Sunday, September 12, 2021

ENG 102: Science and Technology

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (BBC: Adam Curtis, 2011) ["A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. It claims that computers have failed to liberate us and instead have distorted and simplified our view of the world around us."]

Almaaita, Zaynah. "Top 25 Censored News Stories of 2017 - 2018 - #22 Big Pharma’s Biostitutes: Corporate Media Ignore Root Cause of Opioid Crisis." Project Censored (October 2, 2018) ["The beginning of the opioid crisis, Martin reported, goes back to drug manufacturing companies hiring “biostitutes,” a derogatory term for biological scientists hired to misrepresent research or commit fraud in order to protect their employers’ corporate interests. As Martin reported, research by biostitutes was used to make the (misleading) case that opioids could treat pain without the risk of addiction. Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, and McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, which distribute that drug and other opioids, suppressed research that showed how addictive opioids are, and they began to push doctors to write more prescriptions on behalf of the “needs” of consumers.  In particular, Papantonio said, distributors targeted the nation’s poorer communities, including industrial cities with high unemployment rates, such as Detroit, and economically-stressed mining communities, as in West Virginia. Such mercenary practices not only impacted the individuals who became addicted, they also ravaged the finances of the targeted cities and counties. As Papantonio told The Empire Files, the opioid crisis has required local government expenditures for everything from new training for emergency medical responders, to the purchase of Naloxone (sold under the brand name Narcan) for treating opioid overdoses, to the expansion of dependency courts to handle the cases of neglected or abused children, and the retooling of jails as de facto rehabilitation centers—all of which have come out of city and county budgets. In his Empire Files interview, Papantonio estimated that the cost for a “typical community” fell between “ninety and two hundred million dollars—that’s just the beginning number.”]

Alter, Adam. "The Rise of Addictive Technology." Radio West (March 5, 2018) ["Marketing professor Adam Alter begins his new book by noting that Steve Jobs didn’t let his own children use an iPad, a product he invented, because he was worried they’d get addicted to it. That’s what Alter’s book is about: our increasing addiction to technology. These days, we aren’t just hooked on substances, like drugs and alcohol. We’re addicted to video games, social media, porn, email, and lots more. Alter joins us to explore the business and psychology of irresistible technologies."]

Amer, Karim, Emma Briant and Brittany Kaiser. "The Weaponization of Data: Cambridge Analytica, Information Warfare & the 2016 Election of Trump." Democracy Now (January 10, 2020) ["We continue our conversation with the directors of The Great Hack, Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, as well as former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser and propaganda researcher Emma Briant, about Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group’s history as a defense contractor. “We’re in a state of global information warfare now,” Briant says. “How do we know if our militaries develop technologies and the data that it has gathered on people, for instance, across the Middle East … how do we know when that is turning up in Yemen or when that is being utilized by an authoritarian regime against the human rights of its people or against us? How do we know that it’s not being manipulated by Russia, by Iran, by anybody who’s an enemy, by Saudi Arabia, for example, who SCL were also working with? We have no way of knowing, unless we open up this industry and hold these people properly accountable for what they’re doing.”"]

Anderson, Justin. "Who Will Take on the 21st Century Tech and Media Monopolies?" FAIR (April 10, 2018) ["After decades of regulatory neglect, Big Tech is finally coming under the microscope."]

Arnoff, Kate. "Trump Curbs the Circulation of Science." On the Media (May 31, 2019) ["Last weekend, The New York Times reported on a host of aggressive new obstacles placed by Trump administration to stymie the dissemination of federal climate research. One new rule prevents certain agencies from publishing findings after 2040. A second will omit the National Climate Assessment's "worst case scenario" projection. And finally, a panel of climate deniers will oversee and regulate the release of all federally funded climate research. In this interview, Bob speaks with Kate Aronoff, who recently wrote about these regulations for The Guardian. She explains how these alarming new restrictions fit into the Trump administration's larger pattern of limiting public access to the truth about the climate."]

Ashcroft, Richard, David Healy and Emily Jackson. "Brave New World." The Philosophy Forum (March 2, 2019)  ["In this age of utopian technologies, we can design mechanical limbs for amputees and chemically engineer happiness for depressives. From the fluoride in our water to genetically modified babies, scientific advances pose complex new ethical questions. We explore the major bioethical issues of our time. Is philosophy braced for this brave new world? Are scientists and engineers morally obliged to design a utopia? Or are things best left to ‘nature’? Speakers: Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Bioethics, Queen Mary University of London; David Healy, Professor of Psychiatry, Bangor University; Emily Jackson, Professor of Law, LSE."]

Barry, Sarah, et al. "Enzymes." In Our Time (June 1, 2017)  ["Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss enzymes, the proteins that control the speed of chemical reactions in living organisms. Without enzymes, these reactions would take place too slowly to keep organisms alive: with their actions as catalysts, changes which might otherwise take millions of years can happen hundreds of times a second. Some enzymes break down large molecules into smaller ones, like the ones in human intestines, while others use small molecules to build up larger, complex ones, such as those that make DNA. Enzymes also help keep cell growth under control, by regulating the time for cells to live and their time to die, and provide a way for cells to communicate with each other."]

Beck, Ulrich and Bruno Latour. "How To Think About Science (Part 5)." Ideas (February 11, 2015) ["Few people ever apply a name that sticks to an entire social order, but sociologist Ulrich Beck is one of them. In 1986 in Germany he published Risk Society, and the name has become a touchstone in contemporary sociology. Among the attributes of Risk Society is the one he just mentioned: science has become so powerful that it can neither predict nor control its effects. It generates risks too vast to calculate. In the era of nuclear fission, genetic engineering and a changing climate, society itself has become a scientific laboratory. In this episode, Ulrich Beck talks about the place of science in a risk society. Later in the hour you'll hear from another equally influential European thinker, Bruno Latour, the author of We Have Never Been Modern. He will argue that our very future depends on overcoming a false dichotomy between nature and culture."]

Benjamin, Medea and Trevor Timm. "Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control." Law and Disorder (July 9, 2012) ["Earlier this year, human rights advocates, robotics technology experts, lawyers, journalists and activists gathered to bring detailed up to date information about the widespread and rapidly expanding deployment of both lethal and surveillance drones, including drone use in the United States. We hear excerpts of 2 presentations delivered at the drone conference in Washington DC titled Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control."]

Benjamin, Ruha. "The Social Dimensions of Science, Technology and Medicine." Northwestern Digital Learning Project #12 (June 5, 2019) [" Dr. Ruha Benjamin, a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University and the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier and the forthcoming Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. She has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for just over 15 years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice."]

Berger, John J. Climate Myths: The Campaign Against Climate Science. Berkeley, CA: Northbrae Books, 2013. [Available in the BCTC Library]


Bigger Stronger Faster (USA: Christopher Bell, 2008: 105 mins) ["In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs? Director Christopher Bell explores America’s win-at-all-cost culture by examining how his two brothers became members of the steroid-subculture in an effort to realize their American dream."

Binney, William. "Growing State Surveillance." Democracy Now (April 20, 2012) ["In his first television interview since he resigned from the National Security Agency over its domestic surveillance program, William Binney discusses the NSA’s massive power to spy on Americans and why the FBI raided his home after he became a whistleblower. Binney was a key source for investigative journalist James Bamford’s recent exposé in Wired Magazine about how the NSA is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah. The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency, including private emails, cellphone calls, Google searches and other personal data. Binney served in the NSA for over 30 years, including a time as technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, he has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could “create an Orwellian state.” Today marks the first time Binney has spoken on national television about NSA surveillance. This interview is part of a 5-part special on state surveillance."]


Blase, Martin. "Missing Microbes." Radio West (April 28, 2014) ["Your body is host to about 100 trillion bacterial cells that form your microbiome, the complex ecosystem of microorganisms on which your life depends. Today, our microbiomes are threatened by a loss of species diversity that could be our undoing. In a new book, Dr. Martin Blaser argues that our obsession with hygiene and overuse of antibiotics has bleached our microbiomes, making them weak and making us more susceptible to dangerous new diseases."]

Bonneval, Karine, Paco Calvo and Tom Greaves. "Plants." The Forum for Philosophy (April 2019) ["Philosophers have long assumed that plants are inferior to humans and animals: static, inert, and unreflective. But recent scientific advances suggest that we may have underestimated plants. They can process information, solve problems, and communicate. We explore what plants can teach us about intelligence and agency, and ask whether plants think."]

Harris, Tristan and Aza Raskin. "Mr. Harris Zooms to Washington." Your Undivided Attention (May 10, 2021) ["Back in January 2020, Tristan Harris went to Washington, D.C. to testify before the U.S. Congress on the harms of social media. A few weeks ago, he returned — virtually — for another hearing, Algorithms and Amplification: How Social Media Platforms’ Design Choices Shape Our Discourse and Our Minds. He testified alongside Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media Politics and Public Policy and the heads of policy from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The senators’ animated questioning demonstrated a deeper understanding of how these companies’ fundamental business models and design properties fuel hate and misinformation, and many of the lawmakers expressed a desire and willingness to take regulatory action. But there’s still room for a more focused conversation. “It’s not about whether they filter out bad content,” says Tristan, “but really whether the entire business model of capturing human performance is a good way to organize society.” In this episode, a follow-up to last year’s “Mr. Harris Goes to Washington,” Tristan and Aza Raskin debrief about what was different this time, and what work lies ahead to pave the way for effective policy."]

Harris, Tristan, Frank Luntz and Daniel Schmachtenberger. "The Facebook Files." Your Undivided Attention (September 21, 2021) ["On September 13th, the Wall Street Journal released The Facebook Files, an ongoing investigation of the extent to which Facebook's problems are meticulously known inside the company — all the way up to Mark Zuckerberg. Pollster Frank Luntz invited Tristan Harris along with friend and mentor Daniel Schmachtenberger to discuss the implications in a live webinar. In this bonus episode of Your Undivided Attention, Tristan and Daniel amplify the scope of the public conversation about The Facebook Files beyond the platform, and into its business model, our regulatory structure, and human nature itself."]

 Huberman, Andrew. "ADHD & How Anyone Can Improve Their Focus." Huberman Lab (September 13, 2021) ["In this episode, Dr. Huberman discusses ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): what it is, the common myths, and the biology and psychology of ADHD. He discusses both behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for ADHD and brain-machine interface tools. Dr. Huberman also discusses behavioral training protocols that can improve focus in people with ADHD and those without ADHD and for people of different ages. He discusses the role of dopamine in coordinating ‘default-mode’ and ‘task-related’ neural networks, attentional “blinks” (lapses of attention) and how to overcome them, and the role of actual blinks in time perception and attention. Finally, Dr. Huberman reviews some of the prescription and over-the-counter compounds for increasing focus, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Modafinil and Armodafinil, the racetams, Alpha-GPC and phosphatidylserine and the role of diet for managing ADHD (and the controversies of diet for ADHD).
The role of cell phones/technology in ADHD and ADHD-like challenges with focus are also discussed. Throughout, both basic science and clinical scenarios, as well as applicable tools and resources, are covered."]

---. "Controlling Your Dopamine for Motivation, Focus, and Satisfaction." Huberman Lab (September 27, 2021) ["This episode serves as a sort of “Dopamine Masterclass.” Dr. Huberman discusses the immensely powerful chemical that we all make in our brain and body: dopamine. He describes what it does and the neural circuits involved. He explains dopamine peaks and baselines and the cell biology of dopamine depletion. Dr. Huberman includes 14 tools for how to control your dopamine release for the sake of motivation, focus, avoiding and combating addiction and depression. He explains why dopamine stacking with chemicals and behaviors inevitably leads to states of underwhelm and poor performance. He explains how to achieve sustained increases in baseline dopamine, compounds that injure and protect dopamine neurons, including caffeine, from specific sources. Dr. Huberman describes non-prescription supplements for increasing dopamine—both their benefits and risks—and the synergy of pro-dopamine supplements with those that increase acetylcholine." Huberman recommends two books: Anna Lembke's Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence and Daniel Z. Lieberman's and Michael Long's The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity—and Will Determine the Fate of the Human.] Race]

---. "Healthy Eating & Eating Disorders – Anorexia, Bulimia, Binging." Huberman Lab (September 6, 2021) ["In this episode, Dr. Huberman discusses what drives hunger and satiety and the role our brain, stomach, fat and hormones play in regulating hunger and turning off the desire to eat more. He also addresses how protein is assimilated better early in the day than it is later in the day and why those using intermittent fasting might want to shift their feeding window to earlier in the day. Then he delves into the topic of disorders of eating: Anorexia Nervosa, where people starve themselves and Bulimia Nervosa, where people binge and purge their food. Dr. Huberman discusses some common myths about Anorexia, such as the role of media images increasing the rates of Anorexia and the myth of the “perfectionist” anorexic. He also reviews the symptoms and the brain and chemical systems disrupted in this condition. He explains how anorexics become hyperaware of the fat content of foods and develop reflexive habits of fat-hyperawareness. Then Dr. Huberman discusses the most effective treatments ranging from family-based models to those that target the habitual nature of low-fat/calorie food choices. He also discusses new, more experimental clinical trials on MDMA, Psilocybin and Ibogaine for Anorexia and both their promise and risks. Dr. Huberman reviews the latest work on binge eating disorder and brain stimulation, drug treatments and thyroid disruption in Bulimia and why the treatments for Bulimia are so similar to those for ADHD. Finally, he discusses “cheat days,” body dysmorphia and the growing list of novel forms of eating disorders from start to finish. As always, science and science-based tools are discussed."]

---. "Understanding and Conquering Depression." The Huberman Lab #34 (August 23, 2021) ["This episode, I explain what major depression is at the biological and psychological level and the various treatments that peer-reviewed studies have revealed can help prevent and treat depression. I explain the three major chemical systems that are altered in depression: norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. I discuss genetic predispositions to depression and how stress, thyroid hormone and cortisol play a role in many forms of depression. I also discuss inflammation as a common feature of many depression symptoms. I review 8 specific science-supported protocols for treating and avoiding depression, including EPA fatty acids (which have been shown to rival certain prescription treatments), how exercise protects against depression, studies of creatine, adjusting dopamine balance and more. I also discuss the results of ongoing clinical trials for ketamine and psilocybin for depression, how these compounds work and finally, I review how ketogenic diets can help in certain cases of depression, especially treatment-resistant major depression."]

Huberman, Andrew and Matthew Johnson. "Psychedelic Medicine." Huberman Lab (September 20, 2021) ["In this episode, Dr. Huberman discusses medical research on psychedelic compounds with Dr. Matthew Johnson, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. They discuss the biology and medical clinical-trial uses of psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, and LSD. Dr. Johnson teaches us what the clinical trials in his lab reveal about the potential these compounds hold for the treatment of depression, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, ADHD, and other disorders of the mind. Dr. Johnson describes a typical psychedelic experiment in his laboratory, start to finish, including the conditions for optimal clinical outcomes. And he explains some of the potential hazards and common misconceptions and pitfalls related to psychedelic medicine. Dr. Johnson explains flashbacks, the heightened risks of certain people and age groups using psychedelics, and the evolving legal and pharmaceutical industry landscape surrounding psychedelics. Dr. Johnson also describes how the scientific study of psychedelics is likely to set the trajectory of psychiatric medicine in the years to come. Dr. Johnson is among a small handful of researchers who have pioneered the clinical study of these powerful compounds. He has unprecedented insight into how they can be woven into other psychiatric treatments, changing one’s sense of self and reality."]

McNamee, Roger. "Roger McNamee on his quest to stop Facebook." Berkeley Talks (July 30, 2021) ["In episode 120 of Berkeley Talks, longtime venture capitalist Roger McNamee discusses how he, an early investor in Facebook and former adviser to Mark Zuckerberg, came to realize the damage caused by the social media giant and others like it, and how he’s committed to try to stop them. McNamee, author of the New York Times bestseller Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe (2019) spoke with Henry Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy, in February 2021."]














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