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by Riley Valentine (they/them)
My work analyzes contemporary neoliberalism as a form of normative reason that redefines specific political concepts, which are central to American liberalism – equality, liberty, the role of the State, freedom, and happiness. I contend that language is an important expression of normative reason and is a political text. Language is how political reason and the norms accompanying it are expressed. I move through Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama, exploring the changes from a progressive liberal political reasoning to one that is neoliberal. By understanding the language of neoliberalism, I argue that we can better understand neoliberalism as a form of reason and grasp its implications.
Ben: We'll get started. Riley suggested that we kind of wrap this up by about 1130. So yeah, if you're got the script, your How long is your talk going to be?
Riley Valentine: Like, 15 minutes? I'm gonna try. Got it down. Let's see. Look at recording now. Okay, recording in progress.
Ben: Got it. Yeah. And I'll also be recording for the purpose of creating a written transcript in the future. So I'm Ben Klemens. None of you're here to see me. You're here to see Riley Valentine, who goes by they and them. So as the moderator, I read the rules. You'll be hearing these rules a lot, I suppose. But yeah, for the first time. No vocal interruption of their presenter. So hold your questions and comments to the end. And if you need to do clarifications, we have the text chat for that. Please turn off your camera and your microphone, so we don't distract. So yeah, I'll be announcing timing, but it's going to be a 15 minute talk. And yeah, we don't tolerate queerphobia or racism, misogyny. Basically, don't be a dick. If you, are as the moderator, it's a one strike rule, and I guess you can read the transcript afterward. So yeah, here's Riley. Really looking forward to your talk. This is going to be about "Speaking Ideology: How American presidential speeches reflect normative reason."
Riley: Thank you for the introduction. So this is my-a run through of my dissertation defense. So my dissertation is a study of political discourse. So my argument is that political discourse is in fact a version of political action. And that the way that we speak creates a, an agreed upon common sense, agreed upon narrative of what we ought to do as citizens, and what we ought not to do, which gives us an idea of not just our legal ideas of who we are, but also moral ideas. So to look at that I focus specifically on how Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Reagan, Bush senior, Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama interpret key concepts that are essential to American politics. So I look specifically at equality, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the state's rôle. So I take them specifically from Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, which presidents such as Lincoln have pointed to as a key document to American political ideas and have reified consistently.
So I argue that within these ideas, there are these two antimonies, two tensions. So first, you have one between liberty and equality. So if you prioritize liberty, that people are going to be free to be unequal. If you prioritize equality, then some liberties will necessarily be constrained in some ways. And the two interpretations of the pursuit of happiness are also in conflict. So one definition, if you use John Locke, the founders would definitely have known about, would be property and profit acquisition, and the other is very Aristotelian and Humean, realizing the idea of eudaimonia, so human flourishing. So the ways in which these antimonies are resolved, contribute to a general conception of justice, and as I mentioned, how society ought to be ordered. So what I've done is look at these presidents FDR, LBJ, Reagan, Bush Senior, Clinton, Bush Jr, and Obama. And I look at their State of the Union addresses, specifically, to track [inaudible] and I focus on State of the Union addresses because that's where presidents stand up before Congress to talk about where the country is now. Usually, if it's the beginning of their presidency, they're not very excited about it, because they're critiquing the past president. And they talk about where they're going to go. And as they move forward in their presidency, they're evaluating themselves. So it creates a narrative of both how they see themselves and how they see the future.
And in the future, I plan on looking at some of the other presidents. However, I focus pretty narrowly on these just because there's only a limited time. So FDR and LBJ create what I call progressive liberalism. And I argue that what the essential components of this are, are that there's prioritization of equality. And there's an analysis of the pursuit of happiness as being rooted in human flourishing, the Aristotelian idea. So FDR, he's coming into this conflict of the Great Depression, World War Two. And so he's confronted with the problems of how do you ameliorate the suffering of all of these people, while still upholding American liberal ideas, property rights. And what are meeting human needs gonna look like in all of this? So he stresses equality a lot during the Great Depression. He advocates for an economic Bill of Rights, he called it a second bill of rights, which includes guarantees to leisure time, to happiness, to education, which hadn't really been discussed at all in America before. He lays out the significant framework that restricts individual economic freedoms, and he poses us a language around integrity, responsibility, and he even says in one State of the Union, that America's strength relies upon our interdependence upon one another. So he developed this idea of rights as being dependent upon one another. So my well being depends upon my neighbor's well being as well. There's a really complex idea within that that hadn't necessarily existed before. This individualism starts to come apart from him.
And so he focuses on ideas that we need to address. And of course, this is couched really heavily in the Great Depression. So his focus is really economic. And LBJ starts to extend that to specifically looking at race. So LBJ creates this idea called the Great Society. And it has three roads, right: Growth, justice, and liberation. And so his presidency is coming like—JFK just got shot, not great. And he's confronted with the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.
Vietnam War: incredibly unpopular. And the civil rights movement is actively happening. So people are actively fighting racial discrimination. People are actively being, like, lynched by white supremacists, people are being attacked. And in his rhetoric, he talks about Black and White citizens well being as being interdependent upon one another. So he creates a narrative where racial discrimination isn't just an economic problem. It's not just a political problem. It's a moral problem. And he specifically argues that White people's morality in America is suffering because of racism. And he talks about how a nation's quality depends on the quality of its citizens. So citizens stand up for one another, assist each other. So insofar as white supremacy stands in America, then you need—you can't call yourself a just nation, and so you need to respond to that. So his argument and analysis, specifically on equality, is equality around racial discrimination. So he is, is the President who signs the Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, he advocates for affirmative action, so making sure that Black people can have the same access to systems of education as White people, he actively talks about how class inequity, you know, so here he kind of departs from FDR, where he's like class inequity is a symptom of racist discrimination.
So he starts to grapple with the historical boundaries in the United States in a way that presidents really hadn't up till then. And he starts talking about how a just society is one where people receive what they ought to receive, and they're not excluded on—from opportunities based on arbitrary boundaries, such as one's race. And both FDR and Johnson see citizens as having an active involvement and active dependence upon one another. And so they really stressed the fact for FDR, he stresses the fact that the rich have a responsibility to the poor. And with LBJ, he explicitly stresses that White people's well being is connected to Black citizens well being, which was a pretty radical idea at the time.
And then there's a dramatic shift in Reagan. So Reagan is largely understood as being the person who brings in neoliberalism into America.
So what is neoliberalism? Neoliberalism is a political philosophy, an idea that highlights a few extremely important things. One is that of free market. It highlights the importance of the rational, self-interested actor. It kind of moves away from the idea that problems can be solved in politics, on the side of politics and dialogue. Instead they can be ameliorated in the market. It also advocates for a small domestic state, but one that is really expansive internationally, often in terms of trade, and militaristically. So Reagan creates this, and it's usually labeled under "Reaganomics", where he's like, we need to decrease our federal spending, we gotta reduce these taxes, we gotta deregulate the market and restrict the money supply, while increasing military spending.
And he calls this a "Second American Revolution". And in many ways he's correct. This completely transforms all of the discourse in America that had existed up until then, when it comes to how Americans should think about themselves, and these key essentially contested concepts. So he argues that this expansive state that FDR and LBJ set up to help people economically prosper—He focuses on economic prospering, and he says that actually, it kept people poor, and it kept them dependent upon the state. And he argues that actually, especially with LBJ, this idea that helping address people's, like, economic issues would also include and sort of dovetail into addressing racism. He says, actually, that's not true at all. It's like, if you want to empower minorities—he specifically just says minorities—he says you need to focus on economic liberation. And if you lock people essentially into welfare programs—remember he's the president creates the racial term welfare queen—he's like Ben, you're going to just create a cycle of impoverishment. So he starts essentially saying that all welfare programs are bad. And they're unamerican. And the second American Revolution will show that.
So he redefines the idea of equality he says it's an individual's ability to exercise their economic ability, and to be free from dependency on federal programs. So he really highlights the importance of individual rights, specifically individual economic rights. So here you can see that that antinomy between liberalism and equality is going it's gonna end up leaning more towards individualism and liberties. And he interprets pursuit of happiness, as the pursuit of wealth.
Like it's one. He talks extensively about how, you know, [indistinct comment] it's sorry, it's entertaining, in a dark way, says that, you know, our regulation of the market has shown a distrust in capitalism. And he says, "it's a system which has never failed us, but which we have failed through a lack of confidence, and sometimes through belief that we could fine tune the economy, get it tuned to our liking."
So meaningful life requires this deregulated market this absolutely deregulated market. And a fair society adjust society requires the elimination of unfair economic policy, taxation, and the expansion, in all cases, individuals economic freedoms. So he has a significant departure. I have five minutes, so we're going to try to go as quickly as possible through a few more presidents, it might take a little longer than I thought.
So Bush Sr comes is coming next, and Bush Sr's ratings. And what he's known for immediately is that he's not as great a speaker as Reagan, and people are not as excited about him. So he focuses on the importance for a militaristically strong country. And he talks about how the role of state is predominantly economic, and it should produce physical, intellectual and human capital. He has acknowledged the fact that there needs to be welfare. And there also needs to be blanket assistance for Americans with disabilities, he creates the Americans with Disability Act. So Bush Sr is an interesting transition president who utilizes both progressive liberalism, in regards to disabled people, as well as very neoliberal beliefs about what the state's role is internationally.
So he doesn't necessarily line up into either progressive neoliberal or neoliberal framework in his language. Instead, there's this really like strange heterodox, between him where he believes that a good life is very community centered, but the state's largely absent. However, the state does have a significant role, and human well being does require freedom to participate in the economy, but it also needs if you cannot participate in the economy due to certain barriers, then you do need help. So he hows this really tenuous position. And he's only a one term president. So we don't really get a lot of detail into his development of language.
Clinton is a much more complex President. He kind of wants to have it both ways. His solution to the presidency and this idea of like, okay, is he going to be progressive liberal, what's it going to be? He creates this idea of the New Covenant, he says that the New Covenant way should unite us behind a common vision of what's best for our country. The old way to spend services and large top down flexible bureaucracies. The new covenant way should shift these resources and decision making from bureaucrats to citizens. The old way of governing around here, actually [inaudible] failure. So here, you see, he echoes a lot of Reagan, he talks about how, you know, the progressive liberal programs of the old days is ended up actually hurting people. And that instead, we need to strip down those bureaucracies and help everyday.
But he still argues for a very expansive state. So even as he's, he's critiquing progressive liberalism, he still advocates for health care reform, environmental protections, all of these things, while simultaneously saying that state should be small in some aspects, but functionally, it should have an expansive role. So there's this complex tension, where on one hand, he seems to be giving lip service almost to both sides, sort of to appeal to them.
He does, however, do something that is a shift for Democrat presidents, where he talks a lot about opportunity and responsibility. So he stresses the fact that individuals have responsibilities to the state, and to one another. And we have a right to a meaningful life, but that right comes through fulfilling our obligations to one another and the state. And so he focuses on this like very citizen centric kind of project sort of called like volunteerism, so the idea that citizens are going to step up, and they're going to take on some of these roles, but he doesn't necessarily minimize the state. He's does this really strange back and forth. And he prioritizes equality, even as he gives it an economic lean. But there's still these progressive elements in there. So both Clinton and Bush Senior have this really strange heterodox of this combination, that doesn't quite make much sense when you look at.
Okay, so then we get Bush Jr. I gotta go fast, because I'm going over time. So Bush, Jr. He is a classic neoliberal, he has abandoned his dad's legacy, and he is embracing Reaganism. So, he is really focused first on the Iraq War. And he is advocating for immediate deregulation of the market, especially the housing market, which is going to the Great Recession. He talks about how the state's role is actually to be a steward of the market. And that we should, but it also should do things like protect the environment, so that we can use the environment to profit, like develop more like goods and resources, and that we need to be internationally dominant, both militaristically and economically. We need to cut taxes. He talk a lot about how freedom is this natural rights, all those, and that, you know, it's the freedom to access rights, the free elections, markets, press. All very, like basic liberal freedoms, but also as well as economic opportunity. And all of those are framed in the context of the Iraq War. So it makes sense that he would stress free elections and markets and press and free labor unions, `cause he's really saying, like, we're gonna bring these American qualities to the rest of the world.
And he talks about how all of these people who were privileging of equality over, you know, over liberty, were protectionists who don't want to be involved in in the global world, they're actually gonna hurt America, they're gonna hurt American's freedoms through impacting our lack of international market access. So he has this like, extremely neoliberal lean that we haven't really seen since Reagan. And President is very, it's not very popular spoiler, if you don't remember.
So Obama comes in, and I will not be this snarky during my defense, because that would not be great. So Obama comes in. And he's coming in right with the great recession. And he immediately does something that's incredibly unfavorable, where he bails out the banks. And it's a massive action, and people critique, and heavily, and he recognizes that. He says in his speeches, he's like, no one likes us. He's like, everyone hates me. No one's excited about this. This is wildly unpopular, but I have to do it. So he shows this investment in the economic realm of the state, right, that this market is deeply, deeply important.
And so the state's obligations [...] are to protect the market. Because in protecting the market, it ensures that we have access to economic prosperity. And he really lifts up this idea that what Americans want is this middle class lifestyle, is this life where we're all fairly well educated and have gone to college, or at least have a high school graduation, and we're okay, economically, we're not like super worried. And he talks about how the best citizens in America and the most creative are the corporate citizens. So we should rely on these businessmen to help reform us, not necessarily politicians, which distances the state. But at the same time, he passes the Affordable Care Act, which is incredibly expansive and rests on a progressive liberal idea, right? There's nothing more progressive liberal than state should create a federal mandate that all people can have access to health care.
That was it was remarkable in America, but it's still economic. Right? They still citizens are still persisting through a marketplace and insurance companies still profit. So he has these like, progressive liberal moments, but they're still heavily economic. And when it comes to whether he prefers or I guess, leans into liberty or equality, it's a little more complex. So he, and so—I'll just, I'll just end it really quickly. So liberty he looks at as the capacity for all individuals to participate fully in democratic society, which includes markets. And equality is, you know, a social and economic situation in which no person's rights, including the right to economic success, matter more than other person's rights, the connects that to these ideas like investment. So he heavily leans on quality, but there's an economic aspect there.
So he, similar to the other presidents, besides Bush Jr. is this strange heterodox, where there's progressive liberalism in there, and also neoliberalism. What this demonstrates is that after Reagan, there wasn't like a clean, new narrative to American politics. Instead, there was like wrestling over what is America's political identity, What is the ideology after this framework? And how do we understand America's like duty as a state, and Americans' and citizens duties, one another. So there, there's [...] outside my window. So the majority of the Presidents I study increasingly include neoliberal principles and rhetoric into their discourse, even if they also include progressive liberal elements. So there's shift, but the shift is still reflects an ongoing tension. And I know I went significantly over, there's two minutes left, we can always extend to 11:45. Yeah, so that's it. I'm realizing I'm gonna have to go through and cut some things. Anyone has questions, Let me know.
Ben: Yeah. Thanks so much. That was a great talk. If it were more boring, I would have cut you off vigorously, but it was all, there was a lot of content there. So yeah, thank you so much. Feel free to everybody, feel free to put yourself on camera or unmute if you have questions. As we like to say, please be sure to phrase your questions in the form of a question.
Claus: So fantastic talk, Riley, I really liked it. I'm not super familiar with American politics or American history. So that was a real community. And what I want to ask is, like, one thing that really caught my attention is that you brought the different the break that Reagan brings, and you mentioned, like the presidents before Reagan, seemed to have this effort on community. And like community, Americans with each other. And it really came to my attention when you said that Bush says like, okay, America should rely on community, but not on government. So do you see, and it's sort of like, how are you talking about how President spoke about their issues? You so to see how much with this community? Who is the community? And what's the relation with the community? Do
Riley: No, that's an amazing question. Because like, that's a big focus for all of them. It's, they're like, Well, who is your community? And they talk explicitly where it's like, Okay, so it's not, it's not the federal government, but they talk about how it's your neighbors, it is your religious communities. All of the presidents talk explicitly about the fact that America a pretty religious country. According to them. A lot of them ran on, you know, religious votes. So they talk about how it's your neighbors, it's your, essentially very localized communities. So for them, when they're talking about that, the language that they use is like extremely local, which is, in some ways, it's a really commonsense appeal, right? Because when you think about like, Oh, who's who's my community, like, it's definitely like my downstairs neighbors, or like, my friends who I've been close to like my whole life. But that also really cuts you off from the fact like, you know, the goods we get and whatnot like are dependent upon people like thousands of miles for us. So it simultaneously is this really interesting moment of like bringing small groups together, but it also kind of isolates you from that larger community, if that makes sense.
Claus: Thank you. Thanks a lot.
Ben: And there are a couple of questions in the chat. Cynthia asks, Did you look into how the this rhetoric impacts slash interacts with citizens and how they perceive policy?
Riley: No, but that is something I want to do. I A large, that's like a as a side project, because I would want to do like some focus groups for that. And that's, as the phrase goes, outside the scope of this project, but that is something I really want to do when this is done, and start doing some focus groups to see like, and I, I'm really curious about like the generational impact, you know, like, how would people who maybe like we didn't live through in our cognizant memory of like, XYZ president, but how does that like that? So, yeah, that is something that I really do want to look at and intend to look at.
Ben: And another question from the chat from Kat Lucas Healey: Did any of them ever relate economic equality to economic liberty, as in the freedom that is afforded by having access to health, education, housing?
Riley: Yeah, so the progressive liberals definitely did that, especially FDR. FDR was really intense about how—he actually like, lambaste industrialists where he says, he calls, he's like, you're hiding behind your cloak, because you don't like want to help people become more economically equal. Instead, you're making them scared, which is going to like make them less free. But he talks explicitly about how our rights and freedoms depend upon economic stability. So FDR does it most explicitly. And Obama does it a bit with especially with health care, and he does it with gender equity and pay, with the Lilly Ledbetter act, act. So Obama does a little bit but yeah, FDR, FDR goes hard. And it's like, pretty—FDR also like criticizes his like, previous [...] Teddy Roosevelt, the president, for not going far enough.
Ben And, by the way, feel free to unmute yourself and ask questions if you'd like. But there is another question in the in the chat. What was the main conclusion about the shift in attitude across presidents, more heterodox and neoliberal?
Riley: Yeah, so definitely, there's a presence of a heterodoxy. And there's increasingly more neoliberal rhetoric and ideas integrated. But there is, it seems like there's a hesitancy to embrace full neoliberalism in the way that Reagan and Bush Jr. did. So all the other three presidents still include some progressive liberal aspects, which was really fascinating, because I didn't expect that at all. That was, that was really shocking to me. Like, I just didn't expect that, and was really surprised.
Ben: I wanted to ask a similar question going backward. I know the term neoliberal is from, I guess, the 60s or so. But were there signs of sort of neoliberal thinking, in times past? Like, how far back can you go on these things among the presidents?
Riley: oh, how far back? Well, so Lippmann, Walter Lippmann, who was a journalist in America, him and Frederich or Hayek, Hayek was an economist, and Hayek hated Keynes. So Hayek and Lippman, start creating what would become like kind of the bones of neoliberalism. And they have the Lippmann colloquium, they come together and they're like, Okay, so liberalism is failing us, look at the Great Depression, and they're like, so we need to do something new. It needs to be scientific, it needs to use maths, it needs to use social sciences, and we need to do something that's a fundamental break. So it's like, from the from the get go for them. It's like, we need to do something that is going to be shockingly new, completely different, and it's gonna be a revolution. And so you have it with Walter Lippmann's colloquium in the 20s. And then there's the sort of break because you get wars, and, you know, World War Two happens. So a little bit of an interference with everything. And order liberalism takes place in Germany. And order liberalism is like very state centric, all [...] policies, and what that does is that the burgeoning neoliberals, see that what can be done is that you are going to have to do, like a governmental shift. Like you're gonna need to create your government. It's part of what Milton Friedman was so obsessed with Chile, was he was like, this is a time to like do a brand new government.
But then the Mont Pèlerin Society group got together in the 40s and that's when they started drafting, like a neoliberal like guidebook, essentially. And it was they were considered while everyone was like you are just wild people, because Hayek said that it wasn't just like, economically unsound for the state to interfere with the market. He said that it was immoral. And that was bananas. Like no economist had ever said that before. All of the economists, especially classical economists, like Adam Smith, thought that like, yeah, even if the government like shouldn't get interfere. The reason it shouldn't interfere is because not because it's a moral but because people in government could become like, tainted by business owners like trying to make them swayed. So it was the it was very different. So Hayek was just a wild man, and ended up becoming like heavily influential, and Walter Lippmann, who'd been more of a moderate really gets like less behind. Yeah, it's the—neoliberalism is wild.
Ben: If I can follow up on that, so were there. Who were the first presidents to really pick up on the neoliberalism? Was it Reagan?
Riley: Yeah. So Reagan had people in his cabinet ... I'm blanking on this guy's name, who but he had a member of the Mont Pèlerin Society in his cabinet. So yeah, so Reagan had like a direct connection to like the neoliberal think tank.
Ben: Another question from the chat from from Claus Arania. "I felt from your talk that the Presidents after Reagan seem to be responding to a standard set by Reagan more than responding to their predecessors. Is that correct impression?"
Riley: Yes. Yeah, I would absolutely say as an American president, because Reagan was such a fundamental shift. It ended up with a lot of presidents feeling like they have to somehow like, make sense of like, you know, how do you make sense of the party, like before their parties, both Republican and Democrat, before and after Reagan. So what do you want to do with that? And it creates this like, really weird, really, like strange tension yeah, that Trump kind of blew off with his populism. A populist will always, mess up your results, which is why Trump, isn't it there.
Audience member: I've got, I guess, a linguistic question. So the impression I got is, basically, equality and freedom are being used as like watchwords for the concept of negative and positive rights, which is not necessarily historically how they've always been used, like, the thing I was really thinking about is Lincoln, who's using freedoms, in contrast to liberty as a way of talking about negative and positive rights. So I was wondering when that kind of started showing up, like when do we start seeing freedom as a signpost for negative rights?
Riley: Yeah, and one of the President's two presidents and start using it most explicitly. And that kind of started with the Progressive Era presidents. So Teddy Roosevelt. So Franklin Roosevelt's relative, which might be why FDR, like criticized him, so frankly, in his city Union, but it starts to really become prominent in the progressive era. So it's definitely like a 20th century turn. Which is really interesting, just in general. As Yeah, you look at some of the documents here, like, I wonder what they think now.
Ben: So in the chat, and I expect this as a follow up to the question about Reagan setting his standard Im asks: "merely going off my vague perception of high school history, did FDR do a similar sort of standard setting?"
Riley: Yes, he did. So FDR, one of the reasons that I use him as like my signpost precedent beyond the fact that he was president for like a thousand years, they had to make a constitutional amendment to make that not happen ever again, is his—like the New Deal, and then the second Bill of Rights which he proposed, are these things that like set him as the standard to like what progressive liberalism is like at its baseline, and then it kind of becomes developed afterwards like, show like the LBJ with the Great Society and then it becomes like kind of further elaborated on. But yeah, like FDR becomes like, really, yeah, the standard for like, what do you expect with progressive liberalism. Expansive state, so bureaucracies need to be set up to help people you got to roll back some of those economic liberties that the business people had, that free markets no longer quite as free. And you've really got to focus on class. Yeah, so that's a big, big shift.
Ben: And one more question. And we might want to wrap up soon. So get your questions in. And but by the way, request from your moderator, if you could define positive and negative rights, that might be useful to some. Kat Lucas Healey asks, "was the positive slash negative rights things, also an outcome of post world war two human rights that split between USSR and the West?"
Riley: So when we think of like positive and negative rights, a positive right would be like a "freedom to" versus "freedom from". So FDR is really interesting, and that he talks about want as a Freedom _from_ want, instead of a freedom _to_ like, comfort? The rhetoric is really interesting. Yeah. So was he also an outcome of post WWII and also USSR? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of the things of FDR is that he needed to appeal to the left to get constantly elected, because there was a really strong left at the time. So that stress becomes like part of one needing to cater to the left, or like, one of the first times in like a while in American history. And yeah, the split between the USSR. So in the Mont Pèlerin Societies document, they explicitly talk about how the rise of Soviet communism and the fall of Nazis demonstrate like an actual attack on these specific freedoms. And these rights that need to be upheld, or else Western—they use the word Western civilization, which is now like very much a buzzword—they talk about how it'll be the demise of Western civilization. So that's now like a right wing buzzword, and it would have been a right wing buzzword as well. They were considered like extremely right.
Ben: Okay, yeah, this is great. We're at about 11. Close to 11:45. So if anyone wants to cut in with another question or two, we have a minute. But otherwise, thank you so much. This, this has been super edifying for me personally. Here, we all have clap emojis that we can use. Yeah. Claus, did you want to slip in with an irreverent question?
Riley: A very end of the talk question. Besides all the political talk, do you have any, like, funny anecdotes of things that you found in the talks for the presidents that you want to share? Like, oh, it's a very weird thing that you've never thought the President would have been saying that before?
Riley 43:03 Yeah, FDR. FDR, literally is like, okay, so like democracy hard so like, I get why you want to be a Nazi, I get it. And I did not expect to, like read that in a political speech where he's like, just stay with me, just like keeping cool with democracy. Because like, I get it: Fascism, Nazis, You don't have to, like do much. Just have to be there. Yeah, it was wild. I did not. I was like, reading, taking my notes. And I was like, wait a moment. Did FDR just acknowledge that like, there were a lot of Nazis in America at the time. It was very surprising. I can't imagine. Yeah, it was, it was very shocking.
Ben 43:53 I'm appropriately amused. Can you post this to your timeline? If you send it to me. I can put it in the transcript. This is read it into the transcript. Well, Claus, thank you for great closing question. And, Riley, thank you very much for the talk. Great kickoff to summer school.
There are lots of reasons why learning science is hard, but we keep throwing up extra bonus obstacles. What social forces are preventing us from taking advantage of the technical solutions that we could use to lower at least one corner of one barrier?
According to one tradition in philosophy of language, belief reports can tell us important things about meaning. Belief reports are sentences such as 'Alex believes that Conrad is an author'. I will give an introduction to that tradition. I will first introduce the idea that what we believe are abstract objects called 'propositions'. An example is the proposition that Conrad is an author, which Alex might or might not believe. I will then introduce a simple theory of belief reports according to which they report a relation between a person and a proposition that they believe. One question that arises is how many distinct propositions there are. I will describe an important argument that tries to establish a lower bound on the number of propositions. The argument relies on the simple theory, and on the observation that substitution of one name for another can change a true belief report into a false one even if both names refer to the same object. One example is substituting 'Conrad' with 'Korzeniowski'. In order to accommodate this, we must say that the proposition that Conrad is an author is distinct from the proposition that Korzeniowski is an author. Propositions are often taken to be the meanings of sentences. So, if it is sound, this argument also tells us something important about meaning. In particular, it tells us that different names for the same object have different meanings.
In the 1960s, a bunch of librarians and early computing/data specialists got together to ask a question: how can we use computers to help patrons find books? Although elements of the standard have changed, many of the fundamentals remain the same. So how was it designed? What does it still do well? Why is it still in use?
2022-07-26 (Tue) 14:00 UTC
by Danny Chan & Faz Alam (he/him & he/him)
Danny and Faz met online during their PhD studies through participation in a journal club on Twitter using the hashtag #microtwjc. Both are now working outside of academia in the related spaces of community labs and scientific publishing, respectively. A couple months into the COVID-19 pandemic they decided to reboot their prior online journal club experience and explore the scientific literature together. Initially, it was driven by a mutual desire to become more familiar with the SARS-CoV-2 literature and to nurture an old internet connection. It has grown into a fun creative outlet attempting to build a community around a shared enthusiasm for reading and reacting to the microbiology literature. The current format involves adding ~10 papers a week to a shared Zotero library and a ~1h live stream on YouTube summarizing and critiquing to those papers. Comments are invited both live and asynchronously over YouTube, Twitter and Mastodon. Periodically, we poll our social media followers to choose a paper to do a more involved figure by figure “explainer” video. Neither Faz nor Danny intend for this project to become a major component in their lives, but seek to allow it to evolve according to their perspective on science communication and the relative value it brings to the other parts of their lives. In this short presentation, we will share a story of how we developed and run the journal club, our perspectives on science communication, how the journal club fits into our lives, and possible future directions.
Check our their channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/Defectivebrayne
In Australia, as in many other places, we are rapidly moving away from centralised coal power towards renewables. Much of this is decentralised - solar on people's rooftops and batteries in the garage.
Visions for this future are usually built around neoliberal ideas about producers and consumers actively engaging in markets, or autonomous independence from the grid. There are also imaginaries built on care for environment and community, but they tend to be hidden or not taken seriously.
I'm going to talk about different energy imaginaries, what they do, who they serve and who they exclude.
At my current institution we are provided with the opportunity to have a seat at the table in department and faculty meetings. I would like to talk about how this can positively impact students and faculty, allow for grassroots advocacy for students within the department for issues they encounter day to day. I would like to present three small "case studies" where my department student union committee were informed by students about an issue and were able to push for recognition of the issue by staff and faculty, and push for change at a grassroots (department and/or faculty) level, namely: - (Some) Relief of financial stresses experienced by students - Bullying and (gender and age-based) harassment - (Physical and emotional) Safety during field work
Historically, student union organizing has been known predominantly for it's national-scale activism. I would like to present an alternative to the national scale and show that it is possible to fight for small-scale but (hopefully) long lasting change.
2022-07-27 (Wed) 16:00 UTC
by Sam Hames (he/him)
Computational text analytics has historically been a quantitative endeavour, aiming at measuring concrete properties of a text or texts, or building "objective" representations of collections of text to inform the retrieval of documents. On the other hand, interpretive/qualitative approaches to analysing text usually require time intensive close reading, limiting the scope of application of "capital Q" qualitative approaches to either small datasets, or subsets of larger collections.
This talk will outline a vision for a computational text analytics that embraces and enables interpretive inquiry without aiming to replace the necessary work of close reading. We will start by taking a closer look at the affordances needed of a computational model for interpretive work, then move onto how the model can actually be used to support interpretive inquiry. We will conclude with a short demo of a proof of concept and a discussion of future work I have planned.
2022-07-27 (Wed) 22:00 UTC
by Ben Klemens (he/him)
The consensus among economists is that households move for better jobs and higher income, but the data shows that, controlling for other factors, moving has a weak relationship to future income gains. Using 1.7 billion observations over 16 years, we look at what other factors raise the chance of a household moving, and what factors are more likely to change post-move, controlling for all others. There is no typical mover, but along the way we learn more about retirees, grad students, and single parents.
2022-07-28 (Thu) 00:00 UTC
by Artist Marcia X
This articles showcases the journey the artist undertakes through phenomenology in order to find a space to discuss Afro-Indigenous femme subjectivity. In referencing Latina Feminist and Afro-Caribbean phenomenologies, concepts such as existential-cultural crisis, the Vocal Void and Sycoraxic Subjectivity emerge. Through these concepts, the artist is able to not only write about their orientation in the multiple worlds in which they exist, but also cultivate artistic production that references this journey. Beginning with the Latina orientated in a colonial city and ending with the drafting for new works that encompass the journey, art and theory are created and discussed together.
2022-07-28 (Thu) 16:00 UTC
by Sean Manning (he/him)
It might seem like shields and panel paintings do not have much in common. We expect to see painted wooden panels safe in galleries and shrines, whereas shields have a short and unhappy working life where they are rained on, shot at, and cut. But in fact, plank shields and panel paintings were two closely related technologies. In this talk we will explore how plank shields and wooden panels for painting were constructed, focusing on European shields and panels from the La Tène culture to the late middle ages.
Soseono (소서노, 召西奴) was an ancient Koreanic political leader who lived from the first century B.C. to the first century A.D. She was a founder of two of the ancient kingdoms of Korea, Goguryeoh in modern-day Manchuria and North Korea, and Baekje in the Southwest of the Korean peninsula. She lived at a time when Koreanic groups of the Yalu River tributary valleys were pushing back against the Han Chinese colony of Hyeondo, and the kingdoms she founded were ultimately instrumental to the fall of Hyeondo and later of Nakrang Colony in present-day Pyeonyang. This presentation explores her life and times at a period when Koreanic polities were forming centralized kingdoms and resisting Chinese imperialism, part of the long journey to the formation of "Koreans" as a group.
2022-07-29 (Fri) 10:00 UTC
by Tamara Gupper (she/her)
In this presentation, I will explore visual representations of artificial intelligence in media, particularly in scientific communication. I will suggest that commonly used images such as humanoid figures or blue sketches of human brains are not representative of technologies typically subsumed under the term. I will further argue that using more realistic images is an important step to empower the public debate on how we want to live with technologies in the future.
2022-07-29 (Fri) 12:00 UTC
by Wim Vanderbauwhede (he/they)
The current emissions from computing are about 2% of the world total but are projected to rise steeply over the next two decades. By 2040 emissions from computing alone will be more than of half the emissions level acceptable to keep global warming below 1.5°C. This growth in computing emissions is unsustainable: it would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions warming limit. The emissions from production of computing devices far exceed the emissions from operating them, so even if devices are more energy efficient producing more of them will make the emissions problem worse. Therefore we must extend the useful life of our computing devices.
As a society we need to start treating computational resources as finite and precious, to be utilised only when necessary, and as effectively as possible. We need frugal computing: achieving the same results for less energy.
Imagine we can extend the useful life of our devices and even increase their capabilities without any increase in energy consumption. Meanwhile, we will develop the technologies for the next generation of devices, designed for energy efficiency as well as long life. Every subsequent cycle will last longer, until finally the world will have computing resources that last forever and hardly use any energy.
2022-07-29 (Fri) 15:00 UTC
by Katrina Szetey (she/her)
In this presentation I am going to aim to give a potted summary of my entire PhD thesis. In my PhD project, I worked with a community in regional Australia to create pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Sustainability Agenda. We co-developed scenario narratives of possible sustainability outcomes; we co-created a sustianability plan for the community; and we co-designed a system dynamics model to model the key socioeconomic and socioecological processes in the community. Finally, I quantified the scenario narratives and modelled them using the co-designed model to understand which pathways would achieve the most sustainable outcomes with the least uncertainty. I will finish up with a summary of the conclusions and recommendations from the research.
An account of a project with first year undergraduate students in Fall semester 2021, where a Content and Language Integrated Learning course focused upon the popular productivity literature. Students then created Open Educational Resources (OER) related to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at high school and/or university students learning English. These were edited by the instructor (me), and (by the time of presentation) uploaded to an online repository for download and reuse/remix by educators and learners. The merits and drawbacks experienced during the project will be detailed.
An invasive spider species is blamed for infections, amputations, and even deaths, but in many incidents, a spider was never even seen. A celebrity's cause of death is widely reported to be a spider bite, but eventually attributed to alcoholic cirrhosis. A resident flees a "spider-infested" apartment—but was their situation abnormal or dangerous?
Stories about spider bites make news all around the world. Some are informative, and others are sensationalist, misleading, or just plain wrong. An international network of spider experts combed through 10 years of online news, covering stories in 40 languages and from 81 countries, to get the big picture. I'll explain how we did it and sum up what we found. You'll also learn which spiders are actually dangerous to humans, and how to critically evaluate news stories about spiders and spider bites.
When developing a conversational interface there are many ways to parse user input to determine what the user wants a bot to do and with what. Each method is suited for a particular general use case, with an associated degree of software complexity. The presenter will give a whirlwind tour of a number of techniques they've used in production code, what they're good for, and their strengths and weaknesses.
A short overview of how I made the book animations last year and how Guix helped keep it all organized and plans on applying reproducible art toolchains to bigger projects.
2022-07-31 (Sun) 12:00 UTC
by Danny Chan (he/him)
The tools to do biological science are increasingly accessible both in terms of price and availability. Community biology labs are organizations distinct from academia and industry that bring together various pieces of infrastructure in order to increase the public’s capacity for research biology. Biotech Without Borders (BwoB) is a self-sustaining community lab committed to increasing the accessibility of scientific resources and knowledge, especially among socially and economically marginalized groups. We collectively maintain lab facilities to tinker with biotech tools, a community to share knowledge with, and a forum for critical discussions to support responsible innovation in biotechnology. Members are given access to the lab and participate in decisions that determine the types of infrastructure we deploy there. We also invite the public to participate in certain decisions via our online decision-making platform, and get a taste of our community through workshops and events. Our vision is that all those seeking to improve society through biotechnology—regardless of previous scientific background—are connected to local and global networks of community scientists, organized to Do-It-Together, and empowered to safely apply their hands-on understanding at the lab bench and at home. This short talk will elaborate a perspective on community biology, introduce Biotech Without Borders, and explain how we’re engaged a struggle for a more equitable society.
12:02:11 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
So welcome everybody. Please don't book them interrupted presenter. Hold your questions, feel the interval presentation. You can mean well use the chat. Turn off your camera and microphone Feel the interval presentation. You can mean well use the chat. Turn off your camera and microphone don't make any out of line comments. We operate on that one, strike rule. Also, these presentation will be recorded if you have an issue with being recorded, Please let us know. Be a chat before you ask your questions that recording can be post. Otherwise at the entire representation, I will send around feedback form. If you could fill it in, it will be great for the organizers of the event. Yeah, so to the presentation is going So to the presentation is going to be community biology as an organizational framework for social Without Borders by Danny Chan, Without Borders by Danny Chan. organizational framework for social change A perspective from Biotech Without Borders by Danny Chan. He uses he him pronouns and you can find him at Don W Chan. Scholar.social. He is a member and President of Biotech Without Borders. He worked on At Scholar.social. He is a member and president of Biotech Without Borders. He worked on infectious disease, by all microbiology during his masters and Repentation is going to focus on the activity of scientific resources and knowledge. And well for a while, I'm pretty interested to see what is it about
12:03:24 - Danny C:
Awesome. Thank you Manuel. Alright. So we'll talk about community biology today. Let's see changing these Okay, so just, what is this community biology? How do I think that it might be changing the status quo and then the community biology lab that I organize with is called biotech without borders. So, I'll give you some information about about that particular organization. so, first off community biology So really comes from this idea that you don't need any fancy tools to do good science. I love this quote, from Santiago Ramon ayal in scientific work, the means translated from Spanish in scientific. Work means or virtually nothing, whereas the person is almost everything. So, yeah, there's lots of tools. And also these days tools have gone cheaper. There's lots of people working on new tools to do science that are more accessible. And so there really is, I think great opportunity to be able to do science with some very simple tools. And yeah, that was true back then it Now there's just different stuff is. around. Always remember science with some very simple tools. And yeah, that was true back. Now there's just different stuff Then it is. around. Always remember that it's like the labor really that that is the most difficult thing to to operationalize. And so just an example from his work he did a lot of microscopy, you know, had a microtome you know it looks quite simple now like basically just being able to cut very thin slices had a variety of stains stuff that you can You know it looks quite simple now like basically just being able to cut, very thin slices had a variety of stains stuff that you can order now on Amazon, really a microscope, right? We have much better microscopes. Now you could also order something like that off the Internet. And so with that and and the patience, I think, really the time to be able to look through so many different slides of neurons. They were able to tell us a lot about the neurobiology the structure of neurons and how they work. It was a huge contribution to the field recognized in science and again done with almost very simple tools and it was just the time and the focus required to be able to do that science. That was the the main factor. Yeah, at least the way that they thought about it. So community biology labs have like a simple, a similar thought that They could be called DIY biolabs biohacker spaces or biomaker spaces, their spaces outside of academia and industry. Where They try, we try to provide access to some lab equipment and often because this is like a very curious configuration of resources. Scientists get attracted to this too. Like, Oh, what does it mean equipment and often because this is like a very curious configuration of resources. Scientists get attracted to this too. Like, Oh, what does it mean to do science outside of resources. Like, Oh, what does it mean to do science outside of my academic lab or outside my industry lab? and what's being said in some of the literature that covers that covers this particular topic is that it's an opportunity to do biological science in a really different way because the incentive structures of the organizations where these investigators are engaged with are different. And so the hope my hope and and the hope of people who run these spaces is that the values of the lab itself, like become much more important than maybe some of the other, some of the other constraints within within more formalized institutions. So it's, it's true that, you know, to do like a startup or something like that. You need like a huge amount of capital, certainly, especially in the realm of like, animal experimentation. And and even once, even once those types of projects are undertaken, they have to be justified as to like return on investors. Like what sort of intellectual property, is it going to create for us. And sometimes, in academic institutions, There may also be difficulty in sort of expressing a young investigators ideas, because it's always very grant oriented. And, you know, there's there's value to that. I think that you have to be able to justify. Sometimes you're the value of your research to the greater population, but I don't think that that should be the only driving factor in, in doing research. And again, going back to kahal the way that they thought about doing research. I think that there's a big space for sort of people who have have some flexibility. In time and have some focus to do work. That's original in their own outside of these traditional spaces of doing work. And then also from the feminist lens thinking about scientific research do Ballina Roy has like a interesting thought a bit about this. Saying that the scientific method by necessity is sort of by putting on some blinders right. To when you draft up the hypothesis, you're not always thinking about the broader. Sociological factors that might go into asking that specific question. I I went through grad school so when you join an academic lab Certainly, when you join like for me, I I went through grad school so when you join an academic lab You don't get the chance actually, to ask any of the initial questions about Why are we in this particular research area, You are dropped in and as a scientist, sort of trained expected to be trained in a way in which you eliminate those distractions. And, and just focus on the hypothesis, which, of course, is a valuable sort of formal structure of thinking, but it may not actually result in science. That's tackling important problems in our society. so, so maybe, so maybe this will change, maybe community labs are a place that we can begin to ask different questions that go into our hypotheses, have dialogue with the community in a different way and sort of approach, scientific research, more inclusively. And so I have like a quick timeline of events that go into DIY biolabs. It's us-centered just research, more inclusively. And so I have like a quick timeline of events that go into DIY Biolabs. It's us-centered, just because that's the resource. I was able to find, I'd be interested to know. familiar with other significant events that happen outside of this, this scope, but If people are familiar with other significant events that happen outside of this this scope. But 2004 is a interesting year because this is where I Gem formed from an MIT summer course. But at that same year, there was a sign, not a scientist, but an artist who had a home lab and they were arrested for possessing this home lab. They were speaking out against sort pharmaceutical research and how that may be like yeah, extracting may be like yeah, extracting sort of the systematization of pharmaceutical research and how that may be like yeah, extracting value in. A certain way, commodifying certain elements of biology. So yeah, the FBI didn't like that and they arrested them. Of course. You know, there was no good basis for them being arrested And in 2008, they were acquitted around that same time, there was a DIY movements inside. In Boston, they made a website called DIY Bio. It was a Google group and they tried to join the community to talk more about doing this type of research in their homes. Or in these community bio labs that were just emerging and the FBI actually tried to collect within the United States. All the leaders of this group and bring them into some sort of dialogue to talk about issues of biosecurity. And I guess that was the catalyst for people. many of us, I wasn't active during I wasn't active during this time, but I'm told that this is a catalyst. people. Realizing that there were many of us, I wasn't active during I wasn't active during this time, but a catalyst, many of us were working, Realizing that there were many of us, I wasn't active during this time, but I'm told that this is a catalyst. Many of us were working right in these community labs and how do we organize to sort of continue to grow these types of organizations? There was a code of ethics, drafted by the people who work within this within this community. And by 2015, there was sort of a more mature ecosystem of things going on the Open Insulin Project, founded at Counterculture Labs began at this time. And now it's its own nonprofit organization that's seeking to sort of disrupt, the intellectual properties of insulin production, so that there could be more small players within the insulin space. So, actually, it's moved away from the science and more into like almost the the policy elements, Of course, venture capital has emerged to look at this landscape of people doing different experiments, and trying to find things that are gonna make money for others and encouraging investment in them. There were sort of hacker led conferences like Biohack, the planets MIT got in on this. They have a community biology arm that conferences. MIT got in on this. They have a community biology arm that Like Biohack, the planets MIT got in on this. They have a community biology arm that organizes another the Open Insulin project, founded at Counterculture Labs began at this that organizes another conference the Open Insulin project, founded at Counterculture Labs began at this called time. called the open insulin project, founded at Counterculture Labs began at this time. called Bio Summit, the open insulin project, founded at Counterculture Labs began at this time. called Bio Summit, Bio Summit itself. the open insulin project, founded at Counterculture Labs began at this time. created an ethics document and continues to engage within these types of conversations and very recently, an organization called Just One Giant Lab actually based in France creates sort of like a place where multiple DIY projects can be organized. In order to try to get more people to participate within these projects. And during the pandemic, there is a lot of covid tests, actually that we're being generated by being facilitated, by this piece of software. So, you know, I don't think innovation, my my perspective here is that innovation doesn't have to be like Silicon Valley. I feel like we should actually resist this innovation, my, my perspective here is that innovation doesn't have to be like Silicon Valley. I feel like we should actually resist this model in some way. There are many innovations that exist throughout history. Nothing is brand new as Chris Murray says here, but doing it differently for a different outcome. Really is the challenge in my opinion and and that extends to biotech just as much as it extends to any sort of technology. And to connect this to like, where I think we're trying to change the status quo, there are pressures on science to produce predictable and controllable results things that can be sold and and sent out in different ways and and that's what we see in our funding structures. But you know, that's not the only lens in which we might see, you know, very good science appear, that can change people's livelihoods. There's a great potential both from the philosophical advancement, the ideas of science, but also training There's a great potential both from the philosophical advancement, the ideas of science, but also training individuals to enter the workforce who are going to use those skills for for their own for for their own reasons. You know, I mean thinking like participating in class, struggle from that perspective and so like we want more of these skills to be equally distributed and not gatekeep necessarily that perspective. more of these skills to be equally distributed and not gatekeep necessarily, especially from things like tuition costs. And so, bringing together the tools and skills like to, to do science in a new space is building scientific capacity. That's oriented by community values and I think that that is something that fundamentally can make some sort of difference. So, Biotech Without Borders is the group that I organize with and it's the community lab that I want to share a with you today. A lot of the thinking that I've done over the pandemic and and with our community, about this location, Yeah, hopefully is trying to speak to some of the things that I just mentioned. So we're a nonprofit community lab in New York City. We have like this sort of very broad mission of democratizing the hands-on practice of biotechnology for useful and peaceful purposes. And of course, like those, the words are only as good as we're able to, we're able to constantly reinforce those, those values in the projects that get done within our space and embody those values in, in the way that we work on a day-to-day basis. Hmm, there's a big focus on hands-on learning because practical lab bench skills. Are the labor power that creates the biotech economy and and the infrastructure. So having more people being able to utilize that labor power, for whatever reason I think is, is a benefit. I also think that hands-on learning is useful because for folks that are coming in with no background having like a sort of technological dream, in some ways it focuses the way that you participate within reading the literature and retaining facts from the literature because things become more relevant.
12:15:54 - Danny C:
I also think there's a huge lack of quality lab opportunities certainly during the pandemic that's there's so many students that have come out saying that we don't have any experience in the lab and I think that's a shame and you know our educational structures are failing us in that way. So here's a place that we could potentially also bring some benefit to our communities and I think it's fun. I mean I The reason I did grad school was because I had a good time working as a lab tech and I wanted to continue that and like move up the so-called career ladder only to realize that maybe that's not the right ladder. I was climbing and anyways it got complicated but but I complicated but but I really enjoy and I think I was climbing and anyways it got complicated but but I really enjoy doing things in the lab and I think others I was climbing. complicated but but I really enjoy doing things in the lab and I think others do as well. So that's another reason we focus on like the hands-on learning aspect. And so, okay, I love lots of quotes that I'm wanting to share with people. This is another one and again, it just reiterates. What I said before that? Like Yeah, like there's there's a lot of, there are a lot of other angles to approach science at and you don't always get the Like Yeah, like there's there's a lot of there are a lot of other angles to approach science at and you don't always get the opportunity to approach it in those ways or at least the pressures are not. The incentives aren't set up to approach approach it with this lens, but I'm hoping that we can in our lab. So, one of the things that we do to try to open it up a little bit, is we use some consensus decision-making to choose what the lab infrastructure is going to look like. So thinking a lot about people's home labs versus labs where they're shared resources, I think that that community labs are great because you can bring together some pieces of equipment that you wouldn't be able to have in your home if you're like an independent researcher of some sort. And so it's difficult to maintain and if we're able to as a community, that's around this particular physical location in New York City, talk to each other and Each other that this is a useful piece of equipment. Then yeah we can shape the type of science that comes out from our from our lab. And I really the reason why I want to do it in this way is is kind of on a social project side. I want people to start conceptualizing of scientific equipment as something that can be collectively owned and collectively stewarded. In order to advance you know, independent projects, either from the curiosity standpoint or to make businesses, or it doesn't really matter. It's, it's the thought process and and the conception that these are owned collectively. um, and I also think that just having those discussions can bring out interesting, interesting elements that you wouldn't have otherwise experienced. When maybe you can become very focused on just like the outcomes of the research. This is like everyone has to partake in a little bit of the lab lab manager role. So the minimal framework that we use to guide us is that we have a mission vision and values, You can find that on our website. You could also find that on our lumio where we come to consensus about certain things and that mission vision values, you know, it's a lot of, like, sort of like hopeful words about where we think our organization is going. It ultimately communicates, the direction that we want to go and if folks can and if folks can justify like the purchase expenditure against that mission vision values and then they're working in the organization and they're supporting the organization. So they're being held accountable to those sort of high high values that that we're trying to embed in our culture and we should spend the money to be able to execute on those things. I want this to be a very open sort of platform where people can come. And say, You know, I think this piece of equipment's gonna be useful because then I can teach this class or I can do my research and my research is helpful in this way and once you Out that reasoning to the community. Yeah, you're beginning those communication feedback loops and and engagement that I think is important to build the shared sense of community and stewardship over the equipment. So this is an excerpt from the mission vision and values that we renewed in 2021, I tried to focus on, we tried to focus on the collective nature of the group, but also that that we're trying to help people get connected to different projects within this DIY bio worlds. Because, as I mentioned, from the pandemic, the covid-19 pandemic, there was yeah, there was lots of lots of stuff going on. And it's not always easy to find where the act of projects are So ultimately, we're seeking to organize with others and continue to provide this low-cost lab space with membership in a community of shared values. Here are some pictures of the space. I'm sitting in it right now, actually, I just finished doing some some YouTube stream from here and yeah this is what it looks like. It's sort of an in-process, We have some summer interns that are working on Protein Expression project where they try to make more inexpensive enzymes like polymerase so that we could use them in our classes, but maybe also use them for other members. Yeah, that's what it looks like right now. And we're looking for members, Still we have some I am always talking with different people about their projects or like how they want to be connected connected to our infrastructure. If you need to find me, then you can find me either on the fediverse or by email connected to our infrastructure. If you need to find me then you can find me either on the fediverse or by email or if you want to have like an official like relationship with Biotech without Borders, then then our information. Is, is there on this slide? And as with all the sort of presentations? I I set up, I try to make it accessible so people can get those And as with all the sort of presentations? I I set up, I try to make it accessible so people can get those slides for themselves and reference them later. So this is a QR code that should take you into our cloud so you can download this presentation. And yeah, that's all from me and so I'm I'll take any questions happy to take any questions.
12:21:26 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Oh, that was a really good presentation. Thank you very much. People again can write their questions in the chat or anybody. Please welcome to Unmute themselves and ask open question. I personally, I think that it's I mean, I think it's really, really Like I'm wondering because like these like subversion of the goals of scientific activity and like, The bias is already like presenting like the sources of funding, but like the metrics of success in science, right? Like that, publication of certain things, and redefining that like the metrics of success in science, right? Like that, publication of certain things, and redefining that like commuting engagement itself. It's It fascinating. fund these things because biological reactives and equipment, if
12:22:14 - Danny C:
12:22:17 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
12:22:18 - Danny C:
Mm-hmm. Yeah, so so right now the way we're funded is through just a single donation from a member who had a successful business sort of emerge from the space. So like they were able to do some proof of concept experiments at the bench like many years ago maybe like five years ago, they did this. No, maybe more than that now. Like anyways, quite a while ago. Eight years ago, let's say they did some proof of concept experiments at the bench and they were able to fundraise for their company and then yeah, spin off. And, you know, they saw during the pandemic too, they saw a lot of good returns. So they believe in this model where people need to tinker in order to get good ideas and they're interested in seeing it go forward. So right now we have two years of sort of funding to have the space operational and then yeah I'm trying to build some sort of like volunteer framework on on the top of that maybe at some day we'll also pursue some sort of grant funding for for Grant funding for certain specific programming, that happens within our labs that hopefully doesn't impede our ability to also provide that lab space. So yeah, it's a challenge and actually it's a discussion that happens a lot within the DIY bio community, bio community. Sorry, the community twice, but it's a discussion that happens a lot because there aren't a lot of set business models that seem to have worked one that has worked, is offering the classes that can be seen as like a scientific outreach sort of thing. So there are grants that you can apply for to do more scientific outreach and that can fund the space, but one of the conflicts that we've seen with that particular strategy is because it makes the space become very streamlined to teach. And so, sometimes that can detract from researchers who are trying to use the space because now, you're having more students come through the lab and, and that can sort of take away from having a space to sort of tinker around. so, I think it's a challenge to balance different elements and yeah, I don't know if there is like a clear, like this is how it's supposed to work counterculture labs on the West Coast of of the US. They have a volunteer based model where they yeah, everything comes from membership donations or membership fees. So for our lab, we charge our membership fee to use it and so yeah, the hope is that if you can find some critical mass of people that are interested in paying those membership fees, you could have this place open but of course like if you think about people's projects, they won't always be paying their membership fee necessarily. So yeah, there's lots of spaces to have about people's projects, they won't always be paying their membership fee necessarily. So yeah there's lots of spaces to have sort of a discussion about what the best. Yeah. What. best business model might be.
12:25:10 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
I was also thinking that maybe if it was funded we have some kind of membership fee structure. I was wondering like what the background of the people who attend defensive because also for any particular like cultural locus, they're going to be in certain communities people that by default are going to think that the space is not for them. And whether they're like
12:25:33 - Danny C:
12:25:34 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Active outreach efforts to try to make that more included.
12:25:38 - Danny C:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely I think that that's like a really important element to keep in mind. I don't think I've thought too much about that just yet. I'm trying to make the community norms sort of like a place where people feel like they are free to engage in it. But but yes, I think that like targeted outreach is important. The background of the people that currently come are mostly, it's actually we see some subset of like academics who are looking to like house some offshoot of their research, somewhere else that's can be important for applying for a certain types of grants. types of grants. Like that are like, very specific about business development, so like, that's one types of grants. Like that are like, very specific Like that are like, very specific about business development. So like, that's one subset, we see like grad students who are looking for like, quote. I hate Of non-academic path careers are coming to us now to try to find a place where they can create something that suits their job, their career path, a little bit better, maybe side that's science communication. But it could also be like nonprofit management or something around like innovation or art bio Artists are a group that come out often through these spaces, like people who need a specialized studio Artists are a group that come out often through these spaces, like people who need a specialized studio space, but couldn't otherwise use It may come. I'm trying to merge like a community gardens to come. And think about like, what testing infrastructure. They could replicate within the lab space. But yeah, like it's what testing infrastructure. infrastructure. They could replicate within the lab space, But yeah, like it's sort of the way I imagine it. At least with biotech without borders is it is driven very much by the people that the way. At least with biotech without borders is it is driven very much by the people that the way. I imagine it at least with biotech without borders is it is driven very much by the people that are in this shared community. So yeah, we each bring our own sort So yeah, we each bring our own sort of organizational connections into the group and then trying to accentuate those especially the ones that maybe are more atypical and you wouldn't expect to see like in Financing our Mission.
12:27:24 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
And that sounds great. We have one questioning the chat from Alejandro Gaita. He said that the chronically he works mostly in theory, but I assumed Things can be done, focusing on reading and computational work, whether it should be expected to be cheaper or did Focusing on reading and computational work, whether it should be expected to be cheaper or did you would you expect any drawbacks?
12:27:42 - Danny C:
Yeah, yeah. So that's actually that's a very interesting. This thought is also crossed my mind a little bit from like people who just need computational resources. interesting. a little bit from like people who just need computational resources. Maybe they don't need the physical lab space, but they just maybe need access to like a cluster or something or academic community of people who are just like discussing certain topics. Yeah. I think that that that's not our organization. I mean, there is somebody who's trying to do some data analysis with us. Right now. organization. trying to do some data analysis with us. Right now. organization. trying to do some data analysis with us right now, they're not a trained scientist. They were able to get a They were able to get a grant to get environmental microbias microbiome sequenced and now they're trying to analyze it but they need some support and that's kind of a fun project. We're trying to engage other people in that data analysis, process. It might serve as, like the nucleus of programming, where we teach people, how to use these analysis skills and then show them this open data. That we're trying to create to ask questions about our local community, like all the sites are within New York City. So yeah, it is about like finding the community of people that you can start discussing your work with and like you imagine a lab, like, people have, like their own little projects, but they also have they benefit from sharing sharing progress, especially the projects might have overlap or journal clubs. Right. Sharing some of the ideas across pollinating? Yeah, I think that's the minimal structure. That's the lab community that I hope to create and I think that still would be useful in the case of somebody doing more theoretical or computational work, maybe it already exists, right? And you just have to find it something like this. I'm involved with this organization called the Ronin Institute. They have like a similar thought process about like kind of taking academia and trying to decentralize elements of it and and they provide actually a more explicit like structure for like your academic grants. So the they'll take A lower overhead and distribute the money you get to apply for grants using their institutional name, and that's helpful, because they have a lot of academics there. Yeah, I'm not sure if they did well they don't they don't have computational infrastructure at the moment, that's accessible. But maybe that's something a direction they would go or maybe there are accessible, but maybe that's But maybe that's something a direction they would go or maybe there are DIY biolabs in your area or DIY labs makerspaces that are willing to, you know, collaborate in setting up that infrastructure for then multiple people to use. Like, I think that that's, that's a big part of do it yourself. to, you know, collaborate in setting up that infrastructure for then multiple people to use. Like, I think that that's that's a big part of do it yourself. Ethos is like, if you just find the people that are willing to work together, like maybe it would take more, the disadvantages are clear in my mind it might take longer right. consensus. Also, you have to deal with like the be messy, right? committed sometimes. You don't know if people are fully And yeah, there's just many, it can be very difficult to to work within that environment. But but the gains like once there's some successful action that's done as a group, I think that the bonds that are created can be very strong and and those are things that I think we are just always seeking anyways, even within our work environments. So yeah, I think it's worth the effort but But yeah, there's, you know, all sorts of difficulties, that can emerge in trying to do research
12:30:56 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
We've got the, we've got another question in the chat from Julian.
12:30:57 - Danny C:
12:30:58 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
people in community labs? Have already an academic biology
12:31:01 - Danny C:
12:31:02 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
How many are just curious beginners?
12:31:03 - Danny C:
Yeah, I see. Mm-hmm, I think it's like From my experience. It's being 50/50. Yeah. 50/50, like people that already have some biology background. Yeah, they definitely come. They, they come out more, especially as volunteers and especially as people that are starting companies, but then maybe actually that group the company's group is 50/50 split. Some people are just like you know Pie in the Sky dreamers or they have like some connection to capital or some connection to like by like startup world from the tech sector and then they want to like find some sort of like crossover and then yeah And then 50% and then the rest of being curious beginner.
12:32:23 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
okay, we got another question in the
12:32:24 - Danny C:
So yeah, I would say like it's 50% in
12:32:25 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
chat from Camden Venezuela.
12:32:28 - Danny C:
12:32:28 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
What do you think about projects like open source? Estrogen? Are there any people going to your lab who are going in that open source? Estrogen? And are there any people going to lab who are going in that
12:33:12 - Danny C:
I haven't been very good about taking systematic. Well, some groups are better at than others about being systematic about, who comes through the door. And actually, that's being like, a criticism levied to the community as a whole that we're not collecting enough. Yeah, we're not collecting enough data on that sense, so that we can think about what strategies would be informed right by seeing the actual distribution of folks coming coming out. But that's something that, at least I'm in college. I'm having discussions with some folks about that and thinking about ways that we could, yeah, make that better.
12:33:44 - Danny C:
Hmm, yeah, so I guess that would Yeah, so I guess that would Yeah, so I guess that would Yeah, so I guess that would that's like for hormone replacement HRT, As a way of circumventing sort of right? medical gatekeeping something like this. So and this is also going to be the same from the open insulin standpoint. At least this is my just my personal opinion on these types of research programs is that you know the regulation there's one part of regulation that's important in terms of like safety right. Like is this object that's being made safe to be injected into my body and it's a very complex thing that sometimes it gets forgot. I don't know if it gets forgotten but it's not always emphasized or maybe it's so plain. That like no one choose to emphasize it but to me like that's almost the most critical technology that needs to be easier to easier for amateurs to have access to like. That's why people do proof of concept animal experiments. They're seen as like an initial foray into that safety. Are there like? Yeah. I I Basically what I'm saying is I think the scientific infrastructure that exists to do safety research on things that you're going to put into your body that maybe you make outside of a traditional manufacturing system, that that research is not optimized, or that body of research. And, and those tools, they're not optimized for amateurs to engage with. And so it prevents a very, it actually presents in my mind, a very significant barrier in into making those objects for our own consumption, but again, like actually presents in my mind, a very significant barrier in into making those objects for our own consumption, but again, like it's good to it. I think it's good to have a dream. Like we're gonna make insulin cheaper, and making our homes and putting our bodies or like make estrogen cheaper, and put your, like, making our homes and put it in our bodies, the dream organizes people, but then the estrogen cheaper. making our homes and put it in our bodies, the dream organizes people but then the science the scientific reality of that may actually be like not figuring out how to make estrogen or make organizes people. the scientific reality of that may actually be like not figuring out how to make estrogen or make figuring out how to make how to make insulin but Actually lies within something else. Like either the safety testing or as open, insulin has found it lies within like the regular Tory like landscape and making it. They imagine, I think not making it in homes, but rather small businesses and entering that marketplace. So maybe I actually don't know, I actually don't know the specifics of the open source in estrogen project. I would love to hear more at some point or I will look it up afterwards, but like maybe the thinking around that particular molecule will also Like, how do you change the competitive landscape of estrogen production so that it would be more distributed or it would drive down the price in some ways. Yeah, that's my thoughts. I hope that that maybe not the most cogent answer, but like, I tried to When evaluating projects like that,
12:35:25 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
I have another question myself. I was wondering that given that the current public Some model for scientific results, probably goes against the ethos of the organization reposting. of making your research results public
12:35:43 - Danny C:
Yeah, that I think this is huge within the the DIY community because like, we, we need to show our results and I actually think that what's nice is that we get to choose like we get to really experiment with whatever tools that we think solve the problem the best. And so, like I'm a big fan of the open science framework like in terms of like pre-publishing results. I also found some website recently, like research equals, they're trying to make it also some more simple to publish parts of the process Because, you know, like research is this like very complicated branching process sometimes when you begin your studies and you do Because, you know, like research is this like very complicated branching process Sometimes when you begin your studies and you do this initial thing, it gives you ideas in ways you didn't expect. And so if if people are willing to publish sort of all those steps, then there's also the potential for others to discover those steps and then collaborate in different ways that's that's my hope that the DIY community will start publishing and these more granular fashions on places that will enable cross-discovery of not just the final research project product, but also the intermediate research products and that may create a new type of collaboration. So, yes, I think people there are in academia. There's already like a huge push to this open access publishing in many smart people thinking about solutions on that side. I think the DIY world the advantages like because we're maybe our careers aren't being held up to that standard. We can choose these tools as our defaults and we can train people into using these tools. And like, yeah, be able to more quickly enter these new spaces of publication hopefully with better dissemination. But you know at the end of the day, too like publications still useful like for dissemination. too like publications still useful like for dissemination. But you know at the end of the day, too like publications still useful like for for somebody who wants to start a business it's like seen as like that can help, right? Like attract investors, or whatever to your projects. So Yeah. For individual investigators, engage within our organization, you have the freedom to do whatever you engage with whichever system you think is correct. And I just hope that because we are maybe highlighting some of the more open options. It might make people feel think differently about that whole process. So as I say like we're equally a scientific enterprise, trying to maybe find interesting innovations but also showing people another way of doing science that maybe isn't so obvious to folks who are working just in academia and in industry that have more defined paths, this project this community biolab project is is trying to engage the imagination in some other ways. But then also give people that place that they can tinker with that they can tinker with some of their their imagine. should be the best way to work. Yeah, the way that they imagine
12:38:39 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
And I think that's, Feeling inspiring. Because yeah, you're writing that social prestige that comes from like the conventional peer reviewed reviewed you're writing that these kinds of these kinds of social prestige that comes from like the conventional peer reviewed publications. It's not something that there's any alternative to currently, but I think it's really, it's really good that people are experimenting with alternative ways of publicizing in the scientific applications are unbelievably crooked.
12:39:02 - Danny C:
Yeah. Yeah, the problem is incredibly complex. I listen to a really great podcast by Yeah. Yeah. complex. I listen to a really great podcast by healthcare triage. They got some money from the NIH to do a podcast about scientific publishing and they they look at it from the angle of sorry.
12:39:17 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Oh sorry, that continue.
12:39:18 - Danny C:
Yeah, healthcare triage. They look at they look at it, through the angle of, like like culture media, you know money, where does the money come from? There's many, it's a complex issue, right? It sort of media, you know money, where does the money come from? There's many, it's a complex issue, right? It sort of an emergent. It's an emergent problem that comes from the way that an incentives have been set up between all these institutions. And I don't think there's gonna be like us and they also come to the conclusion as any good scientist I think would come to the conclusion. There's no like single solution, right? To everything necessarily. I mean, you know, from my political outlook, right? I could say like, you know, smash capitalism or something, which I think actually might do a lot, but there's no particular single one in the journey to sort of evolve, our, our culture into something that might produce better research outcomes. And improve this, this issue that's at play rather. There's just like a myriad of small things that tweak the, the systems in different ways. Yeah. And I think, This these by community, biolabs can be one of those places. At least, they can help publicize some of the other tools that are out there that and give people an opportunity to practice the put those tools into practice in a way that maybe they wouldn't feel the same way when they're working on like career
12:40:45 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Okay, then I think we have no more
12:40:45 - Danny C:
path research or like like stuff that
12:40:47 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
questions in chat with somebody else.
12:40:48 - Danny C:
they're working in that that's
12:40:50 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Wants to ask something, otherwise we
12:40:51 - Danny C:
contributing to their careers
12:40:51 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
can wrap up.
12:40:53 - Danny C:
12:40:53 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Thank you again, very much Danny for this presentation. least I found it hopeful
12:41:00 - Danny C:
Yeah. Yeah, that's great. Thanks for everyone for coming. And yeah, hope you have the good rest of the day.
12:41:10 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Good day, everybody.
12:03:04 - modulux:
I'm not getting any audio so far, is it on yet?
12:03:12 - Yulran:
Yes it's on
12:03:15 - Alejandro Gaita:
audio is on, yes!
12:05:10 - modulux:
Ah well, not working for me. :(
12:05:42 - Alejandro Gaita:
refresh the page? (and check audio in other pages?)
12:14:10 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
10 mins remaining
12:21:49 - Yulran:
Thanks for the presentation!
12:24:53 - Manuel Alejandro González Vera:
Here’s the feedback form https://summerschool.scholar.social/2022/feedback/5a74fff9b6e7
12:25:27 - Alejandro Gaita:
Exciting and inspiring! I struggle to think whether I can focus the time and energy to start something like that, locally. Academically I work mostly in theory, but I assume similar things can be done but focusing on reading and computational work. I expect it should be cheaper? Do you expect any drawbacks?
12:29:22 - Yulran:
Do you have a sense of how many people in community labs have already an academic biology background vs how many are curious beginners?
12:32:11 - Cam Venezuela:
What do you think about projects like Open Source Estrogen? Are there any people going to your lab who are going in that direction?
The relatively recent hype in "AI" research has been matched with an increased role of big, monolithic, technology companies in all of academia. What once was a relatively niche area of research has now been co-opted and redesigned almost entirely in the image of these giants of capital, with far-ranging and very negative effects both on what research gets funding and labour, and on what gets published in journals and at conferences (and what conferences and journals get funding in turn), not to mention which research gets wide spread in media.
There are recent moves to bring more accountability and ethical conduct to AI research, and to look critically at the promises made by its biggest proponents and funders. This effort comes from many sides; there are individual researchers and teams trying to work within the large corporations, who run the risk of instead providing ethicswashing, or of being pushed out if they refuse to play ball; there are government initiatives to regulate AI use and development, who run the risk of regulatory capture and lack of global reach; and there are outsider groups and NGOs, who may lack the power to effect systemic change. However, most of these approaches work within the existing capitalist system, applying pressure to soften the impacts of the capitalist logic, or of countering its worst excesses.
With the field of "AI" so intimately tied to capital, is there room for an anti-capitalist conception of AI? How would it differ from the current practise, and what are the concrete steps that can be taken by researchers, funding directors, institutions, and workers from both within and outside the tech industry to counteract the capitalist dynamics and structural forces that has left the field in its current state? This presentation will not attempt to answer these questions conclusively, but is intended as a way to initiate a discussion, and encourage further exploration of such practises.
2022-08-01 (Mon) 08:00 UTC
by Brian Callahan (he/him)
Amateur radio has been a fruitful site of exploration, development, and public service for over 100 years. Experimentation in amateur radio has led to numerous breakthroughs that we rely on every day for global communications. However, long-established rules put a hamper on the future of this experimentation and other missions. In this talk, we will see how some potentially illegal amateur radio transmissions are little more than radio transmissions we rely on every day. We will consider how to update the rules of amateur radio to meet 21st Century needs. By doing so, we will work towards reimagining a hobby that can meet the future and continue to create a better technological world for everyone.
2022-08-01 (Mon) 15:00 UTC
by Radu Diaconescu (he/him)
What is the brain for? An emerging theoretical framework called "predictive coding" suggests a simple answer: the brain's mission is to minimize its own surprise, because an organism that is bad at predicting threats and opportunities is unlikely to survive for long. Yet this seemingly straightforward idea has profound implications, drawing links between the physics of biological self-organization, theories of the origins of life, psychiatric disorders and theories of perception under one overarching precept called The Free Energy Principle. In this presentation, I will offer a friendly introduction to these ideas, using little more than a box of marbles to explain how thermodynamics and information theory relate to neuroscience, yielding a promising avenue for understanding the brain. I will also briefly discuss the current state of the field and highlight its ongoing challenges.
After watching The Old Guard (2020), falling in love with it, and seeing one too many bad takes about it on the internet, I decided to take matters into my own hands: I was going to write the best damn novel-length, historically-accurate, character-driven action drama fanfic that Tumblr and the Archive of Our Own had ever seen.
Or, at least, I was going to write a pretty decent one, and then challenge other writers to do the same.
This ended up being an interdisciplinary project that took over a year to complete and is accompanied by a ten-thousand-word document containing citations and commentary. This presentation focuses on one aspect of my process: creating the main character.
2022-08-02 (Tue) 09:00 UTC
by Laura Ritchie (she/her)
The piece 'Resonance' was composed by Jill Jarman for me (Laura Ritchie) to play on cello. It was based on the science of cymatics, where musical pitches form patterns in sand on a metal plate. I have realised the music of this composition in graphic form. The graphics are the scientifically produced images of the notes using a (simulated) square metal plate measuring 434mm. Each note has a distinct pattern that resembles a mandala. The sound is made visual. I have taken the patterns produced by each note and formed them into a film that demonstrates their musical motion. This film accompanies my performance (which will be demonstrated in the presentation). Aspects of music understanding, reading, and notions of heard, seen, and felt expression will be discussed.
2022-08-02 (Tue) 11:00 UTC
by Felipe Morales Carbonell (he/him/they/them)
Philosophers have acknowledged that there is a variety of things that can be the object of knowledge: propositions ("I know *that* my dog likes to nap near the fireplace"), things ("I know that painting"), experiences ("I know what it's like to feel sad"). In this talk, I want to discuss how we can make sense of a different category: knowledge of questions. Are questions like things? What kind of attitude is it to know a question? What is required? I sketch a way to make sense of knowledge of questions in terms of imagination and pretense: knowing a question is to know how to play a game of inquiry into the questions' subject matter.
In her 2016 book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Donna Haraway invites readers to adopt an orientation to ongoing becoming-with in response to crises of degrading environmental and social conditions. I understand the text’s titular trouble to be neither the soft environmental chaos of the earth’s unfolding nor the hard ideas of a world one might try to bring about upon it, but rather their eternal co-composition in what Haraway calls a “thick present.” I try to intimate a sense of this feedback in my recent sounding work. Common is a composition played by three performers on one concert bass drum performed as part of this year’s SALT festival in Victoria, BC, Canada (the unceded traditional territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples). Ripples is a description of a performance by a solo performer on a drum topped with an inverted cymbal, and the name of a performance Brian Archinal gave of that score in Leeds, England. Haptic Box is a self-constructed sound sculpture and instrument. By teasing out and weaving together flyaway threads of these entangled endeavours, I fold the resulting fabric back into my practice. In doing so, I find a technique for getting on with analysis and intuition that we know as speculation: a technique which can’t predict its outcomes and which seems to be more interested in what else happens.
Traditionally, philosophers of perception have focused their attention nearly exclusively on vision. Recently, however, the scientific and philosophical interest in studying other sensory modalities and their interaction has grown. In particular, auditory perception has become an important field of research (O’Callaghan 2007, Nudds & O’Callaghan 2009). In this context, listening to music is usually presented as one variety of auditory perception (O’Callaghan 2020). Nevertheless, at the moment, there is no satisfactory explanation for this classification.
The aim of my presentation (also main line of argument of my PhD Thesis) is to explain the uniqueness of the experience of listening to music. Starting from the analysis of the distinctiveness in a general sense and in a more specific knowledge-related sense, I formulate two possible hypotheses: 1) the distinctiveness comes from the objects of perception, 2) the distinctiveness comes from the type of experience, namely from how we engage with music. I show how the first hypothesis brings us to an unsatisfactory, partial reply and how the second puts us on the right direction.
After considering theories of the distinctiveness of the experience of music present in the literature (psychological model – Bigand and Poulin-Charronnat 2008, Scruton 1997, Hamilton 2009) and showing their limits, I move on proposing my solution. I suggest we need to rethink the nature of perceptual experience to be able to grasp the distinctiveness of the auditory case of music perception. Following O’Shaughnessy (2000) and Crowther’s (2009) works, I introduce the distinction between listening and hearing and identify in listening as a mental action, the type of engagement that makes musical perception special.
I show how considering listening an action allows us to bring inside the perceptual experience the framework we usually apply to actions (O’Brien 2014). This enables us to find a place to knowledge and goals in impacting our perceptual experience and systematise the idea of active engagement with music already present in the musical literature (cf. “quasi-hearing” in Levinson 1997).
However, a couple of difficulties arise. On one side, I need to clarify the relation between hearing and listening. On the other, it is important to provide a reply to the problem of double causality already identified by O’Shaughnessy (2000) in the ordinary case.
From Gamergate to Roe vs Wade, the socioethical landscape of the world seems to have seen some dramatic shifts in recent years. But how has education responded to this? And how does that differ from the political response, business response, and overall feeling of various communities across the globe? In this session we'll discuss the impact, the pitfalls, and why navigating a path forward might be easier than you think.
Content Warnings: this talk will mention world events from the past decade and the impact on LGBTQI+ and other minority communities.
2022-08-04 (Thu) 04:00 UTC
by The research fairy (they/them)
The Covid-19 outbreak that became a global pandemic in 2020 has disrupted lives, families, industries and entire nations. This project aims to quantify some of the effects of Covid-19 on the enterprise of human research.
Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, I developed a database of all ClinicalTrials.gov NCT Numbers corresponding to clinical trials that were "stopped" (had their overall status changed to "Terminated," "Suspended," or "Withdrawn") after 2019-12-01. This dataset indicates the date that a trial was stopped, whether it was started again and on what date, and the contents of the "why stopped?" field on the date the trial stopped. This dataset also includes columns with manually coded data for whether the "why stopped?" field explicitly indicates that the reason for stopping included the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Here, I narrate some of the dynamics present in these data and lessons learned for clinical trial conduct.
The concept of species, specially when applied to prokaryotes, has a fascinating history that continues to develop to this day. From being barely recognized as lifeforms to being acknowledged as the bulk of the tree of life, bacteria and their diversity provide an excellent example on which to map the development of technical research capabilities and the frameworks that have shaped the conclusions drawn from their continued study. Analysing how we have sought to understand them serves to underscore the biases often implied in the ways and words we insist on using to build our understanding of the diversity and evolution of life.
Magnetic molecules: what are they? Why are they beautiful? Are they any good? And what's the deal with so-called molecular qubits (and p-bits!)? Also, our experience with data science for the chemical design of molecular nanomagnets.
2022-08-05 (Fri) 06:00 UTC
by Paul Matthews (he/him)
AI, Alien and Posthuman characters are not often approached from a psychological PoV (e.g. first-person monologue, third-person psycho-narration). In this talk I will discuss some old and new examples from around the SF genre and what they can tell us about possible alternative kinds of consciousness. These will be based loosely on Cohn's narrative type framework and on the themes of expanded minds, hive mind and cognitive supercedure.
2022-08-05 (Fri) 09:00 UTC
by Chuck Pearson (he/him)
In the United States, not only are conventional textbook costs a substantial financial obstacle towards effective course engagement in chemistry and physics coursework, but lab manual costs and online homework service costs can compound these difficulties. Multiple studies indicate that efforts towards utilization of open educational resources (OER) in college coursework do not negatively impact student performance (see Hilton, 2016 for a review).
While many state-level efforts exist to develop standard nomenclature for courses where resource costs are eliminated (see Freed et al., 2018 for an analysis of Oregon’s efforts, and Brandle et al., 2019 for survey analysis in the CUNY system), those efforts have not produced one consistent designation nationally. In this presentation, I will use the common designation zero-textbook-cost (or ZTC) to describe not merely the elimination of costs for traditional textbook materials, but ancillary materials as well.
Successfully eliminating all student resource costs, therefore, involves addressing the textbook, the lab manual, and the the online homework system. This presentation will describe the specific efforts taken at Tusculum University to eliminate student resource costs and create a genuine ZTC environment in the first-year general chemistry sequence (CHEM 101/102). The Tusculum course is typical for many small, rural colleges in the United States; it needs to be an access point to the discipline for students who do not receive exposure to chemistry beyond a physical science survey in high school, but it also needs to be conducted at a level of rigor sufficient to prepare students for a chemistry majors’ and pre-medical organic chemistry sequence in the sophomore year.
The reform of the sequence began in the 2018-2019 academic year, with a two-pronged effort: the shift of the textbook from a major-publisher text to the OpenStax text Chemistry: Atoms First, and the elimination of a standard lab manual in favor of a online interactive laboratory structure. Revision and upgrades of the laboratory structure carried the offering of the sequence through the pandemic year of 2020 and allowed the course to return to an in-person offering in Spring 2021 with many of the features of the offering intact and with the COVID-informed addition of an online examination structure that achieved a level of rigor equivalent to in-person examinations.
The final step of reform in currently in progress, with the construction of an online homework system through the open-source learning management software Moodle that can serve local needs better in replacement of the proprietary homework system Macmillan Achieve (formerly Sapling Learning) that was adopted at the initial step of course sequence reform.
Initial references: S. Brandle et al. 2019. “But What Do The Students Think: Results of the CUNY Cross-Campus Zero-Textbook Cost Student Survey”. Open Praxis 11:1 (pages unnumbered).
B. Freed et al. 2018. “Evaluating Oregon’s Open Educational Resources Designation Requirement: A Report for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.” Retrieved from https://www.oregon.gov/highered/research/Documents/Reports/HECC-Final-OER-Report_2018.pdf.
J. Hilton. 2016. “Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions.” Educational Technology Research and Development 64:573.
2022-08-05 (Fri) 16:00 UTC
by Jennifer Miller (she/her)
Would you like to teach a course about open science that grounds the topic in human rights and is organized around the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science? Learn about a flexible model designed for easy course prep and suitable for the following contexts:
* As a PI-led special topics course in your lab or department * In Maymester or summer session for potential or incoming STEM graduate students * For current/retired STEM practitioners and educators in a community college or lifelong learning program
I developed this open syllabus and course materials through the UNESCO-sponsored program Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW). The course adapts the structure of the Creative Commons certificate courses incorporate their open pedagogy, to be discussion-based, to adapt to flexible modalities, and to require minimal preparation. Course materials including assignments, rubrics, and interactive self-grading multiple choice questions with feedback are openly licensed and available on Wikiversity https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/UNESCO_Recommendation_on_Open_Science and Zenodo: https://zenodo.org/record/5823531 The open syllabus has been presented and well-received at OE4BW Eduscope, OEGlobal, and the First UNESCO Working Group on Open Science Capacity Building.
Your questions and suggestions for improvements and adaptations will be welcome at the session!
2022-08-06 (Sat) 13:00 UTC
by honor ash (they/them)
this talk explores a preliminary vein of research in which i examine the ways that digital permanence and entropy differs from that of traditional media and past ways of organising our collective memory. it considers how this difference impacts the ways we view growth, forgiveness, and characterisations of others in an increasingly digital social landscape.
due to the growing reliance of professional and personal activity on online and digital spaces, the ways we interact with information and knowledge have been forever changed, and will continue to shift as technology develops. in this talk i begin to deconstruct the ways that the lenses through which we consider data, storage and permanence have evolved, and how this impacts the ways in which we view each other. i also consider possibilities for the ways in which forgiveness, growth and empathy could be recentred, and how they have been obscured by a landscape designed to imbue previously transitory moments and exchanges with a sense of perpetual relevance. i shall interrogate our attitudes towards storage and archiving, and the collection by those other than ourselves of data about our interests, hobbies and memories. i will look at who (or what) pushed us towards the landscape in which we now reside, and who (or what) this current environment serves.
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