Thursday, January 13, 2011

What is hot on 13 January 2011

Elucidations (University of Chicago)
Dan Sperber discusses epistemic vigilance
In this episode, Dan Sperber discusses the psychological habits we develop in order to figure out whether the information we hear from other people is trustworthy.
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London School of Economics: Public lectures and events
Facing Disaster In the Middle East: Do We Have Only Bad Options?
American and European policies toward the Middle East have produced a region immersed in violence, terror, anger and oppression. Yet although new and terrifying threats are emerging from the region, new opportunities also present themselves. To seize on them, the West needs to change policies that were shaped for the Cold War. Kinzer offers ideas for a new approach to the world's most turbulent region. Stephen Kinzer is the author of Reset Middle East(I.B.Tauris), All the Shah's Men and Overthrow among others. An award-winning foreign correspondent, he served as The New York Times bureau chief in Turkey. He teaches international relations at Boston University, contributes to The New York Review of Books and writes a world affairs column for The Guardian.
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In Our Time
Random and Pseudorandom
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss random and pseudorandom numbers. Randomness will be familiar to anybody who’s bought a lottery ticket or shuffled a pack of cards. But there’s also a phenomenon known as pseudo-randomness –numbers which look random but aren’t. So why are these numbers useful and how can they be generated? Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Colva Roney-Dougal, Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews; and Timothy Gowers, Royal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
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