Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Heads-up for 15 December 2010

Rear Vision
The changing nature of friendship
Friendship relationships have always played a significant role in human society - historically they were public relationships, often underpinning the political and social structures of society. Today friendships are private or personal - having no place in political or public life. We trace the changing meaning of friendships.
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Radio Open Source
Chris Hedges: We’re Missing Our Safety Valve
Chris Hedges, among those anxious prophets to whom attention must be paid, is a sort of George Carlin without the laugh lines. Grim obituarist of our empire, democracy and culture, the ex-New York Times war reporter is gabbing with us here about the smothered conscience of power: the Death of the Liberal Class, in the title of his new book.
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Wise Counsel
Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D. on the Synaptic Self and Memory Reconsolidation
Entering psychology by way of marketing, Dr. LeDoux chose to study animal brain mechanisms of fear after becoming disenchanted with the overly broad concept of the limbic system and frustrated by the difficulties associated with the study of human brains in that era (e.g., modern brain imaging techniques did not yet exist). He applied an information processing approach to this work (wherein mental processes like memory and attention are attended to; not emotion or other subjective mental contents). He became well known after demonstrating that auditory signals indicating danger were independently transmitted by the thalamus (a sub-cortical switch of sorts) in parallel to both the auditory cortex and the amygdala. Because the route to the amygdala is physically shorter, animals are thus able to respond to danger signals before becoming consciously aware of the danger. Dr. LeDoux's more recent contributions include authoring several excellent books such as Synaptic Self, which introduce lay people to neuroscience concepts in accessible language, and conducting important work in memory reconsolidation, a recent advance in the understanding of the nature of how memory functions, which has enormous promise as a therapy for PTSD and other conditions which revolve around problems involving emotion and memory. The interview winds up with discussion of Dr. LeDoux's rock/pop band the Amygdaloids which has recently put out a new CD, Theory of My Mind
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Radio Lab
The Good Show
In this episode, a question that haunted Charles Darwin: if natural selection boils down to survival of the fittest, how do you explain why one creature might stick its neck out for another?
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Parshat Vayechi
KMTT - Parshat Vayechi, by Rav Alex: Israel - Not Egypt!
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Torah Threads
Vayehi 5771-Blessings, Endings and Beginnings
Jacob’s Blessings for his sons and grandsons
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