Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Listening ideas for 13 April 2011

Forgotten Classics
Genesis, chapter 24
In which Abraham's servant goes a courting ... for Isaac.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
A history of insurance: from fire of London to revolution by motorcar
Already this year, Australian insurers have paid out over three and a half billion dollars in claims, covering the five 'big events' that swept away houses, cars, and a sense of certainty for so many people. In the process, the question of how insurance should be worded, what it means when people aren't insured, and whether and how states, regions and governments should be covered, were all being debated. Because insurance is a financial and social institution that has changed enormously over the past few centuries. Today's program traces some of those changes, from the Fire of London through to the impact of the 'mutuals' and the question of whether and how much insurance should be compulsory or national.
(review, feed)

Mahabharata Podcast
Krishna reveals Himself
Episode 52 - The peace talks break down completely. It starts well, when no one can come up with a rebuttal to Krishna's speech. Narada and Kanva tell a couple of parables to help with the decision making, but Duryodhana was not interested. It seems he believed that the terms of the Dice Game were that the Pandavas were to go to the forest forever, not just 13 years. Maybe it's true? What if the Pandavas had indeed be banished for life, but they decided to change the rules when Krishna & Drupad offered to help them overthrow their cousins? How would we know, since we only get the version of the story as told by the survivors of this war!?!
(review, feed)

Leonard Lopate Show
Simon Schama
Historian and social commentator Simon Schama discusses writing about a diverse range of subjects: from food and family to Winston Churchill, from Martin Scorsese to Rembrandt, from his travels in Brazil and Amsterdam to New Orleans. His collection Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill, and My Mother shows him to be a keen observer with a critical eye.
(review, feed)

The Economist
Nigeria's elections
As Nigeria goes to the polls, Elizabeth Donnelly of Chatham House reflects on the prospect of fairer elections
(review, feed)

The Innocent - New Books in Law

It rarely makes head-lines, but when it does, the news is great and shocking: in the criminal justice system, occasionally, the innocent get convicted. Brandon Garrett wrote a book about the phenomenon: “Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong” (Harvard UP, 2011) He studied 250 US cases where the convicted was re-trialled because evidence had come up that they were innocent. Jim von der Heydt interviewed Garrett on the new podcast from the New Books Network New Books in Law (feed).

In many ways Garrett's research field is just the tip of the iceberg. Many innocent just finish their punishment and are never exempted. But with the aforementioned case-load at hand, Garrett set off to seek an answer to the gnawing question whether the legal system including its officials contain systemic traits that help convicting suspects that are actually innocent. Listen to the interview to find more out about legal constraints to repair the mistakes, the role of legal representation in these cases and obviously, the newly developed technologies for DNA evidence.

It seems to me, however, that one aspect is getting too little attention: a very large portion of convictions (maybe up to 90%) are based on the accused confessing to the crime and this suggests something that has been haunting the legal system forever and will continue to do so, also with DNA evidence: suspects tend to confess. The psychology of both the suspect and the interrogator are pulling towards confession and consequently there is a systemic tendency towards producing confessions, even false confessions. Legal psychologists have been describing this for a long time, including the interrogation techniques that can even instill false memories into the suspects. If you understand Dutch, you can hear this explained in the closing 15 minutes of an interview with the world famous expert Professor W.A. Wagenaar.

Simek ‘s Nachts - W.A. Wagenaar on Huffduffer