Saturday, October 15, 2011

Inner Kids - This Sunday: Susan Kaiser Greenland & Sharon Salzberg Streaming Live

TMC Jacket Cover

This looks good . . . . a workshop on Developing Mindfulness with Children at the NY Insight Meditation Center. They are streaming it for free.
This Sunday: Susan Kaiser Greenland and Sharon Salzberg streaming live!

It's the next best thing to being there: a live stream of Susan Kaiser Greenland and Sharon Salzburg conducting a workshop on Developing Mindfulness with Children at the NY Insight Meditation Center!

If you can't join us live in New York, please tune in on Sunday, October 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on upstream. (If you're in New York, click here for details on the workshop and how you can join us at the NY Insight Meditation Center.)

This workshop is dedicated to parents, teachers, health care professionals, friends, and others who wish to bring concentration, mindfulness and compassion practices into a child's life. The morning will be devoted to exploring greater concentration, mindfulness and compassion for ourselves as adults. The afternoon will focus on how to facilitate a similar, age-appropriate exploration with children and young adults. We will sing songs, play games, and practice mindfulness together as we explore how children, teens and their families can develop concentration, mindfulness and compassion at home, in schools and in the caring professions.

A Call for Annulment of APA’s PENS Report (on Torture)

Left: Marty Seligman. A Guantanamo detainee sits alone inside a fenced area during his daily outside period, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.
Left: Marty Seligman. A Guantanamo detainee sits alone inside a fenced area during his daily outside period,
at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.

A friend sent this to me the other day - I signed it. If you are involved in the counseling or psychology world in any way, you may want to sign it too.

By way of background, this story ran in Salon in 2010:
“War on terror” psychologist gets giant no-bid contract

The Army has handed a $31 million deal to Dr. Martin Seligman, who once blasted academics for "forgetting 9/11"


The Army earlier this year steered a $31 million contract to a psychologist whose work formed the psychological underpinnings of the Bush administration’s torture program.

The Army awarded the “sole source” contract in February to the University of Pennsylvania for resilience training, or teaching soldiers to better cope with the psychological strain of multiple combat tours. The university’s Positive Psychology Center, directed by famed psychologist Martin Seligman, is conducting the resilience training.

Army contracting documents show that nobody else was allowed to bid on the resilience-training contract because “there is only one responsible source due to a unique capability provided, and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.” And yet, Salon was able to identify resilience training experts at other institutions around the country, including the University of Maryland and the Mayo Clinic. In fact, in 2008 the Marine Corps launched a project with UCLA to conduct resilience training for Marines and their families at nine military bases across the United States and in Okinawa, Japan.

Continue Reading
Here is the email and the information on how to add your name to the petition.
Dear Colleagues,

The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology is spearheading a call for annulment of the American Psychological Association’s deeply flawed 2005 Presidential Task Force Report on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS).

The key conclusion of the PENS Report – despite clear evidence to the contrary – is that psychologists play a critical role in keeping national security detainee interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” The PENS Report continues to be used as an authoritative document today, especially in national security contexts. Leading human rights groups and professionals from a range of fields – including psychology, medicine, law, military, and intelligence –have therefore joined together in this important annulment effort.

Below is the brief petition statement, along with the names of organizations and individuals that have been “early signers” to the call. A background statement with detailed documentation is available online at

We are now reaching out to professionals from a variety of disciplines and the general public because we believe this is a critical human rights issue with ramifications that extend far beyond psychology alone. We hope you will join this initiative, and there are two valuable ways that you can contribute:

1. Please add your name to the annulment call at

2. Please share this email and accompanying information with your professional colleagues through listservs and personal correspondence, so that they too have the opportunity to sign on.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Roy Eidelson, on behalf of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology

A Call for Annulment of APA’s PENS Report

Over the decade since the horrendous attacks of 9/11, the world has been shocked by the specter of abusive interrogations and the torture of national security prisoners by agents of the United States government. Although psychologists in the U.S. have made significant contributions to societal welfare on many fronts during this period, the profession tragically has also witnessed psychologists acting as planners, consultants, researchers, and overseers to these abusive interrogations. Moreover, in the guise of keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective," psychologists were used to provide legal protection for otherwise illegal treatment of prisoners.

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2005 Report of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (the PENS Report) is the defining document endorsing psychologists’ engagement in detainee interrogations. Despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive interrogations, the PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged.

The PENS Report remains highly influential today. Negating efforts by APA members to limit the damages – including passage of an unprecedented member-initiated referendum in 2008 – the Department of Defense continues to disseminate the PENS Report in its instructions to psychologists involved in intelligence operations. The Report also has been adopted, at least informally, as the foundational ethics document for “operational psychology” as an area of specialization involving psychologists in counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations. And the PENS Report is repeatedly cited as a resource for ethical decision-making in the APA Ethics Committee’s new National Security Commentary, a “casebook” for which the APA is currently soliciting feedback.

Equally troubling, the PENS Report was the result of institutional processes that were illegitimate, inconsistent with APA’s own standards, and far outside the norms of transparency, independence, diversity, and deliberation for similar task forces established by professional associations. Deeply problematic aspects include the inherent bias in the Task Force membership (e.g., six of the nine voting members were on the payroll of the U.S. military and/or intelligence agencies, with five having served in chains of command accused of prisoner abuses); significant conflicts of interest (e.g., unacknowledged participants included the spouse of a Guantánamo intelligence psychologist and several high-level lobbyists for Department of Defense and CIA funding for psychologists); irregularities in the report approval process (e.g., the Board’s use of emergency powers that preempted standard review mechanisms); and unwarranted secrecy associated with the Report (e.g., unusual prohibitions on Task Force members’ freedom to discuss the Report). These realities point to the impossibility and inadequacy of merely updating or correcting deficiencies in the PENS Report.

We the undersigned organizations and individuals – health professionals, social scientists, social justice and human rights scholars and activists, and concerned military and intelligence professionals – therefore declare that the PENS Report is illegitimate. We call upon the American Psychological Association to take immediate steps to annul the PENS Report. At the same time, in our own efforts, we aim to make the illegitimacy of the PENS Report more broadly known within our communities.

September 26, 2011
(Visit to add your signature)

Organizational Signers
Coalition for an Ethical Psychology
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Justice and Accountability
International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School
Massachusetts Campaign Against Torture
Network of Spiritual Progressives
Physicians for Human Rights
Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Veterans for Peace
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Individual Signers (listed affiliations are for identification purposes only)
Roy Eidelson, PhD, Past President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Associate Director, Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, Bryn Mawr College
Jean Maria Arrigo, PhD, APA PENS Task Force Member, Project on Ethics and Art in Testimony
Michael Wessells, PhD, APA PENS Task Force Member, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Columbia University
Stephen Soldz, PhD, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis; Past President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Steven Reisner, PhD, Candidate for APA President; Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Medical School; Faculty and Supervisor, International Trauma Studies Program, New York City
Brad Olson, PhD, President-Elect, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Bryant Welch, PhD, Program Director and Professor of Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA
Trudy Bond, PhD, Independent Psychologist; Steering Committee, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Philip Zimbardo, President, American Psychological Association (2002); Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Stephen N. Xenakis, MD, Brigadier General (Ret), U.S. Army
Nathaniel A. Raymond, Former Director of the Campaign Against Torture at Physicians for Human Rights
Leonard Rubenstein, Senior Scholar, Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (ret.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Jay Lifton, Lecturer in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance; Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Psychology, The City University of New York
Manfred Nowak, Professor for International Law and Human Rights, University of Vienna; Director, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights
David Remes, Appeal for Justice; Guantánamo habeas attorney since 2004
Gerald Gray, LCSW, Co-Director, Institute for Redress & Recovery, Santa Clara University School of Law
Morton Deutsch, Past President, APA Divisions 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology), 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), and 48 (Peace Psychology); Professor Emeritus, Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Nora Sveaass, UN Committee Against Torture; Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway
Steven H. Miles, MD, Professor of Medicine and Bioethics, University of Minnesota
George Hunsinger, Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD, Senior Medical Advisor, Physicians for Human Rights; Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School; Senior Research Fellow, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
David DeBatto, former US Army Counterintelligence Special Agent and Iraq war veteran
Buz Eisenberg, Chair, International Justice Network; Attorney for Guantánamo detainees since 2005
Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights
Vince Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
Susan Opotow, Past President, APA Division 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues); Professor, City University of New York
Richard Wagner, Past President, APA Division 48 (Peace Psychology); Professor Emeritus, Bates College
Marc Pilisuk, Past President, APA Division 48 (Peace Psychology); Professor Emeritus, University of California; Professor, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center
Ethel Tobach, PhD, Past President, APA Division 48 (Peace Psychology); American Museum of Natural History, New York
Joseph de Rivera, Past President, APA Division 48 (Peace Psychology); Research Professor, Clark University
James Coyne, PhD, Director, Behavioral Oncology Program, Abramson Cancer Center and Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Luisa Saffiotti, PhD, President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Jancis Long, PhD, Past President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Frank Summers, PhD, President-Elect (as of January 2012), APA Division 39 (Psychoanalysis); Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Alice Shaw, PhD, President, Section IX, APA Division 39 (Psychoanalysis for Social Responsibility)
Jules Lobel, President, Center for Constitutional Rights; Bessie McKee Walthour Endowed Chair Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh Law School
Bernice Lott, Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies, University of Rhode Island
Ruth Fallenbaum, WithholdAPADues Steering Committee
Dan Aalbers, WithholdAPADues Steering Committee
Anthony Marsella, Past President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii
Ghislaine Boulanger, PhD, WithholdAPADues Steering Committee
Jean L. Hill, PhD, President-Elect, APA Division 27 (Society for Community Research and Action); Professor of Psychology, New Mexico Highlands University
Joseph Margulies, Attorney, MacArthur Justice Center, Clinical Professor, Northwestern Law School
Martha Davis, PhD, Visiting Scholar (ret.), John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Kristine Huskey, Director, Anti-Torture Program, Physicians for Human Rights; Guantanamo detainee habeas counsel (2002-2011)
Scott Horton, Columbia University School of Law
William P. Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine; Executive Director, The Institute for Labor and Mental Health
Scott Allen, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of California, Riverside
M. Brinton Lykes, PhD, Professor of Community-Cultural Psychology, Boston College; Co-Founder, Ignacio Martin-Baro Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights
David Luban, University Professor in Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University
Jeffrey S. Kaye, PhD, Clinician, Survivors International, San Francisco
Sibel Edmonds, Founder & Director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC)
David Sloan-Rossiter, Boston Institute for Psychotherapy; Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis
Stephen R. Shalom, Department of Political Science, William Paterson University
Andrea Cousins, PhD, PsyD, Massachusetts Campaign Against Torture (MACAT), Northampton, MA
Lynne Layton, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Deborah Popowski, Clinical Instructor, International Human Rights Clinic; Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School

(Names of additional signers are available at


Stephen Soldz
Director, Center for Research, Evaluation, and Program Development
Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
1581 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02446
Past President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR)

The Dalai Lama - A Mind Focused on Mind

by H.H. the Dalai Lama and Alexander Berzin

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

When we achieve a mind focused on mind with the perfect placement of absorbed concentration, free from all faults of dullness or flightiness, we increasingly experience an element of bliss accompanying our meditation. When we experience serene joy, on both a physical and mental level, brought on by the force of total absorption of mind on mind, we achieve a meditational state that fulfills the definition of shamata.

Our ordinary mind is like raw iron ore that needs to be made into a steel sword. Progressing through the stages for attaining shamata is like forging the iron into steel. All the materials are there at our disposal. But since the mind wanders after external objects, then although it is the material for attaining shamata, it cannot yet be used as this product. We have to forge our mind through a meditational process. It is like putting the iron ore into fire.

To fashion the steel into a sword, or in this analogy to fashion the mind into an instrument that understands voidness, our serenely stilled and settled mind needs to come to decisive realization of voidness as its object. Without such a weapon of mind, we have no opponent with which to destroy the disturbing emotions and attitudes.(p.142)

--from The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra by H.H. the Dalai Lama and Alexander Berzin, published by Snow Lion Publications

The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra • Now at 5O% off
(Good until October 21st).

Dr Paul Howard Jones - What Is the Internet Doing to our Brains? has rebroadcast this RSA lecture on the neuroscience of the internet - a look at whether or not the fears about how our brains might be changed regular internet usage are accurate.

What Is the Internet Doing to our Brains?

Dr Paul Howard Jones assesses whether the latest scientific findings support popular fears about what technology is doing to us.

Howard-Jones is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education.

His research spans neuroscience and education: using our knowledge of the mind and brain to improve teaching and learning; game-based learning and creativity.

Paul's particular area of interest is applying our understanding of cognition and neuroscience to enhance child and adult learning. His research explores the benefits offered to education by emerging technologies, aided by a critical consideration of underlying cognitive processes.

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser

Open Culture found this old film about Thelonious Monk, Straight No Chaser - very cool for lovers of classic jazz music. Clint Eastwood produced this 90 minute film. The summary below is partial - there is more at the Open Culture site.

Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser
In 1981, film producer Bruce Ricker had a chance encounter with director and cinematographer Christian Blackwood on the streets of New York. Ricker had just released a documentary on Kansas City jazz, called The Last of the Blue Devils, and Blackwood told him that he too had done a little work on jazz. When Ricker went to see the footage, he was stunned. The reels, he would later say, were “just sitting there like the Dead Sea Scrolls of jazz.”
The “scrolls” were an intimate look into the life and music of Thelonious Monk, the legendary bebop pianist and composer. Blackwood and his brother, Michael, had received a commission from West German public television in late 1967, and were granted unprecedented access to Monk. They followed him around New York, Atlanta and Europe for six months. The resulting cinéma vérité special aired only once, and was forgotten.
By now, Monk’s place in the jazz pantheon is secureThelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser is a fascinating portrait of a truly original artist. The one-hour, 30-minute film is shown above, and can also be found in our collection of Free Movies Online.
Charlotte Zwerin - Director
Clint Eastwood - Producer
Dick Hyman - Composer (Music Score)
Christian Blackwood - Cinematographer
Rudy Van Gelder - Sound Design

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Atlantic - E. O. Wilson’s Theory of Everything

I like E.O. Wilson, probably in part because he tends to seriously piss off the establishment in his field every decade or so. Then, slowly, they begin to see he may be on to something of which they could have never conceived. And all of it grew from his original study of ants.

Throughout his career, he has always advocated for conservation of the environment, and especially for ecological "hot spots."

The Atlantic profiled him during a recent trip to Mozambique on a conservation effort - it's a long but very good read.

E. O. Wilson’s Theory of Everything


MY FIRST GLIMPSE of E. O. Wilson came in July, in the late afternoon, when the light fades and dies with alarming speed in Mozambique. He had emerged from his cabin within Gorongosa National Park, one of southern Africa’s great, historic game reserves, just as the nightly winter chill was bestirring itself, and across an expanse of garden, he appeared almost spectral: tall, gaunt, white-haired, and possessed of a strange gait—slow and deliberate, yet almost woozy in the faint swerve described by each long-legged stride.

Wilson’s head was cocked sharply downward as he walked, as if he suffered a neck condition. (Later he would tell me this habit grew from a lifetime of scanning the ground for insect life.) In his right hand, he carried a flowing white net, like what Vladimir Nabokov might have used to pursue butterflies by Lake Geneva. Without fanfare, just before dark, on the first evening of his first visit to Africa below the Sahara, he had begun his first bug-collecting expedition.

After an invocation and blessing, villagers celebrate the conservation efforts 
on the mountain with music and dance

If one had to give E. O. Wilson a single label, evolutionary biologist would be as good as any. Sociobiologistlifelong naturalistprolific authorcommitted educator, and high-profile public intellectual might all also serve. But amidst his astonishing range and volume of intellectual output, Wilson’s reputation, and most of his big ideas, have been founded primarily on his study of ants, most famously his discoveries involving ant communication and the social organization of ant communities. As I caught up with him, intending to introduce myself, he stooped down low toward the garden’s dirt path to pick one up, pronouncing its scientific name with the raw delight of a boy hobbyist, and exclaiming, “I think I’ll keep that one. Let me go get a vial and some alcohol to put it in.”

Many more collecting forays would follow over the next two weeks, most of them more concerted than this. But other motives had also lured Wilson, age 82, so far from his home in Lexington, Massachusetts. It is hard to order such things with any precision, so varied and intertwined are Wilson’s interests, but the principal attractions, he told me, involved the chance to explore a rare and imperiled African ecosystem—one largely cut off from scientific study until late last year—and to play an advisory role in its conservation. What made this park, at the southern extremity of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, of particular interest to him was the chance to revisit a field that he helped invent—biogeography, and specifically the special ecology and biodiversity of islands.

Gorongosa’s heavily wooded mountain of the same name was effectively incorporated into the park, by national decree, only last December. It is home to the only largely intact rain forest in all of Mozambique, a semitropical country roughly the size of Texas and Oklahoma. Solitary and broad-shouldered, the mountain rises more than 6,000 feet above the surrounding plains, providing a local climate unlike any other for hundreds of miles around it. It draws its water from the warm, moist winds that blow in from the nearby Indian Ocean, kissing its cool upper flanks and sustaining a unique ecosystem of rare orchids, mountain cypress, and rich bird life like the green-headed oriole, along with any number of other species yet to be identified.

For many years, the religious taboos of local residents kept the mountain from being opened to scientists and tourists, and also offered some measure of environmental protection. Nonetheless, a helicopter ride I recently took revealed the mountain to be under steady attack by locals setting fires to clear fields for farming and to smoke out wild edibles, from bushmeat to insect delicacies. Time and again, Wilson has come back to the subject of ecological hot spots like this in his writing. More than half of the planet’s plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests, which occupy a mere 6 percent of the world’s land surface—territory roughly the size of the lower 48 American states. Across these unique havens of biodiversity, Wilson has estimated that an area equivalent to half the state of Florida is being destroyed each year.

Wilson described Mount Gorongosa’s rain forest to me as “an island in a sea of grasslands,” and said that “biologists should be straining to get there,” to study it and to save it, just as they would some new reef system discovered in an underexplored part of the Pacific. Of the need to thoroughly survey places like Gorongosa, he wrote in his 1984 book, Biophilia: “No process being addressed by modern science is more complicated or, in my opinion, more important.”
Read the whole article.

Research - Effect of Ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts and low carbohydrates/high-protein meals on weight, cardiovascular risk factors, body composition and diet compliance

Excellent study that demonstrates both that very low-carb diets are quite healthy and that they can achieve high compliance. The outcomes on this study, after only 6 weeks, are quite good. A few tweaks would the results even better, but this is just a pilot study to look at brief outcomes and compliance.

From the open access Nutrition Journal.

Effect of Ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts and low carbohydrates/high-protein meals on weight, cardiovascular risk factors, body composition and diet compliance in Italian council employees.

Antonio PaoliLorenzo Cenci and Keith A Grimaldi
Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:112 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-112
Published: 12 October 2011

Abstract (provisional)


There has been increased interest in recent years in very low carbohydrate ketogenic diets (VLCKD) that, even though they are much discussed and often opposed, have undoubtedly been shown to be effective, at least in the short to medium term, as a tool to tackle obesity, hyperlipidemia and some cardiovascular risk factors. For this reason the ketogenic diet represents an interesting option but unfortunately suffers from a low compliance.. The aim of this pilot study is to ascertain the safety and effects of a modified ketogenic diet that utilizes ingredients which are low in carbohydrates but are formulated to simulate its aspect and taste and also contain phytoextracts to add beneficial effects of important vegetable components.


The study group consisted of 106 Rome council employees with a body mass index >25, age between 18 and 65 years (19 male and 87 female; mean age 48.49+/-10.3). We investigated the effects of a modified ketogenic diet based on green vegetables, olive oil, fish and meat plus dishes composed of high quality protein and virtually zero carbohydrate but which mimic their taste, with the addition of some herbal extracts (KEMEPHY ketogenic Mediterranean with phytoextracts). Calories in the diet were unlimited. Measurements were taken before and after 6 weeks of diet.


There were no significant changes in BUN, ALT, AST, GGT and blood creatinine. We detected a significant (p<0.0001) reduction in BMI (31.45 Kg/m2 to 29.01 Kg/m2), body weight (86.15 kg to 79.43 Kg), percentage of fat mass (41.24 % to 34.99 %), waist circumference (106.56 cm to 97.10 cm), total cholesterol (204 mg/dl to 181 mg/dl), LDLc (150 mg/dl to 136 mg/dl), triglycerides (119 mg/dl to 93 mg/dl) and blood glucose (96 mg/dl to 91 mg/dl). There was a significant (p<0.0001) increase in HDLc (46 mg/dl to 52 mg/dl).


The KEMEPHY diet lead to weight reduction, improvements in cardiovascular risk markers, reduction in waist circumference and showed good compliance.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.

An Introduction to Cosmology by Sean Carroll

Another fun find from the folks at Open Culture - my version of Science Friday.

An Introduction to Cosmology by Sean Carroll

October 13th, 2011

Sean Carroll, a physics professor at Caltech, has a knack for making science publicly accessible. He writes regularly for the blog Cosmic Variance, and you have perhaps seen him on the History Channel, Science Channel, or The Colbert Report. Yesterday, he announced that five lectures he gave at CERN now appear online, and it all begins with an Introduction to Cosmology, or the origin and structure of the universe. Then come lectures on Dark MatterDark EnergyThermodynamics and the Early Universe, and Inflation and Beyond. The lectures (all nicely packaged together at Cosmic Variance) will appear in the Physics Section of our collection of Free Courses Online. You may also want to visit two related videos recently featured on OC:
The Nobel Prize: Saul Perlmutter and the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Robert Thurman’s “Cool Heroes” - at #occupywallstreet

Very cool, via Shambhala SunSpace.

Video from Occupy Wall Street: Robert Thurman’s “Cool Heroes”

As mentioned here on SunSpace the other day, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper is documenting the Wall Street protests (which are reportedly facing shutdown by NY Mayor Bloomberg), and he is now sharing video he shot Thursday of Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman. In the video, below, Thurman leads activists in an unusual sort of chant, which turns on a dime from impassioned to snarky to moving. A sample: “No one should be protesting against some nasty bankers if they really truly do hate them. They are not worthy of being hated. They are just like us. They’re just luckier at the moment. And unluckier in the long run.”

Click here to visit Velcrow’s site, Occupy Love, which is a step towards a new documentary to be called Evolve Love: Love in a Time of Crisis.

Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

From the TED blog, a nice talk from Alison Gopnik on the minds of babies. Below that video is a much longer talk with her at Freedom Domain Radio, hosted by Stefan. Gopnik is the author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life and The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind, as well as some more academic books on infant cognition.

TED Talks - Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

“Babies and young children are like the R and D division of the human species,” says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2011, July 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Duration: 18:29.)

This is a longer and therefore more in-depth interview with Gopnik - enjoy! You may never think about babies the same way ever again.

"The Philosophical Baby" - Dr Alison Gopnik Interviewed on Freedomain Radio

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from Oxford University. Her honors include a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada University Research Fellowship, an Osher Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the Exploratorium, a Center for the Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship, and a Moore Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of childrens learning and development and was the first to argue that childrens minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions. She was one of the founders of the study of "theory of mind", illuminating how children come to understand the minds of others, and she formulated the "theory theory", the idea that children learn in the same way that scientists do.