Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Economist Podcast

One of the World's leading News and Backgrounds magazines is The Economist. On a weekly basis, the upcoming issue is previewed in a podcast and in addition, there are subject related podcasts. One of the latests is called Democracy in America and this deals with the events around the presidential elections in 2008. More specifically, the episode deals with the national security issues. There is an interview with Jeremy Shapiro of the Brookings Institution, who is analyzing this subject. There seem to be a lot of misinformation around the homeland security, or at least rhetoric more than actual fact finding and dealing with genuine issues.

There will be weekly podcasts about the upcoming elections with guest interviews. Readers can leave comments and propose questions to the next guest.

Nasty people in your office

Psychopathology in The Workplace, in other words, is tackled very practically and in clear words by Laurence Miller, Ph.D, interviewed on Shrinkrapradio. Miller has been a guest of Dr. Dave's before in show #40 on Practical Police Psychology. Dr. Dave takes Dr. Miller over the typologies in his book From Difficult to Disturbed: Understanding and Managing Dysfunctional Employees, which by the way, is just as much a book about managing dysfunctional managers.

This is a podcast to listen to and take notes, because Miller is bound to describe your office nemesis and hand some practical pointers as to how to deal with that person. I could pen some down here, but it is so much better to listen in yourself. Besides, I want to leave some space for a new feature on Shrinkrapradio that was announced this show.

Starting December 9th, Shrinkrapradio will have call in shows. Everybody can participate. A test show has been run this evening. I rushed off to connect myself and can tell it works. By the end of the show with Dr. Miller, Dr. Dave describes how and when you can connect. Mind your time zone!

Chanukah and the sale of Joseph

Occasionally I listen to the podcast by Rabbi David Bendory, especially when there is attention to parshat hashavua and then I like to compare with KMTT's lecture on the same parasha. We have just had parashat vayeshev in which Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers. David Bendory gives a tentative talk about the connection between this incident, the way it was described in Torah and the upcoming festival of Chanukah. It seems to him there is a connection. He tries to find it through a chanukah Psalm and a text in elsewhere in Tanach.

While I am comparing, it seems to me that the talk of Rabbi Ismar Schorsch also made a connection, but I can't find it now. I wrote about this old podcast two days ago, while I was getting in the mood for Chanukah. While I cannot find the connection I am struck once again how Jewish teachings frequently concentrate on this kind of cognitive connections and parallels between historically and factually non-connected stories.

The Fibonacci Sequence - In Our Time

Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code didn't do it for me. The book always seemed like a cheap rip off from Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. The appearance of the Fibonacci Sequence in the first book was nice though. I am not sure where I had run into it before (Not in Eco , I suppose), but occasionally these mathematical subjects can capture my unmathematical mind. Fermat's Last Theorem was another book that did such - also by the BBC.

This time round the BBC throws in an effort through In Our Time and sort off succeeded. The program is of fantastic quality as usual, though on Fibonacci it did not give too much new information, for me that is.

As a matter of fact it was the historical aspect I found the most fascinating, but that was not the major part of the discussion. Twelfth century Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa) was not the one to formulate this sequence, and it did not get his name until the 19th century. He found it in the Arabic world and it roots in Arabic and Indian mathematics. When adapted to geometry it was combined with Greek mathematics. I would have loved to hear more about the history.