[Humanist] 22.478 brain science podcasts

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Jan 26 09:35:37 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 478.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 00:25:46 -0800
        From: Nathaniel Bobbitt <flautabaja at hotmail.com>
        Subject: Brain Science Podcasts for Digital Humanist
        In-Reply-To: <COL102-W53E90CC9601092243781FCCCA0 at phx.gbl>

Digital Humanists:

Ginger Campbell MD is not too quietly developing a reputation as a trusted
source in the diffusion of book reviews, interviews, and the assembly of
informative practices related with brain science, neuroscience, cognitive
science, AI, embodied intelligence, and linguistics. Listening to her
podcasts will bring you in contact with leading ideas and the people behind
those ideas. She is amassing a Who's Who of people to track. She is well on
her way as a fixture within the neuroscience community as she
single-handedly is bridging basic research and public awareness of

Given this recent posting on neuroscience in the humanities and arts I am
forwarding samples from Ginger Campbell's podcast blog. 


You have two options there: series on brain science and "Books and Ideas." 
Campbell signals what an active mind can do with a passion for reading,
learning, and intellectual discourse. 

For highly informative podcasts on current brain science practices and
topics on language, reading, and human performance I highly recommend:

Episode 53 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Did My Neurons
Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral
Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown. This book
challenges the widespread fear that neuroscience is revealing an explanation
of the human mind that concludes that moral responsibility and free will are
illusions created by our brains. Instead the authors argue that the problem
is the assumption that a physicalist/materialistic model of the mind must
also be reductionist (a viewpoint that all causes are bottom-up). In this
podcast I discuss their arguments against causal reductionism and for a
dynamic systems model. We also discuss why we need to avoid brain-body
dualism and recognize that our mind is more than just what our brain does.
The key to preserving our intuitive sense of our selves as free agents
capable of reason, moral responsibility, and free will is that the dynamic
systems approach allows top-down causation, without resorting to any
supernatural causes or breaking any of the know laws of the physical
universe. This is a complex topic, but I present a concise overview of the
book’s key ideas.


Brain Science Podcast #52 is our Second Annual Review Episode. We review
some of the highlights from 2008. I also discuss the various other on-line
resources that I have created for listeners. Then we look ahead to what I
have planned for 2009. This episode is aimed at all listeners, including
those who are new to the show.


Podcasts which align well with digital humanities include:

Dr. Maryanne Wolf, Director of The Center for Reading and Language Research
at Tufts University Brain Science Podcast #29 is an interview with cognitive
neuroscientist, Dr. Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid: The Story
and Science of the Reading Brain. I discussed her book in Episode 24, so
this interview was an opportunity to ask her some follow-up questions, and
to focus more on how children learn to read. Dr. Wolf shares her ten years
of experience helping children learn to read and developing programs to help
children with problems like dyslexia. She shares some practical advice for
parents as well as her concerns about how reliance on the internet could
influence reading skills.


Episode 38 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jeff Hawkins,
author of "On Intelligence." Hawkins is well-known for founding Palm
Computing and Handspring. He invented the Grafitti handwriting recognition
system and helped develop the Palm Trio SmartPhone. Since he published his
bestseller "On Intelligence" he has worked full-time on his passion for
neuroscience. His current company, Numenta, is developing software that
models the hierarchal structure of the neocortex. In this interview we talk
about the ideas in Hawkins book and how he is applying them to develop a
computer model of cortical function. This is a follow-up to Episode 2, which
first aired in December of 2006


Episode 37 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. John
Medina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at
Work, Home, and School. We talk about how exercise, sleep, and stress effect
our brains with an emphasis on practical advice for healthier brain
function. We also look at how research on memory, vision and the brain’s
attention system suggests how we can improve our ability to learn and our
ability to share ideas with others. Dr. Medina’s focus is on considering
real world examples of how our schools and work environments could be
reformed to utilize the growing knowledge of neuroscience. But he also
stresses the importance of compiling sufficient experimental data before
embarking on new programs.


#23 Brain Science Podcast: Interview with Sandra Blakeslee, co-author of The
Body Has a Mind of Its Own.

This is a follow-up on Episode 21, which a discussion of Blakeslee's new
book about body maps. In the interview we talk about the relationship
between body maps (in the brain) and neuroplasticity, as well as how body
maps may explain alternative healing methods and out-of-body experiences.

Episode 30 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of The First Word:
The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally. We focus
mostly on the first part of the book, which tells the story of how the study
of language evolution has grown from almost a banned subject to a new field
of inquiry called evolutionary linguistics. We also reflect on how recent
findings in neuroscience like the importance of plasticity are influencing
the field.


On meditation:


On fascia:


Nathaniel Bobbitt

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