Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Champions, Part 1: Unlikely Warriors

In Part 1 of this 3-part documentary series, director Donald Brittain chronicles the early years of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque. From their university days in the 1950s to 1967 when Lévesque left the Liberal Party and Trudeau became the federal Minister of Justice, Brittain attempts to get at the heart of what makes these men so fascinating.

The Champions, Part 2: Trappings of Power

Part 2 of this 3-part documentary series about Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque covers the years between 1967 and 1977, a colourful decade that saw Trudeau win three federal elections, the 1970 October Crisis and the sweeping rise to power of the Parti Québécois.

The Champions, Part 3: The Final Battle

The final instalment of this 3-part documentary series about Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque spans the decade between 1976 and 1986. The film reveals the turbulent, behind-the-scenes drama during the Quebec referendum and the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution. In doing so, it also traces both Trudeau's and Lévesque's fall from power.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Manuel de Landa: Deleuze and the Use of the Genetic Algorithm in Architecture

Manuel De Landa, (born 1952 in Mexico City), is a writer, artist and philosopher who has lived in New York since 1975. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University (New York), the Gilles Deleuze Chair of Contemporary Philosophy and Science at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, a lecturer at the Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor at Pratt Institute the School of Architecture in Brooklyn, New York. He has a BFA from New York's School of Visual Arts. (bio taken here)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tommy Douglas

Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, PC, CC, SOM (20 October 1904 – 24 February 1986) was a Scottish-born Baptist minister who became a prominent Canadian social democratic politician. As leader of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from 1942 and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, he led the first socialist government in North America and introduced universal public healthcare to Canada. When the CCF united with the Canadian Labour Congress to form the New Democratic Party, he was elected as its first federal leader and served in that post from 1961 to 1971. (bio taken here)

George Grant: Canadian Identity, Technology, Nietzsche

George Parkin Grant OC, D.Phil., FRSC (Toronto, November 13, 1918 - Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 27, 1988) was a Canadian philosopher, teacher and political commentator, whose popular appeal peaked in the late 1960s and 1970s. He is best known for his nationalism, political conservatism, comments on technology, pacifism, Christian faith, and conservative views regarding abortion and is credited as one of Canada's most original thinkers.

Academically, his writings express a complex meditation on the great books, and confrontation with the great thinkers, of Western Civilization. His influences include the "ancients" such as Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine of Hippo, as well as "moderns" like Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Leo Strauss, Simone Weil, and Jacques Ellul. (bio taken here)

Click Here for Video Interview

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jacques Rancière: Revisiting Nights of Labor

Jacques Rancière (born Algiers, 1940) is a French philosopher and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris (St. Denis) who came to prominence when he co-authored Reading Capital (1968), with the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser. Rancière has departed from the path set by his teacher and published a series of works probing the concepts that make up our understanding of political discourse. What is ideology? What is the proletariat? Is there a working class? And how do these masses of workers that thinkers like Althusser referred to continuously enter into a relationship with knowledge? We talk about them but what do we know? An example of this line of thinking is Rancière's book entitled Le philosophe et ses pauvres (The Philosopher and His Poor, 1983), a book about the role of the poor in the intellectual lives of philosophers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mark Kingwell vs. Malcolm Gladwell: Awareness

A thought-provoking discussion featuring two of the world’s leading popular thinkers / theorists / speakers: Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Kingwell. The evening will encourage thought and dialogue about social change.

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He is best known as the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Mark Kingwell is Professor of Philosophy at UofT, a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine, and a former columnist for both The National Post and The Globe and Mail. Among his award-winning books are the bestsellers Better Living and The World We Want.

Conversion of St. Paul, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Thursday, October 15, 2009

William R. Catton

William R. Catton graduated from Oberlin College with an A.B. degree in 1950, whereupon he entered the graduate program in sociology at the University of Washington. He earned his M.A. there in 1952 and his Ph.D. in 1954. He is now Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Washington State University. Catton served as President of the Pacific Sociological Association 1984-85 and as the first chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Environmental Sociology. (bio taken here)

Jacques Ellul

Jacques Ellul (January 6, 1912 – May 19, 1994) was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian. He wrote several books about the "technological society" and the intersection between Christianity and politics.

A philosopher who approached technology from a deterministic viewpoint, Ellul, professor at the University of Bordeaux, authored 58 books and more than a thousand articles over his lifetime. (bio taken here)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Antonio Damasio

Antonio Damasio is an internationally recognized leader in neuroscience. His research has helped to elucidate the neural basis for the emotions and has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. His work has also had a major influence on current understanding of the neural systems, which underlie memory, language and consciousness. Damasio directs the newly created USC Brain and Creativity Institute. (bio taken here)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shelly Kagan: A Course on Death

Shelly Kagan is the Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and the former Henry R. Luce Professor of Social Thought and Ethics. Originally a native of Skokie, Illinois, he received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University under the supervision of Thomas Nagel in 1982. He taught at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Illinois at Chicago before arriving at Yale. (bio taken here)

There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?

Click Here to View Lectures

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hubert Dreyfus

Hubert Dreyfus was educated at Harvard, earning three degrees there (B.A in 1951, M.A in 1952, and Ph.D. in 1964). He is considered a leading interpreter of the work of Edmund Husserl, Michel Foucault, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, but especially of Martin Heidegger. While spending most of his teaching career at Berkeley, Professor Dreyfus has also taught at the Brandeis University (1957 to 1959), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (from 1960 to 1968), the University of Frankfurt, and Hamilton College. In addition to criticizing artificial intelligence, Dreyfus is well known for making the work of continental philosophers, especially Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Michel Foucault, intelligible to analytically trained philosophers. (bio taken here)

Discussion of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty:

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes philosopher Hubert Dreyfus for a discussion of why machines cannot become human. In their discussion, they talk about the role of philosophy in clarifying what it means to be human.

Podcast of a philosophy class
on Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time"
UC Berkeley Fall 2007
Philosophy 185 Heidegger
Instructor Hubert Dreyfus

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Willie Smits: Restoring a Rainforest

Photo taken by Suzie Katz at TED Conference 2009

Willie Smits works at the complicated intersection of humankind, the animal world and our green planet. In his early work as a forester in Indonesia, he came to a deep understanding of that triple relationship, as he watched the growing population of Sulawesi move into (or burn for fuel) forests that are home to the orangutan. These intelligent animals were being killed for food, traded as pets or simply failing to thrive as their forest home degraded.

Smits believes that to rebuild orangutan populations, we must first rebuild their forest habitat -- which means helping local people find options other than the short-term fix of harvesting forests to survive. His Masarang Foundation raises money and awareness to restore habitat forests around the world -- and to empower local people. In 2007, Masarang opened a palm-sugar factory that uses thermal energy to turn sugar palms (fast-growing trees that thrive in degraded soils) into sugar and even ethanol, returning cash and power to the community and, with luck, starting the cycle toward a better future for people, trees and orangs. (bio taken here)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Free Will

The question of free will has been debated by philosophers, psychologists and religious thinkers from the beginning of recorded history. Any system of thought that seeks to deal with man's place in nature must inevitably consider this question. The roundtable examines free will from the points of view of philosophy, psychoanalysis and neuroscience. In particular, findings from psychoanalysis, such as the death instinct and trans-generational transmission, as well as discoveries in neuroscience about implicit memory, are employed to provide a new perspective from which to relate free will to current discussions of human behavior.

Akeel Bilgrami
is Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and the author of Belief and Meaning, Self-Knowledge and Resentment, and Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity.

Annaik Feve is a neurologist, psychoanalyst, and member of the Psychoanalytic Society of Paris. She lectures and publishes regularly in the fields of neuroscience and psychoanalysis, focussing on movement disorders, dreams, and psychoanalytic education. She organizes monthly meetings of the Philoctetes Center in Paris.

Rebecca Goldstein
, a novelist and philosopher, is the author of eight books, the last of which was Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity. The recipient of numerous prizes for her fiction and scholarship, including a MacArthur Fellowship, she is currently a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

Siri Hustvedt is the author of The Blindfold and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, as well as numerous essays and short stories. Her last novel, What I Loved, was nominated for the Prix Etranger Femina.

Jaak Panksepp is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Bowling Green State University and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. He is the author of Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions, Textbook of Biological Psychiatry and Advances in Biological Psychiatry.

Joel Whitebook
is a philosopher and practicing psychoanalyst. He is on the faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and is writing an intellectual biography of Freud for Cambridge University Press.

Click Here to Watch on Youtube
Click Here for Source Website

Friday, September 18, 2009

Clay Shirky: It's Not Information Overload. It's Filter Failure.

Mr. Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client/server infrastructure that characterizes the Web. Current clients include Nokia, GBN, the Library of Congress, the Highlands Forum, the Markle Foundation, and the BBC.

In addition to his consulting work, Mr. Shirky is an adjunct professor in NYU's graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), where he teaches courses on the interrelated effects of social and technological network topology -- how our networks shape culture and vice-versa. (bio taken here)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Herbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse (July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-Jewish philosopher, political theorist and sociologist, and a member of the Frankfurt School. His best known works are Eros and Civilization, One-Dimensional Man and The Aesthetic Dimension. (bio taken here)

Andrew Feenberg discusses his new collection of essays by Herbert Marcuse.

Andrew Feenberg is Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology in the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, where he directs the Applied Communication and Technology Lab. He has also taught for many years in the Philosophy Department at San Diego State University, and at Duke University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the Universities of California, San Diego and Irvine, the Sorbonne, the University of Paris-Dauphine, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and the University of Tokyo.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Paul Goodman

Paul Goodman (9 September 1911 New York City – 2 August 1972) was an American sociologist, poet, writer, anarchist, and public intellectual. Goodman is now mainly remembered as the author of Growing Up Absurd and an activist on the pacifist Left in the 1960s and an inspiration to that era's student movement. He is less remembered as a co-founder of Gestalt Therapy in the 1940s and '50s. (bio taken here)

Paul Goodman speaks on the changes in the university system made necessary by the Free Speech Movement (1965).
Click Here for Realplayer Audio

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Denise Gigante

DENISE GIGANTE, Associate Professor of English, teaches eighteenth and nineteenth-century British literature with a focus on Romanticism. Her books include Taste: A Literary History (Yale UP, 2005), Gusto: Essential Writings in Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy (Routledge, 2005), The Great Age of the English Essay: An Anthology (Yale UP, 2008), and Life: Organic Form and Romanticism (Yale UP, 2009). She is currently working on The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George with Lawrence M. Crutcher (a descendant of George Keats) and a book about American bibliophilia and British Romanticism. (bio taken here)

Click here for a radio interview on her book Life: Organic Form and Romanticism

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dan Pink

With a trio of influential bestsellers, Dan Pink has changed the way companies view the modern workplace. In the pivotal A Whole New Mind, Pink identifies a sea change in the global workforce -- the shift of an information-based corporate culture to a conceptual base, where creativity and big-picture design dominates the landscape.

His latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, is an evolutionary transformation of the familiar career guide. Replacing linear text with a manga-inspired comic, Pink outlines six career laws vastly differing from the ones you've been taught. Members of the Johnny Bunko online forum participated in an online contest to create the seventh law -- "stay hungry."

A contributing editor for Wired, Pink is working on a new book on the science and economics of motivation for release in late 2009.

"Pink has a knack for teaching in such an entertaining way that you'll forget you are learning." -Lexi Feinberg, Forbes.com (bio taken here)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of three books, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference," (2000) , "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" (2005), and "Outliers: The Story of Success" (2008) all of which were number one New York Times bestsellers.

From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper's New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City. (bio taken here)

The Outliers

Friday, August 7, 2009

George Lakoff

George P. Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. Although some of his research involves questions traditionally pursued by linguists, such as the conditions under which a certain linguistic construction is grammatically viable, he is most famous for his ideas about the centrality of metaphor to human thinking, political behavior and society. He is particularly famous for his concept of the "embodied mind", which he has written about in relation to mathematics. In recent years he has applied his work to the realm of politics, exploring this in his books. (bio taken here)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

John Dewey

John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose thoughts and ideas have been highly influential in the United States and around the world. Dewey, along with Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism. He is also one of the founders of functional psychology and was a leading representative of the progressive movement in U.S. schooling during the first half of the 20th century. (bio taken here)

Here is an audio reading of John Dewey's 1897 seminal essay on his educational beliefs called "My Pedagogic Creed." This version was a project recorded and edited by students at the University of Illinois's Music Education Technology class MUS243 (fall 2008).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peter Singer

Peter Albert David Singer (born July 6, 1946) is an Australian philosopher. He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), University of Melbourne. He specializes in applied ethics, approaching ethical issues from a secular preference utilitarian perspective. (bio taken here)

Richard Dawkins interviews Peter Singer for "The Genius of Charles Darwin", the Channel 4 UK TV program which won British Broadcasting Awards' "Best Documentary Series" of 2008.

Craig Venter

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his numerous invaluable contributions to genomic research. He is Founder and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit, research and support organization with more than 400 scientist and staff dedicated to human, microbial, plant and environmental genomic research, the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics, and seeking alternative energy solutions through genomics.

Dr. Venter began his formal education after a tour of duty as a Navy Corpsman in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. After earning both a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California at San Diego, he was appointed professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In 1984, he moved to the National Institutes of Health campus where he developed Expressed Sequence Tags or ESTs, a revolutionary new strategy for rapid gene discovery. In 1992 Dr. Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a not-for-profit research institute, where in 1995 he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, using his new whole genome shotgun technique. Dr. Venter and his teams have now sequenced hundreds of genomes using his techniques and tools.

In 1998, Dr. Venter founded Celera Genomics to sequence the human genome using new tools and techniques he and his team developed. The successful completion of this research culminated with the February 2001 publication of the human genome in the journal, Science. He and his team at Celera also sequenced the fruit fly, mouse and rat genomes. Dr. Venter and his team at the Venter Institute continue to blaze new trails in genomics research and have published numerous important papers covering such areas as the first complete diploid human genome, environmental genomics, and synthetic genomics.

Dr. Venter, one of the most frequently cited scientists, is the author of more than 200 research articles. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, public honors, and scientific awards, including the 2001 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, and the 2002 Gairdner Foundation International Award. Dr. Venter is a member of numerous prestigious scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Society for Microbiology. (bio taken here)

Richard Dawkins interviews Craig Venter for "The Genius of Charles Darwin", the Channel 4 UK TV program which won British Broadcasting Awards' "Best Documentary Series" of 2008.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

William James & Josiah Royce

This conference took place, as part of the "William James Lecture on Religious Experience" series, May 25-27, 2007, in Harvard University's Lowell Lecture Hall, to assess the interactions, contributions, and continuing resonance of two major American philosophers and Harvard professors.

Speakers included John Clendenning, Harvey Cormier, Mathias Girel, Peter Hare, Jacquelyn Kegley, James T. Kloppenberg, Felicitas Kraemer, David Lamberth, John Lachs, John J. McDermott, Frank Oppenheim, Hilary Putnam, Robert Richardson, Sandra Rosenthal, Linda Simon, Chris Skowronski, Ignas Skrupskelis, Cornel West, and others.

Click here for Realplayer recordings of the conference

Monday, May 25, 2009

Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin (1909–97) was a British philosopher, historian of ideas, political theorist, educator and essayist. For much of his life he was renowned for his conversational brilliance, his defence of liberalism, his attacks on political extremism and intellectual fanaticism, and his accessible, coruscating writings on the history of ideas. His essay ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ (1958) contributed to a revival of interest in political theory in the English-speaking world, and remains one of the most influential and widely discussed texts in that field: admirers and critics agree that Berlin's distinction between positive and negative liberty remains, for better or worse, a basic starting-point for theoretical discussions of the meaning and value of political freedom. Late in his life, the greater availability of Berlin's numerous essays began to provoke increasing scholarly interest in his work, and particularly in the idea of value pluralism; that Berlin's articulation of value pluralism contains many ambiguities and even obscurities has only encouraged further work on the subject by other philosophers. (bio taken here)

Below is the final of a series of Mellon lectures delivered by Berlin in Washington in 1965. A book has been assembled titled The Roots of Romanticism that is a book format of the series of lectures.

Click here for lecture

philosophy bites: podcasts of top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics

David Edmonds (on the right in the photo) is co-author of Wittgenstein's Poker - this focuses on a ten minute argument between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein. His other books - also written with John Eidinow - include Bobby Fischer Goes to War (on the notorious chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky) and Rousseau's Dog, which dissects the famous quarrel between David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His day job is making radio documentaries for the BBC.

Nigel Warburton (on the left in the photo) has written a number of books including Philosophy: The Basics, Philosophy: The Classics (some of which is available as a podcast) , Thinking from A to Z and The Art Question. He is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University. He has also made a number of programmes for BBC Radio 4, writes a weblog called Virtual Philosopher and regularly leads courses on the philosophy of art at Tate Modern. His latest book, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction, will be published in February 2009

Simon Blackburn, Quentin Skinner, Alain de Bottom, Roger Crisp, Barry Stroud, Peter Singer, Michael Sandel, Tim Scanlon, and Ray Monk are among the over 90 people interviewed so far.

Click here for an archive of past interviews

John Searle

John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932 in Denver, Colorado) is an American philosopher and the Slusser Professor of Philosophy and Mills Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and social philosophy, he was the first tenured professor to join the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley. He received the Jean Nicod Prize in 2000, and the National Humanities Medal in 2004. (bio taken here)

Below is a celebration of John Searle’s 50 years of distinguished service to the UC Berkeley campus, with reflections by Tom Nagel, Barry Stroud, Robert Cole, Alex Pines, Peter Hanks, and Maya Kronfeld.

Click here for program website

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Louis Menand

Though readers of the New Yorker might identify him as a gifted book critic and stylish essayist—his pieces are 2004 National Magazine Award finalists in both categories—professor of English and American literature and language Louis Menand considers himself an "intellectual historian. I’m interested in where ideas come from, and the influence of one writer on another." His book The Metaphysical Club absorbed 10 years ("It was fun," he says), and won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for history. It shows how Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey launched pragmatism and moved "American thought into the modern world." Menand does "a version of American studies," he says. "But nothing before the nineteenth century." Known as "Luke" since childhood (his eponymous father taught political science at MIT), Menand earned a degree in creative writing from Pomona College in 1973, then spent one year at Harvard Law School. "I didn’t have the personality to be a lawyer," he says. "I don’t like to argue." Instead, he earned a Ph.D. in English from Columbia, then taught at Princeton and CUNY before coming to Harvard last fall. Menand teaches courses on the Jameses (Henry, William, and Alice), and on the art and thought of the Cold War period from 1945 to 1965, the subject of his next book. With his wife, Emily, and two adolescent sons in Manhattan, he commutes between there and Beacon Hill. Menand’s elegant prose doesn’t emerge from revision: "I don’t write drafts," he explains. "My habit is to write one draft, very deliberately." Will there someday be a novel, a screenplay? "Ha!" he says. "I wish." (bio taken here)

A conversation (interview) between Louis Menand and Michael Bernstein:

*Also, click here for a lecture by Louis Menand regarding his Pulizer Prize winning book The Metaphysical Club

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Father George Coyne

Professor Coyne completed his bachelor's degree in mathematics and his licentiate in philosophy at Fordham University, New York City, in 1958. He carried out a spectrophotometric study of the lunar surface for the completion of his doctorate in astronomy at Georgetown University in 1962. He spent the summer of 1963 doing research at Harvard University, the summer of 1964 as a National Science Foundation lecturer at the University of Scranton, and the summer of 1965 as visiting research professor at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (UA LPL).

A member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) since the age of 18, he completed a licentiate in sacred theology at Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland, and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1965. Coyne was visiting assistant professor at the UA LPL in 1966-67 and 1968-69, and visiting astronomer at the Vatican Observatory in 1967-68. (bio taken here)

Richard Dawkins and Father George Coyne discuss various topics related to science and religion:

Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer is an editor at large for Seed Magazine. He's also written for The New Yorker, Nature, the Boston Globe and is a contributer to Radio Lab and Scientific American Mind. He's the author of Proust Was A Neuroscientist. His new book is How We Decide.

Click Here for a conversation between Jonah Lehrer and Christopher Lydon

Monday, February 23, 2009

Polyworld: Using Evolution to Design Artificial Intelligence

This presentation is about a potential shortcut to artificial intelligence by trading mind-design for world-design using artificial evolution. Evolutionary algorithms are a pump for turning CPU cycles into brain designs. With exponentially increasing CPU cycles while our understanding of intelligence is almost a flat-line, the evolutionary route to AI is a centerpiece of most Kurzweilian singularity scenarios. This talk introduces the Polyworld artificial life simulator as well as results from an ongoing attempt to evolve artificial intelligence and further the Singularity.

Speaker: Virgil Griffith
Virgil Griffith (was) a first year graduate student (at the time of this lecture) in Computation and Neural Systems at the California Institute of Technology. On weekdays he studies evolution, computational neuroscience, and artificial life. He did computer security work until his first year of university when his work got him sued for sedition and espionage. He then decided that security was probably not safest field to be in and he turned his life to science.

Click Here to Watch Presentation

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jane Elliott: A Class Divided

This is one of the most requested programs in FRONTLINE's history. It is about an Iowa schoolteacher who, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, gave her third-grade students a first-hand experience in the meaning of discrimination. This is the story of what she taught the children, and the impact that lesson had on their lives.

winner of

The 1985 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational, Cultural, or Historical Programming

winner of

Sidney Hillman Prize Award (1985)

Click Here to Watch Program