Learning to love the irrational mind

first_imgIn his seven years as a New York Times op-ed columnist, David Brooks has witnessed the full range of politicians’ charms. He has seen Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney memorize the first names of every voter in a New Hampshire diner, and held former President Bill Clinton’s friendly gaze in conversation, even across a crowded room.But when it comes time to create and vote on policies, Brooks said, that ability to relate to and empathize with the common man all but disappears. Brooks found himself wondering, he told a packed crowd at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) on Tuesday (April 12), “Why do the most socially attuned people on earth — the people I cover — make the most dehumanized decisions?”The answers, Brooks said, lay in both politicians’ and American society’s flawed views of human nature. By trying to create policies based on the idea that humans are rational beings, Brooks argued in his talk, “Politics, the Brain, and Human Nature,” people ignore their irrational and unconscious needs at their own peril.“We’ve inherited a view of ourselves that we’re divided selves, that we have reason over here and emotion over here,” Brooks said. “We value things we can quantify … and we tend not to devalue, but to be inarticulate about the rest.”What scientific research is showing, however, and what Brooks argues in his new book, “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement,” is that the irrational self can hardly be suppressed. Only by embracing that perhaps-unquantifiable need for community, relationships, and other unconscious desires, he told the crowd, can people make headway in pressing problems ranging from education to foreign wars.Brooks’ ability to explore the intersection of the human sciences and practical politics garnered him the podium for this year’s Science and Democracy Lecture, organized by the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), said moderator Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at HKS. The evening, which included an all-star lineup of Harvard analysts to respond to Brooks’ work, was co-sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the GSD, and the Harvard University Center for the Environment.In a wide-ranging talk, Brooks laid out the conclusions he found while searching for an explanation for “this amputation of human nature” in politics and everyday life. What he found, he said, is that scientists who study the mind, rather than theologians or philosophers, are yielding the most interesting answers to questions of what constitutes character, ethics, and virtue.Most thinking is unconscious, he said, and studies are showing that emotions, or unconscious responses, are most likely the foundation of the reasoning people use to make decisions.“Emotions assign values to things,” Brooks said. “If you don’t have that valuation system, then your decision-making landscape is hopelessly flat.”Furthermore, he added, research suggests that humans are “deeply interdependent creatures” who learn and even forge our personalities from the people we surround ourselves with.By taking advances in our understanding of human nature into account, Brooks said, politicians and other leaders could benefit from an entirely new range of skills that have little to do with academic expertise or traditional intelligence. He cited research that the ability to learn from others, to monitor biases and shortcomings in our own thinking, to pick out larger patterns from a jumble of information, and to maximize self-restraint, among other traits, play a larger role in our success in work and in life than they’re commonly given credit for.“If we base policy on a shallow view of human nature … we will design policies that are not fit for actual human beings,” he said. “We will have child-rearing techniques which continue to underemphasize the most important things in life. And we will have moral discussions that will remain vague and inarticulate.”Despite the sweeping vision Brooks laid out for the audience, a panel of Harvard experts remained somewhat unconvinced of his argument for embracing the unconscious self.Max Bazerman, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, cautioned that emphasizing the effectiveness of human intuition could lead to dangerous overconfidence. America has already experienced the painful repercussions of leaders’ hubris in managing wars and the economy.“People start businesses that should have never been started,” Bazerman said. “We fight wars because we want to get the bad guys. … We elect George W. Bush because we’d like to have a beer with him.”And if policies fail to address social problems, then politicians’ preference for hard data over human experience probably isn’t to blame, said David Kennedy, professor of law and director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School. Even if politicians embrace a broader idea of human nature, the process of policymaking will remain conflicted and confusing.“I don’t see the policy process as the best place where people figure out how to solve a problem,” he said.Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, argued that our lives are hardly governed by passion and instinct. While the sort of subtle social intelligence that Brooks described is helpful, he said, a much larger body of evidence shows that IQ — a quantifiable measure of intelligence — is much more likely to correlate with a person’s success in all kinds of endeavors, from work to marriage to literary or scientific accomplishments.After two hours of lively exchange, however, Pinker was quick to applaud Brooks for his book’s contributions to the continuing debate about reason and emotion.“It’s in the very nature of science that the practitioners themselves disagree over the evidence,” Pinker said. “I’d like to welcome David to our fractious arena, and to thank him for raising the level of political discourse in this country.”last_img read more

Building Your Brand: Why It’s Important

first_imgDid you know that before interviewing with a company, candidates look at the LinkedIn profiles of the company’s team members with similar jobs to learn what projects and responsibilities they have? They take note of the media, articles and posts the company’s team members have shared.Photo by Alex Knight on UnsplashThe influencer landscape is changing – institutional trust is declining and people want to hear from individuals like you and me. Candidates now have the power to be investigators and reporters with technology and social media at their fingertips. Therefore it is imperative that team members develop their personal brand as it is not only a reflection of them, but their company as well.LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with 500 million members worldwide and counting. It’s a great place to build your personal brand presence with more creativity than résumés allow. Building your brand on LinkedIn not only helps you establish a personal brand, it also gives the external market insight into your impactful work and your company’s culture.With that in mind, Dell’s Employment Brand team designed a “Build Your Brand” training program for our team members and external partners to help them build their personal and professional brands. After all, people tend to want to work with people they know and people they trust.From the Ground UpBuild Your Brand teaches Dell hiring leaders and individual contributors specific actions they can take to enhance their personal brand, harness the power of social media, build and develop rewarding networks, and learn best practices on LinkedIn.At Dell, we believe that our team member’s LinkedIn profiles should represent their personal brand. LinkedIn is now more than just a place to put your work history – it’s a living, breathing page that gives the external market insight into the incredible talent that we have at Dell. We empower our team members with tools and resources so that they are confident when sharing their life at Dell.Building Your Brand is not only easy, it’s encouraged. Build Your Brand is divided into three stages:​BUILD: A home starts with a solid foundation. Here, we’ll walk you through the process of building your brand from the ground up. This is where you’ll learn things like how to write a summary section and what your profile picture should look like. We’ll give you the blueprint to make your new digital home a success that’s able to stand the test of time.FURNISH: Now it’s time to settle in. We’ll need to add some bells and whistles, and get the ball rolling on making your personal brand something welcoming, and your digital home a place worth showing off.​INVITE: To truly make your digital home complete, it’s all about creating experiences for your community to be a part of. Share. Speak. Start a dialogue! That’s how you’ll scale your personal brand—and hopefully, your career—to all-new heights.Our Employment Brand team created the Build Your Brand training program with our internal team members in mind, but we also have external versions to share with the community. If you are looking to bring Build Your Brand to your college campus, veteran’s event, or professional workshop – contact a Dell recruiter today!Be sure to “Follow” the Dell LinkedIn company page to easily learn, discuss and share company news. Our presence on LinkedIn showcases what Dell is like as an employer and who we are as individual team members.last_img read more

GOP lawmakers seek tougher voting rules after record turnout

first_imgAUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican efforts to restrict voting access are taking shape in statehouses across the country with a flurry of legislation aimed at limiting measures that led to record turnout in the 2020 presidential election. GOP lawmakers have filed scores of bills to impose new restrictions on mail-in voting, strengthen voter ID requirements and tighten registration procedures. The lawmakers are using President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud to justify their proposals. Most target steps taken during the 2020 elections, as state officials sought to make voting safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. The proposals are advancing not only in traditional red states like Texas but also in such places as Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania that backed Biden in November.last_img read more

Gaelic Athletic Association head of communications, Notre Dame professor present on hurling

first_imgWhen it was looking for models to expand its media center and operations in Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) looked at stadiums in England and South Africa before coming to South Bend to observe the newly finished rennovations on Notre Dame Stadium.Head of communications for the GAA  — which oversees competition of the two Gaelic sports, hurling and Gaelic football — Alan Milton said what he saw blew him away.“We decided when we were going to go abroad to look at best-case scenarios, there was nowhere better than Notre Dame,” Milton said. “We weren’t left disappointed.” Chris Collins | The Observer Alan Milton, left, and Kevin Whelan demonstrate how to wield a hurl, which is used in hurling, Wednesday night.After taking a tour of the stadium, Milton — along with Kevin Whelan, the Michael Smurfit Director of the Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre in Dublin — spoke Wednesday evening in DeBartolo Hall on the GAA, its operations, history and the game of hurling. Whelan said hurling, which has traditionally been more popular in the more rural regions of the country, is deeply engrained in the Irish culture, and many Irishmen and women begin playing the game as soon as they can hold a hurl — the stick used to hit the ball in the game.“You can’t really pick it up as an adult, you have to be tipping away at it from being a child,” he said. “ … [Irish children], they pop out with a hurl in their hands, like a bionic extension of their arm.”The game, which George Bernard Shaw once described as “a mix of hockey and sudden death,” involves a great deal of danger, Whelan said.“You have to be careful, [the hurl] is a lethal weapon,” he said. “ … You’ve got to be a warrior. You’ve got to be very, very skillful.”The danger, coupled with the fast-paced nature of the game, makes it particuarly exciting, Milton said.“I defy anyone to watch the game of hurling and tell me it’s not the greatest game in the world. It’s intense,” he said. “It doesn’t take four hours … there are 40 scores in a game and some of the greatest physical stamina of sport.”Milton said the exciting nature of the game has led the GAA to push for expansion of hurling and Gaelic Football around the world, with a game in Boston’s Fenway Park hosting 35,000 people at a hurling match last year. “Never before have more people played our games,” he said. “Never before have people played hurling, which is more niche because of the skill set being so much higher.”Whelan and Milton said what makes the sports, and their administration through the GAA, most unique is that they are entirely amateur.The best hurling and Gaelic football athletes compete not for professional teams, but for their county on the island.“It’s without parallel … you’re born into a club and don’t leave that club no matter what,” Milton said. “We don’t have a transfer market, we don’t have a draft.”The community basis of these sports has been apparent since the GAA’s founding in 1884, Whelan said, as an organization meant to push out the influence of British sports like soccer, rugby and golf as a way of reclaiming an Irish national identity.“The GAA is also a cultural organization … the Irish language has always been a key part of the the GAA,” he said. “The GAA as a sporting organization is also a cultural-nationalist organization and one which prides itself on promoting Irish values and the Irish language.”These sports link to Irishness served as a political statement during conflicts in Northern Ireland in the latter half of the 20th century, Milton said. “In the six counties [of Northern Ireland] in particular, the greatest manifestation of their Irishness was through the games,” he said. “During the Troubles, it was a statement if you carried your hurl down the street or had a bag with GAA on it.”Milton said the community-based games have more meaning to the people of Ireland than most sports because of these inextricobale links to national identity. “I think a lot of modern sport has become homogenized — you can take it or leave it, its on in the background, its white noise,” he said. “But if you’re Irish … for lots of people who don’t speak the language, the greatest expression [as] an expression of Irishness is through the [Gaelic] games.”Tags: Alan Milton, GAA, Hurling, Kevin Whelan, Notre Dame Dublinlast_img read more

Wheat Survives Scare

first_imgWhen the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it’s not quarantining theSoutheastern wheat crop, growers and millers let out a sigh of relief. “We saw a lot of people sweating out a very difficult decision,” said Dewey Lee, anagronomist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. A quarantine could have killed the wheat industry in Georgia, Lee said. The dollar lossto farmers alone could have topped $75 million. Throughout the industry, losses couldhave soared as high as $150 million. Last December, USDA scientists began examining Georgia-grown wheat kernels andryegrass seeds thought to be infected with the Karnal bunt fungus. Since the fungus was found in wheat seed in Arizona in March 1996, USDA has madeconcerted efforts to contain its spread. While Karnal bunt doesn’t cause severe croplosses, the disease is significant with export markets. U.S. wheat exports in 1995 werevalued at $5.5 billion. Lee said he and other UGA scientists suspected the fungus spores found in the wheatweren’t the type that normally infects wheat plants. That turned out to be the case. What USDA found were spores that infect ryegrass but have no effect on wheat.Making that decision was tough, said Barry Cunfer, a plant pathologist with theGeorgia Experiment Station in Griffin. “The USDA conducted DNA tests on cultures from the suspected Karnal bunt spores todetermine positive identification of the disease,” Cunfer said. “However, they laterlearned that spores from ryegrass gave the same reaction as the true Karnal bunt in theDNA test.” While wheat farmers were waiting for word one way or the other, many may not havemanaged their crop as carefully as they could have. “At that point, they didn’t know if their crop would have any value at all,” Lee said.”If the USDA quarantined the crop, they didn’t want to have a lot of dollars or time init.” Cunfer said Karnal bunt causes little economic loss in the field. “Using standardfarming practices, losses greater than 1 percent would be unlikely,” he said. Incomparison, leaf rust can cause up to 40 percent loss. “Compared to other wheat diseases, it (Karnal bunt) doesn’t cause much damage,”Cunfer said. But wheat with Karnal bunt can be sold for food only under very restricted conditions.The farmer may be paid less for wheat with spores in it. The potential USDA quarantine, however, had millers and processors shying awayfrom Georgia wheat. Many growers couldn’t even find someone to contract their wheatcrop. “We’ve missed a lot of opportunities,” Lee said. The Karnal bunt fungus produces a chemical called trimethylamine. It’s the samecompound a dead fish produces when it rots. Usually, the first sign growers, millers orshippers have is that fishy smell. If more than 3 percent of the wheat is infected and is converted into flour, it will havethe fishy smell and thus be unacceptable. “It’s not toxic,” Cunfer said. “It’s just notpalatable.” Georgia farmers grow soft red winter wheat. This type is used for making all-purposeflour for cooking and baked goods like cookies, crackers and pizza dough. Most wheatfor bread flour is grown in the Midwest and Great Plains. Lee said that he’s glad the USDA decision was based on science and research. “It’s important to know that Karnal bunt is a relatively minor disease,” he said.”Georgia wheat farmers probably lost more to the quarantine scare than they wouldhave to the actual damage caused by the disease.”last_img read more

Champlain College announces a new bachelor’s degree in Electronic Game Programming

first_imgBURLINGTON, Vt.–One year after rolling out New Englands first bachelors degree in Electronic Game and Interactive Development, Champlain College is launching another innovative gaming major. Starting in Fall 2006, a new bachelors degree in Electronic Game Programming will offer a deep selection of technology courses for students who want to focus on the coding side of this growing industry.This program allows students to combine their love of games and game theory with their passion for the challenge of programming, said Champlain College professor John Rogate, director of the program. With the video game industry growing at an incredible rate, well-educated and expertly trained programmers are in peak demand.The new program builds on Champlains existing game major, which offers tracks in Game Design and Art & Animation. With the new programming major, Champlain College now offers a deep, three-pronged approach to educating future game designers, artists and programmers. Students choose their major according to the role that they want to play in the game development industry. They then dive deeply into their chosen field while being exposed to all aspects of the game development cycle and working in teams that mirror the game industry.The new program also takes advantage of the Colleges well-established Software Engineering program. Students will study C++ and assembly language programming, in addition to new courses that include: Console Programming, Game Architecture, Real Time Systems, Artificial Intelligence and Graphics Programming.Rounding out the new curriculum are courses in math and physics, literature, history, psychology, communication, fine arts, as well as conceptual development, player-driven game design, game history and playability testing.In a number of classes, Electronic Game Programming students will work alongside students who are studying to be creative designers and artists. In others, students will be teamed with software engineers and developers. The program will culminate with two senior team project courses, where all members of a game development team will work together in the creation of a final project.This program is designed to integrate the creative side of the industry with the technical side, Rogate said. It will be unique in that it will provide a programmer with experience with the full spectrum of the design and art team–a huge savings in on-the-job training.The new curriculum was designed according to game industry needs with the help of an advisory board with representatives from companies such as Electronic Arts, Nokia, Radical Entertainment and Ubisoft. However, the program does not limit students to that industry alone. Graduates will have the education and experience to prepare them for traditional programming careers as well as simulation and imaging careers in fields such as aviation, aerospace, health care, film and the military.Admission to the Electronic Game Programming major is expected be highly competitive and time sensitive. Visit www.champlain.edu(link is external) or call (800) 570-5858 for more information on the program, admissions deadlines and requirements.# # #last_img read more

Vermont Energy Investment Corp to create $21 million “efficiency smart power plant” in six states

first_imgVermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC),The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) and American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) have signed a contract for VEIC to provide a wide range of energy-efficiency and implementation services for the municipal electric utility members of the Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit wholesale power supplier. AMP s 128 publicly-owned municipal electric system members serve more than 570,000 customers in six states Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia.The goal of the new venture, known as the Efficiency Smart Power Plant, is to encourage residential, business and industrial customers to adopt cost-effective energy efficiency services that provide reliable and verifiable cost savings. In addition to lowering customers energy bills through efficiency, the Efficiency Smart Power Plant will stimulate local economies, create green jobs, provide technical resources for AMP s member utilities and establish a platform for sustainable growth. VEIC is thrilled to work with AMP members to build the Efficiency Smart Power Plant of the future, said Scott Johnstone, president of VEIC. This project draws on our 25 years of energy-efficiency work around the country and around the globe, particularly leveraging the business model we ve implemented through a decade of savings with the Efficiency Vermont contract.The name Efficiency Smart Power Plant was selected because AMP members will be investing in a new way to address their electric supply needs, by purchasing comprehensive energy efficiency technologies and technical support so that the members can realize continued savings over time. The benefits of the Efficiency Smart Power Plant include lower retail energy bills delivered at a price cheaper than building a new power supply, lower risk in volatile energy markets, and lower carbon emissions.The 3-year contract between VEIC and AMP, valued at approximately $21 million, has the potential to cumulatively save 70,000 MWh of participating member utilities energy needs by the end of the contract. All savings will be independently verified and guaranteed if the goals are not met, municipalities will be refunded for the savings not delivered. We wanted to work with a national leader in energy efficiency like VEIC because of its proven track record of saving energy and money for its customers, said AMP President/CEO Marc Gerken. We re looking forward to partnering with a nonprofit, energy-efficiency organization that looks for solutions that benefit the entire community. Every megawatt of energy saved, is a megawatt that doesn t have to be generated or transmitted making this program an important component of AMP s power supply strategy.About AMPAmerican Municipal Power Inc. is the wholesale power supplier and services provider for 128 member municipal electric systems in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. The organization operates and maintains a number of generation assets that include coal, hydroelectric, wind, natural gas and diesel units and is currently developing new generation assets on behalf of it members. This effort includes the largest deployment of new run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation in the country. In addition the organization provides a variety of related services to its members, including safety programs, technical services, financial programs, legislative, regulatory and legal representation as well as community outreach programs. For more information: www.amppartners.org(link is external)About VEICThe Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is a mission-driven nonprofit organization, founded in 1986, dedicated to reducing the economic, social, and environmental costs of energy consumption through cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. VEIC has consulted in 25 states, 6 Canadian Provinces and 7 countries outside North America to design programs that reduce energy use through energy efficiency and renewable energy. In addition, VEIC operates Efficiency Vermont the nation’s first statewide energy efficiency utility as well as other implementation services across the country. For more information: www.veic.org(link is external)Source: VEIC. 6.15.2010. Burlington, VT/Columbus, OH   # # #last_img read more

U.S. Support for Costa Rican Police Forces Bears Fruit

first_imgBy Dialogo March 02, 2012 As part of the Enduring Friendship Program, the U.S. government has made a valuable contribution of resources to the police forces of the Costa Rican Ministry of the Interior, Police, and Public Safety, in order to strengthen the competencies of their personnel and the capabilities of their equipment and infrastructure. In 2011 alone, the aid was over 7 million dollars and benefited the National Coast Guard Service, the National Air Guard Service, the Drug Control Police, and the Public Force. Among the chief contributions are the construction of the new Coast Guard station in Caldera, Puntarenas; the remodeling of three 82-foot vessels; and the contribution of two new 33-foot interceptor vessels, together with two vehicles to transport them and a container of spare parts for a year’s maintenance. These boats, specially designed for pursuit operations, are in operation at the Quepos and Golfito naval stations. As part of the donated equipment, the National Coast Guard Service has a digital tracking system that provides exact real-time information on the position and route of suspicious vessels detected by planes that fly over national territory as part of the functions assigned in the bilateral treaty on cooperation to suppress illicit trafficking. These technologically advanced systems and equipment have improved the command and control of police operations, making it possible to plan an appropriate response to environmental and criminal threats, maritime emergencies, and natural disasters in territorial waters. As a result of joint patrols between the U.S. and Costa Rican Coast Guard services, eight specialized operations by the end of 2011 made it possible to seize more than 1,515 tons of cocaine. Costa Rica is grateful for this cooperative effort, which aims to support the fight against international drug trafficking by giving police forces the technical capacity to confront this illicit business and providing advanced communications systems for interoperability among those police forces.last_img read more

After Jan. 20, 2021, Trump will lose immunity on Twitter and could get suspended for being Donald

first_img– Advertisement – That means that tweets like this.x Twitter has explained that their approach to world leaders on their platform is different than it is for most users, “if a Tweet from a world leader does violate the Twitter Rules but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, we may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content.”But as Twitter explained to The Verge, “Twitter’s approach to world leaders, candidates, and public officials is based on the principle that people should be able to choose to see what their leaders are saying with clear context. This means that we may apply warnings and labels, and limit engagement to certain tweets. This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions.” – Advertisement –center_img Might just stay up, but Tweets like Trump’s May 28, one saying “….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” might just get him fired from Twitter.- Advertisement –last_img read more

COVID-19: UK offers visa waiver for Indonesian relatives of British citizens

first_imgAs countries around the world move to impose travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, the United Kingdom – despite being one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe – has offered visa waivers for Indonesian relatives of British citizens.“British nationals can always enter the UK, it’s home. The UK is still open to anyone with a valid visa or status, including of course Indonesians – any Indonesian with a valid visa or settled status in the UK,” the British Embassy in Jakarta wrote on its official Facebook page on Sunday.However, the embassy said that new visa applications would not be processed, with the exception of immediate family members of British citizens.    “Visa waivers are available for any Indonesian who is the husband, wife or child of a British national who is still in Indonesia and wishes to travel back together to the UK,” the embassy said.The individuals still need to meet the criteria for a Standard Visitor Visa for family visitors, which are detailed at https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa.If they meet all the criteria, individuals seeking a visa waiver should contact the embassy directly or via its Facebook account and detail their situation if they plan to fly back as a family, as visa waivers are considered on compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis.“The same immigration rules for a standard visitor visa upon entering the UK still apply, just as those who already hold the same type of visa in the UK,” the embassy said. As of Monday morning, real time data from the Johns Hopkins University showed that the UK had recorded 19,784 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 1,228 deaths.Several prominent figures in the country have been infected with the virus, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.Johnson became the first leader of a major power to announce a positive test result for coronavirus on Friday. He is self-isolating in Downing Street but is still leading the UK’s response to the crisis, Reuters reported.The UK is bracing for the epidemic to peak in the coming weeks, and is building field hospitals in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff to bolster its state-run National Health Service (NHS), the news agency wrote.Topics :last_img read more