Dacher Keltner: Born to Be Good

Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and director of the Greater Good Science Center, demonstrates that humans are not hardwired to lead lives that are "nasty, brutish, and short" - we are in fact born to be good.
He investigates an old mystery of human evolution: why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action are the fabric of cooperative societies?
Born to Be Good is a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life and how the path to happiness goes through human emotions that connect people to one another.
Michael Lewis is without peer in his understanding of market forces and human foibles. He is now our jungle guide through five of the most violent and costly upheavals in recent financial history: the crash of '87, the Russian default (and the subsequent collapse of Long-Term Capital Management), the Asian currency crisis of 1999, the Internet bubble, and the current sub-prime mortgage (and more) disaster.
With his trademark humor, Lewis paints the moods and market factors and, with the luxury of hindsight, analyzes what actually happened and what we should have learned from experience

NOVA Astrospies

Millions remember the countdowns, launchings, splashdowns and parades as the U.S. raced the USSR to the Moon in the 1960s, but few know that both superpowers also ran parallel covert space programs to launch military astronauts on spying missions.

The Decisive Moment

Jonah Lehrer is editor-at-large for Seed Magazine and a contributing editor at NPR`S Radio Lab.
Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we blink and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the minds black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, theyre discovering this is not how the mind works.
Jonah Lehrer, author and editor-at-large for Seed Magazine, suggests that our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason and the precise mix depends on the situation. The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.
Join Jonah as he looks to answer two key questions: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?

The Pentagon's New Map

Speaker: Tom Barnett, Senior Managing Director, Enterra Solutions. LLC
Location: Middlebury College, Rohatyn Center for International Affair

Seeing the Universe

Seeing the Universe - 29:00 - Feb 28, 2008

The Wires that Control the Public Mind

Google Tech Talks. May, 6 2008

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. ... In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons ... who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." -- Edward Bernays, founder of the public relations industry.
Billions of dollars are spent each year in the United States alone on public relations, a little-understood profession that has become a modern propaganda-for-hire industry. "Publicity" was once the work of carnival hawkers and penny-ante hustlers smoking cigars and wearing cheap suits. Today's PR professionals are recruited from the ranks of former journalists, retired politicians and eager-beaver college graduates eager to rise in the corporate world. They hobnob internationally with corporate CEOs, senators and U.S. presidents. PR wizards concoct and spin the news, organize phony "grassroots" front groups, spy on citizens, and conspire with lobbyists and politicians to thwart democracy. In today's electronic age, they use 800-numbers and telemarketing, advanced databases, and "video news releases" -- entire news stories written, filmed and produced by PR firms and transmitted electronically to thousands of TV stations around the world. Canned news from PR firms is designed to be indistinguishable from real news and is increasingly taking its place, used as "story segments" on TV news shows without any attribution or disclaimer indicating that what viewers are seeing is in fact subtle paid advertisements. On the internet as well, PR firms have created slick websites that promise to inform the public while pushing hidden agendas. Example include:

the Greening Earth Society (funded by the coal industry), which claims that global warming is actually good for the environment the Foundation for Clean Air Progress (which opposes regulations to control air pollution)the African American Republican Leadership Council (a conservative organization headed by white Republicans)
Working Families for Wal-Mart (secretly funded, of course, by the Wal-Mart itself)
Project Learning Tree (sponsored by the logging industry)

PR firms create front groups as part of what they call the "third party technique." The basic idea, as described by one PR executive, is to "Put your words in someone else's mouth." They realize that their messages are more likely to persuade the public if they come from seemingly independent "third parties" such as a professor or a pediatrician or someone representing a nonprofit citizens' group. The problem is, these third parties are usually anything but neutral. They have been handpicked, cultivated, and meticulously packaged to make you believe what they have to say--preferably in an "objective" format like a news show or a letter to the editor. And in some cases, they have been paid handsomely for their opinions.
Speaker: Sheldon Rampton
Sheldon Rampton researches deceptive PR firms for the Center for Media and Democracy and is the co-author, with John Stauber, of books including "Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damned Lies and the Public Relations Industry"; "Trust Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With your Future": and "Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq." He will discuss the Center's work including its website, Sourcewatch.org, a wiki-powered collaborative research project to document the "names behind the news."

When Will We Discover the Extraterrestrials?

Google TechTalk
April 24, 2007
Speaker: Dr. Seth Shostak
The scientific hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence is now into its fifth decade, and we still haven't uncovered a confirmed peep from any cosmic company. Could this mean that finding aliens, even if they exist, is a project for the ages -- one that might take centuries or longer?
New technologies for use in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) suggest that, despite the continued dearth of signals from other societies, there is good reason to expect that success might not be far off -- that we might find evidence of sophisticated civilizations within a few decades.
Why this is so, what contact would tell us, and what such a discovery would mean, are the subject of this talk on the continuing efforts to establish our place in the universe of thinking beings.

Carrier - NOVA Documentary Series

Series abouth the entire deployment of the USS Minitz

The Power of the Situation - Philip Zimbardo

Discovering Psychology: The Power Of The Situation with Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.
This powerful documentary takes us on a journey of self-discovery. We learn just what humans are capable of through the study of our responses to commands and leadership. How is it that dictators are so easily able to manipulate the masses? Are humans pre-programmed to carry out any actions necessary to our group acceptance?

Specifically, this documentary takes a close look at the Milgram Experiment that were carried out in the early '60s. Wiki quotes Dr. Milgram and the results of his experiment...

The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

Find out what humans are capable of...you'll be suprised!

Dacher Keltner - Positive Emotions

Why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe and compassion?
Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, offers a profound study of how emotion is the key to living the good life.

The Ground Truth: After The Killing Ends

Hailed as powerful and quietly unflinching,Patricia Foulkrods searing documentary feature includes exclusive footage that will stir audiences. The filmmakers subjects are patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home – with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all - the truth. (Excerpt from thegroundtruth.net)

Watch the full documentary now

Jeffrey Richelson: Defusing Armageddon

Relying on recently declassified documents, Jeffrey Richelson, Senior Fellow with the National Security Archive, reveals how NEST operated during the Cold War and how the agency has evolved.
Richelson also describes its current efforts to reduce the chance of a nuclear device decimating an American city.
Jeffrey Talbot Richelson - Jeffrey Talbot Richelson is an American author and academic researcher who studies the process of intelligence gathering and national security. He has authored ten books and many articles about intelligence, and has directed the publication of several of the National Security Archive's collections of source documents.
Michael Shuster - Mike Shuster is a diplomatic correspondent and a roving foreign correspondent for National Public Radio in the United States.

Seth Shostak: Confessions of an Alien Hunter

FORA.tv Studios and Whole Earth Films present Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, speaking to Blaise Zerega, President and CEO of FORA.tv, about his book Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

For twenty-five years SETI has been looking for proof of extraterrestrial life, and as the program's senior astronomer, Shostak explains it's entirely possible that before long conclusive evidence will be found.

Sex Crimes and the Vatican

Created in 1962, a now infamous document was issued in secret to bishops. Called Crimen Sollicitationis, it outlined procedures to be followed by bishops when dealing with allegations of child abuse, homosexuality and bestiality by members of the clergy. It swore all parties involved to secrecy on pain of excommunication from the Catholic Church.

This document was reissued in 2001 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and sent to all bishops. Yet rather than ordering more openness and cooperation with the authorities as demanded by both law enforcers and the victims, he reiterated its policies and ensured that the Code of Silence be applied to all cases of child abuse involving a priest. Cardinal Ratzinger also instructed that all cases should now be referred to his office directly and that he would maintain ‘exclusive competence’ over the handling of allegations. This is the Catholic Church’s policy to this day and Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI.

The policy laid out in the above document has led to systemic failure by the result that a significant number of priest have, in effect, been allowed to abuse again, and further children have been put at risk.

As the documentary explores, Colm O’Gorman is the man responsible for breaking open decades of abuse by Catholic Priests in Ireland in the BAFTA award-winning BBC special Suing the Pope. He links international ’systemic evidence’ to argue the Vatican has a policy to cover up the sexual abuse of thousands of children across the world.

In Sex Crimes and the Vatican O’Gorman explores four separate cases internationally of widespread clerical abuse, putting the Roman Catholic Church on trial for the reckless endangerment of children. O’Gorman raises the question, ‘Is the Church in default of its obligation as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child?’ (Excerpt from news.bbc.co.uk)