"Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World" - Alex (Sandy) Pentland

"Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World"
How can you know when someone is bluffing? Paying attention? Genuinely interested? The answer, writes Sandy Pentland in Honest Signals, is that subtle patterns in how we interact with other people reveal our attitudes toward them. These unconscious social signals are not just a back channel or a complement to our conscious language; they form a separate communication network. Biologically based "honest signaling," evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, offers an unmatched window into our intentions, goals, and values. If we understand this ancient channel of communication, Pentland claims, we can accurately predict the outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates.

Professor Alex ("Sandy") Pentland, is a leading figure at the MIT Media Lab and is a pioneer in the fields of organizational engineering, mobile information systems, and computational social science. He co-directs the Digital Life Consortium, a group of more than twenty multinational corporations exploring new ways to innovate, and oversees the Next Billion Network, established to support aspiring entrepreneurs in emerging markets. In 1997 Newsweek magazine named him one of the 100 Americans likely to shape this century.
This event took place on November 19, 2008

Google: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Search is one of the most important applications used on the Internet and poses interesting challenges in computer science. Providing high-quality search requires understanding across a wide range of computer science disciplines. In this program, Google Fellow Jeff Dean describes some of these challenges, discusses applications Google has developed, and highlights systems they've built, including GFS, a large-scale distributed file system, and MapReduce, a library for automatic parallelization and distribution of large-scale computation. He also shares observations derived from Google's Web data.

Understanding Embryonic Stem Cells

Embryonic stem cells, or ES cells, are cells that can be isolated from early embryos, before they differentiate into specific types of cells. Because stem cells have the potential to generate fresh, healthy cells of nearly any type, there is interest in exploring their use to treat and cure various diseases. The societal controversy regarding human ES cells relates primarily to their derivation from very early embryos. In addition, certain stem cell lines are developed using a cloning technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer, which can generate cells that are an exact genetic match to a patient.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Pluto Files

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the bestselling author and director of the world-famous Hayden Planetarium, chronicles America's irrational love affair with Pluto, man's best celestial friend.

Comments on Pragmatism: It *could* just be coincidence - Skewed views of science - Flawed thinking by numbers - The problem with anecdotes

A poor understanding of probability leads many people to put forward supernatural explanation for events that are far more common than they think.
This video shows how probability theory is sufficient to explain even seemingly remarkable coincidences.

Flawed thinking by numbers
A look at some of the ways in which people go wrong when they try to use statements of probability in arguments for supernatural beings, divine plans and dismissing evolution.

Skewed views of science
A look at the pitfalls of arguing against science from incomprehension or emotion.

A look at some of the pitfalls of using anecdotes to support paranormal and scientific claims in the absence of more rigorous evidence.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Nova scienceNOW - Astrophysicist - feature interview

Wide-ranging New York interview with celebrated astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Alcove with Mark Molaro. Dr. Tyson is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He is also the host of the PBS science program Nova scienceNOW. His latest book is the bestselling Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries.

Dr. Tyson ruminates on all things cosmic - our expanding universe, black holes, asteroids threatening our planet, and other phenomena. He discusses the need for more scientific literacy, the science versus religion debate, and he touches on the challenges he has faced to become an astrophysicist who happens to be African-American. As always we are enlightened and entertained by this remarkable scientist and educator.

Ian Morison: God and the Universe

Gresham College
London, U.K.
Dec 1st, 2008

With scientific knowledge ever-progressing, is there space left for God?
Is there going to be a time when science will have uncovered all the secrets of the universe and proven that there is no Divinity?
As science progresses, is the belief in God becoming ever-more irrational and ridiculous?
Ian Morison explains why God will never be ruled out by scientific progress - Gresham College

BBC - “The Destruction of Hiroshima & Nagasaki”

BBC Documentary

The President's Guide to Science - BBC Horizon

Horizon: The President's Guide to Science
Aired: September 16, 2008 on BBC 2. Horizon asks some of the biggest names in science to have a quiet word with the new president, be it Obama or McCain, in the Presidents Guide to Science. The United States president is quite simply the most powerful man on earth, but they often know little about science. That's a problem when the decisions they make will affect every one of us, from nuclear proliferation to climate change. To help the new president get to grips with this intimidating responsibility some of the world's leading scientists, from Dawkins to Watson, share some crucial words of advice.

Better Decisions - BBC Horizon 2008

BBC Horizon 2008
How to Make Better Decisions
We are bad at making decisions. According to science, our decisions are based on oversimplification, laziness and prejudice. And that's assuming that we haven't already been hijacked by our surroundings or led astray by our subconscious! Featuring exclusive footage of experiments that show how our choices can be confounded by temperature, warped by post-rationalisation and even manipulated by the future, Horizon presents a guide to better decision making, and introduces you to Mathematician Garth Sundem, who is convinced that conclusions can best be reached using simple maths and a pencil!