Humanities


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New Orleans native Sunni Patterson is an internationally-known Def poetry artist and activist. She is joined in a conversation with George Lipsitz and David Kim about her music and poetry, and her life reaching, teaching and healing. Recorded on 10/05/2016.

The stars of the documentary, "I'll Push You," tell a remarkable story of sacrifice, spiritual awakening and transformation as Patrick Gray and his wheelchair-bound best friend Justin Skeesuck recount the emotional tolls of their 500-mile trek on the Camino de Santiago in Spain in this conversation with Dean Nelson, founder of the Writer's Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Cosmologist and author of "Losing the Nobel Prize" Brian Keating tells the inside story of BICEP2's mesmerizing discovery and the scientific drama that ensued in this interview with science fiction author David Brin. Keating describes a journey of revelation and discovery, bringing to life the highly competitive, take-no-prisoners, publish-or-perish world of modern science. Along the way, he provocatively argues that the Nobel Prize, instead of advancing scientific progress, may actually hamper it, encouraging speed and greed while punishing collaboration and bold innovation. In a thoughtful reappraisal of the wishes of Alfred Nobel, Keating offers practical solutions for reforming the prize, providing a vision of a scientific future in which cosmologists may, finally, be able to see all the way back to the very beginning. Recorded on 04/25/2018.

Beth Shapiro, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz, explains her work on using ancient DNA to infer evolutionary history and processes. She is the MacArthur Award-winning author of "How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction," which considers the feasibility and desirability of bringing back passenger pigeons, steppe bison, mammoth and other currently extinct species. This program is presented by the Institute for Practical Ethics in the Division of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego.

Orson Welles direction and his performance as Shakespeare's legendary Falstaff are at the center of this conversation about Chimes at Midnight, Welles' 1965 film masterpiece that was unavailable to the public for decades. Professors Jim Kearney (UC Santa Barbara) and Joseph McBride (San Francisco State University) discuss Welles' lifelong admiration of the Bard and the film's complicated production and distribution history. The two professors also explore Welles' ambitious adaptation of story material from five different Shakespeare plays into this single film.
Recorded on 01/16/2018.

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Michael Warner, the Seymour H. Knox Professor of English and American Studies, at Yale University, and the 2018 Tanner Lecturer at Berkeley. The conversation focuses on Professor Warner's intellectual odyssey from a Pentecostal upbringing to an Ivy League professorship of American literature. The conversation includes discussion of his scholarship on the reciprocal influence of colonial printing and the development and assertion of democratic values; his advocacy on issues surrounding gay marriage; and his theoretical insights on publics and counter public as they apply to contemporary political dialogue. Recorded on 03/21/2018.

Sooner or later, the food requirements of nine billion people with increasing appetites for seafood must be addressed. Although aquaculture may supply the majority of the global 'seafood', most aquaculture is fed meal from wild caught fish, such as sardine and anchovy. To estimate the distributions and abundance of these and other small fish off the west coast, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center routinely conducts "acoustic-trawl" surveys. David Demer will briefly describe the vessels, instrumentation and methods that are used to conduct these surveys, and provide a virtual tour of the world-class facilities in La Jolla that are used to develop the next generation of autonomous, ocean-sampling technologies. Join us to learn more about this exciting technology and be part of a discussion about possible ethical challenges.

Arthur Szyk often said, "Art is not my aim, it is my means." In this talk, Irvin Ungar exposes the viewer to the breadth and depth of the power, purpose, and persuasion of the artist Arthur Szyk who saw himself as a fighting artist, enlisting his pen and paintbrush as his weapons against hatred, racism, and oppression before, during, and after World War II. Recorded on 04/10/2019.

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.

Sonia Nazario is an award-winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of this country's most intractable problems — hunger, drug addiction, immigration — and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards. She is best known for "Enrique's Journey," her story of a Honduran boy's struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, "Enrique's Journey" won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003. It was turned into a book by Random House and became a national bestseller. Her recent humanitarian efforts to get lawyers for unaccompanied migrant children led to her selection as the 2015 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award recipient by the Advocates for Human Rights.

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.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of engineering that has traditionally ignored brains, but recent advances in biologically-inspired deep learning have dramatically changed AI and made it possible to solve difficult problems in vision, planning and natural language. If you talk to Alexa or use Google Translate, you have experienced deep learning in action. This new technology opens a Pandora's box of problems that we must confront regarding privacy, bias and jobs. Terry Sejnowski, PhD, explains how his research strives to understand the computational resources of brains and to build linking principles from brain to behavior using computational models.

Bo Peep's fierce leadership, modeling a character on a puppy, and the differences between writing for animation and live action all arise in this conversation about the Pixar legendary franchise between Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4) and Pollock Theater Director Matt Ryan. In this video, Folsom and Ryan explore her career, the process of writing Toy Story 4, and her work in the Pixar universe. Recorded on 02/29/2020.
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