Humanities


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The Moment in Time documents the uncertain days of the beginning of World War II when it was feared the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb. The history of the bomb's development is traced through recollections of those who worked on what was known as "the gadget."

E. Randol Schoenberg, the grandson of the composer Arnold Schoenberg, is an expert in handling cases involving looted art and the recovery of property stolen by the Nazi authorities during the Holocaust. He tells the story here of his most prominent case, "Republic of Austria v. Altmann" which resulted in the successful return of six paintings by Gustav Klimt, including the "Golden Lady," to their rightful owners. Recorded on 05/06/2015.

For more than a half century, John Lithgow has been delighting audiences on stage, in movies and on television. In a lively discussion with Peter Gourevitch, distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UC San Diego, Lithgow reflects on his preparations for the wide diversity of roles that have shaped his career and influenced the larger culture, from his star turn in "The World According to Garp" to his SAG-award-winning role as Winston Churchill in the Netflix original series "The Crown." Recorded on 10/11/2017.

Celebrated author, literature champion, and bookstore owner Ann Patchett electrifies the audience as she describes her evolving relationships with various books, ranging from classics by Leo Tolstoy and John Updike to more contemporary works by Min Jin Lee ("Pachinko"), Matthew Desmond ("Evicted") and Ta-Nehisi Coates ("Between the World and Me"), among others. Patchett reads both for pleasure and for business, as the co-owner and buyer for Parnassus Books in Nashville. Why would a best-selling author bother with opening a book store in 2011, when all of the others in her hometown had closed? Because, she says, she couldn't bear to live in a city without one so she and a partner opened their own! And, as she tells here, Parnassus Books has been a huge success. Patchett is the featured speaker of the 2017 Dinner in the Library event at UC San Diego.  
Recorded on 09/08/2017.

Where does the line in digital ethics reside? As the number of social media users grows, so does the amount of data generated. This user-generated data includes sensitive and private details about people's daily lives. The details can be used to uncover valuable information about trends in human behavior. As these social and technological spheres converge, ethical concerns about the manner in which the data are collected, analyzed, and ultimately used and disseminated by companies, researchers, and the government arise. Tim K. Mackey, MAS, PhD highlights some of these challenges from the perspective of a researcher exploring the social media risk environment for prescription drug abuse.

A legendary director noted for his uncompromising passion, Werner Herzog joins Carsey-Wolf Center Director Patrice Petro for a discussion about his 1979 film "Nosferatu The Vampyre" which he says is a tribute to the classic 1922 film "Nosferatu" by F.W. Murnau. Herzog also discusses his career and the film's significance as a bridge to the masterworks of interwar cinema. Recorded on 10/12/2017.

In this talk Julian McAuley, UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering, discusses the modeling techniques behind personalized recommendation technology on the web. Examples of Recommender Systems range from simple statistical approaches like Amazon's people who bought X also bought Y links, to complex AI-based approaches that drive feed ranking on sites like Facebook. We'll discuss the models that drive these systems, look at the research questions that drive the future of this field in the coming years, and discuss their ethical implications.

Pianist Cecil Lytle and friends celebrate the Jewish folk traditions of Eastern Europe with spoken word, Klezmer music, and songs from the Yiddish theater. Featured performers include bassist Bertram Turetzky, singer Eva Barnes, and the Second Avenue Klezmer Band. Recorded on 01/27/2019.

In the United States, privacy is considered a fundamental right. Yet today our activities are followed to a degree unfathomable not long ago by way of cell phones, online behaviors, and more. As genomic technologies continue to expand, another avenue now exists by which we may potentially be scrutinized: DNA sequence. Our genetic information contains our most private details, but we leave it everywhere and share the sequence closely with dozens or even hundreds of relatives. Laura Rivard, PhD, professor of biology at the University of San Diego, discusses ways in which our DNA may "escape" from our control, what can actually be done with the sequence, and whether there is cause for concern.

E-cigarettes have become popular and widely used so fast that the safety testing on them is practically non-existent. While researchers rush to define the toxicities and potential health effects of e-cigarettes, should we be advising everyone against these nicotine delivery devices? Or should we try to be positive and hopeful, in case e-cigarettes have fewer adverse health effects relative to conventional tobacco cigarettes, and thus advise current smokers to switch to e-cigs as a harm reduction strategy? Beyond that, what are the risks of the different e-cig flavors and types of devices? Is vaping caffeine and THC more or less dangerous than vaping nicotine? What are the specific dangers of e-cig use for children, teenagers and young adults? Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD examines the evolution of e-cigarettes and and shares a physician's view.

Opera News has called UC San Diego Music Professor Anthony Davis A National Treasure, for his pioneering work in opera. His six operas include works centered on recent historical figures & events, including Malcolm X and Patty Hearst. Davis' latest opera The Central Park Five, an exploration of the wrongful conviction of five teenagers of color in NYC in the 1980s, premiered at Long Beach Opera in 2019 to international acclaim. In this conversation with UC San Diego Music Professor Emeritus Cecil Lytle, Davis explains the genesis of The Central Park Five, and the challenges that ensue when art collides with current events. Recorded on 12/7/2019.

Twentieth-Century African American Freedom Struggles transformed both US and World History. These seminal liberation struggles include the important yet relatively unknown series of early twentieth-century southern African American streetcar boycotts as well as the iconic Civil Rights-Black Power Insurgency (1935-75). First, Waldo Martin examines why and how these foundational freedom struggles proved essential to the making of the modern African American Freedom Movement. Second, he examines the centrality of the modern African American Freedom Movement to both the creation of the modern United States and the development of the modern world. Waldo Martin is the Alexander F. & May T. Morrison Professor of American History & Citizenship at the University of California, Berkeley.

A major ambition of artificial intelligence lies in translating patient data to successful therapies. Machine learning models face particular challenges in biomedicine, however, including handling of extreme data heterogeneity and lack of mechanistic insight into predictions. Trey Ideker, PhD argues for "visible" approaches that guide model structure with experimental biology.

The privilege and challenge of extending Margaret Atwoods source novel, the unexpected opportunities arising from a new location, and writing scenes that feel like a horror film all arise in this lively conversation about The Handmaid's Tale between writer/producer Kira Snyder and Carsey-Wolf Center associate director Emily Zinn. In this video, Snyder discusses breaking down the story arcs for season two and the choice to isolate Junes character when she gives birth. Recorded on 02/04/2020.

The challenge of representing global environmental change on screen, the complex process of documentary editing, and the difficulties of location shooting in sensitive areas all arise in this conversation between UC Santa Barbara film and media professor Alenda Chang and co-director Jennifer Baichwal about Anthropocene: The Human Epoch. In this video, Baichwal reflects on the conflicts environmental media makers face between the desire to produce films to raise awareness and the need to limit their own carbon footprints. Recorded on 03/10/2020.
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