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On the Nature of Reality

19 January 2012
Marty Wolf

Advances in information, communication and computing technologies, physics, and information theory over the last eighty years have given rise to a growing number of people reconsidering our understanding of reality and the universe as a whole. Luciano Floridi, a philosopher, argues that reality is ultimately made up of information and information organisms. Vlatko Vedral, physicist, argues that everything in reality is composed of information and ultimately quantum information. Seth Llyod, a quantum-mechanical engineer, argues that the universe is a quantum computer. Dr. Wolf explored the works of these three authors and drew out similarities and difference among their conceptions of reality.

Do Americans Really Like Children

9 February 2012
Richard Hanson

Dr. Richard Hanson explores and expands upon the works of Kenneth Kenniston and attempts to answer the question, "Do Americans really like children?" He analyzed the question by commenting on the traditional status measures of children, taking into account the values and traditions associated with childhood as well as the validity of the measures used to assess child status.

Rebellion Against the System: Czech Comedies in the Mid-Sixties

22 March 2012
Roderick Henry
1960's Czechoslovakian society underwent a radical shift in political ideology after the failing of communism in the country. Dr. Roderick Henry analyzed four Czechoslovakian comedies that dealt with the various failings of communist Czechoslovakia. In particular, the comedies outlined the proliferation of theft and deception in the country to the unintended consequences of totalitarianism.

18th Century Ideas, 21st Century Landscapes: How the "old ideas of an English Presbyterian minister helped map landcover in the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge

5 April 2012
Jeffrey Ueland
A simple, yet elegant, inductive method based on probabilities developed by Thomas Bayes, an 18th century Presbyterian minister, makes it possible for us to reassess how we examine our ever-expanding, data-rich society. Dr. Ueland's projectustilized Bayes' method to map and analyze the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, located in Northwestern Minnesota, which has been identified as a key area of concern in relation to the potential impacts of climate change.

Putting a Number on Vulnerability

12 April 2012
Carla Norris-Raynbird
Severe and repetitive storms in the gulf region bring into critical focus the need to build knowledge and local capacities to manage coastal challenges. In her discussion, Dr. Norris-Raynbird presented quantitative findings from a recent study entitled "CZM Capacity Pre and Post Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike: A Comparison Study." Designed as a natural experiment, the study is a follow-up to a pre-Hurricane Katrina study of the effectiveness of Louisiana's Local Coastal Program in building local coastal zone management capacity in local decision-makers. The lecture focused on perceived vulnerability comparisons between 2005 and 2011.

Broken Welds: A Prose Poem Study of Human Separations

12 September 2012
Mark Christensen
Dr. Mark Christensen is a professor of English, teaching creative writing, rhetoric, and pedagogy. His first collection of poems, Faith in Ice Time, reached the finals of the Minnesota Book Award competition. Dr. Christensen read entries from his second self authored book of prose poems. The book examined several kinds of losses and separations in human interaction.

The Bamboo of Kilui and the Figs of Kwa Muthita: Natural Resource Management in Liminal Landscapes

17 September 2012
Mark Lawrence
Dr. Mark Lawrence, a professor of Geography, emphasizes regional planning and political geography in his teachings at Bemidji State University. His fieldwork examines cultural ecology, ethnographic issues, indigenous environmental knowledge and land tenure issues in ecologically at-risk regions. Dr. Lawrence introduced two study sites in Kibwezi and explored the challenging relationships between traditional Akamba culture and the political ecology of capitalist industrialization of agriculture.

The Speech of the World: Art and Normativity in Moderinity

25 September 2012
Daniel Guentchev
Dr. Daniel Guentchev is a Bulgarian native with extensive experience in studio art. His experience in philosophy offers him a unique perspective when examining figurative art as it relates to nature. In his presentation, Dr. Guentchev presented a starting point of modernity offered by Gregg Horowitz and discussed further the role figurative art plays in recovering what has been lost through triumphs over history and nature.