerable. But genes can only take a person so far. Environment - that is, the how much people are exposed to drugs - is equally important."

In comments to The Daily Record, she said it is up to doctors, pharmacists, family members - and even employers - to be aware of the signs of drug abuse, prescription or otherwise, and to be open-minded about the problem. Volkow estimates as many as 10 percent of employees are abusing substances. "That's pretty high," she added. People exposed to prescription drugs as adolescents are "much more likely later to have problems with these drugs," she said.

Destigmatizing addiction inside the workplace is key, Volkow told The Daily Record, and making treatment available and affordable as part of an insurance plan, for example, is key to success. "If you have education and provide an infrastructure that would allow the person to seek help, it is clear it is considered a disease and not stigmatized," she explained. Otherwise, "the employee will not want to come up and say, 'I'm a drug addict,'" she added.

"If you have chronic pain, it is horrible. It can devastate someone's life. Opiate painkillers are incredibly beneficial for people who suffer from severe pain," said Volkow.

Nora Volkow, M.D., Director, NIDA. Jellinek Lecturer

"Why does the Brain Become Addicted?"

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., became Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health in May 2003. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction.

Dr. Volkow's work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. As a research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects of drugs and their addictive properties. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting the actions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure and the decline of brain dopamine function with age. She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and the behavioral changes that occur with aging.

Dr. Volkow was born in Mexico, attended the Modern American School, and earned her medical degree from the National University of Mexico in Mexico City, where she received the Premio Robins award for best medical student of her generation. Her psychiatric residency was at New York University, where she earned the Laughlin Fellowship Award as one of the 10 Outstanding Psychiatric Residents in the USA.

Dr. Volkow spent most of her professional career at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, where she held several leadership positions including Director of Nuclear Medicine, Chairman of the Medical Department, and Associate Director for Life Sciences. In addition, Dr. Volkow was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Associate Dean of the Medical School at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Stony Brook.

Dr. Volkow has published more than 380 peer-reviewed articles and more than 60 book chapters and non-peer reviewed manuscripts, and has also edited three books on the use of neuroimaging in studying mental and addictive disorders.

During her professional career, Dr. Volkow has been the recipient of multiple awards, including her selection for membership in the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences. She was recently named one of Time Magazine's "Top 100 People Who Shape our World", and was included as one of the 20 people to watch by Newsweek magazine in its "Who's Next in 2007" feature. She was also named "Innovator of the Year" by U.S. News & World Report in 2000.

Abnormal Associations as a Basis for Delusions:

Imaging Evidence from Patients and Controls

Dr Paul Fletcher Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK

Research Interests
I am interested in how the brain learns about associations in the environment. Many of our behaviours are governed by how we learn about and respond to environmental stimuli, particularly with regard to the capacity of those stimuli for predicting pleasant or aversive outcomes. These behaviours can become so automatic and stimulus-driven that they persist even when the outcomes are no longer consciously desirable or when we would prefer not to attain them. Understanding how the behaviours emerge requires an understanding of how we learn to associate stimuli with outcomes as well as how underlying motivational states might modify this. From this understanding, perhaps we might be able to develope ideas about the aberrant processes that lead to changes in such behaviours as would be the case in, for example, certain mental illnesses, addictions and health-harming behaviour more generally.I use functional neuroimaging, pharmacological manipulations and behavioural studies to try to develope this understanding.

Being No One:

Consciousness, The Phenomenal Self, and First-Person Perspective

Thomas Metzinger is the Director of the Philosophy Group at the Department of Philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. His research focuses on philosophy of mind, especially on consciousness and the nature of the self. In this lecture he develops a representationalist theory of phenomenal self-consciousness. A Foerster Lectures on the Immortality of the Soul presented by the UC Berkeley Graudate Council.

This crisis of capitalism is not all bad news

Jayati Ghosh: We're entering period of financial crisis, but this provides opportunity for real change

Jayati Ghosh (b. 1955-) is Professor of Economics and currently also Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi, India. Her specialities include globalization, international finance, employment patterns in developing countries, macroeconomic policy, and issues related to gender and development. She was educated at Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and the University of Cambridge.

segunda-feira, 16 de março de 2009

Origin of Life

The 2007 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium Series

Watch webcast

How do scientists explain the emergence of life four billion years ago? The short answer is they can't - yet. The origin of life is a hotly contested scientific field with many rival theories vying for public attention - from primordial soup to self-organizing metabolic networks in potential habitats ranging from the surfaces of minerals to deep-sea hydrothermal vents below the Earth's surface to the surface of Mars. This year's Symposium brings together leading scientific experts with differing views on the origin of life to debate a question that has been asked for millennia.

EVOS - Evolutionary Studies Program

Evolution Institute Workshop on Early Childhood Education

Evolutionary theory is profoundly relevant to understanding and improving the human condition but has virtually no impact on public policy. The Evolution Institute was created to solve this problem, providing a conduit from the world of evolutionary science to the world of public policy for a diversity of issues vital to our welfare.

Early childhood education is an example of a system that isn't working, despite everyone's best intentions. Some of the foremost authorities on child development and education are already stressing the need for an evolutionary perspective. The Evolution Institute brought them together in a workshop that was held at the University of Miami on November 14-16, 2008, followed by a public roundtable discussion on November 17, 2008.

The workshop presentations provide a vivid account of why evolutionary theory is needed to address public policy issues, in general and for the specific topic of early childhood education. The roundtable discussion shows how evolution can be presented in a positive way to the general public, swiftly moving beyond the sterile debates of the past. The bibliography provides access to the scientific literature for those who wish to deepen their understanding.

The Evolution Institute is continuing to work with the participants to publicize and implement the recommendations of the workshop. We are also developing additional focal topics to address from an evolutionary perspective.

We thank the Humanists of Florida Association, the University of Miami, and the private donors who partnered with the Evolution Institute to make its first workshop possible. Please contact David Sloan Wilson or Jerry Lieberman for additional information about the Evolution Institute, our current focus on early childhood education, or future focal topics.

Secret Lives of Synapses

Terrence J. Sejnowski
Professor, Section of Neurobiology, UCSD
Professor of Biology, Salk Institute
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Play Video (Real Player)

The Social Brain:

Perception, Motion and Emotion

Speaker: Prof. Gregory McCarthy
Department of Psychology,
Yale University, USA

To be successful social primates, humans must be able to recognize individual conspecifics and rapidly intuit their intentions, goals, and emotional states. Modern neuroscience methods have identified brain systems that appear to be specialized for different aspects of social behavior. Recent studies in humans will be described that used neuroimaging, electrophysiological recordings from subdural electrodes, and cortical stimulation to characterize brain systems engaged during an observer’s perception of faces, bodies, emotional expressions, and movements of others, and by the attribution of intention to another’s actions. These brain systems represent key components of the social brain.
Heller Lecture Series in Computational Neuroscience

sábado, 14 de março de 2009

Brains R Us:

The Science of Educating

Frederic de Hoffmann Auditorium,
Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

This morning, just like any other day in America, more than a quarter of the population of this nation is in classrooms of some kind, going about the business of educating. The business, perhaps – but is there yet a science of educating?

Brains R Us brings together researchers, educators, policymakers, parents, and students in a town hall forum to discuss the state of the science of educating, from the synapse to schoolroom, from neurons to neighborhoods. Come discover why timing is everything.

Stanford StoryBank

Paul Ehrlich discusses new book on human evolution

Earlier this year, Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies, and Anne Ehrlich, a senior research scientist in biology, released their latest book, The Dominant Animal (Island Press). The book explains where human beings came from, where we are and where we are headed. It developed from lecture notes for a class Paul Ehrlich teaches at Stanford called Human Evolution and the Environment. Stanford Report talked with him earlier this week about the book.

"Human Natures:

Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect"
Paul Ehrlich,
Bing Professor of Population Studies and President of the Center for Conservation Biology
Department of Biology,
Stanford University

The Numbers of the Dominant Animal:

Why the US Needs a Population Policy

Paul Ehrlich
Bing Professor of Population Studies
President, Center for Conservation Biology
Department of Biology
Stanford University

Professor Ehrlich will discuss how human beings became the dominant animal on earth and what our expanding numbers and patterns of consumption mean to future generations. He will explain why establishing an American population policy should be high on the agenda of our new President, along with other steps to regain American leadership in attempting to stave off the impending collapse of a global civilization and achieve a sustainable society.