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Mar 22
2010

"Deadly Persuasion"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , women , teens , speaker , Science , research , public safety , protest , policy , media , legislation , journalism , Ideas , families , events , education , corporate responsibiliyt , children , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Advertising isn’t just annoying, contends industry critic  Jean Kilbourne, it can be genuinely harmful, especially in promoting additions to alcohol, tobacco or even just shopping.

Kilbourne observe that many of the most prolific advertisers are trying to promote regular consumption of their products, which although legal, are nonetheless highly addictive. So they are, essentially, working to promulgate addictions.

 

Politics is another area in which Kilbourne worried that the growing reliance on campaign advertising is inflicting powerful and distorting influence, implicitly facilitating corruption of candidates while discouraging public participation in the electoral process.

 

Those concerns have been exacerbated by the recent Supreme Court decision affirming “corporate personhood,” and striking down any limits on campaign spending by corporations. Kilboure fears that decision will have far-reaching and terribly destructive consequences.

Jean Kilbourne will deliver her presentation, “Deadly Persuasion” about advertising and how it tries to manipulate us, in the Sonoma State University Cooperage, Tuesday, March 23 at 7:30 pm. Here's a summary/preview:

What are advertisers really selling us?

Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions.

In her slide presentations, Jean Kilbourne examines images in advertising with the incisive wit and irony that have delighted and enlightened her audiences for years. With expert knowledge, insight, humor and commitment, she brings her audiences to see that, although ads may seem harmless and silly, they add up to a powerful form of cultural conditioning. She is known for her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, that encourages dialogue, and that moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest.

She explores the relationship of media images to actual problems in the society, such as violence, the sexual abuse of children, rape and sexual harassment, pornography and censorship, teenage pregnancy, addiction, and eating disorders. She also educates her audiences about the primary purpose of the mass media, which is to deliver audiences to advertisers. The emphasis is on health and freedom — freedom from rigid sex roles, freedom from addiction, freedom from denial, and freedom from manipulation and censorship.

Mar 08
2010

Voluntary Simplicity

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , speaker , resources , lifestyle , Ideas , Green , go green , families , energy , conserve , budget , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

In our fast-paced, materially-driven society, the idea of living more simply and slowly runs counter to prevailing norms. That may be why it’s catching on.

People have many different reasons for embracing the concept of voluntary simplicity, and author Duane Elgin (right)  sees them all as valid and interlocking, part of a “garden” of motivations that all serve a greater common cause.

The virtues of living simply and eschewing material goods are sometimes associated more with the Oriental teachings of Confucius and Buddha, although they were also embodied by such western figures as John the Baptist and St. Francis of Assisi. Today, says Elgin, the precepts of voluntary simplicity have taken hold in a big way in Northern Europe.

 

Duane Elgin, MBA and MA is an internationally recognized, visionary speaker and author.  His books include:  Voluntary Simplicity, The Living Universe, Promise Ahead, and Awakening Earth.   He will appear at Copperfields Books in Sebastopol at 7 pm on Monday, March 8, with a presentation titled,  "Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich."

 

Feb 18
2010

Music and Memory

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , students , speaker , seniors , research , recreation , nonprofit orgs , music , medicine , media , Ideas , healthcare , Health , gadgets , events , education , disability , author , aging

Bruce Robinson

Even in patients with advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, familiar music from long ago can awaken memories and prompt interactive behaviors. But how does that happen? A U.C. Davis researcher is working to unravel the neural mechanisms within the brain.

Much of the research that has been done so far on how music stimulates the brain has used musical samples that are not particularly stimulating. Dr. Petr Janata, associate professor of Psychology at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, says that a new round of studies should work with recognizable samples, and could discover that the brain encodes different types of music in different ways or areas.

That’s one area of research that Janata hopes to explore himself, along with expanding the studies he’s done on Alzheimer’s patients to include different age groups.

Dr. Peter Janata will discuss his research into “Music, Memories and the Brain"  in a public presentation Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 pm in the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa, a benefit event for the Sonoma County Bach Society.

You can read more about research into the associations between music, memory and Alzheimer's Disease in this Wall Street Journal article.

 

Feb 04
2010

Post Carbon Institute

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , resources , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , international , Ideas , Green , government , food , environment , economy , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

When the Post Carbon Institute was started in 2003, the idea behind its name was a philosophical ideal. Seven years later, it’s become a imminent necessity—one with an accelerating deadline.

Moving into a post-carbon world will require all kinds of changes in the way people live, especially in our high-consumption culture. But Asher Miller (left), Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute, believes that the necessary adjustments may not prove to be as difficult or disruptive as they may appear at this point in time.

This is Miller's Open Letter to President Obama, in response to his 2010 State of the Union Speech.

Dear President Obama,

Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.

You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.

Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.

Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.

For the recently released Searching for a Miracle, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg conducted a “net energy” analysis of 18 different energy sources (including nuclear and “clean coal”). He concluded that the amount of energy available after accounting for the energy used in extraction and production of those sources is—at our current and anticipated rates of consumption—insufficient to get us “over the hump” to a post-carbon world.

Our 29 Post Carbon Institute Fellows—experts in the leading economic, energy, and environmental issues of the day—all agree that this "net energy" deficit is just one of many interrelated crises shaping the 21st century. Each crisis alone creates formidable challenges; in combination, their complexity admits no simple solution. But given their direness, inaction risks tragedy.

Mr. President, we respect you and your advisors and appreciate the enormity of the dilemmas you and all of us confront. When a great leader frames a great challenge, a resilient people will rise to meet the opportunity. And so we ask, Mr. President, that you tell the American people that we must:

1. Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty.

2. Prepare for the future. Conservation, with an emphasis on building a green economy and revitalizing struggling communities, offers cost-effective “found” energy, and the most immediate and long-term return on investment.

3. Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,
Asher Miller
Executive Director
Post Carbon Institute

Click here to comment on the letter to President Obama. You can also see the complete list of fellows on the Post Carbon Institute website.

 

 

 

 

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