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Showing posts from February 10, 2008

Eisenstein: A Visual Vocabulary

Using numerous examples from the film Ivan the Terrible as well as writings and sketches by Eisenstein, a good overview is given of the complex and sometimes purposefully contradictory ways in which Eisenstein used imagery, including his methods of having scenes mirror each other, his use of recurrent motifs, and his employment of the tropes of psychoanalysis. This is a fascinating essay that makes you look at these films in a whole new light.

Jared Diamond, Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond is the author of Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societiesand the New York Times' best-selling Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. This lecture examines the factors that caused great civilizations of the past to collapse and what we can learn from their fates.

Guns, Germs and Steel:
1. Out of Eden

2. Conquest

3. Tropics

Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The Reason for Antiparticles, Richard Feynman

The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lecture presented by Richard Feynman.

Paul Dirac predicted the existence of antiparticles, and Richard Feynman explains now why there must be antiparticles. He lectures about particles, quantum theory, and relativity. A special pleasure is watching Feynman’s personal style of lecturing: his humor, his showmanship, and his brilliance.

Stephen Jay Gould Lectures, Harvard, 2002

Gould died not too long after this (May 20, 2002); had no idea anyone taped this stuff. Here's the course:
Harvard University

B16: "History of Earth and Life"
Prof. Stephen Jay GouldTABLE OF CONTENTS
expectationssyllabussection peopleSourcebook:
B16 Source bookOn the Origin of Species

four labs (1, 2, 3, 4) (PDF)
mini courses (1, 2) Exams:
Mid-term examFinal ExamLinks
February 12

February 14

February 19

February 21

February 26

February 28

March 7

March 9

March 12

March 14

March 19

April 11

April 16

April 18

April 30

Extra: "Darwin's Revolution in Thought"

This is What A Police State Looks Like

This is What A Police State Looks Like

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(From Information Clearing House:)

Tampa, Florida - The Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office held a press conference at 10:30am regarding the deputy who can be seen on video dumping a man in a wheelchair onto the ground.

They've announced that Deputy Charlette Jones has been relieved of her duties without pay pending the outcome of an investigation. She has not officially been terminated.

Jones has been employed by the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office since 1996.

Chief Deputy Joe Docobo watched the video for the first time last night and said he found himself in "disgust" and was "appalled at every level."

Docobo also announced that two corporals and a sergeant involved are now on administrative leave with pay, and the jail supervisor on duty did not have knowledge of the incident.

Brian Sterner broke his neck almost 14 years ago and is a quadriplegic.

Sterner, who can drive, was arrested on a …

Human Rights and Politics in Israel-Palestine

From MITWorld:
Anat Biletzki: Chair, Philosophy Department, Tel Aviv University
Fellow, Program on Human Rights & Justice, MIT
Biletzki's MIT website

Jeff Halper: Coordinating Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Israel Committee Againsat House Demolitions website
Human rights are central to the fraught politics between Israelis and Palestinians, these two panelists argue. Any conceivable solution to such an endless conflict must begin by acknowledging the current bleak realities of Palestinian life under Israeli rule, they say.

Anat Biletzki and the group B'Tselem have conducted painstaking studies of how Israel’s longstanding agenda of allowing its civilians to settle on Palestinian occupied land constitutes an infringement of the Palestinians’ basic equality, property rights, freedom of movement, their very “right to self-determination.” The settlements were given a “cloak of legality,” sanctioned as they were by one Israeli governme…

No Immunity for Giant Telecom Companies

The Senate just passed a bill that would grant immunity to telecom companies that helped the government illegally spy on American citizens. The debate now moves to the House where there are currently much stronger versions of the bill. Tell your Representative not to vote for any bill that provides immunity for telecom companies that broke the law.

Solar Energy as a Major Replacement for Fossil Fuel

From MITWorld; blurbage:
It took a crisis to shift Roger Angel’s gaze from the stars back to Earth, but we may all benefit from his full attention, locked as it is on helping crack the problem of global warming.

Angel’s expertise lies with telescopes and astronomy, so it seems fitting that he views the sun as our greatest hope in reducing dependence on fossil fuels. His first efforts focused on geo-engineering a way out of warming, by either pumping sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere, or constructing a giant sunshade, to block the sun’s impact. He figured these fixes could work relatively quickly, but might deliver negative side effects, and in the case of the giant space screen, cost in the trillions. Regarding this orbiting sun deflector, Angel tells us that “the present administration of NASA thinks it’s stupid” and won’t fund it. So he has been exploring alternative solutions.

One idea was to create a necklace of satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the Earth that could colle…

Admit it: You don’t know where the !@#$% Tajikistan is

Greg Palast on Ted Rall's new book on Central Asia: Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?.

Answer: Yes, of course it is -- any place with hydrocarbons is -- and it has been since the fall of the USSR (see Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, written pre-9/11, by Ahmed Rashid, in which you'll learn just how "different" the Clinton years were....)

Join Veterans to Demand Hearings on Substandard Helmet Procurement

Last week, the New York Times reported that the Bush Pentagon had agreed to a contract for more Kevlar helmets for our troops from the very company that was being sued for cheating troops out of helmets that met military standards. Especially at a time when so many troops are in harm’s way, no such company should ever receive a new contract. Demand that Congress investigate how this could have happened, by signing our petition below. We’ll deliver your signatures to Capitol Hill.Petition to Demand Hearings on Substandard Helmet Procurement

We the undersigned call upon the United States Congress to investigate how Sioux Manufacturing received a contract from the Bush Administration’s Pentagon to produce Kevlar helmets for our troops, after the company was found to have previously produced substandard helmets in the past.

As detailed by the New York Times:“A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged th…