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16 February 2008

Matter of Heart -- Carl Jung

Documentary on the famous Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Gustav Jung, featuring interviews with those who knew him and archive footage of Jung. Discusses some of this perspectives and how he was marginalized by history.

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.

Human Life: Evolution To Self-Evolution



Here's an interesting take on the evolution of human beings.

Jared Diamond, Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond is the author of Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and 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.

Dennis Kucinich Congressional Race

Stephen Hawking's Universe

1. Seeing is Believing

2. The Big Bang

3. Cosmic Alchemy

4. On the Dark Side

5. Black Holes and Beyond

6. An Answer to Everything


Extra: Speech from March, 2007, on the Origin of the Universe; Berkeley, CA

Evolution: A Documentary

1. Darwin's Dangerous Idea

2. Great Transformations

3. Extinction

4. The Evolutionary Arms Race

5. Why Sex?

6. The Mind's Big Bang


More here -- Evolution: From the Fossil Record to Genomic Revolution, Charles R. Marshall Professor of Geology and Biology Curator, Invertebrate Paleontology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University:

Mr. Bush You Are A Fascist, Olbermann Special Comment on FISA/Retroactive Immunity

14 February 2008

Awake From Your Slumber, Patti Smith for Ralph Nader

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 Gould
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction:
Sourcebook:








Section:
  • four labs (1, 2, 3, 4) (PDF)
  • mini courses (1, 2)
Exams:

Links


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


(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 traffic violation. When he was booked into the Orient Road Jail last month, Sterner couldn’t believe what happened.

He says a deputy looked at him and didn’t believe he was a quadriplegic. She walked behind him, took the handles on the back of the hospital-grade wheel chair and dumped it forward.

Sterner says he tried to roll as he was going down, but hit so hard he thought he had broken two ribs. Then, while he was on the floor, deputies frisked him and tried to get him back into the chair.

Sterner says he told them how to pick him up and put him back into the chair, but because he can’t feel anything from his breastbone down, he says he was injured and didn’t know it. Sterner thought he had broken two ribs, but jail x-rays showed that wasn't true.

The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office didn't know anything about the incident until we showed them their own tape. Now an investigation is underway.

J.D. Calloway, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, says this has all come to light today, so this review is very active.

While we tried to get a written report about the incident, the major who runs the Orient Road Jail told us there is no incident report, because as far as they are concerned, they didn't have a problem with, or cause a problem to, an inmate in a wheelchair.

But don’t tell that to Brian Sterner.

Sterner says it's incredibly degrading and it’s an example of how poorly trained the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office is. He adds, if they’re trying to figure out if somebody needs to be in a wheelchair or not, there are many other ways to do it than to dump somebody on their face.

Chief Deputy Joe Docobo added at the press conference this morning, the sheriff's office will now try to "make things right for this gentleman."

Secrets of the Dead: Herculaneum Uncovered

Dali

13 February 2008

Human Rights and Politics in Israel-Palestine

From MITWorld:

SPEAKERS:
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

ABOUT THE LECTURE:
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 government after another. Geographically, the settlements break up what might have been a contiguous Palestinian state.

Biletzki ties the settlements together with other work by the Israelis conducted in the name of security to demonstrate the existence of a forbidding, two-tier society : a system of roads off limits to Palestinians in the occupied territories, or permitted only via carefully guarded checkpoints; the wall (or separation barrier), which runs through Palestinian land; and the total control of Gaza, from the economy to communications, which increasingly makes it “a big prison.” This barricading of Palestinians has become a “routine phenomenon” –and not worthy of the headlines, in the way bombs and torture are, says Biletzki. She insists that “our political conversation must become a human rights conversation,” and hopes that she can make an impact on American Jews and policy makers, who don’t believe in the possibility of making a deal with the Palestinians: “If we give them the land, they’ll throw us into the sea.”

Jeff Halper describes the current situation for Palestinians as apartheid, knowing full well the awful resonance of the term. He sees the system of settlements, roads and the wall as a deliberate land grab, “imprisoning tens of thousands of Palestinians within cities, towns and villages.” The word apartheid “cuts through -- immediately you get it.” This is important because the situation in Israel “is a global issue that affects everyone. It’s the epicenter of instability in the entire region…one of the reasons you can’t take toothpaste onto an airplane.”

Reframing the issue will bring the kind of negative attention that South Africa once drew, as well as international sanctions, and corporate divestment. While Halper believes Israel has essentially foreclosed a viable two-state solution, he still imagines that the U.S. might persuade Israel to pull out of the settlements, so Palestinians can move back in. “There would be dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv,” Halper predicts, because so many Israelis “want this albatross off their back.”

NOTES ON THE VIDEO (Time Index):
Video length is 2:28:28.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Ford International Associate Professor of Law and Development, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Director of the Human Rights Program, MIT, introduces the session.

At 1:47, John Tirman, Executive Director and Principal Research Scientist at MIT's Center for International Studies, introduces the speakers.

At 6:00, Anat Biletzki begins.

At 40:55, Jeff Halper begins.

At 1:14:25, Rajagopal invites audience questions. These include:

  • Whether Israel is practicing discrimination or apartheid;
  • How refugees figure into the situation;
  • Whether the speakers’ organizations should improve their visual presentations;
  • If there is a way to achieve a one-state solution;
  • Whether the speakers are biased, because they don’t recognize Israel as a liberal democracy;
  • What the next step might be.

No Immunity for Giant Telecom Companies

From TrueMajority.org:

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 collect the undiluted energy of sunlight, convert it to microwaves, and then beam it back home. To generate 3000 gigawatts of electrical power, we would need 600 of these satellites. This idea proved very expensive, due to the launch weight of each of the space solar power stations – upwards of 70 thousand tons. Until space travel and construction become routine, this idea can’t fly, believes Angel.

He’s far more optimistic about the development of massive, ground-based solar arrays, planted on hundreds of square miles in the desert. In the U.S., this means Angel’s own backyard, in Arizona, and other states along the border with Mexico. He sees these solar collection farms operating year-round, and transmitting electricity via intercontinental transmission lines to the coasts of the nation. Angel says this form of transmission is a proven and relatively inexpensive technology. He suggests using Lake Mead or other western waters as giant hydroelectric storage facilities. He is devising a prototype photovoltaic array using an abandoned PBS communication dish, and in his university workshop milling mirrors that are intended to concentrate the light of sunshine by a factor of 1000. In the Southwest, Angel says, “there is enough sunshine on a couple hundred miles square to feed the whole nation."

Roger Angel received his D. Phil. from Oxford University, and his M.S. from the California Institute of Technology. Prior to his appointment at the University of Arizona in 1973, Angel was an associate professor at Columbia University.

He was a MacArthur Fellow from 1996 to 2001, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the American Academy of Arts and Science and of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Angel's University of Arizona website

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on the Lawsuit Against Chevron, Eradicating Foreign Debt and Why He Says “Ecuador is No Longer for Sale”

Palast interviews the President of Ecuador. Neoliberalism is in trouble.

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....)

“In Defense of Food”: Author, Journalist Michael Pollan on Nutrition, Food Science, and the American Diet

Join Veterans to Demand Hearings on Substandard Helmet Procurement

From VoteVets.org:

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 the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year.”

For years, Sioux Manufacturing had produced helmets that were far weaker than required by the U.S. Military and covered it up. Again, the New York Times reports:

In a conversation Mr. Kenner secretly taped, Rhea Crane, quality assurance officer, worried "if we ever had someone get killed, and they decided to investigate because they thought maybe the helmet wasn't any good."
"If we ever got audited," she said, "you know what they would do to us. Shut us down and fine us big time. Probably never see another government contract."

Sioux should have never gotten another contract, and yet they did, even as the company was being sued by the government. Congress must immediately investigate how this was allowed to happen.

The Chicken Doves, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Blurb:

Elected to end the war, Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends.
Yup. "Neville Chamberlins" is exactly, precisely accurate.

Guantanamo Isn't Just for Brown People Anymore

And, of course, this has always been the case.



Hat tip to Information Clearing House; linked in title.

How the spooks took over the news | Independent

Blurb:

In his controversial new book, Nick Davies argues that shadowy intelligence agencies are pumping out black propaganda to manipulate public opinion – and that the media simply swallow it wholesale.
That is, only the most egregious version of the manufacture of consent.